Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Wobbles Wednesday - MIA!

I am returning to the AutismMumma's weekly weight loss linky hanging my head in shame as I am been missing in action for a few weeks now! 

I got myself into a muddle with my weight loss efforts as I had arranged to have a week off as I had planned a camping trip with hubby and the kids and I knew that we would be buying lots of treats to take with us which would not bode well with the weight watchers plan. Now as I had planned a lot of walks what I should of done was count what I was planning to have and used the exercise to make extra points and then everything would of been fine but I didn't do that! 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

May idea list

Welcome to the May idea list, there is a different idea for each day of the month. Feel free to follow the list to the letter or just pick and choose the ones that best fit your life style. The whole idea of this list is basically to give you some 'ideas' to get more organised and have more fun in your life. I always love to hear from you so please do get in touch to let me know if your following the list, what you think about this months idea list or anything else on my blog or life in general.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Organic make-up review

For those of you that like to buy organic products I have found a website called Mypure that sells natural organic make up and skin care items which is great for those of us that want to look good but still do our little bit for the planet. I ordered a mascara and a lip gloss to try out as they are my two favourite items when it comes to make-up. 

Themed family fun - week 7

The idea is simple - each week I will tell you a theme. It could be a colour, a shape, an animal, a holiday or anything. You then use the theme to have some family fun and write a blog post telling us all what you did. You might cook something or craft something or visit somewhere. Whatever you like as long as you are having fun.

Friday, 25 April 2014

I'm back and sending out huge apologies!

Some of you may have noticed that I have been absent from the blog and all things blog related of late and I am very sorry to have just disappeared without giving any reasons to my absence. 

I had hoped to have been more organised and to have arranged for posts to go live while the children were off school for the Easter holidays but things did not go as planned. I needed to take some time away to enjoy time with my family and I must say that we did have a very lovely time over Easter and I just wish that I had been more organised so that I could of shared more of what we got up to.

We went camping for a couple of days which I am sure I will blog about soon and while we were away the Themed family fun linky should of gone live for cupcake week but unbeknown to myself there was a few technical issues so it did not go up. I then arranged to do it the following week and life got in the way and I have let things go and gotten myself very behind on the blog so I would like to send out huge apologies for anyone that either wished to link up a post or to anyone that was looking forward to reading about the topic so that they could do some fun activities with their families.

I have also been absent from the linkies that I normally join in with and I have really missed taking part so I will be making sure that I get up to date and start joining in again very soon! 

I think that in life you can get behind in something like my blogging although it applies to lot's of different things and then the longer you leave it the more of a worry it becomes which then makes it harder to return to and you end up going round in circles and achieving nothing so that is why I decided to take the bull by the horns so to speak and get back to the blog which starts with this apology post. 

While I have been away I have also made a very important decision which I am super excited about but I can not reveal what that is yet! Once I have sorted out a few things and have more solid plans I will share my news with you all.

Normal services will resume with the new theme for the Themed family fun linky on Monday and I will be posting regularly and keeping up with the community side of things now that I am back.

I hope that everyone has had a brilliant Easter and enjoyed lot's of family fun!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

What is your home's style?

Victoria plumb are currently running a competition to win John Lewis vouchers and all you need to do to enter is take part in their fun quiz which is a few simple questions to reveal your style at home.

I had a go at the survey and my results were - Mrs quirky cool which likened me to Jess from New girl. I have never watched the show so I do not know what that means although I do not feel that the description completely matched my home, style or personality but there were some matches. It said that I would have a large leather sofa and a large table. Well below is a picture of my very large sofa which is not leather although the one I had before this one was and my large kitchen table which comfortably seats six although I have squeezed eight around it for special occasions! I am not so keen on the apparent 'must have' vintage gold mirror which is suggested, but I do really like the bathroom with the corner bath, lovely!

When asked what the great British home means to me, I am probably not the best person to ask. I am very family centred and my home reflects that. I would rather spend money on having fun with the kids then decorating my home so I am not the most stylish or house proud person. I like my home to be decorated with the children's art work and family photographs. I like my home to feel lived in and a comfortable happy place to come home to.

I think that the great British home should be functional, organised and comfortable. It should be a place to relax and also have fun as a family and most importantly of all it should be filled with love.

This post is an entry for #GreatBritishHome Challenge  sponsored by Victoria Plumb, a source of quality bathrooms for every type of home. Take its “What’s Your Celebrity Home Style?” quiz
to discover what your home says about you.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Easter at Asda

As a mum on a budget I am always on the look out for the best prices of things, especially at times like Easter. I have been keeping an eye on the supermarket prices of Easter eggs and also looking to see how much other Easter themed items each store has on offer.

