The Crazy Kitchen: June 2011

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Strawberry Cheesecake Sundae Strawberry Cheesecake Pimms Pavlova Ciabatta Ice Cream Cupcakes Raspberry Tarts

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Toyologist Toy Review - STEP 2 WATER WHEEL PLAY TABLE

Jack was very excited to receive the Step 2 Water Wheel Play Table to review from Toys R Us, as you can see by his face when the huge box arrived.


We tipped all the parts out and were pleased to see that only minimal assembly was required - we just needed to snap the 3 legs into place and it was ready.

It was a lovely day and we took it outside and filled it with water with plenty of bubbles. Jack spent ages tipping water in and out of the table and into the water wheel using the cup provided as well as some of his own toys.

The play table is very sturdy as you would expect from a Step 2 toy and retails at around £39.99. It is currently on offer in Toys R Us at £34.99.


The only downside of this table that I can see is that it doesn't have a plug in the bottom to let the water out so if you need to move it to empty the water I would suggest that it's not filled right up to it's 18 litre capacity or it could be quite heavy to move. Apart from that it's a great toy that will keep toddlers entertained for hours.

Age suitability: 1yr +

Why not check out some of the other Toyologists Reviews and competitions on the Toys R Us Facebook page.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

MUMenTUM - Week 4

This week has not been a good week for weight loss. Due to over-indulging on alcohol at Glastonbury (it was necessary to survive the mud) a couple of pounds have crept back on. Today I am back to the herbal teas, water and healthy foods and I plan to get those excess pounds shifted by next week.

On the plus side I did do lots of exercise over the weekend and must've walked for miles, uphill, downhill and through thick mud - my legs were aching so much I felt like I had done a vigorous workout.

We also ate mostly healthy foods, there is so much variety on offer it definitely wasn't a burger and chips weekend for us. Apart from one bacon roll (it was lovely Somerset organic bacon) I had banana, nuts and  coffee for breakfast and the rest of my meals mainly consisted of lovely vegetarian offerings, Falafel and salad in a wrap, Crispy (ok it was fried!) Halloumi with salad and Houmous and corn & lentil cakes with mixed salad. After eating all this lovely food my husband is definitely willing to eat more meat-free meals now.

I'm going to try and have a couple of wine free weeks now too, but I may have to start that tomorrow as we're off to see Take That tonight and I can't promise that a drop or two of wine or lager won't pass my lips.

I'm off now to see how all the other MUMenTUM ladies got on this week, hopefully a lot better than me. Their posts are shown below.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Not Cybermummy 2011

Everyone it seems is blogging and tweeting about Cybermummy, but not this Cyber-Mummy for on the weekend of Cybermummy 2011, when all the lovely Mummy (and Daddy) bloggers were meeting up for meals or other interesting activities (damn I missed out on a Dildo decorating party!), staying in posh hotels and attending many workshops aimed at helping them out in the land of Blog,  I was sitting on a camping chair watching Morrissey in the rain whilst wearing very muddy wellies, a cheap plastic poncho and a very wet straw hat at the Glastonbury Festival 2011.

The weekend was certainly an experience, and possibly not one that I will be repeating. I don't regret going one bit, I had a great time (mostly) but I just don't think it is my cup of tea. I'm not massively into music although I do enjoy the atmosphere of being at a live concert but I would much prefer to be watching from a hillside sitting on a picnic blanket in the sun, sipping a nice cold glass of something fizzy rather than standing ankle deep in mud in the rain!

If I was to do it all again though I have made myself a little check-list

  • Don't have the dangly wristband (that must be worn all weekend) attached to your bum wiping hand
  • Paint all nails with a dark nail polish (preferably black or dark brown) so you don't notice the grime building up underneath them
  • Pack some highly scented baby wipes - unscented just don't cut it under these conditions
  • Take a large water carrier - it's not easy carrying a washing up bowl full of water 300 yards uphill in the mud
  • Even if you are with someone that knows their way around make sure you take notice of which way you're going as that person may not be with you all the time
  • Try not to arrive back at the tent alone - this would avoid 10 minutes of huffing, puffing and swearing trying to remove that second welly from a tired and puffy foot
  • Make your way to a toilet at least 30 minutes before you need to go.
  • After finding a decent spot with a good view of the stage in preparation of seeing a band that you really want to see don't then drink 3 cans of cider, see above point.
  • If you don't like queuing to have a shower then 3am is a good time to have one.
  • If you have a highly sensitive sense of smell having a tissue doused in Olbas oil pressed firmly up against your nose is the only way to enter a portaloo.
  • Take a can or two of Impulse, by Day 2 it will become your best friend for more than one reason (see above point)
  • Don't worry about how ridiculous you look, when the rain is pouring down a cheap plastic poncho really is the only thing that will keep you dry
  • Don't get sentimental, that cool bag that you have had for years really must be thrown away after you've dropped it in the mud for the umpteenth time.
  • Take ear plugs, the music plays until 5am and when that stops the snoring starts (along with the couple having noisy sex in the tent nearby)

