How to pick a therapist


There comes a time in everyone's life when they need to find a therapist. Okay maybe not everyone but probably more people than you think. If you have any inclination that talking to someone might help you manage your life - go for it, as I often say I haven't met a person that wouldn't benefit from a little therapy. I mean they probably exist but I bet they don't have access to the internet. You may have preconceived ideas about therapy or people that have therapy but don't close you mind to it too soon. It's better than, I don't know, working through your stuff on a blog...

Do your research: Therapists come in all shapes and sizes, you might want someone to help you delve into your childhood or maybe you're looking for some motivation and need a kick ass life coach. Don't let your lifestyle get in the way, there are therapists that can work via Skype or phone and if you don't have the funds bang on you GPs door until they refer you to someone. If you're in the UK It's Good to Talk is a great place to start.

Do your homework: Take some time to think about what issue you may want to bring to the table, don't get too hung up on what that issue is SPOILER ALERT: you may well find the thing you need to talk about isn't the thing you think you need to talk about. This will be the start of understanding that whilst therapy may be a challenge the real work will happen outside the room.

Don't be concerned if you hate them a little bit: If you find yourself disliking your therapist for no apparent reason, it may be because they are reflecting back to you the darkest parts of yourself. Of course therapists are people too and they have the potential to be as lazy, offensive or inappropriate as anyone so please remove yourself from any situation that feels unsafe.

Be judgemental: You have to spend a lot of time with this person and tell them your deepest concerns so once you've covered the basics like location and costs, it's okay to pick them just because you like the font they use on their website. Picking a therapist is more of an art than a science. Think of it like choosing a great date but without the snog at the end. 

photo credit: bless you via photopin (license)

Mission Acceptance - Accept that you must practice what you preach


My son has started speech therapy, he does really well in his sessions - paying as much attention as he can, joining in the games and generally being a cutie pie. At home it's a different story. When I try and get him to do his homework, we're talking armageddon but like, worse. I find it so frustrating, why can't he do at home what he does so well in class and we're only talking a few minutes of flashcards - could it really be that hard? 

So for this week's mission I decided to practice what I preach. I've been trying to learn ukulele for a year and after 365 days I've only got one full song and it don't sound pretty. I'm gutted because I'm going to a festival soon and how cool would it be to be the chick that busts out the uke? So I decided to do 15 minutes practice a day because we all know practice makes perfect...

DAY ONE: I decide that I need to invest some time in theory I spend a long time watching other people playing ukulele on Youtube. That counts right? 

DAY TWO: I do some more research and learn about chords.

DAY THREE: I completely forget.

DAY FOUR: I think about it but by the time I get round to it I think it's too late to make noise and also I'm tired. 

DAY FIVE: I have to go to work, I decide that it's probably not a good idea to take my uke to work, it might get lost or damaged. 

DAY SIX: Still at work, ukuleleless. 

So I had the potential for 90 minutes practice and I did zero, nothing, nada. What did I learn that I can offer to my son...

You can learn indirectly: On the day I watched videos I still picked up something. Roscoe still has lots of learning opportunities when playing with his trains. 

You have to put your practice first: I treated my music like an afterthought. If I had time or energy at the end of the day I would do it but bettering yourself should be something you prioritise. With my son, rather than waiting for late afternoon when he's already overwhelmed by toddlerlife, we'll try doing it after breakfast. 

You have to be flexible: I didn't take my ukulele to work when there's really no reason why I couldn't have. I could also take Roscoe's homework to the park or to grandma's house when we visit. 

You may just need a break: It's okay to have a day or a week or even a whole summer off from learning as I demonstrated, sometimes you're just not feeling it. 

You need to practice what you preach: I really need to go easier on my boy. How can I expect him to do something I won't do myself. Kids have an inbuilt fairness gauge and if I want my son to be committed to something I need to show him that I'm willing to commit to something too. 

So why not think about if you practice what you preach? And if you don't maybe the kids can get a break from their piano scales.

photo credit: practice via photopin (license)

KidzInMind - Win a free download


Roscoe's dad took him to a festival lately, although he assured me that my heart and soul son would be safe, I didn't want to take any chances so I sent them off with ID tags, reins and a high visibility belt. Apparently they had a lovely (and very safe) time. Afterwards Graham told me he didn't even need the tags as Roscoe's festival wristband was linked to his mobile phone - awww the beauty of modern technology. Some of us old fuddie duddies can get a bit grumbly about these new fangled things with their buzzing and location stalking but I have to admit that if innovation is going to help me to parent, I'm all for it. 

That's where KidzInMind comes in. We all know children are obsessed with iphones and tablets and they can be fantastic - entertaining, educational and a wonderful distraction in mid range restaurants but how can we feel confident that everything they're accessing is good for our children? The KidzInMind app has no inappropriate language or adverts and has a whole host of games and apps so that your child can enjoy an experience individual tailored to their likes and needs. One of my favourite features is the parental control, allowing you to call time without having to wrestle the darn tablet from their grubby little mitts. 

If you'd like to try KidzInMind, follow KidzInMind on Twitter or join Mission Acceptance. Five lucky readers will win a month's free access to the app. 


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The #LittleOnes Tag - Life according to Roscoe


I don't think there's a parent anywhere that hasn't wondered, what is going on in that kids head? I love the series #LittleOnes interviews because we finally get to find out what they really think. Grounded Mummy found out that her angel has very good taste in music over on her post and tagged me to do an interview of my own. My little lad does not  have the communication skills to answer the questions, so I've completed them for him...

  1. How Old Are You? Depends who's asking
  2. When Is Your Birthday? All day everyday mofos
  3. How Old Is Daddy? 3
  4. How Old Is Mummy? 83
  5. What’s Your Favorite Colour? Mudstained brown
  6. What’s Your Favorite Food? Any food offered to me by someone who isn't my parent
  7. What's Your Favourite Drink? Sugar water, heavy on the e numbers
  8. Who’s Your Best Friend? My Grandma who I am planning a parenting coup with
  9. What’s Your Favorite Programme? I worship at the church of Peppa
  10. What’s Your Favorite Song? My own tuneless remix of Old MacDonald
  11. What’s Your Favorite Animal? My family cat, although the love is unrequited
  12. What Is your Favourite Book? Maisie Makes Gingerbread, didn't see that ending coming. In fact I haven't read it in the last four minutes, where is that bad boy?
  13. What Are You Scared Of? Falling asleep at a reasonable hour 
  14. What Makes You Happy? Waking mummy up at an unreasonable hour 
  15. What Is Your Favourite Thing To Do? Have epic meltdowns in really public places 
  16. Where Is Your Favourite Place To Go? Anywhere completely inappropriate for children 
  17. What Do You Want To Do Today? Raise hell
  18. What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? A mechanic or a criminal mastermind
  19. What Do You Like Helping Mummy Do? Pulling every item out off the kitchen cabinets 
  20. What Do You Like Helping Daddy Do? Destroying any room mummy has recently tidied
  21. What Is Your Favourite Thing About Mummy? She does her very best to keep me safe
  22. What Is Your Favourite Thing About Daddy? He lets me do unthinkably dangerous things when mummy isn't around

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Mission Acceptance - Accept a new choice


I've found myself involved in a lot of conversations about vegetarianism recently. And when I find myself talking about something a lot, I know it's because deep down I want to create a change. I've been on a journey to be more conscious about how I eat for a long time. I watch a lot of YouTube videos on the plant based diets and I've seen some amazing documentaries. My head knows what it wants that but my heart loves chicken.

Also, in truth, I'm not an animal lover, although I respect people that are. I don't believe that all creatures are equal. It's not a superiority thing, of all the animals I've encountered humans are by far the stupidest but they're my stupid animals. To put it terribly bluntly I have a cat. we're not bezzie mates but I care for her. If she's late home I worry; I rush her to the vets if she's poorly. She is part of my family. If some unfathomable set of circumstances arose that meant that I had to choose between sacrificing my pet or some human child that I had no connection whatsoever with, the moggy would have to go. That's not to say that I have no warmth towards animals, I just don't personally think it is morally wrong to eat them. Eating them, fine but farming them in a way that tortures our planet, transporting and slaughtering them by means that is devoid of even a shred of respect or dignity and munching away whilst fellow humans, the humans I claim to love so dearly, waste away - that's not on.

So giving up meat seems like a sensibly choice and yet a meatless state I cannot reach. Why is it that I have found it so hard? I think there are three reasons:

I'm lazy. I have found peace with my laziness. Sometimes it can actually be a good thing. My desire to do things the quick and easy way means that I can often see the simplest solutions to things. Give me a task that I can see no good reason for doing and nine times out of ten I won't do it and you know what, it rarely matters.

I'm all about instant gratification. They say the sign of adulthood is accepting delayed gratification. In which case adulthood eludes me because I want it all and I want it now. That's why I still carry those last few lbs of baby weight and it's probably why I can't drive or speak a foreign language. Whenever someone tells me they love a challenge I look at them oddly. Who loves sweat and tears? You just love the stuff a challenge gets you.

I'm a people pleaser. My best friend growing up was a vegetarian. This was the eighties when announcing you were a vegetarian elicited a similar reaction to saying you were a swinger - slight confusion and a lot of curiosity. My friend spent a lot of time politely refusing meals and taking her own packed lunch to parties. For the vegetarian raising parents out there I think this served her well, it taught her from a very early age to stand by her values and feel confident asking for things. I have a problem with saying no and the thought of having to do so still makes me feel a bit shaky.

Of course missions are about pushing past the fear so I decided to take a week and accept that I could make a different choice. Here's what I learned:

1. Own your stuff. I decided not to tell anyone about my plans because there seemed no point making an announcement for seven days of change, interestingly I immediately experienced discrimination for my meatless state. I was at work and offered a ham sandwich, when I refused my colleague sneered, 'You're not one of those vegetarians are you?' I said no but I immediately felt embarrassed, this is the thing I think I was worried about, that people would think I believe I'm this special snowflake but then again I do believe I'm a special snowflake, so if I were to continue this lifestyle I would own my stuff

2. Learn to love the basics. I went hungry that day because I couldn't find a meat free option that went with bread, so I had bread. It was fine, I forgot I actually really like bread and butter. I had a lot of similar experiences throughout the week - a perfectly ripe avocado with sea salt; steaming rice with fresh coriander. I think I remembered the joy of food when I wasn't automatically reaching for sausages. 

3. Get educated. Habits can be a beautiful thing but with food it can leave you stuck - what do you have with carbonara if you don't have ham? Well lots of things but our brains love a quick and dirty association and it takes some effort to unpick that. I really enjoyed researching new recipes and making the food I had at home work in a new way. I think it even gave my brain a bit of a boost!

4. Making a new choice keeps you present. I actually lost some weight this week and not because I think a vegetarian diet is that much healthier - cake has no meat remember. It's because thinking about my meals made me pause before consuming, I did less grazing (read: standing in front of the fridge, picking at chorizo slices) and I was more drawn to fresh, lighter options. 

5. A trip doesn't have to be a fall. I think this is the case with any dietary change. On Saturday I met up with a friend and we had a Chinese, I didn't want to make a fuss and also crispy chilli beef right? So I had meat, it was delish but from that point the floodgates were open it was full steam ahead on the bacon express the next morning and at lunchtime I was going to go for the hat trick and have myself a burger when I caught myself. One slip up does not a meat feast make and I had to accept that when you fall of the wagon it's no time to lie in the dust licking your wounds, you've got to haul yourself back on again. 

So where am I now. I think if I don't give up meat, I'll definitely eat much less and even if I don't I absolutely accept the choice is in my hands.

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

Win £20 to spend at Peach Perfect - Perfectly Inspirational Gifts (UK ONLY)




Is there anything better than a den? What I love most about a den is that it is such a wonderful vehicle for encouraging a child's imagination. To the casual observer the small hut is just that but to a child it holds endless possibilities - it can be a house or a castle or a secret spy den! What a wonderful world to live in. I have some beautiful memories of childhood dens. My best friend and I ran a vet surgery in her back garden for a day, we performed very tricky stick insect reconstruction surgery; I also made my little brother attend school in my wendy house - I was a very strict teacher. 

If you want to help create some fabulous summer memories for your child please enter below and you could choose a play tent from Peach Perfect. You can choose either a Garage Play Tent or a Dolls House Play Tent, Peach Perfect has lots of wonderful gifts for the whole family so if you already have a den check out what else they have and get something perfect for someone you love.


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Why little white lies are weak and real friends get real


I met a woman recently who was a real horror. Loud, brash and crashing through boundaries like an articulated tank. I'm not usually one for rash assessments, we're all Gods creatures - yadda, yadda, yadda; I mean I do believe there's beauty in everyone and I take time to look for it, sometimes for years. Also, full disclosure, the behaviour of the subject and the observer may have been influenced by the consumption of gin but even that was not enough to reject my findings that this woman was being objectively obnoxious. Why was this an issue, we all have our off days? It was an issue because this girl was introduced to me by her very 'best' friend. Quotation marks required because if this were her best friend, her good friend or even a casual acquaintance she would have got her home with a mug of horlicks quick sharp or at least had a quiet word in her ear hole about the fact she was being intolerable. She did not do this. She laughed, she encouraged and she told this woman that her ridiculous behaviour was funny; she made me understand I need to write a post on why little white lies are weak.

It's lazy. There's more than one way to skin a cat and I'm not suggesting you reach for a rusty razor blade. It can only be laziness that prevents us from formulating a more respectful way to say what comes to mind. For example when your mate asks you if she smells, you don't have to say, 'Yeah love something's rotten in the state of Denmark.' You could say, 'Are you perspiring more than usual? Have you been exercising? You look fab!'

It's cowardly. When can we drop this whole, wanting everyone to like us business? Ultimately it's selfish but mostly it's cowardice - leaving your mate to walk round in a crop top when her crop top days are resolutely behind her is not an act of kindness, it's pure sabotage and it says that fear and not love rules you. Handing out the deep, dirty truth might not always pretty but in the end you, and whomever receives it, will come out stronger. 

It's disloyal. During the course of the evening the woman's friend made a deprecating but lighthearted comment about her pal. I recognised it for what it was - a sad attempt to distance herself from her friend's behaviour. I see it all the time, you tell your best workmate she's doing fine and then make a jovial dig about her to the supervisor. You see you don't have the cahoonas to give it straight to your mate but you don't want to be associated with whatever BS she's pulling. Friends have each others back, even if that means telling them about themselves. 

It's silly. We're all grown ups. We don't need celestial beings to deliver us pound coins in the night. If you pay your own bills and make your own rules, it's time you got real about stuff. If you can deal with finances, you can deal with facts. They're both the same to be honest - if you don't have enough you will never get what you want. Can we treat each other with respect and place all the cards on the table? Your husband is gay; your kids are unruly; yes your bum does look big in that. They might not thank you but deep down they'll know you're a real friend.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com