Its a pyjama party! #stuckonyou

Last year we were lucky enough to get the chance to review a great lunchbox from Stuck on You. It has lasted the whole year of pack ups every day and our little girl has loved using it. Helped that her best friend ordered one too! 🙂 So i was delighted to review another one of the company’s products this year. We went for a less school item and more a relaxed, duvet day  item and its safe to say that with my youngest it has been a real hit.

It is a sweet little cotton tee and pyjama shorts that arrived in perfect timing for when the temperatures started to go up and bedtimes were a little tricky in the heat. You can choose from different colours but my little girlie girl chose pink. The it comes to the very serious business of what to have as the motif on the t shirt. Be warned there are a LOT of options and so your little one could take quite a long time deciding! 🙂

My little girl was having a bit of a thing with Ice-creams lately..who can blame her? So i guessed that it might be a favourite with her. She calls them ‘lolly-ices’ which is a very scouse term that has taken us a good while to get used to. It adds a real personal touch, choosing the design and the font and gets them involved in choosing which is VERY important part of my daughter’s day. I haven’t had any influence over what she will wear for a long time!! 😉

The top easily doubles as a regular tee shirt for the day and i even think you can get away withe the cute little cotton shorts in the day too! Id quite like a pair they looks so comfy!! Soft brushed cotton with a little tie to the waist, ideal if you still have a little one in pull ups at night.

It was love at first sight for our littlest girl. She gets a lot of hand-me-downs as the fourth girl and very rarely gets anything new. Which is fine and how it should likely be in a family with so many siblings. The best form of recycling. But occasionally its nice to have a treat and this little set was most assuredly that for her.

On these longer days of summer its lovely to be able to lounge around a bit more and take your time facing the day and she looks so comfy in these jammies. Though it does have to be said my daughter doesnt do an whole lot of ‘lounging’ at any time of the day! She is full throttle ahead most of the time. Looks like these jammies are well up for that job though!!

Shame they don’t do they in an adult size!! 🙂


This is a partnered post  


Being an adventurous parent #parenting

I have a regular blog that drops into my mailbox every now and then. Its a blog written by the pastor of a church in America. Before you recoil and think its all happy clappy…bear with me. You have probably read this fella’s post before. There was a blog post of his that went huge and it was not because it was telling you how to save your souls but it was funny. Very funny. I might have actually laughed out loud as he re-rold his story of a holiday with small children. Then there was another one, that touched the worn out heart of every one of us running this parenting marathon. He is a writer of truth, sensitivity, compassion and razor sharp humour. I really really enjoy his blog.

A few weeks ago when i was sat by the side of the most incredible harbour in the world. Watching a light show of epic proportions and feeling a little bit overwhelmed by a) being far away from my loved ones and b) the mountain that stands before us in the shape of a future decisions. I stumbled across a rare moment of free wifi (that actually worked!) and a few downloaded emails popped onto my screen. Relishing a little in the rare moment of actually being able to read an email at an acceptable time of the day. I opened up an email from the actual pastor and it was like a word to my soul. Speaking to me across the oceans and thousands of miles.

Whilst i had been travelling my hashtag had been #adventurers. I had felt like it was a massive adventure. I had been very nervous about flying to Australia by myself. Something i wouldn’t have thought twice about 20 odd years ago but now it felt different. So i felt like i was trying to channel some of that adventurous spirit of old. The one that had backpacked through Europe and travelled from one side of Canada to the other by train.

I think somewhere on this trip it had started to re-ignite..just a little!

I have re-posted what he had written below. I love his description of his childhood. Love that his parents sounded like they were a little bit rebellious and took some risks, stepped away from toeing the line. Love that they obviously subscribed to the school of thought that believed that not all that is valuable in life can be learned in a classroom.

Teaching them that change is not something to be feared. That taking an opportunity, regardless of outcome, is a chance to grow and learn more about who we are.

That sometimes you have to stepping outside of your boundaries is something your future self is really going to thank you for!

Please do have a read….

Original post: What I learned from a 1972 Dodge Van by Steve Weins


I grew up in the post-Vietnam, pre-Reagan seventies. We had a 1972 Dodge Van, which was General Lee orange, emblazoned around the middle with a thick, white stripe. It got four miles to the gallon when it was coasting downhill, and we drove it everywhere, even during the gas crisis.

This was before mini-vans and seatbelts. When I was a kid, bench seats were the norm in cars, and mostly, everybody just sat up front. I think most front benches could comfortably seat thirteen across. It is stunning how quickly my mom could pump the breaks while simultaneously stopping her three kids from catapulting head first through the windshield, all with her superhuman right arm.

When I was seven, our family spent two weeks driving up the California coast, with no reservations, and no plans, in that 1972 Dodge Van. My mom was about six months pregnant with my youngest sister. Those were the days when pregnant women wore cotton shirts with the word “baby” hovering above a stitched arrow which pointed towards their bellies. The seventies were not known for their subtlety.

That trip was magical. I remember choking down cheap pancakes at dollar diners, and swimming in hotel pools (it is an irrefutable fact that no matter where you take your kids on vacation, they really only want to be in the pool). We slowly wound our way up Highway One, the sun cutting the ocean into a hundred million diamonds, just for us.

We went all the way up into Washington, but we promptly turned around at the border, and I’m still not sure why. Perhaps we ran out of energy, or money. Perhaps we had no interest in the Space Needle. I don’t remember much about the way back. A picture tells a story of a time that I fell, scraping my hands and knees on the rocks while hiking. I can still see that picture in my mind, though I’m sure it’s been lost for years. I’m wearing cut off jeans (very high on the thigh, with the white pocket sneaking out from underneath the frayed edge of the blue denim), knee high socks, and a blue skateboarding shirt with white piping on the sleeves. My mom is standing next to me, wearing (not kidding) her pregnancy shirt with the arrow on it. I am proudly showing the camera my bloody hands while my California 1970′s afro frames my face, the Redwoods towering in the background, telling their stories in whispers and groans.

I remember another trip in that van, when my parents kidnapped us from school one Friday morning, and drove us 90 miles south to Anaheim, where we checked into another cheap motel (and, of course, we swam in the pool until our feet bled from the concrete pool bed). At night, we went to the Angels game, where I saw Rod Carew hit a blistering line drive into the stands, striking an older gentleman and stopping play for several minutes. The next day, we stayed at Disneyland until very late at night, arriving back home in the early morning silence of Junewood Court, the sleepy street on which I learned to ride my bike. My parents scooped us out of our blanket cocoons,  and snuck us into our beds without us making a sound. We’d wake up the next morning wondering if it was all a dream, until we felt the bottoms of our feet, still blistered from the motel pool. We’d smile and know that for a day, we were immortal.

These are the memories I have as a kid: I grew up with parents who thought it was perfectly normal to kidnap us from school to drive to Anaheim, and to drive north up the coast without a plan. In the eighties, my dad would sometimes come home with the newest Atari 2600 cartridge (Space Invaders, Asteroids, Missile Command), which I thought was for us kids, until I realized they played it late into the night after we were asleep. I have other memories, of course I do. It wasn’t all giddy and care-free in our house. But those trips in that van are the memories that cascaded over me today, as I remembered the boy that I was, and the man that I am.

I am the child of adventurers. Those memories come into my consciousness like the tide, rising and reminding me who I am and what I need to do with my life, when I am not sure anymore.

And so I wanted to say thank you, mom and dad. For not following the rules. For taking us past the boundaries. For teaching us to stretch and grow and become more than we thought we could.

Thank you.


Taking a hit…

The week before christmas, 6 days before to be exact we had a car crash. Not a horrendously bad one but enough of one that has now seen our faithful Seat disappear to the salvagers and left us with the task of finding another car. YAY..or not.

It was a normal after school day and i was taking my daughter (and everybody else and dog) to her ballet lesson. Driving down a little residential street that i have drive thousands of times before. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a car coming up to a give way on my left and had that sudden horror dawn on me ‘he isnt going to stop!’ It seemed like ages whilst that thought tore around my head but it was obviously actually seconds. The man driving the other car had missed a give way and (i think) assumed that the road he was on just carried on..and he ploughed into the passenger side of my car, rendering his car completely un-driveable and sending me and the kids across the road, narrowly missing a parked van and a tree.

It seemed like a decade before the car stopped..but again wouldnt have been long….then what i remember most was the screaming…screaming…screaming. My daughter who was in the passenger side was pretty much inconsolable and i was grabbing her hands saying frantically ‘are you okay, are you hurt, are you okay’ whilst at the same times scanning the other kids to check they were okay. My son was also very very upset and my eldest daughter sat hugging the dog, with huge tears rolling down her face and her scared eyes searching out my own. It’s okay I repeat at her, slower this time but holding her gaze, trying to re-assure her.

My two youngest both looked bewildered and a little bemused by the events around them. I guess they don’t really understand the concept of danger in the same way. Their world was still the same, just maybe shifted to the right a bit..but everyone that makes sense to them in the car was present and correct and still the same.

I realised that i hadn’t got out of the car to speak to the other driver and as i did, out of the corner of my eye i saw a car go past and for a split second i thought we were a victim of a hit and run. But they had managed to push their car out of the way and it was just to the side of ours. I yelled at them, outraged that someone would dare drive into a car full of the most precious things on earth and then when i saw that they were concerned and worried about the kids i calmed down a bit and carried on trying to comfort my very upset passengers.

Injecting a bit of humour into the whole thing my daughter who was sobbing uncontrollably blurted out when i asked her for the millionth time if she was hurt. “im not hurt mummy, Im just scared you are going to go to prison now!’ ah bless. I made sure i said nice and loudly so that the other driver could hear ‘It wasn’t my fault, everything will be fine!”

Anyway an amazing friend came to my rescue and we got the children home and then my OH went and took pictures and chatted to the driver…etc…

Then what followed was the other nightmare and discomfort of being involved in anything like this…the HOURS of your life you then spend on the phone trying to sort out the insurance…

Good Lord..There must be a way to charge his insurance company for that. We have lost entire mornings, afternoons and evenings on the phone..sorting things out.

Today, the news from our insurers is that our car is a complete loss and so we are now in the position of having to find another one..relatively quickly as the hire car we have has to, apparently, be returned in 5-10 days time…

no stress there then…

Im not a nervous driver I wouldnt say but it has made me worry about people approaching give ways and it enforces the sad fact that actually you can be the best driver in the world but that means jack if you happen to come across the worst driver in the world. I hugged my kids tighter when we were home and safe and had one of those ‘this is all that really matters’ moments. For that, the safety of my kids, i am deeply thankful. For loosing our car, having to find another one super quick, hours on the phone, driving a mini 7 seater car that we can’t even fit a buggy in..I would like to seriously kick someones BUTT



The last time we saw our car. Thanks for all those miles 🙂



we are the dancers..

well Im not..but maybe like to think i am but i have girls so there is much dancing in our house..the boys get involved too!

Both my older girls dance at the same balletschool. One of them recently had a bit of an issue with going to a lesson which resulted in a nearly half hour stand off between said daughter and me about whether or not she would go into the class. Has to be said this was..outside, in the cold and there were 4 other kids slowly getting cheesed off. I tried every thing possible to convince her to go back in but she wouldn’t have it and in the end, to cut along and gory story short, I told her that we weren’t going to freeze waiting for her to decide what she wanted to do and that she had to come home with me, as she had missed most of the lesson anyway and then she would be going to apologise to her teacher at the next lesson.

At the next lesson, after my daughter had gone happily in. The ballet teacher grabbed my OH and told him that our daughter was very talented at ballet and had exactly the right kind of personality for it!!

er…excuse me? so the right personality for ballet is to be obstinate and stubborn? hmmmmm….really?

She obviously felt so strongly about it that she repeated it to me next time i dropped the girls off and also added ‘its important not to squash these strong characters!’

to which i responded… ‘yes i totally agree with you..but parenting those strong characters is no picnic!’

She gave me a wry smile…im thinking she may have, herself, fit into that category. 😉




Can you open your eyes?

I think i mentioned last week that i recently ran a mum’s photography workshop. Since then i have been thinking of new ways of explaining this thing we do when we try and capture the details of our day to day…

I have ideas for projects and things to pursue…ah if i could just find the time…


Meanwhile though..i thought id share a little trick i use to get my kids to look at me when im taking a picture (i have to say this rarely works anymore because my kids are SO used to it!) But give it a try.

Tell your kid you are going to play a counting game and they have to sit with their eyes closed and count to 3 or any number really..Not to high otherwise they are going to go off and get bored…BUT a number..i usually stick with three. Then tell them when you get to three i want you to open your eyes. I usually tell my kids things like ‘ah i bet you can’t do it..i bet you can’t keep them shut, i bet you’ll peek’ we all know how competitive kids are!!…

anyway get yourself ready, just above their eyeline and focus on their eyes and count…1…2….3… Eyes open and looking straight at you…works pretty good on kids who won’t stay still!!

Here is my own Merida to demonstrate….

Here we are counting….compose your shot..focus..and…

boom..eyes wide open and with glasses that is particularly important!! She was talking to me as well FYI…but then she rarely stops doing that anyhoo…

why don’t you try it?