Mama Rants 2 – Parent Parking Bays

cps

So, today’s rant is bought to you by ‘twats that park in parent parking bays’.

So many times I’ve gone into town or to the local supermarket and stupidly driven down to the parent parking bays expecting to find a space. It’s silly of me to assume there will be any available spaces for us because it is quite obvious that the generously sized spaces that are conveniently located close to the store entrance are very enticing to some (lazy) people. Now, let me set this straight, this is not a parking ‘faux pas’. This is down right lazy and irresponsible. Most recently we witnessed a woman casually drive into a parent parking bay (she didn’t even straighten her car up – I also hate people that park REALLY lazily!). I watched and waited to see if she would try to get a pushchair out of the back of her car. She did not. She was wearing gym clothes so I assume her workout was so intense that she could not walk the few extra steps from a normal parking bay.

‘Won’t somebody please think of the children?!’

I’m honestly not sure why on earth you would do this. Are people really that lazy? Do they even realise the hassle of trying to get a baby or toddler out of a normal bay? The spacing in parent parking bays, or even a disabled bays are much bigger than normal parking bays for a reason. Not so you can haul your tired, post workout butt out of your car and so you can walk fewer steps to the shop. They are separated by a walkway for a reason, so that we can park and have clear access to our boots without the hassle of some twat who has parked right up our jacksie! They are placed closer to the shop so that there is less danger to any small children that may be walking to the shop with us. With cars reversing in and out of bays, many without double checking, the car park is an extremely hazardous place for littlies.

This young lady was not the first, nor will she be the last offender. Men are just as bad. I’ve seen countless men sitting in the parent bays, no child seat in sight, having a ciggi and a chat. These spaces are not a layby – if you need to pull up for a cigarette, do it somewhere else. I do not want my children having to breathe in your cancerous fumes. I am not sure how people can be so inconsiderate. Anyway, does anybody really know the law around these parking bays. We all know that you should get a parking fine if you park in a disabled bay without a blue badge and get caught (HA! I wish more people would get caught out by this!), but is there even a law or any rules to parking in parent bays? If not, should there be?

Should the government be able to ticket people who are taking up our parking spaces?

Well, after having a quick Google, it would appear that there is no law that is being broken (why on earth not?) when people do this. Although there are some leading supermarkets that apply their own set of rules for this (yay). The problem being, is how can they really enforce this rule without the help of the government? According to one source (Motor.co.uk), Asda have been known to hand out a Parking Charge Notice (not to be confused with a fine) to offenders for up to £50. This is however, fairly easy to avoid paying. Other supermarkets have their own rules in place but are quite relaxed about it.

So the question is, should the government; local council or even the police, be able to issue fines to people who are taking up our parking spaces? I think the answer has to be yes, not just for the sakes of us poor parents struggling to get a parking spot, but also so they can make more money to be able to fix the roads (pothole season is nearly upon us people), so that they can get more people out in car parks to help enforce parking issues and eventually make more money for the police departments (or Theresa May and her cronies back pockets more like) so they can better police our streets.

Parking1

As fairly new parents, I would like to add that for us it is purely about the space needed to get baby out of the car safely. We don’t mind having to walk a bit to the shop. We are the kind of people that even before we had our baby, we would park far away (less opportunity for simple folk to ding our car doors) from the shop entrance. I hate having to leave the push chair base at the back of the car in the road whilst I try to navigate a tight space to get Zosia out. I worry that somebody will try to steal the base, or the nappy bag etc. I am not silly enough to leave my handbag on the pushchair. I worry that if I try to put the shopping in the car first, somebody will either hit the pushchair or try to snatch her. I shouldn’t have to be worried about these things. I should be able to have my pushchair beside my car, not worrying about dinging the car next me or anything else, and safely get my baby into my car. Is that really too much to ask for?

I would love to hear about your parking woes (yes, I know it sounds dull) so let me know in the comments. Also let me know what you think about expectant mothers using these bays. Should they be catered for in these bays or have their own?

Thanks

Monsterful Mama

Advertisements

An Interview with Chloe Lee – Wedding Photographer

10-things-happy-pin

If you know me personally, you’ll know that I don’t make friends easily. So, about a year ago I joined a little group in my borough. Most of the people in the group were older, by quite a bit. There was a few people nearer my age but admittedly I do tend to judge a book by its cover (I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t but it is an easy way to spot people who may have common interests). So when I first saw Chloe, with her big glasses, tattoos and quirky attire, I knew I wanted to get to know her.

Long story short, were now very good friends. We have a lot in common so get on really well. I knew I wanted her to do our photography the moment I saw her website. It’s full of great images that are bright and colourful. So after doing a bit of on-line stalking, we finally asked her to be our photographer. But, Chloe wasn’t just our photographer, she also had a place at our wedding as a friend and was involved in a lot in the build up to the big day and even helped with my hen do and the morning of the wedding. We’ve spent many hours together sorting the creative aspect of it all, hand making a lot of the decorations. My hubby and I consider ourselves very lucky to be able to call Chloe a friend.

chloeleephotographyalternativeweddingphotographeressex
Copyright of Chloe Lee Photography

‘I prefer to document the day as it happens. I’ll still capture all the little details that you’ve planned and made, the family photographs for your nan’s mantelpiece and of course awesome portraits of you having fun and being super loved up.’

