How Do You Solve a Problem Like H?

I’ll be honest, I’ve recited this post in my head a thousand times – never getting further than the fourth line. I’ve promised (my instagram following and myself) for a few months that I’d share what it is exactly that we’re going through with my beautiful, biggest bean – Hugo. Sometimes things are just too great to share in a social media caption, and definitely too monumental to squeeze into a 15 second instagram story. But the main reason I’ve procrastinated over this tome for the past two months – abandoning all other writing until this was complete, is that it’s hard to write about something when I’m not sure where it began, it feels like we could be in the middle and I most certainly don’t know if it will ever end.

But even before I begin, a preface if you will, I need to mention a couple of things. As always, I have Hugo’s permission to share our story. Secondly, Hugo, 85% of the time is a wonderful, intelligent, talented, sporty, witty and glorious person. It’s unfortunately that the other 15% is coming close to ruining our lives and Hugo is adamant there is nothing he can do to stop it. We’re trapped on Hugo’s emotional roller-coaster – I just hope someone finds the brakes or gives us a soft landing when we crash.

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Baby Essentials Bargain Hunt | Tesco Baby Event

One of the main criteria when extending our house (anyone following along with our daily mayhem over on my social media, will be aware how much of a ‘new house’ bore I’ve become) was storage! The Holy Grail all large families seem to be in search of and certainly never have enough of. But as the older boys have pared down their “toys” in the last few years to nothing but gadgets and the odd box of Lego, which I hold onto out of a) nostalgia b) for those days I’m being a proactive parent, have banned gadgets (WHY?!?) and hear “I’m bored!!” every 37 seconds and c) ‘cos once I get my bum in gear I can flog it on Ebay and pay for the next round of brightly coloured plastic; it’s not them that needs the storage – it’s me. No, not for my abundance of clothes, shoes or Tupperware, but for the goodies I insist on stock piling when they’re on special in Tesco! I bloomin’ love a bargain (you only have to see my recent charity shop coat post on Instagram as evidence) and when it includes life necessities like nappies, baby wipes and bubble bath, I’m all over it like chicken pox on a toddler.

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Why We’re Not “Doing” Presents This Christmas

We might not have a home this Christmas due to the major renovations, haven’t erected our own tree and are haemorrhaging money left right and centre on project “build a house big enough to hold all our kids” (must come up with a better code/project name). But these aren’t the reasons we’re not “doing” presents this year. I get it, it sounds bloody harsh, with 5 kids to suddenly announce that no-one, not even that cute doe eyed toddler, will be receiving so much as a satsuma in their stockings this Christmas, so let me explain.

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Our Year With Huggies Wipes

Mid 2016, a very excited Casper and I announced our Huggies Wipes Ambassadorship in one of our first ever vlogs. I’ll admit, I was dubious when Huggies told me their focus was bonding with baby and creating special moments with wipes! Like many, my first thoughts of baby wipes tend to land firmly in the clearing up mess camp – be it change time, lazy/knackered mum make-up removal, spill clearance and general disaster avoidance; but the crew over at Huggies convinced me there’s more to their wipes, and ultimately change time, than the rate at which they can shift a sticky, post-porridge explosion.

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Lazy Days with FatFace | Ad

Ermahgerd – it’s December! Where did that come from? It means for the next three weeks our weekends are filled with ice-skating, winter fairs, Santa’s grottos and yes, even more chilly morning football matches. So yesterday, when we had a rare football-free day, we relished the opportunity to drink bucket loads of hot choc, light the fire, snuggle under our duvets and open our box of FatFace goodies to get involved with our new Pjs and festive onsies.

