Goals of November.

November has arrived.

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2016 is just speeding by. October was a month of mixed emotions and events for me. I had some downs and tears but some great moments and memories too (finding out the gender of baby #2 especially made October special). On the blogging front I achieved some small milestones that made me especially proud, like:

They are relatively small achievements, but ones that have made me super proud and happy especially as I put lots of blogging effort in throughout October. Reflecting has made me aware of these achievements and given me a bit of motivation to continue on in the direction I am going. November isn’t usually a positive month of me. This time last year, we found out that our landlord was selling and we needed to be out of the house for January (which over the Christmas period wasn’t ideal as you can imagine and I cannot believe it’s been a year), it’s also the fifteenth year anniversary of my mothers death too. So you can see why I am a bit gloomy going into this eleventh month of the year. With it being the beginning of the month I thought it was perfect to set some new goals and go into November with a positive mind. Here we go:

  • Hit 2000 Twitter followers
  • Hit 200 followers on Instagram (this is my newest social media platform so want to be realistic) 
  • Reach 50 followers on Pinterest
  • Beat Octobers monthly views
  • Post at least three times a week
  • By the end of November, have a least first week of December’s posts scheduled (eek I can’t believe it’s December next month!)
  • Take part in a twitter chat at least once a week

Again, these are small goals but I would rather be realistic and have a shot at hitting them, then deflate myself if I fail to do so as they were so unreachable. So November, let’s be having you!

loll

Do you have any achievements you are proud of from October? Do you have a particular goal you want to reach by the end of November? 

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5 quotes to embrace happiness.

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Sunday is often a day we reflect, make plans for the following week and mull over the week we have just had. I’ve seen some small improvements and successes in my blog (well I like to think) and this makes me proud, positive and happy. So on that note why not keep it nice and light – rounding off the week with some quotes that make us feel all happy and mushy inside. Here’s five of my best:

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Each quote can relate and mean something different to every person, so I’m not going to say what they mean to me as this s purely a reflection post. Instead I’ll leave you with this, remember that there is only one of you in this world and you are brilliant. Learn to love yourself, overly love those important to you, remember making mistakes is human, learn from you every day. You’re your own best teacher. Embrace you. Be happy!

loll

What makes you happy? Do you have a favourite happiness quote? Anything this week that has lifted your spirits?

8 things I wish I’d known when starting blogging.

Blogging. It’s a roller coaster of a journey that none of us expect to go on and definitely don’t except to learn so much on. I for one had no idea how vast the world of blogging is. I came into fairly under educated and with no goals. But after blogging for almost a year now (with the odd break) – here’s what I wish I’d known when starting out:

  • Promote promote promote – blogging is (well can be) a time consuming thing. As a newbie, I thought it would be as simple as putting a post up and people would flock from all over to have a ganders. How innocent I was. I never knew the importance of promoting and that’s something I wish I knew from the get go. Whether that’s through social media or linkies, how is anyone meant to know you are here if you don’t let yourself be seen.
  • Get involved in linkies – I hadn’t the foggiest what a linkup was. It truly hurt my brain trying to understand/find/join one. It took me a good couple of months before I got involved in any. It’s really important to find out what’s out there, not only for promotion but also for blog inspiration. Different links bring different audience. Utilise this!
  • Set up social media platforms – when I first started blogging, I didn’t have anything linked to my blogging profile as like I said I had no clue of what the blogging world entailed. Looking back I would have loved to set up twitter/Instagram/Pinterest straight away, promoting on them from the start. I’ve only just created Instagram and Pinterest so this is most definitely something I would fully recommend looking into and joining as a newbie, they  are fantastic platforms. Again it links to promotion.
  • Interaction – it took me a while to get submerged into interacting, be it commenting on fellow bloggers posts, or just basic conversation through social media. It can be daunting to a newbie. This is something I’ve found is hugely helpful. Blogging is a community that mostly supports and uplifts each other. As you’ve probably read or discovered yourself, it’s one big circle of people all looking to achieve the same thing (mostly), so don’t be scared to tweet responses to people, to start conversation and leave your opinions on other blogs. It gets you known and let’s people see who you are, behind your posts.
  • Create picture content – whether this is your own photography, the use of quote pictures or even a collage/header you created. I didn’t know how this simple feature could improve your look AND  content of  posts. It just adds a bit of extra love and really promotes the effort you put in. Looking back on my earlier posts, I discretely cringe at what pictures I used (all evidence of these will be edited eventually once old posts are updated). So it’s useful to include picture content straight away and even the use a photo editor to just update content – it can be something as simple as using picmonkey or as complicated as photoshop. The choice is yours.
  • Spend time browsing others – blogging is very much a lover of karma. You can’t expect results overnight. You get what you give. You can’t expect people to visit your page if you don’t spend time visiting others. If you visit pages and leave lovely feedback and comments, you are likely to see bloggers return the favour and start to visit your page. You develop a repetition for yourself too, which is lovely to have in the blogging world, and create lovely bonds with other bloggers. It’s a long winded process, one I’m far from mastering. But knowing this earlier would have been helpful.
  • Scheduling – this is a HUGE point I wish I’d have known long ago. It just helps you become more organised. When you’re having a motivated day filled with lots of inspiration and time, get typing those posts and schedule them for later dates. The same goes for scheduling social media updates. I use Hootsuite.com to promote my new and old posts on social media. The good thing is you are in charge of what you put out there and when, so if you know your going to be busy on certain days and not have much time to be present, it’s a good tool to keep you active. It’s also a great feature to help give you a break, and as a result reduce the stress and pressure you put on yourself drawn with the need to update constantly.
  • Be kind patient – things don’t happen overnight, blogging takes effort and time. Especially in building up a nice following and readership. So make sure you commit to things if you want results. Don’t beat yourself up over things. Slow and steady does it. Enjoy the world and live in the moment. Don’t take things to seriously and don’t try to be the perfect. You don’t need to put additional pressure on yourself rushing to learn too much at once or take on too much in a short space of time. Things will come together in time and you’ll look back in a year and see those small improvements to be the most important.

I don’t claim to be a blogging success and my goodness, I have a very long way to go. I have so much more to learn, so much more to achieve and I am most definitely not an expert. But these simple points, I feel, can really help someone get things going that little bit quicker, and help them learn to love blogging that little bit more.

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Why I’ve fell out with media, celebrities and pop culture.

After stumbling over a couple of fantastic posts such as Smash It Like A Girl by Mad House Mum, do read, my mind has been awash with thought. There was another incredible post on the pressures boys face but unfortunately, for the life of me can’t find it in my bookmarks or history to reference. She did a previous post in the past on the pressures teenage girls face too. If you do know who I’m referring to please comment so I can edit it in. With these posts ringing fresh in my mind (and clearly a theme forming across the internet), they prompted me into thinking about this area in more depth. Just a word of warning, this is a little bit of a rant post.

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We are all well aware we live in an age of technology, smartphones, celebrity trends and media. Easily we can read the latest celebrity news by opening up an app or with a simple search – even Snapchat has introduced magazine/celebrity content to their story feature. Pop culture is ruling. Celebrities bring trends, which go hand in hand with pressures to stay on top of trends in order to stay ‘current’ and ‘cool’. Sometimes this can be an extremely positive thing, raising awareness regarding certain issues and taboo. On the other hand, we can be left questioning certain statements…much like I was.

A few nights ago scrolling through Snapchat stories – whilst deep in battle of re-sleep training which you can read about here (plug plug plug) –  I came across an article about a Kardashian/Jenner. Now this high profile, celebrity family is plastered everywhere and frequently feature in tabloids, so this wasn’t at all a surprise to me. The article in particular was discussing an interview with the youngest member, Kylie Jenner, for Complex Magazine. Now before I go on Kylie Jenner has achieved many great things which I deeply applaud and commend, even establishing and smashing her own business empire at the age of 19. Being voted Most Influential Teen by TIME (which I was unaware of until researching, proving my point further down) will hopefully allow her success to positively encourage and motivate teenagers of today – to strive and work hard for their own goals. I truly hope she becomes a role model to our future adults for those positive, incredible reasons as oppose to only appearance based, shallow trends.

