The week I failed at parenthood

Diary of a tired, honest, moody, hormonal mum…

Not your ‘normal’ week…
Have you ever had a week where you feel you’ve totally failed at parenting? Reward charts have gone out the window, chicken nuggets for supper every night, feeling you just want to run and hide from the kids, cry and eat a snicker without sharing it with them. The constant tidying, cleaning, cooking battle on rotation. It’s not glamorous it’s overwhelming and exhausting.
I don’t want to put people off having kids but parents will understand this. Social media is good for showing off the good bits, and the happy times of parenting but oh boy there is a lot of bad bits too!! I suppose we don’t want to share them so much. Why not? Ashamed to say we struggle? Afraid of what people might think? When you open up you soon find out everyone’s on the same boat. I’m here holding my hands up saying yes, I struggle, really struggle. It may look like 3 kids looks easy… a breeze…believe me it’s more like a hurricane.
I feel the kids are constantly fighting for attention, you satisfy one and the other one kicks off, just one vicious circle. I’m having one of those weeks where by dinner time I’m counting down the last hours until bed time. One good thing is when they go to bed at 7pm they don’t move again, no bed time performances, just lights out and sleep. So why can’t they just behave like this during the day?

design desk display eyewear

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I always laugh inside when I hear people say ‘’Oh I love the bed time routine, we snuggle up and read a story and spend one on one with the child special bonding time, it’s just wonderful’’ In reality is it really that wonderful? Yes when they are all lights out and sleeping that’s wonderful . I call it happy hour in my house the bath time bed time routine. It’s a struggle now to get the eldest into the bath at all, while the other two are trying to drown themselves deliberately by seeing who can hold their breath the longest. The Drama performance of who comes out the bath first is always a showcase. Tackling 3 naked body’s to put on pyjamas and dry hair you would think they are being chased by a lion. So let’s have that one on one time with 3 children individually…yes that’s right, by this point everyone is past it including myself.

me2
Malachy our 3rd child is lucky if he gets a bed time story, if he forgets to grab one I’m delighted, one down. Gracie the middle child always goes for the thickest book or chances her luck with 2 books. If you secretly try to skip a page or a couple of sentences oh boy does she notice! Ain’t no fooling her. Final bonding time is with Ivy our first born the most laid back of the 3, very independent and easy pleased. Somehow we was led into a false sense of security after having Ivy as you think they will all be like her…don’t be fooled! By the time I get to Ivy’s bedroom she’s pulled out the good old 500 page BFG chapter a night book. Naturally Ivy likes to try and read some of the words which takes twice as long. So as u can imagine by 7pm I can’t wait to see them all tucked up in bed…asleep. I then head down stairs to tackle the bomb site they left behind.
‘I know what I’m doing, I have it all planned out- plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.’ Jeremiah 29:11
Before I head upstairs for the night I go around their bedrooms and switch off their lights and tuck in their little hands under the blankets. I look at them sleeping angelically and begin to feel guilty and the worst mum in the world for shouting, because someone spilled milk for the 2nd time or wouldn’t put their shoes on the first time I said it. Why did I have no patience today? I say tomorrow I’m going to try harder to be a better mum. Sometimes I question myself and God why am I getting pushed to the very ends of my limits?

me3
‘No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down: he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; He’ll always be there to help you come through it.1st Corinthians 10:13
I’m beginning to sound like I live with 3 caged wild animals, well sometimes it feels like that. What is the key to well behaved children all the time? Has anyone found it? Hats off to you if you have. I know a few people pretend to have it all under-control.
I know all children have their moments and usually mine are not too bad, but I think a combination of hormones, 5.30am starts everyday, work, Christmas planning, more hormones, has made this week exhausting and left me questioning my parenting skills, my life choices and hormonal imbalance. Reading back I sound like a right witch of a mother, like the one in Tangled. I love my kids, and everything I do is for them, they are my world and my dream is to push them to their fullest potential. Sometimes I look at them and can’t believe how blessed I am to have them.

close up of padlocks hanging on heart shape

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Parenthood wasn’t supposed to be easy sometimes we just need a little encouragement to get through it. Maybe these bad days wasn’t in our vision of parenthood but its all part of the package to make us better parents on our journey. We are not robots, we struggle and have our bad days, this is just a glimpse into mine…

Recipe: Spicy carrot and lentil soup

With the days getting colder and darker is there anything better than a pot of soup on the hob with the smell wafting through the house.

Today’s soup of choice is Spicy carrot and lentil soup.

Now I’ll be honest my recipes are not to the exact gram as I often just go with the flow and throw ingredients in.

Ingredients

7 carrots

1/2 sweet potato

Vegetable stock 2 cubes

2 onions

Lentils

Fry light spray

Tikka power or curry power

Method

Chop onions and fry with fry-light spray until brown.

Add 2 pints of stock

Add nearly half a bag of split lentils

Add chopped carrots

Add 1/2 sweet potato

Season with salt and pepper

Leave to boil for 3/4 hour

Blend and taste

Now you can add the tikka power or curry powder if you wish.

Enjoy…

The Potty Train…

 The dreaded word right?

After reading many baby books I always wanted to be on the ball with potty training, my granny always said ”back in the day your mum was potty trained at a year old!!” How could this be? Could she even walk? Statistics say 97% of children were potty trained by age 18months in 1957! Wow!!! I wonder how much of that statistic is true?

IVY

We took the plunge when Ivy was about 17months old. I followed Gina Fords book Potty training in 1 week. Sounds ideal right!? Thinking if we can crack this we can crack anything. The book is a short step by step daily guide with tips and signs to look out for to keep you on the right track. Previously I have used Gina Fords books for issues such as routine and weaning, and felt they really worked.
So we opened the book (I say we, but not entirely sure how much Sean was involved) page by page day by day she stuck to the book and she was ‘potty trained’ within 10 days…so a little longer than it says on the cover but I was impressed.  Of course we had the odd accident, and she wasn’t dry at night but it was a great success!

You think 1 week isn’t long…however it was the longest week ever! I thought she would never crack it. Its so frustrating at the time your life is consumed indoors, concentrating solely on potty training. As it states in the book they need to recognise to ask for the potty themselves to move onto the next stage and not just be reminded. I remember going to the top of the stairs with Ivy for her bath on day 8 thinking about packing the whole thing in…when she finally said ‘pee pee’ and ran to the potty and did the needful. I couldn’t believe it!  I was jumping about on the landing clapping my hands and dancing!! It had finally clicked and we were on our way!  A short while after we were on holiday with the girls abroad, and to my surprise Ivy was dry from the first night there right through the week. So it was a pretty easy journey with Ivy as she progressed in age she hardly has had an accident. To the point now at 5 years old I have to remind her to go to the toilet. As she would quite happily go the whole day and not go!

GRACIE

When Gracie became about 18months I decided to pull out the good old Potty training in 1 week book again. My girls even though they look similar they couldn’t be more opposite in personality. Unfortunately it didn’t click after a few days in or few weeks. We decided to abandon all efforts and give her a little time as she wasn’t ready. After several attempts at trying however she still wasn’t able to hold her bladder long enough. When we did get Gracie dry around age 2 it was such a relief. However she wasn’t dry at night and wasn’t accident free. There was lots of days she wet herself on many occasions and I felt we were right back to where we started. Some days she would deliberately have an accident to gain attention. I just imagined the whole process would be easy like it was with Ivy but it wasn’t. It wasn’t until she was about 3 she would go long periods without accidents. I began to worry and google for tips as now she was 3 and a half and was still wet through the night. I had tried several things however none seemed to work.
I called the health visitor for advice as she was turning 4 soon and I was beginning to get really worried as not one night had passed where she had been dry. I couldn’t help compare the girls how could they be so different? The health visitor came to see Gracie for her 4 year review and was very much pleased with her progress. So I thought It was a good opportunity to bring this topic up. I couldn’t believe when she began to discuss other situations and examples of other children’s issues at the same age as Gracie. it gave me a sense of not being the only one like this. She asked questions like if anyone in my family had been older in age before being potty trained? As it sometimes can run in the family. She advised me that unless the particular hormone in her brain is mature and released she will never be dry as she wont be ready. No mater what I try it wont make any difference until this hormone is produced she wont be dry at night.
Gracie turned 4 in February and we had the choice whether she went to school next year or waited until she was 5 1/2. We decided to put her forward for school as she is so go ahead we didn’t want to hold her back in another year of playschool if she is ready for school. Naturally I have been trying to prep her for going to school by dressing herself, toileting and zipping up her jacket independently. So with the bed wetting I was nervous of the fact that she continued to do this.
On her 4th birthday evening her granny was preparing for bed, I overheard her say she didn’t want a pull up on that night. I thought oh dear, but I let her go to bed without one since the sheets need changed anyway in the morning. Much to my joy in the morning she was dry!! She had never done this before it was a great achievement. I thought it must have been a fluke…but no she has been pretty ‘dry’ since.
I used to always lift her before I went to bed and sometimes she will shout in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. She has had the odd dribble since then so I tend to put a training mat under her in bed. However sometimes when we are having a bad week, when she isn’t getting enough attention/or her own way, like last week…for example I was working extra shifts she wet the bed for a whole week!! However usually the majority of the time she is dry.

So that was my experience with girls very different indeed. What about boys??

The average age now for potty training is 3 1/2 with teachers in schools seeing an increase in children coming to school not potty trained. 10% of 7 year old are still wetting the bed. These are facts I was glad to hear when I was struggling with Gracie’s bed wetting. Its nothing to be ashamed of and not spoken about enough. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help and advice with toilet training, and don’t feel like you’ve failed if they don’t succeed. If they haven’t realised the matured hormone they will never be ready, no mater what techniques you try at home.

”Potty training boys is so much harder than girls, they need to be at least 2 and a half!”

MALACHY

So Malachy was 21 months and he’s quite mature for his age I would say- he copy’s the girls a lot and had started showing signs like talking about going to the toilet and recognising when he’s wet! So I took a deep breath and pulled out the good old Gina Ford book for the 3rd time. To be honest I wasn’t planning on attempting it until nearer summer but I thought I would do a little test…much to my delight he knew exactly what he was doing. Sean was looking at me saying I thought we wasn’t doing this just now? But once I started and he got on so well I couldn’t stop! Didn’t want to send him confusing signals by abandoning ship.
Out of  10 days I would say we had 5 accidents/wet pants with me. Of course when I was working and grandparents had him, unfortunately not so switched on to he whole potty training thing and didn’t toilet him so often there was more accidents. He was absolutely no problem and I couldn’t quite believe how easy he was to train- even easier than Ivy.
He’s now dry for his afternoon nap, and sometimes dry at night so we’re on the right track! I must admit I was a little emotional when I began to train Malachy as he was my last and youngest in nappy’s.

What worked for me?

GINA FORD POTTY TRAINING IN 1 WEEK.
They need to be ready and show the signs.
Rewards for peeing in potty (penny sweet)
Don’t go back to nappy’s after you start- don’t confuse them!
Patients
Team work

It doesn’t mater what age they are toilet trained as every child is ready at their own pace. It can be something you don’t want to discuss with other mums as you might be ashamed or embarrassed as they begin to grow older and they have not achieved it. Speak out and seek advice. By sharing my three different experiences shows how good or how bad it can go.

Love Endures

What the bible says about love…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians ch13 verse 4-8.img_8166

What love means to me?
I love this verse its a perfect example of what love means to me. Love is all those things and more. It stems from a close friendship that grows to affection, feelings and state of mind between yourself and another. Love is forgiving, Love is about tolerance, Love is about compromise and putting others before yourself.
Before we got married 7 years ago my dads only advice was to never let the sun go down on your wrath. A well known bible verse. Yet so true, as relationships can be damaged if arguments and strain goes on and on. The best piece of advice I could ask for.pexels-photo-256737.jpeg

What is the definition of love?
The definition of love is different for everyone. No one can define it and no one has the right answer. To fall in love when a strong connection in your relationship kindles, the feeling of giddiness and excitement. That feeling when you cant wait to see each other again. Holding hands, and the feeling that you cant be apart. There’s a big spark between you and the relationship is very rosy and fresh and new. As relationships mature the spark becomes a glowing ember in your heart. Maybe your not feeling the same excitement when you see each other but you just know the love is still there. You don’t need to question it. You don’t need to express it with PDA public display of affection anymore or bunches of flowers. Love simply becomes a cup of tea made for you in the morning or plugging your phone into charge when you simply forget. Or prepping the kids before you head out the door to work to make sure they behave while your away. Love has your back, love forgets old wounds, Love doesn’t look at your bank balance or your race. Love doesn’t care about your cellulite or your stretch marks. Love is blind and love is from the heart. Love endures.


What love means to others…

Claire, also known as @Cailynsmummy

Love to me is being present, caring and wanting to be there for the people you care about. Love is such a strong word and one I’ve not said to many but love with Chris gives me excitement, happiness and security. Love to us is passion and support for each other, always. See more from Claires here

Hetti, also known as @blossomandbe mother of 2 take on her love…

Defining love is complicated as we each experience love in our own way. For me love doesn’t exist as one thing. The love I have for my husband is a passionate commitment that is always developing and being nurtured.
I think a key factor in this growing love is our compatibility, we share the same values, likes and dislikes and interests, and these common grounds were what sparked our love, and what allow this love to grow. I don’t find it difficult to stay in love with him, it’s something I never question. He makes me laugh, is there for me when I cry and I will care and protect him forever through thick and thin.
The love for my children is a different type of love, it is a profound emotion that is like nothing else in this world. When I first saw them i got an instant overwhelming urge to love them and I find it almost indescribable. From that moment these tiny babies were my main priority and I immediately had a fierce desire to protect them. When my children were born I also realised how much my mother loves me. I love my children unconditionally, it is an attitude, something that is eternal.
You can catch more from @blossomandbe here


Valentines Love

Around this time of year we can get caught up in the commercial aspect of valentines day, what about all the other 364 days what happens to the love then?
I love valentines it simply gives the men out there a nudge in the right direction. Or if you’re like my dad and father in law they still forget its valentines and I have to remind them. However, I don’t believe this phases my mother or mother in law. Except that kind of love even not shown is there like a glow. Cooking their supper every night when they come in the door. Keeping them company in an evening in front of the tv and just being there for each other.pexels-photo-196664.jpeg
Love can be seen in many different ways. Love is when the others happiness is more important than your own. I must admit Sean doesn’t whisk me off for a surprise weekend away or send bunches of flowers to my work for all to see, except he appreciates me in many different ways throughout the year, not just Feb 14th. If he’s down stairs in the morning before me he always makes me a cup of tea. That’s what deep down love is for me. He doesn’t need to show me with outward approach. When he does buy me flowers its usually the most unexpected times and a great surprise. He knows me when I’ve used my reserve tank with the kids and he steps in.

One Valentine’s Day he did actually run me a romantic bath. I had just finished a shift at work and was very pregnant and sore with my pelvis at the time. I thought to myself wow! He’s really pushing the boat out here. However the kids heard the bath running and stampeded up the stairs. I ended up sharing the bath with Ivy- It had slipped my mind for a second she was off nursery that day due to a tummy upset. Seconds later she passed wind… well u can imagine what happened next…I’ve never exited a bath so quick in all my life. Poor Ivy she didn’t realise what was going on! So that was the romance down the drain that night.coffee-cup-stack-break.jpg

I wish you all the love this Valentine’s Day. If its with that huge bunch of roses or the silent love expressed by that cup of tea he made you. Share the love. Today and everyday. True love endures.

Have a great valentines day

 

Happy Baby=Happy Mum Harry & Rose product review

Disclaimer: I was kindly sent a free sample of the product in return for my honest review in my blog. All opinions expressed are my own and unbiased, not influenced by the company and any links used in this review are not affiliate.


