Thursday, 19 December 2013

Hotel Chocolat – The Signature Christmas Collection

If you've been reading this blog then you will know that I LOVE chocolate ! It is my Achilles heel and if it’s in our house it rarely lasts long. If I’m not surreptitiously devouring a morsel or three, it’s the rest of the household fighting over who gets the last piece. Saving your last rolo for someone you love in our house is a rare occurrence. It’s very much each for their own on the chocolate front !

We lived in France for just short of 3 years and in that time I was able to sample an eclectic mix of chocolate much of which was made for the discerning palate. Despite the fact that I love a square or two of what the European’s term as “chocolate substitute”, I do love a piece of dark cacao rich chocolate and I am pleased to say that my 2 girls have inherited a penchant for dark chocolate too. To see a 2 year old devour with joy, a piece of 90% cocoa dark chocolate is a beautiful sight and long may it continue.


So, when the opportunity arose to sample some of the Christmas Chocolate Selection from Hotel Chocolat, every sense in my body woke up and said “Me, me!”

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Britain’s Best Blanket Fort Competition

We’re back !

“Hooray”, I hear you cry or perhaps there are a few groans from the back there? Whatever your reaction we have returned from a mad few weeks of kiddie sickness and life’s challenges getting in the way of my blogging which I have to say I’ve missed – a lot !

So, when I got wind of a fun challenge happening which involved building a Fort made out of blankets, I jumped at the chance of creating some fun and carefree time for myself and the girls.

Sunday arrived, Daddy was off on a Wing Chun (Kung Fu to anyone who’s unsure) seminar for the day, so the girls and I set about making our Fort. The previous week we’d seen Granny and Grampy and the girls had been given a large cuddly blanket each. Perfect material for our fort building and the first things placed over our chairs, table and speaker stand to begin our structure.


I knew we had a stack of other blankets somewhere, however it’s always when you want and need them that you can’t find them ! I have to add that a few days after our Fort building exercise, I found said blankets and was a tad miffed that they’d probably been staring me in the face all along.

Anyway, I digress. We therefore decided to raid Mummy’s scarf box instead to decorate our Fort with colour. Belle took the bunting from her wall and hung it around the front of our beautiful Fort which was really beginning to take shape. Belle had woken that morning with lots of ideas which was great. I love how children’s imaginations can really run wild when they are left to their own devices.


Belle then remembered the flags we had been given when we watched the Torch procession in town for the Olympics in 2012. Out they came from the dress up box and were ceremoniously stuck onto our fort, giving it a very British and English feel all at once.


We surveyed our handy work and agreed that it did indeed look fabulous but needed some added extras. In went a cooker and two seats. By this stage tummies rumbled and lunchtime called. As you can imagine, this had to be served in their newly built fort. Once finished and with full tummies and energy levels renewed, the girls took to becoming a princess lion (yes, I know, makes no sense to me either!) who scared the other princess in the Fort. Then a quick change, and the grand finale involved our princess lion and her friendly Knight guarding their newfound Fort from any intruders.


As you can see from the last picture great fun was had by both the girls and the fort had to stay up all day until Daddy came home. We couldn’t afford for Daddy to miss out on seeing it in all its glory, our very grand and regal Fort.


So what do you think? Have we passed in our ability to build a play fort? I think so and can honestly say we had the best fun together. It took me back to how much fun building dens of any kind is when you are small ................. and big too !

If you’d like to enter Britain’s Blanket Fort Competition with your kids, you don’t need to have a blog, all you need to do is build your fort, take a picture and then tweet it to @MarketFurniture using the hashtag #blanketfortcomp. You could be in with the chance of winning £100 worth of Love2Shop vouchers which you can spend in most high street stores. So what are you waiting for? Get building x


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This week we are also linking this post up to #PoCoLo (Post Comment Love) one of our favourite Linkys with Vicky Welton.


Post Comment Love

Monday, 14 October 2013

Loss De Plott, The Colour Blue – Halloween Competition Book Giveaway !

THIS COMPETITION GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED


'Spiders spinning webs of red, black bats flying about my head.

The pumpkin grew legs and danced about, the skeleton
shook and was heard to shout.

Whatever you promise be sure to do and write
what you see in the colour blue'

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If you haven’t yet heard of Loss De Plott and her magical adventures in ‘The Colour Red’ and now the fabulous Halloween adventure, ‘The Colour Blue’ then you and your children really are missing out on some wonderful tales which will take you all on a journey into the wonderful world of dreams.

I met author Stephan J Myers through Twitter and found myself intrigued by the almost cryptic tweets that would pop up into my Twitter feed. I knew I needed to find out more about this curious character called Loss De Plott (whose name I have to admit appealed to the slightly insane side of me. I often feel like I’ve lost the plot !).

So, I popped across to Amazon and purchased Loss De Plott; The Colour Red and Loss De Plott – A fable for grown-ups who believe it is never too late to change. The latter I will share with you in another post but today I’m eager to share a little more about Loss De Plott; The Colour Blue, a Halloween tale where you’ll find the strangest things happen in the world of dreams.


Stephan writes using beautiful rhyme. Belle and I have read and re-read The Colour Red and The Colour Blue together and each time we get something new from each book. Intertwined into the story’s rhyme are stunning pictures drawn by Stephan himself and illustrator Nicholas Smith. Belle and Tink were kindly sent signed copies of 2 of the book illustrations from The Colour Red from Stephan and they absolutely adore them.

In The Colour Blue we meet new characters all placed into the magic of Halloween and brought to life in this beautiful second offering from Stephan. We meet the boy in blue, dancing pumpkins and the funkiest looking witch I've ever seen ! It really is a must read.

I remember as a child being enthralled by magical adventures and Stephan’s books would have been a welcome addition to my book collection when I was small.

With The Colour Red and The Colour Blue we come to understand that the rules change when we dream and what’s possible in the dream world is indeed very different to that of our everyday existence. We also find out the importance of not breaking the dream rules and keeping our promises too.



The Colour Red begins the adventures and introduces us to Loss and her first journey into the world of dreams, where she meets dancing snowmen and the man in the hat of red. In this book she is also given an important piece of advice by her grandmother;

“Now promise me Loss,” her grandmother said, “you will
never draw anything in the colour red.

And whatever you draw must come from your dreams, where the
things that you see are not what they seem.”

I could happily carry on writing about these fabulous children’s tales but I wouldn’t wish to spoil what will be a special time spent reading with your own children. Instead I’m really pleased to be able to offer 3 lucky readers the chance to win a set of Stephan’s books, The Colour Red and The Colour Blue for a Halloween competition giveaway.

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is click on the Rafflecopter link below and follow the simple instructions. The competition will run for 2 weeks after which 3 lucky winners will be announced on my FB page, Twitter and here on the blog.

Good Luck my Lovelies and make sure you never lose sight of the magic within your dreams xxx

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Stephan has two further books soon to be published which are ‘The Colour Gold’ furthering the Tales of Loss De Plott and ‘The Prayer’.

If you’d like more information on Stephan and his work you can pop across to his website, give him a Like on his Facebook page  or follow him on Twitter.

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Terms & Conditions: This competition runs from 12.00am on Monday 14th October until 12.00am on Monday 28th October 2013 and is open to readers Worldwide. The 3 winners will be announced on the blog, ‘The Mad Mummy Musings' Facebook page & Twitter within 48 hours of the competition end time. Each of the 3 winners will win a copy of the children's books, The Colour Red and The Colour Blue. Winners will need to email their name and address to info@charlotte-hughes.co.uk so that their prize can be sent out to them. No cash alternative given.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Disclaimer: I was kindly given a Kindle copy of The Colour Blue to read for this competition giveaway. 


Monday, 30 September 2013

#Win One of 9 Digital Magazine Subscriptions from Zinio

THIS COMPETITION GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Have you noticed how much room magazines take up? If you pop round to our house you’ll notice a fair few magazines neatly piled up under our coffee table most of which are unread.

Why? Well, as a busy Mum of 2, getting time to myself is rare these days and when I do have a moment to spare and fancy a read of one of these great magazines I never seem to have them with me. Annoying ! We’ve moved a couple of times in the past year and my lovely unread magazine collection has moved with me in the hope that one day I will read them all. Hubby says I have a magazine addiction and has actually threatened to throw most of them in the bin !

But this problem has finally been solved by the lovely people at Zinio. Zinio have thousands of top magazines from around the world all in one place and they can be used on your iPad, iPhone, Android mobile phone, tablets, laptops and desktops. You can even download their Kindle Fire app so you can read your favourite magazine here too. Fabulous. No piles of magazines cluttering up the house, and the latest edition of your favourite magazine accessible to you from your mobile device anytime, anywhere. Perfect.

And guess what? The lovely people at Zinio have kindly given me 9 digital magazine subscriptions to give away to you, my lovely readers. And seeing as I’ve been a touch absent over the past few weeks, it’s lovely to come back with such a great competition. You can choose from many categories; Art & Photography, Lifestyle and Travel to Sports, Entertainment, Parenting and Health. There really is something for everyone.

The competition is open to readers living anywhere in the world, and the 9 lucky winners will be able to choose any title offered by Zinio - *subscription length depends on which title you choose (they're all different - in the description of a particular title at www.zinio.com you'll find how many issues comes in the subscription).



To be in with a chance of winning one of these digital magazine subscriptions, all you need to do is give me the title of the magazine you’d like to win and then each of the 9 winners will need to provide me with their full name and email address once the competition has ended.

Pop across to Zinio’s website and have a browse at all the lovely magazines on offer and then click the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions to be in with a chance of winning. 

And if you can’t wait that long then Zinio have a “Fresh Fall Design Trends” offer running until 8th October 2013 for up to 50% extra off home, design and garden magazines. Click here to see which magazines are included in this extra offer.

So what are you waiting for? Get browsing and enter this fabulous competition today. Good Luck.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Disclaimer: Please note that I have been compensated by Zinio with a magazine subscription for myself.



Saturday, 7 September 2013

Paradise Park – Hayle’s Little Gem of Family Fun

So, the girls are back at school and nursery and the summer holidays are behind us for another year. It’s been a busy week since our return from Cornwall last weekend and it never ceases to amaze me the enormous amount of washing that seems to accumulate over a two week period on holiday despite your best efforts in trying to keep on top of it ! I seem to have had the washing machine on non stop since we got back. Thank goodness we've had such fabulous weather still to dry them all.

We took our trusty caravan with us down to Cornwall again this year and spent two happy weeks at The Beachside in Hayle. I will be sharing this great holiday park in another post but today I’d like to share one of our days out as a family to the Paradise Park in Hayle itself. We've visited the park with the girls for the past two years since holidaying in Cornwall and as we were sharing part of our holiday this year with my cousin and her family, we decided to go back once more and show them all the fun to be had.

The Park is family run by the Reynolds Family and they chose Glanmor House with its Victorian walled garden when they opened the Paradise Park in 1973. The mild Cornish weather and its sheltered location make it ideal for tropical wildlife and the right conditions for palms, tree ferns and exotic plants to grow. It is also the home of the World Parrot Trust.


We made sure we arrived in time to see the Otter and Penguin feeding which was interspersed with a ride on the little train that takes you around part of the park. The kids loved seeing the animals being fed and my cousin’s son was one of the lucky ones chosen to feed the penguins. Belle was disappointed not to have been chosen too but this was soon made up for when Tink and her were able to say “hi” to one of the penguins and have their photo taken with her.

The park has an array of different birds from flamingos and toucans to Scarlett Ibis’ and the Cornish Chough. We are led to believe that they also have Red Pandas but I have to say that we've never been lucky enough to see them on all three of our visits no matter how hard we try to find them.


The children enjoyed their time feeding the goats, sheep and donkeys at the Fun Farm where you can feed them carrots and parsnip. It’s worth noting that you can buy bags of animal feed to take with you when you arrive at the park at 50p a bag. The sheep particularly like these nuts.

Once we’d finished feeding the animals we watched the Free Flying Bird Show which showcased a bald eagle, an eagle owl, a Kookaburra among others. It was fabulous for the children to get so close to these majestic creatures as they swoop over your head. A real must see before lunch.


When tummies rumble ready for a well earned lunch, you’ll find plenty of pub table seating outside to picnic at. If you prefer not to take your own food with you, then there’s also a small cafe which sells decent food. We ate there the first time we visited and the food was good.


Once our tummies were full again we went and let the children run off some steam in the Jungle Barn which has multi level play zones, an astra slide, double drop slide, ballpool slide, toddler area, snack bar and party rooms. The slides are lots of fun and even little Tink went down by herself this time. What a little trooper !

From here we popped across to feed the little parakeets. Word of warning; get here early. It starts at 2.00pm but the queues form before this time. But it's worth the wait. I've included pictures from out very first trip as hubby had hands free to take piccies that time. Unfortunately we were so enthralled with it all this time we all completely forgot to take any pictures. The nectar costs 50p a pot and the parakeets are really rather friendly chaps. Another word of warning; you may get pooped on !



Finally we popped across to Paradise Island to explore the outdoor play area with towers to climb, rocking dolphins to ride, and climbing poles to master. 


After all this excitement it was about 3.00pm and we’d managed to kill five fun hours with the children. I think now we've been three times we've probably seen everything there is to see here, but I have to say that the girls always want to go back and talk so fondly of their visits here. As a family day out it comes highly recommended.

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This week I’m linking this post up to Fiona’s #CountryKids and also Vicky’s #PoCoLo Linkys. Enjoy your Sunday everyone xx

If you’ve enjoyed reading my musings today then why not subscribe to new posts. You can have them pinged to your inbox or if you prefer you can follow me on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and Bloglovin  And don’t forget to leave me a comment. I do love reading them. Until next time xx



Thursday, 22 August 2013

Sometimes It's Good to Simply Write for the Want Rather Than the Need

This is going to be one of those posts which has no purpose and probably ends up being a load of drivel but you know something, I don’t care. I’m sat in our caravan and things are peaceful. There’s no WW3 taking place between the girls or for that matter between hubby and I, and I’m actually enjoying sitting here tapping on my keyboard with no need for purpose or intent. It feels rather liberating.

We’re currently holidaying with the girls in Cornwall. We’ve stayed here 3 years running and love coming back. This time Tink is 2½ and this makes things easier in one way but still a challenge in another. I’m finally resigning myself to the fact that with children the phases don’t get easier per se, they just change.

Our first trip in our caravan was when Tink was just 4 months old ! When I look back now, I’m not sure how we coped but we did. We actually went away in the caravan that year about 5 times mainly visiting my Mum whilst she was in hospital not long before she passed away. It was the only way we could afford to get up to see her and somehow the adventure of being in a caravan helped make it semi exciting for Belle.

We made up a make shift cot for Tink to sleep in, got into a rhythm with everything and I have to say that we probably had some of the best sleeps on those trips away than we had at any other point in Tink’s first year, particularly as like Belle she wasn’t a good sleeper.

The view of the sea from our caravan pitch

On this holiday though, the cot has been dismantled and the girls can now enjoy this section as a table and chairs to draw and play at again. Tink has taken her new place in the bottom bunk and after almost 4 days we are finally finding a new rhythm again here in Cornwall.

I have lots of memories of Mum here. I spent most days the first time we stayed talking to her on the phone whilst she went through her chemo sessions. I would often talk to her whilst sat in the laundry room waiting for the never ending washing babies seem to create whirring around the machine. I’d look out to the play park and watch hubby and the girls playing (little Tink in her sling or her pushchair) and wish so hard that I could make my Mum’s cancer disappear. The memories are bitter sweet but somehow I feel close to her here. It’s as if that time has left an essence of her and so it feels good to return.

Today we went down to the beach and it always amazes me how healing I find the sea. It is such an awesome power and force yet it can be so calming and transforming all at the same time. If I’m pent up with frustrations, all I need to do is spend an hour near the sea and somehow those emotions release and are soothed away by the ebb and flow of watching the sea do her thing.

We are here for 2 weeks with very few, if any plans. It feels great to know that if we want to we can just go to the beach each afternoon with the girls and help them build sand castles and splash about in the sea. The sun has blessed us with her presence each day so far and it would appear she’s scheduled for a few more days yet. Let’s hope so.

I hadn’t realised how much we needed this break away until we arrived here a few days ago. Life can pick up speed so much if you let it can’t it, and it’s only when you come away from the usual day to day stuff do you truly realise how important it is to slow down and recharge again. I won’t say relax because with small children in tow that word doesn’t really feature on the radar, but recharge is something we can do and I’m planning on making sure that I come back home full to the brim with lots more positive energy again.

