Friday, 31 May 2013

Looking Forwards...R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

I missed joining up last week after all my declarations of being positive and posting each week, d'oh!

My reasons are a mixed bag this week and one or two may seem to be a forced cheerfulness but I'm including them anyway!!

I had a birthday!
It was my birthday just under 2 weeks ago and I had a brilliant Eurovision themed birthday party.  I am a massive fan and it's brilliant that it always coincides with my birthday weekend!  My Other Half even went all out and made me a cake which he iced from scratch so I was very tasted delicious too!!

Eli's passport came through.
After setting off at 6am for Peterborough armed with two photos we weren't sure the Passport Office would accept, we managed to get Eli a passport.  It arrived two days after our appointment as well which we were surprised about.  We are just waiting for my Other Half's to come through now and we will be well and truly set for our holiday next week.

I'm not sure whether they will question the picture as he's holding a piece of toast and pointing at he's got to have this passport until he's 7!!

Not a new job.
My Other Half didn't get the job although he came 'a close second' apparently.  It might seem a bit strange to include this in as a reason to be happy but we are choosing to look on the bright side and trust that it wouldn't have been the right job for him in the end despite the disappointment of it.

I went dancing...and enjoyed myself!
I was invited out with a friend to join a small group and go for a night out.  It is a long long time since I went out and I was hesitant about whether I would enjoy myself as it's really not my scene.  I would much rather curl up with a good book under a blanket and drink a lovely cup of Lady Grey...that's just how I'm wired!  But I went anyway and whilst I got to meet the more interesting characters of the town I live in, I did really enjoy myself!  So, yay for new and different experiences!

I got a new haircut.
I have been putting this off for about two months due to it being an expense I didn't want to have but I finally went and got my hair cut and took the plunge and went for something completely different.  I was really enthusiastic in the hairdressers about it and had a bit of a wobbly moment when I got home and looked in the mirror and realised that it was totally changed and made me look different but I think I've made my peace with it for now!

Probably need to work on my face for self portraits though!!!

Book Love: Stuck by Oliver Jeffers


As parents, we have the grand job of reading a multitude of bedtime stories throughout the lives of our children.  Let's face it, after you've read the same story for the fiftieth time, it can be hard to keep the excitement and enthusiasm in your voice.

We picked up a book from the library yesterday that, judging by it's front cover, looked a bit beyond Meg and Eli but I went with it as Meg's choice.  She chose it for Daddy to read at bedtime in the evening and I could hear giggles coming from children and adult alike so I was quite curious about it.

When she chose it again tonight, I was intrigued!

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

The story is about Floyd, a young lad whose trouble begins when his kite gets stuck in a tree.  He throws his favourite shoe up to try and knock the kite from the tree and would you believe, that gets stuck too...then follows a variety of random items he throws in an attempt to retrieve his kite, including a cat, a kitchen sink, a milkman and an orang-utan!

I loved the style of the writing in the book and that there are bits crossed out where it looks like the writer isn't sure of the spelling, as though the story is being told by Floyd after the event.

The thing we liked most about this story though is it's originality.  Both myself and my Other Half were actually laughing out loud at Floyd's predicament and the things he picks to throw into the tree.  As a children's bedtime story we found it a breath of fresh air.

Meg and Eli loved the silliness of it and were exclaiming with glee every time we turned the page and revealed the next thing Floyd decided to deposit in the tree.

Of course, like every good story, it has a happy ending and Floyd is eventually reunited with his kite.  I will leave it a mystery as to what happens to everything (and everyone) else who end up in the tree!

If you're looking for a new and inventive bedtime story then I would really recommend Stuck.  I will definitely be purchasing this once we've returned the library copy we have as I can see it featuring on our stories list for some time.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Imagine IF: The Hunger Museum

Back in February, I wrote a post about the IF campaign...a coalition of 150 UK charities and churches who have joined forces to call on the Government to put steps into motion to end world hunger at the G8 summit this June.  I will be writing some more in the near future about the G8 summit itself and how you can get involved.

For those who don't know, the IF campaign highlights the shocking fact that 1 in 8 people go to bed hungry, and yet there is enough food in the world to feed everyone.

The following video has been produced as part of the campaign and is called 'The Hunger Museum'

Set in the year 2050, the Hunger Museum animation takes viewers through an exhibition of how the world ended hunger from the G8 meeting in June 2013 onwards.