Whilst sipping coffee and having a catch up, I decided to do a little interview with Chloe. Having the chance to interview a friend is a strange thing, but it’s a great experience. I took the chance to ask her some questions about her work and life, so I’ll stop gushing about our friendship so you guys can get to know Chloe for yourselves.

img_3191
Chloe and I. Copyright of Monsterful Mama and Chloe Lee.

About Chloe

Chloe Lee (26), born and bred in Essex, is a Harry Potter obsessed wedding photographer. She studied photography at college and went on to do it at degree level in Bristol. Having dabbled in fashion photography for a while, she then found her calling as a wedding photographer and has been for two years. Her image style is alternative, fun and quirky, and is pretty relaxed and informal. Chloe becomes apart of your day with her insane ability to mingle yet be invisible so that she can catch those candid photos of your big day. You can find out more about her here.

What hobby would you do if money was no object?

If I had all of the money, I would love to get into property developing. I love up-cycling furniture but renovating a house would take that hobby to a whole new level!

What skill would you like to master?

I would love to play the piano, especially classical piano. I think when played right it is so beautiful and such a hard thing to master. Although I maybe would say it’s much like art in that I do think it’s a lot about having musical talent than simply learning a skill.

What are some small things that make life better?

Chocolate, tea, cheese, Netflix…

When did you first know that you wanted to be a wedding photographer?

After I photographed my first wedding! I helped a friend on a wedding as uni term was nearly over and I wanted to get out with my camera and it was like I’d stepped into another universe and literally was that cliché light bulb moment of “Wow! This is so much more than I thought it would be,” and from then on, I spent a few years doing the occasional wedding or assisting job to build up my portfolio.

What are you most looking forward to in the next ten years?

Hopefully buying a house, travelling and meeting lots of awesome couples!

What habit would you like to unlearn if you could?

Nail biting… it’s my worst habit.

What has been your favourite experience?

Ah there’s been so many! Going to France to shoot a wedding was pretty awesome though!

List five things you always carry with you.

Phone, pen, notepad, lipstick and business cards.

Who would you have photograph your wedding?

I’m super lucky to have lots of talented photographer friends but from the moment I discovered Camera Hannah’s work a few years ago, followed her journey and then met her earlier this year so, it would definitely be her without a doubt!

How would you describe your photography style?

Alternative, Fun, quirky, informal, creative, and colourful!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, if you’re getting married, Chloe is available and doesn’t mind travelling the extra mile.  I would definitely recommend her to you all. You can check out her gallery here.

Chloe on Facebook

Chloe on Instagram

Thanks for reading.

Peace and love,

Monsterful Mama

10 Things That Make Me Happy

happy-sunday
Copyright Monsterful Mama

I know that I have recently done a post about happiness, and those being the three main things so let’s make this one a bit of fun.  Call it a ‘getting to know you’ kinda blog post!

The Ten Things That Make Me Happy are…

  1. Family: So of course this is a given. My little family are my world. You can read about them in more detail here.
  2. Pens: Lots and lots of pens. Brush pens, fine liners, fountain pens, highlighters, bright ones, pastel ones, black and white ones. You name it I will happily buy it for the right price, which leads me on to number three.
  3. Bullet Journal: I love getting creative in my bullet journal but it is also a fantastic way to get organised. My motto before was that I was an organised mess. My style was organised chaos but now with my bullet journal I can manage appointments without forgetting them, track progression of my blog in my blog bujo and get to keep on being creative with the many challenges in hand lettering etc.
  4. Food: I have a love hate relationship with food. I LOVE to eat it … all… but it does not agree with my waistline. I love cheesy pizza, stringy, gooey pizza, salted caramel flavoured thing, peanut butter on toast, a good old fashion roast dinner, cake of many varieties, coffee flavoured things too, chocolate of course… the list goes on. It actually surprises me that I am not bigger than I am! I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. If we go out for dinner, I will often chose a vegetarian option because my husband is a vege-phobe!
  5. Washi Tape: There are sooooo many different varieties of tape out there in the world, and like in Pokemon, I want to catch them all! I use them quite sparingly in my bullet journal but I just love to collect them. They are just so pretty!
  6. Video games: I don’t mind which platform but would prefer the PS4 and PC over Xbox. I used to love Nintendo but they have made their consoles big and clunky and unnecessarily so. They had great consoles with the N64 and the GameCube so I dont know why they had to mess about with it all. I love to play games such as; Skyrim, Terraria, Minecraft, The Sims, Stardew Valley, Starbound, Anno, Don’t Starve, Legend of Zelda, Fallout 4, WoW, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Civilization, Life is Strange etc. I love a bargain on Steam or on the PlayStation Store especially if it is an indie game.
  7. Taking Pictures: I love taking pictures. I’ve been referred to as the happy snapper before. I won’t go so far as to claim I am any good at taking pictures, but I do okay. My degree is in Photography but again, there are no guarantees that, that means I am good. I mostly take pictures of my little girl now but the degree has helped with setting up a few flat lays for the blog. I am currently in love with using black and white film in my Instax Mini. I’m now very jealous of my best buds skills in photography, so much so I got her to do our wedding! Chloe is awesome at capturing the natural quirkiness at weddings. I have enlisted her help many times when it comes to my own photography.
  8. Travel: I haven’t seen much of the world but I have loved seeing the bits that I have seen. Japan has got to be the best place we’ve been. We love going somewhere with lots of history or culture. There are sooo many more places on our list but, what with having a baby, we know it will be a while before we can tick the big ones off. Meanwhile, seeing a bit more of the UK will keep us occupied until Zosia is old enough to fly comfortably.
  9. Self Care Time: Because I have spent so many years living alone, I do enjoy a bit of me time, alone time. It is great to get to grips with thoughts and feelings and sometimes just to clear some of the cobwebs away. I will often take a coffee break on my own (mostly with Zosia though) in a café in town. I will mill around town with no real intent to buy things, although that doesn’t mean I won’t buy anything! It’s not really about buying anything, it is about being by myself.
  10. Creativity: I have always been a bit creative but never really known how to channel it. I’ve tried performing arts, photography, painting etc. I still don’t really know what my creative ‘niche’ is but I am loving the process of trying to figure it out. My sister is an illustrator so I’ve always been jealous of her mad skills for drawing and using watercolours. At the moment I am trying to learn new digital creative skills with my hubby teaching me tricks on PhotoShop, Illustrator and CSS/HTML etc.

