family photos

Me and Mine (April 2018)

Monday, April 30, 2018

This month started with the kids being off school for the Easter Holidays. The first weekend of April we visited Warwick Castle which is a family favourite day out here. We all love Warwick Castle as there is so much to do and there seems to be new things to see every time we visit. It was a lovely day out for the five of us and a great excuse for a nice family picture. Even if Elsie didn't look at the camera!

The Easter bunny arrived and left the children lots of sweet treats, and maybe one or two for us grown ups too. Most of the Easter break though it was just me and the kids, we went to see five different fun shows at The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. They always have lots of fun shows for the kids over the holidays so worth checking out if you are local! 

It was also my birthday over the Easter holidays. We had Logan that weekend too so we had a nice family day and although it was horrible and raining, we took a little walk to a local park followed by a movie night. 

We only tend to get weekends to spend as a family and we had a sunny one last weekend. We popped to a local park to take a walk through the bluebell woods. It turned out they are blooming late around here so weren't out but we had taken a picnic and spend the afternoon enjoying a picnic in a quiet area of the park before going to play in the play area. It was a really nice day and gives us an excuse to return in the next few days on a search for bluebells!

So that was our April. I hope you all had a lovely month. I am looking forward to seeing what May brings us!

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful


Living With An Anxiety Disorder

Monday, April 23, 2018

I feel like I have been doing so well for ages. I haven't had an anxiety attack for a long time and I have been coping with life pretty damn well but the thing about having an anxiety disorder is that it can suddenly just creep back up on you when you least expect it. 

At the moment I feel like I am lonely but at the same time I don't want to be near to or speak to anyone. Anxiety affects people in different ways for me it is the constant fear of rejection or that I am being judged by people and I take this into consideration when it comes to every single decision I make when I am at my worst. From choosing what clothes to wear, incase people notice that I have put some weight back on, to not being able to decide what to do or where to go when asked, incase the person doesn't like my decision or thinks it is a stupid idea. Sometimes I can't decide what food to cook because either I feel my cooking skills are not good enough or they might not fancy eating what I choose and that will be MY fault. 

Of course when I think about it or write it down, none of my feelings are rationale in the slightest because most normal people make these decisions without giving them a second thought. However I am my own biggest critic and for as long as I remember I have blamed myself for everything bad that happens to anyone around me and so judge every action or decision I make. 

I have no idea what has triggered me recently. I seem to be hiding from everything and don't quite know how to pull myself out of it. It is strange. I have had some really lovely days recently with the family and have been feeling really happy despite knowing that my anxiety is there with me but I have equally had days where I have hidden and napped because I feel so exhausted from all of the overthinking and being emotionally drained. 

I always know when I am bad because I steer away from writing until it all builds up and I have to let it all go or I cannot rest. Of course there is no real hiding as a parent, I may hide emotionally but I still need to get my kids to school and take them to their social events and I think that helps. Sometimes I have to force myself to stick around and talk to parents at the school because there are so many amazing people who I enjoy talking to and while my anxiety is yelling 'DON'T TALK  TO THEM TODAY THEY WILL REALISE YOU ARE CRAZY AND EMOTIONAL AND WON'T WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND ANYMORE OR THEY WILL SEE THROUGH YOU AND TELL EVERYONE HORRIBLE THINGS ABOUT YOU. BLENDING IN THE BACKGROUND IS A BETTER IDEA' but I also worry that by not stopping to say 'Hi' or make an effort that they will think I am rude and I will then lose all of my friends anyway.

So please if anyone is reading this and ever wonders why I am probably walking through school looking so conflicted or being quiet or even being uncharacteristically loud, I am just a slightly crazy person who wants  to be liked and has no idea what her brain is doing 90% of the time. Sometimes I can get all the way back home after dropping the three kids off and not even remember walking home as my brain has been in overdrive. Also if you are reading this and don't know me personally but my description sounds like someone you know, they probably have their own anxiety issues that they are trying to work through and maybe a kind smile or a 'Hello' might just make their day a little easier.

family photos

Siblings (April 2018)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

It is April already and the kids have had another busy month. Since our last Siblings post, they have done so much. The picture above was taken before school when they were all ready for Sport Relief at school. They love dressing up days and ended up having three in the last two weeks at school before Easter. 

The next photo was taken on the day of mine and Sam's anniversary. We decided to go to our favourite local park, the sun was shining and the kids played lovely together. They were all practicing their Rugby skills. Zach has decided he wants to be a Rugby player when he is older so is happily brushing up his skills by taking down his sisters!

At the beginning of the Easter holidays we spent a day at Warwick Castle. The kids loved exploring the grounds and learning all about the history. Their favourite part of the day was watching the Birds of Prey show. It was amazing and really 'wowed' them. They loved it so much that we decided to go and visit the birds afterwards, where Elsie introduced herself to each of them and asked if they were having a nice day. They also got up close and personal with some Peacocks in the Peacock garden which was pretty cool. 

Throughout the Easter holidays we went to the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry to watch 5 different shows. They always have an impressive timetable over the holidays to entertain the children. They went to see; Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Dear Zoo Live, The twisted tale of Hansel & Gretel, Easter Bunny's Eggs Factor and What the Ladybird Heard. Each show was very different and the kids had so much fun watching them together. The last family activity they did was a trip to the cinema yesterday to see Coco. It was an amazing film with lots of action and emotional moments. It was a lovely way to round up the Easter holidays and they will be back to normality tomorrow with a bang. They have enjoyed sleeping late and spending so much time together so it will be sad to see them all go back to school. Not long until May half-term though!

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful


Review: Carcassonne

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Based on the southern French city of Carccassonne, famous for it's unique Roman and Medieval fortifications, this award-winning game of simple, clever tile-laying brings new challenges with every turn!

This is another game that we would probably never have chosen to try ourselves but is actually one of our favourites out of all the games we have reviewed. The game is suitable for 2-5 players, age 7 +. 

Me and Sam invited Gracie to join us playing this game as she is 7. We weren't sure whether it would be too difficult for her as the instructions sounded quite complicated but after we had all taken a turn each, it clicked and we all understood what we needed to do. 

Each person starts with 7 'Meeple' in a different colour. When it is your turn, you take a tile and place it touching one of the tiles already placed. Each tile will have either a road, city, church etc. You can place your Meeple on these cards and once a city or road is completed you gain points and your Meeple is returned to be used again. It is a game of both luck and strategy. You hope for tiles that will help you increase your points but you may get something else and have to think of where that tile is best used.

There is also a board that comes with the game that helps you track each players score throughout the game. There are two expansions that came with the game that we need to find some time to play around with, a selection of river tiles and some more figures called 'Abbots' that are used to add to the game and make it more of a challenge.

I really enjoyed this game, as did Sam and Gracie. I, of course am the current family champion of Carcassonne. It is fun to play, it gets your brain engaged and you never quite know who is going to win!

We really enjoyed this months game and can't wait to see what we get next! 

Belgrade Theatre

Review: The Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Photo Credit: Kate Green
 Today I took the children to see another show at The Belgrade Theatre Coventry. The Twisted Tales of Hansel and Gretel, produced by Open Theatre Company and Birmingham Hippodrome, is the first in a series of Twisted Tales which will be developed over the coming years, in which the learning disabled actors are at the centre of creating and performing high quality productions made for a family audience. 

I have to say it was not what I was expecting at all. When I hear 'twisted tale' I think a whole reimagining of a story from a different point of view or perspective. What made this different was, it wasn't far off the Hansel and Gretel we all know, it just added a few more funny characters and a slight twist to each characters personality. There was a feisty Gretel, a beat-boxing Hansel, a singing chef, a 'Grade A' storyteller, a mockingbird who could play instruments and a duck that saves the day!

Photo Credit: Kate Green
It definitely wasn't a serious performance. It is a family friendly, joyfully silly show. The kids were engrossed throughout and were constantly giggling. It was nice to see the theatre was quite full and everybody seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. The actors were all brilliant and we all came out with different favourite characters! I personally loved the duck! Gracie loved the Mockingbird and Zach liked the Dad/Chef (I am not quite sure he realised they were two separate characters played by the same person!)

It is definitely worth watching if you are local! Or you can check out all the other upcoming shows at the Belgrade Theatre

Red Riding Hood and The Wolf Belgrade Theatre

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Today me and the kids went to The Belgrade Theatre Coventry to watch Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. Red Riding Hood and the Wolf is a retelling of the Red Riding Hood story by Little Angel Theatre. 

The story is told by Robyn. She takes a book and starts to read but she can't relate to Red Riding Hood, with sugar and spice and all things nice. There are two sides to every story. What if the Big Bad Wolf wasn't big or bad at all? Robyn tells this alternative story through a world of homemade make-believe.

The show is full of puppetry, props made from household items and some great sound effects. It is very clever and performed by a single person on a small set. All four of us really enjoyed the show. The older two understood the story a lot more but even Elsie loved the puppetry and props. She was constantly asking questions about the performance. It was funny. It was different and it was interesting. I love reading and watching alternatives to fairy tales and stories and it was nice to see a side where the wolf was a good guy. It was great for the kids too. It had a subtle lesson in judging people or creatures by their looks and appearance. 

It was a lovely family friendly show and it is showing until Thursday 5th April with two showings per day so be quick if you want to see it! 

Planning Children's Parties

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

I absolutely love planning children's birthday parties, which I guess is a good thing with so many children, and over the years I have planned a fair few. Whether it be a home/garden party with close friends and family or hiring out a venue and inviting all of their school friends, I always love creating themes and activities to make it extra special for the birthday boy or girl. 

We will be moving house soon, where we will have a really big garden suitable for some awesome children's parties and the idea makes me so excited. I am already looking at ideas that each of the children will love and have even considered hiring some entertainment like Captain Fantastic Parties because as much as I love creating activities for the children to do, entertaining people is certainly not my area of expertise. 

My personal favourite part of party planning is the cakes! Over the years we have had some amazing birthday cakes for the kids. I love to wow the kids and give them experiences to remember though I don't always pay people to make the cakes for me. For Gracie's 5th Birthday party, I decorated a cake for her myself and she was so pleased with it despite it not being a professional job. She still talks about it now which is lovely.

A good birthday party will create memories that last forever so it doesn't matter how much you spend or how many people turn up. Having fun and getting a few snapshots to look back on mean that you can remember and cherish those moments forever. 

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