Oliver’s Book of the Week

Oliver gets an obsession over one book at a time. Often it’s a weekly transition so I thought I’d start documenting his ‘book of the week’ choice. Just a quick little synopsis of which book he’s enjoying and what he likes about it.

 

He’s just turned 4 and a half so his taste in books varies from short books that he can memorise and join in with, to long books where he just listens and enjoys the story. The kind of books Oliver likes are particularly silly ones, but he also likes really nice ‘soft’ stories. In fact that pretty much sums up his personality – he’s either mega silly and crazy or totally and utterly loving and caring.

 

This week Oliver’s book of the week is….

 

Hippobottymus by Steve Smallman and Ada Grey, published by Little Tiger Press.

 

book of the week - hippobottymus

Oliver was given this book by our friends, Holly and Mark because at his last birthday he wanted to be a hippo keeper at the zoo. When you read the story you start to wonder where the hippo comes in to it, until you get to the end!

 

The story is a nice little rhyme about animals making a song with their different sounds, and a bubbling creek. It starts with a mouse, then a bird, caterpillar, monkey, warthog and crocodile. Just in case  you didn’t guess, the bubbling creek is actually the hippo’s bottom! “Trump-parp-pop!” Although Oliver’s favourite part is the sound that the warthog makes by drumming on his bottom “like a big bass drum”.

 

We don’t mind a bit of toilet humour in our house so it’s a great book for us. Oliver absolutely loves it and has memorised nearly the whole book. This week he has been asking for it every night at bed time! Although, if you have children who aren’t terribly good at falling asleep I would suggest this be kept to a day time story book. Oliver goes absolutely crazy when we read it and jumps around in his bed. It completely appeals to his silly nature.

Luckily he’s fallen asleep in the few minutes it’s taken for me to write this blog post!

 

Do your kids have any favourite stories? Do they get obsessed with one particular story like Oliver?

 

 

(Affiliate Link) If you’d like to buy Hippobottymus you can purchase it here for £6.99 on Amazon*

 

*If you click through on the link I get a small percentage of the price you pay as a reward. This doesn’t increase the price for you

Trying to conceive for the first time

It is obviously no secret that Oliver was not planned. He was a surprise, a good one, but a surprise no less. I wrote about how I felt fertility guilt 5 years ago when I was pregnant with him. We were incredibly lucky that we didn’t have to think about trying to conceive. If we had waited for the ‘right time’ to have a baby we probably never would have had a baby. And now we have a 4 and a half year old. He’s absolutely insane but also insanely loving. I wouldn’t change that surprise for anything.

 

There’s just one thing. We’re settled now, we’ve just got married and we have a big enough age gap that I won’t go crazy. So now we’re trying to have a baby. We’ve obviously never done this before. I mean, we’ve obviously done that before, but not for this purpose. We’ve never been actively trying to conceive. But now we are. And everyone knows. So now there’s a whole new range of emotions.

The logical brain

You know the bit that tells you ‘well on average it takes at least 6 months for most couples to conceive, so obviously it’s not going to happen right away’. You reason with yourself that there’s no point thinking that it’s even going to happen yet.

 

…But it was so easy last time

I mean, we weren’t even trying to have a baby. We were even trying not to have a baby. So obviously our bodies work together pretty well. I mean, I barely even saw R the month that Oliver was conceived.

 

The disappointment

Every premenstrual cramp, every period. There’s disappointment that it didn’t happen this time…and then the logical brain kicks in again. I think R takes it slightly personally that it didn’t happen the first time, but as the logical brain points out, it apparently takes 6 months on average.

 

The ‘should we be trying harder’

I had to google what OPK and BBT meant. OPK’s being ovulation tests, of which I’ve never used. BBT meaning basal body temperature – apparently this requires a special thermometer and you have to check daily. Sounds like a lot of effort. And I have no idea what my cervix is doing or what is coming out of it.

 

…But won’t the stress of doing those things make it harder?

People always say it’ll happen when you least expect it and that stress stops people from conceiving, which is why people sometimes conceive naturally after failed IVF rounds. So obviously that means we should just ignore it all and ‘just enjoy ourselves’

 

All of those conflicting emotions and thoughts. It just leaves you at a point of confusion. But at least I can be honest about it. At least I understand even slightly what other people have felt when they’ve wanted a baby.

 

I’m sure it will happen eventually, and everyone’s pretty pleased it didn’t happen straight away. They weren’t sure they could handle another December birthday! Ha. In the mean time I’m going to enjoy my time with Oliver, he starts school in September and once we have another baby we will have much less time together…I might even get chance to sort my life/house out before another baby comes!

 

Have you been through this journey? How did you handle it?

 

Trying to conceive for the first time when your first child was a surprise - the diary of an unexpectant mother

You’re NOT a Feminist

Sometimes feminism gets a bad press. It’s confused with misandry – that’s a word I recently learned and it basically means ‘man-hating’ – the female version of misogyny. The fight for feminism is a fight for equality. Real feminism values men and not only understands male issues, but campaigns for them too. That’s important to me as a woman who is the mother of a boy.

Because what is the point in raising sons who are told they are not trustworthy? That men are predatory? To raise them thinking that when a sick woman makes a claim of abuse against them they should be instantly chastised and hounded for their awful behaviour purely because they have penis?

Raising my son to be a feminist

Instead, I raise my son knowing that he is an equal to the girls in his class. I teach him to respect all people, no matter who they are, where they come from, how they look or what they believe. I raise him knowing that he can talk about emotions, cry, wear whatever colour clothes he wants to and play with any toy he likes. I’m raising a son knowing that he makes the decision about his future career and that if he wants to be a Daddy raising his babies then that’s perfect too. Because women deserve a voice in the board room just as men deserve a voice in the home. Traditionally female roles shouldn’t be seen as weak, or lesser, they should be seen as strong and equal.

That’s what feminism means to me. But that’s just me. So I asked other parents what it means to them. What with us raising the next generation.

 

Feminism is…

“about recognising that women are equal to men. Not above and not below! Everyone has a place in society” – The Smallest of Things

“creating a world where women are free to lead their own lives in the way they want, whether that’s by taking on the world in a professional capacity or deciding to be a homemaker.” – Little Pickle’s Mom

“seeking equality. feminism is not making slanderous generic and unprovoked remarks about all men because you are clearly bitter about something”- Chocolate and Wine and I’ll be Fine

You’re not a feminist if…

“your feminism requires women to be ‘better’ than men. Equal. All equal.” – Life With Boys

“you act completely unreasonably and then try and use fighting for feminism as an excuse. Feminism is about equality not expecting more and does not excuse you acting like a spoiled brat.” – Real Mum Reviews

“your main agenda seems to be men hating. Sweeping, generalised statements about daddy bloggers are a case in point.” – Baby Foote

Feminism is…

“about striving for true equality for men and women in every aspect of life, including (but not limited to) our rights, our ability to parent and our professional worth.” – Surviving Life’s Hurdles

“about choice. Women should fully have the same choices as men. My mum is a feminist and so is my Dad. I get criticised a lot for leaving my career to focus on the kids – but I am a feminist and I’m pleased I made that choice. But with my first the roles were reversed. I’m no more or less of a feminist as I was then.” – Mama Mei

“about bringing everyone together. Feminism is about empowering everyone to speak up and speak out. Feminism is about me raising my son to be an epic human. Feminism is my son seeing no difference in anyone in the world around him, and for him to feel safe (and empowered) to challenge those that behave otherwise” Cheeki Mummy

 You’re not a feminist if you…

” don’t believe in equality for everyone no matter what their gender, colour, race, sexuality, age, ability or wealth etc. Feminism is based on respecting everyone.” – My Boys Club

“think women should get more than men” – LesBeMums

” use the word as an excuse to be hateful to ANYONE” – Muffin Top Mummy

“tell me your son can’t have the pram he asked for for his birthday (this was from a woman who is always spouting out about how much of a feminist she is and is raising her daughter to be a feminist but doesn’t think it applies to her son)” – Better Together Home

“are not raising your sons to be feminists too” – Thrifty Mum

 

Feminism is…

 

“about creating true equality between men and women. That includes life at home, such as little things like housework and cooking, as well as bigger things like looking after the kids equally, both having the option to do the career they want and reach the levels of that career that they want to. It is about being 100% equal in all things – neither men or women should be “above” or “below” one another.”

That Marketing Punk

 

You’re not a feminist if you…

“don’t believe in equality of the sexes. It really is that simple!” – Our Fairytale Adventure

“use your gender (whatever gender that might be) as an excuse to be a bully” – Plutonium Sox

” think you are better than anyone who is not exactly like you” – Fit For Parenting

“use feminism as a badge/ free pass that allows you to belittle others. Share your views, advance the agenda of equality yes but don’t become part of the problem by putting up more walls.” – Hi Baby

“make sweeping statements about someone based on their gender alone. Just become some men, or women, do something or believe something does not mean it applies to all men or all women. Feminism for me is about equality, empowerment and treating everyone as individuals who deserve the same rights as everyone else, but are also free to make their own choices when it comes to pursuing opportunities” – Little Hearts Big Love