I’m looking forward to using this time away to work out how I want to move forward with my writing and other work opportunities. It’s an exciting time but often everyday stuff particularly with small children, can stop the creative juices from flowing freely. So whilst I’m away I’m going to pick up this laptop when the urge takes me and just write, because you know I may actually write some of my best stuff yet, or perhaps like this post, it may just end up being pointless drivel.

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If you’ve enjoyed reading my musings today then why not subscribe to new posts. You can have them pinged to your inbox or if you prefer you can follow me on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and Bloglovin  And don’t forget to leave me a comment. I do love reading them. Until next time xx


Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Postpartum Bump - The Reality Is, It Exists

On Tuesday evening I sat whilst my two girls played and watched the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge emerge from St Mary’s Hospital in London with their new bundle of joy. What a beautiful moment that was. And how real it was too. Love them or hate them, one thing the younger Royal members have done is to normalise the Royal family. Prince William and Kate Middleton appeared that day like any other couple who had just had their world rocked by the amazing edition of a small person. Despite appearances you could see that Kate was a little anxious whilst on parade in front of the world’s press. She looked glowing but tired. The eyes cannot lie and hers were filled with joy, tiredness, anxiety, emotion. Behind that smile and calm appearance was a new Mum with her own unique mix of emotions.

She looked amazing. How she walked out in those heels I do not know. I remember feeling as if my insides were about to drop out for a good week after giving birth for the first time. And then came the twitter comments about her postpartum bump and why was it still there. Hello! She’s just given birth to a baby people! I couldn't quite believe the ignorance of those people and it got me thinking about what we really know before we have children of our own.

Image courtesy of  www.bbc.co.uk
Many of us come from a generation whose parents didn't discuss this sort of thing openly. If you were in the “club” you knew what to expect. If you weren't you were given minimal facts to make sure you were semi prepared for the event, but the actual gory details were kept from you. Why? What purpose does this really serve? What happens is that we bring up generations of ignorant people who don’t realise that it is perfectly normal for a small bump to remain for weeks even months after we have given birth. We have after all taken 9 months to grow a baby; it’s rare that the body just “pings” back into its pre-pregnancy state.

The pressure to snap back into shape on women postpartum is huge. Take a look at the misguided front cover of OK Magazine that followed the birth announcement and you will see the kind of world we now live in. What kind of message are we sending to our children, particularly our daughters? We have the lowest figures ever of new Mums breastfeeding, natural birth without intervention is becoming less common and it appears we are moving away from what’s “normal” into worrying territory.

We need to be honest about what pregnancy and birth are really all about. Let’s stop dishing out the fairy stories about storks delivering babies. You can simplify information for young children to understand that can still remain factually correct. Maybe then the comments that were thrown at Kate Middleton about her postpartum bump that day wouldn't have happened because it would be common knowledge to the masses not the minority.

When I went to my eldest daughter’s parent’s consultation last Autumn I was overjoyed to see that when she had been asked to draw a picture of herself as a baby she drew one of her being breastfed! Hallelujah! Not a bottle in sight. Now before you all sharpen your daggers thinking I’m attacking those who bottle feed, I’m not. But what I am pointing out here is that this type of thing is rare. Advertising never shows a breastfeeding Mum, we don’t have baby dolls who are breastfed, they have bottles, and when a breastfeeding doll did come on to the market for kids (which I remember seeing via Facebook), there was an outcry of “it’s weird, not normal”. In my mind that’s all upside down and back to front. We need to lose the embarrassment factor and bring our children up knowing the facts not the fairy stories.

I truly hope that we are now a generation of parents who WILL tell our children how it really is. We need to swallow back our embarrassment and empower our children to know the facts about things like pregnancy and childbirth. I know that I was shocked when I saw my postpartum body. I was mortified to see that my belly didn't retreat from whence it came. Naive perhaps, but there were quite a few things that both my own mother and the midwives didn't discuss before my baby arrived.

Let’s take that veil down. I applaud Kate Middleton for not hiding her postpartum body. I have immense respect for her. It wouldn't have been easy to come out to the scrutiny of the world’s press at such a vulnerable time in her life and she chose a dress that showed her remaining bump. Perhaps that was her aim. Perhaps she IS that new generation who will change the face of this distorted world we live in. The world is watching her, poor woman. I just hope that she is afforded the time to bond with her baby and is able to embrace whatever feels right for her as a new Mum.

