The busy- mum-do-gooders’ Bloggy Blog – The reason why . . . .



So by anyone’s standards I’m a pretty busy lady, a full time working mum of two young girls who in her spare time likes to organise the occasional fund raiser to help those in need. It was like an epiphany when I decided to embark on my first event. After following the tragic story of murdered MP Jo Cox, a mum who went to work one day and didn’t come home to her young children, it broke my heart. I saw her very brave widow Brendan Cox asking everyone to ‘Get Together’ in memory of his wife, I turned to my husband and declared ‘I love a party let’s do a Get Together!’ He rolled his eyes in a gesture of here she goes again but replied with ‘Go On Then’. The idea was born. I wanted to create a day to remember a special woman, bring the community together and make it accessible to all – so it had to be free too. Having always been the one who liked to keep my head well below the parapet I raised my head high above it and got cheeky and within just a few days I had a line-up of local artists, lovely raffle prizes a volunteer face painter and a way to raise money for a bouncy castle with the help of local We Shall Overcome founder Ste Goodall. I then put it out there on social media and asked if those attending could bring a donation however small on the day for the local Food Bank (a cause championed by Jo Cox). The response was amazing, and the day went far beyond what I had imagined it would for a day of music, games and togetherness. Afterwards people praised me on what had been a wonderful day and asked what I’d be doing next! At that point I hadn’t thought about it but a few days later it hit me . . . An alternative ladies’ night! Music, Boozy teapots, a fashion show (That story is a blog all of its own – what was I thinking ha!) and a chance for local female run businesses to showcase what they do: Women Shall Overcome was a reality (under the umbrella of anti austerity movement We Shall Over Come) another free event but this time raising donations of toiletry and hygiene products for homeless women –  By far my most ambitious party idea to date!! With the help of the lovely Louise Nulty at the studio we pulled off one of the most fun, heart-warming, informative and supportive female lead celebration of Female Empowerment the town had seen and raised tonnes of sanitary, toiletry and practical donations to be distributed to 3 homeless charities in the area. Again it was really hard work and a little bit stress full but I loved every minute!!!! So I get asked time and time again, why do I do it and the reasons are really simple:

  •    The sense of achievement is out of this world and will Hopefully leave my girls a legacy that they too can have a go and do anything they want:  Leading up to both events I have been involved in up to now there has been a bizarre chain of emotions from ‘I’ve got such and exciting idea’ to ‘Oh my word what have I done, I will never pull this off!’. When the sleepless nights kick in and no matter how many things are ticked off the to do list it keeps growing and to top it off you’re not even getting paid for it, your family and friends will quite rightly question your sanity, but once you pull it off and get the pats on the back, and a well done it feels good and what feels even better is the two pairs of little eyes looking up saying ‘ that’s my Mum’. I have included my daughters in my charity events and explained to them the reasons why we look to help those in need and if I’m the littlest bit lucky this will be a mindset they can take into adulthood and make the world a little bit better.


  • The warm feeling in your tummy when you see all the amazing things people donate and do for a good cause:   Somedays you can send yourself around the proverbial bend thinking of all the things that need changing in this world to the point the logical solution is .. . . there is so much to do and just a little old me what can I do I’ll leave it to someone else! But the truth is if we all just did a tiny little bit and come together that is when we really make a difference, really make a change and finally get our voices heard together – when you do just a little something and see how people get on board and want to do good too it really does leave you feeling a little bit fuzzy inside.



  • The People you meet:   Everyday we are out there meeting and mixing with new people . . .and I’ll let you in to a secret . . I love it.  Meeting new people, finding out what makes them tick and just how different, and just how the same we all really are! Sometimes though we come across a person or people who make us momentarily stop in our tracks and have a little re think about just how we are living our lives. They make us stand up a bit straighter, listen a little more carefully and live our lives just a little bit better. Then on some even rarer occasions someone comes along who makes you think ‘Wow I wish I could be like that’ people who are consistent in their selflessness and seem to touch the hearts and minds of those around them  . . .I came across this such a person and her two daughters recently. When  putting together my most recent event,  Hearts4homeless were brought to my attention through the power of Facebook, a mother and daughter team who spend their spare time going out meeting with the homeless of Liverpool providing food, toiletries, blankets and most importantly a listening ear. They tirelessly spread the word of those in need, referring to every single person they meet as their friend and looking for new ways to  get people involved and raise the much needed donations of food, toiletries and dog food that are not accessible to those in need on our streets.



So now I’m am thinking about what to do for my next project to help those most in need so WATCH THIS SPACE!!

External links for more information:

Breaking the stigma

Why hygiene

I still remember the profound effect it had on me watching the scene in the Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake. Watching the character on screen making a choice of food for her kids over period products which she goes onto steal before getting caught.

In a single parent family we certainly weren’t well off when I was growing up and I still remember the blushing when I’d hear giggles from girls as they would spot the big old fashioned towels I’d take to school because they were the cheapest, when they had the funky new always with wings in their coloured wrapper – but at least we could afford something. It is a sad fact of today that one in ten females in the UK experience period poverty. It is something we imagine to effect only third world countries but it is a real issue right on our door step.

Look amazing and smash the stigma

I knew things in our communities were getting worse for many, foodbanks were becoming more and more talked about and usage was continually growing. But until that moment it hadn’t really hit me about the added complication for those struggling or on the streets who would be experiencing their periods on top of every else. From that moment I vowed to work on getting products to those who needed them most.

A real choice for many

It is estimated that currently over 137,000 children across the UK have missed a day of school due to period poverty.

Another issue alongside period poverty is the taboo surrounding menstruation, this can be particularly harmful to girls going through puberty. According to Bodyform “In a survey of more than 1,000 girls, nearly half were embarrassed by their period, many were afraid to ask for help because of the stigma and 68% said they felt less able to pay attention in class at school or college while menstruating.”