Feminism is…

“the fight for equality between men and women. Feminism is recognising that historically and globally, women have been/and are treated as lesser. Feminism is not about diluting the bigger picture with petty arguments about slights to men.” – Mama Cat and Baby Bee

“a celebration of womanhood; in all forms and races, a fellow being with a privileged place on this earth alongside men, children and all other living animals on this planet.” – Mum2Sons

 

You’re not a feminist if you…

“don’t believe that anyone who identifies as female suffers the same discrimination whether or not they have a vagina.” – Mama Eden & Me

“tell women OR men what they should or shouldn’t do.” – Tattooed Tea Lady

“become the one thing that feminism was created to fight against in the first place.
If you become the oppressor, the liar, the bully and the abuser in the name of feminism, you are not a feminist, you’re an idiot.” – Me Becoming Mum

“think all men are bad or that women are better. I believe that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men.” – Teddy Bears and Cardigans

“believe that you are superior to men. You’re not a feminist if you use feminism to diminish what men do, mock men or continue the divisive society that we currently have, just with a slant towards females over males. Feminism is purely about equality. It’s about standing up and saying I am as good as any man, I deserve that to be acknowledged. I’m raising my sons to be feminists and I don’t want to feel that they are being belittled by those that claim to stand side by side with them on the picket lines.”

“are a stay at home mum. Actually you are. You can be whatever you bloody want to be. That’s feminism.” – The Incidental Parent

Feminism is…

“seeing all people as equal humans, regardless of gender” – Friendly First Foods

“about everyone having the same rights. I prefer to say that I’m a supporter of equality rather than feminism purely because of the man haters who make a mockery of it all!” – Digital Motherhood

“about seeking equality. It is not man-hate nor is it idolisation of women. But equally, pointing a finger to and acknowledging the patriarchal attitudes and societal structures should be encouraged rather than shot down as man-hate. Unfortunately the latter happens a lot nowadays too.” – Wave to Mummy

 

Feminism is… Confusing…

I have to be honest and say I’m confused about what a feminist actually is? I have strong opinions so does that make me a feminist?” – Squats, Sass and Saggy Skin

“The term “feminist” has such bad connotations these days. When I first got with my boyfriend, I told him I considered myself a feminist and he said “oh great…” and then I explained my views on feminism to him and what it meant to me and now he agrees and backs me up and considers himself a feminist…Men can be feminists. Men have female friends. Family members. Wives, girlfriends. Children! Men care about women’s rights just as much as women, so if your main agenda is to slander and demonise men, you’re not a feminist. ” – Lukeosaurus and Me

I actually really dislike the word ‘feminism’ because really, feminism should be about men and women being completely equal, not one better than the other, but I think using a female sounding word gives too many people the wrong impression that feminism puts women in a higher place” – ArthurWears

I’m a feminist. I believe in equality for women and men but I’m very aware that women have experienced sexism, inequality and oppression since we’ve been recording time. That’s why I’m a feminist, not an equalitist because we need to challenge the systems and norms to be better for women before we can get true equality. For me this also includes removing stereotypes and oppression that affects boys and men too (like the whole man up/ boys don’t cry claims) because it’s all part of the same system of oppression of women and girls” – Ellamental Mama

…yet simple

“To me, feminism is simply equality.” – That British Betty

“You don’t have to be female to be a feminist, you just have to believe in equality for men and women” – My Mummy’s Pennies

“I’m a feminist. I want equal rights for my daughters, no gender pay gap and parenting responsibilities and working seen as equal.” – Corporate Dad

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Wilderness Family Day : Review

The lovely folks at Camp Wilderness and The Bushcraft Company invited us to a free taster day to learn all about what they offer at their summer camps. They’ll also be running more of the family days throughout the year. Oliver is still a bit young for their summer camps but he loves the outdoors, so does R. I tolerate the outdoors. Don’t get me wrong, if it’s sunny and warm I love being outside. In March? Not so much. But I went along to Camp Wilderness see what all the fuss is about. Besides, what else would we do to celebrate a whole week of marriage? This is how we got on.

 

Arrival

Well, after realising (the day before) that Hatfield Woods actually isn’t in Hatfield and accidentally driving past the track that takes us to the camp we eventually found ourselves in the right place – R loves driving (probably too fast) down a country lane! We parked up and were greeted by a chap named Kyle. He asked Oliver’s name, so Oliver obviously said “Peter Parker”. Kyle instantly engaged him and cut off a piece of string to make Oliver a ‘web’. He tied it around Oliver’s wrist and bundled it in his hand then told him to shoot his web. It was an instant hit. All day Oliver was checking his pocket to make sure he still had his web!

camp wilderness arrival Kyle giving Oliver spiderman webshooter

 

The site

Once we entered the Camp Wilderness site it was really easy to navigate – there were portaloos on the edge of the site, then further in was a kitchen. At the centre were 2 big tents, each of which had a fire in the middle. They were then surrounded by camping tents. When there’s a camp the staff sleep in the big tents around the fire and the kids sleep in the camping tents. All of them surround the larger tent, so that if anyone were to wake up in the night and need help they’d instantly walk toward where the staff are.

Bushcraft company tents pitched in the woods

Fire Safety

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking… an open fire?!?! There were loads of kids, some Oliver’s age (4) and younger and none of them went too close to it. One of the first things we were taught was fire safety. At first some of the kids (and parents) not wanting to get too close were throwing sticks on to the fire and they were instantly told how dangerous that is. It’s actually safer to get closer and place the stick on gently.

kids sitting close to the fire learning fire safety

During the session we were taught how to start fires and keep fires going. Most importantly we were taught how to do it all safely. From things like how to light a match to striking a flint away from you. Not to mention how to deal with the chemical reaction between potassium permanganate and glycerol as well as making a fire from it.  We also learned how to lay the sticks so that the fire wouldn’t be suffocated and therefore would keep it going for as long as possible.

 

Tribes

We were split in to groups, or ‘tribes’, given a leader. Our tribe leader was the fabulous Ruth. Then we had to come up with a name and make a flag from a pillow case and some coloured markers. As the grown ups were rubbish, one of Kerry at Blissful Domestication‘s daughters came up with ‘The Stags’. A far cry from the Stags R encountered just a few weeks before our wedding! We all drew around our hands because we aren’t very imaginative. The kids drew pictures, there was even a diplodocus on our flag! The process was fun and I can see how it will help kids bond and get their imaginations running. Throughout the day though, the families tended to stick together. Except Oliver, he’d just wander off anywhere, any time. Yep, we were the parents that just kept on losing their kid…

 

camp wilderness making tribe flag with all of the children getting involved

 

Food

We went in to the forest with Ruth and the tribe, found a suitable spot to make a fire and then gathered up all the different kinds of wood we would need. In to piles we collected kindling, finger sticks, thumb sticks and bigger thicker logs that would keep the fire burning. Once the fire was burning steadily we set up our ‘stove’ and cooked our lunch. I say ‘we’, R cooked food for the group. He’s always group chef, wherever we go. This was certainly no exception.

At the kitchen they prepared the rest of the food. So we trundled back to camp and got our burger buns, salad and fried potatoes (oh, and ketchup, obvs). We Then got back to our fires and ate burgers sitting on the dried leaves surrounded by forest. It was blissful. I had no idea that eating a burger in the middle of a forest could make you feel so good inside.

 

camp wilderness cooking burgers over an open wood fire made by ourselves in the woods

I ought to mention that throughout the day there was always water and fruit available. We also had plenty of cups of tea and there were biscuits too. I was clearly still in ‘wedding diet’ mode because I managed to steer clear of them. We happened to notice that there are several pizza ovens on site as well! Wood fired ones of course, so the children who go on camps have to make a fire to cook their pizzas.

At the end of the day just before it was time to pack up and go home we also toasted marshmallows over the base camp fires and given rice crispy squares and hot chocolate. Ladled in to plastic cups straight from a huge pot of course.

 

Putting the fires out

Obviously we didn’t leave our fires going, we had to put them out. Our tribe leader offered to do that for us, but Oliver wanted to get stuck in. They poured a jerry can full of water over the fire and had to mix it together with the mud from around the edge to cool it all down. Once it was cooled all of the ash was scooped up and thrown out in to the woods in all different directions to scatter the fire remains. We also threw all of the unused wood out in to the forest too and covered the fire site with dried leaves. By the time we were finished you couldn’t tell that we had even been there.

camp wilderness putting out the fire using hands to mix the water in

 

Camouflage

It wouldn’t be bushcraft if you didn’t learn how to camouflage yourself and cover your entire face in camo paint. Of course I was terrible at being camouflage because I still have bright red hair and bright blue glasses (which also reflect light!). After camouflaging ourselves we then played a huge game of hide and seek. It was every man, woman and child for themselves. I was quickly seen, unsurprisingly.

 

playing hide and seek with bright blue hoodie and glasses and bright red hair

Animal Traps

I’ve left this bit til last because I’m not really sure what I’m going to write. Harry (who is an ecologist), our group leader showed us lots of different kinds of traps. He explained how they worked and used sticks to orchestrate what happens to your prey. This is where vegetarians and vegans would call me a hypocrite. I really hated it and it made me feel sick. I was quite surprised by how I felt about it, particularly as Oliver knows where his food comes from. He knows beef is cow, that pork, bacon and ham are pigs and lamb is sheep etc etc. In fact all of the kids seemed fine by it. But I felt really squeamish. Then again, I am one of those people who is constantly thinking about becoming vegetarian. (FYI they had veggie burgers available for vegetarians).

It was quite interesting and obviously a skill you’d need to survive in the wild if you were doing your Bear Grylls thing.

 

What Oliver Thought

Well it’s safe to say that the whole of Camp Wilderness was a hit. There were tears when we left. He thought Kyle was super awesome, Ruth was amazing and Harry was really interesting. What’s more he was asleep before we had even driven away – it was that tiring. He was also really upset that he’s not old enough to go on the camps. The starting age for those camps is age 6. Oliver really cannot wait to go back to Camp Wilderness.

What we thought

R was in his element. He loves the outdoors! He got stuck in to everything (except the hot chocolate. I married a weirdo who doesn’t like hot chocolate, I’m still baffled by it). When we left he was talking about how great it was. He’d happily go back and is quite disappointed they don’t do camps for adults. If the Bushcraft Company want to expand I’m in no doubt they’d be very successful at branching out in to stag parties for the outdoorsy types.

As for me, I thought it was great fun. As I’ve said the only thing I wasn’t sure about was the animal trapping. The rest of it was so much fun and I learned a lot. I still don’t think I’d ever camp overnight, but for a day out it was pretty good! I definitely learned to trust Oliver’s instincts with fire more and that he’s actually more capable of a lot more things than I thought. The team were absolutely incredible. I’d definitely have no issues sending Oliver to Camp Wilderness when he’s old enough. And I’m a suffocating ‘wont-let-anyone-babysit-my-not-so-much-a-baby-anymore-baby’ kind of parent. I also may have already looked on amazon for camo paint…

 

Here are some more photos from our day at Camp Wilderness

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We were invited to a free family day by the lovely people at Camp Wilderness, all words and experiences are my own and there was no payment for this blog post

 

 

The girl who cried wolf: A tale from the other side

Something happened in the blogging world recently that threw me back to being 18, back at sixth form. One of my friends was falsely accused of rape. The accuser was a prolific liar. We all knew it was lies, but accusations have to be taken seriously. I’m still friends with the accused’s girlfriend at the time. She’s one of my best friends. I asked her to write about her experience. A woman’s point of view about that kind of lie. People that know me personally will know this story, but we have kept it anonymous.

 

 

I would like to start this by saying I am not a writer. I am not a blogger, or even a tweeter.  I am writing this as the ex-girlfriend of someone accused of sexual assault. I am writing this for everyone who has ever been accused or insinuated against falsely. For their friends and family who it has affected, without even having the conscious realisation that one little exaggeration or one misinterpretation can damage a life irrevocably.

I can only tell you the story from my side, how it affected me and how I feel it affected those around me… but here goes. I would also like to add retrospectively that I had tears in my eyes writing this piece even 11 years on – tears for the boy I loved and was never the same, for the girl I was before. And also pride, for the people that stood by us and the way we got through it.

 

We were only 18

I (A) was starting to date a lovely guy (B) from a good family. B was on course to do fantastically in his exams, high hopes for a career in law. He had it all planned out, right down to his 15 year plan – including his own practice and judgeship and all those kinds of things. Then some girl he had fancied before me (C), decided to accuse him of sexually assaulting her.

 

Idle whispers to police investigation

This started out as just a few comments to mutual friends at school. That C and B had got together just as me and him did, and that in the past it had been more than just flirting. She just appeared to be jealous of him and I having a real relationship, so wanted to make out that I was second best. This was water off a ducks back, didn’t bother us at all and we fell in love… but this didn’t go down well.

The story then developed into it being unwanted attention, that she wasn’t interested and his flirting was not reciprocated. Then that he had assaulted her whilst driving her home one night. This got around the college. It got to the teachers, who called B into the headmasters office where the police were waiting.

He questioned his character

This amazing guy, who had been nothing but patient and sweet with me, was an outgoing, fun guy. He was great to be around and had loads of friends. Suddenly he was hauled out of his class in front of everyone and questioned like he was a criminal. He was suspended from school pending investigation. Meanwhile C still got to swan around the school making sly jibes at me and trying to turn people against B. He became withdrawn. Worried how it would affect his career and his hopes. Scared of how people at school would be talking about it and would think he had done it. We knew he didn’t. Everyone knew.  But the thought was still in his mind.

In the early stages of first love and lust, its supposed to be amazing and flirty and realistically, kinda hot – but this was really hard when he was worried what people would think. He even started to question himself and worry that if he kissed me, if it all went wrong, I could say something bad too. I was his girlfriend – we were inseparable – and yet he was afraid to touch me without my explicit permission, which in all honesty is a bit of a mood killer!

Disproved accusations

Thankfully, the police and school didn’t take too long to disprove her accusation of the sexual assault, but the damage was done. The rumours around the town were still in existence. I’m sure if you googled it you would have come up with a few bits, and this was in the days before Social Media was huge like it is now. I hate to think the impact this could have had if it was even more widespread. Even localised, this destroyed a young man’s college experience. It prevented him from having the confidence to go for law firm internships and work experience. It eventually broke down our relationship.

I know after us, he didn’t date for a long time, and any time anyone tried to get close, he would back away, would orchestrate so he was always in view of a camera or other people. This INNOCENT guy had to find ways to make sure he always had an alibi, as every now and again, C would pop up and try ruin things.

It hurt me, to see him so upset, to be seen as the “silly girl standing by a rapist”, a few people even said I was in on it all and protecting him. That I should stand up for women and not be another victim. I am not a victim. I never was. And I was standing up for women, for my friend. I am 100% in belief that if true, this kind of thing is absolutely horrific, but it is stories like this which stop real victims being believed and scared to come forward!

It affected his friends and family too. Being his defender, being there to help him rise above the whispers, to fight back with his suspension and keep on top of school and work and everything else a teenager has to do.

 

And all of this, stemmed from either jealousy, a misinterpretation, a girl who liked attention and wanted it however it happened.

 

Now I will say, I am ashamed in a way, but I do still hold a grudge against C for ruining what should have been a fantastic time in my life. Visiting my home town every now and again, I have bumped into her. She tries to be friendly but I cannot ever forgive what she did. Not for me. Nor B. Not for any of the women who’s experiences she has belittled and given doubt to in real cases of sexual assault etc.

Two sides to every story

Not having the knowledge of what really happened can ruin lives. It is so important to remember that there are two sides of every story and the impact this kind of suggestion or accusation can be devastating for all parties involved, not to mention their wider circles.

 

 

This account is not related to any bloggers, it is an account of an old school friend. The names of all parties involved remain anonymous.

 

anneliese phillips photo of two people in meadow surrounded by mountains

 

 

 

How to add colour to your house

*Sponsored Content

We’ve been thinking recently about updating our house. We’ve done a couple of things since we moved in, but we want to make our house look more homely. We’ve been thinking a lot about our furniture and decor and whether it fits in with our end vision. There’s so much that we want to do to our home that some of the furniture we bought urgently and/or because we didn’t have a great deal of money no longer fit. Then there’s the walls. Magnolia EVERYWHERE. So I’m thinking about how to add colour to your house, because I really want to add colour in to my home.

 

Furniture

Instead of a mismatched jumbled house with bits of acquired and bought-because-we-have-no-other-option furniture I’d love our home furniture to match our personality and style. At the moment everything is a bit beige, grey or black and dull. We bought a lot of those things because we knew they’d fit in with pretty much any decor while renting. However, we love a bit of brightness and we want to update the way our house looks now that we are home owners. So we’ve been looking in to ways to brighten up our house without buying completely new furniture throughout. That said, a bright coloured arm chair in the living room is definitely top of my wishlist.

 

Bright Textiles

We always have throw blankets lying around because of my raynaud’s, and y’know, because they’re cosy and ‘hygge‘. Again, our blankets are all mainly beige so I’d love to throw some colour in to our house with some brighter contrasting coloured throws. I absolutely love yellow right now, which goes really well with the navy wall we are planning to have. I also want to update the curtains from black to bright! By looking at a colour wheel, or checking out colour palettes on pinterest you can find contrasting colours that work together.

Bed linen and towels are another huge way to throw in colour. You can have a plain bedroom and/or but add a flash of colour with some more exciting textiles. If you love a white bed, just like a hotel room, then adding a bed spread can really give a pop of colour, as can a neatly placed hand towel.

You can also never underestimate the power of a well placed rug in any room.

 

Feature Walls

A feature wall doesn’t always mean one wall of colour. There are so many different ways to add a bit of colour without going the whole hog of a full wall. You can throw some stripes in or a random geometric shape. You could even use stencilling. You don’t need to be an interior designer, but do be fully satisfied with it before you start painting!

You don’t always need to paint your wall. A feature wall could mean a wall of art work too. There are loads of ways to display art, whether it be one huge piece of art or some quirky storage. In the bedroom it could be a feature head board, which is one of the things I’d love to do in our room.

 

Bright Accessories

There are so many decorative accessories out there to add a bit of colour to your home, including light fittings. Sometimes it’s hard to decide which to pick. As one of the florists I saw when planning my wedding said, “you want a little bit of pinterest, not everything on pinterest”. The most important thing to remember is to choose what really suits your personality and to stick with one style per room. You can have areas of your house that aren’t fussy to break up any different styles that you like.

Our plans

We plan to have a very plain hallway and upstairs landing decorated only with photo frames. Oliver’s room will likely be bright and fun, just like him, nextdoor there will one day be a calm serene nursery. For our room, I love the luxury hotel feel with quirky accessories.

Downstairs we will have a dramatic front room, with a navy wall and pops of colour with a bright armchair and lots of fun contrasting textiles throughout. There’ll be plenty of quirky accessories thrown in too. In the middle, our kitchen will be bright and airy with the furthest room to the back being a ‘bringing the outside in’ kind of room. There will be lots of serene colours and plenty of nature indoors.

 

Do you have any tips on how to add colour to your house? Are you as in love with bright colours as I am? Or do you prefer things cleaner and crisper with lots of white? Or perhaps you love the soft neutral colours. I’d love to hear about your style below, it might give me some ideas.

 

*This post contains sponsored content, however all words and opinions are my own.*

 

 

When DIY takes too long

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When we were looking for our first house we knew we wanted one that we could put our own stamp on. We wanted something that we could live with but we weren’t happy with. We ended up buying the house we live in now. It’s an ex council house that had been rented out for quite a long time. It’s in a perfectly liveable condition; it had to be for the tenants that lived here. However it hasn’t been properly looked after for a long time. Renovation was on our minds as soon as we were looking around. R and his dad were knocking on walls and were tearing things down and rebuilding in their heads from the moment we stepped through the door. DIY is just a part of normal life in their family. And not just casual DIY, serious DIY!

DIY can only go so far

One of the changes we wanted to make was to put in a fireplace. There was a very obvious hole that had been badly covered in the chimney breast. .When it came to knocking out the hole for our fireplace, it was discovered that the chimney breast was actually non supporting. Down it came. The only thing was that although R and his Dad are great at DIY, there are a couple of things that they need tradespeople for. It started out as “two weeks start to finish”. However, for various reasons it has taken a lot longer. Part of that reason being time and the other cost. We’ve now reached the point where we can’t go any further without hiring a tradesperson. We’ve repaired all the bits that need fixing. We’ve put plasterboard up. We’ve created a mock fireplace and put our mantel in. Now we need a plasterer.

Finding a tradesperson

R’s parents have a few good tradespeople that they regularly use, however they can be quite expensive. We then have the option of paying their rates or seeing if we can find a tradesperson ourselves. As we’re new to the area we were looking at the different websites to find tradespeople like priceyourjob.co.uk. Once we post our job and get quotes we can then make a decision and weigh up options.

Looking forward to it being finished

It’s been a year now since we started ‘the fireplace’. I’m so looking forward to it being finished. Once it’s done we can really decide how we want our room to look long term. We are thinking about making it changing it from living room to dining room and from carpet to wood.

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Of course, once that’s finished, we have plenty of other rooms to get stuck in to…….

 

*This post contains sponsored content, however all words and experiences are my own*

 

RC Blaze Toy: Review

We were recently sent the Fisher Price RC Blaze toy to review. As I’ve said before, Oliver is a huge Blaze fan so we were looking forward to surprising him with another Blaze toy. When it arrived Oliver asked straight away if we could get it out of the box and start playing with it. In fact since it’s arrived our TV has had Blaze on repeat because he just loves it.

What’s in the box

Quite simply you get what you see.

  • A blaze car
  • A remote control in a wheel shape

RC blaze in box with wheel shaped controller

The blaze car and the remote control both require 2xAAA batteries each, so 4 in total. That’s no issue for us as we have batteries all over the house thanks to R’s job. We still had some lying around from Christmas too. You also need a medium sized cross head screwdriver to open the battery compartments, it was really easy to do even with the cheap set of screwdrivers that R lets me use.

 

Playing with the RC Blaze

The toy is really simple to use. There are only two controls – forward and reverse turn. Basically this RC Blaze goes in a straight line. If you want to change direction you have to reverse turn until Blaze is facing the way you want to go. The RC Blaze toy is suitable from age 3; I guess anything more sophisticated would confuse little ones. For me it’s a little too simple as Oliver is over 4 years old now, so I’m not sure how long he will play with it. However, he absolutely loves it and doesn’t seem to mind the simplicity.

