How to be a happy mum is a question that torments many of us at various points of the parenting journey.

How To Be A Happy Mum

Last week, I started a new blog hop/meme/linky, call it what you will, concerned with helping Mums to have a bit of a personal revival and get their groove back. It is all about recognising that the individual woman sometimes gets lost a bit in the business of being a mum and trying desperately to juggle it all.

I was delighted to see seven lovely mums joining in and hope even more will write a blog post and link up this week. I also got so many comments that clearly shows I am not alone in asking where that feisty woman of yesteryear has gone to and resolving to find her.

So what might help you get your groove back? It might be doing a course, volunteering, applying for a job or looking into setting up a business. It might be as simple as taking time out for you to go for a walk, to have a pampering session or to organise a night out with the girls. It might be learning to say no to some things and yes to others. It might be returning to an old hobby or developping a new skill. The fun of it all is that you get to choose and then you get to share how it all went with some very supportive blogger friends going through the same sort of thing.

To clarify things, you can link up on any day of the week but if you do it on Tuesday, that is fabulous. Please do try and find time to visit some of the other entries (or all of them) as you can bet you will be inspired and also able to give a supportive comment or two too. I will visit and support all entries.

I like to play around a bit (oo-er missus!) so will set little (tiny) challenges or things you can do and report back on the following week. However, this blog hop is not about rules so please feel free to post about what you want and to ignore any parts of the challenges you don’t like.

This week, I have two questions for you.

What song would be best to play a lot whilst attempting to get your groove back?

My choice is Revival by Annie Lennox

What can you do to make your body feel better this week?

Right, what have I done to get my va-va-voom back this week.

1. I have had a habit since experiencing post-natal depression of hiding from and saying no to positive experiences. I have made myself a bit of a prisoner sometimes I think. This week, I said yes to a night out at the seaside, yes to a shopping trip to town and yes to a carnival.

2. I have also got very much into putting my family first which is a good thing but not if it means you are constantly denying yourself. This week, I went out and bought myself a new duvet and some silly but fun things from the charity shop that amused me. You really don’t need bigger justifiction than that. Do I like it? Do I consider it be beautiful or useful? Can I afford it? Right, buy it – where’s the problem? You can see my finds at the charity shop in my Magpie Monday post from yesterday.

3. I am looking into volunteering in a charity shop, at school and with Homestart. For those who don’t know Homestart provides trained volunteers to support mums with children under 5 years old. I think a Homestart volunteer could have transformed my life when I was finding looking after 2 under 2 and a 4 year old so tough.

4. I have continued to indulge in healthy eating most of the time and join in the #mumentum community of women trying to lose mummy tummies. I said more about this yesterday including revealing that I am such an emotional eater so need to tackle that.

So that’s me but this blog hop is all about you. Yes you who is thinking whether you should join in or not. What are you up to? Are you going to commit to improving your own life? Fancy joining some very lovely women doing the same? Well then, what are you waiting for?

Write a post today or if you really can’t manage that sometime before next Monday and link up below. Any questions, just email me on mums-the-word@live.com.

Ideally, take time out this week to visit some or all of the other entries from brave and open women and give them a lovely comment on their blog.

I look forward to hearing how you are getting on.

Another favour, please tweet about your post and use the hashtag thing so that we can all spread the word about the blog hop. Do the same if you will on other social media sites too. I have decided to keep it simple so please use the #groovingmums when mentioning this blog hop.

If you don’t do any of these things, I will not be hunting you down with a big stick. If you do them, I think we will all get more out of the experience.

Right, time for me to stop babbling and you to start blogging and linking up. Ready, steady, go and find out how to be a happy mom.

So what bargains have I to celebrate this week?

I had a very strange experience last week when I visited a charity shop and bought absolutely nothing. This may be a first. There was the odd thing I fancied but I was put off by a rather officious male member of staff who as well as changing displays around in a weird way was also mouth almighty. I like peace when I am charity-shopping.

So the bargain that I would like to celebrate this week comes from the Netmums UK Nearly New board.

I spent £45 which I grant you is quite a lot of money when you are claiming it is a bargain. In return, I got two huge bundles of clothing that should keep my youngest clothed for the next 2-3 years. I have bought from the seller before and her clothing is always clean and of good quality. We are talking brands such as Gap, Timberland and Next.

For £45, I got 2 dressing gowns, 2 sets of pyjamas, socks, pants, vests, jumpers, cardigans, T-shirts, shirts, trousers, tracksuits and shorts.

I was so keen to share my bounty with you this week in pictures but that blasted camera has let me down again. Hoping I can get pictures up later today or tomorrow at the latest.

So this week, I was very practical in my bargain-hunting so hope to report on some quirky curios next week.

Now check out some rather lovely bloggers and their bargain finds.

<a href=”http://missielizziemeandmyshadow.blogspot.com/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy135/missielizzie/MagpieMondayBadge.png” border=”0″ alt=”Me and My Shadow” />

With love from the Striking Mum x

Do you want to know how to lose half a stone in a week?

I jumped on the weighing scales before the children got up and the school run chaos commenced.

I have lost, wait for it girls, ta ta ta, half a stone in a week!!!

I was expecting a pound if I was lucky.

I have done well on the eating front. Perfection nope but definitely a far healthier eating plan than usual.

The good stuff has included cereals, fish, eggs and Weightwatcher meals.

The less than perfect included a fish and chip lunch, pate and a roast dinner. All three of these were related to pleasing family members in one way or another. Something to learn from that I am sure.

Exercise wise, I have been more active but not really done proper exercise as such.

I know that I will not keep losing at this rate but it is a great motivation to stick with things.

I would like to say a huge thank you to the lovely ladies who leave comments on this site, both those participating in Mumentum and those who are not. You all really make a big difference to how I feel and how positive I can be.

So here am I with a new pair of trousers with a belt so that I can keep tightening it, with a new bra size and feeling very good about myself. I am lighter now than I have been for about 3 years, still gigantic but getting smaller and on the right track.

My daughter said to me “Maybe it is the weight that keeps holding you down”. I thought this was deep really in terms of both my physicality and my emotional health.

Now visit the New Mum Online blog and see how other Mumentum members are getting on or even better, join them. You can also track down these ladies on Twitter via #mumentum

Here’s to every mom who is trying to get sorted whether they are struggling or not currently.

With love from the Striking Mum x

Celebrity moms are always in the news and some of us aspire to be more like them.

Mums are individuals so some will want to follow a certain style icon whilst others will be inspired by celebrity moms who campaign for good causes. Do you admire a particular celebrity mom.

With Mothering Sunday just a few days away, I wanted to let you know about fun quiz from My Voucher Codes.

Looking at the photographs of moms on the quiz, I spotted Katie Holmes who is of course desperate to be just like me, her namesake. Are you most like Madonna, Victoria Beckham or the Duchess of Cambridge?

Are you super-organised or more laid back when it comes to parenting?

What would be the perfect Mother’s Day gift for you?

My result was Jennifer Garner which means I offer a strong and independent role model for my children. If anything I wish this was far more the case but moms have to work with what we have available to us.

I do have a strong work ethic and encourage my children to work hard to pursue dreams that matter to them.

Apparently I try to shield my children from the big bad world. I am very protective and I guess I home educate to keep my younger children away from bullying so that is probably spot on.

Enough about me. Take a few minutes to find out which celebrity mom you are like? You can discover your perfect gift just in time to whisper in someone’s ear just in time for Mothers’ Day.

New Year’s Eve has only ever really meant one thing in our house.  It is the day my mum was born at 3 minutes to midnight in 1926.  I imagine her entering the word and crying and then the fireworks going off.

My mom adopted me and Mum died in 2009 and I miss her.

The idea of me blogging came from her and my whole social media journey is a powerful legacy from her to me.

This week I want to introduce you to my Mum.  She was an amazing woman and anyone who knew her was very lucky indeed.  She had a long and fascinating life.  For today, I will focus on her relationship with myself because my mom adopted me and changed my life.

It all started in 1969 when she took me home on Bonfire Night.  I was eleven months old and as you can see, she must have had to have a very good heart to want to adopt something like this.

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She put me at the heart of the family and brought joy into my life.  Check out her amazing legs by the way.

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We became a bit of a double act.

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She made me feel safe and warm.

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She ensured I had toys and pets.

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Sometimes I surprised her.

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Sometimes I swam.

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Sometimes I got into very deep water.

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She encouraged a love of travel.

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and music!

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and fashion!!!

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She kept her promise to my birth mother that she would bring me up to be a good Catholic girl!

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She kept going giving me good experiences even when she was struggling emotionally or was in pain.

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She accepted that sometimes I would feel closer to my Dad.

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She taught me how to hold my own in an argument.

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She would take me to see Santa even when I was a bit old for it.

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She encouraged my education and lived to see me graduate with a degree in Law from Cambridge University.  I would love to know what she thought that day.  This is a woman who was brought up by a alcoholic and violent father, who was poor as a child and later, who was spat at in the street for being Irish.  A woman who taught herself words by reading the Reader’s Digest and who never stopped learning.  A woman who passed for Grammar School but was not allowed to go through poverty and ended up as a factory worker aged 12 years of age.

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When I think of Mum, the overwhelming memory is of laughter and a fabulous sense of fun.

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Happy New Year from the two founders of this blog – Irene Holmes and her daughter Catherine. My mum adopted me and I am proud of her.

Mother And Daughter Adoption Story

The Pramshed