If you’re like me and always have last minute plans and you only trust your children with certain people, finding childcare, especially at short notice can be a bloody pain if not near impossible.
Now I love my kids don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t exactly angels all the time. They need attention, conversation and most of all to be looked after safely when either myself or Alex cant be around. Finding a trusted babysitter takes time, much like finding that hairdresser that actually does what you asked for or the nail tech that can actually recreate that picture you found.
It’s like dating, you have to try a few before you find what works for you as a parent. Now i’m not suggesting you date your babysitter, this isn’t some kind of reality show, but when it comes to your kids you want to make sure its right.
I’m a working mum, as anyone who follows me on social media will know, working and managing (well attempting to manage) three small children and a baby is nothing short of chaotic to say the least.
I have one babysitter at home but there are times when she isn’t available and I have work or other commitments. This is why I use Bubble, which is an app that allows you to search for a babysitter that your friends or connections have used and left a review about, so you know if they are trustworthy and safe.
I use the Bubble app when I have last minute work, where I can take the kids, but I need someone there with me to manage them whilst I work. For example, when I am on the radio and the kids can be there but just not on the radio, or when I am on This Morning or GMB – it means I can take the kids with me, and when I’m actually on air for that 10-15 minutes, I know they are safe in the green room, or I can see them through the glass.
The creators of Bubble are parents themselves, they understand the pain of the dreaded ‘sorry can’t get a sitter’ text. They also understand that when you are looking for a babysitter, the first people you ask for recommendations are your friends and family – which is what Bubble is, an app to ask for recommendations from people you know.
I love being a mum, I love my career, and I have no issue whatsoever saying I need help getting on top of both.
I’m also a human being, I need me time, a bath, a haircut, sometimes self-care is the best medicine when life gets overwhelming. There’s a massive stigma about working parents, and parents asking for help. However, getting that extra bit of assistance can actually help you be a better parent, it gives you more time to get organized and spend the quality time with your children that they actually need. Happy parent, happy child, happy life.
Of course, the key to an App like Bubble is trust, we’re talking about our kids here, so who we hire to take care of them is one hell of an important choice.
Bubble simplifies the whole shenanigan, you get to see all the sitters around you and read their reviews from other local parents and crucially, see which ones are known to and used by your friends and community. You can see which other parents from your children’s school use the App and see which sitters they use, making Bubble easy to talk to and connect with other parents in the same situation as yourself. Bubble isn’t like the usual childcare agencies as it prides itself on finding the best sitter for you within your own social circle.
I’m not sure if its a mum thing, but I never do anything without reading the reviews, and the feedback on this App has been absolutely incredible! Each and every sitter you will be able to view has passed an online ID check, an online background check and is also insured. If you’d also like your sitter to have a DBS check, you can make this one of your preferences when you search!
Bubble independently verifies this too so you know you can trust it. I don’t think there’s anything quite as stressful as trying to find childcare cover, especially at short notice. As every mother/father knows, taking care of children isincredibly demanding both physically and mentally, I’ve used Bubble to get a sitter to pop round for a couple of hours just so I can have some time to work or tidy the bloody house whilst she entertains (confines) the kids in one room.
Taking care of children is as much about looking after yourself as them, there’s no way you can give your kids 100% when you’re running on empty.
These everyday things that I definitely took for granted before the kids came along. With Bubble I get to choose exactly which sitter is right for me, with a full profile, and list of information about the person who’ll be watching my kids, who better to make that decision than me right?! Its all about freeing up that extra bit of time so I can be the best version of myself to raise my kids, now that’s something I’m passionate about.
Mother Of Maniacs Jessica Cunningham (BBC Apprentice, ITV Good Morning Britain, Loose Women) presents an intimate, inspirational, high energy mental, #mindset workout with some of the UK’s most successful, celebrity influencers and entrepreneurs.
At the stunningly decadent venue, Menagerie Manchester; Visitors will hear and learn some incredible motivational stories and techniques from our panel of MINDSET ambassadors, LIVE on stage, featuring;
SAS superstar dad of five Ant Middleton (C4;SAS, Who Dares Wins/ Mutiny)
West Londons’ finest Mumtrapaneur extraordinaire Binky Felstead (C4 Made in Chelsea)
ITV’s resident Psychologist Emma Kenny (This Morning)
Author & Business guru and mother of three Noor Hibbert
CLICK HERE TO BOOK
In addition to the talks, during the three-hour event; visitors can mingle with a host of successful parents/bloggers and celebrities who will be sharing their pearls of wisdom, offering advice on how they juggle parenthood with a successful career.
Whether you want to learn how to turn your social media into a money-making-machine or simply uncover the self-belief it takes to start your own business or create that product you have been dreaming of, this is the event for you!
If you genuinely want to get out of your current situation, want a better life but feel un-motivated and don’t know where the heck to start, or just want to be within dancing distance of the stars or meet some of the UK’s hottest business talent, then join us at:
Menagerie, Manchester M3 5JL
Wednesday October 24th 6PM – 9PM
Those looking to continue the party and dine at Menagerie and enjoy a 25% discount off food.
Wow, I was massively overwhelmed with all the private messages that I received yesterday about health anxiety, I read some truly heartbreaking messages, some really relateable messages and messages from people who were in deep despair.
It took me 4 hours to get back to you all, there was well over a 100 messages, and I know that some people won’t of messaged but will of felt all the things I wrote in my blog yesterday.
So before I start, I just want to point out that I am by no means an expert in this, but I have done various courses over the past 8 years to do with energy healing, life coaching, EFT, well being and self -development. That, however, was for my own self-development and not as a career choice.
What I am sharing with you has helped me massively to get out of many bad mental states – as in, when you think one small minor thing, then the next minute, you’re Googling the S-H-I-T out of everything, whilst sat in a dark room and ignoring phones calls, and the world.
So first things first, the anxiety I have found (in layman terms) is more than often caused by questioning the unknown and triggered by something. Everyone in their lifetime will feel how you have felt at some point. It is a normal part of growing and developing, some people, however, are just better at ‘pulling themselves round” and some people just don’t know how to! Whatever you feel is fine, and know that you can feel better.
Again, I am not expert, these are just techniques that i have learnt and practiced over the years that work for me, You might try them and be like “That Jess is so full of sh!t”… But hopefully, some or all will work for you.
Whenever I feel shitty, I am always cautious about the words that I use and that leaves my mouth. I make a conscious effort to ensure that every single word that I speak has a positive tone to it. If I am having a conversation with someone and they are telling me ‘how crap’ everything is (mate, I’m feeling shIt, i don’t need to hear this) I find a positive to their negative and give them a solution to their problem.
Sometimes, though you will find people who will come up with problems to their own solutions. WALK AWAY GIRLFRIEND, WALK AWAY!
Again, if you try and not let any negativity leave your mouth, you will feel better. Words create our feelings, and our feelings create our reality.
Affirmations and Incantations
Affirmations are positive one-liners about you. This is a good link from Louise Hay
who explains perfectly, but in short, affirmations are simply you saying to yourself the opposite of how you feel. This is so powerful, and really works, but you have to give it time, practice and doing consistently. For example, if you feel “Unlovable” find something you love about your self and tell yourself.
I am a bloody good person
I deserve happiness
I am lovable
I am healthy, happy and content.
At first, you may feel like you are lying to yourself, but if you do this consistently, daily and only for a few minutes, you will feel better. YOU HAVE TO STICK TO IT!!
Incantations, are similar, but you say your affirmations with power – this is a great video from (my hero) Tony Robbins on how to practice (perform) them.
CHANGE YOUR BLOODY POSTURE!!!!!!!!
This, is one of the quickest ways, I find, to change how I feel, when I feel shit, my body language usually represents that!
So, i stand up straight, literally shake my self off, from my legs, my arms, my body and then I start walking with an actual spring in my step (not in public), (unless I have too).
Try it right now, change your body language.
Dance movement and silly voices
Id like to think that I made this one up myself, as again, this is the quickest way, for me to change how I feel. I try to do this daily and in the mornings (If I remember).
turn on some ‘happy” music (Apple has a playlist called ‘feeling happy’)
Start dancing like one of my children…or Napoleon Dynamite – and literally use all my body as if I am throwing all that negative energy out there.
Say my affirmations in a really silly, cartoon, or sometimes American voice.
