Category Archives: Me

Disney Moana Happy Tin Review

The Disney Moana Happy Tin is very happy indeed! It certainly cheered up our rainy sunday afternoon.

disney-moana-happy-tin-emilytealady

We were very lucky to be sent a Moana Happy Tin as part of parragon book buddies. Moana is the new disney film which is out this friday, 25th November.

So, What’s Moana about?

An adventurous teenager sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demigod Maui, who guides her in her quest to become a master way-finder. Together they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds. Along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she always sought: her own identity.

In the Happy Tin there is:

Moana Storybook, Activity Book, Colouring Book, 4 colouring pens, Stickers and a Double-sided Poster.

disney-moana-happy-tin

Nancy loved the tin straight away, she’d seen the trailer for the film at the cinema and was keen to see it, so having the Happy tin had real appeal. She went for the colouring book straight away and began to colour in.

The contents of the tin are of good quality, and the storybook is a paperback with glossy pages. Nancy loved reading the story, and this has got her even more excited about getting to the cinema to watch the film! The age range for the tin is 3-6, and I think the only part of the tin we haven’t really used as yet is the activity book which has puzzles, dot-to-dot, mazes etc within it which are more suited to the upper age range.

The tin is a great gift idea, and the contents are a good size for children and small enough to be able to take with you on car journeys or when out and about and needed some distractions for the kids!

The RRP on the back of the tin is £16.99 which I do think is rather expensive! I have however seen these tins at various shops for around the £5 mark which I think is much more reasonable and would make this a good buy for a christmas gift.

The Disney Moana Happy Tin gets the thumbs up from us!

We were sent the Moana Happy Tin to review as part of Parragon Book Buddies. All Thoughts and Opinions are our own.

Autumn Days – September Tealady Update 

The year has flown by. I can’t believe we are back here in October again.  I have a lot of mixed feelings about October; it was a year ago I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and I had to take time off from work, due to many issues including my Dad’s illness. Memories of this time last year, many journeys up and down the M5, watching my Dad slowly get weaker. 
I’ve been crying a lot recently. Not in a depressed way. A release.  I didn’t cry about my Dad much before now. I think I kept it in, held it all together to get through the pregnancy and supporting everyone else. It seems now I have time to process and let go of these feelings. I miss him. I miss his humour and his facial expressions.  I miss talking to him about DIY, my work and gardening. I miss gossiping with him about my mum and sisters, us both being the ones who sorted them out. I think he’d be pleased with what I’ve done with the garden this year – I’ve tried really hard with some help from Dan’s Mum. And nothing seems to have died yet. I chose a hollyhock as my dad loved to grow them – I think he’d be impressed with mine although would tell me I should’ve staked them out a bit sooner. 

5 and a half weeks in and I’ve started to settle into maternity leave and being a mum of two.  I won’t lie – initially I really felt I’d made a terrible mistake. It was hard. But now we’re all getting used to our new normal and we all seem fairly happy.  Nancy has been so good and understanding. She’s had her moments but she has been entitled to; after 3.5 years her world was changed rather dramatically!  We’ve only had one mention of putting Erin in the bin….

I’m taking a slower approach to life; enjoying time outside and exploring the area and enjoying each moment. I want to think about my friends and family more, create memories and just ‘live’.

I’m also really enjoying my crochet at the moment and have set up a Facebook page and instagram  (tealady_crochet). I am really loving this new crafty and creative side of me; it’s really excited me and invigorated me. I will blog about that in a bit too. I probably have bought too much yarn though….

So that’s me at the moment. My aim is to blog a monthly update and will blog bits inbetween. Even if no one else reads it, it’s cathartic for me!  
Emily x 

Crochet the Fog away

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After my Dad’s death in November last year, as well as sadness,  a relief washed over me. The dark  cloud of terminal cancer that had hung over my family for the best part of 6 months, was gone.  I could start to look forward again.  I don’t mean that in a horrible, I-dont-care-about-my-dad way, but the emotional and mental trauma of living in limbo was unbearable. Not knowing when but knowing it would happen sometime. I felt trapped, stuck in a nightmare. Whatever happened, the future was going to be different.

I had spent months grieving with my Dad. By the time he passed away, I felt like I had no grief left. I was glad that he was at peace,  away from the cancer that ravaged his body and took away everything about him. 

