Complaining & The Pity Party

Hey friends,

I hope you’re all having an amazing week!!

To be honest I’ve struggled the last couple of weeks, can I be real with you about that? Sometimes even the most positive of people have some downer days.  I’m owning that & sharing it!

For some reason I don’t enjoy the long Summer break.  Nothing is the same.  And it’s just so LOOOOONNNNGGG, am I right?!

I think it goes back to the school holidays as a kid, I didn’t like being out of routine & no one was around to play with & even if they were they didn’t seem to think to include me, boo hoo right!?

Anyway, pop on top a sick child & I’ve really been showing up a lot at my very own pity party lately.

Sick Sweet Bea

Sweet Bea was so sick with an ear infection, her Daddy is so sweet to hold her like this as she wouldn't settle in her cot.

 

I started following Zig Ziglar on Facebook & some quotes he put on just made me laugh at myself a little (a lot). I laughed because I’ve already forgotten the things I need to do to help myself through the low times which we all have sometimes.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
- Zig Ziglar
“The more you complain about your problems, the more problems you will have to complain about.”
-Zig Ziglar

Can I have an AMEN to that?!  Soooo true.

Last year I went through a hard time with PNA (you can read my guest post about it HERE), & during that time I was taught some tools for dealing with stress, anxiety & panic.  I know I need daily reminders of motivation to help me through.

Did life suddenly get easier? No, of course not! So when did I decide to stop motivating myself & being positive? I don’t have an answer friends except I guess old habits die hard!

Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated when we’re out of our normal routine, it takes practice & dedication to stay positive.

Thankfully I’ve been reminded today by that still small voice to think about the tools I learnt when I was working my way through PNA last year.  Motivational quotes helped me a lot!  Whenever I feel myself starting to go back downhill again I need to look up these quotes that help me focus on bringing gratitude to God for how far I’ve come & where I’m going.

“You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive, life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.”
-Zig Ziglar

If I put as much energy into praying for others & reading hope filled blogs, articles & scripture as I do into complaining in my head I think I’d get a lot more accomplished.

Whatever you’re doing over this Summer hols have a great time, because you deserve it! You really, really do.

Enjoy the sunshine

Lizzie XO

 

Lilly & Sid – A Review

lyme

sweet Harry trying all the locks at Lyme Regis Beach Huts!

Hey friends,

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a review, & the most exciting bit? It’s actually one I’ve been asked to do! So this is my first official review!

I was sent a Lilly & Sid Ladybird Flo sunsafe suit in the post to keep & review & I’m so glad they did.

Firstly, who doesn’t love an exciting package?  Secondly when it comes wrapping in tissue paper you know it’s something a bit special.

lilly and sid 7

My exciting package came wrapped in lovely Lilly & Sid tissue paper!

On opening the Lilly & Sid Ladybird Flo sun safe suit, I loved it immediately! Such a cute ladybird design, complete with hood so no need for a sun hat.  Most of all though I thought the pink frill added a real girly touch to the outfit.

I was struck by this message in the labels!

lilly and sid 5

A Company with a humanitarian spirit gets my heart & encouraging recycling shows they're green too!

So in the spirit of really testing the suit out me & the sweet kids hot-tailed it to the beach at Lyme Regis in Dorset to see how it stood against an hour in the sand & hot sun.

The suit is so easy to slip on & the best bit was I didn’t put sun cream on any of the skin that would be under the suit as it’s safe to 50+.  I only put sun cream on  Sweet Bea’s lower legs, hands & face where her skin was showing (there’s a time saver right there!). She didn’t burn or catch any sun at all while wearing the suit.

lilly and sid 4

I plonked the kids straight in the sand & Sweet Bea played merrily for ages.  She loved throwing the sand around (the people next to us really loved that!!!) & running away as fast as she could, great games for all!

lilly and sid 2

lilly and sid 3

How cute does she look in this?

What I noticed most while we were at the beach was how comfy Sweet Bea looked.  She was very happy at the beach.  Also, when I came to take off the suit when we got home I noticed a total absence of sand in her nappy, let me assure you this is a win all round.

Just so you know Sweet Harry was with us too getting absolutely covered in chocolate ice cream.  You can’t win every time friends!

lilly and sid 1

lilly and sid 8

If you’re in the market for sun suit that protects to 50+ SPF I would recommend this one as it was clearly comfortable, I think it looks fun, it’s great quality & just made for adventures!  I will definitely consider purchasing a Lilly & Sid outfit based on the quality & look of this one.

If you like this suit make sure you head over to their website where it ‘s on half price sale (was £30 now £15) & if you order before 3pm you get FREE next day delivery.

Here’s where we finished our seaside trip! Fish & Chips (with mushy peas) all the way at By the Bay! We’re at the English seaside after all!

lyme fish & chips

Until the next time friends

Have a great day!

Lizzie XO

Screwball Rally 2014

Hey friends,

It’s been such a strange year so far.  We’ve known that Jon (my hubs) will be going away in September for a week around Europe since January, but it’s not really felt that real until now. With just over a month to go, it’s really time to kick this adventure into gear!

SCREWBALL JON & TOM

You can see what it’s all about by clicking through to their blog about it HERE.

My hubby & his mate Tom have both lost parents to cancer. Both wanting to do something, they came across the Screwball Rally.  5 Countries over 5 days, 2,500 miles in a beaten up old car worth no more than £300.

SCREWBALL CAR BEFORE 2

This is a huge undertaking with lots to be taken into consideration.

SCREWBALL MAP

The guys decided to go for it! Their dream is to use this adventure to raise money for St. Margaret’s Hospice (Yeovil) where Tom’s Dad spent his final days.

Please (please) support them by:

1. Printing out this poster & putting it anywhere you are able to.  You car, your office, noticeboard in your local shop! Screwball Rally

2. Bring it to the attention of your Company!

Corporate sponsorship with your logo on the car is now available & would be a huge encouragement to the lads. This needs to be done SOON!  Let’s make this car the most colourful in the whole rally!  Your brand will be seen in 5 countries & in the Western Gazette in September 2014. (circulation 31,000).

3. Sponsor Jon & Tom.  This is an adventure but it’s also going to be extremely tiring, way out of their comfort zone, they’ll  be staying in a different country every night & it’s going to cost them loads of money from their own pocket.  (None of the money raised for St. Margaret’s Hospice will go towards the costs of entering & driving this rally i.e. 100% of the money raised will go to the charity!)  Click here to sponsor Jon & Tom

4. Pray – for safety, that the car won’t break down, that sponsorship will keep coming in & encouraging the lads, & for me & Tom’s partner who will be looking after our children solo while they’re away.

5. Both Tom & Jon have sons, their sons were born on the same day, that day falls during the rally.  They are missing their sons’ birthdays because they believe passionately in this cause! Be thinking of them as they’re away missing their boys’.

6. Camping equipment.  The guys are already spending loads of money on this rally (entrance fee, ferry, car, think how much petrol they’ll need just for starters, ouch!) Please help support them anyway you can.  They will need:

A two man (pop up or quick assembly) tent

A camping stove & Cooking stuff

Sleeping bags

Food & Bottled Water

Your donations to meet these needs would be stupendous!!

As for me I’ll be keeping the home fires burning, but I’m sure I’ll be pretty tired too running the whole show back here in Blighty, so all your prayers are greatly appreciated.  Let’s all join in wishing them all the best in their endeavours!!

The countdown has begun.

Blessings to you all!

Have a great day.

Lizzie XO

Blog Birthday & Redesign!

Hey friends,

As I approach my Blog’s first birthday, I think back on the year since last August & my favourite posts & things that have happened.

anxiety pic

Firstly my most important post.  So far it’s my most nerve wracking post too, my Guest Post for 365 Pearls of Wisdom.  It’s the first time I’m totally up front & honest about how things are for me sometimes & that got me a little bit shaky! I also gave someone else the authority over my words! Seeing as I’m not too hot at giving up control it was a great experience & one I’d love to repeat.  Sometimes giving up control is the only way to move forwards.

Blogging certainly brings things out of you I didn’t even think of.  I go through life pretty much never asking for help with anything.  It’s something I’m working on.  We’re a ‘dig your heels in & get on with it’ kind of family.  But blogging, like life, cannot be done on your own.  No man is an island.

