Autumn Favourites

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Summertime is over It’s Autumn.Little side note, this isn’t a post where I gloriously praise products and new clothes, as truth be told I haven’t bought anything new in weeks – and I haven’t bought anything specifically because it’s Autumn. Instead, here I will bask in all this Autumn like and little moments of joy Autumn brings to my simple life.

  1. Darker nights. I don’t know about you, but something about those darker nights really make me feel cosier. Especially on a Saturday night, just sat on the sofa with the family watching crappy Saturday night TV and with some comfy pjs on. Ah bliss.
  2. The colours. No one can mention Autumn without talking about the beautiful colours of the changing seasons. The amount of stunning pictures I’ve seen on my Instagram feed alone is enough to warm anyone’s heart. Truly, it is a season that makes you appreciate nature that little bit more.
  3. Stew and dumplings. For me, nothing says Autumn is here like a bowl of homemade beef stew with dumplings and a slice of bread. That is food that is good for your heart.
  4. Hot chocolates. Nothing beats coming in from a nice Autumn walk collecting leaves, acorns, conkers and sticks with your little ones and then sticking the kettle on and having a nice hot chocolate.
  5. Getting the comfy clothes out. Summer is over, not like we have much heat here in England, but Autumn see’s the big cosy coat brought out, along with your boots and scarf. Can you beat getting wrapped up and going on a nice walk in the crisp air?

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Do you have a favourite thing about Autumn? Do you have any traditions you do in this season?

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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!

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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? 

Halloween Fun Facts.

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Halloween approaching at a scary speed meaning it’s appropriate to do a Halloween themed post (and my first Halloween post too). With the spooky holiday being Octobers main interest, I thought I’d do a bit of digging (nope not in the graveyard) and see how certain Halloween traditions we all know came to be:

  • Why do we dress up?: I’ve heard this before so maybe it’s pretty common knowledge, but I can’t do a Halloween post without bringing up the costumes. This originated from a Samhain tradition, which basically was a Gaelic festival to mark the end of the harvest and the welcoming of the ‘darker half of the year’. Back then they celebrated  New Year on November 1st, so believed that spirits of the dead were able to overlap with the living during the transition into the New Year. This is why they dressed up and impersonated evil spirits – to fool them into thinking they were one of them. I guess it just evolved over time and became the money devouring tradition we know today.
  • Why do we carve pumpkins?: There are a few different tales and versions of the ‘legend’ behind why we carve pumpkins but they all basically evolve around the same essence. Apparently, a village drunk named Jack, had a bit of a run in with the Devil and tricked him  – eventually when it was Jack’s time to leave this world and go on to either Heaven or Hell, he was turned away from both gates because of his trickery. The Devil gave Jack a lump of coal to light his way on his journey of purgatory – which Jack carried inside a hollow turnip (resourceful little fellow for a drunk). Once the story had been told amongst the villagers and locals, Irish families placed hollowed, carved turnips (some with scary faces on) in their homes to scare away Jack and any unwanted ghouls. When the holiday hit the United States, Irish immigrants realised that the pumpkin (native to America) was much better for carving – and so began the evolution of pumpkin carvings on Halloween!
  • Why does candy get given out on Halloween?: This apparently is based on the medieval custom called ‘souling’, which happened on All Souls Day. Early Christians made desserts and cakes, which were named ‘soul cakes’ to honour their dead. Children then went from house to house, offering to sing and pray for the dead loved ones upon receiving a cake (cheeky little monkeys even back in the day!).
  • Why do we say Trick or Treat?: This is a fairly recent tradition in the world of Halloween, first being mentioned around 1920s. Relating back to ‘souling’, children would go door to door, preforming little fun tricks such as telling jokes, reciting poems or singing, in exchange for a yummy treat. It then went on to become the request of a treat, in exchange for avoiding any annoyance to the house such as window soaping etc.
  • Why do we bob for apples on Halloween?: Now this one was a bit trickier to research as there’s a lot of speculation and arguing amongst historians about where and when it actually originated from, but this is just for fun so let’s not shy away. Supposedly it’s thought apple bobbing was related to fortune telling, originating in the British Isles. They believed that you had to catch an apple from the water in your mouth, peel it, pass the long peel three times around your head and then throw it over your shoulder, allowing it to fall to the ground and form a letter – which was the initial of your true love. I suppose it then got introduced into the Halloween festival maybe because of witch craft or something? Who knows, but it’s interesting to read!

Now I don’t claim that these fun facts are the absolute truth and reason as to why the many normal Halloween traditions of today came about, but I do think it’s interesting to read different interpretations and influences – seeing how these traditions have evolved and shaped the modern day festival we are familiar with today. Ending things on a Halloween note, here’s a 19th century ‘souling song’ that would have been sung for ‘soul cakes’ (extra points if you sing this if you go trick or treating this year):

A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!
Please good Missis, a soul-cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all.

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Did you know where any of these ‘traditions’ came from? Do you know where any more originated from? Do you get involved in the spooky holiday?

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How to deal with negative energy.

I have a problem. Like many people, I have allowed negative energy into my life. Let them it irritate and cloud my usually rainless mind. Why? Who knows why any of us let this induce us into sitting pondering in a world of our own. Stewing and mulling over circumstances. You know the kind. The embezzler of good energy. The bodies who repeatedly seem to be in a squabble with someone, or forever updating social media with passive aggressive updates, and most frustratingly think their opinions are the only appropriate, correct ones. Ever.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always, nor have I always been, a ball of light but in my life now, I consciously try to put kindness out to the world. I don’t talk bad about people. I never say anything to a person that I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying in front of them. I strongly believe in karma – though I am waiting for some to reinforce my beliefs. I believe I’m a honest and fair person.  I believe in apologising for your wrongs. I believe in learning from mistakes. I believe in making mistakes. I’m human.

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Now the spirit stealers I am referring to do none of these things. Instead they mostly make you feel upset, troubled, confused. The people who you struggle to recall when you last had a carefree conversation was with. The people who think and whats worse, make you feel as if, they are above you,  talk down to you. The ones who emotionally drain us to a point you welcome the day you awake with the stress of them gone from your shoulders, which is extremely sad.

Now as we know blogging is an ideal way to express and compose your thoughts/feelings in a healthy way -to a world of neutral and sincere readers but after an extremely draining morning (concluding in me breaking loose from the negativity within my life, at least until a corner has been turned and their own issues have been addressed) I felt it was time for me to channel my feelings of frustration into words of motivation. Here’s my top tips to keep positive when surrounded by negative and when dealing with negativity:

  • No matter what, believe in yourself. It’s hard to not become riddled with self-doubt when unpleasantness is being directed to you. BUT be strong. Have strength. You can overcome this.
  • Reflect and articulate yourself before you respond. There is nothing worse than reacting in the heat of the moment, take a moment to ponder on what is happening. React in a healthy way that reflects who you are. Not in a way you will later wish you didn’t. Make sure you are clear, calm and concise in expressing your thoughts and feelings. There is no point in addressing invalid points and working yourself up.
  • Surround yourself with beautiful, strong, honest people. For me I am extremely lucky to have hub-to-be. Someone I can freely communicate with and unload when I need too. What’s more he is not afraid to tell me if I am wrong, if he doesn’t agree with the way something is handled but is still someone who will support and uplift you 100%. This truthfulness I admire massively. I believe that if you surround yourself with kind people, they influence you. Likewise with negative.
  • Always be aware and pick your battles. When dealing something like this, it’s important to understand that you can’t battle every time. It will drain you, mentally exhaust you and leave you feeling worse of than you started. It’s important to be able to identify what you need to let go of, for your own sanity, and when you feel it’s time to address something and stand up to the problem.
  • Support yourself. I truly believe that for one negative energy in life, you need to give out a million more positive vibes. Wash out that negativity in a productive way. Channel your frustration into motivation. Use the emotions to better yourself. Whether that’s in your job, your friendships, hobbies, social media etc. Point those feelings into the universe as positive ones. Karma will come back to you.

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Remember, look after yourself. And those most important to you. Uplift others. Be kind daily. Treat others how you want to be treated. Block out the negative vibes. And most importantly, admit when you are wrong/when you have done wrong and that you are human. You gain a lot more respect in doing so,  as oppose to claiming you are in the right and trying to put others down in doing so. Do not let negative people turn you into one.

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Rainy Day Blog: Routine. 

Routine is something every parent questions at one point. Does my child have enough play? Am I supporting their development enough? Should she really be watching an episode of Bing Bunny? Guilty, I’m one of those parents. Whilst the weather is absolutely miserable (queue rainy picture underneath), and all plans of an outing have been thrown strongly out of the window, I thought I’d take some time to reflect upon our everyday routine as a family and stay at home mum. Just a little extra pointing, I haven’t included every single nappy change so please don’t feel as if I don’t change little B’s nappy.  

 
7-8am: B wakes up. Usually in a chirpy happy mood. Most days I glance at our baby monitor and see her stood up in her cot, staring at the camera mumbling some mama’s. I go and collect her, greeted by a heartwarming smile and she has her first bottle of the day cuddled up, relaxing in bed with me. 

8-9am: By this point we are usually downstairs, B is normally happily in her walker playing or crawling around exploring after having her nappy changed, whilst I open the blinds and do my usual morning tasks. She then sits in her high chair and has her porridge. 

Until 10:30am (ish): After breakfast B usually plays on the floor with her toys for a while, coming to greet me or give me a quick kiss shouting at. We will read one of her favourite stories and then go upstairs, brush our teeth and get ready for the day. 

11-12:30pm: B usually has her first morning nap, and it’s usually around this time. She quite happily cuddles me and then when she us sleepy I will place in her cot and she’s usually away with the fairies. 

12:45-1.15pm: After waking up from her nap, again another big heartwarming smile appears when I go in her room to collect her, B usually has some dinner. I tend to make her own lunch, including lots of healthy fruit/vegetables/meat/fish etc, but if I’m in a rush or fresh out of ideas or we are having a bad day I will give her something from Ella’s Kitchen range. 

1:30 – 2:00pm: B is usually nice and cheerful after being refuelled and refreshed. We watch an episode of Bing Bunny (which is her absolutely favourite) and then have a nice playing session. I let B explore wherever she wants to as I really do feel this increases her confidence. We get as many toys out as she wants, make as much mess as she wants and a lot of the time I follow her lead. We sing lots of songs, read stories and just try to have an active play session. She also has a nappy change if wet so she’s nice and clean whilst we go out of the house.

2:15-4:00pm: This is the time I usually go out of the house to she shopsif I need to or if the weather isn’t too dreadful, we will go on a nice stroll. Well when it’s just me and little B. She usually falls asleep in her trolley, with her little Bunny tucked next to her and by the time she wakes up around 4pm we are home. 

4:15-4:45pm: At this time of the day I let B get as messy as she likes. I cover the floor with her play mat and step up a messy activity for her. Whether this is a big roll of paper with paints, coloured spaghetti or water play – we have lots of messy fun! B really enjoys getting messy. And I do too. 

5-5:30pm: Dinner is served. Messy post-play B has her lunch and pudding. 

6-6:45pm: As you can imagine with messy play and dinner, B is looking pretty filthy. So around this time we have a bath to chill out ready for bedtime, then get all moisturised and some clean pjs on. Not forgetting to brush those pesky teeth. 

7-8pm: Between this time B has her night time bottle, bed time story and is usually (on a good night) in bed for 8pm. B sleeps through now with no bottle during the night, but we may have to go in to resettle her with a few reassuring pats and shushes a couple of times. And that’s usually her until 7am. 

So there you have it. That’s our routine on a good day. Days usually do flow to this type of routine, but some small changes here and there might happen – especially if we have a day out planned or if B is a bit poorly. B will have some fruit snacks or vegetable sticks in the day if she gets peckish between meals and her juice/water is on the floor with her when she plays – which she helps herself too. Do feel free to comment any activities or tips you can offer us. All advice is appreciated, as we are all well aware there is no manual for parenthood! 

Oh and don forget to follow me on Twitter @mumisthewordblg