Friday, 29 June 2012

LOVEFiLM Competition

To celebrate my daughter winning "Pupil of the Month" at school yesterday (See #R2BC Proud Mummy), I am launching a fantastic competition where TWO lucky fans will each win TWO MONTHS FREE LOVEFiLM Membership (worth £29) and the lucky winners will also be entered into LOVEFiLM's own competition to win £5,000 or one of a hundred pairs of cinema tickets!
With LOVEFiLM Instant, you can get unlimited access instantly to thousands of movies and TV series, many in HD instantly on your Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Smart TV, PC, Laptop and iPad as well as the ability to order lots more films and games via post.

To enter all you have to do is enter Rafflecopter below. The competition ends on the 9th July and the winner will be announced on the 10th July. Good luck to everyone!!! This competition isn't open to current LOVEFiLM members

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 28 June 2012

#R2BC - Very Proud Mummy

Thursday is here once more and that means linking up with the fabulous Mich over at Mummy From the Heart and her wonderful Reason's to be Cheerful.

1. My top reason changed at 3pm when I went to pick the kids from school and my 5yr old came running out, very proudly waving a certificate! She has been awarded her very first "Pupil of the Month" award! DS was full of pride as well as he was actually allowed to give the certificate to her. According to him, DD2's teacher started by telling the whole school in Assembly that this month's pupil of the month was being awarded to a little girl who never spoke in nursery class and who despite not being able to hear properly for a long time, has never let it stop her and is talking a lot more now and even happily chatting away in Welsh (See What a Difference a Year Makes and A Different Child). He told me that by the teacher's introduction he knew she was going to award it to DD2 and when her name was announced he shouted "YES!" The headmaster than asked who had shouted, and even though he was worried he was going to be told off, he admitted he had. The headmaster then said that although he doesn't normally allow it, did DS want to come up and give his sister her certificate! So I had two very proud children coming home from school! In fact when I went to take DD2's picture, DS asked if he could be in the picture as he had given her the certificate.

2. DS has been invited to go on a Christian Camp about 10 miles away during the summer holidays for 8-11 year olds, which he's really looking forward to and excited about. It'll be his first Christian conference, as we've ever been to one as a family, as well as the longest time he's ever been away from us but will be a good experience for him and is only down the road. This all came about following my letter to the Rev of the local CofE church after what happened during their Jubilee Messy Church (See I Tell My Children Off... Not You and Feeling Blah)

3. On Tuesday I will be going to London for the day with two good IRL as well as Blogging friends, Katie Cupcake Cymru and Missing Sleep. We're attending our first ever PR blogging event, Christmas in July, so if you're around pop over to say hi cos I'm really shy and wouldn't say hi to you first, not cos I'm rude, but because I'm painfully shy and that's where my girls get it from.

4. Whilst it was sad that school sports day was cancelled this week because of the bad weather, sports day has been rescheduled for next week and I still got to have one (or two) or Katie Cupcake Cymru's wonderful and tasty cakes! I ended up having to buy more at 3pm when I went to pick up the kids, as I ate the ones I'd already bought them LOL

5. Last week DD1 came home from Brownies and run upstairs shouting for me very proudly! She'd been awarded her first ever Brownie badge that she had earned herself. She's only been at Brownies since Easter but already has 4 badges! Her Six badge (Hedgehog), a badge for doing a sponsored walk on the Wales Coast Path, a badge for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and now the Artist badge!

So there's my Reason's to be Cheerful this week. What are yours? Why not join in the linky below and share why you're cheerful as it's always nice to take a minute out from the usual doom and gloom and to focus on the postives for a change! Don't forget to check out these lovely blogs as well and to share the love!!!

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Sunday, 24 June 2012

My First Story

Last week I was awarded the Versatile Blogger Award and as part of the award I had to share some fun facts about myself that no one knows. One of the facts I shared was that when I was a teenager I once wrote a story and finding it I thought I would share a small bit of it. Let me know what you think, but please be kind as I was a child when I wrote this on my very first word processor (it wasn't really a computer and was pre-Windows to give you an idea of how long ago it was LOL)


I leapt out of bed, like I did every morning and ran to the window. I loved early mornings and would spend hours watching the sun rise and the world come alive around me. But today I couldn’t, today was a special day and I had lots of things planned to do. What was so special about today? It was April Fools Day and every year we would all compete to win the King of the Fools award.

Grinning, I checked my watch and ran into my twin brothers’ bedroom. As usual he was still asleep, hidden under the duvet with just his dark hair showing. I silently ran over to him and pulled off his covers, clamping my hand over his mouth so he wouldn’t make a noise. Drew didn’t do mornings at all, he liked his sleep too much and I usually had to drag him out of bed. His eyes opened wide in panic as he woke as I quickly bent down to his ear and whispered.
“It’s only me! Wake up cos it’s April fool. Remember what we planned!” As he nodded I took my hand off his mouth and stood back up. Drew climbed out of bed and put his slippers on before grabbing his dressing gown from the bottom of the bed To look at us, Drew and I were identical, right down to our emerald green eyes and the number of freckles surrounding our noses, but personality wise we were miles apart. I was hyper and always full of energy, I hated sitting still and loved bounding around the house, whilst Drew was quiet, shy and cautious always aware of the consequences and scared of getting into trouble. But despite our differences, we were the best of friends.

Silently we crept out of our bedrooms and separated. Drew went downstairs and changed the clocks in the kitchen and the lounge, whilst I ran into our parents and older brothers rooms and switched the power off and then back on on their alarm clocks to reset them. We met back up just outside our rooms and silently high-fived each other before fleeing back into our bedrooms to wait for the fireworks which were soon to start. As I jumped into bed I heard my baby sister Ruby start to wail.