I listen to a podcast by a guy called Thomas Miller and there is one episode i love . – Podcast 141 “I can have what i want”
Gratitude is life changing. First thing in the morning and last thing at night (just before i meditate), I always say thank you, and feel full of gratitude for everything in my life. It doesn’t matter if things aren’t where i want them to be, I always say thank you.
If i dont feel well, I say thank you for my health and visualise myself laughing. I say thank you for my children’s health. We always say ‘grace’ at the table – The kids take it in turns each night to say what they are thankful for, Il be honest, Hatti the three year old usually copies the other two, and im not sure she knows what we are doing. I always say tahnk you for the roof over my head, the car i drive, the money i have, my relationship, the day….everything and anything. The thing with gratititude is, when you feel full of gratitude, you can not feel worried, scared, frantic, you just cant, because you feel so lucky for what you have in your life.
Meditation and Visualisation
If i remember and not absolutely shattered, before i go to sleep i put on a youtube guided meditation and visualise myself happy, healthy, wealthy and full of joy!
Then through oput the day, I let me self get caught up in daydreams, because day dreams help me to see what i am aiming for and . make it easuer to find a plan of action to get there. Once i have a plan of action, I always feel less anxious. I do this with work, health, ideas…everything.
EFT – Tapping
EFT stands for emotional freedom techniques. You tap on the meridian energy points, don’t worry, you cant really get this wrong, you tap and what ever you feel anxious about , you speak of.
If you feel nervous about your health and feel sick with anxiety – whilst tapping, you may say:
“I hate this feeling of feeling sick to my stomach, thinking that im seriously ill, thinking I am not well”
“I really wish this nervous, worried feeling would go, as i hate how negative it makes me feel”
EFT is actually briulliant, the first time you doi it, you will be like “What the fuck was that”. Then the day after, you will feel like negative energy has been released. I have used this gentleman Bill Tucker, he is £60 a session over skype, but really easy to talk to and i found him brilliant. You can also find some really good examples on Youtube. If you siuffer really bad with anxiety, I would suggest a session, if not and you want to relieve some anxiety, Youtube is great.
Reiki is AMAZING! If you are open to the magic of the Universe and the spirit realms, then this is facinating. Everyone has similiar but different experiences. For me, when I have reiki or practice on myself, i turn in to a jazz singer, start doing upside down Thai chi, Move on the therapy bed, tap my body…. i do all sorts and I sometimes see my third eye (google that ) and I always release negative enrgy, either through crying or uncontrolably laughing.
I am a reiki practitioner, so i practice reiki everyday, on my self, on my children, i send distance healing to people who need it and i find that it calms me and centres me!
Eat and drink well
Food is the fuel that makes your body and brain work, if your supplying it with alcohol and junk food, how can you expect to be happy, If you eat well and drink well, you will feel well!
Don’t worry I am not talking about cutting it out all togther, i bloody love a G&T (well, before pregancy). But if i felt anxious or worried, i never let myself drink alcohol, until i felt mentally better. Instead, i focused on juicing, eating lots of greens, and not processed food. Kind of like a detox.
I really hope this helps, or some of the techniques work for you, and if you do still feel anxious or worried about health, life or what ever it is, speak to someone, a therapist. We wouldn’t try to rewire our house, we get an electrician in, our brains are so much miore complex that than, so if you feel you need help, then a therapist is the person that can help. There is no shame in feeling sad, worried, or anxious. Working on self development and a healthy mental state is the best work you can do.Please feel free to send me an Email Momboss@motherofmaniacs.co.uk and i will try my best to get back you!
I haven’t written a blog for a while, and the last couple of blog posts I have written have been promoting some other fabulous mummies and some family-friendly business. I feel however, I need to get back into the swing of things and let go, that and we had a minor scare the other day!!!
I am going to talk about health anxiety. WHAT THE EFF. Now, I know that a few of you will have experienced this and not actually realized that it is a thing… but, trust me…it is a bloody awful thing.
From being young, I had a mild form of health anxiety – although it is only in the last 8 months that I have realized that is what it was and is an actual type of anxiety.
I remember when I was around 18 years old, just after my grandmother died, I used to get headaches all the bloody time. My head would throb and I convinced myself that I had a tumor and that I was going to die. I understand that even writing that may seem a bit OTT, but at that time it was very real. Id tells my friends that I was dying of a tumor and they would look at me at me sopping into my wine, drunk, and smoking (yes I am an ex-smoker), days, weeks, months went passed where all i could think about was this fictitious tumor and the ‘what if’.
