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Being a Good Parent!

parent quoteI couldn’t decide on the title of this blog post: ‘How to be a Good Parent’, ‘What is a Good Parent?’, ‘The Art of Being a Good Parent’ … and many more that I won’t bore you with. And I was worried that people would open this blog post and think I was going to give you a lecture on being a good parent … because I’m not! I actually, if the truth be known, don’t have a clue what I’m doing in the parenting field! I’m a fire-fighting parent: taking each day as it comes and hoping (fingers crossed) that I’m doing the best by my girls and they’ll grow happy, well-rounded individuals (although, not sure I’m that well-rounded myself 🙂 I’m happy though, so we’ll go with that).

So why write a blog post about something I know nothing about? Well, I’ve been inspired by some lovely friends of mine! Most parents (and yes, I do this) watch other parents, and we either think, ‘Oh I wouldn’t be doing it that way!’ or ‘Oh wow, that’s fab. I’ll try that!’ – I usually think the latter! Well, this week, my gorgeous friends Stacey and Garry Wells (Wells Solutions) have shown what amazing parents they must be.

Their daughters Bethany Jade (18 years) and Holly (16 years), have had an awesome week. We went to watch Bethany Jade in the Teen Star Competition. She was totally amazing. We took our girls along who were just in awe of Beth, but then who wasn’t? – Even the judges voted her their favourite – check out it out here! We’re hoping to go to the next round. It’s all very exciting. As I watched Beth, and I watched my girls mesmerised by her, I hoped that I could be half the parent Stacey and Garry are. I asked Beth about her mum and dad’s support, and she said: ‘My mum and dad have been the biggest support I have. They have always believed in me. My mum has always been my emotional support and encouraged me, and my dad has always gone the extra mile to get me to where I am now. I could not possibly thank them enough’.

But it doesn’t stop there! Holly also had an amazing week when she was offered a place on the Under 17’s England Football Team! As parents can you imagine how proud you would be. I also spoke with Holly about the encouragement her parents had given her, and she said: ‘My mum and dad are my rock. I would have never got to where I am today without them! My dad is an inspiration, he encourages me to extreme levels and pushes me where he knows I should be. My mum gives me everything she’s got, love is the main thing. The best thing in the world is seeing my parents smiling and knowing that I’m the reason behind that smile!’

Can you imagine how you would feel if your kids were to say this about you? Beth and Holly are such lovely people. Now you may be reading this and thinking, ‘Those girls probaby don’t have a life!’ or ‘They are probably very spoilt.’ Well, absolutely not!! They are normal teenage girls who work very hard at what they want to achieve in life, and have a lovely group of friends who they spend time with. They follow their passions and are supported and encouraged by their parents.

I couldn’t resist asking Garry how he feels and how he’s supported his girls, (looking for a bit of advice really 🙂 ): ‘After a tough up-bringing, all I ever wanted was my own loving family. I wanted to give my children what I never had, and after meeting the love and friend of my life, my wife Stacey, we both (since 26.03.96, when Bethany Jade was born) wanted nothing more than our daughter to strive in success no matter what that may be. That wish never changed on the arrival of our 2nd daughter, (Holly Jesscia on 29.05.97). As parents we have lived, breathed and loved our daugthers no matter what. We will always be there to support and love them no matter where or what they might want to be. However, a footballer and singer was just a dream come true for a dad!’

How could you not be buzzing? Although I had just finished reading the Knowledge First Financial reviews, a parenting advice magazine, I still wanted to drain Stacey and Garry of all their parenting knowledge 🙂 So last but definitely not least – Stacey. Generally a mum is someone who holds everyone together, has to juggle 101 jobs, make sure everyone else is happy before she is happy, but in the words of Karl Lagerfeld, ‘The only love that I really believe in is a mother’s love for her children.’

Stacey is a dear friend of mine, and an amazing mum. I’m always asking Stacey how she does it, and how she encourages her girls, but today I got an official quote from her 🙂 ‘We’ve always tried to bring Beth and Hol up to be down-to-earth and fun-loving girls who dream big … And not to forget their pleases and thank yous’! I can’t believe how lucky we are to have two talented girls and watching them grow into young women with set goals is something myself and Garry will always be so proud of.’