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I have read a few blog posts in recent days from fellow Mum bloggers who have shared pictures of themselves having just given birth whether that is the day itself or a few days after and I think this is a great way to raise awareness about what is normal. We don't all look svelte, made-up and glowing from top to toe. Below I am sharing a few of mine too. Katy Hill tweeted a picture of herself 2 months after her baby was born. What a breath of fresh air this lady is. Total respect for you Katy. We need more celebrities like you raising awareness of what’s real and what’s not. Let’s hope that as women we can start to change the perception out there so that the reaction Kate Middleton’s appearance sparked on Tuesday doesn't happens again.





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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Liebster Award – Showing New Blogs Some Love

Today I’m sharing my Liebster Award post. It is well overdue and I was nominated by the lovely Mary whose blog, ‘Over 40 and a Mum to One’, has just entered the world of being self-hosted, something that I will be doing soon too. You will now find her blogging at www.over40andamumtoone.com, so this is a good time to write this post so I can share her new blogging home.



The Liebster Award is given to blogs who have less than 200 followers. It’s a great way to find new blogs and helps these blogs to reach new readers and build their blogging audience. I feel touched that Mary felt my little ol’ blog deserved a nomination. After 7 months of blogging for The Mad Mummy Musings, I’m still in awe of the fact that people actually read my ramblings. And some of you keep coming back for more so I must be doing something right!

So this is how the Liebster Award works:
  • List 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger who nominated you asked
  • Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate
  • Go to each bloggers page and let them know they’ve been nominated
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog


11 Facts about me

  • No matter how hard I try I can’t roll my tongue up at the sides – Grrr!
  • When I broke my arm as a child I couldn’t have a plaster cast as the break was too high up the arm – I was gutted as no one wants to sign a sling!
  • I hate Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, and mince pies. A bit “baah humbug” I know but I just don’t like dried fruit.
  • When I was about 6 years old I was picking out (cleaning) my horse’s feet and dropped one of them on my thumb ! Ouch ! He then proceeded to stand on it and I was left nail-less after a week or so. A flappy black and blue nail was great for scaring friends with until it fell off.
  • It took my husband 7 years to finally propose to me and it took us another 7 years before we had our first daughter. Doing it all in 7’s.
  • When I was a teenager I went through a phase of loving Coleslaw sandwiches.
  • According to my hubby I sometimes snore at night. How rude, women don’t snore!
  • I’m a princess. Yes really, I am. That should keep you guessing, hee hee!
  • I cry really easily when watching sad films. I’m hopeless at being brave and get far too involved in all the emotions of a film. I need a huge box of tissues nearby to mop up Niagra Falls when it comes.
  • I don’t like it when people put up a facade. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and often find those who always put up a facade have something to hide. It makes me feel uneasy.
  • If you read my Super Sweet Blogging Awards post, you will know that I LOVE chocolate! I can hunt out any chocolate in the house with ease and will fight my daughters for the last piece of chocolate. Would I give you my last Rolo? No ! It’s mine, all mine ;0)

So there you have it; 11 facts about me. Now onto Mary’s questions:

The 11 questions given to me

What is the most important thing you’ve learnt since becoming a parent?

That nothing goes accordingly to plan and that’s ok. Becoming a parent has at times rocked my world. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions and events. There are no hard and fast rules about how to survive it except to say, “Trust your instincts and enjoy the ride.”

Why did you start blogging?

I’ve always wanted to write and never knew whether I was any good at it or not. I’ve always wanted to write a book, so I suppose writing a blog gives me a space to call my own and a place to write from my heart without rules and restrictions. I would love to write for others/magazines but often find that my confidence comes more in writing for myself than for others. I find blogging therapeutic, fun and I have met some fabulous people in the 9 months since I started this journey. It’s an exceptionally supportive community of amazing people.

If you could swap places with anyone for a day – who would it be and why?

I’ve mulled this question over and over and I’m sure there are many celebrities or iconic people who I’d love to change places with for a day, but I've decided that I’d actually love to swap places with my eldest daughter for the day particularly when she’s at school. When you have your kids at home with you and then they branch out into the big wide world on their own, you start to lose that closeness and that understanding of what their day is like. I would love to be her for a day at school to see exactly what she does and how it feels to be her in her world. I’m sure it would give me greater insight into how she has developed into her own person.