Around the same time as my Dad’s diagnosis, I was not feeling myself. I had changed jobs at work, and I was struggling with getting to grips with new processes. I wasn’t sleeping well and Nancy was waking a few times each night and bedtimes were a constant battle. I began to feel anxious,  tired and worried. I was snappy and angry, very angry at the slightest thing. I became disengaged, not wanting to socialise and at work I was speaking my mind (which was a bit angry and ragey) which was raising eyebrows.  I wasn’t myself. All this on top of my Dad diagnosed with a terminal illness. I worried about him, my Mum, my younger sister with learning difficulties. I felt duty bound to help sort it all out and I was overwhelmed by a feeling of burden,  being my mother’s oldest child, of how I would get us all through this. I’d always been the helper, the one who sorted everyone else out. My fingers were gripping the edge of normality and I was starting to slip.

I went to the GP and was prescribed an anti depressant. However, I didn’t take it. I felt stupid, silly, overreacting. I pushed it to the back of my mind and carried on until the day I walked out of work before a presentation I was supposed to undertake. I went home that day and was then signed off work for 6 weeks.

Medication alone, I don’t think, can help with this kind of illness. You need time to refresh, time to talk if you feel you need to, and you need space to be yourself away from the stresses of life. I felt that I had totally lost who I was.

I had mentioned I wanted to learn to crochet a while back. I had tried myself with you tube for help a few years ago, but I gave up pretty quickly.

For my birthday I received a gift voucher for crochet lessons. I was intrigued and wanted to give it a go. However, the next lessons didn’t start till the end of November, so I booked in and didn’t think much of it.

I had my first crochet lesson about a week after my Dad had died. The timing was not brilliant and I did contemplate not going. It felt a bit of a stupid thing to do given the circumstances. But the lesson was booked and having a few hours to myself sounded a good idea. I was nervous though.

The 2 hour lesson was a complete relief; I thought of nothing except about what I was doing right at that moment. We crocheted a granny square and the sense of achievement I felt was a new feeling for me. For the first time in 6 weeks I felt almost normal again.

Picking up the crochet hook meant that I could do something physical, use my brain and have time just for me to contemplate, reflect and relax. I felt that by making something, it was a positive coming from my negative mind. It felt healing. It felt therapeutic.

6 months on, I feel much better now. I still have some low days but these are manageable. Having a new craft, a new hobby has really helped me feel like I’ve moved on from all those negative thoughts. I miss my Dad and I always will. Crochet hasn’t cured me but it gave me an outlet I didn’t previously have. It has given me a love of crafting and a desire to try more things and be a bit more adventurous. Things I find interesting and engaging. Things just for me. And that was really what I needed.

Depression

There are many posts that I have written over the past few months, that I never published. Since October, life got pretty shit. I was diagnosed with depression, my Dad died and well, it was awful. This post was written in October 2015. These were my thoughts when I was diagnosed with depression. 

Depression

I can laugh. I can smile. 
I’m not a zombie.

I’m not suicidal. 

I am, apparently, depressed. 

Anxious. 

I had to take time out.

Time out from what?

Everything.

There’s just not enough time for anything 

Not enough time for me.

Time is probably the reason. 

Time is running out and I have no way of stopping it. 

It’s a summer and autumn of lasts, not firsts.

So many endings. 

Saying goodbye all the time is very hard. 

I can forget, for a while.

I have made the most of the time we have left.

But I am so tired, and strained.

Restless.

I am not how I thought someone depressed is. Should be. 

If I don’t think, I am OK.

Depression is hard.

Many days, I am OK. if I don’t have to do anything, I’m OK.

but pressure,expectation, appointments, or a comment, or a look

Can have my stomach churn and the panic sets in and I am back to square one.

I probably don’t look that unwell on the outside.

But it’s all on the inside.

I’m not hyperventilating, but I am panicking. 

I can’t think of anything else. Round and round and round my head.

Small, insignificant things like a comment on a birthday card. 

I am tired. I am wired. I can’t rest. I can’t stop.

No I’m not pregnant….

I’m just not drinking alcohol 

I’m the designated driver 

I’m not that fond of shellfish

I just ate too much at lunchtime 

I’ve given up Diet Coke

I’m just wearing leggings because of my hairy legs

I got so used to using my stomach as a tea cup holder I never stopped 

Just because two people at work are, doesn’t mean I am

I’m just cutting out caffeine because I am a sadist 

I don’t fancy that rollercoaster, ok?

