I’ve had a fair few conversations recently which have ended with me saying “…but we’re sleepwalking into oblivion, and no-one even cares!” Needless to say it makes me pretty unpopular at parties. I have only a teeny tiny amount of people in my life who are willing to openly discuss this topic. Which feels largely like preaching to the choir. So I’m being bold and sharing this piece. I’d love to hear your own thoughts on it all. 

I feel the main problem with our society is that “we” largely place too much value on the wrong things. The way we look, how popular we are and how much money we have are drummed into to us as important – from the youngest of ages – and go to the top of our priority list. The world that our kids are growing up in can feel like a harsh one, and with the added filter of social media distorting reality, is it any wonder? It’s not just the kids who are suffering either. Almost everyone I know is consumed with the pressures of life.  

sleepwalking into oblivionBut is this added layer of pressure all down to the consequences of our own choices?

There seems to be such a lot of pressure these days to do and be so much more. Coupled with the notion that women can (apparently) have it all. Motherhood is deemed by many to be a tiresome and unattractive chore. It blows my mind away how such an un-newsworthy debate as breast vs bottle it still dividing the sides.

From where I’m standing, the sisterhood only seems to exist when we’re nodding along in complete agreement to what is being said. The minute we challenge someone’s stance on a controversial topic, well we’re deemed as being unsupportive. We’ll get blocked from their social media and bitched about in closed Facebook groups. It makes me sad beyond belief. 

Trouble is, in the process of trying to be and do so much, we are selling ourselves short. Are today’s actions going to cause long term damage? Not that raising a generation of mentally healthy children who grow up to be mentally healthy adults appears to be on the government’s agenda. Judging by their year on year shocking cuts that fund children’s services across the board, they appear out of touch and unsympathetic to how so many are forced to live. 

I didn’t have it easy, but I turned out okay

I’ve heard this tired mantra all my life – “I didn’t have this or that when I was growing up… I had it harder in my day than the kids have it today… blah blah blah.”

For those unfamiliar with my story, I had a severely dysfunctional upbringing, and left home at 15. I then drank and partied my troubles away for a whole decade. Along my treacherous journey I suffered countless bouts of depression and anxiety, had two full mental breakdowns, declared bankruptcy and cut ties with my entire family. These are not experiences I would wish upon anyone else.

Through therapy and a whole load of self-reflection, I came to realise that everything I went through as a young adult was directly linked to the way I raised. Fortunately for me, I met my amazing husband and some rock solid friends who became my family. Without their unfaltering support I dare say I wouldn’t even be here writing this article.

sleepwalking into oblivionIf society is sleepwalking into oblivion, how can we chose not to? 

In the school of life for the Davis kids this week (or home education as most would call it) we’ve been talking a lot about cause and effect. How every single decision that we make effects everything else that happens next. This is a bit of a mind blowing concept for my almost nine year old autistic daughter, but she’s getting there. We all need to fully understand this, because it’s one of the most valuable things we will ever learn.  

In all areas of our lives, if we are to have a decent shot at long term happiness, we have to be making decisions that we are truly comfortable with. We can’t be afraid of putting our hands up when we’re wrong, changing tact and finding another way of doing the things that aren’t working out. We can’t allow the fear of doing or saying something that might offend someone else stop us from making good choices. We mustn’t let our wants blind us to our needs. Check out my autobiographical self-help book Become the Best You if you’d like to go one step further than a blog post. It’s a short book, and quite a few people have told me that it’s changed their lives.  

If we are making well thought out good decisions, then we won’t have to live with negative consequences for years afterwards. It’s a simple equation, but it’s not sexy or interesting. It doesn’t sell stuff, and how boring would it be to have a happy society? I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do know this. Until we start putting down our devices, taking a step back and properly thinking about the effect our decisions are going to have on our future selves, then I truly fear that society will end up sleepwalking into oblivion.

Do you need a plan of action? Here’s a simple one to get started

Get happy: This might sound like the most basic thing in the entire world, but if you aren’t happy you will find it exceptionally difficult to make good decisions. By doing everything you can to smile more than you frown, you are instantly inviting positive opportunities to present themselves. Check out this little video clip I made for tips.

