O5rcB_NXbIeHbJV7JFNcdfqL-vY Mummy From The Heart...

Sunday, 25 January 2015

What is your child sharing online?

My JJ is a massive fan of his computer, and his iPad come to think of it and pretty soon he'll be at secondary school and expecting a phone I have no doubt. It's a bit daunting for me as a parent to know how to protect JJ when he is online, there is so much scope for him to be seeing things and going places that I don't want him to.

When he is on Minecraft and chatting to the other players, who are they? A 12 year old in America he tells me. But are they really? 'I'd never give my personal information away online Mum, that is just silly' but then you chat with him further and we talk about when he has Facebook and he tells me 'it is OK to post stuff in FB as you just choose share with friends only and then it is OK'' but he forgets that once you post something for your friends and they start to comment on it, your post is then visible to their friends and so on. There seems to be all these things out there to trip you up and make it hard to stay safe online.

We do talk a lot, so JJ is aware of the dangers that can lurk online and he knows it is OK to approach his Dad and I about whatever he needs to chat about. It does not matter if he has messed up, we just want him to talk to us and this is a good starting point but there is still so much more we need to chat to him about and I'm making it one of my missions this year to become more aware myself and to educate my 11 year old JJ and also his 7 year old sisters.

The NSPCC are really concerned about what kids are sharing on the Internet and in January they launched their #ShareAware campaign with this hard-hitting video. At first you think it is all a bit of harmless fun and as the video progresses it makes you aware of what can happen and how quickly something silly and spontaneous becomes long-lived and detrimental to every day life. I'm going to make sure my kids watch this video tomorrow and then we will chat about it as too many young lives are lost because of online bullying, precious young lives like that of Izzy Dix.

I'd urge you to watch the video and then watch it with your children a couple of times (the first is bound to lose its message due to giggles) and then have a good conversation with your kids. This video is aimed at 8 - 12 year old's but I'll be letting my 7 year olds see it. The NSPCC have some pointers for starting a conversation with your kids if you feel a bit stuck.



The NSPCC have a #ShareAware hub with all the information you need as a parent. No jargon, just really simple information for you to be empowered and knowledgeable in this area.

I started this post thinking I have a pretty good knowledge of social media as I use most of the big platforms, but actually after visiting the NSPCC's Net Aware site there are so many I have never even heard of and some sound just plain scary. Sickipedia for jokes, Snog, a teen dating site where people can rate you as snog, marry or avoid (why, why, would you submit yourself to that?) and Secret a place to share content anonymously (meaning no recriminations!)

So don't be embarrassed if your knowledge is limited and certainly do not think it is too late to talk to your children. It is never too late and always useful to have open and honest conversations with your kids, they could be the difference between them being safe and enjoying their childhood and something we don't even want to think about but have to face is reality in this day and age.

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Saturday, 24 January 2015

Miss E - such a precious gift


I published a post about Miss M a couple of weeks back and I got a really nice reponse and lots of people thought it was the start of a series of posts, one for each of my children.  To be honest my intention has been that it would be a one off but it got me thinking and now I will do an individual update on each.

This week it is the turn of Miss E, Miss M's 7 year old twin sister. Originally I had thought I'd write about JJ but after the conversation Miss E and I just had it had to be her. Let me fill you in -

'Mummy, what was your favourite animal when you were little? she asked me, 'Well Miss E, if I remember rightly it was a polar bear' I replied. As quick as anything she pipped up 'You're kidding me Mum, that's my favourite, not really, right?' I confirmed to her they really were and that I used to love seeing the polar bear at Chessington Zoo when I was little. She went on to ask me if I had any polar bear things, like notebooks and cuddly toys because if I had I should have kept them for her. I confirmed I didn't and told her I had no idea when I was little that I would get so lucky and have a little girl like her.

Very matter of factly she then said 'you weren't lucky to get me, I'm stupid. You have to read with me every day to help me, that's not lucky'. Gosh they really know how to tug your heart strings, these kids. I of course advised her I considered myself totally lucky to have her and that in helping her each day to read she was helping me too. 'How can that be Mummy?' she questionned me. 'Well baby, reading with you helps me to have more patience and I really need that as sometimes I get grumpy far too easy'.

