Blog

Craft with kids, otherwise known as ‘I need a great big drink’……

Hey all, how are we? 

On a day where we are celebrating St George’s day, all the amazing runners in the London Marathon, the anniversary of the death of one of the most famous Britons ever William Shakespeare what am I doing? Clay modelling with Nate!

My mum helps each week with a homework club for some older children in Whitstable and each week she is in charge of the craft project. This always involves an element of planning and often the boys get a glimpse of what fun the children have in store. Mum being who she is can’t say no to the boys so each week at some point we recreate the craft activity of the week with them.

Last week mum had been loaned a book full of craft projects from a friend to decide some upcoming activities. On Friday afternoon when we popped over for a cuppa Nate of course looked at the book and decided that there and then he wanted to make creations with papier-mâché, modelling clay and wood. Now who actually has these things to hand? Massive overtired tantrum ensued (I so needed my wine on Friday night!)

Today Karl has a work football match and had planned to take one of the boys with him. He chose to take Nate because he is the easiest, the most compliant and the one more likely to listen, not set fire to anything or break a bone. However Leo (the fire starter) desperately wanted to go. I tried some bribes but it was no good, Leo wanted to go with Daddy. At one point I think Karl nearly had a tantrum himself but off he went nevertheless.

Nate then declared (I think this was his plan all along) that we could do some of the craft projects from the book. I thought an afternoon walking around a wildlife park or playing on the beach would be on the cards but oh no, we were going to do crafting! Any of you who read my blog or know me will be aware that I’m all for crafting, I love to draw and take on little projects. I however have the patience of a hungry baby and I really struggle with craft and the children.

Still we came round to Nana’s (where the sacred book is) equipped with the heaviest bag of modelling clay in the world and we began. At first Nate wanted Nana to help so I made the tea (something I am quite skilled at) but after making two pencil holders in the shape of funny faces it was time for me to get involved.

Nate chose to make a desert island. Simple, all you need was a large piece of card, some cling film, modelling clay, acrylic paints, some sculpting tools, some sprigs of plants and paint brushes. That’s all! So we began by painting the sea on the card, applying the large clay island, cling film all over for the full sea and wave effect and then modelled a volcano, a beach, a small rowing boat, a whales tail to stick out of the sea and some shark fins. 

Then it was time to paint the clay, Nate wasn’t happy with the traditional colour of blue, red, green or yellow so we set up a mixing station until we were able to create a shade he was totally happy with. He painted not only the island and various accoutrements but also himself, the table cloth and me. 

Mum then appeared with small bits of tree to be placed on and the island was complete! I had managed to survive the carnage and hadn’t had one impatient outburst or felt the need to take it all away. I did however repaint one of the pencil holders after he had left the table as it appeared he had painted it blindfolded. It was actually because he had one eye on the painting and the other on the Horrible Histories William Shakespeare special on the tele. That’s how I know the fact mentioned above not because I am a history expert! 

One day and probably not that long into the future the thought of sitting with his mum and Nana will bring Nate nothing but dread so I am pleased to have had some time to sit and watch the magic little man we made and enjoy his company (even if he was flicking paint at me!) I just hope magic creation number two is behaving for daddy at the football.

Have a great week you lovely people xx

Mum on the run, take two……

Last year sometime I wrote a post about my running, this was when I could actually go out and easily run ten miles if I wanted to.

I write this today after having one of the worst experiences in some months this morning having decided that due to being ill kicking my running into touch it was time to get back on the hamster wheel. 

I got up full of determination and dug out my favourite running leggings, I pulled them on promising myself I would be good today (I actually ate two desserts yesterday) and went to fetch a top when Karl made an awkward noise. I turned to see a very odd look on his face, ‘what’s up?’ I asked. ‘I’m not sure you should wear those Luce, pass me your phone’, odd I thought but did as requested. He took a picture of my back and showed it to me. To say I went redder than a tomato would be an understatement.

You could see everything. My running leggings were so stretched across my now very generous rear end that you could see my knickers, my skin and my tattoos on my lower back through the extremely stretched Lycra. I could almost hear them buckling under the strain of trying not to pop off my bum.

I was mortified, how had this happened? I was a size ten, I could fit into my clothes nicely and now when I open the wardrobe they practically hide desperate not to be the ones stretched over my ever expanding frame.

Okay so not running while I’ve been poorly will have without doubt added some pounds, but I think the extra cake, chocolate, ice cream, pizza, waffles, ferrero rocher, nuts and fudge may also have had something to do with it.

I won’t scare you all with the picture (suffice to say it was deleted quicker than you can say ‘I like big butts and I cannot lie’ but it was a wake up call.

Mental health issues as you all know play a huge part in my life at the moment and I’m keen to get the piece of mind back that I used to have when running. I will keep up my walking too as I like the slower pace but I think a couple of runs a week will help no end.

If anyone sees me in a shop please slap me if I’m in any of the bad food sections. I am of course aware that a little bit of what I fancy helps but I struggle to stop with a little! 

Wish me luck lovely people and if I run past you and you can see my pants, I’m ever so sorry xx

Thankfulness…… 

Do you ever get to that point when you get a bit sick of yourself? When for whatever reason you know you can’t keep thinking the way you do and actually it’s all getting a bit tiresome.

In life we would walk away from something draining us but what happens when that something is you? 

I’m getting to the point where I feel a bit like that about myself, being depressed is all getting a bit boring now! I’m sure this is a recognised phase in most people who are ready for the next step but not quite there yet (still no start date for cbt) but I’m seeing it as a good thing for me. 

This last week I’ve tried to focus so much more on the little things, the things I always try to get others to notice but so rarely pay any attention to myself, the things we see but overlook each and everyday and the small moments that we will never get back and should savour.

I’ve not gone as far as writing these down mostly because when I’ve been seeing and feeling them there hasn’t been the opportunity but I feel like I’ve made progress in acknowledging these small moments of gratitude and thankfulness. 

At the end of this post I will ask you what little things you are thankful for over the last week, I wonder how many you can think of? 

So in no particular order here goes……

Little thing number one: my awfully behaved children, now I know these aren’t little things, in fact they are two of the few most important things in my whole life however they behave appallingly most of the time. They don’t listen to a word I say, they wreck the house on an hourly basis, they go in the sea knowing full well I have no way of changing their clothes afterwards, they help themselves to all manner of food which was not bought for them, they climb into our neighbours gardens to retrieve their balls even though they know they aren’t meant to and they always say exactly what they are thinking even if they come across as rude or offensive. But….. they are two very unique, high spirited individual boys who know their own minds and feel so massively comfortable in our love that they will do all these things knowing full well that they will always be looked after and loved unconditionally. Even if their parents look like they have aged twenty years in the last twenty minutes. This brings me on to…….

Little thing number two: friendship. Those people who are committed to being there for you and will stand with you through thick or thin, awful decisions, sadness, happiness and when you genuinely are the hardest to love or even like much because that is when you need them the most. 

Little thing number three: nature, the thing that just gets on with it no matter what else is going on, the sun sets and rises again, the seasons change, the weather does its thing and we just Potter along around it. But when you stop to really appreciate it you see that it’s the most amazing thing in the world. Nature and all it creates is absolutely breathtaking and a few minutes spent just looking at the nature around you is extremely good for the soul.

Little thing number four: my husband, this week we have been married for twelve years. This isn’t an event which will go with much fanfare this year due to work and other bits and pieces but it’s been such a tough year for so many reasons and lots of those are due to my issues and yet Karl still stands with me, sees me at my very worst and still believes in me and the amount of love and respect I have for him and all he does for me and the boys is immeasurable. Marriage is never easy and I thank him for sticking with us.

Little thing number five: my mum, there is so much I could say here and it would take me hours to write it all down so I will simply say this, ‘you are my sunshine’. 

Little thing number six: Nutella and crumpets, I couldn’t have got through the last week without you! 

Little thing number seven: Instagram, the amazing community where I have made many friends and can lose myself in a world of beauty and flowers.

Little thing number eight: my Dad, often grumpy yet has the biggest heart I know. This man doesn’t understand a lot of the issues I have been going through and yet is there no matter what with a joke that isn’t really funny and amazing dinners. He knows how much of a pain in the arse I am and yet invests so much in my little family. I love you so very much Dad.

So…… how about you? If you fancy let me know what little things you are thankful for this week, you can email, catch me on IG, Facebook or Twitter. Or just write a couple down to look back on next week, I promise you it will be worth it.

Please remember, it’s okay to be a glow stick, sometimes we have to break before we can shine. 

Where for art thou cows……

Hi all, how are we? 

I love this time of year with the first bursts on warm sunshine, beautiful blossom bursting from all the trees and the general get up and go you find that you seem to have lost in the dreary colder months.

The thing that excites me most though at this time of year is not what you would expect, not the impending chocolate eggs or   lighter evenings though I do love these things. No for me it’s a great big herd of cows. Yes that’s rights cows.

