31 January 2018

What happened in our lives January 2018?

Right. I really enjoyed looking back at the family photography project results from 2017, and this year I've decided to do it again. It is lovely looking back at our family, and the things we have done and where we have been and what we look like. So here goes again. 

This month I haven't really taken my camera out and we haven't been out anywhere much due to constant colds and constant busyness. So on the last day of the month, as we were about to run out of the door via the school to work, I set up my camera for a few shots. I dress quite casually for work, little monkey is of course in a school uniform (although already wearing her jacket) and work from home hubby is sporting a massive bedhead, as usual for this time of hour. Just a candid shot in the mayhem that is our mornings!

This January I have been loving:
  • Being shortlisted for the Working Parent Blogger of the Year by Mum and Working awards. And because I am not cool that way, I'm just gonna say please go and vote for my blog Wave to Mummy here (link)
  • My tummy getting bigger and finally feeling lots of movement. You can even feel some of the stronger kicks from outside now. 
  • Starting to get that second-trimester boost, or rather, not a boost but finally feeling normal again so compared to first trimester I am positively glowing now. 

Aili has been loving:

  • Reading and writing and her phonics. She is getting so good at reading and can read quite advanced books for her age. She's moved up to the advanced group in her phonics now. 
  • She also loves writing, and writes little letters to us and her friends. One of hers addressed to me said: "To mum. I no(sic) baby is bad. But too.". They don't always make much sense, but she tells me it was a joke. 
  • The baby in mummy's tummy. The sweetest thing is how every morning when I drop her off to school she insists on giving me a hug, and then the baby (my tummy) another hug. 
  • Being a big sister - something she likes to remind everyone now, and how she is a big girl and a big sister. 

Hubby has been loving:
  • Finishing a big project for his work - took a couple of months! 
  • For the first time feeling the baby - I got him to put his hands on my belly one night when the kicks were very strong, and he could feel it. And now every once in a while he tries to get the baby to move again by poking me.
  • Learning to nit comb...  Well, maybe loving is too strong a word but it seems to be the same sort of pleasure you get from pimple-popping videos! Both me and Aili got nits, and we've had many many combing sessions since. Joys of having school kids eh (although hubby insists I must be the patient zero as I had more of them...)?
  • Peaky Blinders TV series - apparently it is very very good! 

How was your January?

27 January 2018

I am up for a blogging award!

This January I was short-listed for the Mum and Working Business Awards, in the Working Parent Blogger of the Year. There are other fabulous bloggers up for the same award and it is such a great honour to be amongst them. Obviously, they are all wonderful and great so I am sure you can pick someone nice to vote for amongst them... wink wink nudge nudge! 

(No, seriously, click on it and the voting form is at the bottom of the page! And my blog is called Wave to Mummy.) 

I often jokingly call this blog my other, part-time side-job. It certainly sometimes feels like it! Alongside this labour of love, I also have an interesting full-time career in research and the third hat I occasionally wear is one of a school governor. Not to mention the mum hat. So a lot going on. 

All us working mothers can appreciate the constant juggling of many balls, the constant wearing of many hats. It is incredibly challenging and also incredibly rewarding at the same time. I've been a working mother nearly five years now, and during that time I've learned many things. At the office I've learned that upwards management is an actual thing, and that it is just as important to make sure people know what you are doing, as it is doing it. At school governing I have learned that an outsider perspective can be genuinely refreshing and shaking up group-think can only ever benefit you. At home I've learned that work, at the end of the day, is just work and best left at the office. When you are old and wrinkly, it won't be the work or the achievements you look back at fondly, it is the everyday family memories... 

My blog has also taught me many things - from totally new skills such as marketing and social media management to more technical skills like coding. I have done a fair few commercial collaborations through this blog, and they have always been fun and interesting to do, and most of all, huge learning experiences. And while, alongside my many other hats I can't actually devote that much time to this blogging malarkey, I do feel that I have built some solid, marketable skills. Should my full-time job not pan out, I would always have something else to fall on. And in this flexible, constantly-moving world we live in, that is pretty valuable. 

And I keep on learning. At the office, at home, at the school and at my blog. And that's pretty cool. Although a few more hours of sleep a night would do wonders too!

And going back to the awards business, if you do have the time, I would really appreciate your vote in the Mum and Working Business Awards, in the Working Parent Blogger of the Year category. I am not really one that does a huge amount of blogging or is up for awards that often, so if you have the time to put a vote in for little old me before the 5th February, it would really warm my heart!

21 January 2018

My 18 goals for a happier and more fun life in 2018

We're well in 2018 and for the past couple of weeks I've been mulling over what I want to get from this year. There are quite a few things I've thought about, and pondered about. In the previous years I've often chosen a word for the year - it is meant to guide your actions towards the big goal you want. In 2017 I chose "me" and in many ways I did achieve more me-time, and more relaxing. 

This year however, rather than choosing a word, I want to choose a few things I want to do - things that will make my life more fun and just generally happier. And because it is 2018, why not make it into 18 things?

mum and daughter laughing at a lavender field

Do more fun stuff

1. Read more. It's one of the things I miss most from my pre-child, pre-husband, pre-blogging, pre-commitments life. I used to read voraciously, and while time-wise it is not quite possible to do that anymore, I could certainly carve some time out from commuting or late-night social media scrolling.  

2. Do my make-up. Looking at me, you wouldn't believe that I do actually love make-up. I'm just far too lazy and sleepy to ever bother in the morning before work, or before anything really. I'd love to start getting into it again, try new ideas, and getting some use out of my mahoosive (and rather expensive) make-up stash!

3. Learn new hair-dos. Currently my skills extend to a a) leave to dry naturally and brush, b) ponytail, c) blowdry. And because maintaining my long locks can be a drag, it sort of makes me wonder why do I even bother? So I'd love to learn new hair-dos, from braiding to bananas, and finally actually use my hair, of which there is a lot of.

4. Do something fun as a family every weekend. Recently we've been ridiculously busy with just life and and weekends have just been spent on doing important adult things. I've felt rather bad for our four year old, who must be very very bored of it... So more family activities! It doesn't need to be anything special. Maybe swimming, walking in the forest, doing some baking, just anything fun to do together.

5. Visit new places in the UK. There are so many gorgeous places to see here in UK - so many beautiful nature reserves, castles and historic towns, and London, oh London, just packed full with wonders. I've armed us with a English Heritage membership and plan to use it too!

mum and daughter at a lavender field laughing

Make life easier

6. Sleep more. I am one of those night owl that naturally falls asleep late, and would prefer to rise late too. Over the past year I've had some trouble falling asleep at a decent time o'clock, and have had some minor bouts of insomnia. So, this year, I should really start following my own tips around good sleep hygiene!

7. Implement a "Super-Sunday". It was an idea I've heard of ages back, and have occasionally dabbled at. It involves using your Sunday planning and prepping all kinds of things to make your coming week a bit smoother - such as planning your work wardrobe, or checking the priority tasks for the week, or any other type of prepping. And it does help, and I really want to start doing more of it.

8. Meal plan. I'm sick of spending a fortune at work for lunch, as I got into bad habits last year by not prepping my packed lunches ahead of time... I'd also like to do more prepping over the weekend and then less time in the kitchen over the week. OK, let's be honest here... I don't actually cook much, I mostly just bang frozen stuff in the oven when it is my turn to cook so it would be nice to have more variety. 

9. Buy less. I'm not a big shopper but for quite a while I've been intrigued by the stories of people embracing minimalism and buying nothing for a year and so on. With pregnancy and an ever-changing body and a baby that will need stuff, a whole year won't work, but a month here and there definitely. Less stuff, more time, is the idea.

10. Get rid of stuff. We've got a fair few bits and bobs that moved from our previous place to our current home, including some furniture that just doesn't fit us anymore. Charity and recycling donations, and getting acquainted with freecycle/Gumtree/FB selling groups will hopefully help us shift some of the stuff away and maybe get us a few bob or two!

mum and daughter at a lavender field smiling

Explore new things

11. Get rid of my "unflattering" colours. A while back I got my colours done - I'm a Summer, and on a neutral/soft side. I've instinctively often chosen "my colours" for a long time already, but I do still have some hard blacks and others unflattering colours mucking up my wardrobe chi, and it's time to say good bye.

12. Learn a new skill. How about a mouth harp or an ukulele? Or basket-weaving? It sounds good to learn something new! I'm not sure yet what - currently I'm most interested in trying crocheting.

13. Dabble in Youtube. Speaking of learning new skills, I've really enjoyed trying my hand at Youtube and I have my own channel now. I'd like to do more editing of my own videos and film myself doing stuff. It has been fun and perhaps on my maternity leave I will find some time to try this out.

14. Try new things in photography. I have a few photography books I bought meaning to learn from them, and huge and active Pinterest folders filled with photography tips I never read. I'm stuck in a photography rut of thirds and semi-auto so to speak, and this year I'd like to try new techniques, trick photography and maybe cinematographs too.

15. Try a capsule wardrobe. Realistically, I am probably already living in a capsule wardrobe as I use similar outfits most of the time. I've been looking at planning it a bit better, using my lifestyle and needs a bit more (cue need for casual office wear) to guide it. 

mum and daughter smelling lavender

Live a better life

16. Go swimming and aqua aerobics. During my last pregnancy I really enjoyed swimming as a way to keep fit. And every-time I've managed to get to aqua aerobics I've really enjoyed it too. On maternity leave I am hoping to do a lot more of both!

17. Get back into yoga. I've done yoga on and off for over ten years. When I started doing weekly classes at the office I started to progress quite well and I was quite excited about learning new things (headstands, crows and all). I sort of lost it though when I moved to a new job, and would love to get back into doing regular yoga and also classes, which would push me more.

18. Do charitable giving. As my child is getting older, I have been wanting to teach her more about charity and the importance of it. I myself have lots of things I have wanted to do for ages, including getting a sponsored child, investing in micro-financing and swapping my birthday and Christmas gift lists for inspired gifts. I do, and have always done community work in some capacity, and have promoted charity here on my blog as well. This year I would like to up my game further.

mum and daughter at a lavender field

So there. Things I want to do this year to have a happier and more fun life - do more fun stuff, make my life easier, explore new things and live a better life through sports and charitable giving.

What are you planning for 2018?

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