mummy-daddy-me-header

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #25 'Working Together'

on Sunday, 21 June 2015.

Two months ago we made a huge decision that would truly change our family dynamic. That decision was that my husband would give up his full time job and set up a business from home. A business that both of us would work on together. Sometimes I still can't believe it's actually happened, for us it really is living the dream, and I am so glad that we took a risk. It definitely isn't dramatic to say it's completely changed our lives.

It definitely wasn't a decision we made lightly. I have been working freelance on and off for about three years, but took the risk and ended up handing in my notice in my previous travel industry marketing job when LL was 11 months old, after deciding not to return after maternity leave. I have always been career orientated, having a great job before the girls, but for my previous role I had to go away a week of every month and that just wasn't right for me after having my babies. I've been properly working freelance for a year and a half now and it's the best thing I ever did. I work mainly managing social media clients, doing blogger outreach, writing and of course having the odd opportunity that this blog brings. Sometimes it can be scary not knowing what money I could be bringing in each month, but luckily I have some great long term clients now who I hope won't be going anywhere for a while. Mr E is a designer and had been working for a local company for a couple of years, with some freelance work on the side in the evenings, and for ages had been saying he would love to work for himself. However we just didn't dare take the risk, after all we really relied on his full time wage.

But then just before Christmas he got given the opportunity to do a short term freelance project on the side in the evenings and at the weekends. That freelance work went really well and the company he was doing it for offered him a full time six month contract. After much discussion we agreed that this seemed like the perfect opportunity to set up on our own as we had the security of six months worth of work and therefore six months worth of pennies coming in. And that's where we are now. We decided on a new business name, set up our company, and created a lovely, motivating little office space for ourselves.

Sometimes I still can't believe we are doing this. It sounds cheesy but I feel like I am utterly living our dream. I didn't know what it would be like at first having him at home constantly, but I genuinely couldn't be happier. In fact we have both commented that our relationship has actually got even stronger as a result of this change in our lives. We are joint parenting our girls, we get to be together so much as a family, and to put it quite simply my best friend is by my side non stop. We have settled into a routine that I work 'properly' on a Tuesday and Thursday when the girls are at nursery all day, but in reality I work a lot more than that in the evenings, nap times and whenever I can squeeze some more time in. If Mr E has got a lot done in a day, he will often finish at 3pm and let me do a couple of hours work for a while- and that's where it's just so fantastic and flexible.

Mr E has always been an incredibly hands on Dad- he gets the girls dressed in the mornings and gives them breakfast, and has done from Day One. Because he worked locally he was home for tea time and he plays a huge part in their lives, he has never been a parent who is frightened to have them on his own, he would have them for a week at a time if he needed to. He has also always been incredibly supportive of me and my work, and now it all seems to have just slotted into place. We both help each other, bounce ideas off each other, but most of all we have fun. There's nothing better than having a 'work mate' you can suddenly stop working and cuddle, or someone who can tell if you are having a bad day and will go and get some chocolate and a diet coke from the shop. We laugh all day long, it's never serious in our little office, and I genuinely do enjoy spending time with him.

Of course I wouldn't want to paint a picture that it's the perfect working life, because of course nothing is rarely perfect. At the moment he is still in this six month contract, but I am sure life will be a little bit more stressful when that ends. After all he will have to find new clients all the time, and we all know that isn't always the easiest when there is so much competition. When Mads was just a few months old Mr E got made redundant and it was such a scary time, I remember at one point crying my eyes out as we couldn't afford to pay our mortage one month. Luckily now we are comfortable, but I don't want it to be like that again. And yes of course we bicker, like most couples, although I wouldn't say working together has made us get sick of the sight of each other and argue more. But some days he can definitely drive me mad and I know he would say the same about me. I also massively struggle with a work/life balance, some weeks I am fine and feel like I switch off, but some weeks I struggle and am up till the early hours catching up, or just generally feeling stressed with what I have to do. I am not good when stressed and sometimes, especially when you factor in this blog and all I like doing for this, I just feel so worked up and on edge.

Above all though, it has been such an amazing time for our family and I couldn't be more thankful. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have him at home with me, and helping me raise our children so equally, but at the same time it isn't solely luck- all those years of 2am finishes, years of stressing about money, wondering how we were going to pay the bills, all those cancelled trips away because we had to work, and all those weekends where one of us went to a local hotel to work and missed out on family time have finally reaped rewards. It might not last forever, one day the money might not come in as regularly, and one or both of us may have to return to  other employment as opposed to working for ourselves, but for now I am going to treasure every single minute of having no boss, (Mr E if you are reading this you are not my boss like you like to pretend sometimes!) the fact that we can sneak off for a lunch together, have an impromptu day out as a family, and above all raise our little girls lovingly together.

It's been years and years of very hard work to get to this point, but for now I'm living my work dream. And actually I am living my life dream too.

It's not always perfect, most definitely not. But it's my perfectly imperfect life. And for that I couldn't be more thankful.

working together 1

working together 2

working together 3

working together 4

 

creative workspace 14

creative workspace 17

creative workspace 22

creative workspace 25

 *****

I'm away this week and silly me forgot to ask my lovely friend Donna (hi Donna!) to host it as she usually does, but fear not, I will read the other ordinary moments when I am home!

Have a good week everyone! x

 

 

A Summer of Fun- Our Wishlist Of Fun In The UK This Summer...

on Thursday, 18 June 2015.

It's only June but already the time is whizzing by until we are on the countdown to Mads starting school in September. The application form has been sent in, we have been browsing the school uniform leaflet, and we already have sent dates for the Autumn and Easter terms. I still can't quite fathom that my baby will be going to school. We want to make sure we make the biggest Summer full of memories. We will never get this time back, will not be able to be quite so spontaneous when it comes to trips away, and also we will have to stick to doing things during the school holidays. For that reason we are planning lots of adventures over the course of June and July, and then in August too, before life changes for all of us in September.

I love Summer. While I love Christmas and the month of December in general as we have Mads birthday and our wedding anniversary, I do love Summer the best, especially when the weather is nice.nWe are really lucky that both myself and my husband work from home, which means we can go on a few day trips and weekends away throughout the Summer. Here are some of the places on our wish list...

1. We would love to do a weekend in Cornwall as it is one of my favourite parts of the UK. I have such fond memories of going down there on family holidays as a child and would love to take the girls down there too. There are some gorgeous UK holiday homes around- look at this one in Mawgan Porth- it has a roll top bath outside!

pad 738 527 Dune Beach House - Cornwall - Oliver s Travels  3 -1

2. We would like to visit Legoland again this Summer. We only went a couple of weeks ago but both of my girl's absoutely loved it and as we have year long passes it makes sense to go a few times if we can. You can't beat a theme park on a Summer's Day, as long as the queues aren't too bad.

3. We want to go and visit my Grandparents who live on the border of Wales. We love going to visit them and creating special memories, but perhaps instead of rushing back we might make a weekend of it. It is such a beautiful area and there's so much to see and do there- I used to love going to visit with my parents when I was little. 

easter15 b

4. We already have a little trip down to Hampshire booked which I can't wait for. We are taking a certain Peppa obsessed two year old to visit Peppa Pig world. We took Mads a couple of years ago but she wasn't quite so keen as LL, I am so excited to see her face! She can spot Peppa merchandise from a mile away, even a toothbrush in the supermarket that's about ten metres away!

julyweekendaway4

5. We want to do a couple of day trips or perhaps over night stays in London. It's less than an hour for us on the train and we go in quite often, but we would like to show the girls some of the things they haven't seen before. We want to go on the London Eye, plus Mads wants to go to this cafe in East London that only sells cereal as basically ridiculously sugary cereal is her favourite thing in the world ever!

We may not getting round to doing all these, but whatever happens we want to make sure we have a summer of memories. Let's hope that the weather stays nice so we can have lots of picnics, fun and adventures.

Just some of our memories from last Summer, I loved looking back at these and remembering the fun we had...

1 paddling

a holiday to rhodes 23

june sunny day14

hiring bikes3

hiring bikes4

a-lavender-family-shoot-1

a-lavender-family-shoot-4

a-lavender-family-shoot-a

a-lavender-family-shoot

a-day-with-friends-july-14

meandminejuly14b

wedfest5

asubaruXVadventure9

siblingsaug14a

 

NB: Thanks to Olivers Travels for collaborating with me on this post and for helping get me excited about Summer! All words and opinions are my own. 

My Sisters in June 2015.....

on Monday, 15 June 2015.

As I sit writing this post it's Sunday afternoon and I am sat in a hotel room in Wembley. I have been away the last two nights for the Blogtacular conference and now I have moved hotels and have an extra night away as I have a work related conference all day tomorrow as well. I haven't been with my babies since Friday morning and as I am putting this post together and looking at my photos it is making me miss them desperately.

I am not the type of person who can't be away from the girls. I miss them when I go away, of course I do, but I think some time apart is healthy for all of us. The most I have been away with them is four nights when I went on a press trip to Greece and by the end of it I cried because I missed them so much, but usually it's because I am with friends or doing work things so I am busy and the time goes quickly. Today however I have pretty much a whole day and night to myself before the conference starts tomorrow and therefore I am literally finding myself pining for them- I seriously can't wait to get home to them and looking at these photos doesn't really help.

Over the last month or so LL's speech has just exploded. This has opened up a whole new relationship for them both, one of discovery and new interactions. Sharing a room has bought them even closer as well and we love to stand on the stairs and listen to them chattering away together. The other night we heard them telling each other the same knock knock joke for half an hour to each other. Mads would say 'Knock Knock', LL would say 'Whose There?' to which her big sister replied 'The interrupting cow'. LL would say 'The interrupting cow who?' while Mads cut her off and shouted 'Moo'. (It's from the film Home in case you haven't seen it!) They would then repeat the process again and again with LL then being the person delivering the punch line and vice versa, before both of them giggling each and every time. It really is just so sweet to hear their funny little conversations.

They really are the closest of girls and have a bond so strong, it blows us away a lot of the time. They have to be near each other constantly, when they are sat on our big sofa with more than enough room to sit and spread out, they get so close to each other that they are practically on each other's laps. Mads will play with her little sister's ear and snuggle into her. Although she is the older one, she is still very much the driving force behind their affection, she is the more cuddly of the two. But you can also tell how much LL adores her big sister and looks up to her too. However as with any sibling relationship we have arguments, nearly all of them are to do with sharing, mainly with sharing the iPad in actual fact. Mads again is pretty laid back and will often give LL the iPad for an easy life but LL is a lot less tolerant, and often has little strops to try and get her own way. We have had a few occasions recently where LL has lashed out at her, trying to push her or grab it from her. This is all new to us as Mads never once did the whole hitting, pushing, or biting thing like a lot of children did. I do wonder whether it's because LL has been at nursery since a year old and has to defend herself or assert herself to get toys, whereas Mads didn't go to nursery until she was three. Having said that I've never seen her do it to another child or had nursery tell me any stories, so maybe it's just typical sibling squabbles!

These photos were taken at the very last minute. On Thursday evening having realised that I was going to London the next day, I had to rush and take some before I went. The weather was nice and warm so we decided to go for a yet another evening picnic after the girls had finished nursery. It was lovely and I just took a few photos while they were eating. Nothing particularly exciting, but they will be lovely to look back on when they are older...

evening picnic june15 b

evening picnic june15 a

evening picnic june15 c

evening picnic june15 d

evening picnic june15 e

evening picnic june15 g

evening picnic june15 h

*****

This month I am sending you on to have a look at my lovely lovely friend Lucy's ever so cute twosome to see what they have been up to this month. And keep heading through the posts and you will end up here in a circle! :) 

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #24 'An Out of the Blue Phone Call'...

on Sunday, 14 June 2015.

On Monday afternoon I was sat doing some work while the girls were napping when I got a phone call from an unknown number. I never answer these, which drives my Dad mad as his number comes up as withheld and I always ignore him, but most of the time it's someone trying to sell me something or help me claim compensation. I let it go to voicemail and then I listened to the message. It was from our county school admissions team saying they had some news for me. I rang them back, not sure what to expect, and after a few minute phone call I found out that Mads had been offered a place at our first choice school.

When I say first choice, technically it was actually our fourth choice. To cut a long story short (which you can read about here if you are even vaguely interested) in our first round of applications Mads got into a school that we really didn't want her to go to- a school we looked round and didn't think much of at all, a school with a bad ofsted and a school that just wasn't right for our daughter for a number of reasons. For a while I accepted our fate, thinking we would make the best of it, before deciding actually I would fight for what I believed was best for her. We looked up some different schools, visited our new first choice school and reapplied to three different schools, all further away, with our first choice being just three miles away and then the others being a little bit further still.

When it was due to be the day of finding out about our second application, I was straight on the phone to the admissions team, (annoying Mum anyone?!) but was told that I had to wait another seven days for our letter to be sent out. Me being me, and being really impatient, couldn't wait that long so I rang our new first choice school, only to be told that she hadn't got in. I actually cried down the phone to the kind lady in the school office, but to be honest that's nothing new, I am an emotional wreck at the best of times. I then rang up our second choice school, and after a bit of confusion, found out she had a place there. We were pleased, but so nervous as we hadn't even been to see the school, we put it down as a last minute desperate thing as the deadline was looming near. 

We arranged a trip to see the school she got a place in, and we were pleasantly surprised, we really liked the school and felt that Mads would be happy there. A reasonable sized school, about 250 children, and only six miles from where she lived. We accepted that it was fate and slowly began to get excited that she would be starting there in September. Forms were filled out, birth certificates handed in, and we started to tell Mads all about the school she would be going to. 

So when we got the call on Monday, we were honestly shocked and so confused about what to do. We really liked our second place school and had accepted she was going there. After a lot of chatting with friends and family, we decided to visit our original first choice school again just to have one more look, but we were leaning towards staying with our second choice. But upon visiting the school again on Tuesday, I just fell in love with it again. After much discussion back and forth, and changing our mind a few times, we decided to accept her waiting list place at our original first place school. We just went with our gut instinct, and the fact that our first place school had such friendly staff who were so patient and kind with us.

We subsequently found out that the parents induction evening was the next day, on Thursday. So Grandma came over to babysit for the evening and Mr E and I nervously headed over to the school where potentially we will be investing ten years of our family's lives. I felt like I was the one starting school sat there, waiting for the head teacher to begin her talk, glancing shyly over at the other parents. But as soon as she started to talk, I just knew we had made the right decision. I sat there with a smile on my face the whole time, in the little dining hall where my baby will eat lunch five times a week for almost every week of the year. We walked round her new classroom, where she will be in a tiny reception class with just 15 other children. We joked with the head, who told us she would be on hand with tissues on her first day. We met her teacher, her teaching assistant, the PTA committee, and we chatted nervously to the parents who we will be sharing just so many milestones with over the years. We left with a huge wallet of information, and with a comforting hand on the shoulder from that lady in the office who said she was thrilled that these things happen for a reason and after all my worries our baby would be joining them in September. 

And I just knew. And I could tell Mr E knew too. We had made the right decision. When we started this schools process way back in November of last year, never did I expect Mads to be going to such a tiny, small village school. But she is. And I couldn't be happier. It just all felt so right. As we walked back to our car at the end of the evening, Mr E took hold of my hand and said 'It was just great.' And I couldn't agree more. They say things happen for a reason. And I although I am nervous, although it's all been a bit of a drama, I know deep down that it was meant to be. 

So now we enjoy our Summer. That last lovely Summer, of having our girl all to ourself just for a while longer. Where her world revolves aorund us and where we know almost every aspect of her life. A Summer of making memories, of enjoying having no routine and structure. Because September will come around really rather quickly. Growing up is inevitable, and I know that it will hurt when that day comes that I have to leave my girl in that sweet little classroom ready to start the next chapter of her life. But at least we can relax knowing that these things are meant to be. And that she is in a place where hopefully she will thrive.

IMG 4038

I love this iPhone snap of them from this week.

 

 

<<  1 2 3 [45 6 7 8  >>  
Wikio - Top Blogs - Parenting Wikio - Top Blogs
TOTS100 - UK Parent Blogs
TOTS100
 PHOTO-BLOGS
Tots100 UK parent blogs