"Enjoying small adventures and making big memories" Say's With Happy Hearts blog author Emma Collins

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Freelance Life With Everything Mummy

It can be lonely when working from home. I'm always crazy busy so I don't actually have time to talk to colleagues ... Just mumble to my dog who then gets excited that I'm giving her attention. No Lottie I did not mutter the word "walkies".

It was really lovely catching up with Amy from Everything Mummy blog today. Our meet up venue? Okay this is totally going to make you jealous. Yes. It. Is! Nah it was at soft play where we spent over £30 each for a few hours of chatter about the work life of a freelancer and mummy, blogging and kids. It was refreshing to hear that Amy's weekly routine is very similar to mine. We agreed that we shall work "off site" more frequently, accept that we shall be the nerds hanging out on our laptops, barely talking to one another and drinking beautiful (expensive) coffee. Having familiar company will be lovely for us both and we have pledged not to be offended when we are hiding behind our screens only to mutter a few words of encouragement and that much sought after motivation.

After today's catch up I felt that I got to know Amy a little better. She is honest, ambitious and a great role model to her three beautiful daughters. She sees an opportunity and goes for it. She has enthusiasm for learning and doing. It was very refreshing to see. She is one very talented blogger to watch out for! (And she is super trendy, young and cool which is also so good for me).

Amy if you're reading this, it was a delight to spend time with you and your girls today and I'm looking forward to doing that more often.

Dammit I forgot to get a selfie of us!

Love Emma x

Monday, 22 August 2016

A Love of Family Camping

Camping has been our favourite holiday adventure for a couple of years now. When you get the chance to live from a tent, with just the basics and with barely any phone signal and no technology, oh and evenings of camp fires and toasting marshmallows then you go for it. Barely anything commercial and you just enjoy each others company.

We were lucky to buy a huge camping bundle from neighbours of my grandparents who bought everything (even a camping wardrobe) and tried camping once and hated it! They sold it to us for £150! It was the best thing we had ever done. We have loved every minute.

We haven't been that blessed with great weather. We had two long weekends when the weather was glorious and I mean utterly glorious but the other trips have involved lots of high winds and rain. You just have to make the most of it though and see it as a different aspect to your adventure. The kids don't care at all.

So far we have camped in Guernsey, Weymouth, Wareham and Cornwall. As much as I love visiting Cornwall, when you drive a long way and pitch your tent for it to rain in the middle of summer you really are thankful to have such beautiful sites so much closer to home.

We only arrived back today from our latest trip but hoped we could get another camping trip booked in for this coming weekend and really make the most of UK staycations but everywhere local seems to be booked up! Whilst researching local camp sites I had no idea there were so many stunning campsites around so now I am making a list. Coombemill is on my list for sure! Not that local but it sounds exactly what me and my family would love.

It's amazing just how much you can fall in love with living outside for days on end. For me, it's therapy. Its the same medicine as sitting on the beach and just listening and looking at the sea. It always takes me a few days to relax and switch off but when I do... it's perfect.

The hardest job you will have to do when you camp is wash up. But actually there's nothing else to do. We love sight seeing but we love being on a campsite where you can walk to beautiful beaches or country walks without having to get in the car. Stopping off in a pub afterwards is always lovely and then heading back to camp to sit around and chat is wonderful. Washing up isn't actually a chore - it's the hardest thing you will have to do when camping after putting the tent up but... and i'm not a fan of doing it! I love how we often go with friends and their children and come feeding time at the zoo we all muck in and cook together to feed everyone.

We invested in a new tent earlier this year for several reasons. We wanted something bigger for when it does rain and a tent where we could all sleep together. Our previous tent had separate bedrooms at either end of the tent which just felt odd. We also invested in a tent carpet (although on this recent trip we ended up with the wee bucket spilling all over it so now I'm left with a giant tent carpet and the delightful task of scrubbing it in the garden tomorrow!)

With each trip, we have learnt what we NEED and what we don't. This time around we have come away thinking about the following;

Toilet - we have a little toilet room on the side of the tent but it's not easy peeing into a bucket. It does make it feel like camping but surely there is something out there that can be packed small enough in the car but works great as a camping toilet. It's for in the middle of the night when you or the kids really need a wee and there is no way on this planet you are going to walk down to the toilet blocks when theres wind and rain and you're half asleep... NO WAY!

Duvets - I just can't get on with sleeping bags. Maybe i'm not buying the right ones but theres nothing more lovely then wrapping a duvet around you. Such a shame you have to fit them in the car and there's 5 of you. Maybe we need a bigger car actually... 