Oliver playing with RC Blaze

Oliver’s really enjoyed making up stories, based on the Blaze TV show and the things he’s seen Blaze do. He’s been asking me to race him using the Blaze toy from the monster dome, which is neither remote controlled nor as big as the RC Blaze. I’m not sure if he realises he’s being clever or whether he really thinks they are worthy competitors. Oliver also really likes that his RC Blaze is much bigger than Crusher from the monster dome set, so he’s beaten Crusher quite a few times.

Oliver playing with RC Blaze and Monster Dome Crusher

In Oliver’s words

“It’s really good because Blaze is a goodie and he can win Crusher when Crusher cheats”. He also told me that he thinks other children will enjoy the toy, but it’s a secret as to why.

The RRP for the RC Blaze is £21.99 which is available from good toy shops

 

Alternative Wedding Table Plan

I have a fairly unconventional family. When I say unconventional I mean that there are a few people who don’t really like each other, and there are only 5 of us. Then there’s R’s family, a huge extended family who (almost) all get on amazingly well. We didn’t want to draw attention to that so we decided we needed a way to make our table plan strategic in keeping family members separate without it looking obvious. Hence, our alternative wedding table plan.

 

We knew that it would take a few attempts so we used the Busy B table planner and started well ahead of time for a ‘worst case scenario’ of everyone turning up. I know, I know, it’s awful saying ‘worst case scenario’, but seriously, I can’t even write in words how stressful it could have been.

 

Guess what we’ve been up to today?

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So this table plan has little stickers that you can move around, which was extremely helpful. And move them around we did. A lot. There were conversations like, “ok, so that person needs to be across the room from this person, and they need to be facing so they won’t see each other”. Yeah. That bad.

 

Top Table Etiquette

We ditched the etiquette. Plainly and simply, it was gone, out of the window, long before we even thought about the table plan. Instead of the traditional family top table we have gone with a top table consisting of bridesmaids and groomsmen. We also ditched the boy-girl layout and went with one side men and the other women, because lets face it, we’ll all have much more fun that way.

There are loads of alternative wedding table plan ideas out there with different plans for top tables that you can change up depending on your family dynamic. Some people opt for a sweetheart table, which is just the bride and groom. We could have also opted for a tiny top table with just us and Oliver, but we knew he’d have more fun sitting with his cousins. That’s why we put him on the table directly in front of us.

 

Distributing the family

As my parents separated a long time ago, we have put them on different tables. To make it slightly less obvious we have separated R’s family too. We aimed to go for a ‘sibling per table’ for the first five, but as my brother isn’t coming we’ve got our families spread between the first six tables, including our parents. By spreading out the families in our ‘alternative wedding table plan’ it makes it less obvious to people who don’t know about the family dynamics.

 

 

 

Did you have an alternative wedding table plan? Were you fretting about family dynamics like me?

Top 10 weird things I do because I have Raynauds

I’ve always been someone who feels the cold, but since being diagnosed with Raynaud’s I’ve realised that it’s not something I should tolerate, or allow it to control my life. There are things I can do to help make my life a little easier. That means I can do some weird things that other people might not get. I mean, we all do weird stuff don’t we? But before I ramble about us all being weird and the meaning of normal, here’s the top 10 weird things I do because I have Raynaud’s.

  1. I turn the shower on extra hot at the end to give me warmth once I get out. It’s probably a good job we have a shower that attaches to the taps, otherwise R would get a shock.
  2. Use the same hand dryer that someone else has just used when in a public restroom. Because it’ll already have heated up. The same goes with taps.
  3. I leave the heating on in the car on full, even when I’m getting hot (because I’m wearing 5 layers and a scarf, hat and gloves) on the way home from the pre-school run so that when I get in the car for pick up it might not be quite so cold.
  4. Take 3 blankets for yoga for the 5 minute relaxation at the end of the session so that I don’t get cold. I already wear yoga socks and yoga gloves.
  5. Gloves! At the supermarket. Just so that I can rummage in the reduced section of meat. And y’know, pick up a carton of milk without getting numb fingers.
  6. Take vegetables out of the fridge about 3 hours before I need them so that the cold doesn’t hurt my hands when I chop it.
  7. Pack slippers in my bag whenever I go to someone else’s house. I also pack extra layers (including extra socks even though I’ll already be wearing tights under my jeans and a pair of thick wool socks).
  8. Wear jumpers and jeans in the summer, especially if going to the supermarket – or anywhere with air conditioning! I even got cold in Thailand.
  9. You’ll find blankets in my living room all through the year. Hygge – not just for winter.
  10. Forego breakfast to scrape the car so that I can then sit by a radiator afterwards to warm my hands before I drive.

 

top 10 weird things I do because I have raynauds title image with blanket background. img credit Kelly Sikkema

 

Do you have raynauds? Is there anything you’d change? What’s your top 10 weird things?