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little more. Here are my tags for bloggers that you should get to know!

  1. itsallzara.co.uk
  2. http://thismamacan.com/

Thanks

Monsterful Mama

Setting Goals for August

DSC_0900 (2)
Set Goals N Crush Them. Copyright Monsterful Mama

Okay, so I know I am a bit late to this but hey, a girls got goals all month long! I didn’t really have many goals last month as it was the first full month of my blog. I didn’t really know what was likely to happen. This month I’ve set myself a few blogging goals as well as a few personal ones. Goal setting is key to helping beat procrastination. I am terrible when it comes to procrastination, especially if the task is work related. Suddenly the washing up becomes of utmost importance or I need to reply to everyone on social media. If it’s not doing the work, I’ll be doing it.

So my goals for the blog this month are:

  • Increase followers on social media
    • up to 700 on Instagram (link)
    • up to 200 on facebook page
    • up to 200 on pinterest
    • up to 500 on twitter
  • Improve numbers on blog
    • Get 2000 views this month
    • Get 1000 visitors this month
  • Write a bank of posts for when I return to work in September
    • Schedule posts to Instagram and Pinterest for this too
    • Create a bank of images to use for this
  • Set up email address
    • Set up email subscriptions on the blog
    • Figure out how to do this by asking hubby
  • Get in contact with baby brands that I can work with
    • Make a list of brands that I want to work with
    • Create email to send out to companies
DSC_0899 (2)
Make it Happen. Copyright Monsterful Mama.

My personal goals for this month are:

  • Getting off my arse!
    • Try to reach step goal more often
    • Try to exercise at least twice a week to start with
    • Try to incorporate yoga and meditation into exercise routine
    • Make a spread in personal bullet journal to track measurements and weight
  • Make more watercolour prints
    • To sell on Etsy of not, not sure if people with want that yet…
    • Make some more for baby room
  • Make more effort with my appearance
    • Like seriously! I look a mess nearly everyday!

Okay, so most of these goals are more like tasks on a to do list but it doesn’t matter. If they get ticked off, at least I have achieved them. What goals will you set yourself this month?
Thanks for reading.

Monsterful Mama

 

Things I Can’t Bullet Journal Without.

DSC_0901 (2)
Setting Goals.  Copyright of Monsterful Mama

So, it’s another one of these posts I know but I do love my bullet journal.  So much so I now have two (three if you count Zosia’s one!).  One for my blog and one for personal use. It is a fantastic way to keep organised. Keeping a bullet journal can be as minimalist or as arty as you like it.  So you can even manage one as a busy working parent, keeping track of your little ones appointments and events. I think I range somewhere in the middle.  I have tried to improve my creativity this year and have practised mostly in my bullet journal.  Over the last 8 months I have realised there are things you just don’t need and other stuff you just can’t live without whilst keeping a bullet journal. I may have spent a small fortune in the last months but I have loved every bit of it.  I am always the kind of person who finds it hard to stick to something so I was glad when I made it past the first six months.  So whether you’re someone who has just started or are a bullet journal pro like Boho Berry, these are just a few things you might need and are things I cannot bullet journal without.

DSC_0898 (2)
Anime Spread.  Copyright of Monsterful Mama

Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Dotted Journal (249 pages) and Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Dotted Journal (121 pages)

As I’ve said already, I use two different journals. One for personal use and one for my blog. I use a soft cover for my blog that I like to carry around with me. I do this in case I have a brain wave or idea that I need to jot down ASAP. I have the hardback for my personal journal as it has more pages and so I wont need to replace is quite as often. The paper in the Leuchtturm can lead to ghosting when using some pens but it will take water colour paints if used sparingly.

Buy Here (249pg)                                                        Buy Here (121pg)

 

Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen

I always remember using a fountain pen when I was younger. We weren’t allowed to use Biro back then. So when I realised, several months into my bullet journal journey, that using a fountain pen was a thing, I jumped at the chance to own one. I spent a bit of time researching which one would be best, but also within my price range. There are so beautiful pens out in the world! So I came across this pen and WOW. I am in love with it. I use a fine nib, I would like to get a finer nib too as I love writing in thinner pen nibs. I have often use fine liners instead but they blunt if you use them for everything. This pen is a beaut. I love to do drills and handwriting practice in this pen. It’s so smooth to write with.

Buy Here

 

Tombow Dual Brush Pens – Pastels

Tombow’s are in many peoples bullet journal kits. The range of colours, the dual brush tips, the fluidity of these pens make them a firm favourite amongst many. The brush tips are firm but not too firm. You can great ombre colours easily and they blend nicely. You can also create a watercolour effect with these pens which I love!

