A BAD HAIR DAY

I don’t know why I woke up like a bear with a sore head this morning. Perhaps it was the fact I drank too much red wine last night? Perhaps it was because today was just going to be one of those kind of days, the kind of days when you just feel flat and sorry for yourself. You see now and again, and particularly, for some reason today, I get fed up with the discussion around money in our daily life. I know there are a gazillion people worse off than us. I know I’m lucky to have all of the amazing things I have in my life. But some days, the discussion just gets me down.

Frustrated, and in an effort to save some cash, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I took the scissors out of the bathroom cabinet and like any hungover, grumpy, frustrated bear with a sore head would do – I cut my own hair. I mean seriously how hard can it be?

I should mention that I am not a hairdresser. In fact, my only experience in the hair cutting department was with clippers when I trimmed an ex’s hair almost 2 decades ago and cutting hacking my 4-year-old daughters curly locks last week. My daughter did mention afterwards that she looked like a boy. If I’m honest her new cut does bare a strong resemblance to the bowl style that was so fashionable back in the 80’s and early 90’s. That said, all things considered, I  thought I did an ok job. It was straight (ish) and with her continued aversion to washing or combing her hair, the new do was considerably easier on the eye than the nest that had been growing there previously.

I had a taste for it now.

As I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, my arms bent and hands contorted like an octopus, It soon became apparent to me that cutting one’s own hair is incredibly awkward, unless you are double jointed or indeed, an octopus. Initially tentative, I made a few small snips here and there. Soon I was feeling more confident and began chopping larger clumps of hair off and placing them into the bin. I couldn’t really tell how it was going at the back but from the front, it seemed ok.

Unfortunately my husband’s facial expression when I walked out of the bathroom suggested otherwise and only added to my bad mood.

So, it’s fair to say the day didn’t start out on its best foot. Although my bad mood came and went throughout the day, on the whole, it clung on like a quivering crustacean to a rock. I knew I was being dreadful, like a spoilt ungrateful brat. I couldn’t look my husband in the eye as I moaned away with my self-pitying tirade.  I willed a wave to splash me in the face and wash my bad mood away with it far out to the horizon.

That’s when it happened.

I got way more than I bargained for.

The wave came. It didn’t just splash me in the face. It enveloped me, sweeping me up in its undulating swell.

The girls, of which I have 2, requested some music. We dug out the cable for the iPod docking station and began to recharge my iPod. They waited patiently for the iPod to charge. I went out of the room for a moment. When I returned the music was playing and my 2-year-old daughter was held up in her  Daddy’s arms giggling hysterically as he danced with her around the lounge. My eldest daughter, age 4, was on the sofa laughing. I bundled her up into my arms and began swinging her round and round dancing to the music. We danced and laughed until we felt dizzy.

Rushes of ecstatic joy and gratitude ran through my veins. How did I get so lucky to have these 3 people as part of my life?

I was no longer a bear with a sore head. The day wasn’t so bad after all, even if I did have a terrible hair cut.

We need to listen to music and dance more.

 

 

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HOW NOT TO DO A FAMILY HOLIDAY TO BALI

The pre-holiday build up was chaotic. I had written lists, new lists, and lists within the lists. I had sourced info from mates who travel to Bali frequently with young children and I was feeling confident that we had everything covered. Every type of mosquito repellent on the market had been sourced, transfer to hotel arranged, travel insurance bought, toys to keep the children amused on the plane purchased, local Bali Nanny confirmed, and of course money and passports in order.

Gone are the days of partying until the break of dawn, my husband and were united – we wanted a relaxed family holiday, intending to max out on the Nanny. The day before travelling, I sent my husband off with the kids so I could begin the mammoth task of packing. It started well as I fastidiously ticked items off my list. However it wasn’t long before the list was abandoned in favour of a more ‘chuck it in just in case’ approach took precedence.

The next morning we woke early (standard with 2 under 3 year olds) and set off in the maxi-cab to the airport. The idea was to arrive at the airport with plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast, followed by the obligatory gander around duty free, maybe even a beer and then all aboard the plane, flying off to paradise for our first proper family holiday.

As we queued up at the check-in desk our 2 girls were busy entertaining the other passengers, informing them that we were going to Bali. We were all on a high and grinning like Cheshire cats, we stood at the desk and proudly handed over our 4 passports.

“I’m sorry Sir, you won’t be able to fly today” the lady at the check-in announced casually. Like she was telling us the time, like it was just so normal and like not gonna bother us in the slightest.

WTF?

My husband and I stared at the lady in disbelief. Was she winding us up? Ha ha, very funny – now give us our tickets lady. ‘Silly Billy’ as my 2 year old would say.

“You passport only has 5 months left on it. You need 6 to travel to Bali” Her lips remained stoic like in their pose, I was desperately willing her mouth to turn up at the ends, a cheeky smile followed by laughter and ‘only joking, Silly Billy’. It didn’t.

I stared across at my husband. He looked at me. 30 seconds of everlasting silence. I felt sick. I looked at the girls, still giggling and rolling around on the floor repeating “Bali, Bali, Bali” over and over again.

My husband’s initial reaction, anger. As was mine. Only his, with the lady on the check-in desk and mine, with him. I asked him a few weeks before if all the dates on the passports were ok, obviously I reminded him of this fact. I immediately regretted saying it. I know nobody had died BUT…this was our family holiday, the one we procrastinated about for months, the one we have looked forward to for weeks, the one we have used to bribe our children with in order to get a modicum of good behaviour, the one we chose specifically because you can book a nanny to help you and babysit and it doesn’t cost the earth and they are amazing with kids and we might actually get a couple of nights out together. It was the one family holiday that we were all so excited about, at that precise moment it meant everything to us. We’ve both watched the airport shows and seen people turned away at check-in for one reason or another, but that was them…we wouldn’t be such Silly Billy’s.

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MORE THAN JUST A MATE- #BFF

As a young girl I wanted to be everybody’s friend. Now I’m 37 I’ve accepted that life doesn’t work like that. There are some people you just don’t connect with, there are those you may not like no matter how hard you try and there are some who won’t like you. At some point you may find out they have been saying things about you behind your back. The tears I’ve cried over ‘friends’ like that! If I could say anything to my younger self it would have been “Trust your instinct. Don’t waste time worrying about the ones who’ve let you down. Focus on the amazing friends you have been blessed with” And I have certainly been blessed with quite a few of these gorgeous people. One of them is celebrating her birthday today in England. I wrote these words for her:

I have heard so many words when talking of true friends

Caring, kind, full of love and loyal ’til the end

And you to me are all of those, each and every one

Yet there’s so much that they do miss, like a sky without a sun

The light and sparkle you shine on me, by knowing that you’re there

The love you show so endlessly is never hard to bear

You always want the best for me, so proud when I do well

Occasionally we disagree, but never do we dwell

If I am sad, angry or mad you listen and won’t  judge

But you tell me if you think I’m wrong – a persuasive gentle nudge

If I am happy, you cry for me – tears filled with ecstasy

Because you’ve been with me through it all, no need for empathy

So this is my way of saying to you, you’re more than just a friend

You’re the icing on my cupcake, mate and I’ll love you til the end!

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHEN SCREEN TIME FOR CHILDREN IS A GOOD THING – KIDLOLAND APP REVIEW

I must confess that pre-kids I swore I wouldn’t allow my children too much (if any) screen time. As soon as my eldest hit 2 this went out of the window. There are so many shows on the television that she loves, they are educational and fun and also mean I get a few minutes to do some chores or go to the toilet without a child hanging off me.

There are certain times of the day that I let my two girls watch television and I always control exactly what they watch. I’m not sure when the iPad was introduced but I guess it was when she was about 3. I limit her time on this too, it’s usually only for 20 minutes in the morning when she wakes up – this is because she is an early riser and stops her waking her sister!

When Kidloland approached me to review their app I was dubious. I am trying to limit her screen time not encourage it. That said I was keen to see if there was an app available that would offer a fun, interactive and educational option instead of just children’s programmes.

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PICK YOUR BATTLES

Last Saturday our 2-year-old was struck down with tonsillitis. The out of hours GP confirmed it and prescribed a course of antibiotics which we administered and she took.

On Monday morning she seemed back to herself so I took both girls shopping. My 3-year-old, who was running around, bouncing off the walls at 6am, suddenly took a turn for the worst just as we arrived at the shopping centre. Sensing that we were not going to have a fun morning of retail therapy, I retreated to the car.

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WHAT HAPPENED WHEN LITTLE MS TIDY PAID ME A VISIT

img_2021We substitute living in a big house in favour of location. At least that’s what I tell myself when cans of food that have been precariously shoved into the food cupboard continually fall onto my feet below or when I have to pull everything out of the cupboard to find what I actually need. The kitchen is small and the cupboards dated. Having lived in our home for 4 years now it’s fair to say that it’s something I have been known to have the odd moan/swear loudly about.