Here's a little montage of some of the many photos taken over the weekend.

Did you spot Alex from CBeebies in there??

Background music from : Danosongs 

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Silent Sunday - 26th June 2011

Silent Sunday

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Gallery - Please Don't Rain

This week's theme for The Gallery is '3 words'.

If you didn't already know, I'm off to Glastonbury tomorrow, to the Festival....eek!

It's not really my thing anymore, I went to the Reading Festival a few years ago, before kids, but now I like my home comforts a bit more. I'm not really sure what I'm letting myself in for but I'm told it will be great.

My biggest fear though is if it rains, I really don't want to be knee deep in mud, sun would be nice, dull I can cope with but whatever you do Mr Weatherman



Tuesday, 21 June 2011

MUMenTUM - Week 3

I have been struggling to write my MUMenTUM post this week for a couple of reasons, firstly, due to tiredness, my brain has been feeling rather foggy and thinking about anything much more than the day to day routine is a struggle. The easy answer to this is to get to bed earlier but that's easier said than done at the moment with a million things going around in my head from remembering to pay for the school dinners to the providers of our accommodation at Glastonbury this weekend dropping out at the last minute. It has been taken over by another company but as I was apprehensive about going in the first place I am even more so now, mainly because there is now no 'Pamper' tent - I am by no means vain but if I am unable to wash, blow dry & straighten my hair in the morning I will be miserable for the rest of the day!

Secondly, I haven't lost any weight this week, probably due to the fact that I drank far too many Pimms & lemonades at Ascot on Thursday, followed by fish and chips.....twice. I did throw most of my chips away when I had them at Ascot so I was proud of myself for not eating them for the sake of it, and on the way home when we stopped off at the services I bought a small bag of dried fruit and nuts and a banana, instead of a bar of chocolate and crisps, so I am trying. The second time I had them was Friday night from the local chippy.


This dieting lark is a bit of a vicious cycle though, when I'm too tired to cook a healthy meal from scratch I tend to grab something quick and easy to eat (or not eat at all) and a coffee to drink which leads to feeling even more tired and sluggish and even less likely to cook a healthy meal. Last week I started off really well, eating stir fries mostly for my evening meal and I felt great. I just need to snap back into that mode and drink more water and get back on track.

Photobucket Photobucket

I was going  to say that I've done no exercise this week either, but after reading Kerry's MUMenTUM post I realise that I've done more than I thought - I've lost count of the amount of 'laundry squats' I must have done during the week which should more than make up for the digestive biscuits and Thorntons toffee I ate last night.

After reading Wendy's MUMenTUM post I felt better about not losing weight this week as it's all about how you feel too and for most of the week I have actually been feeling much 'thinner' and my jeans are looser and I can now actually get into my size 14's but the muffin top is not particularly attractive so I will go back to those in a few weeks.

It will be difficult this weekend, if my husband still manages to drag me to Glastonbury on Thursday, as I know far too much alcohol will be consumed and I'm pretty sure that I won't be eating salads and baked potatoes unfortunately but I will try to do my best and as the camping site where we are (hopefully) staying is quite a walk (uphill) from the main stages I will be doing lots of exercise.

Why not look at the rest of the posts from the other lovely MUMenTUM ladies below and see how they've all been getting on this week too.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Toyologist Toy Review - GALT NAIL ART

Our family was thrilled to be Toys R Us Toyologists for 2011 and last week we received our first box of goodies and got straight into testing them out.

First up was Nail Art from  GALT. 8 year old Hanna claimed the set as her own as soon as she clapped eyes on it, sparkly nail varnish, gems and tattoos are right up her street.


