Traditional home making skills on the return

Traditional home making skills is making a revival as people look for a slower pace of life.

This is where I find myself at the moment - looking at ways to slow down and to discover more relaxed moments. I live a very busy lifestyle - I enjoy it most of the time, but there are times where I just want to stop, slow down and spend more time with my kids and hubby.

Today is the perfect example, first day back to work since having a week off and it was as busy as I dreaded.  I work fully from home, which I count myself very lucky (most of the time), but then on the flip side it can be just a pain (knowing when to switch off).  So today I logged into my work email, and as expected it was choc-a-bloc, then there were all the catch up Skype meetings I had, along with some urgent issues that needed attention - And, work is always organized/scheduled around my family, I will always put them first - i.e. as well as the normal back and forth school and nursery runs, I had to take my oldest to the local hospital for a blood test, take my youngest son to his swimming class and take the dogs to the vet. As well as try to clean and cook (hubby does most of the cooking).  Sometimes I just don't know how I do it.

I always try and squeeze in as much time as possible as I can to spend with the kids, and the best way I find this, is turning to more traditional home making skills - baking, crafting and growing veg for example - but I especially enjoy baking with the children, they love it too.  I've never been the 'cook' as hubby does 90% of the cooking, but for me when I get a chance, stepping into our kitchen to bake/cook is the time I get to switch off from work, and I get to slow down, and spend quality time with my kids - an added bonus, we get to learn some skills together, skills that will hopefully come in handy for my kids when they grow up.

A recent survey carried out by a UK based home interior Baytree Interiors found that traditional home making skills such as baking, sewing and preserving are having a revival after decades of decline - I can fully relate to this. 31% of participants chose baking as their favourite hobby. 21% expressed the desire to learn sewing and altering clothes. 

Where do people learn these new skills? Unsurprisingly 43% said online.

The popularity of food and DIY TV shows as well as an abundance of online tutorials, books and magazines has seen a big rise in the number of people wanting to learn these traditional skills. Over the past few years the internet has become a great resource for learning new skills, I for example often turn to YouTube on the hunt for helpful tutorials, or often searching and reading through forums and blogs to help find the information/help I need.

A spokesperson from Baytree Interiors had this to say about the survey: 
“It’s clear from the survey results that people are once again embracing traditional lifestyles and want to learn new skills that can help around the house. What’s more, the survey showed that it was in fact technology that is allowing people to learn these new skills through a range of diverse websites, video tutorials and step by step guides from around the internet.” 

When You End Up Fighting with Your Teenager

I hate arguing with my boys, I hate upsetting them, I worry when they are upset. But sometimes, just sometimes with high emotions, my pigheadedness, plus tiredness, it can't always be avoided - I am not the perfect mother, I love the boys with all my heart, I would do anything for them, I try my hardest to be a good mother, but I am me, I am far from perfect and well, sometimes I just don't have the willpower to raise above it.

We hardly ever argue, my teenage son is a good boy, he's respectable, honest, and overall a decent lad, but he is a teenager, and with teenagers comes a lot of roller-coaster emotions, 99% of the time it isn't an issue, he handles his emotions well, but the odd and rare times, he is so tired he gets angry and says not so nice things.

It began 5 minutes before the boys got home from school, we got a text to say my oldest had 4 warnings today in one lesson, thus was given a one-hour detention which will be organised for another day.  A little shocked to receive the text as it is so unlike him, I wanted to find out what happened. When he got home, I gave him a few minutes to hang his coat, and start making something to eat, and then I asked him what happened.  He didn't take me seriously and made a joke out of it and started to be silly, I wasn't angry with him, I was frustrated, and I was overreacting. I said OK, please try not to make this a habit and get anymore detentions.  Unfortunately, his silliness quickly turned into an annoyed and snappy attitude and he made a few cocky comments. The second outburst I asked him to leave it alone and not to carry on, I should have left it there, but instead I threatened to remove his phone - it escalated into a full blown argument. 

After 15 minutes of shouting and me repeatedly demanding his phone, him challenging my authority, things got a little out of hand. I knew I could have handled it better, but in that moment I 'wrongly' felt there was no turning back, I couldn't walk out of his room and let him get away with him speaking to me like that and not giving me is mobile - but looking back at it, I should've walked away and dealt with it differently. But, I had dug my heels in the ground so to speak, and I stood repeating for him to hand his mobile phone over. 

My two younger boys were stood in the doorway watching, I asked them to leave, and to my shock Lewis started shouting at me to leave his brother alone and I was called me a bad mother for not leaving him alone, it was very upsetting for me, but at the same time I was proud that he was standing up for his brother.

Anyhow I got the phone in the end but did I feel triumphant? no, I was mentally exhausted, upset, defeated, and I felt ashamed. I should have handled it better, I should have, it wasn't fair for my oldest or his brothers. After banishing them in their rooms, I immediately ran downstairs, hid in the corner of the kitchen, slid on the floor and silently cried my eyes out; a hundred whirlwind thoughts going through my head, and at that point I really felt like the worst parent in the world, my heart was heavy, my head buried in my hands on my knees. 

Then I heard the boys come in, one by one, they slide down on the kitchen floor with me, and my oldest put his hand on my arm and told me in a calm loving tone, not to be upset, he said he was sorry, he and Lewis didn't mean what they said, it was just an argument, and things got out of control. His, their actions spoke louder than words, it made my heart swell.

I realised I wasn't the worst parent in the world, all the 'I am a bad parent' melted away. I told them I was sorry and I told them how much I loved them.  - I always will, I love my boys more than anything in the world.

I learnt a lot from this fight, and I believe we all did. For one, I should set a better example, not to escalate disagreements, I need to be a little more patient with him and to have a bit more faith in him. Teenagers are notoriously grumpy, and they find it hard, and they say things without thought; so whilst he journeys through this difficult stage in his life - I will try to be a better mother all around, it's my constant daily instinct. 

Family Holiday 2015

Our summer holiday didn't quite go to plan this year.  We didn't have the hot weather, white beaches, poolside sun lounges holiday we had planned for

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Future Worries

You never stop worrying about your children no matter what their age. We all want the best for our children and we always wonder what the future holds for them - how they will turn out! Will they have good health? Will they do well in school? Will they get the job that makes them happy Will they find the right partner? and it goes on and on.. 

My biggest worry, I really hope they don't follow the path their dad took when he left school by joining the British Army. This was before we meet, he was in the British Army for 10 years until he was 26, we met shortly after he left the Army and then we had our family - but the kids think it is pretty cool that their Dad drove tanks. I won't cope very well if any of my boys decide to take this route, it is not a route I would want them to take - of course, I won't be able to stop them and I will support them fully if they make that decision. But, I want a more safe and stable life for them.

Then there is the state of the economy at the moment, with all the recent cuts and further austerity measures, what does this mean for my children when they grow up? - Will they be able to buy a house? Will they be able to get a job? Will going to university put them in massive debt? Will they be able to afford to have children? and so on.

My Voucher Codes recently conducted research by asking parents what their main concerns for them and their children were for the future. They discovered that many parents were worried about financial instability and the economy, extremism and terrorism as well as house prices and high rents. Similar to my concerns, but that is because of the times, and the world we live in.

All this worry is natural for a parent, and I don't think I will ever stop worrying about them, but that isn't such a bad thing, right? It shows how much we care and love them.

Meet Poppy our Beagle Puppy

Since losing our beautiful Jessie a couple of years ago 

I've wanted another dog for a while now

, but we've been putting it off. Soon after we lost Jessie, Summer came to live with us, thus, it wasn't the right time for a new dog.  3 years on, and I was puppy broody.

I knew I wanted a beagle and for months I have been looking on the internet but nothing nowhere near to us. And one weekend at the beginning of August we were going to London for the day, and so I thought I would look to see if there were any beagle puppies for sale near the tube station where we park up - it was when I spotted her - the following day she came home with us. Her name is Poppy.

She is perfect! a typical loving, excitable and playful beagle. 

She is everything I expected from a beagle, she loves her cuddles, she is gentle and happy to see everyone! She is brave and intelligent - it doesn't take her long to learn something new; but a known trait with Beagles is also their stubbornness - so if she doesn't want to do something, she won't. She is great with children and good with other dogs - she tries every day to cuddle up to our Lhasa Apso Harvey, sometimes he lets her, most of the time he doesn't, and when we are out and about on walkies she greets every dog we come across with a happy wagging tail. 

Beagles have minds of their own. They are determined and watchful (she watches and learns from Harvey, (it is really cute) and they do require patient, along with firm training.  

I am enjoying her company and love spending time with her, playing with her and teaching her new tricks, as do the kids. 

She takes Harvey's retractable lead in her mouth and walks him until he protests and sits his bum down.

Top Travelling Tips with Dogs

My travelling tips with your pets.

For some pet owners, a car trip can be difficult and highly stressful for both for you and your furry friend. With a little preparation, you can do little things that will help ensure a safe, stree-free and comfortable trip for everyone.
Traveling with a furry friend involves more than just placing your pet in the back seat and heading off, especially if you will be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time. Below are my tips I follow to help for a more safe and smooth car trip: 

  • Help your pet get used to the car. I do this by taking the dogs on short trips around town, i.e. When I go pick the boys up from school, the dogs will come with me sometimes. Once, they are use to the car, taking long trips will be more prepared. 

  • Never leave your dogs in a parked car for too long, I never leave them for longer than ten minutes, and I always make sure the car windows are open by a few inches. If it is hot outside, then I leave them at home and would never risk leaving them in a parked car at all for any length of time.

  • Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate. Make sure it's large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Allow your dog to get used to the carrier in the comfort of your home before your car journey. 

  • On a long journey with your dogs, bring food, bowl, leash, waste bags, and a favourite toy or blanket - the extra comforts will give your pet a sense of familiarlity.

  • Take water in a bottle so they can have a drink.

  • Take stops and on a leash take your dog for a short walk to stretch their legs. Also, it gives them the chance to relieve themselves.

Do you have any top tips to share?

You can visit Pets at Home advice page for further details, here.