I completely recognise that being branded a celebrity does not take away your human right, they are underneath it all still people like you and me; in the full interview Kylie shows this humane side and a little bit of who she is behind headlines by discussing troubles she has faced as a teen. These include anxiety, bullying and pressures she too has felt, hopefully this resonates to teens feeling similar pressures that she is in fact only human, she does and can feel the same as many of us because of similar issues.  But back to my point, when browsing through Snapchat I came across a little breakdown of the article. Keep in mind many teens use Snapchat as a platform to socialise, having access to this article just as easily as I did – and being Kylie Jenner, they are most probably going to open it and have a look at what she has been up too. Now, from the get go, this story headline was purely focused on Kylie’s infamous lip fillers which instantly annoyed me as many headlines do and then very quickly, almost instantly included these quotes from Kylie:

‘This guy I kissed was like, “Your lips are really small but you’re a really good kisser”‘

‘From then on, I just felt like I saw guys staring at my lips. I felt like no one wanted to kiss me.’

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Taken from Kylie Jenner Complex Cover. 

Reading this, I had to take a moment. Kylie was 17 when she first got lip fillers. Celebrity or not, she was still a teenage girl who felt the pressures of society,  the influence to look a certain way and the need to appeal to others. Having read the full article, and can I just say it is definitely an eye opener in understanding her achievements but still the images included focus on the need to look a particular way,  Kylie went on to say:

‘Oh, yeah, I got my lips done’? What are all those moms going to think about me? These kids, my fans, they’re going to think I’m crazy. I didn’t want to be a bad influence. I didn’t want people to think you had to get your lips done to feel good about yourself.’

What really irritates me, is why the media grabs your attention by zoning straight in on her lips, relating it to how it can influence the level of attraction and feeling someone has for you. As a teenage girl reading that, I would want to make sure I had full, ample lips (enter the craze of the Kylie Jenner Challenge which she in no way promoted or encouraged by the way – seeing teens attempting to plump lips by sucking glasses, yeah it wasn’t pretty see picture below for proof). Like teens don’t have enough awkward moments in life and mini hormonal break downs about their first puppy love – materialist fads like this don’t need to be added.

I did some light research and discovered that Their Girls’ Attitudes Survey, which 1288 women aged 7 to 21 took part in, discovered that 87% of girls between the ages 11 and 21 thought women were judged more on their appearance than their ability which is only proven when comparing the full article to the snippet I stumbled upon via Snapchat – and one in five girls between 7 and 11 years said they had been on a diet – which is saddening and worrying. You can find the full article on this here.

Why must it always come down to appearance? In this day and age, why is someone who is so current within teens  and media, and young herself, being focused prominently on appearance when she clearly she has achieved great success at the age of 19. Surely it’s healthier to have her business and achievements focused on much deeper. How is any young girl meant to feel that their ability is being recognised more than their appearance when headlines like this are everywhere? If you went to any teenager or anyone for that matter, and asked them to tell you one thing about Kylie Jenner, you will probably more than likely get a response relating to appearance. It’s the sad truth. And Jenner isn’t the only celebrity happens with. Appearance, unfortunately seems to be the ‘it’ thing at the moment.

The age we knew when we were younger is very much fading into the distance. Technology is very much a prominent means, I mean I’m typing this on a laptop connected to wifi providing me a wonderful connection to the internet – which as you will agree, a clear lifetime away from our childhoods. With this, social media sees celebrities available to their fans easier than ever and in that more articles reviewing them as products not people are frequently our social media feeds – I’m sure it will only keep developing and ‘evolving’. Sure the world will always have fashion icons and different trends will come and go – but what will our children and teens take from all this information available, especially when it’s a world so focused on keeping up with trends and how we should be looking a certain way.  As a mother of a 21 month old girl, it makes me question the kind of pressures, that will be unnecessarily added to her life. Pressures felt more due to media and how celebrities are portrayed. What and how will she feel in 15 years time? Will she be one of those 87% feeling women are judged more on appearance than ability? I hope not. Will she be made to feel her lips have to look a certain way and try silly methods to try and achieve them? Will she still be reading gossip columns focusing on assets and how they can determine whether someone finds her attractive?  This applies to both genders too, it’s present and clear across  both genders. You don’t even have to look or long to see it.

I hope times will have shifted, movements evolved and that we will see a happier, healthier and safer age of teenagers. Who knows? I guess for now all we can do is support and uplift our dear ones, helping them to understand that beauty isn’t defined by a look or by our appearance – to help open their eyes to learn how to appreciate their own beauty inside and out whilst they mature and develop.

loll

What annoys you most about the world we live in today in regards to media? Will pressures on our teens and selves ever ease?

