Review: Just for Tiny People Teepee

My three children love to be able to hide away in their own little imaginary world with dens and tents.  So, when I received the Nautical Themed Magical Teepee  from Just for Tiny People, I couldn’t wait to get it out of the box.

I have to admit that I was a bit worried about having to set up a teepee – I am not very practical – but it was already on the poles with the ribbons tied up, so within minutes, it was proudly standing in the playroom. (more…)

Being surrounded by inspiring women


Yesterday was International Women’s Day – a global day that celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.  As a result, I have been thinking about women who have inspired me and continue to inspire me.

When I think of strong inspiring women, I don’t think of famous females on television, in sport, in politics or any other public place.  Instead, I find myself thinking of women who are around me and who I can relate to.   Some of them I may know in person and others just through the powers of the web. (more…)

How embarrassing can a three year old be?


Hannah and Nathaniel love going to Church and I enjoy being able to take them and focus on God while they play happily.  Unfortunately, this Sunday things weren’t as relaxed as they might have been.

As I’ve said before in my post on Church in Telford, there is a big blue mat for the younger children to play on while the service takes place.  So far, this has worked well and I’ve sat next to the mat to keep an eye on Nathaniel and Alex while listening to the service.  However, this week Nathaniel had other ideas during the sermon. (more…)

When to start school?

There has been lots of debates this week in the news and on social media about the delaying the start of school for summer-born or premature children.  I have read them with interest as a teacher and a parent and these are my view on when to start school.

The first thing that stuck out for me is how many parents didn’t seem to be aware that they could delay their child starting school.  Legally, a child doesn’t have to start until the September after they are five years old, however, it is generally accepted that children start school the September after their fourth birthday.  In fact, parents are actively encouraged to apply for a school place for their four year old by receiving application forms through the post with deadlines to apply by. (more…)

The perfect painting for me

It’s a bit late but Valentine’s Day came and went without any dramas. In fact, I had a lovely day as spent in with some very dear friends.

With regards to buying myself something to mark my new start in life after divorce, I decided to buy a painting to go in my new decorated lounge.  The choice of a painter was quite easy as I had always admired a painting that hung above the sofa of a friend of mine and knew that I wanted one of his paintings in my house too.


The panic of organising a child’s birthday party

Hannah is going to turn six in less than two weeks, although she has been counting down the months, weeks and days since Christmas as she knew that her birthday was the first one in our family after Christmas.  But despite Hannah telling me for two months that it is her birthday soon, I seem to have found that time has crept up on me and I have done nothing about it. (more…)

Review: Anita Maternity Rose Illusion Nursing Bra

bra 3I’m in the minority because I’m still breastfeeding my 20 month son.  While I love breastfeeding him once or twice a day, I must admit that I am totally fed up of the plain nursing bras and have missed my more attractive usual bras.

However, I have discovered that there are nursing bras out there that look as good as a usual bra.  I have been wearing the Anita Maternity Rose Illusion Nursing Bra for the last couple of weeks and I think I will actually miss breastfeeding as it is so gorgeous. (more…)

Managing money in three easy steps

I’ve always been careful with money but since only having one income and becoming a single mum, I have to be even more careful with the budget.  I have three ways of budgeting and I recently shared them with my sister who, won’t mind me telling you, was constantly going overdrawn and being charged for it.  Since we sat down for an hour and I told her my three ways of managing money, she hasn’t been overdrawn (even with Christmas to buy for) and has enough money for treats.

There is nothing magical in what I do, it is simply about being organised.  In the hope that I may be able to help others, here are my three ways to budget. (more…)

Making tough choices as a parent

As a parent you make choices every day about your children.  What they should wear.  What they will eat for dinner.  When they will go to bed.  Whether they can go for a sleepover or not.  And so it goes on.  A day doesn’t pass when I don’t make decisions for my children.

But sometimes, as a parent, you have to make very tough choices.  Not the every day decisions but life-changing decisions.

Last year, I was faced with having to make this type of decision that would impact not only on my life, but also the lives of my six children.  And, as a single parent, I had to make the decision by myself.  It was a huge responsibility to make the right choice. (more…)

First Valentine’s Day after divorce

It’s Valentine’s Day in less than a week!

My first Valentine’s Day after divorce and what would have been my 20th Wedding Anniversary.

Yes, I got married on Valentine’s Day.  A lovely romantic idea – a wedding on February 14th.  Until you get divorced, then it is a little less pleasant when you see red roses and hearts everywhere reminding you of not just one but two special dates. (more…)

My word of the year – Believe

It is now February – where did January go? – so I’m a bit behind but along with a long list of New Year Resolutions, I have chosen a word to inspire me this year.  It has taken me some time to think of that word as one word never seemed enough.  But I’ve finally settled on:


Just a simple word, yet for me, I feel it says everything that I want 2015 to be. (more…)

How to achieve goals as a busy working mum

Like many in January, I started to think about what I wanted to achieve by the end of the year.  As usual, for me, I have a long list which is fine in theory but managing it all can seem a little overwhelming due to the lack of time at the end of each day, especially when I have five children at home.

So, this year I’m going to try and more organised and focused approach to achieve goals that I set in January.

First, I have written down my goals that I want to achieve by the end of 2015.  By writing them down rather than just having a few ideas in my head, I can keep looking at it and keep focused.   (more…)

What my children get up to when I’m on the toilet

So, this morning, like most mornings, I needed to use the toilet – it’s ok, this post isn’t about my toilet activities so you’re safe to continue reading!

Now I knew I would be there longer than a minute so, as usual, I scanned the lounge and playroom to see what my three small ones were up to.  There they were – all busy in the playroom playing with various toys and completely oblivious to me.

Great – a few minutes of peace, I thought.  So I quietly crept across the lounge, opened and closed the stairgate with as least noise as possible and nipped to the little room. (more…)

15 Best Things about Being Single

best things about being single

Having been in a relationship for twenty years – my whole adult life – it felt a little strange to be single at first.  But nearly two years since our separation, I am incredibly happy to be single so I have written a short list of the best things about being single.   That’s not to say that being single is better than being married – obviously there are good and bad bits of both – but this is my list of why I’m happily single: (more…)

Church in Telford

River Community Church in Telford

I think that I can cross one thing off my goal list that I wrote in Looking forward to 2015. 

I have been to a Church in Telford for the last two weeks and think that it may be the one for me and Hannah, Nathaniel and Alex.

It is very different to our large church that we used to attend in Exeter that had many leaders, technology, children’s groups and many activities running during the week.  The River Church in Telford is much smaller and very informal.  In fact, I wanted to ask some questions before I went and messaged the Paster on Facebook as there is no office or administration team.  He didn’t seem to mind chatting online to me at 10pm in the evening and made me feel that it would be worth coming once to see what I thought.  To be honest, as it was so different, I wasn’t sure that I would like it. (more…)

How many children is too many?

With 6 children, I usually feel as though my family is on the large side (and most of my friends and family would agree).  However, after watching ’16 Kids and Counting’ recently, I found myself feeling that my family is small and it isn’t often that I say that!

So, how many children is too many?  I know some would say that I have too many.  Afer all, six is not the average number of children in the UK.  In fact, only 14% of families with children have three children or more (according to the ONS) so I must be in a very small minority that has six or more.  Does being in the minority mean that the majority feel that I have too many children?  Or do they feel that six would be too many for them? (more…)

Tips to reduce monthly outgoings

budgeting mum large family

Like a lot of people, I don’t have a bottomless bank account and there’s not usually much left in it at the end of each month.  However, I have learnt some ways to save a bit of money here and there to reduce monthly outgoings.

The first thing that I did was start an excel spreadsheet with all the monthly outgoings on it and my income.  This really helps to know exactly how much is needed each month and whether there is a shortfall.  But if you are creating an accounts sheet, don’t forget to account for the small things as well as the big things.  So as well as the mortgage/rent, allocate how much is needed for car parking, mother and toddler groups etc. (more…)

20 Top Tips for Juggling Work and Children

top tips for juggling work and children

Ask any working mum (no matter how many children they have) how they manage with with work and children and they will tell you that it is a juggling act.

And I couldn’t agree more.  However, I have to admit that I am sometimes not the best juggler and I do drop balls.  Two hands aren’t always enough.  But I am learning that so long as there are no major disasters, dropping the odd ball is fine – you just pick it up again.

Here are my 20 top tips for juggling work and children: (more…)

Looking forward to 2015


Now that it’s 2015 and after my Looking back at 2014 post, I want to look forward.   It is not healthy to keep looking backwards – your neck starts to ache and you may miss something fantastic in front of you.

As I have discovered, you can’t plan things too much – life has a tendency to take twists and turns that you don’t always expect – but I will hopefully have less dramas than in 2013 and 2014, so I am going to make some goals for 2015. (more…)

Looking back at 2014

The last day of the year and the time when traditionally we look back.

When 2014 started, I had no idea that it would end so differently.   My year took some expected and some unexpected turns.

For example, I started the year married (although separated), owning my own home, running a couple of businesses, on maternity leave from my teaching post and living in Devon. (more…)

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