Happy Father’s Day¬†

I am very lucky that my parents are also my best friends; I adore spending time with them. There is no place like home home to get any problems I’m having off my chest, to get advice on any situations that are bothering me as well as to have a good, stomach-aching giggle. My parents are my role models and on Mother’s Day I embarrassed my mum with a blog post dedicated to her, so I felt it was only fair to do the same to my dad. 

Ever since I was little my dad has always been my go to person if something broke. From toys to jewellery, he could mend most things. As I’ve gotten older he is still the first person I call when something needs assembled, fixed or replaced. He has also taught me so much; not just how to drive a car, check my oil or to change a fuse (although that was a good one as I reckon my house has a Guinness World Record for blowing fuses), but also major life lessons such as to have confidence in myself, to follow my dreams and to believe I can do anything I put my mind to, and most importantly, he has taught me that there are few things more important than family. From his relationship with his own mother as well as his connection with his mother and father-in-law, he was always so selfless with his time and went above and beyond to help them anyway he could. When it comes to my mum, sister and me, not to mention his son in laws and, of course, granddaughter, I can honestly say there’s isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for us. 

As well as being loving, caring and supportive, my dad is also one of the bravest people I know. There have been a few serious potholes in his life’s journey that have rattled him, but he always keeps going. He is smart, creative (if you need proof see here) and the best haggler you will meet. He is sharp as a tack and has a wickedly good sense of humour. 

My dad has always set an example to me of what a good man is. As a result, when it came to dating I wasn’t one of those girls looking for a bad boy. I understand it’s the good ones that will look after you and, when he isn’t being a lunatic, I am pretty sure I married a good one. 

So today, when it’s all about the daddies, I just wanted to say happy father’s day to mine, I love you and I am very proud to be your daughter. 

Posted: 19/06/2017

In Conversation: The Unmumsy Mum Diary 

Blogger and author Sarah Turner in conversation with BBC Radio Ulster’s Kerry McLean at the Belfast Book Festival. 

The Belfast Book Festival is jam packed with a fantastic mix of events and last night my sister and I were excited to get to experience one of them first hand: In Conversation with Sarah Turner, author of The Unmumsy Mum Diary at the Crescent Arts Centre

Sarah, whose blog The Unmumsy Mum has gone from strength to strength, has just published her second book: The Unmumsy Mum Diary. She was joined on stage by BBC Radio Ulster’s Kerry McLean to discuss what inspired her to start the blog, how she moved into the world of writing books and what’s next for The Unmumsy Mum. 

From the start it was very clear that Sarah Turner is naturally warm, funny and engaging; it’s not a surprise so many readers have been entertained by her musings, whether on paper or online, or that so many mothers have found her relatable. 

One theme that ran throughout the evening was, as Sarah coins them, ‘glossy mums’, who seem to have the perfect life, versus ‘truthful mums’, who admit that having a child is wonderful but they also come with many moments that will try you on every level. Of her inspiration to start the blog, Sarah said: “For me it was an outlet to venture the frustration of motherhood. I felt I was massively screwing it up.” Although I don’t have kids myself, when my neice was born I got a glimpse of how competitive fellow mothers can be and how that can have a detrimental effect, especially on new mothers. I think for a long time the ‘glossy mum’ blogs, which Sarah admits she does enjoy, ruled the online world, and so when The Unmumsy Mum came along it was a refreshing and comforting read that showed women that there is no one right way to parent, instead it’s best to follow your own gut, do what works for you and if you make mistakes, learn from them and move on. Women, especially those in the public eye, are constantly being judged whether it’s their looks, their lifestyle or their parenting skills and so it is restorative to find someone who doesn’t use their very public platform to do that to others, instead Sarah Turner says things most mothers can relate to but felt they couldn’t admit to. 

Another subject that Sarah and Kerry touched upon was the inequality in the perception between mothers and fathers. Whilst Sarah remarked that when she has a work engagement, people wouldn’t think twice of asking what she had done with her children, whereas the thought of asking a male in the workplace the same question seems rather absurd. Likewise both Sarah and Kerry touched upon how their other halves at times feel people who see them on their own with their children treat them like glorified babysitters, asking if they are giving mummy a break, rather than treating them as an equal parent who is doing their part to raise their children. 

Although my perception of raising children is from an auntie’s perspective, I found Sarah Turner, both the woman and the author, inspirational. Whilst many people like to edit their lives online, Sarah is brutally honest, which is incredibly brave. She has faced backlash from critics, such as from tabloid stories, as well as in comments from people who read those stories. However that doesn’t deter Sarah from sharing her life with her readers, and I distinctly got the impression that many women at this event were delighted for that. As a trying-to-be blogger myself it was also inspirational to hear Sarah’s story of how her blog went viral leading to a book offer from her publishers, as well as how she has remained steadfast on not doing sponsored posts so she can keep the blog true to her and her style of blogging. 

As the event came to a close, I had a smile on my face. The rapport between Sarah and Kerry was captivating; both are fascinating women who come across as very open and honest and as a result it seriously felt like spending an evening with friends. If you have tiny humans of your own, are thinking about having some down the line or just enjoy a giggle, I can’t recommend Sarah Turner’s The Unmumsy Mum blog or books enough! 

The Belfast Book Festival runs until 17 June. Check out the rest of the programme at: https://www.belfastbookfestival.com

Visit The Unmumsy Mum blog at: http://theunmumsymum.blogspot.co.uk

Posted: 15/06/2017