Switch off: Tune out from mass media by only consuming information that will enhance your life. Ditch the tabloids, the whingey websites, the trashy magazines and reality TV. While you’re at it, have a social media detox. How much time do you waste on Facebook even though it bores and depresses the hell out of you? I had got myself into a great place with Instagram, but this past week or so I’ve been spending way too much time on there so shall be taking another break over the weekend. Switching my phone off for hours at a time is like medicine for me. Why not give it a go?

Don’t live in an echo chamber: there has been much said over the last couple of years about the pitfalls of living in echo chambers. Whilst I wholeheartedly advocate surrounding ourselves with positive and inspirational people, we do also need to ensure that we have good enough friends in our lives to challenge us when we’re factually wrong or being an idiot. 

Don’t compare: Stop comparing yourself to others because it’s a pointless exercise. Instead feel safe in the knowledge that no-one has the ‘perfect life’, we are all flawed in some way or another and everybody has problems. While you are lusting after another person’s life, there will more than likely be someone out there lusting after yours.

One shot: We get one shot at this life people, lets make it count! If my own experiences have taught me anything, it’s that a good life doesn’t just happen. We need to make it happen and constantly strive for it. Often against the odds, and in the face of extreme adversity.

I certainly won’t be sleepwalking into oblivion, how about you?

**many thanks to Unsplash for the gorgeous photos used in this piece. Credit to Though Catalog and Clem Onojeghuo**

No, not that c word, this is a nice clean blog!

Although I would be lying if I said that one doesn’t slip out of my mouth from time to time. Today I’d like to talk about the other c word: communication.

I have come to the conclusion that almost any argument or misunderstanding can be resolved by using proper communication. The words we choose to say, have the power to foster empathy and warmth. Whereas the ones we don’t say can often leave us feeling cold, sad and shut out. 

c wordAnyone who has read at least three of my previous blogs will know that I am no stranger to having a hard time. To be perfectly frank, the last few years have been a perpetual rollercoaster ride. Or as I said to a friend recently, it’s been a lot like shovelling sh*t up a hill.

Life has been so stressful and so overwhelming for so long, and it’s only been very recently that I’ve felt like I’m operating on a happier level. Which is why I’d like to share this piece today.

I believe that the c word can completely change what we’re receiving back from the people in our lives

I totally get that everyone has their own coping mechanisms, but there comes a point where we have to ask ourselves if we’re making our lives harder than they need to be. I like to be totally transparent about where I’m at, and what I can (or can’t offer) the people I’m closest to. I’ve found this goes a long way for those around me. 

I heard a great phrase many years ago.

“If it’s important you’ll find the time, if it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.”

If your friends mean a lot to you, then even in the midst of life’s obstacle course, I urge you to find it within yourself to communicate this to them. Otherwise it can make them feel like you can’t be bothered with them. The great thing about the c word, is it can lead to potential solutions. A shoulder being offered to cry on, or a helping hand with your children.

If you spend a lot of time with a person one day, and they’re “too busy” to see you for months the next, it hurts. Especially if your kids are heavily invested in them. It can feel like a metaphoric punch in the face, and the complete opposite to having a meaningful relationship. Sometimes changing the rules of the game is necessary for our own self-preservation, but it has to be communicated clearly to the other person.  

Are apps like Tinder dumbing people down and making them shallow?  

I’m so thankful that I met my husband way before online dating became par for the course. I seriously wouldn’t last five minutes on today’s scene.

the c wordThe notion that people can be picked up and put down at our leisure is beyond toxic, and the saddest thing about it is that it’s become normalised. Swipe left folks (or is it right?) until someone catches your eye.

Like a conveyor belt in the supermarket, but it’s not groceries that are moving along, it’s people.

Sad times.

Great friends are like stars

Over the last year, while I’ve been at my lowest, I’ve had a lot of support from friends. Sometimes they’ve done something small, and (to them) fairly insignificant, but it’s meant the world to me. On the flip side, I’ve seen great friends face awful struggles completely by themselves. Although I can see why and how, I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t make me sad beyond belief that they felt they couldn’t reach out. A problem shared is a problem halved, and all that.  