Buy Here

DSC_0956 (2)
July Review and Hello August. Copyright Monsterful Mama

 

Tombow Dual Brush Pens- Full Pack (wish I owned ALL of these!)

This is really a WISH I had these than an I OWN these. I wish I had these so much. To have the whole bunch would be like someone having every single Pokemon on PokemonGo! The range of colours make it a dream purchase for so many people!

Buy Here

 

Uni Pin  Assorted Fine Liners

These pens are great for those who like to draw in pen. I use them for my ‘faux’ brush lettering, as I haven’t quite mastered it yet. I also use them for drawing grids etc. in my spreads. This pack contains 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5, 0.8 nibs to help you get a range of line thickness.

Buy Here

 

Clear Ruler

This is an essential tool for creating spreads that need a grid or if creating mandala’s as you can see through the ruler to where your markers are.

Buy Here

 

Mechanical Pencil

I prefer these pencils as I don’t need to sharpen them all the time. You can use them very lightly and they are easily rubbed out where some other pencils (HB and so on) leave a dent or trace on the paper.

Buy Here

DSC_0907 (2).JPG
Nursery Ideas. Copyright Monsterful Mama

 

Washi Tape

This should be in everyone’s starter kit! Now, obviously I am bias as I love, love, LOVE washi tape. I don’t use it as much as you’d think. I think less is more in terms of using it in your bullet journal but you can great that extra flare with all kinds of different patterns and colours. This set of washi is a good place to start, especially if you are after a more minimalist style in your journal.

Buy Here

 

Stabilo Pastel Highlighters

These are a little treat! They add a pinch of pastel colour to your spreads that, if you’re not so creatively inclined, can help give the appearance of it. I so often see people using them as a strike through their beautifully written dates or headers or use them to written in capitals behind beautiful script.

Buy Here

DSC_0960 (2)
Watercolour with TomBow’s.  Copyright Monsterful Mama

 

So what do you think?  What must you always have when creating spreads in your bullet journal?

Thanks

Monsterful Mama

 

DISCLOSURE:

Monsterful Mama is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

Why I refuse to love my body as it is now.

“Your mum’s so fat, N.A.S.A mistook her for a planet!”

Today I saw myself in a full mirror for the first time since I gave birth and I did not like what I saw. In fact I was repulsed. What on earth has happened to my body? We we all know that after having a baby, your body can take time to adjust to the stresses of motherhood. Not all of us are able to bounce back in the first few weeks. Some of us even had a bit of a belly before we fell pregnant. Yet my body seems to have changed beyond recognition.

“I’ve always been a big girl.”

Having Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) has played a huge (pun not intended) part but so has my love of food. Sweets, crisps, ice-cream, fast-food and takeaways, all of which I enjoy regularly, have ultimately been the biggest contributors to my ever expanding waist line. Before I was pregnant I began a journey to size ten with Slimming World (other weight loss programmes are available). It was going so well. I was motivated by the fact I was getting married, losing on average three pounds a week. I lost two and a half stone and I was so chuffed! I felt good in my clothes having dropped three dress sizes. I was exercising and was happy to be doing so. I made a friend at ‘fat club’, we became gym buddies and now I consider her to be a bestie! Everything was going so well.

First Trimester

When I fell pregnant I decided to continue on with SW as a means to keep me on track but during the first trimester I struggled with nausea. I couldn’t eat anything without feeling sick, the smell of food alone was enough to set me off. I continued to lose weight in my first trimester which isn’t a bad thing just so long as its not too much. I continued to be happy with my progress. My bump hadn’t sprouted just yet so I felt good about my body.

img_3371
Including Zosia in the Wedding.  Copyright of Chloe Lee Photography and Monsterful Mama

Second Trimester

With the second trimester came the cravings. I was in Japan when the first one hit. I was desperate for carbs! I ate so much pasta in Japan I began to wonder if I should have gone to Italy instead. Garlic bread, spaghetti bolognese, spaghetti and meatballs; despite the heat and humidity of Japan in August, I wanted them all and an endless supply too. This was not so good for my waistline. I dreaded going back to the scales. Yet when I finally stood upon the scales of doom I had actually lost another three pounds. It turns out, growing a tiny person inside you is a lot of effort. That combined with endless walking and being a tourist also helped to counteract the calorie intake.

In my second trimester, I felt good despite being under a lot of pressure from work at the beginning. My appetite was back (with a vengeance) but I was seemingly able to maintain a healthy weight loss but it didn’t last long. The next week I went up a few pounds. I continued to go up at least one pound every week but I kept going. A little weight gain was to be expected. After all, I was growing a baby in my belly! The weeks went by, the weight went up and the eating habits I had spent so long working on went out the window. I craved sugar so much. I was extremely tired every day, working whilst being pregnant is hard work, especially as a teacher. Being on your feet all day every day takes it out of you at the best of times but as my belly grew so did my desire for a quick fix. Snacking on chocolate and high calorie foods kept me going through the day. Big lunches from the local café and even bigger dinners when I got home. My appetite was getting ridiculous. I was sure I would be the size of a blue whale before I reached forty weeks.

