We were recently invited along to try out the new ‘Little Tapas for Little People’ menu at Giggling Squid.  If you’ve never heard of Giggling Squid before it’s a brilliant chain of Thai restaurants, mostly based in the South and Midlands of the UK.  I love Thai food, the flavours are just beautiful.  I think I would eat Thai food all of the time if I could!

Oliver is a big lover of flavour, the more flavour the better with him.  A few weeks ago I tried to give him fish fingers for dinner, he took one bite, chucked it on the floor and wouldn’t try it again!  However, the curry I cooked up last night he devoured!  He’s still mastering the spoon and 99% of the time refuses to let me feed him, so finger foods are always a big hit with him.  So when I was emailed to see if I wanted to come and try out the new children’s menu, it was an instant ‘yes please’!

“Pranee Laurillard, owner and mum-of-three devised the menu to inspire kids to be more open minded with their food choices.  With memories of her own childhood and what she cooks for her own children, she wants to encourage children to try something new.   As a mum myself, I love encouraging my kids to experiment with new dishes and ingredients. Hopefully they’ll be more open to a wider choice of food and cuisines when they grow up.”

I think this is a brilliant way of thinking. I think it’s great to open our children up to a wide choice of different cuisines and flavours.

I loved the design of the menu, with clear pictures of all the dishes.  I’m sure that it would make children find it easier to choose what they’re having.  It’s only £5.95 for 2 dishes, there are 8 dishes in total, so they can choose 2 out of those 8.  There’s a good variety of different dishes, curry, pad Thai, steak, chicken pork, dumplings and spring rolls.  For an extra £2 your little one can add a dessert, with ice cream or a roti, which is a bit like a pancake.  As you can see from the picture, they have a match the picture the menu game.  Which I actually enjoyed doing whilst we waited for our meals!  It also flipped over to reveal a colouring sheet!  They provided us with crayons and Oliver happily sat there doing a bit of colouring whilst we waited for our meals to arrive.

We ordered Oliver the chicken satay and peanut sauce and the spring rolls, as we thought they were perfect finger foods (and not too messy..!).  All children’s meals come with plain or sticky rice.  The portion of plain rice was HUGE, I think it was actually bigger than the portion I had with my meal!  He loved eating the chicken off of the skewer and licking the peanut sauce off, and the spring rolls went down well, especially as they were something he had never tried before. He quickly tore his way through his meal and even had a taste of ours too (I had the Thai green chicken curry and Stuart had the grilled beef and sticky rice, they were both delicious too!).

The staff were very friendly and happily entertained Oliver when they were walking past our table.  There were highchairs available and they seemed well set up for little visitors.  I am sure we will be back again soon, we had a really nice chilled out lunch.  Sometimes I feel like when we are out for lunch with our child the staff are either really good with children, or you feel like they want you to leave ASAP.  The staff at Giggling Squid were all brilliant and really great with children!

If you live near a Giggling Squid I urge you to go and have a meal there, and take your children along too.  I’m sure they will love it, and it’s a nice change to your usually family meal out.  Their lunch deals are really reasonable too.

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So this weekend it came up on my page that my blog was one year old.  I couldn’t believe it!  A whole year of ‘Mummy Miller’, sharing our story and my thoughts and feelings.

I set my blog up to share the big and everyday moments in my parenting journey and Oliver’s life.  I think my main motivation was to document things for me, so I didn’t forget.  My memory is awful and even more so since Oliver came along!  But it was also for our family who don’t live nearby to see what Oliver’s been getting up to.  But I think over the past year it’s become much more.

My blog is one of my biggest passions, and probably my favourite hobby now!  I can easily spend a few hours in the evening writing posts, participating in linky’s and reading other peoples new posts.  Instagram is one of my favourite platforms and I could easily spend hours getting lost in it.  Now with the addition of Youtube I have added the realm of video editing as well!  This world of blogging and vlogging has really sucked me in!

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some brilliant brands and I’ve been invited to a variety of different events, all through blogging.  I never expected to get these sorts of opportunities and I am grateful every day for it

What have I learnt from a year of blogging?

Nothing comes easily

You can’t just set up a blog and expect it to be read by the masses straight away.  You have to share, share share.  I didn’t do anything for the first month or two whilst I navigated the blogosphere.  Then I started participating in ‘linky’s’ which if you don’t know is a place where bloggers can share their blog posts with other bloggers.  It’s a great way to find new bloggers and blogs to read!  The first linky I shared a post with was the Sharing the Blog Love linky run by Katy and Laura.  I was so nervous when I hit the submit button but over the past year I have been one of their featured bloggers several times, which I am so grateful for!

You can’t expect to start a blog and for it to have thousands of followers overnight.  It has taken me a very long time to build up followers across various social media platforms.  I have worked hard at this (probably not as much on Twitter, but certainly across Instagram and Facebook).  Followers don’t come easily, you have to post good content, use good hashtags, post at the right times.  There’s a lot to work out!

It can be easy to earn money with guest posts..

…but do I want to post content on my blog that I’m not interested in or really enthusiastic about?  I have had so many emails asking for them to put a guest post on my blog about ‘a related subject to my brand’.  Or there are various websites who have contacted me who can feed your blog with guest posts.  Of course, I would love to be getting £20-£30 for a post that’s pre written but I don’t want to lower my blogs standards or the brand I am building.  To take posts that aren’t about something I’m passionate about or very interested in for a couple of easy pounds isn’t something I want to do.

When I get the chance to start earning money from my little blog I want it to be from something I have a real love or passion for.  I want to feel that I’m genuine and someone you can trust.  Someone who actually would use that product or brand, not just write about it because I’m getting paid to do it!

If you’re thinking about it, just do it!

It took so long to work up the courage to start my blog.  I thought about it for so long.  In some ways I wish I had pursued the blog that I started when I was pregnant.  Writing this blog is one of my favourite things to do, I’m just gladded I finally plucked up the courage!  This year one of my goals was to proceed with my Youtube channel, I had started it back in September but chickened out after one video!  Now I really enjoy shooting a video and sharing it with you!

People might not agree with you, and that’s ok too

I wrote a post recently which was picked up and shared by Mumsnet.  I got a lot of negative comments on their page as well as on here.  There were some positive comments too, but those mumsnetters can be pretty nasty!  I didn’t let them get to me, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and that’s fine.  This is my little corner of the cyber world and it’s a space I feel I can voice my thoughts and feelings on certain subjects.  People may disagree with you, and it’s easy to get your back up if they don’t, but I love how these sorts of comments can also open your eyes and start a discussion!

So thank you to all my readers, subscribers and those who have commented, liked and shared my posts over the past year.  Here’s to another year of blogging and sharing our moments with you!

I would also love it (if you enjoy reading my blog) that you would nominate me in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards.  I would really love to be considered for the Fresh Voice or Reader’s choice category. Click on this link to go and nominate your favourite blogger!

The Pramshed
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I was recently nominated by Claire over at The Pramshed to share my 10 happy things.  There is a lot of negativity going around at the moment in the blogging world – mostly from the media.  I think a bit of positivity won’t go amiss.  So here are my 10 happy things..

My baby

Of course, how could this not be the first thing that makes me happy!  Oliver lights up the room and can always put a smile on my face.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some days when I am reaching for the bottle of gin before he’s in bed, but on the most part he’s the easiest happy little soul you will ever come across!

My husband

This man lights up my world.  I love him so much, and love what a brilliant father he’s become.  He is supportive of all my choices, as I am of his.  I really don’t know where I would be without him, we work so well as a team.  I’m very lucky to have him.

Flowers

I love flowers, if you follow me on Instagram I’m sure you will have realised because I throw in quite a few flower photos!  I love growing flowers in my garden and I love having flowers in the house.  They just light up the room and make my house and garden look pretty!

Burgers

I LOVE burgers.  When we go out for dinner it’s generally a throw up between a burger or a steak.  I don’t know what it is about a burger but it’s just something that I really enjoy.  They make me happy!

Gin

I love trying and finding new gins.  Luckily, my mum shares the same passion and she usually supplies the new gins to try.  I love having a glass of gin and lemonade (don’t hate me..I don’t like tonic) at the end of a hard day and just relaxing!

My Family

My extended family are another source of happiness for me.  Whether it be my own family or my husbands,  someone is sure to make me smile and laugh!

My Friends

I have various different sets of friends, some I don’t speak to or see enough.   Some friends I speak to most days, some friends I speak to once every few weeks.  But I know that they will always be there when I need them most.

Shopping

I’m like Rebecca Bloomwood and in her words ‘When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better, but then it’s not, and I need to do it again’.  I love spending afternoon trawling around shops, I don’t have to actually buy anything but browsing makes me happy too.  None of this makes my husband happy, you can’t please everyone!

Being Outside

I love getting outdoors, whether it just be pottering around the garden or somewhere further afield.  I think my love for being outside has grown so much more since Oliver arrived.  I love finding new places to explore with him.

My Blog

This is my happy place, and it’s where I come to to record the happy times we have had.  In years to come I hope I can look back at my posts and remember the adventures we have had!

That is my 10 happy things!  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading.  What makes you most happy?

 

Pink Pear Bear
3 Little Buttons

We’re here already.  These months are passing us by so quickly, and Oliver is changing so quickly with it.  This month has been a month of change here.  Oliver has officially become a toddler. He’s a walking, talking whirlwind, that barely ever stops!

Food

You’re still a brilliant eater.  We are making progress on lunches too, snack plates are definitely your thing.  Rather than a sandwich, you seem to enjoy lots of bitesize bits.  I’m getting less worried about the fact you won’t eat sandwiches, to be honest I’m not a massive fan either!  You have a very big appetite, when I make you porridge for breakfast you eat a portion that I would be happy with!  I’m not sure where you put it because you’re still a petite little thing.

Movement

You’re walking!!  Hooray!  It was Easter weekend and we were at my mums house and you decided to take those first steps, in exactly the same place you started crawling confidently as well.  There was no stopping you and you’ve been walking ever since.  I think the only times I’ve seen you crawl is if you’re underneath something and can’t stand up!  You’re almost at a point of trying to run (well you have tried to run, but this often ends up with you falling over).  We are so proud of you, and you’re most certainly a toddler now!

Speech

Another milestone here, you can say mama!  I’m feeling all the love right now because mama is quickly becoming a well used word, but it’s usually said in the context of ‘get me that mama’ or ‘feed me mama’.  But I’ll take it!  You’ve turned into such a chatterbox this month.  You haven’t stopped chattering away, and we are starting to learn what certain sounds/words you say mean.  Car is still you’re number one word.  We open the curtains in the morning and the first thing you say is car when you see it parked on the driveway!

Personality

You’re still the cheeky chappy you’ve always been.  You’re determined and focussed and if anyone gets in your way you will go into full meltdown.  God help us when you reach the terrible two’s because you’re stroppy enough as a one year old!  However you are becoming much more affectionate.  You have started properly giving us cuddles and kisses, which both daddy and I love.  It’s so nice to see this loving nature coming out, and you will kiss anyone who asks (Uncle Alex got 3 birthday kisses, the lucky man!).

Growth

You’re still a little squirt.  You’re definitely taking after your parents and being a skinny little thing (not that I’m skinny now but I was when I was little!).  Height wise you’re pretty average, but you’re just so tiny around the middle.  I’m really struggling finding trousers that stay up.  You’re still in a lot of your 9-12 month clothing, 12-18 month clothing swamps you still, when I do dress you in them the sleeves and legs all need to be turned up and the trousers are constantly falling down!  It’s a pain because your 9-12 month trousers are too short, they need an interim size!

Your teeth have really bothered you this month.  Although you won’t let me look in your mouth properly, I’m pretty sure you’ve had about 4 come through, some premolars and I think the other day I saw a molar popping through.  No wonder you were such a grump!

What have we been up to?

We’ve had plenty of trips out this past month.  We have been to Wisley gardens a few times, last week it was beautifully sunny and you had lots of fun running around in the sunshine, you even have a little tan!  We took a trip to the farm the day before you started walking, we were hoping it would motivate you to get moving and it must have done the trick!

We also took your belated birthday trip to the Sea Life Centre in London.  We had lots of fun, although you slept most of the way around so we took it very slowly so you didn’t miss too much!  I filmed our day out for my Youtube channel.  I loved watching all of the fish, it’s so relaxing and you seemed to like them too.

Last month we also made the trip to Little Street in West Byfleet so I could review it, you had a great time, I’m sure it will become a firm favourite as you get older.  Easter flew past us, Stu had to work the whole weekend so we spent most of the time with granny and auntie Alice.  Your great aunt and some of my cousins came over to see us, we had lots of fun and you have developed a good knack at sniffing out chocolate/easter eggs!

So that’s your 15 month update, another month has passed us by so quickly, but we are loving every day we have with you!

Pink Pear Bear
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Today is International Nurses’ Day and being a nurse myself I know how important it is for us to have this day of recognition.  Being a nurse isn’t an easy career.  In fact, it isn’t a career, it’s a vocation.  We are born to be nurses, it’s not a choice it’s in our blood.  I don’t remember a time when I wanted to be anything but a nurse.  And I don’t know any nurses who didn’t always want to be one either.

Being a nurse first and foremost means putting others before ourselves.  We are advocates for every single person who walks through the door of our workplaces.  We want only the best for them.  We skip breaks, continuously leave work late and forget about our own needs.  Just to make sure our patients have the best care.

Last night I got home from a 12.5 hour shift.  I had had my lunch break at 6:30pm.  Yes, lunch, at 6:30pm!  One of my patients had steadily become more unwell through the course of the day and until I knew he was stable and a bit better, I didn’t want to disappear for half an hour to go and sit down.

This isn’t an unusual example, most of my colleagues have had the same thing happen to them.  Because we just don’t think of ourselves first.  Some days I don’t even manage to get time to go to the loo when I’m on shift.  Of course, I will think ‘I need the loo’ at lunchtime but something comes up and I forget about my needs.  It’s only when I get home that I realise I haven’t been all day!

Staying hydrated is something we are all guilty of not doing.  We preach to our patients about how important it is to stay well hydrated.  ‘ Please make sure you drink at least 1-2 litres a day’ is something that regularly comes out of my mouth.  Yesterday I didn’t even finish a 500ml bottle of water.  I should probably start listening to myself!

But even though we all experience days when we don’t have time to eat, drink, wee or sit down, we come back day after day.  We clear up sick, poo, wee, all with a smile on our faces (even if it is a bit of a forced one..!) and we never complain about it.  I’m pretty sure in a lot of other jobs none of this would happen!  Especially not for the pay we get either!

Why?  Because we love what we do.  Our passion is to care for others.  To make sure we are doing our best for those we look after.  To put others before ourselves.  I can’t even start to tell you how good it feels when you see someone go from being so unwell they can barely get out of bed, to walking out of the door feeling 100 times better.  Knowing you helped them get there.  Even if it was just sitting and listening to them, holding their hand when they felt rubbish or giving them a big smile when they were feeling a bit down.  It’s these little gestures that make a patient’s day.

So Happy Nurses’ Day to all my friends and colleagues, and to any nurses reading this now.  And if you aren’t one but you know a nurse, please wish them a Happy Nurses’ Day and show them your appreciation!

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