Tuesday 30 April 2013

The Super Sweet Blogging Awards!

So, over the past week or so there’s been lots of celebrations and congratulations being shared with all the lovely bloggers out there who have been shortlisted for the BiBs (Brilliance in Blogging), the Britmums Blogging Awards. There are 16 categories and there are some fabulous blogs in the shortlist, many of which I read.

Super Sweet Blogging Award

Sadly, The Mad Mummy Musings didn't make it but we have been nominated for ‘The Super Sweet Blogging Awards’ by the lovely Instinctive Mum. Yay ! Someone thinks we’re a blog worth nominating.

I love reading Instinctive Mum’s blog posts. They really resonate with me and as we have both travelled the PND journey I find it empowering to read another’s experience and know that I wasn't alone. I also love Instinctive Mum’s philosophy of trusting your instincts as a Mama with your baby/child; she’s a girl after my own heart. Make sure you pop across to her fabulicious blog and show her some love.

So how does this all work then? Well here are the official rules:
  1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
  3. Answer the ‘Super Sweet’ Questions.
  4. Nominate a ‘Bakers Dozen’ (Award 13 blogs), link to their blogs in your post and notify them on their blogs / twitter. It’s OK if you don’t have 13 blogs to nominate, just share the love!
  5. Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.


Super Sweet Questions:

Cookies or Cake?

Mmmm, that’s a difficult one dependent on my mood, but if I really have to choose then it just has to be a beautifully baked, light and fluffy yummy cake. Delish !

Chocolate or Vanilla?

No contest here; CHOCOLATE !

What is your favorite sweet treat?

Well apart from a great big slab of chocolate all for me, it’s probably a Star Bar or a lovely gooey chocolate brownie. Can you see the chocolate theme kinda runs through everything so far. I’ll even fight my own daughters for chocolate ;0)

When do you crave sweet things the most?

Everyday ! Seriously though, probably late at night when I’ve eaten my evening meal and I get those naughty munchies kicking in. If there’s chocolate in the house I’ll find it. I’m like a sniffer dog on a mission!

If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? 

I had to ask for hubby’s help on this one and his first response was “Chocolate!”. My reply “Yes I’ve talked a lot about chocolate already but you can’t just call me ‘Chocolate’ so try again!”

“Choccie Chuckles” was his next offering which I have to say I like. I’m often known as Charlie Chuckles so “Choccie Chuckles!” works for me.

So there you have it, my ‘Super Sweet’ Blogging Award answers and now without further ado my nominees for this prestigious award. And they are…...

Woman Wife and Mum
Mrs Tee Pot

Apologies if anyone on the list has already been nominated by someone else. I've tried to search through everyone’s blog to make sure that you haven’t already been involved, so fingers crossed this is all new territory and if not; well it serves you right for being so damn sweet !

Until next time xx

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Sickly Kids, Family Visits and A Wedding Anniversary too

So, it’s been almost 10 days since my last post which wasn't how I had planned it. As I sit here writing this, I am all alone and feeling pretty knackered after several days of tending to a very sickly 6 year old along with a toddler who’s intent on pushing her boundaries to test Mummy’s patience. I never function well on lack of sleep anyway and as Tink has only just got over her bout of sickness, a good night’s sleep hasn't been on the agenda for an awful long time now. Just when I thought I’d turned a corner, Belle decided that it was her turn and we've had high fevers for the past 3 days, so my journey back into childhood sickness and sleep deprivation has begun in earnest once more ! Aah the joys of being a parent eh? Hubby has succumbed too and is tucked up in bed shivering away whilst I contemplate the huge “To do” list growing rapidly in my head. I have a severe case of cabin fever going on right now too ! I hate being confined to the house with no chance of getting out. I’m certainly not a celebrity but please, “Get me out of here !”

But let’s get some perspective here, the past few weeks haven’t all been sickness and nothing else. We did get to visit family in the Easter holidays which was very healing. Tink and I were fighting off what Belle & Hubby seem to have now, but despite that we caught up with loved ones which was lots of fun. It can be tough living 3 hours away by car, not being able to see everyone quite as often as you’d like and as the girls are still so young the changes that family notice are huge in comparison to those seen in their cousins who live nearby.

It’s a sacrifice you make and the positives for us as a family unit do outweigh the negatives. Now that Mum is no longer with us, visiting the area has been difficult over the past year or so. But this time something felt different. I didn't feel the heavy weight I’d felt on previous visits and somehow I felt a little more accepting of where we now find ourselves. I know she’s with us always and that has to be enough now if I am to move on in my life. She’ll always be in my heart.

When we are up visiting everyone, we always try to visit my sister. If you have been reading the blog you will know that she was born normal and when she was 15 months old she had a vaccination which left her brain damaged. She is now 44 and lives in a special home for adults who like her have varying degrees of special needs. It has always been a challenge to get my eldest daughter to accept that she is one of her Aunties. She is finally getting her head around it all at age 6 but has struggled with the fact that Auntie makes loud, scary noises and can be unpredictable at times. However, my sister is always so good around the girls and calmer than normal. It’s as if she knows she needs to be calmer with them around. I had a couple of lovely visits; one where I sat in on her communication session. She is learning Facilitated Communication which is finally giving her a way of expressing herself. It’s pretty awesome to see her progress so I felt privileged to sit in on that. Then the next day we took her out to lunch with her key worker, my Dad and the girls. It’s always a risk as dependent on her mood it can go well or it can go a little pear shaped. It all worked in our favour though and we had such a lovely lunch. The girls busied themselves with drawing and colouring, I was able to focus on my sister and apart from the odd strange look from other diners when she made her loud, happy shouts we had a really special meal. It was good to see her again after many months and to begin to feel like a family again. After the loss of Mum it’s been hard to find the new dynamic of where we all fit once more.

We managed to catch up with hubby’s family too which was lovely. The girls spent time with their cousins and I escaped for a day to London’s Olympia to attend an exhibition for my other blog Sophia’s Choice. I immersed myself in the world of organic, natural and eco-friendly products for the day and it felt so good to connect with new people again. Being Mum to the girls is great but I miss that adult one-on-one time where my brain is once again switched on and stimulated. However, when I returned I was plunged back into Mummydom once more. My youngest greeted me with tear streaked cheeks and an upset tummy. My bubble was burst and I came back down to earth with a bump. Oh well, it was lovely whilst it lasted !

Since our return home, hubby and I have celebrated our 14th Wedding Anniversary and 21 years together as a couple. I can’t believe where that time has gone. It only seems like yesterday when we met at Uni and fell for each other. The Mad Mummy Musings has also been the “Newbie Showcase” on the lovely Victoria Welton's blog, Verily Victoria Vocalises this past week too. She runs a weekly linky called PoCoLo (Post Comment Love) and we were showcased which was great. I was hoping to have lots of new posts lined up to share throughout that time, but having sickly kids has stopped that one in its tracks. However, I have connected with some lovely fellow bloggers which is always a bonus.

I have loads more I want to write about which is currently whirring around my head. I think I’m going to have to start writing it all down in a notebook or I’m just going to forget it all. These past few days in particular have shown me again that life can so easily get pushed off track when you have children. You have it all planned out one way and then “all change”!

I’m now keeping everything crossed that Tink and I don’t get this sickness bug back again and she can start nursery as planned next week. She was too poorly last week to start and then this week her Sis has been ill instead. We will get there eventually Tink, I promise.

So for now this is all you’re getting from me. However, I will aim to be back sooner rather than later but don’t hold your breath on that one. You know me it may be a month from now or perhaps tomorrow. We’ll just have to see how Plan A pans out! Until next time xx


Don’t forget you can follow my tweets on Twitter: @charlieejhughes and connect with me on my Facebook Page too xx I'd love to see you there, so pop across and give The Mad Mummy Musings a Like x.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Positivity, Unity, Honesty and Truth

When I started blogging 6 months ago it all seemed very daunting. I jumped in feet first with Sophia’s Choice having a definite focus for this blog and knowing what it was about and where I saw everything leading, but with The Mad Mummy Musings, it’s all been a little more random and is slowly evolving with time.

It has begun during a sad and difficult time for us as a family but that doesn't mean it won’t be positive or uplifting. Despite all life throws at us, I’m a great believer in finding the positive and the good in every situation. No matter how bad life gets there is always someone else out there worse off than us. My Mum always reminded me of this when I was young and frustrated with life at school, friendships and things that just weren't going to plan. She’d try to make me understand that yes, life can be tough and sometimes downright unfair, but there is always a positive to be found and there will always be someone somewhere struggling more than me. It helped put some perspective on things. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't allow ourselves the time to wallow, grieve, cry, shout, feel let down; what it means for me is that we need to find what we have in our lives right now that we can be truly thankful for and feel blessed about. I think this changes our focus from the negativity of a situation to something more positive. It can be as simple as a hug from our child, or partner, it can be that we have our health, the sun is shining, we are able to smell the freshly mown grass. All things that many of us take for granted but that others maybe aren't able to experience for whatever reason.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

With this in mind I've found myself drawn more and more to certain blogs and Facebook pages out there that somehow reflect that feeling. I look for truth, honesty and depth. I find it uplifting and a great help to read that I haven’t been alone in my PND journey or that I’m not the only one to have lost someone close to me to heaven. I find strength from reading blogs that allow me to feel that the job I’m doing as a Mum right now is good enough and that there are others like me who struggle too but are honest enough to admit that they also get it wrong and that’s OK. Despite what we may display on our blogs, none of us are perfect and we ALL get it wrong sometimes. Perfection doesn't exist.

There seems to be a wave of Mummy wars going on out there that if I’m honest scares me. I can’t comprehend the animosity and judgement that exists within a community of women who you would think would support each other. It’s fair to say that it can get downright nasty out there, particularly on Facebook pages. We all have differing ideas of what constitutes good parenting, but does that give us the right to judge others quite so harshly. I’m not sure it does.

One thing I learnt whilst living in France was that people would often make up their own minds as to what was happening in our lives either through observing our situation or by talking to third parties. The information they gleaned therefore was often distorted and at times dangerously inaccurate and untrue. It caused us no end of grief and sadness to be misunderstood in this way. We can all perceive and judge someone else’s situation and their decisions from the safety of our own ivory towers, but unless we have the full facts and the bigger picture of that person’s situation and journey we should be very mindful of diving in there with our blinkered judgement, don’t you think?

That’s why now I've been blogging for a bit and reading other people’s blogs too, I’m much more mindful of what I choose to read. I want to learn more about how I can grow as a parent but without feeling judged. I want to be challenged in my thinking so that I look outside of the box and see that there is often another way. I want to be inspired to not give up on the job I’m doing but to keep being the best Mum I can be despite what life may throw my way. I want to know that I’m not alone and that I have other women out there like me who choose to walk with me hand in hand, helping each other along this challenging, ever changing, and evolving journey.

I don’t want to fight with you about whether my parenting values are better than yours. But I do want to share with you that no matter what life throws our way, we can still be the best parents possible to our children. Our intention is everything. We may get it wrong on a regular basis, we may make ill informed choices at times, but if our intention is to be better today than we were yesterday, then that’s good enough for me and I believe it may be enough for you too.


If you like what you read and would like to follow The Mad Mummy Musings you can subscribe to new posts by choosing your preferred method, you can also follow me on Twitter or catch up with what’s happening on Facebook too. I’d love to connect with you. Until next time xx

Silent Sunday 14/4/13

Thursday 11 April 2013

Prose For Thought #1 - Mum

Today I thought I’d link up with the lovely Victoria over at Verily Victoria Vocalises for her weekly ‘Prose for Thought’. I’ve always loved poetry and used to write quite a bit of it when I was at school. It’s not something I’ve ever nurtured and I’m not sure I’m really that good but this great link up gives a lovely opportunity to those of us who would like to nurture the poet in us and enables us to share our words with you in a slightly different way.

This poem is inspired by my Mum. When I knew she was leaving me, the huge sense of loss I felt and the feeling of everything being completely & utterly out of my control with what I could do to help hit me hard whilst in the hospital. It’s the weirdest feeling knowing there is nothing you can now do to make a change. Thank you for reading xx



I stand there watching
My heart is bleeding
Not sure I'm believing
Just what I’m seeing

It can’t be true
It can’t be real
They wouldn't take you
Not now, so soon

You gave me life
You kept me safe
With your amazing love
And constant grace

Life, you really are so cruel
You test me so
What have I done
To deserve this woe

I’m really not sure I can forgive you this
For taking her now, her presence I’ll miss
My Mum, my friend, a beautiful soul
Missing from my life, you've left a gaping hole

© Charlotte Hughes, 11 April 2013

Prose for Thought

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Toddlers, Tantrums & Mummy’s Sanity

We've just got back from a week away visiting family in the Home Counties where we used to live before moving to France and then settling here in the West Country. It’s always lovely to catch up with everyone although recent visits have been tinged with some sadness as Mum is no longer there to give us her wonderful, healing hugs. But this visit seemed easier somehow and didn't feel quite so sad, which has helped my heart heal just a little bit more.

We had planned to pop up in our caravan but the minus 7 temperatures at night put paid to those plans. It’s one thing having 2 adults huddling under a duvet in a rather nippy caravan, but it’s quite another with a 2 & 6 year old in tow. We therefore hired a small converted dairy barn and snuggled in there instead for the duration.

Whenever we are in new surroundings with the girls it always takes time to find the lay of the land; where the accident prone areas are and how much of a free reign we can give the girls. I hate that first half hour. It doesn't help when the first thing you spy is a square “glass” table in the lounge with the sharpest edges you have ever seen. Flash backs to holidaying in France with Belle head butting one similar came to mind far too quickly on arrival at our new destination.

The kids as always are excited, you are tired from the journey, apprehensive, clucking around everyone like a hen with no head, trying to make sure that everyone stays in one piece whilst trying to unpack, make tea, and get everyone to bed safely, fully aware that tonight you won’t be getting much sleep at all. Not that I get much sleep anyway. Sleep deprivation is my middle name and has been for 7 years now! Anyone wish to challenge me for the title?

Toddlers are a loose cannon at the best of times aren't they? Wild, free-spirited and feisty to say the least, and our little lovely is full of herself and pushing boundaries constantly. It can be exhausting trying to keep up (particularly for a 40 year old!) and as she has donned herself the nickname “The Thug”, from targeting her big sister (Belle has actually made the word “thug” a verb! “Mummy, Tink has just thugged me again!” Bless her) we really seem to have our work cut out for us at the moment.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Within 15 minutes of arriving at our new abode for the week, the girls had managed to ruck with each other and Tink came off worse in the scuffle. Just what you need after a 3 hour journey! Oh and the tantrums kept coming during our week away and on our way home. In fact the one in the car driving home topped everything we had witnessed thus far, but when you are confined to a tin box on wheels, stuck in a traffic jam with a toddler who refuses to go to sleep despite the fact that they really do need to, it makes for a rather emotive and eventful 2-3 hours home.

Belle was never really a tantrumer. She had her moments, but I was always able to get down to her level, talk to her, find a compromise, give her choice, alleviate her frustration and we could move forward together, two happy bunnies. Not with Tink ! No, it’s Tink’s way or the highway ! Mmmm not sure this is the ticket I bought but hey, we’ll give it our best shot. Having 2 or more kids with any age gap is never easy. We have 4 ½ years between ours and it causes copious amounts of arguments between the girls as Tink thinks she has a right to everything of Belle’s and Belle, quite rightly at times, disagrees.

Trying to keep the peace at the moment when tantrums ensue seems to have eluded me. I was doing so well with just one, but now having acquired a rather lovely “butter wouldn't melt” minx in our midst I’m lost as to how to cope at times. All the tried and tested techniques we used with Belle have all but failed. If her mind is set on something then she’ll fight to the death to get her way. No amount of reasoning, compromising, suggesting, empowering, you name it-ing works and I’m now beginning to flounder as to where I go with it all. I think an SOS call to “Toddler Calm” is called for as we've exhausted all options here. There are times when little Tink is willing to listen and we find a way through, but if the girls are both together and emotions are running high for both of them and Mum too, it makes for a very messy situation. So what to do?

I’m really stuck for ideas at the moment, so I’m going to ask you, my readers for your input & wise words. Any pearls of wisdom you may like to share? We've tried most of the things we did with Belle which always worked. I know that we have been through a very emotional time over the past 2 years and I’m sure that this hasn't helped our situation. The girls are very spirited individuals who know their own minds and I encourage that passion and energy. But I would just love to be able to keep some level of calm in place at those difficult times when emotions run high, allowing me the chance to address everyone’s wants and needs within our family unit.

So my lovelies, anyone have any suggestions you think may help? I’d love you to share them with this tired Mum of two in need of some peace within her ranks? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts xx Until next time xx


Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter: @charlieejhughes and you can also Like me on Facebook xx

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