What are my reasons for cheerfulness this week?


1. We went to see the BoxTrolls film in Leicester Square Odeon on Saturday. The whole family loved it so it comes highly recommended for 8 to 57 year olds! Very cute, funny and with a great message too. Living so much closer to London is fantastic on days like this. We were lying on a beach at Hayling Island on the South coast by teatime with the children enjoying a good paddling session.

2. I am thankful for online support when times get tense. I am not going to name names for fear of missing somebody out but I do like to feel I have that backing even if at such a distance.

3. My teenager headed back to school and after a little wobble the night before got quite comical about the whole thing. He seems happy to be back and excited about his options particularly business studies.

4. My other son starts back at school today. I was impressed how he got straight back into the morning routine and also how he said without any prompting that he wants to try harder with his Literacy work this year.

5. My daughter and I are embarking on a home education journey. This feels odd and scary at the minute. I have cleared a unit in the lounge so keep her books and work on. I have identified online networks. I have reassured my husband that we will not just be doing craft all day. He is nervous too and I need to understand that.

6. 5 people linked up their stories on Striking Mums during the week. More on that later.

7. Last night, I realised it was the 5th anniversary of my Mum’s death. I feel a little bad for not remembering sooner. However, I guess it does show that time eases things a bit although she still leaves a very big hole in this family as she was such a full-on character.

me and mum

I have set up an online support groups for mums to help us all make positive changes in our lives. It is time to seize the day, take baby steps if that is what we can manage and change our lives.

So what about me? What do I need to change?

1. We have had a bumpy ride over the last 16 months with my husband losing two jobs, a long period of unemployment and a big relocation from North to South. My son is missing his friends back home. My daughter did not settle in her new school. I think my husband’s ego has been very damaged by recent events too. As a family, we are feeling a bit battered and bruised I think. I know people have much bigger problems to confront but this is my space to say how I am feeling. I would really welcome a period where we don’t get hit by major hassles. I need to work on my marriage and my parenting but I also need to build myself back up again in order to do these things.

2. I don’t get out enough during the week which results in me being very isolated. This is going to change because once my son goes back to school, I am going to be out and about with my little girl. I could do with somebody to tweet me every day to ask if I have gone out of the door yet. It always makes me feel so much better.

3. I have a poor self-image. Weight has a lot to do with this as over the years I have come to terms with mad hair and vaguely weird looks. I have given up booze and I am cutting out red meat. I am going to eat more healthily and take more exercise. Again, I think having the company of my daughter will help with this.

4. I am going to spend less time watching the television. I think it can suck your energy away and is too easy to use as stimulation when you are stuck in the house.

Having said all this, I have made huge strides in recent years and I think have just got a bit off track after losing my Dad, the redundancies and the house move. I am angry at myself for that but maybe I need to ease up on myself and allow me to be human too.

So yes, dear reader, I need Striking Mums too and look forward to reporting back as to how I get on.

As I look back on this post, I am heartened to see that although the changes are major, there are very few of them to sort out. The future is bright!

Are you a card-making fan?

I have a fun giveaway for you from Stamping Up consisting of a card-making kit.

One lucky reader will win a Hip Hip Hooray card making kit.


Instead of buying a card for a special occasion, make your own as they do say it is the thought that counts. Make a beautiful card in just a few minutes. The Hip Hip Hooray Card Kit contains everything you need to create 20 special cards for a variety of occasions.

Are you ready to start card-making?

Card Making Kit

The Hip Hip Hooray Card Kit includes:

* Cardstock and envelopes for 20 cards
* Twine, clips, and adhesive die-cut embellishments
* Three-piece Hip Hip Hooray Stamp Set & clear stamp block
* Stampin Dimensionals
* Basic Gray Stampin’ Spot (mini ink pads)
* Full-colour instructional brochure

You could win this lovely kit by entering via the Rafflecopter below. The competition is open to UK residents aged 18 and over only.

My daughter is very creative and loves making cards. I tend to think of myself as not being artistic but I do enjoy it when I join in with her and get those imagination juices flowing.

I think my Mum would have liked to have the time to spend time doing fun things like crafting. She enjoyed drawing. Despite my encouragement, she lacked confidence in her efforts and would not take up my suggestion to do an art class at the local college.

I have done one thing that she always did. The bottom drawer of her Welsh dresser was always reserved for greetings cards for just about every occasion. She was always prepared and looked like she had remembered special occasions even if she found out at the last minute. Mum was a magpie loving pretty things so people always loved the cards she selected for them not knowing they came from her bumper collection.

I love those card collections they sell now so that you always have a card when your child gets invited to a party or whatever. You can often find them in charity shops too brand new and for no money at all.

I hope you enter the giveaway and good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com



Stamps – Cool Kid Stamp set

Tools – Raspberry Ripple, Basic Black, Summer Starfruit, Gumball Green Stampin’ Write Markers

Inks and Cardstock – Birthday Basics Designer Series Paper, Whisper White cardstock

Punches – Decorative Label Punch

Adhesives –Sticky Strip

Accessories – Mini Metallic Clothespins, Island Indigo Bakers Twine

Step by Step

1. Take a piece of 12x6in designer paper and score along the long edge at 3.5in, 4.5in, 5.5in, 9in, 10in and 11in. Turn 90 degrees and score at 1.25in.


2. Make a paper cut at the 3.5, 5.5, 9 and 11in score lines, just as far as the horizontal score line. Fold each score as shown in the picture.


3. Add Sticky Strip to both long edges of the 1in end panel, across the 2 pairs of 1in panels and then on the reverse of the middle 3.5in section, as shown in the picture.


4. Fold the bag into shape and tape the two long sides together. Then fold in the two small panels on the bottom in and the large panel with no tape down onto them. Finish with the taped large panel to seal the bag. Pinch the top closed, ready for your stamped tag.

5. Score an 11.5 x 6.5in piece of Whisper White card across the middle and fold in half. Take the Cool Kid stamp and colour in the stamp carefully using your chosen colours, then stamp onto the cardstock, near the fold. (Tip: If your ink dries before you are ready to stamp simply huff on the stamp to reactivate the ink.) Punch the Decorative Label out, taking care not to punch through the fold.

6. Tie a bow in a piece of Bakers Twine and use a Mini Metallic Clothespin to attach it to you bag, along with your tag.

I have always wanted a book on parenting. I know they exist but not in the form I would like. My perfect parenting book would say

On Friday 14th August 2006, you must wean your child.

On Wednesday 22nd April 2008, you can let your child walk to school on his/her own

If your child is not potty-trained by 2nd January 2000. you need to consult your GP.

Well you get the idea.


A couple of weeks ago I asked my 13 year old son if he needed anything in readiness for the back to school. Did his uniform still fit? It was bought relatively recently after we relocated. Was his bag still OK for him? And so on.

“Yes Mum”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes Mum”

Are you absolutely sure?

“Yes Mum”

Yesterday, I asked him to get his uniform out and ready. He did this with a bit of a grumble. I usually do this for him but am aware he is getting older and at some point presumably will leave home and need to know how to organise himself.

When his Dad returned from work, my son announced that he would have to go to the supermarket because his shirt and trousers did not fit. I insisted he showed up. He put them on in a strop and they fitted perfectly.

His Dad can no longer drop him off at school every day due to his commute to his new job. We gave our son a bus timetable. He has used the bus before sometimes but for some reason, seemed very unsure. So Him Indoors took my son out and showed him exactly where to catch the bus, where to get off and so on. He returned in a happier frame of mind.

His Dad taught him how to iron and he declared that is was actually quite good fun.

Today after two calls and one shake, he got up and ready. He looked so smart and grown up. I made him breakfast. I brushed his hair. I hugged him. I checked he was OK and had everything he needed.

He set off with me calling out for him to have a nice day and reminding him that I loved him. I could sense him saying “For goodness sake, Mother, go in. You are such an embarrassment”

He will be OK. Of course he will. And yet I love him and I still find it hard to let him go back to school sometimes.

If you do happen to see that book on parenting, let me know. The one with the specific dates. I would like to get this parenting thing right.

What are your thoughts and feelings as the children head back to school?