Bullet Journalling for 2018

I really want to utilise my bullet journal more this year.  Towards the end of 2017, I started to just fill bits in for the sake of it.  I wrote a post back in December (link here) about which pages I had enjoyed doing, what I’d like to take forward into 2018, and trying some new things.

I’ve started 2018 with a new lust for the ‘Bullet Journal’ and have found myself a quick weekly layout which I am trialling for this half term.  It takes about 20 minutes to draw it out which isn’t too long.  I’ve started adding my meal ideas to the weekly page, as well as trying to keep track of my fitness / exercise, and a fortnight in, I’m still keeping up!  I’m a firm believer that if you can sustain something for a month, it will usually stick! I often trawl Pinterest for ideas on how to jazz up my handwriting and titles as well as pretty doodles I can add.  If you want ideas, take a look back at my previous posts or the Hayley From Home has some lovely pages.

               

I’m a real list maker and find keeping a diary / to do list really helps me stay organised.  I’ve found the bullet journal really helpful in penning my desires for 2017 and 2018 for both our family, myself and this blog. One of my favourite things to refer to throughout the year is the ‘Bucket List’; sadly, we didn’t manage all the things on the list last year, not by a long shot, but it is good to have dreams, and some of those are back on the list for 2018. 

               

I started out my bullet journal with a plain notebook and some 99p fine liners from Wilkinson’s, after a few months, I upgraded and purchased myself a dotted Leuchtturm 1917 Journal and a pack of 20 Staedtler trip plus fine liners.  For a while, I’ve been lusting at some wash tape and a Faber Castell PITT artist pens, so I took the plunge last week! My Faber Castell pens arrived today as did my Washi tape.  I’m not sure what I’m going to use the Washi tape for yet, but it certainly looks pretty! A bruce bonus of stumping up £2.99 for my Faber Castell black pen, was they randomly sent me a packet of 10 instead, whoop!

For those who want to give Bullet Journalling a go, here are my top five buys:

  1. Leuchtturm 1917 Notebook – I prefer dotted as it gives more flexibility for drawing.
  2. Staedtler Tri plus fineliners – I have a pack of 20, I only bought these because they weren’t much more than the pack of 10!
  3. Faber Castell PITT Artist Pen – Black
  4. Pretty Washi tape – I think I might use mine to edge a couple of my well used pages.
  5. More pretty Washi Tape – Again, not sure where this is going to go!

HAPPY JOURNALLING!

New Year, New Me….

I don’t think I’ve ever made a new year’s resolution, so I don’t intend to start now; they feel a bit like I’m depriving myself something; BUT, I’ve decided to set myself some new year ‘challenges’. These challenges are for me and nobody else as to be quite honest, I’m quite happy with ‘me‘ right now. My mind is happy, we have a good life, I love my family and our time together.

I really enjoyed my (albeit slightly meagre) reading challenge last year so I’m going to do another one this year and I really want to get fitter similar to that of before I had my children, so I have THREE challenges this year:

1. READING – I set about trying to read 12 books last year and I surpassed that by eventually getting through 20 books. With that in mind, I’m aiming for 25 books this year which seems quite a tall order. I’m currently reading ‘Sue Perkins – Spectacles’ (sent to me by the lovely Hayley From Home), which is entertaining, but I think I prefer my romance novels and crime thrillers. My ‘to read’ list currently looks like this (in no particular order):

1. Eleanor Oliphant is Consistently Fine by Gail Honeyman

2. 16th Seduction by James Patterson

3. Cross the Line by James Patterson

4. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

5. Dummy by Matt Coyne (basically the make version of Sarah Turner aka the ‘Unmumsy Mum’)

6. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

7. The Versions of Us – Laura Barnett

8. The Girl Friend – Michelle Francis

9. Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

2. FITNESS – spurred on my friends and family who are getting back into running, I want to get out more. I enjoy running and love to see progress, but I often find myself lacking motivation to get out in the evenings once my husband is home and the children are bathed and in bed. People often say I must be ‘fit’ because of my job (I’m a PE teacher) and yes my job is ‘active’ but I don’t do much running or training at work, I’m just on my feet a lot doing what I call pottering about and sometimes after being out in the rain all day, I don’t fancy going out running in the rain too. So, my fitness challenge for 2018 is to run a sub 50min 10k. In fact, the race is in 10 weeks so I haven’t got long to get my butt in gear but I’m hoping the fact that BOTH my sister and brother are running it will spur me on. We all seem to be horrendously competitive so the race is on (literally!). And after banking a run this evening with a meagre 5:46m per km, I definitely need to get the miles in!

3. RUNNING – similar to my reading challenge, I want to try and run a certain number of miles before we see in 2019 (jeepers, that seems so far in the future!). I think with working part time, looking after the children, keeping up playing my netball that 500 miles for the year is a reasonable target. It works out at just less than 10 miles a week which I think is more than enough for me and it will be quite the challenge! To help me track my miles, I’ve set about using my trusty bullet journal to count the miles. 

