Saturday, 30 April 2016

Remembering I'm a Grown-up

It's funny how some things make you want to retreat back into yourself. You'd think that by the ripe old-age of 42 years and 257 days that I'd have it firmly in mind that I'm a fully fledged adult nowadays. But not so, I've been in London at an event today and there seem to be a few things that I've got mastered, like eating alone in a restaurant and feeling safe walking through London but then there are others that still give me the jitters; like rocking up at a blogging event and being fearful that you won't know anyone.

About a month ago HP invited me to an event in London. It was showcasing their Instant Ink service and I was keen to attend as not only did it sound like a fabulous chilled afternoon with spa treatments and afternoon tea but I've also used the instant ink service for the last two years and I love it. You'd never think that ink for your printer would be something that could excite you but it does. It makes a mass amount of difference to never run out of ink and to be able to say yes every time the kids ask me to print off colouring or to do their homework and what does this cost me? A mere £1.99 per month for 50 full colour pages.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful... School Reports, Banana Bread and Generous Hearts

Good morning friends, How are you all this week?  Mine has been a busy one so far but then I'm expecting a wonderfully chilled and fun weekend.

Here is what I am thankful for -

*  JJ's superb report from school. A couple of weeks back we got his first report from Secondary school and it confirmed what we already knew, that he is a very smart young man. This evening my husband and I are going to the school for his first proper parents evening and I'm super thankful that we do not have to worry about what we are going to hear there.

*  My girls generous hearts. At our Sunday celebration service all the children were encouraged to paint and just to allow their creativity to flow and to see what they produced during the time the rest of us were worshipping in song. They both painted a little canvas and then were encouraged to pray and see who they felt compelled to gift the artwork to. They each choose members of our community and I was especially pleased that Miss M choose a beautiful young woman N, as her father had passed away a short while ago and Miss E's painting was about God's peace.

*  Banana bread that I didn't have to bake. How cool is it that JJ now enjoys cooking and baking enough that he can just get on with it if I help him set up? Last Saturday he made chocolate brownies to be sold at church to help raise funds for a youth camp this summer and then last night he was chocolate chip banana bread on his own for all the family to enjoy. It is so important to work with our kids, train them up and then empower them to do these jobs safely.

*  A helpful husband. I've been invited up to London on Friday by HP Instant Ink for a bit of a pamper and then an afternoon tea with some other bloggers at a posh Kensington hotel. My girls are on inset day but my super hubby is looking after the girls so I can go long and have some precious me time.

It's then sure to be a good weekend as we have a free day Saturday to do all those little jobs, like homework and we are taking out a minibus full of volunteers on Sunday for some fun at a May Day festival. Then of course Monday is a bank holiday and that means community day here, where all 90 odd of us will eat too much, play games and generally have a day full of frivolity.

This week I am linking up with Lakes Single Mum who is hosting Reasons to be Cheerful and then as of next week it is back with me for the month of May.  I hope to see you join in.

Have a fabulous week, Mich xx

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart
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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Talking Stranger Danger

Stay Safe Stamp Image from Shutterstock

When I was a kid at school, this was the talk that happened at least once a year.  The stranger danger talk, the warning about lone dodgy looking men waiting outside school in cars, offering you sweets if you got in.

But how realistic is this and how often are children abducted or abused because they were approached in this way? Surely, danger is just danger?  A person does not have to be a stranger to be dangerous to your child. We know that - fathers abuse, mothers abuse, neighbours abuse, grandparents abuse. It is a really sad fact of life. According to 90% of child abusers are known to the child in some way and 68% are abused by a family member (Source).

Gosh, those statistics make me want to be physically sick. I'm now sat here wondering why on earth I googled on this subject but I can't just push it under the carpet and pretend it doesn't happen. The findings from the NSPCC state there are over 50,000 children identified in the UK as needing protection from abuse and that really makes me realise just how serious this problem is. Sadly, the true picture is probably many, many times worse than this as they believe for every identified child there is another eight suffering in silence.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Coming Full Circle - I'm Back! #R2BC

Good morning friends. It feels real good to be sharing this post today. I feel like I have a zest for blogging and sharing again, not just for the sake of it you understand, but when I have something I want to say.  And I can say for sure that each Thursday at 7am will be one of those sharing times for the foreseeable future.

Why?  Because Reasons to be Cheerful is coming home again for a while. I started the #R2BC linky back in early 2011 as a project that I would dedicate a year to. Each week (on a Friday back then, I had forgotten that) I would share three simple things that I was grateful for, those that were making me cheerful and I would encourage others to do the same. Of course back then #R2BC was one of only about 20 regular parenting blogging linkies around and it was very popular with 80-100 people linking up each week but many things have changed and now #R2BC is a small but loved community.

I absolutely love every one of the bloggers who still link up to this weekly feature. So many of them were around in 2011 when I started this and have probably shared as many of maybe even more times than I have on the subject of gratitude (I currently have 208 posts on Mummy from the Heart with this tag).We all know that acknowledging your blessings makes an amazing difference in everyday life.

Back in the day a linky wasn't started to make you popular or to help your blog rise through the rankings. It was started because you found a community of bloggers who shared a passion with you. The passion of the #R2BC community is that we know the power of positive thinking and gratitude.

Stupidly I lost sight of this passion. After running #R2BC every week for three years I started to get weary and felt really lost after my life-changing move to East Sussex, so I decided to put down #R2BC and make some changes. The super Becky at Lakes Single Mum and Jo at Ojo's World picked up the baton and carried #R2BC on and it has now been running for over five years, which is pretty good going.

So how some #R2BC has come home, you might be wondering? Well, you may have read that I lost my joy in December due to some crap on my blog but a blogging break, time with God and some perspective has done wonders and I'm feeling good again. My first thought for a post was of course to do an #R2BC one and that is what has bought me back here as Becky explained she is hosting alone right now as Jo is having a break. So we are going to take turns, a month on and a month off to host #R2BC and you'll have me back in May and guess what?  I am so excited, it is like returning to a very old and loved friend.

Here is what I said about #R2BC when I launched it -
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.... 
So do you fancy joining us?  I can't promise you 100 comments (or even 10) if you join in but I can guarantee that you will find a community of bloggers who genuinely care about each other and that by counting your blessings, or ticking off your reasons to be cheerful - however you want to phrase it - you WILL feel better. There are dozens of people who will testify that joining in with #R2BC helped them during a tough time. I know it lifted some from depression, got others through a painful break-up, helped after miscarriage and for me it found me some superb friends.

Have a blessed week, Mich xx

Becky is the host this week, so hop over and join in....

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart
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, 16 April 2016

How are our Hotter School Shoes standing up to JJ's Tests?

Back in January JJ was gifted a pair of men's Venture shoes from our local Hotter shoe shop in Eastbourne. We wrote a review of the enjoyable buying experience and I said I'd update you all on how these shoes are lasting.

JJ is quite a typical 12 year old boy, except for the fact that he is the size of a 15 year old and has size 9 feet. He is also very heavy footed and this means he has been going through school shoes far too quickly and now due to his man-sized feet they are costing us £40 or £50 each time. For this reason I asked Hotter to allow us to review some of their men's shoes to see how they would hold up to JJ's regular antics.

He has now had his shoes for three months and they are still wearing very well. Within a couple of weeks the leather had softened up and he found them like a glove to wear. Yes they get scuffed and look filthy at times but with a clean and polish they come up looking good as new.

How JJ's shoes arrive home from school
I didn't realise that JJ had taken me quite so seriously when I asked him to put them through their paces and give them a really good try out. Apparently he even went wading in the sea at the youth club treasure hunt the other week and yes these shoes with GORETEX technology really are waterproof (thankfully). But then he already knew that as his daily walk to the school bus is often down a flooded back road and he wades straight through the mud and water.

Returning home sopping wet

I asked JJ if anything could be improved in regard to his shoes and his only comment was that he would have liked longer laces, as there is hardly enough length in the supplied ones to tie them, let alone do a double bow, which is what he feels he needs. After about six weeks one of the laces did snap, so we have since replaced them but that was no issue as the laces are just a cheap consumable part of the shoes.

In general we are very happy with his Hotter men's shoes and we will happily invest in them again as shoes for school. Thanks so much Hotter.

July 2016 Update:  JJ's Hotter shoes lasted him right to the end of the term and I'd be sending him back to school in them if it wasn't for the fact that his feet have grown again!

Disclosure: we were gifted these shoes for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

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, 14 April 2016

Things I love.... and am Grateful for...

I've been away for a while and blog topics keep coming to mind but then I do nothing about them, as to be honest I'm quite enjoying staying away from the (self-imposed) pressures of blogging. However, the other day on the long drive home from Spring Harvest I felt compelled to make a list of all the little things that make my heart sing.

You see I felt as if I lost my joy back in December and I havn't been able to re-find it but this time away from blogging has helped immensely and my joy is definitely returning.

So as I copied this list from my email into a blog post tonight, I thought why not make this a Reasons to be Cheerful post and share all the small things that I love and make me grateful to be alive.