A letter to my first born

Luca, as the weeks are going by so fast and soon your little sister will be with us, I wanted to write you a little something to let you know how you have been the biggest and best adventure of my life. To also say thank you for making me into mamma first.

I was only 18 when I found out you were in my belly. I was scared and excited all wrapped into one. I remember feeling you move around for the first time and never feeling alone from that point on. I would dream of what you and your little personality would be like and I prayed for you every single day and still to this day do now.

The day you came into the world, was the day my life changed forever. I remember being all alone in the hospital, early hours of the morning, too overwhelmed to sleep I sat up all night watching you. I held you in my arms and stared at your beautiful little face wondering how I got so lucky. I remember feeling so scared, feeling inadequate to look after such a precious gift. You were only a few hours old and you gripped onto my little finger so tight I could barley believe it. It was in that moment that I fell completely and utterly in love with you and knew that I would do whatever I could to be the greatest mum I could be for you.

You see Luca you was giving me the hope and strength I needed before you could even talk.

Loving and growing up with you has been the biggest and greatest adventure of my life. These past 5 years have been the best, making memories with you and watching you grow into the most handsome, kind, smart, funny, wild, sensitive and caring little boy. The years have gone by oh so fast, I remember knowing I needed to get my sleep but I would watch over you for hours in the middle of the night, your first laugh, your first crawl, your first steps and your first words. They have left imprints on my mind that will stay with me forever. You have brought us all so much happiness, I am so thankful to have had all this precious time we have had having you as our only child. Thank you for the most special five years I could have ever wished for.

As you know a new chapter is heading towards us soon, we have another little love on the ride of life with us. I wanted a sibling for you so very much, someone to travel through childhood and life with you. I truly believe there is no greater gift than for a child to have a sibling. No matter how our world changes, you will always be my first. We will love another together and we will all grow together.

Thank you for loving me even when I hardly knew anything about being a mum and made mistakes. Thank you for being there when I had no one else. Thank you for giving me this life and thank you above all for being YOU ❤️

You are the best big brother I could ever ask for, for your little sister. There is nobody I would rather her learn from than you. You see you made me into Mamma, you made me into the mum I am for you today and for the Mamma I will also be for your sister. How special is that!

You will always be my little bambino no matter how big you get.

I love you Luca, beyond words. Forever.

Love Mamma ❤️

Gratitude Journals for children

Gratitude journaling is something that only takes a few minutes per day but can have a big positive impact on your ls and your childrens holistic development, mental health and overall wellbeing.

A gratitude journal is simply something you do to keep track of all the good things your thankful for in life. Usually kept in a book form, you write what you are thankful for that day and what the best bit of the day was etc. No matter what your day looked like, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. It’s incredibly easy to start, simply buy a notebook, a pen and start writing daily, about the positives and goodness in your days. The more you focus on the goodness in your life it enables you to gain a different perspective. I whisper thank you to myself continually throughout the day, as soon as I wake in the morning I say thank you out loud and at night I gather all my thankful thoughts and write them down in my book.

Gratitude journals are for everyone! Adults and children of all ages. I started one over a year ago and seeing first hand how powerful this simple tool is to enhance your happiness I decided Luca should try one out too. We do ours after a bath at bedtime, Luca is winding down and able to focus on his thoughts. I find this time very special for both of us, it’s a meaningful bonding time where we are together without any distractions and are able to think about our day clearly. I’m able to get a better insight to Luca’s day and his thoughts. The gratitude journal is full of benefits for us all, but I especially think it’s great for children to start as early as possible because:

• They become more present and mindful

• Improves attitude and builds character

• Become more self aware

• Reduces stress & worries

• Opens communication

• Gives them a different perspective on life

• Develop a sense of thankfulness and gratitude for even the littlest things in life

• Improve emotional well being

• Acknowledging and appreciating the simple things in life

• Allows parents to understand their children on a different level

• Gives children a positive mind set

• Builds resilience

• Promotes life long skills they can carry on through adulthood

• Produces feelings of accomplishment and belonging

• Attracts more good things to come their way

Gratitude Journaling is a way to de stress, calm down, unwind and become mindful. Especially important if your busy and nonstop all day, you and your children need down time to just be in the moment to ground yourselves. Once you start to practise gratitude you will see opportunity to give thanks where ever you go. ☺️

A page out of Luca’s journal 🙏🏻

Reception to year 1 transition tips

How are all your littles doing settling back into school and their new classes? I felt this year was a big jump for Luca leaving early years 😢 and starting to learn the national curriculum. (I love everything about early years) Having worked within nursery/reception classes and higher years I myself was able to see the jump that Luca was about to make.

