#HappyQuacks Linky Wk 3

Hello happy people…for those of you living in London (or nearby), it was 32 degrees today!!! Now that doesn’t make “heat averse ol’ me” particularly happy but I do know the rest of the capital was just lapping it up!!

Thanks to all those who linked up to #happyquacks last week, I absolutely loved reading all your posts. So in no particular order, these were the 3 that really called out to me this week!

1. One Yummy Mummy’s post about Father’s Day and the beautiful scene of unconditional love she witnessed at a cemetery, filled my heart with joy.

2. Dear Mummy’s blog post about 50 things that make me happy…by a toddler, had me smiling the whole way through. Many on that list make S very happy as well, especially stickers and stealing all the toilet roll!

3. Flustered mom’s post about her son selling Lemonade to raise money for the people of Nepal inspired me. As parents, we strive to instill good values in our children. Her son taking the initiative to reach out to help those in need is a credit to her parenting skills, in my opinion.

So on to this week’s linky…

This week I’ve linked up my post about choosing happiness and questioning why it’s so difficult.

I host this linky with Rod over at Moderndadpages. This linky is open to all and every post you’ve ever written about anything that makes you happy. It could be your kids, your spouse, your family, your holiday, whatever it is that makes you happy.

Each week I’ll pick 3 of my favourite posts and they’ll get a little shout out in the following week’s link up post.

I don’t want to set any hard and fast rules BUT linky’s only work if you share the love so please comment on at least one of our posts and maybe 2-3 others that have linked up using the hashtag #happyquacks. Put the badge on the bottom of your post and lastly, if you tweet us your URL (using the hashtag #happyquacks), we’ll happily retweet all your posts. (@mamaduckquacks and @moderndadpages)

It would also make us happy if you followed us on Twitter and Facebook.

#happyquacks will go live on a Wedesday evening (6pm GMT) until Sunday evening (6pm GMT).

Looking forward to reading all your posts!

Mamaduckquacks
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How do you measure success?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what success means. Everyone has a different definition. To some, having a million pounds in their account means they are successful. To other’s it may be making a difference in people’s lives, learning a new language, taking up an instrument at 60, leaving a bad relationship, raising high achieving kids….the list goes on.

I think to me, being successful means to be happy. And that’s not to say that we’re walking around with big smiles on our faces, oblivious to the goings on in the world. But rather, to have a sense of contentment. To be able to ride the peaks and troughs of life and not be too affected by them. To strive to do better, earn more, be better but not to let that affect how you feel in general. To me, success is a constant work in progress.

I was talking to my cousin R a few days ago and she provided another answer. When discussing success, she said “Success is growth” and on that particular day, her comment hit the nail on the head for me. Success is growth! Look at where you were last year, she suggested, and look at where you are now. Have you grown? And by growth it encompasses all aspects of your life. Physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. I certainly believe I’ve grown a lot since last year.

I was chatting to another friend P and when talking about success, she talked about success being all about perspective. We live in a world where each person is unique, and yet we don’t act like they are. We expect people to fit into our model of the world, we expect our children to model behaviour that is acceptable to us. And yet who ever said our model was the right one? It’s right for us. She also went on to mention value. She does a lot of good work in an organisation close to her heart. It doesn’t give her any money but it gives her great internal satisfaction. Is she successful? In her opinion of success, she is.

Validation was something else we talked about. When you believe that what you’re doing is right and you’re truly happy with it, then how other’s feel about it and what other’s think and say to you, don’t affect you. You don’t need outside validation when you are content with who you are. I know, that’a a big one isn’t it? We live in a society that thrives on validation. I’m not immune to it. I was super excited when I hit 500 followers on Twitter and when I get lots of likes on Instagram and Facebook. But as I mentioned before about success, it’s a work in progress.

