Ruby of Egypt – Cover Reveal

Once upon a time, there was a little girl whose head was in the clouds while her nose was in books.

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While others baked and crafted, or played hockey and netball, she wistfully made up stories in her head as she went about her day, and later jotted them down in notebooks on a night time.

Not much has changed.

That little girl, born in Nottingham but raised in Northumberland, left school at sixteen, spent most of her life working in the public sector; daydreaming her way through workdays and emersing herself in a land of literature on a night  .

Married to someone who brings out the sense of humour in life, reminding her not to be too serious at times, she now has a little girl of her own.

Her very own little bookworm.

Ruby of Egypt was written back in 2011, during a time when she worked shifts and spent long periods of time home alone.

A far cry from the chaotic juggling act of these early parenthood years.

Albeit regretful that she didn’t pursue Literature in further education, if she’s learnt anything with age – it’s to do what you love.

What makes you feel happy and content.

And there’s nothing more that she likes doing than sitting listening to her ‘Writing’ Playlist while the words flow from brain to finger, to keyboard, to paper.

Her happy place.

Do what you love.

And you never have to work a day in your life.

So today, I’m delighted to share with you all the brand new cover artwork for my revised Children’s Book Ruby of Egypt.

Ruby of Egypt Front Cover Snippet.PNG

Designed by the awesome Amy Purdie from Whiteacresdesign (check out her amazing work and brand design here).

I’m unbelievably happy with the result and I cannot wait to get this out there.

And for those of you who voted in the previous blog post for the blurb, I can now reveal the winning version.

With 54.55% of the vote, version two was chosen:

Ruby Back Cover Snippet

I received the proof copy of the book on Thursday and this weekend has been spent proofreading and finalising the format.

I’m in the process of planning the official launch day and I still have to format the E-book as well as work on the marketing plan.

I know it’s a lot to take on with a toddler and working full time but this is what I want to do and hopefully this crazy stage of my life will pay off someday 🙂

Watch this space and thank you for your support so far.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Ruby of Egypt – Blurb Market Research

Ruby of Egypt Blurb Market Research

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Hello lovely readers!

I’m after your feedback please.

As some of you know, I’m in the process of redesigning and revamping my children’s book – Ruby of Egypt.

Throughout the whole writing process the hardest part I’ve found to do is the blurb!

If you wouldn’t mind reading the below examples and then clicking on the link to vote.

Please choose the one that captivates you – that really draws you in and makes you want to read the book.

 

Version 1:

Things aren’t always what they seem.

Ruby is about to go on an incredible adventure that she and the people of Ancient Egypt will never forget.

Ruby has never been inside a pyramid. Whilst on a trip to Egypt with her parents, the inquisitive teenager follows a mysterious black cat into the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Upon entering, she is instantly transported back in time to the exciting world of Ancient Egypt. Incredibly, Ruby not only discovers that the black cat can talk, but that his name is Sadiki and he has an extremely important mission for her

An important mission that will not only challenge Ruby to save Ancient Egypt, but one that will change the purpose of her life forever.

Version 2:

Things aren’t always what they seem.

Ruby has never been inside a pyramid. Whilst on a trip to Egypt with her parents, the inquisitive teenager follows a mysterious black cat into the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Upon entering, she is instantly transported back in time to the exciting world of Ancient Egypt. Ruby not only discovers that the black cat can talk, but that he has an extremely important mission for her; to save Ancient Egypt.

Ruby is about to go on an incredible adventure that she and the people of Ancient Egypt will never forget.

Version 3:

Whilst Ruby is on a trip to Egypt with her parents, the inquisitive teenager follows a mysterious black cat into the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Upon entering, she is instantly transported back in time to the exciting world of Ancient Egypt. Incredibly, Ruby not only discovers that the black cat can talk, but that his name is Sadiki and he has an extremely important mission for her.

An important mission that will not only challenge Ruby to save Ancient Egypt, but one that will change the purpose of her life forever,

Ruby is about to go on an incredible adventure that she and the people of Ancient Egypt will never forget.

Click here to vote.

Thanks for your help.

Love Missuswolf xxx

A Tale of Transitioning To A Toddler Bed

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have been slightly anxious at the prospect of transitioning to a toddler bed.

A Tale of Transitioning Into A Toddler Bed

Photo Credit – Blake Meyer on Unsplash

What once was the safety enclosures of a cot now provides accessibility.

Freedom.

To explore their bedroom. At all hours.

It’s a step to knocking down walls and widening the boundaries.

Parenting is like running a cross country track. Your body is in a state of shock for the first set of paces. But as your heart-beat catches up and your muscles relax into the new routine, you feel a sense of elation.

A sense of pride.

I’ve cracked this.