Please do get involved by watching the video and sharing it on your social networks.

You can also still sign the petition and follow the cause on Twitter @enoughfoodIF and share content using #if or #tellamillion

We could give every child a world free from hunger...I cannot stress how much this is a real possibility in our lifetimes!!

Please do get involved in any way you can, even if it's to share this post or something from +Tearfund - the more people who make noise about this issue, the more chance we have of seeing change at the summit this June.

May Bank Holiday Fun

We had a great time this Bank Holiday.  I tweeted on Friday that as I looked out of the window at the gale force winds and torrential rain, I simply didn't see how the weather would turn nice enough to spend time outside over the extended weekend.  But I was definitely wrong!

On Saturday we got up bright and early in the sunshine(!) and hit our local charity shops to do some bargain hunting.  I managed to get my favourite ever game 'Boggle' for 79p and it's all intact so I was very pleased.  That will be coming with us to France next week for sure!

Meg was very pleased with her straw hat find too although it was a tad squashed at the bottom of a basket so now has some random creases in it; any tips for de-squishing a straw hat gratefully received!

On Sunday we went to Church as usual and then spent the afternoon playing in the garden at a friend's house.  The kids had great fun splashing in the paddling pool and being "wet monsters" according to Meg!  Eli wasn't so keen but I think it was perhaps a little bit colder than he was expecting.

Monday, my OH gave me a lovely long lie-in and then we went round to my parents house where the kids spent the majority of the time running round the back garden playing hide and seek.  Their garden is brilliant with lots of different pathways and as it's quite overgrown in places, it is full of ideal hiding spots.

Eli still hasn't quite managed to grasp the ins and outs of hide and seek and, much to Meg's dismay, will still just hide in the same spot he last found Meg in.  Meg isn't much better as she can't stay quiet for more than 5 minutes and is prone to shouting out "I'm here" if you take too long in trying to 'find' her.

Typical though isn't it, that this morning it is chucking it down with rain.

It was nice whilst it lasted!
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

My name's Jess and I'm a Sharent...

It's become a running joke in my family that since I became a blogger, everything is a photo opportunity.  I take literally hundreds of photos a week of our family life just to capture the 'right' one.  I tweet, facebook and blog about important family moments (and the more mundane ones too.)  In some people's opinions, I overshare and thus fall into the category of 'Sharent'

You can almost imagine the way people say it, with that slight touch of disdain, the eyes judging you, the mouth turned down in disapproval.  "Oh, you're one of those parents"  I get it from people I know, who think that blogging is a waste of time and I have read lots of different opinions on the level of sharing that parents are willing to do.

I have weighed up the pros and cons of posting about Meg and Eli's lives online and I have reached a point that I am comfortable with.

The thing is, I was never any good at filling in those baby books you get given when your children are small.  There was simply too much other stuff going on to justify sitting and writing about the time that Eli got his first tooth, or when Meg took her first step.  But one day, I realised that I was starting to forget when these things had happened.  I ended up scrolling back through my facebook statuses to see when I had let my family and friends know about these milestone moments just so that I could make a note of them.

Had I not shared these important moments, the truth is, I probably wouldn't be able to say exactly when they happened.

Blogging is just one step further than that.  I have to confess that initially I didn't think too much about the repercussions of sharing some of Meg's weirder moments online, for example, but in hindsight, I will be telling her those same stories when she gets older anyway.  Probably in the company of her friends and so I don't see much difference in telling my family and friends about them now.

When I made the decision to write an open letter to Meg, I pondered long and hard about how it would make me look and whether I really wanted to put it 'out there'.  But once I had clicked publish, I received nothing but support.  

To some people, I was way way too honest about my self-image, but these are the things I want Meg to know.  So it's online?  So, what?  Posting it for the world to see allowed me to be forthright in a way that I would have struggled to do in real life.  It also allowed me to capture the emotions of a time when I felt something very strongly, rather than passing it on years down the line when I've forgotten most of how I was feeling.  It also gave space for other people to share their thoughts on the topic too, thus bringing a sense of not being alone in my situation, which strengthened my resolve about sharing.

