little things to brighten up a hard day

10 little things to brighten up a hard day

I wrote a post the other day about how some days are just hard.  No matter how positive your outlook is and how good life generally is, it’s still the case that some days are just hard.  I try not to wallow for too long in that bleurgh place though.
So I’ve put together this list of 10 little things that I find help to brighten up those hard days.
10 little things to brighten up a hard day


1) Coffee.  
This is almost guaranteed to give me a little lift, assuming I can occupy the kids with the ipad or Mr Tumble for long enough for me to drink it!


2) A smile from your toddler.
Seriously, this can make a world of difference.


3) A huge hug from your child.  
There’s nothing like a good squeeze from a little one when you’re having a hard day.

Small things to help brighten up a bad day

4) Something cheesy or non-taxing on the tv.
If I can get away with it during the day, I’ll put on something for me on the tv.  Something really cheesy or a program that doesn’t require much brain-power but will make me laugh.  Friends repeats are always a winner for me!  Which leads me to number 5.


5) Watching old Friends bloopers on youtube.
Seriously.  If you’re having a rough day and need a giggle, go straight to youtube and watch a few outtake videos.  You’ll feel much better!


6) Browsing the ‘humour’ category on Pinterest.
There is always something on here that will bring a smile to my face.  Normally I end up laughing at a collection of the best posts from Tumblr or a ‘damn you autocorrect’ post.


7) A shower in peace.
If I can swing this it always makes me feel better.


8) Embracing the constant noise by turning some music up loud and having a little dance.
Sometimes when you’re home with children the constant noise and commotion can get a bit much.  And sometimes the best thing you can do is surrender to it.  Stick some music on, turn it up as loud as you dare and dance like crazy.

There's no place like home


9) Cleaning.
One thing that really adds to my bad mood at times is when the house is a state and I can’t see where to start.  If I can just get one flat surface clear, or even one seat in the living room cleared of ‘stuff’ then I begin to feel a bit better.


10) Chocolate.
Well, obviously!

What would you add to my list?  What makes you feel a bit brighter on a hard day?


Some days are just hard

If you’ve visited my blog before you’ll know that I try to keep my posts positive.  I do truly believe that this is a beautiful world, full of wonderful people and that life really is glorious.

I am working to foster a positive outlook, not just in myself but in my children too.

I honestly feel that there is always, always something to be thankful for.

But, at the same time, I have to be honest and admit that some days are just hard.


Some days it’s hard to get out of bed at 5.30 am when you’ve been up in the night with a child who’s having bad dreams.

Some days it’s hard to get anything done with 2 children around, constantly demanding your attention.

Some days it’s hard to cope with the constant noise and commotion.

Some days it’s hard to know where to start when you look at the piles of washing, the dirty floors and the dust-covered surfaces.

Some days it’s hard to think, let alone hold a proper conversation, when your brain is frazzled from an endless to-do list.

Some days it’s hard to express to your stressed partner how truly grateful you are for everything they do and how much you love them.

Some days it’s hard to walk away from your crying child who wants one more hug at the classroom door.

Some days it’s hard to believe that you have the talent, the skills and the guts to make your dreams come true.

Some days it’s hard to remember all the things we have to be thankful for.

Some days are just hard.

And you know what, that’s ok.  Life may be glorious, but it’s certainly not always easy.

Some days are just hard.

But tomorrow we get to start again, and with a new perspective (and maybe a bit more sleep!) tomorrow will be a better day!

In case this has left you in need of a pick-me-up, here are a few of my more positive posts:

There is always something to be thankful for

Say yes more!

Encouraging a positive outlook in our children

Things I've said to my toddler

Random things I’ve said to my toddler

Do you ever find yourself saying the most random things to your children?

I know I can’t be the only one who says things that, when you repeat them, sound completely odd!  I’ve started making a note of the more random things I’ve heard myself saying to my 15 month old daughter, here are 5 examples from the last few weeks:

Random things I've said to my toddler


“You can’t walk backwards up the stairs” 

Nerys has been climbing the stairs for ages now, and safely coming down them on her tummy for a few weeks, but she’s now started trying to walk down them.  And the other day I watched her try to walk up them backwards.  She’s an accident waiting to happen that one.


“What are you doing?  Why are you licking my DVD?”

There seems to be a lot of ‘why are you doing that?’ where kids are involved.  Generally the answer is simply ‘because they can’!


“Why are you standing in a colander?”

Well, why wouldn’t you stand in a colander, what else are they for?!


“I don’t want you driving a car on my head” 

Mean mummy, not wanting to be driven on.


“I don’t want your snot up my nose”

Ah one of the more charming moments of parenting; lying on the bed with Nerys and having her stick her finger in her snotty nose then try and put said finger up MY nose.  Hmmm, a kind offer, but no thank you honey!

What’s the most random thing you’ve heard yourself say to your children?

Mums' Days
Lorelai caffeine quote

Three times Lorelai Gilmore perfectly summed up every parent’s feelings about coffee

I have drunk a LOT of coffee in the last 15 months.  I have relied on big, sugary cups of the stuff to get me through days when all I want to do is curl up and go to sleep, after a night of numerous wake-ups.  Even now that Nerys is (touch wood) sleeping better, I still need a hit first thing in the morning to help me feel more human.

With all this love for coffee, I find myself drawn to quotes about the stuff.  Especially quotes from Lorelai Gilmore, seeing as watching the Gilmore Girls has also been a lovely bit of comfort on sleep-deprived days!

So, here I give you my favourite Lorelai quotes.  I think they pretty much perfectly sum up how every parent has felt about coffee at one time or another!

3 times lorelai gilmore summed up parent's feelings about coffee


“I need caffeine.  Whatever form you’ve got.  I haven’t had any all day.  I’ll drink it, shoot it, eat it, snort it, whatever form it’s in.  Gimme”

I need caffeine



“Nothing says coffee like six in the morning”

nothing says coffee like six in the morning



“Oh I can’t stop drinking the coffee.  I stop drinking the coffee, I stop doing the standing and walking and the words putting into sentence doing”

oh I can't stop drinking the coffee


Do you need a coffee jolt to get you going in the morning?  Or are you more of a tea person?  
Please don’t tell me you manage to get through the day without any caffeine at all!

Sugar highs or just kids being kids?

A new hot topic for conversation has come along recently – that of children’s birthday parties.  All the kids in my little group of Mummy friends are turning 4 this year and suddenly there seems to be more pressure to throw a proper party!  With the children all now being at nursery school we seem to have entered a new stage with these kind of things.  As soon as that first invitation came home in a school bag the bar was set.  Venues have been booked.  Bouncy castles have been hired.  Piles of fairy cakes have been baked!

When it came to Rhys’ birthday we felt quite strongly that he would just be overwhelmed by a big party.  So instead we made a real fuss of him and made his birthday a special day for him and the family.  Then we had a small group of friends that he’s known almost his whole life round for a play and some cake.  I’m so happy that we made that decision.

We’ve been to a few of the other parties this year; they have been a lot of fun and Rhys has enjoyed himself.  At one particular party recently he had a great time, bouncing like crazy on the bouncy castle and running around.  Most of the other children there were the same, bouncing off the walls both literally and figuratively.  It would be easy to make the assumption that they were all buzzing with a sugar high from party food.  Except, I knew that Rhys hadn’t really had any party food.  He has never been that fussed about that part of birthday parties – he’d always rather just carry on playing!  So I was really interested to see this ‘sugar high’ issue being discussed in the news recently.


Professor David Benton (one of my professors from University!) spoke at the Cheltenham Science Festival recently about how sugary party foods don’t actually make our children hyperactive.  He instead explains that, “Sugar doesn’t make children hyperactive, parents do. They overreact when told their children have just eaten sugar, anticipating a problem and putting them on a much shorter rein. They see what they are expecting to see.”

Ahh, I do love a good self fulfilling prophecy!

Now, I’m sure there are some children that are really affected by sugar.  Most likely those who hardly ever have any in their regular diet.  So when they do get a hit of it, their little bodies aren’t used to processing it and they do get a bit wired.  But, personally, I’m right behind the good professor on this one.  I think a lot of the time it is our expectations as parents that skews the way we interpret our children’s behaviour.

I think that it’s been drummed into us for so long that sugar is bad for us and it makes our children hyper that we now believe it without question.  So when we take them to a party and they have a plate of fairy cakes and party rings, or when it’s Christmas time and they’ve been allowed a bit more chocolate than normal, we expect them to get a bit more hyper than normal.  So if they do start to act a bit loopy we automatically blame the sugar, when really their behaviour is probably down to a mixture of other factors.

Rhys, for example, gets really loopy when he’s tired.  He will run around like crazy, fighting the tiredness with everything he’s got!  I remember one Christmas though, he’d had two, maybe three, chocolates from the bowl on the table, and was running around his grandparents house.  Someone commented then that he probably shouldn’t have any more chocolate, implying that the reason behind his extra energy was what he’d eaten.  I replied that he was actually just tired from all the excitement of the day, and that he often seems to get a real second-wind when that happens.  I’m not sure they believed me though!

My thoughts on all this?  It all comes down to knowing your own children, and being aware of your expectations of them.  I know that if Rhys is getting a bit over-excited at a party it’s most likely to be because he’s getting tired and maybe a bit overwhelmed by all the activity.  I know it won’t be because he’s eaten too much sugar!

What are your thoughts and experiences with this?  Do you think that Professor Benton is right, or do you believe that, for your child at least, sugar creates a little bit of hyper behaviour? 


Encouraging children to be themselves

I’m a strong believer in allowing my children to be themselves.  Hell, not just allowing them to be, but actively encouraging them.  If my son wants to play with the dolls house then that’s great.  My daughter wants to push cars around and crash them into things?  More power to her!

As my son moves towards starting full time school I’m acutely aware of all the new pressures he’s being exposed to.  In the last few months he’s started talking about boys toys and girls toys.  We’ll see an advert for a toy and he’ll say to me “That’s for girls, isn’t it Mummy?”.  I do wonder where this has come from and find it slightly unnerving that he’s able to determine that a toy is for a girl, presumably just from the way it’s marketed.  My normal response is to tell him that anyone can play with the toy if they want to.  I would hate for him to miss out on discovering talents or interests just because the related toy or activity is ‘for girls’.

The thing is, since he’s started half days at nursery school he does seem to be learning about what is socially acceptable and may well already be feeling a bit of pressure from his classmates to play with certain toys.  I don’t want him to get teased or left out because he wants to play with a different toy, but, even more so, I don’t want him to hide his true interests just to fit in.

I want him to have the self-confidence to own his interests and his choices.  I’m hoping that by encouraging him to be himself at home, this confidence will grow.  I want him to trust that he is safe at home to play with whatever interests him, to watch the tv programs that he finds enjoyable, to wear whatever clothes he feels comfortable is, to express his feelings openly and to just be his true self.


I really hope that providing this sort of ‘safe’ environment at home he’ll learn that it’s ok to be himself and I think this will have several benefits for him as he goes through life:

  • He’ll find friends, and later partners, who like him for who he really is.  Yes he can act differently to fit in with the ‘in crowd’, but he’ll never feel fully comfortable with them.  If he’s just himself he’ll attract people who he genuinely fits in with, who’ll understand him and love him quirks and all!


  • His self-esteem will grow even more.  It’s like a self-esteem circle – the higher his self-esteem, the more likely he is to be himself and attract friends who like him for who he is and knowing his real self is liked and appreciated will raise his self-esteem even more!  On the other hand, if he pretends to be something he’s not to try and fit in, he’ll feel like the true him isn’t worthy of knowing and so his self-esteem could potentially plummet.


  • He’ll be generally happier.  If he lives his life authentically, being true to himself, he’ll feel a sense of peace and happiness that will just elude him if he spends his days trying to be something he’s not.

I really feel that you have to spend the time to get to know the child you’ve been given.  They really are born with their own unique set of interests and their own personality.  It’s not up to us as parents to try and mould them into what we want; it’s our responsibility to embrace who they are at their core.  We have to let go of our own desires for them and realise that they are their own people with their own desires for their lives.

On a side note, my son isn’t gender non-conformist, but this article still spoke to me on so many levels about allowing our children to be themselves – 12 things every gender nonconforming child wants you to know.  Well worth a read.

Things I want my children to say yes to

Things I want my children to say ‘yes’ to

I wrote a post the other day inspired by Dave Cornthwaite’s message to ‘say yes more’.

It’s something I’m really thinking about a lot at the moment.

I’m quite a cautious person, and my natural immediate response to things outside of my comfort zone is to say ‘no’.  Which makes me quite sad.  As I get older I’m getting much more aware of the power of pushing out of that comfort zone and saying ‘yes’ to things.

And I really want my children to grow up with an awareness of how exciting and wonderful like can be if you say yes more.

5 things I want my children to say yes to (1)


These are the big things I want my children to say yes to:

New experiences

I don’t want my children to be afraid of trying new things and visiting new places.  I want them to say yes to new experiences, to be open to the idea that, yes, there’s a possibility they might not like it but there’s an equal possibility that they’ll absolutely love it!


New friends

I’m all for my children having a close little group of friends, I think it’s incredibly important for them to have people outside of the family that they can talk to and confide in.  But I don’t want them to limit their social interactions to their existing friends.

You never know what impact a person can have on your life; I want my children to be open to letting new people in.



This is a tricky one I know, but I really hope for my children that they can embrace the possibility of failure.

I want them to know that they don’t have to win everything, that it’s really ok if they fail at something.  A lot of the times that you learn the most about life and yourself is when you fail at something.


Being true to themselves

I know that it’s really hard when you’re a kid (and then a teenager) and you so badly just want to fit in, but I really want my children to say yes to being true to who they are.

I want them to own their quirks and embrace what makes them them.



When it comes their way I want my children to say a huge ‘yes’ to love.

I want them to love with their whole hearts, openly and completely.  Yes they risk getting hurt that way, but it’s the only way to really love isn’t it?  Have a read of this quote that I wrote about recently – it sums up what I want to tell my children about love.


What things would you wish for your children to say a big ‘yes’ to?