6 Handprint Art Projects for Kids

Since Lock Down, I’ve had to fill my afternoons with activities for my toddler. Going to the park or soft play or seeing friends/family isn’t an option, so I started doing things like: music time, story time, more garden play, messy play and painting! Olivia gets bored of painting quite quickly and she’s still too little to do proper art projects. So why not have some fun with it? So we tried some handprint art!

I found ton of handprint art for kids ideas on Pinterest so, I thought I would recreate some of my favourites. You can do these in paint or card. You can make these into greeting cards or gifts for loved ones. I love these because not only is it a fun activity for you and your kid but it’s also a treasured keepsake. Something you can look back on and reminisce on when they were small.

All you need for these crafts is:

  • kid-safe paint
  • coloured card
  • scissors
  • tape/glue
  • felt tips
  • pencils/pens
  • child’s hand

1. Flamingo Handprint Card

  1. Make an outline of your child’s hand on pink card.
  2. Draw the neck and head of the flamingo to roughly the same size as the hand.
  3. Cut both out and attach with tape or glue.
  4. Draw some legs, cut out and attach with tape or glue.
  5. Write your message on the back.

2. Dinosaur Handprint Card

  1. Make an outline of your child’s hand on card (colour of your choice) ensuring your child’s fingers line up with the edge of the card.
  2. Fold the card so the fold lines up with the edge of your child’s wrist.
  3. Cut out hand ensuring you cut through both layers of card while keeping the fold by the wrist. You should be left with a hand shaped card.
  4. Draw head and neck of dinosaur in the same coloured card. Cut out and attach to the back of the card with the hand facing down (so the fingers are like the legs and tail).
  5. Draw on eyes, nostrils, mouth and any other features of your dinosaur. You could even use goggley eyes for your dinosaurs to make them extra cute!
  6. Write your message inside.

3. Family Handprint Art

This one is my favourite and makes the perfect gift! You can also do this with paint but I preferred it with card)

  1. Draw an outline of your child’s hand in their choice of coloured card. Cut it out.
  2. Do the same with members of your household until you have a collection of different coloured handprints.
  3. Layer them so the smallest is on top and the largest is on the bottom. Secure together with glue.
  4. Frame for a gift. This would also look great in the centre of a wreath for the holidays or a Christmas ornament. You could write people’s names on them and the date on the back for a memento that will last forever.

4. Volcano Handprint Art

I think this one is so cute! Again, can be made into a card or gift. This can also be done with paint. Instead of cutting out your child’s handprint just get them to make a handprint in paint.

  1. Make 2 outlines of your child’s hand. One on yellow card and one on orange card. Cut them out.
  2. Draw and colour in a volcano. You could print one off or get your kids to draw one (even better).
  3. Use the handprints as lava spewing out the top of the volcano. Glue the card cut-outs or get your kids to make a handprint in paint at the top of the volcano.
  4. Decorate how you wish.

5. The Hungry Caterpillar Handprint Art

We had the most fun making this one!

  1. Paint your child’s palm green with kid-safe paint and their 4 fingers (not their thumb) in blue kid-safe paint.
  2. Make a handprint on white paper/card.
  3. Repeat until you have 3 handprints next to each other.
  4. Paint a red circle for the caterpillar’s head (or use a round sponge stamp like we did).
  5. Once fully dry, draw on the antennae and nose. I made the eyes with yellow card and drew on his pupils then attached with glue.

6. Seasonal Tree Handprint Art

I love the idea of this project because it would be a great activity to teach children about the seasons. You could get them to make 4 of these (one for each season) and make their tree look different for every season. For example, Spring could have light green and pink/yellow dots, Summer could have dark green, light green and red dots, Autumn could have orange, red and brown spots and Winter could have none (make it a snowy scene). I made an Autumn one because it’s my favourite season.

  1. Place your child’s hand in the middle of the page. Draw around your child’s hand and arm. Colour or paint it in brown. This will be the trunk of the tree.
  2. Using your chosen colours, create the leaves making it more crowded around the trunk of the tree and gradually getting more spaced out away from the trunk. I used felt tips to make the dots but I love the idea of kids using cotton buds and paint to make this.

If you liked this, you may also like: Fathers Day Crafts For Kids
Super Easy Valentine Crafts To Do With Your Kids
At Home Activities For Toddlers
Mickey and Minnie Mouse Cupcakes

If you want to see more fun things to do with your little ones, check out my Pinterest! I have a “Kids Activities” board and a “Toddler Activities Board”: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/ramblingsoflottie/boards/

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. It really does mean a lot. Keep your eyes peeled because I have some very exciting things coming out on the blog in the next week. Two posts in particular I am incredibly excited to announce to you! See you soon! xx

Advertisements

How to Handle Mum Guilt

This post is proudly brought to you by Heather from http://parent-pop.com/. She has a great blog that you should go check out! I also did a guest post for her about learning activities for children with Autism and ADHD. Click here to give it a read!

How to Handle Mum Guilt

I think if you are a parent, you will probably be familiar with this feeling. The horrendous pull in the pit of your stomach telling you that you are doing a terrible job at some aspect of your parenting – commonly referred to as mum guilt.