She jumped on top of me and gave me a massive hug and then said 'Do you know what you've taught me mummy? You've taught me to love'.  Oh wow, how special is that. Today feels like an 'I'm an OK parent kind of day!' I actually think she might have taught me more about that than I have her but so glad she has that perspective.

Thank you my darling, you are a beautiful little soul.  You of course have your own little annoyances, just like we all do but I can get past the whining when you are so darn lovely.

Here are some pictures of you and me together (in love as you would say) over the last seven years -


You are such a precious little girl and despite your sister coming across as the bold and confident one, it is you that is actually the rock of your partnership. Just like in these early pictures where she snuggled up to you, you are still there as her security blanket.


For years you were timid and then we moved to the countryside and wow what a change, who is this confident little girl who is happy to climb trees and well, anything really?


Everyone knows you are a creative soul and you are happiest when sat there drawing or creating something. Your other loves are your Alfie teddy, being on the beach and playing with and caring for the smaller kids here at Ash.



That's not to say that you don't love a bit of fun though -


Let's never stop loving each other Miss E.

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Thursday, 22 January 2015

#GiveThanksThursday - The launch


Good morning all, I hope you are well on this frosty Thursday!

I'm super pleased to be launching my new linky today #GiveThanksThursday and I'm hoping some of you will come and join in with me and give thanks.

This linky is about all things gratitude and you can link up any post that fulfils the brief that it shows you are thankful, grateful, happy for the things happening in your life. We all know that life is not perfect and all too often there are sad events or things to pull us down but when we choose to focus on the good in our life, it makes a real difference and we find our own joy and contentment increasing beyond measure.

How to join in
  • Write your post or choose which one of your many positive posts to link up
  • Please comment on my post as the host and I'll make sure I hop over and comment on yours too. I'll also endeavour to social share them all.
  • Then please visit and comment on at least 2 or 3 other posts in the linky. Blog-hops only work when people take the time to share the commenting love.
  • Grab the blog-hop code and put it at the bottom of your post, this means people can visit all posts from everywhere. The linky is not just here it is with us all!
Remember we are using the hashtag #GiveThanksThursday and using that will allow me and others to find your post.

If you fancy grabbing my new linky badge, here is the code, just paste it in to your HTML tab and if you're not sure what I'm on about then just shout I'm happy to help, we were all new bloggers once.

 Give Thanks Thursday at Mummy from the Heart

What I am thankful for this week

1. I'm currently using the gym once a week under a GP referral scheme and I had my mid-program check-up this week. I got allocated a personal trainer called Matt and he was excellent, he really challenged my thoughts and stereotypes. By the end I was doing squats and box press-ups. Things I would never normally do in front of others but I'm breaking the mould.

2. An amazing time at Church last Sunday when God spoke to me and reassured me about so many things. It was then good to explore the theme further with my small group on Wednesday.

3. Finding a supportive and encouraging Christian Mums group on Facebook. If you are interested in this group and have not heard of them before then head over, I really recommend Captivated.

4.  There was a small (like tiny) flurry of snow earlier this week and it made my children so happy to see it and the Brazilians that are living here have never seen it before and it made their year.

5. Supermarket deliveries. It makes such a difference to me when I can pay £25 for delivery for the whole year. The nearest decent supermarket is about 8 miles from me and that £25 for the year is far less than the petrol for all those 16 mile round journeys! It really is the little things sometimes!

Now it is over to you, what do you want to give thanks for?

Image Credit
There are lots of positive gratitude linkys out there, you might also fancy joining in with  
Jo at OJO's World and Becky at Lakes Single Mum who host Reasons to be Cheerful 
and/or Karen at Monkeyfooted Mummy who hosts Thankful Thursday

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.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

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Sanctity of Christian Marriage

This post is part of the Choosing Him Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with 
nearly 100 other inspiring Christian bloggers. To learn more and join us, click HERE

Over the last month or so I've been reading a new book by Juana Mikels. Choosing Him All Over Again is a wonderful book that every Christian woman should read. Read it as a single lady to gain some great advice and guidance on the pitfalls of a worldly approach to marriage or read it as a married Christian woman and find inspiration and direction in how to be a godly wife. 

I love this book so much as Juana's story is very real with lots of poor decisions and selfish actions but as you read it you grow with Juana and learn from her mistakes. She writes with such feeling and honesty that you feel as if it is a close friend telling you her story and parts will make you well up with emotion as you journey with Juana and see her faith mature.

