Life with an eleven year old ‘gamer’

I really didn’t expect to have to deal with my children being influenced from an outside source as young as eleven years old.

We haven’t even started high school. Yet, here I am, trying to tackle my son, who, up until five moths ago was a polite, calm, laid back kid who’s biggest problem was finding matching sock in the morning and throwing the odd strop bcause I hadn’t stockedthe cupboards up with enough chocolate biscuits.
Then, like an unwelcome guest who moved in and took over our lounge (and wifi)…. Fortnitearrived!
Before then he would take or leave the computer. He would play ten minutes here, half an hour there and then lose interest.
H originally ‘sold’ Fortnite to me as a free game that he can play with his school friends, I agreed that he could download it.

Since then, parenting my Fortnite obsessed son has turned me into an skilled negotiator, lowered my mental age to 11 to try to understand/sympathise with him and brought out my inner ‘Mrs Trunchball’.

I get it. I remember being obsessed with Mario Kart and Sonic the hedgehog when I was his age. My brother and I would play for hours and hours if we were allowed (which we weren’t).
The big difference is that I wasn’t accessible to anyone online and once the game was purchased, no further expenses were incurred.

Fortnite is ingenious, they have created a game with an online community which creates a constant link to friends (and strangers) as well as offering a so called ‘free’ game but that you have to constantly buy bolt ons for.

I have moaned about the game, I have had screaming matches with my son, I have tried to reason with him, it has been an exhausting few months and I know I am not alone.
H would get back from school and put his headphones straight on.
He sulked when I ask him to switch it off.
He threw tantrums if the internet was slow because it made the game ‘lag’.
His general attitude was shameful and I was not ready for this ‘Kevin’ stage, (certainly not until he is at least 13!
Apart from the change in his attitude, I was concerned about the dangers. My husband has friends that play this game! Without realising it H has been playing in online groups that adults have been in.
It was Piers Morgan of all people who I felt gave me the kick up the arse I needed.
There was a section on Good Morning Britain about Fortnite and it’s effects on children.
We heard about children who were wetting themselves rather than stopping the game (you can not pause Fortnite). They also announced that Fortnite is the first game that has resulted with a child being referred for counseling on the NHS.
So Piers, rather than just object to the game, put the blame firmly at the parents feet.
My first reaction was anger. This game has been expressly designed to hook and addict my child and I was trying my hardest to keep my preen in line.
The family counsellor who was a guest on the show said ‘Parents are trying to hard to be liked by their children, they are too scared to upset them’
That sounded so familiar and then I realised, I had become the mum I never thought I would be…..the mum that puts being her child’s friend in front of discipline, safety and respect.
I made H watch the segment. He saw for himself what the majority of parents were thinking.

All the children are telling their parents,

‘Jonnys mum lets him play when he wants’

‘Billys mum lets him play longer than you let me’
When actually, that’s all rubbish! We are trying to enforce rules and the kids are (embarrassingly) manipulating us.
I asked him what he thought was a reasonable amount of screen time each day. We agreed on 45 minutes on a week day (after chores and homework is done) and 1.5 hours at the weekends.
So far this has been working brilliantly.
We have also sat down together and watched the story of Breck Brednar, a school boy that lived near to us.
He was groomed for over a year by a lad in his gaming community. Despite his parents concerns and warnings, he was tragically murdered at 14 years old by the 17 year old boy.
Watching the documentary was a big turning point.
Listening to Brecks mum recall how she tried so hard to reason, explain, sanction Breck because she knew the dangers there could be online, was heart breaking. To then watch Breck ignore his parents concerns, just like H had been doing to us, and to seewhat tragedy has resulted was a wake up call for me, my husband, H and his brothers.

So much so that my husband ran the London Marathon this year for The Breck Foundation.

http://www.breckfoundation.org

H has a new attitude to the computer now, and I still know it is an on going battle, but for now it is one we are winning!

I would love to know about your experience with your child and gaming.

I asked a few fellow bloggers how they deal with this and limit screen time with their children:
My son has an hour per day. And if he starts shouting at the screen, it gets turned off straight away.
My son had his first Xbox for his 9th birthday in December. Honestly? We just let him monitor his own screen time and after hammering it for a few months, he’s got bored of it. He will have the odd hour here and there but as a whole it’s fizzled out.
I allow our daughter some screen time on the iPad as some down time before dinner or on long car journeys. She knows she’s limited to 30minutes and is only allowed on certain apps. We make sure she’s not shut away in her room so we are aware of what she’s doing/watching.If she’s not behaved well then she doesn’t have it at all. It’s definitely a privilege.
We use an app that blocks the children’s devices after 2 hours of use. Its brilliant as I can set bed times, school hours, outdoor time etc and can also select which apps are blocked at different times. The kids can also earn more screentime by doing extrajobs and since the app manages it all, mum cant be blamed for it running out of time!
We allow an hour after school, it must go off before dinner time and they seem happy with that, it’s letting them know that you are in charge and your rules stand, my son doesn’t play fortnite but does play mine craft with his sister occasionally and I alwaysmake sure to time them and they seem pretty happy coming off when asked.
I allow our daughter some screen time on the iPad as some down time before dinner or on long car journeys. She knows she’s limited to 30minutes and is only allowed on certain apps. We make sure she’s not shut away in her room so we are aware of what she’s doing/watching.If she’s not behaved well then she doesn’t have it at all. It’s definitely a privilege.
I’ve been talking a lot about this today after posting a news article about another 9 yr old having issues.
Despite attempts to demonise one videogame or another, this is really an issue of parents being involved and setting limits. Make an effort to understand the games your children are playing and you’ll be better informed about their suitability.
Many games are rated for content but only parents will know if a child is emotionally mature enough to remain calm whilst playing a competitive game. Parents should set clear time limits and stick to them so that children learn what those boundaries are.
If a child is getting angry or upset while playing, it’s time to turn the game off and come back with a calmer state of mind. If the child can’t stay calm, they are not yet mature enough to be playing it at all.
Use it as a reward. We have daily tasks that she can work towards and if she does well she has an extra ten minutes. Giving them a time limit helps and if she starts to cry or grumpy when I take it away she doesn’t get it the next.
Our two have screen time but I limit them to 60mins maximum a day then they must turn it off and go do a activity away from the screens/ consoles
We don’t have any set times as such for games as such but we do have break rules. After playing a game for half an hour she will come off for a snack or a drink and then go back on if she wants and more often than not she chooses to do something else. We havenever had set restrictions and it works for us. She spends more time drawing and reading than playing games. I think gaming gets really bad stick when in most cases it’s down to parents not understanding the games their children are playing. If parents lookedinto the games their children are playing and supervised them then half of the news stories wouldn’t make the papers because they wouldn’t exist.
We don’t have set screen time they are allowed on when they like but having seven children they don’t get long anyway!! They all know they are not allowed to play any game over their age limit but most of them prefer going to the beach or playing in the paddlingpool at the moment.
Until about 6 weeks ago, we had screen times at set times during the day – 12-1:30 for my eldest (when youngest naps) and then 4pm-5pm while I cook dinner. The TV/screens simply don’t go on outside those times, so my kids are used to it. The last few weeks,however, I’ve also scrapped the late afternoon session because the weathers been so lush they’ve been playing outside anyway! We have a lot of music on during the day.
I don’t give my son limits although he has to come down for all meals and I do every now and then insist he does something else. He has special needs and struggles to go out much so his social life is playing online with his friends and chatting school andstuff at the same time.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

My Last Week of November

Its been a while since I wrote a totally self centred blog post with no point to it at all.  A post that is completly unhelpful, except to let me use it as a diary…so that when I look back one day will be able to remember that week in November 2017.

Lets start with George.  This kid is growing into the most charismatic, gorgeous  pain in the arse I have ever come across.

I dont call him a pain in the arse lightly.  I am a mum of six, i feel like i have a patience level to rival a reception class teacher. But George is a whole new type of toddler. 

He will scream to get what he wants, yet remember to thank you with total sincerity if you give in to him.

He will push and push and push me until I shout at him, and then will put his arm around me and ask if I am ok.

So, as a little xmas presie to myself…and George, I have booked him into nursery a couple of mornings a week.

I’m not going to lie, my intention was two FULL days.  But the nursery teacher suggested it might be a little much to start with so we agreed on the morings… until January!

If I doubted whether I was doing the right thing, the wink, high five and about-turn we both participated in when I left him on his first morning, made me certain he needed it as much as me.

He has loved it! I have loved it! and it has given me a chance to spend more time with Arthur and appriciate my time with George more.

The nursery teachers loved him. He had played nicely with the other children, joined in with the activities and was so polite. They even told me he is a credit to me….a credit! It felt amazing when she said that.

Then he went home and ripped my £100 roll of Sanderson wallpaper off the wall!

Charlie has started a new school two weeks ago.  I have been conscious of how i will cope with school run logistics when the twins start high school for a while.  I started some tentitive research last month and was surprised when our school of choice happened to have a space availible for Charlie to start straight away and Libby in January.

The new school is everything charlies old school is not.
It is a small village school with a one class intake and strong christian values.  So far, Charlie has settled in like a dream and it is as though he has always been there. 

The twins turned eleven!!! I honestly can not believe how quickly time passes by.  

Having children is like a constant reminder of this.  No huge celebrations this year.  I did offer them a big party as it will be their last year at primary school but they werent interested.  

I actually think they are worried I might show them up on the dance floor….which I would.  The problem is, I actually think I am the coolest mum ever and the kids are proud to show me off.  

The reality is that they think I am a total embarrassment and actually mc-ing to DJ Luck and MC Neat is not quite the crowd pleaser it used to be!? Note: @indenialmum!

Instead Harri had some friends over for a sleepover (I still tried to play cool mum….I even let the watch ‘Swearing Peppa Pig’). Mikey is off to Kidzania in a couple of week to continue his quest to become the next Richard Branson.

My Christmas decorations are up, they have been for two weeks…standard.  I am the biggest fool for Christmas that ever there was!  My ultimate aim is to recreate National Lampoons decore extravagance with Home Alones class….you see the look I am going for?!

My News: 

I turned to the dark side.  It is amazing what looks you can create when you trust your hairdresser!  When she suggested a dark balleage i wasn’t convinced…but i let her work her magic……..

I am so pleased with my new look.  If you are local to London, check out Laura at Lalo….she is even a stylist to the Stars!

https://www.lalohairandmakeup.com 

My Modern Mum Event went Live this week….there will be a blog about this over the weekend. 
In short, I have organised a night out for local-ish ladies to come and meet local businesses ran by hard working women and hear what they have to offer. It is a chance to network, socialise and have a great night There will be chances to meet lots of beauty industry pros who will be ready to pamper us aswell.

Today I am suppose to be out beating on a shoot with the kids and hounds. After my nightmare night with Arthur and a whole two hours of sleep….I bailed!

Instead, I put an xmas movie on for the kids, put George and Arthur down for a nap and I have a Blissful Bath waiting for me.

I also made a kick-ass pate this week.
I have a freezer full of offal from our pigs, lambs and cow.  We like liver and bacon, but not even a family my size can consume that much! This is the recipe I used.  I used pig liver instead (by accident) but it was lush with a crusty bread, chutney and a Baileys.

http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/27125/beef-liver-pate.aspx

How has your week been…..are you ready for a Merry December?

Love Kate

Xxxx

As always, if you have enjoyed my self regarding post, please share

CampBestival 2017

Well, what an experience this was!!

On paper, this weekend was my idea of absolute hell.
Six children (two babies), a tent, rain….lots of rain, mud….lots of mud and not a tiled roof in sight!

Somehow, amongst the damp and filth, we dug deep into our British souls and managed to have a fantastic weekend (great friends and the Gin also helped).

Due to my total lack of organisation we didnt manage to secure a motorhome this year.
Instead, we opted for CB Boutique camping with a company called PodPads.

It was a six man bell tent that included a groundsheet, carpet and six campbeds with sheets.

There was enough room in our tent for our travel cot, double buggy and festival trolly.  Although, with all the paraphernalia that comes with two children under two, it was a squash in there and not much room to move around.
If the weather had been better and we could have left our bits outside it would have been much roomier.

There is a fab ‘reception tent’ where they provided us with free tea and coffee facilities and you can charge your phone free of charge.

One of the best things about Boutique camping (beside avoiding divorce while trying to errect a 6 man tent) is having the car park at a reasonable distance from your tent and being a short walk from the actual festival.

Last year, at the campervan field, it felt like a Marine assult course getting us, the five kids and a buggy from the motorhome to the festival.
Thats not meant to discourage anyone, but for us, and the ages of our children, we prefered to be closer to everything.

Next year we will head for Boutique again.  I am going to start doing my research now into what we will stay in and ill post about that over the next couple of weeks.

I would be lying if i said the weather did not affect our weekend. 
Although we all enjoyed ourselves, we didnt get to make the most of what Camp Bestival has to offer.

We tried to do as much as we could when the rain stopped, but there is so much to to do, we missed out on alot.

Having a couple of art-mad youngsters in our crowd, we headed to The Art Tent first.
The kids had a great time making dreamcatchers out of old vinyl records and cds.

Once the main acts started we headed over to Castle Field.
We rumaged for a spot like crazed fans to watch Justin Flethcher AKA Mr Tumble and then pitched up for my personal Camp Bestival highlight of the weekend…..Dick and Dom.  You’ve never know true exhilaration until you have screamed ‘BOGIES’ in the rain, like your eight year old self.

One thing that did help keep my spirits up while my Hunters were getting abused was The Alchemy Bar by Schweppes.

A Gin and Tonic cocktail bar where Special ingridiants mixed with the G&T’s added something a bit special to my already favourite drink.

So with a couple of bevvies inside us, we soldiered on.

We danced (in the rain) to All Saints, Mark Ronson, Madness, Louisa Johnson and the other amazing acts that made up the 2017 line up. 

The kids raved with Bflf in the Bollywood tent and threw some shapes at Sara Cox DJ set.

Now lets talk about the food…..oh the food!
Ive mentioned in previous posts about how much I love the Camp Bestival grub.

On the first night we had an obligitory crepe…one of the kids favourite things! Not cheap at £5 each, especially when you have as many mouths to feed as we do, but its becoming a tradition we cant resist.

The paad thai noodles are a huge hit with my little lot.  I can guarentee they will put away a portion each, no problem!!
And obvs, anything that does get left, Mike and I are ready and waiting to swoop in like seagulls on Brighton Pier!

The corn is another essential whilst at CB! I can guarentee, my instagram is always cluttered over CB weekend with gorgeous kiddies sinking their teeth into a golden, buttered corn on the cob in The Lower Kids Garden. 

Then you have Mikes playground, The Feast Collective.
This is a tent/section of the festival dedicated to different cuisines and dishes from all over the place.  Whether you fancy fish and chips or a lamb curry, The Feast Collective will sell it.
Mainly with a street food vibe, This is where i know ill find Mike if we get split up.

We tried DJBBQ pulled pork burger, which was everything i had hoped for after salivating over his Instagram over the last few months.
We tried chips, cheese and gravy which i am convinced would make the best hangover food and was another winner with the kids .
The dish of the weekend for me had to be the Indonesian Coconut Curry and dumplings…..it was the BEST curry I have ever had!

Another great thing about Camp Bestival is that you can bring your own food and drink into the grounds. 
So, as tempting as it is to just keep browsing the stalls, trying a dish ever hour, bringing your own bits will save your pennies.

The rain finally eased off on Sunday afternoon so thats when we headed to The Dingly Dell.

This is an area in the woods with a childrens park, farm animals and outdoor activities like zip wires, childrens building sites and Lizzies Way.
Now, im not going to lie, I haven’t made it to Lizzies Way.
I have been told by my other blogging friends that this is a highlight of Camp Bestival.
All i needed to hear was, in the middle of the woods, she has a mud cafe and you can make potions!!…this is enough to make sure it is our first stop on the list for next year!

Over the next couple of weeks I will publish more posts on Camp Bestival. 
I will cover more about the accomodation options, what to see, saving money and travelling there etc.

For now, the purpose of my post is to say, despite the weather, Camp Bestival 2017 was brilliant weekend, making more unforgettable memories with the kids, which, afterall, is what its all about.

The tickets for 2018 have just been released and ticketline offer a paymentplan.

You can book your tickets and pay them off weekly which I have done for last two years and it works so well.

Boutique options are not available yet but if you secure your weekend tickets, they include standard camping pitches. 

If I have managed to convince any of you to go, please let me know and we can keep in touch over the next few months and maybe even hook up over a G&T  in the Magic Meadow next year 😉

If you have enjoyed this post, please share it on your social media.

Love Kate x 

Choosing the right Secondary School

I thought about the boys future before they were even born.

I looked into primary schools, high schools and nurseries.
Obviously, if I was going to raise the next Prime Minister or Richard Branson I was going to have to make sure I made the right decisions with regards to their education.
It seemed like it was forever before we would have to make any decisions, yet it has flown by in a blink, and a decade later, here we are.

Throughout the years though, I have realised the most important thing is that they are happy at school.
If they are happy the rest should fall into place….right?

Well, that’s what I thought until this year.  With the boys finishing year five in a couple of weeks, and high school choices looming only a few months away, I feel like a huge weight is on my shoulders.

Time has caught up with me and I’m starting to face the reality that there might be more to choosing a secondary school than just making sure the boys are happy.

I was happy at school, too happy. 
I was happy messing with my friends.
I was happy trying out my latest make up technique in science class.
I was happy thinking about what lads name I would scribble over my homework book.
I was happy planning how to get out of my next PE class.
Happiness defiantly didn’t help me knuckle down and get the best GCSEs I could achieve.

I went to my local state secondary school.  It was a good school but like most schools you get out of it what you put in. 
The expectations never seemed particularly high.  That coupled with my lack of self disapline ment I was a typical ‘doing ok, but could do better’ kid.

Although my life has turned out better than I could have imagined, I know my school days were more of a social education rather than an academic one.

Seventeen years later and I struggle to even help the kids with their homework.
I do my nine times table using the ‘finger trick’ and I was convinced my last son shared his name with a historical British King.  Turns out, apparently King Arthur was a legend?!

Please bear this in mind when you read my blog and notice spelling or grammar mistakes 🙈

However, let’s not knock the social skills and enjoyment you need to experience in your teenage years.

I do believe some of the qualities that helped me succeed in my career and help me run our businesses now were created at high school.

With a husband that attended a prestigious private school, we really do have experience at both ends of the British education system.

So this leaves me wondering about the twins.
What school would suit them? The big difference between them and me and their dad is that they LOVE learning. 

We have taken them to see the school that Mike went too.
The building was beautiful and imposing, like Hogwarts, absolutely beautiful.
The head masters office was a posh lounge, furnished  with a think cream carpet, a huge fireplace and a large chesterfield sofa.
All of this was very impressive but when you are paying £20,000 per year I guess you wouldn’t expect anything less.
The children were lovely, the facilities were not unlike the Olympic Park and the exam results spoke for themselves.  

People say ‘if a child wants to learn, and they have the support at home they will do well anywhere’….do you agree?