Now I am not saying that this is solely a mother’s problem and dads do not get this guilt too – maybe they do. But I do think there is a good reason it is known as ‘mum guilt’ and not ‘parent guilt’ or ‘dad guilt’. There is often a huge amount of pressure which falls on a mother’s shoulders – work, childcare, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and organising, to name but a few of our potential responsibilities. On top of that, society often tells us that we should be the emotionally supportive and nurturing rock to our children, whilst making sure they get a good education, taking them to clubs and make sure they have hobbies, and making sure they are fit and healthy. And while we juggle the various roles motherhood throws at us, we often feel we are supposed to be slim, glamourous, and attractive.

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

Oh, and I should probably mention that at the same time we should be a good partner to our significant other too.

Whilst maintaining our own friendships.

And caring for the pets.

In fact, when you really think about it… are you even surprised you have mum guilt with this much on your plate?!

——————————————-

As much as I hate to admit it to myself, I am prone to being a worrier and a perfectionist, and believe me when I say that this does not do me any favours when it comes to feeling mum guilt. Here are just a few of the things I have found myself worrying about in the last few months (during lock down) as a parent:

What I have fed my children

I care very deeply about the health of my children, and goodness knows this is the root cause of some of my guilt here. I care whether they’ve had enough fruit and vegetables, whilst worrying that they’re rotting their teeth by eating too much fruit. I care that they’ve had too much sugar in one go, whilst worrying that I’m too strict on the amount of treats I allow them to have. I care that they’ve eaten pizza more times in the past month than I want to admit (quick, easy and no complaining), but I also worry that I’m setting them a bad example by not cooking a gourmet meal each evening.

Photo by Marco Fischer on Pexels.com

My children’s bedtimes

With lockdown, our routines have gone a little haywire to say the least. My boys have gone to bed a little later, and gotten up a little later, as have I. However, this leads me to worry whether they’ve had enough sleep (or even too much?), whether I am encouraging them to be lazy by not making them get up at their usual time, and whether they will tell their friends the shamefully late times I have let them stay up watching movies with me.

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

The amount of screen time my kids are getting

When you’re home all the hours under the sun because you’re not allowed out, is it even possible not to let your kids have more screen time than usual? I feel guilty every time I let them put on the gaming consoles because I need to work from home, and for letting them watch a little too much TV when they first wake up. I feel guilty when my kids ask me what they can do to earn more screen time, and I feel guilty when my children tell me how much more screen time their friends get than they do.

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

The lack of exercise they have had recently

Some days, I don’t even think the kids stepped outside of the house. Normally, they are incredibly active, but lockdown has turned us into a family of happy hermits, and we have all found peace with our more relaxed pace of life. But I still find myself thinking I should be getting them to do more, and equally as guilty when I encourage them to do exercise when they are feeling relaxed.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

My children’s education

I am a teacher, and yet this still worries me. Am I getting my children to do enough learning? Or too much? Am I being too hard on them? Or too soft?

This is just a handful of my mum guilt worries, but I think you get the picture.

How do I handle mum guilt?

As you can see, there are so many areas of my parenting that have been affected by mum guilt, and that is over a relatively short space of time. I don’t necessarily think all mum guilt is bad, and sometimes I find it motivates and inspires me to be a better parent. But I also understand that if I let each and every little bit of worry and guilt take hold of me, I would drive myself crazy. With this in mind, I strive for a happy medium of the two: just enough guilt that I don’t become complacent in my parenting abilities, but not enough that I want to hide in a dark cupboard and cry about how crap I am as a mother.

Photo by Marcelo Chagas on Pexels.com

To get to this happy medium, here are a few things I have had to reflect on and accept on my parenting journey:

  • I am not a perfect parent – and nobody else is either. As I previously mentioned, I am a perfectionist with very high standards for myself, so this is something it took me a while to come to terms with. But once I embraced the idea that I am a good enough parent, and I don’t have to be the best parent, I felt a lot less guilty when I wasn’t putting 110% into my kids 110% of the time.
  • I should not compare myself to other parents. No good ever came from comparing yourself or your kids with other people. I have to accept that I am who I am, and I do what I do, and there’s very little I can do to change that. I have realised that other people do not always show you their true selves, or polish their images to portray what they think people want to see – and this is especially true when you consider social media. I feel a lot better when I focus on my own family and what makes us happy, rather than what might make other people happy.
  • I am too hard on myself sometimes. I have given myself too much pressure in the past, and focussed too heavily on the negatives about myself than the positives. Once I realised this, I was able to begin to start celebrating my strengths more, and let go of the things that I’m less happy with but cannot change about myself.
  • I must accept the things I cannot control. There are some things which make me feel guilty that I can do nothing about. So, what is the point in worrying about them? I have accepted that bad things will happen sometimes, and that is life unfortunately. I cannot protect my children from things that make them feel upset or humiliated, but I can be there to support them and help them learn valuable life lessons from challenging events.
  • I do not need to care what other people think. I feel sad that I wasted many years of my life wrapped up in what other people thought about me and trying to avoid their judgements. The same can be said for parenting, and I can think of times where I have changed my actions or conversation as I worried that I would be perceived negatively as a parent. But nowadays, I have taught myself to challenge this negative though – who really cares what other people think as long as my family and I are happy? And I am a lot happier for it.
Photo by Katie E on Pexels.com

Remembering to consider these things on my personal journey helps me to stay focussed on what is truly important when it comes to my parenting. The worries and guilt are still present in me, but I can now evaluate my thoughts and feelings better and understand whether they need a reaction or not.

If you are experiencing mum guilt, I would encourage you to reflect on your individual parenting strengths, as well as those areas for development. I am certain that you will notice that for the most part, you are a great mum with your children’s best interests at heart. Everyone has things they could probably do improve a little, but that’s all part of the parenting journey – and I believe it is called a journey because every parent is travelling down that long and bumpy road called parenthood. Our children won’t remember the time that you didn’t make a healthy meal or let the house get messy, but they will remember all the love and care they received from you while they were growing up.

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

I have decided that mum guilt is nature’s way of reminding you that you care – celebrate it, be proud of it, but remember not to let it get too heavy for you to carry on your own.

Love, Heather x

If you liked this you should check out more of Heather’s stuff at http://parent-pop.com/

You may also like: Mum-tivation
#MakingOverMotherhood
Olivia’s 1st Birthday

10 Ways To Do Self Care at Home

There’s a lot of stress in the world at the moment. I think we could all use some ‘me-time’ to relax and get rid of some tension. With Covid-19 still hanging around, it makes it a little more difficult as most of us are still stuck at home. Have no fear. I have created 10 ways you can give yourself some self care at home.

1. Bubble Bath and Candles

I know some people don’t like baths, but I do! It’s like a magical ritual for myself. Drawing the water, putting in things that will soothe my body or make me smell gorgeous, projecting good expectations and happy energy into the water for me to be surrounded by and immerse my whole body in.
I always have to have candles with a bath. It sets the tone. Makes it extra calming (and smell extra good). A part of self care is setting your surroundings for yourself. Creating an atmosphere makes it easier for your subconscious to relax while giving yourself the full experience. This leads me onto my next idea.

By the way, this is the candle I use. It smells amazing! Like a warm cinnamon and white chocolate!

2. At Home Spa Day

Whether it’s for yourself or you and your kids, a home spa is always fun. Face masks are a must and you’ll find even your local grocery store will have a good selection of them! My personal favourite are the under eye masks because I get serious dark circles under my eyes (thank goodness for concealer) when I haven’t slept properly. Get fancy and pop some cucumber on the eyes too!

Cody enjoying his spa day

After your face mask, you can head over to the foot spa. Or your bath tub/washing up bowl. Run some warm water and dissolve some Epsom salts (or pop in your favourite moisturising bubble bath) and soak your feet/troubles away. You can also take this time to polish/paint your toenails!

If you’re one of those people that have dyed your hair in Lock Down, then I highly suggest a hair mask! After showering and washing your hair, apply a hair mask to replenish your damaged hair (or if you just want to show it some love).

Other ideas include: manicure, back massage (if you have someone who’s willing), body scrub, crack out those lotions and oils you got for Christmas and treat yourself!

If you haven’t got the essentials for an at home spa day, then I have the perfect woman to tell you about! Her name is Lucie.


Lucie runs a business called Boss Beauties and sells products from The Body Shop. I absolutely love The Body Shop products because they do not test on animals and they have so many products for everyone’s needs. I actually used to work with Lucie and since, she has become a Mumma! She started her business to earn some money for her family and make her little girl proud. She is very kindly offering YOU 10% off your first order with her that is over £4.50. Just use the code: Lottie10 when you order your products. Click here to join the Boss Beauties (for free) and order your goodies while supporting a fellow Mumma!

3. Meditation

I’ve recently started picking this back up again. I have meditated for a few years on and off and I love it. I especially loved doing it through my pregnancy and it really helped me to sleep better. I’ve picked it back up again because I’ve noticed that little things are making me unusually irritable. Like a loud car going past the house, a particular baby toy constantly singing, the dog barking. All this usually annoys me, yes, but I don’t normally get an internal bubbling rage from it. So I thought I might have some underlying stress building up.

I’m so glad I did pick this back up because it just reminded me that I need to take some time out for myself. I use an app called Headspace (not sponsored or ad or gifting, just an organic recommendation). It’s an amazing app that will guide you through meditation. Prefect for beginners. Once you have completed the beginning meditations, you can explore a huge library of different guided meditations specific to your problems. They have guided meditations for: sleep, depression, anxiety, stress, work, kids, anger,walking. There’s so much to choose from and it’s the perfect ‘quick way’ to practise self care at home.

4. Write

This is an obvious one for me as it is one of my main hobbies but I’ve always loved writing. As a child, I kept diaries and found it so therapeutic and it’s a practice I still do to this day. Not only is it beneficial at the time of writing, I find myself very grateful reading back on my entries. Whether it was good times that I am grateful for having or bad times. In fact, I am so glad I wrote diary entries during bad times because it almost acts as proof. Proof that I survived that, when at the time I wasn’t sure I was strong enough, brave enough or good enough. But I’m there reading it after getting through it, reminding myself that actually, I was strong enough, I was brave enough and I am good enough. And I will get through anything life throws at me because, well, I have before!

5. Early to Bed

You tell your kids this, so why not practise what you preach? Since becoming a Mum, I love going to bed early. Doing my before bed routine is so much easier when you aren’t already knackered and really can’t be bothered because you just want to go to bed. Getting an early nights sleep means that even if you take a while to drop off, you will get a decent amount of hours in slumber land.
Going early to bed means you can set yourself a wind down routine and ensure you have a good quality of sleep as well as quantity of sleep.

6.WINE!

An obvious one. I’m not encouraging you to turn to alcohol to make you feel better but, for me, it’s a treat. And like all treats, you should savour them. Once my daughter is asleep and I’ve cleaned the kitchen, I love to sit on the sofa with a cold glass of Rosé as a reward. With every sip, I relax and let the day wash away, looking forward to a new day tomorrow. Now this is my kind of self care at home!