At first everything seemed normal. I heard my mum get up and go into Ruby’s room to see to her, murmuring softly as she took her downstairs for breakfast. Lying there so still was soo hard as I was jumpy with excitement. Suddenly all hell broke lose as I heard my mum scream up the stairs;
Then came a lot of banging from my dad’s room as he jumped out of bed and starting getting ready. Really it was only 6am and my dad had plenty of time, I grinned to myself. This was the best April Fool EVER! Hearing footsteps thumping up the stairs I quickly hid under my covers.
“Andie, I’m gonna kill you! Why d’ya switch my alarm off, you know I got footy practice this morning before school.” The door opened and he entered my bedroom. “No use pretending to be asleep, everyone knows you’re the first one up! ‘fess up already!”
I sat up and grinned at him
“Ryan, why on earth would I go into that pigsty you call a room and reset your alarm clock. I have better things to do than that!”
Ryan ran his fingers through his dirty blond hair as his eyes, so like mine, roamed my bedroom looking for clues. Spying my calendar on the wall he noticed the date and his eyes lit up.
“Brilliant Andie. Best April Fool Ever! Although I think you better tell dad what you did before he blows a gasket” He laughed as he left my room.

I quickly dressed and went downstairs for breakfast. Ruby was sitting in her high chair eating her cereal as I helped myself to some. Mum was rushing around the kitchen in a panic, trying to make our lunch boxes and breakfasts, whilst getting dressed and doing her hair. Grinning I pulled out a chair and sat at the table.
“Morning mum!”
“Andie, come on sweetie get a move on. You’re going to be late for school! Is Drew awake yet? DREW COME ON HURRY UP! I swear that boy is going to be late for school.”
“Mum!” I laughed “Calm down, you’re making no sense at all.”
“But just look at the time. I know I wanted your sister to sleep later, but why on earth did she have to choose today to do so. I’ve got so much to do and your dad....”
“Mum” I interrupted, trying to look innocent and not smile “What’s the date today?”
“Why on earth do you want to know the date?”
“Please mum.”
“It’s Friday... Friday the first of.... April” She spun around and glared at me, “Andie, please tell me you didn’t switch the alarm clocks off for a prank? Your dad is going to kill you when he finds out what you have done. Why, today of all days, did you have to do something so stupid, I thought you were supposed to be smart!”
“Mum, wait” I again interrupted. “I didn’t just switch the alarm clocks off, Drew also put the clocks forward an hour. You would just be getting up now!”
Mum glanced down at her watch and then up at the kitchen clock.
“I think you had better go upstairs and tell your father before he has a heart attack. I know you didn’t mean any harm, but if your dad misses an important meeting at work this morning he could lose his job.”

Nervously I swallowed and nodded as I went upstairs to my parents’ bedroom. Dad was on the floor looking for something under the bed.
“A April f Fool Dad!” I stuttered. He raised his head so suddenly he banged it on the underside of his bed and when he finally appeared his face was scarlet with rage.
“WHAT DID YOU SAY?” He bellowed. Taking a deep breath I tried again.
“A April Fool Dad!”
“Are you trying to tell me, that you switched off my alarm clock deliberately and all for the sake of a stupid April Fool prank! Of all the stupid and immature things you could have done! Good God I thought you were supposed to have more brains than this...” He raised his hand as though to slap me.
“Dad wait!” I yelped, interrupting him. “We changed the clocks as well. We put them forward an hour so you’re not late, you’re right on time!”
My dad stood there his hand midair as time seemed to freeze. Although I was terrified, I stood my ground. I had never seen my dad so angry before and he had never ever threatened to hit one of us, no matter how naughty we had been.

“Andew! Stop!” My mum shouted from the doorway, Ryan and Drew right behind her and Ruby in her arms. “You can’t blame the twins, they were only having fun and they didn’t know you had a very important meeting this morning. They were just following your example as you are the one who always encourages their pranks. Please don’t do anything in temper that you will regret later.”
Dad finally moved and raked his hand through his hair instead.
“Get out!” He said icily. “Get out and stay out I never want to see you again.” He turned away and I fled the room in tears.

I ran straight out of the house and across the road to the beach where I threw myself face down into the sand. I cried and cried and cried. How could today go so wrong. My dad hated me and almost hit me, how could I ever face him again, how could I face any of them again? I heard my mum, Drew and Ryan calling for me, but I hid behind the breakwater. I didn’t want anyone to see me.

I don’t know how much time passed but finally my tears began to stop. I sat up and rubbed my eyes. Slowly I stood and looked around, praying that I wouldn’t see any of my family. I couldn’t and realising I had to face the music, I slowly began to walk back to the house. Suddenly I felt a sharp pain explode at the back of my head and the world went dark as I fell face down in the sand. 

Saturday, 23 June 2012

#SATCAP - Caption Day Saturday

I don't usually join in with Saturday Caption day as I'm usually too busy getting ready for work, and not organised enough to plan my post in advance LOL But today I've got 5 minutes spare before I start getting DD2 ready for a birthday party. In fact, in honour of DD2 going to a birthday party, here's a picture of her all ready for her animal themed fancy dress 25th Rainbow's birthday party!

So over to you. Can you think of a funny caption for this picture? If you enjoy thinking of captions or need a laugh, why not check over to Mamasaurous and read all the other blogs listed in the linky, you can always join in as well and add your blog to the linky as well!

Friday, 22 June 2012

First Brownie Badge

Last night DD1 came home from Brownies all excited!!!!

She'd been awarded her very first Brownie badge and is now the proud owner of the Artist badge!

She has now written a long list of other badges she want's to work towards!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

#R2BC - Feeling Blah

Lately I've been feeling very lethargic with a mix of can't-be-itis and a severe lack of motivation, which has bled over to my blog and why it's been a few days since my last post. I guess it's just a mixture of bad weather and sleep deprivation as I haven't been sleeping very well lately.

So I'm going to try and get myself out of this funk I seem to have fallen into and what better way than to link up with the fabulous Mich over at Mummy From the Heart and her Thursday link-up "Reason's To Be Cheerful!"

