It’s not often that you get to bounce on a giant trampoline disguised as a bed outside an iconic London train station. When Virgin TV Kids invited us to do so, we erm, jumped at the chance. My three relished their time on the bed, and were all smiles throughout. It’s just a shame this isn’t an every day occurrence!

Virgin were outside Kings Cross station on Thursday to celebrate the launch of their brand new children’s channel and app. Virgin TV Kids provides a safe and fun way for children aged 3-7 to watch their favourite shows, and is completely free of in-app purchases and advertising (always a win as far as I’m concerned).

Giant bed at Kings Cross Station, London, UK, 24th August 2017

Key features

There are thousands of shows for your little ones to watch, including Peppa Pig and PAW Patrol. If you’re already a Virgin TV customer on the fun or full house package it’ll cost you nothing extra.

As well as all the programmes, the app also has interactive games and books which is fab from an educational perspective. The children can create their own personalised profiles, which my three love doing.

For me, the best feature is the 30 day download. As a non driving family, we take public transport almost every day, and screen based entertainment is vital on return journeys when everyone is exhausted and in need of quiet time. Having shows downloaded on the children’s tablets is essential, as even when there is WiFi available, it’s rarely strong enough to be able to stream television.

The app also has a repeat feature, whereby the kids can press a button and watch the same show up to five times. Hopefully they’ll have their headphones on while they’re doing that!

As I’m sure you’ll agree, the app provides a whole load of fun to keep the little ones entertained. The app can be downloaded now from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

For more information please visit the Virgin Media website. You can also follow their news on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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**Disclaimer: Virgin Media paid our expenses so we could attend the launch, all words are my own. For my full disclosure policy, please click here.**

 

Today is my 38th Birthday, so I’d like to share with you 38 things that I’ve learnt on my journey so far

1. Above all else, know yourself, and always be true to who you are at your core. Integrity is everything, and will help you sleep easy at night.

2. Honesty is the best policy, never be afraid to put your hand up and admit that you were at fault.

3. You can’t argue with, or rewrite history, but you can do everything in your power to create a brighter future. 

4. You won’t win a fight by getting angry. Calmness is key to problem solving. 

5. To prolong a suntan, moisturise twice a day. 

6. The world is a friendlier place at five or six in the morning after your first cup of coffee. 

7. Eating clean is a form of self respect, people who make fun of the term simply don’t understand it.

8. To eat clean without it bankrupting you, it is absolutely essential to find a way of making the very best quality food accessible. 

9. Cooking a meal from scratch (especially for guests) will always feel like an achievement. 

10. Growing your own food even more so, but it takes time, patience and a willingness to follow instructions (the latter is not my strongest trait).

11. It’s better to do five or ten minutes of exercise every day, than say you’ll spend hours per week at the gym, but never making it there. 

12. Running is great in perfect conditions, or with friends, or as a head clearer, but Unless you’re a natural runner, it will feel like torture. 

13. Good friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget. 

14. Unless you’ve behaved in an appalling way, and only you will know that, other people’s mean-ness is them projecting their own hurt and little or nothing to do with you.

15. Never go to sleep on a fight, it’ll give you nightmares. 

16. Wasting time on people who don’t appreciate you will make you feel like crap. Beware the fair weather friends who only chat small talk.

17. However, it’s good to remember that people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. There is a deeper meaning to everything, and everyone we cross paths with has a purpose.

18. You cannot change another persons behaviour, but you can control the way you react to it, which in turn will help control its effect over you. 

19. The only way to have a small influence over rubbish behaviour from another person is to kill it with kindness (the behaviour, not the person, obvs). 

20. Travelling while you’re young will provide memories forever. 

21. Sometimes the only option is to walk away, but good eggs will find a route back to each other. 

22. Saying no is a great skill to learn.

23. As is properly distinguishing between your wants and your needs. 

24. Buying clothes and household goods second hand is not only kind to the bank balance, but easy on the environment. 

25. To combat sleep deprivation, go to bed as early as you possibly can and take the Zzzzz’s where you can. 

26. When the chips are down, Instagram is not your friend. However, a Facebook group hug of proper old mates will do more to pull you out of a deep dark hole than a lot of other things. 

27. Don’t fall foul to FOMO, the grass is rarely greener on the other side of the fence.

28. Not doing something you love, every single day, will start to chip away at your soul.

29. Tapping into your creative side will make your heart sing.

30. It is possible to write a book amid a super hectic life, you just need to form a solid writing habit.

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

32. Sometimes it’s best all round if you zip your lips and throw the key away.

33. There is no shame in taking an extra long loo break with your phone for ten or fifteen minutes whilst hiding from your children. How do you think I’m writing this?

34. No matter how much you love your kids, time out from them is the only way to recharge your batteries.

35. It will pass, no matter how raw or painful it is right now.

36. Laughter is always, always, the best medicine.

37. Some days are best written off with a large glass of vino. 

38. Other days you’ll swallow down all the unpalatable memories, put on your brave face and happy pants/knickers, and conquer the world.

 

All you need is… 😍😍😍

A post shared by Reneé Davis (@mummytries) on

Only People with a Bigger Family Will be Able to Relate to thisWhile I was away on my own in Ibiza recently, I had a chat with a random, as you do. He asked me, in all seriousness, if people actually had three children in this day and age.

He spoke as if a bigger family was some kind of urban myth, and going against the 2.4 grain and breaking the unwritten rules would be a truly ludicrous thing to do.

Unsurprisingly this guy doesn’t have any children of his own, and didn’t strike me as the type of person who encountered many kids in his day to day. For some inexplicable reason I can’t shake this short-lived conversation off, his naivety (and rudeness) have been playing on my mind.

His thoughts are not unique though, and largely you are going against the grain by having a bigger family (which is anything more than two kids) these days. Most of our friends and family thought we were crazy when we announced our third pregnancy.

I’ve been noticing looks over the holidays – sideways glances from young folk off on adventures that don’t include changing nappies or pushing a buggy. Some comment on public transport, or when we’re out and about, saying ‘you’re braver than I am’, or ‘I couldn’t even cope with one let alone three…’

So here’s a little list I’ve compiled, to answer all those burning questions you might have*

Yes, they are all mine, I’m not the nanny.

Yes, they all have the same dad, we are even married!

No, we didn’t have a third because we were desperate for a boy.

In fact number three wasn’t planned at all, but then the best things in life rarely are.

My standards have undoubtedly got lower with each child, but that’s not such a bad thing. Motherhood and perfectionism do not belong on the same page, and certainly not in the same sentence.

It might take us longer, and we are usually running late, but we do manage to leave the house and do stuff.

wpid-wp-1454930587722.jpegWe also manage to go on holiday (abroad), and have a great time.

Three children is commonly revered as the hardest number of kids you can have, and certainly for the first couple of years I’d be inclined to agree.

At least one of them is always always hungry. Peace had to be made early on with how much my grocery bill costs.

At least one of them (in my house anyway) is up in the night *sigh* Which means I run mostly on coffee and cortisol.

It is true, that three is an odd number, and one will mostly be left out. However, when all three play nicely together it makes me want to weep with happiness and pride.

With three you are hedging your bets. Surely at least one will be willing to look after you in old age?

Just think, my lovely friend Mel has four children, and some people have even more than that…

*this list was complied just for sh*ts and giggles, and is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to tweet me @mummytries with anything you’d like to add! 

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Being a blogger is a funny old thing, and can sometimes leave me feeling exposed, but ultimately I only share what I’m comfortable with people knowing. Some bloggers share no personal information at all, and focus on sharing their skills, others (ahem, like me) are happy to tell you their life story. With that in mind I thought I’d start a wee meme, feel free to join in either via a blog or social media. 

Some random facts about little old me… #Care2Share

I live with my husband and three children. I’m in touch with, but don’t often see my dad, and am not in contact with any other members of my wider family.

My friends are, and always have been, my family, and I’m fiercely loyal to them. Once I decide you’re a mate there’s absolutely no getting rid of me.

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My love affair with the bottle started when I was eleven, and I have at points drunk myself into alcoholic status. I still enjoy a drink, but don’t consume a fraction of what I used to. I’m rather partial to gin and tonic ice lollies at the mo.

I have never ever smoked cigarettes. My hatred of the things started as a young child, when it dawned on me that I only smelt or felt clean directly after a bath and hair wash. 

I thrive in situations that most others find stressful. I believe this is down to having had such a difficult childhood, and not being fazed now by the small stuff in life. I’m also incredibly thick skinned, which I’m learning is a rarity for a writer. It is also difficult to shock or embarrass me.

I’ve always been a writer. I kept a diary as soon as I could use a pen, wrote short stories when I was at school, and travel journals while I was globe trotting. My first blog Ren’s Recipes was created in 2010, and Mummy Tries came three years later.

I wrote my first book Become the Best You whilst on maternity leave with Freddy (2½). I count getting the book into the Top 50 Amazon best sellers charts on the day I self-published as one of my biggest writing achievements so far.

I’m currently working on the second draft of my second book. Kate’s Story is a fiction novel, which has had mind blowingly amazing feedback from beta readers. I’m hoping to have it in good enough shape for publishing by the end of the year. You can read the first chapter here. 

My husband and I home educate our high functioning autistic eldest daughter Polly (7), and have decided to send our middle girl Clara (4), to school in September. 

I have lived in three continents and have had almost as many addresses as my thirty seven years on earth.

I am brutally honest, but a lot more diplomatic than I used to be. I’ll never lie, or dress up the facts, but I’ll deliver them in a much softer way than I would have done in my twenties.

Carl Jung: I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to becomeHubby and I met in a beach bar in Cambodia, and later ran a music shop and vodka bar there. My job was to invent flavoured vodkas using sweets and chocolate. My favourite was butterscotch, which I made by chopping up werther’s originals, adding them to a bottle of Stolichnaya, and letting the sweets melt and flavours infuse in the heat. So good over ice!

I love food, and it occupies many of my waking thoughts. I adore creating new recipes, and my Vitamix gets used at least half a dozen times a day. We eat a real food diet, which means no processed or refined junk. 

I have expensive taste, and a perfect meal would include rib eye steak, yellow tail tuna, scallops and lobster.

I fleetingly owned a healthy food business in 2007/08 called Nothing but Goodness, selling dips and sugar free chutney that I made in my kitchen. It was way ahead of it’s time, and I believe it would be massively successful now. High point was getting my products into the WholeFoods Market in Kensington. Low point was single handedly turning 200kg of onions into five hundred jars of chutney to sell at the BBC Good Food Show, and bringing four hundred jars home!  

The business failure led to bankruptcy, which felt like the end of the world at the time, but I now view as one of my biggest and best life lessons.

Even though I left school when I was fifteen, without a single exam to my name, I worked for almost twenty years in the city of London, mostly at top banks and financial houses. 

I have two tattoos and one piercing, which I consider to be relics of the past. Trying to explain why the ring is in the place it is to my kids has been rather challenging shall we say. 

I always thought I’d have four children, but three is definitely the magic number for our family. 

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Things I Say vs Things I Mean

very old photo alert!

“YOLO” my friend wrote underneath my Facebook status the other day. I had no idea what it meant, so consulted with the Urban Dictionary and discovered that ‘you only live once’, which I wholeheartedly agree with. It got me thinking that there are plenty of things I say throughout the course of the day, that I don’t necessarily mean.

Here are some of my favourite dual meaning phrases

“I’m going to the toilet to do a big stinky poo!” roughly translates to: I’m going to hide in the loo to catch up on social media for the only ten minutes this entire day that I’m likely to get a bit of peace.

“Let me take a photo of you guys to send to Daddy.” roughly translates to: I’m going to plaster your faces all over Facebook, Twitter and IG, but you won’t smile if I tell you that.

“I’m just quickly texting Daddy.” roughly translates to: I’m going to see how many emails I can plough through in the next five minutes, before you start kicking off about me being on my phone.

“Just a minute darling.” roughly translates to: it’ll probably take at least half an hour to finish this task.

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies“Hurry up and get ready or we’re going to miss the train!” roughly translates to: I’m telling myself to get a move on, because I’m the least ready member of the family right now.

“This is a chocolate milkshake.” roughly translates to: this is the only way to sneak some goodness into your diet (Freddy, I’m looking directly at you here). By flavouring it with chocolate, I can get you to eat avocado, spinach, egg yolk, yoghurt and banana in one fell swoop. Here’s a great recipe, just in case you’re interested.

“I’m going out with my mummy friends.” roughly translates to: I’m going to get over excited, drink way too much gin, fall asleep on the train home and end up at Gatwick Airport #truestory.

Do you say things that have a dual meaning? Tweet me your faves @mummytries