Latest Posts

Yes she’s Mine

When people look at Hollie and I they never ever believe she is my daughter, she looks a little older and I look a little younger maybe. I always feel rather defensive when people ask “wow is she yours” I always follow that with ” I was 20 when I had her” I’ve always looked younger, I never tried to get in bars under age I just got laughed at, it was something I hated growing up, now it’s not so bad though!

I guess it’s not just the way I look but it’s the way I feel, I don’t feel 36 next month. I am mentally young, I like all kinds of music, I still listen to Radio 1 through choice! I borrow Hollies clothes, I have her dungarees on again today, I have been warned not to do this clearly still pushing the boundaries as well. I love the odd night out and my one true love… festivals! Nothing beats a bit of D&B in a field, admittedly I can’t do it for as long as I did but my love for it is still there and I do love to share those moments with Hollie.

I do feel though this has had an affect on how I parent Hollie, In some ways growing up she was very quick to latch onto my likes and is now herself into lots of different music and fashion. Yes she seemed to grow up fast but something my children do not struggle with is self awareness and confidence but I never hold them back into being babies! I like for them to understand how the world works from an early age!

With regards to Hollie and her teenage years I think it’s really helped being a young mum, mainly because she can’t pull the wool over my eyes. I know what’s going on out there and I hope my awareness has been able to help her understand the dangers of all sorts mainly drinking and drugs but that’s a whole other blog post.

I do really make a conscious effort to be on her level, don’t get me wrong I don’t like everything she wears and listens to! Or even agree with some of her life choices but ultimately as long as she’s towing the line and her curfews are met they are hers to make. More importantly if those decisions go wrong she knows I’m at home, she knows she can call me and she knows I’m there for her and that we sort it out as family.

There are however moments of madness, shouting, patience lost and me heading to the gin. No kind of parenting is easy, it’s not what the pretty pictures show, it’s hard work and sleepless nights even as teenagers. There are millions of parenting books out there to help, but only you know your child. What works for one won’t work for another and this goes for teenagers too. For example Hollies curfew is later than some of her friends her own age because she has older friends and she’s earnt that trust, who says all 15 years olds have to be in for 9pm… they don’t, not in my eyes. They earn they luxuries of these things, they also get taken away just as fast.

Don’t doubt your ability to parent a teenager, it’s really important you see that everyone is going through the same thing. Danni from @Shesaworkingmum and I are trying to create a community for people with teenagers to come together and share their struggles. Talking about the good and the bad is so very important, Dani came up with an amazing hashtag #solidarateen let’s use it to come together and keep each other going in the most positive way we can!

Gem

Mumness

Installing the WordPress app was something I thought I’d never do again, not sure I was ever really cut out to be a blogger, not even sure what one was. Did I want it to be my job? Did I want to put the effort in? I’m still not sure to be honest but one thing I do know is I felt like I needed to chat.

Since the algorithm change on insta I feel I’ve chatted less and less. Social media was once the place to keep up with friends and family, even make new friends, but the reality for me has become far from that. I’ve withdrawn from posting on Facebook like I used to and insta just got me down, I didn’t want to talk on posts 3 days old, I like real time and that doesn’t happen as much as it did.

So I dug out my WordPress password and thought well maybe I should start writing and see what comes out! Turns out I’m just moaning but everyone needs a moan right!

One thing I always worry about when writing about life is opening myself up to judgement! Or, who cares what I have to say! Something I’ve lost over the last year is confidence in myself, in my capabilities and who I am! Being a mum is hard, I got lost down the rabbit hole of mumness, forgot who Gemma was. Easily done. I’m a ditz at the best of times never mind adding the baby brain and the teenager to the mix. Not even sure I can string a sentence together some days “thingy” is my favourite word.. my vocabulary has halved and I feel my only educational program I watch is Do You Know- which by the way is pretty fascinating. I’ve always wanted to know how the make mass fusilli pasta!

I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s not about the numbers, or who reads it, maybe Life with the Peppers was more about me than I first thought. Maybe it was more about exercising my brain cells, voicing my opinion and getting the chance to get down and be creative about things I love. Something for me.

I already feel better, much like my attitude on going to the gym. The thought of it puts me off, I’m not sure what I’m doing when I’m there but afterwards I feel better.