In Reception children learn in a play based, free flowing environment thats mainly child led, they may be guided from time to time by staff but ultimately they get to choose the areas they want to learn/play and with whom. Where as Year 1 tends to be more formal the national curriculum sets clear learning goals across all subject areas. The teaching is adult led and children have less choice in what they do. Children often miss the freedom they had being able to learn independently through play to now having to focus attention and sit down at a table for longer periods. So we wanted to support Luca with his transition as best we could and thought they could help someone else too. So below i’m sharing some tips that we implement that are proving to help ☺️

• Positivity – First of all above anything else is to always remain positive about new changes coming your child’s way. Luca himself was actually quite apprehensive about starting Year 1. The day he went to visit his new class he came home and said ” Mamma, they have no toys just tables and chairs”. In response I always gave and continue to give Luca a positive outlook on this new chapter for him.

• Limit extra curriculum activities – I didn’t want Luca to become overwhelmed by having to be somewhere doing something everyday of the week. I wanted him to be able to enjoy his own free time without having a busy schedule every evening after school when he’s already doing so much throughout his school day.

• Give your children free time – The biggest tip I can give thats really helped us so far is this – Allow your child to do what they like (within reason of course) when they get home. As soon as Luca gets home from school he says ” It’s my time to choose now isn’t it”. Luca gets free time between coming home and bedtime to be as child led as possible and to do his own thing. Usually choosing to play with his friends next door, build lego, go on the trampoline or swing set, play with his toys or just to watch a show, he’s able to choose how he spends his time just like in reception class. He has time to just be a kid and use his imagination. This has really helped Luca not feel constantly directed and gives him the freedom he wants and needs.

• Don’t start homework, spellings or reading books as soon as they get home from school – If you think just when you get home from work you need some downtime, your child needs the same. Imagine coming home from work to then be doing your job from home as soon as you get back, you would go a little stir crazy. It’s the same with our children give them a break to just be children without a work load. We don’t do any school related activities when Luca gets home, I want to give him a break even if it’s just for a couple of hours. We do reading books at bedtime along side our bedtime story and homework and spellings are done in increments throughout the evenings usually sometime after tea. I can usually tell when Luca has had enough and loosing concentration so we leave it for another day when he’s able to fully engage and give his best shot at it again.

Hope these little tips help you and your children settle into their new class ☺️🍎📚✏️🚸

Children don’t play like they used to…

Are we as a nation stressing ourselves and our children out by planning and cramming as many playdates, after school activities, and kids clubs into our week as we can?

Are we over scheduling our children’s lives full of things we think they should be doing ?

This is something I feel incredibly strong about within todays society. I personally think some parents can go into a competition frenzy of ‘ look how many activities my child does, my child does more than your child’. Parents are spread increasingly thin, they are always rushing, stressed, feeling over scheduled and are chaining themselves to a tiresome weekly routine, forgetting how children used to build their character and resilience through play.

We are starting our children at school at the tender age of 3 which is a whole different topic I won’t go into haha. But I just hope people don’t loose sight of how important it is for children to have the freedom to just play.

Gone are the days that we can allow our children to play as we once did. It’s crazy to think that at 24 I had what they call an ‘old fashioned childhood’. Full of making my own decisions, knocking on for my friends, making mud pies, playing knock a door run, building my own resilience, making dens, having freedom, climbing trees, having a full day ahead of me to explore and make my own games up, but knowing I should head back home when the streetlights came on. A bath and my tea would be waiting back at home for me, ready to go back out the next morning and do it all over again.

