Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Happy Moving Day!

Hello and welcome to From Beyond the Blog.

I am not exactly new to blogging but I am new to this blog. I have previously been using a different site to blog from under a different name but I couldn't quite get the look and feel I was after, hence the move.

As you can see I have posted some of my previous blogs from the old site onto this one just to give you a feel of what I am about, which is pretty much everything! I get really excited when people read and like my posts so please be kind, I am the new girl after all.

I look forward to blogging to you all again soon, but for now bye bye lovelies xx

Childcare = 'Significant Decline' = Rubbish!

Hello everyone on this lovely Wednesday morning.

I was having a very pleasant day until about 5 minutes ago when I read this on the Daily Mail Online...

It seems us parents can not win! What would they rather us do, not work and claim thousands of pound a year in benefits instead? Hard working parents make the tough decision to go back to work to provide for their children, it is not that they do not want to spend time with them and help them develop, as I am sure most parents would love to be able to afford the luxury of staying at home with their children everyday. But the fact of the matter is most families can not afford to feed their children unless they go to work!

I just wish society would stop trying to make parents feel even more guilty than they already do when they leave their children every morning at nursery of with a childminder. It is ridiculous to say that children miss out and 'suffer significant declines' in their development through being in childcare. If parents take the time to find a decent childcare provider there is no reason at all that the child should suffer. If a childs parents are not using the time they do have with them to their development then childcare is probably the best place for them, as it is unlikely that the childs parent being at home with them would change this situation. If a parent has not taken the time to make sure the childcare setting is of the highest standard then they obviously do not take much of an interest in their child's development as it is, therefore I doubt being at home with them would make any diference. At least when these children are in childcare they are constantly stimulated and surrounded by other children having fun and getting messy, and not stuck inside with adults all day long either in front of the TV or playing on their own.

There are many stay at home parents who do an excellent job, and I know that most working parents are very envious of the time they do have with their children, but on the flip side there also a lot of stay at home parents who do nothing with their children and who stick them in a buggy or the car and drag them from place to place without even speaking to them.

Please can we stop trying to make parents jobs even harder, they already feel guilty most of the time. It is a constant mind battle of 'am I doing the right thing' and the answer is YES! If your child is well cared for by you and their childcarer then there is no problem with you being at work, after all you go to work to provide for them, to put food in their mouths, clothes on their backs and a roof over their heads!
Don't let these small-minded idiots (in my opinion), who probably do not have children of their own or do indeed send them to childcare themselves get to you or put anymore pressure on to your already stressful lives.

Phew, rant over promise!

Disney Princesses and Hero's on Ice...


Well what a lovely weekend, all kicked off with an amazing night at Disney Princesses and Hero's on Ice at the Liverpool Echo Arena.

I took my little Princess to the show as a treat just the two of us, we don't get to do this very often as I usually have my other monster with me too.

As with what you come to expect from all things Disney it was absolutely fantastic! Right from the beginning she was bouncing in her seat, so excited to see which Princess came out first. Of course it was down to Mickey and Minnie to set the scene and get the evening started, followed by Tinkerbelle who brought the story to life with her magic pixie dust.

Then we were transported to Agrabah where we met Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, followed by Snow white and Belle who was joined by a host of cutlery to 'Be Our Guest'.
My little girls favourite is Ariel from the Little Mermaid so she was particularly excited when the ice started to fill with sailors who transformed it to look like a huge ship. This was the most exciting of all the sections, filled with tricks from the support cast of sailors. At one point one of them balanced a large poll with a seat on the top of it on his chest, then another of the cast proceeded to spring-board into the air spinning and twirling as he went to eventually land bum first on the seat. At which the crowd broke into a raucous applause and my little munchkin leapt out of her seat saying, "Mummy, Mummy did you see that?!".

From then the ice was taken over by Sleeping Beauty and the evil Meleficent's dragon who managed to set the ice on fire, another impressive trick, then of course no Disney Princess show would be complete without Cinderella and her carriage. Even the newest of the Disney Princesses featured, although to a lesser extent. Tiana from The Princess and the Frog took to the ice, disappointingly not as a frog but enjoyable all the same, then the individual stories were rounded off with the lovely Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. At this point my daughter became very upset as she thought that was the end and she wanted more, but she didn't have to wait long for the entire cast to take to the ice for a grand ball and display their amazing skating talents.

Watching these skaters, glide elegantly across the ice really made me wish I could ice skate and am now considering a drastic career change to professional ice skater, if Chico can do it so can I! Or maybe I'll just start sending my little girls to lessons instead and push them to pursue ice skating as a career.

Disney Princesses and Hero's on Ice certainly did not disappoint, it was entertaining for both children and adults and I fail to see how anyone could not have enjoyed the evening. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with children aged 3 and up, any younger and I think it is a little too long and would result in very stressed parents. Plus take your own snacks, as like all events like this snacks are ridiculously expensive, as in £7 for a tub of popcorn and of course the children will want an ice drink complete with character cup at £8 a pop.

All in all one of the best evenings I have spent with my daughter and she has not stopped talking about it. She was very excited to return to nursery this morning to tell her class mates all about it during their 'news' section. If it makes your children smile and gives them a nice memory of spending time with you, which lets face it is not be as often as we would like now our lives are so busy, then it is definitely worth it!

The War of the Birthday Parties...

Well it's that time of year again for us, birthday party season! A time of dread, stress and competition among parents.

Our little girl will be 4 at the end of February and we are trying to plan the big day, since being back at work I have felt extremely guilty, and like a lot of working parents I plan to make up for it come birthday time. However for some parents, stay at home and working, parties are the ultimate competition.

Our party season starts in October and every month after that until June there is at least one party every month, more now she attends a more close-knit nursery where she has made lots of new friends. That first party sets the standard and there are three major elements to consider; entertainment, party bags and the cake.

I have found that every year there seems to be a theme, last year all the kids had playcenter parties and this year it's bouncy castles. With every party we go to you can see the parents huddled in groups obviously rating the party, you may as well give them score cards to hold up. Suddenly these kids parties aren't about how much fun the child's having and become more about getting one over on the other parents.

For my daughter I have followed neither of these trends, because a.) I didn't feel that the playcenters were very good value for money and b.) my daughter is not a huge fan of bouncy castles. Last year we opted for a magician instead and our daughter and all the kids loved it, it was something different and he kept them all engaged throughout the hour. This year we are going for an entertainer again, we have chosen to have a Kinder Musik party. I first came across this entertainer at another child's party and I thought it was just absolutely amazing, all the kids were kept entertained and engaged and I just thought it was something different. I have also chosen to have someone else make my daughters cake, now I know by doing this I am breaking the absolute law of Mummihood but the way I see it is I would rather spend the day before my daughter's birthday spending quality time with her than stressing in a cloud of flour and icing sugar. However I do know that points for effort will be deducted by the parent panel.

Parents are at their most anxious when the lights go down and cake it presented to the child, you can usually hear a gaggle of 'ooo' and 'look at that' coming from the crowds at the back as the parents take in the cake. But it doesn't stop there you can't simply judge this part of the competition solely on appearance, so at the end of the party when the children are waiting in anticipation for the all important party bag so are the parents. It's a race as to who can get there first to try the cake, if the child win's you have no chance unless the event manager (which is what a parent becomes at their child's party) offers you any left over cake to take home. If the event manager is clever they will always have left overs for the eagerly awaiting parents, just so there is one less thing to get marked down on and in fact they may even earn extra points by doing this. The cake of course is not the only important thing about the party bag, there is the goodies to consider as well. The most common of mistakes made when it comes to party bags is lollipops. In my experience I would never put a lollipop in a party bag, the moment you see the child's face light up and they pull out the lollipop there is an audible intake of breath, the same goes for chewy sweets in wrappers such as Chewits. Keep your party bag simple and don't over do it on the plastic junk.

This party envy that so many parents have just baffles me, I think that your child's birthday party is about them and only them. It should be something they will enjoy whether that be a tea party at home or an all singing all dancing event. I just can't get on board with these up tight parents that turn everything into a competition, I am so laid back that it all seems like too much hard work to me. I am going a little OTT for my daughter's birthday this year, but it has nothing to do with pleasing the judges it's about wanting my child to have the best possible day and making up for not spending as much time as I would really like to with her. When it comes to her birthday I just can't say no, we aren't the type of parents who spoil our children, they don't get presents for no reason so when it come to birthdays and Christmas we do tend to go a little mad.

I will most definitely be posting a review of the Kinder Musik entertainer so make sure you keep a look out at the end of February.

Single Mums = Hero's

This week I have come to experience a tiny fragment of what life must be like for a single Mum, and I can honestly say I do not know how they do it!
I am extrememly fortunate in that I have my wonderful husband to share all the duties of running a houshold and taking care of the children. I am also one of the lucky ones who has grown up with both parents and they are still happily married, to be honest with the statistics as they are today I class myself a very very lucky girl.

The 2011 census showed there were 2.9million lone parent families a rise of 9.5%, and I think in most cases they do get a bad rep. O f course I know there are single parents out there who are willing to sit on their behinds and do nothing to better themselves and their children but my experience of single parents has been nothing but the opposite.

This week my husband has been away on business in Spain and although he travels quite often for his work he has never been away for more than a couple of nights and I have been able to keep in constant contact with him throughout. With him being in Spain contact has been minimal and I can honestly say I have felt quite lonely. I have also been extrememly tired, with it being the first week back at work after Christmas we have had to jump straight back into the morning routine, which is stressful at the best of times. This week I have found it even harder having to do it on my own, then coming home after a hard day at work and start all the cooking, cleaning, bathing and bedding on my own has really taken it out of me and I am definitely looking forward to the weekend.
If I had to do this on my own all of the time I think I would have had a nervous breakdown by now and my children would hate me. I can not imagine how difficult it would be being a single parent, having to be both Mum and Dad to your children is hard enough but then put working and looking after a household on top of that its amazing how well rounded (the majority) of these children and families are.

I have a friend who is a single parent, she has a good job, a nice flat and a lovely little girl. For the most part she has spent the last 4 years on her own, making sure she is doing what is best for her daughter and trying to better herself for the sake of her little girl. I can not imagine how tough that must be as I know that what you want more than anything after a hard week at work is a nice cuddle on the couch with your partner. For her, like many other single Mums, to put that aside for 4 years for the sake of your child I think is an emensly selfless act. She rightly has not wanted to bring a stranger into her family and introduce them to her daughter just for them to walk away again.
Being a parent, in my opinion, is one of the hardest jobs you will ever do. The constant guilt that you feel being a parent, you either aren't spending enough time with your child, you are being too tough on them, your being too soft with them, they don't have what the other kids have etc. To have to go through all that on your own must be make things 10 times tougher.

As a parent I know that it is important to have 'me' time, but even when the girls are with their Dad I still feel guilty that I am spending time on myself rather than with them. This 'me' time is even more important for single parents and I think sometimes society is too quick to judge and they can often label single parents as being selfish just because they have a night out or go for a coffee with friends and they haven't got their child strapped to their leg. Why shouldn't single parents get to enjoy themselves without their children? As long as they haven't left their child at home alone, which I am sure no sane parent would do, why shouldn't they let their hair down once in a while?
It annoys me how single parents seem to get the blame for the down fall of todays youth a lot of the time. Whenever there is a story in the news relating to young people or gangs it seems the nation rolls its eyes and mutter under its breath 'bet they are a from a single parent family'. The majority of single parents do an outstanding job bringing up their children and maybe people should think before they judge.

After this week of stress, tiredness and loneliness,I am extremely thankful that I have my husband to help me out and I will be saluting my friend the next time I see her.

You Know Christmas is Over When...

You know Christmas is definitely over when you your New Years Eve plans are stressing you out and you can't wait to get that god damn tree down (the tree you've been looking forward to putting up since July)!

Why do we allow ourselves to get caught up in the New Year hype? Every year is the same, we go crazy making plans and asking everyone "what are you doing for New Year?" just in case you are missing out on some amazing party plans, and everyone has the same answer, " don't know, what are you doing?". Then just like every year, you go mad getting the perfect outfit for these plans you haven't actually made, and then every year something goes wrong and it's a total wash out. Leaving you with an outfit that is totally impractically and will never be worn.

When will we ever learn that New Years Eve is nothing but hype and high expectations. Too much pressure is put on this one night to make it that best of the year, why do we place so much emphasis on this night setting the presidente for the rest of the year. Which is ridiculous as one night can not possible set the scene for the next 365 nights of the year.

When you have kids New Years Eve becomes an even bigger stress as on a normal night finding a babysitter is hard enough but on New Years Eve it's near impossible. Those Grandparents, who for the rest of the year are more than willing, suddenly become the party animals they used to be and look like you've just let your little one poop on their rug when you ask them to babysit on New Years Eve. Which leaves you with the options of staying in, asking the local teenager who may or may not throw their own party in your house and then charge you for the privilege, or option three, take your little ones to your childless friends party where they will most likely check through the peep-hole who is at the door see your children and then proceed to not answer, not matter how many times you ring that door bell. There is nothing like a party killer than two crazy toddlers high on sugar and sleep deprivation.

So once again we are left, the day before New Years Eve with plans that have been shattered, a dress that will never be worn and an argument waiting to happen if we decide to stay in. The inevitable argument that brews out of boredom and is obviously the others fault, which will result in spending the whole of New Years day in a sulk and barely speaking to one another. Oh the joys, I just can't wait.

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