 

Wish me luck!!

Balancing, Books and Bakes

It seems apt in the run up to Christmas that I spend some time to share with you what we’ve been up to lately and what I’m planning for 2018. I set myself a reading challenge at the beginning of 2017 and I want to try a new challenge or challenges for 2018! I think being a little competitive, I prefer a challenge. I like the idea of a bigger reading challenge as well as a fitness challenge.  Do you have any challenges/targets you’d like to set for 2018?

READING:

As I have already mentioned, I set myself a reading challenge for 2017, which was to read 12 books in 12 months.  Miraculously, I managed to hit the target and surpass it back in October, and I am current;y searching for book 18 to start. Despite having a large ‘to read’ pile and an uninspiring trip to the library this morning, I am still struggling to pick one. Naturally, suggestions are welcome! I have finished work for Christmas so I have a bit more time than usual to read, although the current 0530 starts from the children aren’t allowing much bedtime reading at the moment, Zzzzzz.  Here’s a list of my reads so far:

  1. Hurrah for Gin, Katie Kirby: a lighthearted book on the trials and tribulations of being a Mum.  I laughed out loud and really enjoyed this book.  If you’re after a giggle this Christmas, this could be a purchase for you, or wife/partner.
  2. Shopaholic to the Rescue, Sophie Kinsella: I’m a bit of a sucker for a Sophie Kinsella book and this one didn’t disappoint.  I’ve read all the books in the ‘Shopaholic’ series, and I would recommend you read them first as it sets the scene, although not essential.
  3. Hope to Die, James Patterson: Again I am an avid James Patterson reader, although I am way behind on the Women’s Murder Club series! I find the short and sweet chapters really easy to read and a fantastic help when I’m often forced to put down the book and pick back up another day.  Book three was a bit of struggle for me as it took a while to get through, in fact, I was already well into month four by the time I’d finished this.
  4. Scummy Mummies, Ellie Gibson & Helen Thorn: Yet another ‘Mum’ read, and again an easy read with yet more crazy tales from Motherhood.
  5. Cross Justice, James Patterson: Shock! Another JP book, similar to Book three, this one is part of the ‘Alex Cross’ collection which are wonderful.  They are up to the mid twenties and they’re all still amazing.  James Patterson really is a wonderful writer, well I think so anyway.
  6. A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness: My tutor group at school (yes I take reading advice from 15 year olds!) suggested this one, and my two lovely friends Hayley (hayleyfromhome) and Kat (bookwormandtheatremouse) seemed to agree that Patrick Ness was a good read. It was a lovely book, but I was not prepared AT ALL for the tearjerker ending! (a little prep if you decide to read it, although might have just ruined it!).
  7. The One Plus One, Jojo Moyes: A Jojo convert after reading this book.  A really lovely tale, and although I could see how it might end, the story was beautifully written with some twists and turns along the way.
  8. One With You, Sylvia Day: Similar to  the Christian Grey stories, this one wasn’t the best book, but I got through it.
  9. The Queen of Wishful Thinking, Milly Johnson: I’ve never read a Milly Johnson book before and I don’t know what drew me to this book in my Amazon order.  I think its the colourful front cover, I know the saying, never judge a book by its cover, but I am a sucker for brightly coloured front cover; they always seem a bit more appealing. I’m trying to do better and read the back before I discount them now.  This was a beautiful and eloquently written story, a romance novel if you will.  I do love a good ‘boy meets girl’ story.
  10. The First Time Mums’ Club, Lucie Wheeler: I grabbed this off the ‘new books’ shelf at the library and after failing to get on with a few books, this one grabbed me.  Was a fun story about becoming a Mum for the first time.  No motherhood tales in this one, but just a lovely story about making new friends during pregnancy.   I am super lucky to have such wonderful friends, and amazingly we all have children the same age!
  11. Sunshine at Wildflower Cottage, Milly Johnson: I seem to be a creature of habit and often try and read books by the same author.  This was such an easy and enjoyable read.  I’m getting to the point where I feel like I should probably branch out and read something a little more thought provoking, but honestly, I don;t know if my brain can manage it!
  12. Paris for One, Jojo Moyes: I was right when I said I was a Jojo convert! This was a really short story, in fact only 100 pages, so I felt a bit of a fraud calling it my 12th book.  I think there is another version of this book which has other short stories in, so it would be nice to read the others.
  13. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes: This book is so good, it is now a motion picture, which i dutifully watched yesterday in my mammoth 2.5hr present wrapping session.  If you’ve not read this, I can absolutely recommend it.  I think I preferred reading the book first and watching the film second.  It really is a moving story.
  14. After You, Jojo Moyes: I won’t lie, I preferred the first story to this one, but none the less it was still good.  An interesting read: a love story, a broken heart and a grieving heart all wrapped up into one book.
  15. Triple Threat, James Patterson: Although I have many more James Patterson books on my Kindle, I found this one on the book shelf in our church whilst attending Community Cafe. It’s actually three short stories in one book.  The first and third stories were really good, but the middle one freaked me out a little. James Patterson has a similar longer story called Zoo which also freaked me out, so I’m not sure why I continued, but I did.
  16. Almost a Bride, Jo Watson: Another find from the ‘New Book’ shelf at the library. I’ve never heard of Jo Watson and upon starting this story, I discovered she is a South African writer (the story is set in South Africa).  Heartbroken and jobless, Annie is having a bit of a dilemma so books a holiday with her girlfriends as rehab, and the story goes from there.
  17. Talk to Me, Jules Wake: After I said I was trying to be good and read the back before discounting a book.  Well I actually didn’t look at the front, it was the red spine that attracted me to this one.  It was until I got it home, did I see the front cover and I thought I’d picked up something a bit more sultry than I had anticipated.  But, it was a gorgeous romance novel instead about a girl being in love with someone she couldn’t have.