One of the main selling points for me is that Juana goes back to the word again and again. This book is not Juana's take on a godly marriage. It is God's and is grounded in the truth. I haven't quite finished the book as yet as I am savouring every part but it is my time in the blog tour to post and as such I want to share with you some of the wonderful wisdom I have gained from Juana.


I've been married to my husband Adam for 12 years now and we have been together for 20. If I'm honest I don't think we started in the best place as neither of us were Christians when we met and I certainly bought a lot of past relationship baggage with me but what I have discovered is that with some work our marriage can be even better. God only wants the best for us and marriage is his most precious human relationship and it is His intention that every one of us should discover the joy of a godly marriage.

Juana starts her book by laying out two biblical principles that have been themes in her life -
the first principle is “man’s part is to trust, and God’s part is to work.” and the second principle is to receive everything in your life as if it has come directly from God’s hand.
Such great reminders for me and I have already found myself putting Juana's wisdom into action many times in the past weeks, both in my marriage and in other parts of my life. Within her book she has various prayers and a contract which she encourages the reader to take and make their own and use in their life. I have done just that and was particularly struck with the contract that Juana drew up with God declaring that she was dead to self and all her sins and possessions were no longer hers. She had given them up for a full and abundant life with Jesus and fulfilment of the desires of her heart.

This got me thinking, what are the desires of my heart? To honour God and carry out His work, to nurture children who know the Father and remain with Him and like Juana, to have a full and meaningful relationship with my husband. Nothing too complex there really but lots of work to be done to achieve in each of those areas, but that is OK, there is nothing wrong with hard work and the rewards will be great.

I could be here all day waxing lyrical about this book as it is having a big impact on me, but actually what you need to do is go out and buy a copy for yourself, so to close I'll leave you with some of Juana's wisdom gems -
  • Comparison is the path to discontentment. We all walk a different path and as such our only measure should be Jesus.
  • It is unrealistic to search after a love that is continual, unfading romance.
  • If I let Him God will use my marriage as a way to help me fully know Him.
  • The devil wants us to focus on the idol of self or any other idol to be honest and therefore we must keep going back to Jesus and His word.
  • In this age of technology we are all spending too much time in a room with our spouse but not actually being with them. TV, PC's, tablets, phones and the like have stolen our ability to communicate and demonstrate that our spouse is our priority.
  • It is a big mistake to spend all those months absorbed in every detail of planning the wedding to then only find you never actually thought about the marriage. A wedding is one day and your marriage is for life.
  • In the book Juana revisits her marriage vows and realises she has taken them lightly and is walking away from me. This inspired me to look up my marriage vows and remember what I committed to Adam. I need to be accountable to God 
  • Read 1 Corinthians 13 (especially if you had it read at your wedding, like I did) and remember how Paul describes love. Can I honestly say I am all those things to Adam? or like Juana was, am I more concerned with being loved than being loving and with being heard than listening to Adam.  That really is food for thought to me.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails" 1 Chorinthians 13:4-7
Thanks so much for reading, I hope I have inspired you to go and check our Juana's book, it really is an awesome read and I've given you just a tiny glimpse of what is contained within in.

Be blessed, Mich x
If you want to get your hands on your very own copy of this book (hardback or Kindle version) , you can order it from Amazon in the UK HERE or the USA HERE or buy it at your local bookstore! There is also a fabulous FREE downloadable companion Choosing Him Bible Study Guide to download from HERE!  


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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Who am I? Jesus reveals a little more...


This morning at Church I was really challenged to think about who I am in Christ. and that means the totality of who I am. There is no Christian hat, I am just one person and to be a Christian is a 24 hour commitment, I don't just have to attend church on a Sunday. Every day I have to seek to make right choices, demonstrate love and attempt to emulate Jesus himself.

It really was one of those life changing mornings today. The 18th January 2015 will be recorded as a time of realisation and revelation. Back on 30th November 2014 I was baptised by full immersion, just like Jesus was. Despite having been Christened as a child and confirmed as an adult I knew I had to take this important step. Since then lots has been changing within me and today I realised that I must not diminish who I am. God loves and values me, I must too. It is so important. I have to trust that when I gave my life to God in 2002 and then again at my baptism last year he wiped my slate clean and I am now a daughter of the most high king. I should stop doubting my own usefulness.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The power of gratitude #GiveThanksThursday


Back in January 2011 I started a blog linky called Reasons to be Cheerful, it was born out of my desire to praise the Lord for all the wonderful things that happen in my life and for all the small (and often missed) treasures I spot in every day life.