In addition to the practicalities of wanting to get much needed products to these women and girls – this stigma around something that affects approximately half of the worlds population on a regular basis has to stop.

I remember one time when I was working in a particularly male dominated place. The ladies bathroom was through an office filled with male managers, as I walked through to go to the bathroom with my handbag in hand one of the managers piped up ‘ hey why are you taking that big bag in the toilet with you?’ And sniggered.

I don’t know why they felt the need to ask – genuine curiosity? Cheap laugh? Lack of social skills maybe? Usually I would flush with shame and fluff some nothing answer but for what ever reason this day I’d had enough and stopped in my tracks before declaring to the room ‘because I’m on my period of course’

A few shifty glances and an awkward cough from the room and I was on my way and it felt good and a little bit empowering to just say it out loud. Any awkwardness on their part was on them for being embarrassed by something so normal. I knew they all had wives, daughters, mothers etc who either have or had periods so surely they realised that?

Fast forward a couple of years and I started a new job, in a quite male dominated industry but there was a fifty fifty split of office based workers being male to female. Everyone was really lovely and I was so thrilled to be starting the job. Week one went great, then during week two I got my period. It was only at that point I realised there was no sanitary bin in the ladies toilet …. whaaaat?!? Surely I was just not spotting it. I went down to speak to some of the girls and pointed out I couldn’t find anywhere to dispose of used items and was met with ‘ yes it’s a nightmare isn’t it, I dread getting mine etc etc’ so I asked – ‘ has anyone actually mentioned this to the (male) boss?’ ‘erm no I was too embarrassed’ or ‘of course not I’m not asking about that’ were among the array of excuses I got for why these women would rather dread each month than ask a simple question. Cue me asking the boss about a bin, a slight giggle of embarrassment that it hadn’t event even crossed their mind and one week later a bin was installed!

But why the shame and embarrassment when it could be so easily resolved.

These are just two recent examples of when I have experienced the effect of stigma and shame around periods first hand. I’m sure all women could reel off so many. So as well as providing much needed items to people through donations we also want to break that stigma for periods and hygiene in general.

Part of breaking the stigma is opening up conversations but it always helps to give things a bit more of a brazen nudge and that’s just what has happened recently.

A wonderful, lovely, amazing local company called Creativily headed by Emily contacted us with the idea of amazing tees with cute designs based on sanitary items and they are real legit stunning. And as if that wasn’t fabulous enough Money from each sale will be donated to our hygiene bank for many more much needed items – and what a huge step in breaking down the taboo when we wear these tees load and proud!

To find out more about the tees and the work being done by the hygiene bank check out the links below

Seeing Emily’s genuine passion and drive was so inspirational and reminded me that there is still so much work to be done, campaigns continue to ensure these products are free to all who need them. Awareness of initiatives available to education settings who can access free products is being raised and the battle for more understanding of the effect on girls and women who cannot access these items still goes on – if you would like to find out more or would like to donate or get involved please email


It is enough

Well hello there….. I write this after an extended period of radio silence of Working Mama ramblings. This has been for several reasons really. The experience of living through a global pandemic has certainly provided lots of food for thought, but somehow I have been finding it increasingly difficult to get those thoughts out in a way that might make a modicum of sense to anyone else including me! I was having a little look through some old notes at the many, many attempts at starting a post with something to say which were never completed. This was for lots of reasons but mainly the dreaded corona brain fog that so many people have talked about when trying to deal with this new way of life, and wanting this to be a positive space it was hard during some periods of real negativity to honour that.

Tumbling into the comparison trap

I then decided to go back to the beginning of this blog and re read some of the early posts firstly out of a wave of nostalgia but then quickly providing a reminder of why I started writing it in the first place, it was like reading a diary, a personal journey of a mum wanting to become a better human being and find a place in the local community to inspire others who might want to do a little something too. It has been a crazy few years from first seeing the image of murdered mum and Labour MP Jo Cox on the TV that inspired me to want to make a positive contribution by sharing her message of More in Common; From being featured in newspaper articles, a protest march, having someone come film me at home about my Great Get Together experience, starting a community group, getting invited to the house of commons to speak to MPs and meeting Jo Cox’s family and see first hand the strength and determination to keep Jo’s memory alive when they could have given into anger and bitterness. Every experience making me wonder – wow what will come next?

Well, lets face it, I don’t think any of us could have predicted how 2020 would pan out as the new year hit, it really has been a crazy Coronacoaster we have all found ourselves on, and I will be honest at times I have found it so hard, not just in the obvious ways which of course have been difficult for everyone, but also with regards to the identity I had carved out for myself in how I felt I could best contribute to the local community. The message I wanted to share, that you just have to put yourself out there and have a go because together we will have each others back. But this was no longer a message that could be shared in the enthusiastic way I had before. My mantra of say yes first and think about it later couldn’t be applied when the over riding message was to say ‘no’ to seeing family and friends ‘no’ to gathering and ‘no’ to life as we knew it for the foreseeable future.

I was left reeling and confused, where did that really leave me, the brain fog came in and settled heavily, thoughts and ideas would wander in my brain not fully formed and looking for ways to formulate, before drifting off to the ether never to be seen again. My primary function was just to get through each day, as it was for so many people, then came the dreaded comparison.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” -Roosevelt

Oh Yes, we may not have been able to see each other in ‘real life’ but social media was as a buzz as ever, people making the most of lockdown, people becoming amazingly creative on line and those coming up with fabulous ways to service the community and all the time I was telling myself maybe tomorrow will be my day to do something amazing. But the more and more I would compare the further away the notion that I could achieve anything would feel. The internal dialogue telling me I had nothing to offer, I was failing my kids, failing my friends and just failing at life. Then my old friend imposter syndrome kicked in too.

Tomorrow was never the day to do the one amazing thing the world was waiting for, but tomorrow was the day I reconnected with the kids without baking banana bread or crafting life size space stations, it was also the day that I managed to build great relationships with the neighbours as we all connected from afar and looked out for each other, it was the day our little community group continued to quietly collect and distribute toiletries to local causes and people in need, but why did it still not feel enough. How and why had I fallen into the comparison trap and how was I going to get out of it?

Comparison, First explored seriously by a social psychologist named Leon Festinger in 1954:
Festinger basically said that people evaluate their opinions and abilities by comparing themselves to other people for two reasons: First, to reduce uncertainty in the areas in which they’re comparing themselves. And second, to learn how to define themselves.

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘keeping up with the Jones’. Sadly social media provides a platform on which we feel the need to be keeping up with what others are doing 24/7 so how do we stop. Although we are all aware of the benefit of taking digital detoxes by way of taking a short time away from screens and media but realistically we use these platforms to connect and often times in ways that are very beneficial to get in touch, find things we need or promote what is going on locally it is never going away long term so the idea of a de-digitalisation seems beyond the realms of possibility. So how do we help ourselves not get too bogged down in joy stealing comparisons:

  1. Stop It. – Sounds so obvious but easier said than done, but if you realise it is something that is getting you down try to be more mindful of times you are falling down the comparison rabbit hole and make a conscious effort to stop. Acknowledge without feeling bad and then try to shift focus onto something different. It can be hard at first but it is almost like having a conversation with your inner self. Mine usually goes along the lines of ‘Oh look at them they are doing so well while I…’ ‘Stop it your doing it again’ Doing what?’ ‘Comparing, remember this morning when you said how happy you were’ ‘ Well yes but that was this morning and look at…..’ ‘ No, no no, that was a great moment, remember that instead’ …. and more often than not its enough to break the chain.
  2. Thankful – Yes just that. Be thankful for what you have. Seems such a simple idea but we all know we have a tendency to make comparisons with those who seem to have it all and breezing through life effortlessly. Social media is highlight city with people posting their wins and amazing postcard moments. This is not real life and is also just a snap shot. Take a minute to think about all the things you have to be thankful for. I promise if you take the time to do this you might just surprise yourself with all the blessings you can count! I have found it really useful to sometimes take a minute to physically write a list of things I am thankful for which can include anything from the chocolate bar Id forgotten about in my handbag to the health and well-being of family and friends through this difficult time.
  3. Stop Putting Others Down. – I found this such an effective tool in my armoury. Before I embarked on the road to putting myself out there, I always wished I could do more. I would see those who seemed to be balancing it all and doing well and I would start to think of ways to put them down to make myself feel better. Then one day I realised, it wasn’t their fault, they had no clue what I was or wasn’t doing and there was only me who could change it. At that point I made a real effort to celebrate and champion those around me and instead of feeling resentment actually make an effort to be more like them in some ways. Feeling positive about others will eventually lead to feeling more positive about yourself.
  4. It’s Your Journey – You will have seen the quotes about how to travel your own path, or that the journey is much more important that the destination etc. What they are all trying to say is this life is YOUR journey, it has your past, your experiences, your personality, your choices. Everybody is on a separate journey and it doesn’t matter what direction you take as long as it is right for you. I used to constantly compare where I was up to in life to others around me , was I married at the right time, a mum at the right time, how did my job path shape up? I spent a lot of time regretting that I hadn’t done things sooner but once I realised and took stock some of the amazing things my journey had led me too, which it otherwise might not, I have been much happier with the journey I am on.
  5. Learn to Accept – You can and will send yourself around the proverbial bend asking yourself, ‘why me’ and convincing yourself that everyone else is floating through life with some kind of wish granting fairy helping them along the way whilst you are always finding yourself under the greyest rainiest cloud. Nothing stays the same and you wont know what has gone on before or what will come later for anybody but if you learn to accept how things are and if it is a situation or place you don’t want to be think f practical steps you can take relevant to get you in the right direction. My situation changed when covid hit, I was lucky I had always had lot of support to allow me to do a lot of what I enjoyed. Then in order to keep family and friends safe and follow guidelines I found I had to drop a lot of previous commitments, I found this hard at first but in accepting the situation and that things will change again I have been able to remain much more positive.

The points above are of course on somedays much harder to practice in the continuous social media bombardment but I promise you giving them a try will certainly help. Also what you have, how you are coping and the smallest of kind acts you might be able to carry out is absolutely enough. Don’t get me wrong I am still a work in progress and some days are better than others to remain positive and be happy with the journey I am on. After things over over recent years going a million miles per hour it was difficult to accept the deceleration whilst I re found my place and re convinced myself of my worth. But I am getting there and I began to accept the small wins, the simple acts and the briefest moments of joy, and I promise you what ever it is your doing to get through, however big or small your act of kindness, whether your baking batches of banana bread or binging box sets aplenty – just whatever it is you’ve done today, it is right for you, right now and absolutely, one hundred per cent IT IS ENOUGH.

The greatest great get together in the strangest of times

So this year marked the 4th annual great get together, four years since the tragic murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox, and four years of me deciding being on the sidelines was no longer enough, I wanted to be a more active member of my local community. This year was set to be a bigger and better event than ever. At the beginning of the year our small More in Common team had successfully presented and been awarded some funding from the local police initiative Safer Communities. This plus partnerships with the connections made with other groups and organisations over the past four years it was set to be a really special day of music, art, food and celebrating having more in common and the strength in acheiving together.

Then in March the watched the world slowly come to a halt, the UK going in full lockdown on Monday 23rd of March as we were told as a nation we should only leave our house for a limited number of essential reasons and the over riding message was stay home and not to have contact with people outside your household…….. the absolute opposite of what the great get together aims to do.

As we braced ourselves and watched as our communities suffered hardship and loss, we united in grief for those loosing their lives, those unable to be with loved ones in their last days, those working on the front line continuing essential services all the time knowing the risks to them and their families and grief for life as we knew at as we all grappled with a new normal. Stories began to emerge of everyday people going above and beyond in their communties, random acts of kindness, bringing joy through street entertainments and looking for new ways to connct online….. all new ways of being ‘together’ as we navigated through a crisis effecting every single person.

It became apparent that even though we couldn’t physically be together there was a new found power in communites coming together in a way like never before, after some discussion with our local group and the national team it was decided the Great Get Together would still be marked in ways available to continue to share the message of more in common and the power of community.

Ideas atarted to be bounced around, zoom, houseparty, facebook live all great ways to be ‘together’ online but for me there were elements of the usual event I didnt want to let go.

I have often been asked to speak on behalf of the Great Get Together by the Jo Cox Foundation about my journey of community involvement. Certainly not because I do anything better than anyone else but because before I started the Great Get Together in Halton I had no or very, very little involvement in my local community. I didnt know about all the wonderful work people were doing or the services and support out there in times of need or the gaps that needed to be filled to help those slipping through.

Through my work in both The Great Get Together and since founding a local community group for women, I have been lucky enough to build lots of amazing connections. When I spoke at an online community network forum about my hope to be able to still provide elements of the previous events, which I believe to be at the heart of why people enjoy them so much, it was the power of these connections that made it happen:

Make and Do …. Ever since the very first year, done on an absolute shoe string, we have always tried to provide things for kids and families to do, either crafting or planting or interactive demonstrations from local groups. This year was no different, so as we were encouraging people to be together at home there were online sessions for bunting and banner making by two amazing local organisations Sew Halton and The Studio Widnes. People getting involved were asked to upload photo’s of what they had made to be in with a chance of winning a prize.

Food Glorious Food …. there are two food elements we have always included in previous events. Providing free food on the day when possible and also as a collection point for the local food bank throughout the day. It was important to me to still try and keep these elements in. After a very kind donation from Widnes Rotary we were able to provide lunch for 150 people in the local community as a thank you for their continued work at a care home, local hospice and childrens group. The food bank collection was done by sending out leaflets to all the houses on my street and then placing a drop off point at the end of our drive, this was great as we got a car boot full of donations but also two neighbours popped by to leave bags of items both of whom I previously hadn’t had a conversation with so win win all round.

Music for the soul….. a big part of previous celebrations has been the live music and Djs so this year was to be no different. The neighbours were invited to join us in their front garden for a virtual street juke box ,by which they could text or message through requests and a game of distanced street bingo. It was great to see our neighbours bopping away in their gardens. Plus later on me and my husband live streamed a DJ battle on the internet so people further a field could join in too!

Over all it was a great day and showed just what can be acheived when you put your mind to it and start to think outside the box. Up and down the country there were examples of communtites coming together through online coffee mornings, group worships on zoom and even an impromtu wedding as part of a street celebration.

So what did I learn from this years Great Get Together? That together is definitly always better in what ever shape or format that has to take. It has also taught me the importance of sometimes looking inward rather than out. The three years previous have been amazing great big great get togethers bringing people together from far afield. This year as I spoke to neighbours, some for the first time about the great get together and what it stands for and watched as they got involved and left donations, I realised that the power of community lies not just in bringing big numbers of people together but that sometimes smaller numbers with big hearts can be just as effective.

I think also what this year has taught us more than any other year that the power of community is needed now more than ever and the work of sharing the More in Common message is far from being over fo rthis year… in fact it has only just begun. So please check out The Great Get Together -Halton on Facebook to see about getting involved or more nationally at or and support the wonderful work being done ✅

Online bunting making
Driveway donation point
Street bingo

What is Normal anyway??

So what is normal anyway?

So throughout this lock down since the Coronavirus outbreak I keep hearing lots of people referring to this ‘new normal’ or not wanting to return to ‘normal’ or being keen to get ‘back to normal’ it has really got me thinking what is normal anyway?

There have been lots of things we have done through lock down that have been different to how we usually spend our time, long walks, previously undiscovered areas of our town found, garden camp outs, so although they are quite unusual ways for us to while away our weekends as a family they are all pretty normal things to do and it got me wondering how we were actually filling our time before.

Certainly before the lock down there was a definite sense of rush, the long walks and garden camp outs were always on the list of things we would get round to doing but there was always some place to be or some commitment to fulfil that meant it was always kind of put on the list for next weekend, yet as each weekend came it would be equally full up and rolled over again.

It certainly isn’t that I dislike my life as it was before, as a family we are so very, very lucky that we have a great circle of friends, lots of family living nearby and lots of interests between us all, but that does bring about a busyness that certainly, at times, used to leave me with a feeling of anxiety and restlessness on the rare occasions that we would find ourselves with a time slot not jam packed full , or feeling like there was something I must be forgetting about. It has certainly been known for me to have double (and yep even triple booked) at any one time!

Getting my walk on as given me time to reflect on what normal might be able to look like

If there is one thing I hope many of us can take from this its the joy of doing less and taking pleasure from the more simple things. Previously school holidays saw social media explode with picture perfect captions of lavish holidays and days out screaming ‘ look what a perfect parent I am ‘ and I admit I have on occasion fell into this trap too but seeing the joy and hearing the giggles of letting the kids just being allowed to be has really given me reason to re think.

So what is normal and what version of it do we really want to go back to?

Being normal and normality are very subjective ideas. Certainly what is normal for one family or individual can be very different due to a whole host of variants. Finance, belief, likes and dislikes will all have an impact on how we spend our time day to day but I think if there is one thing this pandemic has done is to level some of this out and with restrictions being applied across the board it has made many of us re think our norm.

Normal before the lock down for a lot of people was about bigger being better, bigger bank balances, bigger job titles, bigger houses and it was faster, because it has to be to fit everything in, after school classes, family wellness sessions, the next restaurant the the latest thrill, an exercise fad, a new project just all to fill fill fill. If I really stare down into my soul this isn’t a normal I’m in a rush to get back too. Although I love the idea of finding out about other cultures, and experiencing new things, seeing different places, this period of having our metaphorical wings clipped has forced a real rethink and maybe its not a bad thing. Looking inward to our own families, instead of thinking about where we need to be or what we need to do next to be seen, be better, more cultured or seem smarter, we are now just appreciating, being,doing and passing on life lessons from when we were younger at a softer pace.

I’ve spent days wandering old routes from my youth when all there was to do was to while away the days walking and talking with friends looking for a spot to stop for our jam sandwiches and I’ve shared many an anecdote with the kids as the memories have surfaced. I’ve enjoyed taking time to answer the million and one questions from the kids that i’m usually only half listening to because I’m thinking of the next project coming up or task to be completed. In years gone by story telling and conversation was the only form of entertainment. We didn’t have the world at a click of a finger. I used to love hearing the stories of generations gone by now we just want it all in an information download.

Maybe taking this time to re write our routines has been the God send we were all praying for to stop us from inevitable burn out. I said to a close friend before all this broke out that I felt like I was on a speeding train and I could see where the tracks ran out ahead but couldn’t do anything to get off. Well the brakes have been well and truly applied and its not so scary ….. in fact its quite liberating and has given me a glance at what a new normal could be, what would you like your new normal to look like?

Revisiting old haunts

The Working Mama keeping sane in insane times …..

Its a strange sensation being in lockdown. Its a feeling of being the most lost youve ever been, yet having the most certainty you could ever have in your life. Let me explain, some days feel strange and blurred, you try to look forward but its like this big thick fog barely letting the headlights through but each day you have the certainty of knowing what you will be doing and where you will be going that day. Theres no room for real spontaneity, the worlds not your oyster and unless it is your weekly shop or daily exercise you will be doing whatever it is in your home or garden.

On the rare occassions I’ve bumped into some one – at a safe social distance of course – or engaged in Zoom chat the converstaion seems to be the same with everyone. We are all experiencing a roller coaster of emotions and reactions in relation to the current crisis. Each and every one is having good and bad days, everyone has experianced fear, acceptance, worry, joy and depression in equal measure. Maybe because of the virus itself, maybe due to lockdown misery or finance difficulties. This period has pushed all of us to the peaks and troughs of all the emotions.

Despite all this as I have said before there have been some amazing things that have happened and to come out of the crisis, Captain to Colonel Tom Moore has captured the nations heart with his 100th birthday fundraising efforts, the community spirit with clap for carers on a thursday, and the army of volunteers and people ensuring people and organisations in our communities dont go without.

But regardless of how lucky we tell ourselves we are still having our health, job, garden or many other things we can be thankful for in these tough times what other ways can we try to keep sane in these very insane times?

Music – playlists, I’ve discovered making and sharing playlists. The modern day way of giving some one a mixed tape so they can enjoy all the music you love. Back in my younger days a good or bad mixed tape could often signal the make or break of a friendship or relationship! Its been a great therapy for me to re vsit songs and memories, I’ve made a chilled out one, a party one, a girl power one and now I am putting lists together with more tenuous links to see if they catch on when I share them.

Zoom – When this all started and people really rapidly jumped into video calling sharing ‘house parties’ and Zooms – all things id never heard of, I was really apprehensive at first. But now I look forward to my regular check ins with different groups and I always feel uplifted after connecting with people. Its a chance to remember everyone is in this thing together and share hints and tips of how everyone is getting through.

Try something new – Ive not had a great deal of meandering time with all the home schooling and working but I did set myself a bit of challenge to try and do a poem. And I did it! It wasnt the best and is unlikely to gain me a nobel prize for wordmanship but I have been a little bit chuffed with myself that I had a go at something and even shared it.

Take a break from the news – we are being bombarded 24/7 with corona related news. Who’s overcoming the battle, who’s failing, who’s dying, who’s in danger etc etc nothing terrible will happen if you give it a miss for 24 or even 48 hours. In the beginning the announcements were coming thick and fast from the governement, each with its own implications and changes. That has slowed in pace now so its a good opportunity to try and switch off from it for a little bit. Theres loads of hints and tips on how to fill your time and distract you mind from reading that book you’ve not time for, to starting or finishing a project you have been putting off.

Finally – No comparisons – None – not even a one. Everyone is suffering in some way during this crisis. It maybe missing a loved on, a drop in income, being struck down with the virus, sadly loosing a loved on or having to face a job that could be putting them at risk everyday. Some people have gardens, some live in flats, some people are feeling highly productive and thankful for the opporunity to get to tasks they perhaps didnt have time for before or some are feeling so overwhelmed by the situation they can barely find the energy to get dressed. Each and every one of these feelings is a relevant reaction, it is heartbreaking for the person suffering and it is ‘normal’ for that person. We shoudn’t judge but we also shouldnt compare. Just because Mrs Jones down the road has single handedly landscaped her entire garden into something worthy of the chelsea flower show – good for her maybe that is her way of coping. And oh no Mr Smiths kids are posting what pie charts to the fraction of Pye they have been coming with (if thats even a thing, sounded quite clever in my lockdown befuddled brain) . . . but what they dont show you are the pictures from the four days previous when they all stayed in their pjs watching movies eating squirty cream directly from the can. If you can get through another day all fed and watered with maybe even a few smiles in between youve done well.

So I guess in conclusion the best way to keep sane is just to remind yourself everyday your doing the best you can, there will be a point at which we will see the light at the end of the tunnel of this crisis and if you do need to speak to some one then do. If you can speak to family and friends thats great but I have also included some numbers for services that can help if the fog is getting a little too much during these times.

Samaritans 116 123
Mind 0300123 3393
Alcoholics Anonymous 0845 769 755
PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK call 0800 068 4141

Working Mama Lockdown Ramblings part II

So things have been pretty quiet on the ramblings front. I had big ideas at the beginning of this lock down period that I would produce a profound and insightful weekly sum up of how the previous week had gone as a stay at home working Mama whilst trying to school two children and discover something amazing about my self and complete a fantabulous home improvement project – you know just for prosperity.
But things didnt quite work out that way.
The first and last installment of Working Mama in lockdown breezed over the fist week since we were asked to Stay Home Protect the NHS and – well you know the rest as we have now heard the very same sentance repeated numerous times a day for the past 36 days (yes I know it feels more like 1453!).

It doesnt really sound alot does it, but that is 36 days of not seeing close family members who do not live in your home, Mums, Dads, Grandparents and siblings. 36 days of socially distanced shopping trips filled with weird and suspicious looks from one side of the aisle to the other. 36 days of the kids not being able to play with their friends and some days really struggling to understand why. My six year old asked again when this Corona will be over and I hate that my answer is always ‘ I don’t know baby, I just dont know’
But since that first week we have been struck with a number of problems in the Working Mama household, firstly me and the husband were both struck down with probable Corona. He started first and I tried to be a the doting wife nurse but then what I thought was lockdown fatigue turned into full on flu like symptoms which left me stuck in bed for a fews days wondering why the hell id bothered washing my hands singing happy bloody birthday 47 thousand times a day until my hands cracked at all!

After a full 14 days full on isolation we were free and both feeling much better ( although looking back the tiredness didnt shift for a good few days still after this) – we decided to go for our alloted daily walk and the Big Mini promptly tripped on her scooter and broke her wrist…. I knew them kids wern’t listening when I kept warning there would be no hospital trips during this pandemic!!
Illness and catastrophe aside there have been some positives to come out of the past few weeks, the kindness we were shown by friends and family when we were ill and isolating was absolutey immense, from soups and cakes to tulips and treats for the girls ill be forever grateful for everyone who checked in. Also it has given me such a gratitude for how lucky we have been, we didnt need hospital treatment and the kids came out of it unscathed. I think in a funny way we have come to appreciate each other a bit more, the littlest mini had her 6th birthday last week. She had been dead set on a big party this year which obviously wasnt oging to happen. Instead we ordered a delivery afternoon tea, set up a blanket on the front drive with balloons and just enjoyed being together and waving and smiling at our neighbours – the minis then went on to tell us it was the best day ever!!

Overall in summary there have been ups and downs, the crippling guilt that I’m failing at home schooling, days my brain doesnt seem to want to engage into home working mode and the endless pangs of failiure issues when everybody seems to be nailing lockdown and quite frankly im just glad weve all made it through another day, but there has also been time for real conversations, chance to really take on board the wonderful humans that are growing and developing every day in front of my eyes and the continued wonderment that I made them – with help of course 🙂 But overall today has been a good day so I thought it would be a good chance to share my ramblings so one day when this is all over I can look back and think, yes we got through that and we got through it all together.

The Working Mama’s week in lockdown pt 1

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Week one in lockdown.

So a week last Friday in an unprecendented move never before seen in peace time schools were asked to close their doors, shortly followed by an announcement that the country were on a partial lockdown restricting people’s movements and social activity beyond four permissable actions.

Ive cried a lot of tears today, I mean ALOT. I don’t know if its exhaustion, overwhelm, fear or just the fact that we have no idea how long this is going to last.

The week has seen an array of emotions from despair and disbelief to acceptance and gratitude for all the simpler blessings. Ive questioned my sanity, my ability, my relevance and how I am at ‘mumming’ during these very strange times.

Its such a weird feeling to spend all your time rushing about, from meeting to meeting, activity to activity, work, family, school, clubs constantly in the hustle and bustle wishing for the day you can just be and have time to think but when it is handed to you on a Corona Guilded plate . . . . . thinking is that last thing you want to be doing.

When the schools first announced they were closing I personally felt a wave of releif as we all sensed it coming but also trepidation as to what this would look like going forward and what measures would be coming next. Over the first weekend the hardest part was trying to explain to the kids why, now they were home for the duration, they couldn’t just play out with their friends as they normlly do at wekends and holidays. As they saw groups of children still allowed to play, as others took time to come to their own realisation of how serious this situation was, we had to have amny converstaions about why they hadn’t done anything wrong, their friends hadn’t done anthing wrong but that this was out of all our control right now.

As the days went on we started to embark on a funny routine of a walk some crafts/school work, lots and lots of eating and me trying to fit in some work whilst crippled with anxiety waving my husband off to work each day. As I look back it feels as though this first week in lockdown has gone pretty quick, surprisingly so.


There have been a few things I’ve learned on lock down though……

One strange thing I have found and it might just be my worry brain was the absolute overwhelm of online content that burst through, I clicked ‘Interested’ and ‘Going’ to so many online events thinking – I must use this time as an opportunity to better myself in some way – wrong!!! I realise now I must use this time to adjust maintain stable mental health and look after my family. I think the online content is great and i’m sure as time goes on I will find ways to dip in and take advantage but for now I have decided not to berate myself for not diving head first into everything or in deed find my own way of Corona Branding online just yet!

No one’s circumstance is better or worse. No matter what your situation is you will always find empathy/symapthy for every one – regardless of their circumstances. Although I may be finding it hard balancing work, home school/enetertaining two kids and have the anxiety of my husband still going to work. The positives are, I’m able to home work, I’m with my kids for homeschooling and entertaining and my husband still has his job. There are people who dont know how thEy will meet next weeks bills, people isolated all alone, families with two parents going out to work each day – this crisis is indiscriminate and is effecting EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING in some way.

Our NHS staff deserve our applause all of the time. Although its true they are our frontline defence and soldiers during this time please lets not forget that our NHS staff are on the frontline saving lives and protecting people all of the time. When we come out of the other side of this try to remember your admiration during this time when your tempted to gte short tempered because you have had to wait a bit longer than you had hoped for your medication/appointment. I’ve always had upmost respect for those in frontline public services but after this I will try even harder not to let my personal irritations get in the way of these people doing their jobs.

Just how much Community is alive and well. It has been heartwarming seeing how people have come together. Just yesterday on my daily walk I saw a neighbour leaving a Sunday Roast on their neighbours step before knocking and running off. At the end of this once we no longer have socially distance I hope we remember how we cared and looked out for each other and continue doing so. We have been recipients of compost, seeds and computer games from friends and neighbours, when out on our daily walk there is a definite increase in people smiling, nodding and saying hello as we all navigate through this shared experience.

So over all the first week has been one of ups and downs but we have survived, we are healthy and there have even been a few laughs. I hope you have managed to get through the first week in lockdown as happily and healthily as you can too and if all you have managed is to get up keep everyone fed and survive the week you have done an amazing job….. its a bloody global pandemic its totally allowed!!!!







Its a funny thing ……

I’ve been stuck in a crisis of confidence lately. It may be the imposter syndrome, it may be something in the air but what ever it is has made me do a bit of soul searching and question ‘am I as nice a person as I think or hope I am?’

I was involved in a group conversation recently in which someone seemingly felt put out by some of the comments that were made. It played  on my mind a little at the time as what seemed to be a bit of fun appeared to have crossed the line and make them feel uncomfortable. My initial reaction was that there was no malice meant and this person should learn to laugh at themselves a little. But then I mulled it over and wondered, is asking people to laugh at themselves or stating ‘its just a joke’ just a way to justify being a bit mean. As I’d worked so hard at learning to laugh at myself why couldn’t they! But in true pondering style It raised a number of questions in my good old brain chatter so I again took to the trusty t’interweb and came across the following:

“Far too often we laugh at ourselves on the outside and feel dreadful on the inside but we are going along with a group behaviour that we cling to instead of valuing yourself enough. Be able to laugh at yourself must not be at the expense of your own well-being and having healthy boundaries is critical to that. Some people are not laughing with you they really are laughing at you. Know they are not people worth laughing with at all and allow yourself to quietly detach.” 


I’m very open about the fact I consider myself a work in progress and that I am continually striving for self improvement. I’m also at a point in my life that I have journeyed many a spiritual path dietary trend, exercise fad and lots of other things that people have felt able to poke fun at me for (among many other things). Generally i’ve been able to laugh this off but it does make me wonder if I should have called this out as a form of bullying or if I was right to laugh along while being the butt of the joke.

As a youngster I was uber sensitive, and took any negative comment or suggestion as an outright insult, but as I got older and would see people and interactions around me, the people who could take a joke about themselves and not feel the need to get in a lengthy and serious discussion to counteract every not so nice word, were always the ones who seemed happier, in the middle of all the fun and the most popular. So what could I do to learn to laugh at myself too. There are lots of articles and writings about the art of learning to laugh at yourself but, part of it I have found to be as simple as this  –

1 – letting go of the need to be right


2 – that what other people think of you is really none of your business.


I look back and realise it was an innate need to always be right which started me out on the tedious journey of needing to call out everyone on their jibes which were often dished out in the name of good fun but my sensitive soul took them to heart.

It has been a long and sometimes difficult journey that has brought me to the point of not giving in to others opinions and not a complete one, as there is still a way to go but almost as a combination of the two points I started to ask myself what is the worst thing that will happen to me today if I Iet this person leave my orbit not agreeing with me? What actual impact is it going to have on my day? Lets face it once we have parted ways as long as we haven’t fell out or anything I’m much more likely to be bothered by a soggy sandwich for lunch or finding I’ve got a flat tyre or similar – in other words I told myself to Let It Go.  

But can it be as simple as that?

I couldn’t find anything that didn’t encourage us not to laugh at ourselves, there were articles and pointers on how to learn to laugh at ourselves including ‘learn to be your own partner in crime’ and ‘exercise your laughter’ , and I wholeheartedly believe there is something to be said for learning not to take ourselves too seriously. To be able to separate the ‘it’ll be ok whatever happens’ from the ‘Life and death’ choices but I think there is a danger that by encouraging more ability to laugh at ourselves we are not tackling the true issue of why people can’t just be a little more  kind sometimes, and actually when we do cross the line a little bit, which we so often do without even meaning to, why not just say ‘ I’m sorry’ instead of justifying it as a bit of fun.

Also we should consider  the ability to laugh at ourselves may often be affected by the head space we are in on any particular day, sometimes when the anxiety levels are up my reaction to having people poke fun might be completely different. Something that I had laughed off or not really thought much about one day might play on my mind if I’m feeling a bit differently, that off the cuff comment someone made about my wrinkles, or word I used or lunch I ate, can send me right into orbit on a rant of How Very Dare Yous if that’s where my mood is at that day.

Despite the Pros and Cons of learning to laugh at ones self I’m still determined that by being kind we can still find the funny – after all in the words of Charlie Chaplin “a day without laughter is a day wasted” but I would say this, in learning to laugh at ourselves lets make sure its in the name of making ourselves feel better and not to suite someone who should know better.


So back to my original ponder – am as nice as I think I am, well I don’t think I’m too bad but I also know I don’t always get it right. And although am I able to laugh at myself most of the time in memory of my super sensitive soul of days gone by I will be trying my best to ensure I consider that not everyone finds the funny in themselves everyday and try and bring some kindness into the funny too.

Is laughter the best medicine?

Tired of thinking about thinking….turning off the brain chatter

According to the Urban Dictionary, brain chatter is the high intensity inner monologue (in some cases dialogue) that distracts or interrupts activities in the external world.

Do you ever get those days when you can’t close off the chatter in your brain. Everything feels a bit tense and uncertain and you realise there’s a train of thought running through your mind in circles that you just cant seem to shut off!

All sorts of things can trigger the brain chatter,you start replaying conversations, something brings up old memories, anxiety or worrying about upcoming events or projects. Although we always have a running dialogue somedays the chatter feels louder than usual and stops you from concentrating on anything else. You start generally questioning your ability to make sense, of well, anything.

I often wonder if this is how its always been,or is it worse these days due to constant media and social media stimulation meaning we are being bombarded by triggers almost 24/7.Is it also an increase in brain chatter that is a driving factor in todays ‘busy’ society. I certainly feel as though part of me needing to keep busy, busy, busy, is to try and keep the inside chatter at an inaudible level – almost like putting the lid on a pressure cooker waiting to pop which then creates its own mental and physical issues. So what is the answer for keeping the chatty cathy in your brain at bay?

‘The devil makes work for idle hands – and minds’ ….. one of the main suggestions I have come across for this is journaling. The process of emptying your mind through the process of writing can help focus thoughts and give an opportunity to commit in writing any issues that may benefit from some head on action.

‘Switch it off – switch it off ‘. ….. easier said than done I hear you say but seriously try and physically switch off. Turn off the TV put away the phones and devices and have a break from social media. Take a rest from the triggers and the guilt making. Especially before bed – we are plugged in to the outside world from the moment we wake till we fall asleep, is it any wonder we’ve got so much chatter going on.

Meditation – This doesn’t need to be in a special building, wearing special clothes or whilst being able to be at one with nature sitting still for hours on end ( although thats all good too), there are plenty of apps, CDs and videos that can guide you through a short meditation to slow down and pause for a moment.

Plus anything else that gives you a moment of  still and self care, a bath by candle light, a walk in nature, singing along to your favourite song, in short a little something for you.

So is it important to quiet the chatter? Well simply put yes, chemically you can tire out by thinking too much. … When your brain is dealing with an ongoing supply of new information, it must put energy into every decision, which overuses that executive function and can cause mental fatigue. Don’t get me wrong I know, we all know what we need to do to try and quieten the chatter, but if like me your in need of a little reminder now again – take this as your chatty cathy reminder alert for today 🙂

The Busy Mum’s fear factor

Things that frightened me as a child:


Getting in trouble

Being laughed at

The Dark



Things that frighten me as a grown up:

Losing my family

Becoming seriously ill


Terrorist attacks

Losing my job

Being a rubbish Mum

House fires


Driving on motorways

Getting it wrong

Losing hope

Putting myself out there

Not being liked

Being laughed at


Roller Coasters



I touched recently in a blog post about some of my fears and how they can help to drive me out of my comfort zone. I don’t remember having much in the way of fear when I was younger ……… It’s a funny thing, described as “a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of organisms”.

We are all taught about fight or flight from a young age and told that some fear is quite normal and in fact something to be embraced to help with certain situations.

But when and why do our fears turn into anxieties that permeate our thoughts throughout the waking day as we get older. Is it the enormity of becoming a parent? The realisation of mortality as we get older? Or in these modern times are external factors like social media, increased pressures and 24/7 news partly or mostly to blame?

Fear and anxiety often occur together but Fear relates to a known or understood threat, whereas anxiety follows from an unknown, expected or poorly defined threat. So when we want to keep our children safe from danger and fear what we know could happen surely that’s normal but the nights we keep ourselves awake thinking of all the unimaginable things that could happen is this pushing more into a anxious response? These perceived dangers seem so real and almost feel so real, but could this be because of the millions of stimuli rushing through our brains throughout the day rather than actual perceived dangers?

Ok but how does this help me overcome fears and do the things I want to do I hear you shout ( or maybe that’s just the anxiety in my brain again).

I don’t have a magic answer and don’t profess to be an expert but I know what has helped me.

Talking – it may seem obvious but sometimes externalising fears can help

Put them into perspective. I found that when I started to talk to others about anxieties and thoughts that would

Keep me awake at night I really wasn’t alone and that helped me to put them into perspective a little bit. I can’t switch of my worry button completely but it certainly helped when I realised I wasn’t alone!

Putting fears and vulnerability on the table – I picked this phrase up listening to Brene Brown. Acknowledging fears and being vulnerable about them through talking honestly to explain why you might feel limited.

One practical example of this is despite my fear of speaking in front of others I continue to put myself up for doing it. But I acknowledge the fear, admit that it’s not my most comfortable place to be and speak from the heart and so far the response I have received has been amazing. I don’t always hit what I want to say or how I want to come across but each time I face my fear I feel as though I’ve taken another step in overcoming it.

Inspire and be inspired – one way to help you face your fears might be to look for inspiration from others. Not to compare (“comparison is the thief of Joy” after all!!) but sometimes when we see others step out and face their fears and come out the other side not only still alive and kicking but often elated and proud of themselves for taking the step, it can help in rationalising our fear a little and help us to also take the first step. Flipping this over sometimes when we need a little motivation to face our fears and take a brave step it can help to remember that you might help to inspire someone else through stepping out.

I asked some people what they were frightened of and if they thought we have more fear now than before.

From the responses there does seem to be a consensus that there is more pressure with one believing modern society “thrives on fear” to control and another feeling increased pressure creates “fear of failure and losing control” but as one person stated.

“One can only do their best, with what they have in the ‘now’ tomorrow has not arrived yet and yesterday is done and dusted with 🤗 and smiles help too”

So with that in mind and a smiling face I’ll dig out the old spider catcher again and see if I can take the first step in overcoming that fear a little bit too 😱😱😱