A BALANCING ACT:

I have had two children for over two years now (I know, still can’t believe it myself!), but I still struggle with the balancing act, and I’m not sure I will ever be happy! I currently work 3 days a week, and have 2 days with the children. Although H goes to pre-school in our village on both days that I am off.  I’ve really enjoyed the difference compared to last years 5 days, but I still find myself pining to fit more in or do more with the children.  It does make me wonder if I will ever be content with my work:life balance. I’ve toyed with the idea of becoming a SAHM Mum, but then I wonder if I will pine for the adult conversation, solo toilet trips and the buzz of using my brain I suppose. But then I long for a slower pace of life, and I find myself constantly trying to think of new and exciting ways to entertain H and L, and would they still be happy if we’re at home more.   Do you have the right balance? 

TERRIBLE TWOS AND TESTING THREES:

I think we have turned a corner with H these past few weeks were he is beginning to understand a bit more and accept reasoning, but I find all of that goes out the window if he is tired.  Honestly, you just can’t get any sense from him if he is overtired. He has started accepting that he has to say sorry and learn why he shouldn’t have done the things he’s done and just in the last week or so, he has finally become more engaged with sitting and doing something a bit academic.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we’re at the MENSA or Nobel Prize winning stage yet, but this is a big leap forward.  He is now asking to draw, write his name and is enjoying doing some more thinking tasks.  I had been so worried about him not being able hold a pencil at school in September, let alone write his name, but I think I’m ok about it all now.

       

His younger sister on the other hand is something else.  I joke to my Mum that she is a lost cause! I’m not sure if she’s stubborn, strong minded or just the devil child sometimes! Mum also offers zero advice, and just laughs as apparently I was like this as a child.  We have got to the stage where she will say ‘Sorry’ now but she is still a little monkey.  We still share a bed every night, which as much as it annoys me, I do love having a quick cuddle and a squeeze of squidgy thighs

FITNESS:

Ever since the clocks changed back in October I have really struggled to ‘train’.  This week I managed two days by myself without the children and I went for a run on both days, but when I’m at work or at home with the children, I have zero motivation.  Once my husband is home, and I’ve finished bath/bed time, its 7pm by which time I’m usually starving and going for a run is the last thing on the mind.  Most people say I’m fit anyway because of my job. My job is obviously active, but I’m not actually improving my fitness.  I think I need to enter a race to set myself a target to hit or even just something to train for.  I will have to set myself a challenge for 2018; a race or a number of sessions/miles per month perhaps.  What are your fitness aspirations for 2018?

BAKING:

Brownies: I’ve recently been experimenting with some new and slightly healthier recipes, which my work colleagues have been testing out, albeit sometimes begrudgingly! Perhaps the most popular of these new recipes was my dairy and sugar free Avocado Brownies. These have been a bit of trial and error really as the recipe uses coconut flour, after some research I discovered I could swap it out for a mixture of self-raising and plain flour as long as I added extra eggs to compensate as coconut flour is extraordinarily absorbent.  This is the recipe I followed (https://www.thehealthymaven.com/2015/08/healthy-avocado-brownies.html), but I had to adapt it slightly, so here are my ingredients:

  • 1 large avocado
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup ( used a mixture of golden syrup and honey because I had no maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup plain flour

Add the wet ingredients to a food mixer, ensuring you blend after each addition.  The recipe states that you should transfer to a bowl before adding the eggs, but I’m a little lazy so I just mixed it all in the blender and it turned out ok.  Pour the mixture into a greased dish, I used a square one, and bake for 20-25 mins.  If you prefer them slightly gooey, check them after 20 minutes, if you prefer them more well done, leave them for longer.  I have a measuring jug with cups on, but if you don’t, here is a conversion website: (http://www.tuscanrecipes.com/cooking-tips/dry-liquid-measures.html).