I’m thankful I met Karen quite early on in my blogging journey (Karen blogs at 365 Pearls of Wisdom), an online friend turned real life friend. Our meet up’s with our kids have encouraged me when others didn’t understood what I do this for & her willingness to share her ideas always gives me inspiration.

KAREN & SWEET BEA

Karen with Sweet Bea // Instagram - 365 Pearls of Wisdom

Second up, this post about Christmas was important for me.  Read my post & see what you think!  I was over the moon (& speechless) when my Church asked to share this on their FB page.  Coming out of your shell definitely has it’s positives & that was so encouraging for me.

Of course, I’ve enjoyed documenting some of the lovely, positive things I do with my sweet kids/little family.  They really are the jewels in my crown & I couldn’t be prouder to be his wife & their Mum.

FAMILY KIDS

Our family holiday to Cornwall

Realising what my passions are through this blog has been really eye opening! Instead of trying to make my passions into something they’re not, I’ve realised where my heart really lies.

Firstly Faith.  This will always be top of my list!  When ever I think about what to write about, I ask the big man upstairs for His input.  That is why I sometimes sit down to write about a home makeover or a recipe & something else comes pouring out instead. Like this post.

Second, my home.  I thought I wanted my kids to feature predominately in this blog.  But as much as they’re my passion, I will mostly be writing about Faith & Lifestyle, & that may sometimes include my children.  See Sweet Harry’s Room Makeover HERE.

I think the thing that has most surprised me with writing this blog would have to be finding my voice.  I never knew I had a voice until I started this blog.  I believe (now) that everyone has a voice, whether someone is advocating for you somehow or you have a little slice of the www like I do.

Instead of being shackled by anxiety, social anxiety & the stresses & strains of family life, I’ve found it freeing to write about it & share it instead.  I’ve also loved & been encouraged by reading other people’s blogs.  We’re all in this life together, so let’s encourage each other.

My heart is always to encourage others, & sometimes that means sharing painful or deep things.

I think that real positivity comes from speaking out Truth & sometimes (when it’s wise) to make ourselves a bit more open & vulnerable, so that we can move forwards together.  I really hope that my journey might encourage you in yours.

So I’ll leave you with this picture, I was looking at my silver bangle earlier & it reminded me of the bends in the road along life’s path.  Did I start this blog with God in mind, to share my faith? Hand on heart probably not because believe it or not I’ve always been quite quiet about that, but that’s where God has led me with it & I’m thankful for it.

bend in the road

Instagram

I look forward to room & furniture makeovers too, talking about God, my family, my journey, hopefully edifying you & lifting you up & sometimes you may see the sweet gems too.  I will be sharing the things that bring me joy.  Being a radiator instead of a drain.  That hasn’t changed one bit.

Don’t forget to check out my main blog page to see my new Blog logo, isn’t it amazing?  With thanks to my creative friends Harry Llewelyn & Veronika Klinger.

Until the next time friends, it’s going to be a great new (blog) year!

Lizzie XO

Take a Moment – Wear Love

Hey friends,

It’s the preschool holidays so this little space will see less action over the next few weeks.  That being said I still have loads to say! So I might just have to squeeze everything into my one post of the week!

On my mind this week (ever being inspired by other blog posts) is the phrase ‘wear love’.  It comes from a verse in the bible where God asks us to put on our new clothes with his label on them.  Colossians 3 10-14 MSG

wear love

I was reminded of ‘wear love’ on my blog pal’s post the other day. Elise is showing her new home makeovers & I love how she incorporates her faith into her home décor!  See Elise’s closet makeover HERE.  Might need to get the ‘wear love’ print for our home.

Me & hubby had the full Colossians 3 verse as our reading at our wedding.  What I love about it is it’s simple prodding on how to do life looking outwards on a daily basis.

In an ever inclusive society, where we think more of self than others, how can we love others & feel compassion in our daily lives?  This passage talks about our old way of living, but with Jesus at the centre of our lives we put on our new wardrobe of love, compassion, kindness.

Fast, disposable fashion is the norm now & yet sweat shops are still going & we’re buying (& therefore supporting) clothes from shops that don’t have an ethical process in place.  Not every fashion retainer is unscrupulous & lots of companies are now putting strategies in place.  It’s slow going though.  It’s amazing how many retailers are still using this form of manufacture in this day & age. The inhumane almost slave like conditions imposed on people in poorer countries is simply not fair.

I sometimes worry (actually worry) what I will wear on a certain day.  How much do I think about who made it? Not much.  Do I care if it’s fairly traded? I think it’s about time I did.

How much do we look at people as who they really are?  Do we make judgements based on their fashion taste? I’m thinking I need to think more about what people can see IN me rather than ON me & I need to do the same for them.

This verse in Colossians speaks metaphorically about our clothes.  What’s the point in being all geared up, if we’re not wearing kindness?  What’s the point in having the latest expensive handbag if we don’t wear compassion?

14. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.   

Me & the sweet kids are off to the park in a little bit to meet up with some preschool friends! It’s going to be 28 degrees here today (swoon) & once again I don’t know what to wear.  One thing I will be putting on though is LOVE…& praying for the person that made my clothes!

So ‘wear love’ is where it’s at really.  ‘Your basic, all purpose garment.  Never be without it.’

Have a great day & see you next week!!!

Lizzie XO

 

Grow Hope | World Vision UK

Hey friends,

GROW HOPE WITH WORLD VISION THIS SUMMER

Along with World Vision UK I’m spreading a little message of hope today.

My mission? To post a photograph that means hope to me.  This is the photograph I chose.

Ted & Bill

This is my Grampy (on the right), his name was Ted, he was in the Navy before, during & after WW2.  Also in the photo is his mate Bill (yes Bill & Ted!) I carry this picture around with me in my purse.

I think the reason this photograph gives me hope every time I look at it is the complete look of ease these two have in each other’s company.  They’ve obviously been through a lot together.  I know they were friends for the rest of their lives.

My Grampy never spoke about the war.  My Grandma said it was the worst & best time of their lives.  They lost so many friends that it was unbearable, but also the community & country came together in total unity.

This photo of true friendship fills me with hope for the future, that our grandparents, great-grandparents & even further back have fought for us to live the lives we lead today.

Will you give a message of hope to children in Zambia via World Vision UK today?

World Vision are asking you to help mark the anniversary of the 1984 Ethiopian Famine by signing up to help children in Zambia:

“Join us to grow hope today and we’ll give vulnerable families in Zambia orange maize seeds to ensure children can live a life free from the fear of hunger. These seeds are rich in vitamin A, to help provide children with the nutrition they lack.

Simply complete the form below and you’ll receive a beautiful Grow Hope box. Inside is freshly ground coffee from Ethiopia to share with a friend, and Calendula (marigold) seeds for you to plant, as a reminder of the hope that is being grown in Zambia.”

You can sign up by click this LINK

#GrowHope

Blessings

Lizzie XO

The Outsider

Hey friends,

I read an article recently in Stella Magazine, a supplement of The Telegraph weekend newspaper, in which Antonia Hoyle talked candidly about her experience as a Working Mum.

Titled ‘The Inbetweeners’ Ms Hoyle, who as a notable freelance journalist, writes about the pressures of doing both jobs well (that of being a top journalist & a Mum) & somehow being sold the lie that we can have it all & realising that it’s just not possible.

This is a situation about which I can’t really comment, since I didn’t return to work after having my children.  But I found myself nodding my head along with the words as I agreed with it all, I could just feel the frustration it must be to feel so split down the middle.

The part of the article which hit me most though, was the inference that Stay at home Mothers were somehow inferior, devoid of goals & ambition.

I am not saying that this is Antonia Hoyle’s opinion, rather that (as she put it) there is an ‘unspoken narrative’ in society that if you have a degree & a credible career that you’ve worked damned hard for, why would you give that up when you have children?

I must agree with the sentiment that our identities as women is tied up with work. Leaving my job to stay at home with my then one child ( I now have 2 children) was one of the single hardest thing I’ve done, it also comes with it’s own heavy dose of guilt.

What surprised me was how much I struggled with the decision not to return to work. Women who choose (or can afford to choose) to stay home has fallen to a record low in the UK.  I’d always wanted to be a Mum & had always wanted to stay at home with my children.  So why when it came to it, did I find it so hard to give it all up? Why did I feel guilty that I still wanted to work?

I remember handing my notice in, only to then try & beg Personnel to have it back. I’d changed my mind, I panicked, I needed more time to think!  I was giving up who I was, my identity I’d known forever,  for this little baby boy who cried, whinged, didn’t care that my very essence was ebbing away & never said thank you for it either!

I knew I would be giving up my identity at the very point I handed in my notice, because ‘just’ being a Mother isn’t enough in this society anymore.

My decision finally came about after I cried out to other Mum’s slightly older than me who had decided to stay at home also & were coming out the other side.  One of them said ‘you may regret going back to work, but you will never regret the years you spend with your children’.

No I do not squander my days in coffee shops with other Mum’s, the stay at home lifestyle is not all it’s cracked up to be. All of my friends work. If you think staying home will make you happier as a Mum then think again.  I spend most of my time on my own with my children. (Read this funny from Hurrah for Gin entitled ‘The Happiness Thieves’ to lighten the subject)!

I felt the unspoken narrative too, all of the women I bonded with on maternity leave gradually went back to work one by one.  I did not feel encouraged to stay at home & society & the government did not validate my choice to do so.  Society & my own insecurities made me feel like I wasn’t enough & I wasn’t doing enough to merit staying home.

There are days I am literally in tears with the mistakes that I make, I feel guilty that I’m not doing right by my children, would they get more out of being at nursery & being in a more structured setting than home? I worry that my house doesn’t look perfect, I mean what do I do all day? What do people think of me? Do they really think I don’t work hard?

I guess I just have to stand by the decision we made & try my best! All Mum’s work hard, whether their choice is to return to work or look after their children full or part time. Isn’t it time we validated all women & their right to choose without making them feel they’re a drain on the economy?

I saw a tweet from a woman well known for her penchant to antagonise, saying that the Stay at home Mum is ‘work shy’.  It actually made me laugh out loud! Does that mean that the career minded Nanny, or Nursery Worker, or Carer of a family member or the elderly is ‘work shy’?  I am not a lesser contribution to society.

Caring whether for free, for love or as a paid career is not any less valid than that of a banker, lawyer, mechanic, engineer or any other profession for that matter. But I feel like I’m only preaching to myself on this subject.

I fully intend to go back to work once both of my children are in full time education, I still have goals & ambition & I know when that time comes I will be glad to get ‘me’ back again. I don’t know yet what I will do, but I’ll work hard at it, that I can say with certainty!

In the meantime I am giving 6 years of my life in order to stay home with my children in their early years. Actually, I don’t see it as a sacrifice because these children give me far more than I give them!!

It has taken me 3 (nearly 4) long years to get used to the fact that society sees me as ‘just’ a Mum & it has taken just as long to realise that I do not have to take this on as truth.

I have an identity outside of being a Mother, but I have to work hard to claim it & stand up for it.  I have learnt that staying home is isolating, exhausting & the most hard work I have ever done in my life.  It is also the most joy & reward I have ever felt in my life.

Being a Mum is the hardest & the easiest job in the world.  A paradox of immeasurable proportions.

What do you think?

Until the next time have a great day!

Lizzie XO

 

Five on Friday – An Update

09cc0-5onfriday-logooption1Hey Friends,

No this is not me getting my days back to front!!  There were blog posts from the lovely ladies; April, Christina, Darci & Natasha, saying Five on Friday will be going on Summer hols until term starts up again (in the USA this is until sometime in August).

Darci has gone the extra mile & taken her blog down entirely for the foreseeable future. As a working Mum & building a new home I can see why blogging has taken a back seat.  Blogging could easily become all consuming if you let it.  I want to wish Darci all the very best as her blog has encouraged & inspired me.  You can still follow her on Instagram search for DARCIo5.

Wishing all the girls a happy Summer & all of you too! I’d love to hear about your plans this Summer.

In the meantime I could find another linky & I may do that, but in the spirit of also putting my children first this Summer holidays I will be blogging once a week until term starts again UK time in early September.

So this Summer will be a refreshing time to really focus on what’s important, my kids, family, friends, food, enjoying our home & time outside having fun & lots of fresh air.

Have a fab Summer guys!

Lizzie XO

Take a Moment – Don’t Miss a Post

Hey friends,    coffee biscuit1

Do you keep missing blog posts?

It’s so super easy to subscribe to my posts so you won’t miss a single one!

Just go to the side bar (to the side right here) just pop your e-mail in there & press Subscribe! It just takes a moment.

You will get every post I publish straight to your inbox!! Technology keeping us right up to date.

You can also follow along with me on Insta, TwitterFacebook or Bloglovin.

I post pictures on Instagram regularly & you can see pretty much my daily life on there!

I hope you’re all having a good week & enjoying the sunshine! Looking forward to sharing more of this thing called life with you all.

To my readers in the USA, Happy 4th July to you!!

Blessings

Lizzie XO

Open Mic – Time Flies By

Hey Friends & welcome to the last of this series of Open Mic,

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the Open Mic series.  It’s been a real joy for me to open up this little space to you all.

Welcome to this weeks Guest, Lisa Don.

OPEN MIC

I am mum of a 5 year old rambunctious boy and a very spirited 3.5 year old girl, and wife to the big guy, they keep me busy and I love that this is my full time occupation.  We love to spend our time cooking, eating and camping and when we are doing all three, we are at our happiest.

Thank you to Lizzie for asking me to do a guest spot on her blog, I feel very privileged, as I no longer blog myself.  So it was lovely to have the opportunity to get my current emotional state in writing once more, I had forgot how therapeutic it can be and goodness knows I need my head cleared a little just now!  There are big changes afoot.
“Time Flies By”

Yeah Yeah.  The above phrase or  the other joyous one of “he will be at school before you know it” annoyed me.  I would think, yeah that is right, he is only 3 months old – 5 years is a long long long time away.  What?? What is that?? Noooooooooo!  It was devastatingly true, it has flown by, he will be at school very very soon.

I feel blind sided, yet I have known for 5 years this would happen, how am I not ready?

My baby, my first born, my wee buddy is off to school after the Summer and I feel unstable, not quite in a, best get me to hospital unstable state, but wobbly, very wobbly.

I find myself trawling through photos of him daily and tearing up, I can not bring myself to try his uniform on, for fear of a breakdown.  Egg shells under my feet and tomorrow it is his last day at nursery.

He had an awesome teacher, she got him, he loved her, they were a wee team.  Will he ever get that again, will he even like his new teacher?  I am losing sleep.

Now lets put this into perspective, my wee guy is SO ready for school and he is going to LOVE it, when we talk about it, it is always positive and upbeat and exciting.  In fact he is mostly excited about learning to read and to read recipes especially and also doing test experiments (science).

So on one hand, we are going to go full throttle into this new adventure, it will be great to seem him grow and achieve and enjoy school and again I will be with him every step of the way.

But on the the other hand, I had a realisation, this is my job isn’t it?  As his mum, to teach him to stand on his own two feet, I have made him feel comfortable and safe in his own bed, I have taught him to eat and drink on his own, I have taught him to walk, jump, skip and run, I am teaching him to recognise emotions in himself and in others so he will be ready for an even bigger world out there one day.

I am essentially teaching my boy to be independent of me and school is that first step.

I will miss our time together, cheeky wee duvet/movie days when its horrible outside, which you can do on a whim at nursery, now and again and then there is the worry, will he be happy?  What if kids are horrible to him, what if he misses me…..who will hug him?  Can I go to school and offer hugs just in case, in the middle of a lesson?  I know that is crazy but who will give him a hug?  Not having that part of me there for him for the most part of his day, gets me the most, right in the heart.I know I am not the only mum that will, has or does feel this way and I am going to just take that first day at school as one day and move onto the next.  I am not sure if I will cry on his first day, as it is a positive, new adventure of us all, but tomorrow, that is a different story, last day of nursery, last day of being a baby really, he will be my school boy soon.

But first…..7 weeks of summer and my boy all to myself!

adam first dayAdam’s First Day at NurseryAdam 2

 

Adam’s Last Day of Nursery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa

 

 

 

Disclaimer : Opinions raised in this Open Mic series are entirely the words, thoughts & opinions of the guest author & are not necessarily the opinion of Lizzie Somerset’s Blog.  LS XO