Wednesday 31 October 2012

Flab Fighters Week 8


As so many of us are flab fighting at the minute I thought I would create a linky for us all to help encourage each other! So each week on a Wednesday join in and get support and encouragement. To find out more check the launch page.

What I did right this week

Not a lot! Been out and about and not sitting around but apart from that its the school holidays and routine is out window...

What I did wrong

I let the children dictate too many of our meal choices this week and then going with my heart not my head when choosing my food options. The shred DVD hasn't been used more than once either...

How it went

A backwards step and a gain of 1lb and I am now 4lb from my 2 stone award...

How have you done?

Linky code:

get the InLinkz code

FlabFighters Grab my button and join in:

Tuesday 30 October 2012

A Wet Day at Whinlatter

Life Unexpected

We didn't let rain stop us from a return visit to Whinlatter today. Having received our Ambassador car pass we roped in my parents and some visiting relatives to come along with us. Despite the rain the car park was pretty full with people of all ages wrapped up against the wet!

First of all we warmed up with hot drinks in Siskins cafe:

Then we headed out to the Wild Play area for some fun that the grown ups joined in too! Some equipment was a bit too wet for the kids but there was plenty that wasn't:

Some of the favourite parts where were the family had to work as a team to either make water flow or stop. The children didn't seem to mind getting even wetter doing it:

Then all 3 generations had fun with the pulley systems on the gravel pit:

This was a mucky job but lots of fun and rewarding when the gravel came flying back out!

The rain meant that we all piled into one car to eat our picnics and couldn't use the nice new picnic area by the cafe. It amused the children to sit in the boot altogether. Afterwards we headed off to do a Squirrel Scurry and this time actually found squirrel no 6:

Another quick session in Wild Play was followed by a final round of hot drinks in the cafe. Everyone agreed that it had been a great day despite the weather and that we will be back soon. There will be some hits of the Forestry Commission website to find out which forests are nearer to other people's homes.

get the InLinkz code

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Monday 29 October 2012

Chill Factore - teaser!

Sponsored Post


I wanted to tell you all about our super fun bloggers morning at Chill Factore in Manchester but my laptop is having other ideas! So all I can do is leave you with a teaser photo showing one little thing we did:



Hopefully tomorrow the computer will let me process the video which includes me squealing! Meanwhile I'll take my slightly bruised body to bed to recover....

Saturday 27 October 2012

Family Fun: Shocktober at Sizergh Castle

This morning I spotted an advert for Shocktober at Sizergh Castle. The event details in included a spooky trail around the garden. We have previously had lots of fun there doing trails at Easter and for the Queen's Jubilee. Each time they have been very different and it's a great way to get the children round the gardens!

As usual the staff and volunteers had gone to a lot of effort to dress the castle and set the scene:

For £2 a head my children were given a trail and could enjoy making wands and broomsticks:

Then it was time to fly of their new broomsticks in search of clues and letters to solve the Halloween clue. Each little poem took us to the next clue and another letter. We were taken all over the grounds and had to look high and low for the answers:
Then then children had to solve the anagram to win a lollipop! The great thing is that grown ups get a chance to see the beautiful gardens whilst the children are doing the trail:

It was a really cold day so after completing the trail we retired to the cafe for pumpkin soup and a hot kids' lunch! There was quite a queue as everyone else had the same idea but the food was worth waiting for. The next challenge was to try and fit 2 broomsticks in a Saxo!

Wonder what the next trail will be?

Friday 26 October 2012

Hurrah it's Half Term

It's been a long time coming but finally the half term holiday is here! For the week ahead we all ready have some great things planned.


On Monday we are off to Chill Factore in Manchester for a PR day! The children are excited about trying out sledging and luging. Watch this space for what we get up to...


A frosty web on the window
We will also be catching up with family that we haven't seen for far too long! Living a few 100s of miles away makes it hard to be together so it's great they are coming up for a few days.


If the weather is like today we will be wrapping up warm and heading up to Whinlatter for a return visit. Autumn is one of the best times to be out in the forests and woods.


There will also have to be time found for catching up on chores, getting everyone's hair cut and all the million and one things that haven't got done during term time. Lets just hope that some of them get done...

Thursday 25 October 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful: Smiling in face of adversity! ( #R2BC )

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
It's wonderful that Michelle is back hosting the linky so I can relax a bit! It's not been a hugely cheerful week so I'm pushing myself to search out the good bits... 

1) Family Fun


We all went swimming on Sunday after church. It was good fun for all of us diving to the bottom of the pool for weighted rings. Not a huge amount of proper swimming but we all had a great time. So glad my 2 are confident and getting competent in the water.


2) New Teeth


Having a tooth out didn't make me smile but the fact they coloured coordinated the replacement with my existing teeth means that they look the same! Before I had a sparkly white crown which really stood out and a gap from a previous extraction. Now I can smile again without showing a weird combination!

3) Autumn

This is my favourite season and I am loving the colours and the whole autumnal feel. A brilliant time for photography:


Join in and tell us what are your reasons to be cheerful this week.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Flab Fighters Week 7


As so many of us are flab fighting at the minute I thought I would create a linky for us all to help encourage each other! So each week on a Wednesday join in and get support and encouragement. To find out more check the launch page.

What I did right this week

I got some important online support from #theshreddies:








We are encouraging each other on the 30 day Shred! Having people tweet their shreds is really inspiring. I have now done 9 shreds and it does make me feel good.

I also signed back up to 6 more weeks at the gym thanks to birthday money. This will keep up the momentum and despite the start of a cold I managed 2 sessions this week. We had a couple of family swimming sessions too. As far as calories went I had a few days of staying under the limit.

What I did wrong

At the weekend I had a stinking cold and went for quick and easy instead of making healthy choices. I also didn't really track what I was eating. Monday I had a tooth extracted and was so wiped out and spent 4 hours in bed before collecting children from school! Needless to say shredding was out of the question... Tuesday I still had little energy. Eating things that were chewable was higher on my priority list than checking healthy options!

How it went

Not surprisingly I stayed the same weight and I am still 3lb from my 2 stone award...

How have you done?

Linky code:get the InLinkz code


FlabFighters Grab my button and join in:

get the InLinkz code



Tuesday 23 October 2012

Toyologist Review: Snazaroo Face Paints

I have never had much luck with face painting in the past so have tended to just let kids get their faces done by professionals! Having heard good things about Snazaroo face paints I was keen to see if I had more success with them. The set we were sent is aimed at boys with the packaging featuring boys and the 8 colours inside definitely more male friendly.

With Halloween just round the corner I thought we ought to try out some of the scary suggestions in the face painting guide. This gave clear instructions as to how to do the base coat and mix the colours. My son has chosen a vampire costume so I had an attempt at following the guide in the booklet. I think for a complete novice I didn't do too badly:

It looked better when teamed up with vampire clothes:

My daughter wasn't too impressed with my first go but was willing to be my second attempt. I found it easier this time as my technique was better. This was her final look:

Of course no testing would be complete without letting the children paint my face. I closed my eyes and let my daughter have a go. I have to say I quite loked the sensation of having the paint applied with the sponge and the brush. The paint felt quite light on the skin and not itchy like some face paints can be. Eventually I was allowed to open my eyes and see what she had done to me:

Pretty impressive for a 9 year old looking at picture in the booklet!

Like all face paints it rubs on to hands when you catch your face. The painting didn't seem to be too badly effected. Finally we tested cleaning the faces and the paint came off really easily with a flannel and soapy water.

We were all very impressed with the paints and can't wait until 31st October to have a second go at our scary faces! The kit is useable for 18 months so I'm sure we will get lots of fun out of it. I would highly recommend this if your children like having their faces painted.

Monday 22 October 2012

Woollies of Mass Decoration

Last Sunday whilst driving along Kirkgate in Kendal I saw some strange sights on lampposts and other street furniture. They seemed to be bedecked in woolly items!

Yesterday I finally got a chance to get closer with my children tonsewnmore about what was going on. My children had do much fun spotting them as we went down the street. Guerrilla knitting seems to be spreading all over the world but its the first time we have seen any ourselves.

