Monday 28 February 2011

The sound of silence

My house was very quiet today, there wasn't the sound of children playing/fighting/watching TV. After a week of us all being at home together it seemed very strange! For all of us it was quite a relief to go our separate ways at the school/nursery doors this morning and get on with our normal lives. 

As much as I love my children their inability to spend more than about 15 minutes playing together without fighting is hard work! A combination of limited budget and poor weather meant that we spent rather too much time cooped up in our small house. We did manage a trip to the cinema to see Tangled, a day out in Keswick and a trip to Morecambe:

But we had to spend the majority of time in each other's company and with the consequence of arguments and fights. The only time they could stay with each other was when they were sitting watching a movie or TV. 

I am so hoping that the next holidays at Easter 1) have better weather so we can be outdoors and not on top of each other 2) my kids will learn to get along better! For now I'm just going to enjoy the fact that I now have 2.5 days a week with no children at home and I can enjoy the peace and quiet...

Saturday 26 February 2011

Sudocrem Competition: Kids do the funniest things

Win yourself a £400 family activities voucher

To celebrate the launch of Sudocrem’s shiny new website and informative social media channels, they’re offering a 12 month Merlin Family Pass worth almost £400 to the winning mum or dad who shares with them their child’s (under 3) funniest photograph with the story behind it. Please note submissions must not relate in any way to the use of Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream.
It’s simple - just visit, ‘like’ the page and share your child’s funniest photograph with the story behind it.
Content should relate to children aged 3 and under only. Please note, submissions must not relate or refer in any way to the use of Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream or any other licensed medicine. Photographs and supporting text are both acceptable. The acceptance, disqualification or deletion of competition entries, without explanation or prior notification is entirely at the discretion of Forest Labs, as set out in the Terms and Conditions found on   Entries can be submitted up until midnight on Wednesday 16th March 2011.
Our winner will be selected by Forest Labs staff and our wonderful celebrity midwife Nikki Kahn. The winner will be announced via  on Monday 21st March 2011. Shortly thereafter the winner will be sent a 12 month Merlin Family Pass worth almost £400 (Family of 4 = 2 adults + 2 children OR 1 adult + 3 children) children must be under the age of 12 and full Merlin Terms and Conditions apply. The pass allows entry (with some restrictions) into top UK attractions including Alton Towers Resort Theme Park, THORPE PARK, Chessington World of Adventures, LEGOLAND® Windsor, The EDF Energy London Eye, The Dungeons, Warwick Castle, SEA LIFE Centres & Sanctuaries, Madame Tussauds London, Madame Tussauds Blackpool (from April), the Blackpool Tower Dungeon (from Sept) and the Blackpool Tower attractions (from Sept).
Terms and Conditions relating to the use of the Merlin family pass are dictated by Merlin Entertainments Group only and can be found here:
Read the competition Terms and Conditions here:
Must go and search out the most embarrassing pics of my 2 when they were smaller...

Friday 25 February 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful V

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy From the Heart

Think I have a lot more positive things to put in this one this week! Well done Michelle on giving us such a good reason to be positive.

So here we go:

1) The lovely Ian (from Appliances Online) gave me £15 of Amazon gift vouchers just because I commented on someone else's blogpost about receiving the vouchers from him! He calls himself the Hairy Godmother and I have had fun ordering some books for my 100 book challenge. By judicious shopping I have ordered 3 more historical fiction books which I hope will arrive on Monday! I have made it to 19 books already and look forward to getting past 20 with these. If you comment on this post you never know if the Hairy Godmother will bestow a gift on you too ;-)

2) Despite the fact I gained a tiny amount of weight this week I have another pair of jeans that can be taken off without undoing the button! The belt I was using to hold them up won't go tight enough to make a difference so I guess that's going into the next charity clothing collection. Just need to get enough money to buy some smaller trousers...

3) I have persuaded both Treasure Trails Cumbria and Michelle from Phoenix Cards to join me for my World Book Day sale in Staveley Institute on March 5th! So not only can children spend their World Book Day vouchers but their parents can have some retail therapy too. Hoping that this is the start of some great business relationships.

To see what else is happening check out the blog hop below and don't forget to comment for a possible visit from the Hairy Godmother!

Fitness Friday - Week 9

Not a good weigh in this week at Rosemary Conley yesterday with a little gain of 1/2 lb. I've obviously not been getting it right this week!

It's been half term I know that's not an excuse but being home with the kids for a week has played havoc with my eating! They are at the stage of constantly grazing and it is hard not to join in. When we have had days out with picnics or the odd meal in a cafe and I have no idea how many calories I have consumed. I said last week I would record my eating but it just hasn't happened...

During my daily life I have been more active and we have been out walking around as a family. I did manage the top level of class at the Rosemary Conley meeting but nothing else that really got my pulse rate up.

Plans for next week

Flash Back Friday: Victorian Ladies

This is the second week of Karin's Flashback Friday were we choose a photo or photographs from the archives that has a special story or meaning behind it. As I haven't yet had a chance to scan my old school photos I am once again delving into the really old family photos.

So I am pleased to present my great grandmother Margaret Amy Brading (1885-1975) and her older sisters Hilda and Elsie:

The daughters had quite a tough later childhood as their father had vanished so when their mother died in 1895 they were packed off to orphanages. They had 4 older brothers so no-one in the family was able to care for all of them.

Thursday 24 February 2011

Become a Mumpreneur - New course

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I signed up to this at the end of last month as part of my attempts to get myself back to be self sufficient. As of now I am up to the 15th task that Antonia and Erica set all those on the course. Using the advice I have received in e-mails, webinars and through the BaM forum I have already earned enough money to cover the cost of the course so far! I hope to be able to extend this and in the medium term actually make enough money to make a difference to my life. As part of their affiliate programme I would like to extend to you the chance to join the next course.

Is one of your goals for 2011 to boost the family income? If so, then this a great e-course that you’ll want to join. Called ‘Become a Mumpreneur’ it will help you start earning, whether you’re at home with the kids or only have a few spare hours each week.
It is for you if you have wanted to start a business but lack ideas, confidence or resources. All the ideas in the course are perfect for beginners and backed up with lots of support in the Become a Mumpreneur members area where you can:
  • build up the essential support network that every mumpreneur needs
  • ask questions
  • get advice
  • create your own diary of your progress
  • meet other mumpreneurs
  • share highs and lows
  • take part in live chat
  • find out about events
  • watch videos
  • download podcasts
  • and learn even more about how to earn from home.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

The Gallery: Expressions

Thank you Tara for another lovely photographic challenge! Please click on the camera above to see all the other entries...

I came across this one when browsing some older photos and it shows the love on my daughter's face as she shared a bath with her baby brother (the novelty eventually wore off!). He is gazing back up in wonder at his big sister. Where have those 4 years gone....

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Family Fun at Keswick, Cumbria

The lovely Sean at Treasure Trails Cumbria kindly let me try out another of his family trails to review on the blog so I selected the Keswick spy trail. This was a bit different from the Kendal murder mystery one we did last month. Instead of eliminating suspects and weapons we had to use clues around the town to crack a code. Once again I recruited some willing volunteers from the senior generation to assist in completing the trail and took the drive from Kendal to Keswick through a very murky and chilly Cumbria.

When we reached Keswick it was still quite early in the day and chilly so we decided to visit the Puzzling Place first in the hope that the weather would cheer up.

Monday 21 February 2011

Monday Review: Tangled in 3D at the Brewery, Kendal

Three generations of the family were able to take up the Monday special price at the Brewery Arts Centre today to watch the 3D movie and all pay the reduced rate. Yes there was a £1.50 premium each for the 3D version but it was cheaper than the other days of the week!

Having enjoyed the latest Narnia 3D movie (but with the proviso of it being wasted on my 4 year old) we decided to give the concept another go but at more young child friendly movie. It is classified as a PG for a scene of mild violence but it wasn't that much different from a U really.

Once again some of the 3D effects were amazing and certain things really did appear to be coming straight at us or to be reachable. On at least one occasion I saw my 7 year old stretching her arms to try and grab something. In fact I think the 3D aspect enhanced the movie and it seemed a really  good extra dimension. But what about the actual story?

Sunday 20 February 2011

#SilentSunday: Cheers!

Silent Sunday

Reasons to be cheerful/5 Things That Make You Feel Good

The lovely Jenny at her Nairn NICU blog has tagged me in a "5 Things That Make You Feel Good" meme so I thought I would combine it with the Reasons to be Cheerful idea from Michelle.

This was started by Scottish Mum she says:
“I have seen lots of posts about what we struggle with, or things that we like to do, and I’d like to find out a bit more information about all of you. This is my way of doing it. I am looking forward to visiting some of you on the blog hop.”
What you cannot choose.  The Rules are Simple
We all know that blogging/facebook/twitter is in our arena of what we like to do, so I am going to rule them out as one of the 5 that you can post about. They really are not very girly. Likewise, phones, computers, ipads are all out of the running. I am challenging myself to this, as I am really not a girly girly type of person, and I want to find that within myself. It’s not all about power suits, filofaxes, ipads and designer phones.
If you want to pass this along, pick bloggers that you want to find out more about, and challenge them to write up their 5 secret passions that make them feel good. The idea is to lift our spirits this week. The fact that there is a linky added, just makes it all the more worthwhile in doing.
Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy From the Heart

So without further ado here I go:

1) My kids
Even when they have driven me mental all day looking at them asleep in their beds makes me melt:

2) Living in Cumbria
I feel so lucky being able to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the United Kingdom. Even on a grey day it's amazing:

Saturday 19 February 2011

The "Now" Generation

Whilst watching the Star Wars trilogy on video (yes I do mean tape!) with my children this week it made me realise how things have changed since I was their age. They found it hard to wait for the videos to rewind when the movie had finished and not being able to skip to the menu and miss out all the adverts! Did those of us born in the 20th century have to learn more patience than those born in the 21st century?

Here are a few ways that things have changed in my lifetime growing up in the 1970s and 80s:


Not only was TV quite often still in black and white but children's TV was restricted as to when it was on. I remember that we had our after school slot on the BBC but then "grown up" TV came on with documentaries, quizzes etc. Yes at the weekend we had a full morning of programmes such as Tiswas and the Saturday Swap Shop, but the majority of output on the 3 channels was aimed at the adults. Even adult television was cut off at the end of the evening with the National Anthem heralding the end of the broadcast.

These days children have their own dedicated channels some of which even run 24 hours a day. They can watch their favourite programmes at anytime due to both On Demand services and services such as Sky Plus and BT Vision recordings. They can even use the Internet to download them onto the computer or games console.

Friday 18 February 2011

Fitness Friday - Week 8

This week's weigh in at Rosemary Conley yesterday was a nice little 1lb. That's now 20 lb in total since I joined Rosemary Conley and I need to really focus on getting to the next mileston of 2 stone.

I was trying to get back on track with following the low fat, low calorie and low GI menu plan. Did a bit better but still not back to where I was. I am measuring my portions and keeping a mental tally of my total intake. The portion controlled Solo Slim packs are so useful when in a hurry.

This has still not got back on track. For some reason I keep picking up colds which effect my ears making exercise seem a really bad idea! The lack of exercise is making me tireder which is then not giving me enough get up and go to exercise - a cycle I need to break! 

Plans for next week

Flash Back Friday: Weddings

Lovely new idea from Karin at Cafe Bebe! For my first Flash Back Friday here are some wedding photos from my family across the generations:

Great Grandparents 1915

Grandparents 1939

Thursday 17 February 2011

Eating out with children

There was a fascinating article on the BBC News Magazine site yesterday discussing whether small children should be allowed in restaurants. As they pointed out there are two main sides to this story:

1) people who want to enjoy a nice quiet adult meal out

2) parents who want to enjoy a meal out with their children

So the question is how do you balance the two sides? Is it down to the first group of people to only dine in child free zones or up to parents to make sure they only go to child orientated restaurants?

As a parent I want my children growing up knowing how to behave appropriately in all sorts of situations. This means both at home and when out and about. I am trying to instill in them the basic rules of behaviour when eating:

  • sitting in their chairs properly
  • using cutlery
  • not being rowdy
  • keeping the food on the plate and not throwing it around!
From a very early age I have taken my children to various places to eat ranging from McDonalds to pub chains to curry houses. These all have varying degrees of child friendliness associated with them but I expect my children to maintain an acceptable level of behaviour. Being on my own now it can be harder to make sure that both children are not getting bored or misbehaving but it is possible. I find it very gratifying when the behaviour of my children is complemented by diners at other tables (not that they are perfect!!).

Wednesday 16 February 2011

The Gallery: Togetherness

A lovely challenge from Tara this week. There is only one couple I want to use for this one. My grandparents were married for 70 years and earned 3 cards from the Queen in recognition of each of the last 3 decades. A fine example of togetherness and one which most people today fail to get anywhere near:

November 11th 1939

November 11th 2009

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Change4Life: Step 4 Sugar Swaps

There are some great tips on the Change4Life website which can help us parents make informed choices about the sugar in our children's diet. As they say:

We wouldn’t let our kids eat sugar straight from the sugar bowl. But we tend not to think about the sugar hiding in the other things they eat and drink.

So what can we do to reduce the sugar in our children's diet:

1) Drink Swap: switch from sugary drinks to sugar free ones. Best of all are water, milk, unsweetened fruit juice or sugar free versions of your normal drinks.

2) Snack Swap: give your children fruit, unsalted nuts, breadsticks, rice cakes or toast instead of cakes, biscuits, chocolate or sweets.

3) Food Label Swap: Look at the traffic lights for products with green or amber instead of red. Make sure the product is marked low sugar or sugar free.

4) Breakfast Swap: Switch from sugary cereals to low sugar versions, fruit or toast. Just be careful how much sugar is in the toast topping!

5) Dessert Swap: Instead of sugary desserts have a yoghurt or fruit. Look at the labels and choose the version of your favourite pudding with the lowest sugar content.

Nintendo 3DS

Sponsored Post

I had better keep my 7 year old away from this video or she will want one!!

Sharing propelled by Wikio

This is the latest version of the ever popular Ninentdo DS range. My daughter has been asking for her own handheld console for a while and has been promised one for her birthday later this year (will be her only present from myself and the grandparents!). 

Have to admit this does look very cool. Maybe if I do enough sponsored posts on here then I will be able to afford one!

Monday 14 February 2011

"National" Health Service

I want to start this by saying I love our NHS. We are so lucky to have free healthcare and access to all sorts of medical care that in other countries people either have to pay for or just can't get to. However right now I am querying the National part of it.

Having moved from one end of the country to the other in the summer I had to change health authority. This shouldn't be too much of a problem as when you register at a GP surgery the notes from your old surgery eventually catch-up. 

However if like my daughter you have been attending hospital clinics for ongoing conditions then there can be delays. She has just attended outpatients appointments at our new local hospital for 2 different medical issues toxocariasis and her kidneys. The paperwork for her eye had turned up so the hospital knew exactly what the consultant in Hastings had done. For her kidney appointment there were no notes or test results from the hospital just the information her old GP had recorded on her notes.

This means that she has to almost start again with an appointment in about 2 months with the "local" consultant - he is based in Manchester and comes to Lancaster bi-monthly. She will have to repeat some of the scans she already had in Hastings which if we hadn't moved she wouldn't have. It really feels that we are having to start all over again because there aren't consistent centrally stored records. I know that government computer systems don't have a great track record but for things like this it would make things a lot let stressful for patients.

Having had hospital records get lost in the post between health authorities when I was ill on a holiday I really think its time the NHS got into  the 21st century when it comes to medical records. It really isn't a "National" service if you can't straight forwardly transfer to another health authority without paperwork hassles.

Saturday 12 February 2011

Share the love of books 2011

I came across this tonight whilst catching up on posts on Mummy's Little Monkey's Blow your own bloghorn feature. It is such a great ide and fits in with my 100 Books challenge (click on the page link above to see how I am doing!).

This project has been set up on One Mystake at a Tyme and the idea is just to spread the love of books to our family, friends and the wider community. On this post I will set out how I am going to set about doing this in February.

1) I have been lending my books out to other mums at school to be shared around.

2) I am taking my children more regularly to the library.

3) On the blog I have done my bit to promote World Book Day

4) Reading more with my children especially my 4 year old son

What can you do to share the love of reading? To see other people's ideas check out the McLinky for this project.

Saturday Review: Peppa Pig iPhone App

I was given a free copy of the new Peppa Pig iPhone App Polly Parrot to try out and review on my blog. The Peppa Pig Polly Parrot is normally available for £1.79 from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at All the images used in this review are from the official press release.

The application has 4 different activities included in it:
  1. Talking Parrot - the player has to make Polly say silly phrases
  2. Feed Parrot - feed the right number of crackers that Polly asks for. There are 2 levels either simple one colour or a harder 2 colour game.
  3. Where's Polly - a sort of hide and seek game where the player has to look for the parrot in various rooms at Peppa's house
  4. Sticker Book - when the player has earned stickers in other games they can use them on a variety of scenes.
We had a few crashes when first using the application especially when my 7 year old played it - her 4 year old brother seemed to have less technical issues.

Friday 11 February 2011

Fitness Friday - Week 7

The weigh in at Rosemary Conley yesterday came up with the same weight as last week. With a week when I had very little control over my diet this was a pleasant surprise ...

On most days I was eating out either at family homes or in pubs! No idea on the calorie content or fat percentage of any food I ate. Only thing I could control was the portion size or how much I ate off the plate. Most meals also washed down with a glass of wine. Not exactly an ideal diet for weight loss.

My health seems to be back on track so I need to add exercise back in slowly. I have been on my feet a lot this week at social gatherings plus plenty of gentle strolls. On Tuesday I spent the day in high heeled boots and must have walked a couple of miles in them - on Wednesday my thighs really ached from the change of footwear. Once again I did the level 3 aerobics session at Rosemary Conley and it felt really good to get breathless and sweaty.

Plans for next week

Reasons to be Cheerful III

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy From the Heart

I love Michelle's Reasons to be Cheerful prompt! It means that you are forced to find at least 3 things that have made you happy whatever else has happened during the week. Here are mine:

  1. My blog has finally made it into the top 100 of the tots100 index. I have only just squeezed in at 94 but its a leap of 155 places and means the hard work is paying off!
  2. I was able to catch up with lots of family and friends I haven't seen for up to 8 years this week as we gathered to say goodbye to my grandmother.
  3. I am fitting back into my size 14 jeans without feeling squished!
For more reasons to be cheerful please check out the links below or click on the logo above: 

Thursday 10 February 2011

Bowness-on-Windermere in photographs

It was just such an amazing change over an hour this morning I have to share some photos with you all:



Wednesday 9 February 2011

World Book Day

Many of you will be aware that the UK and Ireland World Book Day is rapidly approaching on March the 3rd! But do you know what it is about? This is what the official UK World Book Day site has to say:

World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the globe. The origins of the day we now celebrate in the UK and Ireland come from Catalonia, where roses and books were given as gifts to loved ones on St. George’s Day – a tradition started over 90 years ago. For international information about World Book Day, please click here.

World Book Day is a partnership of publishers, booksellers and interested parties who work together to promote books and reading for the personal enrichment and enjoyment of all.

A main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own. 

The majority of UK school and nursery children will be sent home with a World Book Day voucher which they can use at any participating retailer. One of these is Usborne books and if you would like to see the special offers they are running for this year's book day have a look here.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

The Gallery: A day in my life

Interesting challenge from Tara this week to show photographs from 1 day. As today was my granny's memorial service I have chosen to use this one as my photographic day:

Son's nursery trip to Chinese for New Year
Sunset at Crook Church

For more entries you'll be able to click on the logo at the top