We have looked at our closest local state school and I really liked it.
The head mistress seemed strict but fair, she knew all the pupils (three thousand) by name and they seemed to like and respect her. 
The kids were polite and well presented and the facilities, although not to the standard of the private school, were
Impressive.

Mike had a bit of an issue with the dining facilities.  The dining room could barely fit two hundred kids in it.  When he was at school everyone sat down together and ate a civilised lunch.  

I had to give him a lesson in state school lunch etticate. 
From what I remember, if we were eating in the canteen, it was usually sausage, chips, and beans which you inhaled as quickly as possible to give you time to gossip or flirt on the school field.

Mike wasn’t impressed by this! (Strange considering he became a scaffolder, who usually eat KFC with their feet up on the dash of the lorry!)

It has been quite an eye opener for both of us, learning about each others education.

We are going to look at all the schools again at the open evenings in September.
I think, given we are fortunate enough to have great state schools in the area, we will choose one of them.
Private school is a huge financial commitment and even if we could afford it, so many sacrifices would have to be made. 

Narrowing down the state schools will be hard, they are all good.  

All the Ofsted reports are great and when I’ve spoken to parents with kids already at the schools they all seem happy.
Realistically there are two that we are in the catchment for.
Mikey loves art and drama and Harrison is massivly into sport,  So those subject opportunities will play a big part.

The boys have to have a say aswell.  It’s important to us that they are happy with the choices we make.

Finally, practicality has to come into it.  

With four children following them up the ranks I need to know it will be in a location that is practical for us, as a family.  

Not just for the kids, but for me (mum taxi) as well….not always easy when you live on a country lane with no pavement and at least a mile away from the nearest public transport.

My dad has even been researching for me.  I randomly got this text recently.  Anyone that knows my dad won’t find this that surprising 🤣

I asked a few fellow bloggers what they look for when choosing a school.  Here is what they suggest:

“Ask them how they are going to be saving money with the budget cuts. They all have to cut something. Their answers should help you work out if the school is well managed and planning ahead effectively.”

https://falcondalelife.com

“I’d look at whether the children are well behaved, happy and enjoying school. Also what extra curricular activities are on offer. The overall attitude of the school and whether they instill a love of learning in the children. Plus I must admit I’d be looking at results too”

http://www.familymakes.com

“Look at the standards in general: uniform, equipment, facilities… It would give you a good idea of the general atmosphere. Of course, look at the kids and try to feel if they are happy but look also at the teachers! Are they knackered and grumpy? It says a lot about the school Plus of course the Ofsted report! :)”
http://thefrenchiemummy.com/top-tips-to-be-a-good-blogger/

“I spoke to parents with children already in secondary school. Are their kids enjoying being at school and doing well in their studies 🙂 Ofsted and open evenings are important too” 

https://thedaisypages.com

I really struggled with this and ended up choosing a school where my daughter wouldn’t know a single person. ”
https://www.frugalfamily.co.uk/hardest-decision-life/

“It’s not necessarily about secondary schools – more about any school (primary or secondary just the same) if you are choosing for a child that has additional needs”

http://www.rainbowsaretoobeautiful.com/2016/01/sen-choosing-mainstream-school.html

Do you have any tips that will help with our decision?

Lots of love,

A ‘trying to stay relaxed Kate

Kids Football

I have recently reflected on the times I watched my brother play football, years ago when I was a kid, it would transform my usually calm and reserved dad into a gobby, uncontrollable mess.

This often resulted in my poor brother finishing his match red faced with embarrassment and a little angry. 

I could never understand why my dad couldn’t keep quiet on the side line…….That is until my own children started playing team sport!


Now, I’m not judging anyone that shouts and screams on the side of the pitch, it turns out I am my father’s daughter and I too get bitten by the over enthusiastic ‘gobby bug’.
It’s so hard not to get caught up in your children’s passion, and our encouragement can quickly turn into either disappointment or totally over the top excitement for them. 

In fact, I scream and shout but I actually have no idea what I am talking about. 

I have absolutely no interest in football in general whatsoever. 
Like a lot of people, I get swept along by the excitement of the big TV matches, but I mainly see it as an excuse to socialize and spend the afternoon with friends.

But kids football,  that’s a totally different game,  I LOVE watching it.
So, there I am, yelling like a crazy woman at these poor kids who can see straight through the sad mum watching cluelessly from the side line.
But watching my son mature on the pitch alongside his friends, watching them celebrate together or otherwise keeping each other’s spirits up when they are losing is a beautiful thing. 

Making friends with the other parents, and enjoying the buzz you get from watching them together, it’s what youth football is all about.
Unfortunately, though, there is a darker side to youth football that I have witnessed over the recent months and years.

Parents that are’nt just shouting encouragement at their children, but critizing them in front of their team mates, putting them down and telling them how useless they are playing, or even shouting similar rubbish to the other young players. 

In some cases this even leads to the children disrespecting their team mates and coaches, bringing a ‘diva attitude’ onto a pitch where it doesn’t belong.

Some parents, it seems, use a Sunday afternoon youth football game as an excuse to get totally carried away and act like 1980’s hooligans. 

I mean, seriously, you’re not in a Danny Dyer movie and you are not a Millwall Bushwacker, this is an Under 10’s footie game in a quiet Surrey suburb.

 
Your child isn’t Wayne Rooney, he is a young lad who wants to enjoy the game he loves with his friends and team mates.
Parents fighting at the sideline? screaming at the managers and referees? What sort of example is this setting to the youngsters!? 
Pathetic behavior like racist and degrading assaults on coaches and other children makes my blood boil. 


There is no place for any of this in football or any other team sport, especially when children are involved. 
All it does is re enforce the sometimes quoted opinion that 

‘Football is a game for gentlemen, played by hooligans, while rugby is a game for hooligans, played by gentleman’
Luckily this kind of attitude is rare, and although the last few weeks I have had to leave Mike and Grandad to watch most of the Sunday matches, I’m proud to say that overall youth football is such an amazing experience to be part of. 

To my mind it is wonderful watching the kids play as a team, supporting and respecting each other, their opponents and their management. 
My thanks, support and encouragement go to my boys team, to his coaches and managers and to all the fantastic parents for keeping youth football what it should be……FUN!!!!!

Please follow, like and share this post if it has struck a chord with you 

 

10 things I love vs 10 things I hate about pregnancy  

I am linking up today with Parent Blogs Elite Linky #1 with Jenny at www.midwifeandlife.com

Because I have spent nearly four of the last ten years pregnant people assume I must love it.
It’s not so much about loving it as trying to embrace it and making the most of it.   It is after all a blessing.

Having said that,  like everyone I know all to well it’s good and bad points….

I have noted a few below:

LOVE 💗:
1) Obvs being able to eat tonnes of chocolate without feeling guilty and weighing myself 10 minutes later.

2) Not going out, You always have the perfect excuse to blow someone out! Yes I am saying that!  There are times when you are pregnant when no excuse is needed…. You just don’t fancy it!
3) No 2, same rules apply for the bedroom 😜
4) No hangovers, it’s rubbish watching other people get trollied without you but something empowering about being the only sober one, mentally noting all the Sh#t everyone is talking.
5) Those lovely little kicks that remind you something so special is happening inside you.

6) Planning for your new arrival, preparing the nursery, collecting and washing new baby clothes and enjoying the serene room you have created before your little bundle of pooping and crying joy arrives to cause carnage.
7) Not having to explain yourself if you decide to take an afternoon nap or go to bed at 5.30pm.  That NEVER happens to me with five children but you first time mums know what I’m talking about!

8) The waddle….come on,  this should go in ‘Hates’ but you can use it to your advantage.  If exaggerated just right you can pretty much get anyone to do anything you want.   eg, I might offer…

‘ would you like a cup of tea guy’s’

‘oh lovely,  thanks ‘

(cue me, struggling to get up out of my seat followed by a pro-waddle for a few steps, stop,take a deep breath……)

‘kate, sit back down hun,  I’ll do it ‘

‘are you sure,  I don’t mind ‘😜

…waddle back a bit quicker to my seat 😂

9) Playing the labour game with your other half and friends.

After about 35 weeks, every now and then, let out a quick loud ‘labour’ groan. Their faces are priceless!

Mike never fails to jump 5 foot in the air and scream ‘what,what, is this it!? ‘

😂😂…..

‘oh, no, false alarm  While you’re up babe could you do me a cuppa and a cheese and ham toastie, cheers ‘ 😉
10) The closeness it brings us as a family.   I love laying on the sofa with Libby’s head on my tummy,  the boys asking if the baby and I are OK and talking about all the exciting things that are going to happen over the next few weeks.

Hate: 😣

1) Putting on weight so quickly you forgot what you look like pre baby making.

2) Pregnancy brings a whole new meaning to

‘i don’t have anything to wear ‘.

Unless I want to spend £100’s on maternity clothes that make me look like pat butcher!

Jeggings, leggings,  baggy jumpers and t shirts is my wardrobe for 9 months.
My mother in law owns a lingerie shop and her first words to me as soon as we announce we are pregnant is ‘ your not wearing an underwire are u?’

Apparently that is really bad for a pregnant/nursing mum so she gives me a few really comfortable but totally unflattering maternity bras.

3) Mental hormones, last week I was in the car with mike and the kids when they said something that made me laugh.  My laugh turned from a Giggle to hysterical laughing to hysterical crying within 30 seconds.  It was so crazy the kids were getting scared and I couldn’t calm down to tell them not to worry.

Mike was looking at me like I was something from the exorcist which made me laugh and cry even more.

When we got home the kids Sent me to bed and told me ‘ you need some rest, you’re not normal ‘

4) Heartburn, it’s just constant and I drink more milk than my new born will at the moment.

5) Sleepless nights,  everyone associates sleep deprivation with a newborn but no one tells you about the 3 months of broken sleep you will get in your third trimester. If it’s not a full bladder it’s restless legs, aching back or vivid, nasty dreams.

Guarenteed, at least once in every pregnancy I have a dream Mike cheated on me.   They are so vivid I wake up, snarl and ignore him for the rest of the day!

6) piles – say no more

7) No botox or cosmetic procedures – I have aged 4 years in 6 months!

8) Lack of energy, as I lay here, writing this Its 9.07am, George is in bed with me but I should be up getting some washing and housework done.

9) Food…..no alcohol, no yummy cheese,  no pate, no shellfish, no liver, no runny eggs, no coffee, no sushi and ironically, guess what my cravings are!?  😠

10) That stage of pregnancy when you don’t look pregnant but there is no doubt you are packing a few more pounds….  Urgh!

Do you have any Loves or Hates of pregnancy to add? I would love to hear.


Midwife and Life

Happy New Years……Resolutions? 

​2016 has been an exciting year for me.   My new addition, George has given me his first giggles, crawled, taken his first steps and become a fully fledged toddler.

I watch my beautiful sister in law get married on one of the best holidays I’ve ever had.

I spent a fantastic weekend in Dublin with some of my favourite girls. 

I found out we are expecting baby number 6 and started my Modernmum blog.

I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me and encouraged me throughout my blogging experience.😘

I have met some wonderful new people through this journey and still feel it is only just beginning.   

Looking forward to seeing you on the other side…2017! 🎊🎉

I was chilling in the bath earlier,   thinking about what my new years resolutions will be for 2017.
I’ve never made NY resolutions before (mainly because I know I’ll never keep them,  why add pressure!?) 
But this year, I feel like I want to challange myself,  to see if I am capable.   

So here it goes….   

-Being pregnant I’m not about to put pressure on myself to lose weight,  however,  baby is due in April.  By next Xmas I would like to be pre pregnancy weight. #goals

-Stop convincing myself Libby’s messy bun is an acceptable school hairstyle.   Actually start brushing and tieing it up neatly every morning. 

-Take George to more toddler groups and less coffee shops. 

-Start working at a desk rather than on the laptop infront of the TV.

-Always make sure the kids have lots of paper/supplies for homework projects.  They get so embarrassed taking in a scrappy bit of A4 when little jonny looks like Monet has done his homework. 

-With the children,  sign up to at least three charity fundraisers.

-No more dogs! 
-Always answer my mobile phone, even if I know it is cold callers, politely tell them to fuck off.

-Go out for more family walks,  such a cheap fun way to spend time together.  If we end up at the local pub… Even better!

-Stick with this blogging lark, I am really enjoying it and maybe even double my followers (feel free to share away😘)
-Get my arse into gear and make sure we have turkeys here in the summer.  Next Xmas we will be supplying your Xmas dinner) 
-Laugh more,  love more and try harder. 
So what’s your news years resolutions?  Or like me in the past,  do you just not bother? 
Happy New Year, Lots of Love
Kate xxxx

How I get stuff done with a baby 

One of the most common things I get asked as a mum of thousands of children is ‘ how do you get anything done with a baby? ‘

The answer is really simple,  at home, behind closed doors, we call it ‘ the cage’ on the outside you call it a playpen!

You could stress yourself out, intent on baking cookies with your 9 month old who cant even eat properly yet.   

Or spend hours with play doh that your toddler would rather eat than play with.

Or try and get jobs done with a year old on your hip.

All this is lovely of corse, memory making and learning but don’t let the ‘perfect mum’ give you shit for needing to get stuff done,  especially when you have older children that still need your attention.
When George was a baby I used the playpen to keep him safe.


So that I could go and start dinner, sort the washing out, help the others with homework or simply chill out for 10 minutes without the worry that Libby might start feeding him like one of her dolls or the dog didn’t lick his face after giving their doggy bits a chew.

As he has got older and started to crawl and walk I put a couple of his favourite toys in their and let him play.   

Not only does this give me time to get stuff done it also teaches him how to play without me,  gain confidence and problem solve. 


Obviously, before you start judging me I’m not talking about putting him in the cage and popping out for a few vodkas at the pub.

I’m usually in the next room or running up and downstairs constantly checking on him. 
By doing this when I need it it leaves me calm quality time to spend when I do sit down and bake cookies and play with the play doh (😂😂😂 whatever,  he is 15 months, I have years of that to come) when I play blocks, helping him climb in and out of his toy car or play who can scream the loudest.
My point is,  don’t try and be a martyr, it doesn’t hurt them to play on their own for a while while you do whatever you need to get done or just sit down with a cuppa.
I have done it with all of mine.

Saint Nick popped in for a cuppa!

​Deck the halls!  
We have had a really special,  festive weekend full of friends,  wine,  mince pies, sausage rolls, tinsel, The Pogues and Santa Claus! 
Back in November I looked into which Santa to take the kids to visit.  
I looked into local garden centres, National trust venues and shopping centres.   

