Strawberry picking 🍓

Strawberry picking  🍓

Being a somewhat dry day in suffolk we decided to go strawberry picking before the heavens opened on our way home. What is strawberry picking? Well the answer is basically in the name itself. You basically pick strawberries and get to take them home. The good thing about strawberry picking is you get to choose your own fruit so you can be sure you get the best quality strawberries. At this farm you could also pick blackcurrants, redcurrants and blackberries.

So safety wise its quite a safe activity to do at the moment all you do is pick your own basket and then you have a whole farm to social distance. It was very easy to keep away from others. When we needed to pay we just went into shop and paid. I also brought some fresh fruit and veg and other little bits from the farms shop. There is something about things that don’t come prepacked in plastic that gives a much better taste and experience.

Elijah is just over two and a half so i was a bit worried he wouldn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t of been more wrong. When we got to the strawberry field and told him what we where going to do he told us he was “excited” and launched himself towards the giant strawberry on the farm. He enjoyed picking a basket and running around. As we where on a farm he was interested in the vehicles on the farm. He liked looking at the tractor and asked for a photo in front of some big yellow digger. We then went to pick the fruit he was excited when he could spot the strawberries. He picked his favourites at first he grabbed as many as he could see then we explained we needed to look for the reddest ones and he got very particular on his choice. He enjoyed running around and picking the strawberries too he did eat quite a few despite us explaining we had to pay first eventually stopped scoffing them down. (we told the shop hes eaten about 6 and they didn’t care).

Overall it was quite a fun family experience we all enjoyed selecting what we like the look of and knowing it was ours to eat. It felt quite nice completly picking our food completly fresh. The strawberries taste amazing and we have plenty to last. We will defo be going again! Hopefully before it’s time to go pumpkin picking!

Thanks for reading, charlie x

Our first class at little kickers.

Our first class at little kickers.

After five months on the waiting list we finally got offered a place for the little kickers weekly classes. We have been excited to get him onto the class after we decided to stop swimming lessons due to parking and repetitiveness of the classes each week. We wanted to join a group that would be fun and teach him how to work with other children to work on his team work and communication. We saw a while ago a few celebrities had taken their children to little kickers and rugby tots so we decided we would try little kickers as they had a class near by.

So today we got to start lessons and it was quite a lovely little lesson. The coaches are very kind and lots of fun, the children adore them. The classes use lots of props and equipment such as cones, goals, mats, whistles, balls, teddies and mats. Today the kids where taught to shoot goals,pass balls and do obstacle courses. They also used play to teach them skills and control with the ball and speed.The children where all of the same age so it was lovely that there was no expectation of the children and their where all there just to play together and have fun. The lessons are not overly expensive at 30 a month and the classes are intimate too for more hands on lessons.We really enjoyed the session and Elijah was smiling and giggling the whole time. He really looked adorable in his little outfit to and we are excited for next weeks session. The best part was when the children where all given a high five and a sticker for doing a good job! Elijah was very proud of himself and had to show everyone for the rest of the day!

What we get up to at the weekend

What we get up to at the weekend

It’s no secret that my favourite time of the week is Friday evening when the weekend starts. It means James has finished for the weekend and we get two whole days together as a family. There’s nothing I enjoy more. We’re always trying to make memories while also remembering resting and spending time together is important too.

Our weekend starts with a coffee from the other person made as we roll out of bed. On a Saturday I or James will have a lay in and on a Sunday we swap and the other person does. I say lay in but we always wake for about 9 am now. The other gets up with Elijah to give him breakfast and play with him. We normally then decide what we’ll do for the day if we haven’t already. We’ll decide somewhere family friendly to go and almost always will eat lunch out. If we go for a walk we have lunch after or before or if we go for a trip to town we will wind up at food at some point too. We quite often go for walks though and decide where on the day. For a treat we will often take Elijah for a day at soft play, to a museum or to the zoo. We normally do this on a Saturday.

After we’ve done our day plans we will normally come home for the evening shove on some pjs and watch something then have a small meal together before putting Elijah to bed and watching a film or series. Or we go too see family for tea and relax round there’s before returning to put Elijah to bed. On a Sunday we like to normally keep this as our chill day. Sometimes we’ll go for a walk or to the shops for something but mainly we like to relax. We get the housework deep cleaning done while Elijahs asleep for a nap. Things like washing, mopping, dusting, polishing, de scaling and scrubbing of rooms if I haven’t done it already. We spend the rest of the day cuddling up watching films, Playing with Elijah and doing some sort of arts or craft. We’ll do painting or do play dough or sometimes baking. We try to do a family activity as much as we can so we have real family time. Sometimes we will invite family or friends over but we normally like to cuddle up just the three of us.

We do like to try and do different things as much as possible so we go to different places for lunch, walks and more. We like to look out for events near us and look for different things in the area. We like to go to museums and to themed days and fates too. We often take strolls on the beach and end up on the amusements. We do love spending time together but also appreciate sometimes it’s nice to have our own time too. So sometimes I’ll go out with a friend or James will. Sometimes I’ll take Elijah out with me so James can have some time to himself. This happens very rarely though as we both agree we like to spend our weekends together and often go out weekdays instead with friends.

Looking forward to our next weekend where we are hoping to take Elijah to his favourite place the zoo! James has had too work the last two Saturdays so we’ve had to put of plans and relax more on sundays. What do you get up to at the weekend and have you got a set relaxation day too? What’s your favourite thing to do?!

The importance of the outdoors and your child

The importance of the outdoors and your child

Children need exercise as much as they can but we often forget the greatest free activity there is which is exploring the outside world. Nothing beats a bit of fresh air and the wind in your hair so why do we often forget to take a walk on the wild side? Children absolutely adore the outdoors and it is so good for their development too. Not only learning to walk on different grounds but learning textures and the sensory play that comes from the outdoors. They love discovering new things and learning about the outdoors. They love to see different objects and different surroundings and using their imagination.

We love to explore the outside be it for walks in the park to feed the ducks and see the squirrels and hunt for leaves. Or whether it’s a run down a windy beach front to watch the waves crash against the rocks. We love walking through the forests and seeing dogs and talking about what we see and taking Elijahs bike. We look for the gruffalo and imagine the animals that could be hiding. We love building sandcastles in the sun on warm beaches or crabbing and feeding the crabs and letting them go. We enjoy trips to the park and pretending we’re in a house or on a helicopter ride or flying so high. We love finding muddy puddles to soak our wellies into and collecting pinecones and conkers for sensory games and arts and crafts at home. It is so important to enjoy this beautiful world we live in while it’s still so beautiful. The world is the greatest gift of them all and some of my happiest memories have always been outside. The wind and rain cannot stop us! Dress up warm find some wellies and return for a reward of a hot chocolate!

Why we love soft play

Why we love soft play

Although it can be my idea of hell, soft play is a great little place for youngsters to flourish. They learn to make friends with other children and to do things like take turns and share. They also get exercise and a space to let go and be as loud and messy as they want. It is a place you get to be a child too and run round chasing them remembering the fun of your youth. It’s somewhere you can go and take a back seat and just sit watching them play and having fun. Where you haven’t got to run round and can just breath for a little bit. As they get older you can watch from further away until they’re big kids and you could have the luxury of a hot drink while they play in peace. (I cannot wait for this day). I

t can be a place to go with other mummy friends while the kids play together you can talk. You get out of the house and you get grown up conversation while your child has a fun experience. I love watching my little guy play and have fun smiling as he realises where he is and runs off to play. I love playing with him and racing him down slides or playing in the ball pit with him and showing him how to use and play with new things. It’s a great activity no matter the weather too, because it means Elijah can keep dry and warm instead of wet at the park on bad weather days. The thing I love the most is that it keeps Elijah healthy and happy and I’m up for anything like that.

Mum guilt when children hurt themselves.

Mum guilt when children hurt themselves.

Yesterday Elijah and I had gone for a nice trip to the park to feed the ducks and run around. All was going well until Elijah fell over on the path. He didn’t seem to hit the floor hard but when I stood him up he was bleeding and crying a heart wrenching cry. Immediately I felt awfull and like I could of done something to stop this from happening. In reality he would of fell over no matter what and there’s nothing I could of done as it was a complete accident. Elijah fell and his tooth cut through his lip to the other side and scraped his chin at the same time. now it’s starting to scab over everytime I look at him I feel so helpless and can’t help but keep cuddling him even if he’s completely fine. I feel absolutely awful for no logical reason whatsoever.

I always say to my friends when they’re kids hurt them self’s it’s not their fault and can’t be avoided but here I am sat in a mountain of guilt. Could I have dived for the floor to catch him when I didn’t even know he’d fall? Could I wrap him up in bubble wrap, a helmet and shin pads and send him out like that? Obviously I know kids are going to bump and hurt them self’s. They’re super clumsy and it’s how they learn to say for example not to run head first into a wall or nose dive down a slide. I think I’ll always be this over protective mother who feels pain when my son does like my heart weighs ten times the amount it should. I’ll always end up feeling terrible his hurt himself and giving him snacks or toys to make it better but that’s just me. I just have to accept he’s learning and accidents happen especially to his beautiful little face!

Balance bike fun!

Balance bike fun!

For Elijahs second birthday we have brought him a balance bike and a matching helmet to keep his head safe! Although his birthday is not till the fifteenth we had to let him have a test drive first!

A balance bike works by a child standing and pushing the bike or sitting and using their feet to push the bike. There are no pedals so it’s easy for little ones to learn how to balance and steer. The balance bikes are recommended as a alternative to stabilisers so that when it comes to riding a bike with peddles they require very little practice before learning. It’s great exercise working on their coordination and muscle memory and great fun too!

We took Elijah to a nearby forest walk, the best thing about living in Suffolk is all the nature walks around us! Elijah was excited to sit on the bike then nervous when he realised it moves. He quickly got over the nerves and loved it and learnt to do it by standing and had lots of fun! He enjoyed pushing and steering and kept asking to go on his bike when we came to a hill. He also loved the helmet and stood still while we put it on which I was shocked at. I think having a design they like is what swayed him. He loves lion king so we brought the bike in a lion king design and helmet too. We ordered both to Halfords and cost 46 for both. They are so worth the money and can be used till 4! I can’t wait to take him out for his birthday on his new bike after his birthday! Because it’ll be wrapped up again as he will of forgotten about it then and know no different haha! It’s a great family activity as well to take him and teach him and when he’s got the hang of it we could all ride bikes together!

Days out with the family. Miniature railway and brunch

Days out with the family. Miniature railway and brunch

Following a lovely day pumpkin picking we where ten minutes away from a garden centre (poplar nurseries) we love visiting as it has a miniature railway! We decided to go grab some lunch and browse the shops in the garden centre.

We went for lunch where we shared a pasta, chips and garlic bread. Elijah wanted a scone so a scone and some of our dinner he had! I had the most beautiful hot chocolate. As always it was really tasty and filled us right up! The railways station is just outside and is very cute they have steam trains too! They’re perfect size for children and under 4s travel free. The adults and older children are a pound a go or ten pounds for a pass of ten which we brought last time and still have turns! They have statues and flowers to look out for as you go around which Elijah loved!

Afterwards we stopped in the Christmas sections and looked at the lights and ornaments and it was so beautiful it made me feel warm inside! We found a door sign and bauble with Elijahs name on the first thing I have found with his name on in a shop ever! So we of course had to buy it. They have lovely food, cakes, chocolates, toys and home bits and we always buy something nice whenever we go.

We always live going to this little garden centre as it’s a day out when you get food. The foods always super delicious and out the door busy but if you reserve a table you’ll get a very nice meal! The train conductors are fun and lovely to everyone and they try their best to make it more exciting for the children! They play their whistles and shout all aboard and make the kids wave as they go! The outfits and the decoration of the area is lovely too very old fashioned and cute. You don’t have to pay entry either only for things you buy and each turn on the train so a good day out overall and it’s so big you can be there for hours.

Pumpkin picking at foxes farm

Pumpkin picking at foxes farm

Every year for the last 5 years we have gone pumpkin picking together, for the last four we have been to foxes farm in colchester. A short journey from our home we love going every year. We have taken other family members and friends and this year we went just three of us. Every year we get lots of photos and its been lovely as i have a photo of Elijah in my tummy, at almost a year and now.We will continue this tradition every year now as i think its a great activity to do and something to look back on every year.

The perfect family friendly autumnal activity for all ages which happens to be really cheep aswell. How it works is you park in their massive field and then walk to the pumpkin patch. The staff are really nice and helpful and every year they have more and more things to do. This year they had food carts and they haven’t had that before so you can even grab a drink and something to eat while your walking around or finishing off . There are plenty of places to take lovely family photos together such as on hay bales or photo set ups and next to signs. There are so many things to do for little ones. Little slides, climbing on hay bales, corn maze and obviously picking the pumpkins.

There are pumpkins as far as the eye can see their are all sorts of pumpkins there are small ones, big ones, different coloured ones. It’s lovely knowing you get to pick your own pumpkin and take it home. You know where its come from and you took it home yourself. Its a fun activity for yourself and your family. It may be a bit more expensive then a shop but they don’t charge you to attend only for the pumpkins. We brought 5 miniature pumpkins and one medium one and it only came to a tenner. We loved getting muddy and getting stuck in the mud. We have been in the rain before and the sun and overall it is always a lovely day come rain or shine.

Elijah loved being free to run around and choose some pumpkins. Once he got the hang of it he was filling the wheelbarrow and loving it. He enjoyed the puddle jumping to and squelching in the mud. When we took him to the minature pumpkins he was perfect size for this and loved grabbing them and holding them. When he got to the pumpkin patch of the bigger ones he would not stop till he found the right one when he found it he shouted “its too heavy” and asked for “help”. He tried to lift himself and fell back on a pumpkin and smashed it with his bum! He was very happy when we put it in the wheelbarrow. He enjoyed sitting in the wheelbarrow and guarding his pumpkins.

Its easy to pay and i think you can even pay by card now but i would check before you go on their website. Dogs are not allowed so humans only properly to stop risk of dog poo and dogs eating the pumpkins.We will be using the miniature pumpkins to decorate the house for Halloween and the bigger one we will carve closer to Halloween as a fun activity! I’m thinking about using the insides for once and baking something with it!

Below are some photos i took on my phone and on our camera. Enjoy!

How going from being a working mum to a stay at home mum has affected me.

How going from being a working mum to a stay at home mum has affected me.

I never thought in a million years I’d give up work. I’ve always been a driven woman wanting to do my bit for the community but also get paid and have a ok living from it. That was until I had a child and even then I wanted to work. I wanted to be a good roll model I wanted to show I could do it, I could work and be a mum but it became impossible.

Childcare was difficult I had to rely on nursery two days a week as childcare and if Elijah was unwell I still had to pay the bill and take unpaid leave from work. It seemed he was always getting ill and with no alternative childcare I had to take unpaid or it was lucky I was on annual leave while he was ill. I had to keep taking leave as I had no flexibility to rearrange childcare to work different days so. In the end the pay wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth the stress of the job and the guilt of working for so little. I left mainly because of the stress and how it effected my mental health and I have to say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

I’m not saying run out there and quit your job because that would be silly. If it’s something you want to think about and discuss with your partner then do so but it’s not a decision to make lightly. We had always said one day I would stop working and it just came at a good time really.

James is self employed so he can go out and earn more money. As I left work James was in the process of taking on a lot of work and because I stopped working that meant James could start and finish earlier getting more jobs and more money. He was no longer doing the nursery run and was also visibly less stressed from not having to sit a car for a hour and half a day. We are financially better off. James has full flexibility now as I’m home to watch Elijah and it’s made such a big impact.

My mental health is miles better. I’m no longer on the edge waiting for something to push me off. I still have down days but they’re nothing like they used to be. I don’t stress about made up situations and scenarios in my head about work. I don’t worry about money. I don’t worry I’ll get fired if I or my son feels ill and can be there for my family when they are ill. I don’t have too much to worry about.

My relationships are better. I have more time to see my friends and too talk and I also communicate through texts more. My friendships are stronger than ever and I’ve even made more friends. My conversations are no longer me staring off into distance as I’m stressed wanting to leave because I’m exhausted and don’t have the mental strength to maintain or care about anything said to me. I’m able to fully input into a conversation and have some positive things to add into a situation. My family ties are stronger as I’m not so stressed, I’m not uptight as much and enjoy being in my family’s presence and making more time for it.

My family life is better. I feel like a mother. Not a part time care giver. I spend everyday with him now and have gone from sometimes not seeing him for 24 hours to not missing a thing. I’m not exhausted from work anymore so I have the energy to chase Elijah around, to play and teach him. I take him out more and it’s positive for both of us. It’s now we bond and learn together having fun every step of the way. Me and James’s relationship grows stronger everyday. For some reason I’ve found James is less stressed with me home. I thought it would be the opposite but he tells me it’s better and he doesn’t want me to work as he likes it. The house is tidy when he comes home now or little bits need doing so we have more us time. When Elijah goes to bed at 7 we have all night so we have more time to relax. We will watch a movie or tv series and cuddle on sofa, play a game or James will do work stuff at the table and I’ll read my kindle talking every now and then. Where was before we’d normally zone out and do our own stuff as I’d get home at 8 sometimes earlier and have to still do the clean up and cook and shower. I’d be exhausted and just flop onto the sofa with my phone and spend my perhaps hour of rest before bed ignoring life. We had breakfast together which used to be nice but it turned into a hulk it down so I could get ready for work while James got Elijah ready. Now we have time to be a family and sit down together it’s rare we don’t eat together now. James gets to come home and relax and we relax together. He still helps here and there but I try to get most of the work done and if we’re both exhausted I’ll offer to wash up the next day. The nicest thing is we talk more and on his days off have family time where we are all present in the moment not exhausted and thinking of other things.

The households more maintained. I have time to keep the house tidy and not just clean. I have time and energy to do decorating with James when we want to. The thought before of using my crucial time of to paint a wall made me feel physically sick. I cook more nutritious meals from scratch. I plan ahead and I’m now organised. We enjoy our home more than we used too. We also go out more too and have more guests over as I’m not embarrassed by my house.

My health is improved as I look after myself more. I don’t binge eat at work on lunch breaks from the chippy or Chinese with a dessert of chocolate every time I’ve had a shit day. I take time to look after myself. I have time to exercise. To take my tablets on time, to eat right and to be able to have time to relax and have a self care/ skin care regime too.

I do however miss my work. I miss colleagues and having a laugh with the girls. I miss having a career. I miss having somewhat a important role. I miss learning and adapting to change. I miss having me time on the way home from work and my lunch breaks. I miss being Charlie when everyone didn’t just ask about Elijah, they asked about me. I miss feeling proud to be a mum making her own money.

I don’t like asking for money. Christmas is going to be hard for me as I don’t want to ask for money to buy James his own presents. I feel degraded and I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. James doesn’t mind but I hate relying on someone else and it gets me quite uptight. I also get defensive if I’m told no because I can’t just get it with my own money now. Rarely I’m told no btw and I’m not a gold digger so calm down If that’s what you where thinking.

My tired is a different tired. I’m exhausted from a child that takes every inch of my energy. He’s demanding as hell and although I love the time we spend together he can’t half be a pain in the ass.

I get lonely. If I don’t have plans for a few days in a row I get lonely. Even with Elijah I feel alone and like I have no friends even though I know I do. I also get bored easily and want to do something different all the time.

I hate the stigma that comes with being a stay at home mum. It’s like all the years of working have been for nothing. It’s like your worthless because you’ve decided to stay at home and look after your family. People don’t respect you. They think your lazy and have life easy. Having done both, working and staying at home I can say working was easier sometimes and work stops motherhood doesn’t. There’s no home Time when things get tough or calling in sick because you’re having a bad mental health day or chucking your guts up. There’s no lunch break and nobody to help.

Overall I am lucky to be given the opportunity to stay at home and to have such a loving, hard working husband to provide this life for us all. Sometimes I miss working, sometimes I don’t but for now it’s been the best decision we’ve made.