And I feel good.

So you continue along at that pace, comfortable in your stride.

That is, until you come to a steep incline.

Your muscles burn.

Your heart pounds.

And your breathing increases.

You have a new stage for your body to adjust to.

But you do. And once you’ve got to the top of that hill. And you’re back at your steady pace.

Again comes the elation. The sense of achievement. You got this.

Very much like parenting.

You think you have one stage cracked. And you adapt to that new routine, trundling along.

Until the next one rears its head.

Easter Weekend was another game changer in our household.

We stayed the night in a hotel on a trip to Nottingham. This obviously involved all three of us in one room. With a Travel Cot.

Throw in the excitement of sharing a room with her parents, the sugar high from Easter Eggs, time spent with cousins and Family-Friendly-Pub-Cheesecakes, The Little Lady was on a mission.

You see, she’d previously hung one leg over her cot bed at home.

And I’ve been worried for some time now.

There’d been the instance of the entire contents of her cot-bed emptied onto the floor.

Was she creating a soft landing in which to climb out and dive upon??

Or would she pile them up on the inside and climb on top of them?

Maybe she would work out that if she used her upper body strength, she could lift herself onto the cot-bed rail and swing the other leg over?

Or am I overthinking this??

The Little Lady is a climber. She’s also an explorer – and mischievous. Not bad qualities to have at all – in fact they’ll do well to see her through life.

A Tale of Transitioning To A Toddler Bed

Photo by Nathan Bingle on Unsplash

But my god from a parent’s point of view, they do test you!!

So as we tried to wrestle our freakishly strong toddler into the travel cot, we were met by a turmoil of screams, cries and that oh-so-famous plank-like-position that little people do in protest.

In fact, on this very same trip, it took TWO of us, yes two fully grown adults, to strap her into her car seat. Who needs a gym when you spend your days resisting a two year old??

When we eventually managed to get her into her travel cot, we both quickly dove into our bed and hit the lights and turned the sound down on the TV.

On my last trip with her in a hotel, I was alone and resorted to hiding in the bathroom with wine while I waited for her to settle.

For some reason, the bathroom party didn’t enter our heads this time.

Maybe because we hated to admit that we were too exhausted to even attempt that.

As we lay there, a shadow appeared at the top of the travel cot. The figure of a small human draping one leg casually over the top.

Followed by a few grunts.

And the inevitable happened.

She’d somehow managed to pull herself up, swing the other leg round and that was it.

The small human had made her bid for freedom. And oh how she giggled in amusement as she ran wild around the hotel room, super proud of herself.

Needless to say, it was a long evening of trying to calm her down and put her back in.

I cuddled her in with me for a bit which went against everything I’ve done since she was born. I’ve refused to let her co-sleep. I know it works for others but it’s something I’ve never done and we’ve survived well without it. I don’t want to start habits like that now.

Eventually, we managed to coax her back into the travel cot before jumping into bed.

The lights were out and the TV was off – all by 9.30. We both lay there still, daring not to move for fear that she’d stir and try and make good her escape again.

Then we all fell asleep. How wild. Good Friday night and the OH and I were in the land of nod by 10pm. A far cry from our pre-parent-days when the party would just be getting starting now. Somewhere in Whitley Bay or Crammie Village.

It was a blessing that we went to bed so early as we were evacuated at 5am by the fire alarm. When there was no fire. A story of which is so ridiculous that it is probably best told some other time.

Upon our return home the following day, we went to put the Little Lady into her cot bed.

Where she promptly remembered her actions from the previous night and swung a leg out of the cot and lifted herself up.

The decision had been made for us. Get the rails off that cot bed and get them off now! We’re finally transitioning to a toddler bed.

We initially took one side off that night, which is just as well. When it came to converting it to a toddler bed the next day, it was a bigger job than first thought.

It was tough tying to coax her to stay in bed. She wanted to explore. And there were tears and tantrums as we left her room.

But we persevered. We sat downstairs and I winced as I heard the stomps and the thuds.

I drank some wine. And ate some pizza while watching Saturday Night Takeaway (the one without Ant – sob!)

Then, as the stomps ceased and the noise faded, we crept upstairs.

And found that she’d put herself to bed.

It had been a frustrating and exhausting weekend to that point, but that all dissolved when my heart actually burst with pride. My little baby and had found her way into her bed and pulled the covers over herself.

Something so small and trivial, yet something so big and meaningful when you’ve been battling with a challenging toddler.

I placed some rather large cushions on the floor next to her bed and we left her.

She fell out of bed not long after. We were straight upstairs upon hearing the thud.

But she was just lying there, curled up amongst the cushions, still sleeping.

I scooped her up, kissed her, and put her back to bed.

She fell out of bed a further four times that night. It didn’t wake her, she went straight over as soon as she was back in bed.

I took to asking fellow mam’s for advice on the falling out of bed. All ranged from cushions on the floor, to rolling a towel into a sausage like shape and tucking it under the sheet to a rail that can be bought from Ikea and attached to the side of the bed. (FYI cushions seem to be working for us at the mo).

The following day was Easter Sunday, and the OH took her cot bed apart and built her new big girls bed from it.

Another hurdle to then conquer was the afternoon nap.

Rather than get in bed, she spent her afternoon naps on Easter Sunday and Monday turning her room upside down, emptying drawers and pulling items out of her wardrobe.

The OH had to whisk her off to soft play so I could regain some control of the unruly chaos of her bedroom.

And with this change in bed comes a change in routine.

It’s been a tough week of trying to get her to stay in her bed when we go to put her down.

There’s the bath time. Then there’s changing into pj’s. Followed by reading several stories.

All of which are very demanding to start with when you have a little person who doesn’t listen and refuses to get out of the bath and into their pjs’.

Sheer and utter frustration.

And then the attempt of tuck and run, securing the baby gate on her door as we flee and make our own bid for freedom.

She’s advanced to the gate and cried as we’ve left her there.

But we’ve tried to be cruel to be kind, which has been the motto from day one with sleeping.

We left her.

The old routine would see us leaving her to whinge in her cot anyway and she would soon settle.

It was just now that we left her at the baby gate at the door.

And there’s been instances of going upstairs and she’s still not in bed or she’s jumping out upon seeing us.

But we’ve had to be stern.

Which she seems to be learning from.

It hasn’t been as bad as I anticipated as I expected hard work. It’s just adapting to a new routine and new boundaries that are being pushed.

But my god it’s frustrating.

There have been tears and tantrums.

And that’s just me.

Albeit there’s a struggle and we inevitably fall out. As she just … doesn’t … listen. Argh!

But when she’s finally passed out asleep so innocently in her big girls bed, my heart melts and bursts with pride simultaneously. This tiny 5 pound baby is now putting herself to sleep in a big girls bed.

Where have the last two years gone?

Such a short space of time in which so much has already been accomplished.

It’s the next stage I’m dreading (but haven’t I dreaded them all haha)

Potty Training.

I’m not forcing that one. All in good time.

A Tale of Transit

Photo by Rodolfo Sanches Carvalho on Unsplash

So for now, we’ll just keep our cross country pace steady in this new routine. Until Ella leads us round the corner and up the potty training hill.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Old English Company – a Planner’s Dream.

If  you’re anything like me and you love a good plan – and you love fabulous stationary to write and record these plans on – then you NEED to check out the Old English Company.

Old English Company Planner's

Admittedly, the one time I need to be more organised than ever in my life – juggling a toddler, a full time job, a house and a husband – I have fallen by the wayside and hate to admit it:  I’ve lost my planning stride.

But seeing products like this brings back that fire in my belly – that passion to basically sort my life out.

There’s a gorgeous blush pink planner notebook and a weekly calendar that I absolutely need in my life.

 

The Old English Company also do a selection of prints with quirky and inspiring quotes. There’s so many to choose from that I’m spoilt for choice. I’ve pictured a few of my faves below.

 

My weekly routine is utter chaos; working my job around nursery runs and which member of the family is helping out with childcare on what date. Throw in the actual workload to action for my day job, meal plan, renovate a house, slot in time for blogging and squeeze in a social life – Planning is more essential now than ever.

 

So to all my readers who are spinning plates and trying to keep their head above water – these are for you.

 

 

 

In celebration of World Stationary Day on 25th April, Old English Company are giving you a chance to win four (yes FOUR) of their fab new Planner’s.

To enter, simply click on this link . Competition closes 26th April 2018.

Check out the full planner collection in detail here.

I’ve certainly felt more than overwhelmed this year with everything that I’ve had to juggle so I feel it’s time that I got my act together.

I find writing a To-Do list really helps clear my head. Even if I’m slower at ticking it off these days (remember my To-Do List with a Toddler post?)

So I’m going to revive that old, motivation streak and get myself a Blush Pink Planner.

And design a life I love.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note that Old English Company kindly gifted me a voucher to use on their website as part of this blog post..

 

 

Bonding with The Little Lady over Snazaroo Party Face Paints

I’ve been lucky that Snazaroo Party Face Paint have kindly gifted me a set of their party face paint to try.

Snazaroo Party Face Paint

Normally, the idea of using face paint fills me with dread.

I just envisage not having a clue where to start.

As a self-confessed less than artistic person, I need all the help I can get.

To work on the arts and crafts side of my motherhood journey.