I know most of them are great experiences but when you have 5 children they are also really expensive. 
It got me thinking,  how much would it cost to bring the big guy to us!?

I hit Google and found a company called Hiresanta.  
They sent me a few videos of different Santa auditions and the relevant price for each Santa.

Obviously, the best,  most realistic was the most expensive….. And typically the one I set my heart on. 

The price tag for our Santa came at a wopping £300, but,  considering I was going to spend £100 for 2 minutes with a half decent Santa at the local garden centre, I thought I’d give it a go.

He didn’t disappoint!

The children were absolutely blown away (and so were the adults). 

Turns out our Santa was a professional actor with credits such as Eastenders, The Bill, Frost, Londons Burning and Casualty just to name a few.
He spent two hours talking to the children,  listening to each of their presie lists and told them a lovely Christmas story. 

We are definatly going to book again for next year. 
Some of the older kids were suspicious but he was pretty convincing and left even the most defiant believers wondering….. Could he be!? 

So I can confirm we are now officially in the Christmas spirit! 
If you can get a few friends together and split the cost it is a great experience and a chance to make special memories that last forever. 
It’s also a great excuse for the parents to get together with a few bottles of wine and let a jolly man in a suit entertain the children for a couple of hours. 

Only one problem, Santa left his belt on my bed!…. Try explaining that one too the kids 😆🙊🎅

HO HO HO!!!! 🎅
http://www.hiresanta.co.uk

My little man

I’ve been finding it hard to blog lately. 

Since George turned one he up’ed his game massivly.
He has gone from a quiet little baby who sits contently playing in his playpen (or cage to you that know us well) to a walking,  talking, shouting Hitler whos day consists of eating,  tipping up the dogs water bowl,  eating some more,  shitting and then eating again. 

Happy times though,  He has started saying my name! It’s so cute! 
He hasn’t learned that whine yet, He just walks around saying 

‘ mum, mum, mum, mum ‘ 

Let’s see how long that little novelty lasts before the sound ‘mum’ has me scratching at my eyes! 

When my babies are born i always make the mistake of strutting around with my beautiful new baby telling everyone how lucky I am that he is so good. 
This was true,  he was good,  most babies are when all they do is sleep,  drink milk and poo.

It’s when they start crawling/walking and learning the art of manipulation that things start to change. 

When I had the twins I used to take a high and mighty ‘i will not give in ‘ approach……not anymore. 

George wants chocolate,  I say no,  George screams,  I give him the chocolate. 

…..bad, bad mum 

All that aside, I am loving every precious moment with my number five.  
He is growing into a sweet, funny and affectionate little boy, just like his big brothers USED to be🙈.

I am so excited to see what he makes of his new little brother when he arrives. 

Modern Mum of five….. Soon to be six 

​​So here I am,  34, mum of five and pregnant again with number six.   


When I found out I was pregnant my first concern was not 

‘ how will I cope!? ‘ 

‘ do we have enough space? ‘ 

‘ will we afford it? ‘ 

My main worry was ‘ what will people say!? ‘

How wrong is that!?  
So let me start by saying :
-We own our own home and have never claimed benefits

-We do own a TV  but we just can’t keep our hands off eachother!  😘 

-I don’t spend all day watching Jeremy Kyle (although it is a guilty pleasure when I have 5 minutes) 

-My kids are always dressed in clean clothes (most of the time) 

-They all go to school and are very studious.

-They all have extra curricular activities and yes it does cost a fortune but we make it work. 
My kids also… 

-Are slightly feral and spend alot of their time in the garden or fields,  building dens and climbing trees

-help me with housework and help with their younger siblings

-Know how to share with eachother and other people 

-Protect and look out for eachother 
So to summarise, yes it’s hard work,  yes it’s expensive,  yes we are a little bit crazy,

But we are so happy!!!!! 
When we told the children they were absolutely delighted.


In the last month they have gained 4 new cows,  3 new sheep, chickens and a baby brother or sister….. Life is never dull! 
Libby of corse is hoping for a little sister, but as long as it’s healthy (and sleeps through the night from day one 😉) im not fussed either way. 
You might understand now why my blogs have taken a back step the last few weeks.   Everytime I have sat down to write one my eyes close and I am out for the count. 

As my first trimester comes to an end my energy levels will be back on track im sure.

Thanks everyone for your messages,  it’s great to hear so many of you have been enjoying my blogs.

Love to you all 

xxxxx

I’m back 

I’m sorry I haven’t posted any blogs recently.  It’s been a busy time in our house the past few weeks. 

Getting the kids ready for school after a fab six week summer holiday,  baby girl had turned 6 and it was George’s first birthday. 



The kids seem to have settled back into a routine better than I have! 
All this while living with no kitchen, collecting cows,  hatching chicks and looking after a poorly dog has left very little time to blog.


Im slowly getting back into the swing of things though so Modern Mum will be back on track.