Tag Archives: family

3 tips to help ease anxiety at Christmas…

Christmas can be a fabulous time of year , in fact Christmas can be the best time of year. It can also be absolutely ram packed full of stress and anxiety triggers and noise and mess and chaos and worst of all…..


Now I’ve been an anxious mess for knocking on for a decade now . Though thankfully anxiety is a rare visitor these days – in the same way you don’t see great uncle Bob all year round ’till he turns up at your front door ,half cut, on Christmas eve the same goes for anxiety for me.

I know everyone’s experiences of anxiety are different and I can only talk about mine but I have learnt a few tricks over the years to lessen it’s grip slightly over Christmas.

1) Don’t over commit
There are so many social events around Christmas time from the works night out to the catch up with the friend you mean to see all year to family get togethers. 

However saying yes (often for THE FEAR of saying no) to 3 parties a week when you know social anxiety is upon you is never going to end well. There’s little more stressful than knowing you’re going to cancel on people and then having to spend the whole day psyching yourself up enough to actually do it.

So choose the events you really want to go to and ditch the ones that you feel obliged to.

2) Give someone you trust a heads up.

Helpful if either you’re having people over for Christmas or if you’re going to someone elses where there are going to be a fair few people and you know you might at some point need a bit of a time out . That you might need to remove yourself from noise and over stimulation (and those damn people again) tell your partner or friend or aunt or mother in law. Let them know beforehand that this could be the case. 
You could even use a code phrase , you know if the rest of the family have you down as a solid individual living the shit out of life and you don’t want to blow your superhero ‘anxiety girl’ cover.

If you’re at your own house it’s possibly easier to slope off for 10 mins calm but if you’re at someone elses just have a code phrase. “I just need to make a phone call ” ( people call each other up on Christmas day , it’s passable) could mean “I am just going to sit in your spare room for a bit and get my mind together ,please leave me be”

3) Seek out the company of children

This possibly could just be me but during an anxious period children are great to be around. Yes I know my previous words about over stimulation don’t fit what I’m saying but stay with me. Just joining in with kids at Christmas can be an almighty distraction technique. I personally find it hard to worry about whether I drain everyone and noone wants me there when I’ve a small person singing me When Santa got Stuck up the Chimney or telling me all about the toy of the year Santa brought them. 
Conflict is a huge anxiety trigger for me also so I’d rather join in with a group of kids debating who the best superhero is than listen to Great Uncle Bob (yes him again ) being a racist , sexist bigot. He’s basically The Daily Mail in human form and causes you palpitations just listening to him rant.

For the record : I don’t have a Great Uncle Bob…we’ve all met this guy though right? 

I hope these tips can help even if just a little bit. Christmas can actually be a lovely time for those of us who struggle to feel cherished and worthwhile as people because most people are at their loveliest and kindest at Christmas and freer with their encouraging words (it’s probably the Bailey’s) 

I hope your Christmas is filled with as much social interaction as you can handle and that get as much physical affection as you can cope with/crave!!

My Facebook page is here

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Not Just the 3 of Us

Rhyming with Wine

Yay my sister is getting old too… 

Baby sister’s birthday is today and though her being thirty bloody four does cheer me up at my advancing age, I’ll not be investing in the botox just yet. I just thought I could share 34 things I’ve learnt in 34 years of having her about! !

1) My sister is my music guru. “you must listen to this song, LISTEN to the words” is my fave thing.

2) Her early morning texts make my day

3)Some intelligent humans do have dinosaur ‘issues’

4)I’ll never be a cool auntie. That’s LaLa. I’m sensible book auntie .

5)Some grown ups have tantrums.. AND they work.

6)Some people you will never run out of things to talk about with. We surely should have by now?

7) Telepathy exists.

8)Around the right (wrong ?) people I’m a terrible bitch !

9)When I finally meet the perfect guy and he likes my little sister. HE is THE one (unless she hates him)

10) Genes are odd.

My niece is more similar to me than my children and as for the LaLa /Shan thing. .

11) Not ALL beautiful people are knobs.

12) A person who wakes you at 5am the morning after the night before with painkillers is worth their weight in their gold.

13) Being round people who suggest a nap in the day rocks!

14) Buying extra wine saying what you don’t drink tonight will keep is only fooling yourself.

15) You can get homesick for a person not just a place.

16) I should never be allowed smashable glasses…

17) Or near wheely chairs…

18) or to be allowed to do dance moves with the brother in law. ..

19) Frozen sprouts stop your eye falling out – bit niche that one

20) Notes 16-19 actually teaches me that alcohol is not my friend.

21) There are people you can gossip with without even knowing the people involved and still bloody love it.

22) Sometimes ‘home’ isn’t always your house.

23) Aunties buy weird gifts. ..a bouncy castle for goodness sakes?! !

24) You can offer some people anything including your soul and they STILL won’t come and see Wicked with you.

25) You’ll never feel more shocked than when you see your baby sister with her own newborn

26) Our family has issues with heartfelt sentiment. My response to her having a health scare should not have been “I’m glad you’re OK, I’d be really bored if you died”


27) Daily discussions about what you’re having/had for tea are not limited to The Royle Family.

28) Johnny Vegas impressions are hilarious.

29) Talking shite on the phone to my sis staves off anxiety attacks – handy!

30)Shared childhood memories are the most precious thing.

31) It’s family trait that a bottle of wine enables us to sing like angels.

32) You can beg your sister to watch Frozen-for sentimental reasons. . . Doesn’t mean she will.

33) Having a sister who buys clothes online but doesn’t send rejects back means a visit is like Christmas.

34) Sometimes, and probably only if you are really, really lucky your little sister will grow to be not only an incredible human being who has your back always without question. They’ll also grow up to be your best friend in the whole entire universe.

Love you Lou Lou – I’m so glad we didn’t get a dog instead of a baby xxxxx

My Facebook page is here

Christmas ads fib!

Yes it’s still November but the Christmas ads are out so I’m allowed to now use the C word!!!

I love a soppy Christmas advert, I do. They make me feel emotional and nostalgic and warm and fuzzy inside. You can’t beat them to make you really feel festive . They make me feel something else though too.. a bit of a failure. Our Christmases don’t look like the ones on the ads, I feel guilty about our non advert perfect Christmas.

Then I get a grip. It’s all fibs to fool you into buying stuff!! I’ve thought about the perfect Christmas scenes the ads sell us and how my more real scene unfolds at home!

Christmas ad scene :
Perfectly wrapped colour coordinated gifts under an exquisitely decorated tree. I’m always so jealous of the trees.

Real scene:
I’m a good gift wrapper. I love it, luxury paper, ribbons, bows, sprigs of holly (too far I know). That only extends as far as grown up gifts though. Kids gifts are usually wrapped in £1 a roll Asda special paper. The tree?? Oh my!! I let littlest girl decorate the tree so it’s now become her thing. She’s so giddy and enthusiastic about it and the tree always looks… interesting.

Ad scene :
Gorgeously dressed table, glistening turkey, perfectly cooked vegetables, mountains of food.

Real scene :
I do a good line in table dressing. I can compete with an M&S ad, no problem.

It. Ends. There.

Lovely food on the table, candles, place names it’s all there. Then I take my seat at the table. There’s a call of “where’s the pigs in blankets?”

I can’t even say ‘shit!’ silently in my head what with it being Christmas so I rescue the pork products from the oven JUST before they burn and return to the table. I should confess here that dinner is always at least an hour later than I say it’ll be. It’s become a tradition.

Soooo.. dinner late, close call with the pigs in blankets but it’s OK. We’re still on for ad perfect Christmas dinner. Let’s pull the crackers.

Chaos ensues – cracker pulling elbows knock over drinks. I still can’t say ‘shit!’ silently in my head what with it being Christmas. I chirp ‘It’s fine’ clean up mess and yet again return to the table.
“mummy my gravy tastes of lemonade”
For jingle bellsy ho ho ho sakes!!

Ad scene: Huge family Christmas
Loads of kids, mum and dad, aunts and uncles, grandparents. Everyone smiling and dozing and having fun.

Real Scene : Loads of kids, that I can do.
Other than the kids though, there’s just me! Lots of smiles though… well until the early start and excitement catches up with everyone and there’s a bickerfest around 5ish!

Ad scene :
The bit at the end where mum sits on the sofa, sighs a huge sigh and curls up with a much deserved glass of wine.

Real scene :
There’s a brief sit down post dinner before tackling the washing up. Glass of wine that was poured with lunch remains largely untouched but slurps are stolen as operation clean up begins. Then time to prepare supper buffet. Doctor Who is sit down time though. That’s the rules.

So our Christmas isn’t ad picture perfect.

Our tree decs are wonky. Dinner will almost certainly be late and missing a vital ingredient. There are only the kids and I and no rest until Doctor Who. You know what though?? That’s our perfectly, unperfect Christmas.

I love it.

My Facebook page is here is you fancy a look

The Pramshed

Mission Mindfulness

The Mummy Bubble

The rules of sister..

My sister is my favourite grown up in all the world. I wrote about why here. She’s my best friend and I really hope my daughters are as close when they’re older. We never really fall out, we speak at least once a day and we are really close.

I think the reason we get along so well is that we follow a few unwritten rules of sister. Except I’m just about to write them down I suppose so here they are anyway.

1) Spontaneous, random texts are necessary.
This morning my sister texted with memories of donkey derby she participated in aged 8. Some mornings she texts to let me know that she’s sat next to the world’s smelliest person on the bus!
They always make me smile!

2) We find one another (and ourselves) hilarious.
I’m not easily ‘got’. Most of the time I’ll be sat giggling at something funny I believe I’ve said only to look around and realise everyone thinks I’m a knob.
This never happens with my sister, phone calls occur where 10 minutes are spent with no words just us crying laughing at some nonsense or another.
I should at this point mention my brother who this point here also applies to. Now he THINKS he’s the funniest guy in town, but in reality without his straight guy (me) and dizzy little sister (her) to bounce off he’s lost if truth be told!

3) What happens drunk is never mentioned again.
No matter what nonsense occurs after a wine or two (or ten) in the cold, harsh light of day these shenanigans are NEVER mentioned again.
Never ever.
There are no ‘Oh do you remember last night when you…’
Nope. None of that.

4) We encourage one another.
I’m not talking the big, sensible grown up stuff here although I think we do that too.
A three word encouraging text of ‘Don’t judge me’ means let’s have wine on a school night. We encourage one another’s crazy new business venture ideas – I stand by my thoughts that she’d be a great private detective!
She was once so encouraging she had me believe my rendition of Nessun Dorma was nothing short of spectacular.
It’s the little nutty things that count. Let me take this opportunity to say her Johnny Vegas impression is a wonder.

5) We use insults as affection
To the outsider our trading of insults may come across as mean and horrid. It’s really just a declaration of love – honestly.
We don’t really do heartfelt in our family so ‘ your fat, ginger face is so annoying’ actually translates as ‘I miss your gorge, auburn haired face please visit soon’ or summat.. I once texted her ‘I love you’
Her reply?
‘Are you dying? ‘
Hey it works for us!

So there are some of our rules of sister. I’m kind of assuming all families have similar little quirks?? Please say yes!!
Either way, quite fond of that birdbrained dirt bag of mine!

My Facebook page is here….. I’d love a like!!

Reasons being an Auntie rocks!!

It’s my eldest nephew’s birthday today. I remember clearly the day he was born 15 (how the hell did that happen) years ago. I remember walking into the hospital room and seeing my baby sister sat holding her own baby. It was a shock to the system, but the beginning of an adventure which is so different from being a parent it’s really quite wonderful.

Not living in the same city as my nephews and niece is tricky. I miss them all so much. I miss not being able to go to class assemblies and good work presentations. I think if we all lived in the same city all my sister and my children would be a mix and match of who was staying at either of our houses on any given day. Though I miss not seeing them all the time it’s always so bloody lovely to see them. They make me laugh and smile and feel just right.

Being an Auntie is fantastic. Here’s why:

1) You get to feel all the love, with none of the responsibility
You get to adore your niece and nephews like you do your own children but the pressure is absolutely off. There’s no worry or sleepless nights stressing because you know that their parents have all that covered.

2) You get to be the ‘fun’ parent you’d like to be if there were no consequences.
Sweets for breakfast? No problem
Want a comic? Here have two!
Want to share my chips? You are the ONLY people who I’m willing to do that with. That’s how special you are!!

3)They listen to you more than your actual children.
As long as I’ve not annoyed her my niece thinks I’m pretty cool. She used to love I bought her books and so when she got a Kindle for her birthday I did get a smug kick out of being able to think “aaaww she’s her Auntie’s genes” She listens like I talk sense which is great. No one else does! She was happy to be a sponge for my feminism chat last time I was round. I’ve high hopes.

4)They’re actually happy to see you.
Because I don’t get to see them very often they’re pleased to see me, in my head I pretend like they’re my very own fan club! Nothing more lovely than opening your sisters garden gate to see your baby nephew (oh so he’s nearly 5, he’s the last child in our family he’ll be the baby until he’s 23!)looking out of the window for you. I get giddy when they argue about who gets to sit next to me on the sofa and offering to share their beds I never feel as loved as when I’m at their house!

5) You can stitch up your siblings
You can make up any story you like about their parents and what they got up to when they were little. Your nieces and nephews will believe you. Especially if, like me, you’ve put work into being the sensible, truthful Auntie.
It’s great fun.

So B, C and O.
You are just so special to me. I’m sorry I can’t see you everyday. I miss you all like crazy but just chatting to you on the phone makes me happy. Your mum telling me what you’ve all been up to makes me smile. You’re all growing up so quickly and I’m so proud to be your Auntie.
Oh, and next time I’m over let’s chat about this nonsense that your mum spouts about how she never got into trouble at school….