Polly Tries: Making Salt Dough Christmas Tree Decorations

Polly Tries: Making Salt Dough Christmas Tree Decorations**This post has been written by my 7yo daughter Polly.**

Yesterday our kindness challenge was to make salt dough decorations. We made the dough, then cut out shapes with our cookie cutters. 

Afterwards we sprinkled them with glitter and baked them in the oven on a very low heat. We let our decorations cool down over night, and painted them with our special pens this morning.

Which was lots of fun.

It was mostly very easy, but mummy mixed the ingredients and rolled the dough for me. I really enjoyed this activity, my favourite bits were squishing the dough, cutting the shapes out and decorating them.

salt dough decorationsHere’s what you’ll need to make your own decorations (batch of 20)

2 cups of plain flour
3/4 of a cup of cold water
1/2 a cup of table salt
1 tbsp of oil
Glitter if you like sparkles
Fabric pens such as these 
String

Here’s how you make them

  • Pre-heat your oven to 130C
  • In a large bowl mix together the flour and salt
  • salt dough decorationsThen pour over the water, oil and mix well
  • Bring the mixture together into a  ball shape with your hands
  • Roll the mixture out on a flat surface
  • Cut your decorations out with cookie cutters 
  • Don’t forget to poke the holes in the top  for the string to go in (we used a chop sicks)
  • Sprinkle a bit of glitter if you wish
  • I made letters out of the left over dough for my name, and my brother and sisters names
  • Put your decorations onto a baking tray and bake for 2-3 hours
  • Let them cool down completely 
  • Decorate as you wish
  • Thread your string through the hole
  • Now they are ready hang them on your tree

Our Biggest Inspiration in Life Should be Ourselves

inspirationThe greatest compliment I get is when people tell me that I’m an inspiration to them.

A true inspiration

Strangers send me emails and leave comments on my social media feeds saying that my words make their pain a little less painful, and that sharing my life makes them feel less alone (see the comments on this post).

Close friends whom I have nothing but respect for, tell me that I’m the most inspirational person they know. A few have told me that my story was the catalyst for them writing a book, or setting up a business.

Some have confided that even though they’ve read my book, and know the facts, they still can’t quite believe how I managed to get from there to here. 

On a daily basis people say that they are astounded by how much I achieve on such little sleep, with so much additional crap on my plate that most have to deal with.

When you don’t feel very inspirational

I’ve had dark periods in life where I haven’t been able to accept these kind words. I didn’t feel that I deserved them, and I questioned how on earth wonderful, intelligent people could possibly find me inspirational when I’m so flawed.

Face the FearSome days, even now, I can’t see past these flaws, and it takes every ounce of strength I have to tune out to the self-doubt demons.

There are nights when my past haunts me in my sleep, and my days are so hard they make me weep. When the challenges have been non-stop, and I have barely scraped the bottom of the parenting barrel, I think ‘wow, if only you could see me now.’

Then there are the really dark days. The ones where loathe myself, and can hardly face looking in the mirror. When the flaws are the only things I can see, and I truly question how I will make it through another year.

But you are inspirational

Then on other days I realise how well I’m doing. That the hard work I put into turning my life around ten years ago has been paying me back ever since. I can see the progress that the kids are making, and even though we still have plenty of challenges to overcome, who doesn’t? 

write from the heartI can also see that I’m achieving far more than I ever dreamed I would with my writing. I am able to quash the monsters who tell me I’m rubbish, and get through the next round of edits for my book. I know, deep down, that I will get it published, however which way, and it will sell.

I’m proud of this blog, and the doors that it has opened for me and my family. I’ve written almost eight hundred posts now, and don’t look back at any of them and cringe. I’ve remained true to myself, I never collaborate with brands I don’t believe in, or write sponsored posts just for the money. I write from the heart, and only from the heart.

Be the change you want to see

In a confusing media-driven world we are up against it not to doubt ourselves. We are told what we should be doing, who we should be aspiring toward, and what constitutes inspiration. We are bombarded with Insta-perfection and Pinable lives, which quite frankly are so out of reach for most of us, that they make us feel awful not inspired. 

So I say screw the cliches. Instead we should be our own inspiration! Especially when we have children.

MotherhoodIf they can see us achieving and being proud of those achievements, they will want to mimic us. If they watch us being able to accept a compliment gracefully, they will learn to smile and say thank you when someone tells them how wonderful they are. 

If we aren’t setting our kids the biggest positive examples in their lives, then we are in trouble my friends.

So next time you feel bogged down, dig deep. Face those demons and challenges head on, and give yourself a high five.

If you care enough to read this blog, I can guarantee that you are doing much better than you give yourself credit for.

Be strong. Be proud. Be inspirational!

On Not Having It All

not having it all

I get to call this lovely lot my family, how lucky am I?!

My wonderful friend, the hugely talented and uber successful pro-blogger Vicki of Honest Mum wrote a great piece last week about Having It All. She is a beacon of inspiration to many, and I can imagine lots of women felt moved after reading this. Fired up even. It might just have been the catalyst they were waiting for to start planning their version of world domination. I know under different circumstances I certainly would have been.

I felt moved, but in a different way.

If you are in my situation, with multiple children (all young and needy) and no family help or excess cash to pay for it, then you might feel the same as I do when told that you can ‘have it all’. The career, the family, the success, the glory.

No I can’t!

Even with an amazingly supportive husband on my side, we have three young children and autism to contend with (not a small thing). Hubby works full time to keep a roof over our heads and pay the bills. I don’t have anyone helping me with the kids day to day. How on earth can I have it all?

We hear lots about the sacrifices that have to be made. We hear about making a choice to either be at home with the kids or having a successful traditional career. We hear about not being able to have them both without one or the other suffering.

For a woman I guess I’m a little controversial in my thinking on this one, because I would have to agree

Having lived the juggle of modern day motherhood for five years, working for an investment bank in the City part time, something usually did suffer. Either the kids weren’t happy in childcare which consumed me with guilt, or I was dropping balls left right and centre at work. My old boss was exceptionally sympathetic to my plight, thank goodness, but it still felt less than ideal more often than not. Which is why when a tiny glimmer of an opportunity for redundancy presented itself to me earlier this year, I jumped at the chance. Even though it meant forgoing my sizeable salary.

Don’t get me wrong, like many other women out there I could not dedicate myself entirely to the cause of looking after my children and running the house. It’s one of the main reasons I started this blog, to keep me sane and give me an outlet for brain dumping. It’s also why I pushed on, largely in the early hours of the morning, to get my book written. I need other things in my life outside of the family unit.

not having it all

Now that my blog has become my part job though, I’m having to step it up in all directions. Which is bloody hard to achieve, because (I’ll say it again!) I have three small children, and no childcare.

I have to write snippets here and there, often on the toilet (yay for multi tasking). I rarely get to go to events, unless the kids can come with me, and I have zero social life. That is fine though, because I had a little bit of an epiphany recently when I realised that the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence.

It’s too easy to look at others doing all the things that we want to be doing, and get a little despondent about not being able to.

There is much said about having it all, but not a huge amount said on how you get to have it all

The fact is that most of us aspire to be like Vicki. I have a monumental amount of respect and admiration for her for switching careers and achieving what she does with Honest Mum, even though she has a young family. She herself has spoken in the past though, about how she is able to do what she does. That (in her own words) she is not superwomanand has a team of helpers facilitating her career. How amazing is that? No-one is suffering, her kids and hubby are happy, as is she, and everyone wins.

If like me you are the main carer for your children, who is also running the house, keeping everyone alive and still managing to make a little bit of extra cash any way you can, that is absolutely more than fine. In fact it’s pretty damn incredible.

You don’t need to have it all. You’re doing just marvellous as you are

 

 

 

 

My All Time Favourite Quotes

quote-dr-seuss-be-who-you-areWhilst I recover from a nasty, although thankfully short lived, bout of mastitis (worst pain ever next to childbirth!) I’ve been finding it rather challenging to see the good in every situation. Life has been absolutely relentless this year, and
I need to get back to happy, so would like to share with you my all time favourite quotes. You can also find them at the start of each chapter of my book Become the Best You.

“Life is too ironic to fully understand. It takes sadness to know what happiness is. Noise to appreciate silence, and absence to value presence.” Buddha

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” Anon

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” Bob Marley

“First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits, or they will conquer you.” Rob Gilbert

“Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.” Clint Eastwood

make peace with your past“No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

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