This year Asda seem to have the best selection of Easter themed goods and the best prices too, so I have been doing all my Easter shopping with them. They have many Cadbury eggs for £1 which is fantastic value.

Even the bakery department has lot's of yummy treats for £1 too such as gingerbread bunnies, bunny shaped crumpets and chocolate chip shortbread flowers. We took the flowers on a recent picnic and they were lovely and didn't last very long between the five of us!

Asda were kind enough to send me a small selection of their Easter range which you can see in the photo I have taken. Each item costs just £1 and there is; Benny bunny's egg hunt basket which is made from felt and also available in a yellow chick. Easter fluffy friends which are strawberry flavoured marshmallow treats that I love and think that they are a great alternative to chocolate and they look very cute! Bunny chops lolly which is a white chocolate lolly that is a bunnies nose, whiskers and teeth. This is funny and made us laugh when we saw it. Finally there is a packet of Easter friends napkins which are great for an Easter tea party.

Faith's favourite item was the bunny bag!

Asda are also doing lot's of Easter crafts this year and I like the look of the 'Make your own Easter foam characters', 'Make your own Easter honeycomb decorations' and 'Make your own Easter bunting' which are all priced at £1.

Asda also sent me their Benny bunny's bumper craft kit which is priced at £5. This is great if you have a lot of Easter themed crafts planned to do with your child in the lead up to Easter or as an alternative to chocolate for a present.

Inside you will find; Easter patterned paper, pompoms, pipe cleaners, glitter Easter shaped stickers, foam Easter shapes, eyes, sequins and glitter glue. A great pack for all your Easter crafting needs.

We were sent the items in the photographs for the purpose of this review, however all words, thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

My groovy update 03/04/14 - 09/04/14

This weeks update is not very interesting I'm afraid. I feel a lot better about life in general at the moment which is great.

I gained a pound at weight watchers which was a pain but expected as I had so many treats for Mothers day last week so I'm not going to get down about it.

It is the Easter holidays so all three girls are home from school which is lovely as no rushing around for school runs!

We have been for a family swim this week which was nice although hubby didn't join us as he is not keen on swimming but it was nice for me to spend time with all three girls together as now that Lauren and Chloe are older they are always off with their friends so it makes a nice change for us to all be together!

We were going to go camping on Monday, just for a night, but we had to put it back to the end of the week as Lauren was ill with another virus. It was only about three weeks ago that she had one but the doctor seems to think that it was just one of those things. We were lucky that the campsite were understanding and let us change the date as I thought that we were going to loose our money as we had already paid. We have never been camping as a family apart from last summer when we camped in the back garden to see what it was like so it should be a fun new experience for us all.

Darren has also finally joined our local social club (after five years of me nagging him gentle persuasion!) I am glad as we now have a place we can go in the evenings with the kids if we fancy getting out of the house and they also have events and disco's so it should be easier to have a bit of a social life now!

As always I am linking this post to Kate's groovy mums and this week Kate asks us the following questions.

1. When was the last time you took a break? You probably deserve one. How can you make it happen?
Well that one is happening today as we are going camping. I am really looking forward to the time away from technology and enjoying time together as a family.
2. What are the times in your life when you were really happy? What was making you so and what of that can you replicate now?
Having a plan to follow always makes things better for me and like I have said before that is why I was happier when I was on my social work degree. Hubby and I have discussed this and made a plan for the next few months and I will be adding to the plan as time passes and I already feel much better. Waking with a purpose each day feels fantastic and was something that I had been missing for a long time.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

My week four results.

This week has been a lovely week once I had recovered from tonsillitis, what with Mothers day. I took Mothers day off as I knew that the kids had planned to get me McDonalds breakfast which is well over half of my daily pro points without the cakes and chocolates and the roast dinner that Darren was planning.

I decided that this would be the week to start exercising although I didn't decided this until Monday after all the food on the Sunday! I was a little worried as I haven't done very much at all since being ill with the ME and I know that I am very unfit but I thought I would give it a go, especially now that I have given up the cigarettes for a couple of months, I thought that I may do better then previous attempts.

Anyway, I decided to start by playing some 'Just dance' on the Wii as I use to love dancing when I was younger. Before I knew it, 45 minutes had passed and although I was very breathless and sweating buckets, I was ok. I was worried that I might pay for what I had done the next day but to my surprise I was absolutely fine.

