Saturday 31 March 2012

Letting Go

One of the hardest things as a parent has to be letting our children get braver and braver and try things that put our hearts in our mouths. One of these is seeing them on the swings. They start off needing a push on the safe toddler swing, then they move up to the big child swings but still need a push, then one day you just stand back and thank God that playgrounds these days have a softer landing than the concrete or tarmac we had as kids:

Warming up

Gaining speed

Thursday 29 March 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful XXXIV ( #R2BC )

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Another week and another set of reasons to smile!

1) The weather

Shorts in March and paddling in the waters of Windermere because its so glorious how can that not fail to make me happy! It may not last long buts its given us plenty of time to be out of doors and making the most of where we live:

2) Family

We got to spend last Sunday afternoon as a four generation family as my granny came to lunch at my parents house. I love the way my daughter enjoys taking Great Granny for a walk in her wheelchair:

Thursday Review: My Clippy Bags of Style

Sponsored Post

We were sent a My Clippy set for my 8 year old daughter to test out and review. In the end it turned into a 3 generation girlie session as my mum and I joined in the fun!

The set comes with everything except glue and scissors to make customised panels for the handbag. The instructions are very simple (although of course my daughter rushed ahead without looking!). I dug out my scrapbooking tape as this turned out to be the best adhesive to use.

You simply select backgrounds to fit on the card, cut to shape, clip with the embossing tool if required and then stick together. As my daughter got going she got more and more creative and inventive with her choices and combinations. Granny and I got to make some suggestions of our own too.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Easter Gifts from Find-Me-A-Gift

Sponsored Post

The nice people at Find-Me-A-Gift have once again sent me some lovely gifts to review. This time they were for the children and not me. If you are looking for ways to entertain your children over the Easter break then maybe these could help.

Firstly for my 8 year old daughter we were sent the National Trust Perfume and Flower Pressing Kit. This is currently £12.99 on the site with a 21% discount on the RRP. My daughter was very keen to try this out especially as the sun was shining at the weekend. First of all she set off with her flower collecting kit to find things around our local area (under strict instructions not to take from gardens!) and brought them back to me.

We then followed the very clear instructions and laid out her choices of flowers in the blotting paper:

Monday 26 March 2012

Family Fun: The Sunshine Edition

Welcome to week 6 of the Family Fun blog hop. For more details please read the launch page. In the words of a classic 1970s children's TV programme this is about switching off the television and doing something more useful instead!

It's week 7 and with this glorious unseasonsal weather I want to know how you have been making the most of the sun. I can't believe that we had a picnic tea in the park tonight whilst I was wearing shorts in March!!

As you can see from the past few blogposts we have truly made the most of being able to get out to places like Brockhole and my children even had a paddle in Windermere. I'm sure it won't last but lets make the most of it whilst it's here so please share your posts so we can get inspired.
get the InLinkz code

Saturday 24 March 2012

A Spring Afternoon at Brockhole

It was such a glorious day up here in Cumbria so after washing the car and having a picnic on the front lawn (in March!) we headed off to Brockhole to make the most of the unseasonally warm weather. When we got there just after 3 the car park was still pretty full even though it was less than an hour until the centre itself closed.

We put enough money in the machine for only 2 hours as we thought this would be plenty at that time of day. I had promised the children a round of crazy golf as we hadn't played for months. With it having been very wet the course had been temporarily moved to the hardstanding around the centre and it was a bit of an adventure finding it all. None of us are particularly good at golf but it was good fun:

We were just in time part way through the round to grab afternoon from the cafe as it shuts at 3:45. It was bliss sitting on the terrace in summer layers smelling the beautiful flowers and enjoying the wonderful views across to Windermere.

The grounds are really starting to come to life now and it was wonderful to pass by lovely sights like these as we finished our round of golf:

Friday 23 March 2012

Tots100 Book Club: The Help

the Help: Kathryn Stockett

This is one of those books that has had a second outing after it was made into a movie. I haven't seen the film yet but think I'd like to after reading the book.

I really couldn't put it down once I started! I was surprised that the author was actually white as she puts the side of the black maids across so well. The book is written in first person terms from the 3 main characters - 2 black maids and 1 young woman from a wealthy white family. It is set in the early 1960s when segregation was still very much in place in the state of Mississippi and the lives of black women working as "help" for white families was very harsh. It's hard to believe that such things were going on in the second half of the 20th century in a 1st world country. A real eye opener for those of us brought up to be multi cultural and to respect people whatever their colour or religion. 

Aibileen has raised 17 white children and is mourning the death of her 17 year old son. Then there is Minnie who has a great reputation for her cooking but a terrible reputation for saying what she thinks. Miss Skeeter has come home from college and dreams of being a journalist but her mother wants her married. Their lives become intertwined when Miss Skeeter persuades them to put their lives down on paper at great risk to their jobs and lives.

