O5rcB_NXbIeHbJV7JFNcdfqL-vY Mummy From The Heart...

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Dear So and So - The weekend away edition

Dear So and So at Mummy from the Heart

If you've been blogging for as long as me (6-7 years in case you are wondering) you are bound to remember the Dear So and So linky that used to be run by Kat over at 3 Bedroom Bungalow. Kat hasn't been blogging for quite some time now and has kindly said she's happy for me to run Dear So and So as a linky. Predominately I'll be posting this each Tuesday for my benefit but I'll put a linky on it and if you fancy joining me I'll happily come visit and comment and share your post socially.

Dear So and So is open to interpretation but basically you write down all those letters or notes that are bubbling away in your head. Here are some links to old posts of mine which will give you an idea but like I said post about whatever you fancy and I've found in the past this format works super well for ranty type posts!

Dear Weather,

Come on!  What are you thinking? It practically Easter and ever since I've been a tiny girl the weather has been nice at Easter. We headed down the coast for three nights to enjoy time as a family and you were just miserable. The wind and rain meant we didn't even see the glorious sandy beach that was right behind the flood barrier!

Not happy! Windswept Mich
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Dear Park Holidays,

I have never been to a caravan park where you can not drive close to your caravan nor where there are no paths through the park. When the weather is rainy and the grass has just been cut it means you get a caravan full of grass and when you are in one that is not even big enough to swing a cat it really is pretty darn annoying. I think we can safely say we won't be back. Yes, alright I admit we didn't pay much for this break but a good job when the toilet blocked at 6am on the first day and we had to trek the site to find a toilet to use as the main building was not open. Then as for the cold 'hot' water, the carpet full of dog hairs and dust, the missing lights and the absence of a duvet and pillows for my son we can safely say you have not impressed us.

So glad to be back home, Michelle
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Hey twinnies,

I was so proud of you today when you went swimming on your own for the first time. Those swimming lessons are really paying off and I can see your perseverance and skill. Yes my heart was in my throat as I sat on the side and watched you, making sure you did not head off into the deeper end but I knew it was important to let you do this and give you some freedom to grow and develop.

Love you both so much, Mummy xx
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Dear Pizza Express,

Our family have never been massive fans of yours. To be honest you were probably always our least favourite of the pizza brands and we just visited you sometimes if we had vouchers to use but with this last meal you changed all that. Your branch at Ashford designer outlet centre was exceptional, our waiter Mason and the manager were so attentive and fabulous, they really made our weekend. The food was great, the kids love that you now have chocolate brownie available on the kids menu and just everything about our two hours was great. We chatted and laughed from start to finish. Never in years have we seen such good and friendly service. It was perfect!

Yours sincerely, Happiest customer ever
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Darling husband,

Sorry our break wasn't quite what we had hoped for, a 4ft bed for the two of us wasn't really adequate and the lack of heating in the caravan was a problem but I'm still glad I got you away for a couple of days, It meant you disengaged from work and took time to relax and recharge. I'm looking forward to us all spending the day together Monday, no matter what we do.

Love you babe, Mich xx
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Hey Miss E,

When you told me you hate my computer as it takes up too much of my time I listened to you. There was I thinking I was careful to just do my work when you were not about but your perception is that I still spend too much time on here so I need to be even more careful.  You children are far more important to me than any time spent on this PC and I must show you that.

Thanks for being so honest with me, love you Mummy x
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Dear Home,

Oh how I love you.  We are so blessed to live here and I never want to take all this for granted. To arrive home and the house is warm, our bed is comfy, there is food in the cupboards and I'm able to sit down and use the electricity and wi-fi to type this post.  Life is good.

With gratitude, Mich x

Now over to you, do you have any letters or notes that you want to share?



Also happy to link up wth Michelle at Bod for Tea -
Share the Joy linky at bodfortea.co.uk
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Monday, 30 March 2015

Win a signed copy of The Snarling of Wolves by Vivian French


I’ve posted quite a few times about my love of reading. For me there is nothing quite like an afternoon snuggled up on the sofa with a good book.  Of course with three children it now feels a bit decadent to do that but every so often when they are at school I make sure I take the opportunity. Many busy Mums would treat themselves with a manicure or massage but for me a good book with a cuppa and cake wins every time.

I also like to read in front of them or when they are around as I think it is so important in this digital age for them to see that reading is a pleasurable pastime as well as a great way to educate yourself. I’ve avoided going down the ebook route as it would be all too easy for the kids to think I am just playing a game or surfing Facebook. So when they see me with my bible first thing in the morning or my chic-lit when I’m relaxing on my bed they know exactly what I’m up to and I’m so pleased to see them following in my footsteps.

JJ, who is 11 years old is an avid reader and I really enjoy when he comes and sits with me and tells me what happened in the latest book he just finished. Apparently the Maze Runner (by James Dashner) has a sad ending, or so he told me yesterday and then he has wasted no time and is straight onto his next book and is planning to take this away with us to the caravan this weekend.

Miss M is developing in the same way and can often be found reading but her enjoyment seems to come from non-fiction and recently we have had loads of how to care for your dog and puppy books from the library.  We don’t have a dog mind, she is just getting ready for the future and she is 7, lol!

Then there is her twin, Miss E and she is dyslexic so reading can be a real challenge for her but we have seen massive leaps forward in this last year and when we take turns to read pages this seems to do her self-esteem the world of good. What Miss E is really fantastic with is her creativity, she is a budding artist and storyteller and whilst she may find it hard to get the words onto paper in a manner that others can read her expression and imagination are superb.

I’m going to share this short YouTube clip with Miss E when she is home later.  In it Vivian French the well-known children’s author, illustrator and playwright shares her top tips for writing a good story. I know these simple tips will inspire Miss E to keep going and to write her stories out, after all it is the creation of the story and the building of the characters that is far more difficult than actually capturing well-spelt words on a page.



Vivian French is just one of many authors who has recently been visiting schools (in Birmingham this time but they go all over the England and Scotland) as part of the Scottish Friendly book tour. There are six wonderful tours that take place each year and any school can apply to be part of the tour. Different famous authors go into the schools and share their story and expertise with the children with the aim of inspiring a love of reading, writing and illustration. These tours really are wonderful and certainly every school should aim to have a published author or poet come in and inspire the children at least once a year; my kids school did last year and they loved it and have been making up crazy rhymes ever since.


Giveaway
I’m really pleased to offer you the chance to win a signed copy of one of Vivian French’s books - The Snarling of Wolves. All you have to do is answer one question below. The answer can be found by visiting this page.

Question - Where did the intrepid touring team head south to with Vivian French?

Answers - 
A - Birmingham
B - Brighton
C – Bristol

Terms and Conditions –
This giveaway will close at 11.59pm on Sunday 12th April 2015. The one winner will be chosen at random. You must be over 18 years of age to enter and can only enter once (and you must provide a way to get in contact with you - twitter handle, email address, link to your blog etc). The prize is one signed copy of Vivian French’s book ‘The Snarling of Wolves’. The prize is not transferable and there is no cash alternative. Scottish Friendly are responsible for the fulfilment of this prize. The winner will be announced on this blog and twitter within 7 days of the giveaway close. The winner will have 14 days from announcement to email/ tweet me and provide their postal address. If they do not contact me I will re-draw.


Wishing you the very best of luck!


Competitions at ThePrizeFinder
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If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, 26 March 2015

I only need one Reason to be Cheerful this week! My Dad


It's been a funny old week as my Dad has been in hospital from Monday through to Saturday. My faith has meant that I've not been stressing too badly despite it being his heart but it was so good to get to see him on Friday and to get a hug and know that was being taken good care of.

He's had a pacemaker fitted and three stents inserted into a blocked artery and since then he seems to be stabilising and has become well enough to come home, which is fantastic.  Of course he needs good rest for the next week and then recovery over the following weeks but I'm very excited that come July when we all go away together to Bournemouth he should be fitter than ever and we will really be able to enjoy our summer holiday.