What is your favourite place in the world and why?

Probably Majorca & Menorca, in the Baleairic Islands. I have such fond memories of many holidays spent on both Islands as a child. We went back year on year and my time there was always happy. We went back with my eldest daughter not long after returning to the UK from our time living in France. It was an incredibly healing holiday particularly as I was still recovering with my PND. It was like a soothing band aid for my Soul. And we were able to make new and happy memories for us as a family unit too.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?

That I worry too much; about what people think, of what may happen, of what the future holds. I need to chill out more and just let life play out as it’s meant to. I’m sure I use up far too much energy when I’m fretting.

What is your best quality?

I asked my hubby to help me on this one and we both agreed that it is probably that I’m empathic. Having an elder sister with special needs meant I grew up quickly as a child. I learnt at an early age to see the bigger picture and to be consciously aware of others’ feelings. I learnt that there are always two sides to every story and it’s important to see both those sides wherever possible. For me being in touch with people’s emotions and feelings is important. Perhaps that’s why I wear my heart on my sleeve so much.

What is your favourite meal?

This is a really difficult one for me to answer as I just love food in all its forms. The foods that would feature on a table of favourites would be home made chocolate mousse, garlic prawns with crusty bread, a hearty stew, a plate full of crudités and healthy dips, smoothies and juices, and some dark, mint chocolate.

How would you like to be remembered by your children?

As someone who loved with her whole heart, was fair, kind, understanding and not afraid to say sorry when she got it wrong, whilst living life to its fullest.

Where does your blogging inspiration come from?

Life, and my experience of it. My writing tends to be very honest and perhaps a little deep. I suppose that reflects the type of person I am. I find people fascinating and I think reading other blogs can give you inspiration too.

What is the one tip you could pass on to a fellow blogger?

Be true to yourself and your own way of writing. As a new blogger you can get very caught up in other blogs and what makes them popular or not. It’s quite a fickle place to be at times and I’ve learnt to write about what interests me rather than trying to be something I’m not. Each blog finds its own unique readers eventually. For some that’s instant, for others it takes time. It’s a bit like a good bottle of wine; some need more time to mature and become full bodied.

Will you follow the bloggers you nominate?

I follow quite a few blogs and the ones I would have nominated I already follow. I know that different people blog for different reasons and when I nominated fellow bloggers for the Super Sweet Blogging Awards, I'm not sure any of them wrote a post in response. So, this time I’m going to leave nominating others because I’d probably be nominating the same people again. I’m chuffed to have been nominated myself and wear my badge with pride. Thank you Mary for nominating me. You never know I may manage 200 followers now ! ;0)

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about me and I’ll be back soon with more musings for your to enjoy. Until next time xx

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If you would like to follow me then you can link up with me on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and Bloglovin  Please do leave me a comment. I love to read them xx



Friday, 19 July 2013

The Light at the End of the Tunnel - Part Two

At the end of March I shared the first part of my recovery from PND. If you are new to my blog you can read my previous posts on my PND experience here: the post which sparked my decision to finally share that I had suffered with PND, my personal journey through PND, and the first installment of my recovery out the other side. This post is the overdue second part of that recovery. And here I’ll share with you what else in addition to counselling finally helped me to feel well again.

As I've mentioned in my other posts on PND, it’s never something you expect to suffer with. When it happens and you realise that things are not as they should be one of the first emotions you feel is dread. It’s scary to be depressed and feel that you aren't fully in control of how you are feeling. The logical part of your brain tries to put some perspective on it all; the fact it’s normal your hormones are all over the place right now, the fact that having a baby and becoming a Mum for the first time is overwhelming at first, the fact that it is often normal to experience a period of “baby blues”. But, when you finally admit to yourself that all those feelings are still there after many weeks and months, that you are permanently anxious, stressed, tearful and feeling misunderstood, you realise that perhaps it’s all a little more serious after all. Then comes the decision; how do you actually make it all better again.

I’d been depressed for about 2 years before we came back to the UK and saw my new GP. As mentioned in a previous post, she wanted to put me on anti-depressants which I was vehemently against. I asked for time to try other avenues and one of them was counselling. This was my turning point. It gave me a clarity I’d not had for a very long time. It gave me answers to so many questions and misunderstandings. It made me realise that I wasn’t a bad mother and I would get better. The light would finally shine again once more.