On the back of the box there is a list of contents :

7 nail varnishes (5 colour and 2 glitter)
Nail Gems
Holographic Strips
Star Shaped Emery Board

There were no instructions inside the box, but Hanna was quite clear what she wanted on her hands/nails and where, and wanted me to apply it for her.

She had already filed her nails with the star shaped emery board and was ready for her personal nail technician to work her magic.

The nail varnish went on well, although I think it would need a few coats of the glitter varnish to build it up to the level of sparkliness shown in the picture.

The gems had the perfect amount of stickiness on the back to allow them to stick to the nails but I was a little confused as to what we were supposed to do with the holographic strips. According to the picture on the box we would need to cut them up and apply to the ends of the nails. The strips in the picture appear to be curved around the nails but as they are straight they don't fit to the curve of the nail without creasing them. I found them to be a bit fiddly but I'm sure a couple of eight year olds would have better luck.

There were no directions how to apply the tattoos which someone using tattoos for the first time may struggle with. We've used tattoos a few times so armed with some water and kitchen roll I managed to get them all applied with only a couple of casualties. 

Jack didn't want to miss out on the fun and chose a silver glitter nail polish for his fingers and a lovely sparkly gold for his toes, along with a heart tattoo on his hand.

There is still plenty of nail polish left, along with enough gems, tattoos and holographic strips for Hanna to decorate hers and her friends hands and nails, and at only £5.99 for this set I think it is excellent value for money and would make a great inexpensive gift for a little girl.

The recommended age range is 7+ which is ideal for girls wanting to do this themselves and with friends and with some assistance from an adult it would be ideal for younger princesses too.

Why not pop over to the Toys R Us Facebook page where you will find more exciting Toyologist Reviews and Competitions. And while you are there don't forget to Like our new Facebook page too.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Silent Sunday - 19th June 2011


Silent Sunday

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Britains Biggest Mess Meme

I've been tagged by the lovely Louise at Bloggomy in this 'Britains Biggest Mess' meme. I usually get tagged by Wendy in this kind of meme but Louise got to me first this time. I'm not sure why they think I would have mess in my house though!
"Let’s all find the biggest eyesore, mess, in need of decorating etc patches in our homes and share them!, and that can include your garden"
I won't say that we have any particular eyesores in our house but there are the odd things that irritate me from time to time that haven't been quite finished over the years. My husband is going to kill me for publicly naming and shaming him for the half finished jobs that I've been nagging him to do for, what seems like, forever. On the positive side they may now get done..........

First up are the skirting boards in the kitchen/conservatory. Fifteen months ago we had a conservatory built on the back of the kitchen and the whole room needed repainting. I did all the walls and my husbands job was to do the skirting boards - he did one coat which is nowhere near enough on brand new bare boards so they are still awaiting a good second coat. But what irritated me the most was that he didn't paint the skirting board  below the radiator as he didn't think anyone would see wrong could he be with my beady eye on the case!

Then there is Sams room. A few years ago, not long after we moved in my husband was putting boards down in the loft. He needed to put some extra batons in as the beams were quite far apart. One of them was a bit tight to get in but, with a bit of force, he fitted it in.......then found a hole in the bedroom ceiling! He quickly patched it up before I got home from work so that it didn't look as bad, saying that he would get it skimmed in the next few days or so.........that must have been 6 or 7 years ago! Also on the same ceiling there is a long black mark, this is a line of double sided sticky tape that Sam and Hanna stuck to the ceiling in an attempt to stick a blanket to it to make a den, when Sam's high sleeper bed was there. Obviously the blanket didn't stick but we've not been able to remove the tape yet.

Again in Sam's room after some holes were filled, my husband painted over the filler with what he thought was the right you can see it was too dark. Also on the same wall (bottom right) is a lot of scribble where Jack has had fun decorating the wall with biro. This bedroom needs a complete overhaul!

And still in Sam's room, when we put a new wardrobe in last year it was a bit tight going into the space that I'd measured (I didn't account for skirting boards!) so we took the skirting & beading off......and it hasn't gone back on yet.

And  a similar story in Hanna's room:

Then there's the wall in our bedroom that I painted and I wasn't very pleased with my particularly untidy wobbly lines where the wall meets the ceiling so my husband said he would 'tidy them up' ......that was 4 or 5 years ago.

Now onto the garden. We are finally getting around to laying a path which we have needed to do for over a year but I won't photograph that as that WILL be done by next weekend......fingers crossed! In the back garden, behind the garage where we can't see, is a bit like a scrap yard. It's full of bikes, some used, some not, along with old plant pots and a pile of wood.

The wood is offcuts of decking that we put in a sack ready to take to my brother's to use in his fire pit last summer. The sack has rotted away leaving an unsightly pile of wood. I would like a summerhouse in that area of the garden so we really need to do something about it but first we need to tackle this :


The Garage!!!

I now challenge Multiple Mummy and Mummy Mummy Mum! to show us their mess/eyesores/diy jobs etc.

I am also tagging Keith aka The Reluctant Housedad as he is desperate to show off all his half-finished jobs / diy disasters & mess!!

The Power of Hindsight

I've often seen the question asked 'If you were a superhero what super power would you have?'. Would it be Strength or Sight or just the ability to run very fast? 

Today I wish I had been given the 'Power of Hindsight'....

With hindsight I would've told Hanna she would need to miss her tapdancing lesson for this week as Jack had Chickenpox and the husband was at a football tournament with Sam.....but instead I said 'don't worry we will just wait in the car and watch out for you when you finish'

With hindsight I shouldn't have let the big car, driving right behind me with its lights on in the rain, intimidate me enough to feel that I should put mine on too (and leave them on whilst waiting in the car outside the dance school).

With hindsight I should not have spent all my Tesco Clubcard points on Pizza Express vouchers and should've saved some to renew my RAC membership that I'd had for 8 years and only once used when my boot wouldn't open when I had taken Sam camping.

With hindsight I should have packed a bag of snacks for the Hanna and Jack for when they got hungry in the car waiting for Daddy to come and rescue us.

With hindsight I should've checked that I'd put the valve into the Tommee Tippee non spill beaker so that it didn't all leak over the back seat of the car where Hanna sits.

With hindsight I should've put a belt on so that my jeans didn't slip around my backside whilst running across the road in the rain with one hand in Hanna's and the other clutching a bag of ham rolls, crisps and drinks.

But my powers must've been partially working as I did take my purse that I would not normally have taken unless I was planning to do some shopping on the way home........and managed to spend £53.50 renewing my RAC membership and £71.99 on a new battery from the RAC man.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Let the Fun Commence

Today saw the start of our Toys R Us Toyologist Toy Testing Extravaganza !

We received our first box of Toys plus an extra item that wouldn't fit in the box.......all very exciting!

The kids were thrilled to receive goodies and hopefully the toy testing will start this week - Jack being struck down with chicken pox this morning may delay things slightly but if you Like our new Facebook page you will be first to find out about our reviews and competitions coming soon. If you also Like the Toys R Us Facebook page you will be kept up to date with all the other Toyologist's Reviews and Competitions too.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Review - Meccano Space Chaos & Meccano Turbo

I remember my Brother having Meccano when we were kids but it was nothing like the sets you can get these days - I remember him building a crane, quite a simple one if I remember correctly. Nowadays there are all kinds of sets in different ranges for children of different ages. 

There are plastic sets from ages 5 and up in the Build & Play, Rescue Team and Construction range, with some having parts that just simply click into place.

There are more complex sets in the 7 and up and 8 and up ranges with a wide variety of models from Space Vehicles to Racing cars and Robots and even Vintage sets from 1930's. Some new models have integrated nuts to make building fast and easy, and others have moving parts and motors.

PhotobucketWe were sent 3 models from the 7+ range, 2 in the Space Chaos range and  one in the Turbo.

Each set has a scale on the back of the pack showing the level of difficulty for that pack and instructions showing steps needed to build one of 2 models. So once you have built one you can take it all apart and build the other. The Space Chaos sets also include trading cards with secret codes that, when entered on the Space Chaos Website, allow more cards and a game board to be downloaded, along with exclusive wallpapers and posters.

PhotobucketThe first model that we built was the Medium Turbo Blue which comes in a plastic storage case with over 90 parts. I built this with 10 year old Sam, who is not really into construction toys or typical boys toys, he is only usually happy with a football on the end of his foot, but he was willing to give the Meccano a go.

Some of the nuts were a bit fiddly for Sam to get on and I ended up putting most of them on and tightening them up, after a while I found a knack to it but a lot of them were a little fiddly.
PhotobucketWe found the instructions to be clear, as long as you followed the line of direction for the screw through all the pieces.

The finished vehicle was very sturdy and even withstood 2 year old Jack whizzing it around.


Next up was the Space Chaos Silver Force Bomber which I built with 8 year old Hanna, assisted by Jack, who thought it would be nice to comb our hair with the missiles whilst we were building.


Hanna was a bit more 'hands on' than Sam, insisting that she do all the screw tightening herself and she did a great job but still found some of the nuts a bit fiddly to get on.

Afterwards they had fun playing with the models.

All in all we thought the sets were great fun to make and play with and on a rainy day we will take them out and give them another go, and they will eventually be passed onto Jack who may be a bit more interested in construction toys than Sam is.

The Space Chaos sets can be purchased online at Toymaster and Toys R Us for £16.99. Details of other stockists can be found here.

I was sent these sets for the purpose of this review, I did not receive any payment for the review and all views and opinions are my own

Monday, 13 June 2011

Show Us Your Shoes

Wendy from Inside The Wendy House has tagged me again! This time she has challenged me to show my shoes as she seems to think I have some great shoes in my collection. All I can say is thank goodness she never tagged me a few years would all be Adidas Campus in varying colours!

In the past couple of years something has come over me, I'm not so afraid of dresses or girly shoes as I used to be. I still don't wear them very often but when there is an occasion I'm now a bit more prepared.

During the months between May and September I can usually be found in my Birkenstocks, my favourite pair being a 'seen better days' silver ones, but today I chose to wear my new comfy middle-aged pair of brown Clarks shoes as it looked like rain (again) and I didn't want to get my feet wet.

Last Thursday however I dressed like a lady in a pink dress and bought a pretty pair of flip-flops from Accessorize to go with it and then when I went out for a curry in the evening with friends I changed into a pair of killer (yes they were killing by the end of the evening) heels, well wedges to be precise - I'm too chunky to wear dainty heels so it has to be wedges all the way. I love these sandals and I drooled over them for ages before buying them but I've only actually worn them three times as they are far too high for me and by the end of the evening the balls of my feet are sore.

So I now tag Emma from Mummy Mummy Mum! as I noticed she had commented on Wendy's post saying that she can't wear heels as she has fat feet! Come on Emma I bet you still have some great shoes so 'Show Us Your Shoes'..........

MUMenTUM - Week 2

Here we are again, MOMenTUM Monday, and I can't wait to read how all the other MOMenTUM ladies have been getting on with their journey of getting fit, losing weight and healthy eating to make us all into Yummy Mummy's.

PhotobucketAlthough I haven't managed to fit in any exercise this week (unless you count running for the train on Thursday) the week started off well. I stuck to the no bread or treats rule and only had one coffee a day & drank my herbal teas and water all other times. I even managed to resist Toblerone's in favour of another stuffed aubergine late on Tuesday night, I know I should really have just gone to bed but I was starving and just needed something to stop me thinking about food!

PhotobucketThursday went a bit downhill from the start – I needed a quick breakfast as I had a lot to do before catching my train to the Prepped! Book launch so I had a crumpet with peanut butter and a coffee. As I was on the train around lunchtime I managed to skip lunch and instead enjoy an afternoon tea of champagne, wine and copius amounts of Chocolate and Cardomom Biscotti , along with the odd Vanilla Blondie and Chocolate Cookie – it would be so rude to turn down such fab treats when everyone had gone to the trouble of making them. I then caught the train home and met friends for yet more wine and an Indian meal, but, apart from a Poppodom and a third share in a Peshwari Naan and Pilau rice I was good and opted for the small portion of Chicken Tikka with salad.

Friday I aimed to get back on track but I didn't fancy the only healthy foods we had (apples or oranges) for breakfast so opted for a big coffee instead. I did have a baked potato with cottage cheese and apple for lunch though but when my husband suggested Pizza Hut for tea I'm afraid to say I jumped at the chance, where I had 2 slices of pizza and filled myself up on plenty of salad. Unfortunately though when the kids returned from the Ice Cream Factory with an extra spoon I caved in and had a few spoonfuls of chocolate covered raisins drenched in ice-cream.

Saturday morning I got myself off to Asda to stock up on more healthy food and feeling a bit peckish on the way back I didn't grab for a bag of crisps or chocolate bar, oh no! Instead I had a whole 155g bag of mangetout !

Feeling a bit sluggish on Saturday after overdosing on sugar and breadstuffs for the last couple of days I made sure I drank plenty of water and herbal teas and had a lovely barbecued pork loin steak with a pile of salad for my tea and started to feel much better.

I will admit that on Sunday I had 2 chocolates from a tin of Celebrations that my 10 year old found hidden away in a cupboard but I managed to stop myself from eating any more, followed by a nice healthy stir fry.

In spite of all my blips I was extremely pleased to still manage to lose 2lbs this week, making it a total loss of 4lbs in 2 weeks which I think goes to prove that as long as you are good most of the time, a little bit of what you fancy doesn't do any harm - all in moderation.

Drinking the extra water is definitely helping me feel less sluggish and eating regular meals (mostly) seems to have kickstarted my metabolism which I think had slowed right down due to not eating enough. My newly found MUMenTUM willpower has stayed quite strong this week and I hope it continues. I'm off to Ascot on Thursday and I know there will be lots of wine and fizz consumed so until then, and afterwards too, I'm going to try and be as good as possible, drinking plenty of water and eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and cooking healthy family meals from my new My Daddy Cooks cookery book. I won't promise to do any exercise but I will try.

I'll leave you with some pics of some of the foods I have eaten this week, and some of those that I've resisted.

Vanilla Blondies,Mexiacn Lasagne,Stuffed Aubergines,Cookies

Ice Cream Factory,Pizza,Biscotti, more cookies
Victoria Sponge Cake,Lemon Cake,Chocolate pudding, Toblerone

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Silent Sunday - 12th June 2011


Silent Sunday

Saturday, 11 June 2011

The Karaoke Song Meme

I have been tagged by the fabulous and funny Wendy at Inside The Wendy House, in between fantasising over pictures of cakes on the internet (but that's another story), in a Karaoke Song Meme. Which song would we choose to sing if we found ourselves holding a Karaoke mic. I think this is a highly unlikely position for me to find myself in nowadays but in the past I have found myself belting out the likes of  'Hey Mickey' , 'Killing Me Softly' and Elton John's 'Your Song' - but only ever after a few lots to drink.

Unlike Wendy I'm nowhere near brave enough to post a video of myself singing so you will just have to put up with the lovely Paul Weller singing my Karoke song of choice 'Broken Stones'

Just as I listened to this again I had the most horrendous flashback to Boxing Day last year when I was singing   shouting wailing this whilst standing on a bar stool (yes a bar stool, an Ikea folding bar stool no less) in my kitchen with my friend Lisa. I'm sure there are videos somewhere so you may even be lucky unlucky enough to see me singing after all.

ADDITION: Now I can't believe I'm adding this, my face is going red as I write this, but here as promised, is a video taken on Boxing Day of myself and my friend singing - it's not Broken Stones whilst standing on bar stools (we don't have that one) so you will have to make do with us killing 'Rocking Chair' by Oasis..........

I now tag the following, so come along and tell us what you will be singing when you get your hands on the mic!

Mummy and the Beastie
New Mum Online
Reluctant Housedad
The Grumpinator
Caroles Characters

Ultrasun Suncare Review and Giveaway


With the weather recently being so hit and miss I've been caught out in the sun protection department. The kids have gone off to school in their Winter coats but by lunchtime the rain has cleared and it's baking hot and I worry that they're not protected from the sun. I don't have enough bottles of sun lotion for them to keep one at school so when it's looking like a nice day they usually have a covering and then one of them takes the bottle so they can apply another coating at lunchtime. I can rely on Hanna to do this but I know Sam won't. So when I received some Ultrasun suncream to try out it couldn't have arrived at a better time. As it's a 'once a day' formula all I need to do is apply it on the children in the morning and it will protect them all day and I don't need to rely on them to apply their own at lunchtimes.

ShowOff ShowCase - Birthday Party Fun

Friday, 10 June 2011

Back Seat Fun

I just have to share this video as it makes me laugh whenever I watch it. Shot in car on the way home from Pizza Hut. Is it any wonder that I get a headache when I'm in the car!

The Launch of Prepped!


Yesterday was the eagerly awaited Prepped! launch day. I had been invited to either the Northampton or London venue but as Northampton was nearer it seemed the most sensible option.