Who knew you could put blogging and the gym in the same category? Well we will see where it goes.. maybe il get finger muscles.

G x

Hollies Wedding Speech 

Wedding season is now in full force and I wanted to share with you Hollies speech that she did at our wedding last year as her May blog post. It really made me laugh and cry, maybe I should read it more when we fall out, because we do and all teens fall out with their parents it’s only natural but underneath all the attitude and drama they all feel like this about you, just like Hollie about us, we are lucky she can express her feelings easily some children find that incredibly hard. Bare with them they Love you… and enjoy Hollies speech.

 

 

When Mum asked me to do a speech I was under strict instructions never to mention the chair she once threw at me, never to mention the awful arguments and most importantly never to make her out to be anything less than she is. My perspective of my mum is far different to anyone else, she’s beautiful, she’s someone I look up to and she is my best friend. I have so many stories about her, about her and Sam and about our little family in Reading; god knows how we ended up there. There are NO BAD stories mum – don’t panic.

I remember when you first met Sam and you would read his texts and you would do what I call the “Sam Smirk” id never really seen that smile before, you were and still are so happy. I knew he was the one for you since the day I first met him at NBA house, he let me behind the DJ decks and little did he know then he would be bringing up the devil child in the forth-coming years. Ha-ha

Its weird to think four years from then you’ve brought a beautiful baby boy into the world, we have the most stupid but gorgeous dog and we have created a happy settled home I love. I’m so grateful for you to be my parents that I love and adore. Sam I cant even begin to tell you how much I love and adore you, however I don’t adore the fact mum and I had to frog march you back to the tent at Bestival on the first night but that’s beside the point, I will forgive you because everything you’ve done for mum and I is extraordinary and beyond our wildest wishes. Words can’t describe how much you mean to me and how much you’ve really become my father figure. For you to walk into my life and except who I am and fight for what I stand for with me is more than I can ask for, so thank you

Mum you already know how it is; I can’t get a better mum than you. I do think you’re pretty cool apart from when you’re drunk and start dancing in front of all my friends. I never ever want anyone different, when the trouble comes you’ve been by my side since day one and I love that. I can’t describe how beautiful you are and what you do that makes you so special. I’m so grateful for you and Sam to have found each other and dance your hearts out at festivals together, I’m still overwhelmed that you got engaged on the hill at Glastonbury in front of all those people – your favourite place. I want you to know mum that what ever happens I will always love you and Il always be your little girl no matter what, I will give you advice and help you as much as I can. I can never repay you for the gorgeous way you have brought me up, without you I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Finally we are happy; we are all in the same place and are settled. Earlier when I saw you look into Sam’s eyes, I realised then and there that that is what love is and when I get older I hope I meet a guy I connect with like you connect with Sam, love is the definition of you two and I’m really inspired to see how you guys bounce off each others love, protection, loyalties and free spirits and I want you to know no matter how much I talk to you with disrespect and ungratefulness (I am a teenager) I will always love you both. I just want to say here that I am really sorry for nicking both yours and Sam’s things, its just you are cooler than me but I don’t like to admit it very often.

You look absolutely amazing tonight the most gorgeous I have ever seen you, so to finish off, one last thing and that is Samuel Pepper and Gemma Pepper, I would choose you in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I will find you and I would choose you.

I love you both.

Thank you

Why Chiltern Edge Should Not Close

Welcome to Hollies second blog post, unfortunately not one I ever thought she would be writing. She was keen to express her feelings on the school, her second home and I encouraged her to keep positive and to keep focused. In the next few weeks we are holding out hope that it will be turned into an Academy rather than the possible closure of a lovely rural school that has been around decades. I personally don’t want to go into to much detail here and take away Hollies view and what she feels is important to get across as a pupil, here she is.

 

I am currently a year 9 student at Chiltern Edge school which after an ofsted report this week has been put into special measures and threatened with closure…. these are MY thoughts.

Imagine growing so closely to something, knowing everything about that something, knowing its wrongs, it’s rights and becoming so emotionally attached that you couldn’t bare to think what you would do without it. NOW, imagine what it would be like for someone to walk up to you one day and say “we could be taking all that away from you and you might be left with nothing” imagine how heartbreaking that would be to be put in that situation, lets face it you would be devastated.

Well right now that’s what position we are in, a position of uncertainty not just for us as students but for all staff and people who are connected to the school and the wider community.

The best thing about this Chiltern Edge is that it is such a small school, which means everyone knows everyone, sometimes that can be challenging but for the majority of the time it can also mean that it’s a family environment, we look after each other and help each other everyday. Students who attend Chiltern Edge are all unique in their own ways, however don’t forget we are moody, unpredictable teenagers, we have bad days and sometimes we get a bit distracted but we all have one thing in common and that is friendship, we have support from staff in abundance and we are all learning to respect each other everyday. I just feel the bond we have in this school is so strong and no ofsted report or article can EVER break that.

I believe at times there have been teachers that haven’t been as flexible as they could’ve been but honestly from the bottom of my heart I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for certain teachers at this school. I’m a child who maybe pushes the boundaries to far sometimes or think I’m doing something for my own good then it turns out to be a disaster but the staff have supported me through all these times. These teachers are amazing and they stand out to me because they understand teenagers, they listen and they want to help. They also get kids understanding on a level that not all teachers can achieve. I can’t thank them enough for everything they do for me. To my teachers reading this, you inspire kids like me every day and hope you are proud to be part of our school.

The amount of memories I have made in school is ridiculous, like the time the dance department went round with the speaker promoting tickets for the dance show and the whole school was literally dancing they’re hearts out, or the time when we were all on the field at sports day and the teachers were literally sprinting for their life’s. Its moments like these that us kids remember for the rest of our life’s, and I would love to carry on making lots more over the next 2 years.

I’m so proud to be at Chiltern Edge, there are lots of things to improve on but lets go for it, lets make things better lets not take all the good stuff away, lets not break up friendships, bonds and the community. Lets come together and show everyone what we can achieve.

Everyone deserves a second chance. Chiltern Edge, its pupils and staff deserve a second chance to get this right. In my eyes we 90% there already, I wish I had all the answers but I’m 14 and I don’t have the power to fight the government cuts or the council alone. I just have the power to voice my opinion and hope people will listen to me as a pupil of a great school.

 

Hollie

Mr Bloom Live

” Hello my name is Mr Bloom and id like to come and see you soon”, we all know that line don’t we, but this time for Oscar he really did come and see him at our local Theatre in Reading.

Mr Bloom played by Ben Faulkes was joined on stage with his veggie friends, Colin the Runner Bean, the Wee MacGregors (the radishes), Joan the Fennel, Raymond the Butternut Squash, Margaret the Cabbage, and Sebastian the Aubergine. With an interactive story line including singing and dancing it’s a hit for Mr Bloom fans all around the country. Munchkin Entertainment new producers of children’s shows have been running Mr Bloom Live since early February and ends at the end of April and you can still currently find him in these cities here.

Oscar was mesmerised by the singing and dancing, although he got a little fidgety during the other parts. The story line was based around the preparation for the royal visit of King Edward, the first half lasts around 3o minutes with a 20 minute interval and a 30 minute second half. There were a selection of Mr Bloom goodies to buy and Oscar chose a hat, for anyone who knows Oscar that won’t come as a surprise as he is a big hat fan.

It was a lovely afternoon out and I think Oscar is even more of a Mr Bloom fan now he’s got his very own hat. For more information on the show see here.

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Gem

*Disclosure – We were given tickets to go and see Mr Bloom’s Nursery Live in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own

The Caversham Rose

A newly refurbished bar has re opened it doors last week and it has all the thumbs up from me. I never knew the place before so I’ve pretty much walked into it as new place to go. First impressions of bar always count for me, I’ve seen a quite a few in my lifetime in all shapes and sizes and I have to admit I do like a bit of the wow factor when you walk in.

The Caversham Rose is firstly a impressive size and very pretty, I love how it’s been styled inside and out, the outside area is perfect for summer evenings and it even has heaters so you can stay out there all night long if you wished.

With its cool background music and well mannered staff greeting you as you walk through the door it immediately makes you feel at home. It’s not lost the local pub vibe, yet it’s striving for much more and it works. I went last week and its very clear everyone was enjoying themselves with groups of all ages enjoying the atmosphere and because of its size everyone looked at ease. Service as the bar was quick, although they had ran out of normal tonic water, I was offered a lemon tonic which was actually delicious with my Gin and I will be ordering that combination again.

We were seated in a beautiful private alcove, and I love a little tucked away corner so I was super impressed from the moment I sat down. The menu was right up my street with a great selection of dishes, I was quite spoilt for choice. What caught my eye instantly was that they had a sharing and nibbles option for when you’re a little peckish but just want a drink, I spotted the box-baked Camembert straight away, I can’t wait to go back and try that at some point. As I sat waiting for our food I saw the burger being brought out and at that point I had some serious food envy, had I made the right decisions?

 

For starters Sam and I ordered Scallops special with pea mint puree and chorizo, salt & Szechuan pepper squid with aioli. They came out beautifully presented and were delicious, the starter menu really had some great things on it and I’m pretty sure id try everything before I settled on my favourite.

For mains Sam had 9oz 28-day aged rib-eye steak with twice-cooked chunky chips, crispy onions and baby kale, the steak was cooked medium rare just how Sam likes it. With Sam working in Central London he has been spoilt with visiting some of the best steak houses there are and he assured me it tickled his taste buds with the best of them. I went for the King prawn, crab and chorizo linguine, this came in two portion sizes and I knew I wanted a pudding so I went for the small portion. I have to say when it came out it was the perfect size especially if you are having three courses, it tasted amazing and I was filling up fast. I have to admit here that I couldn’t resist ordering a side portion of sweet potato fries, which were the best I’ve ever tasted, bold statement I know but the Parmesan cheese finished them off beautifully. As it turned out my food envy of the burger was squished because I couldn’t have been happier with my choices.

The pudding menu was filled with a good selection of classics and something a little more extravagant called the Melting Golden Chocolate Bomb, now I’m not one to hold back on the puddings, so it was obvious from the word go what I was ordering. Sam went for the classic sticky toffee pudding; I think you can tell a lot about the place from a sticky toffee pudding! Now I don’t want to go into to much detail of the chocolate bomb because I don’t want to spoil the surprise but oh goodness it was out of this world. If you’re a chocolate lover order one for yourself, if you’re not quite into lots of gooey goodness then order one to share. Sam’s sticky toffee was just perfection and we ended the night with an espresso martini from the cocktail menu.

Overall it was delicious with a good strong menu, all the classics and something more if you’re looking for it. The staff were polite and I particularly loved the leather aprons. Having worked in customer facing roles for my whole entire working life having well turned out staff is a must. It’s beautifully decorated with open fires for the winter and a great selection of summer drinks to choose from. Toilets were super clean and very stylish, I loved the outdoor area and I noticed some well behaved dogs and children having a great time. I will definitely be returning and if you’re looking for a place to go over the Easter weekend the Caversham Rose should be top of your list.

Happy Easter

Gem

Peppa Pig My First Cinema Experience 

We were lucky enough to be invited to a special pre view of Peppa Pig My First Cinema Experience in London last weekend. It was the first time we had even considered taking Oscar to watch anything on the big screen and I have to say it went really well. There were cakes, balloon modelling and story telling in the foyer before the movie with a picture opportunity with Peppa and George. We even met the lovely Harley Bird the voice of Peppa ! 


Oscar is a big fan of Peppa which helped his concentration as it last for around an hour. There were 9 new featured stories in the film and inbetween those were lots of interactive well known childrens songs and actions to copy with Peppa, George and their friend Daisy. 

It really is the perfect first cinema experience to take your Peppa fans to over the Easter holidays. The new stories include watching Peppa and her friends take a trip to London and a family holiday to Australia. 

Peppa Pig My First Cinema Experience starts on April 7 and runs until April 13. For any other information click here

Gemma 

Dear London 

Please don’t be worried ! Sometimes things happen we don’t have answers to, but for me your still the place of adventure, hussle and bussle of city life and a place I still love. 

I will never stop walking your busy streets, I will carry on taking my children to see your beauty and culture. My husband will work right there in your heart and I will walk side by side with tourists and dwellers for many years to come. 

I will never be scared into thinking your not safe, I will never be told it’s too dangerous, I will carry on believing in you even in your darkest hours, we will unite in keeping you alive. 

We will protect you, we will never let the evil drive us away. You will still remain my favourite city, where all my fondest memories are. 

Tonight rest easy, it’s been a tough day but tomorrow the sun will rise and you will too. We will never be beaten, we will always stand by your side. 

