What’s Left Unsaid is a book I was asked to review by the author herself. It has taken me a while to post this review but I highly recommend that you read this superb novel. It covers the themes so many of us confront in a lifetime like different types of love, parenting, caring, substance abuse, sexuality and baby loss.

What’s Left Unsaid

I remember when I was pregnant with my first child how I told my husband we must never lie to that child. Although my family were amazing in many ways, there would be cover-ups of less palatable truths leading to confusion as I was growing up. Of course, truths usually will emerge often at the worst possible times or in the middle of family strife. Largely I have stuck to being honest with my children even on difficult topics and I hope this was the right thing to do. Even then there are 2 secrets of my own that I do not share.

The Characters

We have Sasha who a mum juggling work, parenting and caring for her elderly parent as so many of us do. Her son is a teenager with all that that entails. Her husband seems strangely disconnected from his family a lot of the time. Sasha’s mother is ageing fast and also has a long-standing issue with alcohol. A big player in the book is Sasha’s deceased father who has his say on events past and present along the way.

The plot

Sasha’s son wants his family to take part in a film project sharing their lives and memories. This inevitably opens us a can of worms as Sasha and her mother Annie are prompted to reflect on their current lives and what has gone before. Traumas are revealed including evacuation during the war, abuse, infidelities all of which fall into that category of what’s left unsaid. Secrets are revealed that will rock each of the characters’ worlds.

Why I loved the book

I liked the book immediately as it hit the ground running and was engaging from the start. As a mum to teenagers myself and someone who has cared for a parent, I could empathise easily with Sasha’s struggles. I loved how the  chapters are short and written from different character’s perspectives. I particularly enjoyed Sasha’s dead father’s input as he was at a distance and could take a perhaps more objective view. Also it felt that he had a wisdom that maybe only comes to us fully after death. I  enjoyed the big span across different decades and looking how characters are shaped by the historical and personal happenings in their lives. It was good to be reminded that when people act in a less ideal fashion it often is a result of terrible things happening to them in their past. Again these type of things are what’s left unsaid all too often.

Conclusion

I  cannot rate this novel highly enough. As I said to a friend, “This is a book I would love to have written myself”. I think that demonstrates that I would definitely give this particular read 10 out of 10.

https://www.whatsleftunsaid.co.uk/

 

Read With Me

Has the world actually woken up after the Christmas break? It feels very quiet as if people are indulging in another week of time off. I am sure that cannot be right but it is how it feels here. So whilst things are more relaxed that usual, I am happy to share cheerful New Year thoughts.

1. We managed to navigate troubles between my husband and myself that happened just before my birthday and Christmas. Peace has returned with my husband even talking about getting some counselling. He has also taken some pretty major actions to show his commitment to our relationship. Amusingly, if I had to state what has helped us get back on some sort of track from my point of view it would include chocolate pancakes, mulled wine and Scrabble games.

2. Also on the family front, I have insisted on us doing some planning to ensure all the family get quality time together and alone. It took probably only about 15 minutes to make a plan which means every day has something special and family-related in it. We have carved out time to ensure each of the children get one-on-one time with us. It’s working really well so far.

3.We have hit the ground running for our home education journey for 2019. We are doing daily French lessons. We have done quite a lot on statistics this week. I have combined my wish to meal plan which I never quite pull off with home education partly because my youngest son has such a desire to be in the kitchen and hopes to be a chef one day. We got a brilliant magazine with 70 recipes in it all of the frugal nature too on the spending front. I want financial management to be a big part of what the children learn because being money savvy makes such a difference to levels of happiness. So we put together a weekly meal plan and did a supermarket shop based on that. It means less food waste, more efficient spending and the fun of trying out new meals. Our time in the kitchen can include learning English, French, food history, mathematics, chemistry, biology and more no doubt. All very good stuff. Also it is lovely to bring our my late mum’s big mixing bowl. Yesterday we made a brilliant banana loaf and also some mug cakes using a kit my son got at Christmas. I am going to invest in some new workbooks too as I find these are so helpful as I can set work for my daughter to get on with and sit with my son as he works on his. They are individuals and I need to work to those individual needs and preferences.

4. I am having disturbed nights of sleep waking up more than usual and also having nightmares. The cheerful part of this is that it has made me realise how fortunate I am that I can choose when to get up so I can have lie-ins. When I do wake up, I am in an idyllic countryside setting. I have started walking the dog as soon as I get up whether he has already had a walk or not. It is good to get that dose of Vitamin D to set the day off with a happy soul.

5. My husband and older son are looking into volunteering with refugees. I think this will be great for both of them but particularly my son who has such a sense of social justice and needs to build his confidence up.

6. My daughter is her usual focused self. She was delighted with her Christmas present. She surprised me the other day at a café by saying she liked it because it was so open. I thought she would have preferred to have had more walls around her. It’s a good lesson to me to not assume what her needs are and to actually listen and learn. We also had a great tidy-up and decluttering session in her bedroom getting rid of so many clothes along the way.

7. My oldest son is in a good mood and feeling positive. He is excited at the prospect of a visit to Paris with old school friends later in the year. Even more wonderfully, he asked if I would like to come along too. How many 18 year old sons do that sort of thing?

8. In my usual attempt to become a domestic goddess, I am stressing about it less. I saw online that it is good to have one big task per day. This is helping with my planning and as a result housework gets done but is not as overwhelming to me. Also I do seem to be getting a little more help from the family.

9. Another big change here is that I am pretty much not putting the television on during the day. When I was made redundant many years ago now, I thought it was great to be able to spend the day watching telly. Years in and you realise it has become quite a negative habit. Effectively you can easily be watching other people’s lives or being told how to live yours by “experts” who know nothing of your situation. Isn’t it healthier to be living your own? I could even believe daytime telly is actually a strategy go keep women downtrodden, trapped and judging themselves adversely. Anyway, conspiracy theory aside, I am reading more, writing more, conversing more, walking more an feeling better as a result of this lifestyle change.

10. I remain happy in this amazing community I have found full of kindness, laughter and a willingness to make things work. After years of feeling anonymous, it is lovely to have found a place where it feels as if “everybody knows my name” to quote the Cheers song. Not only do they know it but they use it helping me work out that yes I do actually exist in my own right and I am OK.

That’s not a bad start to a brand New Year is it?


R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

Musings Of A Tired Mummy
Twin Mummy and Daddy

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

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My Random Musings
Musings Of A Tired Mummy

There are many reasons you might want to use a home printer. You may work from home like my husband and occasionally need to print off documents including letters and leaflets. I home educate so am constantly searching for worksheets and other resources. It is so much easier to use them now we have a home printer to hand. There are also occasions when we need to scan things or to print photographs You do have to watch the costs though or it can all get a bit out of hand.

Printing

Set a budget for your printer

Before looking online or visiting a store, work out how much you want to spend on a printer. It is all to easy to get over-excited when clever marketing tools and savvy sales people are around. Ensure you actually need the features of a particular printer before letting go of your hard-earned cash.

Consider your Ink Costs

Over the years I have had printers where the printer inks made them really expensive to run. You need to work out how many pages one ink cartridge will actually print. As I always advise on this blog, take time to think before purchasing anything.

Choose the right paper

Paper varies so much from cheap and cheerful to expensive and fancy. If you are marketing yourself as a person via a Curriculum Vitae or your brand via marketing materials, it is worth investing in decent paper. For most other things, supermarket value paper really will suffice.

Print your photos away from home

I prefer to print photos using a high street store or an online retailer rather than doing them at home. For a start, I always find home printing of photos results in a poorer quality and there are such good deals out there on printing in bulk nowadays, it would be daft not to take advantage of them.

Use less ink

I recently discovered that if you go into your printer software settings, you can find something that might be called eco-mode or draft mode. These modes mean you are using less ink per job. Some printers will remind you of this cheaper option when you press print or carry out other print functions. Not every printing job needs to be pristine. Sometimes good enough really is good enough.

These tips will ensure you save money with your home printer. As we know, little savings all add up to a more frugal family life or a higher profit business-wise down the line.

 

 

My Random Musings

Unfortunately, many teenagers can struggle with a range of issues, which can impact both their happiness and health. For example, they might be struggling with bullying, an eating disorder, PTSD or even addiction.

Every parent will want to protect their child as much as possible, but it might feel like an overwhelming challenge. To help you through this tough period, here are seven tips for parents going through a crisis with their teenager.

  • Look for Warning Signs

Typical teenagers will experience many mood swings and irritability due to hormonal changes. It is, therefore, common for them to experience emotional outbursts. There are, however, some warning signs that will indicate an underlying issue, such as persistent sadness, falling grades, personality changes, sleep issues, and anxiety.

  • Talk to Your Teen Frankly

If you strongly suspect your child is living with a serious issue, such as an eating disorder, depression, or addiction, you cannot ignore it. It’s important to talk both honestly and frankly with your child about your suspicions, but aim to do so in a non-critical, gentle manner.

  • Seek Professional Help

If the spot any red flag behaviours in your son or daughter, it is imperative to consult either a doctor, counsellor or another mental health professional to prevent a problem from spiralling out of control. It could help your teen to receive a diagnosis for their problem and to receive treatment as soon as possible.

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Make Difficult Decisions

Unfortunately, there might be some teen issues that you cannot afford to ignore, and there might be times when you will need to make difficult decisions for the sake of your child’s health and future.

For example, if you suspect your child is living with an addiction, it’s crucial they embark on a recovery plan to help them overcome their dependency. Find the support they need by visiting epiphanysoberliving.com.

  • Make Your Teen Feel Loved

If your teen is going through a crisis, they will need to feel loved now more than ever – even if they have emotionally withdrawn from you. Find ways to express how much they mean to you, and state you want to help them through this challenging time, so they will feel cared for and supported when struggling with a problem.

  • Listen without Judgement

If your child is living with depression, addiction or an eating disorder, you must listen to them without judgement. Your teen will want to feel understood and supported when attempting to articulate their problems, but they’ll want to stop talking if you constantly criticise, interrupt or offer too much advice.

Listen to what they have to say and maintain eye contact throughout the conversation, which can help them to open up to you easily. You can then help them find the best solution to their problem.

  • Take Care of Yourself

Living with a struggling teenager can impact a parent’s health. That’s why it’s vital to take care of yourself, so you can continue to care for your child’s emotional and physical needs. Take time each day to relax and unwind to combat your rising stress levels, and seek support from your friends, relatives or a counsellor to cope emotionally.

Musings Of A Tired Mummy
My Random Musings

When you’re directly involved in a traumatic event, it can lead to confusing, frightening, and intense emotions. These emotions aren’t just felt by those who experienced the event. Traumatic events come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from actual or threatened death to a threat to one’s beliefs. They can include severe car accidents, assaults or having to flee your home because of war or political problems. Symptoms of trauma include sadness, feelings of loss, anger or irritability, guilt, self-doubt, and many other negative feelings. These symptoms often disappear after a short period of time. If time has passed and you’re still experiencing trauma, there are several things you can do to help yourself heal.

Exercise and Movement

Exercise and movement help to repair your nervous system as well as burning off adrenaline and releasing endorphins. Aim for 30 minutes or more every day. It needs to be an exercise that’s rhythmic and uses both your arms and your legs. Good examples are running, swimming, walking and dancing. Focus on your body while you exercise as this helps you feel better.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

You might not feel much like socialising after a traumatic event, but it’s much better than being alone. Isolating yourself will make you feel worse. Just because you’re connecting with others doesn’t mean you have to discuss your trauma. Simply get comfort from being accepted by others and feeling engaged.
Try to keep to your normal routine, doing normal activities with people. Joining a support group is something that many trauma sufferers choose to do, because it allows them to connect with others who are going through similar issues.
If you don’t live near any of your friends or family, you should try to reach out to others and make new friends. Sign up for a local class or club, or reach out to neighbours or work colleagues.

Calm Yourself

Being able to calm yourself is an important part of the healing process. It helps to relieve the anxiety you’re feeling and make you feel like you’ve got more control. Try mindful breathing or find a sensory input that makes you feel calm, such as stroking a cat. Stay grounded by sitting in a chair, feeling your feet on the ground and concentrating on certain objects around you.

Take Care of Your Health

If you’ve got a healthy body, you’ll be better equipped to cope with the stress of trauma. Avoid drugs and alcohol, get lots of sleep, eat a well-balanced diet, and find ways to reduce your stress.

Seek Professional Help

When it comes to healing, people tend to do it at their own pace. If it has been several months since the traumatic event and you’re still not feeling better, help from a professional may be the answer. One of the best drug treatment centers Los Angeles can offer, for example, will be able to help you talk through your feelings, resolve any unpleasant thoughts, discharge pent up negative energy, regulate strong emotions and trust other people again. They will use a number of different approaches and techniques to do this.

My Random Musings