They say everything has a season and by the end of 2013 Reasons to be Cheerful had run its course and I handed it over to two wonderful bloggers Jo at OJO's World and Becky at Lakes Single Mum and they are still happily running it. For me, if I'm honest I've missed running a linky and the community and interaction that comes with it, so as of next week I'm launching a new Thursday linky.

I'll be running a new linky called Give Thanks Thursday and will be using the hashtag #GiveThanksTHursday or if you need to save characters then just #GiveThanks! After a couple of weeks of joining in with Karin for her #3GoodThings project sharing daily what is rocking my world has reminded me that this is what floats my boat! I need to be back in the driving seat expressing my gratitude and encouraging others to be positive and do the same.

For me as a Christian it is important that I express my gratitude as the bible tells me 'to give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever' Psalm 106:1 but you do not have to share my faith to believe in the power and necessity of practising the principle of gratitude. I am living proof that gratitude makes a massive difference in your life. With practise when you choose to look for the good and see where you can be thankful rather than focusing on the bad you will find your mood, your health, your outlook on life and your contentment lift. It is a precious gift indeed to feel content, practising gratitude really helps with that.

I'll share with you an excerpt from my Reasons to be Cheerful page from 2011 -
Do you know what I believe are two of the fundamental keys to happiness? One, is to choose to be happy and the other is to want what you already have! Endless seeking of things, money, status, time or anything else will never fulfil you! This is where the gratitude comes in....  
How to join in
Every Thursday morning at 7am my post will go live and you need to write a post and link up. I'm not big on rules. I don't mind how you express your gratitude - it can be photos, words, a poem, a recipe - whatever you like.  Share just one thing or share 100, it does not matter but make it personal and make it work for you. If you are joining in with #EmbraceHappy and have a post written for that you might like to add it to the linky here.

If you want to take my blog button and add it to your post that would be wonderful as it allows people to find the blog-hop and join in if they want to.

Please comment on my post as the host and I'll make sure I hop over and comment on yours too. I'll also endeavour to social share them all.

Then please visit and comment on at least 2 or 3 other posts in the linky. Blog-hops only work when people take the time to share the commenting love.

Remember we are using the hashtag #GiveThanksThursday and using that will allow me and others to find your post

This week for me
Here are just a few snippets of the silly things that have been making me feel really grateful -

1. Bath bombs - the girls are loving baths together since they discovered bath bombs and this means I can clean the dinner things in peace whilst they have fun
2. I took in my first ever Christmas cake to work and I got really good comments, so I gave the Sainsbury's delivery man a slab and he said I made his day and that made my day
3. My car has been fixed and it cost less than I expected. It is such a blessing to just jump in it when I need to.
4. I lost 4.5lbs at my first weigh-in this week and was wearing jeans, so it was a true reflection of what I have lost

I really hope you fancy joining me next week. I'm not aiming for this linky to be the biggest or the best, just to meet some new people, reconnect with some old friends and see the positive results that come from practising gratitude on a regular basis.

Keep smiling, Mich x
Give Thanks Thursday at Mummy from the Heart
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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Avoiding the new year diet pitfalls #FitandFree


I am what is known as a career dieter. I can honestly tell you I went on my first diet when I was 12 years of age and I begged my Mum to take me to the doctors so he would help. He told me to list everything I ate for a week and then the next week to halve it. Looking back now I feel that was pretty irresponsible of him (balanced diet and all that) but it did work... for a while.

For the next 29 years (yes I am 41) probably at least once a year I have started yet another diet and lost some weight and then put it all back on again. A diet mentality is not a good one. I can't tell you I've done every diet under the sun as ones like the cabbage soup diet that was popular in the 80's just do not appeal to me. I have always had a desire to lose weight healthily in a way that means I can keep it off and sustain that food plan for life.

If you know me you'll realise I'm not doing that well on my career of dieting as I am about 7 stone overweight. This year I have vowed things will be different, I am working hand in hand with God to sort my body out. I've joined Slimming World, I'm going to the gym and I'm also doing the Couch to 5K running program but I realise that until I am well into this change of eating (not diet) and losing some serious weight then people might be dubious of the results I'll get.