1. Tickets are booked and have arrived all ready for my wonderful kid-free day in London at the Christmas in July event, along with two other good friends and mummy bloggers Katie Cupcake Cymru (another star of The Winner's Story) and Karen from Missing Sleep

2. During the half-term holidays we went to a local Messy Church and unfortunately DS didn't have a very nice time (See I tell my children off... Not you!). Last week, when I was taking the children to school, I was confronted by a friend of the woman who told my son off. She shouted across the school yard that I owed her friend an apology for what I put on facebook about her friend. This is what I actually put on Facebook

After the friend (who did apologise when she had heard my side of the story so credit to her for doing so) had confronted me I decided I needed to write to the reverend of the church and tell him what happened and put my side of the story across. I hadn't wanted to write a letter as the children did enjoy Messy Church and I had been willing to let the matter drop and just not take the children to Messy Church again, but after my confrontation with the friend I felt I had to! On Sunday when I was at our church (which is a different one to Messy Church) our pastor had a chat with me afterwards and she told me that the Rev had received my letter and had spoken to the woman and that he would be in touch with me (he came on Monday but I was out at toddler group with the baby and missed him) and they were going to change Messy Church so that if anything happens they go to the child's parents rather than confronting the child themselves. So DS is feeling happier now that the matter has been sorted and so am I!

3. Summer holidays are almost here and that means planning what we are going to do! We had hoped to go to Scotland camping and visit our friends, but sadly the tax, MOT and service is due on the car, so now we're looking at a weekend in London before the Olympics start with Nanny and Granddad! I'm also hoping to treat my wonderful dad on a ride on the London Eye as a birthday treat as it's his 65th birthday on the 3rd of August and also his retirement which he is really looking forward to and deserves after all these years of working hard to support my mum, brother and I as we were growing up. My dad never missed work, no matter how ill he was, but he always put us first and taught me that family is one of the most important things! So now I just have to find us a nice and cheerful hotel for us to stay in overnight which won't cost the earth! 

4. Because we can't go camping to Scotland, it doesn't mean we can't go camping locally, which we are going to do and since we live in a tourism area, it also means we have lots of fantastic campsites nearby as well as lots of fun activites to enjoy!

5. And last but not least, lovely Charlotte from The Crumby Mummy awarded me and my blog the Versatile Blogger Award which was a lovely surprise and made my day!

And for a bit of fun, here's the face I made out of DD1's snack before she went to Brownies! She said it looked like her!

So now it's your turn. Why don't you join in with the linky below and share what's making you feel cheerful and don't forget to head over to the other blogs listed and share the love!
Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Saturday, 16 June 2012

My 1st Blog Award

Today I was tagged in a tweet from the lovely Charlotte over at The Crumby Mummy to say she was awarding my blog an award! The Versatile Blogger Award.

Firstly I would like to thank Charlotte <sob> and I would like to thank all the little people who I have trodden on on my way to the top <sob> and thank them for being my stepping stones on my way to success <sob> (think Halle Berrie's infamous emotional Oscar acceptance speech when she won her Oscar for Monster's Ball)

Seriously though, this award is a little bit of fun and an interesting meme to learn some interesting facts about each other.

The Versatile Blogger Award
The rules are:
* Thank the Blogger/s who awarded you this award and link back to them
* Share 5 Random Facts about yourself
* Spread the joy by nominating other bloggers for the award

So as part of winning this award I have to share 5 fun facts, so here they are;

1. I hated Star Wars until I actually watched the digital re-release in the cinema in 1997 for the films(and mine) 20th birthday. It was the first time I actually watched all 3 films from start to finish and I fell in love. So much so that a few years later, in 1999, I was stood outside the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square, London for the première of Episode I: The Phantom Menace and actually watched the film the following day. It was a surreal experience and the atmosphere made up for the film's shortcomings, especially as there were people in costumes and everyone cheered and clapped when the film started and finished!

2. I once wrote a short story based on Star Wars. I got the idea after watching Austin Powers - The Spy Who Shagged me when Scott Evil appears on The Jerry Springer Show and finds out Frau Farbissina is actually his mother. In my short story it is Luke Skywalker who appeared on the show and found out Darth Vader was his father

3. When I was younger, I used to love writing stories. Unfortunately I would start them, or write the plot, but I never finished them. In fact out of all my ideas and stories that I started, I only ever finished one story, which I still have in a folder. 

4.. Hubby, myself and all 4 children have names beginning with the letter R and the last name of T. The baby and I share the same initials and DD1 and DD2 have almost the same initials, the difference being that DD1 has 2 middle names and DD2 only has 1 (DD1 is named after both grandmothers, if I hadn't you can bet I wouldn't have had any more daughters!). I also remember when I was in school that my friend found it hilarious that my initials were R.C and he called me R.C by name, Arsey by nature!

5. When I was 8 I wrote to the Queen. I had heard that the Queen sent telegrams to people when they reached 100 and I worked out that my 16yr old cat was 112 in cat's years and I wanted to know if the Queen would send him a telegram. I actually got a reply from the Queen's Lady-in-Waiting telling me the Queen had asked her to write back thanking me for the letter but unfortunately there were some things the Queen couldn't do and sadly that was one of them. I was so proud of that letter and proudly took it to school to show everyone. Our cat lived another 3yrs until he sadly died of cancer aged 19!

So now it is my turn to tag some interesting blogs and award them the Versatile Blogger Award. So, in no particular order, my choices are...

Karen at Missing Sleep
Katie at Katie Cupcake Cymru
Sophie at Being Mum
Elly at Running Rants
Suzanne at 3 Children and It

Friday, 15 June 2012

The Baby's 2yr Developmental Check-up

Yesterday I took the baby for her 2yr Developmental Check-up aged 2yrs 5mths with our local health visitor. Unfortunately the baby wasn't in a very cooperative mood and was distracted by the toys that were much more interesting than the adults blah-blahing to each other!!! Especially when she found a shape-sorter jigsaw as she loves those and spent ages doing it over and over again. It had a missing piece as well which she was determined to find and she did saying "I found it!"

Chatting to the health visitor I mentioned that I was worried about her hearing and her speech. A few months ago I remember saying to her sisters' speech therapist how I had no concerns about her speech as she was chatting away like her brother did at her age, unlike her sisters who both require speech therapy, but recently I noticed that her speech had stalled and maybe even gone backwards as she seems to be using more baby talk than actual words and reminds me of her sisters. I also noticed over the past few days that if you speak quietly she doesn't seem to hear you. She does have a cold at the moment so it could be temporary hearing loss because of the cold, but after not realising her sister DD2 had hearing loss which caused her speech problems, I don't want to miss any hearing problems the baby might have. (see A Different Child). I told the health visitor my concerns and she has agreed to refer the baby to the ENT to have her hearing checked, especially as she had 3 ear infections in a few short months last winter. 