After a few tweets to find out if anyone I 'knew' was going I found that the wonderful Julia aka A Wannabe Foodie  was, which was a relief to find that I would 'know' at least one person, even though I may not recognise her unless she was carrying around her Twitter avatar with her. And it also dawned on me that she would be looking for a baby swimming underwater Nirvana style as that is how I'm recognised in the land of Twitter. As I was to be going down on the train Julia very kindly offered to pick me up from the station which made me less nervous about going, there's nothing worse than walking into a place on your own where you don't know anyone and everyone else is chatting merrily away whilst you stand on the sidelines like Billy no mates. And luckily for me a TV program that Julia and her family appeared in nearly two years ago was being re-run so I knew who I would be looking for after all........just don't mention the cheese!

Good Bloggers Pay it Forward: Blog Award


I have been awarded this lovely badge by Mummy and The Beastie and Wendy from Inside the Wendy House. (and now also Karen from Would Like To be A Yummy Mummy , Katie from Mummy Daddy and Me makes Three and Nazima from Working London Mummy) I'm chuffed to be tagged by all of these lovely ladies who think I am worthy of such a tag, and lovely badge. It's like the feeling you get when you were in PE at school and you were picked to be in a team by one of the Captains......and not left until last to be the booby prize for one unlucky team!

So here goes, my 5 lucky chosen team-mates are :

Fi from Childcare Is Fun @Childcareisfun
Helen from The Petit Mom @petitmew 
Julia from A Wannabe Foodie @wannabefoodie76 
Jo from Jo's Nursery @Jos_Nursery 
and last but by no means least 'Me' from The Boy and Me @TheBoyandMe  

I have chosen these lovely ladies as these are the very few bloggers that I have actually met in 'real' life - except The Boy and Me, but that will soon be rectified when we have a family meet up at West Midlands Safari Park  next month.

Now you lucky lot, all you have to do (if you please) is follow the simple rules below :

The rules are as follows:

1. Put the badge at the top of your post

2. Refer to the lovely blogger who awarded it

3. Pass it on to five others

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

My Daddy Cooks .......but not in this house!

Earlier this week I received my lovely shiny new copy of My Daddy Cooks. I've heard so much about it that I just had to get it, I am a sucker for cookery books, they make great bedtime reading.....especially when I'm on a diet, I just drool over the pictures.

My Daddy Cooks has been written by Nick Coffer who, due to the recession, lost his business and found himself being a stay at home Dad to his gorgeous toddler Archie. He started a blog to give himself something to focus on and a place to document what he and Archie were cooking. Now the blog is a full-time activity which has led to a whole new career for Nick.

Tuesday night the Husband was away so My Daddy Cooks came to bed with me instead. It was the perfect bed companion, no stealing all the covers, no snoring and definitely no farting, it just lay there quietly all night....snuggled on top of Prepped.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Science Sparks - Colourful Milk Display & Magic Balloon

We never got around to doing last weeks Science Sparks experiment for one reason or another so this week, with Hanna off school with Chicken Pox, it was an ideal opportunity to double up and do two experiments at once. Jack couldn't make it but we had a guest appearance from Spiderman instead.

The Colourful milk display involves dropping food colouring into whole milk and adding washing up liquid but if you want to know about the Science involved then you'd better go and see Kerry at Multiple Mummy where she explains it perfectly! Spiderman was a little heavy handed with the washing up liquid but I think we still achieved the same effect.

Next we tried the 'Magic Balloon' using an empty bottle, some vinegar, bicarb of soda and a balloon. It didn't quite go to plan at first, but just like the volcano once we'd added more vinegar it did what it was supposed to do. Again if you want to read the Science part then head over to Emma at Mummy Mummy Mum! where she will explain.

My First Week of MUMenTUM

A week ago I wrote here about how I wanted to lose some of my bloatiness over the next 10 days (and beyond) in time for a book launch that I would be attending. I swore I would abide by certain rules such as cutting out bread and chocolates and cutting down on caffeine.

Do you want to hear how I got on this week? Really? Then read on :

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Listography - Decisions

Listography - Decicisons

This week Kate's Listography is inspired by Christine Mosler at Thinly Spread who has made the brave decision to travel to Mozambique to raise awareness for the Save the Children 'No Child Born To Die' campaign - if you look to the left you will find a link to petition, please click the 'Take Action' and sign the petition.

None of the decisions that I've made in my life are nearly as big and brave as Christine's but here goes :

The Top 5 decisions I'm glad I've made

1. Move to the US
In 2000, not even a year after we'd met, my husband saw an opportunity to work in the U.S. A few weeks after applying, I fell pregnant and the overseas job was put to the back of our minds.  I was 3 months pregnant when we were invited to Pittsburgh for a short trip for my husband to attend an interview and for us to decide whether living in Pittsburgh was what we wanted for our future. I loved the place and whilst we were there found a wonderful hospital. They were so unbelievably welcoming I even had a full examination by a lovely consultant who, I didn't know at the time, would deliver both of our first two children. After a busy few months we shipped our belongings and flew out to Pittsburgh when I was 6 1/2 months pregnant and Sam was born later that year. We made the decision to come back to the UK when Hanna was 4 months old to be nearer to family and will always look back upon our time in the US with fond memories.

Pittsburgh at night - stunning!

2. Rent our house out in the UK
When we first moved overseas the easiest thing to do was to rent our house out, we did it through an agent to avoid hassles. When we decided to buy a home in the US the following year we thought about selling our home in the UK to release equity to enable us to buy a larger property, as many of the other Ex-pats we had met were doing. In the end we decided against it and were so glad we did as between 2000 and 2003 (when we returned to the UK) the house prices shot up and had we stepped off the property ladder it would have been difficult to step back on and afford to buy the house that we are now living in.
Our Home

3. Have baby number 3
Christmas Day 2006 my husband broke the news that he had been thinking about us having baby number 3. To be honest it was a bit of a shock as I had previously mentioned the possibility of having another but he'd dismissed it. At this point we were settled in our home, Sam was at school and Hanna was about to start - life was about to get easier. I thought about it for a while (maybe 5 minutes max!) and decided that it would be now or never and said that we should give it a go. By February 2007 I was pregnant but at an 8 week scan no heartbeat could be detected, I was heartbroken. By June I was pregnant again but again we went through the same at the 8 week scan. After going through various tests and procedures that year and the following, it was concluded that there was no physical reason for the miscarriages, but by this time my husband had changed his mind! After much whining, moaning, begging and crying he finally caved in and agreed to give it (in his words) 'one last shot'. That 'last shot' was in June 2008 and Jack was born fit and healthy in March 2009 after a 'long and difficult' pregnancy (my husbands words not mine!). It's now difficult to imagine life without our little live-wire and he has made our little family complete.

4. Give up my job
When I suffered the miscarriages I was working part-time (evenings and weekends) doing admin at the local hospital. It was not a job I particularly enjoyed but the hours fitted in with my husbands so I endured it. In 2005 I had also started my own Ebay business and my plan was to eventually give up the admin job and concentrate all my time on my business, as once both children were at school I didn't want to really be working at weekends. It was difficult doing both though, often I would find myself finishing work at midnight and coming home to pack orders, and then getting up early with 2 little ones the following day. After the miscarriages my husband said that I should just give up the job and put everything into my business and see if I could make a go of it, so I did. I handed my notice in and finished work at the end of August 2007, a few days before Hanna started school, and I never looked back or regretted that decision once. 

5. Have our conservatory
Once Jack was born my office was moved from the spare room upstairs into the dining room. Once he was old enough to sit in his highchair at mealtimes the lack of space we had in the kitchen posed a bit of a problem for us. With five of us sat around a small table there was no room for manoeuvre, getting something out of the fridge or oven was a logistical nightmare, and when we needed to open the dishwasher we all had to squash up against the wall. We decided that the only answer was to extend but as funds were limited we opted for a conservatory, and along the way decided that we would knock the back kitchen wall out to make one big room. In the planning we had lots of negative remarks about it being too hot in the Summer and too cold in the Winter to use but I'm so glad we decided to ignore everyone and go with it anyway. It has by far been the best decision we have made (apart from no. 3) as it has changed the way we live our lives. The kids can have friends over and they can have their own space, we can have kids parties and not worry about chocolate  being trampled into our lounge carpet, I can sit at our Ikea island unit tapping away on my laptop whilst keeping an eye on Jack wherever he is in the garden and best of all we can all sit around the table an eat together and not have to huddle up when someone needs to get the ice cream out for pudding.

So now it's your turn to tell us your top 5 decisions and add them to Kate's linky - but don't forget to mention Save The Children.


photo of Pittsburgh courtesy of


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