When you ask most new parents what they envisage for their children when they grow up, they may say things like “I want my child to be a doctor or a dentist. I want my child to play the piano or be an athlete.” But essentially, when it comes down to it, I think most parents just want their children to be happy. And yet most parents (myself included) also seek to impose their views on their children, their model of the world. And our views and models, while based on experience, are also based on our fears.

I think it’s so important to allow our children to BE who they want to be, even when we don’t particularly like it. That’s not to say we let them go off the rails and behave in unsociable ways but rather to act as guides and beacons of light. I love this quote by Khalil Gibran:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

What does success mean to you?

Modern Dad Pages

25/52

image

“A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

Sunday brunch down by the river at Giraffe on the Southbank.

Brit Mums Live 2015

Last weekend was the much anticipated Brit Mums Live. Bloggers all over the country booked their event tickets and train tickets months in advance. Outfits were bought for the occasion, business cards designed and excited tweets tweeted.

It was my first Britmums event and my second blogging event. To say I was excited was an understatement but I also had a few nerves. I agreed to meet my friend Anupa outside the Brewery and on the way there Amie messaged me and said she was outside as well. I was so glad I had these two for the event!

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I need to be really honest here…I thought Britmums was extremely well organised and I came away with a lot of knowledge and inspiration. However, I did feel let down by some fellow bloggers. I can honestly say I went up to almost everyone I recognised and while it was amazing to meet lot’s of new people, I guess some people find it a lot easier to be friendly/inclusive online than they do in person. And apparently I’m not the only one who felt that way.

The event itself was pretty amazing! Friday got us all mingling with a Guinness World Records Ice breaker. What was it you ask? How many “mummies” (get it? ;-)) can you wrap in 3 minutes? We broke the record by 1 and are now all proud holders of actual Guinness World Record medals. How cool is that?!

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I also took part in their “fastest nib” contest. You had to run a marker nib around a track, staying within the narrow lines, in the fastest time possible!

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In the second half of the afternoon I went to the “Turning pitches into profits” session by Emily Leary and “How successful bloggers do it” by Helen McGinn, Vicki Psarias and Becky Wiggins. Helen and Becky were new to me but it was so great to meet Vicki in person. I’m a big fan of her blog, she’ll always respond if you tweet/message her and it was nice to put a voice to her name. She’s one of those bloggers who is as friendly in person as she is online.

I had to leave early on Friday because S had a bit of a false alarm at A&E (I think he was having too much fun with the toys they had in the children’s waiting area!).

On Saturday I got there nice and early (unlike Friday when my Google maps app had me walking in circles) and got a chance to chat to some of the brands. Anna Barcelo from Costa Brava, Sarah Keeble from Boots, Rosie Stoddart from Beattie Communications and Amir Nezemi from RealTimes (which have a new video feature on their app which is pretty damn awesome! I can’t wait to try it out).

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My favourite session on the Saturday was the one about travel blogging. I always thought of myself as a parenting and lifestyle blogger but after this session I realised that I actually write quite a bit about our travels/local adventures. I’ve since gone on to set up a specific travelling with kids page where I’ll be adding all the links to our travelling adventures.

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Cupcake decorating with Emily Leary.

Britmums taught me to think outside of what I’m doing and to put myself out there. I came away with tools to confidently speak to brands and PR people, to improve my writing and to make the most of SEO.

The day ended with 13 bloggers’ keynote, some of which had us all in tears! Hayley’s (Downs Side Up) letter to Mr. Richard Dawkins really pulled on my heart strings. It was so beautiful to listen to a post read out in the writer’s voice. To hear their emotion come through as they write on topics they feel passionate about.

Being a blogger has given me confidence, a voice I never really used before and the opportunity to be a part of a huge community of some pretty kick ass people! Britmums left me exhausted, inspired, determined, educated and truly humbled! I can’t wait to go again next year!

#HappyQuacks Linky Wk 2

Wow, what a week/weekend! I went from being worried that no one would link up (first time linky nerves) to have 21 people link up to #happyquacks Very exciting stuff!

