How not to camp with 4 kids and a dog

So basically, just don’t. I will elaborate but just incase you were tempted to do it, I’ll put this out there immediately. You will die.

We were given an awesome old school canvas tent by my nan and grandad, its so old school we used to camp in it when we were little. I love it, and we put it up in our garden to make sure it was easy to do and it got us all excited to go on our first family camping trip so we hastily booked a weekend in Lowestoft (we wanted sand and sea water!). What we didnt realise was that the weekend we had booked, was going to be a whopping 34 degrees celcius. Brilliant. Like the true Brits we are, that 34 degrees looked appealing on the weather report…ohh yeah we chose the right weekend Greg, will feel like we are abroad hahaha. Idiots.

So we made the hugest list possible of things we needed to take with us, plates, tongs, bbq, airbeds, sleeping bags, all the hot weather clothes, and some cold for the evening, we knew the temperature would drop so we felt super prepared, dog in crate, off we popped to lovely Lowestoft.

Upon arriving at the campsite (The Hollies at Kessingland) it looked decent, nice small park, no death inducing high apparatus, all nice and safe and clean. We were given a pitch in the middle of the field, but then the warden asked us if we wanted to move to the edge by the hedge which made more sense as that way we didn’t need to worry about the little ones disappearing behind our tent and only had to look forwards and to each side to check on them, perfect! Tent all goes up nicely, the dog was happy to sit in his crate and watch us, but it was a bit of a mission to keep all 4 kids entertained while we set up.

Que the questions/moaning.

“Mummy, can we go to the park?”

“Not yet babe we just need to finish this then I’ll take you over”

“Mummy when are we going to go to the beach?”

“Later babe, once we are all done, we will have a walk down and see what its like.”

“Mummy is it time to go to the park and the beach?” On repeat until I break.

We had a BBQ tea, it seemed Roux wanted to help keep the coals burning, every 5 seconds, with his hands, causing me multiple heart attacks. Etti thought it was funny to keep running to the next pitch/road/anything to test my reflexes and running speed.

The girls continued to hound me.

Eventually, it was time to go to the beach, so we packed the littles in their pram, put the pooch on the lead and made the little walk up to the edge OF A GIGANTIC CLIFF FACE.

 

The holiday park we were on have built their own staircase all the way down to the beach, 90 steps, yes fucking 90, you read that right. Clearly this was going to be impossible with 2 x 14 kilo toddlers in a double pram so we had to abandon the bugaboo at the top, hold their hands, make sure the girls were taking it steady and not falling to their death all while walking the dog down, who suddenly is so excited at the prospect of being on a beach his behaviour was similar to that of Carol Vorderman producing an ‘X’ from her bag of letters during a game of scrabble.

Once we got down there though all the stress dissipated, once you actually reached the water (was a mammoth walk over sand and stones) it was so refreshing to be by the sea with the waves lapping at our feet, we were all breathing in the salty air, Rocky was reborn into a young playful pup, dashing in and out while we all giggled idyllically. Roux couldn’t contain himself, he was straight in, like a fresh hatched chick with unsteady feet sinking into the sand. The way he faceplanted the ocean was just beautiful. Fucking beautiful. That seemed to be the start, of it all going down the fucking pan.

Due to it being overcast the water wasn’t too warm, Roux would probably say it was fucking freezing, as he shivered all the way back UP the 90 steps to the campsite. We got them changed, after the girls moaned approximately 14039 times about the sand in their sandals, and started to prep for bedtime.

Now we knew it was going to be a task to get them all to sleep, especially as 3 of them had to share one double airbed (plenty of room just the excitement of being together was the issue) so after multiple attempts at getting them to stay in the bed, Greg ended up putting them in their carseats and drove around for 10 minutes to get them to drift off, worked a treat!

Now it was time for me and Greg to relax outside, put some candles on and have a couple of drinks, it was lovely, and fucking freezing, and the one thing I forgot to take was some enclosed shoes to keep my feet warm. We stayed up a few hours and noticed a couple of other groups on the site were getting louder, and louder, and by the time Greg and I decided to call it a night they were so loud it sounded like they were in my pillow.

I barely slept a wink, until around 3am, I then woke at 3.30am, and couldn’t see Roux! Immediate panic thinking he’s been abducted by some weird campsite perv but once I shone the torch around I saw he had swapped airbeds with Iris in the night, well he had shoved her off and had his arse in her face, as you do.

I probably woke every half hour from then on, just in and out of sleep making sure all 4 kids were there and the campsite abducter I created in my head hadn’t broken in.

Then, 6am, I hear a zip. I jumped up, done a quick scan, 1, 2, 3, no 4, where the fuck is number 4!?!

I look out of the bedroom section and Roux is zipping his way BACK IN the tent from OUTSIDE. I still have no idea where he went, how long he was gone or what he did on his travels but it was enough to freak me the fuck out! All of the scenarios kept running through my head, squashed by a car, fell off a cliff edge, abducted by a perv, fall into a ditch, eaten by a rogue wild jaguar that escaped from a zoo 10 years ago and was never found. I beat myself up all day when we went back down those 90 torturous steps to the beach, ‘what if’ played on repeat in my head. We managed to have a lovely morning on the beach though, the kids all played with the sand, Greg went for a swim and I just sat back and watched them all soaking it all in.

 

We then went back up the 90 steps of doom staircase (my calves STILL ache) made our way into Lowestoft for a fish and chip lunch that was divine! By this point it was getting super hot, I kept checking the ground to make sure it was ok for Rocky to walk on but there was just hardly any shade for him. We grabbed an ice cream, the kids got it all over them, standard, and we popped Rocky in his crate with the boot door open right next to the park so the kids could have a run around in there and we could still see him sat in the shade of the boot door. Now, this park was pretty epic, but it seemed the entire child population of Lowestoft agreed, and it was heaving!

Pretty sure I managed to get whiplash from the sheer amount of whipping my head from side to side to make sure that I could count all 4 kids, make sure no one was pinching my bag off of the buggy or coaxing Rocky out of his crate to take home and breed for puppies. (I swear I’m not usually this paranoid or irrational…think it was the heat)

Eventually we headed back to the campsite, and when we got out of the car I just knew I wanted to get home rather than stay another night. I was irritable with the heat, we noticed that Roux had got sun burnt (literally the worst mum guilt I’ve felt, probably worse than not realising he was missing while I slept) Rocky wasn’t fairing well, and the girls started with the begging to go to the park and moaning that one of them had ignored the other and all that petty shit that I can’t stand on a normal day, let alone at actual melting point on the hottest day of the year so far with zero shade apart from inside a tent which felt hotter than an incinerator at a crematorium.

Then I cried, I said I can’t do this, we packed everything up in the boiling sun, I got burnt, but I didn’t want to stop and apply more sun lotion because I just wanted to get back to my house, on my sofa, with Love Island on and a cup of tea that didn’t contain UHT milk.

We eventually got home, to a fucking power cut.

Will we go again? Sure, I’ll go again, as long as I have all grandparents, aunties and uncles to have a beady eye on all children at all times, and when Rocky is dead.

 

 

 

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Baby Tula Explore Carrier Review

I was really lucky to be chosen to review this gorgeous carrier by @naturalbabyshower via their instagram page. I asked Charlotte if she could surprise me with one of the prints, as I literally couldn’t choose! They’re all so gorgeous and I was overjoyed when I opened my parcel to see I had been given Mint Chip to review and keep. Its the perfect pattern for both boys and girls, and it goes with most of my clothes too as I do like a lot of neutrals and pastels!

First impressions was that the carrier was beautifully made, its well padded, extremely soft and wouldn’t need to be broken in like a lot of carriers I’ve found and struggled with. I had a good read through the instruction manual which is short and sweet but really easy to understand, then had a play with the buckles and poppers to find the size and settings that would suit me and one of my back breaking 12 kilo toddlers!

There are poppers tucked inside the waistband which can adjust the width, more suitable for smaller babies, I left these at the widest setting which is best for taller babies 9months to 4 years. With this carrier you can carry on your back, or your front, inward or outward facing. The seat can be adapted with a button on the front of the seat in order to pull it in and make it comfier and more ergonomic for the outward facing position which is best for up to 12 months only.

When putting on the carrier it was super easy and quick, the waistband adjusted really smoothly, and once Roux was on my back and secure (not sure why I chose the heavier twin to first try it) I adjusted the shoulder straps. These were a little trickier but I found a bit of a knack to it, and pulled at an angle to make them shorter. Then I clicked on the chest strap and away I went! It was really comfy to wear, I just had to get used to feeling the waiststrap on my lower back as other carriers I’ve used have been less cushioned, but I also need to remind myself to pull my high waisted jeans even higher when wearing the kids…otherwise it can push them down a little, and theres nothing worse than having to adjust your underwear and jeans with a huge heavy toddler on your back!

The adjustment buttons on the seat which make it suitable for outward facing carrying

A handy pocket for your phone/keys

Overall the carrier is a dream to use and wear, even in the hot weather its not been to heavy or caused *too* much sweating (I mean…he is over 12kg so its a workout I’m not gonna lie!), ove used it since with Etti and she prefers to be carried so next I’m going to try and tandem them both with my other carrier, although I wouldn’t mind a second Tula because its so dreamy! I just wish I had it when they were much smaller, and much lighter!

Thank you @naturalbabyshower for a perfect carrier which makes my life that teeny bit less hassle!

Bee Good Skin Care Review

I love trying new skin care, but since having the babies I’ve really struggled to find something that works with my skin. I’ve also become really aware of how many chemicals are in certain brands of skin care, so I’m wary of putting stuff on my face that isn’t as natural as possible.

When the lovely ladies at Babushka PR emailed me to ask if I would like to try Bee Good, I knew the brand already from their cleanser which I used years back and their scrummy lip balms which smell good enough to eat, so I said yes immediately!

What I love about the brand is that all of their products are made in the UK (Hampshire! My home county) and use honey bee ingredients mixed with botanicals to create gentle but effective formulas for various skin types. Their products are never tested on animals and the bee ingredients they use are harvested without harm to the bees. They’ve also sponsored bee farming apprentices in order to help secure their future, and educate people and children about honey bees!

The first product they sent me was the Honey and Propolis 2-in-1 cream cleanser. It comes with a muslin cloth which you use to remove the cleanser and any makeup/dirt/grime that could clog up your pores and gently exfoliates at the same time. The ingredient propolis was one that I’d not heard of before but when looking into it, its actually another product made by bees (They mix sap from the plants they visit and their saliva…weird but true!) they use it as a coating to build their hives but it has antibacterial properties for your skin too!

The cleanser feels lovely on the skin, you remove it with the muslin cloth and warm water, and it leaves your skin feeling really clean. I then follow this up with the Honey and Wild Flax Daily Moisturiser. This feels lovely and cooling on your skin, I use it twice daily to keep my face feeling moisturised and so far its been the perfect balance for my skin type.

Using just these two products so far have made me feel much more confident in my skin, my spots seem to clear up much faster than before, and I’ve actually not worn foundation for over a week now because I feel as though my skin has a healthy glow to it.

One item that I was really excited about was a newer product called NectaPerfecta . It claims to be a skincare miracle, it has several uses; as a face mask, a highly moisturising balm for dry patches of skin, a hand rescue remedy (cuticles and nails too!) or a weekly scalp treatment. I’ve still not had a chance to use it on my scalp, but judging by how good it is for all other methods I have faith it will be amazing!

It feels sooo luxurious when you apply it to your skin, like a posh facial that you can do at home! You also don’t need a lot to go a long way, which is great as will last longer, and it spreads really well whilst it kind of melts into your finger tips as you massage it on. I’ve used it on the heels of my feet as they were quite dry and a bit cracked, they’ve improved dramatically, and I also have eczema on my fingers that flares up every now and then. Once its applied it stops any itching immediately which I think is due to its natural ingredients.

The pretty tub of NectaPerfecta is priced at just under £40, which some may feel is expensive, however there are often discount codes advertised on site or on their social media pages so try and get one while they have something running. I would however, purchase one at full price knowing how good it is!

Overall, all of the products I have tried (including my little vanilla and honey lip balm) have been a joy to use. Like I said before, my skin feels healthier, with a natural glow, I hope in time my spots will subside, (they do say it takes a good month or so for a new skincare regime to really kick in) but so far the results have been fab and I want to try everything else in the range now too!

To browse all products visit beegood.co.uk.

All products were gifted via Babushka PR, with no obligation to post or write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

AD – A better nights sleep with Simba

First of all let me start by telling you, that I couldn’t have been more excited when an email from the team at Simba asking if I would like to try their Hybrid Mattress in return for a blog post review popped into my inbox. I spat out my sesame chicken as I was at TGI Fridays, and you all know how much I adore sesame chicken! But I am, so SO grateful that this platform has offered me such great opportunities to work with amazing brands.

So now I’ve had the mattress for 30 days I feel like I can give you a really good review on just how fricking AMAZING this mattress is!

From ordering to delivery was literally 24 hours, so if you ever have a mattress emergency, you know where to go! We have a king size bed so, naturally ordered king size. It comes all packaged in a little box and you can’t quite believe that theres a huge mattress in there, at first I thought someone had played a joke on me, but fear not, I don’t know how, but they squished it in there good!

When you unwrap it you get a special little tool for taking off the plastic, so you don’t cut the fabric of the mattress. I let Greg do it. Big mistake. He STILL managed to cut the fabric, thankfully it was only teeny tiny and on the underneath panel. Always the eager beaver! Once the plastic wrap is off the mattress kind of does its own thing, and expands out onto your bed base! You then leave it a few hours so it can rest and expand fully, and get used to its new surroundings and home!

The first thoughts of the mattress were “It looks SO comfy!!” my previous mattress looked like a cloud but the way it was made meant that it was bumpy?! Which meant that when I laid on my front or back some of my body felt like it was higher or lower than the rest, so I only really felt comfortable on my side. The Simba Hybrid Mattress is flat but textured, its super soft and I really didn’t want to wait for the resting time! I so couldn’t wait to lay on this bad boy!

The first night was heaven. Literal heaven. Apart from the babies waking me up a couple of times, as soon as my body was back on that cloud of a mattress I was totally out again. I woke up feeling like I’d had the best sleep I’d had in a long while so I knew that this was the start of a very long, beautiful relationship.

After the first week, both Greg and I said to each other how much we love our new mattress, we definitely sleep better on it, and he was bragging to everyone that would listen about how good our new mattress is. He does get excited bless him.

One thing I noticed was that its not noisy at all. No springy sound, nothing. If I’m having a bit of a restless night because I’m up and down with the babies, I get in and out of bed like a ninja spy, literally complete silence! It’s bliss! Throughout the second week, I’m pretty sure the babies cottoned on to the fact that we had a new super comfy mattress, because they were waking up more than usual and wouldn’t settle until we brought them into our bed!