When I went to weigh in I knew that it would not be good after all my food on Sunday and only one exercise session so far so when she said that I had gained a pound I was actually relieved that it wasn't more!

My aims for next week are to;

1) Loose 2lbs.
2) Exercise for a minimum of three 45 minute sessions.

The children will be off school for Easter holidays on Monday so it will be harder to stay on track but I will do my best.

Starting weight                                       17st 13lbs.

Weight lost or gained.                            +1lbs

Weight lost all together.                         6.5lbs
Current weight.                                      17st 6.5lbs.

I am linking this post to the wobbles Wednesday weight loss linky over at AutismMumma.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Shameful nomination request!

You may have noticed that I now have a new badge on my side bar which is asking for nominations in the BIB's. The BIB's stands for brilliance in blogging and they are awards for bloggers which are linked to Britmums and you can find out more about them here.

The nominations are only open until April 12th and I am shamefully asking for your votes! If you have been enjoying reading my blog and you think that I deserve to win an award then I would love for you to take a couple of minutes to vote for me in the fresh voice category which is for new bloggers like myself. Of course you can vote for me in more then one category should you wish or maybe if you feel that there is a blog that you like better then you could place a vote for them instead as I know that they would also appreciate it.

I do not write to win awards but to be nominated would make me smile and feel that bit prouder of my little part of the world wide web.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Reading eggs review

I was approached a few weeks ago to try a new reading program called Reading eggs and I have to say it really is fab!

Reading eggs is for children aged 3-7 years and is a great fun way to help your child learn or improve their reading.

When we started we were given the option of taking a fun test to find the correct level of your child or you can just start from the beginning. As Faith had just turned six but had been told that she was behind the average levels at the last parents evening we had been too I decided to get Faith to take the test. I must admit, the word test did make me worry a little, but I was soon put at ease as the test is a series of games and activities so your child will not even realise that they are taking a test.

You are then put onto a map and there are lessons along the map so that you are following a path to get to the end of the map.

Each lesson has been very enjoyable for Faith, she loves doing her reading eggs and gets very excited when she knows we will be doing a lesson.

Since starting the program Faith's reading has really improved and the latest parents evening at school showed that she is now on target with the rest of the class. I honestly feel that some of this is down to the reading eggs program.

There is lot's more to keep your child occupied alongside the lessons as well with more games and things to explore.

If you would like to try the reading eggs program yourself or find out some more information you can do so by visiting their website You can also extend the standard two week trial by using the code UKB26RET so that you can use the program for 4 weeks for free.

I was given a free five week trial for the purpose of this review but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Themed family fun - week 6.

The idea is simple - each week I will tell you a theme. It could be a colour, a shape, an animal, a holiday or anything. You then use the theme to have some family fun and write a blog post telling us all what you did. You might cook something or craft something or visit somewhere. Whatever you like as long as you are having fun.

The rules.

1) Visit my blog every Monday to see what the weeks theme will be.

2) Have fun using the theme and write up your post.

3) Make sure you include the badge or a text link to my blog so people can join in.

4) Come back on the following Saturday to see what we have done and link up your post.

5) Look at other peoples posts and comment on at least three so everyone gets some love :-)

You do not have to join in every week and if you are worried that you may forget then just follow me on twitter and I'll be tweeting reminders each week.

Each linky will be open for five days giving people plenty of time to link up their posts.

This weeks theme is

I hope that you have lot's of fun with this weeks theme and that you remember to come back on Saturday to link up your posts.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Travelling with children

 Having three children, two of which are now in their teens, I have managed to pick up quite a few tips over the years. We have been on holiday's all over the UK which have involved long and short car journeys and train journeys. We have also holidayed in France and Spain which have involved plane and ferry journeys.

One year when we went to Spain Faith was only four months old and I must admit that I was pretty nervous about that trip! It turned out to be a brilliant holiday and Faith was a little angel and I was very relieved that all our planning had paid off.

Here are my top tips for travelling with children.

1) Plan ahead. Planning ahead to make sure every thing goes as smoothly as possible is always my number one tip as I am a strong believer in the old saying 'failing to plan is planning to fail'! Try and think about the trip in stages and work out ways to overcome any foreseeable problems.

2) Pack your child a travel bag. I have always done this for my kids and they love it almost as much as actually going on holiday. The idea is that you pack things that will keep the children occupied for the duration of the journey. Things that I have packed in the past have included; snacks and drinks, pens, paper and colouring books, reading books, puzzle books, travel games, simple craft sets, playing cards, home made bingo sheets for spotting things on car journeys, DVD's and portable DVD player and CD's/ipods.

3) If flying, weigh luggage before getting to the airport so you can avoid any extra charges or having to unpack and rearrange things in the queue at the check in desks!

4) If flying with babies give them a dummy or a drink in a bottle when taking off to avoid problems with ears. For older children, getting them to suck on a sweet can also help.

5) For long car journeys try to plan in ten minute stops every hour for toilet breaks and to give everyone a chance to stretch their legs. It does add time on to your journey but it is worth the extra time to help keep the children happy.

6) Don't be late and having to rush as you will be stressed and the children will pick up on this and react accordingly. Instead set out earlier then you need to so you can be relaxed and enjoy the journey.

7) Finally, chill out! You need to remember that not every thing will go exactly as you have planned and your children will not be perfect the whole holiday and take things in your stride with a smile on your face. After all, holidays are suppose to be fun!

This is my entry into the Mark Warner blogger challenge.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Themed family fun - Pig week

Welcome to pig week! This week we have made paper plate pigs and cup cake pigs and we have had loads of fun.
Paper plate pigs - These are so simple to make and so much fun.
All you need is:
* Paper plate.
* Pink paint and paint brush.
* Pink paper.
* Black pen.
Just paint the plate completely pink. Cut a circle of pink paper for the nose and colour in two black dots, cut two small dots and colour in black for the eyes and cut out two triangles for the ears. Then stick all the pieces to the plate to make a pigs face. You will not need any glue as the paint is still wet it will stick when it dries.

Pig cupcakes.

You need:
* Cup cakes.
* Icing sugar.
* Pink food colour.
* Marshmallows.
* Red lace sweets or similar.
* Smarties or similar.
* Icing writing pens.

To make.
Make some pink icing with the icing sugar, water and pink food colour.

Cover a cake in pink icing.

Cut a marshmallow in half and place one half in the middle of the cake to make a nose. Cut the second half into two to make the ears. Place these at the top of the cake.

Add smarties for the eyes and a small piece of lace for a mouth.

Finally add two dots of writing icing on the nose and a dot on each smartie for the eye balls.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about what we did for pig week and if you have joined in too then I would love for you to link up your posts below on the themed family fun linky.

Don't forget to come back on Monday to find out the next theme and if you would like more information on the linky take a look at the link at the top of my blog.

Friday, 4 April 2014

AGA foodhall review

On my search for great gifts for people I came across the AGA food hall website and it is very good for all things food and drink.

There are so many different things to buy which suit all manor of budgets. You can even order ready made hampers to treat the ones you love or if on a tighter budget you could order items such as biscuits, cakes, jams etc. and make up your own hamper to give to a loved one.

One of my favourite items which I found on the site was this bar of chocolate. I think it's really funny and a great joke gift for a friend at any time of the year.

This is also a great website for those with special dietary needs or preferences as there is a drop down menu on the home page where you can select to view items that are suitable for diabetics, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, organic and fair trade.

One of the great things that I love about this company is that postage and packing are free. As it is free I thought that it would all be chucked into a box and take ages to get to me but to my surprise it came within two days of ordering and everything was packed very well to ensure no broken biscuits or damaged food packaging.

All in all I was very happy with my purchases from AGA food hall.

* I was given a £16 voucher to put towards the goods that I purchased for the purpose of this review but all thoughts and opinions are my own. *

The prompt - week 12

The Prompt for this week from Sara at mumturnedmom is a quote and it is:

Truth is more important than modesty.
Roald Dahl

I know some people that seem to think that they can say the most rude and horrible things to people as they are just being honest and telling the truth and this really angers me.

I try to live my life in a very honest way as I do not like lies and people that are twofaced, but I think that there is a big difference between being honest and being rude for the sake of honestly. I like to treat people with respect and kindness, how I would like to be treated myself.

For example, if I am out with a group of people and someone keeps talking to me that I do not personally like, I would not say to them 'Look, I do not like you so stop talking to me' as that is rude and would really hurt their feelings. Instead I would be polite and answer anything they ask, replying to the conversation that they have started. Now some people would say that this was being twofaced but I do not agree. I think that it would only be twofaced if I actively started the conversations and arranged to go out for coffee etc. but then when she wasn't there, moaned and criticised her to anyone that would listen.

Another example of this honesty is when someone asks how they look. Some people think that it is ok to say something like 'Oh my god, you can't wear that! You look really fat and you can see your cellulite' as they are just being truthful. Personally I would say something like 'Maybe you should try wearing this instead as it really goes with those shoes' so that way I am being honest but also protecting the persons feelings too.

Some of things that I have heard people say are terrible and then after they say 'I'm only being honest' as if that excuses what has been said. They are proud of themselves for 'telling it like it is' and think that it is a perfectly good way to live their lives.

The truth is important but it is not always the most important thing for people to consider. So the next time you decide to be honest with someone, I ask you to stop and think for a moment how you will word that honestly and what impact that will have on the person that you are choosing to be honest with.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

My groovy update 27/03/14 - 02/04/14

This week I have been feeling more cheerful although still very ill with what turned out to be tonsillitis. I weighed in on Thursday and I was delighted to have lost 5.5lbs!

I had a lovely Mother's day, I was really touched by the effort that the children and Darren went to. I awoke to my favourite naughty breakfast - pancakes and syrup from McDonald's. Lauren gave me a bath bomb from Lush and a box of chocolates, Chloe got me some note pads and pens and then both Lauren and Chloe put their money together to pay for me to get my hair done. Faith with a little help from daddy got me a planner from Paperchase that I really wanted, a glitter globe, chocolates and a scarf. The cards that each child gave me were all beautiful with little messages from each child inside that were so special to me and actually made me cry happy tears. The girls spent the day doing my favourite things with me like playing sing star and board games. Darren cooked me a lovely roast chicken dinner, I didn't have to lift a finger all day and the day was one that I will remember forever.

On Tuesday Darren came home with a beautiful bunch of flowers for me 'just because he loves me', which was lovely of him, although I am a little worried as to why he is being so nice at the moment! In all seriousness, he has been making a real effort this year and I feel like our marriage is back on track and going really well and I remember why I fell in love with him and now feel that love again which is wonderful.

I am now finally feeling better so I am looking forward to the week ahead and also to next week when the children will be home from school on Easter holidays.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

My week three results!

This week has been a good week in terms of the diet as I was back on the pro points plan at weight watchers which I am use to from the last time I did it, so I knew what I was doing and you have the choice and flexibility to eat fairy normally.

I have also been very ill with what turned out to be tonsillitis! That was a surprise as it is most common in children aged 5 - 15 years and I never had it as a child, instead I get it at the ripe old age of 33! Anyway, it was hard as ice cream is the best food to eat when you have tonsillitis but ice cream is not great on weight watchers as you can very easily go through a lot of pro points. Luckily, I discovered some pots of weight watchers strawberry ice cream that are only 2 pro points each and actually taste just as good as normal ice cream.

When I got to weight watchers to weigh in I was so nervous, my stomach was doing back flips, as I knew that I had stuck to the plan the week before and gained weight so I had no clue as to what the scales would say this time.

When my leader told me the result I nearly fell off the scales in shock, I lost 5.5lbs!! I was so happy that all my hard work had finally paid off and I got my first silver seven sticker as I have lost my first half stone.

My aims for next week are to stay the same as I know that on Mothers day I will not be sticking to the diet and after a big loss you normally do not loose very much the next week anyway so I will be happy to get through the week staying the same.

Starting weight                                       17st 13lbs.

Weight lost or gained.                            - 5.5lbs
Weight lost all together.                         7.5lbs
Current weight.                                      17st 5.5lbs.

I am linking this post to AutismMumma wobbles Wednesday weight loss linky.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

How to catch a star review and competition!

In order to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the children's picture book entitled 'How to catch a star' by Oliver Jeffers I was sent a beautiful presentation box to share with my daughter Faith.

The box contained a copy of the book, some glow in the dark stars, some activity sheets, a letter from Oliver and a star shaped USB which contained a video from Oliver.

There was also a second copy of the book so that I could offer one as a prize to you lovely readers out there, so keep reading to the end of this review for your chance to win.

The book is beautifully illustrated and tells the story of a boy that decides to make a plan and try and catch a star. How to catch a star was the debut book of author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers who has since gone on to create a number of books which include 'The incredible book eating boy', 'This moose belongs to me' and The great paper caper'.

Faith really enjoyed reading this book, she is six and found the that the book was at the right level for her to be able to read without any help from me. She found the story very funny and really liked the ending. This will definitely be going on Faith's book shelve to be enjoyed again and again.

We also had lot's of fun doing the work sheets that were provided and Faith especially enjoyed making the mobile which she now has proudly hanging in her bedroom with her glow in the dark stars so that she can imagine that she is outside looking up at the nights sky when in bed each night.

If you would like to win your own copy of this book then all you need to do is enter via the rafflecopter below.

Please note that this competition is only open to residents of the UK. The closing date of this competition is 14/04/2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway