22 Sep 2017



The word I have been saying on repeat as you bump into people outside the school gates, making conversations over cups of tea at work or catching up with real life friends over glasses of wine.

"How have you been?"

"Busy. Tired"

My two default words - I hope I am not the only one.

Its not excuses really, its just a combination of life related things (back to school, sick children, childcare roulette, and an extremely busy time at my day job) 

I love this time of year, the change in seasons, the new beginnings and the back to school. But it does always seem to kick my behind and I feel like i'm constantly chasing my tail and falling behind.

Blogging and social media has begun to feel a bit like a chore - i'm not a born writer and I currently don't have the energy to be sitting up until midnight as my "day" job is super busy. I do often have ideas in my head of things to write things to say and things to do. The actual fruition of these actions is lacking. In response I feel like a failure. Building up the courage to sit back behind the keyboard and tap tap tap away. 

But here I am. Sitting and typing.

Our summer has come to end and I think partly I had this big guilt over it not being memorable. There was nothing amazing, no big days out. It was just 6 weeks of relaxed parenting, late nights and them being spoiled by the extended family.

Morden Hall Park
I have been reminding myself as I look back over the pictures on my phone that its smiley faces are shining though. They may not have had a big holiday abroad or trips to theme parks or festivals. We did have fun.

A difficult part of being a working parent is that the summer was also spent juggling work deadlines and childcare favours. Its meant that sunny days I have spent in a office or my husband under a van while they are sitting at my in-laws sofa or out shopping with my parents. Aunts and uncles have also played a part in the summer holidays with cinema trips, sweet treats and post nursery pick ups. Its always a juggle but somehow the school days I feel less guilty that I am working hard than in the summer. 

Being a working parent to me has also meant I have had to let go of the control. I put my faith in all the childcare providers (the grandmothers, the aunts, the school holiday clubs and nursery schools workers) that the main priority will be that the kids will be safe and fed. Everything else has to fall into line. and it did. We survived the 6 weeks unscathed (and fitted in a little holiday away too) and I managed to get all the school uniform labelled in time for September.

I then hit that wall of guilt once I sit down on the sofa for all of half an hour before crawling to bed I think " I should open my laptop, I should schedule tweets, I should think of something clever to write" I have been learning to switch of those thoughts, this little (and it is very little) space in the internet I have should be fun. I should not feel guilty. I should be mum.

Now we are kicking back into gear - back into school life. This big boy has stormed his way into year 3. Hes now in Juniors - which means less play times, swimming lessons at school and wearing a tie. Hes loving all the new things that comes with it. This year back at school we have also introduced one day a week (mostly!) at the after school care and his after school club of choice was science. We have struggled getting back into a routine, finding our feet again and me feeling like the new kid in the playground and no idea where to collect him from.

This dude on the other hand is continuing on his routine of mummy Mondays, two days a week with grandmother and two days a week at nursery. He is coming on leaps and bounds at nursery and will happily sit and write his name. His speech is getting better. We still have days of clingyness where he does not want to let me go. He looks so big in his "oouniform" which is basically a red jumper and a polo.

As much as I have all the guilt about me not being there all the time they are so happy and learning so much. I love hearing about what they enjoyed in the day, what made them happy and of course the cuddles and smiles at pick ups are great (granted the eldest does ask "why are you here now!" good job hes having fun)

Next steps for me. Attempting to feel positive, to rather than fret about the busy embrace it and give myself a break. Its not easy.

(thanks for reading this ramble if you get to the end!)

16 Aug 2017

Getting Wild & the National Trust

We are half way through the summer holidays and I might be the only one but I feel like it as zoomed past - that might be as I have still been working, but still we are approaching the home stretch and its soom time to be getting those feet measured and getting the school shoes sorted. In the mean time there is still a few weeks left to get out (at least the sun has made a welcome re appearance this week) and explore the world with your little ones.

In honour of the summer holidays, the National Trust has run research revealing that it is in fact our grandparents generation that is the most wild of all, with three quarters (76%) saying they were far more adventurous and daring in their youth compared to both their children and grandchildren – with half (51%) confessing to have never even seen their grandchildren climb a tree! Now this I can believe. From talking to my parents and my inlaws - but how had a very different growing up to what the kids do. My dad grew up in Brighton spending his youth there, my mum in Croydon but also holidays in Jersey, Guernsey and Ireland where her and her brothers and cousins would wander free. My inlaws both had their early youth growing up in Jamaica and talk about eating coconuts off the trees and running around barefoot.

The research also found that:
      Children today spend 57% less time exploring outdoors than their parents and grandparents did – on average just 1 hour 20 mins a day, vs. 2 hours 40 mins (parents) and 3 and a half hours a day (grandparents)
      87% of parents and grandparents said they enjoy seeing the little ones running wild and carefree, with 80% enjoying seeing them playing outdoors away from technology devices
      Nearly half (49%) of grandparents take on the role of childminding more than twice a week to support parents, with this increasing during the school holidays by almost two-thirds of grandparents (61%)

All of he above is something I have experienced by myself. My boys as much as they love being outside it is sometimes a battle (But I am watching this!!). Both set of grandparents love seeing the boys outside and take pleasure in them helping water the garden or walk the dog. And most definitely we rely heavily on the help of our parents in term time and more so in the school holidays with the childcare. Something we are very grateful for.

The study signals the start of the National Trust’s ‘50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾’ initiative – which aims to encourage families to get outdoors and enjoy spending time together. 

Research by, the National Trust, reveals grandparents are the key ingredient to helping today’s generation develop a connection with nature. Over three quarters (76%) claim they were far more explorative and daring in their youth compared to both their own children and grandchildren, with a huge majority (92%) saying that they take great enjoyment from teaching their grandchildren about these adventurous activities, such as building a den or flying a kite.
The research also reveals that 4 in 5 (79%) adults believe children today have less freedom to explore and play outdoors, compared to their own childhood. While 75% of grandparents said climbing trees was one of their favourite childhood memories, half (51%) said their grandchildren had not experienced this activity.
The research polled 1,000 grandparents and parents for the charity as part of its 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾’ initiative –  which aims to encourage families to get outdoors and enjoy spending time together – looks at the importance of outdoor family play and how this builds a stronger appreciation and connection to nature.
To celebrate the joyful experiences the natural world has to offer, the Trust has created a wildlife documentary-style film, bringing to life the innate connection we all have with nature with grandparents leading the way. 
Supporting the National Trust’s findings, Behavioural Psychologist Donna Dawson (BA, MSc, PhD) adds:
“Grandparents today are spending more and more time with their grandchildren in the roles of childminder and carer, and consequently getting to share real ‘quality time’ with them. And the research shows that one of the things they are sharing is a love of nature and the great outdoors, something that harks back to their own happy childhood memories. Learning to appreciate Nature at a young, impressionable age makes it much more likely that children will grow up to pass on their love of outdoor experiences to future generations. As a grandmother of seven, I have seen the effects on my grandchildren myself: they are never happier then when running free in the fresh air and sunshine, exploring and asking questions about the natural world around them.”
National Trust Ranger Kate Jones, adds:
“This summer, we want to inspire children, parents and grandparents to get outdoors and develop their relationship with nature together as a family. With so many fantastic ‘50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾’ events taking place at Trust locations across the country there’s no better time to go wild and explore the great outdoors taking inspiration from our challenges. We know that sharing these outdoor experiences with family and friends from a young age, helps to foster a stronger and more ingrained connection to nature, which we hope will be passed on for generations to come.”

To kick off our boys first start into their own #50things we headed off to a local National Trust Estate Polesdeon Lacey in Dorking. With out picnic in tow and the boys bikes and scooters we enjoyed the sunshine, walked through fields as they boys picked up sticks, looked out for bugs and climbed a tree. We picked up a kids acitivity pack as well which they enjoyed looking at reaading while we ate. Maxwell is keen to tick off things on his list and we need to see what else we can get through. My city boys do love very much being outside and exploring the world around them. They have such enthusiam for the world and after our visit took great pleasure in telling their grandparents about the things they saw and did on our visit.

The National Trust, which is funded entirely through the support of the public who visit, join and volunteer, is looking to inspire the next generation of children to plant their roots and kick-start a lifelong love affair with nature through its ‘50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾’ initiative.

For more information on the National Trust’s ’50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾’ campaign, head to: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/50things or search #50things.

15 Aug 2017

WWALW #8 // dinners in bowls, dinner with friends & picnics

Right, back on track now. What we actually ate last week. It was a week of summer holidays crazy, day trips out and generally trying to fit it all in. No wonder I fall in a heap on a Tuesday at my desk when I'm back in work....to drink hot tea

Monday // Super grey and rainy - therefore to entertain the kids we baked. Chocolate fairy cakes and shaped shortbread biscuits. A few hours and messy kitchen later but the kids were happy. Dinner was a garlic chicken concoction. Into te slow cooker I put sliced new potatoes, a load of crushed garlic, some herbs and then on top a pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts with a bit of seasoning. Left the whole thing to cook away and dinner was yummy.

Tuesday // The husband was working late and we ate at different times. I fried up some bacon, some vegetables and then added half a pack of microwave rice and an egg. To make something which was filling, quick and had a good mix of protein, carbs and vegetables. 

Wednesday // Some "skinny" chilli beef. Coated beef stripes in an egg then a little cornflour before stir frying them to crisp up in a little coconut oil. Added in two peppers sliced and some green beans, a little soy sauce and some chilli. The husband loved this meal - looks like it will be a new one to add into rotation for us.

Thursday // My mum picked up a crispy duck from Aldi for us. It was a quick dinner as I popped that in the oven and made a quick stir fry with noodles - added in green beans, peppers, spring onions and a couple of carrots.

Friday // Having guests for dinner is one of my favorite things. On the menu today was a mutton curry (slow cooked for most of the day), rice, Jerk chicken wings, Chinese honey chicken thighs, salad and a chocolate brownies for dessert. Also some homemade roti! I do love to cook.

Saturday // Was leftovers!! yaya!!!! with some homemade wedges - plus some garlic bread. It was not a well rounded meal but w had spent the afternoon at ikea and then the evening building another Kallax to adorn our flat with. Some days you just need lazy food.

Sunday // We headed off for a picnic at Polesdon Lacey for the afternoon ( a non fancy picnic - this was cheese and ham sandwiches, crisps, apples and sharing a packet of fruit pastilles type of picnic) before having a BBQ dinner at the in laws  - which most welcome.

Its been a busy long week for Team Edwards..