The other avenue I pursued was changing my diet. When you become a new Mum you often eat on the run. You grab a bit of this, a bit of that and can often end up filling yourself up on cereal, toast, and snacks which aren’t giving you the full nutrient quota your body desperately needs particularly if you are breastfeeding as I was. Pregnancy takes every possible ounce of nutrients your body has to grow your baby and if you don’t top that up, look after yourself nutritionally as well as emotionally then you begin motherhood depleted of the essential nutrients you are going to need. Add to that a good dose of sleep deprivation and it’s not surprising that the body and the mind start to suffer. Your hormones are all over the place as your body adjusts so you can see that not feeding your body properly can really make a huge difference to whether you feel well or not.

I ate fairly healthily during my pregnancy but as my Mum was in the UK I never had her helping me stock pile the freezer with nutritious meals for when the little one arrived. I was too tired at the end of my pregnancy to do this myself so I wasn’t really prepared on that front. I’m a great believer that you are what you eat and I feel we often overlook this and look to pharmaceuticals to sort out the problems that often a change in diet would sort. I can honestly say that in addition to counselling it was what I ate that had the biggest impact on my recovery. I had heard about the importance of eating a more alkaline based diet. The body ultimately needs to have the right ph balance and if it is too acidic it will look to the body to balance that out. That means if you don’t eat enough alkaline foods your body will strip the body of the alkalising minerals it needs. That then depletes the body further and so it goes on.

I searched the internet, found ‘Energise for Life’ and decided to do their 12 week alkaline course. I had read a lot about juicing and raw foods and was fascinated by this new way of eating and how it had helped so many back to full health again. The great thing about the course was that it eased you gently into this new way of eating. You were given the shopping lists you would need each week, the recipes, acid/alkaline test charts, amongst other tools to keep you on track. It introduced me to juicing and by the end of the 12 weeks I felt like a totally different person, literally. My mood lifted considerably. I couldn't believe that food impacted my moods quite as much as it did.
 
A delicious green alkaline juice

I lost the extra weight I had been carrying due to over eating and decided to carry on and do one of Jason Vale’s juice detoxes. I lost a further 5 llbs in weight and felt amazing. Since this time I have made sure that I still juice and I know that as soon as I veer off track too much on my diet, my mood suffers. I will be sharing some more about juicing with you in future posts. I've recommended it to friends and have seen before my eyes the change in them. It is truly amazing to see someone complete a 7 day juice detox and come out the other side a new person. It is quite incredible. Never underestimate the power of nutrition. Mother Nature put it all there for a reason. She’s a clever one.

To complete my recovery I reconnected to my spiritual side. Before having my eldest daughter, I gave treatments in and taught Reiki. I was very connected to my spiritual self but the depression took me far away from this part of myself. I therefore decided to have spiritual healing which was incredibly empowering. I also went to see an amazing Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist, Ken Lloyd, who helped to rebalance my hormones amongst other things.

For me anti-depressants weren’t the answer. I know that’s not everyone’s experience. But for me it was not the route I wanted to take and it worked.

I still have my low days. With a 2 year old toddler in tow it can be hard to find a moment to yourself particularly without family nearby, but I think you learn to cope. You learn to not set your expectations too high; you’ll only fall flat on your face if you do. Being a parent and being a Mum is a tough job. There’s no knowing how it will pan out. For some it’s a blissful journey, for others it’s slightly more rocky. Mine’s been the latter.

My only hope is that my PND with my eldest daughter and my low moods with my second haven’t impacted my girls too much. I never envisaged the raw emotion being a Mum can bring. It often takes you to places you never imagined you’d go. But I look at my girls today and I say to myself, “You haven’t done such a bad job Charlie”. They are two happy, loving souls and the bond I have with them is truly unbreakable.

All I can say to anyone suffering PND right now is that you will and you do come through the other side. You don’t end up residing there forever, I promise you. We all recover eventually in our own way. We all have our scars, our war wounds and that’s ok. We are, after all, human.

I’ll end this post with one of my favourite quotes from Indian Spiritual Leader, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh about becoming a mother:

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”

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If you fancy keeping up to date with my musings then you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Bloglovin. Please do leave me your thoughts. I love to read them xx


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