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My Body Confidence Journey | Pledge to be Real

One thing that quite frankly gets on my tits, as in, makes me growl at my phone is…. “This is what REAL women look like…” followed by a picture of a wonderfully curvy woman, with fab norks and a booty that inspired Beyonce’s first solo album. The assumption by many being that if you’re under-weight, slim, athletic, skinny, toned or under a size 10 – you’re for some obscure reason branded unreal, or even fake! I grew up with my mum (see below) who, at 5ft4″, blonde, blue eyed and feckin’ fabulous, was somewhat physically different to me – but, as far as I was concerned, she was just as real as me. No?! So when the fab folks over at Dove asked me to tell my story about body confidence and image, in support of the Pledge to Be Real Campaign, I nearly chewed their beautifully smelling, wonderfully moisturised arms off!

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John Lewis Christmas Ad 2016 #BusterTheBoxer

It was only last weekend mid X-Factor ad break, whilst keeping a keen eye out for our very own family ad, that I turned to Mr Only Girl and muttered, through a mouthful of Fruit and Nut, “I haven’t seen the John Lewis ad yet.” It had undertones of a disappointed 7 year old discovering that, perhaps, Santa doesn’t really exist… we all know he does really! These days ads are often seen as an obstacle to overcome to get to what it is we really want to watch – we fast forward, skip and watch online in order to avoid full length ad breaks. But the John Lewis Christmas ad breaks these rules – with over 26 million YouTube views on last year’s offering, the JL Xmas vid is the hottest drop since Take That reunion-tour tickets went on sale. It’s a serious calendar worthy event, which for me, signals the official start of the festive season and is the green light for the Christmas soundtrack in the office!

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Star Wars At John Lewis | Boy Gift List

There are certain things, as a mum of boys, that I had little interest in/didn’t have a clue about just over 10 years ago – oh, how my world has changed. I now have a wealth of knowledge on the latest football boots, how to acquire FIFA points and the epic saga that is – Star Wars. There seems to be an intrinsic link between Star Wars and boys – as though the love of lightsabers, the dark side and Jedi aspirations are woven into their DNA*. But there’s varying degrees of the force – some kiddos prefer to watch, admire and perhaps don a Darth Vader costume come Halloween, whilst others go all-out and opt for a full-on Millennium Falcon bedroom theme.

*This is a mama proven theory, not yet scientifically researched/published.

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No Bull Motherhood

These days in the great world of the internet, I’d like to think we’re a lot more open about the struggles motherhood brings – the lack of sleep, the sibling fights, the mess, the fact we haven’t had time to shave for over a month and our sex lives – what sex lives?! I’ve found myself firmly nestled in an instagram community where declaring you need a large G&T by 11am (drink responsibly folks) or sharing a picture of your hell-risen lounge after it’s gone ten rounds with a toddler clutching a strawberry, receives high-fives and comments of humourous empathy. This is the era of no bull motherhood.

It’s not about wanting praise for looking like a zombie, needing to caffeinate your way through to lunch time or being up at 3am with a teething toodler. It’s all about finding those parents going through the same things, saying “I feel your pain” and normalizing the low points, the crap days and the struggles parents face everyday. Even the slickest school run mum with her pristine sprogs, matching shoes and Cherrio free hair (life goals!) – has rubbish days.

So why then are there some peddling the early 2000’s mantra that motherhood is a blissful stroll down Oblivious Lane?

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Housework Sucks | Oreck Hoover Review

Being the domestic goddess (ha!) in a house of 7 humans and 2 dogs, doing a silly amount of hoovering comes with the territory. I find myself lugging the overworked sucker from the cupboard at least once a day for a quick whip round – then there’s the extra outings it gets treated to when someone explodes a packet of crisps, upturns their croissant plate at breakfast or the mother-in-law’s popping in! So when the team over at Oreck got in touch and asked me to give their Oreck Magnesium a whirl, whilst it might not have seemed like the most glam of opportunities, on my scale, it rated it pretty highly. After all, I was the gal who actually got excited when she received a hoover for Christmas (it wasn’t feigned excitement either) and anything that runs the risk of making my life a little easier (yes, contraception would’ve been easier) is a bonus in my book.

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