Seeds and other stuff

I could write essays to share the knowledge I have gained through courses, books and people I have met including my own children and Grandson.  Experiences I have gained in the University of life are more alive when shared through face to face meetings though.  I am NOT an academic, though I could be if I could be bothered, writing academically is tiring to me but doing it, speaking it and answering questions I have to consider are not at all tiring.  In fact I feel fired up by the connections with others that my mind makes.

I strongly believe we all have something to teach and something to learn and I would love to start a support group for parents with a therapeutic slant that uses all the tools I have gathered as I fought my way through courses and life.

I like to think I am good at sharing seeds but that others grow things for themselves just as I did by talking to people who interested me, reading books that spoke to me and listening to others tell their interesting tales about themselves.  I have grown through sharing and have been given seeds that I have grown for myself but I have flowered and have many seeds to share.

I need to eat, which is a pain because I also need to do that on a daily basis otherwise I get well grumpy!  I am hoping to be able to charge minimum for the groups to allow everyone to access them.

I am running a workshop for intro to therapeutic play

Why not come along and meet me, have a chat and see what we could learn together 🙂

Playfully making memories

This morning I set out the paper and the paints with paintbrushes for my Grandson to do some creating.  I had promised him we would do some painting but yesterday we were busy swimming and visiting his Grandma (Great Grandmother).  I knew there would be a mess but this aspect of painting always seems much bigger in my mind I am sure 🙂

Tyler enjoyed making marks on the paper but also watching the water, used to clean the brushes, change to different colours.  He showed his Mum and I every time the colour changed. We marvelled

at his use of the colours and both focussed our attention where his was, what great attachment play and all before breakfast!

We have pictures on our phones and in our minds and these are the times that precious memories are made with only an hour’s worth of attention and time taken.  Of course his Mum and I had to have a go too, but Tyler enjoyed instructing us as to where we could paint on his paper and which colours we could use.

I now have a masterpiece hung above my front door and a fun memory to cherish 🙂

A draft Intro to my book and a request


As a seasoned member of the tribe named parents and also a professional who works with parents, I have often heard (and wondered myself) about where the manual is that should arrive with each bundle of joy called a baby!  This is NOT such a manual, (sorry to disappoint you!) but it may hold some gems for those who are considering (or may do in the future) signing up for said tribe.

There are lots of information booklets and DVD’s (I am sure though I haven’t read many lately) on the Do’s and Don’t’s of the practicalities and appropriate nurture needed to rear our perfect offspring. But for those of us who can only aspire towards perfection (if we are totally honest that includes all of us!) then maybe some clues as to what may have been helpful for us before we joined the tribe could be knowledge that is supportive and thought inspiring for you.

This book has grown out of my passion for knowledge sharing because I believe we can learn from the trials and tribulations (plus some joys!) of others. I believe that a lot of the knowledge I have gained after spending thousands of pounds on trainings should be available to everyone.  Often we are too busy surviving to have the luxury of the frivolity of higher education.  If I had known half of what I know now before I became a parent I am sure I would have had the opportunity to make different choices about how I raised my children and cared for myself.  My children were still young when I started training and I was able to use my new found knowledge to build better relationships with my offspring.  I am sure I am not the only one who wishes I had had some other input besides my own experience, so I thought I could spend some hours gathering the kind of information that I would like to have had handed to me when my initiation into the parent tribe began.

The pages that follow contain some of the things that ordinary (that’s a lie we are all extraordinary of course!) folks, Parents Like Us, wish they had known before they became parents. Not only that but also some of the insights gained and thinking behind why such things might have been useful to know. I sincerely hope that what is contained within these pages goes some ways to increasing the choices available to you as you begin your journey into the parent tribe!

Could you add a list of up to 10 things you wish you had known before you became a parent, things you would like to share with others so that they have the info you wishes your younger self had had?  If so send to me via details on my home page or request a form.  We could all do with that little bit of knowledge and who better to offer it than parents?

I look forward to hearing from you 🙂

Some of my favourite memories!

The best memories I have of being a parent is the fun stuff, it’s so easy to remember the trials and challenges but actually my 5 children and I had some laughs in between.

I remember doing special time which meant giving each child 15 minutes to decide what they wanted to do….child led play was a challenge for me.  I learned the likes and dislikes of my children and they really became individuals to me at this time.  We had a craft box to pick from and we made stuff together and then displayed it.  I learned that Carl is funny and a great copy artist, Glenn is really caring and liked to make things for me, Sian is more like me than she’d like to admit and is very creative,  Tammy is a born performer and has a very nurturing side and Connor is mad on mechanics and how to break things (or see how they work until they don’t anymore!)   I learned to play with my children and they learned about me too, we related better and were more able to share thoughts and feelings, something I hadn’t done in my own childhood.

I remember finding creative ways to set boundaries as smacking was not in my tool box any more!  Learning to give each other space and talk when emotions were not high was a task and a half especially with teenagers!  We worked it out together.  I remember being called into school because Carl was swearing at staff, I made a t-shirt with a picture of him and me on and swore I’d wear it into his class if he was dis-respectful to a teacher again….he wasn’t!

We made contracts with rewards and forfeits for behaviour that was NOT acceptable.  We learned a lot about what upset each of us and what needed to change to make the household a little bit happier 🙂

We chased each other round the house with balloons, this helped to dissipate energy and caused much laughter too 🙂  We had water fights in the garden, drowning each other and there were lots of giggles then too!

I remember coming home with a great big gateaux, giving all the kids a fork and we all ate it straight from the cake rather than slicing it, my kids remember these things too!

We used to put music on and then all dance, we’d moan at each other for having bad taste in tunes.  We only had one TV so we often squabbled about what we were going to watch.

I remember one birthday morning being woken up at 5am because my children had decorated the inside of a lid of a box with all sorts of creations and they were sooooo excited, I couldn’t be angry about the time when they all carried it in so carefully and exploded with info about who had made what and why 🙂

I still have all the little cards they all made me when they were little and when they were teenagers they were great to look back on and share again with them, reminding them that we hadn’t always disagreed and been so angry. (Though I do not recommend such sharing in the heat of an argument ;-))

Maybe I’ll remember more fun stuff and share on here or maybe you have stuff you’d like to share?

Get in touch at if you want to 🙂

Thinking about being playful as Parents and Carers

One of my most proud-making achievements, I feel, is my ability to be playful with my children before they grew up.  We have amazing memories of doing playful stuff and it highlights for me the powerful connections that were made through play.

As a Counsellor I watch children use their play to explore and express their feelings and thoughts about events in their lives that can often be life-changing and traumatic. I watch young people blossom and move from struggling to survive towards thriving and spreading their own personal wings and flying forward to become the people they want to be.

My experiences as a Parent have fired my passions and I would love to share the gift of being playful with everyone!  As a single parent myself, having brought up 5 children, I know that life is busy and that bills have to be paid but trust me, investing just a bit of time for play with your children can make huge differences to whether they thrive or struggle in every aspect of their lives even through to adulthood.

I could spout lots of references and be academic about this, there is research and statistics that back up what I say but I believe that experiencing it will be evidence enough 🙂

I love gathering tools and sharing them and am hoping to start a parenting group that gives the kind of support that helps others thrive and spread their wings to fly towards the images they had of family and themselves as parents.  The magic of attachment has to be felt to be believed….re-discovering the power of play (JOYFULNESS) or finding it for the first time can feel alien as we are told from a very young age that playing is for kids….and so it is but it is for adults too!

So if you live close to Walthamstow, why not come along to my coffee morning and find out if you would like to be a part of such a parenting group, we all have something to learn and something to teach and I feel I could facilitate a group that would see everyone growing up and out in playful and healthy ways 🙂coffee_morning_parents_like_usPLUlogo



Parents Like Us

Sometimes realising that I have finally become a professional who has gathered many ideas and learned the real fun of parenting and then my children when and got all grown up…is a tad frustrating!

My gift I suppose is that I got to use some of those tools I have gathered with my teens and I can pass them on to my children and other parents/carers/professionals too!

I am NOT perfect but perfectly imperfect and I always have been and if you are perfectly imperfect too with children/young people who are also perfectly imperfect then perhaps the parenting group I am trying to set up is for you!

Do you live near Walthamstow or don’t mind travelling to it?

Then why not come and grab yourself a cuppa and get discussing the kind of group you would find supportive/useful to you as a parent.

There is lots online and I could start a discussion page or some online stuff but I prefer the face to face stuff….so if you want somewhere to rant or to gather some ideas or just emotional support with moody teens or boundary setting with toddlers…..come have your say about how a Parents Like Us group will come into being!


The coffee mornings are free but there will be a cost of £5 per session for the group…..but cost and time and place etc are all up for negotiation at this stage.  Also I have no creche facilities but if you don’t come along we won’t know if we need to plan for them in the future!

If you really cannot drag yourself here for a coffee morning then why not send me your thoughts and suggestions via email :

Counselling and other stuff!

I am a person-centred counsellor, this means I know my clients are the experts on their own needs and I am there to support through challenging times.  I have some tools I can share and perhaps I know some stuff but ultimately the client is in charge (within the boundaries and limits of a counselling relationship of course!)

I like to be creative in sessions and enjoy doing non-directive therapeutic play with people of all ages including teaching parents to do this with their own children (Special time).

I also offer one-off play sessions with other professionals who are interested and would like to learn more about using play with children as this is their mode of communication.

Look me up or get in touch to have a chat if you like anything you see on this blog and would like to find out more or just to make an enquiry about other support I might be able to help you with.

Do you wish you had somewhere to go where you could share the realities of parenting?  People to talk to about the challenges and joys in a supportive and non-judgemental space?

Why not come along to one of our coffee mornings and see if the group that is starting up in E17 would be the space for you? Register by text to 077 3130 3120 or on any of the links below 🙂

Dates for coffee mornings are:

Monday 22nd February 2017  10am – 1pm

Monday 7th March 2017 9.30am – 11.30am

Monday 21st March 2017 10am – 1pm


You are welcome to bring along babies for the coffee mornings though crèche facilities are not yet available so only babies in arms at present.

You are welcome to drop in for half an hour or so to say hi and to post me any suggestions for group: Such as days and times that would be most useful, suggested topics or anything else.

Find me at


The Parenting Tribe

Taking my Grandson for a very rare burger and chips in a well known burger joint, watching adults impatience as he does what most 4 year olds do, behaves like an energy filled child!  If I wanted a thing that looked pretty and sat still I would have taken a stuffed toy!

What comes easily as a Grandparent that was harder as a parent is the joy of watching youth spread their wings in ways that causes no harm to anyone but those who think children are to be seen and not heard STILL!!!

My Grandson is a buzzing ball of curiosity and he is fascinated by the strangers seated around him and what they are wearing and doing and saying.  He has no shame about interacting with those strangers that might well be friends if they were given half a chance, that is if we are brave enough to connect with them.  Being noisy may disturb someone’s conversation but he isn’t screaming just asking questions that he impulsively finds the need to ask….as adults are we really that different?  What would it be like to say hi to someone just because we can?  How strange is it that we sit in rooms full of people and avoid eye contact?  I think children just make us jealous because we would love to have their fearlessness as well as their energy for interaction.  What do you think?

First poo!

Sharing those things we wish we had been told before we became parents seems a difficult thing to do. So I thought I would start sharing and hope that people jump on board and share their thoughts and ideas too!
I am looking to publish our lists as part of a book I am writing for parents-to-be.
One of the things I wish I had been told before I became a parent is:
1. That new born babies first poop is black and like tar….I thought I had given birth to an alien and it took forever to clean it off my new shiny bundle of joy! That first poop is called meconium and apparently all mammalian babies pass this first. It is composed of materials ingested during the time the infant spends in the uterus: intestinal epithelial cells, lanugo, mucus, amniotic fluid, bile, and water. It isn’t a sign of the coming of an alien species or something to get panicked about….but I didn’t know that!
I have more, much more and will be sharing more on a weekly basis. Can you name 10 things you learned after you became a parent that could have helped or supported you more had you known it (been told it) before? If you would like to share you can do so by emailing to

Playing for better relationships

One of the titles I have earned for myself is ‘Attachment Play Specialist’.  I support parents to form better attachments and build better relationships with their children through child-led play.  As with counselling sessions, parents set aside time to follow their child in play and though this sounds really simple it can be harder than you think! Being a Mother, a counsellor and an attachment worker has helped me to see the fun ways we can re-connect with our children when we get stuck in negative patterns through the pressures life and parenting put on us as parents.

14 years ago I set aside 15 minutes a day to do ‘special time’ with one of my children.  I had five children, so this meant setting aside 15 minutes every day of the week.  Fifteen minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time and I didn’t think it could make much difference but it was regular and each child chose what we would do each time it was their turn to have my undivided attention.  Over a few months I started to see my children as individuals, I learned what they each liked and didn’t like.  I learned how they enjoyed relating and talking to me and how much my listening for just 15 minutes a week meant to them.  We extended ‘special time’ to include a half an hour session all together on a Sunday.  I provided a craft box which was our ‘Special Time Only’ box.

We all started to get to know each other better and this helped me to relate to each of my children in healthier ways that I found improved their sense of security and made for more communication outside of our ‘special time’.  I also noticed they were relating to each other better and although bickering and fighting amongst siblings was not completely eradicated, it was definitely lessened somewhat. I learned new strategies which helped me to think about how to set age-appropriate boundaries with my children/teenagers.  Of course none of these things I did removed all of the challenges that parenting brings but I believe it all helped me to retain some sanity!

My children are all over 16 years of age now, but I continue learning.  Many of the parents I have worked with have found some of the knowledge I shared  useful and some not so useful, but we do not know what we do not know until we know it!  My aim is to set up a group where we can all share our knowledge and experiences to find ways of improving our relationships with ourselves as parents/carers, with our young and with each other!

I have attended many conferences and trainings and am passionate about parents/carers and children finding time to have fun together when the pressures of life can drive us all into a rut.  This way of building better relationships and sharing can cost next to nothing and is time-limited so can be fitted in around your busy time-tables.

If you would be interested in attending a weekly group (Parents like us) to learn more you can register your interest via email to

or find me on Facebook :  or twitter: