Ask Moderate Mum - How do I deal with my teenager hitting puberty

How do I deal with the a previously quiet, helpful teenage girl that has hit puberty and has discovered hormonal tantrums , tears and insecurities bless her? Kim Styles 

Often when it comes to parental anxiety I think, honey, this is what you signed up for. Even when I'm complaining to my mum that my boy woke up at still actually the middle of the night o' clock. I can see the mirth in her eyes, the little glint that says, what you thought this was gonna be easy? Humans are amazing and to make anything amazing takes hard work, so first and foremost make sure you're up to the challenge. Prioritise your own self care, are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating well? It's so much easier to combat teenage misery if you yourself don't feel like climbing into a hole and shutting the world out. 

Please remember puberty is a scary place. Imagine going to bed one night with everything okay in the world and waking up in Guatemala and if you're thinking, ah yes Guatemala, love it there, we have a little cottage in Chinautla, pick somewhere else, somewhere scary and unfamiliar. So you wake up there and no one can really explain to you why you're there or what's going on. At first you'd probably be polite, have a nap and see if anything becomes clearer but after a few days you'd get panicked, you'd be angry; you'd start screaming at people to get you out of there and no one would understand you because you'd be shouting in English and they'd all speak Spanish. What would you need in that moment? Someone to take care of you. When your daughter has a tantrum or an unexplained emotional breakdown she's just scared and lost; rather than letting out the mutterings running through your mind bake her a cake or make her a hot chocolate with those little marshmallows. Reminding her how much she is loved will help to bring her home and also it's hard to be mean in the face of tiny marshmallows.

Finally quiet, helpful girls aren't always happy ones. I was quiet and helpful for a good deal of my life because I was riddled with anxiety. I was terrified of everything - those flying spiders, busy roads and most of all stepping out of line. Your daughter sounds like she's finding her voice and in this day and age, Lord knows she's gonna need it. It might not look like it right now but being willing to ruffle a few feathers is a very good thing. 

photo credit: Sarah Wampler via photopin (license)

The Best Gift for a New Baby - Keeping Safety in Mind

Your goal in gift-giving to expectant or new parents is to first, show your affection and good will, but secondly, it’s giving them gifts that they will use and that they will know are utterly safe for their baby.

You can comb the local shops nearby or shop online, but one of the best places to look for a fantastic, impressive and welcome gift is to look at the huge range of baby gift hampers available at Baby Gift Box. The gift of a hamper covers so many areas of not just cuteness, but necessity.

Safety will be a priority for new parents but let's face it, safety will always be on parents' minds, regardless of the age of their children. However, there is a particular, nearly fevered, often emotional, concern for new-borns, babies and toddlers. Alert and concerned parents are fixated on making their homes and cars safe. They want to ensure that the choices they're making are the right ones to keep their babies safe.

Here are some very common concerns and some helpful ways to start a healthy schedule and infuse good habits into your home life.


While there are babies born with an entire head of hair, most babies are on the “follically-challenged” side. This means that they are particularly susceptible to heat and cold on their tiny pates. The best piece of advice you’ll receive about this is to start putting hats on your baby on a regular basis. Start with a cotton knit beanie. As soon as you start taking your baby out, a hat will protect it from, both the sun and cold. So many parents lament that their babies will “not keep a hat on,” and we’ve all seen enough babies pulling hats off their heads to confirm this. Gifting beanie hats of different colours is a great way to present new parents with items they will use daily basis, many mothers will welcome the opportunity to match their baby’s outfit with a coordinating colour. The main point is to get your baby used to hats as soon as possible.

Do not ever worry about offending anyone – never sacrifice the health of your baby for someone’s feelings. This means, if someone “has a little cold”, they’re not allowed near the baby. Be kind and warmly invite them when they’ve recovered (from whatever ailment they or their family contracted). 

Ask everyone who comes in to wash their hands, and keep a bottle of anti-bacterial gel nearby for them to also use. You can get a lot of information from popular parenting websites. They have plenty of articles that can serve as your guide.


If you have pets, you, like many, probably treat them like your children. And when you’re bringing a human child into the mix, you’re not likely going to want to dramatically change your pets’ way of life, their comfortable and familiar lifestyle, or – the horror – give your pets away. It’s recommended that you prepare before you bring your baby home and establish boundaries with your pet right from the start. 

Bringing Home Baby: if you have a dog or two, one of the best bits of advice you can receive is this:

1. While not always possible, take the blanket in which your baby was first wrapped and take it home (or have someone caring for your dog(s) take it to them and have them sleep with the wrapping that first night (or however many nights you and your baby are away from the house). 

2. You’ll be having a lot of visitors to your home, people anxious to meet your new baby, and, if permitted, to hold your little one, too. Keep a jar of dog treats near the front door. Tell visitors that they must greet your dog(s) first, do some minor fussing over the dog and giving treats. This serves a two-fold purpose: the dog(s) will begin to welcome guests and not be on constant guard – he/she knows that there are treats involved and will soon feel proud to show off their new baby.

There’s nothing wrong in ensuring the baby’s safety. Take note of the points discussed above as it can help you along the way.

This article is published in partnership with Mediabuzzer

Add a little sparkle to your day! GIVEAWAY (UK & IRELAND)

In these bleak times *cough* Trump *cough* we're all doing our best to cling onto the tiniest glimmers of joy. I think that's why everyone's obsessed with hygge or 'taking pleasure in making every day moments beautiful'. With this you don't need money, you don't need a Valencia filtered life, you just need your own ability to recognise what makes you happy.

I think this is one of the reasons parenthood is such a wonderful space to live in, because you become an expert at stealing joy. For example I love a bath, always have. The hot water feels like a hug and I like having the space to think. Sometimes someone will say to me, 'Ew, it's sitting in your own muck.' And I think, who cares when it feels so good? Although I've always looked forward to a nice soak, I've never appreciated it more than after I became a mother. My bath wasn't just a treat, it was a sanctuary. During the newborn days, when being a parent was a near all consuming experience, I guarded those 45 minutes like a tigress. I GOT REAL about bathing, took myself to Lush, downloaded awesome podcasts and it stopped being just a bath, it was like a teeny, tiny mini break.  

I discovered from this that it doesn't take that much effort to lift an experience from okay to Ohh! Yayy! For example if you follow me on Instagram you may know that I am not that hot mama bringing you school run style; I'm more yesterday's T shirt, sleep in my eyes vibe and most of the time I own that but sometimes it brings me down. Sometimes I'd like to sparkle a little and luckily Happiness boutique were here to help. They sent me a lovely statement necklace, gorgeous enough to lift any outfit and every morning.

I love that I can throw on my Jeans and T and still feel put together with a little bit of accessorising; it's just one of ways I plan to add some sparkle to my life this year and if you would like to do the same I've got another Happiness Boutique gem to give away. Enter below to win a sprinkle of glitter with this rose gold cuff bracelet and let me know how you create little bits of joy every day! 

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Is it okay to aim for love?

I've always wanted to be married, not get married, that seems like madness - a whole day of dozens of people staring at you and taking pictures from every conceivable angle. Heck, no. It just sounds anxiety inducing and I'm pretty sure vomiting at the alter is not a good start to married life. I wasn't interested in the day, what I craved was the life. I wanted a person to call home; I longed for all the petty intimacies - peeing with the door open, texting for forgotten milk, falling asleep on the sofa. When I was a kid, on the rare occasions I was defiant, I would listen to my parents talking about me in hushed voices after I had gone to bed. Underneath my heady sense of injustice I felt a longing. I wanted that, I wanted a teammate and until recently I had been lucky enough to have one and then I wasn't

It was months after my marriage ended that I thought I might be vaguely ready to think about loving again and I figured if I seriously wanted to be in a couple I better take it seriously, I better treat it like a job. So I updated my CV: 

Previous role: 15 year position as mostly supportive partner 
Special skills: Cottage pie 

Then I asked every trusted friend if they knew of anyone who might be eligible, someone for whom they would be willing to act as guarantor for my heart. I told them that it was an attempt to live in a fairy tale to not actively look for love. I got a lot of the 'scary eyes'. You know the scary eyes, they're the ones you make when your friend comes back from a two week all inclusive holiday in Tunisia and tells you she's marrying a barman called Aziz. Your mouth says, 'That's great honey but maybe a little soon' but your eyes say, 'Girl you done lost your mind'. I knew from the scary eyes that many of them thought I was crazy but I didn't care. If you want to be an actress you don't wander through life hoping a director will spot you on the 250 bus - you hustle, you network, you make it happen. Why don't we think the same about love? 

The problem was maybe I was lying to everyone and mostly to myself because I made no work of meeting my ex, in fact he swept me off my feet. We got together at a time when I wasn't looking for love, I was looking for a career and adventure and a part time job that would keep me in Topshop jeans and love knocked on my door and said, 'Can I take you to Deep Pan Pizza?' And it was wonderful. It wasn't that I wanted to be so serious about my search it was that I hoped that if I did things differently, it would end differently, in that it wouldn't end.

So I didn't apply for any of the openings I became aware of because I thought that to aim for love might rob it of its essence. Is its beauty not in its elusiveness, the way it crash lands into your life without warning? It might be the last bit of magic in adulthood and who wants to live a life without magic?

photo credit: the past tends to disappear I Love You Dani! via photopin (license)

Make Resolutions like a Ninja

Did I tell you that my ex is a ninja? No not that kind, a Productivity Ninja. What's that you might ask? Obviously an agent trained in the fine art of getting sh*t done. And that's really what he does, he runs marathons and writes books and all that jazz. You'd think that having known him all my adult life some of it would have rubbed off but let's just say that opposites attract. It's not that I don't want to do things, I do! I want to do ALL THE THINGS and this is where I go wrong, I try and do them all at once. That's how I end up in bed by 8PM on New Year's Eve. Finally it's sunk in, it's not about doing all the things, it's about doing the most important things and I  let you know what I think those things are in this video. 

Once you know what you want or what you need or if you're lucky a hot combo, this is how you make sure they happen: 

PLAN IT - Don't just make a vague plan to do something, break it down into titchy little pieces, so you know exactly how much time and energy you need and so it doesn't feel so overwhelming. 

WRITE IT DOWN - There's a reason why you don't just spit in your hand and shake hands when you buy a house. Writing things down makes them for realz. Commit your goals to paper, everything important needs a contract, especially agreements made with yourself. 

TELL SOMEONE - Accountability is no joke, if you don't tell anyone about your goal it's easy to pretend you never really wanted to do it. Last year I wrote on my blog that I maybe, possibly wanted to write a book and guess what I ended this year doing - kayaking! (Nah, I wrote a book girl!)

REVIEW - People change and so do their aims. Make sure you regularly check in to see if you're on the right track and if you aren't, change course! You're in the driver's seat.

A Mum Track Mind

Online Bingo - A Relief from Everyday Stress

The game of bingo has been a popular pastime for generations. People still go to physical bingo halls to have a game with their friends and competitors, and the joy of shouting “BINGO!” never really fades away.

But modern life brings with it a lot of responsibilities and a perpetual lack of ‘free time’. This means that if bingo is one of your favourite games, you might as well be missing it right now because you can rarely find the time to go to the bingo halls and play.

Online Bingo provides a great alternative. You can sit in the comfort of your home, wearing whatever you like (no need to dress up for this bingo night, ladies!) and try your luck at a variety of bingo games.

One of the advantages of playing online bingo is the bonuses and promotions that are very rare at old school bingo halls. You can play online bingo and win cash without even depositing any money at all. There are several websites that offer welcome bonuses to new users for up to 400% of their deposit amount! Visit this website to find out about the great offers and promotions.

Many online bingo websites also host charity events where your earnings go directly to charitable foundations. This helps us give back to the world and have fun at the same time. There is also a chat room feature in online bingo rooms where you can talk to fellow users and make new friends.

So at times when it feels like life is getting too monotonous or dull, why not play a game of online bingo to bring back some fun and vitality?

Collaboration with Game Village 
photo credit: Jaione Dagdrømmer Igandeak. via photopin (license)

Welcome in 2017 just a little bit

I write this from my death bed, okay from my sick bed, I'm just really, really rubbish at being sick. I spend the whole experience whinging about all the extraordinary things I could be doing if I were in good health and this time has been no exception. Rather than feeling grateful that a flu every couple of years is my greatest health concern and that I have two doting grandparents to keep the toddler away from my germs, I've been stressing about all the amazing things I coulda done to start this year with a bang. The problem is it was this kind of overreaching that got me here in the first place. I thought, yeah I can move house by myself and totally win at single parenting and work all the hours God sends and I'll be fine and I kept on being fine until I woke up on New Years Eve, Eve and my body said, 'who you kidding lady?' And I could not move. So since then I've pretty much been sleeping - I slept through the fireworks, I slept through whatever cliff hanger there was on Albert Square and I slept through most of the New Year, New Me declarations on the internet and it was okay. I still feel bad that I haven't got everything I wanted to do done and that if I have started as I will go on, I'm gonna spend 2017 dosed up on Night Nurse having weird dreams about feeding Aaron Taylor Johnson salami but I feel that what I have learned from this is that I need to do just a little more this year. 

Love a little more: An extra cuddle never goes amiss, whether it's to a child or an animal or a friend. A kind word to a stranger or an uplifting message to a colleague, life feels better with a little more love. 

Work a little more: I need to remember those big, hairy audacious goals can be broken down into little, far less intimidating ones. 

Rest a little more: I sleep like a professional but I also need to make sure I am resting my mind and soul throughout the day. How many devices do I need whirring around in the background and how hard is it to ask for help every now and then for goodness sake! 

Play a little more: I'll make a little time to explore and grow, learn about myself and the world around me but have fun doing it. 

It might not sound like much but that's reassuring, I don't want to overwhelm my body or my mind. I'm sure I'll find that a whole lot of littles will add up to a lot.