G x 

Meet Hollie – An Introduction

For a while now I’ve been thinking about letting Hollie do a monthly feature here on the blog, she’s a very opinionated young lady who has views on all sorts of things that are going off in the world. I also thought it might be interesting for people to read things from a teenagers view, its pretty cool at times. I might live to regret this but here we go everyone meet, Hollie…

Hi I’m Hollie I’m 14 years old and live with the crazy family you’ve probably all seen here on my mum’s blog…

I didn’t really approve of my mums blog when she first started writing it as I thought it was quite “cringe” however throughout the last few months I’ve seen her write, I’ve watched her share her thoughts and now its become a little part of her happiness. I admit it has grown on me and I really do enjoy her writing her blogs, for her to get to share her thoughts, ideas, days out or even her personal life.

I’d consider my mum more of my best friend, she helps me with a lot of situations I go through in my life… Whether that’s school related, friend related or even what outfit looks best. My mum is a very pragmatic person, she listens and understands she won’t talk back to you and she is fair. I’m an ambivalent character, just like all teenagers are, but she will love me and care for me no matter what I do. She’s still embarrassing though, because all mums are and that’s the law.

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I currently attend a school in a fairly small area, I started off quite unbalanced but over time everything has seemed to slip into place now, I do have mishaps here and there but I always seem to learn from them as hard as that can be sometimes. Even though the school is small I feel it works best for me as I’ve honestly found my feet there and grown as a person. I have some great teachers who understand me and I enjoy school really.

I recently made a choice of my options at school and my timetable changed completely, it will also change again once I go into year 10 but I can honestly say the current change is amazing. I’ve now made my choices and I have chosen R.E (philosophy and ethics), Drama, Geography and Art as well as the core subjects. I really hope this stops me from being late but I can’t help it, I just love my bed and the voice of my mum in the mornings.

Love a good rave whether that’s at a festival with my family or in a field with my mates in the summer, music is my life, spotify is my best friend and extremely lucky to of seen so many of my favourite artists live and been to Glastonbury. Massive Vampire Diaries  fan and my life will never be the same now it has ended.

I’m looking forward to writing more blog posts about everything, but I hope for now that gave you a little look into who I am.

Hollie X

Not Just The 3 Of Us

The Killer Thats Being Missed..

 

Sepsis, a word I had only briefly heard of 4 weeks ago. My only knowledge of it was that it was something to do with blood poisoning but I had no idea what kind of devastation it can have on your body and that it can take away your loved ones quicker than I even want to think about.

Four weeks ago Hollie’s step mum was rushed into hospital, she is 26, she is a wife and a mummy to 2 beautiful children, she’s a daughter, a sister, a friend and we nearly lost her to this horrific killer. Rosie is the best step mum to Hollie, she young, caring, beautiful and she loves Hollie like her own and I’m so grateful we have many years left of sharing Hollies future. But it could have been a completely different story if the ambulance wasn’t called when it was and the paramedics hadn’t spotted the tell tale signs of Sepsis.

We are all guilty of thinking things like this won’t happen to us, but I’m here to tell you it can and you need to get clued up on the signs. It’s known that Sepsis affects the young and the old but it can get you at any age as Rosie has proved.

Sepsis is caused by the way the body responds to germs, such as bacteria, getting into your body. The infection may have started anywhere in a sufferer’s body, and may be only in one part of the body or it may be widespread. Sepsis can occur following chest or water infections, problems in the abdomen like burst ulcers, or simple skin injuries like cuts and bites.

The UK Sepsis Trust

I saw Rosie lying there in a coma, I saw Marc with the fear in his eyes he was going to lose his beautiful wife, I saw Rosie’s family speechless and their hearts aching and I saw my teenage daughter holding onto Rosie’s hand willing her her step mum to wake up and I will never ever forget for the rest of my life the word Sepsis and what it can do to a family.

Rosie will make a full recovery although the road ahead is long; the amount of love, support and belief she has behind her is just breathtaking. She fought Sepsis as hard as she could and she beat it, not everyone is that lucky and its why I’m asking you again to read up and to acknowledge this is something that is happening now and can happen to anyone. I want you to take a minute and read the Sepsis Trust website which you can find here, it could save a life of a loved one and that is worth 5 minutes of anyones time.

Gem

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Dear Bear and Beany
Cuddle Fairy

Mother of Teenagers