I’m waddling because I seem to have injured my hip picking up a 2 stone toddler 

I like water 

I’m just wearing a dress which accentuates my stomach 

I just caught my daughters sickness bug

This pair of maternity trousers were the only clean ones I had 

They only had decaff at the shop, and I was desperate 

I just like trying new things! So what if I’ve never eaten prawns before…

I accidentally bought this top from the maternity section 

It’s perfectly normal to cry at The Great British Bake Off

I’m just fat!

My daughter is just 2 years old, I didn’t realise that meant I should be pregnant by now 

Goodbye Granny Pants

When I was pregnant and I was told that I had to buy some massive pants for after the birth, I was half amazed and half disgusted that I had to buy some Granny Pants. 

They looked bloody HUGE.

I couldn’t find any to start with. I just needed some non fancy everyday kind of granny pants. I didn’t even think I’d wear them. In the end I went to BHS and bought about 5 in varying dark colours. One thing I noticed about pregnancy was that every book I read and everyone I spoke to talked in hushed tones about wearing dark clothes and using dark towels and dark granny pants. I couldn’t imagine wearing them at all.  In BHS, I hunched my shoulders, trying to shield my face in case anyone I knew saw me in BHS and then, buying Granny Pants. It was an ordeal. 

2.5 years later…..

I am wearing the same granny pants. The granny pants moved in and they never moved out. I found the Granny Pants to be quite comfy, actually. Reassuringly secure, if you will. They held everything that was starting to flop down quite well. They also hid the bushy nightmare that was my bikini line.

But.

But I am 32 years old, not 92. I really should wear some non Granny Pants for a bit, right? Something that may make me feel a little more Giselle rather than Granny. I realised one day that I had given up on my pants. I had become accustomed to pants that came up to my belly button. They didn’t exactly make my VPL look any better. Skinny jeans and Granny Pants is probably not such a good idea, in retrospect.

So I set off to look for some sparkly new pants. I felt excitement as I entered M&S (yes, I could’ve picked a sexier shop, but you know, I’m starting off gently). 

As I walked into the lingerie department, I looked around at all the pants. Loads of pants. 

And I got immediately confused.

So. Many. Pants.

What the hell was a Brazilian pair of pants? Why were these pants made of what looked like spandex? I picked up a thong, which looked menacingly floss-like. They were the same size as my daughters pants. 

My head swirled with lurid pink, and black lace and little white bows. 

Shorts, high leg, bikini, Brazilian, no VPL, short leg, French knickers, high waisted, midi, waist cincher, thong….the words meant nothing to me. 

How do you even know what knickers to wear anyway?! 

I just wanted some nice pants. Pants I could just wear and not feel like I had a piece of string up my bum.

In the end I just picked a pair that looked like it covered at least 65% of my bum. Brazilian. That’d have to do. 

I purchased my new pants and felt a nervous anticipation about wearing them. 

The next day, I examined my pants. I seemed to have picked up a pair of pants that looked like they were the wrong way round. My derrière was barely covered by a lacy back and the front was just as bad.  

I realised I needed to sort out the lady garden area pretty nifty too. A VPL was the least of my worries, at the moment I had a VBL (visible bushy leg).

But, they looked nice at least. If I breathed in. So I wore them. I spent half the day scratching my bum due to the lace and the other half trying to sit down without getting a wedgie. 

Does that happen to everyone, I wonder?

Thing is, putting on my Granny pants, I feel comfort and minimal effort is needed to just throw them on. Maybe they’re not so bad after all…..

Why I joined the Labour Party

This month, I joined the Labour Party. It’s been a big month for memberships with over 60,000 people joining the political party. 

I am in no way an expert in politics, and I don’t pretend to be. But I know what I think, what I believe in. I feel that now is the time more than ever to start making a stand for the things I believe in.

 The general election result was gutting. I couldn’t, and still can’t understand why people voted Conservative. I voted Labour, however I also felt uneasy at Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour Party. I felt he had nothing new to give, didn’t appear to have much passion, and did not seem a strong opponent, so why would people want to rock the boat and take a chance on him – I can understand why people may have felt this way. I also felt after the election that I need to get more involved in politics, hold my MP to account and stand up for what I believed in. I have been doing this quietly and steadfastly, signing petitions, and emailing my MP. But still I felt the need to do more. To get involved. To bring politics into the everyday.

