Right, I feel the need to talk about Escape rooms! Last year (A month ago haha) went to two escape rooms. With the kids and a competitive partner, that seemed to forget that we were doing it with the kids. Now a word of advice, if you are competitive, dating a competitive partner and throw a couple of kids in the mix is guaranteed get absolute comedy and a simple (not so simple) escape room that should take under an hour to complete will, in fact, take 2 hours and 17 minutes. TRUE STORY!
For those of you who don’t know what an escape room is, it is a themed room that you are locked in and the only way out of it is to escape using clues and props! They are soooooo good!
I remember when Alex and I first met, we did an escape room (Obviously I suggested a scary one, so I could forget all the feminism i believe in momentarily to pretend i was scared to jump into his arms) but way back then Alex hadn’t seen the “DRAGON” in me and I was still playing that ‘easy going, chilled, girl kinda vibe’ to try and make him my boyfriend. #WORKED!
Now I am easily impressed, and the escape room I went to many months ago (the dream girl days) with Alex I was impressed with…Oh how naive I was!
Escape Reality was another level. I mean, the rooms were pro, the staff were pro, the stories were pro…We, however, were not so pro. When Poppy 6, Seb 11, Olive 5, myself and Alex arrived at Escape Reality we decided to participate in the Bank Job room, a family fun room…I honestly felt like I had been transported to a bank volt.
However Alex being a 35-year man, seemed to think that the main objective was for himself to get us out of the room and not for the kids to join in and help us to ‘crack the code’ and the first 10 minutes of the experience included myself shouting at Alex, Seb cracking the wrong code and Pops and Olive on repeat saying “what can I do, what can I do” – It was at this point the ‘DRAGON’ came out, I flipped and told Alex the whole point is for us to guide the kids through it and help them to build their confidence…Oh, how I swallowed my words 2 hours and 17 minutes later.
The remainder 2 hours and 7 minutes were however enjoyable, crazy and fun! The best part about being in the escape room, is all of us overthought and over complicated the clues and props! I created scenarios that were, well, a bit off the wall. And if I was doing that as an adult, you can only but imagine the scenarios of a 5, 6 and 11-year-old.
After overcoming some of the mastermind ‘blockbuster’ idea’s, we then started to discover hidden text, which laid us to props in drawers as we laughed and limbo’d under small doors and we all managed to escape. The feeling afterwards knowing that as a little family we managed to work together was great and we left feeling energised and giddy.
So…what is the verdict?
Escape rooms are amazing for families to do together, firstly you get that feeling of ‘good parent duties’ and secondly you kids think you are some kind of mastermind hero. Both winning situations in my eyes. However, although Poppy and Olive enjoyed the escape room, I would they are a little too young to understand that game. They loved being involved, the props and the fantasy of the room. Seb, however, is a perfect age and he got what he had to do, he managed to lead us onto a few other clues and at the end, I could tell that he felt proud that he had cracked it!
And on that note, we are going next week for Sebs birthday! It really is bloody brilliant and I would recommend it to any family!
Escape reality has sites in Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Chicago, Cardiff, Las Vegas (Id like an invite to this one), Dubai (or this one) and Leicester!
If you are going to do an escape room, choose one with high production values because 9 out of 10 times they are all pretty much the same price to do – so choose the bloody best one!
Happy Frikin New Year!
I don’t know about you, but 2017 had some major highs and some major lows!
The highs for me starting from entering the UK’s most famous house and entering it with the title “celebrity”, to the film I was in got released and sold in nearly every HMV, Asda and on Amazon, I rekindled with an old flame and found my soul mate to whom I fell madly, truly and deeply in love with, I started a new career direction which is flourishing and enjoyable.
Which leads me to the best part of 2017….. finding out I will be having a little rainbow baby this year!
As for the lows, I am not going to mention those, I have already lived them and there is only room for positive vibes in 2018 and we all know a positive vibe attracts your tribe! And my tribe intends to be healthy, happy and filthy rich! So if you’re reading this, put those vibes out for me too, yea?
Wooohoooo welcome to 2018!
So, I want to start my first blog of 2018 off with talking about my little rainbow baby! If you have been following the blog, you will have read that the past few months have been a shower of shit and to top the shower of shitty McShittness off, Alex and I went through a deeply upsetting miscarriage.