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My Thankful List.

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Sitting back and actually pondering over life, it’s easy to see that I have a lot to be thankful for. Since it is Sunday, what better way to round off the week than to put these marvellously positive reasons out into my own personal corner of the internet. I have many reasons to be thankful in life but for the sake of the blog, lets round it to five. So here we go, lets count these blessings:

  1. I have a very resourceful, beautiful, kind and most importantly healthy 19 month old daughter. This is easily the thing I am most thankful for in life by far. Many people go through life longing for a child or having some many obstacles in their way whilst trying to achieve this and the fact I was able to bring my daughter into this world comfortably and stress free was/is amazing. I know as a parent, we all have those moments where our child tests our patience, but deep down I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is an exceptional, incredible journey and every part of it makes up parenthood (especially the bad and the ugly moments). She is here and with me, and loves me unconditionally. How can I not be thankful?
  2. Love is also something not everyone gets to experience, or they find love and unfortunately it gets away. For whatever reason. Love is something I am massively thankful for. And by love, I mean the relationship I have with my fiance. Eight years we have been together now. Eight years has brought many high and low moments, but now our relationship is strong, sturdy and (I feel) shatterproof. It’s so cliche to say but he is my best friend, rock and soulmate. The support I receive from him is something I will forever be thankful for.
  3. My health is something I am very thankful for. Losing my mother as a small child and then my Nanna as a teen (who was my guardian) means that I understand the true value of how important your health is and how quickly it can take a turn for the worse. We are all so quick to grumble about a cough or a cold we have, but we forget that there are many people in this world battling to stay another day. I thank heavens every morning that I am healthy and here to experience my daughters life.
  4. My education. Living in the UK means I have always had the access to education from being a young child. At the age of 3/4 years old, I was in pre-school, then primary school, then secondary school, then college and then university. Okay university might not have been the route for me, but the fact I had the opportunity to even apply to go there is an incredible thing. Many people in this world do not even have access to a proper childhood education, don’t know how to read or write or even count. It’s something you take massively for granted, especially living in the UK. I am extremely thankful that my education served me well and is the basis for many opportunities I receive in life.
  5. Since this blog has turned into a deep post, I will finish it on a lighter thankful note. I am thankful for my cat. He was abandoned as a kitten and took to a cat shelter. Luck would have it, two weeks later, we fell in love with him and he became a part of our family. He is a cat you wouldn’t ever think had such a rough start to life. He is a gentle soul, playful (but doesn’t hurt) and is my daughters best friend. I am thankful for the smiles he brings to her face on a daily basis.

So there we have it. My week rounded off and brought to an end with a smile on for face for all these precious, lovely things I have to be thankful of. In this fast paced, quick moving world, we don’t reflect on life enough.

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What are you thankful for in life? 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

The holidays are coming! Usually, I’m a bit of a Grinch and haven’t really got involved in the festive seasons. But this year it’s different….I have my gorgeous 10.5 month old Little B in my life and she is experiencing her first Christmas this year. 

The past few days we are spent our free time decorating the house and making some lovely little decorations. Little B is in awe of the Christmas tree, she especially likes the flashing lights. Mum and Dad however are not a fan of having to tell her not to pull the decorations off every two minutes. 

  

Our lovely festive tree

  
I’m really sentimental and wanted to make some homemade decorations for us to celebrate B’s first festive season, so I set about making a few with her a couple days before we were due to put our decorations up. First we made our saltdough Santa, which is made out of the imprint of Little B’s hand, it went a little burnt but it still looks lovely and does the job just fine. I painted Santa on the handprint though as I think my little girl is a touch too young to at the moment. Then we decorated our own bauble, well my little one did. I just let her get her hands messy in edible finger paints and then handle the bauble. She left some cute, fun marks on it. Daddy thinks it looks like a planet. We then make our own mistletoes canvas picture. I just painted B’s feet and pressed them onto the canvas. It’s such a cute little picture and it’s now proudly hung above my fireplace! My favourite Christmas tree ornament is a little felt ‘I saw Mummy kissing Santa Claus’ sign! It was only £1.50 (I think) and looks lovely!

Some of my favourite home made decorations


So that’s my Christmas preparations and decorations complete for now. I’m hoping to get into the Christmas spirit and spend most of December with my family, making precious memories. Before we know it it will be 2016! 

What do you have planned for Christmas? Have you made any decorations?   

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Sleep regression or just a rough patch?

Today I have literally not sat down. It’s just been one of those days where you want to crawl back into bed and start over. But for all you parents out there, you know as well as I do that it just isn’t an option for us!

My Little B had a bit of a rough night you see, well she’s been having a tough time recently. The weather the past couple of weeks she’s just been a little under the weather – not really herself. She’s much harder to feed and entertain! On top of that I think she’s teething. She cut her first two teeth at 4 months old with no symptoms, but here we are at 10 months with still only those two little pegs. She had a really unsettled, unhappy teething experience a couple of weeks ago. It broke my heart. But anyway, back to the point, she has not been a happy bunny.With B feeling this way comes a noticeable change in her bedtime routine. Little B is usually quite a good sleeper, only needing me or Dad to tend to her a couple of times in a night, and by tend I mean a quick reassuring pat to let her know we are here or just a help changing position when’s she disorientated to help her resettle. She even started to self soothe, knew the difference between night and day, and started to crack having a good nap in the daytime. Oh and she usually slept from around 8pm-8am…well not this week.

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This week my little precious daughter has decided she doesn’t want to be in her cot or that she doesn’t need sleep for that matter, leaving us parents the very unpleasant task of feeling like we are having to battle with her through the night. Last night she needed us to come into the room and settle her (put it resulted in us having to pick her up and rock her) a few times. Then at 2am, 4:15am and 5:30am she thought she would try to wake up. Enter very cranky parents and baby at 8am this morning. Then comes the very dreaded question everyone faces as parents… have I introduced my child into bad sleeping habits? With B being poorly and teething recently we let her sleep on us or shushed and rocked her (we would still put her down when she was sleepy and not asleep though). It was the only way she was able to settle – but now she’s slowly getting back to her usual self she doesn’t seem to want to go back to her old sleeping habits and would rather be in our arms, and rocked. Today when trying to get B dozing for her afternoon nap a usually quick, uncomplicated five minute task took me at least 45 minutes. It was exhausting for the both of us. I really do have lots of respect for those parent’s who don’t have the world’s most fantastic sleepers on a good week. and who are still able to keep their eyes open and look alive in the day. Four nights of this alone have made me so foggy headed, cranky and just not feeling very motivated, (goodness knows how many times I’ve had to change the words I’ve typed because they just don’t make any sense)!

So anyway, taking action before it gets any worse I downloaded The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley on my kindle to get some background knowledge about babies sleep and ways which parents can support them, just so I can form a kind of plan if you will in case this isn’t just a short term thing and my little B does start to go through sleep regression – I really don’t like the thought of letting her cry so after searching the kindle library I thought I’d give this a whirl. After I’ve had a read I’ll  blog a review! If my little one has started to regress and I do need to turn to the plan put in place with the No Cry Sleep Solution, I’ll log everything and share our experience!

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Part of me thinks my little one is experiencing a bout of separation anxiety too! She’s very emotional when she isn’t close to me sometimes, which isn’t like her at all. She has started to dislike being in her walker or her high chair too! She gets more emotional with me rather than Daddy though, which is strange as we are both with her around the same amount of time…me just a touch more. I do have this app on my iPad called The Wonder Weeks and I think it’s extraordinary! It tells you exactly when your little one is experiencing a ‘leap’ in their development, what the leap is, the signs of this and what you can do to support them and help make this easier for them to complete. According to the app my little B is in her seventh leap of her development…and yes being cranky/grump/moody is a sign. With all this going on in her little life, she’s an emotional, uncooperative little darling at the minute.

Wonder weeks

So I’ve done it. I’ve actually finished today’s post running off little sleep and so far I’ve only had to see to little B once whilst she has been in her cot.Okay, my mind may have stopped working a couple of times, my train of thought may be a little delayed but hey it’s readable…right? Let”s hope we have a better night, more for her sake. I hate knowing she’s had a rough nights sleep – I know how important it is for her to have a good night’s sleep!

Do you think I’m overreacting? Does every baby have times like this? Do you think I’ve put little B in some bad sleep habits recently?

Please do leave me any comments or suggestions or advice to help me out. I love reading your own experiences too so do share them. Oh and follow me on twitter (@mumisthewordblg) for updates!