Try and see the full picture

22 Sep

“Watch, Mummy! Watch!” The child at the soft play centre appeals to his audience as he goes down the slide. But mum is engrossed elsewhere – scrolling  her smartphone repeatedly.  Or maybe you’re at a friend’s for coffee. She gives her children a biscuit, plops them on the sofa and reaches for the remote control. And a small part of you is secretly shocked that she seems to have resorted to “CBeebies The Babysitter” so early in the day.

You may have side-stepped the child in the supermarket who’s having a meltdown because their parent won’t buy them the sweets they want. Or raised an eyebrow at the mother who’s opened a snack multipack and handed a packet to their toddler to keep her quiet for the trip round the store. Approaching a friends’ house for lunch, you can hear mum shouting loudly at her small child from the driveway.

But you haven’t seen the full picture. The mum on the phone has come to the soft play for wifi access and is refreshing her email for important news from work.  The child plonked in front of cartoons has actually been up since 5am and been for a walk, gone to a story session at the library and is getting towards nap-time. But mum knows from previous experience that she needs to negotiate the timings of that nap to ensure her child doesn’t spend the remainder of the day sad and tired.

The first child at the supermarket had already had a treat for the day at the previous shop and mum knows that the sugar will make a hard day even worse. The second child at the supermarket had a smaller lunch than expected as they were at a friend’s house and the food wasn’t to her taste. The mother yelling at her child who can be heard across the neighbourhood is trying to get her attention to prevent her from hurting another child.

We’ve all had days when we aren’t the perfect parent but had you taken the snapshot at a different point in the day, you’d certainly have seen things from another perspective. The mother patiently listening to the boy at the soft play tell yet another Minecraft story. The cartoon-watching child intently handing over book after book to be read. The hungry one eating a vaguely balanced breakfast.  As it happens, I am the parent in all of these scenarios. I’m the first to admit I’m not perfect but I’m probably not everything you see at first glance either. That’s the same for everyone, and as we move into the longest term where tired children may be at their most challenging, I’m planning to keep this uppermost in my mind.

9 ways to combat loneliness with small children

3 Feb

So I had just written about this for my lovely friends at the Herts & Essex Observer and then saw Mumsnet’s blog of the day from 2boys1mum talking about it and it inspired me to take this a bit further.

Loneliness is never really spoken about in the heady world of the new mum but it was something I as a self-confessed extrovert and chatterbox was NOT expecting. Here’s how I managed to stop feeling alone.

How to make mates when out and about?

1 Choose a class/activity and commit to it for a while – people will remember you. Offering to help out also “wins friends” – take a few cups back to the kitchen and plonk them in the sink. Book clubs and exercise classes are also good but there’s less likely

2 Don’t leave early if you can help it, hang back and see if anyone might like to head off for coffee then or make a date to do so later in the week.

3 Smile and make eye contact. Put the smartphone down. Start by saying Hello. Use children as a go-between “Hello little one! What’s your name?”is a good icebreaker.  Asking questions “which other playgroups do you go to?”  also helps you find other places to meet other mummies – win, win! This works at the swings/playground too.

4 If you can’t remember someone’s name – go with your preferred term of endearment. Makes you seem friendly, even if you’re not feeling it.

5 Remember everyone else is faking it too.

Ditch the empty feeling when back at home?

6 Facebook, Mumsnet and Twitter are a great way to pass a long day. But do be sure to take everything you see on social media with a good pinch of salt. Fear Of Missing Out is a terrible affliction and it’s easy to get sucked into feelings of loneliness and envy with glorious retro filters on Instagram (I’m as guilty of fannying about with the photos as the next person) and tags of people having a wonderful time on Facebook. See also, point 5, above.

7 Turn off the telly and put the radio on – I love a bit of Radio 4 or Radio 4 Extra, though now flit between Absolute80s and CapitalXtra. Whatever the station, it definitely stops the house feeling empty and certainly the spoken channels make me feel less baby brained.

8 Say yes more. Someone asks you to come to something, DON’T use the baby as an excuse. Take the baby with you OR get a sitter if you can.

9 Call your mum.  Or phone a friend.  It may be hard to meet up in person for long but a phone call can lift the spirits in many ways.


6 reasons why co sleeping with twins worked for me

25 Jan

1 it is easier to breast feed when lying down
2 you’re not constantly up and down between bed and cot
3 it’s reassuring to open one eye and check on your babies, they’re RIGHT there
4 it is a lot easier to snooze while feeding ( see point 1)
5 they may not both be in the bed at the same time so it can give you qt with that one baby
6 even though you may get a bedhog like this one, it’s still lovely


Macmillan Cycletta update – better late than never

24 Jan

This post first appeared on Spatone’s blog and I am grateful for their support and for the intro into cycling. I stayed with relatives the night before the Cycletta and did not sleep well as was anxiously awaiting the alarm and didn’t want to be late. getting ready Having never really done a “race” of any kind, I was nervous about how the event itself would work. I was driven to Losely Park and arrived as dawn was creeping in around the misty grandeur of the big house. If it weren’t for the lycra I would have thought I’d stepped into Downton Abbey. But from then on there was no real reason to be nervous; everyone was so friendly and super helpful. The atmosphere amongst everyone was really friendly. I made my way over to the British Bike Hire tent, and was unbelievably impressed at how quick and easy it was to be kitted out for my rental bike – which went like a DREAM. Then on to breakfast. We all milled around nervously, waiting for Victoria to arrive – when she did so, she was personable, inspiring, witty, and passionate about a variety of topics – top of which is women in cycling and eating well, We also talked about Strictly ball dresses and her Olympic lycra too which she apparently keeps at the bottom of her wardrobe. Someone also asked about selfies with her and we all flooded in – she couldn’t have been more up for it – even getting a better angle for the one she took with me! Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 11.33.36 So then to the start, I was doing the novice 20k distance –  and we were briefed on the very big hill quite which Kerry from Revolution had also warned of us about – so now I was getting quite worried about it. We were advised there was no shame in getting off to push if needed. Off through the Downton-esque drive, gently gliding over the speed bumps and out into Surrey’s Sunday morning. The marshals at key points were helpful and encouraging. I was one of the later starters, and so on arrival to The Hill there, I noticed a couple of people walking, and I encouraged them as I went past – “come on ladies!” I then went round a corner to discover that The Hill really did go ON and ON. I changed down gears and then ran out of lower gears. “I will not get off, I will not get off” I was saying to myself. I did stop for a breath (foolish girl!) and took a minute to catch it but I did not get off, go me!) Once I got going again (Mental note to self for future: stopping means you have to start from scratch)  it was pretty much okay. To arrive back in the park, and see my husband and children cheering me on as I finished was absolutely amazing – I had to be reminded by a marshall to dismount – I was ready to do a victory lap! My phone beeped with my time – I had done a PB by some margin so was beyond pleased with myself. I then went to the relaxation tent and did a cool down stretch and a sports massage. Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 11.34.40 This picture of me grinning with my medal received nearly as many likes as when I had my twins – and to be honest it’s right up there with some of my proudest moments. Doing something that was so far outside my usual comfort zone that has given me so much enjoyment and confidence. I can’t wait to do another Cycletta next year, this time the 40km!

New year, resolutions and all that

23 Jan

So I’m not entirely sure I believe in resolutions. It puts a lot of pressure on you right when the works is at its bleakest, in mid winter. Blue Monday anyone?
But, I did get books on happiness the from the brilliant Gretchen Rubin for Christmas from my lovely sister Anton
Then I downloaded the happiness app from the Guardian, which challenged me to take up a photo 365 challenge.
I remembered that actually I had sort of resolved to blog more often. And actually the WordPress app is super easy to use when I remember about it, so the two things would work together.
As I type it is nearly 10am, I haven’t taken my pic for the day, but getting started is half the battle in my experience.
So here is my picture for the day, Imogen happier pushing her buggy after a day of being miserable. Happiness is easy when you’re 13 months; when you’re in your 30s you might have to work a bit harder.


Getting there – great Gi breakfast

29 Sep

Views over Tuscan countryside from my exercise bike.

September is a great time to get back into the swing of things with the whole new shiny academic year thing going on. Already, I’ve learnt a lot.

I’ve learnt: –
That doing any long stints on a stationary bike is boring, even if you have a glorious Tuscan hillside vista to enjoy.

That inexplicably people are more impressed if you say you are doing a half marathon on a bike (even though that is 21k) than a 20k

I am fitter and leaner than I was (have lost 3lbs) , despite eating huge quantities of all Italian delicacies on our holiday, pasta, white bread, ice cream.

Since my return, I have discovered Lizi’s Low Sugar Granola which I’ve been having with almond milk to add more protein on Emma’s advice to my previously very high gi breakfast of weetabix with lots of sugar.

Coupled with my morning Spatone which has become part of my every day routine, I am definitely feeling more energised.

At the time of writing we have 37 days to go until the event, and it’s starting to hit home.

I usually manage to be very solitary while I ride and choose quiet times of day and low traffic rural roads, I absolutely LOVE the thinking time and space it gives me.

So I am nervous about cycling alongside so many other people on the roads on the day. I’m also a bit anxious about the hills.

But, I am very excited about the challenge day and know that I will be SO proud of myself when I have finished.



What’s in a name?

10 Aug

So I have been thinking about whether I should keep the name of this blog as 2winterest. I chose it before the girls were born, and I was spending a fair amount of time on Pinterest and I liked the pun, and the Prince style 2 amused me too.

Now that the girls are nearly 8 months old, I am trying to blog more often. I briefly thought about whether it was the right name.

When I was at university people would have vague epithets to describe people. “You know Freddie? He’s tall, in a band, plays rugby?” Mine was, “Olivia; loud, does classics.” Not quite white armed Penelope in the Homeric tradition but hey ho.

These days, I am OliviaWithTheTwins. The girls have changed so much in my life and the way I think about things, that I think it’s only right that they are an integral part of my identity.


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