Thursday, 20 September 2012

Hoorah the Autumn is coming!

The mornings are getting chillier. There's no doubt about it, Autumn is on it's way and I love it, it's my most favourite time of the year.

I love the colours of the leaves as they turn to shades of reds golds and browns and fall to the floor, the muddy smell of them composting into the ground.

I love evening walks in the dark with the smell of bonfires and fireworks, and the sounds of excited children.

I love cosy chunky knits, high denier opaque tights, fleece-lined boots and wooly hats and scarves.

I love that cosy feeling you get when you see the steam of your breath in the air but you're not cold because of your wooly clothes.

Then I love the cosy night indoors in front of our open fire.

I've recently come to also love the Blackberries coming out at this time of year because my daughter enjoys picking them.

As the festive spirit of Christmas looms the atmosphere around us grows more excitable, it's even better now we have little girl. I look forward to gathering holly and making decorations with her. 


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Top ten ways to deal with a bad mood

It's been a tough week. I won't go into a boring rant, but it made me think about the things that make us feel happy in life and I thought I'd brainstorm some ideas to feel better when in a bad mood! I'm sure this has been done countless times before and I won't do any research as it might cloud my thoughts so here goes... Top ten ways to feel better straight from my heart...!

1. Talk to someone. When I'm having a tough time sometimes I mull it over with my sister. She's particularly brilliant at trying to make me see situations from other points of view. But remember that friendship is two way, don't become the depressing friend and always be willing offer an ear in return.

2. Play with your children or pets. My daughter is the sunshine of my life, playing with her and seeing her smile makes the daily grind all worth while.

3. Read a novel. Escape to a fictional place for an hour or so. 

4. Watch your favourite movie and indulge in your favourite treats. More escapism. 

5. Book a holiday / short break / commit to a date to visit a relative or old friend you've been missing. It's nice to have something to look forward to.

6. Have a night out and dance! Dancing is a great way to live in the moment and forget about things for a while.

7. Dress appropriately for the weather and go for a lovely long walk. I find this is particularly wonderful in extreme weathers. There's something liberating in getting your heart rate up and feeling cosy in your chunky knit on a bitterly cold day or enjoying a cool walk in the breeze of the sea air on a hot day. It will also give you a chance to mull over what's bothering you.

8. Exercise at an intensity that works for you. If you need to vent some frustration go for a hard run or lift some heavy weights. To mull things over try a gentle swim or a jog.

9. Pamper. Exfoliate, paint your nails, apply a face pack... even better invite a friend and try suggestion #1 at the same time.

10. Make a plan and deal with the issue head on. Sometimes the best way to deal with a problem is to just face it. Break it down into small manageable steps in which to overcome the problem and move on. All you need is a pen and paper and your thoughts. Try asking someone you trust to help you brainstorm.   

What things do you do to cheer yourself up? I'd love to hear :-)

Thursday, 13 September 2012


I lived in Cardiff for 3 years from 2003 to 2006 and I was there to witness the amazing atmosphere as Wales won the Grand Slam in the 2005 Six Nations. 150,000 people went to the park where a big screen showed the game. It was impossible to see anything so my friends and I rushed back to our local pub, the Yellow Kangaroo in Roath, to watch it there instead.

For some reason the atmosphere was such that I found myself thinking about taking up the sport. I phoned the local club with a ladies team and that was it. I was advised to buy a pair of studded boots and I made my way to Llandaff North Rubgy Club the following Wednesday. The rest is a muddle of adrenaline-packed rucking, several nose bleeds, a copious amount of Brains SA, worse injuries in the bar than on pitch, a couple of messy rugby tours, a lot of fancy dress and a fair bit ladette style behaviour! 

Llandaff North - My first rugby club ahhhhhh!

I have to admit that whilst it took me a while to adjust to it, I ended up loving the comradeship off pitch just as much as the adrenaline of a match and I was very disappointed to find that the same ethos just wasn't there within teams I joined when I moved back to Essex. I ended up joining a small team of just 6 to 8 regular members and helped to promote the team until we had enough players to register with the RFU. I paid a lot of emphasis to comradeship and off-pitch fun, mostly for player retention but the side ended up very serious and ambitious, frowning upon my apparent lack of seriousness. My work in establishing a team was obviously done and it was time to leave. That aside I had graduated from uni and I was building a career so I needed to shed some commitment!

Now back to the present, there is a reason for my reminiscence. I have just signed my daughter up for a trial session at RuggerBugs. They are opening up a new centre at Brentwood Rugby Club which is just round the corner from us. My girl is a bit of a live wire - she doesn't even sit down to watch TV. This is good because when she does sit down I know she's poorly or tired. She loves the outdoors and loves to run around so I think she will be well suited to it. She won't have to do any contact until she's about 8 years old, by which time she might tell me she doesn't want to do it anymore and I wouldn't dream of making her do it if she doesn't enjoy it. I really look forward to seeing how she does get on with it though on Saturday, and hope she gets as much fun out of it as I used to. If on the other hand she doesn't enjoy it, I know she's now old enough to go to the other extreme and do ballet...! 


Thursday, 6 September 2012


I recently came across a brilliant website called Stumble Upon. If you don't already use it I can't recommend it enough. There's a whole world of websites out there and it helps you to explore them by simply asking you what your interests are. It's exciting because you never know what you are going to find or learn. It almost addictive in that sense. I think the first day I found Stumble Upon was one of my least productive!  

Last night my husband chose to watch "Role Models" on TV. We've seen it a few times before and didn't care to watch it again so I merrily surfed the net using the Stumble Upon app. Having listed parenting as one of my interests when I signed up for my account I was directed to a site that discussed encouraging your child to listen to you.

The author discussed how he observed a mother and child in an airport. The child was running around freely, gleefully ignoring his mothers pleas to stop.  The author criticised the mother for asking her son to stop and not following through with discipline when he chose to ignore her.

As a parent I have visited several different forums and there are very different ideas and approaches when it comes to discipline. I have a fairly open mind on the subject but from the very start I have been adamant that I will only make a big deal out of things that are worth it. As a result I'm quite a laid back parent don't see any harm in most things so long as no-one will get hurt. This way, when I do tell my daughter off for something she knows I really mean it.

Whilst reading the article about the mother in the airport I actually found myself thinking that maybe the author was a bit unfair on the mother. It seems a bit extreme to discipline a child who is probably a bit excited, maybe overtired and wants to explore a new environment. Sometimes you need to step outside your ego and laugh off the embarrassment caused by your child ignoring you in public and be a little more empathetic.

I can see why the author said what he did, he is right that by not following though with commands you are teaching your child not to listen to them or take them seriously. Maybe the mother shouldn't have said anything in protest in the first place if she didn't feel too strongly about it, but how many times have we asked our children not to do something only for their desire to explore to be stronger? And from there how many times have we realised that actually it's just not worth the fight on this occasion? I'm sure that if the mother at the airport really wanted her son to stop she would have got up and grabbed him, put up with the tantrum and showed him who's boss!

I think the author was correct in theory but maybe it was wrong of him to have such a prescriptive approach to listening, and discipline for not listening. After all every parent and child is different and at the end of the day there really is no right and wrong way of bringing up your children. At least I hope so :-)