Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Have a happy Christmas one and all, and to all a good night

The cucumber (ran out of carrots), mince pie and whiskey sit half eaten upon the hearth as freshly laid welly boot footprints stand in the ash of the fireplace. Simon and I are knackered after dinner, yet content. Ready for slumber, we are about to tip toe Santa's presence into where our sleeping wonderbabes lie up above dreaming of sugarplums and all things deliciously Christmassy. All of us super silly happy in our anticipation of what the dawn of a new Christmas day will bring...

Merry Christmas everybody. Have a lovely day. x

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

LIFE AS IT IS - This week in... December 2014

This last week has been busy. As it always is with the run up to Christmas. It was the week that...

Fia unable to sleep at all, ran a high fever and didn't move off the sofa for days, my Mother-in-law was in the ICU with pancreatitis, and Esme sang nativity songs at full volume, on repeat.

I decided NOT to send Christmas cards for the first time ever, and then began to feel guilty as the first few fell through the front door. Traditions are like habits; hard to break.

Although I broke with some art that's been in situ for three years in the dining room - and was blatantly shamed into painting the walls as a consequence. I'm pleased to report, the girl did good. I'm not so pleased to report that Simon now wants me to do the hall, stairs and landing. Rod, back.

We enjoyed birthday celebrations with friends. We chose the Christmas tree, and had fun dressing it; bringing out the decs the children have made throughout the Christmas years that have passed. We created more to keep. We linked and hung paper chains. We had our first log fire of the Winter. We played carols on the piano, and Twister. We drank mulled wine. We iced gingerbread men - who of course morphed into gingerbread monsters.

I pulled out all the stops and managed to make cakes for the school Christmas fayre. Get me. Not just that, I even helped on Santa's grotto. (Far more stressful than one assumes). Sadly, I have only one thing to say about this particular afternoon: One of the PTA had their head so far up their own arse it was impossible to see her smile or to hear her say thank you for any assistance she had received.

And a further moot point along the lines of crapping on one...

I'm still struggling to come to terms with the fact that one morning last week, before I was even out of bed, Esme appeared in our room with her PJ bottoms around her ankles, and her backside in my face, claiming she had too much poo to clean. I surmised the loo roll she was also shoving in my face, meant she needed help. Without thinking clearly and without sending her back to the bathroom to try again, it turns out that along with too much poo to clean, I also had the issue of not enough paper to clean it with. I think I may have realised this sooner, had I not just become conscious and only opened one eye?

Need I say that beginning the day with a 6YO's faeces on my hand, was not the best start. Nor was it great when Fia yelled at me, glared at me and generally pulled me apart the same morning. Or when fabulously, Esme declared I was breaking her heart by giving her sister more love than her, explaining that she had been made to feel as if 'she wasn't part of this family anymore, Mummy.' I give thanks yet again for the joyous fact that my 6YO is so in touch with her feelings, and so eloquently able to express herself.

And generally, I give thanks for the life we have. Our Life As It Is. Even if at times, I was more than aware, that like a lot of us at this frenetic time of year, I had been dealt a bit of a shit hand this week.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

48/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year

We've decided not to send Christmas cards this year, however, we will be making a select few. Here's the first, a robin by Sofia.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Saturday, 29 November 2014

47/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year

Apparently we are the best mum and dad ever. So why has Esme tied us all up?
"Doh, Mummy, we are having a group hug!"

Thursday, 27 November 2014

A mother's role - A poem

I don't want to come in and look at you.
Tonight as I go to bed.
I ll leave that to your father
To check you, kiss you, tuck you in.
And lovingly stroke your head.

Monday, 24 November 2014

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Please help The Trussell Trust and Fareshare to feed people in need this Christmas, by donating food at your local Tesco store this week.

In store you’ll find collection points. Simply add an item to your basket and donate it on the way out. Tesco will top up all donations by 30 percent and will ensure delivery to your local food bank.

Thank you

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The brand new Tiny Diner Company - eats & ethics

Are you a mum that buys in premium baby and child food products? If so, did you know that a company called Tiny Diner has launched? Not only will it support you in feeding your little one with healthy and nutritious food, it also supports the work of anti-violence against women charity Eaves - offering support to women surviving violence in the UK. Tiny Diner is creating employment opportunities for the many vulnerable women supported by Eaves, helping empower them. Tiny Diner recently went live with their campaign, and need to spread the word re their great food and great ethics. Please take a look here. 

FRAMED - Simon and Fia out for a bike ride

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

1 in 10 babies need (EXTRA) SPECIAL CARE - A feature

1 in 10 babies need special care

This week, World Prematurity day has recognised the babies born too soon. Someone I know recently gave birth to twin girls - born 10 weeks early. The following texts reveal something about life for this new mum, who like millions of others, has been totally thrown in at the deep end. Then the following feature, hopes to reveal something about life as it is on a neonatal ward.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Saturday, 15 November 2014

45/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year

Esme creates a robot birthday card for a friend. I love the fact that it talks in a robotic fashion, which she cleverly depicts using full stops.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Even Superheroes are infallible

After my last post, Children In Need - appealing to all Superhero Mums out there, I have to add a further post on how the day ended...

Shortly after finishing lunch, I received a phone call from school. Esme had collided with another child in the playground, (hey, I'm not a meteorologist).

She sat with her braided beaded bumped and bruised bonce, quietly cuddling the teaching assistant, with cape intact and ice pack administered. She flashed a hint of a smile when she saw me and Fia approach.

Brave or what?

A real superhero.

Love you kid.

Children In Need - appealing to all Superhero Mums out there

We are all Supermums.
Don't forget that.
And Dads.
Don't forget that either.
Balancing the act of parenting.
On little sleep.
We juggle balls.
We spin plates.
We hold the fort.
We nurse the sick.
We fill the fridge.
We pay the bills.
The list is endless.
There's no denying,
We have a lot on our plates.
I have a lot on my plate.
Accept for cakes.

Will I lose my Supermum status by not making cakes for a bloody school cake sale?
Or for using the word 'bloody' in the previous sentence?
I'll take some shop bought ones later instead.
Plus I stuck a fiver in the tin this morning...
I didn't have any bloody change.
I gave it all to nursery yesterday.
We ran out of time to get more change, as I was helping Esme look like the Superhero she is.
So headteacher, don't be giving me that look today. You know the one.
The one that doesn't really exist, and yet nonetheless makes me feel like a child in disgrace.
I've a lot on my plate. Accept cakes. I know.
But that's okay, you have a lot of Superheroes to save the day.
A day that will result in caped kids flying out of the school doors, revved up by the rain stops play factor, and all hungry for the sugary cakes on sale.
Which they'll gorge, eager to top up their Superhero powers.
We daren't say 'no' and 'wait for after your dinner.'
For being real life Superheroes, they would stop us in our tracks.
SuperEsme for example, could take me out with one flick of her braided beaded bonce.
I've no doubt.

This post is to salute the parents that made cakes. 
Shine your badge. You're bloody amazing.

If you enjoyed this post, why not vote for me in the UKBlogAwards2015? Thank you!

If you want to know how the day ended, read my follow on post
 Even Superheroes are infallible

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Lullaby & Goodnight - A feature on SIDS

The pain of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Did you know that ‘cot death’ is a phrase now considered outdated? Sadly, babies die unexpectedly, and in all manner of locations. I talked to two families torn apart by SIDS, both eager to explain the real meaning behind this cruel syndrome.

Earlier this year, the NICE consultation on safe sleep was published. It did little to explain Sudden Infant Death Syndrome adequately to many of the parents left behind by babies who had SIDS as the cause of death on their death certificates. 

The Lullaby Trust, a charity providing specialist support for bereaved families, is committed to supporting research to understand why five babies a week die suddenly and unexpectedly in the UK, and to find out more about how to prevent these tragic deaths.

Jennie Henley, age 38, is mum to four beautiful children. Twins, Esther and William, age 4, that recently started infant school, 8 week-old Beatrice Hope, aka Rainbow baby. And, Matilda Mae, angel baby, who at nine months-old, went to sleep one day as usual, and never woke up.

Monday, 10 November 2014

VOTE FOR ME UKBlogAwards2015 entry

Hi one and all,

A little while ago I was contacted and asked to enter my blog LIFE AS IT IS into a competition.

The UK Blog Awards recognises 'talented individuals within the industry' -

And as they asked me to enter, I figure I've nothing to lose.

The public vote starts today.

If you like what you read on my blog and would like to encourage me to write more...

Please vote for me here

I'd really appreciate it.

Thank you!

Pudsey: The Movie - A review

Remember Pudsey, everyone's four legged friend that jumped through hoops and won the British publics' hearts, and the Britain's got talent contest a couple of years ago? 

Well he's back, and starring in his own movie - named, yes you guessed it: Pudsey The Movie. 

Frivolous and fun this is entertainment for the entire family, and the brand new release is out today, just in time for the Christmas shopping period. 

So is it worth the buying?

Friday, 7 November 2014

The conundrum of the worry stone

On a recent visit to Arundel Castle (you can read my review here), Esme purchased a 'worry stone' from the gift shop. This was the least of my worries on the day as it was potentially the cheapest item within the shop. However, since then, it has proved to be a right royal pain in the arse.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Arundel Castle - a review

Whether it is the grandeur of the fine castle rooms and the treasures they behold, (think Gainsborough and Caneletto), the exquisite gardens, the gift shop and restaurant, or simply the magnificent structure itself, Arundel Castle is a fantastic day out for everybody.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

No smoke without fire: The importance of writing as if no one is reading

My recent post Half Term-inal was cathartic. I love that my blog is a place for me to rant. Sharing my inner thoughts with the public was never my initial intention, but sharing to help others realise that Life As It Is can be utterly crap at times, is. Somewhat self-indulgent? Probably. Thinking about that however, my mother always said that my sister was the private one, whereas I would have told my life story to the milkman if I could. So here, not just for the milkman it would appear, but for you all, is a further tale of my Life As It Once Was...

Thursday, 30 October 2014

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

NOT EVERYONE LIKES TO TRICK OR TREAT, BUT EVERYONE CAN LIFT THE LID ON THEIR LOVE... supporting an alternative Halloween with World Vision, who are once again celebrating Halloween by turning a night of fear into A Night of Hope. 

This year they are asking the public to carve a love heart into a pumpkin in recognition of the children of Syria. Please remember to share your pumpkin pics using the #ANightOfHope

FRAMED - Autumn colour

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Generous musings of a 6YO

Esme finishes her dippy eggs with gusto before announcing:

E: Mummy if there was a competition for making the best dippy eggs, and Connor and I were the judges, and there was nobody else in it that was good at making dippy eggs, you would definitely win the prize.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Alien MorphCostume for Halloween - A review

If you thought Morph was purely a little plasticine man who began his career in the 1970/80 art series Take Hart, think again. It is also the name put to fancy dress designs galore, from the highly successful outfit MorphCostumes. Meaning you too can morph into the spirit of the occasion. Well, with Halloween fast approaching, why not? They sent Life As It Is the alien suit to try out for review purposes...

Saturday, 25 October 2014

43/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year

This is the first time that Fia has ever structured a flower with the obvious detail of stem, petals and pistil. I can't help but wonder if the isometric paper inspired her?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Do you know about this in-car safety & security device for parents?

A device dubbed ‘fred’, aimed at safeguarding children in the car and saving parents and mums-to-be money, has been launched by Zenith Insurance and is being offered exclusively through parenting brand, Bounty.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Two tickets to The Baby Show - a giveaway

This time next week I will be attending the The Baby Show, which runs from Fri 24 - Sun 26 October at Olympia, London.

For me, as a freelance writer of parenting/lifestyle mags, it's an exciting event to attend, meeting PRs, Press, Marketing professionals, Business entrepreneurs, Mums and friends, is something I look forward to year on year.

Baby London, one of the magazines I write for (who has a stand there), has kindly provided Life As It Is with two tickets to give away.

To be in with a chance to win them, please leave a comment, either here or on my FB page, telling me your reasons for wanting to attend The Baby Show, and they could be yours.

The winner will be announced on Tuesday 21st October at 8pm.

Good luck!

Wed 22nd Oct...
Congrats to Helen Edwards and Toby (age 5months) who have won the tickets by leaving a really worthwhile comment about gadgets on my FB page! 

Brave musings of a 6YO

Esme at the park yesterday had a little contretemps with another child. I missed it completely. Chances are, the other child did too.

E: It's okay Mummy, I showed them. I put a sycamore seed in the hood of their coat when they weren't looking.

Fighting talk that.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Britain's newest community: E20 - A place to live, work and stay?

East Village, E20, the newest neighbourhood in London (and the former home to the 2012 Olympic games), may be billed as 'A place to live, work and stay', but the question on my mind when we went to check it out, was, would we want to raise our family here?

Taking into account our Life As It Is, with a six-year-old and a three-year-old, (one at nursery, one at school), and thinking primarily of them, what could living here offer us?

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Friday, 10 October 2014

Look Inside Our World - A book review

From the moment you turn the first page, both you and your children will be caught up with looking further into 'Our World' of geography and geology - and this clever book. 

Emma Oliver talks to Maggie Perkins about life, love and hair wax

From Lapland to the Czech Republic, the selection of beers here, are as varied as the eclectic mix drinking them. The atmosphere is funky yet stylish, a lot like the woman herself, when she finally turns up.

Ms Perkin's late arrival is easily forgotten, succeeded by perfume and friendliness. She grins and says, 'Hi, call me Maggie. I hope it's not going to be too noisy for an interview in here, it's just I love this place.' On cue, the whirr of a coffee grinder kicks into action; it hovers above the mellow bluesy back beat.

Sitting, she orders a coffee. 'It's not like I need the caffeine. I'm manic enough without it. So, what can I tell you?' Even her sentences have a hyperactive quality to them. Having requested a cappuccino, she proceeds to secondarily sugar my latte, claiming it subconsciously.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Add The Hunger Site to your Bookmarks bar. 

Did you know that for every visit and click received at, the site’s sponsors will donate a 230g portion of rice to hungry people in one of 74 developing countries? 

Worth a daily click that.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - Reducing the risk

I've just completed writing a feature on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - I will never call it 'cot death' again.

You cannot prevent SIDS but there are safe sleep steps that can reduce the risk. According to the Lullaby Trust (a charity providing specialist support for bereaved families, promoting expert advice on safer baby sleep and raising awareness on sudden infant death), these are:

Friday, 3 October 2014

Face to face with 'X Factor' star's unborn baby

A few weeks ago, the 'X Factor' cog began to turn again, heralding the Autumn and therefore fires, curries, vino, and snuggles on the Saturday sofa for many couples. Si and I included; we love it! 

Around the same time, 37 year-old Sam Bailey, the 2013 'X Factor' winner, gave birth to her third child Miley Beau, a baby sister to Brooke, age nine, and Tommy age five.

As an 'X Factor' super viewer, I predicted Sam would win right from her first appearance, I'm certain I wasn't alone. I could not have predicted however, that the former prison warden, would be giving birth just as the new series kicked off. Nor could I have predicted that I would see the face of Sam's baby girl before pretty much the rest of the world - AND when she was actually still inside her mum. 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Christmas Pudding leggings by Blade & Rose - a review

Have you started a Christmas wish list for your baby yet? Well if you have, and you are looking for something warm yet fun for your own little pudding this festive season, then these adorable leggings ought to be on it!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Sofia you are three... feels like it ought to be more than that - you are and have been, such a big part of our lives. Vivacious and carefree. Independent and strong. Feisty and determined. Funny.

You look so much older. You are tall my girl. Often wearing age four to five year-old clothes since you were two. That athletic build of yours announcing your passion for the outdoors.

Your white blonde locks wind in part over your bright eyes and cheeky grin, and now cascade down your long back. I suppose I ought to cut them again, before you do.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Can't believe my little girl is 3!

FRAMED - Birthday cake is a winner!

Fia has had her third birthday party today. She loved every minute of it, and so did I!
Her little face when she saw the cake I had made - well she was astonished. That's because usually, I can only do a Victoria sponge. Oh how magical it would be to be three once again!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

FRAMED - hubs in holiday mode

iCandy Emilia East West bag AW2014 - A review

It has been London fashion week after all, so here on the GraceFaith blog, and especially to accessorise with the stylish shoes that Shoe Therapy sent me recently to review, feast your eyes upon one of the collection of brand new baby bags from top Brit baby label, iCandy.
Huh? Baby bag - I hear you gasp, does this mean YOU of all people are having another? God no, don't be silly. As much as I like the ring of a trilogy name wise, Esme Grace and Sofia Faith will remain a further sibling free, and Clementine Hope will remain a figment of my imagination. Come on really... hubby's had the snip - not too mention the fact that I've only just managed to settle into motherhood!

The point is, you don't have to be pregnant, or even a mother, to want to wear one of these baby handbags. This Autumn/Winter 2014 must have, is far more sweet accessory, than it could ever be baby bag. Perhaps that is why iCandy have billed them as a bag collection and not a baby bag collection?

I for one will be wrapping my coffee in the bottle warmer, and stashing my laptop in place of the changing mat before dashing to the office. Yes I already checked. It fits!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Headaches (dim eyes - dimwit)

I'm having them each and every day since I came back to work. That's about ten days now. It's no coincidence that I'm suddenly sat in front of a screen after six weeks of not. Reading and writing. Squinting. So I thought I'd better get my eyes tested - its been a couple of years. And yes, my eyes are actually quite dim. I've ordered a new pair of specs which can't come quick enough. In the meantime, in the process of booking the optician appointment, I told a member of staff that I loved her before hanging up. Not just the eyes then huh?

Saturday, 13 September 2014

FRAMED - A beetle in monochrome

37/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year

A brilliant thing we did in the holiday was to visit Farnham's ceramics cafe
To avoid disappointment, I'd advise booking your two hour session in advance. 
The session costs £2, and on top of that, you pay for the item your child picks to paint, which can vary between £8 and £16. We highly recommend this great rainy day activity.

Ceramics Cafe - Farnham
13, Downing Street

Tel: 01252 727555

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Pink Lining & Shoe Therapy merger results in SHOE ENVY - A review

Adj.1. comfy - providing or experiencing physical well-being or relief - 

Yep, that's right, look again... cute aren't they? What you see before you are the new season's must haves, complimenting your look day or night, they are seriously stylish and super comfy - plus they even come with a health benefit thrown in.

To put the Frankie pumps to the test, I wore them to London for the day and walked my socks off. Actually I wasn't wearing any socks, but it didn't matter, for these happen to be the comfiest pair of shoes I've ever slipped on my feet. Don't believe me? It's all true.

Never before have I put on a pair of shoes for the first time, walked miles in them - around the streets of London no less - and still felt like I could walk further at the end of the day. NEVER. So what's the secret?

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Expecting a baby? A new parent? Want to know about your rights?

Did you know that provide a downloadable maternity calendar, offering info on rights and benefits for mums and dads to be?

For more on this, you can call the helpline on 0300 012 0312.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Countdown to cupcakes & chaos...

Time to put the party frocks on.
Not sure who is more excited?
Obviously it is Daddy.

36/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year

This coming Tuesday, Fia will begin her new routine of two mornings a week, at two different nursery environments. I think she will take it in her stride, as she does pretty much all of life, fortunately.

She had an hour at the new setting yesterday without me. I picked her up to find that she had made a picture for Esme Grace. The love heart is all her own work and quite simply, considering she turned three this week, it took my breath away. Proud Mummy or what?!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Why our nation's children are known as the 'Indoor Generation'

With the summer holidays having just ended, now may well be the exact time to remind families of the importance of spending more time outside, and teaching children to enjoy nature in their own back yard. There are so many benefits to a child being outdoors. 

Shockingly, our nation's 5-8 year-old children are becoming known as the 'Indoor Generation' with so many of them spending far too much time indoors watching TV and playing on computers and tablets, so much so in fact, they lack any basic knowledge about common garden flowers and vegetables. 

Growing flowers QVC Watch Them Grow Kit review (2)

A full on nine out of ten parents surveyed this year• said they had happy memories of spending time in the garden as a child.

I have. And I would like my two daughters to have those sorts of memories too.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Oh my disappointed but frankly bemused 6YO

I wrote the 'Settling into motherhood' feature a few months ago, and since then, it does indeed have to be said that I've settled into motherhood even more.

Get me!

No doubt a good Summer break has helped.

And along with the Summer, having my children turn 6 and 3 has helped.

Although, it would appear I am still a shit mother...

Eating pizza on her birthday, Esme was asked by her good friend Taylor...

'So what did you get from your Mum and Dad?'

And she replied:

'A watch that doesn't work; it has to go back to the shop. And a bike that's too big for me; it has to go up in the loft.'

For the record, Esme and I then both burst out laughing.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

LIFE AS IT IS & finally settling into motherhood

Ever find yourself wishing you were a member of the ‘Motherhood Sucks' society? Or were you always one of the lucky ones; Earth mother personified? Why is it some of us find settling into motherhood more difficult than others?

Last week I invited some mums over for coffee so that the little ones could all have a play, and us grown-ups could feel, well, grown-up.
It was only when chatting about a life prior to having children, that I was confronted with the question, what would I give to return to those days?

Saturday, 30 August 2014

35/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year

Esme draws faces a lot. This one is different though.
The eyes are most definitely looking out at me this time.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Romantic musings of a 5YO

E: Connor says we are going to get married on my 90th birthday as a birthday treat...

Genuine musings of a 2YO

As we pulled up at the red light, it only dawned on me that Sofia Faith (my chatty 2YO) was no longer wearing her seatbelt when she began talking through her open window to the driver of a rather fetching pope mobile (high sided box on wheels), alongside us.

S: Hello man.
Driver: Hi (complete with big grin).
S: We've got a real car.

Birthdays are upon us again...

Not to wish it away or anything...

Secretly I still yearn for 4 and 7,

In the next couple of days, they are 3 and 6.

It's got to be better than 2 and 5 right?!

Am I a terrible mother?

I might be... I actually bought their birthday cakes this year.


And as they age another year,

I note that my children's musings, will be moving on another year too...

So it is with fondness, that I record the very last musings of my 2 and 5YO.

Over to you girls...

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

10 of the best Lyme Regis finds...

We thought this Jurassic coast 205,000,000 year-old ammonite was our best Lyme Regis find this Summer. But here are ten more hidden gems...

1) Artist Marianne Gibson's studio is on Coombe Street, and she can often be found just inside the door working on her latest piece of art. Her attention to detail left us awe struck, so do enter with caution... you will want to get hubby's wallet out. But that's okay, turns out hubby will probably want to as well. Ph: 01297 443164