Reasons To Be Cheerful – Week 25

I’m a bit out of practise, but here goes!

  1. I woke up from an accidental nap and found myself snuggled in my bed between Bird and Baby Turtle (Frog was at school), and felt so very blessed.
  2. Today, with some encouragement from Curly Dad, Frog and I tidied and cleaned the children’s bedrooms. They were looking a state, so that’s a load off my mind, and I’m proud that I got going and did something productive.
  3. I’m looking forward to reading lots of posts about Britmums Live!, and hopefully picking up some blogging tips from those who went!

Have a fabulous week!

Curly Mum On The Mend

I’ve had a long while off from blogging. I felt I needed a break and it feels great coming back to it all again. It has reminded me of why I started blogging to begin with, and I’ve loads of ideas that I’d like to write about over the coming weeks. I’m really looking forward to reading the blogs I love again, and hopefully finding some new ones too! If you know of a blog that I should look at, let me know :)

I’ve been a bit up and down over my break, working with the doctor to find the right medication and dosage for me. He has been helpful and understanding throughout, and it seems like now we’ve found what works for me. Over the last couple of weeks I have felt much better than I have for a long time, and I’ve been returning to the things that I love. I’ve been doing a lot of baking, inspired by a book my mother bought me. (‘The Cupcake’, available on

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I’m also knitting Baby Turtle a blanket for her first birthday. I had no idea what to buy her as she already has so many toys from when her sisters were younger and I know my relatives are likely to shower her in gifts too, so I thought making her something that she can hopefully cherish for years to come was a nice idea. The only problem is that her birthday is fast approaching and I’m not sure I can knit fast enough!

The biggest news though, for me at least, is that I’ve finally managed to tell my parents about my depression. It took some mumbling, pausing, and a lot of help from my wonderful husband-to-be, but it’s done and it’s a weight off my shoulders. My mum has been as supportive as I knew she would be, and I should have told her much sooner. It’s a big step for me to talk about it, but it feels easier now that I have done it once. I feel much more happy and comfortable, and I think that’s really helping me to recover better. I urge anybody keeping their mental illness a secret from those that love them to try and muster the courage to talk about it, because it really makes a difference not having to hide, and having the support of others while getting better.

Curly Mum and the Doctor

Three weeks ago, I plucked up the courage to call my new doctor about my mental health. On Saturday, I finally had my appointment.

On Friday night, I barely slept. I was filled with nervousness and dread. On Saturday morning, I woke up long before my alarm and lay in bed waiting for it. When it finally went off, I crept around the house getting ready, careful not to wake the family. I got about halfway to the doctor’s surgery before I seriously considered turning around and going back to bed to hide. I kept walking. I was there about ten minutes early for my appointment and sat in the over-hot waiting room with my heart thundering in my chest. I thought about getting up and leaving. I watched the doctor arrive, walking in and out of his office for a few minutes sorting things out. It felt like an age before the notice flashed up telling me I could go in.

I sat down in the doctor’s office and it took me a minute or two to actually speak. I tried a few times and all that came out was shaky nonsense. The doctor was incredibly patient and waited for me to calm down a bit, then asked questions and prompted me which made it a lot easier to talk about everything. As the appointment went on, I felt more relaxed and able to talk. The doctor was listening. He was taking me seriously. He wasn’t going to tell me it wasn’t that bad, or that he couldn’t do anything. He actually wanted to help me. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Eventually I cried. The doctor didn’t mind.

He said I should try some anti-depressants, so we went through his medicine guide to look at which one would be best for me. He was understanding of the fact that I don’t want to stop breast feeding Turtle, so we found one that wouldn’t cause her harm. It was such a dramatically different appointment to the ones I had with my previous doctor. This doctor was patient, understanding, and took my thoughts on my illness and treatment into account. I didn’t feel at all upset, belittled, or crazy. I have to go back for another appointment in two weeks time, and I’m not nervous at all. Actually, seeing the doctor again is something I’m happy about. It’s reassuring to know that I’ll be able to discuss anything that I want to, and that I have support there if I need it.

I’ve been on my new medication for a few days now, and have had some of the most common side effects – nausea, some anxiety – but nothing too difficult to deal with. I’m feeling less nauseous today than yesterday, so that’s good. Today I have cleaned most of the kitchen, done some laundry, and enjoyed reading in the conservatory while the children played outside. I know I’m not going to recover overnight, but right now I’m feeling positive. I’ve got some help, and that’s taken a weight off my shoulders. I feel like I can get better, one step at a time.

Is Piling On The Pressure Affecting Our Children?

The amount of pressure on the shoulders of our children and young people is a big concern of mine. Finding the right balance between encouraging my children to do their best but not pushing them too hard is something I think about (read: panic about) quite frequently.

Thinking back to my own childhood and teen years, there was so much pressure to study and do well, that by the time I got to my GCSEs – the time where things were actually beginning to matter – I was just tired. I stopped caring. Again and again, I had been told that this or that exam was so important, only to find out that really, it wasn’t. So why should I care this time around? It was only becoming pregnant with my first that gave me the drive to try and do well again.

I know that schools are under a lot of pressure to get good results for statistics and tables purposes. It’s not their fault. The fault is with the entire system. Schools are supposed to be put under pressure to ensure the children are being educated well. It’s for the children’s sake! But this has become so warped over time that now the pressure is being passed onto the children, and that is, in my opinion, detrimental to their wellbeing.

So, what sparked this rant?

Last weekend, Frog was sick. She threw up quite spectacularly several times, and was most certainly not herself. She did not eat for a whole day, and she spent most of her time sleeping. As a result, I kept her off school until she had stopped spewing vomit and managed to eat and keep down a couple of decent meals. I let her school know why she wouldn’t be attending. On Thursday, she managed to go in, well fed and feeling herself again. She bounced off, happy to go back and catch up with her friends. When she was walking back home with Curly Dad, she confided in him that she felt disappointed, because while the other children had been enjoying films to celebrate the end of term, she had been given work to catch up on that the other students had done earlier in the week. Curly Dad cleverly spun it be saying that when she had been at home she had been able to watch TV while her friends had been working at school, which made Frog feel a bit better.

My feelings on it were mixed.

I think it’s important that children learn good discipline from a fairly young age and get into good habits. Later on in life, she will be required to catch up on study/work regardless of whether she was sick or not. However, it was the end of term and the other students were enjoying films, and I can’t help but think that at five years of age she shouldn’t have to feel excluded in the way that she did. There is the possibility, of course, that she is not telling the full story. There have been times when she has done this in the past (unintentionally). So perhaps it wasn’t so bad, but it has had me thinking on this issue all the same. I don’t think that at her age she should have missed out on anything. If there was something she needed to catch up on, they could have sent it home with her to do over the Easter break.

I don’t baby my children. I expect a lot from them in terms of good behaviour, manners and consideration of others. I expect them to be mature, kind, good little people. They are children, though, and it fills me with dread the thought that in a few years time there will just be more and more pressure placed on them by school to study, by society to fit in. It’s one of the few times that I wish I could just hold them close to me and hide them from the world forever.

Does this sort of pressure worry you? What do you do to ensure your children are encouraged but not weighed down?

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Reasons To Be Cheerful – Week 13

  1. My doctor’s appointment is at the weekend, so hopefully I’ll finally be able to get some help and start coping a bit better.
  2. The sun has been shining a lot this week, and it’s made me feel a lot more positive on the whole. It feels brilliant to be able to go out without my big coat on! I’m definitely a summer person.
  3. I’ve set up my computer in the loft room which is to become my hobby hideout. There’s no desk up there yet, but it’s a start. I’m going to do some sketches of what I’d like the room to look like eventually, but for now, just having my computer set up so I can write is wonderful.
  4. It is Frog’s birthday next week and I just know she’s going to love her cakes and present!
  5. Curly Dad’s sister, who I consider as my own sister too, might be coming to stay with us for a day or two over the next couple of weeks while she’s on Easter break. Because she lives so far away, we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like, so I really cherish the time we do get to spend together!
  6. Tomorrow, a tumble dryer will be arriving at the Curly House! Perhaps I’m silly for getting so excited about this, but I’ve wanted one for ages and it’s going to make doing the laundry much easier.

I’ve had a good week – I hope you do too!

Reasons To Be Cheerful – Week 12

  1. The sun is shining today. We went out to town to grab a few things we needed and had snacks from the bakery.
  2. While we were out, I wrapped Baby Turtle onto my back and people looking seemed impressed/approving which made me feel proud.
  3. I got a call this afternoon offering Bird a place at nursery in the afternoons starting after Easter. We thought she’d have to wait until September. I just know she’ll love it!
  4. The fabric I ordered online arrived this week, and I’m going to make Frog a mei tai carrier for her baby doll.
  5. Curly Dad has been spoiling me with affection and little gifts which has made me feel very special.

Hope you have a lovely week too!

Where Has My Baby Gone?

Last weekend, Frog was invited to a sleepover at her friends house. It was the first time that this has happened. She and Curly Dad wrapped up a present for the friend, who I shall call P, and I packed up all the things she would need into a little bag, along with a list of the things and all our contact details just in case. Naturally, Frog was hugely excited, bouncing around each day last week chirping ‘X days until I stay at P’s house!’

I was not so sure about it all. In fact, I was quite terrified. It would be the first time she had stayed away from family. What if she was lonely or frightened? What if she was ill? How had she grown up so fast? I comforted myself with the thought that P lives only a five minute walk away from our house, and told Frog (probably about fifteen or so times) that she could call at ANY time if she wanted to, for any reason.

So I dropped her off at P’s house, and came back home. We ate our evening meal, relaxed, and I put Bird to bed. It was a strange feeling, doing all these normal, everyday things without Frog being there. Bird wasn’t quite sure what to do without her sister around, which was quite heart-breaking as she kept asking when she was coming back, but also heart-warming to see how much she loves her sister and wanted her to come home and play again.

I eventually went to bed with my phone nearby just in case Frog called, but she didn’t. I went to pick her up after lunch the next day, and in the five minute journey back, Frog laughed, smiled, stropped and cried, and then went back to smiling again – definitely a tired little girl! She fell asleep on the sofa shortly after we got home. She seemed to have had a good time, tiredness aside, but was also glad to be back home. I was definitely glad to have her back home with us!

It’s funny, before I became a parent, I imagined myself as a chilled-out mum, never too worried, never too stressed. How wrong I was! I think when we become parents, we also become worriers, nomatter how chilled we were before. Children are too precious not to worry about!

So, have your children ever stayed away from home? How did you feel the first time they did?

Recipe: Love Heart Biscuits

Yesterday, Bird and I made love heart biscuits. They were a lot easier to make than I thought they would be and look really nice, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you. We got the recipe from a book called Ready, Steady, Bake: cooking for kids and with kids, which I really recommend. It’s my favourite recipe book by far – there is so much simple, delicious stuff in there. I’ve just copied the recipe here and added my own thoughts in italics.

You will need:

  • 125g Butter/Margarine
  • 85g Icing Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • Red food colouring (a few drops)
  • Strawberry extract (A few drops)
  • Vanilla extract (a few drops)
  • 285g Plain Flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (Gas 4). Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Beat the better and icing sugar using electric beaters until creamy. Add the egg and beat. Transfer half the mixture into another bowl. Add the food colouring and strawberry extract to the first bowl, then beat well. We didn’t use the strawberry flavour because we didn’t have any, but the biscuits were still lovely.
  3. Add vanilla extract to the second bowl and beat well. Divide the flour between each bowl and mix. Make sure the mix is quite stiff, not sticky. Mine was sticky at first, which made the next step impossible. 
  4. Roll the portions between sheets of baking paper to 5mm thick. Cut shapes with a heart shaped cutter. Using a smaller cutter, cut hearts form inside larger shapes. Swap inner shapes. This step should be quite easy. If you’re having trouble cutting the shapes or moving them about without them squidging (like I did!), try adding extra flour.
  5. Place on the trays and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

I found this quite a simple recipe to do and the biscuits were utterly delicious! We’ll definitely be making these again, and perhaps be trying out with different shapes and colours as well. Happy baking!

Reasons To Be Cheerful – Week 11

  1. Yesterday I had a soak in the bath with some gorgeous-smelling bubbles which was very relaxing. It felt extra good because the bubbles were on special offer so saved some pennies there too!
  2. Baby Turtle has settled down a lot more and no longer objects to sleeping in her cot.
  3. Today I made biscuits. The last time I made biscuits was many years ago and they were a disaster. I am proud to say that today’s batch was not at all disastrous and Little Bird enjoyed helping out. Pictures to follow!

Have a fabulous week!

Mother’s Day Meme

Describe motherhood in three words. Tiring. Scary. Wonderful.

Does your experience differ from your mother’s — how? I’m sure we had very different experiences! My mother raised my sisters and brother as a single parent. When I was born she went to work and my father took care of me. The opposite of me and mine! We also parent in quite different ways, which I think is in part due to the different times that we had our children in.

What’s the hardest thing about being a mum?  Having to keep going when I’m really tired or unwell.

What’s the best thing? My children growing into their own people, becoming individuals and showing their kindness and creativity. The fantastic, uninhibited imagination of children, and when they share and play together.

How has it changed you? It’s changed me a lot. I care more deeply about things. I consider things more carefully before making a decision. I have become a happier, kinder person in order to set a better example for my children.

What do you hope for your children? I hope that they will find people that love them and things they enjoy and that they will be happy in whatever they do.

What do you fear for them? I worry that my mental illness may affect them as they grow up, that it may cause them to resent me for not being as good a mother as I could be, or worse that they will suffer as I do. I worry that society’s traditions and ideals will drag them down.

What makes it all worthwhile? Cuddles and kisses. The faith that my children have in me, even when I’m doubting myself.

I’m tagging any parent that would like to give this a go! If you’d like to read the original meme, it can be found at

Cloth nappies, mixed race hair and crafty mummy chatter