I write about Meg and Eli because I think they are amazing little people, and that they have stories that are worth telling and sharing.  I don't do it to embarrass them, I do it to encourage other parents that we're all (more or less) in the same boat and that we can share together how fantastic our children's achievements are.

A lady in my church once told me of how isolated she had felt after she had her children, as in 'those' days, there weren't many ways she could connect with other parents.  I am not isolated; I am able to share the highs and lows with thousands of other mums and dads all around the world.  I hope that sometimes I am able to reassure other parents as I take reassurance from reading about experiences similar to my own.

Perhaps, when the kids start to get older, I will think again about how much I share about their personal lives but right now, whilst they are just doing the funny and quirky things that toddlers do, I don't think anything of sharing their stories.  Neither do I mind about sharing their photos.  To me, they are just like any other preschool child and I am happy for people to see their faces.

Will they resent me for being so open?  I honestly don't know.  If I'm still blogging in 5 or 10 years time then I will sit them down and explain about what I do, why I do it and hope that they understand.  If they choose to resent me, then so be it.  I know I got angry at my parents about more ridiculous things than story sharing online; not being able to own a pair of high heeled £80 kicker shoes at the age of 9 for one thing!

I regularly google their names and so far, perhaps because I'm not batting in the big leagues, they are untraceable.  What will I do if one day my blog goes *boom* and suddenly their names are everywhere?

Well, firstly, I will let them think they are mini-celebrities for appearing so high in the God of search engines results.  

And secondly, I will try, and am trying, my very best to ensure that they grow up to be confident, secure and well-rounded children who are able to laugh at themselves.  I was bullied all through school and I know how awful that can be.  I don't believe that anything I write about Meg and Eli here will give cause for others to attack them but I do know that I will be standing right behind my children if that should happen in the future, letting them know how precious they are, and how idiotic some people can be.  

Because let's face it, if children are out to bully someone, it doesn't matter whether it's something they've seen online or some 'clever' remark they pull out of thin air, they are going to do it.

Starting Catch A Single Thought was one of the best decisions I ever made and I am really proud that I am making this record of family life for years to come.  If that makes me a sharent then so be it!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Wot So Funee: Holiday Countdown

Wot So Funee?

Today it is exactly 10 days until we go on our holiday, yippee!!  Meg has been asking a lot how many more sleeps it is until we go, so I decided today we'd make a little countdown picture and then she won't need to keep asking so she has something to look at and reference.

She decided that she wanted to draw some pictures around the outside to show the things she'd like to do when we're away.

This is what she came up with:

To be honest, she's not that far off.  We will travel through the Euro Tunnel to get to France, and we will spend some time at the beach although I can't guarantee there will be two islands and as we're staying on a working farm there are going to be pigs to feed.

I'm just not sure about the sea monster and all his tiny friends.  Does Meg know something we don't!?!

Regardless, she was very pleased with the final product and asked whether it 'counted' as a sleep if she went to bed right then.  How I wish that were possible!

Friday, 24 May 2013

15 things I love...

I happened across Becky from Ar-blog's linky for this by accident but once I'd looked through the other posts linking up I was really keen to join in!

It's such a lovely way to reflect on some of the things we love most in life!

So, here's my list:

1. I love my husband.

2. I love the sloppy open mouthed kisses my children give without warning.

3. I love Jesus.

4. I love that my friends are as silly as me.

5. I love reading, especially snuggled up in bed (this may become a theme...)

6. I love the way Eli chuckles in a deep belly laugh kind of way when he finds something funny.

7. I love Catch A Single Thought and the opportunity it gives me to write and meet new people (and that people actually read it!)

8. I love silly family times.

9. I love lazing about in the garden in the sunshine

10. I love the sound of rain whilst I'm snuggled up in bed.

11. I love a cup of tea made in a teapot.

12. I love notebooks and pretty stationery.

13. I love anything that looks shabby chic. 

14. I love going for long walks in the countryside.

15. I love travelling and exploring historical places.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Win: A love2read personalised book for Father's Day!

Regular readers may remember that back in March for my World Book Day blog hop, I ran a competition with love2read to win one of their personalised books.  I was so pleased with the response and I hope the winner is enjoying their book as much as we still enjoy ours three years down the line!

