Messy play in partnership with Hartley’s fruit !

Messy play in partnership with Hartley’s fruit !

Hi all as we reach day 2636526 in lock down we’ve been thinking of ways to keep our little one busy and thought why don’t we share those ideas with you. The lovely people at Hartley’s fruit gifted us lots of jelly to share with others what we get up to with jelly!

I know what your thinking jelly? That’s just for eating? Well yeah it’s for eating BUT you can also play with it. You can hide things in it and explore the texture as you try to fish bits out of it! SO if you’re looking for a cheep and easy activity then look no further!

All you need is jelly, you can buy Hartley’s jelly in most supermarkets and corner shops as well as online! Then you can get inventive. I like to set a theme today I used Elijahs little dinosaurs and we had a dinosaur theme. We have previously done jungle animals, the lion king theme and we’ve even used fruit too! If your child is still at age where everything is in the mouth I suggest bigger toys they can’t choke on or cut up fruit!

How to make: Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions and when it’s starting to cool out the fruit or toys in. Then when it is completely cool put in the fridge to set for a few hours I suggest a minimum of three hours!

Now the fun part! Get it out and put some old clothes on and get ready to get messy! Get some tools out if you wish, I got a spoon but we’ve previously used whisks, chopsticks and lots more to squish into the jelly.

While your child plays talk to them while they explore. Talk to them about the texture and ask them questions. Ask if it’s squishy? Ask if it’s cold. Ask how it feels in their hands. Talk about how it is cold and how it is wobbly. Talk about what your using to get the toys/fruit out. Count how many objects you remove from the jelly and talk about if they’re sticky or not.

We enjoy getting bigger toys and splashing them in the jelly also! It’s a great play idea which you don’t have to worry about them eating the product!

We find this a super fun idea we play with other children when they come round and can’t wait to do more play with others after lockdown!

To clean up, once all the toys have been removed allow them to eat some jelly. If you’ve made to much save for later in the fridge. To finish just simply wash up as normal and add the toys and utensils to the washing up pile. Remove dirty clothes and wash hands it’s that simple.

Have fun and enjoy yourself! Let’s play with our food that little bit more! Thanks again to Hartley’s for supporting our play today! (The jelly used was gifted).

For more play ideas be sure to check my Instagram play idea highlights where I’ll be adding more as we play! Follow: @lifewiththehazelwoods and tag me and Hartley’s in any jelly play you do!

Thanks Charlie!

Why I love using my instagram!

Why I love using my instagram!

Hey it’s been a little while how are you all doing? I think for a while I’ve been a little lax on my blog and i’m sorry for that if you’re one of my subscribers! Anyway i wanted to update you all on where I’ve really been. I’ve been in the land of Instagram of course. I made a little Instagram for my blog a while back and i decided to use it a bit more and spend my time on there.It has been a absolute lifeline to me since this coronavirus pandemic because it’s enabled me to engage with so many lovely people.It’s been a really useful thing for me following new people such as other mums and getting to know them. Of course the element of comparison is there in the background but once you can get through that and see that everyone else is comparing aswell it gets so much better.

I have been lucky enough to meet a few other parents like me with my sense of humour and they have became friends, like my own online pen pals. We send gifs, support each other and laugh with each other everyday. While i am feeling stuck at home and alone i am able to sometimes escape to my little safe place and interact with my new little tribe. If i don’t feel that great there are loads of other mums feeling the same and we are all ready to build eachother up. i’ve found @hudsons_little_life and @mammabelle18 to be absolutely beautiful people who have brought thousands of mums together. It’s sometimes quite hard to meet other like minded people and these two have started weekly posts mums can take part in to meet other mums. I’ve found that the people i have engaged with from these have been really lovely people and it’s great to be able to follow other people and look into their lives.

I also enjoy looking at peoples play ideas, i’ve influenced so many of these ideas into elijahs play and at times where i have struggled with what to do it has been a lifesaver having whatever you need a hashtag away. It’s nice being able to shop with and support small businesses. To see the person on the other end of a business only makes me want to buy and promote their products that little bit more than perhaps using amazon or argos! Also i have been lucky enough to start collaborating with some businesses and it’s felt amazing to be believed in enough to promote a product. Who would of believed how social media can open so many fantastic doors!

It’s also great to find out what celebrities are doing and friends and family aswell. It’s become a place where mental health and health conditions can be normalised in a way where we don’t worry as much that friends and family see as it’s not on facebook where everyone you personally know is. It’s nice to explore others opinions and views and be supported by people that don’t know you so you feel more love than judgement!

So if you have instagram and would like to connect come find me and send me a dm!

my instagram of course is @lifewiththehazelwoods and you can also find my instagram in the menu!

Looking forward to connecting, Charlie….