However, I wiped myself off, readjusted my crown (as all queens do) and got on with life. (This included copious amounts of prosecco, chocolate and late night giggles)!
So when I found out I was pregnant again I:
A) Thought back to the ALL the empty bottles of prosecco (#JustJokes)
B) Could literally not believe my eyes when the ‘Pregnant 3+’ showed up on the test!
C) Felt instantly sick and panicky about having another miscarriage.
You see, that’s the thing with getting pregnant after a miscarriage. You are stopped from allowing yourself to fully enjoy those moments of excitement. In fact, its a bloody emotional rollercoaster of constant worry of losing the baby and excitement of having a baby!
So imagine when the flipping rollercoaster started to take a trip down memory lane. I started to experience the first signs of a miscarriage again. Bleeding. I couldn’t believe it, what the hell was going?? Surely this couldn’t be happening again, upset and confused, I had to wait it out again and hope that it wasn’t what I thought.
This continued for around 3-4 weeks on and off. (Which was an absolute mind FCUK!) One day I would be happy and fun, then the next I would be sad, angry and confused about what was going on with my body!
Then one day it stopped for good, and I can safely say this is the only time in my life I’ve been grateful for fastening my trousers with a bobble, resembling a sponge, puking every hour with breasts that felt like they had been attacked by a giant and weeing consistently!
The strange thing is, on the day that the bleeding stopped, I saw the below picture on my friend’s facebook account:
Now this may not seem so strange to you, but they call a baby after a miscarriage a “Rainbow Baby” and after reading the quote above, I remembered this and googled “Rainbow Baby” out of curiosity and this is what came up….
‘A beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and give hope of things getting better”
Jesus did I weep when I read that! All those questions of “Why” from when I had miscarried prior, suddenly all made sense.
Over the past few months, it is safe to say we have had a bloody storm and we were in need of a rainbow. It made me stop and believe that this was our Rainbow. It made me question:
“Did I have to lose that baby prior to help me to feel that a colourful and bright future is emerging from our recent darkness?” Maybe.
I am a firm believer in the Power of the Universe, and at that moment it dawned on me that everything just needs time to make sense, we just need to trust in our journey and know that everything will work out. This was confirmed to me even more so when we found out that the due date is on Alex’s birthday. (queue apocalypse now theme tune).
2017 taught me so many lessons and one lesson is, anything can happen. Good or Bad. BUT we are the ones that dictate what happens from the moment that something does happen. The beauty of life is everyone can choose how we react to a situation. Everyone has their own stuff going on, and if you are going through stuff right now, however hard it may be, believe it will get better, talk to someone, a “cup half full” kind of person, smile for the things that you can smile about and have faith that we are part of something bigger.
Welcome to 2018. Today is a day for the change, for self-belief. so believe in yourself and take over the world!!
Happy New Year
Jess, Alex, Girls and Bump!
OK, OK, I am not usually one for competitions, but recently I have been practising the Law of Gratitude and the Law of Attraction and as if by magic this competition to win up to £12,000 (click here) was placed before my very eyes!
Now how this came about is: I realised that Christmas for most is a magical time of year, but it can also be a huge financial stress and also put added pressure on those who are already in debt. So on my quest, I Googled to try and find a solution that could help people who are in financial difficulty and just take away that gut-wrenching and sickly feeling that most people have of “where am I going to find the money for ‘this’ or where will I find the cash for ‘that'”.
And then, as if the universe had worked in sync, I came across a company called Hanover Insolvency who is one of the top 3 personal debt specialists in the UK…AND they are giving (yes giving, after all it is that time of year) up to £12, 000 to one lucky person to ‘get out of the red and into the black’ just in time for Christmas!
Debt is a bloody crappy situation of life, most of us have been there, including me! I’ve been in a right pickle, robbing Peter to pay Paul, ignoring letters, emails and it’s awful. I had been in situations where I had worked all hours God sends, had no money to pay for things, not known where to start to organize my finances, and then it was Christmas, followed by a birthday, followed by a fine!!! So instead of tackling it face on, I would ignore it.
B I G M I S T A K E!!
What I realised was, when you bite the bullet and just sit down and go through your finances and situations, things are never as bad as they are when played out in your head. Then when you get your head above water, and you have time to breath, it’s a wonderful feeling and then that gives you a sense of achievement so organising your life, letters and emails don’t seem like the ‘never-ending story’.
I didn’t realise all those years ago that there were companies to help you sort your financial circumstances out, I was young and naive and thought that is was a load of crap – to be blunt. But actually, it’s not AND actually, companies like Hanover Insolvency can, in fact, help sort out your financial circumstances.
There are other companies out there that are similar, but I liked this one as there website and Facebook page wasn’t full of words and sentences that I don’t understand…AND the fact they have a competition on is an added bonus!
If you are struggling with debt, don’t! Below are some useful links and numbers – and I promise you, you won’t be alone!
AND BLOODY WELL ENTER THAT FACEBOOK COMPETITION – UPTO £12,000 FOR GRABS!!!!
I hope this has helped some of you!
Lots of love
The Christmas countdown is definitely ON. Ahhhhh! Cue the mad dash around the shops on Christmas eve – with all THREE kids and the usual flapping.
At this time of year, more than any other, it raises a BIG parenting worry – am I spoiling my children, have I bought enough, should I treat myself too whilst I am at it?
You might have watched the new programme following Tamara Ecclestone’s life as a Mum. If not, you NEED to watch it especially after the HUGE reaction on social media, mainly lashing out at her for over ‘extravagant’ lifestyle and spoiling her child. Even though it is nice to spoil our children now and again, are there any real positives and what message does this send out to our children?
The daughter of Billionaire Formula 1 Boss Bernie Eccleston said that while she tries not to spoil her daughter Fifi (Phoebe), it feels like she does sometimes and that it’s hard not to. I’ll be honest after watching the show, she doesn’t spoil her sometimes….It’s all the time!
However, it’s clear to see how much she really loves her child but does buying things really equate to love? I have felt that awful parent guilt for not buying my children what they want, especially when I have had three hours of crying, the two hours of “it’s not fair” “you love my sisters more than me” and an hour of kicking and screaming.
I try to see the bigger picture, although, with a migraine that started three hours ago, that can be somewhat difficult. However, I don’t want my children growing up with a sense of entitlement, I want them to grow up knowing the value of money and the value of work.
Then again, I might be talking utter rubbish, Tamara may have a point, It might quite hard ‘not’ to spoil your kids when you call a £70 million London mansion home.
BUT if we always say ‘yes’ and never ‘no’ – what does that do to them? Yep, that’s right, more mummy guilt and things to fret over (great)!
Hands up if you have been to a party where there is always that one child that throws the mother of all tantrums? Worse still, hands up if it’s your child, and it’s not as if you can pretend it’s not your child (like we do at the park) as 90% of the parents at the party recognise you and your child from the school run.
What does over-indulging and spoiling your child actually do?
Spoiled children often grow up to feel a sense of entitlement, self-centred and with narcissistic tendencies. The reason being, they are so used to getting what they want, when they want that when they grow up a sense of self-entitlement grows with them.
Think about it for a second, If as a child you are so used to getting what you want, by either asking or crying for it and you get it consistently, then how would you understand that this doesn’t happen in adult life? The life you have been used to as a child and growing up, isn’t actually what happens when you become an adult.
It would come as a big shock in adult life if all of a sudden you had to fend for yourself. Surely it is better to grow up earning rewards, as this is what happens in adult life;-
You work hard, you reward yourself.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love to go a bit OTT at Christmas and birthdays, as to me, they are two very special occasions that are only really magical and super exciting when you are young. At Christmas, I’m probably the biggest child of them all – That and the discovery of how cheap B&M bargains is and how amazing the toys are!!!
Away from celebrations, I also reward my children for good behaviour, reaching their goals and age-appropriate chores (cooking dinner and washing up (I am joking there))! Like most parents, I know the power of a bribe – it works like a charm 9 times out of 10.
However, on the flip side the more my children ask for something – the less likely they are to get it. I don’t want my children feeling or thinking they are ‘owed’ something in life. If they cry for something, that’s game over, and they deffo won’t be getting it! They need to know that if you want something in life, you need to work for it.
In saying the above it did take me a couple of years to realise, It’s OK not to be at the beck and call of your children for their every want and need. As parents, we do a HELL of a lot already. We clothe them, feed them, house them and show them we love them- when they INSIST they want an ice cream before tea time, BE STRONG and SAY NO, it’s going to be OK!!!
