Saturday, 16 November 2013

Autumn Owls

This weekend we decided to do some autumn owls. I was inspired by my friend's use of autumn leaves to create a hedgehog.

First of all I drew a circle on a piece of coloured felt using a cereal bowl as a template. I then added triangular ears. Cut out the shape and turn it over to hide any pen marks.

Secondly, cut the shapes to make the owl's features. Two small triangles for the ears. Two circles for the eyes. Two wings and a triangle to make the beak. Then stick them on. We used glitter glue.
Then, I added two black circles and shiny stars to make the eyes while DD1 aged 4 chose foam and sequin heart shapes to make her owls' eyes.

Then, we made a baby owl in the same way but use a cup as a template instead of a cereal bowl.

We then went to the park to play and collected lots of autumn leaves. We glued the owls and leaves to some black paper and here was the finished result.

Mummy and baby owl.

Friday, 1 November 2013

I'm not very good at crafts at all which is unfortunate as most children (aka my children) love to do art. At Halloween I decided 'jelly worms' would be really fun and easy to do. I was wrong. Very wrong. Here's a quick photo of my failed jelly worms attempt.
 In addition to this my pumpkins didn't turn up with my internet food shopping order and there were none left in the shops anywhere. I guess finding pumpkins in a shop on Halloween is like trying to buy a turkey on Christmas Eve. Impossible. Silly. Moving swifty on....

Thursday, 31 October 2013

We love Halloween! It's our favourite time of year after Christmas. This is one excited little witchy witch.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Believe in yourself and follow your dreams

Being a Mum doesn't mean your dreams should be put on hold.

Exactly three years ago on 2nd October 2010 I started a degree with the Open University. At the time, I was a single unemployed Mum with a 14 month old daughter. I had just been made redundant and instead of burying my head in the sand of self pity I decided to think about what I really wanted to do. So, in between applying for jobs as the redundancy deadline loomed, I applied for not one course, but two courses with the Open University. Thirty-two hours of study each week. I wasn't working so believed I could do it. My life snowballed. The same month I started with the OU, I found a job and I met my partner.

Work meant I could no longer devote 32 hours per week to my studies but by this time I was already committed. I was looking after my daughter single handedly and when she finally went to bed I studied. It was absolutely draining and I was exhausted. The months passed in a blur and the tiredness would not let up. Then, I received the bombshell news and it's shrapnel shattered my tiny world forever.

I was pregnant.

Despite having fertility treatment for my first and believing I could never have children, baby number two was determined to be part of my life. So now I was juggling work, university assignments and childcare responsibilities with fortnightly hospital visits that are neccessary with high risk pregnancies.

My baby was born by emergency crash caesarian section during the weeks between one course finishing and the next starting. I was revising at four in the morning in my hospital bed unable to sleep due to the noise and the pressure and I put upon myself to pass.

Luckily I passed both modules and was on to the next two and I was also looking after a two year old and a new born.

Soon, life settled into a comfortable routine and I loved being at home with the children and my studies gave me some adult time to indulge in things I wanted to do. The 4am feed meant I couldn't sleep so I used to sit in the quiet of the lounge and continue my studies uninterupted.

Then, another miracle happened and again I had to face juggling assignments with looking after two children, hospital visits and severe spd caused by the pregnancy. Eventually my body was showing signs of pre eclampsia and the midwife admitted me to hospital. Baby number three was born by caesarian section. Again I was studying from my hospital bed and then had to look after three children aged three and under on my return home. Again, the 4am feeds gave me an opportunity to study. My eldest was at preschool during the morning and the other two napped so this gave me a bit more time to devote to my course.

It was hard work and there were quite a few tears and tantrums. But I did it!! I am so proud that all the hard work paid off and I was awarded a 2.1 honours degree and next month I will be sharing my graduation day with my partner. Today, my certificate arrived. Exactly three years since I started my very first course, sitting in the classroom wondering if I could really achieve my dream. I've done it! Every single minute, every single tear was absolutely worth it.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Working AND a Mum?

How easy it is to work and be a Mum? Part time work is ideal for the working Mum but part time work during term time only is equivalent to the holy grail. Interviews can be a challenge when you have young children. There's childcare to arrange, childcare to find when you finally receive a job offer until eventually, with a little juggling, work and childcare fall into place.

With three young children I have had my fair share of challenges fnding work. There are the interview questions that no book or online guide can prepare you for. When I was first faced with the interview question, 'do you have kids?' I wasn't fazed. At thirty-something years of age, kids were a 'maybe after the next holiday' and of course there was always another holiday to look forward to. Kids were as far into the horizon as my distant holiday destinations and I confidently shook my head and answered a resounding 'no!' I got the job then something changed. Actually I did want children.

The 'kids' question come under a number of different guises and these are genuine interview questions I have had to face:

'Do you have children?' Followed by 'So you will need more time off than the annual 23 days then?'

'Do you have children? Followed by 'How old are they? How many? Are you married? What does your husband do for a living?'

'Do you have children? Followed by 'If you had to pick up your child and had not finished an important piece of work what would you do?'

It can be difficult not to be torn between answering sensibly and shouting, 'you can't ask me that!'

Now I have three young children, I'm much more relaxed. I expect this type of question and I am pleasantly surprised if it doesn't come up. It's easier to answer honestly and truthfully knowing that if I suspect the company doesn't want to offer me the job because of my marital status or childcare responsibilities, for example then they are not the right employer for me.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Make up in Minutes

Now I am a mummy of three and a mature mum at that, I need a quick morning make up routine.

I have recently converted to mineral makeup and after reading online reviews I decided to use LILY LOLO mineral foundation in BLONDIE. I need to use a moisturiser underneath but I never expected a powder foundation to cover as well as a liquid one. I love it and the colour is extremely blendable so no tell tale tide marks.

STILA convertable colour is the only choice for cheek and lip colour in ROSE which leaves my skin looking fresh and flushed. A little goes a long, long way and my new morning routine means I'm up and ready to go in minutes.

Finally, I love BARE MINERALS make up. I have the eyeshadow in BAHAMAS and it is a lovely shimmering brown. The pale colour gives me a very natural look and I can add eyeliner for more definition if I feel the need.

Finish off with mascara and I'm good to go!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Education, education education!

I was interested to read that some professionals believe education should start at ages 6 or 7 especially as my tiny four year old started primary school last week.

Daughter one actually started primary school aged three and three months and I question whether this was too early. She only attended mornings but she was given homework every week and I had to sign a diary to say I had read the book with her and completed the tasks in her 'busy box'. I love the busy box. It's a small plastic container that holds little readable squares of card each printed with a letter or number. As a result, at 4 she can say the alphabet and count to 20. The school has one of the best results in the area with 98% pass rate in Maths and English.

So, imagine my dismay when we moved. I had to take daughter one out of my beloved chosen primary and she had to go to a less well performing school that only achieved 75%. I collected Daughter one from school that first day and asked, 'how was school?'

'It was fun!' she said, 'I want to go back every day!'

Of course this is the difference between the two schools. My preferred one is results driven and starts formal education at 3 so by the time the children start reception they are already a year ahead compared to most of their peers. This school focuses on structured play, we have homework but there is less of it and parents one have a term to do a project with her rather than a week. Play seems to be very important and Daughter one loves it. She said 'I could bang on the drums as loud as I wanted for as long as I wanted and nobody told me to stop.'

I'm glad she loves her new school. But I am thankful for the academic start she has had and although I want her to enjoy school I also want her to achieve. This is why I carry with the busy box and the reading books we had as homework at the old school in the hope I can prepare her  academically for the years ahead.