And of course, I was too scared to go to the doctors, because they would confirm the doom! When in actual fact, when I grew some common sense (my mum dragged me to the doctor) it turned out it was due to the estrogen in the contraceptive pill that I was on. #AWKWARD. Then I came off the pill and everything was fine.
After that, the OCD about death and illness continued, but not just with my health, if my family got poorly, I thought that they had a deadly disease and i would be bidding fine farewells. If they didn’t answer the phone a few times in calling, I would think they had been in a car crash, or they had died – this was made even worse after reading the book called “The Secret” where what you think about you bring about…. Fak. Even writing this, I am careful in what I’m writing in case i attract the above (I am healthy, my family is healthy and we are all going to live to be over 100, just putting positive vibes out to the universe).
Even though this has always been an ON/OFF issue, which was triggered by a death or an illness. I have still managed to go about day to day life, it only really seems to come on when something distressing or emotional happens and over the past few months it came on again. Just before I found out I was pregnant with my miscarriage, and shortly after my ex-partner had passed away.
I started to get really bad cramps, bleeding and ovary pain and I was adamant that I had cervical cancer – again, reading that I know that sounds crazy. I had missed two smear tests and the pain matched symptoms (Which of course Google had diagnosed me with), I remember driving back from acting class and bursting into tears, uncontrollably emotional thinking that my children were going to be left without any parents and cursing myself how i could be so stupid and not go an get my smear test done.
The thought of going for a smear test scared me as, again, I was sure they would tell me something that they couldn’t take back, but I booked it and waited.
My vagina results came back healthy and happy and so was I. But then a couple of days later my sister started to get headaches, nausea and with blackouts. I started really freaking out thinking she had a brain tumor as my sister is never ill and she couldn’t get out of bed or work – it was a severe case of a migraine.
It was at that point I realized that there was something wrong with my mental state and not my physical health, the bizarre thing is, I am never actually poorly, this was when I started to do some research and I saw articles upon articles about health anxiety and everything that I read about fit perfectly to my mindset and my feelings.
Symptoms of health anxiety
It would consume my thoughts, then I would pick up on every little minor detail or pain on my body. After reading articles I soon started to feel mentally better and realized that I AM NOT ALONE! So so many people that I have talked to about this have had it, or know someone who seems to have the same crazy thoughts that i have had, and these are people who I would not hae thought suffered with any form of anxiety.
Today, I know that I am fit and healthy and my children and family are fit and healthy, but even still if any of them are poorly, i automatically think the worst. So, I step out of the panic, look at everything surrounding the situation, breath and not overthink.
I am a great believer in the power of positive thinking, mind over matter tactics and techniquies and what i have found have really helped is to practice a technique called ‘EFT’ which is tapping on certain points of your body and that helps reduce, if not elimate anxiety and worry, then i look at the logic of why I am/was feeling that way, then look at the logic of the sitaution and if i still feel like there is something serriously wrong with me (which 9/10 times i dont and the symptoms go) i then go to the doctor.
These are a few links that can help you understand about health anxiety
And then a link to an EFT video to help you understand about tapping for health anxiety.
Anyway, I hope this has helped in some shape or form and if you do know of anyone who ios suffering with heakth anxiety, it is very real for them, there are many reasons why health anxiety happens, it generally happens when you are forced to subconsciously question your own mortality. The best thing you can do is listen, support and help!
Right, today’s mum for Monday is celebrity makeup artist, an old school friend and now bump buddy – Erika Swinn!
If you, like me, are prisoned by the school run, doomed to pack lunches, consumed in endless piles of washing and busy working on your dreams then you will also more than likely be able to resonate with this statement whilst looking in a mirror:
“who the eff is that staring back at me?”
Motherhood and work, can sometimes take over, to the point where i stop fully making the effort to feel and look good. And may i add, there is nothing wrong in wantinng to look good, as anyone who has had a day where they felt like “yes i look nice today” will also know that you are more confident when you feel you look less like death!
So, I was invited to model at Erika’s master class yesterday where she teaches women the basics of make-up and some simply amazing beauty hacks. Basically, I have learned its all about the base to get that glowing look back that seemed so effortless in your 20’s”
BUT FIRST…. a little bit about Erika!