Background
Harry & Rose founder Alba Cusworth is an experienced parent who has a love for natural baby products. The company have specially formulated these products to a high quality, natural ingredients especially for sensitive skin. Which is good news for Malachy as he falls into this category also suffering from eczema. As much as myself Harry and Rose believe what you put on your skin is very important, especially baby skin. This product is manufactured in England with the best quality and standards and not tested on animals may I add. Ingredients used in these products are Calendula, coconut, camomile, cottonseed, aloe Vera and sunflower. I am a great lover of natural ingredients for your skin. So I couldn’t wait to try this out on Malachy.


Features/ Target Group
The target group is mothers/fathers and expectant mothers of young babies. The great features of this product are the natural ingredients and the affect they have on sensitive skin. For example, camomile is great for breakouts and rashes, and the sunflower extract is honourable for babies that suffer from eczema.

The Baby hair and body wash ingredients include:
Calendula, coconut, cottonseed, camomile, sunflower and aloe Vera. The attributes of these particular ingredients are quick absorbing, retain moisture, light and silky, great for break outs and rashes. I admire how this product is natural and doesn’t include the nasty preservatives or parabens. So many products these days are full of nasty’s and we don’t realise it as we wash our children with them every day and don’t give it a second thought. As a nurse myself I know too well of the effects of these parabens on frail and delicate skin. Even creams and washes prescribed from the GP contain many of these. I have many patients whom I purely moisturise their skin with 100% olive oil, it’s so natural and works wonders


Malachy loves a bath however with 3 kids he often endures it with the girls in beside him. Tonight was special and I loved spending time alone with Malachy. The bottle has an easy to use pump top, the great waterproof label is a hit as malachy is forever playing with the bottles in the tub. The product design and render is neutral and soft, which best describes the contents of the bottle.
The previous evening before I received this sample Malachys bath time was very stressful for me as a mum. As soon as I strip him down he always likes a good scratch. With eczema this is quite common however this night in particular was the worst I’ve seen it. I had to quickly bath him and pull him out the bath as he was getting so agitated and couldn’t stop scratching. Even after his pyjamas were on he just couldn’t content himself forever trying to scratch through his clothes.
The next morning, I booked an appointment with my GP to have him reviewed. Is this a food allergy? Is it my washing powder? I came out of the doctors with a prescription bag full of ointments, creams/steroid creams and antihistamine. I’ve been here before in this situation. I feel like I have tried every cream and ointment out there. I was very reluctant to start the process all over again. Coincidence the same morning my Harry and Rose sample arrived. When I stripped him off again for the bath he did have a scratch as usual and I placed him in the bath and began to wash him with the bath and body wash. I must admit it wasn’t instant relief but I didn’t want it to turn into the previous night all over again. I took him out and rubbed him all over with the body lotion cream sample they kindly sent me…It was like a miracle, after the cream was applied he was settled and didn’t need to scratch. Typically with other creams and lotions he scratches through them after they have been applied.
When I first smelt the product, I was slightly dubious it smelt so lovely I thought how can something so natural smell so nice. After his bath there was no scratching and no need for the antihistamine that night. I was so pleased as it’s so upsetting and frustrating as a mother not able to help your child who is constantly itching. I have been using the product for over a week now. I purchased the body lotion after the company kindly sent me a small sample which I am so glad they did, or I wouldn’t have discovered it. Malachys skin has returned soft and smooth and no blemished or rash areas from the eczema. I have been applying the body lotion morning and night.
Overall, I am very pleased with this product and its quality. As the products has won several awards including Best baby and toddler gear I have no problem in ‘sharing the love’ to friends and family. I am going to continue to purchase this product for Malachy as long as it continues to work wonders. It is more expensive than your typical supermarket products however I wouldn’t grudge purchasing this product if it works for Malachy. Happy baby = happy mum. A big thank you to Harry and Rose from Malachy and Mum for this new discovery in natural skin care.


The Harry and Rose baby hair-body wash and many other lovey product can be found at their website here.

My survival guide

Many people ask me how I cope with 3 kids 5 & under also with an occasional husband (who works away 2 weeks at a time) To be honest some days are more fun than others. Sometimes I look at people with 4 or 5 kids and wonder how they cope. Having 3 kids really push you to your limits when your solo parenting. I try to keep on top of the housework as much as possible to make this journey more enjoyable for everyone. It’s getting easier now the kids are older and more independent. I love to plan things out, write myself notes, and be prepared for the week ahead. I don’t have OCD but after you read this blog you might think so. It works for us. Everyone does life differently, so here’s how I do mine:

Prep the kids
I found out through experience and reading baby books that kids love routine. Keeping them informed makes them happy bees in the hive. A fine example of this: Gracie is sitting engrossed in the iPad, instead of taking it off her I would prep her beforehand. If i didn’t I would then endure a 10 minute tantrum which then leads to some serious misbehaviour. “Gracie, you’ve got 5 minutes left on the iPad” then a while later “two minutes, Gracie” then after a another couple of minutes ” okay Gracie, times up put down the iPad now that’s long enough” It works wonders. I would say 90% of the time she puts the iPad down. It’s a good technique to use when were about to leave the grandparents ” were leaving in 5 minutes kids” and so on. Usually we all leave happily and without a tantrum, tantrum free= happy mum!

Prep the food
At the start of the week I love to meal plan for the week ahead. I first got the idea from a Slimming world class. It helps you to stick to your chosen meals for the week and not go off track. I try to involve the kids as much as possible however their reply to “what would you like for supper?” is usually “noodles.” I have recently started to write out a shopping list before I head to the supermarket. We’ve found that we save money as we only buy what we need for that week, we actually come out with some decent meals. As before I would wander around the aisles throwing stuff in the trolley be £100 at the till and have nothing to make a decent meal with. So this is how we do it now. If its not on the list it doesn’t go into the trolley. On a Monday I do lots of food prep when the kids are away at school. A typical Monday can be quite stressful for me so I like to have a big pot of soup boiling on the hob. This will do us for 3 lunches. I also stick a big piece of meat in the slow cooker that will do us two meals too. Doing this just releases the stress of making supper after one of our busy Mondays knowing that the meals are sorted.


Housework
The dreaded word, right? I used to enjoy house work when I had time to do it before we had kids. Nonetheless with 3 kids now and sometimes a working mum I struggle to find the time. I like to be able to keep on top of it so it doesn’t nag me. There is more important things in life than housework however when the house looks like a bomb has hit it something needs to be done. I love following The organised mum method(TOMM) 30 minutes a day on specific rooms and your done! I hear you thinking that doesn’t work… but it does. She also does a deep clean method for all those homes needing a bit more tlc. I find that if I keep the washing & ironing basket empty I am not doing piles of ironing that I hate. I like to spend a little time each day in my utility room sorting out clothes and it keeps the whole thing at bay. Sometimes if were busy over a weekend and I don’t keep on top of it, and I go into the utility on a Sunday I could just walk out again and cry.

Morning Routine
From when I open my eyes in the morning even before I have a cup of tea here is a glimpse into my morning routine. This only applies when Sean’s away. As when he comes home the routine can sometimes get a knock on the head. When I hear the first child awake, usually one of the girls I jump in the shower while Malachy is still asleep in his crib. The girls will sit happily with the tv on until I shower. We are lucky with Malachy as he sleeps from 7pm till usually 7am. If I were to take him out of his crib there would be carnage in the bedroom and I would end up not getting a shower. He can be seen running about calling 999 with the house phone, emptying bedside table drawers or dunking the toilet brush down the toilet. So I tend to leave him in bed till I get myself organised. After everyone is dressed
1, Make beds
2, Throw all dirty clothes down the stairs
3, Quick tidy of bedrooms and bathroom upstairs
4, Open blinds and turn radiators down (Sean’s request)
5, Everyone comes down stairs and eats breakfast
6, While the are kids eating breakfast I load the washing machine.


I love to come down stairs to a clean kitchen and empty sink so the night before I ensure the island is free from dishes and clutter. I like to set out everyone’s clothes for the next day in the bathroom in their individual piles. When the kids get up they know the routine, get dressed and go down stairs. I try to encourage the girls to help with making their beds and throwing the laundry down the stairs. Which usually results in a pair of knickers landing on Malachys head. The girls can be so messy at times, I try to engage them in some games when it comes to tidying up. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Please note my routine doesn’t always go to plan the way I would like it. There’s usually a chase around the bedroom with a half-naked child trying to put on their socks. That’s what makes life exciting I suppose a lap around the bedroom before school. I’m not the perfect mum or don’t try to be. I just love routine and so does the kids. What is the perfect mum?

Shetland Travels

As Sean was assigned to the boat over the festive. I did something I have never done before and decided to leave the kids at home and join him to take in the New Year…in Shetland with a couple of our close friends Daniel and Emma.

Barnacles

Since having no3 we’ve found it increasingly difficult to get away for theseso-called date nights, shopping trips and weekends away which are pretty much now out the question! Can’t remember the last time we went out for dinner alone.

Meal times usually consist of bribing the kids to sit on their seats and finish their dinner, someone usually spills their juice and all of a sudden a voice shouts I need a poop when your about 2 mouthfuls in. This happens every time we sit down to eat sometimes someone falls off a chair on a good night, if your lucky. So u can imagine leaving these 3 head cases with anyone is a big take on.

No more babies

Saying that we do have our annual Christmas shopping trip together. Don’t be fooled it’s not like all those Instagram pics you see with a glass of bubbly , Christmas markets etc… it’s usually planned, a list is written out and the exact shops are visited. Pretty much in and out painless as possible. Meanwhile I worry about what the brood is getting up to at home in the care of some of the grandparents or great grandparents. Who’s idea was it to have no 3? I was quite happy with 2 until Sean started hankering for a boy. Luckily Sean just needs to smile at me and I fall pregnant. Sean was soon handed a vasectomy leaflet to ponder upon last year. My mum did warn me not to have 3! Wouldn’t change it now for the world however do wish we could afford a nanny at times.

Packing up the kids

The boat was leaving Aberdeen heading north for Shetland. Two nights would be spent docked in Lerwick harbour then sail home again during the night. Which means this would be 4 nights in total I would be leaving the kids. Who was going to be the lucky grandparents? After much deliberation I decided to split the kids up to make it an easier time for all involved. My mum kept trying to make me feel guilty by saying things like ‘you’ll miss them you know’ and ‘Malachy will miss his mam, he’s a mammy’s boy’ I didn’t let this bother me as I was really looking forward to some mummy annual leave. The thought of uninterrupted meals and long lie ins kept me going.

So I decided to put Ivy (oldest) and Malachy (youngest) to one set of grandprents and Gracie to the other, and mid break they would do a swap. As placing the two girls together can be a disaster as they have a love hate relationship at the moment. So packing 3 kids to go 2 different ways was a nightmare. Anyways I got them packed and prepped them all on their behaviour for days before hand. If I heard that there was bad behaviour Santa would come in the night and take back their presents! So I dropped them off and ran home! I had an hour to spare in the house before I left and it was amazing the difference in the atmosphere in the house with no kids. It was really strange.

Bon Voyage

So we set sail for Shetland at 1700 on board the MV Hjaltland courtesey of Northlink Ferries. Leaving the harbour we were on the bridge to see the sights. I was planning a nice evening of catching up with good friends ( Emma and Dan) over supper and a glass of wine. However things did not go as planned, Emma and myself had already taken Stugeron (sea sickness tablets) as we know how we react to the vessels motion on the sea. I didn’t think there was much swell in the sea however Emma didn’t finish her meal before she disappeared off to bed with a sick bag. I thought what a light weight the boat isn’t moving much. Lone behold by 1930 I was in bed with my pal sickky bag the evening came to a sad end with Daniel left watching the game alone at the bar.

Arrival

We arrived in Lerwick, Shetland at 0730. What about a long lie? Not likely! Sean was still working so he was up and showered at 0630 for arrival and I didn’t get back to sleep after hearing him clatering anout.

We decided to take a drive to explore the island. I have been to Shetland before on placement for 9 weeks when I was doing my nurse training so I knew a fair bit about the island already but hadn’t explored it much at the time. When I started to count back how long ago it was since I was there in placement I couldn’t believe it was nearly 10 years!! That couldn’t be right! I’m not that old!! But as Sean keeps reminding me I am nearly 30!!

Day trip

We took a walk through the streets of Lerwick, however with it being New Year’s Eve and a Sunday there wasn’t any shops open. The weather was good which is unusual for Shetland at that time of year. We headed for Eshaness it’s along the North West coast. It’s really nice just driving along those single track roads where the sheep roam freely, usually in the middle of the road.When it was my turn to drive Sean’s nerves was running in over drive sitting watching me drive those narrow roads.

Hogmany

We headed back to the boat to get glammed up for the evening events, the staff on board had organised a fancy dress party. Emma and myself are not really big fans of fancy dress Emma in particular so we opted out of the fancy dress competition this time. Sean being Sean went for captain Jack Sparrow, it was a pretty good attempt if you ask me.

We took in the ‘bells’ up on the bridge all staff and guests toasted the old year out and the new year in. Glasses of champagne clanged while listening to the horn of the boat being honked by the oldest person on board and the youngest member on board, lovely way to start the new year. Soon after I whisked Sean off to bed. Yes not in that manner at all! I’m not used to the late nights and in this case extremely late…1pm!! I usually would be thinking about getting up with the kids shortly if I was at home! Well not quite 1am but not long off it.

Beach Hopping in Burra

The celebrations probably went long into the night. The staff then provided a lovely New Year lunch for all on board the next day. We decided to take another road trip this time exploring the South West of the Island. We set off in search for the well-known Meal Beach, been known to be compared to some of the beaches in the Caribbean. After a short walk from where we parked the car we found it. Beautiful scenery so calm yet the air was so crisp and before our eyes was this exquisite white sandy beach hidden away beneath the rock face. We didn’t miss out on some selfies and writing our names on the sand. Emma and Daniel don’t do PDA so they weren’t up for some romantic photographs taken by myself.

It was -3c in the car and the narrow single track roads with random sheep about was making Sean rather nervous as I was driving. I kept reassuring him however the grasp of his hand on the roof handles told a different story. We traveled further West of Burra and came across another gorgeous stretch of beach called Minn beach. At the end of the stretch of beach sat a cottage, alone with no car access. How nice would it be to go there on holiday, no distractions, and just chill, no phones, just the simple life?

Home time

Due to work commitments Emma and Daniel decided to book a flight home. As the boat wouldn’t reach Aberdeen Until the 3rd am. I was in two minds of flying home too after the sail north, I was constantly checking the weather. However I decided to take the boat home. The next day we drove the love birds to the airport…yes Shetland does have an airport at Sumburgh. What you might not believe is that you have to actually drive over the runway to get to it! The runway actually stops when the land stops, so if you don’t take off by the time you get to that section you will be going for a swim in the sea! Emma didn’t know this so she was now on edge about the take off!

It was a lovely break and I was super excited to see my brood again when I got home. I felt it refreshed my head..well refresed my head so much that I had vertigo for about a week after iIretunred home! It was lovley to see the brood again.

Xxx

The simple life

Shetland is a beautiful Island with many different aspects to it. We were lucky enough to visit just a small section of it. They have a language of their own and if you listen closely you can just make out what they are saying. They heritage of the Island is instilled in generations today, and they are proud of the Island and what it has become.

How to get there

By ferry from Aberdeen-Lerwick : The boat sails overnight, Cabins can be booked for up to 4 people. Occasionally the ferry stops by Orkney if you fancy a trip there too. If you are at all queezy on board a boat I would advise you travel in the summer months otherwise best of luck. Sick bags are provided in all easy to reach places!

Online bookings can be done Here

Check regularly for adverse weather updates before you travel.

On board the ferry there is a cinema, guest lounge, sleeping pods and a lovely restaurant and quaint shop full of local produce and products.

The Shetland soap is charming Click here for the website the products are beautiful and smell exquisite!!

If you are into your Gins they also stock the well-known Orkney Gin. Distilled in Kirkwall, Orkney. More info on their Gins on instagram lovely product!

One of my favourites is the Orkney Fudge they put all fudge makers to shame. Melt in your mouth, delicious fudge is a well-known favourite in our family.