For a long time I told my husband that “if we only had a bigger fridge” it would make such a difference. So we got one. It didn’t. We just bought more food and filled it up. I still find myself playing Tetris in order to fit anything inside. And swearing.

So when my mate Kirsty told me about Tidy Cate and asked if I’d write a review for her I literally chewed her hand off.

Tidy Cate and I communicated via Facebook. Within a few days of our initial introduction she was booked to pay me a visit. I kicked my husband and kids out for the morning and was feeling excited to see what changes Cate could make to my chaotic kitchen.

Before arriving Cate sent me a great article about letting go of clutter. It was so good before she even arrived I started chucking clothes out of my wardrobe that I haven’t worn in years. I was in the mood for change, de-cluttering, getting organised.

When I opened the door to Cate she was holding 2 collapsible boxes. One for rubbish one for recycling. She took time to understand what I was unhappy with and very quickly set to work. Whilst she did the lions share she would request my input occasionally regarding what items could be chucked and which things I used frequently. She was non-judgmental as I apologised for the fact we had 4 of everything or how unhealthy some of the contents of our cupboard were. All she wanted to know was what we used and how frequently.

After she had finished sorting each cupboard she showed it to me and explained why she had made the changes. What at first seemed illogical suddenly became the most obvious way to organise cupboards ever. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that before I said. ON REPEAT!

After about 3 hours of work cate had re-organised my chaotic kitchen into an organised, logical space. My husband is a creature of habit so did make a comment that he couldn’t find anything anymore but that was expected. Some of the drawers and cupboards at children level are not quite in the order Cate arranged however I appreciate that ‘this too shall pass’. One day my children will not feel the need to pull everything out of any drawers and cupboards within their reach and my husband will learn the new system in no time. I do now have is a clear understanding of a much more efficient way to organise cupboards.  And I do so love where I live.

 

About Cate AKA Little Ms Tidy

cate.jpgCate is originally from Germany but has lived in Australia for 14 years. Having worked for many years pre-children in banking she is naturally an organised and detail focussed individual. Setting up this business was not something she took lightly, she studied (I know, I didn’t realise there were courses like this either might have saved me years of ranting had I known). Once she completed the course she became a fully-fledged professional organiser.

Cate charges $40 p/h however the first hour is free if you sign up to her newsletter

She can re-organise/declutter any part of your home. I chose the kitchen as it has been my biggest cause of swearing.

To read more about Cate and the services she provides please visit her website: http://www.littlemstidy.com.au

A note from me – I am not affiliated to Little Ms Tidy in any way. She provided her services with me for free in exchange for my review

THE SKY’S AWAKE SO I’M AWAKE -GRO-CLOCK A REVIEW

3 Year Old “THE SKY’S AWAKE SO I’M AWAKE”

Me “It’s 5am”

3 Year Old “But I’m not tired. I want the iPad. I want hot milk”

….and so it begins.

I have a 2 year old who doesn’t sleep and a three and a half year old who is an early riser. Suffice to say my husband and I are a little tired. After writing a recent post about our sleep deprived lives on my blog, several people suggested I try a Gro-clock. Whilst we knew it couldn’t stop our 2 year old from waking frequently, we hoped if we could keep our eldest in bed a little longer we may be able to catch up on some of those missed zzzzzzz’s.

THE DAY IT ARRIVED I posted a photo of it on Facebook. I received lots of comments from other Gro-clock users, mostly positive. Apparently lots of people were already members of the Gro-clock fan club. I was excited to be joining the gang.

THE CONCEPT IS VERY SIMPLE – For anyone who is not already in the Gro-clock club or in the know about Gro-clocks it is meant to encourage your child to stay in bed until YOUR desired time in the morning instead of THEIRS!

HOW IT WORKS IS SIMPLE TOO – you activate the clock by setting the time you would like your child to wake up from both day sleeps and night sleeps (morning time). Once activated, 12 small stars appear around one big star and throughout the night at certain points a small star disappears. This is the countdown until wake-up time. When it is time for your child to get up, the star is replaced with a bright yellow smiling sunshine which stays lit up for 2 hours.

After posting the photo on Facebook everyone was eager to find out how our first night as a member of the Grow-clock– group had gone.

THIS WAS MY EXPERIENCE OF USING A GRO-CLOCK

Night 1

The girls were excited looking and playing with the clock. They helped me set it and we enjoyed watching the cute demo of how it would work (the star winks as it says goodnight and the light saver mode come on). When it’s time to get up the bright smiley yellow sunshine also provide them with lots of amusement. There is also a colourful rhyming picture book included to read to your child all about the animals on a farm going to sleep with the aid of a Gro-clock which the girls enjoyed me reading to them.

 

 

Aware that our 2 year old wouldn’t understand the concept our focus was on our 3.5 year old. We explained that if she stayed in be until the sun shone we would let her choose a present from the shop.

The following morning we were woken by the sound of our eldest daughter padding into our room saying she had lost her teddy bear. It was 4.20am.

Initially disappointed we located her teddy and suggested she go back to her bed. She wasn’t keen and not long after woke her sister up.

My husband and I blearily grunted at each other and discussed why it hadn’t worked. The answer was obvious. She shares a room with her sister and has always been instructed to be quiet if her sister’s asleep. She woke up and we couldn’t reasonably expect her to lie in the dark for 2 hours, even I wouldn’t do that. I re-read some of the comments from the Gro-Clock fans on my Facebook, most mentioned that they encouraged their child to play in their room quietly until the sun came up. Our daughter can’t do this as she will wake her sister. I needed a better strategy.

 

Night 2

So I told her. If you wake up before the sun shines. TRY to close your eyes and go back to sleep. If you Really, Really, Really can’t get back to sleep. Then you can come and play in the lounge with your toys until the sun has come up. You are not allowed to demand hot milk or breakfast UNTIL the sun is shining (and mummy and daddy had had what would be deemed as a lie in in our house).

SUCCESS – I heard her get up and go into the lounge where she played quietly with her my little ponies until I got up. She didn’t make her usual demands until I informed her that the sun was now up and she could have breakfast. She was so excited to see the sun shining and know that she had made me happy she proceeded to run into the bedroom and wake her dad up “daddy, daddy the sun is shining”.

Night 3

Was a bad night for everyone due to coughs and frequent waking by her younger sister. She managed to stay in bed until 20 minutes before the sun arrived and still knew not to demand hot milk or breakfast pre-sun

The Gro-clock has definitely had some positive impact for us with regards our eldest daughter however I don’t feel we have been able to really put it to the test whilst she shares a room with her younger sister who frequently wakes her through the night.

WHAT I LOVED

It arrived quickly – 2 days after confirming my review, it arrived in the post.

The clock is lightweight with no sharp edges so would be safe for a child to play with (as both mine did).

The user guide is SO straightforward to follow and they really have thought of everything

If the light is too light throughout the night – you can change the LED setting

If the child plays around with it – you can lock it so they can’t affect the settings

If they can’t see it for any reason – there is an audible alarm

If you want the same system for day time naps – you can set it for day time naps and sleep times so you don’t need to re-set it

If you want to show your child how it works – there is a demo mode

They even remind you not to let your child see how you set the key lock….sound obvious but as I was working through the manual I very nearly did it in front of my daughter who continually surprises me with her knowledge of technology.

There wasn’t really anything I didn’t like about it. I feel confident that if our daughter was in her own room it would work. I intend to keep using it to encourage her to stay in bed longer and as soon as her sister is a little older we will explain it to her too so hopefully they will both use it.

The Gro-clock is available to buy for $59.95 and can be purchased online at: http://au.gro-store.com/gro-clock.html

I was gifted the Gro-clock but did not receive any payment for writing this review

After sending my review to Gro-Store they provided some additional feedback:

Hi Lucy,

Thank you for sharing your review.

I have read your review, it seems that the product was unsuitable for your situation and appreciate the angle you have had to take.

We would normally recommend that you use the clock from as early as 2 years of age, you mention in your article that your youngest was too young to start but we recommend starting the product as early as possible and feel that this is the ideal time for you to start.

We encourage our users to start with the book first and then introduce the clock. We also encourage people to start the process very slowly, if your little one wakes at 5am and you want to get them to sleep longer we say to increase the time to say 5:30am and then when they achieve this goal increase the time and so on. Therefor we probably think that this will work better on your younger child. To further encourage children to respond we have a reward chart that you can use this helps to keep them motivated. (See attachments)

http://gro.co.uk/blog/latest-news/gro-clock-top-tips-and-reward-chart/

Thank you again for taking the time to review our product. Happy for you to share on your blog as you feedback is invaluable.

Key Account and Marketing Manager