October Blog Tag

I’ve been tagged in the October Blog Tag by Gee Gardener  this is where you find out a little bit about myself and I shall nominate others to do the same.

I have no idea what the answers are going to be myself yet so this could be fun.

Name?

Gareth

Whats your favourite colour?

Yellow because its bright.

What did you do today?

Looked after the kiddies and ate far more food than I should have, resulting in me moaning I’ve eaten too much and im full but yet thinking about breakfast tomorrow. Oh and blogging I did a bit of blogging too.

Where are you currently?

Sat in the living room watching The Chase and getting the answers wrong in style.

Whats in your star sign? 

Just googled it and it says im a great leader, please don’t follow me this would never end well in any situation.

Cake or Ice Cream?

Ice cream if I had to choose but im not a big sweet person.

Frozen or Moana?

Frozen ive never seen Moana, I feel im missing out.

A night in or night out?

A night in, im very much a creature of comfort. I enjoy my own surroundings and I don’t like being around people too much they make me nervous so I much prefer a takeaway and a film.

Home cooked meal or take away?

I do a love a take away but I much prefer a home cooked meal, nothing quite beats homemade lasagna Nom nom nom.

 Does Pineapple belong on pizza?

Why would you even ask me that? Why don’t you just ask me if id like to be kicked in the balls? Er no!

Books or Films?

They say you can’t beat a good book but they obviously haven’t seen Die Hard.

Autumn or Spring

Autumn I like the fact all the leaves are on the ground and im a child who likes to walk and kick through them.

Flowers or Chocolates?

Flowers are nice to look at I agree but there a ball ache to have to keep alive, its bad enough trying to look after 5 children without trying to remember to water flowers.

Full fat or diet coke?

All tastes the same.

Phone or Laptop?

Phone is easier to take to the toilet to play that extra level of your game.

What is your favourite TV series?

I’ve not long a go recently discovered Orange is the new Black which is a combination of lesbians, prison and its funny.

What is your favourite thing to do in October.

Celebrate my birthday, which is the 26th, all cards are welcome.

What is your current food to crave?

Cheese it’s always cheese.

Do you have any piercings or tattoos?

No piercing but a silly like man I had done when I was young on my shoulder. I do regret it now im older.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Introvert.

Whats your favourite Halloween film of all time?

Hocus Pocus.

Name your top 3 favourtire bands or artists?

Eminem, Foo Fighters and Coldplay.

Have you got any plans for Halloween?

Yes I am reviewing Jungleland and their Halloween Party.

Do you have any fears?

Spiders the horrible little bastards!! I dont like clowns  either so my worst fear would probably be a spider dressed as a clown.

Do you believe in life after love?

How can I not, Cher made a strong argument.

Do you have any children? (Or pets you treat as your babies)

I  have 5 children, ages 14,13,9,4& 2 

What do you want for the future?

Happiness.

Be honest why did you start blogging?

I wanted to open up about my Mental Health and use this as a kind of therapy, if I help others along the way then thats a bonus.

Whats your biggest achievement to date?

Hands down it would be having children and just seeing them grow, learn and love.

What are your ambitions on your blog?

I really dont know to be honest, it was originally somewhere to place my thoughts and feelings and I wasn’t expecting people to actually read it so im open to wherever it goes.

If there is one thing you would change about your blog what would it be?

That it was more popular. I think because I tackle mental health its not everyone’s cup of tea to read.

Have you reached any of your goals for your blog this year?

I got into the top 200 parenting bloggers in the UK (I placed 185th out of 200 but still I was in there)

Where do you want to be in 10 years time?

Settled, married hopefully and in a position where my Mental Health is stable enough for me to work and just be normal.

What is your dream holiday?

I cabin in the woods or countryside away from the world.

If you had an entire day to yourself what would you do with it?

I would just have me time, sleep, eat and take care of myself.

Time to start tagging…

 

Daddy Giraffe x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parent Consultation Day

With it being October brings a few things, Halloween, my Birthday and for the little ones parent consultation day.

For anyone who doesn’t know what this is, its where you sit down with your children’s teachers and talk about their progress in school and voicing any concerns you might have.

Freddie and Annabelle now go to the same school so it was the little ones turn, the first one up was Freddie.

Freddie Consultation Day 

This is Freddie’s first term in big school and with him settling in so well and his eagerness to go to school I was looking forward to seeing what his teacher had to say about him.

11:30 was his slot we sat going through his school books (Maths and English) as we wait to see his teacher.