Naturally as a parent, there’s that feeling that you try to make sure your kids don’t ‘want’ for anything. I get that, but children would much rather you spend your time on them, instead of your money. It’s us as parents that give in to our children’s ‘wants’ through our own guilt. Children need limits, they need rules, they need parenting and part of parenting (the shit part) is to feel guilty and to feel mean- to say no when no needs to be said.
What type of parent are you?
So I hope I have given you food for thought on this rainy Saturday!
Lots of Love
Trust me, I know THE STRUGGLE IS REAL! I had Poppy at 24. Lot of my friends didn’t have children and I remember fretting and worrying about EVERYTHING.
I was SO hard on myself, I felt like I was the only parent that had meltdowns, who felt like they couldn’t cope … or there just wasn’t enough time.
I felt like I was failing at parenthood and in day-to-day activities!
My house was a mess, my child would (and actually still does) go from looking like a member of the royal family to looking like one of the Adams’ family in no time and guaranteed I’d always forget the nappy bag, baby wipes and a spare clothes when out and about.
What I started to realise is, no one is an expert in raising children! Everyone has different ways and methods. If your children are happy, you are doing better than OK at raising them, so don’t worry!
We all find parenthood hard … and those that don’t are f@cking liars!
Here are a few of my friends’ struggles in parenthood, followed by simple things they like to do with their children.
Mum of Poppy aged 6, Olive aged 4 and Hatti aged 3
3 things I find hard as a parent
- I find it hard to balance being a Mum and everything else that life involves – from working to housework to the frickin’ laundry basket. I could do a whole blog post on the laundry basket. I swear it’s possessed in my house. One minute it’s empty, the next there are mounds of clothes.
- Generally, I have bundles of energy and I don’t need much sleep, but I find motherhood difficult when I’m tired or stressed. I snap at things … like my children breathing, or them asking me to wipe their bum (or them asking if they can wipe my bum). The days where I am tired and stressed also seem to be the days when I hear the word “Mummy” 32, 453 times. Then I feel guilty for snapping, because they are just kids, being kids.
- I really struggle to find time to spend one-on-one time with each of my children, my partner and myself. I feel guilty all the time that individual time doesn’t happen often with each of the kids.
Little things we enjoy doing:
- If the weather is mild at night, we put our pyjamas and dressing gown on (adults too) and we go for a 30-minute walk to a ‘wishing box AKA a red post box! We each post a penny into the post box, make a wish and walk back. This gives us time to chat about the day, about school, any worries…etc. It is one of my favourite things to do.
- On a Sunday, we always bake a cake to eat after our dinner with a pot of tea. I didn’t have many traditions in my family growing up, and traditions are something I wanted my children to have.
- Sometimes we like to do things that are spontaneous with the kids, whether that is an hour’s drive to a new park, toasting marshmallows on a cliff or making our own facemasks!
Mum of Harrison 9 and Spencer 6
3 things I find hard as a parent:
- Work/home life balance and feeling guilty that I don’t spend enough time with the children, and the time that I do spend is often nagging them to get dressed or eating dinner.
- Knowing whether I’m being too strict or not. I wonder if I tell them off too much for ‘little things’ that I should let pass, or if their behaviour is good enough.
- HOMEWORK! I hate being the one to nag them to do this! I didn’t set the homework but I try to enforce it, so I am the horrible one making them work at home!
Little things we enjoy doing:
- Most importantly, the bedtime story. I love reading books to the children and the satisfaction of getting to the end of a meaty book! I love that the children enjoy hearing a range of stories and it’s something that we can share every day.
- Lazy days! When we are so busy, sometimes it’s just nice to laze in duvets and watch movies and eat like pigs without feeling guilty.
- Listening to music on car journeys. We take it in turns to pick any song and just sing and dance in the car (although, it is mostly me dancing)! It’s great to share the music with them and listen to what they’re into whilst also educating them on good tunes from my era!
Mum of Darcey aged 6 and Charlie aged 13
3 things I find hard as a parent:
- The major thing that hit me when I became a Mother (that I was totally unprepared for) was the absolute LACK of freedom. Freedom to pop out to the shops on my own, freedom to go away for the weekend, freedom to hibernate on wet, cold days, the freedom to please myself as to what I did and when I did it … without having to organise a million things and prepare! So, I suppose that lack of spontaneity is included in this too. As quite a spontaneous person, this hit me hard! Oh, how I miss those distant days…
- Which leads onto the…GUILT!!!! From the minute they’re born that guilt is a tough one to shift. Am I a bad Mum for not breastfeeding? Should I still be allowed to do the things that I enjoy as a person in my own right, even if that means leaving baby/child with Dad or Grandparents or even worse a babysitter? Will the kids ever forgive me for missing them getting an award at school for ‘not picking their noses’? Will my kids be mentally traumatised because I allowed them to watch Netflix for 2 hours so I had some peace to pick up their mess and cook dinner?… Worse still for the ‘working mum’. That famous quote… ‘You feel that you need to work as if you don’t have kids but be a Mother like you don’t have a job’ 🙄🙈 I could go on…
- Which leads again to: THE JUDGEMENT OF OTHERS. I joked with the midwife, after giving birth to my first, that they hadn’t given me the manual when they were discharging me. Ha! How I needed that ‘instruction booklet’. How the heck did I know how to change a boy’s nappy? I’m one of 2 girls…I didn’t even see a penis until I was about 16?!! What if I did it wrong?
From then on, the fear of judgement from others played on my mind. How should I parent? Will others agree/approve? What would my own Mother have done? Her Mother? You can bet there are a million others that would do things differently! I think it’s only as the children get older and we all realise that we’re all ‘winging it’ at least a little bit, that the fear of others’ judgement wanes a bit and you become more confident in your own decisions.
Mum to Elodie aged 6
2 things I find hard as a parent:
- I find it really hard being a single mum, as I am constantly having to find the time to work, find the time to spend with Elodie, and then also I feel it is important to have my own time, so I don’t lose sight of who I am.
- Being a single parent comes with a huge burden. I have to provide for Elodie and myself and I also want to be able to afford the activities she enjoys which is part of her character. However, only one household income that has to spread the cost of everything, often means I have to sacrifice my time because sometimes you simply don’t have the cash flow to do everything. One month I find I have dance lessons to pay for the next month swimming lessons.
Little things we enjoy doing:
- We always tend to have a movie night on a Friday and I like to invite Elodie’s cousins round to join us. With Elodie being a lone child, I am conscious that she needs to be around other children and build sibling-like relationships.
- Every night at bedtime we always say a little a prayer. We say thank you for three things that made Elodie smile that day. Then I ask if anything made her feel sad that day and we pray for the people that made her feel sad. Again, not wanting to be a bore about the single parent status, it is just because I don’t want Elodie to feel like she’s missing out on certain things like a family life and I want her to understand that I can’t give everything that she wants. I want her to know that not everyone gets everything.
Mum to Joshua aged 6
3 things I find hard as a parent:
- I am a full-time single mum and I also work full-time, I find it difficult to find time to allow me to keep my own identity. During the day I am in work mode, and at the evening and weekends I am in mum mode. I find it difficult to have ‘me’ time.
- I struggle to create enough child time for Joshua, as after work I find I am always rushing around, making dinner and getting things sorted for the next day which creates quite an adult environment. I have to remind myself to find time to come down to Joshua’s level and into a child environment, so I can spend quality time with my child.
- I struggle with how to get my child to do the things I need him to do when I need him to do it.
Little things we enjoy doing:
- Once a week we have a movie night with a snack bowl (that we like to call it) which has lots of little treats in. We then snuggle under the duvet on the couch in our PJs and watch a fun movie.
- This one is bit like the Kardashians actually … but I always like to find out a highlight and lowlight of each day from Joshua (not that I manage to extract any information from him, but I do try)!
So there we have it!
Lots of love
What is going on with the world?
Apart from having a completely ‘out of this world morning’, this morning, participating in a leg wrestle with a 6-year-old, a hair debate with a 4-year-old and no luck in anything with a three-year-old.
For example, you would think that putting a pair of shoes on a 6-year-old would be fairly easy…WRONG!!
Instead, I have her insisting that a pair of (donated) heels would be a much more appropriate choice of school shoe.
