About Me

About me

My name is Nik and I am Mum to two small boys called Sam and Oliver and partner to the long suffering Ali and we are based in Devon, England.

My blog is about my journey though life, the highs, the lows and all the fun and messy bits in-between.

It is a personal blog that is written by me and only features my opinions. I do work on behalf of businesses and companies, writing posts and reviews but I will only give you my honest thoughts, if I love it or hate it I will tell you.

If you would like to get in touch with me or my mini monsters please contact me at
themummymonster1@gmail.com





Friday, 21 September 2018

Long Term Feuds




I fell out with one of my teenage best friend years ago and I still, to this day, hold a grudge, however I suspect she doesn’t even know about it or care!! So why do I?

I grew up in a fairly small village where you only mixed with other people from the village, none of us were old enough to drive, the bus would arrive once a day but not always come back so we were stuck. We all went to school together and all spent our spare time together.

As a teenager, my parents were really aware of how bored we were in the village so they set up a scout group for us and we all loved it. It gave us experiences and memories that we would have never not got anywhere else, but to offer us this group it took my parents time. They devoted time to us, they would pick us all up and take us off to do things like den building, archery and shooting amongst a whole load of other things.

So when one of my best friends, slagged off and was really rude about my parents, I instantly took it to heart. I couldn’t forgive her. At the time, it broke my heart and I actually cut her from my life. I felt I didn’t need that. My parents had done everything for me and my brother and the fact they weren’t appreciated for their efforts was devastating.  

She often tried to make contact when our lives would cross but I kept myself away her. I didn’t need her; however she always smiled and waved and made an effort.

Over the years, my life moved on and I moved out of the village, I grew up but whenever I see her I remember that I can’t forgive her, however I can’t actually remember what was said!! Lol It is ridiculous!! Why can I not get over it?

I recently mentioned it to some friends whilst out for a few drinks and they laughed at me and I felt even more ridiculous but I thought about it when I got home and I still don’t think I can get over it, I just can’t forgive her.

Surely I can’t be the only one who has held a long term grudge and still can’t actually remember what was said!!

#grumpy #unforgiven #feud #themummymonster #blogger

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Go Ape Junior Course - Haldon Forest


Go Ape Junior - Haldon Forest

 

Recently my boys and I were invited to have a go at the new Go Ape Junior course in Haldon Forest near Exeter. I was a bit nervous about booking it for Sam, who gets quite nervous but my goodness me, he did me proud and showed me just what he was capable of!

 

 So what is Go Ape Junior?

It is a high ropes course set up in the tree tops. It features zip wires and obstacles such as stepping stones, tightropes and rope bridges, enough to get your adrenaline flowing.

 

“Up in the forest canopy you can expect a variety of crossings, each offering a sense of reward and achievement before gliding along the grand zip wire finale. Brand new for summer 2018, Tree Top Junior at Haldon Forest makes for some unforgettable high ropes antics.”

 

We arrived with nervous in trepidation, I was really worried that Sam would see the course and back out at going up, I was also slightly worried that Ali might back out as he doesn’t do heights!!

 

I booked them both in before they could change their minds and we were given the rules to read. Once read, we signed the paperwork and given the wrist bands and told to head over to the harness area.

 
 
 


At the harness area, both boys were kitted up and they headed up to the example stage where they were shown how to clip themselves onto the wire. Sam was also encouraged to sit down in his harness to show that if he fell off what would happen. Sam seemed to get the hang of moving along the wire really quickly.

 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
They then headed off to the low level section to get an idea of what they would experience up in the trees. Oliver was desperate to have a go at this section but being less than one meter tall he wasn’t allowed.

  
 
 
 
Low section complete, Sam was desperate to head up into the trees; they waited at the bottom of the wooden stairs and told the member of staff it was their first time up. He then took the time to talk them through and gave them a few hints and tips before clipping them on. Sam was off and I had to shout to tell him to wait for his Dad several times.

  
 
Sam even managed how to use the clip and move it onto the next section on his own. He loved being able to shout down to us and gave us a wave or pull a funny face at us. He was having a great time. Ali’s face often told a different picture!! Sorry Ali, I do love you for doing it and if I could have gone, I would have done!! Xx

 

Sam started to get more and more confident and even started jumping across some of the stepping stones, my nervous little boy was gone. Once they completed the section, they then headed to the zip wire. Sam showed no fear and practically jumped off the ledge and headed down. I was incredibly jealous as I wanted to have a go!!
 

 

 
Once they unclipped themselves they then headed to the harder section two, again Sam was completely unfazed and off he went with Ali in tow.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 



Again I watched from the ground and marvelled as they were stepping over blocks, climbing over ropes and pulling themselves onto the next sections. They absolutely loved it. After each section they were able to do the zip wire. The boys headed up for the final section, they climbed the rope net and looked at the first set of ropes. One of the members of staff noticed they were unsure and came over to talk to them about how to complete it. Ali made the decision that it would be too hard for them and so the member of staff unclipped them and they went back to the first section again before finishing with the final zip wire.

 

At the end of the zip wire, their hour was up and it was time to give the harnesses back. Once they were given back, the boys were given a certificate of completion. Sam was chuffed to bits.

 


Ali commented just how friendly and polite all the staff were and the only concern was the wire that they were clipped onto. Ali is 6ft 2 and the wire had to sit underneath his arm throughout the whole course. This has left him with a nasty bruise on his arm. When he spoke to the staff they explained that the course is aimed at young people not adults so the height of the wire was set for them.

 

If you fancy giving the course a go, your child must be over one meter tall. There is also a weight limit of 20.5 stone/ 130kg. If the child is under six years old then an adult must accompany them on the course. If over six, an adult must supervise from the ground. For a one hour session on the junior course it is £18. For more information or to book check out goape.co.uk or call 0845 519 2727.

 

Disclosure: For the purpose of this review we were gifted two tickets for a one hour session on the Go Ape Junior Course at Haldon Forest. All the thoughts in this review are my completely my own.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Boobs!!

 


 
 
 
So apparently this week is National Breast Feeding Week and I have read blog posts from Bloggers alike about how some think breast feeding is best and others are saying fed is best, but I have to say I haven’t read any posts about women who have the best laid plans to breast feed but actually aren’t able too. This is me and I am dam sure I am not alone.

 

When I first discovered I was pregnant, apart from being in love with the idea of having a baby growing inside of me, I was totally amazed about how it had an impact on my body, but never my boobs!! My belly grew, but my boobs didn’t. My feet became swollen but my boobs didn’t. The Midwife was never bothered when I mentioned it to her, she kept saying, it will kick in when required.

 

However after 50 plus hours of traumatic labour, this is the only I can describe my labour, I gave birth to my beautiful little boy. I was completely overwhelmed. I was asked my preference about breast feeding when I entered the labour suite and I was completely in favour of breast feeding. It had never even entered my mind that it wouldn’t happen. So, after his birth, Sam was latched on and he suckled naturally. The Midwife showed me how to put him back on if he became unattached, which I did. It wasn’t easy but I did it with a little bit of help from Ali.

 

I went home in a new Mum bubble and kept attempting to latch my baby, but my goodness he was a grumpy baby. I tried to use a breast pump but nothing arrived. After three days, I was still getting no milk but the health professionals didn’t seem bothered. They said my latch was good but I knew my baby was hungry. I wasn’t leaking, they weren’t sore, they felt like normal non pregnant boobs. Absolutely nothing was coming through.

 

Eventually I called the Children’s Centre and begged for help. A breast feeding support worker was sent out to help me. She was fab, she sat with me and Sam and talked me through breast feeding. She saw Sam latch on but how he would realise that he wasn’t get anything. She asked me to use the breast pump but nothing. Eventually she confirmed my worst nightmare, my boobs had failed me.

 

I felt like the worst mother ever. I had failed my baby, I wasn’t able to do something that my body should have done naturally. My baby was hungry and he was living on nothing. At first, I cried. Ali told me that it wasn’t my fault but there was no way I could believe him. He drove me to Mothercare and I stood completely numb in the carpark. We bumped into some friends who had yet to meet Sam but I felt so low I remember walking away and leaving Sam with Ali. He was being the proud Dad and showing off his baby but I couldn’t watch. I felt so low.

 

We ended up spending a small fortune on bottles, sterilisers, milk etc as I had nothing. I should have been feeding my baby from my own boobs not a bottle.

 

I remember how Sam gagged on the first bottle. He was just so hungry, but it didn’t stay in his tummy for long, he threw it back up, it went everywhere and smell was disgusting. I didn’t blame him for throwing back up.

 

Eventually, he started to slow down on the bottle and realised that they came when he demanded. He was still grumpy but he soon started to fill up his tummy which enabled him to sleep.

 

It took me months to come to terms with the fact that I was bottle feeding my baby. Everyone seemed to ask how the feeding was going and I would have to admit that I was bottle feeding. I still feel guilty whenever health professionals ask if he was breast or bottle fed and I always go on to say “bottle fed as I didn’t get any breast milk” People stare at you when you breast feeding but they also stare at you when you bottle feed.

 

So please remember that bottle feeding may be essential not a choice.

 

When I was pregnant with Oliver, my boobs again stayed the same, so I talked it through with Ali and we decided to see if anything happened during the pregnancy or birth but we would be prepared with bottles of milk in stock and ready to go if not, I vowed to feed my baby.

 

Again with Oliver my boobs failed, I had nothing, no breast milk at all. I have talked to health professionals about it and they couldn't seem to find any reason why I didn’t get any, for me it just didn’t happen.

 

So please if you see someone bottle feeding please don’t think that they are against breast feeding, it might simply be their only choice.

 

Sorry I will stop my ranting now. x
 
 

Friday, 6 July 2018

The Red Box Project

Ok, I want to chat to you about something that isn't always comfortable to talk about.

 Periods, actually not just Periods but "Period Poverty"

Periods are never going to be an easy subject, some people cant even say the word, you get all sorts of weird and wonderful names to describe what is going on. I'm sure you have heard or use some of them, time of the month, the painters are in or on the blob I am sure the list goes on and on.

But I wanted to raise awareness of Period Poverty. Not abroad, but here at home in the UK, in Devon, in our hometowns.

Girls, are growing up in households where periods are a taboo subject and money is not given for such provisions to keep themselves clean and hygienic and amazingly one in every ten girls misses  out of their education as they are unable to go to school when they are having their period. This shocked and horrified me. How can this be true? We are living in 2018, not caveman times.

When I go shopping, I take it for granted that I can afford sanitary towels, they are not a luxury, they are a necessity. I shove them in the basket and walk on, where as some women have to think about spending £2 on them or food. I really struggle to get my head around this.

My period life had a pretty rubbish start. I had my first period on Christmas Day 1993. I was 13 years old and mortified but thankfully I had an open Mum who had already discussed it with me. She had also agreed that I could have the lunch time class in the gym at school to discuss periods and I was given a couple of sanitary towels for signing up, so at least I was prepared.

For the next few years, my periods were awful and I was eventually put on the pill due to the fact it would make me end up in bed for days and I started missing school. My periods also weren't monthly, they would just spring up whenever they felt like it.

In 1995, I was training for Ten Tors on Dartmoor. I remember being caught out and having to ask the all male staff team via radio if anyone could help me. A van was sought and someone's wife was sent to get me supplies. I changed in the back of the van and was sent on my way but I felt hideous and ashamed and crap that this thing took over my life.

Eventually the pill settled my periods and I can almost set my watch by them, but I have been on the pill for so long the doctors want to take me off it and dread having to find an alternative and having to be constantly prepared again.

So to hear a nationwide, community funded initiative to ensure that no young woman misses school because she has her period and lacks access to sanitary products had been set up was music to my ears and I decided to find out more.

THE RED BOX PROJECT

 

The Red Box Project is entirely funded by community kindness, woman to young woman.  It is designed to be a simple, no frills scheme to meet a need with minimal fuss. This is exactly how it should be. Girls are embarrassed enough by the whole situation, they don't want fuss, they just want it sorted.

The project is 100% community driven and is run by Women all over the UK.

The main idea is, the places become local collection points where it is asked that women who can afford to buy sanitary towels, tampons, panty liners and suitable underwear are asked to buy double of an item and pop it in a collection box that is local to them.

Volunteer coordinators then do regular pick ups of the items and deliver them to a Red Box in local schools. Girls are then able to help themselves to the products when they require them. It really is that simple!!



Most schools have a dedicated teacher who is able to offer advise and co-ordinates the project so it is ensured that the young women who need the products do get them.

My local collection box is based on a retail park in Newton Abbot, so I simply purchased some tampons and popped them in the box. I didn't have to ask for the collection box either, it was easily visible, just as it should be making more people aware of this issue.

So, what can you do to help?

I ask you to find out where your local collection point is by accessing the Red Project Website: http://redboxproject.org/  or www.facebook.com/theredboxprojectuk and drop a packet of towels or tampons into the box. Its costs roughly the price of a cup of coffee!

Those of you, who are local to me, there is a South Devon Co-ordinator who can be access here: https://www.facebook.com/theredboxprojectsouthdevon/

If there are no boxes local to you, could you co-ordinate one? redboxprojectuk@gmail.com


 If that doesn't take your fancy but you still feel strong about the subject, please donate to: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/theredboxproject



 
 
 
After reading about the project, I wondered if I was just naïve about it and had I just missed things in the media, but unfortunately it seems I haven't. People don't want to talk about it, which I find so sad.

I asked some other bloggers if they had heard of the project or even the term "Period Poverty" and I received a mixed response.


Kelly Allen Yes I support this 100%. I was in Chapter Arts in Cardiff recently when I saw a box in the ladies. I immediately popped a couple of sanitary towels into it. It's a brilliant idea and hopefully it will help girls in need. www.kellyallenwriter.comManage

Helen Treharne



Period poverty is a real issue and no girl should miss school or not observe basic health care because they don’t want to ask for a pack of pads because they know might already be choosing between

buying a tin of beans or putting a quid in the meter. I’ve heard people suggest using reusables which is great and something I support from a health and environment perspective , but the reality for many families is they don’t have funds to run the washing machine and reusable pads are expensive to set up initially if you are to buy enough to see you through a cycle. We need a varied approach that suit different circumstances, but the Red Box Project is one I completely support. Why not buy a pack of pads on your next shop and donate them? Same goes for food banks too, they always need them.
www.welshmumwriting.com  
Carla Sabir This is something I dont have a clue about. I didnt know people can't afford to run a washing machine. I thought it was around 50p a wash?!? Is there anywhere I can read more?

Katie Brinkworth I haven't heard of this project but I think it is an amazing idea and would definitely support it. Personally I would donate reusable pads though, as I think they would be useful. livinglifeourway.comManage



Jeannette Cripps I’m a local collection point for this and my crochet group also makes covers for the pads, crocheted, knitted or sewn. Patterns on my @bluedaiscrochet page Lots of people don’t understand period poverty and it provoked a lot of debate in a fb group recently http://AutismMumma.comManage


Emily Macdonald As a teenager in care I had to use my own pocket money to buy supplies. It was horrible. I would get £5 a week and sometimes it wasn’t enough, I’d need two packs. I would be reprimanded for not planning ahead. I was really lucky that there was one teacher at school who would keep some in her desk for girls caught out or unable to buy them! This is a brilliant idea!!
www.aslummymummy.comManage


Jaymee Heaton We have a local red box in Peterborough it is such a fab scheme and something i do support! Www.themumdiaries.co.ukManage

 

Lisa Valentine We have a local red box charity and, as a mum of two teenage girls, I 100% support it. We're 'lucky' enough to be a position where buying sanitary products isn't an issue, however, when I was growing up, I wasn't quiet as fortunate, having to resort to using tissue or asking friends for help every month. It's extremely embarrassing and undignified so these projects are so very important https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/f68/1/16/1f495.png💕 www.thatbritishbetty.comManage


Gail Maynes I have never heard of this but it sounds fab! I would love to know more - www.yammymommy.co.ukManage

So, can I ask you to do me a favour, can you click on the website and read a little more about this subject, no its not a great evening read but its real and its happening now.

For more information visit: www.facebook.com/theredboxprojectuk




  
 
 
 









 






Monday, 25 June 2018

Paulos Circus Making Memories Tour 2018


 
Roll up, roll up to the hottest show in town!! (Literally!!)
 
What a show, what a performance, we certainly made memories whilst watching the circus.
 
I was kindly invited to bring my family along to review the Making Memories Tour at Paulo's Circus, which is currently situated at Darts Farm in Topsham, Exeter and I have to say we all loved it.
 
We were advised to arrive early to collect our tickets and my goodness I'm glad we did. The seats are first come, first served so pick your seats wisely.
 
 
 
Unfortunately to get five seats together, we had to sit around the side of the tent and my Dad had a large tent pole in his view. It wasn't completely obstructive but he did have to lean a little into the aisle to see some of the acts.
 
After a while the lights went down and some music started playing. The music to start with is quite loud and my little one, Oliver, two years old, wasn't overly keen. Thankfully Nanna came to the rescue and he soon calmed down.
 
The lights and lasers started shooting around the tent and visual countdown started. At the end of the count down, you were introduced to the circus by the Ringmaster and he in turn he introduced the first act.
 
 
 
The first act, was two large cages, two men spun the machine and performed all sorts of tricks in the cages, before then blindfolding themselves and performing some more tricks. I did slightly worry when one of the chaps ripped his jeans on the cage!! My hear did a little leap!!
 
 
 
Next we were introduced to the clown for the evening. Now this clown is certainly not scary, not even a red nose in sight,  but he does like a lot of audience participation and if you are pretty and sat in the front row, by careful if he looks at you!! lol
 
 
 
Mr N, the clown, definitely does a good job of distracting you whilst the rest of the crew set up for the next act.
 
The next act up was the knife throwing act. I'm afraid my phone camera let me down for this act, so no knives in action but it was brilliant and the knife throwing certainly made me squish my bum cheeks together as he threw them at his lady. My Dad also enjoyed the lady changing her dress into something even more skimpy!! lol
 
 
 
I had heard about the next act and was certainly looking forward to seeing him. The act was called Laserman and he didn't disappoint. I love lasers ever since seeing them done properly at a Muse gig.
 
 
 
Laserman controlled the light beams with ease and precision in time with the dramatic music and created an awesome effect. I have to say, personally, this was the highlight of the show for me. It kept me guessing how he was controlling them and actually I still haven't worked it out but I am guessing his feet were involved somewhere along the line.
 
Lights were also involved in the next act. Think Anne Wheeler (Zendaya) in the Greatest Showman. The lady performed also sorts of spinning and leaning and being generally very flexible, that I wouldn't like to attempt on the floor let alone in the air. I could see Sam's face light up with the hoop she was using lit up with lights and she spun around the tent.
 
 
 
After a funny musical interlude with Mr N, the clown, next up was the Juggler, you cant really have a circus without one cant you?? He balanced and juggled balls before moving onto the juggling pins. Now I am in completely in awe of this act as I have tried to juggle so many times and just cant get the hang of it, I am all fingers and thumbs.
 
 
Then to the final act of the night. The big trapeze. Again I had seen photos of this act but couldn't quite believe he was actually able to ride a bike along the wire, with a lady dangling underneath him!!! He then took a chair out onto the wire before balancing the chair and him and taking a little break by sitting down!! PS There are NO safety nets underneath these acts. If they fall, they fall. Full respect to them. I wont be even able to climb the ladder, let alone walk the wire.
 

 
 
Before we knew it, the stars of the show were taking their bows and thanking the audience. The crowd responded with lots of claps and cheers showing a sign of a job well done.
 
 
 
I called it the hottest show in town because it was fab but the temperature in the tent was almost unbearable. I thankfully had packed drinks for the boys and both of them needed topping up again at the end of the show. I think I would recommend an evening show in future if the weather remained this warm.
 
 
In all honesty, I think Oliver was still a little bit young for the show, especially in the heat but it was perfect for Sam. "My best bit was the men in the cages when they went blindfolded. That was so cool."
 
 
My Mum and Dad also enjoyed it and I would like to thank @thepauloscircus for gifting us the tickets to watch the show. We will certainly return.
 
 
If you fancy watching a brilliant performance you can find the show at Darts Farm, Topsham, Exeter form now until Sunday 8th July 2018 and all performances are just £7 per seat. Please note there are no performances on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday's. Thursday and Fridays performances are
5pm & 7.45pm and Saturdays/Sundays 2pm & 5:00pm.

For more information please check out: http://www.greatestshowman.co.uk/

Disclosure: In return for five tickets I was asked to give an honest opinion of the show. All the thoughts in this review are my own.
 
 
 

Long Term Feuds

I fell out with one of my teenage best friend years ago and I still, to this day, hold a grudge, however I suspect she doesn’t eve...