Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Firework Fun #PointShoot

As it's Guy Fawkes night, I'm posting the photos from our trip to see the local fireworks display and bonfire on Saturday night.

We were a bit worried that the little ones would be chilly/grumpy/tired or even frightened, but we managed a fun evening out, and the bigger girls made themselves dizzy on the fairground rides.

The photos were taken on my iPhone 5c, which isn't great at night or with motion, so the actual firework photos were a washout, but it captures the moment that my youngest Step Son (aged 18 months) saw his first firework. What a reaction!

Good fun all round!

You Baby Me Mummy

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Girls' Room

I came across an article yesterday about messy bedrooms and it got me thinking about the endless nagging and crippling hours spent bent over picking up the trail of crayons, Lego, stickers and general crap that the kids leave behind them. Especially the older two, which really frustrates me. 

I figured I could do with taking the advice on board.

Usually my Mondays are spent recovering from the weekend, especially if it's been with the whole family; washing endless piles of clothes, stripping beds, restocking the fridge, removing the pieces of unidentifiable small plastic toy that have become embedded in the soles of my feet and wiping the scribble and sticky fingerprints off the walls. 

The Girls' Room... Don't even get me started. 

Usually a sea of clothes greets me, covering every inch of carpet, clean/dirty is anyone's guess. Toys everywhere and maybe even a sneaky half-eaten snack or two hidden under the bed. Oh, and there's the missing shoe that we had a monumental meltdown over on Saturday morning. 

What baffles me is that the mess is the same even if we've been out and about for most of the weekend.

We're in a transition at the moment I suppose. My eldest (aged 7) had her own room and now has to share it with two others a few nights a week. I don't think I'd really considered how sad she'd be about it, after all, she had shared with her little brother before we moved here, and she loves having friends for sleepovers. But the novelty of having company is starting to wear off, and we need to be more practical about the use of the room. It all feels a little bit hectic, and some organisation might help to make things feel a little bit more comfortable again. 

And stop me yelling at them to clear the crap up whilst simultaneously yanking my hair out with frustration. You can picture the attractive look.

We bought a nice new triple bed with a double and a single bunk and my eldest Step Daughter (aged 8) has a separate futon. We've been thinking about ways to adapt the built-in wardrobes to accommodate the vast collections of clothing owned between the three girls, and with Daddy being clever with that sort of thing it'll no doubt be a DIY project for one of our weekends off soon.

We have the luxury of a conservatory-come-playroom downstairs, which doubles as a guest room on the odd occasion. However the older girls, in between school, homework, gymnastics, swimming, football, play dates and theatre rehearsals they NEED their own space to escape to when the little ones screeching gets a bit too much to handle. 

It's a situation that I never thought I'd have to find a solution to 6 months ago, but since we became one family, we're always having to think of ways to adapt and make living together that little bit easier.   

So, I figured I'll take the advice in the article. 'Don't sweat the small stuff' is the overriding message here, and can be applied to our lives in many ways. The girls are happy, bright, popular and healthy. I need to let go of the desire to have every room of the house spotlessly clean and tidy, and just let the kids be kids in their own space. 

Hopefully it'll bring down my stress levels, and if I'm really lucky, the clothes might grow legs after a while and get themselves to the laundry basket...

Well, we can all dream...

You can read the article here on Essential Kids.

Monday, 3 November 2014


So, first time blogger alert... 

I've entered the cyber world of blogging and tweeting in a bid to explore the community of blended families that are, no doubt, out there somewhere. There aren't any families in my immediate circle of friends that have a set-up anywhere near as complicated as ours. Nor can any of my friends comprehend the comings and goings of children in and out of our home from one week to the next. I'm only just getting to grips with it myself, and even then, I struggle to know what day of the week it is, if I'm put on the spot!

I've chosen Lady Tremaine as my 'handle', one of the most well known stepmothers in the fictional world, from the fairy story Cinderella. I figure I only resemble her first thing in the morning though, before I've had enough coffee to shake off my gremlins. Maybe our older girls would beg to differ. I'm sure I'll talk more about the 'Stepmother' character and her portrayal as a villain in a future post. I had never even considered that I'd become a Stepmum, especially having always said I'd never have more than two children as I only have two hands. Having a wonderful Stepmother of my own, who, despite recently splitting up from my father has remained in my life and regards me and my children as her own family, I have had a great example set for me.  

Our family expanded not too long ago. Following a marriage, daughter and divorce, I met and settled down with a boyfriend who became my son's father. We split up early this year, after a few years of difficulties, and I embarked on life as a single parent with very little hope of finding anyone who would love me and my "baggage". Two children, two exes; it's not a life story that'd have many men falling at your feet.

That was until I was sat at work one afternoon chatting to the decorator, a friend of a friend, who, it turned out, had recently split from the mother of his two youngest children after difficulties similar to my own. It was tough to have made the decisions we'd made in life, we both agreed. Single parenting, and the heartache of our weekends with no children at home, when all you had wanted was a warm loving family. He had a daughter from a previous marriage too, around the age of my eldest. It was like meeting my mirror image. On top of that he was a bit crazy, and I can admit to catching the odd sneaky glimpse of his bum when up a ladder. He asked me out, we went for a drink, and we haven't looked back. 

We've moved forwards very quickly from that moment; some might say too quickly, some things were still a bit raw, but what's the point in dragging your feet in life? We're both creatures of impulse, and it felt right. Our children are all of similar ages, and formed bonds very quickly. Yes, there are squabbles, but in the grand scheme of things we don't have to referee too much. Only every other weekend...

So, that's us, and we're now 6 months in to our life together... 

We have a schedule where we have our children all here together on alternate weekends, and they are with their respective absent parents on the other. It means that we have time together both as a family and as a couple; time that we realise we are very fortunate to have as not many other friends with families have the luxury to be alone with their partners on a regular basis. We try and make the most of it, with date nights and doing things together. We've had to get to know each other. We've had our ups and downs, who doesn't? The overwhelming reality of the complexity of our situation can really hit home sometimes, and feelings can become a bit tense, but it's a learning curve, and we're on the journey together...

...All 7 of us!

Sunday morning pyjama bundle!

The Winkles