Like a flower the sun helps my mental health

Like a flower the sun helps my mental health

It may be the fact it’s beginning to feel a bit more like summer and although we can’t sit in a beer garden or eat al fresco at a restaurant we can do it at home. We still are lucky enough to be able to go out for our one type of exercise a day if we wish too and that allows to enjoy some of nature’s absolutely glorious beauty for absolutely free!

Now it may be the fact that my body’s finally absorbing some of the vitamin d it so badly needs or just wanting to experience the outside world a bit more and spark my curiosity. But I feel a bit healthier. I feel a bit a bit more untuned into my body and my emotional needs. I feel when I need a break and sitting in the garden for a little bit can make me feel a lot better then sitting inside. I feel the sun helps more than the rain clouds and although I burn like bacon I enjoy being dry as a raisin as apposed to drowned like a rat. I’m enjoying the suns morning glow lighting my living room and bedroom each morning it feels a bit brighter and happier under the warm sun. It’s helping my heating/lighting bills and my soul.

I’m enjoying watching elijah running around playing around in the garden. I never thought we’d have a garden and here we are homeowners with a garden who would if thought! We enjoy running around after each other when we go for walks. I’ve always enjoyed photography so love to take photos of nature and of my family. It really helps me focus on the pretty things and takes my mind of the rubbish. I enjoy looking back on those photos and enjoying the beauty and memories brought back by them.

The days are longer with the sunshine and we don’t feel a need to go to bed earlier or rush to get inside from the garden at night. It feels nice to enjoy reading in the garden with natural light instead of slumped on the sofa under a lamp!

Although I still struggle with my mental health and still have days I feel so overwhelmed I do find the sunshine really does help me personally. It may not help everyone because it’s not a cure, it’ll never cure me. I’ll still be sad when the sun shines and sad when it rains but that’s life. Some days are better then others. But sometimes the sun does make me feel better when it hits me be it inside under a window or outside in the garden.

Do you think the sun helps you sometimes?

Health anxiety in a pandemic

Health anxiety in a pandemic

It never goes away health anxiety. You have a few good days then wham you’re back. Back in the loop of questioning every bodily function which can be completely normal but to you it’s like your body’s going to explode. Health anxiety as I’ve already touched on before in previous blog posts is basically thinking worse case scenario of every illness and feeling your body goes through. In a age of google we seem to think it’s our best friend when in fact it can be a dark, dark place. It’s simple google my symptoms and I’ll be assured? But what about when I google a headache and think I have a tumour or if I have a weird mole that it’s then cancer? How I’d explain health anxiety is being a catastrophic thinker on overdrive.

Over the last few months covid has been doing it’s rounds in the press and media and there is literally nothing you can do to not hear something about it. Unless your armish of course. With a complex list of symptoms completely similar to the common cold and hay fever it’s hard to not think a sniffle is the virus. With talks of death being amongst the most talked about thing in the virus I’ve come to accept that this is a deadly virus and it scares me to think about it.

A few months ago I had a numb arm and chest pain just as the corona virus had sort of had one or two cases in other countries to wuhan. I tried to not let my health anxiety get the best of me and go to a doctors appointment as for some reason I thought I’d be sent to hospital and I was worried about infection there. I took more painkillers and went to my counselling session and became really in pain so much so she cancelled the appointment and told me to go to the doctors. The doctors where very worried and sent me to hospital. While they’re I spent the whole time panicked I’d get corona virus and panicking. I santize to my hands where red raw. It was there I found out I have fnd which caused the symptoms and will return again and again. Coming out of hospital I felt so worried I’d get the virus again and was super scared to be around crowds exetera. I obviously didn’t have it but every time I felt warm or coughed that was it I had it.

After being in lockdown my health anxiety is still pretty high. I hate going out. If someone gets near me on a walk or something I want to rip my skin off and smack them with it and retreat home fast. Even though James and I have had no social contact in months I worry I’ve got it sporadically. Everytime I feel warm. Everytime my asthma is triggered by hay fever that’s it I’m dying.

The thing is with health anxiety is it doesn’t go away. When self isolating it still doesn’t make me stop worrying. Finding a new lump or mole means I have melanoma or lymphoma. Having a blurry eye day makes me think I’m going blind. Stomach pains or reflux from Ibs makes me think back to my endoscopy days and think right there’s defiantly cancer or Crohn’s disease forming in there. Now that I know I have fnd I still think am I having a heart attack or have I had a stroke even though I know it’s from this disease. Things don’t blur into the background but us anxiety suffers are trying to suppress our emotions, our need for reassurance from others because we worry about the pandemic and that we might be annoying someone. If we where to get seriously I’ll aswell would we want to go to hospital due to being deathly afraid of all the confirmed cases at them?

So if you like me suffer with health anxiety and struggle to think clearly during the pandemic know that you’re not alone. You’re okay. Your doing incredible to be stuck inside overthinking everything that’s going on with you and your body and the world. It’s okay to be scared to be around others and it’s okay to want personals space. Look after your physical and mental health.

As always my dms are always open!

How to support someone with depression.

How to support someone with depression.

Just because you see the world a certain way doesn’t mean everyone else has too. Some people see the world in a black and white way and some see the colour. Everyone is allowed to have their own feelings and that’s okay. If I say I’m feeling down. I don’t need someone telling me all the positives of life right now and things I already know. Like I know I should be grateful I have a family, people have it worse and bla bla bla. I mean do people honestly think it’s helpful to try and tell people how to think?

Here’s a fun fact if you try to make someone feel a certain way they will probably go the opposite way. You can’t make someone feel happy by telling them to be. Medication isn’t a magic fix for depression and nor will it ever be.

When someone’s feeling down talk to them. Ask and VALIDATE their opinions. Don’t tell them what to do. Don’t ask about their medication. Because that’s gonna piss anyone off. All you need to do, to be a friend is listen. Not give advice. Just listen. Let someone moan to you. Do not make them feel guilty. Your issues are different to someone else’s and imagine if someone told you how to feel if you where feeling down and what to do because their opinions are different then yours.

There’s been so many times over my life where I’ve been told how to feel, to suck it up, someone has it worse. But you know what it doesn’t matter how someone else has it because they are not currently living your life. One thing I’ve learned from counselling is that I am entitled to feel down. I do not need to bury my emotions and if it helps to talk about them then that’s what I bloody well should do! When family or even friends say someone has it worse I now say the conversations over and I don’t care if someone has it worse my feelings are still valid.

Some people have different views than us on life. Someone who is depressed will see the world as doom and gloom and that’s okay. Instead of forcing positivity on them just ask how they’re feeling. Just listen and say I know that must be hard. Don’t try to compare to your feelings. Don’t try and tell them what to do because it doesn’t help. You can also be more than one person. You can be positive then depressed because as humans we can have this ability to be positive and then crash, hard.

You also don’t have to talk about their depression. You can just ask them what they’ve been up too, change the conversation. Talk about films and movies you’ve seen. Talk about anything else then there depression this helps take their minds of things. Depression needs a distraction the more your focus on it sometimes the worse it feels. Your friend is still in there. So continue to treat them as normal and as there friend be there for them. Hopefully you’ll never need to have them be there for you in the same case.

If you’re really concerned about someone or yourself you can contact many charity’s such as Samaritans exetera. As always my dms are always open. Stay safe, let’s get through this together.

Three more weeks of hell

Three more weeks of hell

The government is expected to put us in lockdown for 3 more weeks as I type this and I can’t imagine anything worse at the moment. Obviously protecting everyone is why we stay at home but I don’t know how much more I can take and why aren’t police and military stopping everyone leaving houses and roaming the streets all day to prevent the spread. I’ve had enough of looking out my window and it is completely packed on my normally quiet road. It’s full of groups going out and about people ignoring lockdown.Cars moving around all day, My neighbours in and out like yo-yos and children from different households playing in the street. I’m seeing people travel to family and friends households online and it’s really getting to me now. Do you think I stay home so you can swan about thinking you’re above the law and the virus? No. No I don’t.

My mental health has SEVERLY taken a steep jump of a cliff (perhaps Everest). Honestly me and my son are getting on each others nerves now and although I love him to pieces I don’t half need a break. Or a six month holiday. But I can’t even go and see friends and vent. I can’t cry to family and I can’t handle much more. We’ve been potty training so that’s been absolute hell but his behaviour is something else. I know obviously we are in the terrible twos but the people that act like it’s normal haven’t experience the terrible twos in isolation where you can’t take them out for a distraction. Where you can’t go see family and friends. Where you can’t have a date night or go out alone at times. I can’t go to my counselling sessions which I am really, really missing. I started to make such good progress and now I’m left wanting to sob on Fridays because I should be going to my sessions and feeling better each week but instead I’m feeling worse each and every week.

I have no idea how to get out of this funk. I don’t feel grateful for being a mother right now. I am so jealous of people who don’t have children some times that it physically hurts. I get asked by a friend have I seen this or done this? No I haven’t because my entire day is plagued with screaming and tantrums and trying to entertain him to avoid such events.y nights are spent so exhausted sometimes I just sit there in silence staring at a wall. I’m jealous of people who get to have lay ins and late nights, people who get to do what they want when they want and only have to clean up after themselves. I miss ever taking silence for granted and my freedom. I feel like i have a pressure here to say I love my kid. Because others might judge me but why should I care what others think. Of course I love my child and just because I’m having a bit of a complaint does not make me any worse of a mother than anyone else.

I miss my old life. I miss sitting in a grotty bingo hall ordering terrible chips that tastes awfull but I couldn’t help ordering it. I miss sitting in a restaurant and my food and drinks made for me. I miss no washing up. I miss going to soft play with friends and letting my kid run and run till he passed out asleep from exhaustion. I miss having people over and going to others for dinner. I miss seeing Elijah with his friends and his family having a laugh. I miss the shitty bus journeys. I miss trips to the supermarket and looking around. I miss dunelm and bnm shopping buying loads of cleaning products( which I now cannot buy anywhere). I miss shopping trips and not being judged on what I buy and when. I miss everything. I miss long days out and now everything’s pure hell.

Hopefully things change soon. I don’t know how I’m going to cope anymore I really don’t. I’m struggling. It’s like I’m not here anymore I’m just on auto pilot. I’m sick of it and I’m sick of being stuck on repeat. Stay the feck home and stop making everyone else’s life hell because you wanted to see family or you wanted to buy something non essential.

Potty training

Potty training

Now that the UK is in lock down i decided with us being stuck inside constantly that we would finally get stuck into potty training. We have tried in the past and he wasn’t ready so we stopped. When he started more signs we decided that it was time and that while we have the time we may as well at least try. I’m no expert in the line of potty training and to be honest i would in know way want to be. It is incredibly stressful and probably one of the hardest parts of parenting i have come face to face with. But i think finally, we are coming out the other side. So if you think your kids ready here’s some of my advise that may help, or may not as every single child is different but it helped us.

So you’re thinking of potty training? First thing you need to do is look for some of the signs your little one is ready. Because if your child is not ready they will not pick it up and it will only stress you and them out. Potty training is already stressful so make sure they’re ready. So here are some signs to know your child is ready.

  • Can tell when they’re wet or weeing. Will pull at dirty nappy and be uncomfortable until changed.
  • Runs to a corner or certain space to do a wee or poo.
  • Has a fascination with using the potty or watching you use the toilet and want to try.
  • Their nappies are more dry for longer periods.
  • They tell you when they need a wee or poo.
  • Fidgeting before needing the potty, walking around, pushing legs together or just more fidgety then usual.
  • Wants to try pants.
  • Dry at nap time.

If your little one is showing a few of these signs then its probably time to take the plunge. You’ll never be ready to potty train but it is so much easier if they are ready and you start as early as they show signs. The next step is to get supplies ready to start potty training.

  • Take your child with you shopping or help them choose online big kid pants. (obviously not taking them if in lock down).
  • Explain about the potty and what it’s for. Perhaps buy a little book that explains potty training and read regularly this helped.
  • A potty. A travel one is a lifesaver so if you take it outside you can keep the contents safely till your home.
  • A toilet seat for trying on the toilet some kids prefer the toilet first and it’s there ready for the transfer from potty.
  • Disposable toilet wipes.
  • poo liners are a life saver to stop mess of poo in pants.
  • plenty of soap to clean hands more.
  • Cleaning products because it is hell of a messy.

So how did i potty train. We started with allowing him to sit on potty with nappy on, to get used to it. We would read books about potty training and explain what he would be doing soon. We took him shopping months ago for big boy pants and he choose them when we came home we tried them on. We started with showing him to go potty when we need the toilet. We would say we need the potty when we went to the loo to teach him we use the potty too. Then we started letting him wear his pants for a few minute a day. We slowly got him to sit on the potty to try we explained what its for and sometimes read his books to him. We stopped when he wasn’t getting it and waited until a few weeks ago and we have stuck to it. We repeated what we had done before and just picked it up as we went on. We got elijah to sit on it more and tried to take his mind of things, singing or letting him watch something. We used a potty reward chart with stickers but he wasn’t too bothered about the stickers but he did enjoy getting snacks as a reward. We praised using the potty and when he had an accident we told him that no wee and poo go in the potty and repeated every time. We would ask him where we and poo goes after a accident and he would tell us. We set alarms to try every twenty minutes to sit on the potty so he would get used to trying. After a while he got used to it and we could tell when he needed to go to the potty he would fidget a lot. We would take him to the potty when we thought he’d need to go and try. After a while Elijah got hang of it and started to tell us when he needed the toilet every now and then. Now he tells us every time he needs the loo. He will still have accidents but i think we can finally say he is potty trained. Thankfully most of the stress has gone and although we still have accidents it is worth it in then end.

Try not to put too much pressure on yourself or care about your house. They will have accidents and it will be messy, It will be stressful and you will want a break from it but if your child is ready continue. If they are not ready and don’t get anywhere with the potty try again in a few weeks. Remember your child does need to be potty trained at some point and they can’t start it themselves. It’s a part of parenting that nobody likes but it’s so worth it to see them grow up with another milestone proudly completed . If you have any questions lets me know! Good luck!