Stop shaming my Mummy tummy!

29 June 2016

Dear friend,

Recently I read a post where a Blogger was talking about getting into shape after having a baby, she looked fantastic, what an inspiration! It included a selfie looking extremely fit, healthy and toned. My initial thought was wow! But when I read the message it made me feel pissed off uncomfortable. Despite stating that her intention was not to brag she went on to say it's easy to make excuses... and to talk about needing willpower and determination. But is it ever that simple?

I'm what you would call a big lass,  I've always been a big lass, it's who I am! Probably genes (and that's not an excuse) no matter how hard I try I will never be that cute, little, skinny girl. But being big never bothered me. I could hold my own with any of the boys, I was strong, self assured ... Being big only affected my ability to wear high heels and I did prefer taller boyfriends. I was pretty and witty enough to attract attention. And I certainly wasn't prepared to appear helpless to attract any man! My body size or shape didn't worry me until post uni when admittedly I had put on a few pounds with the help of alcohol.

But this isn't a post about being fat or thin... I am not going to give you the story of my weight struggles and my gym obsessions or how knee problems stopped me exercising and contributed to putting on extra weight... It's a post about hating feeling judged by anyone. I hate being judged and I hate the implication that because I am not a stick insect, I lack willpower or determination. I lack neither of these...I lack interest...



90% of my time I don't think about my shape or size. Don't get me wrong I want to look good, I like buying new clothes and try to keep on trend but I don't obsess. Clothes are bought for fit and comfort. High waisted jeans were a brilliant discovery as were jeggings and who doesn't love a baggy T or Maxi dress. I do my hair and make-up every morning but I may not look at my reflection again until lunch time when I nip to the loo and squint at myself in the badly lit mirror. There are a million other things buzzing around my mind...

It's nothing to do with willpower - It's not that I can't say no, it's that I don't want to! We don't go out often and our treat is spending an evening watching TV with a lovely picnic of bread and pate, nuts, olives and cheese and a large glass of something cold and usually alcoholic. It is our pleasure and I enjoy my life...

Judging women


My self worth is not based on how I look! I feel good about myself, I have a positive self image, I feel loved and wanted by my husband. My husband doesn't look at me and go... Your belly wobbles or Have you put on some weight? He doesn't care that my bum has it's own postcode. He loves me... Like ME! Lardy arse and all. There is nothing superficial here, beauty is more than skin deep...

Is it an age thing? Maybe it's something to do with the secret power you get when you reach your 40's that gives you a sudden kick up the backside and forces you to focus on what really matters to you?! Isn't trying to be healthy better than trying to be thin or have a flat tummy?

Time! Time is extremely short with work, housework, the kids out of school clubs, therapy for my son etc  How do you find the time to go to the gym 5 times a week? I choose to spend my free time with my family - having quality time together. Maybe some people would say; I should put myself first. But I am! I want to be with my family...

I don't have a problem with people sharing their successes...If looking toned is your thing then fine! But don't shame others who don't share your passion! Support or advise those who want it and leave the rest of us alone! We already live in a culture that is telling us that thin is beautiful, that mums should lose their tummy in 3 months that we should all look like this... God forbid we stand out or dare to be different...

Even though I can see you look amazing, sorry I don't want to look like you. I want to be me, crazy, loving, caring, fun, clever/stupid unique me! So stop shaming my mummy tummy ...


Sorry for the rant. I will return to positive, happy Catie now, I promise! Great to get that off my ample chest though. 


My Sunday Photo

26 June 2016


Silent Sunday One Photo no words 



Like this photograph then follow the rest of my photography series here.





30 Days Wild Dutch Style: Week 4

25 June 2016

Dear friend,

I first read about 30 days live when 2 bloggers linked up posts to my linky #FamilyFun (now #ablogginggoodtime ) and thought, why haven't I heard of this? It sounded right up our street. We love getting out and about and exploring our local environment as a family. 

