Blog, Brew & Biscuits

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Over the next few weeks, I am opening up my blog to some lovely bloggers to share their blogging experiences with you! There is a thriving community full of bloggers who have already walked in the steps I am about to take and also relatively new bloggers, who are full of questions and finding their feet. So, make yourself comfy, have a brew, some biscuits and get to know Mercedes from Mercedes Prunty Author, The Walking Mumbie!

Tell me a bit about yourself and what do you when you are not writing your blog:
When I am not writing my blog, I am either running around after my two young daughters, taking them for days out, cooking or playing Lego, or I’m sitting in some sort of peace when they are at school and nursery writing my books.
I’m a self-published author of 5 books to date, soon to be 8 by the end of this year. My genres are mainly Zombie Horror and Fantasy but I hope to (by the end of the week after writing this) to have published my first children’s book!!!

Tell me about your blog and how long have you been writing it?
I have been writing my blog for a couple of years now but at first it was mainly a hobby, a way to write when my mind couldn’t focus on books, but I still needed to write to stay sane. It’s mostly a blog about me, my books, writing tips, author interviews, book reviews, film reviews, days out – Just anything that I feel needs to be blogged about.

What inspired you to start writing your blog?
What inspired me to start my blog was a woman who came to do a talk at a writers group I belonged to. She told us all that to succeed in growing our audience for our books we needed an author platform, our author platforms needed to be Blog, Facebook and Twitter (The BFT). And she was so right, although my blog isn’t huge it does have some hardcore followers which is fab and those followers follow me and my books.

What advice would you give to someone thing about starting a blog/just started writing a blog?
My advice would be to find your niche early on. I waivered with mine and stepped into a few niches till I found my voice, so it took me a while to build the brand I wanted to become. Also – Plan, Plan, Plan – Keep a notebook with blog post ideas in and keep track of what you post, this way you will never run out of ideas.

Let’s talk Social Media, how do you balance this with your blog and everyday life?
How do I balance it all – Badly!!! It’s hard to keep on top of social media just because you can get lost in it and not do what it is you really need to be doing. I try to stay away during my work time (So I can write those books) and go on more in the evening when kids and hubby are asleep, as I want to keep my precious family time social media free to a certain degree.

Where do you see your blog going in the next few years?
Hopefully booming into the success that you see others have but I feel mine is so different to the ones that make a huge success because I’m not the normal mummy and make up, I’m mummy and books which is hard to grab readers for. But I have had people tell me my blog posts help them, so I know there are people out there who do like it.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing a blog?
Sourcing images. That is hard because I am on as tight budget so can only use the free sites which can be limited in their photos, but in saying that the images I have used from those sites are still high quality and eye catching.

And the easiest?
Just the whole writing it, I love writing, writing is me. I feel at my happiest once I have written something each day. So to me the writing part is easy.

Lastly, for a bit of fun, if you could only watch one movie, listen to one song and read one book, again, what would they be?
Chandelier by Sia – Love, love, love this song and it also helped me to write my book ‘Alone’.
City of the dead by S.D.Perry – It’s a book based on the hit Resident Evil 2 video game by Capcom but put into a book by the author. But it’s not just a quick scribble of what happens, the author gives the story detail the game misses and I have read it at least 20 times over so could happily read it again.
Resident Evil the film – This made me scared back in the day and can still scare me now even though I know it word for word and scene for scene. I think it’s the music in it by Marilyn Manson. Just gives me Goosebumps thinking of the music in the film.

The Lupie Mummy would like to thank Mercedes for joining me on my blog, please take the time to visit her Blog Mercedes Prunty Author – The Walking Mumbie.

Mercedes is also on Twitter & Facebook

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Happy New Year!

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As many of you were getting ready to welcome the new year in, I was tucked up in bed fast asleep. As a parent to a very active 15 month old little boy, sleep is a luxury to me and my fiancé and therefore to us, it’s more appealing than staying up to welcome in the New Year. Call us old or boring, or even both, but that’s our life at the moment and we wouldn’t change it for the world.

2018 will be a year of big changes for me (more of this to come at a later date) and I am going to try to embrace this with a positive and open mind. Yes, there will be times when I will feel anxious and question what I am doing and whether it is right for our family, but ultimately we are doing this as a family and this is what I am keeping central in my thoughts during all moments of self-doubt and when my old friend anxiety creeps in.

New Year’s Resolutions

I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, as I know I am crap at sticking to them and I can’t be done with putting any additional unnecessary pressures upon myself. Let’s face it, I know I need to loose weight, I know every gym in the country would eagerly sell me a contract that I would only use for a month and stupidly pay for the next year and feel guilty about it every time I drive past the gym on the way to the shops to get some more chocolate. Likewise, I know I need to cut down on coffee, chocolate and other delicious food groups (yes, when you are a parent, coffee becomes a food group), but the cravings will beat me down by the end of day 2 or 3. If I need to do these things, I will do them when I am ready to, not just because it’s the start of a new year.

Daily Positive Reflection

Instead, I try to make time at the end of each day, before I go to sleep to reflect upon and find three positive things from my day. These three things do not have to be big things, they can be the small things such my ones for yesterday 1) My favourite song coming on the radio 2) Seeing the absolute delight Pumpkin gives his Nain and Taid, and, 3) Listening to the wind and rain outside, whilst we are all warm and snug inside playing with Pumpkin’s favourite toys.

I openly admit, I don’t always remember to do this every day, sometimes I am just too tired and fall to sleep and other times if I find myself awake during the night worrying about things, I try to reflect then. As I find this helps ease the worrying and gently coaxes the sleep back.

What did 2017 teach me?

Whilst I am writing about reflecting upon the day, I am going to take this opportunity to reflect and be honest about what 2017 has taught me and try and take these lessons forward into 2018.

1. Dreams are there to be chased, sometimes all you need to do is take a leap of faith into the unknown and you may just land in a place where your dream becomes a reality! I have always wanted to live in the West Country and this year we took that leap into the unknown and now we love our new home in Somerset and couldn’t be happier

2. Sometimes our dream challenges are not all they are cracked up to be and no matter what positives we try to throw at them, the negatives just outnumber the positives and we just have to let that challenge go. 2017 saw me achieve something that I had wanted for a long time, only to discover it was not all it was cracked up to be. Despite trying my best, it was not going to change, so I held my head up high and walked away, as there are other dream challenges out there too!

3. I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to baking, Christmas tree decorating and organising Birthday’s, moving and erm anything else really…hmmm that makes me a bit of a control freak too, doesn’t it? However, when I am doing this with Pumpkin, I need to let the perfectionist go and just get on and enjoy myself too, after all isn’t that what he is doing? I learnt to see things through the eyes of a toddler, if they oooh, ahhh, laugh and clap then I know I am doing things right!

4. Believe in yourself, if there is something you want to try and you have the opportunity do it! I spent nine months of 2017 deliberating whether or not to start The Lupie Mummy. I was always too shy to share my writing/thoughts with others, I was worried what people would think and self-doubt crept in and stopped me repeatedly. It was my fiancé that gave me the final push and I am so glad he did, it has been my escapism and more importantly it is slowly but surely helping me regain my identity again.

5. 2017 threw my little family a lot of obstacles and we jumped over every single one, at times it was a challenge but we never once doubted our strength as a family unit to be able to get through each challenge life decided to throw at us. I absolutely love and adore my little family and watching Pumpkin grow from a baby to a toddler has been amazing and so much fun, I really couldn’t wish for anything more. Even in the tough times, comfort and strength was be found close by and I don’t need to take on the world by myself, I have my family (both immediate and extended) around me and we do it together!

Looking Ahead

Let’s look ahead, I hope 2017 was fun and 2018 will be kind to you and your family. If you have made resolutions, do not put unnecessary pressure upon yourself to achieve them, make them fun, so they become an enjoyable part of your year not an energy drain.

2018 is going to be an exciting year for The Lupie Mummy and family, I hope you will join us over the next few months as our adventures will begin to unfold (don’t get too excited it doesn’t involve another baby, a cat or a puppy!).

So, on that note, Happy New Year!

The Lupie Mummy xx

Exploring our new home town

 

The Lupie Mummy blog has been quiet over the past few weeks, our little family has been sharing and battling colds and chest infections. Last week was particularly bad, with Pumpkin having a trip to the Dr and being kept at home rather than going to Nursery. After three days at home, both Pumpkin and myself were getting a severe case of cabin fever, so on day four, we were both raring to get out and go exploring our new home town!

Since moving to Somerset, we have been having fun exploring our new area, and our family are equally excited about our move and have already booked their holidays to come and stay next year! Whilst my sister was booking her holiday to visit us, staying at the rather gorgeous looking Sutton House, she got chatting to the owner, Ben; who told her about a bakery nearby that was not to be missed during their stay! Well, all I needed was the word “Bakery” and I needed to go and explore!