Third Trimester

By the time I got to the third trimester my healthy eating had gone completely to pot. I didn’t want to eat healthy food when I could stuff my face with calorific foods. I was so tired, every day I fell asleep on the settee even when company was round. I began to teach from the comfort of my desk chair. Getting up was hard work, navigating a tightly packed class was becoming hazardous. All I wanted to so was eat and sleep. When you imagine being pregnant, you imagine the glorious glow, the neat and tidy bump and the joy of growing a tiny human. You don’t consider the physical strain that it puts on your body. The back ache, the hip ache, the exhaustion, the hunger, the jabs in the ribs and… down there, the stretch marks! Oh the stretch marks! Being plus size before baby meant that I had stretch marks already but on my belly, they were minimal. Towards the end of the third trimester, my belly was the size of a house and the stretch marks were creeping up my stomach. It didn’t matter how much Palmer’s moisturisers I covered myself in or how many times a day I applied it, my belly was huge and the skin couldn’t cope.

img_5848
The Final Bumpie. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

After the Zosia was born, I felt pleasantly surprised at how quickly my belly went down but now as I think back, I’m sure that it wasn’t that quick at all. I’m not sure it even went back. The first two weeks of her life were stressful. In and out of hospital, living off Costa and Subway is not healthy. My body didn’t bounce back, I was just too distracted to notice that I didn’t have a huge bump any more! As the weeks went on, we went back to eating as we did when I was pregnant. I tried to go back to SW. It lasted all of three weeks before I gave in to sleep deprivation and ate my weight in ‘crap’ foods.

“It is my opinion that this is a bunch of BS

You read a lot about how women must embrace their tiger stripes. It shows how fierce we are as mothers, that we’ll do anything to protect our children. It is my opinion that this is a bunch of BS. I refuse to embrace them because it is not just the ones from being pregnant, they’ve just added to it. I will accept them however, as they helped me carry my beautiful baby. They are a part of me, I get that but no! I will not embrace them. I will not wear them like a badge of honour. I didn’t before I was pregnant and I won’t now. They are a reminder at how big my belly got. I only wish people would stop telling me that it’s a beautiful reminder. NO! I won’t embrace the saggy, empty boobs. I will accept them as they supplied food to my baby, they did a rubbish job of it but still. The fact they are slightly bigger does not help either. They don’t look like my boobs any more. My belly doesn’t look like my belly any more. It is loose and extra wobbly! My weight has continued to go up and up. I have no motivation to do anything about it despite hating my body every time I see it. How on earth my husband manages to call me beautiful every time I complain is beyond me. He tries to encourage me to do something about it but I just snap because I’m a stubborn moo and I don’t like being told what to do.

“SOD OFF!”

This post isn’t about me feeling sorry for myself, but rather a letter of complaint to all those who tell me to embrace my plus size/post baby body. SOD OFF! I’m fat. I’m over weight. I’m obese. The sooner I embrace that fact the better! My body is unhealthy and I have not treated it like a temple. Sure, my body is still in recovery from pregnancy and child birth but I wont be able to use that excuse forever. What I really need to do is accept that I am currently living an unhealthy lifestyle. The wrong food, the lack of exercise and society’s unhealthy obsession with promoting the acceptance of ‘plus size’ bodies is not helping any of us. Nor is the current obsession with unhealthily thin people. Size 4 (UK sizing) is not an acceptable size! I’m not shaming anyone here. If you are happy with your body then that’s great for you, it really is. I’m not here to lecture you about how unhealthy it is to be overweight or underweight, I’m sure enough people already feel its their business to tell you this. If we continue to promote obesity, then we are promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. I get that not all ‘fat’ people are unhealthy in lifestyle as they enjoy things like Yoga which is great for relieving the aches and pains that the extra weight puts on our bodies. It is not, however, okay to be obese (again, not shaming anyone here!). A healthy size 10, 12 maybe even a 14 (UK sizes) is where we should aim. We should not be dieting but seeking a healthy lifestyle of a balanced diet, balanced meaning that its okay to have a bit of the naughty stuff now and then so long as you are good 95% of the time. We must include regular exercise. Walking, jogging, running, swimming, yoga, team sports, sex! Its all enough to get your heart racing and thus burn some extra calories. I frustrate myself here, I know all of this yet I struggle to motivate myself to do anything about it. I had my breakfast this morning but I ate far too much. There were two cereals that didn’t quite have enough for one bowl so I finished both boxes off. That is not healthy and I know it!

The closer I get to the next stone up, the more I fear my weight will spiral out of control and guess what, it’s all my own fault. So here I am, not asking for acceptance as a plus size gal, not asking to be fat shamed either (I do that to myself enough thanks) but really just having a moan, because I am fat and I hate myself for letting it get this bad and feeling like I can’t be bothered to make the necessary changes. I need to remember that I have a little girl to live for now. I don’t want to be out of breathe just carrying her up the stairs. I want to be around for a long time, I want to see her grand children if she chooses to have some so change must happen. It is not a case of if but when. It is not healthy for my body or my mind to stay this way.

To my dearest Zosia, if you ever read this I want you to know that this is not about me hating my journey to motherhood. I loved every second of being pregnant. I loved every painful moment of child birth (I’m mad I know but it brought you to me!) I have loved and will continue to love every moment being your mother. There are days where I don’t like the way I look, and that is okay. I hope that you have your fathers metabolism so that you never know what it feels like to hate your body. We will tell you every day, just how beautiful you are, inside and out.

To my husband, who tells me I am beautiful every single day, I am so grateful for your kind words, for putting up with the self-loathing that happens nearly every day. Thank you for loving me the way I am but I hope you understand that, yes I am attacking myself, but I do it because you wont. I love the fact that you think I am beautiful, please never stop telling me this. I just need to be real with myself. My weight is unhealthy and if I am going to be the best mother and wife that I can be, then it is about time I stop hating myself and bloody well get on and do something about it instead of feeling sorry for myself.