The more I hear of the conservatives not sticking to their election manifesto, reducing benefits for those less fortunate and increasing benefits for big businesses, the more dismayed I became. Even things that I thought would benefit me, such as 30 free hours per week childcare, which was discussed again and again at the election, won’t even be implemented until 2017. This Government promised a lot but has not delievered anything that I can see truly benefits the people who really need it in this country. 

I have dithered and debated joining the Labour Party for a long time. I decided to join when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader. It felt like a new wave, a fresh start. Time to move forwards and remember and hold onto the core values and beliefs of Labour. I feel refreshed and energised by the things that are currently being discussed and brought forward by Labour. This is the kind of politics I understand, that I can get passionate about. 

I joined the Labour Party because I feel the party echoes my core values and beliefs regarding a more equal society, and equality for all. 

Jeremy Corbyn has set the cat amongst the pigeons in political terms. He is a completely different sort of politician to David Cameron. You can see through their terrible propaganda, such as calling Corbyn a ‘threat to national security’, that they are concerned about his influence in society. That because he speaks geuinely and honestly, that they don’t know how to react to him. The  first Prime Ministers Questions was a great example of seeing how they react to any form of change.

I like the fact that Jeremy doesn’t rise to their childishness, rising above it and focussing on what matters – the issues. He genuinely cares about the issues he talks about, and he listens to what people are telling him. He is breaking the politicial mold of recent years.

I feel the Labour Party need to get on board and work together now, here is the moment to really make some changes and progress. Compromise is essential. I was disappointed that women such as Liz Kendall chose the backbenches instead of working together with Corbyn to move the party forwards. I don’t agree with everything Corbyn says, beleieve me, but I truly believe he is a great catalyst for change. I for one feel that women in the party do need to be more present in senior roles, and I have joined the Labour Women’s Network to support their efforts. He isn’t perfect, he isn’t trying to be, but what he is doing is wiping the slate clean and moving forwards, which can only be a good thing. 

This is an exciting time in politics, and I feel motivated to stand up and have my voice heard. I am very interested to see what happens. 

Whatever your political beliefs, I hope you do the same. 

Mum Fog: Things you forget when you’re a Mum

You give birth, you don’t sleep for months, brain cells dissipate..you think you’ve got through it, but then the Mum Fog descends and you start to forget to do everything…..

1. Shave

You get to the swimming pool, you get into your costume and you just remember you didn’t sort out your lady garden which is growing down your legs.

2. Nail painting

Paint one lot of nails, and then  get distracted and forget to do the other hand until you only remember when you sit down at your desk at work.

3. Where you’re going

Get in the car, turn the key, set off down the road….end up anywhere because you either

a) zone out completely and don’t remember how you got there

b) panic that you’re going the wrong way because you suddenly don’t recognise anything on the route your going on (even though it is the right route and one you have done for years…)

c) whatever the day or time, you start driving to work. Or even get there, before you realise.

d) start driving and actually forget where or why you left the house

4. Names

a) Before I gave birth, people’s names easily rolled off my tongue. I knew who people were. I knew their goddanm names. Now? Well, nowadays, my brain seems to paralyse when I have to start mentioning people’s names, so now most people are referred to as: Lydia-Eleanor-Linda-Dan-John-Mary-Jane-Sarah-Sophie-Nancy.

b) Same goes for the TV. Shows I have watched for years, suddenly I don’t know anyone’s names, reducing characters to ‘Thingymebob’ ‘Whatsisname’ and ‘Him/Her/That one from The Bill’ thus making people think I don’t actually watch said programme and am making the whole thing up.

5. Reply to text messages

You send me a text, I may even read it. But then I sort of answer it in my head, or think about answering, and then Nancy starts throwing Yoghurt at the TV, and then suddenly it’s 11pm and I’ve fallen asleep dribbling on the sofa. Soz.

6. Shampoo

I’ve washed my hair once, twice,  heck sometimes I can’t remember how many times I’ve put shampoo on. But then did I use conditioner? Maybe just do it once more, just in case….

7. Wee

a) I spend my whole day asking a two year old if she needs the loo and in the process forget to actually go have a wee myself. My bladder is now made of steel, and I shall probably become incontinent very soon.

b) When I do finally open the floodgates and have a wee, I can’t do it in peace, there always being a small child wanting to share this moment with me.

8. Listening to nursery rhymes or watching Cbeebies when there’s no children

Yes, I have driven most of the way to work before I realise I’m listening to nursery rhymes, or been sat in front of the TV watching Tweenies before I realise there’s no children around. I’ve even sat staring at the blue screen after 7pm on cebeebies. For like, ages.

9. What to do with no kids around

You’ve got a baby-free night! hurrah! You go to a restaurant and sit in silence looking at each other. Or you might be in the car, and you see a postman, and you just want to shout “Oh, Look! Postman Pat!” but there’s no-one in the car who appreciates that comment.

10.  Er, I’ve forgotten what I was going to write here.

forget-mum-parenting

 

Lost

Have you ever lost a ticket, a receipt?

Something you really wanted to keep

Have you ever held it so tight

That you thought you’d never lose it

But then it gets so familiar 

That feel between your fingers 

you don’t realise it’s not there?

It’s somewhere, floating through particles 

It still exists, it knows where it went 

You’ll never see it again.

But you know that it was real 

you can still feel the wrinkled paper in your palm.

Potty: No Training

I find it odd that we are supposed to be training our children in the art of life-long continence when in reality, I don’t have a frigging clue how to teach someone how to manage their bowels and bladders. Is there a potty training, training course for clueless parents? If so, I missed the boat.

Before I could even say ‘potty’, my girl was stripping off and weeing in the plastic thing. It was like a game of cat and mouse: Dare I talk about this phenomenon, shatter this spell which she appeared to be under?

One day turned into one week. We clung onto Pull-ups like our lives depended on it. I think we found it harder than she did. Mind you, she found wearing knickers a slight problem initially, but we seem to have gotten over that now, some 6 weeks after she threw her last nappy aside.

There are a few things I have encountered during this transition process, and I thought you’d like to hear my words of wisdom, or, er learn from my experience:

1. Kitchen Roll is your best friend

Never before had I loved some paper so much. I take it everywhere with me; it mops up accidental wees on restaurant floors, other people’s carpets and you can fashion a makeshift Pull-up pants from the really strong stuff.

2. 2.5 year olds speak loudly in toilets

My girl can’t help herself but comment on everything and everyone in the public toilets.

“She smells!”

“Is that a lady?”

“You’ve got a YUCKY BUM Mummy!!!”

Have all been uttered from her mouth.

Nothing, however, NOTHING beats the time we went into a loo in a Pub, right after an older lady, who for reasons I can’t fathom, left the toilet in a less than cleanly state.

“ARGH! POO! MUMMY! SMELLY POOOO! THE LADY DID A POO!” she screams as we walk into the toilet stall, the only one currently available. She’s hopping from foot to foot, desperate for a wee.

“Just get on the toilet!” I hiss, trying to wrench her onto the seat whilst holding my breath and trying not to breath in through my nose.

“NOOOO! MUMMY! CLEAN IT!!!!!” She cries, and in my desperation to avoid her 5th pair of knickers in a day, I do what I never thought I ever, ever would.

I grabbed the loo brush and I cleaned that old woman’s poop from the toilet. For my girl.

“HOORAY!” She shouts and jumps on the toilet, only to do the smallest wee in the history of wees.

I silently cry inside and order a large glass of red as I walk back to the table…

3. Your hands will never be cleaner

See example above. Also wiping moving bums means wee and poo ON YOUR HANDS. I scrub and scrub. Antibacterial soap is a must. As is alcohol gel. Maybe some washing up gloves…

4. Trousers are OUT

Skirts, dresses = yes. Easy access to potty and toilet, no fussing, and when you’re out in public, you can whip off the wet stuff pretty easily. I feel sorry for those who have to wear trousers for any reason. In fact, when we are indoors, I aim for the heating on and minimal clothing, in an attempt to reduce the washing pile that I only just got under control from when she was born….

5. Repetitive Speech Strain

All I do every minute of every day is ask her if she needs a wee or a poo. It takes over your life. We have come full circle, from talking to each other about her wee and poo, when she was a newborn, to talking to her about her wee and poo. You ask and ask, and the time you forget to ask, is the time that they do need one and pee all over the floor….

6. Getting excited about wee and poo

You have to be mega interested in wee and poo, OK? When your child uses the potty, you have to summon up the enthusiasm and the energy to really WHOOP WHOOP and Holla! about the amazing feat they have performed. Even when it really smells and poo is hanging from their bum and they are running around your living room. Way to go!