Category Archives: Random

Curve Balls

If there is one thing I have learnt in life it’s the harsh reality that nothing ever goes to plan.

When I was a little girl I had this idealistic plan in my head. The whole marriage, 2 children, ‘perfect family life’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ungrateful for what I’ve got and I have a wonderful marriage to my amazing husband. I just didn’t imagine that I would have to have a funeral for one of my babies, that I would fall in love with someone who already had a child and that I would end up disabled after my second birth.

For the record I love my Step Son with everything I have, I have helped raise him since he was 2 years old. We have a bond like no other and for that I am so grateful. He’s a wonderful boy and I am proud and grateful to have him as my Step Son, or as a friend refers to her Step Daughter as ‘my bonus son’! However, being a Step Mum hasn’t been without it’s difficulties over the years. That’s the part that wasn’t in my plan. The forever struggles of being a Step Mum, I don’t want to say any more as it’s personal but if you know you know.

I envisaged a career as well as being a Mum. I thought I could have it all and be great at it all, however life has a habit of throwing curve balls so to speak and you have to be ready to catch them.

I might not be working in my field of study right now but I did get my degree and worked for 15 years overall in Cardiology, Respiratory and Sleep. That’s something that no one can take away from me. If you didn’t know I am a qualified clinical physiologist specialising in respiratory and sleep.

I also thought I would be a ‘Pintrest Mum’ but it turns out being a Mum is a lot harder than it looks!! Who would have thought!!! I mean aint no one got the time, ability or energy to cook from scratch every day, organise fun activities for the family every day, planned trips as well as keeping the house clean, tidy and washing done and put away!!!! (Shit I’m exhausted just reading about it all!!)

I also didn’t plan to be disabled and need help off my husband to get dressed some days!! However it is what it is. I hate that I’m disabled I won’t lie. It’s robbed me of so much, however I have gained things too. Maybe I’ll chat more about it on another blog. However basically being disabled comes with challenges as well, it’s a full time job in itself just managing everything that comes with it;

Read these about pain

Meditate every day

Take time for you

Manage your stress

Pace yourself

Try and walk every day but not too much

Exercise every day……

This is everything that’s expected of me along with all the other stuff that comes with life as mentioned earlier with the cooking etc. Not to mention keeping up with your kids social calendar and events too. I’m yet to add in the whole school aspect yet with my youngest but that’s only a few months away now.

My point is (after babbling on for a while!!!!) life might not be turning out the way you planned, it might be harder than you thought. Life might be taking a different direction to what you had planned but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to awesome. Yes it might be hard and yes you might get loads of curve balls………but surely the curve balls just lead to better things in the end?

What do you think?

Much Love

Mrs Shep

Lockdown reflection…..

So we are now on like what week 16 of lockdown here in the U.K (Feels like week 1,000 though!!!!) and things are finally starting to feel a little bit more normal now.  

We’ve had 3 birthdays just in our house, missed two family members birthdays, had one Mother’s Day, one Easter, one Father’s Day and a whole lot more!

I can’t say the birthday celebrations get any easier. The more celebrations we have on lockdown the harder it seems to feel. Never ending to be honest. 

It’s also hard to actually find a way to make any of these celebrations feel special and different to any other lockdown day! Although Ste if you are reading this I did have a lovely day and you where amazing. I just missed being able to go anywhere.

I can’t say we’ve been on much of a health kick either, well I definitely haven’t!! Although Ste has taken up running and cycling again. Great for him. I am a little jealous though I was never into fitness but now that choice as been taken away I want that choice back.

As for doing some work with my son at home, we’ve not done too bad. Twinkl has been a godsend, Alfie has made some great progress with things. We’ve touched on various topics from space to the human body and honestly I’ve loved it all. When lockdown started I’ll be honest I was terrified of how I would cope. I’m not a crafty Mum, I haven’t got a ton of ideas floating around in my head of things we can do at home. I have limitations on what I can do due my illness as well, so knowing all this I have to say I honestly thought I would do the worst job of parenting in lockdown ever. 