I went through a rocky patch with one of my best friends last year. It broke my heart, and I couldn’t let it go. If someone means a lot to me, I can’t switch off from them. If I’ve bothered to invest years in a friendship, then I don’t class that person as a friend, they become my family. We’re all good now, and it’s reminded me that any long term relationship will go through ups and downs. Forever is a very long time after all. 

I can go months (sometimes years if they live in other countries) without seeing my besties. It doesn’t mean they aren’t there. They’re waiting in the wings, and when those beautiful little twinkles in the sky align, we’ll see each other again.

I’ve come to the conclusion that a little bit of the c word goes a very long way. What are your thoughts?

I can’t quite believe that it’s my half decade blogversary

This little space of mine has been going strong for five whole years, and I’ve packed quite a bit in during that time. I set the blog up on a whim one evening, for a multitude of reasons, and had a great response from my very first post. You can read it here if you like.

The blog served me largely for catharsis at first. It quickly became therapy – both writing the posts and interacting with the blogging community. If I had to choose my favourite thing that blogging has brought to my life, it would be the genuine friendships that I’ve made along the way. I have a handful of very close friends that I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for MummyTries.

Integrity is everything to me

When I took voluntary redundancy in 2015 I decided to take a leap of faith and monetised my blog. Whilst I’ve never earned enough to pay tax on it, the income has been invaluable. It’s meant that I can work around the children and my home education commitments, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted from a job.

I’m proud that I’ve never sold my soul for a collaboration. I only work with brands I genuinely love and turn down offers every week that aren’t right for me.

No plans to go anywhere anytime soon

The thing that’s taken me by surprise the most, is that five years on I still get a thrill from blogging. I’m excited about seeing my colleagues at a big event next weekend. I’m beside myself about going on a yoga retreat in France in September. I have absolutely loved working with the brands I’ve collaborated with this year. I still squeal with delight when a client says they’ve really enjoyed my work, and better still, want to work with me again.

I still have a love hate relationship with social media, but doesn’t everyone? I’m in a better place with it than ever before, and factor in whole days where I completely switch off. Occasionally things get chaotic, but mostly I have finally achieved the elusive balance between work and family.

Huge thanks to you!

I’m exceptionally grateful to you lovely lot for reading my musings. Nothing brings me greater pleasure (outside my family) than being told my words have made a difference. As a little thank you, and to celebrate my blogversary, I’ve got a giveaway running over on Instagram. Be sure to enter for your chance to win an Amazon Fire tablet. Best of luck 🤞

~Giveaway time~ ♥️ We all need an ace card from time to time, and having the tablet for the kids to watch a bit of telly or a film has been mine on numerous occasions. To celebrate five years of Mummy Tries, I’m giving one lucky reader the chance to win the fabulous Amazon Fire 7. ♥️ All you need to do to enter is like @mummytries and like this post. Please also tag any friends who you think would be interested to let them know. If you fancy having a nose at the rest of my feed feel free to also dish out the 💕 (although it’s not a requirement for this comp you could enjoy what you find). ♥️ T’s & C’s: – winner will be chosen randomly on April 29th, my official blogversary. – the prize for this giveaway has been paid for by myself, and was not given to me by Amazon or another brand – UK entries only please – winner will be notified by DM and asked for details of where to send the prize, and also tagged at the start of this post ♥️ Best of luck!

A post shared by Reneé Davis (@mummytries) on

If I had a pound for every time I’ve shouted obscenities at misleading ingredients labels I’d have quite a lot of extra cash in my bank account!

I’ve been obsessed with ingredients labels since first cutting out refined sugars and processed carbs back in 2007. Like many, my major dietary changes came off the back of a medical diagnosis. In my case it was polycystic ovarian syndrome (or PCOS as it’s widely known). I was told at the time that I would not be able to conceive without fertility treatment, but changing what I ate led to three healthy, uncomplicated, natural pregnancies. Take a peek here and here for more details, and why I’m comfortable calling myself a member of the sugar police.

Had I not been so hell bent on turning my health around, perhaps I would never have wandered down the path I did when it came to food. I don’t see it as a bad thing though, quite the opposite. Eating this way before embarking on motherhood meant that I was more than confident when it came to feeding my family. Nowadays eating consciously and healthfully is not even something that takes up my head space, it’s second nature. Which is why I was so keen to join the Organix team, as a no junk blogger.

ingredients labels

Learning the hard way that I couldn’t trust the headlines with ingredients labels

When Polly (almost nine) was two and a half she was diagnosed with a long list of allergies, and I had to learn another language. Her worst offender was corn, especially corn syrup and we discovered that manufacturers use corn derived ingredients in many processed foods (often as a sweetener). I was shocked to find out that there are almost one hundred corn derived ingredients, which are given weird and wonderful names.

I’ve seen baked goods in the supermarket contain five different types of corn sugar. FIVE! It’s bonkers, and really sneaky. What this meant for us back then was that we had to be super careful about giving Polly any food that I hadn’t made myself.

I’m all for from-scratch home cooking, but lets be honest, us parents need our cheats. Especially for hangry toddlers. It became quickly apparent that there were a very small number of trustworthy snack brands that I could count on. Everything else had to be avoided at all costs, because it always contained corn derived ingredients. We even had to send her to birthday parties with a packed lunch, which was heartbreaking every time.

Thankfully Polly doesn’t suffer nearly as much these days, but she is still sensitive to certain foods (yes I’m still looking at you corn). The thing I love about Organix packaging is every ingredient is clearly labelled, along with the percentage of the ingredient it contains. You couldn’t get more transparency if you wanted it.

Ingredients labels

A few pointers when it comes to ingredients labels

First and foremost, don’t trust slogans such as “no sugar” or “natural”. These are marketing gimmicks, and reading the full label, especially for children’s food is essential.  

If it sounds as if it was made in a science lab, it more than likely was. Natural ingredients rarely have long, complicated and unpronounceable names.

Don’t be intimidated by ingredients labels, feel empowered by them. This is a great step to taking control of your eating.   

Always go for the products with the fewest ingredients on the label. Less is definitely more in this instance.

Organic food is kinder to the planet and our bodies, but I’m sure you know that already.

Proud to be an Organix No Junk Blogger  

Organix is increasingly concerned about the quality and quantity of unnecessary ingredients in some baby finger foods and toddler snacks, and thinks the massive explosion in the number of snacks available has come at a nutritional cost, as standards have slipped.

Therefore it’s launching a nationwide junk busting campaign, to investigate what’s hiding in some baby and toddler snack foods. Organix is working with Cherry Healey from the BBC show Inside the Factory, who is joining the Junk busting mission to investigate baby finger foods and toddler snacks.

Take a look at this short video clip for more tips from Cherry

**this is a sponsored post, for my full disclosure policy please click here**

Do you know how to help yourself when the going gets tough?

I don’t hide the fact that I’m having a hard time while I’m having it. Sharing my downs (as well as my ups) helps me get through them. I also get the odd piece of stellar advice that I might not have come across otherwise, because chances are I’m not the first or only person to be experiencing whatever it is that is causing me problems.

A very lovely lady commented on my Instagram recently that she found my openness really inspiring, because generally people are only comfortable with being so vulnerable after the hard time has passed. During the event we’re usually consumed by the trauma itself, along with the added complexity of wearing a mask so we can pretend that we’re okay. It adds up to overwhelm and burn out pretty damn quickly.

Just in case you need to hear these words today, here are some very effective ways to help yourself through life’s obstacle course…

Can we talk about the R word please? No not respite, although my fabulous husband took all three kids out today, so I did get some of that. The other r… Resilience! ♥️ People like to bandy the term around like it’s a good thing. Ooooh look at her they say, she’s so strong! So resilient! Always got a smile no matter what. I listened to a brilliant Ted talk the other day, about how putting on a brave face can actually do us more harm than good. I’m all for looking for the silver linings and being grateful but in the midst of a truly hard time it can be exceptionally difficult. ♥️ When life is relentlessly piling more shit on to your plate of steaming hot shit, the last thing you need is to be made to feel bad for not being as resilient as you once were. ♥️ The notion that anything can be solved by thinking positively and pretending we’re ok (when the opposite is true) is toxic and needs to change. If someone has honoured you with the title friend, earn it. Listen to them when they’re down. Offer your ear in an unconditional, unjudgemental way. Just be there, because it could make all the difference to them. ♥️ I’ve just spent the afternoon with one of my oldest friends. We ate delicious food, had a glass of vino and a damn good catch up. She said she didn’t know what to say to me, but the fact that she was there and she was listening says it all!

A post shared by Reneé Davis (@mummytries) on In the wise words of Oscar Wilde: “be yourself, everyone else is taken”

I made the decision long ago not to wear a mask. I am unapologetically me, and I absolutely refuse to be anyone else for anyone else. It means I’m 100% authentic, 100% of the time, which in theory is a great thing. It does have its downside though, and at points can feel like I’m a lone voice swimming against the tide. On my winning days, when I’ve had at least four hours sleep and am firing on all cylinders, I’m awesome at putting minor issues into perspective and not taking the knocks too personally. Dramas and drama llamas are water off this ducks back, and there is little that can beat me down.

On my darker days, where I feel lonely in a crowded room, it takes every ounce of my strength not to end up in the depths of despair. I start stewing on past failures and disagreements, and my thoughts can spiral downwards scarily fast. During these moments, alcohol and social media are not my friends. Both have the capacity to make my mood a hundred times worse, and I’ve learnt that it’s best to avoid them as much as I can. Yoga (if possible), deep breathing (if not) and video calls with a loved one are my medicine. Writing has also helped me massively. Getting raw emotions on paper/screen is a wonderful way of channeling the feelings and turning negatives into positives.

how to help yourselfKnow who your true friends are and do not doubt them. Ever.

They say that good friends are hard to find, tough to leave and impossible to forget. I feel beyond blessed to have had so many utterly incredible humans cross my path over the years. These days, with the children to consider, I’m exceptionally fussy about the people I allow into our lives. It would be madness to be estranged from my entire family yet fill our days with toxic influences. As blood isn’t always thicker than water, I consider my good friends to be my family. It pains me when I see my people in pain – I feel it deeply on their behalf. I might not be in a position to loan money, or look after more children (it’s good to acknowledge when our own hands are already full) but I can most definitely lend my ear.

I don’t judge, and I always try as best I can to remain open minded with what I’m being told. Practically I probably can’t do much more than pop over with a nice treat or be on the end of the phone, but I take pride in always being emotionally available for the people I love. Once I consider a person to be a good friend, they have to do something pretty awful for me to change my mind about them.

When the chips are properly down, it can be so tempting to completely shut the world out, but it’s rarely the right thing to do. (We all know what happened to Elsa when she followed this path.) Life is full of bumps and no-one ‘s journey is smooth running. It’s good to remember this.

It’s also vital to allow your friends to help you if they are in a position to do so. Last year, one of my neighbours knocked and said she’d been reading my blog and was concerned about me. She asked if she could take Polly with her on her school run once a week to give me a few hours breathing space. It might not seem like much, but it meant an awful lot and I hope to be able to return the favour to her in some way one day.

Steer as clear as you possibly can from other people’s squabbles  

Social media can be a wonderful tool. On a personal level it’s great for keeping in touch with faraway friends and family. On a business level it’s wonderful for spreading the word about worthy causes, fantastic products and fab services. On the not so bright side it can be a hot bed for petty arguments and vocalising ignorant opinions that folk might have just kept to themselves before the invention of Twitter.

It can be really easy to forget that everything on the internet is traceable and there forever. I am blown away by some of the dumb ass things people say, and share, and honestly don’t think they would be so free and easy with these beliefs if they were sitting in the pub having a chat with a group of mates. It feels like our world is becoming polarized, and how can it not when we live so much of our lives in online echo chambers? If there is something truly worth speaking up against then do it, otherwise help yourself by steering clear. You’ll thank yourself for it in the years to come.

Eat well, it really does make a difference  

I have been a huge advocate for eating to enhance wellness for over a decade now. My real food journey began with a PCOS diagnosis along with the news that I was (apparently) infertile. Eighteen months after coming away from refined sugars and processed carbs, and my eldest daughter was conceived by accident, then two more pregnancies within four years. I’m not a doctor or scientist, but I do believe that eating the right food has changed my life. I would urge anyone who is struggling to take a look at their diet to see where it can be cleaned up.