In case any of you are wondering, this is my favourite wine:

7. Stretch

Stress can cause physical tension in your body. Stretch your muscles to relive some of that physical tension and help your body to relax. Try some yoga! There are so many free yoga tutorials on YouTube and they can cover many specific issues. Yoga for stress, better sleep, anxiety or even indigestion! There’s something for everyone.
Check out my recommendations for Fun and Free at home work outs. Exercise is really beneficial to your mental health so this is another way to practise self care at home.

 

8. Go For a Walk

I walk the dog everyday. Sometimes I don’t want to or can’t be bothered but I push myself to do it anyway and I never regret it. Not only is it good for your heart and your body but it’s good for your mind. I know it’s not technically self care at home but it’s still very beneficial and something you can do within Lock Down restrictions. Being one with nature can calm your mind and make you think of things in a new way. Fresh air can blow away the cobwebs and it can distract you and give you something else to think about. Not to mention, research has shown that vitamin D can play an important part in warding off depression and boost your mood!

9. Mindful Project

When we all have more time on our hands, why not pick up a project? One that soothes your mind but keeps it busy. Puzzles, painting, drawing, mindful colouring or even baking. Creating something that soothes your mind can lift your spirits and fill the void.

Link to the watercolour pallet I use:

10. Sing and Dance

Whenever I’m in a slump, one sure thing that boosts my mood is music. I love to put a song on full volume and dance to it. You can do this with your kids too! Or if they think your crazy, embarrass them and do it anyway. My kitchen is my daily dancing place. While I make dinner, I put on my favourite song and I dance and sing as I cook. Is it pretty? No. Would I do it with guests in the house? No but when it’s just me and my family, who cares?

Free Fun Home Workouts

I know. ‘Fun’ and ‘workouts’ should not be in the same sentence but I am trying my best! During Lock Down, I have dabbled in the home workout trend (as a stay at home Mum, I do them anyway… well, when I can be bothered!) and found a few gems on the internet that I thought I would share with you!

Anyone who knows me knows, I hate exercise. I just can’t be arsed. Plus after you’ve worked out, you have to have a shower, so you don’t bother having a shower beforehand and then when the toddler wakes up immediately after you’ve done your Zumba DVD, you don’t have TIME to rinse yourself of sweat and gross-ness but you have to because, eww?! So you stick your child in front of a screen just so you can have that shower and now you’re a labelled a bad Mum by society. Not to mention you’re absolutely knackered and then you have a kid wanting you to throw her up in the air or run around the garden or dance along to EVERY TOY THAT SINGS OR MAKES MUSIC.

I digress. I have managed to find a few online workouts that are FREE (because I’m skint) and that Olivia likes to join in with or they allow you to alter how long you work out for. Mum friendly!

1. The Fitness Marshall

I’m starting off with my favourite and Olivia’s favourite. The Fitness Marshall is a YouTube channel full of dance fitness videos choreographed to give you a really good work out to modern (and a handful of not-so-modern) hits. They are upbeat and so fun. You don’t even realising your ‘working out’ because it’s just so enjoyable and that is what really sells it to me.

Olivia obviously doesn’t copy the moves but she loves to bop along next to me or sometimes she’s just so mesmerised by the dancers on screen she just stares at them in awe.

The thing I love most about the Fitness Marshall is his personality. His sense of humour and sassiness are what keep me going. I find myself actually laughing while exercising, like I’m enjoying it or something. He and his ‘back-up booties’ are amazing and he has hundreds of videos for you to check out and make up your own work out!

Check him out HERE

Yoga With Adriene

I may not enjoy most work outs but I do enjoy yoga. One thing I don’t enjoy about yoga is yoga classes. They can be very ‘distracting’. From the awkward silences and the mystery farts to the over-enthusiastic and sights of 70+ year old men bending over. It can just make me more tense than zen. So yoga at home is perfect! I don’t have the judgemental eye of strangers, just my dog and he licks his non-existent balls on the sofa, so he can deal with it!

I particularly like Yoga with Adriene because she’s very calming. From her beautiful home to her voice, I feel so soothed. She’s not boastful or dramatic and doesn’t take herself too seriously. She cares about you, your body and your mind. Click HERE to check her out.

She has a range of different Yoga videos that will suit for anyone’s needs. She has yet to do yoga for kids but I do the beginner workout and I don’t see why kids can’t join in. They’re far more flexible than us anyway!

POPSUGAR Fitness

Now, if you’re wanting a bit more of a classic work out, this is more like it. POPSUGAR Fitness focus on weight loss and healthy living. They also regularly cover the most buzzed-about workout classes and trends, including the Victoria’s Secret workout, Tabata, P90X, Bar Method, and more.

They have a huge variety of workout playlists covering everything from 30,40,60 minute workouts, kick boxing work outs, no equipment workouts to workouts focusing on one area of the body. Are they easy? No! But I think that’s the point. Some days, when I am really full of self-hate, I will do one of these in an effort to burn calories and I do feel better for it. It kicks your butt but in a good way!

Or if I’m feeling sluggish or weak, I just do the beginner workout.

Pirouettes and Pullbacks

Now this is for the kids! This is a local children’s dance company to me that specialise in tap, ballet and street/disco. The lovely lady that runs this group (Danielle) is highly creative and also a huge Disney fan (she has good taste). Danielle has created a YouTube channel so that her dancers can still dance from home in the pandemic so I thought I would share it with you! Your little ones will love her dances! Take that Joe Wicks!

If you’d like more information on Danielle’s Dance class ‘Pirouettes and Pullbacks’ and you’re local to Bedfordshire click here for their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pirouettesandpullbacks/

How’s Your Quarantine Life?

COVID-19 has thrown all of us into a new way of life. With that, I want to know what you have done with this ‘new life’? Have you completed Netflix? Did you learn a new language? Did you boastfully show off your basic banana bread on Facebook? Did you play salon and cut/dye your own hair? Did you throat-punch your way to the last toilet roll in Tesco? No? Just me? Okay! Whatever you did, I want to hear about it, see pictures and/or police reports about it. You can share in the comments below or on any of my social medias.

“But Charlotte, did you really throat-punch someone in Tesco?” Of course not. I’ve avoided shops like the plague and instead sent out the human I love the most (Steven) to go for me. That’s true love. It’s the same type of love that means I feel safer in bed with him laying next to me because I can use him as a human shield. Sounds selfish but it’s actually proof of how much I love him. Anyway, what have I been up to during quarantine? Well, owning a human that is 100% dependant on me takes up a lot of my time (and no, I don’t just mean Steven). Since he has been home, he’s helped me out a lot, allowing me to have some time to do other things like…

Cooking

IMG_20200504_104824_557
I cannot tell you how much more enjoyable cooking is when you aren’t tied to a schedule or have a kid hanging off of your leg. Before Lock Down, I was racing around from 5 pm prepping and cooking dinner to be on the table for 6 pm (when Steven gets home from work) while simultaneously entertaining a toddler, making sure she’s safe (not climbing on the dog) and listening out for the dog destroying something. That sound is absolute silence, by the way, so that means every 5 minutes I run into the living room expecting some sort of baby toy, bib or cushion in his gob that I would then have to prise out from between his teeth. Now? Now, I offload the gremlins, I mean, adorable daughter and pooch, to Steven and can just concentrate on the cooking and enjoy it. Sometimes, I even put some music on and pour myself a glass of wine. I know, quarantine has turned me into a party animal. I just find cooking so therapeutic and I always feel like I’ve done my family a service after making them a meal. I’ve put a bit of love into that meal for them and if they eat it and don’t contract horrendous food poisoning, then that’s a pat on the back for me!

Cleaning

One thing I am thankful for in Lock Down is the fact my laundry hamper has returned to a normal level. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not empty. It’s never empty, but seeing it at an acceptable level (i.e. not spilling out onto the floor) has made me feel a little more relaxed. Normally, I can see the wash pile in the corner of the room while I lay in bed, anxious. It’s like an unwelcome spirit at the end of my bed, haunting me, reminding me. You didn’t do the laundry today. You said you were going to do it yesterday and you never did. Feel like a failure? You should! And as it gets larger and larger, I worry it gets closer and closer until one night it might be standing over me, glaring, breathing on my face. Until one night, a pair of dirty Christmas socks wrap around my neck and suffocate me in my sleep. Now THAT’S a horror story for you. But, thanks to Lock Down (and the amazing weather), I have managed to sleep at night, looking into the corner of the room and seeing, well, just a laundry basket. Ah, peace at last.
giflaundry

Disney and Day Drinking

20200506_174750
Haven’t we all?

A beer with lunch, a bottle of wine with dinner (on a Tuesday?!), Jack Daniels for breakfast? Why not?! There are no rules in Lock Down. I will stress for ‘those people‘ amongst you, that I do not drink alcohol for breakfast. My headaches in the morning are a result of caffeine withdrawals due to my coffee addiction, not a hangover. Having said that, my coffee intake has gone up since Lock Down.

Upon the news that Steven would be home for a month, we invested in Disney+. Oh boy (as Mickey would say), is it worth it! I am a huge Disney fan anyway, but it also has all of my childhood TV shows on it. So you can bet your ‘sweet nibblets’ (if you get it, you get it) that I’m going to binge those cheesey 00’s Disney Channel shows! Not to mention, it allowed me to do a little bit of Homeschooling myself. Giving Olivia an education in Disney Classics. Everything from the princesses to the more recent Pixar movies. Is she too young? Never! Does she understand it or even watch it properly? No! But I do!

giphyhannahmontana

Anyway, I’m sure there are much cooler things other people are doing with their time than I am. Please share them with me so I can live a cool life through you? Maybe you have some amazing tinder stories? Did you text your ex out of boredom? Did you stalk that girl from high school that called you fat and bullied you and you found out she’s working for her Mum as an estate agent single and alone? No? Me neither…
Maybe you did something less dramatic, like take up gardening? Maybe you became an online quiz master? Meditate? Take up Yoga? Ate everything in sight? Painted that wall you kept meaning to? Literally anything. Tell me in the comments!

How To Go Out But Stay In

Lock Down has cancelled a lot of our plans for 2020 but does that mean we still can’t do them? Well, sure you can’t go on your all inclusive holiday to Lanzarote but don’t let Lock Down tie you to your sofa!

I have thought of 4 ways you can go out without actually going out!

1. Coffee With Friends

IMG_8447
I love nothing more than catching up with friends over a coffee. It instantly lifts my spirits and sets my mood for the day. Before Lock Down, I would meet with one of my mummy friends every week for a walk and a coffee and have a good ol’ chit chat. We had organised a girl’s night out for a huge group of us but that got cancelled (thanks Corona) so we, instead, had a zoom chat. It was like meeting up in a cafe with the girls. We all sat at our laptops with cups of tea and coffee and giggled together. It made me so thankful for modern technology allowing us to actually see each other and talk in a big group. I left that zoom chat feeling my usual uplifted and refreshed self after seeing the girls.