Something like this makes you really think about how much you love your parents. Thursday night was a bit touch and go with Dad after his operation as his heart was racing and they had to give him a massive drug cocktail to regulate it. For me, praying has made all the difference and I'm so thankful Dad has come through this looking well and hopefully with many years yet.

I've been thinking about what it is I love about my Dad and of course he is not perfect, who of us is? But he has been really instrumental in forming who I am. We have lots of similarities and both like to take charge in a difficult situation. I know that I can always depend on him, one phone call and he would drive the length of the country for me and I'd do the same for him.

Here are a few other things that I love about him -
  • He grew up in poverty but instead of settling with his lot in life he fought to buy a house and have all he needed for his family. Those 3 jobs he used to do paid off, I certainly gained a great work ethic from him.
  • He puts his family first all the time
  • He is genuine, what you see is what you get
  • He has a visible sense of pride in any job he does
  • He is so simple and never really desires anything material
  • He is dependable and if he commits to something he will carry through
  • He is fiercely protective of those he loves
  • He is generous beyond measure
  • He taught me the difference between right and wrong
  • He taught me to keep going when it seemed things were tough, we get through them
  • He makes himself available when I need him
  • He is a fabulous Grandad and all three of my kids love to spend time with him
I suspect I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. I love my Dad and I'm so glad to have him in my life (and yes Mum I adore you too as I know it will be you reading this).



I'm linking this post up with Becky at Lakes Single Mum for Reasons to be Cheerful (#R2BC). Why don't you come and join us and share what is making you grateful right now?


Share the Joy linky at bodfortea.co.uk
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If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, 23 March 2015

Guest Post: Tackling Hate and Discrimination For Future Generations.


I heard about a new children's book recently and sadly didn't have time to review and write about it but I'm really happy to share this guest post from the books author. Here Emma Leverton shares with us some ideas of how we can raise our children to help ensure they do not become prejudged. No child is born with prejudice and the concept creator Bobby Thandi hopes that Fly Guys will help to ensure no child develops it.

Fly Guys: Monday Madness tells the fun story of two unlikely best friends, a fly called Fuzz and 5-year-old Alice. Their mop-based adventure to the moon is brought crashing back to Earth when Alice’s Dad attempts to swat Fuzz.  When Fuzz asks Alice why her Dad hates flies, the story takes a thoughtful turn and raises questions about difference, diversity and friendship.

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Hate crimes. Racism. War. Injustice. Hate and discrimination exists in multiple forms and on all corners of the globe, but what can we do to tackle it? It’s understandable that people can feel helpless in the face of what seems like such a grim reality, but just because you can’t single-handedly prevent the war in Syria or end starvation in Africa doesn’t mean that you can’t make your positive mark on society. By quelling the spread of hate and discrimination in our day to day lives, we can pave a new direction for future generations. Be it in a small or big way, through tackling discrimination you too can send a message that certain forms of behaviour, aggression and hostility are unacceptable and encourage a happier, peaceful society for the future.

Spread the love
I believe that the first step to preventing hate and discrimination is to take note from our 1960’s forbearers. Spread the love a little. Give up your seat on the bus. Help carry an old persons shopping. Smile and say ‘Good Morning’ to a stranger. For a bigger impact, pledge a random act of kindness every week, month or year. There are some great examples of what people have been getting up to here. Fuzz and Alice, the main characters in Fly Guys Monday Madness, demonstrate to children that we can be friends with those who are different to us.

Call out negative stereotypes
One of the primary ways hate and discrimination is harboured is through bigotry. Allowing negative and unfair statements to be a part of our discussions on minority groups for example, entrenches this discrimination into our society. The next time you hear someone being rude to others, stand up to them like Alice does in Fly Guys when Fuzz is being mistreated.

Contribute to your local community
There are plenty of grassroots movements throughout the country that do what they can to help their local community and increase cohesion. Read your regional news paper or contact your local Church to find out about causes near you and get involved. Some great causes around my area include The Real Junk Food Project, Equality Leeds and Leeds Children’s Charity.

Talk about it
Don’t brush hatred under the carpet- ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away. Share your hopes and fears and don’t shy away from both learning and talking about some of the bigger examples of hatred and discrimination with your little ones. Reading Fly Guys to your children is a perfect way to start this conversation.

Don’t let children be victims of prejudice
If we allow children to be pigeonholed based on things like religion, class, colour, creed or disability, they too can become a victim of prejudice and hate. No child is born with prejudice, and if children don’t experience an environment of love and equality, we’re perpetuating the problem for generations to come.

Education, education, education
One key thing that we can do to prevent hatred and prejudice in the years to come is to educate our children so that they can learn to understand, love and respect difference and diversity. Expose children to different cultures, religions and backgrounds. Encourage them to mix with all kinds of children, and get them watching television shows and reading books that hold the message you want to share with them. Mandip Sahota, Private Secretary to Minister of State at Foreign & Commonwealth Office for the UK Government, says that Fly Guys is one such children’s book that can help tackle hatred and prejudice.At a time when we hear reports of prejudice on the increase, the challenge is how to promote equality. Fly Guys is a fun story with a reassuring reminder – children are not born with prejudice.”

The book’s creator Bobby Thandi said “Fly Guys helps parents and teachers to broach the tricky subject of prejudice. The main challenge was writing a book that deals with prejudice in a fun yet effective way to engage children. No child is born with prejudice and I’d love to keep it that way."

We all have to work within our limited parameters to improve the situations around us. This is why, in our day to day actions, we must treat others with love and respect regardless of differences. I am very fortunate indeed to be able to share my passion for equality with children through the Fly Guys Series. I can act in accordance with my own will, exercise my love and compassion for others, and share it with those willing to listen. The more people who realise that they too, can make a difference by tackling hate and discrimination, the better a place this world will become.

Emma Leverton is an Author, Freelance Writer and Editor from Yorkshire, UK. The Fly Guys stories are her first book series. Monday Madness is available to buy on Amazon. You can see more of what she gets up to at www.writesaidlev.com


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If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Guest Post: What to Say When a Baby is Born with Down’s Syndrome

I am super pleased to host this guest post for World Down's Syndrome day today from a wonderful friend of mine, Hayley Goleniowska. I met Hayley a number of years ago at one of the many blogging events we attend and within minutes I could tell she is someone I'd like to know more and we got to share a fab dinner together at the MAD blog awards in 2013. She has a gentle elegance and radiates warmth but don't underestimate her as this lady is made of tough stuff!

Hayley is the mum of two beautiful girls and her second born, Natty has Down's syndrome and due to some of the unfavourable responses Hayley has received since having Natty she is working tirelessly to help educate people and change wrong perceptions of those living with Down's syndrome.

Hayley brings her expertise on talking about Down's Syndrome for New Parents to Fink Cards where she will publish a new pack to help new parents find the early years' support they need. These cards are designed to spark important conversations at a time when perhaps people might not know what to say. For fear of saying something insensitive, some people simply say nothing when a baby has received an unexpected diagnosis of Downs’s syndrome. However here is Hayley's excellent advice:

Don’t be afraid to say something
If your words are meant with kindness saying something is always better than saying nothing at all.

Listen
Just as important as starting a conversation is the ability to listen. New parents might want to talk about their feelings, their fears and concerns or they might simply wish to chat about everyday things over a cuppa. A great source of support and friendship will be able to sit and listen.

Congratulate the family on their new arrival
Take flowers, champagne, send a card. Ask to see a photograph. Ask how much the baby weighs and what his or her name is.

In fact ask and say all the same things you would if the baby did not have Down’s syndrome.

Be realistic
I found it enormously helpful when friends acknowledged the challenges and worries that lay ahead of us, rather than glossing over them. Over-optimism can be insincere, but being positive and realistic about what all children can achieve with support is important.

Avoid outdated language and clich├ęs
Here is a little baby who has an extra chromosome. She has Down’s syndrome and it is just a part of who she is. She will be a unique individual more like her own family than any other child with Down’s syndrome.

Offer support and help
Kind offers of help in the form of cooking a meal, washing up, looking after siblings, watching baby while mum gets some sleep are always welcome.

Practical gifts go along way too, like a hamper of wholesome snacks for parents spending hours in a neo-natal unit or a pretty coolbox to transport expressed breast milk to and from the hospital.

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Hayley Goleniowska is a writer and speaker, working with parents, teachers and medical professionals as well as self-advocates who have Down’s syndrome. Her work is internationally renowned and her blog Downs Side Up has won many awards for its outstanding contribution to society. Through her many media interviews she also hopes to gently change the public’s perceptions of the condition.

Hayley and her eldest daughter Mia have recently launched a book for children, entitled I Love You Natty: A Sibling’s Introduction to Down’s Syndrome.

Hayley is passionate about increasing the support that parents receive after unexpected news, whether that comes during pregnancy or after a baby’s birth. By easing their fears and helping them to sort the facts from the myths that often surround Down’s syndrome she hopes to buy them precious quality time with their newborns. For more information visit
www.downssideup.com
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If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, 19 March 2015

A little sad but still grateful #R2BC

I'm not feeling very wordy today I'm afraid friends. My Dad is in hospital with a poorly heart and they are trying to find out what is wrong and get him sorted. Of course I'm praying but something like this is always hard.  I just find myself in that sad place, I suppose it is because I am a couple of hours away and all I want to do is go and see him - not long until Friday when I can.

I want to stay true to myself though and I need to remain grateful and joyous even in the difficult times. Here are a few things that are making me feel immensely thankful.

The place where I get to live, this is my drive home after taking the girls to gymnastics the other day, I love watching the sun go down.

Living in East Sussex where there is so much beauty on my doorstep. This is Herstmonceux Castle that we got to visit last weekend.

My Mum and Dad came to stay last week and whilst Dad was not great it was super to be with them. Mum and I were supposed to be having a weekend in London for Mothers Day this weekend but of course that won't happen now. We will have special time together at her house instead.

My crazy kids - 'Mum, take a picture of me in black and white'. OK babe, who am I to argue with her?

And her crazy counterpart...

And the big one who has become much more subdued in his old age! Here he is successfully managing to transport water in his hands around the labyrinth into a glass vase.

I'm linking up with my lovely chums for Reasons to be Cheerful (or #R2BC for short). Why don't you come and join us too? It is hosted over at Becky's this week, at Lakes Single Mum.




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If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Visiting National Trust Properties Local to East Sussex

Since we moved to East Sussex 18 months ago we have really enjoyed visiting the local area and getting out and about. Some of our favourite visits have been to National Trust sites, using our family membership. I thought it was time I bought all the reviews I have written together in one place and I'm also planning for this year where we should visit, we could go back to the old favourites but actually I think it is good to experience something new.

Bodium Castle

Robertsbridge, East Sussex - We've been to Bodium Castle a few times now and there is something wonderfully peaceful about it, even on a busy day when the kids are off school. I always manage to get lovely photos here and they have fun kids activities and living history events in the school holidays. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Out for Mothers Day Lunch

It's come to the end of a long but enjoyable day and I'm thankful to my children for all the hugs, messages of love, homemade cards and little gifts I got today. I'm also grateful to my husband for doing the homework with the girls and giving me a little time to myself earlier.

It has been my kind of day, there has not been anything massively fancy but we have done things that I've enjoyed. I got up early and breakfasted with my three babes, they smothered me with presents and good wishes. We all went to church parade this morning and I received three cute little posies of flowers. We then headed over to the Windmill Brewers Fayre for lunch and then back home where I read and studied ready for a course I am running on Wednesday.

Following a chilled afternoon at home we headed to our regular church for their cafe style evening service and it was fabulous. A grilled chicken kebab and a movie with my husband have topped the day off. I can go to bed happy.

I think days like Mothering Sunday can be difficult for some as the expectation of what might happen is huge. Will my children remember? Will I get great gifts? Will my husband look after the kids? Can I relax all day and suit myself? I have to be honest and say I try not to build my own expectations up and thankfully my family do OK.  Yes I have stacked the dishwasher and I've made the kids food but I'm OK with that because what I try and remember today is that I'm their mother and it is these things I do with love that mean they want to make me cards and give me breakfast in bed.

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