I know Stacey and Garry well enough to know they don’t think of themselves as the best parents ever. They simply believe in their girls, and they do their very best to support and encourage them. They were quite humble when I said I wanted to do a blog post on them. I just wanted to share this amazing week with everyone as I truly believe they must be doing something right. If I can learn anything from them, I’m willing to soak it up. I’m always willing to learn 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My guest post on Jera’s Jamboree

My virtual book starts from the 31st March 2014 – I’m very excited to be working with Shaz Goodwin from Fiction Addiction Book Tours

Here’s my guest post on her website: HOW DO YOU KEEP THE MOTIVATION GOING?

Enjoy xx

 

 

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Gratitude is the way forward!

paperfort_gratitude-quote1If you follow me on twitter (@victoriajbrown) you will see how I love inspirational messages, and inspiring people to follow their dreams. Achieving goals and living the life you deserve is a huge passion of mine. I’m going to share with you today how these motivational messages work for me.

One day I will share with you the darker times in my life, when I felt as if I was slipping down a deep dark hole, having no energy or inclination to climb back out.  I know many of you reading this will have been there yourself, or are there at the moment. I hope you can take something from this post. It was in this time I discovered, Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret. I am now a huge believer in the Law of Attraction. This didn’t happen overnight, it took years of reading and learning.

One of the most important teachings with the Law of Attraction is gratitude. However, when you’re in that state of despair, when your mind just doesn’t want to look out from this black hole, or you feel as if it can’t, there will always be something you can be grateful for. Gratitude is definitely what helped me move forward. Every day I read the ‘Daily Teachings’ from The Secret. I wanted to share today’s teaching with you:

“Ancient wisdom dating back thousands of years gave us the truth about gratitude. Every single religion speaks of giving thanks. All the sages and saviors of the world demonstrated the use of gratitude in all their teachings. The greatest human beings who have ever lived showed us the way with gratitude, and by their example became shining lights in our history. Surely this is why Einstein said ‘Thank you’ hundreds of times every single day!”

The Secret Daily Teachings, Day 80

It’s amazing how wonderful you will feel when you start to appreciate what you have in your life, instead of what you don’t have.

Good Luck xx

 

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Inebriated to Invigorated

photo 2So this week I’ve gone from one of the worst hangovers in history – okay, that might be an exaggeration, but it did feel like that at the beginning of the week – to spending time at a writing retreat on Wednesday & a co-working day hosted by Colleagues on Tap yesterday. So, although the week started unhealthily it has turned into a very productive and focused week 🙂

Maybe I should get drunk every weekend 🙂 Only joking! Not sure I’d survive the next round!

You can read my blog about Colleagues on Tap here – I had such a lovely day with other people who work at home. Rebecca Sergeant was the host for yesterday’s event. She was so lovely, making teas and coffees for everyone, and she even brought in homemade cake! As if she doesn’t have enough work to do herself. Honestly, it’s a fab focused environment but with the opportunity to talk to others, interact and generally not feel lonely! Please check out their website www.colleaguesontap.com.

photo 4 (2)I also wanted to tell you about the writing retreat, that I attended on Wednesday, hosted by Judith Lesley Marshall, a poet and fantasy writer. I went along with the lovely Kerry Ann Richardson and Eileen Wharton (both excellent crime writers). What a lovely refreshing day. Sitting in the sunroom of the The Morritt, Greta Bridge, County Durham, just writing. Bliss. The day really got me focused on my next novel (or my first novella!). Judith was so lovely and an excellent facilitator, I highly recommend that you look at her website  http://judithlesleymarshall.com/ – not only for writers, but any creative-types 🙂

I’ve had such an amazing two days, I highly recommend both days to anyone who wants to get out of their own environment, feel refreshed or generally want to meet other people.

I’ve included some photos of the fab retreat (taken by Kerry Ann Richardson).

photo 4photo 1 (1)photo 5photo 1photo 1.2

 

 

 

 

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Too Old for a Drunken Night Out …

Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com/pin/557601997584326736/

drunk picture

I would be the first to disagree with the title of this blog, ‘Too Old for a Drunken Night Out … I don’t think so!’ However, it is now Tuesday, and after a fantastic night at a charity ball on Saturday, I am still feeling the effects.

I’ve already had two weeks of feeling like I’d been run over by a bus (a double decker in the first week, a single in the second) after having all four wisdom teeth out. So I was looking forward to having lots of energy … and then I have a night out and knock myself back another week!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m partial to a few glasses of wine, but I suppose a few glasses compared to endless top ups is maybe not the way forward!

The ball was for a well-deserved charity: Equipment for ICU at North Tees Hospital. It was a really fun night. We had such a good laugh, but as I sit still nursing my fuzzy head (well, whole body), I’m wondering if it was worth it. We tell ourselves, ‘of course it was, we only live once …’ But I think my soul has already lost the will to live!

I started out in my beautiful long dress, holding it elegantly as I walked sophisticatedly in my gorgeous irregular choice heels  … to crawling across my bathroom floor (well, that’s after I got off the kitchen floor!) – yes, still in my dress!! Don’t worry for all you mortified parents … the kids were staying out!

Sunday started with a 5-year-olds birthday party, screaming kids running around a soft play was not the best medicine. As I watched this madness, I thought back to the days when hangovers weren’t a problem. Well, they might have been but laying on the sofa all day, eating stodge always had me right after a day! I ate stodge all day Sunday, drank full-fat coke and had a very early night, but still I feel like someone has jumped around on my head and body for a good few hours. So, I can’t help but think … is it a virus? Maybe I’m coming down with something? I know this isn’t the case, but it’s nice to think of an excuse rather than knowing at the age of 35 years, I’m too old to take these drunken nights out!

Comfort Keepers website states, ‘Our metabolisms change as we get older; consequently, we break alcohol down more slowly so that it remains in our bodies longer. Age also causes the amount of water we have in our bodies to decrease resulting in a higher overall blood alcohol ratio when we drink. Aging also lowers the body’s tolerance for alcohol so that we experience side effects like slurred speech or lack of coordination more easily, even if we only drink a little bit.’

Here’s a few more websites if you’re interested in knowing why we suffer with hangovers (and more so as we get older 🙁 )

And not that I want to be a party-bore, as I said I’m very partial to a glass or two (or bottle) of wine, but at this moment in time … I don’t want to drink again!!  If a bad hangover can’t put me off drinking (because I’ll soon forget), maybe some of this information will:

Please have a read, I’m now off to get some more full-fat coke 🙂

http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/check-the-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/effects-on-the-body/alcohol-and-women

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/body-odd/hangovers-really-do-get-worse-we-get-older-heres-why-n1981

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/alcoholandolderpeople.aspx

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World Book Day

maisie mum - snow white 2I love World Book Day! Hence the reason yesterday I told you about Audible.

I love looking at all the children dressed-up in their favourite outfits. I love the way it can help show them how stories can come to life.

Yesterday, to celebrate World Book Day, another parent and I went into the primary school where our children attend, and read some fairy tales to year 2.

maisie mum - snow white 1

The other parent, Debbie Fixter, was fantastic; she dressed up as Snow White and looked amazing (as you can see here). She really made the afternoon and the kids absolutely loved her.

Debbie, who is co-owner of Little Sprouts Catering, had such a fab way with the children, as she read the tale of Snow White. She was totally in character and the children really enjoyed it.

I, on the other hand, researched some Aesop’s fairy tales. I told the renowned story, ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’, and a less known story called, ‘You Are Beautiful As You Are’. The children were mesmerised and enjoyed the meanings behind the stories.

It was such fun to join them. But I truly think Debbie made the afternoon, she was fantastic.

I’ve included the stories here that I read to the children. They were taken from http://www.storyarts.org/library/aesops/index.html, there are some fantastic stories on this site that all have different meanings.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

letter B

There once was a shepherd boy who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and sang out, “Wolf! Wolf! The Wolf is chasing the sheep!”

The villagers came running up the hill to help the boy drive the wolf away. But when they arrived at the top of the hill, they found no wolf. The boy laughed at the sight of their angry faces.

“Don’t cry ‘wolf’, shepherd boy,” said the villagers, “when there’s no wolf!” They went grumbling back down the hill.

Later, the boy sang out again, “Wolf! Wolf! The wolf is chasing the sheep!” To his naughty delight, he watched the villagers run up the hill to help him drive the wolf away.

When the villagers saw no wolf they sternly said, “Save your frightened song for when there is really something wrong! Don’t cry ‘wolf’ when there is NO wolf!”

But the boy just grinned and watched them go grumbling down the hill once more.

Later, he saw a REAL wolf prowling about his flock. Alarmed, he leaped to his feet and sang out as loudly as he could, “Wolf! Wolf!”

But the villagers thought he was trying to fool them again, and so they didn’t come.

At sunset, everyone wondered why the shepherd boy hadn’t returned to the village with their sheep. They went up the hill to find the boy. They found him weeping.

“There really was a wolf here! The flock has scattered! I cried out, “Wolf!” Why didn’t you come?”

An old man tried to comfort the boy as they walked back to the village.

“We’ll help you look for the lost sheep in the morning,” he said, putting his arm around the youth, “Nobody believes a liar…even when he is telling the truth!”

You Are Beautiful As You Are

letter y

There was once a crow who did not like his feathers.

“I wish I were a peacock!” he would say.

“You are beautiful as you are!” the other crows insisted.

“How plain and dull you seem to me!” he’d complain, and fly off to admire peacocks.

The peacocks strutted about with their colorful tail feathers outstretched. To the delight of the crow, some of the peacock feathers lay on the ground when the peacocks left.

Crow flew down to the ground and stuck the feathers into his wings and tail. He attached a few sticking up from his head.

“Now I am as beautiful as a peacock,” he said.

But, when he went to join them in their strutting, the peacocks poked him and pecked him. What a fuss!

“You are not a peacock,” they said, “Don’t imitate us!”

Bruised and still dragging some broken peacock feathers in his tail, he returned home.

After all his insults, no one wanted his company!

As he sat alone, the other crows said, “It’s foolish to try and be what you’re not. Learn to love the feathers you’ve got!”

 

 

 

 

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No time to read, then try listening!

photo credit: audiobookupdate.com

dog listening

I absolutely love reading. But not only do I love reading, I feel it is a necessity as a writer to read. However, running a business, being a mum, running a house etc. etc. etc. often squeezing reading in is a luxury. Even before bed I generally work until quite late: until my head is dropping on the keyboard to be precise. Although this is definitely easing since my little ones have started full-time school.

In the last few years I’ve tried to find ways of fitting in more reading, especially when I was studying towards my MA, not only was there assignments galore but there was a huge reading list.

It was in this time I discovered Audible.

audible logoAudible is fantastic for anyone leading a busy life but would still love the pleasure of delving into a fictional world. Lots of people have said to me they’d rather pick up a book, and quite honestly so would I. But Audible allows you to listen to a story when you wouldn’t necessarily be able to read a book. For example: I listen in my car (instead of music), while walking the dog, while cleaning, ironing, dealing with tasks that don’t need a lot of concentration. Many people enjoy having the television on as background noise, but Audible allows you to get certain tasks done while enjoying characters and plots of a make-believe world (or a real world, as there are plenty of biographies to download). There is also plenty of non-fiction to choose from. My most recent non-fiction is ‘Hero’ by Rhonda Byrne. I love her work.

I’ve enjoyed so many novels through Audible. I have the app on my phone which means I can just click a few buttons and I’m back to the story where I left it. It’s so easy to flick back through the chapters, increase or decrease the narrator speed or even if you don’t like the novel you’ve chosen you can exchange it for another.

A cheap monthly fee allows you a credit a month, these build up to 6 credits, so there is no pressure to use them straight away.

I just had to rave about audible as I absolutely love it. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to pick up a book ever again. It just means you can have the best of both worlds. I generally have two books on the go now. A paperback and one through Audible. Well, at the moment I have three! I’m reading Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s, I Can See Clearly Now, Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley and I’m listening to Before I Go To Sleep by S.J.Watson.

So, I thought I’d share my thoughts with you about audible, as many people I speak to have never heard of it. I just think for anyone who wishes they could fit more fiction into their lives, this is definitely the way forward 🙂 (And no I’m not part of their Affiliate Scheme, I genuinely believe this is one of Amazon’s best services!) Give it a try!