However……….I do feel like I’ve done ok. Don’t get me wrong we’ve had our bad days just like everyone else. You know those days where everyone cries, people shout, nothing gets done and no healthy food was considered. However all in all we’ve made some ok memories and I’ve helped Alfie have a head start in learning. 

So yeah, I might not have had a massive health kick, learnt yoga, taken up a new language. I haven’t lost a load of weight, we didn’t camp in the garden either. (Our garden is so small!)

However, Alfie can write his name. We’ve discovered new places to walk near our house, I’ve learnt I can be that Mum that looks like she’s got her shit together and sorted crafts etc for us to make (god bless Toucan Box!). We’ve had picnics, fakeaway nights, cinema movie nights. Alfie has practised lots of drawing and colouring and he’s got really good at it, we’ve decorated the kitchen, cleaned up the garden, raised money for charity, grown a new plant, done some tic tok videos, had an at home photo shoot, had many a homemade afternoon teas, had pirate day, celebrated VE Day, learnt about dinosaurs and had lots of fun in the sun in our garden. Alfie has also learnt how to ride his bike!!!

So yeah, lockdown may not have been life changing for us but we are getting through it and we are doing ok.

I would love to hear your lockdown reflection in the comments below. Is it what you thought? Have you learnt anything about yourself?

Much Love

Emma xx

My Favorites

So I said ages ago I would do a favorites blog and I finally managed to actually sit down and write it! Lockdown has meant very little time for me to actually get much done for myself including writing ha ha!!! Anyway here we go…….

So these are not just this months favourites, these are my ultimate favourites!!!! Some are rather expensive and some are not. These are things we’ve bought, saved for or had bought for us over the years. I wouldn’t be without them now.

GHD Hairdryer and straighteners

I haven’t had many varieties of these over the years but this is by far the best combination I have used for my hair!

My natural hair state is fizz ha ha!!! However these are fabulous in helping to keep my hair under control!!!

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De’Longhi Coffee Machine

My husband got his discounted through work. He regurlarly comes home saying he’s invested /; bought something else and I regularly tell him he’s a plonkla for spending money on something we don’t need.

However I had to apologies to him after I told him he shouldn’t have come home with a coffee machine because this is just amazing!! Yes it’s big and bulky and takes over the very small work surface we have! It’s probably the same size as a microwave and I wouldn’t be without it now! Having freshly ground coffee is amazing and you can vary it’s strengths, lengths and style of coffee. It’s pricy but he got it heavily discounted and honestly I wouldn’t go back to instant coffee now that’s for sure!!!

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Cake Stand

I don’t know what it is about this but I have always wanted one and it makes me so happy!!! I got this one from Amazon and it makes my kitchen feel homely! The boys love it too as I am always filling it with homemade cakes and biscuits now ha ha!!!

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Lumea Prestige Hair Removal

So my husband bought this for me in the January sales 2020. It was expensive, especially as we didn’t know how good it would be. However I love it! We got it because, self care such as washing my hair and shaving can be a rather tiresome task for me. So in order for me to feel good and reduce the amount of time I shaved (plus to hopefully reduce that god awful shaving rash! Don’t judge men you know what I mean!). Anyway the verdict is I absolutely love it!!!!! It’s a big success. Hubby helps me and honestly I rarely shave now and my legs have never been smoother!!!

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Tommee Tippee Baby Monitor

This has been a life saver!!! We’ve had this right from when Alfie was born. It came with a mat sensor for when he was a baby to detect if he had stopped breathing in the night. Scared us at first but after the loss of our first son together we didn’t care how much we had to pay for this! As Alfie got older we took the sensor mat away but kept this part. Purely because we are on a separate floor to Alfie, if anything was to happen we can always hear him with this.

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Tropic Skincare

I only recently discovered Tropic skincare and I already love it! My skin feels so much better, there’s so much to choose from and if that wasn’t enough, there’s a fair few things I can use that don’t have the chemicals in that I am allergic too!!!

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Dehumidifier

If like us you have a bathroom that just seems to keep getting damp then you really need one of these!!!! Our en-suite seems to constantly have walls that are damp after we’ve had showers! So hubby sorted the walls and ceiling out, re painted them and got us one of these off a local selling page. We use it about twice a week and honestly you wouldn’t believe how quickly it fills with water from the air.

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Bath Caddy

Pure bliss!!!! I have wanted one of these for so long now! I finally got one this year with my birthday money and I couldn’t be happier! It’s a bit of a luxury investment but totally worth it! Pamper nights feel a bit more special now I have this. There’s a place for your ipad/kindle, phone, drink and lots more!!!

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Dry Shampoo

This may not be everyone’s favorite but after months of searching, I finally found one that is free of the chemicals I am allergic too! It’s a bonus that it smells nice too and more importantly it works as well as being allergy free for me!!!

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Simba Mattress

I have suffered with a terrible back since just before I was a teenager. A few years ago before my FND started my back started playing up, after realizing that the bed we had we had had for more than 10 years we knew it was time for another bed and mattress. The frame is from another company with storage underneath. It’s an ottoman frame. The mattress however is a Simba mattress and good god it’s like sleeping on a fluffy cloud!!!!! It’s the best bed ever and it’s so good we eventually want to get one for my in-laws spare room so we’ve got a comfy bed when we go and stay down there!!!! It actually comes in a box and takes 24 hours to inflate! It’s strange but it’s amazing and also very pricey but you can’t put a price on a good nights sleep!!!

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I hope you enjoyed reading about my favorites around my house. I would love to know your favorites and which of mine do you like the look of the most?

Much Love

Emma

Lockdown update

So it’s been a whole month since I left the house for something other than a walk on the back field.

There’s a few things that I’ve……..well I guess you could call it learnt. 

Anyway, this is my thoughts and fluff and stuff on a page for you to read if you want about my isolation so far.

My husbands job is actually more important than I realised.

I love Alfie to bits, he’s far to much like me. The difficulties we face with him are hard and I really need to get to the bottom of things sooner rather than later. 

I’m worried about my FND, not driving or walking around or going out as much could mean my brain will forget everything. It can happen so quickly and I have worked so so hard. I had got worse anyway over winter and now this has happened I do fear for my health and what it means for my FND. 

I have learnt that I need space and time alone. I’m very much a family person, but being isolated in a house with your family and only one reception room and a kitchen that barely fits two adults in. Alone time is basically none existent. Someone always finds you. Even the cat. I love them all but shit a girl needs space sometimes.

Being on lockdown has made me realise that we didn’t go to many places but I miss the fact that it was our choice not to go anywhere. I also really miss not being able to just nip out for bread, milk or ________ ( insert anything you miss here that you can’t just nip out for). 

I can be the parent I wanted to be. I wanted to be this Mum who always had fun things to do and ideas and creative things. My problem was that I never quite knew what to do or where to find ideas and resources. Thanks to lockdown it feels like more people are actually sharing ideas of things to do with their children. Activities and fun things to try, websites to access or anything like that. People are sharing them. Maybe it was just me but before lockdown it felt like I wasn’t privy to this knowledge or I needed a special password to be able to know these things of places to find information on stuff to do with children. Now it seems this knowledge is accessible and I love it. People sharing ideas and tagging people. It’s brilliant and it has made me feel like a better Mum.

It’s made me realise that people really can’t follow simple instructions. 

I wish we lived somewhere closer to more places to walk with more outdoor space. 

It’s the small things that count. Having that brew in peace whilst it’s still hot. A FaceTime with someone you miss or a film night faith family. These small things can make all the difference.

When your husband says he’s painting the kitchen ceiling, he will probably end up painting the whole kitchen.

Lockdown birthdays are ok but it never quite feels like your it was your birthday.

Finally I think after this, I thinK it might make me realise about the kind of person I want to be and how to live my life.

It’s also made me realise who I can rely on and who’s a real friend.

Other people you have never met can really wind your back up. 

If you don’t come out of this without learning a new hobby or a stone lighter you’ve not made it worth while. Or some crap like that. Well excuse me! Some of us have just been trying to juggle about 16 balls all at once! 

Feeling under pressure to create memories. 

Let’s set this straight. 

My back garden is not big enough for a tent to camp out. 

Sharing a bed or bedroom or living room floor with my son is not my idea of fun. 

Last time I shared a bed with him I got bruised to buggery. He fidgets like no tomorrow. 

I already feel like I can’t do the same as everyone else. I can’t run around in soft play or play tig in a park or do anything else that requires a) a lot of stamina or b) me to be on foot a lot. Thus so, creating memories I’ll be honest just makes me feel like more pressure. I’m just winging it and if Alfie looks back on this whole thing and thinks I have something fun I’ll take it as a bonus. I will not however be striving to create everything I see on social media that other people are doing. 

(This being said I will still sometimes feel a little bit shit that we didn’t camp in the back garden or anything else that’s labelled as fun) x

Lockdown with children

So it’s been a few weeks now here in the UK where we have been on lockdown and honestly still don’t think I am used to it yet.

I’ve comfort eaten, I’ve had a birthday on lockdown and cried about all sorts.


Anyway, while I am not expert and you will never seen me as a pintrest type of Mum on any of my platforms or even crafting every day creating masterpieces or grabbing the paints to decorate immactulate window displays. However I do have some experience of being ‘stuck’ inside the house. Although people are saying safe inside rather than stuck, whick is fine but I do sometimes feel like I am stuck or even trapped some days and I honestly beleive that if that’s how you feel then it’s ok to feel like that.


If Brenda (this is a completely made up person by the way) wants to get up at the crack of a sparrow fart and clean the house, do a work out, make everyone a healthy breakfast with smiling faces on and be ready to teach all said children at 9am sharp with a strict schedule then that’s fine. If that’s what your after though then my friend this week’s blog is not for you!!!!
So my aim of this blog is to try and give you a few tips when being inside with children. I’m not saying it will change you life but hopefully it might help a little bit.


Baking
I can already feel the dread and tension as you read that word lol. Don’t panic though. If I can cook with a wild child you can do it too.
The easiest and quickest way to baking with children is quote simply to use a packet mix. We have been big fans of Betty Crocker for a long time now since I developed FND. It’s easy enough to follow and I can stand long enough to make them and it’s short enough to hold Alfie’s attention.


If you can’t get hold of a packet mix you can still bake with them. The trick for this is to get everything ready in the kitchen for them before they come in. That way your not measuring stuff and getting things out of the cupboard while they are in the kitchen, because lets face it they will get bored and give up. Then that’s when raised voices start, tears happen and feeling like your not a great parent because your cooking segment didn’t turn out like Mr & Mrs Perfect down the road. So get everything out and ready and measured before hand. Also stick to simple things, your not getting ready for the next British Bake Off with your child no matter how much they love it! Unless they are at Mary Berry’s standard at age 4 stick to flapjacks, rice crispy cakes and simple cakes/cupcakes.


Cinema
Now I know what your thinking, they are all closed, but what’s stopping you creating this at home? William has a tv in his bedroom (if you don’t know this already William is my 15 year old step son who stays with us every other weekend), so at the moment he isn’t coming over to stay because of the pandemic as it is safer for me this way (decided by Ste and William’s Mum). So while he isn’t here we are making the most of having another room to spend time in with a tv. It’s not got much in it and he’s got a pull out bed. So a few weekends ago I decided to create a cinema experience. I made some cinema tickets, made some popcorn, got some other snacks which was a mixture of healthy and treats. We had hot drinks. Now I don’t know about your house but in ours it takes us ages to pick a film, so I chose a film we hadn’t seen so it’s just like it is in the cinema. No option of which film to see! Honestly it was really good and we all loved it. We also had a no phones policy like at the cinema. If you don’t have another TV in the house then just use the living room, close the curtains, take tickets from people at the door, have snacks out etc.


