Friday, 18 November 2011

Living with emetophobia


I've got a phobia.  It's called emetophobia and it's a fear of myself, or anyone else vomiting.  And I don't mean I just don't like it (who does?!), it's a full on stop-you-in-your-tracks sort of thing.  I've always been afraid for as long as I can remember, but it was only after having my second son that I really felt the full force of it.  I can remember holding Ethan as a baby and being sat on the floor outside my oldest sons bedroom, crying, because I was afraid of him being sick.

I had never told anyone about my phobia before.  I was embarrassed that I could be so afraid over such a stupid thing.  Not even my mother knew!  And when I mentioned it to my husband he thought I was just being silly.  But the first time my oldest son was ill and he saw the colour drain from my face, he knew it was serious.  He still didn't understand it though.  I think it is difficult to understand if you've never experienced anything like it yourself.

I couldn't watch or hear anyone being sick, even on TV, I don't drink much alcohol, I don't eat 'high-risk' foods.  But I'm obsessed with it; it consumes me.  Or at least, it did.  I have got to add though, I haven't got it as bad as some people.  From doing my own research, and using internet forums, I found that emetophobia is one of the more common phobias and that in the extreme people can avoid going to restaurants, avoid using public transport, and even avoid getting pregnant.  So I feel fortunate that I didn't have it that bad.  But it was still bad for me.

The year Ethan was born there was a huge news story about how prevalent the 'winter vomiting bug' was that year.  I was petrified (news was obviously slow at that time!!).  I was afraid of going anywhere because I didn't want the boys to catch it, and I was afraid of eating anything in case I caught it.  I researched everything I could about it in the hope of finding a way of beating it.  I just didn't understand why I couldn't change how I was thinking.  I bought books on Neuro Linguistic Programming, read every website I could find, and even bought tablets to boost immune systems (in the hope of not catching any nasty bugs).

Then I found out about hypnotherapy and how it can work to cure phobias.  I found a hypnotherapist who had dealt with this kind of phobia before and after building up the courage, I emailed him.  I just had to try something for the sake of my children.  I wasn't the mother I wanted to be and I felt constantly afraid.  I didn't want to be afraid any more.

My husband was a bit concerned about me being 'hypnotised' and came to the initial consultation with me.  We were both immediately put at ease as the hypnotherapist explained to us that it is just a state of mind and that I would know exactly what was going on at all times.  He also said that it could work for me  and explained how a phobia is usually caused by something happening in your childhood that your immature brain can't rationalise.  We were told that it was likely that the pressure of having two very small children had exacerbated my phobia, resulting in this awful, constant fear.

So, the following week I drove to Cheltenham for my first session.  Now, I'm quite a reserved person and so hypnotherapy was quite difficult for me.  You've got to relax for a start, and I really wasn't feeling very relaxed.  And you've got to talk.  Now this I can do!  But was I talking about the right things?  It took me a long time to get to the stage where I could relax enough to say whatever went through my mind.

I'm not going to bore you with all the details, but suffice to say I got there in the end, though the outcome was somewhat traumatic.  I don't know if what I 'remembered' is true or not so I never really got the release of emotions that you're supposed to have, and my phobia didn't magically disappear.

It's more than three years later now and over that time my anxiety around the phobia has lessened, and I don't worry so much.  I was afraid that it would all come back after having Oliver, but it didn't.  I still think about it, but it isn't constantly on my mind like it used to be.  My stomach still turns over if I think one of the boys is going to be sick, but it doesn't stop me eating.

So my reasons for writing this post?  It's a little bit like every person I tell lessens the fear a little bit more.  I think that's where the hypnotherapy helped - it started me talking.  It's taken me ages to write this post.  I keep stopping and starting and I didn't know what I wanted to say.  All I had was a title for a week!  But I knew it was something I wanted to write about.  It's been a huge part of my life for so long.

I still hope to be completely free from this phobia one day.  But for now, I'm just taking it one day at a time.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

BuggyTug Giveaway

And the winner is...... Pippa Ainsworth. Congratulations Pippa! I have sent you a message on twitter.

BuggyTug have given me one of their award winning Buggy Wrist Strap's to give away. It's the UK's first branded wrist strap for your pram, and it offers reassurance to parents that they don't need to worry about their pram rolling away!  You can read some fantastic reviews on their website here.


Entry is simple:

1) Follow @joanneblunt and @BuggyTug on twitter and retweet the following message:

Follow @BuggyTug and @joanneblunt and RT to win an award winning Buggy Wrist Strap. For extra entry click here: http://tinyurl.com/782ud8s


AND/OR

2) Join both BuggyTug and The Blunt Truth on Facebook.   Please leave me a comment below to let me know you've done so this or your entry won't be counted!


Enter via twitter and Facebook and you'll get 2 entries


The competition closes at 10am on Wednesday 30th November and I will announce the lucky winner on my blog and on twitter.  Please note this competition is open to UK residents only.

Good luck!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Halloween


I appear to have abandoned my blog lately, so to get rid of some of the (giant) cobwebs that are forming, I thought I'd post some of my photos from Halloween.  Now, I'm not a huge Halloween fan, but I had to make some sort of effort for the children.  We didn't go trick or treating (the boys didn't seem to mind) though my oldest did think that the trick or treaters who knocked on our door should be giving us sweets instead of the other way around (now there's an idea!)  I have to admit that I was quite impressed with most of the children who knocked on my door - their manners were excellent and most only took one thing from the bowl.  Very polite!

So here's some photos I took of my lovely boys.........

Batman!

Dressed for dinner

Mmmmm, worms....
My cute little Dracula
Awww....

I only asked him to smile lol

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Muddling through



Since I've had my third child I've had lots of people say to me "I don't know how you do it".  The truth of the matter is, neither do I!  I suppose I don't really think about things too much.  Quite frankly, I don't get much time to think.  But I've just got through a really busy few weeks what with two of my children having birthdays, which obviously involved the obligatory birthday party.  As they are only two weeks apart I decided to have a joint party for them.  So I spent quite some time organising a venue, a bouncy castle and face painting, making the food, ordering cakes (I'm determined to make my own one day), sending invites and agonising over the choice of paper plates and party bags (why do I do it to myself?).  And all this doesn't include the family parties for the days of their actual birthdays.

So now it's all over and I've finally got a bit of time to sit down and think about things.  I do try not to do this much purely because the amount of time I get to think directly correlates to amount of stress I feel.  As I'm sat here eating Nutella straight from jar, I do wonder what the hell I'm doing.  I go from day to day doing school runs, going to baby groups, running the older boys around to kick-boxing / swimming / gymnastics, working, making food for the clan, cleaning, washing and ironing without any real thought about what I'm doing.

Well, I'm onto the Haribo now and still wondering where this post is going.  See, I said I do things without any real thought, and writing my blog posts are much the same.  I try to come up with a topic, but can never think of anything so I just start writing.  Sometimes I realise what I want to write about quite quickly, but others, like tonight, I just feel confused and unsure.  It doesn't help that in between writing this I've been reading posts by some great bloggers and wishing I could be as funny and write as well as them.

Anyway, I digress, or have I?  I don't know.  Ah yes, I've been thinking.  Maybe I should take more time to be aware of what is going on around me instead of floating around in a (busy) bubble trying to juggle all of my roles.  Most days I just feel too tired.  I'm woken up very early by the baby demanding milk, then I have to drag myself out of bed to get the older two ready for school.  Breakfast time is challenging and it's a fine art getting them all to eat and then get dressed in time.  Some mornings are okay, but others I get a sore throat from shouting by the time I've dropped them off.  Not that they listen......

Then depending on what day it is, it's either back home with the baby and get ready for baby group (with a bit of cleaning and ironing thrown in), or off to work.  Work is easier.  I get to sit down without feeling guilty, and I sometimes even manage to read some of my book while having lunch (in peace)!

On my non-work days, it's only a few short hours before it's back to school to pick the boys up, home for food, help with reading/school work, more cleaning/washing/ironing (delete as appropriate)  and then starts the agony of trying to get them in the bath and eventually into bed.  By the time I get to sit down I'm exhausted and sometimes just end up staring numbly at my twitter screen and thinking that I really need to blog.

Now I know I'm not unique, and that most mums do exactly the same as, if not more than me.  I just feel that I don't know what I'm doing.  Surely, I should know by now?

So, to everyone who's ever commented on me being so calm, and being a 'natural mum', I appear to be calm because I'm knackered, and I'm just muddling through, trying to do my best.  Having three children doesn't make me any more knowledgeable than my friends with one child.  I can't remember what I did with my first, and it's just a blur from when my second came along so soon after.  I manage because I've got to, because my children need me.  Just like all the other mums out there.

Monday, 10 October 2011

When is it the right time to stop?

I'm still breastfeeding Ollie, and he will be one on Wednesday.  Now, with my other two boys I always said that I would breastfeed for a year, but they both stopped themselves just before they were a year old.  So I've never done the whole weaning process.  But Ollie is still going strong.  He only has two feeds a day usually, but he loves those feeds.  In fact, he demands them.  He's showing no sign of wanting to drop them.

But this morning, he bit me. Ouch!  I'm not planning on stopping just because he bit me. But it has started me thinking about what I want to do. I just can't make my mind up.  Today has made me think about it a bit more too as (other than the biting incident) Ollie isn't very well.  He's got an upset tummy and it seems the only thing he wants is breast milk.  So that's what he's getting.  He's still so little, and still a baby.  My baby.

I recently trained as breastfeeding peer support worker so I know all the positive benefits of extended breastfeeding, and that the World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of two years (http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/)  It just isn't as easy as knowing all that.  I feel pulled in different directions by other peoples opinions, and also by myself.

Am I planning on continuing to feed for myself (as suggested by a certain someone very close to me)?  Ollie could be my last baby so maybe I don't want to give up the attachment?  He is still very much my baby, and I don't think it's because I don't want to lose the attachment, more that I know he really wants to breastfeed and I don't want to deny him.  Is that so wrong?

Or is it time to wean him to...... (I'm trying to think of the reasons) ..Do you know, I can't think of a valid reason why.  I don't feel like my body is not my own because I'm breastfeeding, and I think that my reasons for stopping now would just be to suit other people.  And that's no reason.  Surely the only reason to stop now would be because either Ollie, or I, decide that we don't want to do it any more.  Shouldn't it come down to personal choice?

I wouldn't dream of telling another mum how to raise their child, so why do I feel criticised by others just because i want to breastfeed past the age of one?  Breastfeeding in itself is not very common in my area, so extended breastfeeding is practically unheard of!  Thank goodness for my breastfeeding support group, and most of my close friends and family.  Without them I may give in to peer pressure.

I think there's always an element of guilt when it comes to making decisions about the children.  I know that doesn't just apply to me either.  I've got friends who feel guilty about how they fed their baby, when they started weaning onto solids, where their baby sleeps, even that their baby fell and hurt themselves (some of these also apply to me!)  I do think that guilt is a natural part of parenting, and it helps to have friends who are going through the same things in order to rationalise and discuss concerns.  In fact, I think it's extremely important for me to have this support.   It helps me to feel happy and comfortable with my decisions.

When I started writing this post, I wasn't sure where it was going.  Part of me wanted advice, but I don't think I need it any more.  I'm happy, Ollie's happy, and that's all that matters.  Writing this has helped me to realise that.  So, we'll keep going a bit longer.  And stop when it's ready for us, and not when it suits other people.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Win a lovely Teething Bling pendant - Closed

And the winner is........Nikki Moore - Congratulations!!

Some of you may know of my love of Teething Bling. It all started a few months back when I received my first pendant and realised that I could wear jewellery again! As a mum to three young boys I'd really given up all hope of wearing any sort of jewellery. I had tried but have had earrings pulled (ouch) and necklaces broken. What was the point?! But then I discovered Teething Bling by Smart Mum UK. Amazing pendants and bangles that can be chewed (preferably by the baby though I must admit, I have had a go myself!), and if pulled, the fab breakaway clasp stops it breaking (or throttling you). I've now got three pendants as I needed different colours to be able to accessorise.

Ollie loves it too.  You can read my full review here, but here's a more recent photo of him with the lovely zebra print pendant.


You can buy Teething Bling from http://www.smartmumuk.com/, but if you would like the chance to win a pendant of your choice then please read on.....

The fab peeps at Smart Mum UK have kindly offered a pendant for me to give away on my blog.

To enter this fantastic competition please complete the following actions:

Join Teething Bling UK on Facebook here and/or follow them on twitter here.  Please leave me a comment below to say you have done so, and make sure you leave a way of contacting you, either email address or twitter name.

For extra entries you can complete one or more of the following, leaving a separate comment for each action, and a method of contact.

1. Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect
2. Follow me on twitter here
3. Join my Facebook page here
4. Tweet the following: "I'd love to win a @teethingblinguk pendant from @joanneblunt in the blog giveaway at http://tinyurl.com/5u4hs4f"

UK entries only please.  The competition will close on 14th October 2011 and the winner will be drawn by random.org

Good luck!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Decisions, decisions

It's crunch time for my car.  We have put up with it for the past 11 months since Ollie has been born, but there's only so many journeys I can handle being squashed between two car seats in the back.  Three children and 'normal' cars just don't work.  They may be classed as 5 seaters, but they're certainly not when you factor in the car seats.

Since I've had Ollie, we've had to put Zac's car seat in the front, leaving me sat between Ethan and Ollie.  Now this has caused a few issues:
1 - I have to put up with my husband's driving! (he refuses to sit in the back)
2 - I don't fit very well and can't move once I'm in there
3 - We can't really go anywhere long distance as it's way too uncomfortable, and
4 - Ollie plays up.  It's as if because he can see me, he thinks he should be able to come out.  I spend most journeys trying to pacify him.

We always intended to change our car when I fell pregnant with Ollie; we knew my Peugeot 308 just wouldn't cut it.  But finances dictated and we kept putting it off.  We did look at lots of cars.  My husband got himself a Mazda and when we went to pick it up I fell in love with the Mazda 5.  It has sliding back doors and didn't look too much like a people carrier.  I soon realised why.  There's still not three full car seats in the back, so I would have had to put one of the boys into the third row permanently, which I didn't really want to do.

Around this time, I also decided to become a childminder, so we would definitely need a car with more seats. But what to get?  And how would we afford it?  I have spent so many hours online, looking at different options, yet months have passed and we've still got the same car.  But now it's coming to the point where I've got no choice but to make a decision.  I always buy cars on those three year agreements you get with new car dealers.  I've always found it easier, if something goes wrong I can get it sorted, and I get to drive a nice new car every three years.  Anyway, my three years is almost up.  And the other pressing factor is that my childminding application has been submitted.

I had a phone call from my local Peugeot garage this week so went down to see them and have a look at what was on offer.  I loved one particular car (the 5008 if anyone is interested) but the price tag was way too high.  Even with the discount they offered there was just no way that I could afford it.  I was really disappointed, but I suppose I can't expect them to just give it away (though that would have been nice and would have made me a loyal customer for life!!) It's just so frustrating.  They did make me a really good offer on another car (308 SW).  It's got the option of having 7 seats, though it's more of a temporary 7 seater.  The offer is so good though that everyone is saying I'd be stupid not to take it.  And the more I think about it, the more I'm wondering if it could work.  My husband loves it because it's got a panoramic glass roof (that's how much interest he is taking).

It wouldn't have been my first choice, but it seems like the only way I'm going to get a bigger car, and move all three boys into the back.  It would be so nice to travel as a passenger in the front again!  The more I think about it, the more it's growing on me.  But it's so hard to make a decision about such a big purchase.  I've been reading lots of reviews online, and I haven't read anything yet that's put me off. I found a video on Motors.co.uk that explained lots about how the seating arrangements work.  I think it may be okay for me.  I might phone to order it tomorrow.  Unless I win the lottery tonight of course ;-)

This post is also featured on Motors.co.uk

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

I've taken a big step........

.......and turned off the TV!!

Admittedly it started as a punishment for Zac and Ethan's bad behaviour.  And, I know, it shouldn't have been on in the first place.  But (here come the excuses), I needed to be able to get on with other things and it was just easier to turn the TV on for them.  Okay, that's very lazy parenting.  I admit it.

So, Zac and Ethan have been so naughty since they've gone back to school that I've started withdrawing privileges.  And not just threatening it like I used to.  I'm actually going through with it (even though it makes me feel like a very mean mummy sometimes).  But I really feel like I need a bit of control.  The boys are wild sometimes.  Individually, they're great.  They listen, play nicely, and are as well behaved as I can expect them to be.  But put them together and they turn into whirlwinds of destruction.  They fight, everything gets thrown around, the noise level goes up about 20 notches, and they are completely uncontrollable.  I try talking calmly, shouting at the top of my voice, sending one of them to their room to separate them, but they don't take a blind bit of notice of anything I say.  They seem lost in their own world of naughtiness.  So it was time to change tact.  It was time for Meanie Mum!

As usual, they got wound up and started fighting.  I asked them to stop and they didn't listen.  I told them that if they didn't stop now that there would be no TV the next day.  They didn't care.  They carried on fighting.  I put them both to bed (it was actually bedtime) and left them to it.

When they got up for school the next morning and asked for the TV on, I said no.  NO!  They looked at me in horror, then started nagging.  But I stood my ground and refused.  They ate their breakfast, I got them ready and took them to school.  Easy! Yeah, right!!

After school, they asked for the TV again (they have very short memories!)  Again, I said no and after a bit of complaining, they went to play with their toys.  Now, another *BAD MUMMY ALERT*, they usually sit in the lounge and watch TV while having dinner.  So when I told them they had to eat in the kitchen they cried, and begged, and refused to eat.  They did eventually give in (I suspect little tummies were rumbling), but they made me pay for it.  For the whole meal they argued and messed around.  It took them over an hour to eat their food.  I was frustrated, annoyed, and near the point of giving in!  I realised that they usually spent their meal times shovelling food into their mouths while staring dumbly at the TV.  Now they had nothing to distract them, so they were winding each other up instead.  I only had myself to blame.  I had always taken the easy option and now it was coming back to haunt me.

So I've realised it's me that's needs to change my behaviour.  I need to become a Better Mummy and stop using the TV as a babysitter.  It's now all meals at the table and they are getting better.  They don't misbehave (as much).  And they are getting faster at eating their food.  The baby is loving it as he loves the interaction at the kitchen table.  And I love the chance to sit with my three boys and chat to them.  It's a shame my husband can't be there too, but long working hours get in the way.  We can't have it all I suppose!

Friday, 9 September 2011

And breathe.....

I've finally done it. I submitted my application to become a Registered Childminder today. I can't believe it's done. It's only taken just over a year, and even though I always justify that by saying I've had a baby, it's still a long time to take to complete an application form! Though there were about a million policies to write up too (just a slight exaggeration there). But it's done! Done, done, done!! It's such a good feeling. I have been so stressed this week trying to get it finished. And then I felt really nervous about handing it in in case everyone thinks it's rubbish.

My biggest dilemma last night was over a photograph! The application form said I had to submit a recent photo of myself but didn't say what sort. So I was going through the very few photos I've actually got of myself (do we stop having photos taken of ourselves when we have children?) and none were suitable. There was me in a bikini (not very appropriate), me out with the girls (big wine glass in my hand, don't want them to think I'm an alchy), and then others where I either looked miserable, awful, or my top was too low cut! I eventually had to crop a photo taken of me with the baby. Though I still think I look crap.

Anyway, the forms had to be submitted to the Welsh Assembly buildings so I went over with the hubby and baby. I felt guilty before I even got to my appointment. We had to go through airport style security, and everything was beeping, but I think they could tell we weren't much of a threat and they let us in.

I filled my CRB form in and then waited with baited breath while they checked all my documents and application. And then breathed a huge sigh of relief when they said it was all okay and we could go. So that's it. Just got to wait now. The inspectors will be in touch at some point to let me know of any amendments I need to make to my policies, and my house will have to be checked, but hopefully in about 16 weeks time I'll be a fully registered childminder. Let's hope so anyway!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

If only I was Superwoman

I've decided what I really need are some superhero powers just to be able to get all the normal household duties done. Today, I have spent all day trying to sort out the house, get the uniforms ready and labelled ready for the children to go back to school tomorrow, washing and ironing, plus the usual feeding of children, nappy changing, bottom wiping, bath time etc, etc, etc. And I'm still nowhere near done. I've had to stuff paperwork into bags, and hide all manner of things until I get more time to sort it all out.

And I should also add in here, my children seem to be totally aware of when I'm stressed as they play up to the point that I could cry. The older two have been fighting all day. They took well over an hour to eat their lunch just because they wind each other up so much. They have driven me to distraction all day. Even the baby has been hanging off my legs!

I was hoping to be completely organised for tomorrow. It's going to be a tough one as it is. Zac's used to the routine now, but it's Ethan's first day in school, and I've got to go to work after the school run so need to get myself ready too. But instead of a nice relaxing evening making packed lunches and polishing school shoes, I've been frantically trying to scrub some sort of fluorescent yellow wax off all my washing (a major disaster involving a melted crayon like substance in the tumble dryer). This led to a screaming match with the hubbie and lots of clothes being thrown away. Not good.

So now it's nearly 2am, no packed lunched have been made, all the things I'd started sorting out in the bedrooms have been abandoned, and I feel like crap. How does everyone else get it all done? Is there something really major that I'm missing here? I always say I need a few more hours in each day, but I don't think even that would be enough at the moment. My Sky planner is running out of space because I haven't got time to watch any of the programmes I record!

I'd really better get some sleep because I've got an early start to finish off everything I didn't do tonight. In the words of my 5 year old son: "Not Fair!!!"

Friday, 2 September 2011

Nearly time for school....

I've started so many blog posts over the last few weeks that I never quite managed to finished.  The school holidays are a busy (and sometimes stressful) six weeks what with having three boys aged 5 and under all racing around the house.  Yes, even the baby is on the move now so I need eyes in the back of my head!  But only a few more days and Zac will be starting Year 1, and Ethan is off to Nursery class.  I have got mixed emotions as I can't believe Ethan is starting school.  Ollie is going to really miss having him at home to play with too.  I can't wait to see him in his uniform but he's my baby boy.  I'm going to miss him.  But he's looking forward to being in school with his big brother.  I know he's going to love it.

So just a quick post tonight.  I wanted to get back into the habit of blogging, and I was determined to actually get to hit that 'Publish Post' button.  Going to have to play catch up now.......


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

My holiday in photos

They say a picture says a thousand words so here's my holiday........


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Holiday stress

The title should really say 'pre-holiday stress'.  We're off to Spain on Saturday and I'm starting to panic.  It's the first time I've been abroad with a baby and so I have no idea where to start!  I'm assuming it's going to boiling hot but does that mean I can just strip him off, or should I cover him up?  How many nappies will I need?  And what about swim nappies?  And who decided that babies don't need a luggage allowance?  They need more stuff than the rest of us put together!

My brain feels frazzled.  A friend advised me to sit down and write a list to get more organised, but I've written so much down that I'm worried I'm not going to fit it in.  I've even worrying about taking some food now.  We're staying in a private apartment and won't be arriving until very late, and there'll be nothing there.  My boys need their food and won't be impressed if they have to wait until we go shopping.  Argh!!  I don't know what I need!

And why is it that you spend ages looking forward to the holiday, then all of a sudden it's on top of you and the stress starts.  Maybe I'm just not organised enough but I feel like there's not enough hours in the day to get everything done.  Most nights I don't sit down until gone midnight.  An extra few hours in the day would really help at the moment!

So I apologise for this rambling post.  If anyone has any tips or advice it would all be gratefully received.  Please?????


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Pound-a-Peg: The old ones are the best

When I saw that Wooden Toy Shop were looking for mummy bloggers to review their toys I jumped at the chance.  I love wooden toys, and always think they look so much nicer than plastic.

I had a look on their website at the massive range of toys they have available, and after making a list of everything I wanted to buy for the children (that took a while!!), I eventually decided to try the Melissa and Doug Pound-a-Peg.  Having three children between 9 months and 5 years of age, it's really difficult choosing toys that are safe enough for the baby but not too babyish for the older boys, but I thought the Pound-a-Peg may work.

For those of you who can't remember this lovely, old-fashioned toy, it's basically a matter of hitting the pegs through the holes with a little mallet.  But this one is lovely.  It's brightly coloured, with four pairs of pegs in red, yellow, green and blue.  The holder is very sturdy and I reckon it could take a fair pounding with the mallet.  It also has the classic Melissa and Doug signature on the side.

The Melissa and Doug Pound-a-Peg is priced at £7.49

I think I definitely chose the right toy for all three boys to play with!  From the moment it arrived the boys started fighting over it!  Typical.  So I had to separate them and give them all a turn, one-by-one.

The oldest first:
My computer game obsessed 5 year old loved bashing away at the pegs.  It probably helped him deal with the frustration of not being allowed on the wii ;-)

Seriously though, he did love it.  He's gone straight for the red pegs (his favourite colour) and was very vocal in saying what a great toy it is and how much he enjoyed playing with it.  He's got to be the perfect child to review a toy.  He really does love to give his opinion!

Then it was his little brothers turn......





My 3 year old loves playing.  With anything!  So I knew it would be a success with him.  But I loved watching the look of concentration on his face as he took the pegs out, pushed them back through the holes, paired the colours, and then used the mallet to knock them through.  He really enjoyed himself and it was a pleasure to watch him playing.




And then finally, it was the little one's turn.  Now, this toy has got a recommended age of 2+ years, but it's sturdy and has no small parts, and his little face was looking so eagerly at the new toy that I just couldn't resist letting him have a go.

I think the smile on his face says it all.  He was so excited and really did a great job at pounding the pegs through the holes.  I'm sure this toy is really going to help his co-ordination and the mallet is currently his favourite new toy.  I would just advise keeping your distance from him when he's got it in his hand!!



Overall, this has been a massive success for three boys of different ages.  It kept them playing quietly for quite some time, which makes it a favourite in my opinion.  It is very reasonably priced for a fantastically well made toy that will provide a child with hours of fun, and would also make a very good gift for boys or girls.  My boys gave it 10 out of 10.

It just goes to show that children love the simple things and a bit of old fashioned fun can be best.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

My return to work

I've survived my first week back in work after having 10 months on maternity leave.  Well, I only actually work two days a week  but it's still a wrench to leave my darling little boy.  Oliver has taken it quite well, better than me probably.  He does have a bit of a cry when I leave him but he's easily distracted.  I'm in the very fortunate position that I work locally so I'm able to come home at lunch time to feed him.  This does of course mean that he has to put up with me leaving twice....

Being a working mother is full of difficulties.  My emotions are all over the place, and I feel like I'm no longer one person.  I'm the professional at work - a manager wearing smart clothes and high heels.  I spend my days organising work and telling others what to do.  Then I come home, change into my jeans, and it's as if the 'professional' me gets shed along with the clothes.  At home I've got a five-year-old telling me what to do, a three-year-old having a tantrum if I put his food on the wrong plate, and a ten-month-old who loves to pull my hair and cover me in dribble.  Though there's nothing better.  My five-year-old is always telling me that he loves me, my three-year-old gives me the best cuddles, and my 10-month-old beams and squeals with excitement when he sees me.  They all melt my heart.



                            Truly 
  irresistible!





And work isn't as bad as I expected either.  In some ways it feels like a bit of a break after the madness of the house in the mornings.  Though I also feel guilty leaving my boys.  It's a necessity, I know that.  Finances dictate that I need to work.  And it may actually be a good thing what with the long school holiday ahead of me!

I just need to get organised now.  Though at least all the running around the house every morning is keeping me fit!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

My waterbaby

Ollie had his Waterbabies underwater photo shoot today. Having done this with my older two boys I knew what to expect, but what I hadn't bargained on was having a tired, grumpy boy. I was really disappointed as he normally loves swimming so I though today was going to be easy. But I could barely keep in happy when bouncing around in the pool, and when the time came to hand him over to go under for his photo, he just started screaming. So off we bounced around the pool again, and I was just praying that he would calm down enough to at least get one good shot. He did cry the next time we tried, but we got a shot. And by the third attempt, he was (sort of) calm. The photographer let me have a look on the digital camera and I was surprised to see that he looked okay. I can tell by the look on his face that he's not that happy, but the shots looked great. I've got to wait until my viewing next week to look at them properly, and I can't wait to get his photo up on my wall to join the other two.

Zac
Ethan
 For more information on Waterbabies see http://www.waterbabies.co.uk/

Friday, 15 July 2011

For my friends....

I've had a really busy week.  Busier than normal I think.  On top of the usual daily chores I've been trying to finish my application to become a registered childminder.  I've been drowning in a sea of paperwork.  But what's kept me afloat during this incredibly stressful week has been my friends, my support networks. It's started me thinking about how much I need it; how important it is to me.

Friends come and go through life, but I think we develop close bonds as adults, mainly because we tend to meet people with common interests.  For example, I've met a group of friends since having my third son 9 months ago.  Having children of the same age gave us that immediate bond. Something to talk about, to compare notes, ask for and provide support and advice. But we hit it off and it's progressed from there. Weekly lunch, a facebook group, lots of chat and laughs. We may not always agree on things, but we support each other, and the group continues to grow as we meet new mums to join our circle. It's amazing, and a need in my life. I hope our children continue to grow up together.

And I couldn't write this post about friendship without mentioning my 'virtual' friends. Yes, they are real, I've just never met most of them.  But strangely, I feel like I've developed some really important friendships through internet forums, Facebook and Twitter.  My mummy friends, compers and now bloggers too. The support I feel at times, is amazing.  I feel like there's always someone to talk to; someone to reassure, or even give me a kick up the backside when I need it!

So this post is for all my friends, both old and new, just to say a huge thank you for being there, whether physically or just out there in cyberspace.

"Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things"

Friday, 8 July 2011

Procrastination is the thief of time

I love this saying. It is so true and yet I can't help but procrastinate. I spend longer thinking about what I need to do than it would take me to actually do what I'm thinking about. I don't know why. Lack of motivation? Or just laziness? I wish I was the type of person who gets things done, and then sits down. Or do I need to procrastinate? I do get loads done - I cook, clean, iron, look after my children and do normal day-to-day things. But I also put things off. At the moment it's my application form to register as a childminder. I have now got as far as making a list so at least I know what I've got to do. But I'm still putting it off. I need someone to give me a push and make me do it. Anyone???

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Twitter Competition

Time for my next giveaway as I've now got over 50 followers on my blog. The winner will be able to choose one item from the following: Vampires Suck DVD, a pair of mother of pearl cufflinks, a pretty pink necklace or a lip and cheek tint palette.  If there is lots of interest there may be more than one winner.
I'm going to run this on Twitter and all you need to do is follow me @joanneblunt and RT the following "Follow and RT @joanneblunt to win a lovely prize. More details at http://tinyurl.com/6hqhemb Ends 8pm on 10/7/11"

Good Luck!

T&C
Competition will end Sunday 10th July at 8pm
Winner must be following me on Twitter
Winner will be chosen at random

Friday, 1 July 2011

If you go down to the woods today....

You might meet a very sleepy tiger on your way home....
The Teddy Bears Picnic wore my little tiger out.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Someone pass the Teething Bling!

*Please note this is NOT a sponsored post*

It feels like Oliver has been teething for forever!  His clothes are constantly wet from dribbling, he's biting on anything he can get his hands on, and has a sore bottom. We tried all the usual teething products but he much preferred to chomp on something he shouldn't i.e. mobile phone, remote, me!  Then, a while back on Facebook, I came across a company called Teething Bling.  Now, I love to try anything new so when they offered me the chance to have a free pendant in exchange for giving them some information on local retailers, I jumped at it. I was offered a choice of colour so I chose 'jade' and excitedly awaited it's arrival.  I wasn't to be disappointed.  It arrived quickly and in a pretty little organza bag, making it a perfect gift.  In fact, I think it will become my gift of choice for new mums as it's a gift for mum and baby all rolled into one.

I've always loved jewellery, but had pretty much given up on wearing any since I've had children.  They generally don't mix.  If I did try wearing a necklace I would either be worried about bits coming off and the baby choking on it, or more commonly, being throttled when the baby pulled on it.  But my new pendant solved both these problems.  It is perfectly safe for the baby to chew - no small parts and is non toxic, and it has a breakaway clasp so no more being throttled. Yay!

But more importantly, will Oliver like it.  Well, the proof is in the picture.
He loves it! It's become a new toy to him.  But better than a new toy because it doesn't fall on the floor when we're out.  It drops to just the right level on me - just below my breasts - so is flattering, while having enough length for Oliver to play with when he's sat on my lap.

My friends with babies also think they're great.  Some have gone on to buy their own and one has bought one as a gift.  Friends without babies have said how lovely they are and that they would wear one!  I've been asked where the 'stones' come from.  People are always shocked when they feel them and realise they're not hard.



We loved it so much that I decided to buy a second pendant in 'Zebra'.  I think this one has been even more successful as babies naturally love contrast so the black/white stripes are perfect.

I could really use another one to go with brown/cream clothes.  Maybe Vanilla Bean (really fancy a scented one) or Chocolate Brown?  That's the only problem.  Too much choice.  It's like having a bag or shoes to match every outfit.  Now I feel like I need the Teething Bling to match too!  And there's currently 29 colour available on the website so lots to choose from!

You can buy Teething Bling from http://www.smartmumuk.com
Pendants cost £12.95 and you can also purchase bangles, gift sets, teen bling and gift cards.

Here's some info from the company: 
Teething Bling® is the original teething jewellery. Made from the same material as most teething toys, our teething pendants and teething bangles look great on the adult wearer but are safe for curious babies to handle and chew. Our teething products are non-toxic, phthalate, BPA, PVC, latex and lead free and all pendants come with a breakaway clasp as an added safety measure. We carry the very important CE trademark which means we meet strict safety standards. Teething Bling went through four years of rigorous safety testing.


By the way, Ollie cut his first tooth last week (that's another story) so his Bling is under even more pressure now!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Separation anxiety

Oliver is 8 months old now and going through the worst separation anxiety.  He even cries when he goes to daddy.  I can't remember it being this bad with my other boys, though I may just have forgotten the bad bits!  And to top it all off, yesterday I was told "You've made a rod for your own back"!  Why do people say that?  Do they want us to feel worse than we already do?  One comment makes me analyse everything I do as a parent.  It's so hard to put everything in perspective when you're sleep deprived.  Yes, I co-sleep, I breastfeed, and the baby usually comes everywhere with me.  But does that mean I've made his separation anxiety worse?  Am I never going to be able to leave him?

I know deep down this isn't the case.  I did exactly the same with my older two boys, and they are confident little things, and always happy to stay with anyone.  In fact, getting them to come home can be a struggle sometimes.  I know Oliver will come out the other side of this, but it is hard at the moment.  I could just use a little support from the people around me, instead of being told where I've gone wrong.  Surely it isn't too much to ask?

You wouldn't think he could scream the place down for hours on end would you?

Friday, 17 June 2011

Do you feel guilty?

It's Friday night, boys are asleep, hubby is out, and I've got a glass of wine in hand. Bliss! It's been such a busy week and I already feel like I'm letting my new blog down by not having time to post. Why do we always end up feeling guilty about things?  I think mothers suffer from it particularly badly.  I know I can't speak for everyone, but I feel guilty for not having enough time, for shouting at the children, for having any form of help from others.  Why do I always feel the need to be Superwoman and act like I can do anything?  Every once in a while I wish I was able  to just say, "you know what, I can't cope, and I need some help".  But that's never going to happen.  Because then I would just feel more guilty!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

My very first giveaway

As some of you may know, I used to be a consultant for Virgin Vie Cosmetics (or VIE at home as they're now called).  I recently decided to end my 6 year career with them as I've just got too much on my plate at the moment.  Over my time with them I have accumulated quite a lot of goodies, so I have decided to use some of these to do some competitions, so expect quite a few cosmetic/skincare/jewellery related giveaways to come! (Sorry boys, I'll try to find something for you too :)

I'm going to keep this first one simple as I'm still trying to get to grips with the whole blogging thing.  If I've got anything wrong I would be very grateful for your comments and help.

So, I've got a fab VIE Capsule Colour Collection to give to one of my lovely followers.  It's a gorgeous little collection of summer colours for you to mix and match.  There's both shimmer and matte eyeshadows, blush and lip gloss.


All I want to to do to win this is to follow my blog over on the right side of the page, and comment below that you have done so with a way for me to contact you (Twitter name preferably).  If you're not on twitter then I should be able to contact you through Google (though I haven't tried this yet).  I will also announce the winner on this page.

As the whole purpose of this competition is to get more followers I would love it if you would share this post.  I'm not going to do give extra entries (as I said I'm trying to keep it simple) but I would be very grateful if you could tweet the following:

"I want to win a Capsule Colour Collection from @joanneblunt at http://tinyurl.com/43tujgp"

Entries close at 3pm on Tuesday 21st June and I will draw a winner at random.

AND THE WINNER IS: niclon 26 (@n76seary). Congratulations!
I would love to be able to give everyone a prize, but the best I can do is get another competition started soon!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Here goes.....

Right, well here I am.  My very first blog post.  I've been putting this off for so long that  now don't know where to start!  I suppose I should say a bit about myself.  I'm Joanne, commonly known as 'Jo' to friends, or 'Mummy' to my three lovely boys. My oldest is Zac (5), then there's Ethan (3) and Oliver (8 months).  They are my world.and I would do anything for them.  One of the main reasons for starting this blog is so that I can document our family life, even some of the boring and mundane stuff.  Actually, especially some of the boring and mundane stuff.  Because my boys are growing so fast and I'm afraid I'm going to forget things.  I just wish I'd started sooner.

Some other stuff about me: I have been married for nearly 7 years.  Lots of ups and downs but we're still here, still together.  At the moment I'm on maternity leave from my part time job as Service Officer in Mental Health (less said about that the better), though I'm currently going through the registration process to become a childminder.

Other than my family, my favourite things in life are spending time with friends, entering competitions, and being online.  I thank Facebook for giving me back some sort of social life since having the children.  And now I've discovered twitter and a whole new world has opened up to me.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog.  I'm already looking forward to writing my next post.

Zac & Ethan

Oliver