Missuswolf’s Online Clothing Collection 

I’m super excited to share with you the project I have been working on over the festive season – Missuswolf’s Online Clothing Store.

Warrior T-Shirt Missuswolf

 

Yup, that’s right. I’ve pulled together a little clothing collection. Massive eeeek!

There is a range of T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, hoodies and Tote Bags that feature words that I love playing around with.

Warrior Natural and Pink Tote Bag Missuswolf

And would you believe that the idea came to me as I sat watching Harry Potter (in my pj’s drinking gin – ooooh the glamour) on NYE??

I was thinking about how I wanted a t-shirt or sweatshirt for next Christmas that shared my love of Mince Pies. Or Sprouts. I’d had a browse on the good old t’interweb and couldn’t find what I was after.

So I looked into designing my own.

Out of nowhere all of these phrases popped into my head. The Christmas Cracker Collection was born in minutes and was the first range I designed (so get ahead of the game for 2018 and get yours now).

screenshot_20180103-0805331913559498.jpg

What followed just escalated with words and phrases I use on my blog and across Social Media to refer to, well, my general life I suppose.

Meet The Collection:

Warrior – Womenswear:

The Warrior theme was inspired from my days at a Pregnancy Yoga class.

 

Warrior Sweatshirt Grey and Pink Missuswolf

The word ‘Warrior’ was used amongst my fellow mothers-to-be to describe ourselves and our journey. The group of ladies I met there stuck together through maternity leave. We referred to ourselves as Warriors. We battled through pregnancy and birth. Until we faced our greatest battle of all.

Motherhood.

There was a sense of empowerment amongst us females in the class who were growing these little humans.

And in the days following their births.

We continued to call ourselves Warrior’s. As we powered through the turbulent Motherhood Journey together.
Warrior Grey and Black Hoody Missuswolf

The Warrior hoody is comfy yet empowering. Just how Motherhood and Femalehood should be.

Comfortable and powerful.

The Man – Menswear:

I fondly refer to my other half as ‘The Man Who Lives With Us’.

The Man Who Lives With Us Missuswolf

I’ll be chatting away to Ella and I’ll say ‘There’s daddy – you know – The Man Who Lives With Us.’

It’s kind of stuck in my vocabulary.

My way of teasing The Man.

The Man Who Lives With Us T-Shirt Missuswolf

There’s a part of me that feels I need to explain this phrase and a part of me that just things, meh, what the hell.

I’m feeling playful and going with meh.

Feral – Childrenswear:

When you’ve just had one of those days in Parentland.

The Little Lady T-Shirt Missuswolf

 

The house is upside down.

You’ve been to the park and had to rugby-ball your child and pram home (pinched that phrase from a friend).

The Little Man Dark Blue T-shirt Missuswolf

You have a little person who is incessantly whinging.

You attempted a nice family meal out. But spent the time chasing a child while you developed a serious case of indigestion.

And you can only liken their behaviour to that of being Feral.

Feral T-Shirt Missuswolf

Welcome to the collection of little tees for your little people.

Christmas Cracker Collection:

I love Sprouts.

I love sprouts t-shirt Missuswolf

 

And Mince Pies.

Lover of Mince Pies T-Shirt Missuswolf
What better way to share my love of these than to emblazon them on t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodys??

Sprout Lover green t-shirt

Wear them to the shops to purchase your beloved sprouts and mince pies, or for hibernating at home whilst snaffling them.

Sorry I ate Sprouts T-Shirt Missuwolf

There’s also a collection of tote bags. To carry your pies and sprouts home in.

Sprout Lo

Why not get ahead of the game for Christmas 2018 and grab your festive top now?

Then again, Sprouts are not just for Christmas – why not purchase a Sprout top to wear with pride while snaffling your Sunday Dinner?

The collection is now live and can be viewed here.

So – there you have it. A wild night in on NYE has produced one of my most productive projects to date and I’ve loved every minute of it!

£1 from the profit of every sale will be donated to the Children With Cancer UK charity.

I would love it if you sent me a picture of yourself with your purchase. I will feature them on my website under Follower’s Faves (or something similar to that).

Thanks again for all your support – here’s to the next chapter.

Happy New Year and Happy Shopping  🙂

Love Missuswolf xxx

Christmas Story Collection

As mentioned in my previous post on What I Put In a Christmas Eve Box, I thought I’d give you a run down of the books I’ve collected so far for Ella’s Christmas Story Collection.

Christmas Story Collection

 

My intention is that the books she received for this Christmas will be put away until 1st December next year, when I’ll get them out in the lead up to the main event.

Another little tradition I will also be repeating is the Book Advent Calender.

I purchased 12 books from a local lady who supplies Usborne books. I responded to a Facebook post in the July and paid just £13. The books were then beautifully wrapped and dropped off the night before the 12th December.

You can read further details on the Book Advent Calender Blog Post.

Christmas Story Collection

Christmas Story Collection Missuwolf

 

Paddington and The Christmas Visitor

This purchase was part of the theme for 2017’s Christmas Eve Box. The book was £3 from Marks and Spencer’s, with £2 of it going to the NSPCC’s Childline.

A lovely little story that gives you all the fuzzy feels inside and makes you feel even fuzzier that, by purchasing it, you’re donating to charity too.

Paddington Bear Theme Christmas Eve Box

Dear Santa

Ella already has the Dear Zoo books so it felt like a no brainer to get her this as part of her Christmas Eve Box. My dad gave us some money to buy some gifts for her and this was one of the things we bought.

Dear Santa Christmas Story Collection

It’s a Hardback book throughout which is ideal for her age group.

This book also has little flaps that you lift to reveal the present underneath. Great for learning. However Ella has a knack for ripping flaps in books. So I currently have to watch her like a hawk with this one.

Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Ah this book.

The picture’s are very nostalgic to me. I used to watch the film version of Mickey’s Christmas Carol all the time when I was a child.

This book was given to Ella by her grandma for Christmas. When I realised what it was – I was overwhelmed. Particularly as it came with the DVD too. I’d been thinking about this  and had briefly mentioned it at work. But not to family. So it was a complete surprise.

Mickey's Christmas Carol Christmas Story Collection

It has a Hardback cover with paper pages in-between. It tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge through the Disney characters. It certainly pulls on the old heart-strings when it comes to Tiny Tim.

Ella loves anything to do with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Mickey’s Christmas Carol will always be a timeless classic for me. I hope it becomes a timeless classic for Ella too.


Ella – Santa’s Secret Elf

Santa’s Secret Elf was a surprise purchase. A lot of my purchases these days are planned and I rarely impulse buy.

Ella Santa's Secret Elf Christmas Story Collection

We took a trip to Azure Garden Centre in Cramlington one Sunday at the end of November. For the past few years, The Man and I have loved roaming the Christmas Section there.

It’s even better now there’s a little person in tow. Often we’re stuck for means of entertainment on a Sunday for The Little Lady that don’t involve softplay hell.

A garden centre is a good all-rounder. Lots to look at and explore both inside and out. There’s usually some form of pet area, generally with an aquarium, that provides lots of sensory. And there’s always yummy food.

So a couple of trips in the lead up to the festive period are perfect. When we went, it wasn’t very busy so you could browse properly. Well, I use browse in the loosest term possible I suppose. Who browses with a one year old?

Christmas Story Collection Dear Santa Ella Santa's Secret Elf

It was there we came across one of those rotating book stands that featured personalised books of Santa’s Secret Elf. I couldn’t find Ella’s at first as it was tucked away. She spied me picking it up. Cue whingeing all round the garden centre as she wanted to hold it.

It’s another hardback cover with paper pages throughout. I reluctantly gave in and was anxious as she ferociously flicked through it. I was terrified she would be her usual destructive self and rip the pages.

I eventually wrestled it from her and hid it before paying and going home with it down my coat.

The story is about the child swapping places with an elf and going on an adventure in the sleigh with Santa, who is blissfully unaware. There is a section at the back to draw yourself as an Elf and write your name on the parcel labels too.

Enchanting.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note – this post contains affiliate links. I only endorse products that I’m interested in and genuinely want to promote. Plus they help keep my website running. Thank you xxx

What I Put In A Christmas Eve Box

The thing to remember with Christmas Eve boxes is that they are personal to you and your family.

img_20171224_1757582077776235

There are no right or wrong things to put in one. You don’t even have to do a Christmas Eve Box. What makes each family tradition special is just that – it’s special to your family.

2017 was the second year I had done a Christmas Eve box.

The first year, Ella was only nine months old. I was on the last legs of maternity leave; emerging from a fog of sleeplessness and scrupulousness.

Money had been tight and I was just at a total loss at what to buy her.

Which ultimately made me feel rubbish.

So this year, I invested a bit more thought.

One thing that I kept consistent was having a Christmas Eve Box Theme.

Last years’ was Peter Rabbit; I bought a special edition little soft toy and a Peter Rabbit book. I wrote a little message in the front cover of the Peter Rabbit book. I made it very personal about it being Ella’s first Christmas with some lovely words from mammy and daddy.

This year, I jumped on the Paddington Bear Bandwagon from Marks and Spencers.

Paddington Bear Theme Christmas Eve Box

I bought the book ‘ Paddington and The Christmas Visitor’. It was only £3 – with £2 of that going to NSPCC’s Childline. So super happy that my spends on Christmas are also going to a charitable cause.

I also bought the Paddington Bear soft toy from Marks and Spencer’s too.

I’ll list the rest below for ease of read and jot down a little explanation to next to each.

But first.

The actual Christmas Eve Box.

Where is it from?

A small business that I’ve followed for about four years on Instagram called Made With Love and Little Kisses – @Little_kissesxx

I first bought a lovely decorative heart from this business when we moved into our house in Blyth. I’ve bought a couple of canvases and decorative hearts from here over the years, for presents as well as the house.

Last year, I bought Ella’s Christmas Eve Box as well as her Bauble for the Christmas Tree.

20171230_142159557390804

Here’s what 2017 consisted of:

  • Paddington Bear Soft Toy
  • Paddington Bear and The Christmas Visitor Book: The intention is that this will form part of her Christmas Story Collection that I get out every December.
  • Dear Santa Book:  She already has the Dear Zoo book so this seemed fitting to buy her. It was one of the presents we got her from my dad who had given us some money to choose her some presents. Again, this will make the Christmas Story Collection

  • Ella – Santa’s Secret Elf Book: This book we found at Azure Garden Centre in Cramlington. We go there a couple of times in December when they have their decorations up. (FYI –  if you don’t already know it, Garden Centres are great places to take kids. Especially at Christmas. Decorations to look at, play areas to burn off energy in. And they always have lovely food. Not a bad jaunt out.) There was a stand full of personalised books, so I picked one up to put away for Christmas Eve. Yet another book for the Christmas Story Collection

  • Iggle Piggle Soft Toy: Ella loves In The Night Garden (actually so do I. I find it therapeutic. Anybody else? No? Just me then?) We’d bought various small toys of the characters and decided to spread them across the Christmas Eve Box, Stocking and Presents. (This may sound like she’s spoilt, but I promise you she’s not. I’m quite frugal with what I buy her for Christmas. Everything has to have a purpose – whether it be something she’s genuinely interested in, or that I’m buying from a small business, or money from an item goes to help raise money for charity).

  • Santa’s Magic Key: This was made by one of my colleagues, again supporting local businesses.
  • Reindeer Dust: Bought from the same colleague who made the Santa’s Magic Key.
  • Hot Chocolate Powder with Marshmallows: (Although still a bit young for them, they looked pretty and thought I could snaffle it instead. With some Baileys in.) As above, bought from a colleague.

Christmas Eve Box Santa Key, Reindeer Dust and Hot Chocolate

  • Pyjama’s: When I was researching online what to put in Ella’s Christmas Eve Box, this seemed to be a given. I’d spied these immense pj’s in Primark online that were Minnie Mouse Twinning one’s (Minnie Mouse is another Ella obsession). Unfortunately, Primark stocked them everywhere but the UK. What’s the deal with that?? So George at Asda got my business instead. I bought her some Minnie Mouse Woven Red Shirt and Bottoms. They had great reviews online and looked festive. I bought myself Minnie Mouse pj’s with fleece bottoms from there too. So we were ever-so-slightly twinning.

img-20171224-wa00542007259696

  • Small Gingerbread House: Bought this as a last-minute panic buy from B&M’s when I thought I didn’t have enough (which actually goes against everything I was working toward this Christmas. Admittedly I got swept up in the chaos of a quick festive shop. I’d gone in looking for a couple of stockings and batteries and came out with a few bits more. Actually, some tealights and car air freshener so really not that bad. Minus the stockings though. I was too late). Anyway, the Gingerbread House looked super pretty though on top of the Christmas Eve Box
  • Penguin Chocolates: Marks and Spencers: Just because she’s obsessed with chocolate. And these looked cute and tasty. Plus I can help her eat these 😉

And finally.

This year we purchased a Santa Plate.

Again, following my support of small businesses, I scrolled Etsy and came across Peggies Paintbox. Granted, I did this about nine days before Christmas so I was pushing my luck. But the lovely Helen painted it and dispatched it right in time for Christmas.

Santa Plate Christmas Eve

And it looks awesome.

I’d love to hear what you put in your Christmas Eve Boxes as I’m always keen to get ideas for next year.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note – this post contains affiliate links. I only endorse products that I’m interested in and genuinely want to promote. Plus they help keep my website running. Thank you xxx

Why Online Food Shopping Is The Best Invention Ever

Online Food Shopping Missuswolf

I’ve always tinkered with online shopping. But now I’m a parent it honestly is the best thing that’s ever been Invented.

You see, I’ve come to realise that I lack patience anyway in shops. Other people getting in the way of the tops I want to look at, the shoes I want to try on or the cake I want to drool over really tests my character.

Throw in the mix a toddler who wants to pull anything breakable off the shelves and is a milkybar button away from a knee-buckling tantrum.

It’s all just too much.

Since Ella was born, I’ve tried to order a food shop to arrive every Sunday night. This stemmed from having a section and being unable to lift things. I’d order enough milk, nappies and wipes to see us through the week alongside the usual groceries.

Online Food Shopping missuswolf

This continued throughout maternity leave as I’m all for an easy life and this indeed made my life much easier.

Bath, bottle, bed then ding-dong. Sunday night food delivery.

It kept the rest of the week free for me to doddle around baby groups and boot camps. Alleviating at least one stress in my life.

So this has inevitably continued when I’ve gone back to work. I have even less free time now and I refuse to spend it battling with other people and a toddler in the shops.

My free time is precious and I’d rather be out in the park or woods – the better version of me spending time with Ella.

Pretty good mindful routine right?

So why on earth did we agree to do our pre Center Parcs food shop in store with a toddler this week??

Firstly, I grossly misjudged the amount of stuff we needed and got a small trolley.

With no child seat (she wouldn’t have sat in it anyway).

Well. The Man Who Lives With Us put her in the trolley. Obvs she loved it. Whizzing around the sock aisle (as again- aaaaaalways need socks). Living her best life.

Then the first tremors of rebellion.

She wants to get out.

I suppose rightly so really.  The items need to go in their respectful place. The trolley.

So far so good. Until she decides to help put the items in the trolley.

Then it’s a case of lifting her up, only to hand her the multi pack of crisps (that were at the correct height to begin with to go in the trolley), to then be thrown in full pelt. Making crumbs of crisps.

The beige tea aisle involved aeroplane role-play diving into the freezers. Why ever not?

Obviously the triggers for that ever-brewing tantrum took place in the alcohol aisle. So fitting as that’s the only antidote that will see you through this. Yet you spend your time terrified the hurricane you birthed is about to set free every drop of alcohol that is jailed inside a glass bottle.

The final kick in my motherhood ass is no doubt the checkout.

Unloading the sodden trolley not quite as quick as they scan them through. Too proud to accept ‘a hand with packing’ when it’s quite clear that I need all the help I can get. The Man has The Little Lady restrained while I’m profusely sweating trying to pack the bags and hoy them in the trolley.

Once upon a time I would’ve been embarrassed. Now I can barely conceal my rage and frustration.

This kind of stress would not have gone down if I’d ordered online in the comfort of my home in my PJ’s.

‘Well that was feckin stressful’ I fume as we stomp out the store.

And try to squeeze it all in the car.

Again, if we’d done this online we could’ve packed the car all at once at home. In a more streamlined, logistical fashion.

But hey-ho it’s done now.

Except when you’re halfway down the motorway and realise you’ve forgotten nappy bags, coffee and peppa pig yoghurts. Oh and to post your Auntie’s birthday card.

I’m all for an easy life. And sitting on my backside at home in my jarmies, I have all the time in the world to browse and shop.

With no distractions.

So I don’t forget anything.

And most importantly.

I keep my sanity.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images from Unsplash

Pregnancy: Stretch marks, Spider Veins and Varicose Vein Treatment

Varicose Vein Treatment Missuswolf

The Human Body truly is amazing.

It has ways of healing itself, expressing pain and the ability to show physical or emotional reaction when there’s something wrong.

The body responds to external and internal factors.

Take stretch marks. The tiger stripes that emerge when your skin is pushed beyond its elasticity. The marks are there. They fade in time. But they serve as a reminder of the journey you took. Whether it be the transition from childhood into adulthood, the miracle of growing another human being in your body or a huge weight loss. They can appear.

These seem to be the hardest to treat of them all. Prevention rather than cure is always the emphasis on stretch marks. They inevitably fade in time. Laser therapy could be an option to alleviate the aggressive ones. However, it doesn’t completely remove them. The process only makes them less noticeable.

As discussed in my previous post Finding Sanctuary in a Tub and a Saviour in a Bottle, I do have them. Mine are on my thighs and hips. However these weren’t through pregnancy. These were from adolescence.

And because of this, I rather went to town on lathering creams and oils into my bump, hips and thighs.

Spider Veins are another example. Again, I have a sprinkling of these on the tops of my thighs and again, they weren’t through pregnancy. Causes of these could be a number of things; heredity, adolescence or an occupation that either involved a lot of standing or a lot of sitting. Who knows. They are there. They’ve been there a while. These are seen as cosmetic and as such, I would not be able to get varicose vein treatment on them on the NHS in England.

Brief pulses of light, know as lasertherapy, would be the varicose vein treatment for spider veins.

For thin, red veins closer to the skin’s surface, a pulsed dye laser would be used.

For the deeper blue and purple veins, a laser with a longer wavelength would be required.

A solution that shrinks the veins is injected with a tiny needle and the spider veins should disappear after about eight weeks.

I’ve not ruled out having varicose vein treatment on my spider veins. It’s something I would consider in the future.

Actual varicose veins are not something I have suffered from.

Yet.

I imagine I may in later life. My grandma suffered from them a fair few years ago and she had them removed by surgery – which is known as litigation and stripping. There are also varicose vein treatments that now involve laser therapy and sclerotherapy.

Which is good to know.

As I’m queasy when it comes to anything to do with veins. I like to know there are options available now that don’t involve surgery.

I may have escaped lucky with my pregnancy with the The Little Lady but who’s to say that I’ll be as fortunate in the future?

I may get more stretch marks.

My spider veins may increase.

I may develop varicose veins.

So it’s good to know there are treatments out there and various options available should I need them.

Love Missuswolf xxx

This is a Sponsored Post

Image from Unsplash

 

Fresh Air and Paddington Bear

Fresh Air Paddington Bear Missuswolf

I’m doing Mindful November over on Instagram (with @Mamas_Scrapbook and @Blom_cards) and when I saw today’s post was Fresh Air, I had a smug-mam moment about it.

‘Ooooh this fits perfectly in to today’s plans and even rhymes. I can be a lyrical genius on Insta and pull off an awesome post’.

Obviously- the exact opposite has happened.

Of course it would.

The Man Who Lives With Us had warned me it would.

You see, today’s Insta Square was going to be our trip to Fenwicks Window to see Paddington Bear.

I was going to get that all important #makingmemories picture of Ella wrapped up in a hat and gloves, staring mind-blowing at the red and blue clothed bear in the window.

What happened couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I’ll start as far back as leaving the house.

I don’t currently have a winter coat. There’s my yellow nana coat that’s past its sell by date festering in the garage. As I CBA to step foot in shops these days, my new winter coat is on order from Dotty P’s. Delivery due this week.

So off I venture into the garage to rescue the yellow nana coat. Of course Ella wants to follow. Why not? Who doesn’t love a good forage in a garage in the feckin freezing cold.

Cue Little Lady running full pelt out of the front door and landing flat on her face. The position she fell in was both comical and heart breaking at the same time.

There were tears. There was a heated exchange of words with The Man as to who was to blame (even though we weren’t ‘blaming’ each other as ‘accidents happen’. Eye roll).

Thankfully, no cuts, bruises or blood loss. After all that my coat looked shite anyway.

So off we troop, me in a grey jumper dress and a long cardie (that will no doubt be recycled and worn for next weekend’s girl date to York FYI).

As we approached town, of course she falls asleep.

Cue The Man driving around the West End for a bit then playing car-park-hopping until he found the right one.

So once we’d picked a side street in Shieldfield – the Little Lady woke up and off we trooped into town.

Minus the buggy.

For some reason we thought we’d leave that in the garage too. As she ‘likes to walk everywhere these days’.

Nope.

It’s a short walk, followed by a carry, followed by running off in the opposite direction, to another carry. Lather, rinse repeat that one.

And we’ve both got shit backs too so why we do this to ourselves is beyond belief. It even entered the conversation to buy a ‘lighter buggy’ while we were in town today. We didn’t even get as far as entertaining that daft idea.

We hadn’t even got to Northumberland Street and The Man needed a wee.

So did I.

We agreed he would wee in Pacific as I went to Primark to buy a hat and gloves for Ella (as yes, we forgot these too). I would then wee in Fenwicks and then ta-da – window time!

As Ella wrapped her vice-like legs (she is freakishly strong) around me for yet another carry, a part of her felt warmer than normal.

Yup.

Nappy leak.

On a grey dress.

I mean, the thought had slightly entered my head as we left that she may need a change as she’d downed two bottles of juice.

But no.

I live life on the edge.

I decided to risk it.

And I Never Learn.

If thoughts like that appear – ACT UPON THEM.

You will regret it later.

I decided to quickly dash into Primark to get the forgotten clothes. Hat, gloves and socks (aaaaalways need socks) chosen, The Man caught up with us. He stood in the queue while I went hunting for toilets near the Costa in Primark. Zilch. Couldn’t find any (thought there had to be some near food facilities??)

Aaaanyway purchase made and a mad dash into Fenwicks was had. Dodging the frantic Christmas shoppers and the Saturday Dawdlers, we jumped into a VERY packed lift. That went down. Then up.

And we got out on the wrong floor.

By now my frustration sweat was appearing but I was trying to appear cool as The Man was getting even more agitated than he already was (he hates how busy Town gets. And frankly so do I. So this was a disaster from the start).

Baby Changing facilities eventually located (on the other side of the store to where I knew the toilets were), where a full on outfit change for Ella ensued.

Her vest and tights were wet. But the dress she had on didn’t go with the spare tights so I had to change the whole outfit.

I was devastated that her pretty burgundy dress and cream tights, an outfit I chose especially for her to see Paddington in, were now replaced with a bright pink and red Minnie Mouse Dress and tight combo. I mean, it’s lovely don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t the idyllic image I’d envisaged (nothing ever feckin is in motherhood – I should have also learnt this by now too!)

Facilities exited, The Man located – who by now is Hangry as he’s had no breakfast. Nup  – me neither mate – shall we get some grub?

As I so obviously know Fenwicks better than him (rarely there) we turn into the Saturday Dawdlers. Everywheeeeere is busy.

I had the bright idea of Greys Quarter.

Fifteen-minute-waits in every restaurant.

Right. The Decision was made.

To quickly see the window and head home, with the idea of grabbing some food from somewhere on our journey home (another Saturday afternoon Maccy D’s drive through no doubt).

Oh no no no.

There was no quickly seeing The Window. The queue was at the bottom of Northumberland Street.

The Man nearly died when this realisation hit.

In order to save his sanity and our marriage, we quickly ran by it on our tippy toes.

All the while Ella looking the other way.

Too much of a nosey parker people-watching to stare at a bear stood in a window.

Big. Fat. Waaaaaaaaah!!

So – no, we didn’t have the patience to deal with town on a Saturday a mere few weeks from Christmas with a toddler in tow.

We sidled along Northumberland Street to head back to the car. Frankie and Benny’s is our fave haunt and luckily the one near Pacific wasn’t busy. Table straight away and no waiting. Hoo-feckin-rah.

A rather relaxing lunch with a surprisingly well-behaved Ella (although there were several attempts at climbing out the high chair. I turned into the parent I swore I never would and shoved Mickey Mouse Clubhouse repeats on my phone).

As we left F&B and made our merry way back to Shieldfield, playing pass the parcel with a I-will-not-wear- my-hat-or-gloves Ella, The Man attempted to say those words.

The Man: ‘Well, I don’t really want to say it but -‘

Me: ‘Oh yes you do – you can’t bliddy wait!’

The Man: ‘Told You So!’

And he had.

The whole car journey into town that this was not going to turn out how I had in my head. And I had known that. And even agreed that what I had planned wouldn’t be perfect.

But it was faaaaar from perfect – if you class perfect as everything going according to my plan.

It was much better.

As we had an afternoon that we can look back on and laugh (and learn from!) Ella was just happy to be out and about with her mammy and daddy in the fresh air.

And at the end of the day.

That’s all that matters.

#MakingMemories

#Eveniftheyareshitones

Love Missuswolf xxx

Image above is the only one I have today of being in the Fresh Air. And there most certainly is no Paddington Bear.

March Of The Mummies 2017

On Tuesday 31st October the March Of The Mummies takes place.

Pregnant Then Screwed is an international pressure group and will be marching to Westminster from Trafalgar Square this Halloween.

Concurrent sister marches are taking place across the UK with our very own here in the North East.

The sister March taking place in Newcastle will start at Newcastle Civic Centre at 12noon and march to Grey’s Monument.

The protest seeks to highlight the issue of maternity discrimination which haunts 77 per cent of new mums, and pushes one in nine pregnant women out of their job (EHRC, 2016). 

There are five key demands, one of which is of particular interest to me:

Subside childcare from six months instead of three years.

Those who’ve followed me for a while will know I went back to work full time in January following ten months of maternity leave.

I pay approx £530 a month in childcare fees.

This is for 29 hours a week – three eight hour days and one five hour day.

The other day and a half is juggled by grandparents and flexible working.

I’m lucky that my employer does the childcare scheme, so £220 of my monthly salary prior to tax goes straight to the nursery. It probably equates to me being down about £150 a month rather than the full £220. So about £70ish ‘saving’ if you could call it that. (Maths is not my strong point!)

The other £310 is paid after tax.

Now before I get people saying I would be better off going part-time and not spending as much on nursery – I couldn’t afford it.

I’d still be paying for nursery the majority of the time and with less wage it’s just not feasible in our circumstances.

Plus I still want to be in the rat race.

To push at my career while opportunities are being presented to me.

It’s not easy but I’m managing to find a balance.

I just feel penalised for wanting to work and paying for the privilege because I’m a mother. Two years ago that £530 of my salary would all be mine. I wasn’t paying to go to work then – so why should i now?

84% of generation Z and millennials seek flexibility when job hunting and the UK economy would be £165 million richer/more productive if all businesses got on board (Government’s capital and wellbeing report 2017)

The economy benefits if more people are working, surely the government should be encouraging this?

Rather than forcing parents to feel like they’re sacrificing salary or hours because they are, well, parents?

I don’t blame the nursery either.

They need money to function. And that should come from the government instead of the parents themselves.

Like they fund schools.

Nursery is just as educational and should therefore be funded from the outset.

I’m working full-time.

Contributing to taxes and the economy.

Yet I pay 32% of my monthly wage to do this.

Because I’m a mother.

And in this day and age, with the cost of living being so high, I don’t have the luxury of not working at all.

So to help run a house, raise a family and god forbid have a career myself, I pay £530 a month for the privilege.

Where’s the fairness in that?

MUMMIES MARCH ACROSS THE UK THIS HALLOWEEN

The march is being supported by a number of MPs and celebrities. The demonstration follows the success of its recent campaign, ‘Give me Six’, which seeks to increase the time limit to raise a tribunal claim from three to six months. This campaign has the support of 99 MPs and more than 54,000 people. 

Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed said: 

“March of the Mummies is our first demonstration, and we are encouraging those attending to dress up as mummies (the walking dead kind) to highlight the archaic legislation that is in place to protect and support working mums. Despite the success of our #GivemeSix campaign, little progress has been made on maternity and pregnancy discrimination. In March 2016, a Government commissioned report revealed that the number of women losing their jobs for getting pregnant has almost doubled in the last ten years. Since then no decisive action has been taken and in that time 84,000 women have lost their jobs. We are marching, along with our sisters in cities around the UK, to demand recognition, respect and change for working mums.”

The five key demands being presented to parliament:

1. Increase the time limit to raise a tribunal claim from 3 months to (at least) 6 months

2. Require companies to report on how many flexible working requests are made and how many are granted

3. Give fathers access to 6 weeks non-transferable paternity leave paid at 90% of salary

4. Give the self-employed access to statutory shared parental pay

5. Subsidise childcare from 6 months old, rather than 3 years

To find out more about Pregnant Then Screwed please visit www.pregnantthenscrewed.com

For more information about ‘March of the Mummies’ please visit www.marchofthemummies.com or follow the hashtag #marchofthemummies

Love Missuswolf xxx

Who’s Been In Our Tree 

Who’s Been In Our Tree is a book written by Diana Batchelor and is designed as a support mechanism for children who are victims of burglary.

Diana Batchelor is an experienced practitioner and researcher in the field of criminal justice.

With the use of animals as the characters, Batchelor tells the story of the aftermath after their tree is burgled.

Fox, Badger, Hedgehog and Squirrel wake up to find that everything in their tree is upside down.

Furniture is empty where the TV and games used to be and they discover that a bag of their favourite things has been taken.

Batchelor has used the animals to depict different reactions that a child may experience and relate to.

A child will then be able to identify which animal they feel that their emotions relate with the most.

Batchelor has, in conjunction with Dr Fiona Snyder – a Clinical Psychologist, written about the strange things that start to happen after the burglary.

Again, each animal experiences something different – something strange.

Like a bad dream.

Or feeling frightened to be alone.

The story proceeds to tell of different coping mechanisms for each animal to try.

Again, a child reading this could identify the animal that their fears relate to the most and see how that animal coped with their experience.

At the end, there’s the opportunity for the child to reflect on their experience in the ‘What About Me’ section. It is here they can create their own plan on what steps they’re going to take to make themselves feel better.

There’s also a useful section for adults to consider in ‘Things To Talk About’. This encourages grown ups to listen to the child and ask them about their reactions and feelings.

I caught up with Diana Batchelor who told me more about the book …

Can you tell us what the story of Who’s Been In Our Tree is about? 

Who’s Been in Our Tree? is a book for 4-8 yr olds to help them deal with the impact of burglary. The story is about four animals whose tree has been burgled. It teaches children about a range of shock reactions, reassures them that feelings of anxiety and stress are normal following a traumatic event, and equips them to make plans to cope. The main emphasis is on letting out feelings – finding ways to share and express them. It was developed with the help of a child clinical psychologist. Feedback I have had so far suggests it could also be helpful following any type of stressful life event, and that older children appreciate it as well – perhaps up to 11yrs or so.

What motivated you to write this story?

It all started when I was supporting children who’d been victims of crime in London. One boy had been having nightmares ever since the family home was burgled. I met with him and his dad over a few weeks and we drew pictures together. One week he drew his front door that had been damaged, and then together we drew their shiny new one which helped to make him feel safe. It was clear that he could express his feelings through drawing, which he was finding hard to do with words.

His dad asked me whether there was a story book they could read with him, to help him understand what had happened and feel safe again. I was determined to find one! I searched high and low but had no luck. Fortunately, drawing helped the family communicate and they found a way out of the nightmares. But now some years later I’ve written this book with him and his dad in mind. It uses bright, simple drawings as a way to help children like him understand their own feelings and come up with their own ways of coping. He doesn’t need it anymore, but I hope it will help others like him!

You can find out more about the book on the Who’s Been In Our Tree website

The book is also sponsored by Victims Support. Read more on Batchelor’s interview with the organisation here.


~Social Media~

Twitter @WBIOT

Facebook 


~ Where To Buy Who’s Been In Our Tree ~

Amazon 


Love Missuswolf xxx

Disclosure – I received a copy of this book as part of this feature 

This post contains affiliate links 



This entry was posted in Books.

All The Eighteen Month Olds

As I was doing my usual Sunday morning scroll through Insta – a plate of toast half balanced on my lap while Mr Tumble entertains the Little Lady – I came across Chrissy Teigan’s adorable video of her daughter Luna.

Luna is a similar age to Ella and I love following Chrissy Teigan’s motherhood journey.

The video is Give Me All The Eighteen Month Olds and it’s Luna copying every word Chrissy says.

And it’s utterly adorable.

Chrissy starts by saying the words mammy and daddy and then goes through some other words, each one in turn Luna copies.

My heart melts.

As it’s very much Ella. Copying every word in her cute little interpretation. (Although Ella is actually nineteen months I’ve used a bit of poetic licence for this post.)

Like this week ‘Palpol’ (Calpol) has been added to her vocabulary after the recent bout of nursery germs.

Her most common phrase is ‘I’m stuck’ – which is thrown about when we are so blatantly trying to entrap her; the high chair, the car seat, her cot bed.

It’s actually her overused phrase; when she can’t be bothered to get off the sofa herself, when she’s trying to climb onto the dining room chairs – when I’m pottering in the kitchen and she’s clawing at my legs, desperate for a nosy at what I’m doing.

I’m in love with this phase and the inquisitive little sponge that follows me around.

To watch her grab her books and bring them to my knee (def a girl after my own heart).

To listen to her little voice as she copies the words she knows, or shout ‘Quack Quack’ at the duckies or ‘Woof Woof’ at the doggies.

To watch her toddle in her pink glitter wellies, chasing the autumn leaves and squeling in delight as she jumps in muddy puddles.

To watch her pick an item of wet clothing out of the washing machine and bring it to me to hang up (it’s not too young for child chores is it???!)

Not that it’s all puppy dogs and rainbows.

Far from it.

This morning hasn’t been without it’s frustrations.

This phase has brought with it a clingy child (I think it’s complete noseyness at what I’m doing to be fair but we’ll go with clingeyness).

Although I’m finding this new found clingyness adorable (I finally get long proper cuddles hurrah!) It has again made the simple art of showering an absolute hurdle today.

The constant whinging.

It would be ok if it was a full blown tantrum and bam you’re done.

But the sheer constant whinge drives me Insane.

So while the other half plays football, I’ve ‘I’m stuck’ her somewhere, jumped in the shower, thrown on some clothes, attempted a slight smear of make-up and ruffled some dry shampoo in my god-knows-when-i-last-washed-it hair.

The last week has been a tricky one – working full time round a poorly toddler while the OH works away. Throw in my own immune system deteriorating i’m sure it’s one of those weeks I’ll look back at in awe (or some warped sense of fondness).

Motherhood is an ecstatic ride of frustration, exhaustion, hurty heart, complete and utter awe all wrapped in  overwhelming undeniable love.

I’m finding each phase is not without its difficulties; the lack of motion isn’t savoured with a new born due to lack of sleep, the enjoyment of movement is then masked by the physical exhaustion at times of racing after a toddler.

Who always wants to go in the opposite direction.

Or where they’re not supposed to.

So it’s easy to look back with rose tinted glasses at those new born days.

Just like I’ll look back on rose tinted glasses on these days.

But these days of walking, talking, sharing and exploring are truly magical.
And with each phase, like they said it would, it passes quickly.

I need to stop.

I need to slow down.

And enjoy and embrace this topsy turvy toddler.

Watching your little person find amazement in mundane things you take for granted – it makes you see the world in a whole new light.

So like Chrissy Teigan says.

Give Me All The Eighteen Month Olds.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images Unsplash and my own 

World Mental Health Day 2017: Awakened

World Mental Health Day 2017 missuswolf

Last year’s World Mental Health Day post focused on the importance of mental health while on maternity leave.

This year, I’m taking the angle of work-life balance.

More than ever I need to look after my mind. I’m working full time, attempting to run a house as well as look after an eighteen month old.

I’ve got everything I ever wanted.

Which is why it’s important that I look after myself.

So I don’t loose it.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to read a book called ‘Awakened‘.

Debbie Stokoe, a copywriter and blogger, shares her experience of depression and the importance of a work-life balance.

The book came at a perfect time in my life.

2017 has been one of significant change.

I went back to work after maternity to a new job.

That in itself was hard. Not only did I have to mentally prepare for leaving a little person I’d spent the last ten months caring for full time. I had to prepare for walking into a new job.

Fast forward two months and I’m offered a project role.

In that same month, I also moved house.

The cards had well and truly been thrown in the air.

And over the course of the summer they’ve slowly drifted back down into place.

Their new places.

It’s a wonder I didn’t have some form of break down.

Reading Debbie’s book has helped me put things into perspective.

Too much change at once can be difficult to process.

There’s a paragraph that really struck with me.

It’s about mindfulness.

Being in the moment.

Something a lot of us (including me) are not very good at.

I once thought being busy was good. I thought I was achieving things.

The constant.

Thinking that The Constant was good.

It meant I could race through life and not be alone with my thoughts.

To over think things.

But since embarking on motherhood, I’m more mindful than ever. Babies quickly grow and a triumphant toddler soon takes over.

In that respect I’m now mindful to take each day as it comes.

To enjoy the moment.

To listen to her little chitter chatter.

To take the plastic tea cup when offered. To pretend to sip it. To gasp that it’s the nicest cup of tea I’ve ever had.

And to inhale that freshly bathed smell as I read her a bedtime story.

As it ain’t going to last forever.

So I’m grateful for Debbie’s book to put things in perspective. And to also to introduce me to meditation.

Debbie recommended Jessica Mullen and The Honest Guys. I’ve found them on You Tube and they’ve been really useful to listen to.

I’ve lost touch with reading this year with everything that’s gone on. Awakened has pulled me back into the reading game. I’ve now picked up The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. A book I started before I moved.

So what is Awakened about?

Debbie kindly gives us an insight into her book and her life …

Having read Awakened, you’ve written a compelling journey of self discovery through your working life as well as personal events. What inspired you to write Awakened?

I went through a lot of pain and the main inspiration was to help others to avoid that if possible. I talk about how I was affected by perfectionism and low self-esteem as a child, which affects a lot of young kids today who feel pressure to push themselves too hard, so part of it was to hopefully get a message to them to start being more compassionate towards themselves. In terms of the work-related mental health issues I experiences, I just felt very alone and scared when I was going through severe depression and wanted other people who are experiencing similar things to realise that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I guess I tried to write the book that would have helped me when I was ill. Hopefully it will also help family members and friends of people who are suffering from similar health issues to understand it better.

World Mental Health Day 2017 missuswolf

It was also a healing process for me to write about what happened to me, and cathartic in many ways, even though I had a lot of resistance arise about revisiting these difficult times in my life. It helped me to understand myself better and to work on certain things that still affect me (I’m still too hard on myself about a lot of things).

How would you compare writing Awakened to anything you’ve previously written?

I’ve never written a book before so it was a new experience! I’m a copywriter so I write for businesses for a living, and I’ve been blogging about art and culture for about six years, so I’m using to writing things like websites and blog posts. I decided upon the chapters then dedicated a couple of hours each morning for four months to writing it. I was pretty disciplined about writing every week day. I hadn’t been that vocal about mental health in the past so it was quite daunting being so honest and discussing my deepest, darkest feelings. There have been times when I’ve felt like not putting it out there as I have some fears about what people will think, but the message is more important than my fears.

How do you organise your work and life to ensure you get a healthy balance?

I became self-employed partly to have more control over my life, and to a certain extent it’s worked. It suits me better as I can organise my workload if I’m having a down day (I’m still affected by low mood) and I can work from home which means I don’t have to deal with people that annoy me as much! It has its stressors though, mainly because of the uncertainty and ‘feast or famine’ cycle that can happen when you’re self-employed (either too much work or not enough work) so it can be difficult to feel balanced.

How do I stay in balance? It’s a lifelong work in progress and I’m constantly changing my routine to feel more balanced. I have a morning routine which involves a combination of yoga, meditation, a walk and drawing an oracle card (I talk about my spiritual path in the book). I am still trying to limit my use of technology but I make sure I stay off my phone after 9pm and read before bed. It’s important for me to get out in nature at the weekends and switch off. A weekly yoga class also keeps me in balance, and regular holistic therapies such as massage and reiki. Reading a lot also helps and I go the cinema or theatre once or twice a week which inspires me and gets me away from a screen.

If you had one piece of advice on wellbeing that you’ve learnt, what would it be?

Learn to love yourself. It sounds a bit cliched, but life gets much easier when you’re your own best friend. I’ve always been too hard on myself, which started at school. I was always pushing myself to be an A grade student and if I didn’t achieve that standard I would berate myself. Being a perfectionist does not lead to a happy life. You can never celebrate your achievements and nothing is ever good enough. I think it’s so important for kids to learn to love themselves (not in a narcissistic, selfie-taking way) and not measure their happiness against external factors, which society teaches us to do. When we learn how to do that (and there are many ways to do that, such as learning about self-care, finding your passion and purpose, and learning to appreciate the little things and have more gratitude) life flows better.

World Mental Health Day 2017 missuswolf

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know

If you read the book you’ll know, but I have a Facebook spiritual group with over 1,300 members. I realised that I felt ‘different’ and was having interesting spiritual experiences, so I created it to find my tribe and talk about spiritual topics such as angels, past lives and the law of attraction with like-minded people. Now I don’t feel so lonely or out there and have made life-long friends as a result of the group.

You can get a copy of Awakened here.

Where to find Debbie and her support groups:

Facebook – www.facebook.com/DebbieStokoeWriter

Twitter – @DebbieStokoe111

Instagram @socialbflycomms 

Stay Sane At Work website – www.staysaneatwork.co.uk

Facebook group – www.facebook.com/groups/StaySaneAtWork 

You can take part in World Mental Health Day today in the Time To Change #inyourcorner campaign

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images from Unsplash and Time To Change website

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Awakened as part of this post