Indoor Picnic.
This doesn’t have to be fancy, just grab a blanket or a large towel if you don’t have a blanket. Stick it on the floor and give them their lunch in lunch boxes or in a few bowls. Basically just something a bit different. You don’t even need to have special picnic food, just whatever you were going to give them anyway.
This leads me on to another topic…….


Teddy Bears Picnic
Now this idea was something I got from @peppawithana over on Instagram. Grab a blanket or a towel (get your little one to help set this up), get them to pick some teddies and a book. Get a book about teddies or even the book teddy bears picnic if you have it. Set up some plastic plates and cups, if you have pretend food, plates and cups great. Get a little juice for your little one, a hot brew for you if you want and maybe a few biscuits. You can even make a sign “teddy bears picnic”. Then all that’s left to do is to let them serve pretend food and drinks to the teddies and read the book(s) they chose.


Cardboard
I don’t care if this makes me a bad person, I do not like crafts!! However I can manage to make stuff from cardboard sometimes. If your brave let them paint it, if not maybe they can colour it or stick stickers on. Either way, those extra parcels that are coming to your door, save the boxes and maybe make a castle, a pirates treasure box or something else.


Books
I think I may have mention this before but Alfie is like the Tasmanian devil (do you remember the tv show?), so getting him to sit can be rather challenging! However he does love books and even more so bringing these books to life.
So basically we pick a book and using items around the house (& Alfie’s large selection of teddies) we find things to bring the story to life and in a way I guess act it out. So far we have use the following books; Dear Zoo, Gruffalo, Room on the broom and The Tiger who came to tea. For Room on the broom we made a wand from cardboard and a straw, we don’t have a witch but Alfie does have a dragon.


Music/Songs
Ok I’m cheating for this and putting two ideas here!!!
First idea is quite simply put some music on and let them dance!!
My other suggestion is (and if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen this), a while ago I collected certain items from eBay that represented a nursery rhyme and they are all kept in a bag. (If you don’t have them then you could print them off, cut them up and put them in an envelope). Then let your little one pull an item out of the bag and then you all sing that song. Now I realise this may not be for everyone, it’s not my husbands cup of tea to do this activity, however Alfie loves it and it keeps him occupied.


My last idea for you isn’t really an idea it’s just some advise.


TV and iPad.

Don’t feel guilty. Your not a bad person. You haven’t failed. Some days you just need a break and guess what, so do they! You can’t have idea’s all the time, not everyone can keep being on the go all the time, so chill!! Some days you just need to do nothing, it’s called re-charging. If you children won’t sit for tv thats fine, give them an ipad, if they won’t sit for that, let them play with their toys, let them get them all out. When it comes to tidying up later, get a tidy up song on on youtube and see who can tidy up the quickest with a promise of a prize for the winner at the end (biscuit maybe?).


I hope these idea’s are helpful to you. If you try any I would love you to let me know below or tag me in a photo over on instagram @Mrs_Shep_Unplugged.
Also if you hav any tips I would love for you to share them with me and if you want some more ideas please comment below and I’ll do another round up of ideas.
Much love
Emma

What Mother’s Day means to me…..

I remember growing up when it was just myself and my Mum. Seeing how hard she worked to provide for us, look after me and play both parenting roles. I just remember just wanting to always show her how grateful I was for everything she ever did for me. I still feel like that now. 

Then I had children of my own and the realisation of how hard being a parent was kicked in I wanted to spoil her more in Mother’s Day. Showing her how amazing she is for all that she does for me and my boys. 

Being a Mum your not just a Mum.

You are the mediator, the cook, the cleaner, the organiser, the friend, the boss, the educator, the party planner, events organiser, the singer, the dancer, the soother, the nurse, the doctor, the maid. You are the glue. 

To me, Mother’s Day is everything. Mother’s Day is the one day where I hope to be spoilt. Not in expensive material gifts. Breakfast made, my daily jobs taken over, cuddles, my choice in what’s on t.v, family time, a nice meal chosen and cooked for me, a bunch of flowers and chocolates. Maybe even a trip out for walk or something.

To me Mother’s Day is everything. It’s the one day where your children and Spode can show their appreciation all that you do for the family and the children. 

Much love 

Emma xx

If I say no…

If you ask for me out for a coffee and I say no, why not ask to bring it to me? 

If you ask me to go and watch a film and I say no, why not come to me with a film instead.

If you ask me to go for food and I say no, why not bring it to me? 

If you ask me out for some drinks and I say no why not come to me? 

If you ask me to go out for anything and I say no, why do you not come to me instead? 

Just because I can’t make it out of the house that day, it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to see you. It just means things are bad that day and my home is where I feel safe. 

It just means that I would still like to see you but that you might just need to come to me that day. 

When I feel ok, I’ll be sure to try and return the favour if it’s needed. 

I realise being friends with me may sometimes be harder than I once was (or if we’ve just met that it may sometimes be harder than other friendships you have), however I can promise you this. I will value our friendship like no other. I’ll be loyal and kind and our friendship will mean the world to me. 

To be friends with someone and choose to have that someone in your life is like a weight worth in gold. 

Much love

Emma xx

Diets? Weights loss? Is it really for me?

Why I don’t think I’ll ever loose weight……

I have followed Slimming World for a number of years now and I once lost four stone following this plan. 

However since I got FND, I am obviously not as mobile as I used to be. 

This is problem number one! I’m not burning any calories that I actually consume! 

I can follow the plan, do the meal plan, measure the milk and cheese allowance. 

However my problem is the syns! 

I’ve never been much of a drinker when it comes to alcohol. Maybe on the odd night out when I was younger, but not any more. Drinking alcohol when you feel rough every anyway isn’t much fun I can tell you! 

I’ve also never smoked. 

So you see chocolate is my only vice! Like most people I tend to comfort eat, which if you follow me on Instagram there’s a always something several

times a week that gives me a reason to comfort eat. 

I’m the type of person that eats chocolate spread from the jar while hiding somewhere. 

I’m the type that goes out of my way for chocolate and yes I have taken chocolate from someone else’s stash! 

I am quite sure I’ve got a problem when it comes to chocolate. It doesn’t matter if it’s chocolate spread, chocolate cake, chocolate bar or hot chocolate. I’ll have it! 

So you see. 

Combined with my inability to walk far now and my never ending chocolate addiction. No matter how much I follow the meal plans for Slimming World. 

I honestly can’t see my me loosing this weight again. 

Then again who knows?! Hopefully I can prove myself wrong x

Don’t judge a book by its cover

Don’t judge a book by its cover is one of my favourite sayings. 

You never know what someone is having to deal with. You don’t know what’s going on inside.

I remember the early days after I had lost Ethan, looking around and thinking that everyone who had a baby where lucky. That they had everything they wanted and they where lucky. 

The truth was I had no idea if they had suffered before like me. If they’d lost a baby, struggled for years to get one or adopted because they couldn’t have one.

That parent in a shop who’s battling with her child yet again, who’s probably close to tears. Look a little harder. It might not be a naughty child, may be there’s underlying problems they aren’t discussing with anyone yet. 

Maybe they are battling a long term health condition. Maybe a loved one died. Maybe they lost their job. Maybe they are struggling in ways you can’t imagine. 

Never judge a book by its cover. You never really know what’s going on inside. 

Anyone seen my mojo?

I’ve lost my writing mojo since we arrived in 2020. 

Last year I had a plan and wanted to do a blog a week so I made myself find things to write about. I pretty much achieved it too. 

Then I changed my name and blog account and since then, I’ve worried that people haven’t been reading or been as interested. Which is silly really as I have always written for myself and just to share my experiences with others and hoping someone finds something I wrote about helpful to them.

I have been wondering where to go this year and what to focus on with my blog, what new and interesting things I can share with you all. However for some reason I have found myself worrying that I’m not enough or not interesting enough. 

Anyway, there’s not much point to this other than I’m sorry if you have missed my writing. Hopefully now January is almost over I can finally get out of this slum and get back to creating content that I love, and that hopefully you love too.

I’ve got a few blog ideas so hopefully I’ll get my flow back soon! 

Much love 

Emma xx