I was worried that we may not be able to join in because we are based in Holland but never one to be deterred I investigated further. The challenge is all about making time for nature in your life and having fun. Well we can do that here too! 

The Wildlife Trusts have come up with a brilliant idea to get families enjoying and connecting with nature but most of all spending time with family. I loved the idea of their random acts of wildness and immediately signed up and downloaded the app. And off we went...

30 Days Wild Dutch Style: Week 4

Weekly Roundup #25

24 June 2016


Dear friend,

Welcome to my weekly roundup an opportunity to look back at the moments that have made our week extra special. I love the saying: Enjoy the little things in life because one day you'll look back and realise they were the big things... This post enables me to focus on the little things and see that even in the difficult weeks there is always something to be thankful for. I love capturing the ordinary moments and special times with my camera, looking at our life through a lens gives me a clearer perspective.

IG Roundup


Weekly Roundup #25
Come and join me on IG?

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

21 June 2016


My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.



Book Corner: Encyclopaedia Prehistorica DINOSAURS

20 June 2016

My Book Corner choice this month is: Encyclopaedia Prehistorica DINOSAURS by Robert Sabuda & Matthew Reinhart


I first discovered this book in a classroom at school and I couldn't put it down! I absolutely loved it. This is a pop up book, but a pop up book like no other I have seen before - it is absolutely amazing! There are more than 35 pop ups in total to be found inside all made by pop-up masters Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart. The book is not only stunning to look at it is crammed full with facts about dinosaurs so if you have a little dinosaur lover like me this book will be a massive hit!


Encyclopaedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs

My Sunday Photo

19 June 2016

Silent Sunday One Photo no words 





Like this photograph then follow the rest of my photography series here.


30 Days Wild Dutch Style: Week 3

18 June 2016

Dear friend,

I first read about 30 days live when 2 bloggers linked up posts to my linky #FamilyFun (now #ablogginggoodtime ) and thought, why haven't I heard of this? It sounded right up our street. We love getting out and about and exploring our local environment as a family. 

I was worried that we may not be able to join in because we are based in Holland but never one to be deterred I investigated further. The challenge is all about making time for nature in your life and having fun. Well we can do that here too! 

The Wildlife Trusts have come up with a brilliant idea to get families enjoying and connecting with nature but most of all spending time with family. I loved the idea of their random acts of wildness and immediately signed up and downloaded the app. And off we went...


Weekly Roundup #24

17 June 2016



Dear friend,

Welcome to my weekly roundup an opportunity to look back at the moments that have made our week extra special. I love the saying: Enjoy the little things in life because one day you'll look back and realise they were the big things... This post enables me to focus on the little things and see that even in the difficult weeks there is always something to be thankful for. I love capturing the ordinary moments and special times with my camera, looking at our life through a lens gives me a clearer perspective.

IG Roundup from this week


Weekly Roundup 24
Come and join me on IG?

I don't kiss my son...

15 June 2016

Dear friend,

I come from a family that is quite big on public displays of affection. The thing is I was never really comfortable with that. I have been told on more than one occasion that I wasn't a cuddly baby and when anyone tried to sit me on their knee, I would fight and say, down, down... I remember feeling uncomfortable at being forced to kiss auntie Jane with her prickly chin and large mole and family parties filled me with dread...


My grandad bucked the trend too and flatly refused to kiss anyone. He hated it! If you tried (which some family members often did to wind him up) he'd mutter something about diseases and disappear...

The Dutch have got this kissing business pegged, because although the number of kisses has increased, three (yes you heard me right, three) my adopted countrymen don't mess about with lips, you are firmly presented with a cheek and most kisses just fail to meet skin and simply provide an illusion of affection.

It came as a huge surprise to unaffectionate me when my son was born that I had this overwhelming need to smoother his tiny face, arms and legs with kisses and blurt on his amble belly, smiling happily whilst listening to his squeals of delight.

We kept up the family traditions of kissing goodbye and goodnight to relatives but my big lad always presented his head for kissing rather than his lips. He never clung onto me when I lifted him up and he would happily run off at playgroup without a second glance to where mummy  was... I always knew he loved me, he just didn't have the need to grasp my leg or wrap his arms around my neck to show it.



Little man was different. He clung to me like a baby monkey and curled up on my knee, seeking affection. He smothered me with kisses and sought closeness, staring into my soul with his huge brown eyes... I never even realised that I had been missing something...

When big lad was diagnosed with autism some things made more sense...

His over sensitivity to smell means he knows what you ate or drank an hour ago, his over sensitivity to touch means the stubble on uncle john's chin feels like sandpaper on his cheek. Close proximity makes him stressed not feel loved...

I know that my eldest son loves me, he just shows it in a million tiny ways. I don't feel sadness, regret or lacking in anything. It is simply who he is... I get it...

But I also get how it can look to others...

I have been accused of showing favouritism to my youngest son, I have been told; He likes cuddles too... I have been warned to be careful!

And not by strangers...

I want to set the record straight. I don't kiss my son. I don't kiss him because I love him...

I don't kiss him because it doesn't make him feel good.

I go against every fibre of my being, every feeling that courses through my body when I look at him with immense pride, affection and love because he doesn't want it!

Why force unwanted affection on him?

To make you feel better?!

I don't confuse affection with love...

I do tell him a million times a day that I love him...

So please don't judge my parenting... No, I don't kiss my son!

And neither will you!


Father's day card ideas...

13 June 2016



Dear friend,

Don't you just love Pinterest? I do? Everytime I have something to make/do at home I check out what the clever people on Pinterest have been up to. Garden design, picture walls, sofas, bedroom ideas, Father's Day cards... All can be found over on there. Yes I've heard people moan about the Pinterest perfect images and I've laughed at the fails posts but I love it!!!

With Father's Day just around the corner, I decided to check out some card ideas. You can find my board here. I thought I'd share my top 6 with you (believe me it was hard to narrow the choices down) and maybe inspire you to create your own masterpiece for daddy.

So here goes...

My Sunday Photo

12 June 2016

Silent Sunday One Photo no words 




Like this photograph then follow the rest of my photography series here.


30 Days Wild Dutch Style: Week 2

11 June 2016

Dear friend,

I first read about 30 days live when 2 bloggers linked up posts to my linky #FamilyFun (now #ablogginggoodtime ) and thought, why haven't I heard of this? It sounded right up our street. We love getting out and about and exploring our local environment as a family. 

I was worried that we may not be able to join in because we are based in Holland but never one to be deterred I investigated further. The challenge is all about making time for nature in your life and having fun. Well we can do that here too! 

The Wildlife Trusts have come up with a brilliant idea to get families enjoying and connecting with nature but most of all spending time with family. I loved the idea of their random acts of wildness and immediately signed up and downloaded the app. And off we went...


Introducing Message in a bottle...

10 June 2016

Dear friend,

a while back my lovely bloggy buddy Katie told me about a launch team being put together for a new book. Immediately my ears pricked up as we are mad about books here (check out our book corner) and as a teacher I am always interested in great new books! When I looked into it a bit more I was sold!

So what is message in a bottle and why did I "Have to..." be involved?


Weekly Roundup #23


Dear friend,

Welcome to my weekly roundup an opportunity to look back at the moments that have made our week extra special. I love the saying: Enjoy the little things in life because one day you'll look back and realise they were the big things... This post enables me to focus on the little things and see that even in the difficult weeks there is always something to be thankful for. I love capturing the ordinary moments and special times with my camera, looking at our life through a lens gives me a clearer perspective.


IG Roundup from this week


Come and join me on IG?


30 DAYS WILD Dutch Style: Week 1

8 June 2016

Dear friend,

I first read about 30 days live when 2 bloggers linked up posts to my linky #FamilyFun (now #ablogginggoodtime ) and thought, why haven't I heard of this? It sounded right up our street. We love getting out and about and exploring our local environment as a family. 

I was worried that we may not be able to join in because we are based in Holland but never one to be deterred I investigated further. The challenge is all about making time for nature in your life and having fun. Well we can do that here too! 

The Wildlife Trusts have come up with a brilliant idea to get families enjoying and connecting with nature but most of all spending time with family. I loved the idea of their random acts of wildness and immediately signed up and downloaded the app. And off we went...


Family Fun: Time travel and Angry Birds



Dear friend,

Hubby is a bit of an animated film fan and the boys wanted to go to the cinema to see the new Angry Birds film. So one rainy miserable afternoon we decided to head to the cinema. We usually go to the large Pathe cinema in the Haag but this time we decided to stick closer to home and headed for the Trianon cinema in Leiden.

Stepping into the Trianon was like stepping back in time...




Time travel at the cinema
Door Foto Jonker, Leiden - Beeldbank Archief Leiden, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30895620

The Trianon is the oldest cinema in Leiden and first opened it's doors in august 1927. There is restoration work happening to the building so I didn't get any outside shots, except for the box office.

Time travel at the cinema
The box office at the Trianon.
Just buying your tickets is an experience as the box office is amazing and if it wasn't for the X-men poster on the right we could be in the 1930's. 

The boys were very excited to watch the Angry Birds Movie.
The interior didn't disappoint either! Look at those curves - it is an absolute delight of 1930's style and check out that amazing lighting.

Time travel at the cinema
What a brilliant refreshments place. I absolutely loved the 1930's style of the cinema.

Time travel at the cinema
We got super excited by the old projector machine.

Time travel at the cinema
The atmosphere is just amazing. I'd love to come here for a 1930's movie dressed in costume and sipping on some cocktails. There's even a piano in the corner so Sam can play it again. (I'm sure I was born in the wrong era!)


 
Photo on Left: Trianon ca1935. Door Foto Jonker, Leiden - Beeldbank Archief Leiden, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30895620
Photo on Right: Trianon screen 3 2016.

Our modern boys playing on mobiles before the film started.

Being in such a beautiful building added to the theatre of the whole experience. And I absolutely loved it when half way through the lights went up and we had an interval! What a brilliant idea, don't all kids (and women of a certain age) need the loo after a huge drink and popcorn? And just enough time to stock up on refreshments too. 

And the film? Well the boys loved it. There was action from the first scene. We found out why the angry birds are so angry and a good message was delivered about friendship and accepting outsiders. But most of all it was super fun, with some naughty jokes thrown in for good measure to amuse my boys. Their favourite part was when the mighty eagle did an enormous wee in the Lake of Wisdom. It was a fun, enjoyable and fast paced film but not a true classic as the plot is a little thin if I'm honest.

A brilliant afternoon out and we will be returning to the Trianon soon. Perhaps a date night is on the cards...



Sometimes... A poem about autism parenting.

7 June 2016


I feel tired. 

Tired of painting on my smile, 
Tired of being in control, 
Tired of being everything to everyone. 

I want to let go... 

Sometimes I don't want to fight about
How long he's been on the computer...
Or listen to
It's not fair.



Sometimes I don't want to hear about 
Problems at school,

Disagreements with friends 
Or which is the best character on Super Smash Bros. 

Sometimes I don't want to know about 
'Normal' children
Birthday parties
and fantastic reports.

Sometimes when I ask him for the millionth time;
Have you flushed the toilet, brushed your teeth, 
Remembered to put on your shoes 
I just want to

S
T
O
P

Sometimes life is like 
Playing the wire loop game. 



I need a good
Sense of inner balance 
And a brilliant amount of control 
To keep moving on.

Sometimes the game isn't fair!
Our loops are harder. 
One false move,  
And start again...

Sometimes I don't want 
To play the game...

Sometimes I don't want to 
Go to therapy,
Or think,
Or feel...

Sometimes I don't want
To be strong.
I want to cry at the injustice of it all.
Why us? Why my son???

Sometimes I dream about 
what might have been if...

Sometimes I just need 
Someone to say; 
Yes it is 
Shit...

Sometimes... 
I need to feel sad and disillusioned
That my child has autism
Without feeling guilty!

Sometimes...



This is a revised post. 

I wrote this poem last year but wasn't happy with the end. This is my revised no holds barred post.  I can't always be positive...





Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism



My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.



My Sunday Photo

5 June 2016

Silent Sunday One Photo no words 



Like this photograph then follow the rest of my photography series here.


Father's day: Dads' days out ideas

4 June 2016



Dear friend,

It is almost time for Father's day and instead of leaving it to the last minute and dashing out for the usual gifts I thought I'd get my thinking cap on and try and think of a more original surprise. My Hysterectomy, extra responsibility at work and redecorating at home has meant hubby has had his hands extra full this year so I think that he really deserves a good break. I know that hubby loves spending time as a family so what better Father's day gift than a great family day out?

Weekly Roundup #22

3 June 2016



Dear friend,

Welcome to my weekly roundup an opportunity to look back at the moments that have made our week extra special. I love the saying: Enjoy the little things in life because one day you'll look back and realise they were the big things... This post enables me to focus on the little things and see that even in the difficult weeks there is always something to be thankful for. I love capturing the ordinary moments and special times with my camera, looking at our life through a lens gives me a clearer perspective.

IG Roundup from this week


Come and join me on IG?

Why I'm letting go of the mummy guilt

1 June 2016

Dear friend,

This week I was chatting with my friend online. She's a brilliant, fun, caring, amazing mum who due to shit luck family circumstances is having to return to full time work. She is feeling guilty...
Another young, new mum friend is struggling with getting her child to sleep. She asked, what am I doing wrong? Nothing!!! She is feeling guilty...
My friend has a sick child, she told me she should have taken them to the Dr earlier. She is feeling guilty...
My big lad was ill on Sunday but I had to work on Monday so sent him to school even though I knew he wasn't feeling 100%. I felt guilty...



The Mummy guilt appears when...
  1. I lack patience
  2. I let them have too much screen time
  3. I feed them junk food
  4. I take time for myself
  5. I hide the last cornetto
  6. I can't afford that new game...
  7. I notice their nails are overgrown and we are at the Dr/clinic
  8. I work too much
  9. I forget to be the tooth fairy 
  10. I put their art work in the bin
  11. I get bored playing top trumps
  12. I can't be bothered to organise that playdate
  13. I make an excuse to get out of going swimming
  14. I spend money on myself 
  15. They wear creased clothes
  16. I have to wake them early because I'm going to work
  17. I give the answer to the maths homework question because I can't be bothered to explain it
  18. I say it's too late for a story
  19. I can't help out at school
  20. The dentist criticises their teeth brushing
That's a hell of a lot of guilt for anyone to carry around, right?! Yet as mums we do this to ourselves (well most of the mum's I know do.. ) on a daily basis. 

Used well, guilt helps us feel empathy, connect to our children, and get busy making needed changes. OK if I am honest, I need to be stricter with their computer time and I must supervise the tooth brushing more and make them eat healthier. I can understand this guilt and do something about it.

But I am my own worst enemy. Guilt has a habit of eating away at me when I get into bed at night or when I wake in the morning.  It smoothers me in a duvet of regret and recriminations. Why did I say/do that? I should have said/done... I strive for perfection in everything and it can be exhausting trying to please everyone all the time. Negative guilt ultimately gets in the way of doing what needs to be done and can leave us feeling judged.

After our conversation my best friend sent me this fabulous quote...



I am so lucky to have an amazing friend who get's me. This quote instantly made me smile and feel better about myself. 

I have amazing kids!

I must be doing something right...

Maybe a little bit of mummy guilt does keep us on our toes as long as we don't let it take over.


What do you think? 

Enjoyed this post then find more of my parenting posts here.

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