This week I’ve linked up my post about the person who makes me the happiest, my son! Although I’m the mama, he teaches me so much and never ceases to amaze me with his one liners!

My favourite posts from last week were:

1. 30 things that make me happy by Absolutely Prabulous. She’s such a witty blogger, I love reading her posts and this one in particular really resonated with me.

2. I wouldn’t love you sooner by Slacker Mommy. I especially liked this post because I look at my own life and wonder how/why I got to where I am now and I often have such moments of clarity (which are great). It was lovely reading a post by someone who has reached that moment and is thankful for the way things turned out.

3. To my daughter on Graduation Day by Flustered mom. I often look at S (who is only 3) and worry about the day he goes off to university and all the pieces of advice I’d like to give him. I really enjoyed this post and my favourite quote was:

“Here’s to the crazy ones.  The misfits.  The rebels.  The troublemakers.  The round pegs in the square holes.  The ones who see things differently.  They’re not fond of rules.  And they have no respect for the status quo.  You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.  About the only thing you can’t do it ignore them.  Because they change things.  They push the human race forward.  And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.  Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”  – Apple, Inc. 

So without further ado…

I host this linky with Rod over at Moderndadpages. This linky is open to all and every post you’ve ever written about anything that makes you happy. It could be your kids, your spouse, your family, your holiday, whatever it is that makes you happy.

Each week I’ll pick 3 of my favourite posts and they’ll get a little shout out in the following week’s link up post.

I don’t want to set any hard and fast rules BUT linky’s only work if you share the love so please comment on at least one of our posts and maybe 2-3 others that have linked up using the hashtag #happyquacks. Put the badge on the bottom of your post and lastly, if you tweet us your URL (using the hashtag #happyquacks), we’ll happily retweet all your posts. (@mamaduckquacks and @moderndadpages)

It would also make us happy if you followed us on Twitter and Facebook.

#happyquacks will go live on a Wedesday evening (6pm GMT) until Sunday evening (6pm GMT).

Looking forward to reading all your posts!

 

Mamaduckquacks
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Why does being happy have to be such a brave choice?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the choices we make as adults and how much they differ from the way children make choices. If a child is in a situation that doesn’t make them happy, they change it. They try and find a way out and they change it. But as adults we seem to struggle with that.

I was reading about Caitlyn Jenner (previously known as Bruce Jenner) and the choice he made to become a she and the struggle she went through. She’s come out the other side now and is so much happier. But why was it so difficult to do something that would make her so happy?

I watched two Indian movies this week which were both very powerful in their own way (but of course with all the melodrama of a typical Bollywood movie). Dil Dhadakne Do and Hamari Adhuri Kahani. DDD is about an affluent dysfunctional Panjabi family who invite all their friends on a cruise for their 30th wedding anniversary. The couple “celebrating” their anniversary have a tainted marriage, the daughter who has built a highly successful business is in a very unhappy marriage and the son doesn’t think he’s good enough to take over his father’s company and is trying to find his place in the world. While it was hilarious and had us all laughing out loud, there were a lot of important underlying points. Even in today’s day and age, divorce is still such a taboo subject in our community. Parents worry so much about what people will say that they often force co-erce their children into getting married or staying in an unhappy marriage. Priyanka Chopra who plays Ayesha, the daughter, can build a highly successful travel business that ranks No.2 in India but struggles to make her voice heard.

The second movie HAK is important for different reasons. It’s a story of Vasudha (Vidya Balan) who’s values around marriage are so deeply embedded in her being that she allows her husband to claim possession over her, even when she is deeply unhappy.

As with most Bollywood movies, realisation dawns around the 2hr 15min mark and then you see the change. I’m so glad that Bollywood is starting to produce movies that will hopefully open up the mind’s of many Indian people. When I chose to leave an unhappy situation, many people called me brave and courageous and in some ways I agree, it was one of the bravest choices I’ve ever had to make but I do often wonder why I need to be brave to be happy? Surely being happy should be our natural stance? So what makes us all, for the most part, stick with the status quo?

I often see memes that say things like “Happiness comes from being grateful for what you have” and while that’s true, sometimes you can still be grateful but not happy with the situation. And not being happy doesn’t mean we’re ungrateful, it just means we need to change our situation.

All the world’s most successful people got to where they are because they refused to accept less than they believed they were worth. And I’m not just talking monetary terms. It could be Sir Edmund Hillary who never gave up until he got to the top of Everest. It could be Christina Noble who wouldn’t give up until she got what she wanted for the street kids in Vietnam and Mongolia. They got to where they wanted to be by making choices to do things that brought them joy and gave their lives value.

Children choose happiness all the time! When did we start forgetting to do that? When did we become so afraid of being judged? And ridiculed? What’s more important than being happy?

#HappyQuacks Linky Wk 1

Welcome to #happyquacks, week 1!!

This is my first every linky and I’m really happy to be co-hosting with the #linkyking Rod of Modern Dad Pages.

This linky is open to all and every post you’ve ever written about anything that makes you happy. It could be your kids, your spouse, your family, your holiday, whatever it is that makes you happy.

Each week I’ll pick 3 of my favourite posts and they’ll get a little shout out in the following week’s link up post.

I don’t want to set any hard and fast rules BUT linky’s only work if you share the love so please comment on at least one of our posts and maybe 2-3 others that have linked up using the hashtag #happyquacks. Put the badge on the bottom of your post and lastly, if you tweet us your URL (using the hashtag #happyquacks), we’ll happily retweet all your posts. (@mamaduckquacks and @moderndadpages)

#happyquacks will go live on a Wedesday evening (6pm GMT) until Sunday evening (6pm GMT).

Looking forward to reading all your posts!

Mamaduckquacks
Mamaduckquacks

Thank you, son

S is at that lovely age where his speech has well and truly kicked in and I can have full blown conversations with him. He’s got a great sense of humour, loves to wind me up and often laughs for no reason. He is so observant, has a great memory and absolutely loves cars. Since he was about 20 months, even though he couldn’t speak, he recognised cars by their brand logo and would often point to a random car on the road and say mama or ada (my dad). I’d then say “Yes, that’s like mama’s car or that’s like Ada’s car…the same brand just a different colour or model.” He now knows the names of several different car models and loves to point them out while I’m driving.

But I digress, because I could sit here and write about my son all day!! But the point of this post was actually to thank him for everything that he teaches me. Every single day. General consensus would have you believe that WE are teaching our children. And we are! When you watch them mimic us, you know they are learning from us. But at the same time, they are teaching us so much.

My son teaches me that persistence is the key. Mama…mama…mama…mama….he will keep at it until he has my attention. Does it drive me mad sometimes? Well yes…if I’m in the middle of something important…but does it get my attention? Certainly! I’m not a very persistent person. I take no for an answer far too easily and on a daily basis he teaches me how important it is to be persistent to get what you want.

My son teaches me to know what I want. I don’t know if it’s a toddler thing, a piscean thing or just his inherent nature but he knows what he wants and he’s not afraid to ask for it/say no to something he doesn’t want. Since he was quite young I’ve tried to always give him options. What would you like for breakfast? Do you want a banana or an apple? Should we go to the playground? And this kid knows what he wants! I’ve been on a course all day today and he’s been hanging out with my mom. The weather wasn’t great and so after his dramarama class my mom asked if he’d like to go to Topsy Turvy, an indoor soft play area. He didn’t want to go. And he made that very apparent. As parents we often think we know what is best for our child. It’s saturday afternoon, it’s wet outside so we can’t go to the park, surely our kid would love to go to a fun indoor soft play area?! He didn’t and even when I spoke to him on the phone, he didn’t change his mind. Stick to your guns S!

My son teaches me that an award is not everything. This is quite a funny one actually. As many of you know, I recently found out I’m a finalist in the MaDBlogAwards which is very exciting!! The award would mean a lot to me and to even be a finalist amongst some amazing bloggers is quite an honour. S got an “award” at nursery last week for knowing all his numbers and alphabets and what did he do when he was given it? Chucked it on the floor! He was not interested at all. Who needs an award when YOU know you’re good?! I hope that trait always stays with him and he doesn’t need external recognition to know how amazing he is. I on the other hand am still working on that! ;-)

Lastly, my son teaches reminds me to laugh. Sometimes he’ll wake up in the morning, look at me and just laugh for no reason. Or he’ll catch the glint in my eye, know I’m about to start tickling him and laugh hysterically before I’ve even begun. Children laugh for no reason at all…how awesome is that?! Given the phrase “laughter is the best medicine”, you’d think we’d all be laughing a lot more.

So each night, as I lay down to sleep, a small thank you goes to my son for everything he is and all that he teaches me.

 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Ayubowan Sri Lanka

We’re quite lucky when it comes to travel. I’ve had lots of family destination weddings in the last year which have taken us to Goa, Manila, Cebu and more recently, Sri Lanka. My cousin Jaya got married at the beautiful Jet Wing Blue, located on the West Coast of Sri Lanka in Negombo. Only a 20 minute drive from the airport, it’s convenient and easy to get to. We arrived at 8pm so we missed the sunset but a friend had sent me a picture in anticipation of us arriving. What a sight…

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Jet Wing Blue falls under the Jet Wing umbrella which boasts numerous resorts around Sri Lanka. Although we were in the main Blue hotel, a few of the others were connected to ours and we had access to all their pools and of course the whole stretch of beach.

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The rooms were large and spacious and they each had a balcony attached. Ours overlooked the beach which was amazing! 20150327_091551

I loved the fact that they are concerned about the environment and have systems in place to reduce the wastage of water. 20150327_001452

Although I don’t have any pictures of their food, I can tell you it was amazing. For those with a more dulcet palate, beware! The food can be quite spicy. Ask your servers and avoid the extra’s that come with the local string hoppers and egg hoppers. They tend to be on the spicy side. The hotel also has a crèche/playroom so if you fancy a quick massage or a kids free dip in the ocean, you can leave your kids in safe hands here. We never used the crèche, however we did avail of the babysitting services of the crèche manager who was lovely.

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The people of Sri Lanka are very hospitable and always have a smile on their face as they wish you Ayubowan (welcome/hello in Singhalese). However, expect to ask for everything twice as their service often moves at a glacial pace!

The only criticism I have of the hotel, and it’s not really their fault, is the bugs. Given that it’s a completely open plan hotel (which is part of it’s beauty…you can literally see through it) and the back opens straight out onto the beach, there’s nothing really you can do to keep the bugs out. As long as your balcony door is shut, you don’t have to worry about any in your room. Take lots of insect repellent spray and you’ll be fine!

Although we stayed in the resort the whole time with just a day trip to Colombo, there is a lot to see and do in Sri Lanka.

Visit the Uda Walawe National Park which I’ve heard rival’s some of the safari’s in East Africa. With herds of Elephant, Buffalo, Leopards and Deer roaming free.

The Golden Temple in Dambulla with huge gold statues of Buddha is a beautiful and peaceful sanctuary.

If you love elephants (and who doesn’t love elephants), you must visit the Pinnawala Elephant Sanctuary which is about 90km from Colombo, on the way to Kandy. Here you can watch the elephants as they bathe and play in the open waters.

Sri Lanka is famous for it’s Ceylon tea so if you have enough time and you fancy something a touch more luxurious then be sure to check out the famous tea trails.

Lastly, a trip to Kandy. Located in the central part of Sri Lanka and boasting some amazing resorts, a short trip to Kandy is a must. We didn’t get to see or do much while in Sri Lanka but I definitely think it needs to go on our bucket list of places to visit again.

Have you visited Sri Lanka? Is there anywhere else you’d recommend visiting?

Mummascribbles
The Little Life of Ickle Pickle