I wake each day with the excitement that today might be the day that we roll back the curtains to see a massive herd of mummy and new born baby cows grazing at the end of the garden. The farm that backs on to our house is huge and will soon be letting the cows out for the warmer months. 

Karl and I sat out on our little bench at the end of the garden earlier and talked about how lucky we are. In a world full of all sorts of chaos we have this sanctuary, the sprawling view and peace that it brings to your mind. This was one of the things that made us fall in love with our house and garden and I could sit and look at that view all day long. 

We think that the cows will be our again once all the babies are born, we aren’t however very experienced in the world of farming so if anyone has any insights I would greatly welcome them! Last week we randomly spoke to a farmer when we drove one evening children in tow to somewhere in Sussex to pick up a set of old Ercol chairs for our next joint upcycling project. 

The lady who had the chairs owned a farm and let us drive along to see the cows and tractors (boys were in heaven) shortly after that Leo was sick down himself and the back of the car which made the whole thing far less magical. She was saying that they were just waiting for all the calves to be born and then their cows would be outside again so I know it will be soon.

I’ve never before realised just how fantastic cows are. They are absolutely massive close up and have the most amazing curly perm haircuts. They sit down in the slowest, most ungraceful fashion and really take their time to think about getting up. They don’t understand what a football is and have to form a large band to investigate when the boys kick one over the fence and even then one gets scared and they all run off and the babies are so gorgeous I could keep one.

They are quite happy to come up to the fence and be stroked, karl laughed at me many times last year as I talked to various cows and stroked their lovely curly mops. Alf the cat also likes to watch them, he looks over the fence at them like he is witnessing an alien world and his eyes widen in wonder.

The cows have influenced our lives in a way that I didn’t imagine and we now buy all things cow for the house. We have cow signs, small decorative cows, cow tea towels, a cow chalk board, cow Emma Bridgewater mugs and cow shopping bags. We even bought a painting called ‘the kitchen cow’ last year on a trip to Brighton which hangs proudly in our kitchen.

What is it about spring you are looking forward to most? Is it stranger than cows?! 

Words from the Wise…..

Hey all, how are we?

I’m very conscious that I have been quite quiet recently. The main reason for this is that since I’ve been struggling with being so down I’ve not wanted to just come across as negative and moaning. I have so many wonderful things to be grateful for and I am trying to work on all the other sides of my appallingly low self esteem which I believe is the root cause of many of the issues I have had over the years.

I go back to work after six months off on Monday, this time has incorporated illness, major surgery, recovery and now my issues with me. Am I ready? No! Do I have any confidence? No. Would I rather curl up in a ball? Hell yes! I of course cannot do that, I am a professional, working mother and a huge part of who I am is someone who works. Not just because we need to cover all the bills and the mortgage but also because I like that I have another avenue in my life, a place where I am not just a mum and no one will shout at me because they can’t find the head to the green ninja from Lego Ninjago.

For so many reasons I now realise that I am the reason for a lot of the bad things that have happened in my life because I tell myself I am no good, I can’t manage it and I don’t deserve whatever it is. I spoke in a previous blog about mental health and needing to be okay with me otherwise I wouldn’t be able to manage with anything or anyone else.

So while waiting for my initial counselling assessment I have tried to start my journey on my own and do some small things to help me get through this time. One of the first things I did was look to Pinterest. I have had an account for years but never really used it but have been sent many things from it in relation to my youth mentoring. I set up a number of boards one being, ‘quotes to live by’ and another, ‘things to read’. I began to find inspirational quotes and pieces about mindfulness and stockpiling them to read and to look at to remind myself of all the good and positive things in life.

I started to track my moods and work out what sort of things made me low and the things that made my heart sing. I focussed more on being a happy, healthy me and the mum and wife my family needs. I also spoke to others who have been through similar and have found themselves where I am. I realised that my priorities needed juggling and that not everything I prioritised was making me happy and healthy. I realised I needed to let some things go and work much harder at others. I basically realised that for me I was in a new phase and almost starting from square one.

As we all know the beginning of anything new is hard, leaving your comfort zone and trying something you are not used to doing is like trying to win a gold medal at the winter Olympics in ice skating when you have never skated before. It feels odd, abnormal and very lonely at first but after time it becomes more normal, almost a habit and you start to feel like you can manage.

I challenged myself to do some things I had never before been comfortable with. Since I had been ill I struggled with my running and whilst ill I have put on quite a lot of weight. Running was something I would happily do on my own as it gave me a space to think and to breathe. I couldn’t imagine walking on my own though, in fact I found the thought quite embarrassing, wouldn’t people think it’s odd that I’m out walking on my own and I don’t even have a dog?! As you can imagine when I started actually no one batted an eyelid and I have been enjoying some brisk, long walks out and about in the sunshine which has given me that space to think and breathe again outside in nature.

Things haven’t been perfect and following my assessment I am now on the waiting list for starting sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which I’ve never done before and is described as a more proactive type of therapy. Things are moving in the right direction, going back to work, getting back to my mentoring and being braver with my thoughts and outlook are all going in the right direction, I just need to not muck it all up!

So to sum up, who knows what will happen next week, just walking through the door of the office seems like a marathon to me at the moment. Hopefully it will be much simpler than that but if it’s not I will have to deal with it because as we said earlier I can’t just curl up into that tiny ball!

I wonder if any of these which are some of my favourite quotes that have helped me through recently will resonate with you?

‘You have been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t helped. Try approving of yourself and see what happens’

‘Bloom where you are planted’

‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent’

‘It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are’

‘You were never created to live depressed, defeated, guilty, condemned, ashamed or unworthy. You were created to be victorious’

‘Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining’

‘She was unstoppable not because she did not have failures or doubts, but because she continued on despite them’

‘Only grow things in your brain that you wouldn’t mind putting in a vase’

‘Some days she has no idea how she’ll do it. But every single day, it still gets done’

‘Don’t let the muggles get you down’ (Wise woman that JK Rowling!)


 

 

The Fisk Family Dolmio Challenge…..

Are you like me and sometimes struggle for inspiration for your family meal plans? Life is just so busy and often after all the other things I need to sort putting together a meal that we will all eat that is healthy and filling seems to fall by the way side.

I have sadly done what I said I would never do and always kept fish fingers and chicken nuggets in the freezer and though I try to always have fresh fruit and veg sometimes it feels impossible to plan in advance when exactly I will need and use them.

We like so many other families have to contend with work, school, after school clubs, weekend clubs, birthday parties, homework, reading books, food shopping, clothes shopping, exercise and let’s be honest I could go on. So when you get home sometimes the thought of cooking a meal from scratch can be a bit daunting when all you want to do is chill with your little people.

This week the lovely people from Dolmio challenged us to do just this using a variety of ingredients and showing that you can make a hearty and delicious meal in not too much time at all. We decided to go for a Traditional spaghetti bolognaise using the Dolmio traditional sauce. We added in plenty of vegetables which I would often struggle to get the boys to eat like aubergine and courgettes as well as some of the ones they eat ordinarily like carrots, mushrooms and onions. The good thing about this dish is that you can hide the dreaded veg they turn their noses up at and the yummy flavour disguises them!

The boys helped with stirring the pan and licked the spoon a fair few times! I laid the table and we sat down to eat. This was on a busy Monday evening after we had done the school run and bowling club. The sun was shining as Spring is finally breaking through and we all sat down to a lovely family meal together that had only taken 25 minutes to prepare (that was with the boys ‘help’ slowing us down!

Being outnumbered by boys we get through a lot of food in this house and one jar of Dolmio was enough to feed us all as well as offer enough leftovers for Karl to take some in the next day for his packed lunch. This was using only a regular sized packet of mince and some of one packet of wholemeal spaghetti.

The boys of course ended up with food all over their faces and covering much of the table but they were happy and full. I often feel guilty when it’s been a busy day and we end up eating freezer food as it seems the simpler option however it is possible to have a home cooked meal with minimal prep and cooking.

Now I am not for one second suggesting I am some kind of domestic goddess (if you could see the mess in the kitchen now as I type you would gasp!) But I would like to be able to have some simple meals that I can easily cook on my own if Karl is working or we can cook together when he is here. I do cook spaghetti bolognaise but I had forgotten how much easier it is using a sauce like Dolmio.

This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. To find out more click here.

 

Best laid plans……

Hey all, happy Saturday evening to you.

Today was one of those days where I made loose plans as you never quite know what will happen and thank goodness I did.

Leo who has numerous food allergies the worst one being to cows milk protein had an allergic reaction to something he had eaten. Often we aren’t 100% sure exactly what it is but it leaves him poorly and miserable.

This isn’t anything too much out of the ordinary, we have been dealing with his allergies since he was two weeks old so we know how to deal with them it’s just not ideal when it’s the weekend and you want to meet your friend and her children at a local wildlife park.

Karl had to work later on today so we had the grand idea of me taking Nate out for a bike ride so I could get a nice walk (exercise to burn off cake) in and Karl and Leo would stay at home so Leo could chill and Karl would start cooking an early dinner so we could all eat together before he went to work.

It sounds perfect doesn’t it and I will be honest I was quite excited about some one on one time with Nate as Leo had been having the majority of my attention all day. So he donned his cycle helmet, talked me through his gears and off we went. We are lucky to live near some fab footpaths that are away from the road so we went along one of those that heads up to some woods. 

My only rule was that Nate wasn’t to go so far that we couldn’t see each other but luckily as the path is straight and quite wide I could see him easily. We came to a big hill and Nate was so chuffed with himself peddling all the way to the top without needing to get off his bike and push.

I noted some lovely cream coloured blossom on one of the trees and thought for a moment about stopping to take a snap but decided it would be best for the return journey so hopped along after Nate until we came to the bottom of another even bigger hill.

Now this hill I know well as I run up it (when my only exercise isn’t chopping said cake up!) Nate wisely decided to push the bike up the hill half way and then that he would come down on the bike and I should film him on my phone to show Daddy and Leo. 

We communicated by shouting and he announced so loudly that the birds flew out of the trees, ‘I’m Coming, start recording!’ So I did as any mother would and excitedly filmed him shrieking with excitement and with a huge smile on his face as he came down the hill. 

I reminded him to use his brakes as loudly as I could just incase he forgot but then chastised myself as an overprotective mother as he knows the hill and has been down it before so why would he forget?

Well can you guess? He forgot, the bike wobbled and I filmed my eldest son, my gorgeous boy crashing his bike in a cloud of dust. 

I sprinted to him as he wasn’t far ahead of me and found that the bike had fallen on top of him. He was covered in mud and crying his eyes out as you can imagine. I was quite concerned about his knee which on examination looked swollen and already bruised but he was more concerned about a nasty scrape on his arm. 

I did all the first aid stuff and made sure nothing was broken (thank goodness as on a footpath in the middle of the woods I have no idea how an ambulance would have got to us!) I then had the dilemma of being a good mile away from home with a heavy bike, an inconsolable Nate and hills to combat. 

Nate wanted an ambulance and for a good five minutes all he said was ‘A and E’ and then when I explained that an ambulance wouldn’t get to us he said ‘get the emergency helicopter then’!

I got him to sit on the bike and pulled him along, at one point my cardigan got stuck in the ‘engine’ bit of the bike (yes I hear you, I’m an idiot!) and had to try and untangle myself with Nate still on the bike and holding one of my arms.

I called Karl who confirmed what I knew that I needed to get him home and that he couldn’t get to me any quicker. I later found out that actually Leo was having a tantrum anyway so poor Karl was dealing with that! 

By the time we had gone the mile or so back to the end of the footpath I was dripping in sweat, I could feel the muscles at the top of my arm swelling and my back felt like it would give in. I decided that the best thing to do would be to leave Nate on one side of the road so I could cross with the bike and put it on our driveway and then run back to carry Nate across. He would be in my sight the whole time and I didn’t want to make him walk anymore. One because I didn’t want him to be in pain and two because he sounded like a wounded animal and was getting increasingly louder and I imagined our neighbours would panic. 

So I calmly explained my plan to him and went to get ready to cross the road when he said, ‘I can’t stand here on my own! I could be kidnapped’! I then heard laughter from a lady who was gardening her flower beds in the garden just next to us. I imagine she like me was imagining the millions of times I have said just those words to Nate when he has asked to go off and do something on his own.

So we get home to survey the damage and bless him he has some awful scratches and bruises and feels very sorry for himself. He was put onto the sofa in his pyjamas and we cuddled and then Nana came round for some added TLC.

You can imagine how shitty a mother I felt, being the bloody idiot who filmed her son crashing his bike and then had to somehow get him home. Karl assured me though that for a boy this is one of life’s valuable lessons and he did something similar crashing a bike into a fence at Nates age. 

I know that as parents we can’t wrap our children up in cotton wool but the guilt I felt and the feeling of my heart being in my mouth that my baby had hurt himself was truly awful. Next time I take him out he will be wearing much more padding and I imagine I will stick to a flatter path.

I’m not for a second suggesting that any of this was funny in anyway however it was only when we got home and had calmed down that I went through what Nate had been saying in my head and couldn’t help but giggle to myself. I have two amazing, bright, excitable and occasionally challenging little boys and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Is this is a good time to say I failed my cycling proficiency test at primary school?!