We moved to Manchester!

There have been a lot of exciting changes in our family – the biggest of which is that we have now moved to Manchester from Cornwall!
We moved to Cornwall in 2017, my parents had recently moved there and we needed support with young twins. However, it was always a temporary move – much as we loved the quiet, beach life… the hustle and bustle of a city was calling to us!

Around August last year we realised we were ready to move… the problem was we had no idea where we wanted to go. We knew we wanted to be close to a city that we could both find work in and would have a good amount of diversity and life for the girls to experience. We narrowed our options to Manchester, Bristol and Kent. Kent was mainly because we wanted to be close to Josh’s sister and her husband – but looking further in to it we realised we couldn’t really hack the commute in to London for work and the house prices were out of this world there. So we narrowed to to Bristol and Manchester. Both are fantastic cities that we love. The draw to Bristol was that my sister and a lot of my cousins are based there, its not too far from Cornwall (we could do weekends there easily) and it was good for jobs. However once again the prices were just not something we felt we could afford – especially when we compared it to Manchester. In the end, Manchester won for quite a few reasons. Firstly, its our favourite city hands down. I went to uni here but I lived with some friends and commuted in, Josh and I spent a lot of our early days together in Manchester as he would meet me after uni. Its also a great place for jobs and is known as the second capital. Obviously diversity was a clincher for us – we wanted to make sure the girls were surrounded by all different types of people and wouldn’t be prejudiced/afraid of differences when they grew up. Of course the house prices were a huge selling point – the house we live in would have been twice the price in Bristol! We also have Josh’s mum and sister an hour away which is really nice.

So once we decided on Manchester we had to choose whereabouts we were going to live. Certain parts of the suburbs are hugely sought after and as such are incredibly expensive – Didsbury and Chorlton are amazing but far beyond our reach! We had a few trips up north to find a house we liked and eventually we found one we loved in a lovely town which has a lot to offer in North Manchester. That was back in November and we  assumed we’d be moving at the latest in February. Well, that didn’t happen. There were a LOT of complications on the sellers end – it dragged on and on and then we got in to March and of course we went in to lockdown. After that we honestly were so up in the air – we had no idea when we were going to be moving and whether the seller would still want to move! However, finally in May we started to see some movement and the completion was set for 26th June.

When we got here the house was disgusting. The previous owner had left it in such a state – piles of rubbish everywhere. Everything was disgusting and dirty. There was thick mould and maggots in the freezer, dog poo in the garden. I’ve honestly never known anything like it. We set to work cleaning and painting and made sure the girls’ room was ready for when they came. There is still a lot to do in the house but we are getting there slowly!!

We love Manchester and feel so glad that we moved here. The girls start school in three weeks and I think the routine is going to be great for us all. I can’t wait to see what life in Manchester has in store for us!

Deconstructing Christianity

I posted this on my Instagram a few weeks a go and I wanted to share it on here too. Anyone else been through deconstruction?

 

For the last little while I’ve been trying to come up with a way to say what I want to say without being judged. But I’m realising that I will be judged no matter what I say so I might as well just try and articulate my feelings the best way I can.
What I am going through is deeply personal and not something I feel I owe to anyone to share however I do feel as I have shared my faith lots on instagram and have people thinking I have “backslidden” or “fallen away” that it might be helpful or even interesting to some of my followers to read. Over the last few years I have undergone a huge shift in my beliefs, perspectives and core values. A process of dismantling everything I have been taught not to question over the past 15 or so years and rebuilding my faith based on what I truly believe. I no longer describe myself as a Christian. However, in many ways I have never felt closer to God.I no longer believe in lots of the staple parts of christianity as I’ve known it in the past. I’ve begun to have real doubts and questions and my research led me to realise I never knew the Bible or God as well as I thought I did. The more I studied, the less I knew. Questions created more questions. However, I feel close to God, I love God. I believe fully in Jesus and his divinity and seek to emulate him in all I do. However, I am realising that the gospel is more inclusive and radical than I ever imagined and that is what I want to base my life on. My views have altered and I imagine throughout my life they will continue to do so. I guess many would call me a “liberal” but I prefer not to label myself. This process of deconstruction has taught me so much and I’m not done yet. I know I will never fully walk away from church but I don’t know if I can fully go back in the way I used to again. But that is the beauty of this constant growth: change is inevitable and shouldn’t be feared. You may not agree with me, but I ask you to respect my views. We don’t need to fear people who relate to God in a different way than we do.

I want to clarify that I do not blame any singular person, church or organisation for the pain or hurt I’ve felt. Rather it is an amalgamation of the culture that has co-opted Jesus’ message and twisted it. I believe I have been put on this earth to love above all else and I will continue to do so. Some really helpful people to follow regarding all this: @evolvfaith @sarahbessey @byjeffchu @phildrysdale @nakedpastor

Dear Margot, on your fourth birthday

Dear Margot,

What a year its been! A completely different year than we expected but you’ve taken it all in your stride.

You are still the most sensitive soul- you adore people so much but you feel feelings big. You are so funny and are always making people laugh and you come out with the funniest things.

You love trying new things and you are really in to bike riding, scooting, playing tennis, football – just about anything! You love to help me with basically everything but most of the time it’s more of a hindrance – but since you’re so cute we let you get away with it!

You are so clever, you love drawing and writing and you are really good at both. You love being read to especially by grandma!

You love all the colours, all the animals, all the Disney princesses – very diplomatic! You also love singing so much and always ask me to put your music on in the car. You love taylor swift thanks to auntie Mary!

You are an early riser and often come in to our room in the morning and grab my phone and start taking photos of me asleep! You’re also super ticklish especially on the back of your neck!

You are one of a kind and bring sunshine wherever you go (also sometimes thunder storms)

Love you sooo much

All my love forever,

Mummy xxxxx

Dear Dorothy, on your fourth birthday

My little Dotty I truly cannot believe you are 4 years old!

You are still fiery but you’ve definitely mellowed a lot this year. You are a very easy going little girl who is eager to please.

You have the most incredible memory and we always say its your super power! You always say “I’m a good memberer arm I mummy?” In fact “arm I” instead of aren’t is one of our favourite little quirks about the way you speak. Also we love how you can’t pronounce “L” instead using a “Y” sound. It makes everything you say so cute.

You are boy crazy! You always choose a little blonde boy as your favourite character and always want to role play as the boy character. Every morning you announce what character you are that day “I’m super sonic today” and you really get in to character and we all have to refer to you as such!

You have such a brilliant imagination and love making up stories for us all to enjoy. You’re also still really good at independent play and you adore duplo and building blocks.

You have a huge passion for dancing and you’re always saying “hey look at my cool move” whilst you do some break dance style move!

You often lack confidence in yourself and say “I’m really rubbish at this” which is crazy because you’re good at basically everything!

You are fully obsessed with sweet food – particularly chocolate and ice cream! You love bargaining with us for how much you’re allowed! You always say you don’t like the food we cook but then you try it and enjoy it…but we go through the same thing every time!

You’re a definite water baby and you are also very mischievous… sometimes these two qualities don’t mix very well!

You are so excited to start school although you’re a bit nervous. I know you will really excel there and everyone will love you – everyone who meets you does!

Love you more each day.

All my love forever,

Mummy xxxxxx

Is covid-19 making us better?

It’s been a long winter. Here in the UK, it has rained almost solidly for months. I know everyone thinks it rains a lot in the UK, but this has been a lot even for us. I suffer from seasonal affective disorder and as such my mood has reflected the atmosphere over the past few months – very heavy. I’ve just about managed to keep my head above water.

This week, the first week of spring, has been glorious. Sunshine has warmed our souls.

But there’s just one thing, we’re all at home.

You see, in case you have been living under a rock, or are reading this in a hundred years time… we are in the midst of a pandemic called covid-19. We have all been isolating for a few weeks but on Monday we were told by the government we could only go out for essentials and to exercise once a day.

I myself have been in a sort of quarantine longer than most. My daughters have both had chicken pox for a week each – and not at the same time. So I haven’t socialised for a while and life has been far from normal for ages.

But I can’t help thinking about all the good things this virus has brought with it. Across the country on Thursday night people stood outside and clapped for the key workers. They showed their love and appreciation for those people keeping our country going. The UK have pulled together, posting notes through doors offering help and dropping supplies off. Social media has of course become somewhat of an outlet but it has been such a positive space over the last couple of weeks.

Families are staying home and enjoying one another’s company. Couples who spend most of their life apart are now together all day every day. Board games are being dusted off and people are making the effort to call that person they haven’t spoken to in a while.

Apart from those panic buying food, the irrational impulse to spend money has disappeared overnight. There is nobody to impress. Nobody to look good for. Most of us are make up free and in our comfy clothes every day. We are taking the time to invest in our children’s education, which we had previously left to their teachers and child care workers. We are reading more, creating more, resting more.

The government mandated “one form of exercise per day” has actually meant people are going out for walks, jogs and bike rides more. People are finding time for those things that always fell to the bottom of the list of priorities.

Of course, it’s not all positive. Being at home is boring, its lonely. Being at home with kids is still a job at the end of the day.

People are sick, people are dying. Some workers are facing the toughest time in their career.

But we can’t emerge from this crisis unchanged. We can’t just go back. We will all go forward, whatever that looks like.

The ‘C’ word

My dad has cancer.

Even writing those four words feels wrong. I’ve known for a few weeks but still saying it out loud feels alien. Cancer isn’t a thing people close to me get. Cancer is a distant, far away thing that a friend of a friend has. Or a family member of an acquaintance is going through chemotherapy. It isn’t something close to me.

Until it is.

Thankfully, the prognosis is good. My dad’s cancer, albeit aggressive, should be completely curable. It is going to take a lot of recovery and it will change his life but he will have a life. He will still be a husband, a dad and a grandpa for many more years.

Most of the time, I feel ok. I get on with life, I don’t worry because I know worrying doesn’t change anything.

Then every so often I hear those 4 words in my mind. And I think ‘shit’ and it hits me all over again.

 

Where are all the super girls?

My girls absolutely love superheroes. Its like their favourite thing at the moment, they’re Spiderman obsessed, they love PJ masks, Batman and Iron Man and are obsessed with being super heroes.

Josh and I have always made a conscious effort not to push stereotypes on the girls. They are growing up in an age where girls are increasingly more able to like and do whatever they want. When they’ve warmed to certain tv shows we’ve never assumed they’d like the girl characters best, we’ve just let them like what they like.

It has frustrated us over the years that there are often only token girls in tv shows. One girl, six boys or something like that. There is never a majority of girls and any paraphernalia in the ‘girls section’ is always that one token girl (like always Sky from paw patrol pyjamas etc.) and girls are never expected to prefer a boy character. So often we have bought them stuff from the boy’s section and not thought twice about it.

But recently, the girls have been saying more and more that they want to be boys. Not as in they are having a gender identity crisis, but more that they wish they were boys. To them, boys are cooler, boys have the best superpowers, boys are everywhere. 

It really got to me. I want the girls to be proud of who they are, proud to be strong, confident, passionate little girls. But they aren’t and they wish they were boys. Sure, they love Anna and Elsa like every kid but their favourites are superheroes and there just aren’t any super girls.

So, I tried to find female superheroes. I googled “top 10 female super heroes” and you know what came up? Hundreds and hundreds of articles with the title “top 10 sexiest female super heroes” or words to that effect. Great. So the only value that female super heroes have are how sexy they are to men. Exactly what I want to teach my daughters, not.

I loved the Wonder Woman movie a few years a go, she is a really awesome woman… but that’s a bit too grown up for the girls just yet. Same with Captain Marvel. I guess its good that there are a few new superheroes but its definitely not happening fast enough.

I never really thought about any of this stuff until I had daughters. But there was a moment in Avengers Endgame when all the female characters fought together and it gave me goosebumps. This is what our daughters need to see.

I don’t really know what to do moving forward, there aren’t really any female superheroes that exist in a form they would enjoy. But I guess being aware of it is the first step.

 

Dear Margot, on your third birthday

Dear Margot,

You are 3! Wow time sure flies when you’re having fun!

You have had some big changes this year, the biggest being starting nursery! It took you a while to warm up to going there and the drop offs always ended in tears but thankfully you love it there now!

You are a very sensitive soul and wear your heart on your sleeve. But it also means that you are incredibly caring and loving to people. You constantly seek approval and affection from people and enjoying helping and being kind. You often sit down next to me and daddy and say “so, how was work?” Which is so sweet!

You often have to copy whatever Dotty is doing and enjoy getting inspiration from her! You love playing imaginary games with your toys and doing funny voices for them. You can often me heard saying “oh my goodness me” and other cute little sayings you’ve picked up!

You love singing, your favourite songs are “let’s get down to business” from Mulan and also “Hold my girl” by George Ezra. You love beauty and the beast and your favourite colour is yellow.

You definitely have selective hearing and like not to listen to what we say! You also constantly say “I hungry” yet you are very fussy with what you will actually eat!

You are a very active little girl. You love running and swimming and you always want to be outside. Although often you say “I too hard to walk” when going up hills!

You are such a lovely, cuddly girl and enjoy snuggling up watching a movie in the afternoons.

Margot we love you so much and think you are amazing!

All my love forever,

Mummy xxx

Dear Dorothy, on your third birthday

Dear Dorothy!

Happy birthday! You are 3 today and are a proper little girl now.

The year began with an extremely rainy birthday party with all your friends. Despite the rain you had a fab day!

Your fiery personality has just grown and grown this year with you screaming a lot when you get cross, throwing, biting, you name it! But I love your passion and your fire!

You are a sociable and confident little girl and you enjoy meeting new people and playing with them. Sometimes you are a little shy but it doesn’t take long for you to warm up! However you are also happy to play on your own and do your own thing at times and often you’ll take yourself off to your room to play.

You love to get your pillow case or a box and fill it with your toys and tell me it’s a present for me! You are still very protective over your toys, in particular your “waffle doggy” who you want to be with all the time! You definitely don’t have much tolerance when Margot takes him!

You love babies in particular your little friends Hector and Perran. You actually tried to pick a real baby up at nursery this year which everyone found hilarious!

You have been to the cinema a few times this year and you really enjoy watching movies. You love anything with animals and you adore Toy Story, particularly number 2. You love the smurfs and your favourite colour is green.

You can’t pronounce “L” and instead make a “Y” sound which is honestly so adorable and makes us melt!

It’s been a tough year for you with 3 stays in hospital in the space of 8 months. You have had pneumonia and we are still investigating what could have caused this. You are so strong and brave though and you made us so proud!

You love your food, particularly anything sweet. You would eat ice cream all day long if you could!

You love the beach and especially going in the water. You are definitely a water baby and would swim all day long! This year you even went on a 400m zip wire and everyone was so impressed with your bravery!

You love praying and ask to pray for anyone who has hurt themselves. You also enjoy singing to Jesus and going to “big church” and you like to tell everyone “Jesus died on the cross and then he came back a life!”

You destroy every book you get your hands on and can often be quite destructive but we know it’s just you learning. You love to play fighting and saying “I kill you” with your pretend sword

Dotty we could not be more proud of you and we love you so much!

All my love forever,

Mummy xxx

Being mum: the “terrible twos”

WELL it’s been a minute since I posted a being mum post. My last one was when the girls turned 18 months and now they’re about to turn 2 and a half!

I would say this last year has been my most challenging stage, probably from around 20 months to now. The girls have been constantly pushing boundaries and getting emotional. They’re also extremely clever and with that comes a lot of push back when I want them to do something!

I guess this stage has meant a lot of figuring out what works in terms of discipline, routine and everything else. The girls also no longer nap which has made the days feel SOOO much longer! We also aren’t getting amazing amounts of sleep with the girls constantly wanting to come in our bed. This means we tend to have a big battle at 3am which eventually ends in one or both joining us in bed and a pretty uncomfortable night sleep for the adults.

Every day truly feels like a battle. They are constantly on, wanting me to entertain them and the FIGHTS you honestly would not believe. I feel more like a referee than a mum half the time. I have to admit I often just ignore it now when they hit each other and just leave them to sort it between themselves!

I hate being that mum who says their children are soOoOoO advanced. But the girls speech is incredible and their nursery often comment on how good their vocabulary is for children of their age. Nursery in general is going really well for the girls and they LOVE it, although Dotty often gets emotional going in in the morning.

There are lots of amazing things about this age too. The interaction, the conversations, imaginary games and funny things they say. They also love Disney and are obsessed with songs from moana, frozen and all the rest. It’s super cute to hear them singing along in the back of the car. They come out with such funny things like Margot calling me “darling” all the time and Dotty telling me she’s “a bit cross” with me cos I wouldn’t let her watch tv.

We’ve also entered the realm of potties! Dotty is completely trained now with no issues and Margot won’t be far behind I shouldn’t imagine.

It is really hard and most days I have more bad moments with them than good. But it really does make it worth it to hear them tell me they love me or that I’m their best friend!