Some of the knitting had clues as to its origins:

he crafty people must have worked long and hard to do enough knitting to almost completely cover a lamppost:

Then we came across a campaign poster:

I am guessing that they are really passionate about wool! The most impressive piece was this tree blanket:

There were also a few sheep flying about:

It has certainly brought some fun and colour to the main road into Kendal. Some pieces have already vanished in less than a week - hope they went to good homes!

Wonder how many people will be inspired to knit by this display of craftsmanship? Have you seen any guerrilla knitting near you?

Saturday 20 October 2012

Saturday what do you do with yours?

Being a working mum I breathe a sigh of relief when Saturday comes round. No one has to get up for work or school so the alarms are off and we can lie in longer (shame for some reason my children actually wake earlier!).


At the moment there are no out of school activities for either child so the day is ours. Generally this means we pootle about at home in the morning and hit the swimming pool at lunch time. We did get caught out this week with the pool being closed for a training course. Apparently posters have been up in leisure centre for weeks about it but I missed them amongst the tonnes of adverts...


Saturday afternoons are quite often spent catching up on the housework that doesn't get done during the week. Today I offered the children small bits of extra pocket money to tidy their rooms and it was a success! My children do play out in our cul de sac too if weather is good.


By the early evening it's time to watch a DVD and maybe eat popcorn (and if its been pay day a pizza delivery!). By then we are all ready to just chill out. I'm sure soon we will have more energy on Saturdays but for now I am happy with a mix of chilling and being active!


How do you spend yours?

Friday 19 October 2012

This week's Toys R Us Toyologist Reviews

Dragon Chase Game

This Dragon Chase is a 3+ game for 2-4 players so ideal for a family like mine. It needed batteries to be inserted before we could play it which requires a screwdriver. My daughter stuck the dice stickers on in a random order. The dragon's body then is slid into slots on the game board. My daughter needed some help to do this and then we put the dragon head into the body.

The game itself is simple to play. Each player chose a colour piece and put a jewel on the top. Then the die is rolled and either you move forward the number of spaces on the die, miss a turn or activate the dragon. On the board itself some squares instruct you to move more spaces either backward or forward. There are also safe squares which mean that your jewel is taken off making it safe from dragon attack.

When the dragon is activated it swings its head and neck around randomly and can knock jewels off:

I was very unlucky and my jewels kept being sent flying! This meant I was sent back to the beginning lots and lots... Meanwhile my children safely got to the cave and could deposit their jewels.

It is a very simple game with simple rules and my children found the dragon fun. I'm sure we will get hours of fun from playing it.

Dino Bite Game

The Dino Bite Game is a 4+ one as it requires some manual dexterity. For assembly batteries are inserted into the base and the T Rex clipped onto the base.

Once switched on the T Rex starts to snore with ambient background noises. Each player rolls the die and has to pick out a baby from the nest using the tweezers. This can be an easy 1 baby or a nail biting 4!

My 9 year old found it easier than the 5 year old to extract the babies. They both jumped whenever the T Rex woke and attacked!

A simple game and if you don't want the noises it still works with power off or even batteries out. It also doesn't take a long time to set up and play as once you've been attacked by T Rex you are out.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful: Birthday Edition ( #R2BC )


Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
It's wonderful that Michelle has come back from Ethiopia but has asked me to host whilst she promotes the campaign on her blog. I'm sure it will be back to normal next week! 

Meanwhile here are my birthday reasons to be cheerful:


1) My Birthday


Saturday was my birthday and thanks to my parents kindly having my children all day I got to spend it in Manchester at BlogCamp! I love my children dearly but to have an entire day to myself doing what I wanted was such a treat. The fact that it meant the company of some lovely friends from my twitter and blogging world was a bonus. Even more of a bonus was that it included cake and wine...


And I came back to a cake made by my mum and my daughter:

2) My daughter's birthday

On Sunday my daughter was 9. It is amazing how the time has flown by! She wanted to be grown up this year and as Sunday is no good for sleep overs I took her and 4 mates for a Pizza Express lunch then the cinema. I sat away from them to give a feeling of independence whilst still supervising. At times she looked so grown up:


It's definitely a week to be smiling about in our house! What is making you cheerful this week?


Wednesday 17 October 2012

FlabFighters: Week 6


As so many of us are flab fighting at the minute I thought I would create a linky for us all to help encourage each other! So each week on a Wednesday join in and get support and encouragement. Just let us know:

  • What you aiming to achieve (general weight loss, drop a dress size)
  • What you doing to get there (diet, fitness etc.)
  • What you did right this week
  • What you did wrong this week
  • How its going so far
I'll be putting a badge in that you can use on your posts and putting the linky on each week. Let's fight that flab and get nice and slim!

What I did right this week

Plenty of exercise including the gym, 30 day shred, 21 lengths of the pool, aerobics and just walking at the weekend. On week days I kept well within calorie allowance to make up for the weekend...

What I did wrong

Well it was my birthday and it may have involved cake and wine... Then my daughter had a party at Pizza Express and my bargain menu only included unhealthy starter and dessert! (Though I swapped some of my dough balls for my son's salad).

How it went

Another decent loss of 2 lbs on the scales! Now I am only 3lb from my 2 stone award...

How have you done?

Linky code:
FlabFighters Grab my button and join in:

get the InLinkz code


Tuesday 16 October 2012

Gingerbread: make it work for single parents campaign

Make it work for single parents campaign

The make it work task list

We know that single parents want the opportunity to take up work that fits alongside their caring responsibilities, gives them enough money to support their children and allows them to progress. Now is the time for government, with employers, to employ a different attitude to single parents and work, and make that happen.

Decisive action in four key areas would transform the working (and the home) lives of hundreds of thousands of Britain’s poorest families, and, at last, make it work for single parents.

The workforce is waiting. We need the government to:

Add your voice to the make it workforce today.

Already done it? Then find out what else you can do to get our campaign rolling…


Monday 15 October 2012

Blog Camp Manchester

It was quite nerve wracking heading to Manchester to meet up with a bunch of people I've only ever met in cyber space! I've been blogging since 2008 and on Twitter almost as long and some of these ladies I'd known the whole time but never had a chance to really see.
The Blog Camp organised by Tots100 gave me a chance to meet up as well as learning ways to make my blog better. A few of us met up at Manchester Piccadilly station so that we arrived together. The first 30 minutes was spent in matching our name labels to our online photos (some look more like their's than others!). Then we got down to business.
First up was Cathy from Nurture Store who gave us great tips on how to properly use our Facebook pages and Pintrest to grow traffic and attract new readers. Lots of things for me to try and find time to do!
Then it was Ruth from Geek Mummy on vlogging and podcasting. Have to admit I hate hearing my voice and seeing myself on camera but I'm trying to include more on here. Sounds like it just takes practice and confidences plus some little tips...
Over a lovely buffet we got a chance to check out the wacky recycled art work made from lost property:

The last big session was on photography by Tom and Becky from Ar-Blog. He is a pro photographer and they shared tips on general photography and using smartphones too. Think I need a newer iPhone as mine couldn't do half of it!

Finally we had a panel of bloggers discussing what tips they had for getting blogposts done plus any useful apps. Interestingly most of them reckoned on a notepad and pen! They were all mums so know what it's like to fit in blogging around the needs of a family.

Afterwards I was easily persuaded to head out for a few drinks with some of my new best blogging buddies:

A fantastic day and I hope I can get to go again and to meet up with these lovely ladies (and gents).

Friday 12 October 2012

BlogCamp Manchester

Tots100 BlogCamp for UK parent bloggers

Tomorrow I will jumping on a train from Oxenholme and heading to Manchester to spend my birthday with a bunch of strangers at Blog Camp! After all the years of blogging I'll be finally meeting lots of the lovely people that I've only talked to via social media.

We will be spending a day being advised on how to be better bloggers whilst getting to know each other and eat cake. It will be my most unusual birthday ever but I'm really looking forward to it.

Watch this space to find out what we got up to!