In the run up to Father's Day love2read are offering another of my readers the opportunity to win a personalised My

Dads will love being the star of the bedtime story, so this is the perfect Father's Day gift.  love2read's range of books can be personalised by adding ten photos and text to the pages e.g. "My dad plays golf", "My dad likes cars" or "My dad loves me".

love2read's website is full of templates, all you have to do is pick the one that you want, upload your ten digital photos and then add some simple text.  There is a wide selection of templates to choose from including - My dad...  My daddy...  Our dad...  and My grandad...

The books are themed around National Curriculum keywords and are designed to stimulate the child's interest in books so that they really want to read.  No software is needed, the website is easy to use and you can even save your book as you go along if you need to come back to it later.

This year, give a Father's Day gift the whole family will treasure for years to come - and help your child catch the reading bug at the same time.  To ensure books arrive in time for Father's Day, orders need to be placed by midday on 10th June.

As usual, I don't like to make people jump through hoops to enter my competitions so there is only one mandatory entry point - just leave a blog post comment answering the question in the rafflecopter.  The rest are bonus entries which you can take or leave.

This truly is a lovely prize.  I bought my OH a "My daddy..." book for his first Father's Day three years ago and although it is well thumbed it's still going strong and both Meg and Eli enjoy looking through it and reading it at bedtime.  Well worth entering the competition!

For further information and to see the range of books on offer please visit their website at:

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Tearfund: The Choice

If you'd like more information on The Choice, you can sign up here

Wot So Funee: Meg's Story

Wot So Funee?

I was inspired by the recent posts of little ones writing their own stories and decided to ask Meg whether she'd like to try writing one.

She pretty much burst my ear drums with her shouts of "yes yes yes!" but as it transpires, her idea of what a story should be is, erm, rather interesting.

After her third morbid comment, I had to offer a bit of constructive criticism and suggest that perhaps she should just describe the picture she had drawn...note the sudden change of direction on page three!

So here you go (translations underneath):

"Megan's story by Meg, aged 4"

"I love you world.  
What are you like?
Will you never end?
How do you end if you are carrot city?"

"Onion world, where you sing and dance.
Will you end tomorrow?
This is a circus. The circus teacher is walking on the river without crocodiles or sharks.
These sealions are nice."

"This is me playing in the cinema with lots of soft toys."

This was definitely one of those moments where I seriously questioned the weirdness of my own child.   You could probably blame the parents to be honest.  On relaying this story to my mum she pointed out that I was the child who used to make hearses out of her playmobile. can all unfollow me now!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Creative Cooking with Cadbury Dairy Milk

I was so excited when I was given the opportunity to take part in the sponsored challenge for Collective Bias® - who doesn't love to eat chocolate?!?

I'll be honest and say that I am happy to eat any kind of chocolate going, I'm really not fussed!  But when I was younger we were generally given Cadbury chocolate buttons as treats, so Cadbury does hold a certain element of nostalgia for me.

I decided to do my shop at Tesco as we have two of their superstores close to us and they usually have a good range of products.  You can see more of my shopping experience here

I wanted to give Meg the opportunity to do some baking as she loves it so I decided to try out a new biscuit recipe and to use Cadbury chocolate buttons to make a sort of 'thumbprint' biscuit.

I used the following recipe:
225g butter
110g caster sugar
275g plain flour

Cream the butter in a large bowl until it is soft.  Add the caster sugar and beat until your mixture is light and fluffy.

Sieve in your flour and mix together until you have formed a dough (I had to use my hands in the final stages to help bind it all together)

Form small balls of dough and place them on your baking tray.

Flatten with the back of a fork/spoon and bake in the oven for about 15 mins at 170C or Gas Mark 3.

It confused Meg no end that we weren't going to roll out our dough and use cutters (me too to be honest) I wasn't convinced it would work so I was surprised when the biscuits came out of the oven looking like biscuits!

I took the biscuits out 5 minutes before we needed to, to ensure that they were soft enough and then we used our thumbs to make small indentations placing the button in the indentation.  It did melt the button a small bit around the edges and so perhaps didn't look as neat as I had hoped but my official testers didn't notice and certainly no complaints were made at the dinner table later!!

For the main creative challenge I wanted to try something different.  Having baked 5 birthday cakes in the last month, I am a little baked out!  I spent a bit of time thinking it over before my OH suggested having a go at homemade ice cream.  I knew we had a recipe somewhere in a book we'd been given once upon a time so I set about hunting it down!

I was a bit dubious about attempting this without an ice cream maker and a quick search on Google didn't help me feel any more confident but actually it's really very simple to make without an ice cream maker, it just takes a bit more time and effort.  You pretty much make custard, pop it in the freezer and whisk it up every 20 minutes for two hours until it starts to solidify and turn into ice cream.

We made basic vanilla ice cream and then chopped up some of the Cadbury dairy milk bar to mix in as chocolate chips.  Here's how we got on:

We let the kids decorate their ice cream with Cadbury clusters, sugar hearts and chocolate sprinkles and they seemed to give it the thumbs up!

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.


I decided to share about another job interview OH has on the horizon in a post last week and since then I've been haunted by the possibility that it wasn't the right thing to do.

It feels like every time I open my mouth and share about potential good news and exciting opportunities that are happening, they immediately fizzle out and dry up.  Which I know is totally illogical and they were most likely not going to go anywhere anyway and me saying it out loud has no effect whatsoever.  Probably.

Now I'm chasing my tail wondering whether it was the right thing to do to broadcast OH's interview this week.  This is job opportunity number 3 for a local job and I know that every time he doesn't get it, it's a knock to his motivation to keep looking for something else.

It's also hard not to start down the road of imagining what our lives would be like 'if'.  'If' OH gets this job then it will mean x, y and z for our futures.  'If' OH gets this job then it would mean I wouldn't be on my own with the kids most of the time, I would be able to have help in a morning getting them ready, I would be able to eat breakfast with my OH (which has never happened), it would be confirmation that staying where we are was the right thing to do when we could have upped sticks and moved months ago etc etc - it's so easy to wander down that road and begin to get excited about the potential this job has for us as a family.

Not to mention the fact that it would be a life changing job for my OH.  He is currently working in a terrible environment, with people who have little to no care or regard for his wellbeing and I have watched his positivity spiral downwards for the best part of 18 months.  I want it to stop! all the people who read my previous post and who have read this.  Keep it quiet, ok?  Because we really need this interview to go well!!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Sunday Afternoon Fun: Playing at the beach

We visited our in-laws over the weekend and decided to go down to Crosby beach to get some fresh air and exercise.  There's something about the sea air that just wears you out, I think, and we were hoping to tire out two bouncy dogs and two over active children!!

I'm not sure whether my mother in law came to regret it, with Eli wandering wherever he fancied and Meg giving up walking every now and then to demand some ice cream, it took us over an hour and a half!

We didn't do any 'beach' things like making sand castles, we simply walked down to the water's edge to do a bit of splashing.  Eli, however, attempted a bit more than that and sat down fully clothed in the water getting soaked. Typical boy!

Alfie particularly enjoyed the water and Meg made a little shell picture in the sand and, I think, brought some pretty shells home in her coat pocket although I have yet to discover their whereabouts.

It was lovely weather for it, really clear blue sky and although a bit windy (which didn't help my migraine in the slightest), the sun was incredibly warm which made it almost feel like it could be the middle of May...

Crosby Beach has some cast iron figures facing out to sea, spread over a 2 mile stretch of the beach.  Meg had great fun hiding behind one with her Nana discussing the various anatomical features he had!

Then we walked back up to the top, discovering in the process a new adaptation on reins: take one well behaved dog and one unruly toddler. Convinced unruly toddler that they are being a "big boy" by holding onto the lead and walking the well behaved dog. Hey presto! Eli walked all the way up the beach without stopping (walking is a slight understatement, he was pretty much pulled along!)

Once back at the top we enjoyed some well earned ice creams.

And Daddy spent a bit of time being silly!

A simple trip out in the lovely afternoon sun.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall photo ActiveFamily150x150_zps28e829a4.jpg

Saturday, 18 May 2013

First School Meeting

Last week we had our very first parents meeting at Meg's future school.  It was a great opportunity to hear from the Early Years staff about how Meg's school days will be structured, what kind of involvement we, as parents, will have and what will be required of us and also what information the school will relay to us about Meg's progress.

We got given a little pack with a whole load of information in it and were given a tour of her classroom and the outdoor area.

