The Joy Of True Friendship

One of the most important relationships in your life will be with your best friend. Some people have that one special person, others have a small group of close confidants, but however it works for you, the value of friendship is immense. A good friend will be there to support you no matter what, to share all of life’s ups and downs and be ready with a hug, a box of tissues or a glass of celebratory bubbly. True friends can make a huge difference to the quality of your life, and their presence can have positive effects on your mental wellbeing.

What is a true friend?

You may have a lot of people in your life you think of as friends, but how many of them would you be sure would have your back no matter what the situation? A true friend doesn’t judge, or give their affection with strings attached. They won’t ditch you for a better prospect or limit the extent of their support and understanding. You and your best friend will have a very special bond, and if you feel like you would walk over a bed of hot coals to aid your friend then you know they are special. If you have a look online, you will find thousands of sayings and quotes about the meaning of true friendship, and if you feel that these sayings sum up your relationship, then you know you have a true friend.

What true friends will do for you

They’ll be honest! Your broader circle of friends and acquaintances are more likely to tell you what you what they think you want to hear – yes, you look lovely in that dress, or no, it won’t matter if you miss the gym today. A true friend will have your best interests at heart and will tell you what they genuinely believe – the dress doesn’t really flatter your shape, or will you feel better for missing the gym? One of the facets of true friendship is the ability to say no, as well. You may feel obliged to do something you don’t really want to for your acquaintances, but with your friend you can feel comfortable saying you don’t want to do it. They won’t be offended, they will understand you and respect your feelings. They will know that if it were an emergency, you would drop everything for them, as they would for you, so being honest with each other day to day doesn’t feel so hard.

What you can do as a true friend

Know your friend and understand their desires. Do what you know they will want rather than what you think would be best. If you’re throwing a hen party for your best friend, think about what kind of thing they would like to do. If they are shy and like a quiet life, don’t force them to have a wild, drunken night out just because you think they should let their hair down before getting married. On the other hand, if they love letting their wild side out, don’t book a weekend at a country retreat because it’s the sensible thing to do as mature adults. Of course, you also need to look out for your friend, and don’t let them get into trouble. If they’ve had a few drinks, don’t get so inebriated yourself that you’re incapable of making sure they’re ok!

Being there through good times and bad

There have been clinical studies undertaken that demonstrate the value of friendship in supporting people’s wellbeing. Having someone to whom you can confide anything and everything is an important release valve for stress and anxiety, and talking things through with someone who is sympathetic, trustworthy and non-judgmental is a wonderful form of therapy. A true friend will be partying with you at your wedding and be there to celebrate your achievements with you, but they will also stand by you when times are tough. A true friend will support you when you are ill, take you in when you’re in need, and be there to help you get through difficult experiences and situations like bereavement or drug addiction treatment. Not all friends are made equal, and some people you consider to be friends are fine for a chat and a laugh, but couldn’t be relied upon to be there for you come what may.

Don’t take your friend for granted

If you do have a close friend with whom you have this special relationship, there is a danger you may slip into the habit of becoming over-reliant on them. You may not mean to, but if you know they will always help out, you may call on them a little too much, because you feel they are the one person who won’t let you down. Friendship is about give and take, an equal measure of support and respect for each other, so don’t start putting too much on your friend and taking their love and desire to help you for granted. If they start taking advantage of you, you need to be honest and say you don’t feel the situation is fair. A true friend will understand, and very likely be horrified when they realise they’ve been asking a bit much of you.

Treasure your friendship

If you have a special friend, make the most of your time together and don’t slip out of touch because life gets in the way. You may have to move away from your friend, but staying in touch is pretty easy with modern communication systems, so emails and texts and having some video chats are simple ways to stay in contact. It’s a wonderful experience having a special friend, and so valuable to your wellbeing and the quality of your life.

Amongst all your friends and acquaintances, the special one or few who are your true friends will enrich your life, make you happy and can be relied upon to believe your happiness and welfare are as important as their own. Be joyful in your celebration of friendship, and you and your friend will maintain that special bond for life.

Collaboration

Our #OreoCookieQuest Adventure

This post is an entry for BritMums #OreoCookieQuest, sponsored by Oreo

Have you seen the recent promotion from Oreo? Their on pack promotion is The Great Oreo Cookie Quest and anyone can pick up a pack and have the chance to win some awesome prizes. These include a once in a lifetime trip to California and the Googleplex. We were sent a couple of packs from Oreo so we could spend time together as a family and have our very own Cookie Quest adventure.

With The Beast From The East constantly battering us in the UK, we got out and about in the snow for some family fun. Steve and Jack had plenty of fun building snowmen and throwing snowballs at each other whilst Olivia wasn’t too sure on the whole shebang.

Playing in the snow can be awfully tiring work so we decided to have a pick me up – a quick snack. What did we pick? Some Oreo’s – the perfect serving is 2 so that is exactly what Jack gobbled up to get some energy back after exhausting himself in the snow.

After a while, it got a little too cold to stay outside so we came in and had a quick cookie hunt round the house – Jack is very good at sniffing out Oreo’s apparently – before sitting down together as a family to watch a film together – which then transpired into a couple of films. I introduced Jack to the classic that is Bedknobs and Broomsticks, I have never seen him so quiet!

Why not have your own go at the Great Oreo Cookie Quest? It is a fun and exciting way to win some great family prizes – if you like to treat yourself occasionally, then Oreos are the perfect treat for this, they are a fun and tasty occasional treat for the whole family.

How would you spend time together as a family – what would be your perfect Cookie Quest? What joyful family moments have you been enjoying recently?

To A First Time Mum Me…

This post is an entry for BritMums #VicksBabyRub Challenge, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged 6 months and over, Vicks BabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99

Dear First Time Mum Rebecca,

I know you are struggling right now. You don’t think you are cut out for this and I can understand your foreboding – Jack was late and your meltdown the week before his birth is completely okay – all mums get like that sometimes.

I know that you have felt like a failure because of the first few days of being a mum – it isn’t your fault that you got an infection during labour and that things had to change. I know that you planned to exclusively breastfeed and unfortunately this hasn’t been able to happen but Jack is thriving being combination fed – and you have a great support network around you with Steve, your parents, in-laws and your fantastic health visitor, Philippa. You really lucked out with that health visitor – she’s great.

 

I know you’ve been looking around at the items you’ve got or been given for Jack and that you’ve realised some of them are utterly useless. Unfortunately that is just a rite of passage as a first time mum – you buy or get given absolutely every baby product on the market and realise eventually that you don’t even need half of them.

You’ll be the one to carry on your Dad’s story – remember when he swung you up in the air and you threw up into his open mouth? Steve will swing Jack and he will decide to try to do the same to you – but luckily you move out the way just in time. Oh, how you’ll laugh about it. You’ll also be able to take great pleasure at not being the parent who has to experience the first time Jack discovers the contents of his nappy and tries to eat them, be thankful about that!

 

Your first aid kit and medicine cupboard will be stocked up to the brim with all you think you could need, whether cosmetic or medicinal- thermometer, Calpol and Vicks BabyRub which helps your baby to be more relaxed, mostly because of the lovely mild fragrances of rosemary, lavender and aloe vera. Believe me, Vicks will prove invaluable when your baby isn’t feeling well or is suffering with their teething – and boy will Jack suffer with his teeth. I don’t mean to worry you but your second child will suffer even more..

You’ll soon find yourself in a routine and it will really work with you – plus Vicks BabyRub will help with that routine. It is gentle enough and helps baby to feel calm and relaxed before they go to sleep, calming and relaxing you as a parent too.

You may not think you are doing a great job but believe me, you really are. You are still young and the world may seem against you at times but remember, people are there to help you and with families as big as yours and Steve’s, there are always plenty of people to help you out.

Enjoy these first few weeks and months of being a mum, they’re amazing!

Love Rebecca x

My Wishes For This Year

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We all have goals and targets to hit each year but do you ever have any wishes? These may not be achievable or even semi achievable like goals and targets are but something you really hope does happen. I’ve got a few – how about?

Get Debt Free

This is probably a pipe dream at the moment as it doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere although we do expect some financial freedom hopefully this year so it could happen. It all remains to be seen so I’m keeping this as a wish without getting my hopes up too much.

Lose The Weight

This is possible but I must admit I am struggling a little bit. Sometimes all I want is that super stodgy food and it isn’t always possible. Plus I love a good curry or pizza and don’t get me started on chocolate. I believe I can do this but I am still wishing just in case I sabotage myself.

Help My Family & Friends Kick Bad Habits

I’ve got a few family members and friends trying to kick habits such as smoking and I wish they would be able to – I’m hoping to help them. I’ve recently heard about AYRLabs and their new launch, AYR+ – a platform to help the smokers of the world go nicotine free. Combining the vaping experience with a connected app, it monitors your nicotine levels and gives you advice and support on how to reduce your nicotine levels until you are nicotine free. I think this would be very helpful for my loved ones who really struggle to quit because they would be seeing the information in real time.

Go On Holiday

At this point in time, this doesn’t look like this will be happening. We can’t afford one at the moment and we can’t seem to agree on somewhere to go that would fit our budget if we could. I’ll keep holding out hope, entering competitions and seeing if I can win one – worth a try, eh?

Get A Good Night’s Sleep Finally

I’m still yet to get a decent nights sleep since Olivia was born and I am using all my wishes to hope that at some point this year I manage it. She’s getting better at sleeping so hopefully it won’t be too long but I don’t remember a time when I didn’t feel exhausted already upon getting up in the morning. Just once it would be nice to feel fresh and awake, right?

Do you have any wishes for 2018? What sort of things do you hope happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones? I’d love to hear them, no matter how obscure you may think them to be!

If Money Was No Object…

This is a collaborative post.

We all know what we would do if we won the lottery – but what if money was no object? Some people may say they are one and the same but we’ve all heard the stories of people spending all their lottery money and being left with nothing once again – there was even an article this weekend about a man who did just that. I know exactly what I would do if I won the lottery but there is so much more I could do if money was truly no object.

Make My Families Houses More Accessible

It is my deepest regret that I never had the finances to do this for my Dad before he passed away and I wish I had the finances to do it now for my grandparents. I would love to make their houses more accessible. My grandparents currently have a stairlift but there is so much more that could be done for them that would help with their mobility. Neither of them can use the bath anymore and find the bathroom quite hard to get around so I would love to be able to put in a walk in shower for them. They also have that weird setup where their toilet is in one room on its own and the sink and the bath are in another – I’d love to knock down the wall between them to make it easier to get from A to B.

I have other family members who have mobility problems and I’d love to be able to help them too. Every person should have an accessible house, especially a bathroom. It is a basic need. I’d love to be able to help them live the happiest life they can.

I’d Hire My Mum

I bet it sounds super silly but my mum would never be able to cope without working. I dread to think what she is going to be like when she retires! We’ve always said that should I ever go back to full time or my freelance career takes off in such a way that we would be looking for childcare, that we’d pay my mum and get her out of retail. I’d love to be able to do this – my Mum would love to spend all that time with the kids but she’d still feel like she was working.

I’d Pay Off Debts

My brother is one of my biggest inspirations. He’s done so much for me over the years and if money was no object, I’d love to pay his debts off for him. He borrowed off my Dad to start his business and paid him back and then, like we sometimes do, got hit with an unexpected bill. I’m not sure where he stands right now – he may even have paid it off – but I’d love to have been able to help him out to repay him for all of the times he has helped me. I’d also do the same for my in laws – they are in the process of selling their house but there have been so many problems and these problems are literally guzzling money day to day. I’d love to be able to help them if I could.

I’d Help Family Fulfill Their Dreams

I am quite happy to say that most of my family have achieved what they wanted to do. My cousin has recently completed a golf scholarship in America, another has been going round England talking about Gothic literature. But there are some family members who’ve had to shelve their dreams for certain reasons, including financial. I’d love to eventually to be able to help them to fulfill their dreams.

What would you do?