I love charity shopping.

<img src="http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy135/missielizzie/MagpieMondayBadge.png" border="0"

Saturday saw me at the hospice shop. Pricing seemed a little weird with some things going for a song and some priced up at more than they would have been new.

Some lovely orange and lavender scented incense cones from Ashleigh and Burwood 50p

An academic diary and pen set – £1 new in box

A Bratz pencil case – 50 pence

A Frustration Game – £1 and in new condition

A folding file thing so I can organise my paperwork – £1

Photographs will follow tonight but my camera is currently out of batteries so check back later.

Things I was tempted by included some old-fashioned weights and scales for £12. Might pop back for that later in the week.

There was also a size 38G Katie Price brand new bra for £2.50. I keep toying with the idea of selling on ebay and wondered if this might make a good start. I did not buy it but did some research. The trouble was I spied a bra and knickers set in my size and then made the mistake of looking at the seller's other items which were all lovely and all in my size. So my plan to invest £2.50 with a view to making a profit very almost resulted in a £50 loss straightaway!

On the pricing thing, it is important for charity shops to get these things right as later in the day, we visited a Yorkshire Trader store where they had brand new toys for really cheap prices.

This was in Whitby where I spied a Magpie Cafe with a huge queue outside and a Magpie Kitchenware Shop. Made me think of the regular Magpie Monday-ers.

Of course, the best bargains of all are the freebies. A couple of weeks ago, we collected Angel our hamster with a cage via the Netmums website. I understand they do not accept pet adverts anymore but it might be worth pet-seekers looking at Pets4Homes, Preloved or Gumtree.

Tomorrow night, again via Netmums I am picking up a bundle of ladieswear in my size.

Last week, again via Netmums, I picked up 7 pairs of school trousers and a load of school shirts for £20.

So a very mixed bag for you this week and I look forward to sharing the pictures later.

Love from the Striking Mum x

What are 10 ways to be a happy mum? Not every mum is happy all of the time or even most of the time.

me

I love my children but there are times when I have struggled so as I hit the teen and tween years, I am going to share some of my lessons on what has helped me be happier as a mum.

1. Have confidence in yourself and your ability to be a mum. People have done it for years so why should you be the one who messes it up? Believe you are a great mum and see what happens.

2. Look at your own individual circumstances. Some mums have a massive support network of family, friends and colleagues. A lot don’t and then try to measure up to those that do. How can you realistically have hot date nights, a fabulous career and look glamorous if you are the one who is always holding the baby?

3. Accept from day one that some people will judge you adversely. I was told I was an inadequate mum when I returned to work when my first son was 6 weeks old. If I was, I also earned money for the family, kept my sanity and gave my parents precious and as it turned our limited time with their first grandson.

4. Try to carve out time for yourself and your own interests. It is a challenge but even if you just insist on having 10 minutes to yourself a day, it can remind you who you are and what you like.

5. State very clearly and in writing if necessary what you need people to do to help you. Do you need your parents to show you how to do DIY or housework more effectively? Would you be happier if your partner took the baby to soft play once a week to give you a rest? Whatever works for you, let them know!

6. Be aware that if you feel sad or fed up with a life a lot of the time, you may be experiencing depressionhappytoday. Take it from one who tried, you cannot get through this without help. Get to the GP (and write down that is what you need for your family or friends if you can’t face going) and access medication or talking therapies. PLEASE!

7. Remember your children will love you anyway. That fact should not be abused but they will celebrate the mum and person you are not some media fantasty mum. Make sure they know who you are because not to put too fine a point on it they will probably give your eulogy one day. It would be good for them to have something to say.

8. If housework is overwhelming, work out a system that ensures the house at least habitable. For me, I started by doing housework in short spurts during telly advert breaks. That was all I could handle at the time but if made me feel more in control and I built on that over time. Just give me a day before you announce your visit!

9. Take every media image of motherhood, research study,parenting book and webiste with a huge pinch of salt. They are tastier that way and for goodness sake laugh at some of them. Always look at who is behind the research or whatever and what is in it for them.

10. Accept that just as you are an individual so are your children. They will develop at their own rate and have their own talents, skills and interests which may not match yours. Celebrate the people they are and make some amazing memories together.

If you think I talk sense let me know and if you don’t forgive this old wife for having her own tale!

Even better, why not put a pin it and add the image below to Pinterest and then a mum who needs a little back-up just might get it.



Jacky Ha-Ha Book

Becoming a grandma is an important milestone. I interviewed Nickie who became a grandmother aged 36. Nickie was one of the first bloggers to be kind to me when I started my blogging journey telling me that content matters so very much. It seems fitting to see her featured on my blog at last with her views on life and parenthood.

granny

What is the striking story you have to share?

​I was a teenage mum giving birth to my daughter at the age of 18 and then she became a teenage mum at the age of 17 which, if we count on our fingers, meant that I was becoming a grandma at the age of 36.​

What were the joys that this experience brought your way?

​My daughter had cancer as a baby so we were never sure if she could have children after receiving intensive chemotherapy for 6 months. In one respect, her having a baby and me becoming a grandma was nothing short of a miracle.​

What challenges did this situation bring your way?

​Stereotypical opinions! I wished that my daughter would have had the opportunity to forge a career rather than become a young mum. Dealing with the emotions across the family (and extended family) that come with the stigma of teenage pregnancy including wanting to tell our story so that it could be shown that you *can* get through this even though it’s an emotional journey but STILL being met with preconceived opinions.

How do you ensure you get time to yourself and what do you do with that time?

​I have had a myriad of hobbies which include blogging and vlogging, crafts and studying for a degree with the Open University but my new love is running. It’s totally changed who I am as a person and how I give back to the community who helped me find this new passion.

Have you ever rediscovered or reinvented yourself? How?

​My life is a continuous path of self-discovery. Each step is part of that journey. I woudn’t be who I am now without my past and I won’t be the person I’m going to be without what is happening now. ​

Describe at least one physical feature you have that you consider to be beautiful

​My eyes. I love their shape and the colour. ​

What makes you stand out?

​I’m not afraid to share my opinion, I’m a very loyal friend. I’m a very determined person who isn’t afraid to fail because it creates a learning experience. ​

Is it important to you to support other mums?

​Absolutely. I’ve been through so much in my life as a mum that there’s always some advice I can give. I can also learn from others too if they are prepared to share. ​

Which mum inspires you?

​My own. She died at the age of 55 after suffering for 45 years with Bronchiecstasis (wrongly diagnosed as TB when she was a child). She managed to keep a house, a family, a small part-time job, deal with the divorce of her and my dad (the only man she’d ever been with) and still had time for everyone else. I didn’t appreciate her enough and regret that every single day. ​

What would you like the next Government to do to improve the lives of mums?

​I don’t necessarily think the Government needs to specifically target mums but look at family life as a whole – maternity/paternity leave, childcare costs, working hours (making it easier for the employer as well as the mother/father) and also​ to fully support non-traditional family units as an equality.

I like to reflect on my reasons to be cheerful every week. Today I am a happy mum.

You find me sitting in the lounge with sun streaming through the window and blossom appearing on the tree outside. Like my late Mum, I love Spring with its sense of hope and new life.

Last Friday, we made the long trip to Yorkshire to stay with family in a gorgeous coach house surrounded by stunning scenery. The house used to be my parents’ home so I feel close to them there.

Ryedale scene

My brother looked after us well. It is such a treat as a Mum to sit back and let someone else take the strain of cooking and tidying for a change. I know Him Indoors does more than most on those scores but I think in most households it is still the mum who does the majority.

We took the children to our old town so that our teenage son could meet up with an old friend for a few hours. The rest of us had a lovely pub lunch.

The following day we went first to the North Yorkshire Railway at Grosmont and then moved on to Whitby. The day seemed one of our sunniest ever on all fronts.

My youngest son asked for a trip to Bridlington on our final full day. We had such fun particularly with the fairground rides.

There was time to chat with my brother and long lie-ins in peaceful surroundings.

We have returned refreshed and ready to take on whatever life has in store for us next.

Something tells me it is going to be a very exciting year ahead.

Are you a happy mum today?