So this was the perfect opportunity for a novice face painter like myself, to get creative and step out of my comfort zone.

Being one of life’s planners, I obviously had a practice run on myself while The Little Lady slept.

I set up my laptop and used the Snazaroo website for inspiration and accessed their How To Guides.

There’s a wide selection of character’s to choose from, including animals, princesses, pirates, flags and even Disney Character’s.

I opted for Captain Jack Sparrow.

The paints are easy to apply. You don’t need a lot of water, just a dab to dampen the brush or sponge.

Snazaroo Party Face Paints

I made the mistake of using too much water on the sponge to start with, which made the paint runny on my skin. Not to worry – the paint came off my face easily with a baby wipe and I could start again with less water.

Hurrah!

The paint also comes off the brushes easily when you dip them in a cup of water. Super handy as my Jack Sparrow braid required assorted colours.

As you can see, I am no way an artist.

But thankfully the How To Guides are easy to follow.

So even people like myself stand a fighting chance of creating a face painting that resembles a character.

I know I need to brush up on my artistic skills but the paints themselves are so easy to use.

Easy to apply.

Once applied, they do last.

They’re also easy to wash and wipe off. The instructions recommend hot soapy water but a scrub with baby wipes works well too.

When I think of face painting, I also think of mess.

But the Snazaroo Party Face Paints come in a handy tray and they don’t run all over the place.

It was amusing to watch Ella’s expression when she woke up from her nap. She studied my painted face with enthusiasm and shouted ‘pirate!’ at me.

Woohoo – my artistic attempts had not been in vain.

‘Do you want your face painted like mammy?’

We had an afternoon without The Man (as he was at the match) so bonding over face paints it was.

I showed her the designs and she picked Elsa.

A pretty simple design to follow and paint, which I’m thankful for as she refused to sit still.

Again, I had this parenting fantasy that we’d sit together in harmony as she allowed me to paint her face.

I even set up a mirror in front of her so she could see what I was doing.

But being the independent, stubborn Little Lady that she is, she kept taking the brushes and sponges so she could do it herself.

Snazaroo Face Paint

I managed to get the blue base and white stars on her face, but the finer details such as the hearts, were a little trickier as she kept moving.

Then came the glitter.

Oh how she got excited.

I dipped the brush in the pot and started dabbing at her face.

Before I knew it, she had swiped the brush out of my hand and picked up the pot. She was scooping the glitter and spreading it across her face.

Snazaroo Face Paint

Although the perfectionist in me started getting agitated, I realised that it wasn’t about how perfect the character’s were.

It was about having fun together over an activity.

She was happy.

I was happy.

And so we played pirates and princesses together.

Snazaroo Face Paint

With the chaotic nature of our everyday lives, sometimes it’s nice just to slow down.

And immerse yourself in child’s play.

Forgetting the pressure of adult life.

By slapping on some face paint.

And pretending to be a pirate for the afternoon.

Love Missuswolf xxx

This post was written in collaboration with Snazaroo 

Driven by Dane Cobain

Those of you who have read my blog for years know that it was born through my love of reading – so when the opportunity to read Dane Cobain’s latest release Driven was presented, I accepted.

Driven 2

I’m always on the look out to read different books by a variety of authors.

For those who may not have heard about Dane Cobain, he’s a published author, freelance writer, book blogger poet and (occasional) musician from High Wycombe, UK.

Author Pic

As well as an award-winning book blogSocialBookshelves.com to his name he also has the following:

No Rest for the Wicked(supernatural thriller), Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home (poetry) Former.ly (literary fiction), Social Paranoia (non-fiction), Come On Up to the House (horror) and Subject Verb Object (anthology).

Driven is the first book in the Leipfold Series.

Blurb:

Meet private detective James Leipfold, computer whizzkid Maile O’Hara and good-natured cop Jack Cholmondeley in the first book of the Leipfold series.

A car strikes in the middle of the night and a young actress lies dead in the road. The police force thinks it’s an accident, but Maile and Leipfold aren’t so sure.

Putting their differences aside, and brought together by a shared love of crosswords and busting bad guys, Maile and Leipfold investigate. But not all is as it seems, as they soon find out to their peril…

Cobain sets the scene with a fast-paced first chapter.

It follows the lead up to the death of the young actress as she finish’s her shift at work and walks home.

The narrative and descriptions in this first chapter alone had me drawn in – I found my own heart beating with the tension that was created.

What proceeds is the investigation by both the Police and Private Detective Leipfold and his assistant, Maile.

I found that Cobain has a knack of writing interesting characters. He peppers the story with little quirks of their personalities; from completing crossword puzzles, to online gaming and theatre trips.

There is a technical theme intermittent with the storyline and it gives us an insight into current set-ups as well as what is to come.

The book introduces character’s along the way that are all under suspicion by the Police and Private Detectives, which keeps you guessing.

A satisfying conclusion and with the potential for more to come from Leipfold and Maile, it’ll be interesting to see where Book Two takes us.

Drive is available now – click here for yours.

Driven

~Where To Find Dane Cobain~

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Love Missuswolf xxx

Disclosure – I was gifted a copy of Driven as part of this feature

 

World Book Day 2018

Well hello World Book Day.

Although Ella was at nursery for last years, I think I either forgot (bad mam!) or it slipped us all by.

I’m going with the latter. To preserve my parent pride.

Why oh why does World Book Day fill me with dread? I love books!

This year, however, there is no escaping (even despite the storm). There’s a note on the nursery door and I’ve discussed it with a fellow mam.

I just wish I was crafty. And had the time and energy to pour into making this perfect for Ella.

But my lack of craft and working full time already has the odds stacked against me.

And I’m trying in vain to be a more positive person.

There’s no such thing as time.

Time is what you make it.

All quotes from The Secret audible book, a book I listen to every day at the moment to keep some mental stability in my utterly chaotic life.

 

So this year I’ve panic procured  a store bought costume.

Little Bo Peep.

My reasoning is that she loves books about animals. She plays the Orchard game of matching the animals up (and she’s bliddy clever at it too).

This allures from the fact that mammy ran rings around the Character Costume display in Asda and this was one of the only 2-3 years left.

It was a Saturday night – which subsequently meant the rails had already been ransacked during the day.

But I hate to miss an opportunity – especially one where I’m alone in retail premises with potential costumes presented to me.

My current state of mind would have me leave it until the very last minute.

So I grabbed Bo Peep (which I’m glad I did as Storm Emma and The Beast From The East has hindered any other shopping opportunities).

I’d originally had Belle’s costume from Beauty in the Beast in my basket. But after an internal debate in the chocolate aisle, I marched back and swapped it.

Bo Peep and her sheep may be less common than Belle and surely more Book-worthy??

It was only once I’d paid for the costume that I realised Ella does actually have the Beauty and the Beast story. It’s in one of her Usborne Xmas advent calendar books.

I’m not so sure we have Bo Peep in literature format in our abode.

Drats.

Never mind. Time will tell and if anything she has another costume to prance around the house in.

However, she’s probably going to endure ut twice over.

The nursery was still open today and I was one of those parents who was like ‘ive bought it now – you’re wearing it!’

And even though she changes nurseries next week, the new nursery might be of the same opinion as the old: postponing it until next week so everyone can make it.

I’m going to start planning next year’s World Book Day now.

All ideas (and crafter’s) welcome.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

Finally … A Successful Trip Out With A Toddler

Plessey Woods Day Out With A Toddler

Finally I can share with you all a successful trip out with a toddler.

Hoo-feckin-ray – bout time.

Please don’t stop reading if you’re used to my woeful tales of disaster.

These did still occur.

Just at the end of the day, altogether at home.

Those of you who have followed me for a while will know that my trips out with a toddler don’t always go to plan.

So Saturdays tend to be when the three of us spend time as the complete Wolfpack .

And cooped up in the house just doesn’t cut it if you want to remain married and a (fairly) sane parent.

You’ll recall our Saturday morning bacon Sarnie outings back when Ella had not long been on the planet.

The days of sitting sipping coffee and snaffling sarnies in semi-peace at Crusoe’s or Tynemouth Park  

Or do I have rose-tinted glasses on?

Yeah she couldn’t move. But I don’t think I appreciated it as I was so tired and in a mental fog.

The fog has lifted and been replaced with physical exhaustion. Which actually seems to be getting better as she’s not running away as much.

It’s now reverting back to a mental battle. A battle of listening (or not) to instructions.

So on this particular Saturday adventure,  it took us to Plessey Woods.

I realised we were last here in the Autumn in All The Eighteen Month Olds.

Free parking, fresh air and not far to drive.

We donned on our wellies, duffel coats and hats and off we trundled in the car.

Hurrah. No falling asleep en route.

So far so good on our trip out with a toddler.

Out we jumped from the family mobile. inhaled the crisp February fresh air and the three of us walked hand in hand like a modern-day Vonn-Trapp Family.

Plessey Woods Days out with a toddler

It was cold, but milder than it had recently been.

The Little Lady held both our hands as we crossed the carpark, performing that old one-two-three weeeeeeee swing up in the air.

We got to the field opposite the park and The Man broke free. He started running across the slippery mud and towards the bare trees.

The trees we had played under back in Autumn collecting conkers.

I couldn’t believe that it was a full four months since we last visited here. Time really does fly when you’re (having fun) busy raising a toddler.

The Man picked up a stick and used it against the make shift xylophone.

Plessey Woods Toddler Days Out

Of course the Little Lady copied, giggling away.

Oh My.

This is wonderful.

This is what it must feel like to be the perfect parent and have things go to plan.

I’m not used to this.

It ironically puts me on edge.

Waiting for the punchline.

The Man picked up another stick and threw it in the air.

Almost as if we had a dog, and our little version of a terrier went running after it. The Man threw another stick and it landed upright in the mud.

I mean – what are the chances?

We edged our way further along the field and we came towards the Owl statue.

‘Owl! Owl!’ shouted The Little Lady.

Proud mam moment. She recognises the Owl.

Oh this is going FAR too swimmingly.

As she approached the owl with such excitement and trepidation, her little feet and their clambering pace did not create enough resistance between her wellies and the gloopy mud.

Down she went.

Hands and knees, welched into the brown, goeey earth.

‘Ooops a daisy’ I said in my best cheery voice, only to kneel down and lose my footing and end up pushing her further into the mud.

Parent. Of. The Year.

Which The Man took his greatest pleasure in pointing out to me.

‘What you doing? You’re pushing your daughter further into the mud!’

Oh Am I? I hadn’t realised. Maybe I’ll push you into the mud.

Jesting and parental disgruntlements asides, all was made well with a couple of swipes of a wet wipe.

We trundled along the ‘Billy Goats Gruff’ bridge.

And made our merry way to the drums and the Ogre house.

We crossed over a couple more bridges, went up and down some steps and back round again.

And jumped in muddy puddles.

Plessey Woods days out with a toddler

All without incident.

There were a lot of dog walkers out and Ella, although loves dogs, can be vary wary.

Some owners picked up on this and gently brought their dogs over, asking if she wanted to stroke them.

I bent down and stroked the dog first to show her that they were being friendly. ‘Look, they’ve come to say hello!’

And she slowly copied.

She’s a cautious soul, which I think is inherent from myself.

So thank you to the lovely dog owners who did this for her.

She waved goodbye to them. ‘Bye-Bye Doggy!’

A rather tired Little Lady had to then be carried back to the car (by The Man – so that he got covered in mud by her wielding wellies and not me hee-hee).

I sat in the back with her. The Man had to pull my wellies off for me and put them in the boot as they were caked too.

He then did a lap of the carpark to clean his. The car had recently been cleaned and I was getting ancy at the thought of (more than usual) mess.

The return journey involved me singing nursery rhymes and pointing animatedly at a book. We were picking up fish and chips and I wanted her to stay awake to eat them and then nap afterwards.

Brockwell Fish and Chips Lunchtie special

I know it looks like I’ve already taken a bite out of my fish cake. I hadn’t. I’d had to cut some off for Ella to try. Then decided to take a picture. Photography skills at its best.

By the way – our Chippy Lunch was from the Brockwell Chippy and a total bargain. £3.25 for chips, fishcake (the man got a jumbo sausage) a mahoosive bread bun and mushy peas. The man also got a Diet Coke and the two meals and drink came to less than £8. How amazing is that?? (not an ad just an appreciation for a bargain).

So off we went, into the sunset to snaffle our chippy lunch. Birds a singing and faces a smiling.

I’d like to say The End and They A Lived Happily Ever After.

But no.

Later that day, as the sun crept towards the horizon and cast shadows on our living room, a de-robed doll was being fed spaghetti.

She was de-robed as her outfit was in the wash due to a collision with Coco-Pops milk.

The doll was now enduring (or I was at least – mess palpitations) a worse fate in the fact that her white unattachable outfit was now stained orange.

Then came two events at once.

While The Little Lady was in the bath, to my absolute horror, I spotted a wasp on her bedroom floor.

Now let me get one thing straight.

I am TERRIFIED of the feckers.

I’ve never been stung so this only fuels the anxiety.

Where had it came from?

I’d had a window open that day to air our bedroom and I’d been in the loft.

Maybes it had fallen from the loft.

And that it was the Queen wasp. Starting her nest amongst our suitcases, Christmas decorations and miscellaneous shite (good luck with that pet!)

I froze.

‘Oh. My God!’

‘What?’ came The Man’s voice from the bathroom.

‘There’s a wasp in Ella’s room!’

‘Eh what? Oh no!’

‘I know! Argh – I can’t go in there. It’ll get me.’

‘Well you’re going to have to.’

‘Can’t you …’

‘No – because I’m going to have to deal with this shit.’

What, Ella in the bath? I’d rather swap.

As I stood sweating just staring at the black and yellow pointless insect, I heard something else that made me freeze.

‘Ella, you’ve pooed in the bath!’

By shit, The Man had meant actual shit.

Christ, I thought things had been too good to be true.

My brain sprang into action. I needed to kill the wasp first as The Man was now going to have to bring Ella through to the bedroom earlier than scheduled.

I dashed downstairs, grabbed the can of magic insect killer spray, ran back up the stairs and took aim at the wasp which thankfully, was still on the floor.

I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed, the whole time waiting for it to make its move and zoom at me, taking aim with its awful tail and stinging me all over in fury.

But it didn’t.

The magic spray was working. It stopped walking along the floor.

I suppose it must’ve been injured to start with as it had made no attempt to fly under my watch.

The whole time The Man had been shouting at me to hit it with something but I was building up my courage, picking my moment.

Which was now. I grabbed a book off Ella’s shelf and dumped it on top of the wasp. For extra measure, I stood on it.

God I’m an awful person.

I would never do this to a spider or a fly. Or any other insect. But wasps are evil, they are the devil.

The Man was now eager to bring in a towelled Ella to get her ready while I went on my next mission; scoop poop out of the bath.

FML.

So there you have it.

No matter how successful a day you think you’re having in one aspect of your parenting life, there’s always a counter-balance.

The wasp incident was just the universe being mean.

But at least I had a successful trip out with a Toddler for once.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

 

Toddler Tantrums – Lowering My Expectation of a ‘To-Do’ List

Toddler Tantrums

Toddler TantrumsToddler Tantrums

I’m sad to admit defeat – the prospect of a Toddler Tantrum has lowered any expectation I ever have of getting through any ‘To-Do’ lists I now write.

How is it that you can experience such intense feelings of love for such a small person, which are then counter balanced with intense feelings of frustration??

This post is not too dissimilar to Fenwicks-Window-Gate (read more here).

I’ve come to realise that this is why I’ve stopped making so many plans.

So many to-do lists.

I once was (I’d like to think) a super organised person.

Now I’m a forgetful frisson whose idea of organised is that everyone has been fed and watered.

The old me would have scoffed at such an achievement.

I’m a person who is immensely satisfied when items are ticked off a list as done.

So as that infrequently happens nowadays, I’ve actually stopped making lists.

Stopped expecting to get shit done in my life.

I was setting myself up for a fall otherwise.

You can’t be disappointed if you haven’t raised an expectation.

But on Saturday, I had some shit to get done.

I had items I needed to buy for a relative’s big birthday and items for a night in at my friend’s house.

These aren’t huge things to accomplish but throw in the mix taking a Toddler to get her feet measured and a lunch outing as the three of us, I really was expecting too much.

I was like ‘let’s all go for lunch, get Ella’s feet getting measured and buy all the bits and bobs on my list.’

Oh no.

We left our house on that utter dreary drizzle of a day. The weather alone set the tone.

The car tootled along through the pools of surface water to a lovely local town called Morpeth, whereby three-quarters into the journey Ella promptly passed out.

Any of you who watch my Insta Stories know my relationship with Car Nap. It started summer 2017 and has continued into 2018. I’d rather sit in a car with a napping child than tend to the beast if one should dare rouse her early.

So the first fifty minutes of our three-hour parking limit was spent sat in the car at Morpeth Leisure Centre.

The weather was too awful to go for a ‘lovely drive’ to nowhere and our lives weren’t worth living if we woke her too early.

Once the small person who dominates our lives woke up, her royal Highness was in a bit of a post nap fettle.

Excellent.

Just what you feckin want when you’re about to go for lunch.

May as well have just woken her up when we arrived.

We trooped (I carried) a whingey child, who refused to have her hood up in the rain, into Weatherspoons.

We sat by a lovely fire, which would have been relaxing had we not had a toddler in tow.

The crayons and colouring in did not distract her. The other toddlers on the nearby tables did and they seemed to all be in co-hoots, copying each others screeches to see who could be the loudest.

The arrival of food only briefly took her interest. Before she remembered she was in public and now was the time to act up.

I’ve become the parent I swore I would never be.

I stuck Mickey Mouse on You Tube on my phone and slid it across to her, while still scoffing on my noodles.

Technology is the future right?

I’m just giving her an educational head start?

One day she may be in a job that heavily relies on a mobile??

Who am I kidding. The digital nanny is the only way we get to eat in public at times.

Cue trying to leave and a tantrum is thrown. Who knew the simple act of putting a coat on is classed as torture by a toddler?

A swift exit ensued and we stomped to the shoe shop.

Where, fair play to her, she sat very still as she had her feet measured. I almost went from harassed mam to gushingly proud mam.

But obviously that doesn’t last long.

As the young lad is merrily strapping away at her feet, she burps in his face.

I’m mortified.

She’s proud of herself.

The Man is pretending to browse the shoes on the racks.

And the poor sales assistant tries his best to smile it off.

I try to distract from the fact my child has just expelled gas in another human’s face and point to a pair of shoes I spied.

He scurries off to find her size while I start putting her shoes back on.

Big mistake.

She did NOT want her shoes back on.

In Toddler Land this is obviously a valid excuse for a meltdown so cue another episode of ‘no no NOOOOO’ while thrashing about with every limb, red-faced.

And that was just me.

The sales assistant returns without her size. To be fair, her feet haven’t actually grown and by now I’m too stressed to consider panic-buying another pair.

By this point she’s whinging so loudly I just scoop her up, throw lots of verbal apologies and thanks at the sales assistant and hurry out of the shop.

Like Fenwicks-window-gate, we didn’t have a pushchair. It would’ve been too much of a battle getting her in and out. More fool us though as she wanted to be carried everywhere.

And I just wanted to go home.

So we did.

Minus me doing any of my jobs.

I’ve learnt to inhale deeply through the dissatisfaction.

A couple of hours respite at home (where the angel mysteriously replaces the devil) and The Man offers to take her to softplay.

So I can get my shit done.

Which I did.

In utter peace.

Slowly perusing shops.

Soaking in the bizarre sense of loneliness I’d craved all day.

And the ability to concentrate on one task at a time.

Once I’d recharged my batteries I headed to join the two-thirds of our wolfpack at the softplay.

And found my sense of humour and fun had been restored enough to go down a mahoosive bouncey slide.

I no longer get shit done. But I’m learning to not give a shit.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Photo Credit: Patrick Fore – Unsplash

Video: My own

James and The Birthday Balloon

James and The Birthday Balloon Missuswolf

I’ve kindly been gifted a copy of James and the Birthday Balloon by Nicola Rowley to read with Ella.

Nicola J Rowley Missuswolf

Nicola read to her son within weeks of him being born.

Nicola and I have a few things in common; we love writing and we love to see the enjoyment our children get from reading books.

I’m keen to support my daughter’s interest and love of books while at the same time supporting up and coming author’s.

This is the second book in the James and the … series following on from the successful first book James and the Amazing Gift.

James and The Birthday Balloon Front Cover Missuswolf

Although aimed at 3-7 year olds, it is a very engaging picture book, so Ella was able to interact with the imagery.

She may not understand much of the story yet, but she recognises items in the illustrations.

For example, she will point at the balloons and say ‘balloons!’ in her excited little voice.

Likewise for the tree and the flowers.

She has a habit of sitting listening to me read to her and then halfway through, she pulls the book out of my hands. And sits and reads it to herself.

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Not word for word. Or any of the words for that matter.

But in her own gobble-dey-goo language.

And it was no different with this book.

She sat and listened, looking at the pictures. Her little voice would squeak ‘Balloons!’ ‘Tree!’ ‘Flowers’.

At times, she even turned her head to watch my mouth pronounce the words.

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So on that note, even though it’s aimed at 3-7 year olds, the book does engage younger children. It encourages them with their recognition of imagery – such as the balloons, tree and flowers.

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The book also encourages random acts of kindness. Which I think is an extremely powerful thing to do. We live in what can be such a cruel world at times and we need to spread love, kindness and positivity.

We need to empower a new generation that is thoughful and selfless.

By creating stories like Nicola has in her James and the … series, she is teaching children the importance of kindness and friendship.

There’s also a message of reasurance to children too if they need to attend hospital.

James and The Birthday Balloon Missuswolf

Children have fears and going to hospital tends to be one of them.

Although Ella doesn’t understand the messages in this book just yet, I feel they are very important ones for her. So we will continue to read the book and, as she develops, I can’t wait to watch her understanding of it change.

The paperback version of this book also features a free audiobook -narrated by none other than TV’s Dr Ranj Singh. Children will recognise his voice from his show on Cbeebies.

James and the birthday balloon Dr Ranj

And you can be super pleased that your purchase of the book also goes to helping a worthy cause. £1 from every sale goes to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, which provides care and life-saving treatment for children in south London and beyond.

Check out Nicola’s website too where you can download FREE colouring sheets from the illustrator of her books.

What an awesome idea!

Take them with you to restaurants. That’s where I need distraction activities the most. So these colouring sheets will come in handy for my hangry-low-attention-span child.

A fuzzy-feel-good piece of fiction with positive messages. The kind of messages that wouldn’t go amiss if we adopted them in the adult world too.

Smaller Images JBB (3 of 3)

~Where to Find Nicola J. Rowley~

Nicola J Rowley

www.nicolajrowley.com

James and The Birthday Balloon Front Cover Missuswolf

Love Missuswolf xxx