Erika, tell my readers about you
I’m in a position where nearly the last 8 years I adore going to work. I never dread a Monday and I can honestly say I have a great time when I’m working.
I’m also incredibly lucky that I get to spend so much time with my hubby and my two young children as I don’t work full-time hours. I am now pregnant with my third child, and at the start of this pregnancy I started thinking about what makes me the happiest work-wise, and how can I continue with it when I will have 3 children under 4!
I knew that I loved the industry side of being a makeup artist, but that often includes travel, short notice, often fast pace and it can feel unachievable when you have a new baby. Then it dawned on me, I adore the women that I’ve worked with, especially women on their wedding mornings and I love the fact that I pretty much always keep in touch with them.
That’s when I decided to run Masterclasses/ workshops for normal women wanting to make the most of their natural beauty. I like the variety in my job, so I can do this alongside everything else.
My personal style and work style is natural, I’m not a fan of the current heavy makeup trend and often brides tell me that’s why they’ve booked me. Anyone can watch youtube videos and learn a style, but what I think what is key is that has to be learnt on their own face.
Women come along to my masterclass where I set up makeup stations, so each woman has a mirror, mini kit and a set of brushes so they can follow my demonstrations and practice on their own faces!
I only take up to 10 women, as I want them to get the best out of the day. The day is a constant circle of me doing a demo on a model, and then each women trying it out on themselves. I’m there at those practical stages to help out, it’s one thing watching it, but actually doing it makes them remember each stage,m such as primer, highlighter and the brushes to use.
I take all of my products for the ladies to try, as I have triedsoooo many and from so many different brands that I encourage everyone to try! Rarely would you get chance to try these products out or fully understand what each product is for!
I have had so many women telling me that they often feel insecure about chatting to the staff at cosmetics counters, so that is the main reason I take them, I make no money from this, I just want to give my years of experience as that is part of why women come to me!
The first course is a Basic Beauty course which covers:
How to get a perfect base
Simple eyes and lips
How to naturally enhance and contour
My main aim is to make women feel confident in their own skin and I feel from the feedback I have, that is what I do.
Back to me now – Jess (Mother of Maniacs)
I went on the course on Sunday, and I took my mum with me to learn how to basically not look like shit. It is safe to say, it worked!
How to not look like shit
Prime, prime, and PRIME
If you get the base of your skin right sand primed, everything else becomes that much easier. I must admit, prior to going on the master class, I would just wack on a bot of moisturizer and hope for the best. Since Sunday, I have taken an extra minute (yes, it really does only take 1 extra minute) and primed my skin. Which has made my complexion glow and made me look actually AWAKE!!!
I used the products below for my base and concealer. Top tip, If you are using an under eye highlighter, put it in a V shape, as that doesn’t give you a white eyes panda look.
How to not look like shit
Now, I had my base on it was time to get my brows done, there are a basic structure and measurement in how to make your brows look rather snazzy, if t=you follow the below measurements and line everything up, you won’t go far wrong. I get my eyebrows microbladed so it is a lot easier to follow!
How to not look like shit
High lighter, Contour, and Blusher
This is one thing I didn’t quite realize and the way Erika taught how to apply is a lot easier than what I have been doing for the last few years! Always put your highlighter in a C shape (the right eye will be a C shape back to front) from the underneath of your brow to just underneath your eye socket bone. Keep your highlighter high, as this will make you look more youthful.
Contouring for many seems soooooo daunting, but actually, all it is is applying bronzer in the right places. Again, Erika taught this in a none scary way., it even got Joy my 60-year-old mother on to the contour trend. Erika said to do another C shape around the C shape of the high lighter, with the bottom of the C coming in just under your cheekbone (if you suck your cheeks in, you will see where I am talking about).
Again, with blusher, I had been slapping it on, in a strip, bright pink…WRONG!!! With your blusher, Erika said, keep it just on the Apples of your cheeks, and keep it high to make you appear more youthful. Which, actually,. it worked!
How to not look like shit
Eyes and Lips
I am going to do top tips for eyes and lips as a big long paragraph would not make sense
Work with a mascara with a small brush, so you can get right into the lash line
Use an eyeliner along the lash line
Blend the eyeliner with a brush
Use a nude colour eyeliner (Wonder brow NYX) on the corners of your eye, top of the top lash line and on the water lines of your eye. This brightens your eye. (You can also use the wonder brow under your eyebrow and on the bow of your lip)
Use a soft lip liner, to stop that stuck on dried look which makes your lips look older
Only draw on the lip line and not above or around the lip line – you don’t want clown features
Choose a lip liner that is the same colour as your lipstick
Blot your lips with a tissue
Add a tad bit of bronzer under the middle of your bottom lip to make them look bigger and a bit of lip liner in the middle of your lips to make them look fuller
Use concealer on the sides of the underneath of your lips to define and blend
And that is it! Voila!
All the products that Erika used on me are below!
You should definitely get in touch with Erika if you want to learn the basics of makeup and gain that little bit of confidence in using make-up.
You can follow her on Instagram or email her for course details
Chicken, broccoli and carrot soup with a parmesan toast
For a few weeks after we found out that Anni was pregnant, nothing changed. I mean, of course, everything was different, but everything was also the same. And because life just went on I couldn’t get my head round the fact that by autumn I’d become a father.
I kept looking up how big the life growing inside her was, continually surprised at how this microscopic collection of cells was set to take charge and change everything.
In terms of food nothing also changed for a few weeks. Anni carried on in her usual calm way whilst I began to freak out and inspect the sell-by dates of every bit of food we had, turn our steaks into pieces of rubber and boil our eggs for 7 hours minimum.
After doing a bit of research into what women can and can’t eat during pregnancy we both discovered that pretty much all advice was contradictory, and the vast majority of foods recommended to avoid were based on guesswork, not fact. Just don’t eat raw food, don’t have too much mercury-rich fish and don’t give yourself salmonella.
Anni and I had a combined age of 68 and a combined salmonella contraction rate of zero, so I thought that we were going to be ok.
Instead, I chose to focus on all of the great food she could eat, and how each ingredient can be of benefit not only to her but to our unborn child. I’ll admit, now that my principal role in child creation was sadly over (and boy was it over) I was feeling pretty redundant. At least by taking charge of what we would eat over the coming year, I could feel like I was involved, and it was one less thing for Anni to worry about.
However, a few weeks into pregnancy, everything changed.
Anni began to find the thought of vegetables pretty unappealing and if I didn’t make food for her that was
basically beige in appearance, she would have none of it. She also began to crave salt so I had to act fast before she started eying up the salt pot at 11am each day.
My challenge, therefore, was to make appetizing dishes that I knew she would eat in those first few weeks, but also provide enough of the good stuff for our growing baby.
So I started to hide vegetables in food. I started to do this a lot. Soup was my number one way of hiding vegetables for Anni in her first trimester. It was the middle of winter, nights were cold and dark and so a warming bowl of goodness and some cheese on toast went down really well.
I made a lot of soup in those first few weeks, they are so easy to make, require minimal preparation, are a great way of using up lots of vegetables and also freeze really well. This particular dish is packed with broccoli which due to its high folate, fibre and vitamin content, is a fantastic pregnancy superfood. The parmesan toast also satisfied her salt cravings.
2 chicken breasts
one head of broccoli
handfuls of thyme, sage and rosemary
400ml chicken stock
two slices of brioche bread
60g grated parmesan
salt and pepper
Boil the stock in a pan and then reduce to a simmer. Peel and finely slice the carrots and place in the pan.
Roughly tear up the rosemary, sage and thyme and add.
Finely slice the chicken and add to the pan before roughly chopping the broccoli and also adding in.
Bring the liquid back to the boil and cook for at least five minutes (you want to ensure that the chicken is completely cooked through.
Meanwhile place 2 slices of brioche bread under the grill, toast slightly then remove.
Using a stick blender, mix the soup thoroughly. Reduce the heat to a low simmer.
Sprinkle the grated parmesan over the brioche and place back under the grill for 1-2 minutes until the parmesan has melted.
Pour the soup into bowls and place the toast on top of the mixture.
Why is this good for mum and baby?
Chicken – Protein, vitamin B, zinc
Brioche – Fibre, protein
Parmesan – Protein, calcium, vitamin A
Carrots – Vitamin A, C, potassium, fibre, calcium
Broccoli– Vitamins A, B, C, E, K, folate, potassium, fibre