2. Date Night

IMG_8336
I don’t know about other Mums, but I love having a date night every now and again. A little break from the little one, a chance to reconnect with my partner and, more importantly, eat something I didn’t have to cook or worry about the washing up! Well, that’s just another thing Corona has mucked up for me! So, instead, we put the baby to bed early and tried to have a date night at home!


We ordered a take away (so that took care of the cooking problem) but I didn’t want it to feel like another night on the sofa. So, we got dressed up like we would on a normal date night. I put make up on and Steven even put on after shave! I lit candles, switched on the fairy lights, laid out a blanket on the floor and dished out the take away into fancy dishes (like we were in a real restaurant) to set the scene. I even put the wine on a fancy tray. Simple, yet effective. We then sat down, watched TV and had our fancy Chinese take away picnic!

3. Boozey Lunch

IMG_8364
If Lock Down isn’t an excuse to day drink, then I don’t know what is! Steve and I love going to the pub at lunch time when the weather is gorgeous. Sitting outside in the sun with a cold beer and nibbles, bliss. So, when Olivia was down for her nap, I laid out some nibbles (all fancy like, so it felt like we weren’t at home) and opened up a couple of cold ones. We turned on some music and sat under our pear tree and I swear, it felt like we were on holiday!

IMG_8377
Even Cody wanted to join us.
IMG_8356

4. Trip To The Cinema


Wanted to go to the cinema with the kids? Now you’re stuck at home and the weather is horrible? 3 words: At, home, cinema. And, no I don’t mean stick a film on and sit on your sofa. What do kids love to do? Build a sofa fort! Grab bed sheets, sofa cushions, chairs, anything you can find and make a fort with your kids. Add blankets, pillows, fairy lights and snacks! Movie snacks are essential. Turn off the lights, turn on the fairy lights, sit on the floor in the fort and watch a movie with your kids. Doesn’t sound like much but you’ll be surprised how much they love it. My little girl is only 18 months and she absolutely loved it!

You could go a step further and set up a projector (you can even buy projectors for your phone). This would be so fun to do outside, too. Like a sundown cinema experience!


So, what have you done to make this Lock Down experience more bearable? Share your experiences in the comments below!

 

#MakingOverMotherhood

Next week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness week. Bit of a mouthful but nevertheless very important!

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I didn’t know anything about mental health issues after birth. I just thought, you have the baby and that’s it! You just have to cope. Anyway, how could you ever feel sad, down, depressed, angry, lost or just nothing while looking after your gorgeous baby? Oh, how I laugh now. I definitely had my fair share of all the above every now and again (and Lord knows sleep deprivation can do scary things to you) but I was lucky to not feel like this all of the time.

Screenshot_20200426-194721_Instagram

So, when I saw that it is Maternal Mental Health Awareness week next week, I wanted to do something. A quick Google and I stumbled upon #MakingOverMotherhood. A social media challenge to raise awareness of Maternal Mental Health disorders and struggles. Everyday, for 5 days, post something that shows what motherhood is really like. The good, the bad and the ugly. It can be something light-hearted that might make someone chuckle or something serious and revealing. It’s up to you. The idea is to end the stigma of mental health issues for mothers.

IMG_20200426_194120_872

As Mothers, it’s very easy to feel like EVERYONE relies on you and therefore you don’t have time for yourself. You don’t have time to be weak because you’re so busy being strong for everyone else. You can’t be seen to be struggling because you might be seen as a bad Mum, a Mum who can’t cope, a lazy Mum, an incompetent Mum. You might not even notice you’re struggling because you don’t have time to take a step back and see that you are. Well, take that step. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you do. And if you notice you are, reach out. There is no shame. I truly believe that everybody struggles with something and I guarantee, you won’t be alone and you won’t be the only Mum who thinks the way you do.

IMG_20200426_194447_245

It’s so vital to get help when you need it because (as the old saying goes) you can’t pour from an empty cup. Basically, you can’t take care of others, without taking care of yourself too. Now, I don’t mean going to get your nails done every week or making sure your hair is perfect (unless that helps you feel better). I’m saying practise self care on the regular, be selfish when you need to be, reach out for help even if you think you aren’t desperate for it. Don’t feel guilty (and trust me, I am no stranger to Mum guilt) because fundamentally, you’re doing it for your kids.  You’re taking care of you so they can have the best Mother possible. A happy Mum, a calm Mum (most of the time, I mean, whistles, right?), a Mum who isn’t constantly emotionally and physically exhausted, a Mum they deserve.

Screenshot_20200426-194602_Instagram

Now, I’m not saying every time you have an outburst and scream at your child about playing the baby shark song for 1098th time that day that you need to call the doctor. There are many ways you can reach out for help.
Obviously, during these times, it’s a little different. I can’t reach out to my Mum to watch Olivia for a few hours while I get some work done or just lay down in a dark room for a while. However:

  • Talk to your partner (if you have one). I cannot imagine how I would do this whole motherhood thing, without Steven by my side. I’m so lucky because he is such a good Dad and so supportive. So I know, if I ever need to, I can talk to him about my stress and if he’s home to help, I can ask him to give me a couple of hours. He will happily take Olivia and Cody (because sometimes, he causes me more stress than my human child) out for an hour long walk and give me the house to myself. I cannot tell you how blissful that is. Even if I just need to rant or cry or a cuddle or time he will give it to me. THAT is invaluable!
  • Reach out to family. I know not everyone is on par with their family but maybe you can meet some mummy friends and they can be your family. I am fortunate that my Mum absolutely adores my little girl and would do anything for her (or me). I honestly love having her one town away and I know that if I needed her, she would be here at the drop of a hat (she has done many times before). In the early days of my new adventure into motherhood, she took a week off work to come over everyday and help me with Olivia. Nothing major. She would watch Olivia while I had a shower (absolute heaven), bring me lunch everyday (I love her) and sit with me while we watched TV and chatted (priceless). She didn’t know it but all of these things meant the world to me. Especially when she made me cups of coffee, I could have cried!
  • Mummy friends. I couldn’t cope without my mummy friend, Lisa. It is so worthwhile to have that someone who gets it. Before lock down, we would grab a take away coffee and go for a walk with the babies every week and just talk. Talk about our struggles, our stresses and what crazy stuff the babies have got up to that week and it was so therapeutic. We would then laugh together at how messy our lives have become but how beautiful it all is too. I would come home and feel refreshed (not to mention caffeinated, which always helps) and like maybe I am a good Mum because I’m not alone in this, because someone else is thinking the exact same things as me!
  • Reach out to professionals. Reach out to your GP, midwife or Health Visitor. That’s what they’re there for! They are the superheroes equipped with all the resources and connections to get you the help you need!
  • Baby Buddy App is an NHS accredited app which offers evidence-based information and self-care tools to help parents during pregnancy and early stages of parenting. Best bit is it is absolutely FREE! Download in the app store or click here for more information.
  • If you are in need of immediate help or support call 999, go to A&E or call Samaritans 116 123 (free to call and it doesn’t show up on your phone bill)

Whatever you think you’re going through, whatever you think you’re struggling with, I can guarantee there’s a Mum out there going through the exact same thing. So do the right thing, reach out and talk. If not for you, for your kids.

For a pick-me-up read my Mum-tivation post!

Lock Down Help!
Lock Down Daily Routine For Toddlers
At Home Activities For Toddlers
Best Bedside Books
My Netflix List
Movies Made For Comfort

To see more pictures like this one the regular, follow me!
Instagram: @charlotterose293


 

Life of a Beagle Bum Mum

It was brought to my attention recently that this April is National Pet Month. I couldn’t let this pass by without introducing you to my pet, or what I sometimes like to call him, my other toddler in a fur suit, Cody!

Cody is a Beagle. Now, anyone who has ever owned a Beagle is now laughing at me and/or thinking “you poor sod”. You’d think I’d know better, growing up with two Beagles from a young age, but no. I thought, the first dog I owned should be a breed I’m familiar with and, I mean, how much harm could this little ball of fur really do?

IMG_7226

Turns out, the answer to that is, a fair amount! I’d forgotten about my childhood dogs destroying felt tips (resulting in multi-coloured poos) or one particular Beagle eating batteries, chainsaw oil, a whole Christmas loaf (tin foil included) and a whole hedgehog of cheese and pineapple (yes, with the cocktail sticks). Not to mention that same beagle getting hit by a bus and electrocuted AND SURVIVED! He had issues. One scenario after another, vet visit after vet visit, he was still healthy. He passed away at the age of 12, which is pretty good going! His sister, who was sensible and, well, normal, passed away less than a year later. I think that’s what made me forget all the drama we went through. Now they’re just funny stories and happy memories.

IMG_7234

I knew I wanted that again. Sorry? When was the first time I regretted that? Um, probably, yep, 2 weeks after we got him. I came home from work and from about 5 weeks old, Cody had been crate trained (he was about 14 weeks old at this point). So we attached a run to his crate for when we were out so that he still had somewhere to play and do number 1s and 2s. Well, didn’t he take advantage of that? He had pushed the side of the run towards the curtains, pulled the curtains down into his run, gathered all of his toys and bedding on top and did a massive shit over the lot. So I came home to my darling puppy covered in his own shit, my curtains covered in shit, all of his toys and bedding covered in shit and my carpet ruined.
Despite this, he was still so happy to see me as I came through the door. He had an air of “Look at me Mum. Look what I achieved today!” as he wagged his tail vigorously. That, ladies and gentleman, was the first time my Beagle had me speechless and having to sit down for a little weep. First time of many.

That was just the beginning of our journey. Since then he has: destroyed books, ran after Muntjac deer, gotten beaten up by a cat and slurped up a whole packet of bacon like it was spaghetti. However, we have also spent many an evening on the sofa snuggling under a blanket together, he’s cuddled my pregnant belly, he’s been so calm and patient with Olivia and now (secretly) loves her, he dances in the kitchen with me, he’s my drive thru food buddy, he’s my hot water dog when I’m sick and he even helped us announce our pregnancy to the world! Now he’ll be Olivia’s memories of trouble and laughter and comfort.

That’s the funny things about pets though. No matter how much they put you through, how much they push your buttons, how many times they strike panic in your heart, they’re worth it. They bring back memories that you can laugh at or memories like when you were sick and they slept with you on the sofa and it instantly warms your heart. I look back at my childhood dogs and think “Life wouldn’t have been half as colourful as it was without them.” and I hope I can create that for Olivia, too.

20190717_120346

At the end of the day, from the moment we saw him (and couldn’t sign the forms quick enough) to now (which is him snoozing on the sofa) he has been one of the best adventures in our lives and there’s still so much more trouble for him to do!IMG_7591

Please share your stories of your beloved pets in the comments below. I really do love reading them! Oh, and Happy National Pet Month!

After reading this post, the lovely people at Marcy Dog would like to offer you a discount code on their beautiful dog (and human) products!

Head to https://www.macrydog.com/ and use the discount code: MACRY20 for 20% off your purchase!


Movies Made For Comfort

During this time, I want to help keep people’s spirits up as much as possible. Since we’re all stuck inside with more time on our hands, it’s easy to get wrapped up in this COVID-19 chaos, doom and gloom. We could all use a little mental escape and what better way than curling up on the sofa with a hot cuppa and a good movie. The type of movie that doesn’t require thought. The type of movie that transports you to a simpler time. Something that makes you smile, laugh a little and brings a little bit of light in the darkness.

I was born in the late 90s so most films I find comforting are from the 00s. They just take me back to a simpler time of watching movies on the sofa during rainy days or cinema trips with my Mum. Back when my world was a little smaller. So here are my top 10 comforting films.

1. Legally Blonde

I know, I know, super girly but this film was a constant favourite of mine as a child. Not only is the soundtrack upbeat and fun but the message is empowering. You can do anything you work hard at, despite what people say or think about you. If you keep going through all the struggles and backlash of other people, it will pay off even if no one is on your side. It’s also a good reminder to help people along your way. Elle Woods has lapses in confidence and sense of direction in her life but ,throughout it all, she is kind. She is nice to people who are continually cruel and helps anyone. I think we could all use this reminder right now.

giphy (3)

2. Cheaper By The Dozen

This is another one of my ‘regularly viewed’ from my childhood. I know Steve Martin can be a crowd divider but I just can’t help but love this movie. This also has an awesome soundtrack (can you tell I’m a sucker for musical montages?) and is upbeat and easy to watch. A family of 12 kids and their parents go on holiday together. What could go wrong? It’s filled with typical PG physical comedy (and some adorable kids) it will definitely give your mind a break.

giphy (4)

3. Bridesmaids

A CLASSIC! This film holds so many memories for me. I remember watching it in the cinema with Mum for the first time. We shared many a cinema date just us two and they were so special to me. We’d go while other kids were at school so the cinema was practically empty. It was those times it felt like we were the only people in the whole world. On our drives home we would reminisce about our favourite moments and laugh together all over again. 
I also remember watching this film after my first (and last) night out clubbing. My friends and I collapsed on my sofa and put this movie on. We kicked off our heels, got under blankets and giggled together. I’d take that over clubbing any day!

giphy (5)

4. Practical Magic

Another one of mine and my Mum’s favourites. I can’t remember the first time I watched this but I remember being about 7 or 8 and trying to get my spoon to stir in my cup or trying to get flower petals to fly in the wind. Maybe it was this movie that made me so wary of men? It definitely made me suspicious of a beetle’s squeak. It has everything I love wrapped up in one movie: witches, love stories, revenge, sisterhood and family. This is not just a Halloween movie. 

giphy (1)

5. Hocus Pocus

Staying on the witch theme. This movie is one I normally save for Halloween season but desperate times call for desperate measures. It is an absolute classic and I think I know this movie word for word. It’s one for the whole family and really puts me in a cosy mood. And, yes you guessed it, it has a musical number that I recreated in my bedroom when I was 8. As a kid, I wanted to be Sarah. The funny one, the one who wore purple and the one who all the boys liked, lol! Not sure that happened for me. Sorry 8 year old me!

giphy (6)

6. Christmas With The Coopers

From one holiday to the next. Yes! A Christmas film. Even though it’s spring, I see no harm in recreating the ambience of Christmas. Christmas just seems to be a happier time for me, a cosy time and I can’t help but feel safe in a way. I know that’s not the case for some but it’s a time I really treasure. This film in particular is humbling and beautiful. Not to mention it has an incredibly cute dog. It’s just one happy reminder to love your family, even if they drive you mental or aren’t perfect themselves. So if you’re in quarantine with your family and need a little convincing to love them, this is the movie for you.
P.S in other countries this movie is called ‘Love the Coopers’

Christmaswiththecoopers

7. The Mask

My friends and I used to watch this round my house all the time. Jim Carrey is a true talent. This was the first movie I saw that combined live filming with animation. I think  this was my first Jim Carrey movie too and it sparked my love for his work. Like all good movies, it has an excellent dog in it too! Oh, and a musical dance number or two!

giphy (7)

8. Bad Moms

This is a perfect time for every Mother in isolation with their kids to watch this. This movie always reminds me that it is okay to not be the perfect parent. The most important things you can give to your kids are love and happy memories. Spend time with them, listen to them, teach them things they will need in life like how to apologise or take care of their mental health. Show them how to unwind, be a good person and just be kids. This movie also highlights the different types of Mothers out there and that it’s okay if you don’t iron your kids underwear like Becky down the road or have 15 million colour coded worksheets. If you’re a good person, you’re a good Mum.

giphy (8)

9. Wine Country

This is more of a recent discovery of mine. It’s about a group of friends going on a weekend break together for one of them is turning 50. They go on a girls trip and tour vineyards but it gets a little messy. They show getting older as something to look forward to and true friendship as something to treasure. I can only hope that my life looks a little like this when I turn 50.

giphy (9)

So there we go, they are the top 9 films I find comforting. I hope they give you some comfort too. Now, please remember this is personal opinion. You may not agree but please feel free to share some of your favourite and comforting movies!

Stay safe. Be kind.