I thoroughly recommend this book especially to Claire over at History Fan!

Thursday 22 March 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful XXXVIII ( #R2BC )

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

It's not been a perfect week by any standards but I've still got reasons to be cheerful:

1) Charity cake sale

Both on the day itself and the morning after at church the homemade cakes were very popular. In total we raised £45 for CLIC Sargent so I'm very happy.

2) Mother's Day

As I posted on Monday my children did their best to make it a lovely day for me on Sunday. From breakfast in bed it was a nice way to spend a relaxed if busy day with my children.

3) My children

My son was his class special person this week. It was really touching to read what his class mates thought about him. Apparently he is a good friend, plays with people nicely and does fantastic drawings!

My daughter gave me the best hug ever last night when I was upset over something. She may only be 8 but at times she is so grown up and I'm sure she will be a fantastic young lady.

4) Spring

Today really feels like Spring is properly here. The sky is blue, the fields are full of lambs and the daffodils are taking over everywhere! I've even got my washing out on the line (this maybe a wee bit optimistic!)

Springing into action

Sponsored Post

The sun is shining the sky is blue and I'm feeling really inspired to get my weight loss back on track. It's fantastic getting a job but its playing havoc with my diet. I start work at 12 which is before I would normally have my lunch and finish at 4. I have been having  small lunch in the car before I start work and then find myself snacking on all sorts of things when I finish! I realised that on most days I don't even eat a proper sit down hot dinner at all as I never get round to it.

What I need is to be much more organised and plan ahead and get things ready in advance. Or maybe I could get someone to be organised for me by using something like a Diet Chef diet plans. They do the organising for you! All your meals arrive in a box for the week and then its just a case of popping it in the microwave and a calorie controlled meal is ready very quickly.

A couple of my friends have successfully used Diet Chef in the past but I was deterred by thinking it was an expensive way to diet. Having looked at their site today they now have plans that work out at £5.57 a day which seems very reasonable to me.

There appears to be enough of a variety to prevent boredom setting in as you go through the plan. Having put in my details it gives me an estimate of how many calories I need a day to lose 1-2 lbs a week. Then you get a choice of hampers with 3 months, 2 months or 1 month options depending on your total weight loss required.

As a single parent having adult meals all controlled makes it easier to deal with the daily routine. My children have a hot school dinner so don't need a main meal in the evening but I do. So I have signed up for a 3 month plan which gives the best value for those of us in need of losing more than a stone. Watch this space to see how I do!

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Recipe for a bad morning..

You know one of those mornings you would just like to erase from history?

  1. son wakes me up early for snuggles
  2. daughter gets up and dressed early and goes to watch TV
  3. son goes down in PJs to join sister
  4. ask son to get dressed as head for shower
  5. ask son to get dressed as get out of shower
  6. start getting dressed and neighbour pops round as run out of milk
  7. get milk for neighbour and hand son his uniform to get dressed
  8. finish getting dressed
  9. ask son to get dresses as head for kitchen to make breakfast
  10. hand children breakfast and shouted at fot "too much toast, not enough butter"
  11. ask son to get dressed as go to fetch butter
  12. give daughter butter, as she spreads it plate flips onto floor "Its all your fault mummy"
  13. rescue toast, as she spreads butter it plate flips onto floor and she runs off screaming
  14. ask son to get dressed
  15. tip toast in bin, toss plastic Disney princess plate into sink and it shatters on impact
  16. "I hate you mummy"
  17. ask son to get dressed
  18. daughter rings grandparents to tell them what a horrid mum I am
  19. get son dressed
  20. put mug on table and knock glass on floor smashing it
  21. get kids into car for school run 5 minutes late
  22. daughter refuses to put on seatbelt
  23. 8:40 daughter tells me she was supposed to have had a packed lunch for school trip
  24. car does its stalling thing 4 times on way to school
  25. park near school and daughter refuses to get out car until threatened with me telling class teacher
  26. as we get to school gates we hear bell for registration
  27. almost have to drag daughter into school
  28. get home and get called about packed lunch... they are going to buy her something from Spar...
Grab a coffee and breathe...

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Easter Gifts Review

Sponsored Post

We were sent some gifts to try out that would make lovely Easter gift ideas. There was a good mix of ideas which meant there was something for both my 8 year daughter and my 5 year old son to try.

Ravensburger Rabbit Jigsaw

I haven't done many big jigsaws with my children as flat surfaces in our house seem to be a rare occurrence! I have managed to clear off some coffee table space to accommodate this one though..

With 200 pieces this should keep us out of mischief if the weather takes a turn for the worse. Ravensburger jigsaws are always such good quality that I don't mind it being out taking up room for as long as it takes us to complete it... which could be a while as the grass all looks very similar to me. These have an RRP of £7.99

Monday 19 March 2012

Family Fun: Mother's Day

Welcome to week 6 of the Family Fun blog hop. For more details please read the launch page. In the words of a classic 1970s children's TV programme this is about switching off the television and doing something more useful instead!

If you had fun on mother's day why not share your posts old and new? We had a very busy day starting with a far too early breakfast in bed with lovely homemade cards:

Then we did arts and crafts at church whilst selling the rest of the Yummy Mummy cakes in aid of CLIC Sargent. This made our final fund raising total of £45.

Afterwards my daughter made us a picnic so that we could go to the playground next to the house for lunch. We enjoyed a kick about with my son''s football before heading off to try out our costumes for A Passion for Kendal.

Then it was time for an hour at Abbott's Hall park playground where we bumped into several friends.  

Then home for the third viewing of Tangled this weekend whilst eating a Morrisons' Chinese meal. 

get the InLinkz code

Thursday 15 March 2012

LifeCircle 2012: Having Me Time

Life Circle

Life has got in the way of me taking part in this for the last few weeks! It's very topical this time as Kate wanted us to look at our me time. 

This is especially important for me as single mum as if I burn out there isn't a partner to pick up the pieces. There is a lot of pressure on my day with children, housework, blogging for work, blogging for pleasure, my other business interests and now a part time job 4 hours every afternoon. I'm working on finding a balance between them all that leaves me with enough time to unwind.

I have started getting up half an hour earlier so that I can start the day more relaxed and less frazzled. This means that I have to be conscious of not staying up (or not turning bedside light off) too late. My children seem to have got through their sleep issues so I am now getting enough time in the evening to watch some TV and have some Facebook/Twitter time. I seem to have plenty of time to read books and this is one of my favourite ways to unwind.

Hopefully I'll start to feel less like I'm running round in circles soon.. Use the logo above to see everyone else's posts.

Reasons to be Cheerful XXXVII ( #R2BC )

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

It's a mixed week this week as we are all tired from adjusting to me working but here is what is making me smile:

1) Work

I have really enjoyed being out at work after 2 years self employed at home. Being in a busy school is far from boring and I'm meeting lots of new people - the majority of whom are very friendly! Yes it's tiring whilst I get used to the 4 hours on my feet and fitting in everything else around it but I'm sure that both the children and I will get used to it!

2) Signs of Spring

Looking around everywhere the flowers are starting to appear all over. It always puts a smile on my face to see such signs of new life and lambs in the fields.

3) My son

He is continuing to do well at school and I get great reports of him being good at after school club. He came home this week a certificate for Level 1 of the Computing driving licence - maybe he will follow in my footsteps! He is trying to do his best at swimming to get his next badge even though he hates putting his ears in the water on his back and is scared of being out of his depth. 

4) My daughter

She seems to be improving this week as she is finally sleeping properly which has made her less cranky. After not wanting to go on a school trip last week when it came round to it today she was up at 6 to make sure she had made her own packed lunch and was ready for an early departure. She also went to cubs for the first time in weeks and now she knows they go camping she is keen to carry on!

5) Digital Joneses Project

We are so lucky to be one of only 10 families selected to take part in this project. To help us complete tasks over the next year we have been sent a shiny new iPad 2 - just have to fight with my children over who's turn it is!

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Toy Review: Build-A-Bear Workshop® Fun Packs with Furry Friends

Sponsored Post

We were sent one of the 12 new Friendship Heart Series in an all new miniature format. 

Each fun-pack (£5.99) comes with:
  • Mini Furry Friend
  • Heart and Ceremony
  • Shirt
  • Fabric Sticker Set
  • Trading Cards
  • Collector’s Guide with Activities, Online Code (that allows you access to special interactive content at™) and Owner’s Certificate

My daughter was so keen to try this out that she disappeared off and ripped open the packaging and did everything before I had time to photograph her doing it so I've had to perform heart surgery to show you the start:

The instructions come with a ceremony to perform with the heart before it is inserted into the hole in the back of the teddy:

The bear has a plain white t-shirt for your child to decorate with the fabric stickers. For some reason my daughter has decided not to do this so her bear is still in the plain one:

Each of the bears in the series has a different colour fur and heart which symbolises a different feeling. At an RRP of £5.99 they are a reasonable price for a party bag or for a child to save up their pocket money for. It would make a healthy alternative to an Easter Egg too.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

#CharityTuesday Yummy Mummy Week

Hopefully lots of you are aware that this has been Yummy Mummy Week in aid of Clic Sargent who do marvellous work with children with cancer and their families. Across the UK lots of activities have been taking place to have fun whilst raising funds for this important charity.

My family are doing our bit this Saturday with a cake and book sale at my home. A couple of us are going to bake up some goodies to sell whilst people browse my Usborne children's books. All proceeds from the cakes and 10% of book sales will be going to the charity. In addition any sales through my web site this month will also go to the charity.

If you have done anything for Yummy Mummy Week then please comment below.

Monday 12 March 2012

Monday Harper Collins Book Reviews

Sponsored Post

Time to tell you about the lovely books Harper Collins sent for my 5 year old son to enjoy with me:

1) Up and Down Oliver Jeffers 

Once there were two friends..

This is the story of a boy and his best friend who just happens to be a penguin. This book is a sequel to Lost and Found. It seems like nothing can come between them until the penguin's dream of flying completely obsesses him. We were sent the version that comes with an audio CD of the book narrated by Richard E Grant.

The illustrations are beautifully simplistic and the story was really engaging for both my son and myself. Not surprisingly Richard E Grant does a marvellous reading of the story but it was also a pleasure to read it to my son myself. 

A great addition to your child's bookshelf.

ISBN: 978-0-00-744045-0
Format: Mixed media, 1pb 1cd
Imprint: HarperCollins
Division: Children’s

UK: £ 7.99
Canada: $ 15.99
Ireland: $ 7.99

Family Fun: National Parks

Welcome to week 6 of the Family Fun blog hop. For more details please read the launch page. In the words of a classic 1970s children's TV programme this is about switching off the television and doing something more useful instead!

This week it's all about enjoying National Parks! Living a few miles from the Lake District National Park is a real bonus about living in Kendal. There are a plenty of opportunities for family fun with only a short drive or bus ride.

This weekend we visited Brockhole as featured in yesterday's Silent Sunday and Saturday's posts. Why don't you share your posts about Family Fun in National Parks?

Once you've added your link then grab the code for your post: get the InLinkz code

Saturday 10 March 2012

Family Fun: Brockhole

This morning I asked the children what they wanted to do, go to Brockhole they said. Having heard the forecast and looked out the window I agreed this was a great idea. One hour later they were finally suitably dressed and we headed off.

A quick stop at the shop for snacks and cash was required and we pulled up in the car park. Just to confuse me they have changed the parking system. To reduce the number of people getting away without paying for tickets they now have numberplate recognition. You have to enter your numberplate into the meter and then put in your money. It was £5 for four hours which is the only compulsory cost of a visit.

For all our visits the first stop has to be the fantastic Adventure Playground:

We had been sent a John Crane Ltd Grandad this week so we took him along with us to enjoy the fun. Here he is enjoying a go on the swing:

Friday 9 March 2012

#FictionFridays: The Land of the Painted Caves

The band of travellers walked along the path between the clear sparkling water of Grass River and the black-streaked white limestone cliff, following the trail that paralleled the right bank.


Thursday 8 March 2012

Crazy Soap - Review and Giveaway

Sponsored Post

I was sent two sets of Crazy Soap to review with my children and the chance to give away 5 sets to my readers. The sets contain three items:

  • Crazy Soap Foam (RRP £2)
  • Crazy Soap Paint (RRP £2.49)
  • Crazy Soap Bath Goo (RRP £2.99)

My daughter was very keen on being the first of my children to try out the products! She decided which colours were hers and headed for the bathroom. The instructions on the goo say to scoop and put under water for bubbles. By the second bath I had got the hang of putting it under running water to get great bubbles:


I have been asked to do this post as part of a competition to get the most entries to the survey via this post. So please share the post and hopefully I will stand a good chance of winning.

As a parent of children who are currently driving me mental by not sleeping the Time4Sleep survey has come at a great moment. They are launching a nationwide sleep survey to understand children’s sleep habits and the effects they have on their daily lives.

Whether your child is a problem sleeper or not, they want to hear from you! Those who complete the survey can also choose to enter a free prize draw to win £300 worth of vouchers.

The vouchers can be spent on a range of Time4Sleep products including beds, mattresses and accessories. Are you looking for a kid's bunk bed or adult double bed frame? Then you know what to do!

To be in with a chance of winning, simply complete the short Time4Sleep survey. I am off to do it now...

Reasons to be Cheerful XXXVI ( #R2BC )

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Another week and another post on what is making me smile!

1) The weather

We have had so much more sunshine its really good for our sense of well being. As a family we have been outside having more fun and enjoying seeing the signs of Spring:


2) Fun with friends

On Sunday afternoon my friend was rehearsing for A Passion for Kendal so I had her 2 boys round to play with my children. We had some fun on bikes and scooters in the street and then had an hour with them going bonkers at Fun or Kids softplay: