Life as mum or Beth as I like to call her is the first blogger to feature in my inspirational blogger interview series.

life as mum

Why did you start to blog?

I started my blog to document our day-to-day life, family adventures and memories. It was an online journal where I also wrote letters to my two girls. I thought (and still do) it would be something lovely and memorable to look back at in years to come.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

I remember feeling very confused but excited. I was excited to see where about blogging would take me but I was also confused because I didn’t quite understand the whole ‘blogging world’. I mainly started it to document our family memories and so I was excited writing about them and being able to read them again in a few years when the kids are older.

What is your blog about?

My blog is mainly about parenting and our family life. I share my life experiences of being a Mum of 3. I also talk about my pregnancies, weight loss, our family adventures and quite a few other topics too.

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

My proudest achievement has to be when I earned more money blogging than I did with my two previous jobs. Although I was super busy constantly working, the money was worth it in the end.

Other than money, I think my next nearest proudest achievement is being recognised. I’ve had local people coming up to me saying they read my blog often. It can be nervewracking but it did make me feel happy and proud of myself that people actually do read my blog.

What do you enjoy most about blogging?

I would say I absolutely love writing and that has to be the main reason I enjoy blogging. Very close to that is being able to practise some photography. I’m not the best person on taking photos, but I love to learn and capture the kids growing up.

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

Sometimes I find it hard to keep on top of everything such as the social media and e-mail side. I am trying to get myself a bit more organised by scheduling social media posts after writing a post.

What surprised you most about blogging?

What surprised me the most was how much work you need to put into blogging. It’s not the matter of just writing a post and posting photos. It takes up so much of my time but it is something I enjoy doing.

How do you collaborate or work in partnership with other bloggers?

I link up to a few linky’s during the week and weekend. I comment on other blogs and I also try my best to socialize on Facebook and Instagram too. I have offered a few spaces for guest posts and interview-type posts too.

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

I think the only thing that would stop me blogging if it made me extremley unhappy or it was some how damaging my kids as they grow older.

Why should I read your blog?

My blog, Life as Mum is a very truthful parenting blog. I hide nothing about our lives as I think it’s important to say the truths about parenthood. I also share some lovely family adventures and all my posts are full bright photos.

What are the aims of your blog?

My blog is my little space on the internet. It’s a place where I feel I can share what I want. It’s a hobby as well as my job. After a long day with the kids, I blog during the night when the kids are in bed and it’s just my time to myself which I really enjoy.

Huge thanks to Beth and now go forth and read Life as Mum

Please do get in touch if you would like to be interviewed as an inspirational blogger.

It takes a lot for the women I feature to share their stories so openly so please do hit one or more of the sharing is caring buttons below.

The Pramshed

Fancy a perfect Valentines Day? Do you love the sales?

It won’t surprise my regular readers that I enjoy getting a bargain. That is why you will often find me in charity shops and occasionally on Ebay.

So I was delighted to know there is a website where you can find out all about the sales in different shops covering a range of items from fashion, electronics, home, garden, sports, gifts or anything else that takes your fancy.

I like to celebrate Valentines Day but please don’t buy me anything obvious off a supermarket shelf. Something like this under-stated jumper would be a much better idea.

perfect Valentines Day

Of course if I am dressing to impress my daughter will want to be in on the action and as she is food-obsessed this T-shirt would suit her.

pizza T-shirt

Thinking about my first born and how many times we did the “To the Moon and back” love chat, I might indulge in this treat to remember those early days.

heart jewellery

If I was looking for a fella, I might choose this fun and frolicsome treat.

heart bra

What is your idea of a perfect Valentines Day?

For me, it is all about someone putting a little thought into the day. I don’t need to have a fortune spent on me. I just need to know you care and have listened so that you know me well and know what I would like. You won’t go far wrong with an Eggs Benedict breakfast followed by a new coffee flavour and letting me read before going out for a country walk. If you throw theatre tickets in for the end of the day, we will be a love match forever.

Children can make me happy simply by making me something whether a card, a work of art or something yummy.

You see the perfect Valentines Day is not that complicated after all.

If you want some inspiration for treats for yourself or your loved ones at any time of year check out Love the Sales.

clairejustine

Heart-shaped shortbread recipe perfect for your Valentine as they do say the way to a person’s heart is through their tummy.

heart shaped shortbread

Ingredients

 

225g Salted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
225g plain flour, sifted

Icing:

200g icing sugar, sifted
4tbsp Rachel’s Low Fat Raspberry yogurt
A few drops of pink colouring, if required

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 10 mins

Serves: 12 biscuits

Method

1.Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2. Lightly grease a baking tray.
2.Place the butter and the sugar in a mixing bowl and beat together until pale. Add the flour and bring the mixture together until a soft dough is formed.
3.Tip the dough onto a floured surface and using a floured hand gently roll out to ½ cm thickness. Using a heart shaped cutter, cut out the dough and place on the prepared baking sheet.
4.Bake until golden brown for approximately ten minutes. Leave for five minutes on the tray to cool and then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
5.To make the icing, mix the icing sugar with the Rachel’s Low Fat Raspberry yogurt and beat until smooth, add the colouring and beat again.
6.Using a small piping bag, pipe the raspberry icing within the contours of the biscuit. Allow to set.

clairejustine

sunlinku

My Random Musings

Dream a little dream with me.

I am on medication with gives me some strangely dramatic dreams almost as if I am processing past hurts and difficulties. They can be quite gruesome so I won’t trouble you with the details.

dream a little dream

There are the more pleasant dreams which also make me at peace with how things panned out in one area of life.

Of course, as past hurts are healed in the sleeping life, new dreams come to the waking life. It ain’t over yet. I am still breathing so there is still more to experience.

I feel ambitious and intend to take various aspects of my life in new directions. I want to make this blog more about my real passions rather than a mish-mash of what other bloggers write about. I have my own true voice and I must use it whilst I can. I am giving it a year to become what I want it to be or blogging and myself may part company.

I have had an aspiration for decades which I thought was a dream but actually have worked out there is no reason for it not to come true. It’s not a joke. It doesn’t have to be a daydream or a fantasy. I can rebrand it as a goal or a plan.

Of course as soon as you dream powerfully, opportunities emerge to take you in the right direction. I was going to choose cosmic as my word of the week as the order is in and the very thing turned up remarkably quickly it seems.

I am on the move and the dream will come true.

When did you last aspire to something new?

On reflection, even the apparently huge dreams are only little ones if you break them down into baby steps and put I in a cosmic order.

The Reading Residence

Esther has kindly shared her story of recovery from addiction, and self empowerment.

Esther Nagle created a mask and comfort blanket out of alcohol for over 20 years. Wracked with self loathing and shame, she had virtually no other coping strategies in life besides drinking. When life got difficult, that coping strategy made things worse, and Esther surrendered into a breakdown.

That led her to Yoga teacher training, and her salvation. Through Yoga she learned tools that helped her reach a place where she no longer needed alcohol. This showed her that Yoga is far more powerful than she ever realised, and she realised she had a message to share.

Esther is the author of “Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga”. Esther is a Yoga teacher and public speaker, and the host of the new podcast Sober Living Rocks. She writes about her journey on her websites Sober Living Rocks and Balance and Breathe

Esther Nagle at Om Studio

In 2013, after 20 years of alcohol dependence, and depression, and 8 months of the hardest year of my life, I had a breakdown. I was the single mother of 3, two of whom still lived with me, a 3 year old and a 16 year old. My resilience was at an all time low, I had life hitting me from all angles with work problems, family health problems, a vicious breakup and court proceedings with the father of my youngest, who had managed to destroy what little self esteem and sanity I had throughout our relationship.

In August of 2013 I realised I could actually cope no longer, and, in a state of complete overwhelm, quit my job and fell into a vat of cider as I tried to cope with my breakdown. I spent the next few months crying, drinking, sleeping really badly, and making very erratic decisions before calming down a little and starting to think about what I was going to do once my government benefits ran out. I knew that the 9-5, commuting to sit in an office wasn’t going to work for me anymore, so I needed a new plan.

I had been going to yoga classes for a number of years, and it was one of the things I really loved in life. I had long wanted to become a yoga teacher, but had never been able to find a course that worked for me. I started looking again, and, as though the universe was lining it up for me, at the same time a local teacher started advertising her first teacher training course. I signed up and immediately felt myself begin to calm down a little.

The course started in April 2014, and within a matter of days my mind was being blown as I discovered aspects to Yoga I had never heard of in the 6 years I had been attending classes. I had thought Yoga was a physical exercise class, but I was learning how it could change me and my life at the deepest levels imaginable.

Through the practices and course work I started to unravel the knots that had existed in me for so long I didn’t even know they were there. I learned to properly relax. I learned the magic that happens when you start to pay attention to the breath and learn to breathe properly. I started to see patterns and identify the source of behaviours I had always just accepted as evidence of my flaky and unstable personality, and began to change them. I developed a new, positive outlook not only on my present, but on my past, seeing lessons and gifts in the pain of the past.

After just the first 7 months I was a different person entirely, and on October 12 2014, I woke up with the worst hangover ever, and made a life changing decision. True, I had made the ‘I’m never doing this again’ declaration many times in the past, but I had never really meant it before. I knew wihtout a doubt that I preferred waking up sober, and I no longer needed the comfort blanket of alcohol to help me hide from my problems. I had gained enough insight into myself not to tell myself I was quitting, and risk triggering my self sabotage, so spent the next few weeks making a daily decision that I was ‘not drinking today’. When I attended my brother’s wedding 6 weeks later, and shunned the endlessly flowing red wine in favour of Elderflower cordial, and had a really good time, I knew I had turned a corner. From that moment on I started talknig about quitting drinking, and, singificantly, started to finally be honest with myself and others about the nature of the problem I had lived with for 20 years. I had been an alcoholic in total denial and had risked so much to hide my addiction. Finally being able to talk about it, to be comfortable in discussing it with loved ones and strangers alike felt like a weight lifted from my shoulders.

I have been sober and smoke free (I quit smoking the same day, but seem to forget about that, despite having smoked for longer than I was drinking alcoholically, and being asthmatic!) for over 2 years, and at no time have I come close to a lapse. I know that this was completely down to the deep inner work I did through Yoga.

I was truly amazed to learn the power of Yoga, It is not just an exercise class, not just relaxation and meditation. Yoga is a system for living that addresses our whole being, how we live, how we speak, how we think, what we do to and with our bodies, minds and souls. It can improve how we relate to ourselves and to others. It can help us to defeat old habits and create new, more positive ones. Any change you want to make in life can be helped by adopting Yoga principles into your life.

I would love to hear how Yoga has impacted on your life, or how you have created positive change in your life