The health visitor asked if the baby had 25 clear words, but although she does (or did) have more than 25 words they aren't very clear, I understand them but then I've had 7yrs of understanding unclear words and I don't know how clear her words would be to other people and I do sometimes find myself translating, but then the translating could be because I've gotten into the habit of repeating what the three girls say back to them to help their speech and to show I understood them. Because of that I couldn't answer the health visitors question. She also asked me if the baby attends nursery but she doesn't, I tried her once for an hour and she screamed the whole time I was gone so I would have to build her up gradually and I cannot afford that and it seems to be a waste of money putting her in nursery when I'm home to look after her, but she does start playschool in September so that should help. Unfortunately because she is with me almost all the time (apart from when I'm at my Welsh class or at work which is only 1 evening a week) she's not used to being apart from me and suffers separation anxiety when she is. She's also shy like her older sisters. 

The next challenge was weighing the baby, and this was a BIG challenge! She refused point black to stand on the scales! I tried putting her on it, and no matter what I did she would not stand on it. She would cling to me, put one or both feet on the floor, bend her knees, put the books on it! Eventually after 5 minutes we gave up. There was no way she was going to get weighed, I even told her she was too young to have a scales phobia!

watching the train go past on the way to her check-up

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Terrible Twosday - Spitting and licking

Recently my 2yr old has decided she is a dog! She will crawl around, carrying things in her mouth and has even been known to tip her fruit, crisps or dry cereal onto the floor so she can eat it like a dog. She will even go to kiss you but instead will lick you across the face!

As disturbing as it sounds, the pretending to be a dog doesn't bother me. It means she is using her imagination and role-playing is vital for her brain development. In fact role-playing can help toddlers explore their imagination, think in the abstract, acquire language skills, develop problem solving skills, help understand someone else's perspective, learn essential life skills from adults, discover leadership skills, safely explore the world beyond, acquire confidence and a sense of self. Isn't it incredible that crawling around pretending to be a dog actually helps her learn emotions, cognition, language and sensory motor skills and scientist theorise it actually creates synaptic connections between parts of the brain, and the more synapses, the greater the child's intelligence!

Her other new habits are a lot more annoying and I have no idea where she gets them from, it isn't anything her older siblings have ever done, even with all the challenging behaviours they gave me at her age!

Spitting - Very annoying but it's not down intentionally or in anyone's face, more spitting on the floor. Similarly, and one her older siblings did use to do, is spitting her juice into a cup to drink out of it. I take this as a sign that she no longer wants to use a baby cup and I now give her a big girls cup when she's sitting nicely at the table

Climbing out of her buggy - This is something none of the others did, but then the older two were evicted from their buggy's at quite young ages (2 for DS and 20mths for DD1) after the birth of a younger sibling as we have never used a double buggy. DD2 was already out of a buggy when the baby made an appearance and she is quite lazy and will quite happily climb into the baby's buggy after she's climbed out of it! I do try to let the baby walk as much as possible as I take it her climbing out is a sign of independence as she wants to walk more and doesn't like being confined in the buggy, however sometimes I cannot let her walk, like if we're running late for school and sometimes she will climb out of the buggy and want carrying within 5 minutes so I'm trying to teach her that she won't be carried, if she doesn't want to walk then she must sit in the buggy!

It's been nice to take part in Terrible Twosday again, as I have missed out for the past few weeks, with one thing or another, so I'm glad to be joining in again this week. If you've enjoyed this post then head over to The Crumby Mummy to read some other Terrible Twosday posts and even join in on the linky if you want to share the trails and tribulations of your toddler or not so young toddlers!

Singing Winning Wenlock Olympic Mascot Soft Toy Review

This summer the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will see over 15,000 athletes from over 200 nations come together to compete to win the coveted Gold Medal.

Olympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville are now well known figures, stars of 4 You Tube videos about following the rainbow (see here for part 1, 2, 3 and 4) and popstars with their very own song "On a Rainbow".

Wenlock, the official Olympic mascot, has friendship bands representing the five colours of the famous rings. Mandeville, the proud mascot of the Paralympic Games, has a stopwatch to help keep track of personal best times Both mascots feature black cab insignias to represent London, the home of the 2012 Games, and the colourful pair are bound to become treasured friends for many visitors to take home as souvenirs

To commemorate the momentous occasion Golden Bear had a wide choice of plush mascots to choose from, with everything from beanies, to soft key rings and even a giant 80cm plush, there's a mascot to suit every style and budget!

We were sent a singing Wenlock soft toy to review and it was a big hit in our house! Wenlock sings and dances as he sings the chorus from the 2012 Official Mascot Song - Follow the Rainbow and has soft moldable arms that you can twist into whatever position you want them in. These arms were fantastic, usually when you have a dancing toy like this you cannot move the arms, but with the Singing Wenlock you can without worrying you would break him, giving him a playable feel which my 5yr old really enjoyed. 

All of the children enjoying singing with him and making him dance and they proudly took him to school to show their friends and teachers and he was a big hit, DD2 even slept with him last night and keeps singing with him and cuddling with him! When we watched the torch come through they recognised Wenlock when he passed as someone was holding a stuffed Wenlock teddy and pointed him out to me. Even the baby has taken a shine to him and keeps pressing his foot to make him dance! Not even is he a fun toy for them to play with he is also a lovely keepsake for the children to remember the Olympics when they've moved on to the Rio de Janeiro games of 2016.

Golden Bear can be found online, facebook and twitter

I was sent Winning Wenlock for free on the understanding I would write an honest review of what I thought about the product. I received no payment and the review is my own honest and unbiased opinion of the product.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Popchips Crisps Review

We were sent a brand new product, fresh from the States to try.

Popchips are a revoulutionary new type of crisps, where the potatoes are popped (like popcorn) instead of being fried or baked and this means they are less than than half the calories yet all the flavour. 

