Toilet Training Izzy For School

We’re toilet training Izzy for school at the moment. Like Eva, Izzy has shown interest in the toilet but only on her terms since about a year old. Just like Eva she also made sure it really was only on her terms.

At home with her 2 in 1 toilet seat and steps, she will happily have a wee 60% of the time on the toilet. Anywhere else has been an absolute no! Until this week!

With Izzy starting reception in a few weeks we needed to push a little harder. I know talking things through with Izzy tends to work best so I sat her down for a chat.

Talking It Through

We talked about how good she is at using the toilet by herself at home now. Then I reminded her at school there are no steps so we really need to work out using the toilet without.

Reassurance

I reassured her I’d hold her until she felt comfortable and we’d practice for a few days at home. Once she felt comfortable we would try using one elsewhere, then try going out close to home without pull-ups.

Izzy had other ideas. Suddenly she folded her steps up and said to put them in the bin! We decided to put them in the cupboard for now and she has spent all day showing we she doesn’t need steps. She’s a big girl now she’s 4!

Using A Toilet Somewhere New

We headed out to the library for an hour and Izzy surprised me by using the toilet there too! We’ve discussed speeding up our original plan since and I’m really pleased she suddenly feels ready at last! I got stressed with Eva toilet training, feeling pressured by others. This time around I’ve done things my way and so far it seems to be going smoothly!

Toilet Training At Last!

We’re now on day 3 since ditching the steps and Izzy is doing really well. She’s using the toilet all day until bedtime and I think we are almost ready to start going out to nearby places with toilets without pull-ups.. hopefully, haha! Toilet training is in full swing at last and I think Izzy is finally ready to ditch the pull-ups during the day and hopefully, it won’t be long until she is dry at night too. She has started to wake up for the toilet in the night and we are cutting down evening drinks to help.

Feeling Positive

With just a few weeks to go until she starts reception, we feel Izzy will definitely be ready to use the toilet alone. I’m relieved I haven’t got as stressed this time around, I knew she’d be ready in her own time!

Are you toilet training at the moment? How is it going?

5 Expat Blogs For Families To Follow

Living and working as an expat can be a fantastic opportunity, but if you are relocating with a young family, you may face challenges you had not previously considered. Expat family blogs can help.

Travelling long haul with a baby, adjusting to a different climate, homesickness, living without a familiar support network, education and managing finances in a different country are just some of the concerns expat parents may have.

5 Expat Blogs

The good news is, there are many expat families, living and working around the world and sharing their experiences online. We’ve chosen 5 expat blogs for families you might consider following for tips on living, working and raising children abroad:

Life with Baby Kicks

Although reluctant at first, Laura grew to love living abroad. After four and half years in the Middle East, her blog is a fantastic resource if this is where your family may be headed.

Post to check out: Expat friendships are what make expat life amazing.

What it covers: Adjusting to expat life, expat life in Dubai, expat life in Qatar and travelling with young children.

The Expat Mama

Based in Singapore with two young children, The Expat Mama covers a wide range of topics from dealing with homesickness to children’s education abroad to shopping and baking. One of the most interesting areas of the blog is ‘The Expat Mama meets’, where expats from around the world are interviewed about why they became expats, what they would do differently if they moved again and advice for others moving to their location. It is a treasure trove of reliable information if you are considering a move to an expat destination.

Post to check out: The Expat’s Mama meets….

What it covers: Expat family life, homesickness, homeschooling, food and drink, life in Singapore, interviews with other expats around the world.

Wandermust Family

This expat blog is written by a family of three, who were based in Qatar up until late 2017. There is a lot of useful content on the site, particularly for those planning to live in the Middle East. This blog also contains some great reviews of equipment for travelling with babies and young children as well as tips for travelling while pregnant and with the new addition to your family.

Post to check out: Ramadan in Qatar – your essential guide.

What it covers: Luxury family travel, expat life in Qatar, reviews of family travel gear.

Our Globe Trotters

This blog by Keri Hedrick focuses on travel advice, family life and money matters from an expat perspective. If you are wondering how much moving abroad will cost or the kind of salary to expect as an expat, then this is the blog for you and your family.

Post to check out: The Real Cost of Expat Living.

What it covers: Expat money, life in Abu Dhabi, global parenting.

Seychelles Mama

Blogger Chantelle, and her husband Mark, knew from the outset that they wanted to raise their family abroad so made the decision to move to the Seychelles only a month after marrying. They now have two children and Chantelle blogs about life as an expat in this beautiful part of the world. If you are a parent of young children living away from home then this could be the blog for you.

Post to check out: How to juggle expat life, family, and the need for sleep.

What it covers: Planning to move abroad, expat family life, pregnancy and fitness.

We hope these expat blogs will help answer some of the parenting questions you have about raising your children abroad. Ensure you protect your families health with Expat Health Insurance.

Little Tiger Party At Kidzania London

We attended the Little Tiger Party at Kidzania London on Saturday and it was fantastic! Having attended Little Tigers Birthday party last year we were really excited to be invited this year too. The girls love Little Tiger books & they couldn’t wait to find out about new books & meet the authors and illustrators. Surprisingly Izzy remembered last year’s Little Tiger Party, the books & activities we took part in. When I told her we had been invited she was so excited!

Little Tiger Party at Kidzania

 

Little Tiger Party

The Little Tiger Party (#TigerPBParty) was held at Kidzania in London where they recently teamed up to create a Little Tiger Library. The library is within Kidzania, giving children a chance to discovers new authors and role play as a librarian too. We arrived a little after 9.30am and greeted by a lovely breakfast buffet. We soon moved into the Kidzania Theatre where several authors & illustrators were ready to tell us about their books.

Kidzania globe

Blue Monster Wants It All

Blue Monster Wants It All! By Jeanne Willis

First up was Jeanne Willis who Izzy mistook for the queen! Jeanne read her book ‘Blue Monster wants it all’ a fantastic story that leaves children with a positive message. Blue monster isn’t happy with anything and thinks he needs a new everything. Even as a baby he wanted everything new from a new pram to a new cuddly toy. I got so absorbed into the storyline that I accidentally forgot to get a picture of Jeanne Willis reading to us, oops!

Blue monster throws away anything old and demands a new replacement. He even get’s rid of all his old toys, family and even the sun! All in search of something newer, shinier & better only to find you can’t buy new friends and family. When Blue monster realises this he quickly repairs his old broken plane and flies back home to his old family! It’s so easy to get caught up with having to have everything new, especially for children these days. I love that there is a story like to help remind children of what is actually important! Such a lovely way to start the Little Tiger Party.

Octopants

Suzie Senior & Claire Powell talking about their new book - Octopants!

We then learnt the origin of the second book, Octopants written by Suzy Senior & illustrated by Claire Powell. Poor Octopus has no underpants and can’t find any, no matter how hard he tries! Luckily he eventually comes across a solution! This is a fun, colourful book for kids and both girls really enjoyed both the book & the presentation.

Octopants written by Suzy Senior & Illustrated by Claire Powell

We learnt the Octopants song which was pretty funny! We helped to come up with some new pant ideas for the octopus, from chicken pants & dinosaur pants to unicorn pants. There were several amusing suggestions leaving Claire to figure out how to turn the idea into pants.

Look Out! It’s A Dragon!

Look out, it's a dragon! By Jonny Lambert
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Next up, Jonny Lambert author of ‘Only Lonely Panda’ came on to the stage. He told us about Saffy the dragon in his new book ‘Look out! It’s a dragon!’ and how he created her. Jonny uses a process called scratch & tickle where he adds paint to his image and scrapes & dabs it with various items until he is happy with it. When he created Saffy he then tore a piece of card to create her belly & finishing the process. This gives Saffy a lovely texture & depth throughout the book.

Jonny Lambert explaining the 'Scratch & tickle' process.

Jonny also showed us how to make a 3D cardboard dragon, this led to Izzy having a slight hissy fit. Izzy thought the dragon story was written because of her Cardboard box dragon. Of course, this meant she wanted to be a helper on stage! She was quite upset at not being chosen but she was very pleased to catch up later on with Jonny. She found him in the Little Tiger library helping children colour & cut out their own dragon & they sat drawing for a while!

Jonny Lambery & Izzy colouring & drawing together.

Saffy isn’t like the other dragons & wants to find a lovely new home. She comes across one and tries to make friends. Everyone is scared of Saffy though as dragons have quite a reputation though & they tell her to go away. When the other dragons come along and ruin their lovely home, Saffy rescues everyone and takes them to a lovely new home.

Cock-A-Doodle-Poo!

Cock-a-doodle-poo! book - Little Tiger Books

The last book, Cock-A-Doodle-Poo was read out by author Steve Smallman who had all of us giggling! Who knew there was so much poo on a farmyard or just how funny a book about poo can actually be!? Rooster is causing a lot of mess & havoc on the farmyard, especially for farmer Jill, but apparently, poo can even be life-saving!

Cock-a-doodle-poo! being read by author Steve Smallman at the #TigerPBParty

Kidzania London

After the party, we were kindly gifted tickets to explore Kidzania London, a huge indoor roleplay place for kids. There are so many jobs for children to try out, they earn Kidzo’s for each job.

Emergency Ambulance - Kidzania

Children can spend their well-earnt Kidzos on activities such as abseiling or riding around in various emergency vehicles or spend them in the final gift shop before leaving. You can even save your Kizos for your next trip and save up for something special!

Renault Formula E

Eva changing a Renault Formula E tyre- Kidzania

Eva was happy to go off and try out a few jobs starting with changing a Renault Formula E wheel. Unfortunately I’m not too sure what else she learnt in the Renault garage, I did ask a member of staff and explained I was there as a blogger and hoped to write about it before we went in but as Izzy discovered at the same time I couldn’t go in with her, I didn’t get a chance to find anything out.

Surgery

Eva performing surgery - Kidzania

Eva really enjoyed performing surgery too & overall she really enjoyed Kidzania, other than the music being a little too loud for her liking. We will look into seeing if they hold quieter days so she can try out a few more activities. I think if we had known how big Kidzania was we would have organised a friend to pick us up so we could do a full day and try everything!

Water Aid science laboratory - Kidzania

Parents aren’t allowed in the activities & the doors are closed which is great for children’s independence but unfortunately, Izzy was put off immediately. She was eventually persuaded by the open water aid centre where she learnt about using clean water and how to make bubbles which she loved! Izzy is really interested in germs & washing her hands regularly so it’s not surprising she enjoyed this activity.

Lovabella Baby Centre

Izzy caring for Lovabella dolls in the baby centre - Kidzania

Thankfully we lost her again when she spotted the Lovabella baby centre! This was the only activity she was happy to do alone. She really enjoyed herself and was happy to go in alone which was a huge relief!

Lovabella Baby Centre - Kidzania

Izzy also considered surgery but seeing the dummy & apron she had to wear put her off, seeing Eva perform the surgery even more so. By next year I’m sure she will love it though and happuly go into each activity alone. I can see us investing in annual passes as a gift for the girls in the future. I imagine once they are used to the venue I will be able to happily sneak off to the parents garden and leave them to it!

Saffy the dragon signed by Jonny Lambet to Eva & Izzy

Overall we had a fantastic day at the Little Tiger Party and can’t thank Little Tiger & Kidzania enough for having us. To really top the day we came home with a signed copy of each book & one of Jonny’s Saffy artworks he used on stage to explain scratch & tickle, which we absolutely love! I love that the girls both told everyone to sign Izzy/Isobella as Issobella, it became a little joke, Izzy Issobella! An amusing memory for the girls to look back on. Little Tiger parties are the best, we really enjoy these events and hope to get invited to the next one too!

Learning How To Draw Kawaii With The Girls

I’ve been learning how to draw Kawaii with the girls most evenings over the last few weeks. It started with Eva wanting to learn to draw a unicorn. I looked online but struggled to find anything Eva didn’t consider too complicated. Wanting to boost her confidence, I looked around on the Play Store too.

Learning how to draw kawaii with the girls

Learning How to Draw Kawaii – Kawaii App

Having found a cool app – Kawaii Easy Drawing: How to draw step by step, Eva was happy to give drawing a unicorn a go. Eva kept getting stressed at first, so I offered to draw with her.

Eva's Unicorn
Eva’s first attempt at drawing a unicorn

 

 

Seeing that I make mistakes too and showing her accepting that it won’t always turn out perfect really boosted Eva’s confidence in drawing. Now she accepts small mistakes and does her own thing too.

Learning how to draw kawaii
My first 2 attempts at drawing a unicorn

Since then, Izzy, of course, has to join in too although demands help for every step haha! Sometimes she will let me do an awful attempt and fill it in with scribbles whilst we wait for Eva to finish.

Izzy's unicorn and mermaid
A joint effort from Izzy & I!

 

A New Routine

Drawing most evenings has become a new routine lately. It seems to calm the girls down before bed and we usually manage 3-5 drawings each time. The girls want to learn to draw everything on this app then look for a new one. These simple, cute kawaii drawings are really keeping the girls entertained. From Unicorns, Mermaids, Emojis and superheroes, we’ve spent quite a lot of time together at the table drawing.

Eva's Emoji
Eva’s Emoji

Eva’s confidence rising is nice to see as she is very much like me and beats herself up over small mistakes. Showing her that I make mistakes too but we can correct them or use them to our advantage is probably good for both of us. Seeing Eva proudly present her finished drawing at the end of each one makes my day!

Superhero girl
Eva’s superhero!

I’ll be hunting for my websites & apps like this with simple instructions to help the girls (and me!) continue learning to draw. I love that it gives us something to sit and do together and it’s lovely chatting away as we do. Eva is now laughing at big mistakes instead of getting upset and happy to start again.

Burnished Chaos

Recovering From A Low Patch

I’m slowly recovering from a low patch. Having felt great following my personal month of blogging challenge, losing my ESA award was a huge blow. It left us struggling financially, we spent every single day and weekend focused on finding a solution. Trying to writing the right letter and applying for the right benefits with 2 kids around can be hellish.

Recovering From A Low Patch

Benefit Changes & Accepting I Need A Carer

DWP Assessors acknowledged all my health issues and agreed they impacted my health. However, I was basically told I could work if I used a wheelchair. Sod my mental health too, just get on with it basically. Luckily I receive PIP and with the Mr spending so much time at home caring for me, doing things I can’t, reminding me to eat regularly, take my medications on time etc allowed him to claim carers allowance which also entitled him to claim income support for us.

Having a Carer

I’m not going to lie, whilst accepting that I do need a carer was hard, it was also a relief. Passing on the burden of having to fill out the form correctly made things less stressful. After 2 months of barely any money to live on, we received the benefit awards the same day as our eviction notice. Luckily that meant we could notify the council and avoid being evicted.

Getting Back On Track

I still struggled for a while, kicking myself for putting us through 2 months of hell because of my health. After a few weeks spent catching up on bills though, things finally turned around. Being able to treat the girls to what they need plus a few extras have been lovely. I felt so selfish when we had nothing, the whole family suffered because of my assessment.

Slowly picking myself back up I’ve managed to get back on track with finding out what’s going on with me. I missed blood tests after losing my award as I felt it was pointless. So what if I was ill? Everyone else was barely able to eat. Obviously now I see it probably would have helped me to carry on with the tests so I have been back to the Dr and getting back on top of it all.

Instead of pushing myself through frustration I’ve slowed down, picked up my crochet hook more and read, having more me time has helped. Recovering from a low patch can be quite wobbly, I’ve had some low days reflecting on these last few months. I’ve also been trying to make the most of being in a better situation and accepting I need more help has helped me feel better about having more me time, something the Mr is always nagging me to do!

Having A Life Again

Knowing the Mr can pick up a few beers to relax after a day of school runs, shopping, clothes washing, reminding me to person and general tidying is a huge relief. The poor bloke barely has a social life, he spends so much time at home helping us. It’s nice he can sit and relax after a long day with a cold beer.

I’ve had the chance to finally try Contact Lenses with a push from the Mr and eventually decided to go with Daily lenses instead of monthlies without feeling hugely guilty. The benefits have outweighed the costs and as the Mr is now officially my Carer he is using it as an excuse to make me listen & treat myself more!

Contact Lens

Months of apologising to the girls because we couldn’t afford to do this or buy that was hard. Luckily we were able to get out to the Dickens festival & spoilt them slightly. We made the most of being out for the first time in months which felt great. Mum guilt is horrible when you are the reason your kids are going without so it was lovely to finally say YES. Izzy was ecstatic to see The Lamplighter and he sung the Charlie Mops song just for her even though he hadn’t planned to sing it!

Eva spent some birthday money and I treated her to a few extras too. Something I hadn’t been able to do for a while! As she has become a huge Harry Potter fan we picked her up some awesome bits like this box and sign!

Being Robbed By Royal Mail & Fonegiant

The Mr made sure I finally have a working phone (LG G5!) too which was a huge relief after months of phone stress. With Fonegiant and Royal Mail both failing spectacularly with Fonegiant sending out a locked phone, in the wrong colour, followed by Royal mail losing the £180 phone.

Royal Mail can only refund the person who paid the postage which is down to Fonegiant who refuse to claim and instead keep resending me the Royal Mail Claims site page. I certainly wouldn’t recommend buying a phone from Fonegiant as there is no guarantee you will receive a working phone and clearly they are unwilling to help once they have the money safely in their account.

Royal Mail did eventually give me £60 compensation and accepted they have lost the phone. They refused to refund me the £180 for the phone as Fonegiant have to chase it.. Which of course Adam who owns Fonegiant is refusing to do. Having been robbed by them both in the middle of all this just made me feel even worse. I felt suicidal for the first time in years.

That refund could have fed us when we had no money coming in! Without a phone, I couldn’t book the appointments needed or answer calls from DWP which helped my assessment fail. I was immensely grateful when Mandy offered to send me a phone to help me out. She warned me it may not work with a big crack in the screen. The phone worked enough for me to make those necessary calls and I honestly can’t thank Mandy enough!

The Mr eventually bought me a G5 for £40 less than the one from Fonegiant. It arrived working, the correct colour, on the correct network! Such a relief!

Recovering From A Low Patch

Since things fell back in place, the Mr has bought me a new (working!) LG G5, allowing me to feel connected again. I can keep up with everything again, I can moan on twitter and harass Martyn and Hannah on Whatsapp (Sorry guys but you kept me sane) again. I can call and book appointments and keep in touch with my brother again. All things I felt lost without!

Hopefully, now I’ll find my blogging mojo again. I’m determined to set myself a few goals over the coming months. Blogging definitely keeps me sane, whatever I’m sharing. From sharing cool products, covering my mental & physical health, crafts, books, it all makes me feel happier. Jibbering moany rubbish helps me get everything off my chest so my head can attempt thinking logically. Sharing our ups & downs has been a massive help to me & it’s lovely to look back & see how far we’ve come.

Looking back over the last few months, we’ve been through quite a lot but there are so many positives to focus on! I have realised I have some fantastic friends I can genuinely rely on, talk openly with and feel supported by.

Going through this has shown me we can get through so much as a family. The last few months have been so stressful for us all yet we still come out stronger than ever! When you aren’t worrying so much about where the next meal is coming from everything feels amazing. I’ve been in agony at times but still, I feel grateful to finally have everything back in place.

If you are ever having a low patch, reach out, there’s always someone willing to listen. My DM’s are always open! Sometimes things like this hit us hard & small things on top can tip us over the edge but we can recover from a low patch!

Food Prep Using Kiddies Food Kutter & Safety Food Peeler

The girls enjoyed some Food prep using Kiddies Food Kutter & Safety Food Peeler this week. Eva wanted to make fruit kebabs and since we were sent some Kiddies Food Kutters & Safety Food Peelers I figured I’d let the girls try them out. After the girls had been poorly, followed by a heat wave, healthy fruit kebabs sounded like a fantastic idea.

Kiddies Food Kutter

The Kiddies Food Kutter is a safety knife designed specifically for children aged 2 years + including children with special needs. Using an ergonomic design, these knives are suitable for left & right handers. As these were originally designed for pumpkin carving, they are stainless steel, safe, strong & sturdy. The Kiddies Food Kutter teaches fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, independence, and confidence.

Using a sawing action to cut, Izzy managed to slice up a banana with ease. She has previously struggled with knives aimed at her age group and is a little wary of full sized knives. The fact Izzy failed to break it proves Kiddies Food Kutters are definitely strong & sturdy as she is basically a 3-year-old version of the hulk, so that’s saying something! As she had sliced it herself, Izzy finally ate a banana for the first time in almost 2 years too.

Food Prep Using Kiddies Food Kutter & Safety Food Peeler

Eva has slightly weak hand muscles & can sometimes struggle to grip things tightly but she had no issue with the Kiddies Food Kutter. Neither of the girls had any issues and with rounded teeth & no sharp edges, there was no risk of cut fingers. As washing up is my pet hate I love the fact Kiddies Food Kutters are dishwasher safe & BPA free too!

Food Prep

 

Safety Food Peeler

The Australian made & owned Safety Food Peeler has a unique bladeless design to keep fingers safe. Children 3 years and up, including those with special needs, the disabled, adult left-handers, the elderly with arthritis and dementia can peel fruit & vegetables easily with the ergonomically designed handle. The Safety Food Peeler has a special fingerprint marking for placing your pointer finger. This allows you to slide the peeler along slowly peeling long ribbons off. Only light pressure is required to peel long ribbons off fruit or vegetables.

Izzy gave the Safety Food peeler a try but quickly decided she wasn’t keen on how quickly the peeler slid. She decided to stick to slicing with the Kiddies Food Kutter as she enjoyed being able to cut everything up. I’m sure with time she will give it another go though and I will certainly try again very soon.


Safety Food Peeler

Eva much preferred the Safety Food Peeler to our normal peeler which she gets rather nervous about. She found the Safety Food Peeler much easier to control. It took a few attempts peeling her pear to get the hang of the Safety Food Peeler. She kept moving her finger off the fingerprint but once she remembered this she got on much better with it. Feeling much more confident, she has since decided she wants to help peel vegetables for our dinners more often!

Food Prep Using Kiddies Food Kutter & Safety Food Peeler

Food prep is certainly easier using the Kiddies Food Kutter & Safety Food Peeler for kids. It gives parents peace of mind when giving children the responsibility of cutting or preparing their own food. We love encouraging the girls to get involved in growing & preparing their own food and these fab tools help them do it safely. With my anxiety, it can be a bit stressful at times, especially when knives and peelers are involved so having these products in the drawer is a huge relief.

Kiddies Food Kutters & Safety Food Peelers are available separately in 1’s & 3’s or together as a 2 pack or 4 pack through Kiddies Food Kutters Store. They start at just £6.82 each.

Kiddies Food Kutter & Safety Food Peeler

Would you feel a little safer letting your kids help with food prep using Kiddies Food Kutter & Safety Food Peeler too?

 

 

 

Father’s Day Hamper From Prestige Hampers

Father’s day is quickly approaching and Prestige Hampers have a Father’s Day Hamper perfect for the occasion. It can be hard to find a gift for some dads, but Prestige Hampers have many different options. Hampers offer a touch of luxury for the gift recipient and foodies will love the Hamper I received for the Mr!

Father's Day Hamper

Prestige Hampers have a fantastic selection of gifts and Hampers for all occasions, we previously reviewed a Christmas Hamper that was full of delicious luxury food items too.

Father's Day Hamper - the Delicatessen

Father’s Day Hamper

We received The Delicatessen Hamper (£44.99) to review which arrived in a large Delicatessen wooden hat box. Full of port, fine cheeses, bread and chutney, any foodie dad would love to receive this lovely gift.

The Delicatessen Contains:

A bottle of Vista Alegre Fine Ruby Port 37.5cl
A Jar of Spiced Plum Chutney 198g
Northumbria Cheese Kielder 115g
West Country Farmhouse Cheddar Truckle Floppy Top 200g
Westminster London Truckle English Cheddar Cheese 200g
Peter’s Yard Sourdough Crispbread Charcoal & Rye 90g
Large Delicatessen Hat Box

The Delicatessen

This lovely hamper is perfect and the cheeses are absolutely divine! Any cheese lover will really appreciate this lovely Father’s Day Hamper. This Father’s Day why not treat dad to a lovely glass of port to enjoy with this delicious collection of cheeses, chutney and crispbread. We tried the West Country Farmhouse Cheddar Truckle Floppy Top to begin with and it was so creamy and full of flavour, perfect with the Sourdough Crispbread. Warning – The Sourdough Crispbread is beyond moreish! You could team this gift up with a lovely cheese board too.

You can order gifts from Prestige Hampers across Europe & Internationally although courier rates vary. Next day delivery is available for most products & delivery costs just £5.80 per item. Tracking information is available for all orders. I love that you can select which day you would like your gift to arrive, making ordering in advance even easier!

Would your dad or partner enjoy receiving a Father’s Day Hamper like this fantastic Delicatessen Hamper?

Having A Carer At 27 Years Old

Having a carer isn’t something I expected to happen at 27 years old. I suffer from Chronic back pain, Sciatica, Depression, Anxiety & apparently (yet to be diagnosed) PTSD.  Due to my ESA being refused after 2 years receiving it, we have had to look at other options. I simply can’t cope with a tribunal, talking to strangers, going through my weaknesses yet again. It is honestly soul destroying, my mental health isn’t at a point where I can fight a battle like that.

For the first time in almost 8/9 years I felt suicidal again. I genuinely felt my family would be better off without me. I  thought about facing a tribunal but because I know it will be a struggle to attend, explain myself & I didn’t want to put the whole family through several more months of stress. Instead we have had to look at other ways to get by & as part of that, the Mr is now officially my Carer.

Having a Carer
Photo by lalesh aldarwish from Pexels

My Carer

Anyone that knows me well will know the Mr has been caring for me fully for the past 3-4 years. We never made that official on paper but it has been the case since Izzy was around a year old. I began to struggle to lift her, the pain would cause me to lose my vision. Things got worse & I know me fighting it & trying to appear healthy did more damage. It took a long time for me to accept I couldn’t manage a lot of daily tasks.

The Mr has done so much for us over the years, kept me going during my lowest points, making sure I take my medications, book & attend appointments, reminding me I have to eat at least twice a day, helping me up, chores I can’t manage, shopping, school runs & so much more that it makes sense for him to finally be my Carer on paper. I often joke about being useless without the Mr & it’s completely true, we’ve had our ups & downs but as my health has declined he has gone above & beyond to help me any way he can.

A Shock & Relief

Receiving the award letter was both a relief and a slight ‘oh’ moment though. As I said to the Mr, ‘This means you’re officially the adultier adult!’. I panicked slightly then, realising I had fully admitted I need help & a carer for at least 35 hours a week. It’s one thing having that help, it’s another seeing it written down on paper.

Once I calmed down it made me realise a few things. Whilst the DWP left me feeling useless & worthless, I do genuinely need the help and whilst ESA may be a nightmare to have awarded due to the shocking state of the system, we are entitled to something! It’s been a rough 2 months with barely any money coming in so it was a relief for the Mr to be awarded & paid carers allowance. I realised I am not admitting defeat like I first thought. Instead, I’m accepting help to enable me to get through day to day life smoothly.

Daily Life

Since my ESA was refused daily life has been a bit upside down. I’ve really struggled to do anything I enjoy, including blogging; feeling guilty for letting the family down. Now we have another solution I don’t feel so bad. I know we are on a low income because of me, my mental & physical health but knowing the Mr’s help is now at least recognised I feel a little less like it’s all on my shoulders. Knowing we have some kind of income other than my PIP is a huge relief. Even though I make it difficult because neither of us can work, I feel a little better. It’s tough being ill, it’s even tougher asking for & accepting help but I think in a way I will find it a little easier to ask for help now & not just from the Mr.

 

 

DIY Daddy

 

 

Easy Mornings With Left & Right Shoe Stickers From Easy2name – 3 Sets To Giveaway!

Want easy mornings with left and right shoe stickers? Easy2name have these fantastic stickers perfect for pre-schoolers & young children & we have a set each for 3 lucky winners! We received several sets of the lovely animal design left & right shoe stickers for our review. You can find a whole range of fab stickers & labels at Easy2name & I recently reviewed their Gorgeous Personalised Woven Labels with a giveaway (Ending: 2/4/18) too!

 

Easy Mornings - Left & Right Shoe Stickers - 3 sets to give away!

Left & Right Shoe Stickers

The left & right shoe stickers are designed as a simple but effective solution to teaching children to put their shoes on the correct feet. This makes putting shoes on more fun and getting out the house a bit easier! Both girls still need help with their shoes, Izzy is learning and Eva struggles to stay focused. Needless to say, it can cause stressful mornings so spotting the left & Right shoe stickers seemed a great idea.

Left & Right shoe stickers come with 4 fun designs included in each pack of 8, costing just £4 each. They are really easy to use, peel off and place each half of the sticker in each shoe to complete the picture. These labels are white and come in either black or pink print, you can select when adding to your basket.

Left & Right Shoe Stickers from Easy2name

Izzy barely let me photograph the stickers before claiming a pink pig set of left & rights stickers for her trainers. Straight away I noticed the quality of the stickers, Easy2name have amazing quality products, I’m still in love with my woven labels too! The left & right stickers looked really cute and Izzy loved her pig! The very next day she got ready to go shopping with the Mr & proudly showed him which shoe to put on each foot. It really made me smile, it makes putting on shoes much more fun gives kids that little bit of independence too.

Easy Mornings

I’m looking forward to easy mornings and Eva coming out of school with her shoes on the right feet! Eva picked a Dog for her trainers and a Zebra for her wellies which she struggles the most with. She wore her trainers to school for a few days (she keeps destroying school shoes, eek!) and came home with them on the right foot every time. I was even more impressed on P.E days as she generally has to swap her shoes over before walking home.

Making mornings easier with left & right shoe stickers

One morning we woke up & it was raining hard so Eva needed her wellies for school. Eva usually can’t figure out which welly to put on which foot, as they are so similar. Reminding Eva the images go on the outside, isn’t helpful as the pictures wrap around. With the Easy2name left & right shoe stickers though we had an easy morning with no stressing over her wellies being on the wrong feet. Relief all round!

Shoe stickers for kids

 

I would definitely recommend these cute left & right stickers to parents of young children. They really do give you an easy morning and a happy child, these stickers are just fab!

Giveaway

If you love the idea of these left & right stickers enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for your chance to win 1 of 3 sets. Each set of  8 left & right pairs of stickers come in 4 cute animal designs & winners can choose their preferred colour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Southend Toy Shop – Argosy Toys AKA Toymaster

I’ve driven past Southend toy shop Argosy Toys AKA Toymaster since I was a child and always looked through the windows in awe! With its bright yellow front, you can’t miss this Southend toy shop. If you look a little closer you will a selection of all kinds of children’s toys. They also have an online store.

Southend Toy Shop Toymaster

I was shocked to find out Argosy Toys are a small independently run toy shop owned and run by Paul. Having worked there for close to 30 years is pretty impressive for any toy shop! It must be lovely for the locals growing up, recognising Paul behind the counter and going on to take their own children in to buy toys too.

Argosy Toys

Argosy Toys donate a big chunk of their small profits to SOS Domestic Abuse, local schools and Southend Hospitals Neptune Ward. I admire anyone who uses their small business to support causes like these and hearing Argosy toys could do with some extra local support, felt the need to share with you all this gem!

Stocking thousands of toys including big brands, this shop has a whole range of fab toys. They have something for all age ranges and interests. If you are passing through then please pop in and support this lovely shop. Don’t forget, you can order online too! Whether you take the kids in to pick for themselves or find something yourself as a gift, you’ll be supporting good causes too.

You can also buy from Argosy Toys online with £2.99 delivery or free delivery on orders over £40. Perfect for big birthday orders! From Hatchimals, LOL dolls, Playmobil and flush force you are bound to find the perfect gift and make someone’s day.

Have you ever visited this Southend toy shop before or perhaps spotted it driving past?

Burnished Chaos