Breakfast Bites: I tried this last week, and they got a mixed review at work; well actually only 1.5 out of 6 liked/tried them, so not a raging success.  Although my biggest critic when it comes to cake (my little H) enjoyed them! These can be used as a cake snack or as a breakfast on the go. The Mango Coconut Bites were quite tasty, if a little out there (I have officially been nicknamed ‘Mrs Cropley’ by my neighbours!).  These were super easy to make, and the children enjoyed helping me, even though they bickered about who was mixing!

  • 40g raisins
  • 1 ripe banana (mashed)
  • 195g oats
  • 33g of desiccated coconut
  • 250ml coconut milk
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 140g of frozen mango

Soak the raisins in boiling water. Add the coconut, oats, desiccated coconut and coconut milk to a large mixing bowl and combine. Now add the mango and stir, followed by the egg. Drain any remaining water off the raisins, and stir into the mixture. Pop into a tin and bake for 25-30mins at 190C. (https://www.healthylittlefoodies.com/coconut-mango-oat-breakfast-bites/)

Nutella Christmas Tree: Honestly, this isn’t healthy at all, but my word, it was soon good and easy to make.  Roll out a sheet of puff pastry, I then cut out a shape of a Christmas tree and used the cut off triangles as the top (you could use two separate sheets though).  Spread a good layer of nutella (or other chocolate based spread on the top and cover with the leftover triangles.  Cut slats all the way up both sides of the Christmas tree and then twist the ‘strands’ into a kind of plait.  Bake for about 20-25 mins, and then enjoy whilst warm.  I am planning this for Christmas Day breakfast! For a youtube tutorial, try this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7So4_MSdjpA.

 

What are your go to quick bakes or healthy treats? My secret santa bought me a Paul Hollywood cookbook for Christmas and the first recipe is for Churro’s which are high on my list of bakes over the festive period.

CHRISTMAS

I don’t think I could write this post without mentioning the ‘C’ word; I think I am ready.  I have bought and wrapped everything, we just have the small matter of building a play kitchen and dolls house, shall we wait until Christmas Eve…..? For children, Christmas is really all about the magic and of course the presents.  Our little H is just that bit older this year, and is beginning to get more excited, although I’m still not sure if he’s cottoned onto to everything yet, but he knows Father Christmas brings presents and he has to be on the good list, BUT, I really want to try and make it extra special for 2018.  I’m probably crazy for already looking to 2018 when most people still aren’t ready for Christmas 2017! But, I want to get H (and hopefully L) engaged into the meaning of Christmas a bit more.  We talk a lot about being on the good list or naughty list, but I want to get the children thinking about how important and special it is to spend time with our families.  My family live 150 miles away in the North West so we don’t get to see them that often, so it is always special when we see everyone as we’re not often together with my parents and siblings.  I have had a bit of an enlightening week were I am feeling very grateful indeed that we are able to share Christmas with my family and despite all the travelling and traffic, we are really very lucky. Some of us will be missing loved ones this Christmas, or not be able to all be together, so I am hoping to make next years’ festive period more about giving and family.  One of my old work colleagues has been telling me about the ‘Kindness Elves‘.  Although, not strictly just for Christmas, I really want to incorporate some of their ideas into our next Christmas, so I will researching that in the new year, but for now, I think we will go and pop some food donations into box in our Church.

Thanks for reading

C xxx

Bullet Journal; Part Two

Those of you who follow me will know I have attempted to dabble in a spot of bullet journaling this year. At school I always loved ensuring my work was neat and more often than not colourful. As a teacher, I have a ridiculous love for stationary (weird as I teach PE!), so keeping a bullet Journal was a great excuse to get some new pens and I picked the Stabilo fine tips which are great. As 2017 is fast coming to an end, I’m looking to utilise my journal a bit more in 2018 so I’m trying to plan various things, but I’m looking for help and/or inspiration on how to set it up:

 1. I’ve experimented with different monthly lay outs this year. Although I’m unsure if this is the best set up for me as I often don’t get time to sit and go through each month, but I could start using it more like a diary? How do you set your monthly layout or do you do a weekly layout?

2. I’ve really enjoyed my ‘memories’ page and I think I’d like to keep this up but perhaps a quarterly memory page. Do you record your memories?

3. I’m bypassing a traditional calendar this year where I usually plan my meals. I’ve gotten a bit lazy of late with my meal planning and want to bring it back for 2018. How can I pop it in the bullet journal?

Thoughts and suggestions as always, are most welcome, especially on ways to utilise the bullet journal more as well as keeping it exciting and fun!

Re-post – ‘Bad Mum-itis’


After what has felt like a bit of a car crash morning of seemingly constant fighting, an (over-tired) 2 year old who wants to wear pants, a brother who wants a snack 5 mins after just eating his previous snack, and goodness knows what else.  The little one is asleep, the big one is at pre-school, I’ve had a cuppa, and I’ve sat down to take stock, and it really wasn’t that bad a morning was it! Here’s a bit of a repost of something I wrote a few months ago.  I think we all need reminding once in a while that we are doing a good job, to relax, and go with the flow.

What is ”Bad Mum-itis’?

I think we all suffer from this at some point. I know I have and still have my moments! I suppose ‘Bad Mum-itis’ is your inner Mum conscience….

As Mums, we are constantly fighting a battle to be the elusive ‘Supermum’-  bake cakes, have a tidy house, make wholesome healthy meals every night or do something your friends did or just doing a better job. The fact remains; we are all GREAT Mums’ and we shouldn’t be second guessing ourselves or our ability. I think the very fact we do this to ourselves or strive for better makes us fantastic at what we do, because we care.  These are exactly the values I want to instill in my children; not the negativity, but the positive: that I care about doing better, having the resilience to forget despite a bad day.

Motherhood is a HUGE learning curve (a steep one too!) but that’s all part of the fun. I’m not ashamed to say I’m probably ‘winging it’ 99% of the time or take the easy route just for some peace and quiet (hence why my 2 year old still co sleeps with us because I actually get some sleep!).

I think we need to stop worrying about what you think you should be doing, what you aren’t doing and start celebrating what you ARE doing. Because believe it or not, these little humans will love you regardless. Live each day as it comes and cherish EVERY moment.

You’re doing a great job!

A Summer of Fun!

Already, the summer of 2017 seems a distant memory as we are hurtling towards Autumn.  It seemed like that the summer break passed by in the blink of an eye, and here I am back at work with a thud of reality. It’s been a while since I’ve written a post about what we’ve been up to, but we have been busy bees having lots of adventures and making memories.

Finishing Work: This summer saw me leaving a job I’d been in for five years, my longest serving teaching post to date. It was most definitely the end of era (well for me anyway) leaving what I’d known for five years and my comfort zone. Whilst I am incredibly sad not to be working with some truly great friends anymore, I am excited about my new prospects: working in a more part time role and being able to spend some more days at home with H and L. We are still adjusting to our new routine, which I’m sure will be sorted by the end of the week.  I see smile every time I walk upstairs and see my beautiful leaving gift has taken up pride of place at the top of my stairs where I can see it everyday.


Our Spanish Holiday: I am lucky enough to work in an independent school, with this it brings an earlier finish for summer. Because of this, we were able to go to Spain before the main state school holidays had started. So on July 8th, we flew to Barcelona for our holiday on the outskirts of Girona with 10 of our friends and their families (4 children in total). The villa was set in beautiful grounds atop a hillside with gorgeous views of the Spanish countryside. It took us a few days to get H’s courage up and get him in the pool (he wouldn’t go in the pool at all on our holiday in 2016!), after the first success it was difficult to get him out! My favourite day by far was our day at the beach. H absolutely loved it (although I’m not sure the Spanish tourists approved of his naked bum!), L needed a touch more convincing on the sea front but still a very enjoyable day by all!


What I’ve been reading: I tried to read a few books over the summer. Gone are the days when I could read for hours on end I the summer, with a 3 and 1 year chomping at my heels, it’s rare I get my book out before bedtime. We were lucky enough to have a cheeky weekend away without the children (courtesy of my parents) and I managed to read a book over the weekend inbetween sightseeing around Knaresborough (see review here). But, here is my list of summer reads:

1. Jojo Moyes – The One Plus One

2. Sylvia Day – One With You

3. Milly Johnson – The Queen of Wishful Thinking

4. Lucie Wheeler – The First Time Mums Club

5. Milly Johnson – Sunshine Over Wildflower Cottage [currently reading, and enjoying]

Decorating: this summer has seen a decorating mission!! The house has been in dire need of some updating as it’s virtually not been touched since before H was born, if at all. I had a weeks grace of paid nursery care for both H and L, so I worked like a trojan for 3.5 days to sort the hallway, and paint the front door and garage.  I can safely say I won’t be in a hurry to paint the bannister again!! After a few weeks off, I set to work in the kitchen. This time I didn’t have the luxury of childcare, so it was an evening job.  Each wall required three coats (I know!), I repainted the Welsh dresser and half moon table too.  We also bought new dining chairs as our old ones were disintegrated.  Its now almost finished, I just need to get my custom made pallet wood shelf up and paint the skirting boards and it will be done.  I am so so pleased with how its turned out and absolutely love it! Next on the list is Lily’s bedroom which will be October half terms job.


Memories:  There have been many memories made and such wonderful times with the children this summer, and I still can’t believe its all come to an end, although I do love some puddle jumping and leaf kicking, so I will be welcoming Autumn with open arms (one of my favourite seasons).  Highlights of the summer memories have to be: splashing in the pool and at the beach in Spain, our childfree weekend, lazy mornings, baking, seeing family, the village produce show, the zoo, and many more.

The next few weeks see quite a hectic social calendar for the children, and my little L turns two. More on that in a few weeks.

Bullet Journal #101

Dotted Leuchtturm1917

 

Back in the new year, I trialled the idea of keeping a ‘Bullet Journal’ in my trusty old Filofax starting with a 2017 Bucket List, and a Book List.  Last month, I decided to dive into the bullet journal world with two feet (with some encourage from the ever useful life guru that is Hayley from Home!). Well, what can I say, I am a bit hooked…

Here are Five Things that will help get you started on your first bullet journal:

1. You can use any notebook or pad – I had a trial go in my trusty Filofax notes pages. Only when I decided to get a bit more adventurous did I plum for the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted notebook because I liked the flexibility it gave with the dotted squares rather than lined or squared. But you can use virtually anything! There are some incredible people you can follow on instagram: ‘Adventurous_Planning_Cat’ uses a Filofax ballet hournal with some fantastic layouts. She even prints her own dotted paper. ‘Boho Berry’ uses a Leuchtturm and her pages are simply stunning.

July memories, Packing list, August, Book list, Birthdays, Blogs, linkies

 

2. You can start anytime – Unlike a traditional diary that will go from Jan- Dec or Sept-Aug; you can start whenever you like with a bullet Journal. You could even start mid month, that’s the beauty of a ‘Bujo’ !

3. You can set it out however you like – after doing a few pages here and there, I decided to start setting out a monthly page with a memories page afterwards. The ‘Memories’ are by far one of my favourites. It really showcases all the fun adventures we’ve had over the month.

Allotment plan and May memories (my favourite page)

 

4. Creative organisation – an easy way to describe a bullet journal is: all your to do lists, dreams and a diary all in one. Have you ever found some diaries just don’t meet all of your needs? A bullet journal is a way of having a diary, but set out exactly how you want. I’m trying a double page spread for the next few months with a corner for ‘to do next month’. Over the summer I’m going to do a spot of research and see how I might change my set up for the month and/or weeks for the new academic year.

June spread

 

5. Daunting at first but loads of fun – at first I was really quite apprehensive about starting as I didn’t want to make a mistake in my precious new notepad. I’m a bit OCD like that. I love everything to be neat, always have. I was nervous about doodling pictures for fear of it looking awful. I did an outline of my first page in pencil and then went over it in pen. However, a few weeks later, and I just go for it now, but I do wile away the time drifting through Pinterest searching for new ideas for pages, layouts, and doodles.

July, June memories, Recipes, Bucket list, DIY list Master shopping list

 

One thing to watch out for is ‘ghosting’. This is where the pen bleeds though the paper. I’m currently using the Staedler fine tips which are great, but prior to buying them I was using Wilko own which worked fine.  The only reason I bought the Staedtler was because the red ran out in my Wilko pack and I LOVE station. The Staedtler ones were ynder £10 from Amazon and only a couple of pounds more than the pack of 20.

Ideas and thoughts for new pages are always as welcome.  I’m currently thinking of starting a Netflix/Series one, but I need to pick some new series to watch first. I might try and keep a sleep diary for L for a month and see if there’s a pattern to her night wakings.

Happy reading.

Bloggers and Linkies to follow:

@boho.berry

@adventurous_planner_cat

@bulletjournaler

#bujo

#bulletjournal

#bulletjournalinspiration

‘Bad Mum-itis’

What is ‘Bad Mum-itis’?

I think we all suffer from this at some point. I know I have and still have my moments! I suppose Bad Mum-itis is your inner Mum conscience….


As Mums, we are constantly fighting a battle to be the ‘Supermum’, bake cakes, have a tidy house, make wholesome healthy meals every night or do something your friends did or just being better.  I’ve managed to keep two small humans alive, fed, watered and happy for 3 and 1.5yrs.

The fact remains; we are all GREAT Mums and we shouldn’t be second guessing ourselves or our ability. I think the very fact we do this to ourselves or strive for better makes us fantastic at what we do, because we care. 

These are exactly the values I want to instill in my children; not the negative side, but the positive: that I care about doing better, having the resilience to forget despite a bad day. Motherhood is a HUGE learning curve (a steep one too!) but that’s all part of the fun. I’m not ashamed to say I’m probably ‘winging it’ 99% of the time or take the easy route just for some peace and quiet (hence why my 19 month still co sleeps with us because I actually get some sleep!).

In light of recent events, I think we need to stop worrying about what you think you should be doing, or what you aren’t doing and start celebrating what you ARE doing. Because believe it or not, those little humans love you regardless. Live each day as it comes and cherish EVERY moment.

A few of my thoughts lately…. 

Firstly, I really must apologise forbeing a bit lacklustre recently and not writing a blog post for a while. Work has had me so busy, and we’ve been having a bad run of sleep with the little one. So here are some thoughts…

Is it possible to find the right work life balance?

I like to think I was a relaxed Mum with H, but I think the reality was, I probably wasn’t! We were blessed with our first, H, he was reasonably chilled, happy, and a good sleeper from around 12 weeks. However, I think I was a bit of stickler for routine and probably a bit of a ‘Mum-zilla. 

I went back to work just before H was 7 months old (December 2014) which in hindsight was probably a bit too soon. I wish I’d stayed off longer as I missed so much. Anyway, I went back to work part time, working Tuesday-Saturday. I enjoyed my work, spending time with my colleagues and I enjoyed my Mondays with H and other Mummy friends. I was happy. Fast forward to February 2015, I took on a new role at work which meant going back to full time. I was sad to lose my Mondays with H and it did make me value my time on Sundays with H and Daddy more. Little did I know that L was just around the corner, literally! Shortly after accepting and starting my new role, I found out I was 6 weeks pregnant with L. Oops! 

I returned to work properly following L when she was 11 months old. It was ok to start with, but the endless list was tough going, I remember dropping L off at nursery and arriving at work on October 5th 2016, feeling like a terrible Mum for not being with her. I even shed a few tears! I’ve adjusted a bit more to my heavy workload and hours now and I feel like I manage it slightly better, but it is hard going. 

Managing a job, a house, a marriage, and two children is proving more difficult than just one child. And I’m still searching for the right balance. I currently work 5 days in my teaching job, which is actually 0.8. My husband has a long commute so I manage the drop and pick up and most bathtime. It’s quite tiring, but I’m managing with a small amount of sanity left. Roll on the Easter holidays for a ‘rest’ and hopefully less hours come September. 

Jumping From One to Two:

H meets his little sister

My second pregnancy whizzed by and October 2015 soon came, L arrived and so did my maternity leave, albeit somewhat abruptly [see birth stories]. I was determined to have longer off this time and had scrimped and saved throughout my pregnancy to help. The first 10-12 weeks were an absolute blur of expressing, sterilising, nappies, sleepless nights, but I was enjoying spending time with them and admittedly probably enjoying H more as at 18 months, he was just so scrumptious and cute. Poor L would get lugged around to toddler groups and passed around from pillar to post for cuddles. We were lucky enough to have H in nursery two days a week when L was here, which meant I got two days to myself with her. 

When number two comes along, you have to adapt. I had to learn to relax a little (this was quite hard for me particularly as my husband says I’m borderline OCD!). Having two 17 months apart was about survival (still is!). I still throw a tantrum when the schedule gets too much, and go on a cleaning rampage whilst my husband looks on exasperated! I don’t think that will ever change. 

Second and Third Babies:

Most of my Mummy friends I made when H was a baby are on baby two as well so we are in the same boat (which often feels like we’re up the creek without a paddle). Other friends are starting their journey with baby number two (and in some cases two and three!), and I am left pondering whether we should have a third and pining for another round of baby days. My husband isn’t keen (and on the 9/10 days L doesn’t sleep, I don’t think I could cope either!), and I’m fairly sure my in laws would think we’d lost the plot. I think my desire for more babyiesncomes from a fear of our two growing up. I dread September 2018 as it seems so close, yet H seems too little to start school (how is it possible it’s happening so soon!). 

I’m one of three (the forgotten middle child), my sister has three, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a third came along. I love my two; I’m really not sure we’d ever have a third especially as we’re getting on a bit now (over the 30 hill, 33!) and I’m permanently shattered with just two, but I’d never say never. Hats off to those with three, you are superhuman.

Everyday is a Learning Curve:

I’m still learning how to be a good Mum to my two, and I shudder (panic) at the thought of my big one turning three in a couple of months and our ‘baby’ turning two in the autumn. Why does it have to go so fast!? I really didn’t wish away the baby days, but I felt like they the milestones whizzed by in the blink of an eye (another reason I’d love a third, to relish the baby stage just one last time).

This made me giggle, although this is my life ALL the time!

What we’ve learned (so far) when parenting two, it’s ok if:

1. Your kids eat soil (yes both mine have done this and the pink one is very partial to a mouthful of soil)

2. Your kids eat cereal for dinner. 

3. You let them watch the iPad/tv for 20 minutes so you can drink a HOT drink or go to the toilet in peace (FYI: I don’t spent 20 minutes in the toilet!)

4. For your house NOT to be showhome ready all the time (or never!)

5. You have a bad day and feel a bit crap or like you’re not good enough. That right there means you have done a great job because you CARE. 

6. They eat ‘beige’ food. 

7. Not to care about washing your hair anymore, dry shampoo all the way or in my case, do neither!

8. To go out in snot covered jumpers/clothes. 

9. To ONLY wear jeans to go out in public, I’m all about the lounge pants!

10. Well, you can add your own one here…

P.S I’m pretty sure the husband doesn’t read my blog, but if he pours himself a LARGE whiskey tonight I’ll be certain he does read it and has read the comment about having a third!!

P.P.S Turns out, the husband does read my blog and has commented that he would ‘self vasectomise’ (yes he used this very term!) if we had a third child! Ha ha

Birth Stories

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how lucky you are when you get bogged down with the day to day slog. I, for one, am so so grateful to have been blessed with my two beautiful children and I thank my lucky stars everyday that they’re safe and well. But there is that odd occasion (60% of the time) when it’s 1am, and I have to be up for work at 6am, I wish the pink one would just go to sleep!

It amazes me how each and every one of my friends has a totally unique birth story, all different from the last, yet they’re all still precious because no matter how ‘it’ happened, it’s how we came to meet the wonderful little people who stole our hearts at first sight.
Now, I think I am one of those weird people who actually enjoy labour and delivery (although I hated pregnancy!). There is no better feeling than winning the race and getting your prize: the gorgeous little bundle you spent 9 months training for (well 40 weeks is actually 10 months but no one tells you that!). And us women all LOVE a good birth story. And I, am afraid, no different, I love hearing about people’s birth stories. Whether it be a quick labour, a lengthy labour, sweeps, flat tyres on route to hospital (yes, this actually happened to my good friend!), relaxing water births, hypnobirthing or a caesarean, your birth story is something to be proud of and embrace (even if it wasn’t what you had planned) because it is how you met your beautiful baby or babies.

With my first, I had quite a long labour and I don’t think I was quite prepared for how to deal with labour and wanted to lie down or float in the birthing pool, but my body wasn’t keen and consequently made my labour last hours and hours. For some reason my contractions were pretty strong and close together yet it took about 15hrs to go from 4-6cm. I enjoyed being in the birthing pool as it was relaxing, but I wasn’t progressing, so the midwife made the decision to move me to another room , by this point I was so out of it on gas and air that I didn’t care ( I think I passed out at one point!). Within an hr I was fully dilated and exhausted and in a position I hated, but too exhausted to move. I pushed and I pushed and finally, after an agonising (literally) 24hours, our little H had arrived and despite it all being a bit of a car crash down there and me feeling (and looking) like I’d been in a car crash, we had this gorgeous little bundle, weighing 6lb 8oz.

Little H; 10th May 2014, 1.02am, 6lb 8oz

 

Our second little bundle, who arrived just 17 months later; well she was a totally different story. I had measured small all the way through my pregnancy as I had with her brother (I must say that my wonderful community midwife, Alison, whom I was lucky enough to have through both pregnancies was so so thorough and for that I am truly grateful). At 37.5 weeks, I went for my last appointment with the midwife before what I hoped would be birth at 40 weeks, and again I measured small.

I managed to rejig some work commitments to attend what I thought was going to be another routine growth scan, I came away from the hospital late on Friday night being told to come back the following day for a sweep (I’d managed to convince the midwife I was wholly ill prepared for the arrival of No 2 and staved off the sweep for 18hrs). So I drove home in a daze thinking about how both the Moses basket and car seat where still in the garage unwashed. Yikes!

So at 38 weeks, I toddled off to the maternity ward, via Mothercare for some ‘tiny baby’ babygrows knowing the car seat covers and Moses basket sheets were drying on the line! A sweep (these aren’t that pleasant at the best of times, and at 38 weeks I wasn’t disappointed) and some monitoring later I was on my way home safe in the knowledge that if nothing happened overnight I would be induced the following day.

Despite the midwife insinuating I would go into labour overnight, I awoke as usual, still pregnant and no labour pains at all. So after breakfast we all went for a long walk, what would be our last as a threesome.

After lunch, I phoned the maternity ward and dutifully turned up to be induced at 4pm on Sunday night. My husband joined me later on around 7pm and nothing much was happening and at 10pm I sent him home. By midnight, my contractions had picked up and I was pacing the corridor to entertain myself. At 2am, the midwife came back to monitor me and I must say being monitored lying down in full blown active labour is horrific. She had barely strapped me up and my waters broke and in ran about 3 other midwives. I was measured at 7cm, so I quickly rang my husband mid contraction ordering him to come back now as, and I quote ‘it was getting pretty bad now’. I made the call at 2.30am, and I was wheeled round to delivery. I climbed on the bed, had one puff of gas and air and with the next contraction, L arrived at 2.42am. And my husband leisurely strolled in around 2.55am! Our beautiful baby girl, a petite 5lb 8oz was here and perfectly healthy if a little dinky.

Tiny L; 5th October 2015, 2.42am, 5lb 8oz

 

So, whether your birth was exactly what you’d imagined or far from it, be proud of what you achieved and every time you have a day that is less than desirable, just look at your gorgeous little bundles sleeping or playing with their sibling or just being ‘them’.