You’d also be fooled into thinking that simply clipping hair back from a four-year-old’s face, would be a breeze….WRONG. I have her insisting that not being able to see through her hair is the ‘in look’ in reception and perfectly acceptable.
And then the three-year-old, ah, Hatti….
Me: “Hattie, please will you put your socks on”
What Hatti actually hears: ‘Take all your clothes off, put a bikini on (because it’s raining), head into the back garden, splash in a puddle and roll in the mud’ …3 minutes before we need to leave for the school run”.
So, 15 minutes later and late for the school, all three are dressed, clean and tidy (ish). After the drop-off, I believe this deserves a victory cup of tea!
Thinking my day was ‘on the up’, I then spotted a popular women’s magazine that my sister had left at my house…
I could not believe my eyes, I was absolutely gobsmacked and infuriated at what I was seeing on the front cover! Jemma Lucy and Abigail Clarke, stark bollock naked (that’s not why I was gobsmacked) bragging that they have had bum implants with Jemma Lucy boasting “it was worth the pain” and Abigail Clarke stating “I feel sexier than ever.” WHAT MESSAGE IS THIS SENDING to the younger generation and this magazines readership?
Flicking through the magazine, reading its content and thinking about my three mini maniacs, made me really started to question, ‘where are my children’s role models’?
What is going on with our society when a good 75% of the women in this magazine had:
1. Some form of image altering surgery
2. No sustainable career
3. Were under the age of 30 and living within the above two.
I couldn’t believe how many celebrities have had some form of face/body altering surgery, whether it was:
- lip filler
- bum implants
- cheek fillers
- eye lift
- eye bag removal – #Nowords
- skinny jabs
All of whom are relatively young and definitely, do not need these types of procedures. What really annoyed me, are that these are the very same celebrities that promote body image, self-esteem and being happy in ‘your own skin’, surely this a warped perception. Then I thought, how many popular TV reality stars can I name, that are constantly in magazines and haven’t had ANY form of surgery? I could only name a rare few.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against surgery IF it is a well thought out decision that will genuinely help with self-esteem and not used as a tool for perfection. However, I am just not convinced this is the motivation for many of the celebs in these publications, who haven’t stopped with one procedure. It seems to be procedure after procedure – all in the search of perfection. PERFECT DOESN’T F@CK!NG EXIST!
And then let us have a look at the Love Island lot. I mean, fair play to them. Has anyone followed their instant success and felt tempted to put their kids in childcare for 6 weeks, vamoosh off to the White Isles and have a potential quickie on tv to pick up the paycheque? The amount of money, success and fame they have received so quickly, from little talent, is incredible. I loved the show and the characters in it, BUT, are they really the type of people we want as the next generation of role model?
Looking through their Instagram feeds, I see picture upon half-naked picture of adverts, materialistic items and a lifestyle that is unrealistic for many of their teenage followers. A lifestyle that is fuelled by ‘comments’ and ‘likes’. Where does it stop?
Even though I am a fan of Love Island, TOWIE, Geordie shore etc, I am just not inspired by the content of these shows or the characters in them.
Lifestyles which seem to be based on arguments, cheating, materialism, backstabbing, drama, drinking and ‘who said what?’…NOT what I want my children to be influenced by.
As a society, we are actively promoting false economies. Quick fixes to body image, quick fixes to careers, quick fixes to weight loss, quick fixes to health. When did we stop believing in hard work?
Who are our children’s ‘so-called’ role models? In these popular magazines, very rarely do I see role models that I would like to my children to grow up to be like or be influenced by.
I believe loyalty, kindness, a hard work ethic, healthy lifestyle, self-confidence, body confidence, gratitude and a humble attitude that should be promoted. This is what I want my children to see and be influenced by. I want their role models to inspire them to work hard and achieve greatness. I want their roles models to teach them to be comfortable in their own skin and to lead by example.
So, what is the alternative?
We, as a society, have a duty of care to do more for our children and for the younger generation. We are lucky to be in a fortunate position where we have the power of social media to reach people that we could not reach before. If more of us, and more of our UK celebrities, chose to show natural, unfiltered pictures of themselves and ‘unglam’ elements of their lives, chose not to have image altering surgery in the search of perfection, but chose to use their status in a positive way … wouldn’t this be a far better alternative?
So, I choose to show the real me and I choose to lead by example – will you do the same?
Lots of love