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Today, I read a post by a blogger friend of mine that made me really sad.  I’ve met this lady in real life a few times and I know she is an amazing mother to her son.  To think she is writing about failing as a parent made my heart sink.  I know many of us do it, whether we write about it, talk to our friends or family about it or just dwell on it in our own thoughts.  We look for our failings more than we shout about our

How do Dad’s get dressing kids so wrong?  Or in our case, how does Daddy get dressing his girls so wrong?  Why does filling the nursery bag with a spare set of clothes seem to be a constant bone of contention?  It seems I have to be responsible for this stuff as Daddy simply cannot tell his tights from his leggings or his tunics from his dresses.  I had no idea this stuff was so difficult. I have turned up to nursery once too often now to collect Princess and

Right guys, you gotta help me out here.  I’ve been having some really crazy thoughts recently.  Some of my friends have been showing off their gorgeous newborn babies, and oh my word, it’s making me feel broody.  It’s completely insane, as rationally the thought of going throw another pregnancy is just too much like hard work.  Having a 3 year old and a 1 year old is also hard work, but it is getting easier.  Throwing another baby into the mix would just be ludicrous. If you were reading this

One thing I find really hard about having children of such different ages, is writing about them on the blog all equally.  I guess featuring them all equally is difficult when they are at such different stages of their lives, and possibly a tall order. So that’s where the idea came from for the family update.  It means I can talk about each of them, knowing they have all got some air time on here, and there is something for us all to look back on.  There’s been a lot

One thing that sporty parents are always keen to do is introduce their kids to sports from a young age. The idea is that if you get them hooked early, they’ll grow into athletic children and, later on, fit and healthy teens. But how early can you start teaching sport to your offspring? You might be surprised to know that you can teach kids as young as toddler age some basic sports skills. Here are some great sports to teach your toddler. Don’t worry, most of these have some modifications

Recently I’ve noticed Princess has developed the ability to not tell the truth or tell a little lie if you will.  It’s surprised me really, as she is only 3, but she has definitely worked out that sometimes the truth has consequences that she doesn’t like.  In an effort to avoid those consequences she has become slightly economical when it comes to disclosing the actual events that have happened. I wouldn’t say she is particularly good at it.  When she doesn’t want to tell the truth, she usually has a big

It’s been all change here at Zena’s Suitcase these last couple of month’s, and things are on the up, mainly!  As there is so much going on I thought I’d give you a family update, and let you know how we are all getting along. Teen has just finished his A/S Levels, and fingers crossed it all went OK.  He played it all very cool, as he usually does.  He gave very little away after each exam, but I know he’s a very bright lad so I have the utmost

When my son first arrived into the world, I was overjoyed on so many levels.  I was so happy to have a boy, due to the disastrous relationship I had experienced with my own Mother.  I hoped that having a son would mean a clean slate for me.  Perhaps it  would protect me in someway from making the same mistakes my own Mother had made.  My fear of history repeating itself was very overwhelming when I first became a Mum, over 17 years ago. We had a really good relationship when

Teen has been learning to drive since January, and we are just getting to the point where he’s thinking about his theory test and preparing for his final practical test. It’s not going to be long before he’s on the road all by himself. I’m sure you can understand that, as a parent, that this is a pretty scary thought. I made sure he was prepared for getting into a car before being let lose on the road, and he took part in some lessons for under 17 year olds.

Princess and I have had a busy weekend.  We headed off to Birmingham for an early start at the Sea Life Centre before swinging by the BBC Good Food Show and BBC Gardener’s World Live.  It was one of hose impromptu efforts where it seemed on one hand sensible to kill two birds with one stone, and the other utterly stupid to navigate two press events in one day with a 3 year old. We did see a few diva type moments, however nothing like the full on, hit the

I was in no way prepared for how difficult looking after 2 children under 3 would be when Little Pudding arrived a year ago.  It makes having one child look like a walk in the park.  Keeping 2 kiddos under control and looking after yourself is a whole different ball game. One thing that really slipped into the background was my personal style.  It was gone completely.  With very small windows of opportunity available to get myself ready for the day I’d often reach for the nearest item of clothing

If you’re looking for free things to do with kids, then look no further.  I’m always desperate to find activities to do with my children that don’t break the bank, or even better are free.    When teen was small, money was pretty tight so I had to learn to be inventive and make the most of things that were available to us at little or no cost. Like most families, we can’t afford paid activities every week, so we make the most of what’s around us.  Here’s some of

I really feel it’s important for my children to be able to swim.  My teen can swim, and I took him to the pool regularly when he was a baby, even though I couldn’t swim.  I didn’t want him to be like me.  I haven’t been nearly so on the ball with Princess or Little Pudding, as life is a lot busier juggling two.  We did get into a habit over winter, funnily enough but as soon as we broke the pattern we slipped into our old ways. Now Princess

It doesn’t take a lot to upset the apple cart when kids are involved does it?  We changed gym class today, so that Princess could go without me.  I’d wanted to do one more term with her ideally, but her little sister isn’t happy to be carried round for the session now she’s more mobile, so it’s forced the issue. Princess is an independent character, and declares frequently her desires to ‘do it herself’, so I’d hoped the change would be well received.  We were due to leave the house

I’d been in my job a long time when I had Princess.  I had my son already when I joined the company, 11 years earlier, so hadn’t taken maternity leave before.  I’d worked my way through the ranks, and was quite happy in my middle management role before I fell pregnant after my wedding.  Life was looking pretty good, great job, fab husband and new baby on the way. I took extended maternity leave when baby arrived, which meant I was going to be off work for over 14 months.

We’ve had a rough time of it these last few weeks with the children and getting sick.  To say I’m sleep deprived is an understatement, but so is everyone else in the house.  We are passing a grumpy hat round as we can only have one person be grouchy at anyone time to avoid complete fall out! I picked Princess up from nursery the other week, and she was covered in chickenpox. Apparently they appeared in the space of half an hour.  Fortunately it was the end of the day

You’ll have to forgive me for being late to the party (and starting off with a really bad joke) but when busy with kids, keeping up with which parents are invoicing who for a no-show isn’t necessarily on my list of priorities when teething and weaning are hitting my own headlines. Curiosity got the better of me today, and I decided to delve into what the whole thing was about, and why this young lad had come home from school with an invoice in between his lunchbox and his homework demanding

This week the NSPCC launched it’s new campaign #ShareAware to help parents keep their children safe online.  As a parent, knowing and understanding what my children have access to when they use a tablet, smart phone, computer or games console is one of my biggest challenges. This is why I was one of 500 parents that researched over 48 social media platforms to see how easy they were to access, if they contained inappropriate content and if the parental controls and reporting features were accessible.  Some of the findings are quite scary.

My little Princess is a huge fan of the hit CBeebies show Q Pootle 5.  She watches it every morning, without fail before she heads off to nursery.  She loves the adorable inhabitants of Okidoki so imagine her excitement when she found out there was going to be a feature length Christmas episode. If that wasn’t enough, I was given the opportunity to ask Nick Butterworth, the creator of Q Pootle 5, a few questions exclusively for Zena’s Suitcase, so here are his thoughts, in his own words, on the

I love Christmas.  To be fair it hasn’t always been that way, but now I’m lucky enough to have my own family it really is a magical time.  It makes up for those that weren’t quite so cheery back in the day. When we’re faced with dark nights and the many surprises a British winter can bring some fairy lights and tinsel can go along way.  I know a lot of people think Christmas starts too early, decorations are up too soon but personally I like to embrace it.  Anything

At the weekend, we took the girls for another swimming session.  Princess gets really excited at the thought of going swimming now and we are able to use it as a motivational tool to encourage her to do things like….BEHAVE!  Bless her, she can be a little monkey, especially when he is tired. We wanted to try another pool this weekend, just to see if it was easier with the girls.  We tried to go there for our first winter swim, but they had had an event on so we

Recently, the lovely people at Infacare sent us their baby bath and new night time baby bath to try out with Little Pudding.  We’ve always been really careful with what we use on all our children’s skin as they have all had bouts of sensitivity at one point or another. Bathtime should be fun time, and not a cause for concern when it comes to baby’s skin so we were keen to give Infacare a trial run and see if it suited our little ones.  

Wow, five month’s old already!  This is one of my favourite stages of the baby days. When they are all cute and squishy, full of smiles and giggles, but haven’t realised yet that Mummy could leave them, if only just to nip to the loo or something.  When that reality hits her and she starts to notice my (short) absences then we are likely to face some more interesting challenges, me thinks. It’s been a busy month for Little Pudding, and this one seems to have flown by once again,

When HUGGIES® challenged us to get our little ones swimming this winter, I really wasn’t sure how it would go.  If you read my last post you’ll already know that I can’t swim which makes motivation a little difficult.  I’m desperate not to pass on my fear of water to my children, and I have managed to make one confident swimmer, so getting two more shouldn’t be so hard should it. Our first swim went so much better than I expected, and I think the thing that made it the success it was

Now then Mum’s, are we in control of what goes on from one minute to the next when there’s kids involved.  I know I’m not.  Is everything in the house meticulously organised so that nothing can ever go wrong?  I wish it was, then I realise I write a blog and gave up on house work a long time ago! Are there Mum’s out there who can pull it off?  I’m sure there are so here’s the test.  If you can answer Yes to all these statements, you are officially

The issue of Pay Day Loan companies and the impact they have on the poorest in society is huge but possibly not immediately obvious to all.  There is a lot that needs to be done and I would like to see the Government take a number of steps, including capping the levels of interest rates that can be charged for lending.  A representative APR of 5853% is simply not acceptable. Another important change is to stop Pay Day Loans being advertised before the watershed so that children’s financial awareness and

We’ve been trying some new things this weekend and our first stop was a Sensory Play Centre called ‘Look Inside’.  Unfortunately I didn’t feel I could take photo’s of this but here’s a link to their gallery so you can have a quick look at what’s on offer. I find that weekends can be a blessing and a curse all at the same time.  We have a busy house and people start getting under each other’s feet very quicky.  Getting out is the best way to diffuse what can fast

My Teen is 16 years old.  He’ll be 17 in December.  I’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more for him to start experimenting with alcohol but nothing, zilch!  No falling in the door drunk, no cleaning up piles of puke and definitely no having to put him to bed in a comatose state. His friends have definitely began too.  I spoke to a Mum at the beginning of the holidays who’s son had come home a little tipsy after the end of the GCSE’s.  There had been a meet

We have had such a busy house recently the thought of potty training has been a little overwhelming for everyone.  That being said, Princess is showing signs that she is ready so I also don’t want to miss that window of opportunity.  She definitely has an awareness of needing to go to the toilet,  for a while now she has taken herself of to a quite corner when she needs a poo and then returns with her most proud declaration ‘I’ve pooed!’.  It makes me think she likes us cleaning it

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