So, after a bit of research, the Barley Sugar Bake House was located and it’s open on Saturdays from 7am through to 1pm. As luck would have it, that was the day, Pumpkin and I was heading out for a walk; we wrapped up nice and warm, headed out into the chilly outside world and went exploring our new home town.

Tucked away on a little side street, is the bakery, and as you step in, you are greeted with a counter full of delicious treats and the smell of freshly baked bread is just perfect (and also makes you wish you had more cash in your purse!). As Pumpkin’s “Nan Nan” was coming to stay, it made my choices easier, I bought the hugest Donuts I had ever seen, a loaf of bread and a Lardy cake!

If the smells wafting from the bag of baked goodies was any indication to what they were going to taste like, we were all in for a treat later! Seriously, my stomach was rumbling by the time we had walked home and it took all my will power not to eat my way through the bag of donuts when I had a coffee, before Nan Nan arrived!

When Nan Nan arrived, Pumpkin was very excited and kept giving her big cuddles and kisses, whilst showing her every toy that he has, then all his books and all his doe-dees! Once, Nan Nan was settled, we brewed some coffee and had the donuts. I can honestly say, I have never had such a yummy donut, it was huge, light and fluffy, it was filled with a generous helping of jam and I will say it again…it was so yummy! I can’t believe I have to wait until next Saturday for another one, actually, perhaps that’s a good thing!

I think the Barley Sugar Bakehouse, will become a regular part of our weekends and next on the list to try is their Mince Pies, seeing that Christmas is just around the corner!  Thank you Ben for the recommendation!

Returning to work

Yesterday, I returned to work after taking 16 months extended maternity leave to have Pumpkin and to relocate to Somerset.

Returning to work felt huge – my stomach was in knots, I wanted to cry at the thought of leaving Pumpkin at Nursery all day (the longest I have ever left him). This thought alone made my heart and chest physically ache. I know he will have a fabulous time with his new friends, playing with all the new toys and the mud kitchen in the nursery garden. Although in my mind, I still feel so guilty and writing this doesn’t make it feel any easier at the moment, as usually I find writing therapeutic.

I have started a new job, one that I have wanted to do for a long time; this is both exciting and yet it makes me feel vulnerable. Will I live up to their expectations, will I live up to how I portrayed myself at my interviews and will I remember everything? One my little worries is remembering everyone’s names, I admit it, this is something I am absolutely terrible at (sorry!) Luckily, I was given a company structure chart to who is who, so that helped, as long as nobody swap desks for the next month!

Yesterday, I started to regain part of my own identity again and not just being Pumpkins Mummy, although, I couldn’t be prouder and think of anything better than being his Mummy. Sometimes, over the past 16 months, I have felt myself get lost in the journey into motherhood, so wrapped up into caring for Pumpkin, that I forgot all about me. Me, the woman who loves baking, painting her nails, singing loudly and out of tune by her self in the car (to anything but the Wiggles!), who has an addiction to buying converse trainers, who is a bit of a coffee snob and loves peanut butter M&Ms.

OK, so I may not get all that back in my first week returning to work, but I will get to drink a hot coffee in peace, have adult conversation without bursting into song about “whose in the Wiggle House” (I will update you later to whether this happens involuntarily or not…), and go to the toilet without a toddler speed emptying all the cupboards in the bathroom! However, I may just order that kilo bag of peanut butter M&Ms to reward myself for surviving the first week!

 

Parent Shaming

I have noticed over the past month, there seems to be a growing trend on many of the parenting forums of what I am going to call “Parent Shaming”. This is the numerous posts mocking other parents for yes, you guessed it being a parent.

Last night on Facebook, I saw a post shaming a mum who was “being over dramatic” in a coffee shop. Her crime was simply reading stories to her toddler and role playing with his toys in the way that we all know toddlers love, with enthusiasm to bring their imagination alive and ultimately to keep their attention.

This post stuck a chord with me, it was as if the post on Facebook was written about me, for I am that parent who sits in a coffee shop and will read to their child and play in the same “over dramatic” way.  Why?, because that is the way we read a story at home and play with toys in the same way – why should we do it any different anywhere else? We do lower our voices a little to try not to annoy other customers, but we can’t always contain the excitement that may ensure, but that is the delight of childhood.