Change WILL come!

img_7185
Change Quote. Copyright Monsterful Mama

Thanks for listening.  If you have experienced anything like this please let me know that I am not alone by leaving a comment below.

Monsterful Mama

My Liebster Award

img_7117

THE RULES FOR THIS AWARD

Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you.

Answer the questions from the blogger who nominated you.

Nominate some blogs.

Give them some questions to answer.

Thanks to Vanessa Jones for my first nomination. https://nudesky.wixsite.com/vanessa

Answering Vanessa’s questions

  1. Describe how did you first get into blogging?

    I’ve always kept diaries and journals and even a few old on-line journal things so creating a blog was the next step I guess.  I also needed something to stop my mind from turning to mush whilst on maternity leave.

  2. What would be your ideal working environment?

    Either on my own in a well lit space (hate working in darkness) or at a huge table with like minded people, preferable with a bottomless mug of coffee.

  3. How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?

    I would like to get back to losing weight ideally.  Otherwise it’s to continue with my personal growth much the same as I have done so far this year.  To keep creating and being mindful, and enjoying motherhood.

  4. What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?

    I always used to be a quitter, I never had the faith in myself so I would give up at the first sign of trouble.  Now I try my hardest to not let one bump in the road stop me.  As a mother you soon realise that there is no quitting, you cannot give up because your baby needs you 24/7.

  5. What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?

    Well, I have to say my daughter and my relationship with her daddy. Those two are my world and to have maintained such an empowering relationship with my husband is definitely one of my biggest achievements. From a career point of view, sticking with university and becoming a teacher. Despite wanting to give up several times throughout training, I kept on going.

  6. Who takes the majority of your photos?

    Me, my degree is in photography but that doesn’t mean I am any good at taking photos!  I mostly use my phone too.

  7. How would you describe your personal style and is there a person who is a fashion inspiration to you?

    My personal style ranges from scummy mummy to Wednesday Addams. Black and baggy can hide a flabby tummy and large arse! I don’t keep up with fashion for many reasons.

  8. Which movie or book do you think is ridiculously overrated?

    Um, I’d have to say Star Wars (runs and takes cover). I know that’s not going to be a popular opinion amongst some of my followers but I managed to avoid the Star Wars series my whole life, until I met my husband who then subsequently made me

    watch the whole lot, in chronological order no less. Now, I wont go so far as to say they are terrible films, they’re watchable over a half term holiday kinda film but I just don’t get why they are so cult like!!

  9. Who would you most like to sit next to on a 10 hour flight and why?

    Can I get away with saying my husband again? If not him then well, an empty seat please. I’m not big on small talk and I spend most of the flight with my nose pressed against the tiny window so I wouldn’t be much company myself.

  10. What are two things you think you should know how to do but don’t?

    Um, put up a shelf properly and apply CSS to my blog without asking my husband.

  11. What makes you say “What was I thinking?” when you look back on your life?

    HA! Most of my ex boyfriends! Or how much I wasted most of my 20’s being drunk and skint.

My Nominees

Now, I chose these bloggers specifically because they have something in common with me. Be it parenting, gaming, reading, geekiness or creativity.

  1. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6CKxtJndQUGhXAx4nXCueQ

    Mommy Diaries, Space Writer, Graduate Space & Mechanical Engineer.

  2. http://whyamistillliving.com/

    Stephanie is a mum, a wife, and blogs about her battle with mental illness.

  3. http://www.klacole.com/about.html

    KLaCole is a 20 something book and travel blogger.

  4. https://sosisafe.com/

    Mel is mum to Sosi, sharing recipes and advice for children with allergies.

  5. http://www.thatssopresh.com/p/about-me_13.html

    Cherie is a Mumpreneur with a pretty blog!

  6. https://thisblendedhomeofmine.wordpress.com/

    Melissa runs her parenting blog for blended families.

  7. http://ipukekawaii.com/

    Imani is a super Kawaii artist.

  8. https://itsnotallcute.wordpress.com/

    Hayleigh is a mum, lover of books, crafts, Disney, music, all things considered as ‘geeky‘ and gin.

My questions for you:

  1. How did you come up with your blog name?

  2. What websites do you use most often?

  3. What are you most afraid of?

  4. What quirks do you have?

  5. Which Friends character do you relate to most?

  6. List 3 things you need more of.

  7. What Job do you think you’d be really good at and why?

  8. Who is your favourite blogger/vlogger?

  9. What are you most looking forward to in the next ten years?

  10. How do you add value to the world and those around you?

  11. Finish this sentence. I am the best version of me when …

Thanks for being apart of this! I look forward to reading your replies so don’t forget to tag me in them so I can read your answers!.

Monsterful Mama.

Three Things That Make Me Truly Happy!

img_7102
Created by and copyright of Monsterful Mama.

So as life goes on, the things that makes us happy evolves.  Ten years ago I would have said something along the lines of; alcohol, sex, music, reading, video games, friends etc. Now things are so very different.  Firstly, I’m ten years older, the greys are beginning to show, I’m sure I am fatter than I was back then and I now drink coffee like it’s going out of fashion and smother most foods in garlic.  My life now is so far removed from what it used to be.  I was a confused girl back then.  I had no sense of purpose or direction.  I didn’t even know who I was let alone what truly made me happy.  You see those six things listed above are a lie.  Alcohol was damaging my relationships.  It skewed my understanding of what love was.  It replaced the need to be loved with this sickness for desire.  I yearned for someone to want me, need me, for them to not be able to function without me as I so often felt about someone else.  This sickness for desire corrupted a relationship I was in as I felt he didn’t want me enough.  You see it in the films.  A love and desire that’s so fierce that a person would do anything for you, including give up a dream job, because that’s just how much you mean to them.  I was becoming the kind of person I had hated so much as a teenager and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.  A few years later thing only seemed to be getting worse.  I was a mess and things were getting scarily out of my control.  I had lost myself in this other person.  I was no longer the bubbly, slightly in your face girl.

