1 April 2014

Timothy Sebastian Sullivan.

I am fascinated by Tania Sullivan.  Having met her at a blogging event a couple of years ago, we immediately struck up a friendship and have stayed in touch.

She was with her son Paddy and only had 11 children then.  Obviously it's easy to assume she's mad, but on the contrary, in the flesh, she's one of the most warm wonderful women I've ever met and the more I read of her book telling their story (including a first failed marriage and multiple miscarriages), the more I believe she should be running the country.  She speaks a whole lot of sense and is rightly unapologetic for seeing every single child she - and other people have - as a blessing.

In the last two years, little Isobel has come along, and on February 15th this year Timothy Sebastian arrived.  But he had problems breathing.

With thanks to the Oliver Fisher Neonatal Unit, Timothy's little life was saved and because neither Tania or her husband are mad at all (and if you've seen them on any of the TV programmes they've been featured in, you might have observed that for yourselves), they'd like to say their Thank yous by raising £2000 by his first Birthday.

They've documented his story in this totally inspiring and truly very moving video below - along with the reaction of most of their other children when they discover they have another brother (!) - and if you'd like to help, please donate - no matter how small amount - to their Just Giving page over at  www.justgiving.com/largerfamilylifeor via Paypal to family@largerfamilylife.com (marked ‘Tim’s Journey’).

I am in love with him.

24 March 2014

Design and Win T-Shirts for Mum and Child.

Every now and then you discover a web-site that tickles your fancy, makes you giggle and answers your present giving dilemmas all in one go.

Taking the humble tee and making it hilarious does exactly that at Got the T-shirt.

Mothers Day might be a'comin but there sure is a section for everyone.  Look no further for presents for the pesky hard-to-buy-for males in your life.

And aside from the plethora from which to choose (some of which are X-rated so keep your kids away whilst you check them out!) there is a simple 'Create your Own' option - where you upload an image and/or text for customised t-shirts - ideal for parties or plain fun.

It's so straightforward, in fact, we managed it ourselves and in celebration of Mother's Day you can enter the Rafflecopter competition below to be in with a chance of winning your own (different) designs for mum and a child or a choice of one each from their site.  

To enter, simply log in to the widget below and follow Got theT-Shirt on Twitter.  This will open some other options for extra entries.  It closes at midnight 30th March 2014.  For full terms and conditions see the details below.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

21 March 2014

The Cost of Being Single vs. The Cost of Being in a Couple.

Tell me something I don't know!  Let's throw in some imaginary kids for good measure and see what that does to this lovely infographic which spells out the serious financial toll of our energy consumption nowadays.  *beings to consider re-marriage* *immediately settles for sticking with foreign language students to ease the burden*

How being in a relationship can save you money

Feel loved again: start slashing your bills with cheap electricity deals!

Disclosure - This is a commissioned post.

11 March 2014

The Story of A Not So Innocent Stroll.

Doesn't this look like an innocent day for a stroll?

As promised yesterday, here's a series of pics that tell another story of a quite unexpected happening when going out for some fresh air recently.  The sea looks so calm compared to these others recently and the sky couldn't be much more of a stronger contrast - it's actually quite hard to believe how little time has passed between the two days until you walk a little longer, look a little closer and see the signs.

 - It took a passing Australian chap to point out the tell tale ones up against the actual cliff wall!

The ones on the promenade had looked a bit wet -

- and it wasn't too long before those of us down there could see why!

And out of nowhere things like this would happen and make me jump a mile!

But it wasn't only me taken by surprise - 

There's a close up of this one on yesterday's post I ruddy love it SO much and it seemed rude not to give it its own special space! 

The waves seemed to come out of nowhere, through and over the defences! 

So despite the sunny weather, this turned out to be a shorter stroll in that direction than anticipated.  It didn't make sense to go any further and I headed off in the opposite one, noting the wet promenade again, but thinking how much safer it looked that way - only to have once more been lulled into a stupid sense of security and not being the only one!

This is Gabi, the lady from earlier squelching her way towards home but not before we'd had a decent chat and a laugh about the sea still behaving in way that we're not used to locally.  She has sportingly said it's OK to post these photographs of her. 

We were fortunate that there was some safe middle ground to head to because, fascinating though it was, I was genuinely frightened by now and glad to be able to run away! 

But doesn't this look like an innocent day for a stroll? 

one week

10 March 2014

Just As She Thought It Was Safe To Go Near The Water ...

Do you see that blue sky? You'd be forgiven for thinking that Spring has arrived and that it's safe to go near the water after the recent storms, which is obviously what the lady in black was thinking!

[Insert the theme from Jaws if you're old enough to remember it and get the line!]

Couldn't resist sharing this with you. Her name is Gabi, she's a local lady and we had a rather nice chat after her dousing, during which she gave her permission.  These waves were really unexpected and it's only one of a series of shots which are now published on this post HERE now.  They tie in nicely with the celebration of Winter by Older Mum, something she does for about one week each season.  (#OneWeek).

Anyone can join in with anything that makes it special to them - a picture, poem or piece of writing and it's a genuine delight to see people's different interpretations and eye-popping contributions!   

This has been an extraordinary winter living on the South coast and as we edge out of it, this photograph sums it up beautifully.  I've added the cropped close up just for fun.

one week

7 March 2014

Why and How Would You Hire a Nanny?

There was recently an article in the Daily Mail with the headline 'I'm a stay at home mother but childcare is SO boring I've hired a Nanny

It makes for an interesting read and got me thinking.  There are lots of reasons for employing one and the whole notion is far more modern and flexible than it used to be.  It's something to seriously consider when you want to work and not just for youngsters, so I sent the piece to an Nanny Agency I know of and asked them some stuff to bring us up to date.

My questions are in bold and the answers are provided by Nannies Matter, based in Gerrards Cross, which services families throughout the Home Counties.  This is what they have to say:

“New Year’s resolution: make more time for me.” Yeah, because that’s a new one! In fact, you make the same resolution every year and by February you seem to have less time than you had before. It’s so easy to overlook “me time” and get bogged down in the same daily routines.
Working hard to juggle your own lives can leave you with not enough time to think about yourself. To think about yourself does that make you selfish? Is it such a bad thing? There are too many concerns about judgement, but balancing a life of your own is a necessity in every woman’s life and considering a nanny may actually help.

What's this I hear from other Mums about sharing a Nanny?  
Nanny Share is an option that’s like having the best of both worlds - it gives a child personal one to one attention but also the additional benefit of having the company from another child or children preferably a similar age range. This works well if you know other parents in which you can share costs and a housing environment. What's more it’s comforting knowing that children can be within a home environment.

You can also split a Nanny and share weekly.  A tip is that it’s best to take the time to get to know the nanny and parents you’re sharing with before coming to any sort of agreement. Overall a nanny share can work well for you as it’s cost effective and gives you some extra time to yourself!
Does this mean they don't have to 'live-in?'
Some nannies live with a family or live elsewhere, whatever your personal preference may be. Considering a nanny to work around your life style may allow you that extra bit of time to throw yourself into things that you’re currently not able to do. A nanny will work around you and your children’s needs so the choice is completely yours.

And would a Nanny help out with the other practical stuff at home like an Au Pair would?
No a Nanny would only be involved in all aspects of childcare but, you can request a nanny house keeper, in which duties can include cleaning, laundry, preparing a meal and caring for a child. If you just want some simple time to go to the gym, read, and listen to music or time with friends. A nanny housekeeper can offer flexibility around this and come in a few hours a week, or every day depending on what you want. Not forgetting the bonus of coming back to a spic and span house!
Whatever your choice may be it is significant and should be valued by other people, but most importantly valued by you as you are the one to carry the importance of self care in the family for your children to follow.
As a Single Mum having to consider the possibility of full time work, wouldn't hiring a Nanny be out of the question with my kids being almost nine and five? If you’re ready to go back into a full time career, it is more than possible. The skills you have as a single parent are skills that work in a business such as organisation, stability, determination and hard work.
The age range of children is not an issue, as there is a nanny out there to suit everyone. The personality of a nanny can be matched to your children’s personality and age. A nanny can also take children to school and help with homework if necessary.

What are your thoughts about hiring a Nanny?  I'd love to know them.

Disclosure - This is a collaborative post. 

6 March 2014

Playing Pictionary.

An oldie but goodie!

Sometimes you gotta have a li'l fun and although the height of the watched DVD stack on the sideboard was shameful by the time that the end of half term came around, I did manage to get the persuade the boys to get the Pictionary board out a few times.

Is it like getting blood out of a stone at your end as well?

We always say how much more fun playing games rather than watching TV is, yet they'd rather be staring at / playing on one screen or another and it's so easy to be complacent and let them, especially when the weather has been so awful for so long, but I sometimes get a sense of loss or failure with too much leniency.

So we try a game or two which is always more agreeable.  Unless the Fearsome Four Year Old is too tired.  Or they're hungry.  Or cooking is pressing... you get my drift.

It's only relatively recently we've been able to sit down as a family and play properly because the youngest wasn't ready.  He still prefers the giant Snakes and Ladders, spread out in the centre of kitchen floor, with its almighty dice, preferably alone because he always wins - and remarkably quickly too!

He's awfully competitive - a terrible loser and a truly ungracious winner, but this is the point of playing - to learn the necessary social skills that make it a pleasure for us all.

Our favourite at the moment is Pictionary although we have to bend the rules until they're virtually unrecognizable because there's only the three of us so we can't make two teams and it has to be something that we're sure he will be able to understand or identify.

The Awesome Eight Year old and I love it.  It's extraordinarily simple - with one minute to draw a picture that the others will recognize, having been given the subject by the cards given with the game.  Success means travelling around the board more quickly, reaching the end goal and winning. But we don't have much of that.

We do have lots of giggles though whilst the pencil is in action and there is a timer provided which really adds to the pressure and fun factor!

Here are some examples.  The more indignant the drawer becomes, the more hilarious it is.

Above - my drawing - and their (mortally offending) guesses:  A Pirate. Buzz Lightyear.  Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Correct answer = An earring!

Below - eldest's drawing - and our (really riling him up) conjectures:  Magic Carpet. A skunk. Crying.  A bed.
Correct answer = A pillow!

The youngest's drawing and our attempts to identify it (provoking seriously hearty but amusing huffs) as it slowly progressed:  A teapot. A headless guy. A house.  A poo.  
And the answer = A giant!    

This naturally led to their (still) current favourite conversational topic - flatulence - which has moved on since my day, but it's important you're kept up to date too:  'Whoever smelt it dealt it.' 'Whoever made the rhyme committed the crime.' 'Whoever denied it supplied it.'  Followed by feigned horror on my part whilst they fall helplessly apart laughing.  Again.  *sigh*

But the good laughs galore throughout make this old game worth it.  There are some newer versions out but this has good us in good stead.  It was first introduced to me some years before the kids came along when staying on a friend's family farm in Wales.  They've moved to New Zealand now and I miss them - the entertainment (along with the home made beer) still rates as one of the the highlights of my life.  

It doesn't hurt to force a li'l fun on the children sometimes!  

What do you play?
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