Archives for January 2015

My Horsey Horse

So, who remembers hobby horses? Am I showing my age here? They were basically big sticks with a horse’s head attached to the top. Here’s a visual reminder (or in case you have no idea what I’m talking about!):

To be honest, I wasn’t that into horses as a kid. Some of my friends were, and I joined in when they pretended to ‘canter’ around their gardens. And I did like the noise my ‘Sunday’ shoes made when playing on gravel but like I said, I wasn’t particularly into horses. As for hobby horses, well. You can still get a (probably safer!) version if you look for them but, well… It’s basically a big stick isn’t it? Especially the old version (the newer ones often have wheels, which is probably better)… Back in the day, I did appreciate the craftsmanship that went into the head but that stick was just asking for trouble. Dismount without checking whether anyone’s behind you and you’d have someone’s eye out!

So, one afternoon earlier this month, I was scrolling through my twitter feed when I saw that Ellen Clarke was looking for bloggers to review her new toy. ‘Nah,’ I said out loud. Mushroom (who had been watching TV while I worked), asked, ‘What you looking at?’ So I showed him. ‘Is that my present?’ He asked, excited. He was expecting something from an Uncle that hadn’t yet arrived. ‘No.’ I told him. ‘Do you like it?’ He grinned. ‘Yes please!’ So I contacted Ellen and said we’d like to try one!

Ellen was inspired to create My Horse by her sons, who were always running around and bumping into things when they were younger, so it was designed with safety in mind. If you think about it, it’s basically a cuddly toy that you wear, which of course helps to encourage imaginative play. The material is soft and the mane and tail are very tactile, which really appealed to Mushroom. The sizes start at small (age 3 – 6) and goes up to large (aged 10-adult, in case you’d like to play yourself!).


When it arrived, Mushroom immediately christened it ‘My Horsey Horse!’ and wanted to ‘wear him’ straight away. At first, we weren’t sure how to use the enclosed ‘jumps’ but we figured it out in the end.

We have taken Horsey Horse to the playground, the park and even a friend’s house. Sometimes I’m allowed to stroke his tail  but never his mane. Mushroom seems to find the mane a great comfort for some reason.

I’m still not sold on horse toys myself but Mushroom loves it. It’s a good quality toy, with my only recommendation to improve it further being to add velcro to the rosette so that you can actually stick it on the horse.

We’ve already had a few people ask us where we got him when we’re out and about so there is clearly a market for it! If you would like to get your hands on one, head to to find out what options there are (from a standard horse like Mushroom’s to seasonal additions like reindeer antlers, jockey and medieval costumes and even unicorns!). Prices start at £14.99 for a standard small horse.

Disclosure: We received a My Horse toy for the purposes of this review. As always, all opinions are our own. Read my full PR and disclosure policy here.



My milestones | From Mushroom’s mouth

Happy New Year!

I know, it’s almost February now but this is the first time this year I’ve got to speak to you so it’s the first time this year we’ve connected. Hope you’re having a good one so far.

So, what’s new with me? I hear you ask… What, you didn’t ask? But you do want to know, don’t you? Of course you do!

Last year I was feeling pretty pleased with my progress, remember? Well, this year I am even more impressed with myself.

Here are some of my major achievements:

I have learned to swim by myself. I can even swim on my back (still need a little help with that one though. I’ll get there).

I can get dressed by myself. I still struggle with buttons. And I still don’t really like them.

No. Just no.


I can read by myself. Sort of. (OK, only audio books. But Mummy is especially happy about this as it gives her some time to herself – for what I don’t know).

I am learning to write my name. I have mastered the first two letters so far. Mummy says the rest is ‘recognisable’ but I think she sets her expectations low, bless her.

Some more firsts that I loved about this year:

I went on holiday for the first time.

I went to my first fireworks night.

I went to the cinema for the first time.

I went bowling for the first time – and I bowled without ‘the cage’! Because I am big. And awesome. I love bowling. That was my New Year’s Day treat.

So, Mummy thought 2014 was pretty good to her in the end. That’s nice. My 2014 was great! And I expect more greatness for 2015.

That’s it from me for now, I’m going to leave you with the wishes Mummy and I left on the wishing tree at The Rabbit Hole* earlier this month:

Joy. And a moving dinosaur. Because who wouldn’t want one of those?


*Mummy tells me that The Rabbit Hole is in danger of closing down. It’s one of my favourite cafes (I can run around and make noise!) so if you like the sound of that, please sign this petition to help keep it open in some form. Thank you!



Dr. Karen Osburn – A Mummy Plus interview

Our last Mummy Plus interview was back in May with communications expert Amy Beeson, who had at the time just released a book she co-wrote with her mum, baby expert Sarah Beeson MBE, which shared Sarah’s experiences as a trainee nurse in 1970s London. Amy and her mum are now just about to release their first parenting book, ‘Happy Baby, Happy family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby,’ which will be released on 7 May! Head over to Amy’s interview to find out more about her.

Momat41Today’s interview is with Dr.Karen Osburn from Mom at 41. Karen is the adoptive Mum of two boys, Tyson (aged 4) and Kai (aged 16 months). Motherhood was a long journey for Karen and although she couldn’t be happier about it, there was an expectation that it would be a blissful time of ongoing joy and happiness. Of course it’s not. It’s so much more than this. And yet… The ‘Mommy shaming’ Karen witnessed made her wonder why others mums didn’t talk more honestly and openly about the messier side of motherhood. So she created the Mom at 41 community to address this. It’s an inclusive space for mums to really be themselves. In Karen’s own words, it’s about “Embracing the Imperfect Momma that is you.”

Being a proudly imperfect parent myself, of course I love Karen’s openness about the challenges of motherhood and her engaging podcasts with other imperfect mothers who happily share their daily challenges. So I was honoured when Karen invited me to be a guest on one of these podcasts! Having got to know Karen a little since then, I wanted to find out even more about her so invited her back here, to share her story with you.

Your journey to motherhood wasn’t an easy one, could you tell us a bit about that, and how it felt when you finally became a Mum?
Love to. Becoming a Mum was something I never thought would be difficult. I always loved kids and at the age of 34 when my husband and I decided we were ready, we thought we would get pregnant right away. After two years of failed pregnancy test after failed pregnancy test, ovulation kits, acupuncture, avoiding alcohol and caffeine… We just stopped talking about it. It was too painful.

And for any Mom who has experienced infertility this will resonate: You see babies and pregnant women EVERYWHERE when you’re trying to get pregnant. As much as I was happy to see friends and patients in my Chiropractic office having babies, it was like a little stab in my soul each time it would happen.

We then went through fertility tests, procedures, and were poked and prodded for a few years. The next step would have been IVF but at that point I was emotionally done. That was it. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

In the meantime, we had started the process of getting approved and then on the waiting list to adopt. In the back of my mind, I still thought I could get pregnant. But it never happened. And although it gets better over time, it’s a loss that will probably always be with me.

However, adoption made me a mummy for the first time at 41 (hence the name of my podcast, blog and Community, Mom at 41), and then again at 44. And I am so very thankful for that. The gratitude I feel for our sons’ birthmoms for choosing us to be their parents is something that will always be in my heart, and I don’t forget for a single day. Even those incredibly tough ones as a Mum.

KarenandbabyWhen I finally became a Mum for the first time… My husband and I were outside the hospital room when our first son Tyson was born. Even as I type this, four years after it happened, I still well up with tears. When I heard Tyson cry for the first time, I literally dropped to my knees and sobbed. It was such a release of all the pain, shame and frustration of seven years of struggling to become a Mum mixed with such incredible gratitude in that moment. So how did it feel? Pure joy. The purest I’ve ever felt.

What surprised you most about the reality of motherhood?
That’s an easy one. How hard it was. And how other Moms didn’t talk about it. How hard sleep deprivation is on trying to function (although this got easier for me over time and once our second son joined our family).

But mostly, the mommy meltdowns from exhaustion, frustration and feeling like you’re the worst Mum, and yet no other Mums talked about this. That was the most difficult thing and what was most disturbing. This feeling that you shouldn’t think or say certain things for fear of being judged by other Mums. And this was one of the biggest motivating factors behind creating Mom at 41.  

You’ve been working as a Chiropractor for 13 years and since becoming a Mum, you’ve also created this Mom at 41 community to inspire and support other Mums via weekly podcasts, a blog and a Facebook group. You also recently hosted your first webinar and have started an exciting new project this year. Just how do you manage to fit it all in?
I get asked this question a lot, more in the form of: How do you do it all so well? And my honest answer is: I don’t! Right now, I’m struggling to find some semblance of balance and keep telling myself it’s just for a short period of time that I’m not getting much sleep, not at the gym as often and stopped having time for me to read or journal each day. I work every night when my boys are in bed, and each morning before they wake. It’s crazy right now.

My passion and drive is both a blessing and a curse and I am starting to learn that I simply cannot do all the things that I want to do, and how to focus on what will really have the most impact in my message and with my vision for Mom at 41.

You’ve just become a Desire Map Licensee. Can you tell us a bit about that and how it fits with what you’ve been doing?
Yes, I’m so excited about this! The Desire Map is a book by the divine Danielle LaPorte that is really a heart-centred approach to goal setting, and discovering your Core Desired Feelings. The goal then becomes about how you want to FEEL.

I first heard about Danielle LaPorte on a podcast about a year ago, read The Desire Map earlier this year, and resonated and connected with everything she wrote. I then heard her speak in October, flew to Santa Monica, California for a seminar she taught with two other writers called Open Books and then became a Desire Map Facilitator.

As a Facilitator, I start teaching my first Desire Map Workshops (both In-Person and Virtual) from this month to help women through this process and in creating their Goals with Soul.  I truly believe in this work, and know that Desire Mapping is an absolutely life-changing experience, as it’s impacted my life on so many levels.

What do you feel your biggest challenges are now and how have these changed in recent years?
My biggest challenge is juggling my Chiropractic Practice with podcasting, blogging, creating and caring for my two young boys, while still investing time in my marriage, with friends and caring for me. It’s the challenge we all often have as Mums which is time, or feeling like we don’t have enough of it. However, I’ve been making some big life decisions to move in a healthier direction with all this, in addition to learning to say no to a lot more than I do right now. Learning how to dial down and better focus my passion is a big lesson for me right now.  

Who or what inspires and/or motivates you?
The amazing people (a lot of ‘mompreneurs’!) I’ve met in the online and podcasting world. They are truly some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. My online colleagues are so incredibly giving, helpful and have really helped guide me through the massive learning process from the start of this journey with Mom at 41 and still continue to help me to this day. What a gift it is to be able  to connect online with so many amazing people from around the world, and meeting new people all the time who are wanting to work together to help more people in our collaborative work.

How do you manage childcare when you’re working?
Both of our boys are in full-time daycare. There is no way I could do all I do without it. I used to feel badly about this. But my work aspirations are a big part of who I am, and I need to fulfill that part of me to be the best me, and the best Mum to my two boys.

How do you ‘switch off’ when you’re not working?
Again, not the best with this one, since I try to do so much in my downtime. I’m probably the most ‘switched off’ when I’m spending time with my boys, but still guilty at times for checking my phone when I’m with them.

If money was no object, what would you do with your time?
Probably a lot of what I’m doing now but with more help. VAs in place to help with a lot of the admin stuff, creative copy and website work. And I’d get back to writing more. I miss it. Since I started the podcast, it’s taken center stage and is a medium of expression and creativity I love. But writing is still a big part of me and I would love to have more time to just sit and write for at least an hour a day.

If you had to describe your boys in just three words (that’s three words each!), what would you say?

Tysonfunny, smart and ENERGY
Kaihappy, crazy and fierce

And finally…

Complete the sentence: ‘I’m a Mummy Plus…’ in no more than 40 words.
….an imperfect creative woman who is striving to do her best to serve other Mums. I have such a driving force inside of me to connect with Moms, and my work with Mom at 41 feels most like Me.

You can find Karen online at Mom at 41 and on twitter @DrKarenOsburn. If you’d like to be part of the community, head over to her Facebook page where you can meet other imperfect mums from around the world and share your own stories, challenges and joys!  If you’re interested in the Desire Map workshops, Karen is running her first workshops (both in person and online) this month. Find out more and sign up now!

If you would like to take part in a Mummy/Daddy Plus interview, either leave a comment below, email me or DM me on twitter. If you’re a bit shy but know of someone else you feel is a Mummy/Daddy Plus, let me know why you think they should be interviewed and pass on their contact details so that I can get in touch.

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I’m not a perfect parent

Whoa, what? I’m not perfect? Really…?

Ok. So I know this is hardly news. I mean, the perfect parent.. Who is, right? We’re all just doing our best and hoping our kids know we love them, aren’t we?

And yet…

Every now and then, well intentioned (I hope!) people take  it upon themselves to let me know I’m not parenting up to their standards… Just last month there was the man on the bus who told me Mushroom is too big to be in a buggy (he was asleep at the time. Ummm…), the man in the street who said that I should be holding Mushroom’s hand. While he rode his scooter. And then there was the woman who kindly told me that Mushroom should be wearing his hat because it’s cold. The hat that he had just taken off because he was too hot after running around in the park (and how many kids keep their hats on, anyway?). This is on top of the times I berate myself for my ‘failings’ – I shouldn’t have told him we’ll leave Auntie’s house if he won’t behave (because we won’t), I shouldn’t have let him eat that much chocolate…  How I react to the ‘helpful’ advice offered in the past month had a lot to do with what else had been going on for us that day. Some days I was mindful, present and I just let it go, knowing it’s their stuff, not mine. On one occasion I’m less proud of, I responded with anger and then once out of sight, I cried. Tired, frustrated at my failings and my inability to respond with more grace, my emotions simply got the better of me.

And it’s not just me.

In my work, many of my coaching clients are mums. Not all come to me to talk about parenting but nearly all end up talking about their role as a parent in some way and a common theme is around the idea that they’re ‘not doing it right.’ I’m paraphrasing here so to be more accurate, here are some of the things I hear:

“I struggle to get everything done” – do we really need to do everything?

“I just want the best, or at least ‘better’ [than they had] for my child” – great, and what about you..?

“I feel guilty because I’m not spending enough time with him/her” – says who? Quality is better than quantity..

and the list goes on.

The thread that holds a lot of these things together is this idea that there is a ‘right’ way to be as a parent. Not necessarily perfect but for some it’s pretty close! These women are beating themselves up because they are not living up to an unattainable ideal and it pains me to see it.

You know what? It’s ok to be imperfect

I have to remind myself of this fairly regularly too but in my heart I know it’s the truth. All this other stuff? It’s not real. Ok, some of it is but the need to be all of the things, all of the time, to all of the people in your life (and especially our children, who we always put first!) is not. Trust me. It’s ok to put yourself first sometimes (yes, really). It’s also ok to get angry or upset if you’re having a bad day (and we all have bad days). It’s actually healthy for our children to see us showing emotions – it shows them that we’re human, just like them. If we respond in a way we feel isn’t fair to them, we can always say sorry and explain why we are feeling bad. Children (especially pre-schoolers) have enormous emotions that they can struggle to manage so they get it. They will be forgiving and possibly even relieved as our being vulnerable allows them to be too.


Being an imperfect parent is nothing to be ashamed of. Aiming for perfection is unhealthy, both for us and for our children. In my coaching work, I love helping mums who are parenting (im)perfectly well to let go of the idea that they are not doing (or even being) enough, put themselves first and be proud of all that they are achieving. So, in a bid to help even more parents, I’m launching my first coached workshops this year!

The workshops will be small groups, limited to a maximum number of six, which allows me to give each group a truly personal experience that will be tailored to the needs of those attending. The Proudly Imperfect Parents series starts with a Working Mums Workshop that addresses the specific challenges faced by working mums. Further workshops will be developed over the course of the year. Find out more about the Working Mums Workshop over on my website. All of the workshops will begin and end with a guided meditation and each group will receive a follow-up email with resources that specifically address issues raised during the session.

If you’re interested in attending the Working Mums Workshop and/or would like further information on future Proudly Imperfect Parents coached workshops, you can sign up below to be the first to find out dates and receive special offers! Everyone who signs up will be given full access to the closed Facebook group, where you can find like-minded parents sharing resources and supporting each other.

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Reflections on 2014

Happy New Year!

I hope you all enjoyed managed to make it through the holiday in one piece! Spending time with family 24/7 can be a challenge but I really made the most of it this year and enjoyed myself. As of course, did Mushroom. I have already blogged about a few Christmassy things (including this fantastic book of Christmas stories from Parragon books that got us through the season) so I won’t go back through all that but here are a few photos of our best bits:

We had some worst bits too – tantrums, tears etc. but I’m sure I’m not the only one! Unlimited sugar (not sure that was a good idea for any of us!), no routine and a highly sensitive 3 year old (and 30*cough* year old!) do not make for a Pinterest* perfect Christmas so I’ll leave those photos to your imagination!

This time last year Mushroom wrote our New Year post as I was feeling a bit sorry for myself but this time, I think he may well write his later in the month as looking back, I’m pretty happy with the way 2014 went – in the end. It didn’t start so well and actually got worse before it got better… But then it got better. And better. I have blogged in more detail about my reflections on 2014 and rolling resolutions for 2015 over at Honest Speaks so I’ll try not to repeat the same stuff here..!

As a parent, my rolling resolution is the same as always – simply to continue being honest about the trials of parenthood and to keep trying to be more present. This year I’ve done ok I think. Mushroom will probably be best placed to give his opinion on that in 20 odd years time so for now let’s go with my own analysis…. He knows I love him and we’re still on speaking terms (most of the time, except when I’m ‘not his best friend anymore’). He is clean, well fed (well, not underweight) and seems happy. Yep, I’m doing ok. Not perfect but hey, this is real life here.

This year, I’m looking forward to seeing Mushroom grow even more. To having more hilarious conversations, seeing him hit more milestones and no doubt even more surprises. He starts school next September so that will be the next major adventure for us both. To think this time next year he’ll have been at school a whole term is just mind boggling. I am both dreading it and looking forward to it in equal measure. I’ll be starting a major training course at the same time so that will be an interesting challenge! I think we’re ready for 2015 though. Bring it on!

How about you? How was 2014 for you and what are you most looking forward to in 2015?

*I’m not on Pinterest. I tried it but found it a bit too stressful if I’m honest (I told you I’m sensitive!)


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