Day 4 – #100happydays

Feeding the creativity today; mind mapping and realising this little pile of colour popping jelly belly beans weren’t going to break the diet….

Day 4 #100happydays

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Day 3 #100happydays

The one with the exploding bath bomb. A secret Santa gift from my school mum chums. Oh what good taste they have. Making me even happier is the gorgeous smell wafting round my bathroom and this swirly, store whirly pattern left in the bubbles.

And relax……

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100 Happy Days

I love this sh*t. I genuinely do. I dabbled sometime ago with random acts of kindness, online some folks told me it was just too weird, doctor others just got it. I read ‘The Secret’ seven years ago and regularly practice the principles of the laws of attraction. An attitude of gratitude has been a mantra of mine for a long time too (and hearing the rather lovely Bradley Cooper talk on Radio One to Chris Moyles about writing a gratitude journal each morning as the first thing he did upon waking didn’t influence me at all!)

After a yucky time with anxiety nearly two years ago, I started to read up more around mindfulness, living in the moment, taking action for happiness, practising gratitude more and as it happened, putting my energies in that direction really helped.

Last year we started a ‘happiness jar’ – a basic idea which the whole family embraced in the end. One jar filled with little blank strips of paper and a pen, another empty jar. Each day, or when the moment took us, we’d write down what made us happy that day, or something we were thankful for and pop it in the happy jar, which eventually became pretty full. At the request of the little princess we read out our years worth of happy moments on Christmas Eve. It was my top happy moment of the year.

So this year, alongside the happy jar, and alongside hundreds / thousands of others who are doing it too, I’m taking part in #100happydays and each day will be taking or sharing a photo capturing my happy moment. Simple. But powerful.

Join in! Simply take your photos and tweet, share on instagram or facebook using the #100happydays, or simply keep them in a photo album of your own. I’d love to see everyone’s photos though as I already have a warm glow of happiness from seeing those of friends who are also giving it a bash, please do share and feel free to tweet me @workingsupermum or follow on instagram too.

Day one #100happydays – finishing and submitting a children’s book entry to a competition. To be honest, reading it to the kids and having them love it was the best part.

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Day Two #100happydays – building the Playmobil Hotel as a team! Took forever, but it rocks. I love it more than the kids I think.

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Builders Mate

I’ve built so much Lego and Playmobil these last two weeks I’m thinking of applying for membership of the Association of the Chartered Institute of Building. My odds for entry are good. Don’t get me wrong, diagnosis in the main it’s been fun. Much more so when accompanied by a festive glass of red and a platter of cheese and biscuits.

As expected, it’s been hazardous at times, paper cuts from the instruction booklets, near cracked tooth from trying to separate two incorrectly joined pieces and the par for the course full flat heavy pressured step on that tiniest Lego block which menacingly managed to find its way from the ‘safe zone’ on the table into the middle of the floor ready to trap it’s unsuspecting victim.

Thankfully the building efforts have been varied or it all could have gotten a little tiresome. Between the four of us we’ve managed vast quantities of construction, ranging from the rather amazing but complicated Lego dolphin cruiser to small and easy if you know how Iron Man vs The Mandarin – The Ultimate Showdown (even if I’d no idea what the end result was supposed to be, the little monster was happy with it). The Playmobil zoo took over two hours to build and there was much wailing and crying (mine) when I realised I’d built a whole section upside down and back to front, and again when it became clear the meerkat enclosure would take a further half hour to build and I’d no wine left (yep, still mine), and even more when I wasn’t even allowed the first play with the finished article.

Throw in Heartlake High School, Horse trailer, some Ninja Turtles kit and caboodle which even had pizza made from Lego and we had a pretty impressive display on our dining table for a while. Then came New Years Day and we had eleven to seat for a steak pie lunch so it was all promptly dispensed into the storage boxes hurriedly bought on Christmas Eve when we questioned where on earth we were going to put it all. Good job we got that garage conversion last year. If only I’d realised my building talents back then during those works. I could have given those tradesmen a run for their money. I wonder if they need any apprentices? I’m their woman!

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Thorntons Christmas Hero

At last! We’ve opened the first doors on advent calendars, there neighbours windows are twinkling with the first hint of colourful Christmas tree lights (ours yet to be extracted from the attic despite much pleading) and we’ve adorned our family Christmas jumpers for the first time at our inaugural trip to Winter Wonderland in our beautiful capital city – I can finally talk Christmas without fearing I’ll peak too early.

And this Christmas I’m taking part in the Thorntons Christmas Hero competition. I know how blessed I am to be surrounded by such a wonderful family and amazing friends, and in my view, everyone I know is a Christmas Hero in their own way. Those who tirelessly devote their own time to helping out at local charities ensuring those children less fortunate than their own receive the same Christmas magic from Santa that every child should. Those who put their families ahead of themselves, working hard at two or more jobs to give those much coveted gifts that will make their children beam on Christmas morning. Those who despite illness, despite personal struggles give themselves to embracing all that Christmas is about and share love, peace and goodwill to all.

Like many families this Christmas family super and all in our extended family will be missing someone special. My husbands Gran, or Old Nana as the little princess and little monster called her, passed away this year after a short illness. Her quick witted charm, her overwhelming love for all of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, her focus on family, her love of a cheeky tipple and a strawberry tart, and her favourite chocolate at Christmas (and all year round!) leaves a space in our hearts this Christmas that no one can fill. And for one other special person, this Christmas won’t be the same without Gran, our Aunt T. Aunt T and Gran were pretty inseparable, knowing one another better than anybody else. In the same way as mothers care unconditionally for their children, so too did Aunt T care for her mum without question. The details are irrelevant and actually difficult to write, and there are no words that can sum up how different Christmas will be this year for Aunt T, but there’s no doubt it will be one where old traditions are replaced by reflections, musings and memories of Christmases gone by where Gran brought sparkle just by her mere presence (never mind her incredibly rude and wicked humor!)

So, Aunt T, this year has been incredibly difficult, and your our Christmas Hero…even if you did blub like a big softie when we shared that news with you! Enjoy your Thorntons Chocolates, and have one for Gran, with a cheeky vodka and irn bru just as she would have of course!

Happy Thankyouful Day

I talked to the kids this morning about Thanksgiving, viagra prompted by a few things. My new boss is American, buy cialis so there’s a bit of a vibe in the workplace today though I’m sure he’d much rather be with his family watching American Football and eating turkey, sweet potato with marshmallows and pumpkin pie. But also we’re trying as a family to be more appreciative and grateful for the things we have.

Some time ago, we added a new element to the bedtime routine, and tucking in was accompanied by renditions of ‘three things I’m thankful for today’. It took while to get into the groove, with the Little Monster only being thankful for the things he saw as treats in the day – chocolate buttons after dinner, watching an episode of Scaredy Squirrel on Pop and getting to play on Mummys’ phone. But I encouraged him to share these thoughts, the practice being more important than the actual list. The Princess, like me, loves a list, so this was any easy ask for her to embrace. Similarly, her initial things to be thankful for were of the same ilk – cupcakes, watching movies, getting new toys. Yet over time, without really noticing, they’ve developed a broader thought process about the things that we have to be thankful for. Small, but beautiful things – enjoying a sunny walk to after school club, playing on the swing in the garden, having dinner as a family, getting to go to school, getting the last yoghurt at breakfast club, getting to sit in the front of the car with Mummy and turn the radio up loud, being able to sing, having strong arms to use to cuddle mummy and daddy, being able to help a friend with a tricky maths problem, staging (not winning!) a dance contest in the kitchen, crunching through crisp autumn leaves, stories at bedtime, soft toys to snuggle in to. Now I find we can’t stop at just three things.

The kids listened intently as I told them about the traditions many families in the US will be enjoying today. They were interested, and thoughtful about it, but the Monster summed it up beautifully when he said “So just like we do everyday Mummy but without the turkey and the football? Happy Thankyouful Day!”

Happy Thankyouful Day to you all!

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Silent Sunday

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School Holiday Sniffles

The October school holidays have arrived! Just a mere eight and a half short weeks since returning after a similarly long sun kissed summer break, sale and it’s time for my favourite school holiday of the year.

Autumn is my favourite season – golden crunchy leaves, viagra sales bright crisp mornings, hot drinks and cinnamon spiced carrot cake and no need to shave my legs until March. So we like to make the most of the break in October and with careful planning and budgeting our October holidays usually involve a mini break, always involve outdoorsy fun, always involve Halloween crafting and planning and unfortunately now inevitably always involve a poorly Little Monster who has sucked up all of those cheeky little germs that preschoolers and schoolers like to share amongst themselves when back in the confines of the classroom.

And it seems that we’re sticking with family tradition this October holidays. As the school bell trilled its last ring of the term, the Little Monster sneezed his first sneeze of the week. Such are the sniffles inevitable when we go off on holiday I’ve added tissues, snuffle babe and Calpol as standard to our packing list.

Thanks to Boots and this great back to school wall planner this far we’ve taken back to school health in our stride. Filled with handy tips and great product recommendations the organised mummy / project manager in me already has a cupboard stuffed with the bits and bobs we need to keep healthy, or in the Little Monster case, get over his ill timed sniffles with ease.

You can download the Boots wall planner and catch their helpful tips for all kinds of back to school health too.

Now, where’s those antibacterial hand wipes…..

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Mums doing their own thing

On a daily basis I come across Mums who in addition to raising their families and running their homes, thumb are out there doing more than that, generic viagra doing their own thing, for their own reasons. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring some of these mums on the blog. You might feel inspired, you might be glad to hear there are others doing similar to you, perhaps picking up some tips or insights if you want to do things differently. I’d love it (and so would the featured mums) if you stopped to comment and shared some of the love for Mums doing their own thing.

First up in the series, Leigh, a married mum of 3 boys, identical twins, who will turn 3 at the beginning of October and new baby boy, who was born at the end of June.

What was your working life like pre children?

Prior to starting my family I was very academic. I completed my LLB Law Degree with Honours, followed by my Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice. This led to my two year apprenticeship from which I became a fully qualified Scottish Solicitor.
When I fell pregnant with the twins I decided not to pursue my law career any further at that point to allow me to focus on raising my new family.

How has your working life changed since having your family?

My working life has changed dramatically since becoming a mum. Prior to having the boys, my job was the main focus in my life. This completely changed when the boys arrived. Although taking the decision to postpone my career at that point was relatively easy, I knew full well that I still had to make some income. From this knowledge I embarked on becoming a self-employed childminder. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for me, I would be able to raise the boys myself whilst being able to work from home making an income.

How do you find free time in amongst all the family madness?

My husband and I have always been strict with the boys routines, and as a result of this the twins have slept 7pm-7am since they were 10 weeks old and the new baby sleeps 8pm-8am since he was 6 weeks old. Having all the boys in bed and sleeping relatively early each evening allows my husband and I plenty time to relax and have time for ourselves.
Now that my husband and I have taken the conscious decision that our family is now complete, all this free time in the evenings has allowed my mind to wander. With the family now complete I was looking for a new challenge, something for myself, out with the family and childminding.

How important is external support in allowing you to ‘do your own thing?’

My husband and I are very lucky in that both our sets of parents live nearby, who are always on hand to babysit. This ‘free’ time lets us have nights out, go shopping etc. This support is invaluable, as it gives us time away from the boys, which makes things a lot easier to do as you aren’t trailing 3 children around with you. I am also very fortunate that my husband works 4 days on then 4 days off, meaning he is around a lot to help out.

Tell us a little about your work life now?

I currently run my own childminding business, which I started when I was pregnant with the twins. However, recently I have been seeking a new challenge, something completely new to push myself. I decided to start my own business with the Health and Beauty Company, which provides quality skincare, make up and nutritional products. This opportunity suited me perfectly, as I was able to start a new business without interfering with my family life or my childminding business. This business allows me to utilise my free time in the evenings, building a new business from scratch.

What do you enjoy about what you do? What’s challenging?

I love my new business as I am constantly developing new knowledge and skills. I am thoroughly enjoying the new challenge of building a new business from the beginning and building a loyal customer base. I am excited about being able to help people with skincare and health problems, and helping these people feel good on the inside and out.

If you could be doing ANYTHING in ten years from now, what would it be?

In 10 years time I would love to be running my own successful business, which still allowed me to work around my family life, but challenged me at the same time. I hope to grow my Health and Beauty business, but I also hope to branch back towards my legal roots and start my own legal advice business. I wouldn’t have to return to becoming a full time solicitor, along with its ‘challenging’ clients, I would be working within the legal system on my own terms.

What three words describe your life at the moment?

Fulfilling, challenging and non-stop.

What tips could you share with other mums wishing to ‘do their own thing’?

One piece of advice that I would impart whilst still raising a family is to believe in yourself. Focus on your strengths and look for opportunities that meet both your strengths but also your family commitments. If you cannot find any suitable opportunities, try and look to create them for yourself, like I did with starting my own Health and Beauty business.

You can visit Leigh’s Webshop here

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Silent Sunday

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