Despite my own results I'm actually quite knowledgeable on the subject on healthy eating and how to lose weight, so I thought I would share with you my top tips to avoid some serious diet pitfalls, those you might not even realise exist!

1. Putting the diet off until tomorrow
I started this healthy eating and exercise plan on the 1st January, it seemed as good as time as any and it was when i was feeling motivated. A few friends said they wanted to join me but said 'I'll start when the kids go back to school' and this is a slippery slope.  It is easy to say tomorrow but sometimes tomorrow never comes. So when you are feeling motivated, grab it and start then. Don't wait for anything as you may just miss the moment. Change is always hard whether the children are home or not.

2. Giving up at the first hurdle
There are very few people who can start a serious diet (especially if they have had weight and eating issues for years) and eat perfectly every day from day one. Accept the fact, there will be slip-ups and you might grab the wrong thing in a hurry. You have not blown it. When you allow the thought of 'Well, I've blown it. I might as well eat what I like and give up now' to stay in your mind then there is going to be problems. When that thought comes up, remember that you can start again NOW. Your healthy eating or diet does not have to start in a morning, on a Monday or whatever other lies you have told yourself.

3, Being too strict with yourself
You know you best, are you the kind of person who can give up all sugar, carbs and caffeine from your diet and still be happy? because your happiness or state of mind is really important in this, if you are a size 10 but completely miserable then guess what? Your new way of life is not working for you. Be realistic, eat a little of what you want and follow a plan which works for you. Some people do amazing things with eating plans I could never dream of living on, look at Jane and her paleo diet but do what it right for you. For me it is about moderation of all food groups.

4. Assuming cutting down on food will be the answer to your prayers
I'm sorry to be the one to tell you but once you lose weight you'll still be you. If you eat because you are unhappy or because you have problems you need to seek help and do whatever is necessary to get those sorted as being a slimmer you won't instantly make you feel great.  In fact for some people it makes them feel more vulnerable.

Also don't forget that the secret to weight loss is to eat less and move more.  So yes, you need to do some exercise too. I've started the Couch to 5K program and I'm finding that good so far (hard but good) and I also highly recommend any of Leslie Sansone's walk fitness exercise DVD's. They are really manageable for people of all fitness abilities but work for weight loss.

5. Thinking you have signed up for a miracle cure
There are no instant miracles when it comes to losing weight. If you sign up for a liquid diet, supplements or something else that promises you will lose 3 stone in 3 months then expect there to be a very large cost and some issues. As I've mentioned before you need to make changes for life and that is my biggest worry for people who lose a lot of weight on very low calorie replacement meal diets as they have to learn how to eat again once they have lost the weight and that is a big learning curve.

Then to finish here are a few tips from me, that I'm following as I endeavour to lose weight -
  • Write down everything you eat, especially at the start of a new eating plan. You will forget what you have snacked on and it can be very easy to kid yourself that you are being good when actually your intake has gone up far past what you wanted. 
  • Use a smaller plate or bowl for your meals. You will still feel full as your eyes tell you that you had a plate full but the calories will have been reduced. It is a great trick.
  • Be realistic with your food, build in small treats. A little of what you fancy works wonders. For me it is chocolate and I find something like a small packet of milky way stars takes me ages to eat and I feel as if I have indulged lots.
  • Find some supportive friends. You don't have to join a group but make sure you have supportive people around you. There are loads of wonderful groups on FB for people looking to make changes with their eating and life style. 
  • Drink plenty of water and have a glass before every meal as it definately helps you to eat less.
  • Plan out your menu for the next week and draw up your shopping list from that. I have my shopping delivered so I am not tempted in the supermarket and I'm not keeping junk food in the house. It makes it way easier.
I wish you all the best and look forward to hearing your tips or advice for changing to a healthier lifestyle.

Be blessed, Mich x

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Sunday, 11 January 2015

My Picture: His Words


A beautiful walk with my little princesses last Sunday led to this gorgeous image of sunset at Ashburnham Place. Don't you just love that reflection?

I'm linking up wth Darren over at One Dad 3 Girls and I'm hoping to join in with this each week, this year.

Happy New Year all, Be blessed, Mich x

OneDad3Girls

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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
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