I often think back to those times as some of the best learning experiences of my life. I believe that the resilience I have as an adult today was created from those days being free as a child. I would have hated having my days filled up with all different activities/classes every day of the week missing out on playing with my friends. My parents promoted child initiated play, hobbies and activities into my life. They allowed me to get to an age where I developed my own interests and acted upon them at that stage. For example I developed a passion for horses so my dad paid for horse riding lessons every weekend. When he could see how much I thrived and loved being around horses he bought me my own horse. It wasn’t forced on me, It was me making a choice for myself as a child that thats what I wanted to spend my time doing. But what I see happening in society today is we are giving our children hobbies, we are enrolling them into all sorts of activities filling all our children’s free time up thinking they need to be kept busy at all times.

Can you imagine our children have a day at home with no plans and nothing to do, whatever will happen to our children if they are left to be bored and having to make their own games up…

Please don’t feel like a bad parent for not having your child enrolled in every club going. Some of my best childhood memories and lessons learnt come from the days where I had nothing but myself, the outdoors and my imagination.

We all parent different and I will never judge anyone else’s parenting. I’m to busy judging my own parenting style 😂. I want to get it right so badly as we all do, we all want to do the best for our children. But just think about how children used to learn through play. If your feeling stressed by your schedule maybe it’s time to change it. Now I know times have changed, I myself would not allow Luca to play out alone, so I ensure I do the things I did on my own as a child with him. I supervise from a distance, I allow him to take risks, go up to children and make friends, allow him to socialise without my interference, I ensure we get outdoors everyday, I allow him to climb a tree without my input promoting risk taking and allowing to learn for himself, I let Luca make mudpies, splash in puddles, play in dirt, pick bugs up, be around animals, ride his bike and run through fields. I allow Luca to have lots of free time, lots of child initiated play and activities where he chooses what he wants to do.

One thing I would love to change for children these days is for them to get outdoors more, learn more through nature rather than tv programmes. For them to put the ipads down and not be so over scheduled and to just allow children to be children. ❤️

What do you think?

When your feeling overwhelmed – read this

Heres just a little pick me up post for all you mamma’s and dads who are just down right overwhelmed. We all have those days, some days are just better than others. If it’s just a crappy day please read this to know that your not alone and your doing great – remember this too shall pass ❤️

Just BREATHE!

I once read that a noisy, messy house is a healthy house.

That children who play loudly, shout, argue, tease, are wild and full of energy bouncing round the house are the happy kids. The kids who know you are their safe place, they have to filter and control their behaviour in the real world and when they get home they can just let go of all that and just be themselves, because they feel safe to do so. Abit like us, when we get home we take the makeup off, throw the hair up, shove the PJS on and just sloth! We wouldn’t necessarily do that just anywhere. It’s where we feel comfortable and where our children feel most comfortable so they can let themselves go. It’s like their way of saying they feel safe and loved with you ❤️ Keep that in the back of your mind when they are driving you crazy 😉

It’s the withdrawn children who don’t engage in play, who don’t make eye contact, the children who rock themselves, the children who are silent that don’t feel safe anywhere they go – silence is the real thing thats most worrying when it comes to our kids. So embrace the noise and mess, it’s memories they will keep with them in years to come. No child remembers amazing memories of how clean or quiet their house was. After all one day our children will be all grown up and we would do anything to have one more day of the childhood chaos ❤️

This to shall pass.

Christmas Eve/Christmas Day blog

Merry Christmas to you! I Hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and made lots of memories with your family and friends ❤️

I have to say this has been one of the best Christmases we have had. With Luca being 4 now, he understands exactly whats going on and doing our Christmas traditions with him has just been so magical this year. Having children at Christmas is just amazing isn’t it? We really have had so much fun. Eating way toooo much, relaxing, becoming certified toy builders that could give Santa a run for his money, expert gift wrappers, watched all the Christmas classic films, attended Christmas Mass at Church, danced, laughed, spent quality time together, let the house become a giant mess without worrying and made special lasting memories. It really has been the best! 🎅🏼🎁🎄

Here is our Christmas in photos for you ❤️

Festive weekend

Hey Hey! Here are some pictures from our weekend. We had soooo much fun, seeing Santa, dog walks in the snow, sledging & just being together making memories. The weekend felt extra special because we got snow, i absolutely love it. My ideal kind of holiday would be staying in a chalet in the Swiss Alps, skiing in the snow. I would take that over sunbathing any day haha! I hope you all had a great weekend too! 😆🎄🎅🏼☃️🎁🐶❄️🛷