We go through and are impressed at what he has done from spelling his name to counting and taking away.

We get called over and wait to hear how he’s doing.

“Freddie is a polite, clever little boy who never stops running”

This didn’t surprise us because he always runs at home although this would explain all the accident forms we keep getting from the school.

“He needs help with his writing but his maths is out of this world, he’s top of his class and can tell you how many items are there just from a quick glance”

I was surprised because when he’s home he can’t wait until his Math homework is out-of-the-way and finished.

She finished the consultation with..

“Everyone wants to be his friend and play his games, he’s a very popular little boy”

I think I was more pleased with this because I would hate the though of him alone on the play ground or struggling to make friends.

All in all he had a fantastic review and we walked away happy waiting to see him and tell him how proud we were and give him the £1 reward we promised.

I waited at the school door for him to come out and he comes out with a gold certificate for excellent Maths!

My little boy did so well and we are both so proud of how he is doing at school, if he keeps going at this rate he will go far.

Freddie Consultation Day
Freddie Consultation Day

Annabelle’s Consultation Day

Annabelle had now gone into year 5 so this was the first parent/teacher review of the year.

Her last few parents evenings were ok but nothing amazing, they all said the same things that she was chatty, goes at Annabelle speed but a polite little girl who try’s and can do better if she puts more effort into things.

10:30 her appointment was and we were pleasantly surprised at how neater he hand writing was from the last time and she got 1 maths question wrong out of the whole booklet.

We sat down with her teacher expecting the usual but what came out of her mouth next shocked us.

“Annabelle is Amazing!!”

We both looked at each other and just said wow, she went on to say how Annabelle was so clever, thinks about all her answers before answering and is just a delight to be around.

Is this Annabelle we are talking about??

How is her writing coming along we asked because we can see the difference?

“She doesn’t write a lot in the time she’s been given but what she does right is absolutely amazing so it doesn’t matter, the detail is incredible and very well thought out”

Not only this but she could have her pen licence in a weeks time, we left feeling amazed and decided a £1 wasn’t enough so we went out and brought her a unicorn onesie which was amazing and of course she loved it!!

We couldn’t be prouder of her, she has done so well and really stood out and showed us all what she can do.

Annabelle Consultation Day
Annabelle Consultation Day

Well done guys you’re doing us proud and amaze us every day!

Daddy Giraffe x

 

 

 

 

Things you figure out quickly when you have a toddler

When you first have  children and they are tiny babies  in your arms you start to learn new things about being a parent where everything is all cute and lovely and “oh my god we need to take a picture!”

They learn to crawl, walk and talk which is amazing to see them grow but as we are so focused on them learning new thing and us clapping along to if your happy and you know it

They have become…..TODDLERS!!!

You have never known thirst unless you’re a toddler who is  going to bed.

You’ve fed them, wiped them, dressed them, gone through the bathroom routine of toilet, drink and teeth, tucked them into bed with a story and a kiss goodnight the night is now yours.

3….2….1……..Daddddddd!

You could be stranded in the Sahara Desert with no water, having to walk miles in the blistering heat but you still would be nowhere near as thirsty as my child who can’t sleep because they need a drink.

Food on your plate is no longer yours and it tastes so much better.

Food is the biggest problem with toddlers because they hate everything green, doesn’t smell like sweets or just looks like it wont taste nice.

So you go the extra mile as the awesome parent you are, you make their favourite food, you even put it on their special plate, you let them help you set the table and make a big deal about how is there favourite.

They are all excited asking when it will be ready and their saying that they can’t wait, you place the plate of food in front of them that they have been pestering you for and wait.

“I’m not hungry”

Guaranteed you sit down to eat yours and within seconds there is a tiny figure standing staring at your plate telling you how nice is looks and how does it taste.

It wouldn’t be so bad but they happen to bring the fork in with them for tasting purposes of course.

Poo and Farts are the funniest thing in the world.

Do you remember the days where peek a boo would make them giggle and then you would giggle and you would all giggle together?

Well try that now.

Nothing is funnier to a toddler than poo or farts, my toddler happens to do a I did a poo dance in the toilet whenever he’s finished.

In conversations your either a poo head or they are laughing at the face they just farted and ran away .

For example my 2-year-old girl  was sat on the sofa deeply into watching Paw Patrol on the TV, being quiet until she lets of this tiny little fart, giggles for a couple of seconds and carries on watching TV.

I would like to say they grow out of this but I just read out this header to Cheryl and the word fart made me laugh so my kids have no hope.

They turn into tiny salesmen

I sit and watch these political debates on the TV and talk shows where they have very strong opinions.

I would like to put these people up against my children and them debate why is ok for them to eat chocolate for breakfast.

They always have a countering argument for any comment you make saying no and the reasons why it’s not a bad idea.

To get the sale or in this case whatever they are after they with pull out the big guns where nothing is off-limits using tactics like crying, begging, guilt, creeping, making deals ans of course sulking.

After a long hard battle there has to be a winner lets just hope you plead your case harder.

Favourite songs on repeat 

Your children used to have favourite songs when they were babies I hear you say.

Yes but they didn’t know how to work various pieces of technology better than most adults.

This comes with if they like a video or song then you damn sure know about it because it will stay on repeat until you can’t take it anymore.

Ever heard of Baby Shark? (Check out my video of baby shark with the toddlers here)

Then you feel my pain.

 

Daddy Giraffe x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depression and Food – Breaking the Cycle, and the Taboo

I was sent this story about about someone wanting to share there experience with others about their battle with depression, I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did…

Depression has always been one of those taboo subjects and perhaps is why I haven’t spoken about it openly before.

Mental illness runs strong in my family, almost every maternal and paternal relative of mine has struggled with mental health issues at some point in their life. However, as a family, we never discussed these issues and they are simply swept under the carpet and left to fester.

My wake-up call came when a very close relative of mine attempted suicide twice.

Rather than speak to us about his feelings, he wrote them down in a suicide note minutes prior to his second suicide attempt.

This was the saddest thing I have ever read. He spoke about his utter desperation following the breakup of a relationship and how he simply could not climb out of the pit he had fallen into.

Loneliness, heart-ache and an inability to properly express his feelings were the main themes of the note.

He expressed his love to us all and left a heart-felt apology for the ultimate damage and destruction his actions would cause to those he was leaving behind.

Luckily, we found him just in time and an ambulance was called.

What followed in the days after the incident, as we sat around his hospital bed as he lay a wreck, a shadow of his former self was anger, regret, sadness but most of all, realisation.
Such a horrific incident made us all talk about our feelings.

As he slipped in and out of consciousness, as a family, we all discussed our emotions – not in relation to the incident, but how we were in life.

I was stunned to discover that all of us who sat around that bed had at some point seriously contemplated suicide.

A series of family events from long ago had affected us all in very different ways, however, the impact was the same. We all felt hurt, anger, hopelessness and utter devastation. Had we all come together, as a family to discuss these issues at the time, we may have all avoided the clutches of depression, or at least assisted each other through our individual long-standing mental illnesses.

We all made a pact that day to be more open, honest and supportive towards each other, and we did.

I decided that the best way to help myself (and to help my suicidal relative) was to face up to my own depression. I literally took a seriously long look in the mirror in a quest for answers.

The once happy, active, confident, outgoing woman I once was remained concealed under a large amount of baggy clothing.

The once well kempt face and manicured nails had been abandoned and the jewellery I had formerly so proudly worn was lost in the chaos of my bedroom. As I pondered, I felt sad, and so, I ate.

Eating gave me a boost!

That few moments of a tasty chocolate treat seemingly blocked out all the emotions I was feeling.

Food made me feel good!

Once this sensation had passed, the sadness, bitterness and anger returned. Returning to the mirror, I could see what I had become, and I hated it!

I was trapped in a cycle – I ate because I was depressed, but I was depressed because I ate.

My sense of self had diminished – I no longer wanted to look too long in the mirror, to wear the jewellery, to put on the make-up, to adorn the nice clothing. Instead, I chose to hide, disguise myself, to blend in, like a chameleon.

This realisation sounds so simple, how did I not know this before?

I had avoided looking at myself in the mirror, literally and metaphorically – I was not only hiding from the world but also from myself.

With this acknowledgement came a further flood of realisations – my health was suffering because I had become so unhealthy and inactive.

Once a keen walker, I had avoided taking a stroll uses excuses such as the weather, timing or a lack of well-fitting clothes.

I had stopped regularly taking my anti-depressants – each time I tried to swallow them, I regurgitated them, I felt sick and dizzy if I could swallow them.

These were all psychological illusions, not as I had thought in my depressive state, that the pills were bad for me.

Once I had acknowledged the problem – I had to figure out a way to break the cycle.

My first step was to regularly take my medication. After a few days, once they properly got into my system, the erratic emotions I had been experiencing, either extreme sadness or extreme happiness mellowed and a more chilled and level me returned.

My children took notice and commented on how happy I was around the home. The energy has changed, my husband told me, from feeling like an explosion was imminent to a tranquil, homely place.

My biggest challenge yet was to face my relationship with food.

Binge eating had to stop.

I made a little extra time to prepare and cook food. Rather than reaching for the sweet tasting chocolate treats, I had chopped vegetable sticks and had them on hand.

I left satsumas in the fruit bowl, these sweet, colourful and juicy fruits gave me the buzz I was looking for.

I love cooking, so I invested in a new cook book – it was a present to myself to encourage me to continue to the good work!

Best of all, I have started walking again!

Starting off with a determination to walk rather than take the car, I started off with a few small, simple walks to get me back into the swing of things.

I’m still working my way up to my former power-walking sessions, but I’m taking positive steps in the right direction!

I’m not even concerned about my weight loss – I haven’t even weighed myself. I’m focusing on how I feel in myself, in my own body and reclaiming it, for me!

I’m proud to report that my once suicidal relative accepted the counselling he was offered and is working through his issues.

As we talked more openly, he told me that he had in fact been struggling with an eating disorder for quite some time (something he too had only realised, or acknowledged, once he had starred into the mirror of self-reflection).

Rather than binge eat on fatty food as I had done, he had instead restricted his diet in an effort to loose weight.

Just as I felt that buzz when I ate junk food, he felt the same as he experienced hunger pains.

To him, this was a triumph.

If only we had felt able to talk more openly to each other about these experiences, we would have discovered we both had an unhealthy relationship with food.

We now work together and I’m extremely grateful for the support he has given me.

Being able to talk openly with my family has helped greatly.

Talking openly to people about my depression and anxiety more generally also helps and I can quite proudly say, ‘I’m recovering from depression’ and not feel as I once felt in my lowest moments. I have decided I no longer suffer with depression, it’s an illness I’m determined to fight, and I won’t let it get the better of me.

What an incredible story, if you would like to read more from this inspirational lady then you can on the links below.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lellaleeblog

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lellaleeblog

http://www.lellalee.com

Daddy Giraffe x

Anxiety the unwanted guest

We all have all had that nagging headache that wont go away, you take painkillers but it’s still there in the back ground so you have no choice to deal with it, well if you suffer with Anxiety then you know all about it being an unwanted guest and it lurking in the back ground.

If you look up Anxiety on the internet it will tell you that It is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear and can stem anything from mild to severe.

But if you suffer with Anxiety it means so much more and the symptoms you get is far worse than is described.

Generally Anxiety forms when we are tense, worried or afraid.

You worry about things that could happen and what could possibly happen in the future and with this you will go through many different scenarios in your head getting you more stressed in the process.

Anxiety
Anxiety

I suffer with a very mild case of Anxiety myself and I have been around a few people with very severe cases and I was shocked with how it affect you as a whole mentally and physically.

It can lead on to panic attacks, give you severe agoraphobia even symptoms of you feel so poorly that you need medical help because you fear something maybe happening to you.

Its drain you, deprives you of sleep because you never switch off and in turn you get poorly easier because your body is so run down and you just need a break.

When I did a bit of research online about this I was surprised at some of the stats I found such as

  • In 2013 there was 8.2 million cases of Anxiety in the UK (That was back in 2013 can you imagine what that would be like now and not to mention that is just in the UK alone.
  • Women in England are twice as likely to suffer from Anxiety than men

Although this can be treated with medication people are still suffering and it just masks the problem so please if you see someone suffering with Anxiety be a bit more understanding and patient.

Your impatience is just going to make the situation worse, there not being silly or will get over it once they just calm down they just need some care, understanding and time.

Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength”

If anyone suffers reading this suffers with Anxiety I wish you all the best and hope it gets better for you and you get all the help you need.

Daddy Giraffe x

 

 

 

 

Coming together slowly but surely

Recently I have had a few targets and things I wanted to achieve or at least do well in and after sitting down now for a while and thinking about it I see that it’s coming together slowly but surely.

Blogging

I first got into this to put my thoughts out there to the world on what it was like to have Mental Health while trying to raise a family.

Truth be told it started out ok the ideas came flying out but then it starts to dry up and you have writers block on what people would actually want to read.

But over a year of writing and persistence im finally starting to get somewhere and within the year…

  • My views went up including people following me on social media
  • I’ve had lots of requests for reviews including children’s books, toys, drinks and trips out.
  • Inspired people to open up and not only talk about the own Mental Health but write their own blog about it.
  • Being named in the top 200 Parenting Bloggers in the UK (It was number 185 but still that counts right?)
Blog Award
Blog Award

 

Mental Health

This actually isn’t to bad at the moment despite being messed around with the MH Team for over a year with cancelled appointments, false promises and lack of care.

Lucky for me a have good caring people around me that will catch me when I fall, hopefully I wont fall anytime soon and im not in the state of not knowing if I was coming or going.

I’m taking my medication on time and when I should be which seems to be doing the trick we just have to see how it goes I don’t want to be heading back in hospital any time soon.

Mental Health
Mental Health

 

Family

I can’t complain about anything!

The kids are doing fantastic in and out of school, the little ones are setting inside there new schools and the big ones are getting good grades.

Things are going well between me and Cheryl, we are getting on and moving forward its been a long process but we have learned to talk and I’ve kinda learned to listen.

Big family events are coming up soon such as Halloween and of course Christmas as im very much looking forward to these and the excitement.

Family
Family

Daddy Giraffe x

 

 

 

 

Daddy and son lunch day

Today was the day Freddie was looking forward to in a while, it was the day where daddy came to his big boy school for lunch.

For lunch that day happened to be pizza which is always a bonus since the daddy daughter lunch I had with Annabelle was a horrible tasting Sunday dinner.

Pizza
Pizza

Cheryl had to help her dad out this morning so I was in charge of making sure the kiddies got to school on time, no problem right how hard can that be?

Until half way to school Freddie and Annabelle was playing a game where if you touch a lamppost you get points, now bear in mind this is my son so it wasn’t going to be as easy as that.

He runs full speed to tag this lamppost but forgot to put his arms out to stop his so BANG!, he hits the post face first causing a massive mark covering his eye so now I have to say you wont believe this but Freddie ran into a lamppost on the way here, luckily for me this teacher saw the funny side.

The time comes and im waiting at the school ready to go in and I can see how excited he is as he sees me through the glass, he takes my hand and guides me into the dinner hall for Daddy and Son lunch.

It is possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen watching him in the dinner Que waiting for his lunch and waiting for his turn.

Its Freddie’s turn and he orders Pizza, pasta and beans and tells the first dinner lady ” My names Freddie Hopkins” to which she responds ” I know Freddie you tell me every day darling”.

We get to the end to pay and Freddie looks at the lady and say ” This is my daddy his name is Gareth Hopkins”

The lady smiles as I pay and the big boy finds us somewhere to sit, Freddie ate his Pizza, my pizza, his pasta and ice cream to then tell me he thinks he’s full now.

He shows me how he cleans up after his meal and now I know he can do it with no problem the little rascal, he then takes my hand and shows me to the door to go home gives me a kiss and wanders off to his classroom.

I stand there for a moment and watch him walk away thinking where did my little baby boy go?

I really enjoyed Daddy and Son lunch and can’t wait for Freddie’s first parents evening, this could be interesting.

Daddy Giraffe x

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to be a better me

How many of you reading this can honestly say that you feel like you are the best possible person you can be, now how many of you are trying to be better people day by day to try to make a difference?

In the past I have made my fair share of mistakes, bad choices and hurt people but does that mean it defines who I am right now as a person or who I could possibly be in the future?

Where I am at the moment is im at the stage of I want to be a better person not just for me but for my family and loved ones around me but is this too late is the damage done, there is second third chances what about 99th chances they have to exist right?

First and foremost I want to be a better person for my children, I feel my Mental Health has put them through so much already and added with the fact I was taken away for a short while didn’t help things but I want them to see me as a strong individual who has it all together, who doesn’t break or bend and that they can rely on in time that are both good and bad.

I want to mend bridges with people I have hurt in the past, I’ve hurt a lot of people and feelings, this is something that I can’t possibly mend but I feel that at least the effort can and should be made because it’s the right thing to do because sometimes sorry just isn’t enough.

In trying to be a better person I can make more of an effort with how I approach people and interact, I don’t generally like people or to be surrounded by people but im slowly learning that in this world unless you surround yourself with love and laughter that you don’t really have much else.

So if you see me in the street and I look like a have a face of thunder it’s just my face its stuck like that but just know I will take the time to talk to you, if ive hurt you in the past know that im truly sorry and I will make it up to you somewhere down the line.

Day by day im trying to be better just bear with me

Daddy Giraffe x