A Mothers Ramblings: November 2014

Saturday, 29 November 2014

If The Hat Fits, Wear It!

When the Children and I got our new Winter hats, we were thrilled. I mean who wouldn't want a hat that is an Angry Bird, or a Panda or a Husky? What do you mean the majority of the adult population of the world? Don't you know how warm these hats are? They are like Deer Stalkers, only furry!

PippaD, Top Ender and Big Boy wearing their new Winter hats

I didn't think twice about wearing it around Birmingham. I didn't think twice about wearing it on the School Run. I smiled at all the children (like I normally do) and had a shared grin with the parents brave enough to make eye contact and a right giggle with those parents who know me and the daft things I do, heck half of them have seen me in my swimming costume on my Instagram account.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Do You Deep Clean?

This coming weekend, Daddy, the children and I will put up our Christmas Decorations.

Before we do this however, the house needed to be cleaned and for me it needs to be more thorough than the surface clean that I normally do. In order to get ready for Christmas I have to deep clean the house.

Well, my room and the living room. I deep clean the kitchen every month as an ongoing process (I do a little each day to keep on top of it!) and the children's rooms were deep cleaned the other week (thanks to Daddy) and the bathroom is so small I practically deep clean it every time I go in there.

Anyway.

I started with my bedroom first, it just made sense to me to get it done first. That way after collapsing down dead after doing the living room I'd have a nice bed to collapse on to.

It took me most of a day, but eventually I'd cleaned my entire room. Cleaned under the bed, moved all the units, dusted the lampshades, cleaned the windows, washed the nets, washed the curtains, aired the mattress, changed the sheets, dusted the annoying wardrobe doors, dusted the ornaments... you know normal stuff.

My room looks amazing. Well, I think it does.

My Clean and Tidy Bedroom - just in time for Christmas

It took me the best part of two days to do the living room and den. Mainly because moving sofas, bookshelves, DVD units, computers, bureaus and TV units is a pain in the butt on your own but also because it's been so long since I last did it I couldn't believe how much dust there was down the back of the units.

Behind the TV

My Mum called at one point, and whilst she and I chatted I was busy dusting the baseboards and giving them a quick wipe over with an antibacterial cleaning wipe. I said to her that I remembered being so annoyed at her as a child, as each week my Sister and I had chores to do that basically involved doing a deep clean of the house. Now however, I could appreciate it. Better to do a little each week than a marathon once or twice a year.

Moving the Sofa to clean underneath it

I put on Facebook, that I'd done a deep clean and my friends all started commenting about how they don't bother doing areas that people can't see.

And it made me think.

Am I being excessive?

Was moving the sofa, turning it upside down (it's a sofa bed sofa) and cleaning it from every angle too much?

Was wiping the baseboards with an antibacterial wipe a step too far?

Was moving the TV unit forward to get at the dust bunnies, unnecessary?

Well, I don't think it was and it is my house, so it really doesn't matter what you think.

I am curious though. Do you deep clean the house and clean underneath chairs and sofas and how often do you do it?

Thursday, 27 November 2014

We Need To Talk About Pippa

Dear Pippa,

Hello! Long time no see!

We're the craft boxes that did live under your bed. You moved us the other day, when you moved your bed in order to clean under there. You may have noticed that after you moved us out, you didn't put us back. That's because we've had enough.

We've decided to come to you, via your blog to help you, because you have a problem.

You're addicted to buying craft items and by your own admission you suck at crafting.

You have so much craft stuff that you've not even looked at, that you should probably try to finish them before buying more. In fact, I saw you looking at a mega box of Hama Beads on the internet. You do realise, that you have four jars and a box full of hama beads don't you?

You know the sewing, that you thought would be good for Top Ender to use in the Nativity at Church? Well, the reason you can't find it is because it's at the bottom of one of the boxes. Under four other cross stitch projects that either you or your Mum started and never finished. Your Mum has an excuse for not finishing the ones she started. You don't.

What about all the wool you have for knitting things? Let's put it in perspective. You were pregnant with Big Boy when you started knitting that scarf for Top Ender. You thought, it would be great for her to have a green scarf for the winter, as her School uniform is green. Top Ender was about to start at the school and well, you did manage a few inches but you're no further on now six years later!

As punishment we're going to live in your living room and guilt you into sorting us out. We don't care if you give us away, sell us, donate us or something else that we've not thought about, but when your husband comes home tonight he won't be pleased to see a living room full of your junk will he?

No.

So, you'd better crack on hadn't you.

Love

The boxes of craft items.

Pippa's stacks of Craft Boxes and Craft items

PS There is still space under the bed for a couple of us. Just promise us that this time you'll actually get us out and complete us.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A Family Christmas Day at Cadbury World

Last weekend, Daddy, the children and I headed up to Birmingham to visit Cadbury World again.

Cadbury World. If you sniff hard enough, you can smell the chocolate!

Now, last time we went I had said that I didn't think that the tour itself was very child friendly, and at the end of it we were all craving vegetables and protein (in the form of Chicken drumsticks) and not eager to get away, but basically we were wanting to not be thinking about chocolate for a while! However, we thought we needed to be fair, we would go and pretend we'd not been before. We would pretend this was entirely new to us and seeing as Santa wasn't there the last time, we thought that maybe he'd sprinkle some magic dust and help us. Plus this was a special blogger day.

We arrived at Cadbury World quite early, a little confusion between Daddy and I over what time we were supposed to get there (We were to arrive for 9:30am, so I said 9:15am to give us some time incase of having to stop or something and Daddy decided 9am for the same reason, thinking that 9:15 was the firm deadline!), no traffic and all the lights seeming to be in our favour, meant that we pulled up outside the front door and had our pick of parking spaces. I would totally recommend getting there early if you can, that way all the stress is left behind and you can enjoy your day.We met up with the rest of our group, and before we went to visit Santa spent some time in the Cadbury Cafe, again if you have time do stop off as it has a lovely atmosphere.

Queues can build up at Santa's Grotto, but it's quite fast moving

Seeing Santa was great, and the slight Brummie accent just added to his warmth. Santa knew that I'd spoken with Top Ender and Big Boy's teachers this last week and even managed to remember some things about the children that I'd forgotten about! The children then had their photograph taken with Santa (Daddy and I declined to be in the shot) and Santa gave them a Cadbury themed gift (Pencil set) before High Fiving Daddy and the children and giving me a very polite hand kiss.

Big Boy and Top Ender with Santa

We then went to visit the new 4D attraction, which saw Big Boy holding my hand as he was a little worried but soon had him giggling with delight as we were whipped through the Cadbury factory, jumped into a massive vat of Chocolate and achieve a long time goal of mine, got to ride the Cadbury Crunchie rollercoaster! The 4D attraction is certainly more fun, than the attraction that was there previously, and a little more fair as it doesn't matter where you sit, where as it did matter where you were stood before!

Big Boy ready for the 4D Attraction at Cadbury World

We had a spot of lunch in the cafe (technically it was brunch) and the Cafe sells Gluten Free food, which was brilliant. Daddy almost forgot to take a photograph, but as you can see they didn't exactly skimp on the portion sizes.

Gluten free Ham Rolls and Salad at Cadbury World

We headed off to the Panto, after lunch/brunch and it was actually quite good. It took the audience a little while to warm up, but when they did it was fab. We were lucky enough, to meet the cast afterwards and they were fabulously fun, not dropping character and really making the children and Daddy and I laugh.

Top Ender and Big Boy with the stars of the Cadbury World Panto

The tour, was what followed next for us and I'm not ashamed to say that we kinda rushed through it. It's the same as last time, there wasn't exactly a lot going on and again I do think they need to make it a little more child friendly. Of course we did that ourselves, by asking the children to read signs and to tell us what they could see, but the production line was down again, and watching staff members sit on chairs isn't all that interesting. I would show you a photo, but you aren't supposed to take photographs in the factory, so I can't.

One thing that I didn't know, until this last visit was that visitors who are unable to consume milk don't lose out when visiting. They too can collect all the chocolate as they go round (Four bars per person in the party) and at the end they can explain they can't consume milk and can be given a voucher in exchange to use in the shop. I thought that was a nice idea and just goes to show along with the gluten free food they have in their cafe that they really are being inclusive.

This time, our family day out was pretty fantastic. I think that it helped that we were directed to do the attractions in a certain order (Santa, 4 D Experience, Eat, Panto, Tour) as it made everything fit together and made sense as the queues were shorter in that order, but this time we came away really feeling the Cadbury love and I could quite easily be tempted back in the not too distant future.

Top Ender and Big Boy at Cadbury World

We were invited up to experience a Cadbury Christmas, as such our admission was free.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Calamity Jane #Review

As many of my theatre review posts start out, this was a musical I knew well as a child, thanks to my Mother. I was joking with Top Ender, that every weekend there was a Doris Day film on, but I know that it wasn't as often as that, it's just the way that memories work isn't it? You filter out half the things that happened and only remember the good things, and of course watching my Mum sing along to a musical on TV was one of the good things I didn't filter out.

I thought it would be best if my Mum took Top Ender with her to the Theatre to see Calamity Jane for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if my Mum could magically instill in me a love of Musicals, then she could do the same for Top Ender. And Secondly, it's much easier if I babysit Big Boy, as I know what to do with his pump and how to work his blood test monitor... plus I can handle him when he's tired and cranky much more easily than my Mum can!

So Top Ender and my Mum went off to see it, with my Mum promising not to embarrass Top Ender by singing out loud, all the songs from the Musical.

I got a text at the interval from Top Ender.

Birmingham Christmas Market Family Fun

When we went to Cadbury World, as we were in Birmingham I asked if Daddy would mind if he gave us a guided tour of the German Christmas Market that is in town. Daddy had popped up a couple of times after work (well he has little else to do in the evenings!) since it was open and I figured he'd now know where all the good stalls were. Plus, as I've said at least a million times in the past, who doesn't love walking round a German Christmas Market and smelling all the various scents from different food and drink stalls?

Birmingham at Sunset

I knew we were off to a good start, when we arrived in Birmingham City Centre at Sunset and this was the view that greeted us. I know a lot of people dislike the Selfridges building, but I love it (almost as much as I love the Library) and I think that the Birmingham skyline is a pretty one. We headed up past the Bullring and to the Christmas market.

One Christmas Tree in Birmingham City Centre

I think Birmingham has as many Christmas trees as I do. The children and I were even caught posing in front of some of them, in fact Josie had been sitting on the very same steps just a few hours before because looking at pretty Christmas trees is all kinds of awesome.

PippaD, Top Ender and Big Boy with new Winter Hats

As we walked around, Daddy and I sharing some Honey Roasted Nuts (there his new favourite) and the children gasping with delight and amusement at almost every stall, it did start to feel an awful lot like Christmas.

German Christmas Market Stall selling lovely smelling food!

We could see Santa's beaming down at us from various stalls, the lights seemingly reflecting the excitement that even the adults were feeling as they examined various crafts and picked which hats, coats, cakes or gingerbread that they wanted to take home with them.

Carousel at the German Christmas Market in Birmingham City Centre

If you've never been to a German market, I feel it's important to point out that you will hear a lot glasses clinking, there was an awful lot of Beer and Gl├╝hwein drinking going on, but it blends in with the general hubbub of the crowd and street entertainers and Christmas music from the stalls and the carousel. It's odd, because there are so many people and everyone is trying to get to where they are going and yet it's beautiful and synchronised and almost everyone smiles.

Another Tree in Birmingham City Centre

There is always magic in the air at Christmas. I'm not sure if it's the twinkle of the fairy lights that does it, or maybe that people are just in better moods because they know that soon they will be together with family and friends and eating foods that transport them back to their childhood.

Some Christmas Lights in Birmingham City Centre

Whatever it is that makes the magic, it was there in spades in Birmingham and I'm so glad that the children , Daddy and I got to enjoy it together.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

This Advent Will Be Special

I've been getting really excited about Christmas over the last few days (actually weeks, but Sssh!) and am busy planning everything to make this Christmas the most magical and Spiritual yet. Well, apart from the first one as a Baby being born to be Saviour of the world is pretty magical and spiritual.

The Nativity Scene at our local shopping Centre

Anyway.

With Daddy being in Birmingham all week, I want to plan things that the children and I can do together that I can also either give a simplified version to Daddy for whilst he is away or that he can "catch up" with when he gets back home, and of course that's why I need to start planning now. After all, December is really just a few days away if you take out all the hours of sleeping, eating, bathing, chore doing, shopping, cooking, school run, petrol filling, TV watching, blogging and whatever else it is that I do.

So, what have I got planned. Actually planned seems a little grown up and fully arranged, it's more like what have I got in mind.

Well, lets start with the things we're going to do together.

Each Sunday, we're going to light our Advent wreath candles together. We'll pray, read some scriptures and sing some of our favourite Christmas Hymns or Carols. I love the Spiritual refill that we get on a Sunday from this and the chance that we have as a family to read scriptures and pray together. I love Jen's candles this year, but mine are much smaller... I can't find a picture however!

I'm thinking of starting a Jesse Tree this year, and so each Sunday we'll work together to create various ornaments, If you don't know about Jesse trees then this Catholic website is brilliant at explaining about it all. Have you ever made a Jesse tree? If so, let me know if you found it added to your Spiritual appreciation of the season in the comments!

Each Saturday night we'll watch a movie together, We have plenty of Christmas movies to chose from, but I'll make sure we watch a Nativity film at least once, after all "it is the reason for the season". I just have to pick my favourite from all the ones that I've seen over the past *cough* twenty-five *cough* years. Of course, we'll definitely watch my Top Ten Christmas Movies and more than likely the film Nativity! at least twenty times...

Poster for Nativity!

For the time that we're apart I'm busy combing Pinterest for ideas and I've got several already, but if you have any ideas then please let me know either in the comments here, or on Facebook or Twitter, as it takes a village and all that!

One of the things we are definitely do is go to the Cinema (different towns, same time showings) to see Get Santa. My sister is planning on taking her troop to the cinema to see the same film, so we might get together to go as a BIG group and have some family time too.

We're going to make some new decorations (I quite like the Santa Hand print Baubles), and we'll try and top our 21 Christmas trees total this year too.. Oh and don't forget that I have a surprise for all of you this Advent, a little like our Calorie free Chocolate calender a few years back!

On top of all this we have a few ideas, that I can't actually share here on the blog because, well they are secret and we don't want people to know that it is us! However if you leave a comment because you're after some ideas from what we are up to, leave a comment and I'll send you an email or DM me or private message me or something!

So what are you up to this advent and what should I be adding to my list too?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Most Wonderful Walks of The Year

There is something about this time of year, that just makes me want to get out and about with the family and then make sure whilst we are out that we drink plenty of Hot Chocolate to keep us warm. It's become a bit of a family joke that when we're out on the family walks, we actually put on more calories than we burn because of the treats I take with us, Still, I think that if you're going to trek for miles in the cold and possibly the wet, you deserve a treat!

Hot Chocolate on a Walk

I made a collection on ebay of some of the fantastic things that I think all families should have with them when they are out on a family walk, but I'm afraid you're going to have to make your own tasty treats to take with you. If you like this board (and another one in a couple of weeks) then you'll be entered into a competition to win a £20 ebay voucher, perfect for use in the New Year, as the winner will be notified by the 5th November via their paypal ID. And of course, you'll get a chance to see a little bit into how my brain works, as the collections are all me and things I've found whilst scouring the website.

I have found that going on the walks has really strengthened us as a family. We all start off together, walking as a family of four, but generally at some point the children run ahead and Daddy and I fall into step and we start chatting about all the various things that husbands and wives talk about... that's right TV shows and what's for dinner. At some point, one of the children will fall into step with us and strike up a conversation with one of us, the other parent then walks along with the other child and strikes up a conversation too,  a little while later and we swap our walking partner and again and again and again, until we reach our car or a stop point to dish out snacks and cups of Hot Chocolate.

Now, a little word of warning. If you are going to go on a country walk please make sure that your mobile phone is charged, that you check the weather before you set off (and dress accordingly!) and try to remember not to leave your goodies in the car if you're planning on eating them whilst out on your walk... not that we've ever done that of course.

I try to take photographs when we're out on our walk of things that the children, Daddy and I have found interesting, various landmarks and different plants and of the family. I love looking back on the pictures to see how much the children have grown, or how different things have developed (pictures of trees are always a good one for that!) and changed the view. And the children love looking back too, as there are plenty of places that the children don't remember us visiting and seeing the photographs of them and plants and landmarks helps them to remember and convince them that we're not making it up!

Of course, make sure that you put plenty of photographs up on Instagram if you go on a family walk and let me know as I love to see what everyone else gets up to with their families and sometimes steal their ideas... speaking of which let me know of some good local walks to you so we can share these great ideas around!

I am working with ebay on this campaign.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Samsung Food ShowCase Fridge Freezer - The Big #Review

I have my Samsung fridge freezer for ages now. 

I've got over the fact that it has magic wheels, I've wiped off at least a million fingerprints and have now given up and am living with a slightly streaky look to the Chrome finish. I've discovered that my boobs can accidentally turn off the ice maker if I stand too close to the touch pad area and that you get used to new noises really quickly. I've also discovered that the novelty of having ice on hand at all times of day and night without having to think about refilling ice trays with water has not worn off, and Top Ender is still so in love with the cold filtered water available that her water consumption has doubled, which is good as I was a little worried about how much she wasn't drinking!


Iced Water For all!

The children LOVE that they have their own drawers and that I fill them with appropriate snacks for them. Mostly carb free options for Big Boy, slightly more carb options for Top Ender and of course breakfast brioches and similar items that they seem to think the world revolves around! There is still plenty of room to store the plethora of insulin, glucose and other items that BB needs for his Diabetes that need to be refrigerated

I'm quite chuffed with myself as I even managed to work out where my milk should go. It only took me three months, so as things go I think that's a genius move on my part, and I can't believe I didn't work it out sooner.

There have been a few issues however. 

I discovered when trying to freeze a muffin pan of soup that the tray was too wide for the freezer shelf. Luckily as you may remember I have two spare freezers in the garage (I bulk buy and cook okay?!) and the tray fitted into one of those quite nicely.

The bottle storage area is really designed for wine size bottles, which in a house that never drinks wine and rarely drinks drinks that come in wine size bottles is annoying. But it handing for storing sauce bottles, such as the ketchup and brown sauce that we can all have an argument about in the comments over which one goes on our Bacon Butties!

inner case and show case door handles

Daddy still hasn't got used to the ShowCase door allowing for quick and easy access to our favourite things. Such as milk, sauces for meat, lemon juice, you know all the things that you normally find a place for in the fridge. I love that in the description of the fridge, they call this part a fridge within a fridge and it's true. It's like I have two fridges, the showcase door allows me to store things I want quick access to and then the actual fridge has all the meat and vegetables in. I can honestly say that it has revolutionised the way I cook

The pro's certainly outweigh the cons.

The fridge and freezer seem less chaotic, despite being just as full as my old fridge freezer ever was.

The children are much more able to help themselves, and with the rule of all leftovers living in green lidded pots from Ikea, my fridge looks so much neater most of the time too.

The alarm that sounds if you haven't closed the fridge or freezer door, reminds me to get a move on when I'm putting the shopping away and makes me realise that having the showcase door, keeps a lot more of the cold in when I'm after something quick, like when adding more of the Nando's Peri-Peri sauce to Daddy's chicken dinner!

I've put a thermometer in the fridge, and move it around, and can see that the all around cooling, where cold air is blown out at each shelf level, means that the fridge really is kept at a constant temperature (apart from when my boobs accidentally reset the fridge temperature as well!).

The lighting is amazing, I mean why have we never had lights in a freezer before?! LED lighting is certainly the way forward.

LED Lighting in the Freezer to help me find my ice-cream

The digital inverter is really cool, Daddy had to explain this to me as it makes a difference to the cooling performance in the fridge by automatically adjusting according to what I put in the fridge. Yeah, made no sense to me either. Basically if I (or the children) keep opening the fridge door, or I put in a tub of leftovers that is still warm the fridge works this out by seeing the temperature of the fridge has changed and so reacts and puts out cold air to cool the fridge down (if there is food in there) or slows down to help with the energy consumption. That makes a little more sense to me.

I'm not sure if it is the digital inverter or the thermometer or the drawers but the food in my fridge is being kept fresher for longer. Salad's are crisper for longer, the carrots didn't go all wibbly before the end of the week and believe it or not but my onions haven't made me cry once since having started to keep them in the fridge for an hour or so before chopping!

Lastly, as most of my friends (who've all come round for fridge tours!) have pointed out the Fridge Freezer looks good. It suits the kitchen, despite the kitchen being a sort of country theme (not my choice, but I can't afford to replace it just yet and if anyone wants to give me a redesign for free and then come fit a kitchen please do get in touch!) and it would look just as good in their kitchens. Especially one of my friends whose kitchen is my dream kitchen.

So there you go. I love it, it's perfect for how I cook and two of my friends have ordered it off the back of seeing it in my kitchen. If you're looking for a new fridge freezer, then honestly make sure you put this one on your shortlist.

I was sent the fridge freezer to review.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Weight Watchers Iced Desserts #Review

There are many things that I love about having the evenings to myself. Of course having Daddy away is a really sad thing and the children and I miss him terribly, but as I said I really love having the evenings to myself.

And of course when I say I have the evenings to myself, what I really mean is I go to bed early, watch TV and eat pudding.

One of my Weight Watchers Iced Desserts being Eaten whilst watching Sir Alan on the Telly

I think that most of you will remember that I'm not a huge fan of Ice Cream but the desserts from Weight Watchers have a few benefits for me (and for you too!). The first is that they are a good serving size, meaning that I'm not overwhelmed with Ice Cream but this is good for you because honestly we all need to watch our serving sizes don't we?!

The second benefit is that I am actually still watching what I eat, (I'm not on a diet as such, I'm just more interested in what I'm eating) and so eating a calorie reduced pudding is a good thing. Also with the lead up to Christmas, I know a lot of playground chatter has been about keeping to diets in anticipation of either putting weight on at Christmas or more commonly looking good for Christmas photos and Christmas work dos.

Another benefit of the puddings, is that they are actually nice. I know, who'd have thought it?! Seriously, remember that I don't like Ice Cream and then remember that I'm actually deciding to eat these Ice Creams in my treat time!!!

I had been given some vouchers to buy the puddings and despite these having run out weeks ago, I'm still buying the desserts each fortnight for some treat time.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Why I can never go on Pointless

I'm normally quiet good at the quiz show pointless. In fact I'm normally so good that my Mum and I have considered applying to be contestants.

However, recent events have meant that I now can't be on the show and it wasn't even anything I did.

To explain why I have to take you back a couple of weeks, so imagine wibbly wobbly wavey lines across your vision now.

I was in bed, one cold and dreary night. BB was needing a blood test in just over an hour and I thought there was no point in going to sleep, so I started channel hopping. I'm terrible when it comes to late night TV, I prefer things that I don't have to think about, possibly romance the sort of shows that are akin to trashy novels, but none of these scripted reality shows, I'm not that low brow.

Underground bedlinen. Perfect for memorising the stops on the Northern Line

Eventually I settled on ITV Encore, a new programme was about to start, well a repeat from about 14 years ago but it was the first one and I'd never seen it before. It had Caroline Quentin in it and I quite like her and Alexander Armstrong was in it too and he's funny on HIGNFY and I've obviously seen him on Pointless so I thought I'd give it a go.

Soon I became engrossed in the storyline of Life Begins, which sees Maggie (Caroline Quentin) being left by her husband (Alexander Armstrong) because he was a bit bored. There is a little more to it, but look the impression I was left with at the end of the first show was that Alexander Armstrong's character is a bit of a tosser.

I can see why I sympathised with Maggie. Apart from the obvious, that's how the writer wrote it, she and I were quite similar. We were both housewives/SAHM's. We were both not quite living up to what we had thought we'd be. We had two children, one girl, one boy. We're both really funny and of course we were both at one point once married to Paul Merton. Oh wait that was just her.

Anyway. As the series went on (nightly) I started to really dislike Alexander Armstrong's character because of more examples of his tosserism and general lack of being a decent human being.

Then I saw another TV show with Alexander Armstrong in it.

Guess what. In this show, he has an affair whilst his wife is sort of having a nervous breakdown because she can't conceive. Worse still he gets the woman he's having an affair with pregnant.

So.

I can't go on Pointless, because if I do I'm sure that I'll punch Alexander Armstrong in the face or possibly have an affair with him.

Either way I don't think the BBC will approve.

Friday, 7 November 2014

One Hour A Week

Every Thursday night, Big Boy goes to Beavers.

I love that he does this, I think that it's important for him and I can see the difference it has made in him for the short time he's been going. He is much more confident, he talks with other children much more easily, he has become more tolerant of others and accepting of differences. Basically he is turning into one of those well rounded young men that I'm going to be incredibly proud of for the rest of my life.

BB at Beavers

Anyway.

As you all know, BB is a Type 1 Diabetic; And whilst I'm a little more protective of him than maybe I would have been if he wasn't a diabetic, I have good reason to be really don't I? Now, whilst his leaders at Beavers know what to do, I'm still a little worried about leaving him alone with them. It's a lot of responsibility to put on people who see him for an hour a week and who have a duty of care to other children too. So, each week when BB goes to Beavers, Top Ender and I go too. And we sit outside, because we don't want to intrude on BB's Beaver time, or on his independence, or even on his street cred!

In the Spring and early Summer it was great fun. Top Ender would play in the park and we'd have picnics and we could sit in the sun. In the Autumn it was fun too. We went foraging, collected conkers and we were still able to sit in the sun because it was so mild!

Now however in late Autumn, we're a little lost at what to do.

It's dark.

And wet.

And cold.

So if you had one hour to spend a week doing something with your daughter in the family car whilst you waited for your son, how would you spend it?

Top Ender reading in the car

I've suggested to Top Ender that she do her homework, spend some time reading or practising her spellings, that she could spend time studying her scriptures with me or even catch up on her sleep. I've thought that I could spend time meal planning, writing blog posts, writing correspondence, sleeping, reading, helping Top Ender with her homework or spelling practice or scripture study... but I really want to do something in that hour a week, something productive or that will seem to be productive!

Any suggestions?

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Jordans Simply Granola #Review

I'm going to admit something to you, but you must promise not to hold it against me. I often eat a bowl of cereal instead of my lunch or evening meal and so when I was asked if I'd like to review Jordans Simply Granola, I said yes. I figured that it would be a nice evening meal and also shave a few pounds off my budget and possibly my waist line!

Jordans Simply Granola

I started off by having some for breakfast, topping the granola on top of yoghurt and topping the granola with raisins and chopped fruit. I even posted a picture on Instagram because of how lovely it looked.

Jordans Granola with Dried Fruit

And it was. It was lovely. Seriously lovely.

So I had some again, this time with fresh fruit,

Jordans Granola with Fresh Fruit

It was just as good.

In fact, it didn't matter, how I ate it. With Milk. On it's own. On top of Cake. With Ice Cream (and I hate ice cream). In Muffins.

It didn't matter it was just lush.

Seriously lush.

Oh my goodness how lush it was. Yes, was. Was because I ate it all up and rather quickly.

So. What do you need to know in a review about Granola?

It's tasty.
It has a handy resealable ziploc thingy.
It costs £2.69 in Tesco, but it's on offer at the minute and is only £2 until November 11th.
It has no artificial additives or flavourings
The oats are sourced from Nature Friendly Farms.

We were sent the Granola to review.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Blood Tests, 4am lows and 5am Calls

Big Boy had a blood test scheduled for this morning, at the Hospital.

We've already been for this test a few weeks ago, but when the results came back BB's doctor was concerned that the results were a little high and so ordered a retest. I knew it was going to happen as when BB had the first test it caused him so much pain that he was sure that his arm was being sawn off with a blunt and rusty saw (that's what he said) and not even the promise of console time was able to help him calm down.

BB Christmas 2013

I wanted to kick him (the Doctor not BB!) because I didn't want a repeat of the last time. I didn't want my little boy to feel the pain he felt before.

To make matters worse, this time BB needed to fast before he has the blood test.

It's not too hard to get BB to not eat or drink between Midnight and 8am as I can kind of make sure he is asleep. It's the 8am to 9am (well 9:30 by the time they called us through despite being the first appointment of the day) bit I was worried about. How could I distract him when he was hungry, thirsty and panicking about pain from a blood test?

Then last night at 4am, he had a low blood sugar reading.

How are you supposed to fast when you need to take sugar in to ensure you don't die? Well, I gave BB the fast acting carbs that he needed and thought sod the accuracy of a fasting test, this is far more important. The nurse taking the blood agreed that and just made a note in the records.

The other problem with BB having a low at 4am is that it means I need to be awake for 15 minutes to make sure I stay awake to retest him and I always find if I've been awake for an additional 15 minutes in the middle of the night that I generally can't get back to sleep.

Which was true last night too.

I was just drifting off to sleep around 5am. I'm not sure what I was dreaming but I know that I was dreaming a nice dream when BB suddenly yelled out;

"MUM THE CREEPY TOYS ARE WATCHING ME AGAIN!"

I was awake again in an instant, but there was no way I was getting out of bed. BB if you're reading this in the future, I apologise, but the creepy toys were watching you and I knew your sister was in bed so it wasn't her!  

Top Ender being Creepy

I knew that like me BB talks in his sleep, so I hoped this was one of those moments, and told him I'd be there in a minute hoping he'd settle back down on his own. 

Five minutes later however and BB called me again.

So I sneaked across the hallway to his room, stuck my hand inside his cracked door to turn the lights on... just in case there was a toy ready to attack me!

This did the trick and BB went back to sleep and I started the day. There was no point in trying to go back to sleep before my alarm went off.

So now we're here at the hospital.  Waiting for the torture to start.

Kinda wish the toys were still watching me.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Barbie Glam Camper #Review

One of the great thing about having so many nieces, is that they always tell me everything that's going on and what they would like or what's popular or what they have seen and think I should know about. This means that nor only am I now fully versed in various pop groups, but I'm also fully up to date with what the most popular toys for this Christmas are going to be. Which is why I knew when I was asked if I'd like to review the Barbie Glam Camper that I was going to have four of my nieces jumping all over me, volunteering to help me and no doubt taking on the very hard task of taking the toy home.

Barbie Glam Camper #Review

In the end after speaking to my lovely sister, we decided that what we really needed to do was let Top Ender review the camper and then allow all four girls to share the camper van as a Christmas gift. So after I'd carefully removed the camper from it's box (so I could remember how to put it back in!) and took a few photos, Top Ender started playing with the camper van, in fact I had to pull her away from the camper van to get her to eat her dinner!

Barbie Glam Camper Inside the Box #Review

The camper van is actually pretty amazing and I understand why Top Ender found it so hard to pull herself away and I'm pretty sure that the girls are going to love playing with this on Christmas Day.

Barbie Glam Camper the front and grill #Review

What I love about the camper van is that it is compact and so when it comes to time to put all the toys away, the girls won't have an issue and will be able to make sure that it's neat and tidy.

Barbie Glam Camper the front seat #Review

I love that everything that is needed is in the camper van too. Top Ender was making some pretty interesting scenarios up, where the Barbie dolls she had picked were in the toilet, having a nap, sitting on a bench, eating at the BBQ, driving to the beach, driving to a lake, driving to the mountains and just generally doing all the things that Top Ender wants to do on a camper van holiday!

The inside back panel of the Barbie Glam Camper #ReviewThe outside of the back panel of the Barbie Glam Camper #Review

If you're the parent to a Barbie fan, then you are more than likely already considering buying the glam camper, and with an RRP of £94.99 and a lot of offers available making it around half the price, I personally think that it is a great buy and can't wait to see my nieces reactions when they open it!

We were sent the camper to review.