Table - we had to get rid of our table today when packing up. Two of the seats had broken. It was the plastic ones that has the table with the four seats attached. Nobody really sat at it to be honest - just the kids when colouring in. Next time we said we would just take a foldable table and use our camping chairs around it. When camping in groups all the kids and the adults just want to sit together and chat.

Camping chairs - is there such thing as the perfect camping chair and you can still get it in the car? My goodness I have seen some amazing chairs but so expensive and so big! I'm not overly fussy with this but a little seat luxury would be a nice touch.

Solar charger for the phone or even better forget that - a camera! I only use my phone to take pics when i'm away but thinking about it I just need to invest in a good camera because I take so many photo's. I can then just leave my phone off.

Luggage! Oh this drives me mad when I spend ages packing all the clothes into one bag so we can fit other stuff in the car but then by the end of day 1 camping my kids have pulled out all the clothes trying to find their shorts and myself and hubby are left with creased clothes spread across the bedroom. It drives me utterly mad!

Torches - oh there has got  to be some epic torches to there right? Our Go Outdoors lanterns were... dreadful. Still couldn't see a thing!

I would highly recommend the Osmington Mills and Trewan Hall sites for your family camping. Osmingtom has no entertainment, they sell wine and cider from their shop, oh  and all the basics you would need like nice bread and meat and their showers are super clean. It's a hilly site but the view and surroundings are lovely. The Smugglers Inn pub is really lovely too and welcome dogs which is nice. This place makes the perfect stopping location after a long walk along the coast line. Trewan is special with its entertainment in their old Barn on site (the story teller is amazing), it's a family run business and they refuse to sell alcohol on site. They also have a swimming pool on site which they remove the roof when it's lovely weather. Their shower blocks were opened in 2013 and they aren't bad, they even have bathrooms so you can shut the door and have a nice hot bath which I love and it made washing the kids a little easier for me.

I would love to know where you like to camp and why! I'm compiling a family adventure camping list!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

My Office (It's not nice)

Working from home is great. It's hard work and I'm sure nobody believes I actually work when at home but my goodness I work hard. I'm blessed with lovely clients and that I enjoy my job.

However, my goodness my back is hurting and I'm getting stressed with my working environment. Luckily I'm so busy that once my head is down I don't have time to stress about it but it's walking into the office with a grumble that makes me sad and at the end of the day my back is painful.

September will see me transforming my office as and when I find the time. Starting off with a good chair to help my back. Oh and plants ... Good to have plants in the office I believe.

So paintbrushes at the ready and bank card at the ready and my favourite tool - Pinterest!

I would love to see your home office.

Love Emma x

Monday, 8 August 2016

Camping In Cornwall

Last week myself, my husband and our three little girls went to Cornwall for a second year. A week of camping at Trewan Hall and a week of sightseeing all the amazing villages.

Trewan Hall is brilliant for children and families. The staff are incredibly helpful, the shower and toilet blocks are lovely (they even have a separate bathroom to relax in a hot bath!) and the surrounding views are stunning. They put on entertainment every evening in their historic barn on sight and some kind of food van will turn up between 5pm and 8pm. Pizza, noodles and good old fish and chips!

Trewan is based in St Columb and it's only 6 miles from Newquay. It's a lovely little village and if you decide to go for a run to check out the area it's amazing hill training to run off the red wine from the night before... I can tell you!

My family adore camping. Although the fact that we have a bigger tent makes a huge difference, especially this year as for one evening and one day the rain poured and it didn't slow down or stop. We ended up entertaining 9 people in our tent one day (our friends and their children) and we had enough room and space to play and do dance routines (the kids not me).

I still don't think we have got it right though - just the size is perfect. The food we take, the cooking utensils, the cooker, the lighting and the heating still needs working on so hopefully our next time away in the tent will be a little easier and organised but with each year we learn and improve. All part of the camping journey. The thing that gets me is keeping everything cold when you're not electric hook up! My friend suggests freezing milk and they work as large ice blocks too.

My children love camping holidays. Matilda came running out of the tent several times shouting "I love camping!" over and over again and she was happy and content the entire time.

This year we went to Newquay, Port Issac, Perranporth, Padstow, Polperro... I honestly can't wait to go again. Everyone says how amazing St Ives is so this is on my MUST VISIT list.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Why I Was Honest On Facebook

Over on my blogging Facebook page I like to be HONEST because experiencing post-natal depression in the past taught me that social media is the perfect place to make out you have the perfect life and when you're a parent, sometimes you only live life via the chaos at home and the perfection that is portrayed on social media. This can make you feel like a total failure and question what the hell you are doing wrong.

Having three girls all currently young means that life is CHAOTIC. I won't lie. I don't know whether i'm coming or going. I love coffee and running and bury myself into work when the kids aren't around... chasing my tail.

I want to tell you the truth behind this photo below...

This is me and my beautiful girls last Sunday morning, heading for a run in a lovely part of Dorset, a 2 mile drive from home. I was heading out for a run alone, when my girls begged to join me full of enthusiasm!

No matter how many times I said NO they would not listen. So I found my running pushchair, took another half an hour to get all three kids dressed (hubby was not interested in coming along!) and headed off. Everyone was in a good mood, the sun was out and we were totally ready for a run! YES!

Yeah right... after half a KM my eldest refused to run, my middle daughter had a full on paddy because she wanted to run with mummy and my pushchair had flat tyres. We carried on but it was painful, other runners who were childfree gave me the sympathy smile and it looked like i was putting the kids through hell. What an awful mummy making her children run!

I frog marched them back to the car with tears of sadness because mummy wasn't willing to take them to the park. I was so embarrassed and so cross.

I got them all in the car and drove them home to daddy, where I went back to my first plan of pounding the pavements ALONE to de-stress my mind. What did they do? Snuggle back on the sofa with a movie.

How easy would it have been for me to post this image on Facebook and tell you what a glorious time we had together... Oh I have so many more of these to share with you.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

A Busy Week Including Attending Britmums Live

Okay I mean it this time...I'm back on the blogging train! No seriously!

Okay so this past week saw me go to Britmums Live in London, my daughters gymnastics competition, run a Half Marathon, work, take Matilda to the park to feed the ducks... in the pouring rain, do swim lessons, work, rainbow and brownie run, work some more with my middle daughter home poorly, run 5k, take eldest to her gymnastics class, attend slimming world club, taking Matilda on a bus with her friend to the local library, more swimming lessons, work, tidy the garden, go to a friends bbq, go to out of hours at the local hospital with middle child - tonsillitis, tidy up the back garden and spend the afternoon at a friends so all the kids could play... 

I'm at my happiest when i'm doing something beautiful to my garden or house and when i'm with friends and their kids. I am so excited for Summer break. I will be working but I will be working flexible hours to make sure my kids and I have an awesome Summer.

She did well!

A Sunday HM with my running buddy Kirsty

Britmums Live

Britmums Live pass the parcel and I won! What an ice breaker.

I met the lovely and funny V on the train on the way to Britmums Live. She blogs at http://dancinginmywellies.com 

Size S from Oasis - a huge deal for me!

When you're short on dinner ideas... just get them to decorate their own pasta!

Feeding the ducks in the rain...oh and a little swing before we go home!

Bus journey to the local library... and we bagged a double decker too!

It's amazing how much a mum can fit into a week right? I'm exhausted and half a pound heavier for it. How does that work?

Britmums Live was great! I went alone and spent days panicking because I had no children to hide behind. I had no reason to because my nerves turned into confidence and, this will sound stupid, but survival mode! I found the confidence to say hello to so many amazing bloggers. I felt gutted that some walked passed me at the event without a smile or a hello which made me feel a bit silly when I'm walking around with a beam on my face but I guess many other bloggers were nervous too. There were so many bloggers I wish I had hugged but didn't see them in the time I was there and there were a handful of the more popular bloggers that I wish I had just gone up to and started a conversation with but a) i'm sure they would have no interest in talking to me and b) they would have no idea at all who i was so it could have been very awkward!

I found the event rushed but immensely inspiring and motivational. I also found it frustrating because I just didn't feel good enough. I want to be good and I want to be better but it's all so overwhelming. Where do I start!? 

A huge thank you to Vi (http://dancinginmywellies.comfor making me feel so relaxed! I laughed, I cried from laughing and I had a travel buddy!

Loved having my yearly catch up with Natalie Trice! We even made it onto a style blog ... well Natalie did but I was chatting to her at the time! Love her!!

It was also great to meet, for the first time; MumologySuburban MumMrs Savage AngelScandiMummy and Alex Gladwin from Bump to Baby!

Oh and Michelle from http://www.thepurplepumpkinblog.co.uk was hilarious! and so was Jess from http://www.mrshelicopter.com - they both chatted to me and made me feel relaxed at the event! THANK GOODNESS!