Popping is a way of making naturally delicious crisps. They start with the finest potatoes, add a little heat and pressure, and then pop... it becomes a crisp. Finally a little all-natural seasoning is added and the snack is complete.

Popchips pride themselves on their all-natural pledge; 
No fake colours
No fake flavours
No preservatives
No orange fingertips
No having to wipe your greasy crisp hand on your clothes.

They also pride themselves that they only use ingredients you can feel good about and they leave out the bad stuff like hydrogenated oils and msg that give snacking a bad name.

Popchips come in several different flavours; Original, Sour Cream and Onion, Sea Salt and Vinegar, Salt and Pepper and Barbecue.

These crisps were a huge hit in my house, as the children are all crisp lovers and would eat crisps all day long if we didn't limit them, so it was nice to be able to give them something they loved and know it was healthier than the usual crisps they eat and they're already asking when I'm going to buy some more!

Popchips can be bought in several major supermarkets or you could try requesting them.

Popchips can also be found online, facebook and on twitter

I was sent a box of Popchips for free on the understanding I would write an honest review of what I and my family thought of the product. I received no payment and the review is my own honest and unbiased opinion of the product. 

Tilda Rice Kids Range Review

My kids are very picky eaters and they don't like eating their vegetables. So we were sent some different flavoured packets of rice and vegetables to try from Tilda and their new kids range. 

Tilda have been kown for many years for their easy to cook rice and now they have a fab children's range which is full of delicious and healthy vegetables to spice up any midweek meal.

Tilda Kids also pride themselves that these products are not only tasty but that they are;
* Flavours kids will love
* Perfect with all their favourites
* Natural ingredients
* 1 of their 5 a day
* Full of goodness, no nonsense
* Quick and convenient

Tilda are also proud to announce that they have been ethically sourcing rice for over 40 years and that they select only the finest Basmati rice and test every batch for purity.

The range contains several different combinations:

Mild and Sweet Curry (my son's favourite) - Steamed Basmati rice with green beans, sweet potato and apricots. The perfect introduction to newer flavours for little ones. Best served with chicken.

Cheese and Tomato (the baby's favourite) - Steamed Basmati rice with tangy tomato and cheese. This has been made for all of those who really enjoy the flavour of Margarite pizza. Perfect with meatballs!

Sunshine Vegetable - Steamed Basmati rice with butternut squash, sweetcorn, carrots and other goodies. A lovely sunny and gentle recipe for your little ones. It goes with everything, but best with fish!

Sweet Vegetable and Wholegrain Rice - Steamed Basmati rice with sweetcorn, sweet potato, carrots and other tasty treats. The recipe contains wholegrains for extra healthy goodness. Perfect with everything!

My children enjoyed these packets of rice, a lot more than they enjoyed normal bland rice and my son especially can't wait to have the curry one again.

Tilda Kids Rice are available in all good supermarkets.

Tilda Rice can be found online, Facebook and Twitter

I was sent 4 packs (one of each flavour) of the Tilda kids range for free on the understanding I would write an honest review of what I and my children thought of it. I received no payment and the review is my own honest and unbiased opinion of the product. 

Ravensburger Minnie Mouse My First Puzzle Review

Much to my 2 year olds delight, we were sent a Minnie Mouse jigsaw from Ravensburger to review.

Ravensburger have now released a range of jigsaw puzzles especially designed for toddlers aged 18mths and over to enjoy. The first to be released is an adorable Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck jigsaw based on the characters from the popular Disney Junior TV show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse  with more jigsaws to be released later this year. 

My 2 year old is a Mickey and Minnie Mouse fanatic (see Toddler Tantrums when she couldn't watch Mickey Mouse). She also LOVES jigsaws and managed to do not one but two of her wooden shape sorter jigsaws on her first attempt at the same time!

When she saw the box she became really excited and wanted to do the jigsaws straight away and once she'd been shown what to do she managed them with ease and enjoyed doing them over and over. They weren't too hard for her which was really good as it didn't put her off doing the jigsaws and she got a bit sense of achievement from putting the jigsaws together. 

The box is brightly coloured with lots of pink which is sure to please every little girl. Inside the box there is 4 jigsaws, 2 of Minnie Mouse and 2 of Daisy Duck and each jigsaw has a different number of pieces to complete.

This jigsaw is in 2 pieces
This jigsaw is in 3 pieces
This jigsaw is in 4 pieces
This jigsaw is in 5 pieces
The jigsaw is made of stiff card and slots together easily for little hands to do.

My daughter really enjoyed doing these jigsaws and kept doing them over and over again. They are an ideal middle step between wooden shape sorting jigsaws  and proper jigsaws and I thoroughly recommend them. I will definitely buy her some more jigsaws now that I know they are such a hit!

I was sent Minnie Mouse My First Puzzle for free on the understanding I would write an honest review of what I thought about the product. I received no payment and the review is written in my own words and is my own honest and unbiased opinion of the product. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

I tell my children off... Not you!

Earlier I took the children to our local church where they were hosting a Jubilee Themed Messy Church with lots of fun-filled craft sessions for free for the children of the community. 

When I originally planned to write this post it was to be a lot different then it will end up being. Originally I planned to post about all the fun the children had, playing with their friends, making crafts and even watching their teddies bungy jump!

Sadly it didn't turn out that way.

Towards the end, as we were getting ready to leave and I was rounding up the kids, DS and 2 friends came into the church carrying something he wanted me to see. One of the ladies of the church then stopped him and wanted to know where he had gotten the broken egg he was carrying and wanting to know who had broken to it. Seemingly the three boys had discovered a seagulls nest with an egg in it, and being inquisitive young boys of 9, DS had accidentally broken the egg. When the lady confronted the boys, one of them said it was my son who had broken it. 

The lady started telling my son off for breaking a seagull's egg and out of the 3 boys, he was the only one she told off. She started telling him that seagull's eggs are protected by law and he was a nasty boy for breaking it and that God wouldn't like him to break birds eggs. He then said he'd done it accidentally and her daughter came over and started saying how he couldn't have broken it accidentally he must have done it deliberately. 

By now I was getting angry. What right did they have to tell MY son off! Beside's seagull's eggs are not protected, if they were then why does the council spend a lot of money each year sending people to the nests to pain the eggs with a chemical to prevent the eggs from hatching? Why are there signs all around town telling people they will be fined if they feed the birds? In fact, my kids call seagull's Sky Rats because they are a pest, just like rats (the ones that aren't pets) and I've seen them before dive-bombing people and attacking them when they're trying to eat, even stealing food from their plates as they're sat there eating! As we were already getting ready to leave I told him we were going.

We went outside but DD1 ran back inside to get her crown she had made and whilst we were waiting I saw the daughter putting her children in her car and I'm sure she kept giving my son dirty looks! Eventually I had to send DS back inside the church to fetch his sister as she was taking a long time and a few minutes later they came out.

The lady also came out with them and I heard her telling him off AGAIN for what he had done! Finally I lost my cool and I told her to leave him alone, he had been told off once and didn't need to be told off again so would she stop going on about it. I also saw his face and knew he was crying as he ran off. When I caught him he just stood there sobbing, terrified he would go to prison for breaking a protected egg and that he hadn't meant to do it, it was an accident! I cuddled him and told him it was ok and another child came up telling me how the lady had gone back inside the church muttering that I was a rude and bad mother!
It took me awhile to calm him down and as we went into the shop to get something for tea he gave me a hug and said;
"Thank you mummy for defending me!"
I told him he was my boy and I always would and that no one other than me and daddy had any right to tell him off! He also wouldn't leave my side as he was scared the daughter might turn up and have another go at him.

Seriously how was that woman teaching my son about God and His love and forgiveness? All she had done is make him too scared to go back to that church and he never wants to go to another messy church again. Thankfully we attend another church in town, one that does teach my children about God's love the correct way. However, if it had been another child, one who didn't go to church and didn't know about God's love, she would have made that child scared of God and not believe He could love him!

Whether what my son did was right or wrong, she had NO right to tell him off once let alone twice! I know my son is no angel and he can be naughty, cheeky and misbehaves, but if he does something wrong you come and tell ME! I am his parent and I will deal with him! Not you!!!

Breastfeeding with Diabetes

Discovering you have Gestational Diabetes, or even having already been diagnosed with either Type-1 or Type-2 Diabetes, you might find yourself believing that your diabetes will mean you cannot breastfeed.
But did you know that breastfeeding whilst diabetic can actually help both you and your baby!

Research has shown that breastfeeding can lower the risk of your baby developing diabetes when they are older. The US Department of Health and Human Services in Washington D.C states in their report Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding that "studies on infant feeding have found lower rates in chronic diseases among children who were breastfed". It also states that "recent findings suggest that breastfeeding may reduce the risk of type-1 and type-2 diabetes." 

This is really good news as having a parent with diabetes does increases their risk of developing the condition. But breastfeeding also helps the diabetic mother as it lowers the body's blood sugar and she will find herself needing less insulin to help control her sugar levels. It also lowers the risk that the GD will return as Type-2 diabetes for the mother, as the risk of it developing in later life is significantly higher in someone who has previously had GD.

I remember when I was told I had gestational diabetes when I was around 29wks pregnant. It came as a big shock as I had never considered myself to be at risk of diabetes. I was also worried about whether I could still breastfeed and I was glad I had just weaned DD2. I was reassured by a friend who is a Breastfeeding Supporter for the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers that I could and I should breastfeed the baby. 

After my diagnosis, I was put on quite large doses of insulin and was injecting myself 3-times a day. Because of the GD they decided to induce her 2wks early, especially as I had previously had large babies and they were unsure how large she would be with the GD. (She weighed 8lb 15oz and was born 9 days early). The insulin injections were stopped immediately after her birth.

Before she was born, I told the hospital that I was going to breastfeed her and luckily the hospital was very supportive of this and the topic of topping her up with formula (which I was against) was only mentioned once in a "Well they may want you too" comment. She had a few issues with her sugar being low (you have to remember that because of my diabetes, whilst she was in the womb she was also getting extra sugar which meant her body was creating extra insulin to deal with the sugar. Once she was born the extra sugar disappeared and her body had to learn not to make so much insulin) and because of that I found it hard to wake her to nurse her, but kangaroo care (skin to skin contact) helped, especially putting her by the breast so she could smell the breast milk. At one point, when it had been quite a few hours since her last feed and I was struggling to get her to wake, the midwife went to get a syringe to try and feed her expressed milk but by the time she came back I'd managed to get her to latch on. 

Despite her low sugars at birth, breastfeeding her little and often helped stabilise her and her sugars and she quickly became more alert and wakeful. She was a little red as well, as she had too many red blood cells attacking her glucose but even that soon disappeared and we were discharged the following day as they were happy with her progress.

That was over 2yrs ago and despite my diagnosis a year ago of Type-2 Diabetes, the baby is still breastfeeding.

So if you have diabetes, whether its gestational, type-1 or type-2, remember you CAN still breastfeed but not only that, it is also better for the both of you if you do!

Celebrating the Queen's Jubilee in Style

On Sunday the 3rd of June 2012, our community came out in style to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with pride that she is only the 2nd monarch to ever celebrate 60 years on the throne (and judged by how she stood for the whole Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant at the grand old age of 86, she has a lot more years in her yet). I also believe that this is the only Diamond Jubilee that we or our children will ever see!

Although the weather spoilt our first choice of location of the gardens by the beach, luckily we had a back-up plan of the leisure centre meaning that the celebration wouldn't be spoilt!

Thanks to the wonderful official Diamond Jubilee Street Party Pack I was sent from Party Packs (see my review here) we were able to decorate the leisure centre and make it look wonderfully patriotic and showed we were proud to celebrate this milestone in the Queen's reign.

The party, which was organised by the BCP (a local community group supporting the children of our town), was a huge success and it was fantastic to see so many people from the community coming along to support us and also bringing food with them.

Mr Balloons gave his all as he spent 2 solid hours making balloon animals and even staying longer than he'd originally said to make sure that every child who waited patiently in line got one.

A local hotel owner also provided the music to get the children up and dancing and one of the members of the BCP was lucky enough to win £250 from Iceland to cater a Jubilee Party.

Three other BCP members (including Katie Cupake Cymru) spent all morning preparing all the food whilst hubby spend time transporting the food to the leisure centre and the rest of us decorated the hall.

And to round off a wonderful day, which wasn't spoilt by the weather, the youngest and oldest resident at the party recieved a special gift to remember the party by as well as a member of the community who worked hard alongside the BCP to help support the party. 

All in all a wonderful day and a special thanks has to go out to the BCP for organising the street party as well as Iceland Frozen Foods, Party Packs, the Local Town Council, Bellevue Hotel, Marwyn Guest House, Crystal House Hotel, Missing Sleep, Really Rachel, the Residents Association and to everyone else who helped out, supported or donated anything. Thank you for helping us celebrate in style!

**Apologies for the pictures, unfortunately the lighting in the leisure centre makes all pictures come out with an orange tint and thank you to Katie Cupcake Cymru for letting me use some of her photos which came out better than mine!**

Friday, 1 June 2012

Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt


I am proud to be taking part of the first Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt, hosted by Breastfeeding in England from the lovely Karen behind BoobieMilk Nursing Bras and vests.

Each week, I along with some other amazing bloggers, will be sharing our own breastfeeding experiences, tips and knowledge we have learnt from our breastfeeding in an attempt to raise awareness of breastfeeding as well as some fun competitions along the way.

Each week will have a different topics;
Week 1 - Breastfeeding Benefits
Week 2 - Mother to Mother Sharing
Week 3 - Support
Week 4 - Breastfeeding Beyond 1 Month

Breastfeeding is still seen as unnatural and a taboo subject, with many mothers who decide to breastfeed soon giving up due to lack of support and understanding and for those who dare breastfeed in public are considered exhibitionists who are posing topless and if you're someone who wants privacy whilst you nurse your child, you're sent to the toilets which are often dirty and smelly to nurse your child (seriously would you want to eat your dinner in the bathroom? No, then why should a baby?)

Whilst breastfeeding rates have risen slightly in the past 5 years, they still have a long way to go, especially for breastfeeding over a month or longer than a year!

My breastfeeding story begin in March 2003 with the birth of my son, my first-born. I stayed a few extra days in hospital as I worked on establishing breastfeeding and I had been so determined I would breastfeed that at home I didn't have any formula or bottles. "Why would I need it" I decided, "I'm going to breastfeed my baby, just like my mum breastfed me!" Unfortunately it didn't work out that way, our first night home he refused to latch on and nothing I could do would get him to latch, then he would scream in hunger all night, his temper and hunger making it even harder for him to latch and it became a vicious circle and ended up with me rushing out in the morning as soon as the shops opened to buy some formula. Later on that morning my midwife came to visit and she tried to get him to latch on as well but he refused and from that moment on he was bottle-fed. I felt like such a failure that I hadn't been able to breastfeed my son, something that was so natural, and with no support groups or knowing anyone who breastfed I had no one to turn to. I hadn't heard of breastfeeding groups such as the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (ABM) or the La Leche League (LLL) and with no computer or internet access I couldn't research breastfeeding. (You can read more about his birth story here)

Two years later, in April 2005, my daughter was born and I decided that I would give breastfeeding another go. She was a very difficult delivery (you can read more about her birth story here) and an emergency c-section which resulted in me in the ITU (Intensive Trauma Unit) having a blood transfusion and her in the nursery being given a bottle and crying with a headache. The midwives had offered to bring her to me in the ITU when she wanted feeding, but I was completely out of it and told them to give her a bottle. Things then went from bad to worse as she developed jaundice and an infection and I struggled with the breastfeeding but here the hospital let me down as they didn't offer me any support or allowed me to speak to a breastfeeding supporter or counsellor. Finally, after spending 7hrs with her attached to my breast and then her drinking 2oz of formula  I decided to give up. In fact the midwife I spoke to about my decision was pro-bottle-feeding as she encouraged me to give up saying that the blood transfusion had obviously affected my milk and she wasn't getting enough (something I now know was wrong). When the paediatrician came to see me he wasn't happy I had given up with the breastfeeding, telling me it was the best thing for her, but again I wasn't offered any support or the chance to speak to anyone. By now I had begun to believe I would never breastfeed and that it was because of my large breasts.

In December 2006, I again became a mother to another daughter. This time the birth was textbook, lasting only 3hrs and she came naturally with just gas and air for pain relief. I put her on the breast and she took to breastfeeding like a pro. We had a slight hiccup when my milk came in and my breasts became engorged, but thanks to a very supportive midwife we got through that and she breastfed until she was 32 months old.

Shortly after DD2 weaned, the baby was born in January 2010 and again she took to breastfeeding like a pro. During my pregnancy I had developed Gestational Diabetes, but breastfeeding helped stabilise both of our blood sugars after her birth. She is 29 months old now and shows no signs of wanting to wean.

So now you have read a little bit of my breastfeeding stories and heard about the Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt I hope you will join in and check out some of the other wonderful bloggers taking part.

Circus Queen - I'm Adele. Circus Queen tells my story as mother, migrant and writer
Fi Peacock -  I'm a new mum, a campaigner, a rabbit owner, a vegan, a wife, an amaretto drinker, a fan of  debates, and a blogger.
The Secret Life of Kate - Hi, I'm Kate.  I'm in my late twenties and live in London/Essex with my husband, baby girl and 2 cats.  I blog about babies, food and anything else on my mind. 
Breastfeeding in England - Wife to Ryan of almost 10 years and Mum to William (2008) and Ellie (2011) learning how to be British again. 
Diary of a First Child - Diary of a First Child is a blog about one mama’s experience of
attached parenthood. Luschka shares what she learns along the way, first with her toddler and now with a newborn too, from the first day nursing in public to tandem nursing a toddler and newborn and everything in between. 
Life Happens So Smile - One Mum who writes, One Dad who drums, Two girls that giggle, some cats, a dog and life.  I'm also told her facebook page can be offensive, so read if you dare (I know I'm going straight there!)
MyMummysPennies -  All about saving Mummies pennies!  I share offers & competitions that will save parents money and blog about my life as a penny pinching mummy who tries to live life as eco-friendly as possible!
Edspire - was started as a diary when my beautiful twins were born 13 weeks premature in July 2010.  Over the last two years it has evolved into a blog about family life, pregnancy and babies. 
A New Addition - I started my blog at 5 weeks pregnant as a diray and things went a bit manic (in a good way).  Just before my baby boy 2 was bron I had the big confidence boost I needed and here we are with
Mummy Is A Gadget Geek - Blogging about baby gadgets, mummy gadgets, breastfeeding and bringing up two kids from a baby wearing, baby le weaning, co-sleeping, trainee breastfeeding counsellor mum-of-two.
Life, Love & Lollipops - My name is Roz.  I am a Midlands based wife, mum of two gorgeous boys (3 & a newborn), friend, sister, serial Facebooker and Tweeter!  Oh, and I kicked cancer.  Twice.  Before I was 30.  This is my story moving on from cancer and getting back to living again.
Mummy Constant -  The little adventure of Noah and the Bump.
Radical Ramblings - a document of my family's journey through attachment parenting, radical unschooling and living an 'alternative' lifestyle.  I blog about breastfeeding, positive discipline, politics, feminism, education and anything else I care to ramble on about.
Breast 4 Babies - I do not have a magic wand that I can wave and every mum can breastfeed with ease, but I have been there, through the milk coming in, the cluster feeding, mastitis, thrush - you name it I have probably been there and bought the t-shirt, so I do understand what you are going through.
Bumps 2 Babies - These are the thoughts and experiences of a first time Mummy in Wales, with reviews of baby products and pregnany products I used when I was expecting. 
Mixed Bag of Allsorts - I'm a breastfeeding Mum to 15 month old Andrew, and pregnant Mum to our second trimester bump.  After struggles with the first six months of breastfeeding Andrew, I got very passionate about sharing our story and trying to help other Mums in similar breastfeeding situations.  I like to write about mum-hood, baking, my faith, craft, and of course pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Dispelling Breastfeeding Myths - Mums not Myths ~ DBM is a personal blog and an online breastfeeding peer support group which helps mums to find their way through a maze of misinformation and discrimination. 
Mama Geek - I am a 20-something breastfeedinf mum to a one year old girl who is a total scamp.  I am still breastfeeding her and have recently completed training to be a breastfeeding buddy.
Smiling Like Sunshine - I blog about natural parenting, playful learning, children's books and whatever takes my fancy.  
Petra - I am a Lactation Consultant and Gestalt Counsellor in private practise and working for Children's Centres.  I live in London and I address in my blog themes I notice in my work. 
Lactivist - A supportive netwrok for anyone who is interested in breastfeeding and it is stuffed full of useful articles and regular competitions. (Lisa also designed the hunt logo!)
MummysLittlePeeps - I am a mummy to two gorgeous little men (16mo and 1mo).  I love shopping, baking, cake decorating and days out with the family.  Paty planning and reading are things I enjoy in my spare time.  I'm also a coeliac and follow a gluten free diet.  
Ponderings of a Doula - I have a dream to reach every mother-to-be, whether via internet or in person, and to share with them that pregnancy, birth and labour are not unnatural and that it is a perfectly normal time in their lives.  Part of my dream is to treat each mother as the unique woman that she is, and to walk with her, beside her, on this wonderful journey of discovery that she is on.  
Diary of the Milkshake Mummy - I am a mum to two very lovely boys Damien and Dennis, and yes I mean as in Devil and Manace.  Damien is two and a half and what people call "active and busy" basically a polite way of saying a bloody nightmare and nonstop mischief maker.  Dennis is six months old and is prone to every germ and bug going, if it is contagious he WILL catch it. 
Twinkle Mummy - A new blogger and Mum to twin boys.  
Life, Love and Living with Boys - I'm (Kate) a Mum of two boys under three with no vocation until I discovered "Babies and Boobies".  A serial breastfeeding support group attendee, I've been going to my local group since October 2009.  The only way I could guarantee I'd never have to stop going was to become a peer supporter!  Now supporting Mums in the community, on the ward and also through Brestfeeding Friendly Chester, I couldn't imagine life without breastfeeding. 
Tea with Felicity - lots of parenting topics including birth, breastfeeding, stress, finances, play ideas, being a vegan mother and rasing a vegan child, and all the funny times along the way!
My Thoughts on Things - A space where I can free my ideas, musings, thoughts and opinions on motherhood, life and God.  I share my passion for women having the right and the knowledge of their own bodies, about breastfeeding and about gentle, godly parenting. 
My Gorgeous Boys - Louise is a full time mum to two small boys aged 5 and 3 and blogs about the adventures they have.  She volunteers at the local Surestart breastfeeding social groupos as a peer supporter and is passionate about ensuring mums have all the information to assist them in breastfeeding successfully and, most importantly, happily!
Where Roots Flourish - The story of us.  The best years of our lives, and all that goes into it.  I'm an excited newlywed, pregnant with our first child.  I think of myself as slightly crafty and frugal, and I hope to share my adventures here. 
Little Scribbles - A blog about all things baby.  I am a new mummy who wants to share a few things as I find out about the joys of motherhood. 
Attachment Mummy - I'm Leta, a just 40-something stay at home mummy to two beautiful daughters, Lara (2) and Sophia (3 months); and three gorgeous fur babies, Yuri and Taya (5), and Misha (3).  I'm married to the lovely Steve and we live on the glorious sunny Sussex coast with a glimpse or two of the sea.  This blog is about our attempts to live happily whilst parenting positively and finding our way bumpily through the miefiled of modern life. 
Smilernpb - This is the random day to day ramblings of a working mum of three, living in the North East of England, United Kingdon.  Welcome to my World - life is never dull! :o)  Happy reading......!   

So now you know all about the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt, make sure you click the rafflecopter below to enter the competition and win some great prizes

a Rafflecopter giveaway