Meg's future classroom

It was really nice to meet some of the other parents.  We know a handful but in a class of 30 children there are lots of parents we don't know but whom we will be sharing the playground with for the next 7 years!

Listening to some of the questions that were asked gave us useful insight into how other parents are feeling about their children starting school; it was quite obvious who the first-timers were and one man asked so many questions I did have to wonder whether he'd even known before that day which school his child was going to!  

There was a mixed bag of nervous parents, over confident parents and 'somewhere in the middle' parents.  I do love to people watch so I'm looking forward to seeing reactions on that first day in the playground...I've already got my eye on several potential weepers!

We are mostly feeling excitement about Meg going off to school.  Standing in 'The Bungalow' and looking at the work the current Early Years class are doing really brought it home that she will be starting school and made me feel really excited about the stuff Meg will get up to.  I know she will take it all in her stride and she really is chomping at the bit and ready to go.

Reading and 'quiet time' area

There's still a lot to organise and lots of stuff to equip ourselves with (recommendations for sew on/iron on labels please!!) but we've got 3 months to prepare.  We were given a great little book with photos of the staff to go through with Meg to help her understand and learn the people she will be seeing for the next year which I thought was a brilliant idea.  We've also got two days this side of the summer holidays when we can take Meg down to the school to join in with an Early Years session so she can see how it all works with us at her side.

I still swing between feelings of sadness that in not too long a time she will be gone from our house for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week for potentially the next 12 years to feeling that I can't wait until she goes as I try to think of activities that will keep her occupied and engaged.

Early Years Playground

Generally though, I think both myself and my Other Half are excited about this next stage and I have promised him I will try very very hard not to be one of the weepers on the first day!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Finally joining in...#R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

I have wanted to join in with Reasons To Be Cheerful for so long and it's just one of those things that I put off and off until it's too late and then repeat the experience the following week.  D'oh!

But, I'm going through a bit of a down patch at the moment and find myself grumbling and getting fed up about everything, which inwardly I hate, but I just can't stop the cynicism and moans escaping out of my mouth.

My challenge, therefore, is to focus on the positive things that I have going on and not to spend too much time thinking over the negative stuff.  I think R2BC is the perfect way to do that!

So, here we go:

1. My OH has another interview lined up next week!
This one is said through slightly gritted teeth as we have had a couple of promising jobs on the horizon that have turned into nothing.  But we are really just trusting that the right job will come along eventually.   In my mind, I want him to have a new job by the time Meg starts school as it will make our lives so much easier if he's working 'normal' hours and somewhere closer to home but we will just have to see what happens.

That said, I do think it's a positive regardless of whether he is successful as every job opportunity is another confirmation that there are other jobs out there that he could be doing, and he isn't just stuck with the one that he has.  It's just a case of waiting!

2. Eli's talking has advanced massively
I didn't think it would be possible for it to change so quickly but within the space of a week, he has become much clearer in what he is saying and has picked up a whole new collection of words.  I love how much he is changing and developing.  He's really not a baby any more!

3. Meg has been asked to move up a group in gymnastics
Truly, for the child who can trip over thin air, it is amazing to watch the control she brings to her gymnastics class.  I have been so proud watching her the past couple of weeks; her strength and flexibility is astonishing!  Not so great when she asks me to practice at home with her and I can't even reach my knees if I bend over and try keeping my legs straight.  She can put her hands flat on the ground, it's not fair!!

With her level of skill, the coach thinks she would be better suited to the more structured class which is longer and requires more in depth movements from the children.  It's very exciting.

Short and sweet!

I am linking this post up with Michelle's #R2BC at Mummy From The Heart

Thursday, 16 May 2013

What's In A Name...?

Pre-children I had a very definite idea of what kinds of names I'd choose when the time came to have a baby.  I was one of those girls who spent long hours fantasising about the beautiful, perfectly behaved(!) babies she would have.

When I actually found out I was pregnant though, picking a name seemed a whole different ball game.  We actually had to choose a name that our child would have for the rest of their lives.  It seemed like an awfully big responsibility.  If we chose badly then we could inadvertently cause our child a lot of unnecessary grief when they attended school, when they had to announce their name later in their adult life (I've seen people snigger in a meeting when a solicitor introduced themselves as FiFi) and maybe even cause them to change their name officially, so I saw it as a big job to choose well.

Then of course, it wasn't just me picking a name out of the air.  There were the contributions my OH brought to the table to contend with.  We needed a name that both of us were happy about.

At 26 weeks, we had a 4D scan which confirmed we were having a girl.  This was a big help as up to that point we hadn't been able to agree on any names we liked, for either gender, so at least eliminating half the baby names book was a step forward!

In the end we decided to each make a list of the names we liked, after the baby was born we would look again at the lists and decide what we wanted her name to be.  We agreed on the middle name being 'Hope' so it was just a case of choosing the first name.

Now you may or may not know that I am an incredibly strong-willed person and I had secretly already decided that the baby would be called Iris.  I knew my OH didn't like this name but I did, and that was what mattered right?!?

My OH it seems, is also a bit of a sneaky one and had picked a name he was determined that the baby would have.  My labour didn't exactly go to plan and so I was in no fit state to protest in my exhausted, drugged up state when the delivering Midwife said to us "...and have you picked a name for baby?" and my OH answered "Megan", with only a quick sidelong glance at me.

I think I was cross for all of five minutes as I was much more interested in the squalling pink chubby cheeked bundle I had to look after!

Megan means "little pearl" and I have to admit that OH chose a good 'un.  Looking at Meg now I can't imagine her as an Iris, so maybe it wasn't such a bad move on his part!

Second time round though, I wasn't about to be fooled in the same way!  Again, we found out the gender of the baby and again, we both had strong views on what the baby should be called.  

Now, some people will accept what I'm about to say and others will write it off as weird, but each to their own.  We had pretty much decided on a  name for the baby when I had a dream about what he should be called.

I woke up with an absolute conviction that we had to give him this name and I even went so far as to tell my OH that if something happened to me during labour, he had to stick with this choice.  Might seem morbid but past experience told me that he'd be likely to slip his preference of Arthur in there instead!

Perhaps the strange dreamings of a pregnant lady or perhaps something more, who can know?  The weirdest thing of all is that we were the first of ten other people that we know to pick the name Elijah or 'Eli' for short so maybe there was something in the air that night!

Elijah is Hebrew and it means "the Lord is my God" (it is also the name of Elijah Wood, who happens to be one of my favourite actors ever...but that has no relevance whatsoever...promise!)

I wanted his middle name to be OH's name, as my brother's middle name is my dad's name and I quite like that as a little tradition we have carried on.

So there you go, Megan Hope and Elijah James.  Little Pearl and Gorgeous Blue Eyed Actor *ahem* prophet from the Bible.

Incidentally, I've had lots of people comment how similar Meg and Eli looked when born.  I took this photo yesterday which really shows off how similar looking they still are, they definitely get the cuteness from me, the gormless looks come from their dad ;o)

I've seen a couple of posts this week relating to baby name choosing and I find it really interesting to know how people pick.  Everyone has different ways; some people use family names, others pick them at random, some choose before they've even seen their babies.

How did you pick yours?

My Life According To...

When I first saw this meme appear, I was desperate for someone to tag me.  Thank you Misty!!

The idea of the game is to pick one artist or band and use their song titles to answer the following questions.

Here we go!

Are you male or female...?
A girl at home

Describe yourself...?
Sad, beautiful, tragic

How do you feel...?
Safe and sound

Describe where you currently live...?
A place in this world

If you could go anywhere...?
Back to December

Your best friend is...?

Your partner is...?
Half of my heart
(ok, technically a John Mayer song but Taylor does sing on it!)

What's the weather like?

Favourite time of day...?

If your life was a book, what would it be called...?
State of Grace

What is life to you...?
The story of us

Your last relationship...?
Should've said no

Your current relationship...?
Love story

You fear...?
Teardrops on my guitar

How would you like to die...?

What is the best advice you have to give...?
Never grow up

Thought for the day...?
Today was a fairytale

Your motto...?
Speak now


Your favourite form of transport...?
White horse

How you feel...?
All too well

Your favourite colour is...?

If you could change your name, what would it be...?

I actually chose Taylor Swift because it was the last album I listened to and I figured it wouldn't be too difficult to answer the's not as easy as you think!!

Who doesn't love a good singalong to Taylor Swift though?

Right, I tag:

Lisa at Hollybobb's
Louise at A Strong Coffee
Sara at Mum Turned Mom