My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 8 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

It's NOT ok! Just #BeKind

What do you do when you feel as though you are compromising the safety of your child every day?

Our Beastie acquired her nickname at less than 24 hours old. 4 years on, and this nickname becomes more appropriate every day. She is a Beast! But ... she is a sweet little monster who forever wears her heart on her sleeve. She loves to please and loves to be loved. This is why it breaks my heart when someone takes advantage of her gentle side. • So, I have a plea to all parents out there. If you find that your child is unkind to another, be it physically or emotionally (or both!), whether this be one time or regularly, PLEASE don't ignore it. Please let go of the 'kids will be kids' attitude and gently educate your child as to why their actions aren't the best. Don't force your child to apologise to their 'target', especially in front of others ... this apology is not genuine. Don't laugh it off thinking it's just a phase ... this 'phase' could be causing another child to go home sad and unsure as to what they're doing wrong, this 'phase' could become more serious than you think. #ukparentbloggers #bullyingisnotok #bullyingisnotaphase #raisekindchildren #educate
A post shared by Liz Tumbridge (@munchkinhart) on

I get you out of your bed every morning and smile as you jump up with excitement for the day that lies ahead.

We stick to a routine to ensure everything gets done and nothing gets missed before we walk up the road, hand in hand, as you tell me about the things you're excited to achieve during your day.

As we reach the top of the road, you break free from my hold and run happily towards D, the Lollipop Man, who is smiling as you approach. You bounce around in front of him whilst he makes you giggle.

We cross the road as you give D a high five in the middle of the road (this makes his morning!) and we enter the school gates. 

You greet everyone you pass with a smile, a chirpy "good morning", prompting your passers by to smile at me and often comment about your seemingly unshakable happy mood (if only they knew!)

The four of us walk to your classroom and enter the cloakroom where you cannot get your coat off quickly enough. Kisses and cuddles for your sister and brother whom you leave standing patiently in the cloakroom whilst I assist you into the class.

This is my moment to snatch a kiss and a hug from you as you wriggle your way through the mingling children calling out "Love you, mummy!" 

Then you reach your goal. That thing that makes you bubble with joy every morning. You grab your two little best friends, hug them tight, and just like that, you're ready to start your day. 

This is the moment part of my world has been falling apart a little recently. I catch the eye of your teacher. She understands. She knows what I'm going through right now. Catching her eye is essential for me at the moment. It's the one thing that holds me together as I walk away and leave you. Like I'm passing the baton to her and urging her to please keep it safe and not drop it. Drop that baton, and it's all over.

We make our way around the school and walk your sister to her classroom door. 

This all seems like a pretty normal school morning routine. So why is it, I've been feeling far from 'normal' every day when leaving you? Why am I fighting back the tears as I'm leaving the school gates each day? Why am I crippled with the feeling of incredible guilt?

Maybe it's because I question how safe you really are within those 4 secure walls of the classroom?

Maybe it's because the realisation of what has been happening to you since the very first day you started school has suddenly become a harsh reality?

Maybe it's because I know that magical smile of yours may have already faded before I've even left the school grounds?

Maybe it's not any one of the above ... Because it's actually ALL of the above.

One day you'll read this, Beastie, and it's important to us that you understand. You're such a sweet soul. You want to be friends with everyone and we're told at every parent's evening that you're popular amongst your peers and have no problem attracting new people with the help of your comical sense of humour and your magnetic personality. 

However, sadly, not everyone will see the best in these qualities of yours.

You're no angel, I know that. You've been nicknamed 'Beastie' since you were less than 24 hours old, and every single day, you equip us with brand new reasons that confirm we chose the perfect nickname for you. You're a Beast, but you're the most loveable Beast I know, and one that wears her heart on her sleeve. 

Sadly, at the young age of just five years old, you've had to encounter individuals that will take advantage of your fun, adorable side. They will seem almost threatened by your ability to befriend others and will take a dislike to the close relationships that you form.

This happens in life everyday. And that's fine. That feeling of envy is not yours and should certainly not be your problem.

What is not fine is that you're being harmed.

Harmed by another child. A child that pretended to be your friend. A child that joined the school knowing no one and whom you took by the hand on your first day in Reception and promised she wouldn't need to be on her own.

How part of me wishes that encounter had never taken place. If only I had known that this child would, within a matter of weeks, be causing physical harm to you on a regular basis. 

I tackled it, along with the help of your teachers, and was assured it was all over and these malicious actions had stopped. And yes, every single part of it has been malicious. 

But it hasn't stopped. It never stopped. Your kind heart just chose to ignore it for a while.

This isn't 'kids being kids'. This is one child picking her moments carefully, knowing when she's being watched and when she's not, finding you at vulnerable moments and hurting you. This is manipulation to the point that she'll hurt you one minute and hand you a carefully penned letter or card the next, telling you she loves your friendship whilst she watches you accept her 'token' gracefully and eagerly, thinking this person is a friend after all and that everything is right with the world again.

That's your kind heart that thinks that, all the while your head knows the truth.

Friends are meant to leave marks in your heart, not footprints on your back when they decide to deliberately kick you as you're sitting on the carpet, listening to the teacher.

Friends don't corner you in the bathroom and give physical digs when no one is watching.

Friends don't push you off your chair or push your seat in so far that it squashes your chest against the wooden table, and then laugh when you ask to be released. They don't pull your hair, hit you, push you over on the playground or trample on your belongings. Friends don't tell you who you are 'allowed' to be friends with or try to dictate that you and your best friend from nursery have been friends for too long and are no longer allowed to play together. Friends don't force your favourite playmates to leave you at playtime by using threats of a morbid and extremely worrying nature, whilst instructing you to go sit on a bench and spend your playtime alone with no company. Above all, friends do not cause you to feel frightened at the thought of confiding in the very people who have a job to keep you safe, because you're promised that if you tell, you'll get into trouble. 

Friends don't do all of these things and then think a piece of paper with a feeble, less than genuine "sorry" scribbled in pretty colours takes away what they have just done.

This is why my world falls apart every time I leave you at school. Your two best friends are amazing. The sweetest girls in the world. And their soft little souls are affected in ways that make you sad too. None of you should go through this. You're five! Your teacher is incredible. Almost too incredible sometimes! She's sad too. She's sad that this has been happening under her nose and has gone completely undetected. She's sad that you've been made to feel scared in her care and have felt unable to speak to her for fear of getting into trouble. She's sad that this child has changed something in you recently - she's taken away a certain sparkle that you had - and your teacher has mistaken this for something else. She had thought that you had simply returned to school this term with an extra focus and determination to learn ... which you have. But that's not all she's been seeing. She's been witnessing something much more disturbing, but she had no idea. 


Because this child made sure of it. 

Another upset, another letter thrust into your hands last week. Only this time was different. This time, I was there when she passed you the envelope covered in "I love you" and friendship stickers. And do you know what? You'll never see that letter. Not this time. A "Sorry for hitting you" (yes, that was the entirety of this letter) simply comes nowhere close to cutting through the damage she's done. You deserve better than that, beautiful girl, and I'm not letting you see another letter like that, which makes your kind, adorable heart think that it's all ok again.

It's not ok. It's never ok. It's bullying.

Bullying is NOT ok!

If you suspect your child is being victimised or bullied in any way, please check out the #BeKind campaign initiated by the team at ITV's This Morning and pledge to watch their appeal video with your children. Speak up, and stop the bullies!

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Give your January earnings a Boost

Swago is Back!

I've written a number of times about Swagbucks, and a good few of these posts have been telling you all about Swago.

The digital rewards site Swagbucks is offering big payouts during their January "Swago" promotion starting Monday, January 8th at 5pm GMT and running until Monday, January 15th! 

Swago is just like bingo, but in this case you're filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. If you're thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it, meaning you can get more gift cards faster. Swago is a brilliant way to get started, bagging yourself a nice little SB bonus to begin your earnings! Here are a few tips: 

Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, completing a survey, or just visiting one of our popular stores! 

Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change colour signifying the action item is complete. 

You have until 8pm GMT on Monday, January 15th to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely. 

Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value. Once you’ve achieved a pattern, the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely. 

Each activity you successfully complete on your Swago Board will give you anywhere from 1-20 spins on the Spin & Win Wheel. PLUS, when you submit your board for a bonus you'll get additional spins. The number of spins will depend on the pattern you complete. The wheel has all sorts of great prizes that you can win, and each spin is a winner!
The Spin & Win Wheel will be available all throughout Swago and you have until 7.59am GMT on Tuesday, January 16th to use all your spins. 

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points - if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 300 SB bonus, which is a really great start towards a gift card from the retailer of your choice. 

Click here right now and click "Join" to get started! If you don't already have a Swagbucks account, you'll be able to quickly sign up; PLUS, if you earn 300 SB before the first of January, you'll get a bonus 300 SB!

That's a nice few bonuses for January!
Happy Earning.

This post has been written in collaboration with Swagbucks. My story is real and I have been compensated in SB for this promotional post. No other payment has been received.

Starting the New Year with some Swag!

Put that cash back into your wallet

January is here, which usually means wallets seem a little empty. Christmas and New Year festivities can often give the bank balance a bit of a battering, making this first month of the year feel as though it goes on forever!

My aim is to not feel this way in January, and Swagbucks is the way forward.

By using Swagbucks throughout the year, I can earn enough SB (the redeemable currency used by Swagbucks) to pay for Christmas ... again! 

Sound too good to be true?
Well, the proof is right here, as I am now starting to save for my THIRD Swagbucks Christmas!

All throughout January you can earn large bonuses when sign up as my referral on Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you're probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, or PayPal cash. 

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 300 SB bonus! Here's how: 

2. Earn 300 SB total before 1st February, 2018, and you'll get a 300 SB bonus!

3. That's it. It's super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and it has lifted the stress for us for the past 2 Christmas times. 

I can't wait to see how much I can earn for Christmas 2018. Watch this space for updates!

This post has been written in collaboration with Swagbucks. My story is real and I have been compensated in SB for this promotional post. No other payment has been received.