Monday 25 May 2020

This Body

This body
This fat body
Grew you
Birthed you
Fed you

These arms
These fat arms
All bingo wings and stretch marks
Carried you everywhere
Cuddled you as you napped
Stayed awake long nights holding you,
Comforting cries of hunger or pain
Make cakes for you
Still hug you close each day

The legs
These fat legs
Thunder thighs and chub rub

Walked your buggy til you slept
Bounced you on their knees
Paddled with you in the sea
Ran up and down stairs in answer to your call

This bottom 
This fat bottom 
Sat beside your car seat on every journey
Sits in the audience of all your shows
Will sit with you whenever you need me

This stomach
This fat stomach
Stretched and grew to accommodate you
What more does it need to offer 
After that?

This face
This fat, round face
Double chin, hint of a wrinkle,

Sings for you
Answers questions
Watches you grow and learn and live
Will be the face you remember
When you miss home
Or grow old, long after I am gone 

This fat body 
Has served and loved and taught you
Offered itself up
For you

Taught you to be ashamed of me
Told you
Fat is offensive
Fat is embarrassing 
Fat is displeasing 

How did they get to you?
When I have hidden those negative thoughts from you. 
When I have neutralised fat.
Used it as descriptor
Stated it as fact
Never shied away from the truth of my size


Lived each day 
Speaking only good things about my body

Talking up 
Strong legs
And kind arms
Praising the tummy that was your home
Even when everything I see and hear
Seems to say
I am disgusting
Everything people do not want to be
Lazy, greedy, ugly, bad

Who ruined your precious heart? 
Made you look at me and see something to avoid?

Gave you the fear of speaking the word?
Started you doubting
Your own beauty?

I am fat!
Like Ursula
That fabulous sea witch. 
I am fat. 
Let your sister speak it.
She is not afraid of it. 


Deep inside -
And there is a lot of me
So it could be very deep -
I know that
Fear that
Will get to her too. 
And she will turn
And look at me

And feel the same shame
I have felt all my life. 
She will secretly hope to never be like me. 

Dear one
Don’t be that someone. 

Look at me

Look at this
This body
This beautiful 

Damned beautiful 

And love me for who I am
For all that I am
And all that I do
All that I have done and will do 
For you

To love yourself 
Will be
My enduring gift to you. 

©️Laura Moore 2020

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Wednesday 6 May 2020

Review of A Little Something For You

Review of A Little Something For You:

We were super excited to have a big parcel delivered yesterday. What was inside was even more exciting! A gift from their Aunty and Uncle to fill lockdown with some fun, purchased from a great business that started out selling brilliant party bags. With parties being a big no-no these days, A Little Something for You has come up with the brilliant idea to sell Keep Em Busy Boxes. (

The Surprise Boxes come in four sizes and are made up individually, based on the age and interests of the child you’re buying for.

We were so impressed with the obvious care and thought put into each of the kids’ back packs. There were games, toys, activities, crafts, and even the dreaded slime!

The kids were utterly delighted by everything they discovered in their bags. (You can see their “unboxing” video over on my Facebook page.) And I was particularly pleased and surprised when I went into the lounge later to see why everyone was so quiet, only to discover that the TV was playing to an empty room and they’d all gone outside to have an adventure with theirr new backpacks!

If you’re looking for a gift for a child you love, then I would definitely recommend sending one of these Keep Em Busy Boxes. Great value for money, thoughtful, and entertaining.

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Saturday 11 April 2020

Holy Saturday

At home
On a sunny day - 
Holy Saturday,
When I wouldn’t normally go anywhere
But today can’t anyway -
My thoughts travel back
To that first Holy Saturday
Sabbath day
Limbo day
‘Twixt death and resurrection. 
Broken hearted
Lost and afraid
Longing to leave their homes,
Sunny or not,
When they wouldn’t normally go anywhere.
Sabbath rest enforced.
Longing to put their friend to rest
Eternal rest
Accompanied by perfumes
Spices to disguise the smell of death
And hark back to his birth
And hint at his royalty. 
I see their grief 
And know
That with the morning will come joy. 
Mourning turned to dancing
In the light of love brought back
To life. 
But how dark their future seemed. 
How empty. 
How lonely. 
I sit at home
Busy at home
Safe at home. 
They hid. 
Rested with their grief
Followed the rules 
And planned their dawn visit. 

I long for a seemingly distant tomorrow 
When we can return to the ordinary
Step, blinking, into the streets
And laugh 
And hug
And dance
Together again. 
They longed for a vanished yesterday
When they basked in his extraordinary 
Walked beside the man
Who laughed
And wept with them. 
This isolation will end
As theirs would. 
We hope in reasonable confidence 
That this cannot 
And so we cope and carry on. 
But they somehow found strength
Carried on
When all hope had been destroyed. 
And I am in awe of them for that. 
©️Laura Moore, April 2020

Monday 23 March 2020

Home Education During A Pandemic

What strange times we find ourselves living in now. Two weeks ago I was very much in the minority, and now I find myself just one of many parents educating their children at home.

Schools are closed to all but the children of key workers and those whose home lives are unsafe. And so thousands of parents are tasked with ensuring their children are occupied and learning at home.

We seasoned home educators are isolated now too. We’re not used to being forced to stay home. Many spend their days out and about, taking classes, visiting museums, meeting with friends and family. We’ve lost those experiences too, so please know that home education isn’t really what you’re experiencing now.

We’ve also never had so many awesome resources to draw from. The upside for us of so many being forced into home education is the number of companies offering free or reduced subscriptions; clubs and groups running classes online; and museums and zoos opening their virtual doors to us all. It has reignited my love for home education! But, again, know that this isn’t normal for home education. We usually have to buy our own resources, source classes that suit our children and their varied ages, and pay for educational trips out. There is no government support for the elective home educator.

But none of this means that you can’t get a taste of the freedom and joy of home education.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

World Maternal Mental Health Day

World Maternal Mental Health Day

I have started and stopped writing this countless times, because the whole idea of sharing has made me anxious and panicky.

I began to worry about how this post would be received.

I don’t want to be in receipt of a sudden surge of guilt induced sympathy and offers of help. I don’t want people to think I’m incapable of looking after my children. Or a danger to them. I don’t want people to blame my feelings upon our parenting choices, and brush off my worries as unimportant.

There is still stigma around mental health issues.

People do judge.

Loneliness is belittled as laziness. There are plenty of people out there to be friends with - what’s the problem?

Anxieties are knocked back with a brief, “Oh, you don’t need to worry about that.”

Depression is ignored because it’s too difficult to deal with, and sufferers are told to get out in the fresh air or to try this new supplement, or simply to “cheer up!”

In America, those against gun control use the argument that its people with mental health issues who are the problem.

Monday 23 April 2018

Life with Three Children

Life with Three Children

Today the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to her third child. She and Prince William have been initiated into the exclusive club of parents with more than two children! It’s a fun club, if loud and exhausting.  

I read the news that Catherine had gone into labour as A was taking his morning nap, lying in my arms, curled around my bump, and I was drawn to thinking about what life has been like over the last 18 months of being parents of three children.

Obviously, we don’t have the hordes of support around us that Catherine and William do, but I suspect there will be some similarities ahead.

The day we brought A home.
When that third little person popped out, their parents were officially outnumbered. When it’s grown ups vs. kids, the kids get the deciding vote. You chase that one; I’ll chase this one; but the other one gets away. Another adult will always come in handy. I struggle to get out and about with three, because I only have 2 hands. I have to trust that B will stay close. I doubt the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will ever be short of extra adults to assist them, but I’m sure they’ll feel the strain of never having enough hands.

Following on from being outnumbered, there is the struggle of how to deal with there always being one child who feels left out. Mummy/Daddy only has two knees to sit on, two hands to hold, two sides to sit next to, and inevitably every child wants to be on one of them. You become the masters of convincing little people that sitting opposite you is a much better option. You learn to make deals with them, promising a longer cuddle later or the chance to choose the next activity or tv programme in exchange for swapping with a sibling. It’s difficult.

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Review: ToddlerCalm by Sarah Ockwell-Smith

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me, free of charge, by Sarah Ockwell-Smith, to be reviewed. However, this review is my unbiased and  honest opinion of the book.

Book: ToddlerCalm: A Guide for Calmer Toddlers and Happier Parents
Price: R.R.P. £13.99, but currently available for £9.72 at The Book Depository.
Blurb: Sarah Ockwell-Smith, founder of BabyCalm and ToddlerCalm, is passionate about ‘gentle’ parenting. Her mission is to let parents know that there are other ways to cope with a toddler apart from putting him or her on the naughty step or resorting to controlled crying. This book will fill a gap in the market, helping parents enjoy their toddlers, understand the limitations of current popular toddler parenting methods such as sticker charts and time out, and to have the confidence to ignore the current mainstream ‘experts’ and parent their own child with trust and empathy. Chapters include: Why toddlers are not mini-adults; the importance of night-time parenting; coping with a picky eater; communication – toddler style; avoiding difficult situations; the importance of unconditional love and why you don’t need to be permissive to parent respectfully.
Rating: (5/5 stars)

When I pick up a parenting book (and actually have time to read!), I have to be careful to open my mind. I tend to go into them thinking that I'm either going to disagree with everything, or that I'll just be told what I already know. I read a few books before B was born, but they were mainly theoretical ones or about breastfeeding. I like to think that I have instinctively parented B as a baby, but the toddler years have sort of crept up on me and I have struggled at times. B is strong-willed - which I am pleased about, but this can be hard work too. I have a copy of Sarah Ockwell-Smith's BabyCalm, which I never got around to reading, but I have read a lot of what she puts on her blog and found that I agreed with much of it. So, when I got the opportunity to get a copy of ToddlerCalm to review, I jumped at the chance, figuring that it would either give me lots of tips to try or that it would just confirm that what I'm doing already is fine.

Well, I can tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by ToddlerCalm. I didn't find it patronising or prescriptive. It was an easy read and very supportive of our parenting style. What I liked the most was the scientific slant. There are three chapters that deal specifically with science: Why toddlers are not mini adults; The science of toddler sleep; and The science of picky eating. I tend to parent in a way that feels right to me, trusting my mother's instincts and my gut. If I wouldn't want to be treated in a particular way, then I try not to treat B in that way. So to read a great deal of scientific fact that backs up my instinct and existing knowledge is very encouraging and helpful. It also comes in handy when responding to the questions and criticisms of those who don't understand or approve of our parenting style. To have the words of a psychologist reinforcing my instincts adds weight to my choices. To have the information about brain development to explain why my toddler behaves in a certain way is a brilliant reminder to me to be more patient and understanding, and is useful in explaining to others why we are dealing with her behaviours in a way that they may disagree with. Instincts and nature can be easy to dismiss; science is much harder to argue with.

I found ToddlerCalm to be very supportive of the attachment parenting style, though I am aware that Sarah Ockwell-Smith doesn't approve of the AP label. (Check out this excellent blog post on the topic.) In fact, the reason for this is because Attachment Parenting as a movement grew out of the attachment theory, which Ockwell-Smith advocates, having studied it as part of psychology. The book is also supportive of parental choice. She doesn't like to be referred to as a parenting expert, as she maintains that parents are the experts on their own children, and should be able to trust their own instincts and parent children as individuals. The book encourages parents to think for themselves, and to choose a gentle, positive parenting style. It is very helpful in that it gives the words and explanations that help in clarifying our own ideas and in explaining to others why we've chosen to parent that way.

The book isn't prescriptive. There is none of the strict routine and expectations that most mainstream parenting guides advocate. ToddlerCalm provides lots of real life stories and examples of parenting style, whilst Ockwell-Smith's CRUCIAL™ method allows space for our own parenting to come in. The success of this lies in having individual plans for individual families and individual children. There is no specific way of parenting your toddler, short of being gentle and understanding; rather, the book will empower parents to know that they can parent in the way that is right for their family, instead of feeling that they must do what friends/relatives have done, or failing to keep to a specific schedule or routine.

I love how honest Sarah is throughout the book. She writes frankly of mistakes she made with her own children and of how she could have done better. And that's where this books goes another step above and beyond other parenting books. She's a mum!! She's not some childless, self-proclaimed expert who believes they know the best way for children to be brought up. She's not writing from a hypothetical standpoint. We can learn from her mistakes - real things, not what she thinks children ought to do.

I found ToddlerCalm to be very much about changing and taking charge of our own behaviour as adults, in order to model and guide to our children. We are the grown up, mature ones - they have lots to learn. We can't expect them to be perfect members of society yet.

ToddlerCalm is a parenting book that I would definitely recommend. I need to go and read BabyCalm now!!

Sunday 24 December 2017

On the Twelfth Day of Parenting - Parenting Highlights of the Year

Hello and thank you for hopping over from The Newby Tribe and welcome to the 12th day of #12DaysOfParenting. Today's sponsor is Gitte Winter Graugaard who is offering a copy of The Children’s Meditations In my Heart and the theme is Parenting Highlights of the Year and 2018 Wishes. My keyword to enter today’s giveaway is in this post below, good luck! Full details of the #12DaysOfParenting terms and conditions can be found on the #12DaysOfParenting page and all entries are to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

2017 has been a creative year. 

B has blossomed in her drama group, showing herself to be a funny and talented little actress. Her grasp of accents is impressive, and her comic timing is wonderful. She has also progressed in Jiu jitsu and will be moving up from the Tots to the Juniors class in the new year. If you haven’t seen her for a while, she’ll be somewhere curled up, reading. She reminds me of myself. A total bookworm. She’s worked her way through the Roald Dahl collection several times, and often finishes a book and goes straight back to the start to read it again. I think she’s read Matilda eleven or twelve times now. Enid Blyton is a new arrival to her reading pile, as she recently discovered the Magic Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair books. She’s also a Shakespeare fan, thank goodness, and has made her way through the Andrew Matthews and Tony Ross Shakespeare stories. 

M is my wild child. She’s stubborn and hilarious and sharp and clever. She knows her own mind and there’s no chance of changing it for her. She’s become quite the little Street Dancer. Street Dance suits her because she’s sassy and confident. She and A are thick as thieves - he laughs at everything she does. Her drawing is coming along beautifully. I love to see her creations; they are sure to make me smile. She is learning to read, though her ability to memorise a book very quickly makes it tricky to know whether she’s reading the words or just reciting them. I know it will eventually come together though, and she’ll do it all in her own time. We Jiu jitsu is coming along nicely too. I like to watch her and B sparring and practicing their breakfalls together. 

We’ve watched A grow into a funny little boy, who is on the verge of walking full time, though he much prefers to crawl and climb. He still has very little hair and is working on his 9th and 10th teeth. He adores his sisters and they make him laugh. He signs ‘dog,’ ‘duck,’ ‘chicken,’ ‘milk,’ ‘finished,’ ‘hurt,’ ‘baby,’ and ‘friend.’ He loves to blow kisses and say, “Hiya!” when he sees someone he loves, or “Hello!” if he hears a phone ring. Still no “Mama” though “Dad-Dad,” “Gamma,” and “Ganda” are frequently heard. Especially “Ganda,” as no one else gets a look in when Granddad is around. A loves Granddad to the point that he will throw himself to the floor dramatically when he gets up to leave. 

Highlights of this year have been:
  • A’s first swim, when we went to Center Parcs in January
  • A project on the Stone Age in February
  • A’s baptism in March
  • B’s first drama performance, a small play of Aladdin, in April. 
  • B’s history quiz and M’s Spanish quiz, written for Nannie’s birthday party in May. 
  • M’s first Dance performance in June. 
  • A learning to climb the stairs in July. 
  • A trip to the story museum, and B’s Lego Birthday party in August. 
  • Our first Camping holiday in September. 
  • A’s 1st Birthday, and finding out we’re expecting number 4 in October. 
  • M’s Monster Party, and the arrival of our nephews in November. 
  • B’s Christmas Drama Performance, M’s Christmas Dance Show, snow, and number 4’s first scan in December. 

Looking ahead to 2018, I’m wishing for an easy and relatively unstressful pregnancy, especially after the negatives of the last one. We’re looking to relocate, so I’m hoping that will be as easy as it can be, and that we’ll find a great Home Ed community to be a part of. I’m looking forward to seeing the children bloom and flourish, to see more of their creativity, and to hearing A begin to talk. I’m wishing for more patience and energy and socialisation for myself too. 

And we wish you all a very merry and peaceful Christmas and a New Year full of every joy. 

Today’s Codeword is: SNOWMAN

If you would like to read another post and gain another entry, then head over to Me and B Make Tea for their take on Parenting highlights of the year and 2018 wishes.

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Saturday 23 December 2017

On the Eleventh Day of Parenting - 12 Ways Parents Can Relax This Season

Hello and thank you for hopping over from The Newby Tribe and welcome to the 11th day of #12DaysOfParenting. Today's sponsor is Plyt who are offering a Plyt Board Game and the theme is 12 Ways Parents Can Relax This Season. My keyword to enter today’s giveaway is in this post below, good luck! Full details of the #12DaysOfParenting terms and conditions can be found on the #12DaysOfParenting page and all entries are to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Parenting is can be stressful. Christmas is stressful. Put the two together and it's a recipe for a full on grown up meltdown.

I'm not very good at relaxing. There is always something to do, and if I stop, it's probably because I've fallen asleep. So it's not really hypocritical of me to try to tell you how to relax - I'm talking to myself as well!

I asked my best friends and the Hubby to help me with this post. I'm in too deep to see the way out of this stress hole my children have dug me into. The perspective my friends gave me was sorely needed.

So, without further ado, here are our 12 relaxing ideas for parents at Christmas:

Wednesday 20 December 2017

On the Eighth Day of Parenting - Our Favourite Christmas Books

Hello and thank you for hopping over from Me and B Make Tea and welcome to the 8th day of #12DaysOfParenting. Today's sponsor is Learning Resources who are offering an 8 pack set of playfoam and the theme is Blogger's Choice. My keyword to enter today’s giveaway is in this post below, good luck! Full details of the #12DaysOfParenting terms and conditions can be found on the #12DaysOfParenting page and all entries are to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

I mentioned the other day that we have a Christmas bookshelf, and we add books every year. I'm often on the lookout for new and interesting Christmas books, so I thought a few suggestions from us might help others.

A enjoying his favourite Christmas book
I fully intended to separate our favourite Christmas books into age groups, but when I asked the girls which of our Christmas books they like the most, they picked the same three each!

Santa's Christmas Handbook by Chris Edge (aka Santa's Elves...)
Full of interesting tidbits
and fabulous illustrations
This is a brilliant book. Santa's Elves have written this guide to ensure Santa knows what to do in any situation. With plenty of flaps to peek under on every page; facts and tips for children to remember; and even Santa's Insta-Chimney, it's a book that keeps everyone entertained for ages. B is 6 and M is 4, and they both find plenty to look at in here. B is happy to read it aloud to her sister, and there are so many great illustrations, that M can spend plenty of time perusing it by herself. Santa's Christmas Handbook is the sort of book that doesn't need to be read from cover to cover, and I'm pretty sure that I've still not seen every page. Definitely worth getting for the laughs and the magic. There's even a board game to play at the end!

Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt
We've read this book for the first time this year and already it has become much loved. Angela - of Angela's Ashes, but when she was a child - is concerned that the Baby Jesus in the church's crib scene will get cold at night, and so she comes up with a plan to take him home and keep him warm. It's a beautiful story about a little girl's reverence for the Holy Child, and I love her determination to do what she believes is right, regardless of what might happen to her. There is humour here too, especially both B and M's favourite part - when the Baby Jesus flies through the air! Loren Long's illustrations are soft and add to the innocence of the tale. I was so glad that the girls picked Angela and the Baby Jesus as one of their favourites, because it's one of mine too. I would suggest this is for a confident reader, but easily enjoyed by younger children when read aloud.

The Nativity by Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells 
Great for under 2s
This Usborne Touchy-Feely board book was the first Christmas book we bought for B. It has stood the test of time, and is still enjoyed six years later. A really enjoys this book. As with all Usborne Touchy-Feely books, there are plenty of different textures to explore on each page - even on the front cover. A particularly likes all the fluffy sheep, and M likes to point out the hiding mouse in every picture. The story of the Nativity is told very simply, from Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem through to the arrival of the Wise Men. Simple language means it's good for younger readers - and the sentences are short enough that you can read them out before impatient toddlers turn the pages.

 Jesus' Christmas Party by Nicholas Allan
Our absolute favourite
A firm favourite with the whole family. Even A, who's almost 14 months, enjoys Jesus' Christmas Party. It's funny and sweet, and has a refrain that is easily remembered and shouted out by those being read to. The use of simple language means it's great for younger readers, and the illustrations are fun, adding to the humour in the story. I don't want to ruin the story - though you can probably guess it! - so all you need to know is that it's about an Innkeeper who really enjoys sleeping, and doesn't deal so well with his disturbed night. If you only ever buy one Christmas book, this should be it.

Does your family have a favourite Christmas book?

Today’s Codeword is: RUDOLPH

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