Now, ten years on, I finally have someone that gets that, that can provide all of that for me and has helped me grow into the woman I am not and that’s where number one comes in.

1. My soul mate:

We met eight years ago through a mutual friend.  We (my mate and I) went to the local pub for a drink as a foursome.  I remember the first moment I saw him as he walked past the floor to ceiling windows.  He looked kinda goofy.  All arms and legs with a mop of hair on his head.  I even remember the t-shirt he was wearing because it looked like a piece of paper with lines on it.  I spent the night getting a little tipsy on a drink that could’ve killed him (although I didn’t know that at the time) or at least caused a bit of swelling to the face. That evening I went home to stay at my friends house.  When we woke up the next morning, make-up round my eyes, hair askew, breathe a little stinky, I messaged him on her MSN.

‘Hello sweet cheeks!’ I wrote.

My friend and I giggled as I sent it.  We chatted with him for a while and then we went on with our day.  I didn’t speak to him much after that but I saw him again and my friends birthday party.  I spent the evening flirting with him and a week later we went on our first date.  I guess the rest is history as they say.  Eight years on this goofy, lanky, mop headed fool is my husband.  He has allowed me to be the best version of me.  He has given me the most beautiful and funniest little girl who is currently ‘singing’ to herself. He makes me laugh so hard I cant breathe and my laugh becomes a series of squeaks so high pitched that only dogs can hear it.  Yes, there are times where I could kill him but they are minimal compared to the good times, the fun times we’ve had together.  France, Belgium, Italy, JAPAN! The countless comic cons we’ve been to.  The endless hours of movie nights and the all nighter games nights.  Through all of the tears and tantrums, he has been my lobster.  Without him, the happiness I experience now, would not exist.

img_3380
Happiest Day of my Life pt 1.  Copyright of Chloe Lee Photography and Monsterful Mama.

2. My daughter:

I think it is safe to say that she is most definitely the apple of my eye.  My whole world revolves around her and her needs.  She is such a beautiful baby, inside and out.  She is only five months old but is already such a little character.  I could spend hours watching her sleep or play, listening to her test her voice with the sweetest coo’s or when she lets out a little giggle.  I love to see her reach little development milestones and I love being her mummy.  She makes me so happy that I swear I have ovaries growing on my ovaries and a heart the size of the moon.  This is a new kind of happiness though.  One I’ve never experienced before and I love every moment of it.  I cannot wait to see her become a more and more animated as she learns new things.  I am so excited for our first proper conversation and to start teaching her the ways of the world.  I look forward to seeing the woman she will become too.  It is all so new and exciting.

img_6953
Big Girls Lunch.  Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

3. Friendships:

Many times I’ve read that becoming a mummy means your social life will suffer.  Friends will disappear and family will only want to come round to see the baby, not you.  Yet, this is not true for me.  Since Zosia was born my friendships have strengthened.  The lads love to come round to see Zosia (they pretend they want to play cards but I know its cos they love our cheeky little monkey!).  I meet up with the girls regularly and it’s helped to rebuild bridges with a few old friends.  I am sure I will lose a friend or two on the way, I think that will be inevitable but I also look forward to making new friends, mummy friends, super nerdy, awesome friends!  Since I left my home town, I found it really hard to make new friends.  Sure, the lads are my friends too, but they were his friends first.  I was missing female companionship.  At university I made few acquaintances but nobody that would stick around for long.  So it makes me very happy that I now have a few gal pals to hang out and scoff ice-cream with every now and then.

What is happiness to you?  What makes you truly happy?  Leave me a comment and let me know.
Thanks
Peace and Love,

Monsterful Mama

 

Mama Rants!

So there are many things that bug me in this world, because you know, I am human. For example; the lack of support from the government as a teacher, the old ‘I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic etc. BUT...’ line, judgemental people, trash TV like Love Island/Big Brother etc., the Conservative Party being in power, men who wear flip flops or shoes without socks etc., people that park in front of your driveway regardless of the drop curb or even on your drive! I mean, the cheek of it.  I think you get what I mean.  I could go on of course but that would be boring.  But there is one thing of late that’s really starting to get on my nerves.  Mum memes that imply all mums are raging alcoholics!

 

1
I mean, why does every meme insist that to ‘survive’ her children a woman must drink copious amounts of wine?  WTF is that all about anyway?  Are people implying that as women, we can’t cope with the everyday pressures of motherhood?  I mean, yeah the worlds a pretty F’d up place at the moment, what with the likes of Donald Trump and Theresa May being in charge of entire countries (I know right!) but do people really still live with that kind of low level sexism?  We are currently being bombarded with sexist discrimination in the work place.  The BBC and its inequality in salaries between men and women is a hot topic on the news and social media at the moment.  Equality in the work place is very important.  Inequality is not something I’ve had to deal with but I fully support the women of the BBC in their quest.

 

2

 

It just frustrates me more than anything because it kind of belittles the mental well-being of mums.  We can’t cope, so we must drink.  Not one ounce of support for any mother struggling.  No words of advice for us.  It makes me feel like our mental health as mothers is just a bit of a joke.  I don’t know, maybe I’m just over thinking this as a person that chooses not to drink alcohol.  I’m not here to bash mums who do have a drink at the end of the day, I just cant understand why this meme has become so popular.  Would I be as offended if it implied that as a mother all I need is a slice of cake (let’s be real, it would be the whole damn cake!) to get me through the day?  Or maybe even coffee. Coffee I would understand as we are mostly sleep deprived.  But also, why are there no memes that imply dad needs a beer after a few hours alone with the kids?  Is it because he is a man, he can ‘cope’?  Does he not suffer from mental illness because he is a man?  I think men’s mental health is a discussion for another day but you get my point.

Anyway, I hope I am not alone in this thought.  Let me know if you often reach for a bottle of wine or you also feel the same.  Remember that as a mother, you are never alone.  There are millions of us out here if you ever need a rant.  We know exactly what you are going through.

Thanks

Monsterful Mama

My Top 10 Must Have Items for New Mums

Whether you’re an expectant or new mum, or just need gift ideas for that mama to be, shopping for a new baby can be a mine field.   It can be especially difficult shopping for mums like me.  I didn’t know what I wanted at all until right near the end of my pregnancy.  Five months down the line, I find I am regularly having to buy things for Zosia that we could have asked for before she arrived so,  I am going to share with you the top 10 items that I wish I had asked for but now I cannot live without.

Items for £50 or less:

Baby Moov Cosy Dream:

This has been a godsend. It helps to put your mind at rest whilst baby sleeps in their cot. It provides an extra layer of cushioniness that helps to prevent baby rolling over in their sleep and helps minimise any flat head your baby may experience by laying on their backs.

Buy here

img_5934
Baby Moov Cosy Dream.  Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

Milestone Cards:

This was a gift from my sister and I absolutely love these milestone cards. They are a great way to share your babies progress as they reach important dates and development stages. I have been using them regularly since Zosia was born and they are so cute. They are well designed to be used for either a boy or a girl and if your mummy to be hasn’t already bought them for herself, they will make a great gift idea for a cheap baby shower gift.

Buy here

img_4846
Milestone Cards. Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

Nuby Chewbies Teether:

These little teething dummies are great for when baby starts teething.  For Zosia it helps stop her chewing her hands and even though she is not cutting any teeth yet, training her to chew it now will help us in the long run.  She loves being able to hold onto it herself and practices putting it back in her mouth.

Buy here

 

Bright Starts Activity Gym:

This was a late purchase for us but we are so glad we bought it. Zosia took a little while to figure it out but now she loves it.   At first her arms weren’t long enough to reach, but I believe you can buy extra links and different toys etc.  She plays with all of the toys that dangle down.  She just loves to swat at the jingly owl.

Buy here

img_5801
Bright Starts Activity Gym. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncer:

This has been very useful when one of us is out.  I can put Zosia in the chair to entertain herself whilst I cook dinner or do the washing up etc.  Now, of course I never leave her alone, the chair is light and is easily transportable to whichever room I need to work in.  It has a vibrate function for calming baby and has been known to help Zosia drift off to sleep at times.

Buy here

 

img_5546

Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncer. Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

Fisher-Price Giraffe Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat:

This is another recent purchase for us and we are so pleased with it.  The moment Zosia sat in this cute little chair our hearts exploded.  I cannot believe how quickly she has grown up.  It is helping to strengthen her core so that she can easily sit up unaided.  For us it is preparing her for the next stage in feeding as it comes with a tray as well..  Once she is able to sit up we will begin weaning her.  We are very much in love with this chair and how much she loves it.  Smiles for days!

Buy here

img_6802
Fisher-Price Giraffe Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat. Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

Nipple Shields:

Now, I know I said I would include items I cannot live without but these are something I regret not buying. Many of my breastfeeding mummies have raved about how these helped them in the early stages of breast feeding and man, do I feel silly for not getting them. They will help relieve nipple pain during those first few weeks and trust me, they come highly recommended.

Buy here

The Expensive Bits:

 

Snuzpod Bedside Crib:

The safer way to co-sleep.  We love this.  It’s been a fantastic bit of kit.  The little window on the side is great.  I love waking up to see her little face staring back at us.  It means that she rarely wakes up crying because she can interact with us and we can easily check on her from the comfort of our bed.  The sleeper part is also easy to transport.  We bring it downstairs every day so that Zosia is never alone.  When she has a nap she is with us.  You can easily rock it with your foot (on hard floors) which is also very handy if the TV startles her awake or something.  Although it will not last us much longer, we still believe it to be one of our best purchases out of the bunch.

Buy here

img_6433
Snuzpod Bedside Crib. Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

 

Tommy Tippee Bottle Steriliser:

A very handy bit of kit.  Comes with bottles and a cleaning brush.  It only takes a few minutes and is easy to clean and to load.

Buy here

 

Graco Milestone Car Seat:

This seat is an absolute must have. It can be a bit tricky to navigate in a hurry but it will last until your child is 12 years old, which in the UK is the new law. It has lots of padding so it is comfortable and protective and when they are older you can turn it forward facing and provide them with a cup holder. It may be expensive but it is worth it for your child’s safety in the car.

Buy here

 

 

These are my top 10 items for new or expecting mummies.  Let me know what you think.  Is there any item you couldn’t live without?

Monsterful Mama

 

DISCLOSURE:

Monsterful Mama is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk