10 Ways A Busy Mum Can Fit In Running

30 minutes is all you need.

Yes, really…!

‘Take up running,’ they said. ‘It will be fun,’ they said.

But where on earth do you find the time to commit to a running schedule when the children are so young? Continue reading

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I am trying…

Trying

 

My mum once told me I was very trying. I’m not really sure what she meant, I try hard at everything I do, but I’m pretty sure there was a note of sarcasm in there somewhere. 

I know I need to pick my subjects for school, but I have no idea what I want to do. I mean, who does? All the while I try to decide, the only thing I can see is his eyes, watching me, waiting, expectant for my kiss. In my dreams. He’d never look at me in real life. Mousy Brienne Smith? No-one notices me, not anywhere.  

As if to prove my point, I am pushed to one side by the actual Josh Brendan, jostling my shoulder as they rush past for breaktime, knocking me into the wall. No calls of ‘oh, sorry, Brienne! Didn’t see you there! How are you?’  

‘Ow!’ I called after him, the scowl in my forehead giving me a headache. ‘You know you should look where you’re going?!’ He turned around and actually looked through me, frowned, shrugged his shoulders and then carried on going. Seconds later, I realise I am standing, gawping at the space he no longer occupied, as the children dissipate around me, disappearing into the toilets or outside to hang around the tennis courts. There are a select few who will disappear down to the bikesheds for a crafty cigarette, as if they don’t know the teachers know they all do it. Occasionally one of them will saunter down there, and the smokers will scatter like ants in a disturbed nest. 

I sit huddled on a bench during breaktime. The egg-heads wonder past in their group of three, whispering and giggling at the boys standing by the tennis courts, the leader showing off with a basketball, as if he was the first and only person to be able to bounce one of those things on the ground. They all fancy him. I can see why, but I only have eyes for one boy. He’s the only one I’ll ever want.  

The bell sounds and everyone trudges back inside, a total opposite to the urgency of getting outside school for those precious few minutes. I make my way back upstairs with the rest of the flock and slide in to my window seat at the back of the class. French. The most pointless lesson ever invented. Although mum says we should all have a second language, and that us English are a lazy nation, as we expect everyone else to speak our language. She might have a point.  

Mr Magoo – not his real name, he is very short-sighted – directs a question at the class, asking us to give him the answer in French. I hate this lesson, but I’m so sick of feeling invisible, so I raise my hand.  

‘Anyone?’ he asks, his eyes scanning the students. So I raise my hand a little higher. ‘Jessica?’ he calls to the girl next to me, who is whispering with Lucy. She immediately flicks her wavy blonde hair over her shoulder and straightens up ever-so-slightly from her slouched position in her seat, and clears her throat. ‘Um…’ she starts, and smirks, knowing that her fans bask in her coolness and although Mr Magoo has picked on her, she’s safe, because she always gets away with it. The rest of the class titter, and the teacher repeats the question.  

‘Je voudrais en stilo sil-vous-plais Monsieur Jones.’  

I feel the irritation bubble up inside, growing, getting hotter in my belly. Why won’t anyone see me? Hear me? I look at the pen on my desk and feel such ferocity that it flies off the edge and lands right next to her feet. Those who saw it happen gasp, and Jessica’s head snaps up, her eyes scanning the room warily, then giggles nervously, before picking up the pen. ‘Now, now, guys, you could have just passed it to me,’ she joked, then swallowed as she placed it neatly on her desk.  

I roll my eyes, and sink lower into my seat, and turn my head to the window, losing myself in the world outside. One day. Maybe one day someone will notice me.  

I am trying. 

Short Fiction © Fiona Chapman

Has Being A Stay At Home Mum Affected Your Confidence?

You’ve had the maternity-leave send off.

The baby shower.

The baby.

Your little bean is finally here – lighting your house, bringing so much life into the four walls you occupy with this little miracle – and definitely not such a ‘little bean’ anymore. Every visitor you’d ever imagined has come to meet your new arrival, and actually, you’ve felt like royalty. Everyone loves you and your baby, and you feel amazing! Life as a mum is everything you hoped it would be, and more.

Gradually, the visitors dry up. Dad goes back to work, and it’s just you and your baby. If you’re a first-time mum, you’d better hold on tight, because you’re about to ride one huge learning curve. Continue reading

MUM: Here’s why YOU need more ME time

How often do you reflect on your life, where you have been, and where you are going?

We like to set ourselves goals, but then feel like a failure when we don’t achieve or stick to them. Have you ever asked yourself why you didn’t achieve something you’ve always wanted to do? From a dream of starting your own business, to just getting on top of that damn pile of laundry that never seems to deplete? Continue reading

This is why I run

Running isn’t always easy. Finding the time to get out there, with a group or by yourself, is hard.

But once you get out there, you break through the clumsiness, and you find your rhythm.

Another mother runner
Run. Be at one with nature.

With the wind flowing through my hair, the beats, and the road beneath my feet, it’s just me and the outdoors. For a while I feel weightless. And amidst the chaos of being a parent and juggling everything else we throw at ourselves, I can find peace for a while.

And this is why I run.

It doesn’t have to be your best, it doesn’t have to be fast.

You don’t even have to run it all. Just getting out there is enough.

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Haven by Lindsay J Pryor

Can’t wait to read this book, love Lindsay Pryor’s writing 😊

Book Aholic Dawn

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*EXCITING NEWS ALERT!*

YAY!! Piatkus Fiction have let me know that paperbacks of HAVEN are now available for pre-order in the US and Canada on the following sites:

USA

Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2yoeSxC

Amazon http://a.co/9hmDloA

CANADA

Amazon http://a.co/eZ6XoQP

Indigo http://bit.ly/2jXHbRe

AND….

We’ve now got less than 6 weeks to go until publication day! My loyal followers here will know what that means… I sense the onset of giveaways coming VERY soon. 😉 Don’t stray too far if you don’t want to miss anything! 😍🤗

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Lose the guilt… 

Today, I went shopping.

No, not food shopping.

Clothes shopping. You know, for me.

How many times have you been shopping with your little one, only to get hot, get frustrated, throw an internal tantrum and come home empty-handed?

Because no matter what you try on, it looks shit, nothing fits, your stomach has swollen to six-months-pregnant size, and your toddler is squirming and whining and shouting ‘I hungreeeeee!’, or ‘I wanna waaaalk!’, so you thrust the clothes back on the changing room rack, do a 360 with the pushchair, and storm out of the shop feeling totally deflated and demoralised. You justify your lack of clothing with the following reasons:

1. You’re not totally without clothes (despite the fact most of them have holes in, are out of shape, or barely fit you anymore) and don’t really NEED anything (apart from bras – but, well, you have bras and it’s not life and death);

and…
2. You can’t really afford it (Not to mention the hassle of trying all those clothes on with a restless toddler in tow).

So you visit the children’s section and buy your kids something (you can afford that – they need clothes more than you do).

This is me.

Pretty much every time I go shopping.

Apart from today, where I took great pleasure in a THREE-HOUR shopping trip with my littlest shopping assistant.

It was one of those rare days, where she sat as good as gold in her pushchair (Minnie Mouse and Upsy-Daisy can take some credit for this), joining in with the changing-room selfies. There were a few cries of ‘I want to get OUT!’, which were met with firm replies of ‘No,’ and promises of going to get a little treat when we’d finished.

Of course, once I’d tried on 7 dresses in two different shops, the infamous call of ‘I need a weeeeeee!’ came from inside the pushchair (I realise this makes her sound like a tiny thumbelina-type child. Actually, she is a little dot, but she’s not THAT small), and so we left the shop (minus any dress), and circled round in search of the toilets.

If you don’t have kids, you can stop reading now (because, quite frankly, you might think me sad for gushing about this).

But, if you’re a mum with young children, read on.

The new toilets in the Centre:MK are amazing!  

There’s facilities, and then there’s facilities – with kids in mind.

There is actually a dedicated child/toddler/baby change/general hangout-area within the huge, purpose-built conveniences.

Really, the American term ‘rest-room’ has to be the best way to describe it.

In addition to the main toilets, there are toilets for little ones in two dedicated unisex rooms, with a full-sized loo and a miniature one for the miniature people.

Then there’s the baby-changing area; the food-heating facilities, the private breast-feeding cubicles, and the AWESOME touch-screen TV and other play-points for the older children to entertain themselves while you feed your baby. I breastfed my own children, and I recall the struggle of desperately trying to relieve their hunger while stressing about whether anyone was watching; could they see me, would they judge me? I could never relax, and the experience of attempting to be a normal person out shopping with her baby was stressful enough to make me avoid going out.

 

Truly, I was impressed, and just had to share this on the Wiki Places For Kids site. Mums NEED to know about this place if they don’t already. It’s what we’ve been crying out for, for years.

We finally got out of there (by bribery of sweets from Mr Simms’ sweet shop for being such a good girl and getting back in her buggy), and continued our search for the perfect dress.

Three hours and some stress-less shopping later, I left the shopping centre with a luxurious dress from Coast (oh, how I have missed that shop Pre-Motherhood), and a shiny new notebook and pen. In reality, I would feel guilty. But it was such a successful shopping trip – I needed a dress for some upcoming events, I never spend money on myself, and my sweet little button was so good, we walked out of that shopping centre with smiles on our faces.


So no, I’m not going to feel guilty about indulging on my recent shopping trip. And neither should you.

Lose the guilt.

When’s the next shopping trip…? 😘

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Low-cost AND child-friendly – there’s plenty to do in and around Dumfries, Scotland

Low-cost and child-friendly; things to do in and around Dumfries

Sometimes, we all need time to rest and recharge our batteries, without the children.

I was lucky enough to be able to spend the weekend with my own mum, and it was wonderful to be able to put my feet up without calls of “Mu-u-um…?” and “I need a drink”, or “I’m hungry”, and “I need a weeeeeeeee!” as soon as I’d sat down. Despite that, I missed my girls terribly and as they were never far from my thoughts, I frequently swept my analytical eye over the attractions I was lucky enough to visit without the crazy brood in tow.

Of course – these are just a snapshot of some of the things you can do in this curious part of Scotland. I’m intrigued to learn more about the area – I have strong family connections to the area as it’s where my mother’s family hail from. I’ve reached an age where I feel I need to know more about my own heritage and history (and this of course has nothing whatsoever to do with a certain fictional character named Jamie Fraser – ahem), and intend to revisit as soon as I can with my husband and children. Continue reading

7 Reasons Why IKEA Is Perfect For YOU And Your Toddler

AmbassadorI make no secret of the fact I am a huge IKEA fan. If I had my way, my entire house would be kitted out like an IKEA showroom. I love everything about it; from the displays, to the little kiddie play areas, to the huge inspiration from the hacks and online brochure.

I know many people who have IKEA furniture, but I also know a few people who aren’t as enthused as I am.

But I think on the right day, at the right time, IKEA can be a perfect place for you to kill two birds with one stone; entertain your child and have some time for yourself. Here’s how: Continue reading

How’s Your Handwriting? 

“It looks like a spider dipped its boots in an inkwell and ran all over the page.”

So, I’m curious. As a fellow creative, is your handwriting an illegible mess, or do you take your time perfecting the curls and flicks of your letters and words?

I recently read a post on handwriting from the lovely lady over at Plutonium Sox, and it’s inspired my own post out of interest in other writers and their habits. 

The post discusses the differences in learning how to write, and how handwriting can help with fine motor skills. 

It took me back to my own learning experience in Primary School; I specifically recall learning joined-up writing, and I remember being really worried that my handwriting looked terrible, and not how I imagined it should do. 

I wanted neat, cutesy-handwriting, and writing joined-up just made my writing look ‘ugly’. I asked the headteacher if I could just write without joining up my letters, and to my delight he yes (we’re talking 30 years ago!), when I was scared the answer would be no. 

The result now is a kind of handwriting that my husband declared as ‘looks like a spider dipped its boots in an inkwell and ran all over the page.’ It’s a combination of printed and joined-up letters where my writing has developed a style all of its own. 

But I don’t care that my handwriting looks like an Arachnid Assault On Paper. Handwriting is such a personal thing, and is as individual as a thumbprint. I think it reflects us as a person. Having said that, as a creative, my handwriting can get pretty messy, as my brain works faster than my hand, and I trip over letters as I write. 


If I’m working on something that I want to be visually pleasing, I like to take my time ‘handwriting’ and get very cross when I’m having a ‘bad handwriting day’! 

Mostly I give up and decide to use a computer. I type faster, and can get more creative when it’s not word-related. I can even get more creative when it IS word-related. Such as changing colours/fonts etc. 

But there’s something really satisfying about free-writing with ink and paper. It makes the soul sing. 

What’s your tool of choice when it comes to being creative? 

10 Ways to Survive Your Baby Starting Big School

It’s never easy seeing your baby taking their first official steps towards growing up.
Going to preschool or nursery is just about bearable – you miss them when they’re there, but you know they’ll be enjoying all the things you still do together, likely in a free-play environment, such as making dinner out of play-dough, or getting mucky with paint. There are still the nursery-rhymes that you sing together, and you probably still take your little man to one or two toddler groups when he’s not at preschool or nursery.
But, starting school is different. It’s not a toddler or nursery environment anymore. This is real life – and your baby isn’t a baby anymore, she is growing up.
You might feel excited; perhaps she’s ready for this, and likely driving you crazy because she needs so much more simulation than you can provide. Even the most organised, OCD-driven mums in us have to admit our children need to stretch themselves in their own way.

Continue reading