2021 So Far

The first 6 weeks of this year have been rough for all of us I would say. For me personally I feel my batteries are on running on fumes trying to balance being self employed and having Thea at home as nurseries in Scotland are closed is hardly a bundle of fun, throw in you still cant visit family and friends and most places we go to relax are closed or out of our boundary , I heard rumours if you go 3 miles out of Glasgow you turn to dust, but that cant be true as half of Glasgow has been in Dubai recently (Get back in your boxes if your big enough to go you can take some stick)

So as it dawned on me that 2021 could be just like 2020 changes were needed not just for my wellbeing but my families too I think we all needed to change or adapt otherwise I think the house would of become a cross of Lord of Flies and The Hunger Games a survival of the fittest . So here are some of the changes I have made this year some more successful than others. As I was writing them down I released that some of them were insane.

  1. Communicate more to all my family this was Harriet and Thea. I work with children so communication at work is vital but also intense you work 9hrs with up to 100 children shouting at you, so at home sometimes my communication is lacking which causes chaos, you just say yes to everything and totally screw it up when you don’t bring home milk or forget to pick up your wife. For my communication to improve I had to listen to my families needs and feelings and stop playing FIFA god dam you family life. But when your in lockdown you need to talk to each other about your feelings.
  2. Honesty in the past I haven’t always been honest ” Tony how are you” “I am fine ” was the standard answer when normally I had loads of feelings but just surprised them which is like a disasters waiting to happen. I noticed if i was honest my family was honest to and made life easier. We would be honest about needing a break and started taking time outs. Even Thea started saying I am going to relax I need quiet time
  3. I stopped drinking coffee my anxiety was getting worse and being stuck inside I decided it wasn’t helping anyone. One day I did a coffee diary hells bells no wonder I was anxious the amount of caffeine I was putting in my body to fuel a small army. I of course being an all or nothing type of guy stopped all coffee. What followed is the worse withdrawal symptoms I have ever had in all my life lasted almost 2 weeks we had the sweats, grinding teeth, shakes, migraines ,blurry vision and tiredness like never before. After a few days i doctor google it and was glad to find out I wasn’t dying. I don’t think I will ever have another cup of coffee ever again. On the plus side I am saving a small fortune and my anxiety is not nearly as bad and I can make clearer more decisive decisions.
  4. Daily Gratitude 3 Things I am grateful I write them down each morning on my phone. One of my best changes. I start the deal more positive and happy. Its crazy something so small can make such a difference to your day.
  5. Daily Exercise I love to exercise but I like my routine of it go to the gym workout get a sauna and shower I’m happy as Larry. No chance of that this year so far so my exercise started to slip working out outside in Glasgow is grim especially in January. But I need exercise in my life for mental wellbeing it relaxes me. So I changed it up Yoga videos, core videos, running and walking. I am not going to lie I don’t get the same satisfaction from these workouts but they are helping keeping me centred. I guess that’s adapting to 2021 you do what you can, you have to make the most of your situation and keep going.
  6. I gave up FIFA I have always been a gamer I thought I needed it to relax but actually it was taking up time and annoying me how likes getting beat by a bunch of kids. Should of stopped years ago. This has gave me more time to relax in different ways like going for an evening walk, writing or reading which helps with my mental health making me a better person to be around which brings me onto my final change.
  7. Selfcare I think most of us could be kinder to ourselves. I use to think I took good care of myself but I never really relaxed. I felt I shouldn’t be allowed to relax I would beat myself up or think it was weak. I would say I was taking time for myself but I never switched off. I now love going for a bath listening to good podcast or going for a walk and taking some pictures of nature. You don’t need a full day for selfcare just 30 minutes here or there and after a while it becomes part of routine and you feel like a new person.

So I started this blog by thinking 2021 has been crappy but actually as I wrote this blog it came to me its enabled me to make changes to my life that benefit me. So just maybe 2021 has been good for me so far.

My SkinCare Routine with El Naturals

My skincare where to begin?. When I was in my teens I suffered with extreme acne so bad my doctor put me on medication for it. It calmed down but can flare up and I have scarring which my daughter loves to point out. For years I have hopped between brands trying to find a solution, spent a fortune and so much time hunting it out (why can you never find the products you want in shops).

El Naturals
https://www.elnaturals.uk/

So when El naturals gifted me their new Father’s Day range I was really excited. You see their skin care products are unisex and produced specifically so it can be used by all skin types and all family members.

After hearing about other parents having the same problems as myself I thought it would be useful to run through the products I’m using and my daily routine.

1)Q10 Cleanser

2)Black Clay Mask

3)Collagen Moisturiser

4)Marula Oil

My skin care bundle

Onto my routine above is the order I use the products but you may change the order we all have different skin it’s what suits you.I will now talk about the range and how they help my skin feel refreshed and rejuniveted.

1) Q10 cleanser – I start with this, I gently massage into my skin and use a clean damp face cloth to remove it. I use about a 1 pence piece of the cleanser. It’s great for cleaning my face and repairing my skin perfect 1st thing in the morning.The cleanser has avacado and apricot oils in it which help nourish the skin and here comes the science bit Co-Enzyme Q10 which repairs the skin cells by producing energy amazing.

Q10 Cleanser

2)Black Clay Mask. I use roughy the same amount as I do with the cleanser or more sometimes as I love the stuff. It’s brilliant for cleaning my skin getting the rid of the dirt on my face and opening my pores. I gently rub the clay mask all over my face as your doing this you can feel it going to work getting . I then splash my face I personally like to rub again and finally cleanse my face with cold water. How does it keep you looking young and fresh we have grape seed for better circulation and omega 6 to reduce your pores.

Black Clay Mask

3)Collagen moisturiser if only you could smell it wow!,it has a cherry extract in it. It’s a delight,it’s not an overpowering smell as all the skincare products are scented to be used by anybody. It’s like a fresh slightly summery smell. But apart from smelling great this helps us stay young it has key oils , essitntial extracts and marine collagen and Goto Kola!.

You would think moisturising is easy just grab loads and chuck it on… no I never use to do this !!. This is how I moisturise now I use no more than pea shape at a time , warm up it up my hands and gently massage circles around my cheeks the driest part of my face . Then I move onto rest of your face. This is how my routine works I take my time I enjoy it and use it as relaxation time as well.

4)Marula Oil Face Body Serum. I will be honest before using El Naturals I had never tried anything like this before. I will now be using it forever. I’m going to tell you it makes me feel or try too it lifts your glow and skin to the next level. It’s feel luxurious and you smell like you have been to an extravagant Spa on holiday but really your in your bathroom on a Monday morning.On top of that it works brilliantly at helping my scars heal and be less pronounced .

How does it do this, well you have Marula and Apricot oils to help your skin to look fresh and ready for the day. But how does it repair your skin?, it has essential primrose and prickly pear oils included in it.

As I was new to this I got the experts to help how best to use the oil. Apply the Murula oil to your skin by using your finger again I like gentle circles I obviously lead a stressful life. One or two drops should be plenty.

Murula Oil Face & Body Serum

And that is my skincare routine with El Naturals. I hope you find it useful .

Before I finish I just a quick word from my wife Harriet- Hi I have suffered with severe excema and allergies all my life this is has made finding skincare products a real challenge. I often find products set my skin off which is difficult as the reaction will stay for hours or days. El naturals skincare range has been amazing for myself I can look after my skin every morning without worrying I will be in pain. Also I can pinch Tony’s too as it’s unisex.

Thanks Harriet and thank you El Naturals for some great products and getting my skincare routine sorted for me. I have put the website and Instagram page up so you can go and check them out and start your new skincare routine.

http://Instagram.com/elnaturals_uk

http://www.elnaturals.uk

How to Survive a Wedding with a Toddler

Life with a toddler in our experience can be hectic . The transition of Baby to toddler is shall we say emotional. Taking a baby out you can keep them entertained and happy with a pram and bottle when out socialising. A toddler goes somewhere new and becomes an emotional wrecking ball. A pram will not contain them and will not silence them .

Life does not stop though so when we knew our friends Kirsty and Emmett were getting married we thought we better get organised. Thea would be 20 months by the wedding and in full toddler mood.

So for a smooth weekend this is what we planned.

:Keep it simple stay in the hotel of the wedding The Piersland Hotel.

:We didn’t want to rush so we booked the night before and after. This meant Thea could get use to place and not be like a Taz Manian Devil when seeing a wedding for the 1st in a new place.

: We all deserve a break and weddings are always a fantastic occasion . With this in mind we got our friend Nikki to come down to babysit. We had booked a cottage so plenty of room and Thea loved Nikki.

:Do a food shop the day before, pick picnic foods and your child’s favourites it’s a break for them too. You never know how they will react to sleeping in a new bed. That can be bad enough you don’t want them hungry too.

At this point I have to say I was feeling quite chuffed with myself. We were going to smash this wedding .

The day before the wedding I left Harriet and Thea at home and thought I would get a gym workout,sauna and shave . As I was in the changing room about to go to the gym my phone rang … I very nearly didn’t pick it up I saw it was Harriet and thought it would be reminding as always pick up milk for Thea .

Thank God I did answer it was Harriet hyperventilating while trying to shout the wedding is today. It was now about 11.30 the wedding was 14.00 the next day . I don’t know why but I chuckled down the phone. You can guess how that went down, so off up the road I went knowing I was in for a world of pain.

When entering the flat I can only describe it as a chaotic war zone and I had walked straight into the middle of it with a big silly smile. Harriet was in full panic mode, red face,eyes filling,banging everything down and speaking very high pitched.

I think because I knew Harriet was panicked it relaxed me about it. When it’s your wedding your so caught up in the moment you didn’t even really know who is there,but I was quietly confident we would make it. Harriet packed and kept Thea happy and then packed the car and to cut along story short we made it to the hotel with 15minutes to spare but our story does not end here.

Thea had missed her nap. Never ever a good thing to miss for anyone. I don’t remember a parent ever saying I’m so glad our child missed their daily nap right before their 1st wedding.

The hotel is stunning and old with lots of rooms and stairs which would be fine if we arrived 24hrs earlier and Thea had explored them all. So getting to the bar was a battle as she fought to explore the men’s toilet .

But there should of been a babysitter and we should of been at the bar having drinks.

Thea was now at her 1st wedding. Inthe bar she ran about like a headless chicken but was not causing to much fuss. The ceremony though was a different ball game. How the hell do you get a toddler to sit still on a chair in a room with about 60 people let alone stop them shouting Daddy and Duck.

I took one for the team and escorted Thea out the room like a teen getting escorted by the police for drinking several bottles of Mad Dog 20/20. I didn’t want a scene the teen wanted everyone to know I was ruining there fun an they did not deserve this treatment. I left to the slap of my nose and raspberry.

So I missed the ceremony but caught glimpses as Thea heckled through an open window at the back. But it was worth it Kirsty was one of Harriet’s bridesmaids and loved watching her get married myself and Thea so her crying cue Thea banging the window.

Afterwards there was photos,drinks and then dinner.

This time was spent necking beer as fast as possible and running after a toddler trying to escape us . It was knackering work but Thea was in her element playing outside,talking to lots of new people eating sugar what else does a toddler want a dog… oh yeah Bruce Kirsty’s and Emmett’s dog made a guest appearance Thea loved that.

But she was getting tired and cranky about 8pm so we took her back to the room. Harriet was putting her down and I was in the other room making coffee. After a while of silence I went through and both were fast asleep it was 8.30pm and it was the end of the night for all of us. What a day.

So to survive a wedding with a toddler 1st things 1st make sure you have the right date in your diary.

Staying at Home with a Toddler

At the turn of the year it was decided that I would be staying at home with Thea.

Why? Several reasons my work was quiet, my wife was getting lots of work and I have worked with toddlers for almost 10 years piece of cake . How wrong could I be ?.

I don’t need an alarm anymore my day starts when Thea wakes she doesn’t do late starts anytime between 5am and 6am she will wake me by screaming at me or shouting “Hey Duggee”.

So out of bed I stumble get some fruit and toast on with Thea and the kettle on for me .

How to Survive the Winter Bugs

Winter time babies and toddlers will bestruck down with green noses, violent bottom explosions and come to think about it violent mouth explosions .

Can you prepare for it ?.

No each time can be different and can come on with no notice what so ever .

I am going through it with Thea at the moment . For years in nursery I would dread it ill 2-5 years old coming in all emotional and generally unwell. So over the years I have learnt how to help them and make the most of the situation .

Here are my top 10 tips for beating the bugs

10) Prepare make sure your stocked up on baby wipes for those green noses and stinky bottoms.

9) When a child is ill they may not eat meals. They will graze over lots of different finger foods .

8) Den making they can be tired and grumpy they don’t like the light. Get some pillows , blankets , pegs and let your imagination go wild.

7) Teamwork your sleep will be affective so if you get a chance tag out with your partner and have a break spending 24hrs with an ill child is tiring.

6) Fresh Air I know getting your child out when unwell is a drama. But Thea fell asleep within 10 minutes. Being in the fresh air is healthy and gets you both out and about maybe even a chance for a take away coffee.

5) Sky Cinema frozen on all day every day she was like a zombie, don’t know if it comforted her but raised her spirits and gave me a rest. Put their favourite cartoon on.

4) Comfort them, Thea would have what looked like tantrums but in fact she just wanted her back rubbed and a snuggle.

3) Make them laugh ” laughter is the best form of medicine”. It may well be just silly voices or throwing up in air ” not recommended with sickness bugs”.Thea laughs when I dance whatever works for your child

2) Try,Try and try again. The above worked for Thea but at all different times. You almost have to have special Marvel Powers to understand what they want. Unfortunately I don’t so it was a case of trying the above to help her through the day.

1) Children are just like little adults. Remember this when looking after them.

When your ill chances are you will have all the same symptoms . Tired,not hungry,grumpy,sore and just out of sorts . Except you can communicate what is wrong even though no one wants to listen.

So try to think what would you need.

And finally try to enjoy moments of it. Yes it is pain to be off work. But every so often you will get a snuggle , smile or laugh that will make it all worth while .

5am Parents Club Who wants to Join ?.

“5am Parents Club a club for anybody that is woken up between 4.45-6.00 by the children wherever you are in the world”

On becoming a parent I was warned it would be life changing “Tony you will never get a minutes peace”. To say I wasn’t prepared for being woken at 5am or earlier 75% of the time is an understatement.

It’s so bloody early Breakfast News on BBC has not started . I remember the good old days of getting in at 5am after a kebab or pizza and a night of drink and dancing the night away. Instead I’m waking up to a baby gremlin shouting and shaking her cot Butter wouldn’t melt but minutes before it was like a zoo the noise she makes to get me up.

You wake looking at your partner praying it’s not your bloody turn while your partner is nudging you get up baby needs her nappy changed,baby needs a bottle , baby needs Peppa Pig. Bloody Peppa Pig daddy needs Bloody sleep.

So as I navigate getting out of bed without falling over the obstacle course of baby toys and equipment made all the more difficult as my eyes have not adjusted to the light or by being rudely awaking . I have one thought coffee.

Baby has another thought I pick her up and pray her nappy is wet and not soiled the last thing I need is to try to change a 10 month old when my brain and body is functioning at less than 50%.

Into the living room I go get baby on the changing mat dash to the TV get it on get Netflix on and that bloody pig.

This might calm Thea enough for to get through changing her

Netflix and chill is hardly the term I would use for “5am Parents Club” Netflix is an essential survival tool. Once Netflix is on this gives you a window . This window is vital for getting through the hour. Once Peppa is on get the coffee on this energy boast is vital as you prepare babies breakfast and keep them entertained as Netflix will only work so long.

As I said entertainment is vital otherwise you get a noisy angry gremlin sorry baby if you have the energy go wild use your imagination be creative do some messy play or even art work very funny i here you say.

If not read a story and try not to fall asleep or maybe get on the ground and ruin your back more than it already is by playing with toys or just try to survive until daylight hits, your partner wakes or until your little one falls back to sleep.

If this sounds familiar you may want to join the club. But there are some side affects:

Tiredness

Grumpy ness

It can age you

You lose sense of time

You can injure yourself as your working under a lack of sleep

Headaches the noise the constant noise

Sometimes it feels like your in war and it’s only 6.30 am.

But I can offer you benefits :

Great chat with fellow parents going through this war.

Knowing you are not alone and you don’t have a devil child that wakes you at 5am every morning

Self satisfaction of getting through this time unscathed

You are bonding with your child and making memories

Some days you will be a superstar and get loads off your to do list well maybe

You are gaining an extra 2 hrs of the day you would never of had

Its free follow therealworkingdad share the #5amparents club and help each other through this time