Let’s delve a little bit deeper into the parent who was subject to the parent shaming, who after all, for that particular moment in time, was only being the best parent they can be for their toddler. Perhaps, like me that parent was trying to manage their PNA (Post Natal Anxiety) that unfortunately, on that day crept up on them unexpectedly and that was the best way to do it whilst keeping an active toddler amused at the same time. Maybe, as a parent, they are simply keeping their child occupied until his snack and drink arrives, and their “over dramatic” interaction is just trying to avoid other customers hearing how loud a toddler can scream and yell! Or, maybe, they are supporting their child in managing an over stimulating environment, through distraction techniques.

Who knows?, and that’s the lesson here, we don’t know what’s going on in the person’s life sat next to us in the coffee shop, and likewise nor do we with other parent’s. Social Media has become entrenched in day to day life, what was once a passing comment in person, has become a comment that may go viral in a matter of minutes, and like this one it may strike a chord with a parent who is guilty to the act that is being so openly shamed. For a short moment, I felt my confidence being knocked and then I kicked myself, for I love story time and role play with my son, so why on earth would I change that for a flippant comment that probably never intended to go viral on social media.

So, let’s give parent’s a break – it’s one of the hardest jobs on earth, after all who works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for no salary, but the undivided attention of a little person dependent upon you. For me, it’s the best job, I have ever had, although I feel at times I felt that needed a degree to do it!

 

Hello Somerset 

The big move has happened, our little family has packed up our home in Margate; the home that we brought our tiny little pumpkin back from the hospital to, the home where we graduated from a couple to parents and the home which became a family home for the first year of Pumpkins life.

Over the last month we have tried to make the packing, sorting and trips to the recycling centre as low key as possible, without impacting too much upon Pumpkin’s day to day routine. However, throw in teething, nappy rashes, a Birthday and tantrums suddenly emerging; this was not as easy as originally planned! Pumpkin wasn’t silly, he noticed the boxes piling up in the spare room, the toys disappearing overnight, rooms becoming bare of photographs and worst of all the broadband being disconnected! The bribe of Mr Tumble or Elmo on an iPad, whilst changing a stinky nappy in order to try and pacify ninja pumpkin was well and truly missed (probably more so by Mummy and Daddy!).

Fast forward, one week…we are almost unpacked in our new home; Pumpkin is absolutely thriving here, he has so much more space to practice his walking and master stumbling around like he is milk drunk.  Most of all, he is happy, smiling and more often than not laughing at a new discovery!

We have an amazing view from our home, Pumpkin can often be found, climbing up on toys and peering out the window! Story time is now sat in a chair by the window, bringing the Somerset countryside to life and now all our new neighbours are quickly informed that cows go Moo! Whilst Pumpkin naps, I am able to enjoy a coffee and take in that same view and contemplate our new family adventure, knowing we have made the right decision and feeling excited for what the future has in hold for us.

I need a little time…for me.

I have toyed with the idea of writing about the adventures of becoming a mummy to our wonderful little pumpkin and living with Lupus; which likes to rear its ugly head when I least expect and want it to.

However, time has flown by for the past 11 and a half months and I have never quite found some time to sit down and write.  As there is always a nappy to change, better still a cuddle to be had, a lullaby to be sung or at its worse a blood test to be arranged. Oh, and now the The Great British Bake Off is on, so let’s throw another challenge into the mix and while we are at it, and I should just admit it, just by watching the GBBO I get serious cake cravings, so therefore, I’m playing my part increasing M&S’ cake sale profits, as I just don’t have time to bake at the moment – the Domestic Goddess is out of the office until further notice!

Despite all these hurdles, I wouldn’t change a single thing, I absolutely love my little family and everyday I am learning to live with Lupus and embrace it as part of my life too.
I have finally realised that I need a bit of ‘me’ time in this busy hectic thing called motherhood and did I mention we are also in the middle of relocating from Kent to Somerset, stressed? Me??!  Therefore, I am regaining some “me” time by writing a blog amongst all this chaos.

I am hoping that by writing about the day to day happenings in our family life, it will be therapeutic to me (taking away some of the stresses of packing/being surrounded by boxes), to perhaps become a journal to share with Pumpkin later on (I may have to be selective at times) and hopefully be a support to others in similar situations to myself.

So, pour a mug of coffee, grab a cake and join me on this blogging adventure. In reality, that should read…So, while you are enjoying a cold sip of coffee and left over Colin the caterpillar cake, enjoy this insight into my life.