The more time went on the more I was realising that I hadn’t woken up with any back ache, or any pain at all since we had the mattress. Whereas our old mattress would sometimes cause me to have some pain in my side if I had had a bit of a dodgy nights sleep… I think it is down to how flat it is, its flat but it kind of wraps around you when you lay down like its giving you a big warm hug!

When I looked into how the mattress is made, I noticed that its constructed of 5 layers, a base that gives pressure relieving support, memory foam, conical pocket springs (2500 of them!) a cooling comfort layer, which prevents you from overheating, perfect for when two toddlers decide to join you. Followed lastly by the breathable sleep surface, which is amazing because you can zip it off and wash it!

Overall, the mattress has improved my sleep massively, Greg still goes on about it, to me, to his friends, to his boss, the list is endless, but it speaks volumes, because we wouldn’t recommend it if we didn’t really love it. And we do really love it!

If you would like to try it for yourself, the link below will refer you through and give you a whopping £75 off your first Simba Hybrid Mattress, I know, how nice am I?! I will tell you though that I will get a small fee for each one that goes through too, so not only am I being nice, but you will be nice back to me for buying! It’s all just really, really nice!

Get £75 off your first Simba Hybrid Mattress

This review was entirely my own opinion, but is required by law to be labelled as AD due to receiving the product as payment and also any successful referrals via the link will result in payment.

5 Reasons Why I HATE my period. Post-Babies

So I was sitting there festering in my angst of being ‘On’ again, and I thought, I really need to get this off of my chest. I fucking hate my period.

Since having babies its become worse, and more frequent. Actually, saying that, its become loads worse since I had babies Vaginally. My C-Section didn’t seem to change it previously, and it settled quicker afterwards too.

As I’ve mentioned before, I bled for 7 months after I had Etti and Roux. Yes you read that correctly, 7 entire, long, drawn out, sexless months. Its a wonder I have any blood left and I’m not resembling a piece of chewed up Biltong. So now, every time my app pops up and kindly reminds me good old flo is coming in a few days, it fills me with dread that I’ve got to go through another week of it. So here is why… a very bitter 5 things I hate about my period. Enjoy, and try not to puke.

  1. I LEAK. The first time I leaked was back last summer when it was my first proper period cycle since the 7 month long drain. It was SO HOT! And of all places to do it…I chose a fucking Circus. A stifling hot, airless tent full of sweaty people, enduring a total shit show, and I bled through my pants, and made a huge blob on my blush coloured maxi skirt. Embarrassed was not the word. I was with the kids, Greg, my mum, and my step dad {insert scream face here}. They all were really understanding, but the trip from the tent to the 10000 degree hot car was not pleasant. I felt so dirty, and pretty pissed off with my entire pelvic area for letting me down. Since then I’ve leaked pretty much every month. In Tesco, In Wetherspoons during a packed breakfast morning. I’m pretty used to it now so for the first 2 days I’m doubling up my pants for an extra bit of barrier. (Period pants companies FYI…you know where to come for a collaboration) But I mean, at least I’m not shitting myself. Bonus.
  2. IM AN EMOTIONAL WRECK FOR AN ENTIRE WEEK BEFORE. The periods are heavier, so its a given that my emotional state of PMS has also become more…lets say intense. The smallest things make me go literally crazy. Not crazy angry, but crazy crying. Like someone just decapitated my dog crying. Greg doesn’t know what to do with me, I don’t know what to do with me. Then as soon as I come on its like a switch goes: Bing! Normal Amy is back.
  3. CLOTTING HELL. Like, I know its probably one of the vilest things ever to talk about, but fuck me. Do we really need to have jelly clumps of blood and flesh making their way out of our vaginas?! Is the blood not enough?! Was Roux’s giant skull not enough?!! DO I REALLY DESERVE THIS FLO?!!!! I’ve googled when to call an ambulance due to clots in your period a few times, apparently under the size of 50p is normal, but quite honestly, they don’t feel normal, not when you actually feel the sensation of them slipping out of your hole. They’re fucking rank and are not welcome. Clots… be gone!
  4. I HAVE TO LAY ON A TOWEL IN BED. So this should come under leakage back up there, but laying on a towel in bed is probably one of the most annoying things ever. On your period your hotter than usual right? Your more irritable right? You struggle to fall asleep because of your pad not being positioned properly right? So throw in the towel which moves every goddamn time you risk rolling over and you have a really fucking annoying 1st world problem right there. I’ve had to grit my teeth to stop me from having a full on midnight punch up with a FUCKING TOWEL.
  5. I LOOK 13 MONTHS PREGNANT. Now, I’ve discovered that Raspberry Leaf tea is a good way to take down the bloating slightly, however I don’t appreciate that still  one minute I’m slipping into my skinnies like a glove and the next I look like that kid that turned into a blueberry on Willy Wonka. I bloat so much for the first two days I have to wear leggings and a baggy jumper. I morph into frumpy Sandra and tend not to leave the house, sitting at the window watching everyone go by like a flump marshmallow but totally not as cute, or as tasty…vom. If I eat, I get fatter, and oh lordy do I know how to eat when I’m bleeding. Carbs: inhale. Chocolate: Smash. Im a walking talking Michelin Man with a food/period baby that leaks everytime she moves. What. A. Picture.

There are a few other things I hate, like getting out of the shower and drying myself quick enough to get my pants and sanitary towel on before the blood starts dripping down my leg, and the fact that it smells like I’m leaking rotting rat juice (normal right?) but those are definitely my top 5 pet period peeves.

Let me know yours! I love period chat. NOT.

How I Dye and Maintain My Hair

Since I’ve been posting various hair styles to my instagram feed I’ve had a lot of interest in my hair colour and how I keep it vibrant. Firstly I would like to clarify that I am not a beauty blogger, I love my makeup, hair and skincare, but I never really have felt ‘qualified’ to write about it. Which is weird really because I can write about whatever the fuck I like. Maybe after this post I will officially be a beauty blogger? Lets find out shall we!

Serious head now. YOU MUST ALWAYS CARRY OUT A PATCH TEST BEFORE DYING YOUR HAIR! This is to make sure you’re not allergic to the dye, some people are and I hear an allergic reaction is not pretty. Can also be pretty serious too. So yes, do that sensible shit.

Now if you have dark hair, you will need to have it lightened first in order for your hair to take the colour. Mine was lightened and dyed a nice vibrant copper in one sitting by the amazing Annika at Flicks & Glitter based in Royston. She is a hair goddess, and the loveliest woman too so if you are local make sure you go to her because she will turn your hair into mermaid hair no problemo.

Since Annika worked her magic I’ve not been able to have appointments due to Greg being away so started dying my hair myself. If you feel confident in doing this yourself, then go ahead! It saves me money, I can still do it if Greg is away (trying to keep any grooming appointments when he is away is impossible) and I can do it whenever I like.

The colour I use on my hair is called RUSK Deepshine in 6.4C Brilliant Copper and 7.44C Intense Copper Blonde. I mix them together because it is just the perfect shade. I mix half a tube of each of these with 6% 20 Vol Creme Peroxide. Sally Beauty stock all of this along with the mixing bowl and dye brush I use to apply it, they regularly have new customer discount codes too, so worth having a look!

When I’m dying my hair I always put some vaseline around my hairline to stop the dye getting to my skin and giving me a lego head for those first few days after dying it! Then I section my hair into four parts, start with my roots, section by section, then go down the ends, making sure to massage the dye into the hair to get a nice even coverage. Then I leave it for a good 40 mins to develop, wash it off with lukewarm water and shampoo and give it a good conditioning treatment. I also sleep for the next few nights with a dark towel on my pillow so it doesn’t transfer onto my white covers! Greg would be mega pissed. I know from experience.

Now the next bit for me is like my secret, I don’t know if it has any effect whatsoever but it makes me sound like I know what I’m talking about, so I’ll let you in on it! I always leave my hair for as long as possible before the next wash. I feel like it helps the dye to settle and stick more, but then I could be talking utter shite because as I said previously I’m not a beauty blogger….yet. So usually I was my hair every other day, but after a dye I probably leave it 4…5 at a push!

When I do finally shampoo my lard head I use Aveda Madder Root Shampoo I’ve linked it via LookFantastic as thats where I purchased it from which was the cheapest place, I paid £36 for 1000ml, that was back in September, I’ve still got a third of a bottle left now so definitely worth going for and I’m sure it really works for my colour. Then I condition it with whatever conditioner I can get my hands on mixed with this little beauty… Revlon Nutri Color 400, its super pigmented and proper stains all my tile grout so Greg constantly moans at me. But whatever man, my hair looks fucking fabulous. I get it from amazon because its on prime baby! AND under a tenner! So definitely the cheapest place to get it from with delivery. I first purchased that back in July and I’ve only just last week had to reorder another bottle. So it really is excellent value for money. The photo below shows how pigmented the conditioner and shampoo is!

And thats it really, apart from using oils and heat protector on my hair, theres not much else to it! I usually dye it every 5 weeks, sometimes I can stretch to 6 but my hair grows so fast that my roots start to show quite quickly. This colour does fade but now that I’ve dyed it a few times, the colour doesn’t tire as fast as it did when I first had it done!

I hope if you are hoping to go over to the red side you find this useful. If you have been toying with the idea…honestly just fucking do it. I’ve wanted to be this colour for years and always found an excuse not to. The lightening process was too long, the colour fades too fast, it won’t suit me. But now I’ve done it, its the best I’ve felt about my hair in a very long time. Its a colour that is great all through the year. I feel like Ginger Spice and Princess Ariel all at once. What more could you want!?

#AD, the How, What and Why?

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a while, but with Christmas just over a week away and Ads popping up all over social media, I thought now is definitely the time to do it! Now, I don’t feel as though I need to justify why I take on paid work, so thats not why I’m writing this, but I do feel the need to be transparent to people that choose to follow me and my family is important. So here it is…

I first started paid work through my instagram only a few months ago, I have always moaned about people that post ads which have no relevance to their feeds whatsoever, or advertising something that we all know they don’t really use *cough Tommee Tippee machine for a 4 year old, cough* but I mean, whatever, if thats what people want to do for money, its up to them and I know where that unfollow button is…for sure. However, thats not how I want to make money and I will ALWAYS only ever take on something that I love and that I would buy anyway, or items that I love, but cant necessarily afford to buy. When an opportunity comes my way that fits with my morals and values, and its something that I feel happy to advertise, I’m gonna grab it.

The decision to monetise my social media, came after a suggestion from a friend I’ve made via instagram. I thought, I put so much effort into some of my shots, getting paid to do something I love would be a massive bonus, and it is, but at the moment I wouldn’t be able to rely on it for an income. It’s purely to buy my kids and I nice things, and its come in really handy this Christmas as (and I have no shame in admitting this) money has been tight since we have been forced to live apart for the past 6 months.

My first “job” was with VTech. it was kind of a unique one as we got invited to go to a launch event for it in London too, so the fee covered our travel expenses, the time for us being there and to post the image. I LOVED IT! It was a fab experience for the girls, we had a day out and got paid to post a photo which took me all of an hour to shoot and edit.

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My paid work has come from various agencies, one I like in particular is Takumi. It’s an app on your phone, and most jobs include the product. So you get the invite, you can read the brief, make sure you can complete the job within the time scale given, and if you want to accept it you can, or you decline it, I’ve actually declined a lot of invites, but thankfully you aren’t penalised for doing this. You are then sent the product, shoot it, and submit for approval so it fits in line with the brief you are given. The captions are all your own words, you just need to mention certain things and include the hashtags they would like you to use. This is to keep it natural and non-salesy, and engaging with your followers.

Another app I like is Tribe. With this one its a little different as the campaigns all come up as a list, you go and buy the item (sometimes they ask you to submit something similar to what you would if you had the product and if they’re happy and want to go ahead they will then send the product to you). When you submit the post you determine how much money you would like to be paid. The company then reviews your submission, then they can approve it or decline it, or ask you to change a few things so they can review it before they go ahead. I’ve taken a few more jobs from this platform lately, but it can be a bit annoying if you go out, buy the product and then have it declined so I only usually do it if I’m going to buy it anyway, if its something free (like the Canon creative park) or if you can submit something similar to what you would and they send the sample for you after (Omlet dog crate is a good example of this).

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There are lots more influencer agencies available, but these are the main ones that I seek out paid jobs with. You do need to keep in mind that some will only take you on if you have over a certain amount of followers and if your engagement is good. Theres no use taking on a job, posting then not engaging with the people commenting on it. The brands you work with will follow the progress of posts and I always think the more effort I put in, the more likely that brand will work with me again in the future. Some brands actually ask for insights (all the info about how many people have commented/clicked/liked your post) to see how well its performed. This is why I recently switched my profile from a personal to a business account to enable this particular feature.

Sometimes, the opportunities come to you. Weareinfluencernetwork messaged me on instagram about a campaign that was coming up and we had a discussion about fees etc before I proceeded with working on their campaign. At first it can make you a bit nervous but it really is a business negotiation so you need to take the emotion out of it. The worst they can say is no!

So I’m sure you are all wondering just how much can you get paid? If you start off with 1% of your following thats usually the average for one photo post. So mine at the moment standing at around 6.7k followers would be £67. However, if I am negotiating the fees I will always ask for more if I need to go buy the product. If the post is a video post, you can look at double that figure. Stories will be lower because they only last for 24 hours, a recent campaign gave me £130 for one feed post, one story, and I got given a £50 gift voucher to purchase the product. Each brand is slightly different but the 1% figure is always a good starting point. But one thing you shouldn’t do is undersell yourself. It does take time, planning and effort on your behalf, the big brands are saving a massive amount of money on advertising by using influencers across social media, so don’t be afraid to up that price a little more if you are going to create a good quality post.

I think thats pretty much everything I need to cover at the moment…if you have any questions either leave me a comment or DM me on my instagram @that.twin.mother.

And remember, if you see an ad from someone you love following, give it a like and a comment. I’m sure you all would go mental if you saw me on TV advertising some fucking Iceland food in a sequinned dress screaming “Thats why mums go to Iceland!” so go wild for those instagram posts too. I feel proud of what I’ve done so far, and every comment, like and DM supporting me means the world. So thank you!

All I want for Christmas, is no obligation.

 

Christmas Time Decorations Still Life, candle, christmas lights, christmas setting, christmas sweets

Ahh its Christmas, time to drink mulled cider (yes it is just a classy as wine), decorate our trees, plan our Christmas dinners, binge on quality street and buy a never ending list of gifts for family we hardly ever see.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, and I like to visit them, and would like them to visit me. But for a huge percentage of our family, we’ve barely had any physical visits in a year and a couple of them have only seen Etti and Roux in the flesh twice. So why the fuck do I need to go to the effort to gift them all?!

The beginning of this for me started over a year ago, I was heavily pregnant, Greg was out of the country for 4 months and only my very closest relatives made the effort to come to see me. My 30th birthday was spent sobbing on the sofa because 99% of people in my family didn’t bother. No cards, no gifts, just a shit text that was probably copied and pasted from last years message. No special occasion, nothing. And I sat there and cried and cried for DAYS. Yes, there were hormones involved but honestly the main feeling I had was resentment towards them all.

I hated that I was ALWAYS the mug that put in so much thought into a gift, it made me cry to watch them receive it. (I swear I dont cry as much as this post is making out, I just, you know, have a heart.) I would always purchase something even if I couldn’t afford to, and I despised the fact that I lived away from them all and had to either post their gift or take it a bit late.

So last Christmas I made a stand. I wasn’t going to buy anyone a gift that didn’t make an effort for my 30th Birthday. I wanted them all to feel the way I did that day, honestly, ask Greg, even now I get upset when I think of how I felt, (I know, I know, man the fuck up Amy) and you know what, this is gonna make me sound like an absolute knob but I FUCKING LOVED seeing their faces when they realised they weren’t getting a gift from me. I bloody loved it *Mwahahahaa*.

This year, however, isn’t about revenge, resentment or because no one brought me a gift. No, no, no, this year is about the realisation that we DON’T HAVE TO GIFT EVERY ONE THATS RELATED TO US BY BLOOD/MARRIAGE/ILLEGITIMATE AFFAIRS. And even better, we don’t need to feel guilty about it. 

My mum would tell you that “Christmas is all about the kids”. Erm, no mother, Christmas existed in that 10 year window between me becoming an adult and having my own children, so I would argue that it is about showing appreciation to those that you love and is an opportunity to come together and celebrate that love and time as a family. (Obviously if you are religious you will say its something to do with some dude called Jesus and his constant pushiness to celebrate his birthday…but then he has two doesn’t he? So, move over Jeez).

Christmas is stretched as it is, we’ve been forcefully living apart for almost 6 months so we’ve been paying for two lifestyles throughout the week, then the weekends money just flies away from our hands so quick it was like it never actually there in the first place. Because I’ve been run off my feet keeping the house together, dealing with four kids 4 years old and under with all the tantrums, illness and zero sleep, and then running my business all without Greg, I feel super unorganised. Sadly, this means that presents that could have been purchased bit by bit over the months, just didn’t materialise.

So thinking of spending over £100 on nieces and nephews we hardly see isn’t appealing. In. The. Slightest.

But why do we feel guilty about this? Why do we feel obligated to purchase a physical gift to people we hardly see? For me, it’s about wanting people to be pleased with me, a seeking of approval or something weird and fucked up and I never really thought about it until the last couple of months when something just clicked. I think my mum was mortified when I told her my plans, but to be honest, I’m sick to the back teeth of trying to please people. I’m not a people pleaser, and I could kick myself for wasting so much time worrying about it in the past. All that matters is the ones that are close to me are happy. That’s it. That’s all we strive for as parents, to make sure our children are healthy and happy, so why does that have to change just because its Christmas?

When you take the feeling about this whole situation, giving to people that you just feel obligated to give to, it really makes no sense, and is just fucking stupid.

Say you decide to spend £20 on someone, they decide to spend £20 on you. What do you have? You receive a gift that you maybe you like, but you don’t love it, and you’ve given them a gift, which you wish you’d kept for yourself, because you spent so long thinking of something to buy for them you just resigned to buying something you love which they might like. You should’ve saved your cash and gone and brought that gift for your fucking self. You deserve it after all that faff. Add to that the time you’ve spent wrapping it, the contribution to the plastic waste crisis we have, and the energy expended driving/posting the gift. You’re both running at a loss, Everyone’s a bloody loser. Yes, I know, I’m a genius.

Keep that twenty in your pocket and invest it in those that you really love, those that spend time with you, want to be with you and you feel the same in return. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift, it doesn’t even need to be physical. You could spend it on an experience, plan a day out together, get loads of wine in and just get totally fucked up, whatever you do, only gift someone because you want to not because you feel you should.

Save your cash, save your energy, save the world.

Merry Christmas,

The Grinch x

 

 

 

 

Little Tikes Trike Review

When Mila and Iris turned one, the first thing I wanted to buy them was a trike. Money was tight however, so because we had to buy two we went for these cheap ass ones from amazon. They arrived, I painfully put them together and went for our first outing on them. They were HORRIFIC!

I couldn’t steer them, they felt like they were going to fall apart (totally quality issues and NOT my assembling skills) and they were so freaking loud to push along I’m pretty sure environmental health would have been on my case if we had kept them.

We went straight home and I quickly threw them back in the battered boxes in which they arrived, and shipped them back off to the dark dingy corner of the amazon warehouse that they came from.

So when we were invited to take part in the Little Tikes Tour De Trike campaign for Etti and Roux I jumped at the chance. Our trike arrived and it was a lovely teal colour, perfect for both Etti and Roux. Immediately I noticed the quality compared to those crappy amazon ones, the metal frame work was really sturdy, and although the babies and the girls meddling slowed down my usually speedy assembling, the instructions were really easy to follow and it was up and ready to go in no time!

The girls kept asking me if they could have a go, and I was soooooo happy to see that this particular trike goes up to age 5 from 9 Months so the girls can have a go on it too when we take off the parent handle, the seat bars and enable the pedals! I’m forever telling the girls to get off the babies toys so you can imagine the glee in their little faces when I told them they could actually try it out.

The first outing with the babies was so much fun, they loved being able to see more than they usually see in their prams, and were shaded from the sun with the little shade canopy.

 

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Our pram is a pain the bottom to put in our car, we have to take the wheels off, fold it down, balance the two seat units a certain way and they have to be in there just right, secured by a bungy cord (I know ridulous right?) otherwise the boot door will stubbornly refuse to close. When we went out with the trike while I snapped some photos Greg had one baby in the carrier on his back, and pushed the other in the trike. It’s the perfect way to get out for a lovely walk in our area without having to take the huge double pram, and we will definitely be trying it when we go out and about further afield, as the trike takes up much less space in the boot of the car too!

One massive bonus is that its SILENT! You can’t hear us coming from miles away and the babies can actually hear me talking to them while we walk rather than being deafened by the sound of hollow plastic against the pavement! I also love the little add ons of the tray for the babies, and a tray for the parent to hold drinks, snacks and phones! Theres even a little area behind the seat at the bottom which is a great camera holder. See something for everything!

So far we have only explored locally where we live, but I’m really looking forward to getting out and about further afield and adding more places to our Tour De Trike adventures! Keep an eye on my instagram feed to see more content.

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Keeping up appearances

A couple of weeks ago I saw a post on Facebook by the lovely Giovanna Fletcher. In this post she had no makeup on, which is pretty standard I’d say for her, but when I read the caption she had said that a stranger online had commented on her appearance, saying “she looked a bit of a mess”. Errrr you fuckin what? She honestly didn’t seem that bothered by it, but it just shocked me that someone could be so blunt and cruel to someone they didn’t even know.

©️Giovanna Fletcher

I loved her response to it, and it led me to think more about how I present myself, and how others may perceive me.

It’s very rare that I leave the house without makeup on. That’s not because I feel like I have to, it’s because I want to. Makeup has always been a fun thing to do for me.

I admit it’s slightly addictive, I spend way to much money trying to find the right foundation, but you only live once and in the words of Dua Lipa IDGAF.

Every time I go on the nursery run I get a comment from at least one of the mums about how they don’t understand where i get the time to do my hair and makeup. I’ve always thought they were harmless, but when I sit back and really think about it, are they being nice or were they actually being judgemental pricks?

Do they actually think I don’t do any of the getting ready in the morning and leave it to my husband? Do they assume I leave my kids to scream while I happily plaster my face with numerous layers of concealer, bronzer and enough highlighter to make a blind man wince?

If I let myself sit and toy with the idea that people could be judging me for wearing too much makeup, I’d probably drive myself crazy. So what should we do? Not wear it?

There’s only been a handful of times that I’ve done the nursery run or gone to the supermarket with the bare naked face my mumma gave me. It’s only an occurrence when I’m ill, so tired I can’t even pick things up, or this awful time when a doctor told me to not wear makeup for 3 weeks because I was actually allergic to my new Mac Foundation. (Worst. Day. Ever.)

It’s actually quite rare I don’t wear makeup even when I’m staying in for the day, it’s part of my morning ritual. When I don’t wear makeup it just doesn’t feel right. Not because I’m self conscious, not because I feel ugly, or I feel like others are judging me, but because I just don’t feel like me. I’ve played with makeup for so long it’s part of who I am now, that’s not a bad thing, and it certainly doesn’t make me a bad Mum because I take 30 minutes out of my day to do it.

Mila and Iris have already taken a massive interest in my makeup, annoyingly so. Not because I don’t want them to be interested, but because they keep touching all my high end shit and I just can’t handle the daily heart attacks when they drop my eyeshadow pallette or dent my lipstick (yes I am that anal).

If they feel like they want to be creative and paint their face the way I do, I will support it 100%. I know in my heart they will always know they’re beautiful with or without it, because I tell them all the time. Yes there is a time and a place for kids to wear makeup, and I won’t be letting them pinch my foundation anytime soon, but if they want to wear purple eyeshadow, noddy-esque blusher, and bubblegum pink lipstick while we play in the house, who the fuck am I to stop them?

Mila rocking the “is it purple or is it a bruise” eye makeup.

See the point is, whether we slap it all on 5cms deep, or leave our faces barer than a baboons arse, it isn’t anyone else’s business. They can do them, and leave us to do us. Judgmental people exist everywhere, in every aspect of life we can be judged, preached to, or bitched about.

Unfortunately as vulnerable as we are in motherhood it seems to attract knobby know it alls and brings all the judgey-mcjudgersons out of their dark little judgey holes.

But whether we choose to give them the time of day and listen to their cruel words and digs or stick the middle finger up to them and say fuck you is up to us.

I know what I will do!