Saturday, 30 July 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Friday, 29 July 2011

Slimavite Diet Diary - Week 13 weigh in...

After some very sad personal news this week my mind has not been on my diet at all.  After losing a fabulous 3lbs last week I was really pleased with myself as you can imagine.
This week I weighed 14st 4 lbs which is a 2lb gain but due to the circumstances I am really not looking at this too deeply.

Onwards and downwards. My Slimavite plan is still on track! .....

Review disclosure

Monday, 25 July 2011

My experience as a teenager - still so hard to write.

This is a hard post for me to write and I know I will write, remove and rewrite it many time as I always find it so difficult to put words onto screen when it involves deep emotional feelings and this post is definitely that.

Wow where to start.... is it harder because I have never written it down or is it because my mind is confused on how to get it all out there and be able to finish it - tears flood when the thought even enters my mind.  I think the best way is to describe it from a black and white prospective as this somehow makes it easier... if that's possible.  I will relay it as best as my memory allows although a lot of it is deeply etched and will never be forgotten.

I am 18 years old and pregnant with my first child.  I have been married for a short while and I have lovely photo's of my Mum, Dad and myself on the day.  I get an unexpected call from my older sister and the call starts with 'You need to sit down...followed by  - are you alone?  Without thinking I immediately sit and shake my head 'no' as if my sister can see me.  The next few sentences don't really sink in at first... "You know Mum's been ill recently, well it's serious" Cancer - my Mum the two don't go with each other but from that moment on they would have to.

The next few months of my pregnancy are a blur to be honest and I can only remember being with my Mum in hospital and her telling me that I should not be there and I should be resting - I can remember telling her that I am in the right place should anything happen. That was typical of my Mum to worry about everyone else when it should be the other way round.  I remember her going to theatre with a piece of Rose Quartz crystal under her hospital bed as she had read it had the ability to heal - I was worried it might get lost on the way, ha stupid naive me - looking back I should have not even have been thinking about a bloody rock!

My Mum was back in hospital again when I went into labour and because of this was unable to see my son for a short period of time after he was born but I wrote to my Mum from my new son saying how much he was looking forward to meeting her and how brave his mum had been through the labour - my Mum returned a letter to him which I still have now but find it too hard to read any more saying how she had dreamt about him and how she could picture him in her mind.  I am thankful that she got to meet him but the year of his birth is also the year of her death - she died when he was 8 months old.

Losing a parent at any age is life changing, gut wrenchingly awful and it feels like you will never ever feel anything other than a huge black hole of loss and that part of you has been ripped away - I still do even now 19 years later, but the pain changes into a sort of unwanted acceptance that you will never see a person again (although I am hopeful in that I do not believe this is the end).  Next year it will be 20 years since I last saw her and that gives me a strangled choking feeling in my throat - 20 years!  My Dad died following a heart attack not 5 years after my Mum, and in some way this was easier than Mum dying as they would 'be together'. From aged 24 I was without parents and that is how it has been since then - I have no-one to ask what I was like when I was younger, if I have had German Measles or anything else and I have to think long and hard some days to picture their faces - that hurts like you couldn't believe. It is getting to hard to say any more now but I just want to say one last thing:

Mum, Dad - I miss you. I wish you could have been part of my children's lives and mine every day.  I am ashamed I cannot instantly recall your faces but have to conjure up a photograph in my memory to make this happen.

When I see my daughter smile I see your smile Mum and my eldest son has your laid back attitude Dad. I hope I have made you proud, you are never far from my thoughts,

           your daughter x

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Slimavite Diet Diary - Week 12 weigh in...

Well last weeks good resolve was brought down by cravings for takeaways and because of this for the first time since starting the Slimavite Plan I did not lose weight, although I stayed the same weight at 14st 5lbs.

As part of the ongoing online Slimavite plan each 'Slimavitee' has a special Members Only area that is accessed by password.  This area contains graphical and numerical displays of how your plan has gone to date and can be very motivating.  Each week I update my own personal weight chart so I have an online reference to all my weight loss to date.  My chart looks like this today:

I am losing weight on the Slimavite plan quicker than was predicted and this is shown by the green dots - any time I need to remind myself of my achievements so far I can just log on.

So after last weeks stable weight I really put my all in to staying on track with 2 replacement shakes and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as an evening meal of around 600 calories. 

This morning I weighed 14 st and 2lbs.  So this week I have lost 3lbs!!  I am very pleased and every step is a step closer to my weight goal of 12 stone.

Total time on plan - 12 weeks
Weight loss so far - 2 st 2 lbs

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Free VTech Digi-Fun Family Workshops throughout July & August 2011.

I was sent an invite to these Summer Holiday workshops and thought they may also be of interest to others so here is the information.....

If you’re looking for family fun activities to keep both kids (and adults!) entertained this summer holiday, the look no further this summer the V&A Museum of Childhood has teamed up with VTech, to offer a unique series of workshops which will to introduce children to the exciting possibilities of the digital word in a fun and engaging way.

Great for children aged 4 -9 years old; the Digi-Fun workshops are running every Saturday over the school summer holidays at 2pm from the 23rd July to the 27th August. These free sessions each last one hour and will give children the opportunity to explore, invent and create with the very latest kid-friendly technology.

VTech Digi-Fun Family Workshops, Saturdays, 23, 30 July and 6, 13, 20, 27 August 2011 14.00-15.00.

To book please visit

Or visit the VTech Facebook page 

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Slimavite Diet Diary - Week 11 weigh in...

This week I have been taken over by an urge to eat takeaways! Not good!

I have had 2 fast food meals this week and even though I have I did not 'lose it' and give up my Slimavite .   I ate them, enjoyed them and then carried on with the plan.

I think this for me was the best option as I do think if I had been hard on myself I may have gone mad and eaten more - funny how we can think sometimes!?

So after 11 weeks and losing 1st and 13lbs so far, this week I weighed in at 14st 5lbs which is the same as last week so for the first time since starting the plan no loss for me this week - I am lucky not to have gained and this alone will give me motivation to not let it happen again.

Onwards and downwards.....

Image: Suat Eman /

Review disclosure

Monday, 11 July 2011

West Midlands Safari Park - our thoughts.

With the Summer Holidays looming and the inevitable chorus of "Can we go to....." echoing in parents ears I thought I would show you exactly what West Midland Safari Park in Worcestershire has to offer.  The park is open daily from 10am til 5pm (last admission is 4pm)

I visited recently (after receiving 2 complimentary tickets from the park)  and spent an enjoyable and very warm day driving round the Safari Trail looking at the vast variety of animals on show.

From the braver animals that come right up to your car

To lions basking in the sun (I wouldn't like to get as close as that car!)

From the small but exceptionally fast...

To the enormous but slower....

The Safari Trial is an in car trip through a 4 mile, 100 acre safari that showcases hundreds of animals, all visible from your own car seat.  The safari took us approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours as it was a hot day and there were lots of cars.  I was thankful that I drive an automatic at times as I think the stops and starts would have taken their toll on my knees otherwise.

Once we had seen the animals we stopped and parked so we could see the rest of the park on foot. Parking was easy and there were staff on hand to show you where to park.

There were several places to eat (we took our own food) but I have to say the baby changing facilities (in the disabled toilet!) were awful for such a large establishment.  I took Little Man into it in his pram and once the door was closed and the plastic changing unit was down there was barely enough space to stand to change a nappy and nowhere to put the changing bag or your own handbag that wasn't on the floor, on the toilet or in the sink!  I was not impressed by this and as there was only 1 changing facility (that I could see) there was quite a queue.  I really do think this needs to be looked at...

Little Man changed and we headed off to the rides.  I am a lover of fast rides and so I really wanted to go on the Black Fly which is a super fast ride at the park.

I liked the fact that you could either buy a  rides wristband that gave you access to all rides (height restrictions apply) or if you just wanted to go on one or two you could buy individual tickets, although I have to say the wristband does work out cheaper.  The ride didn't let me down and was as good as I remembered it from years before. There was barely any queue either.

As well as the Black Fly there were several other rides (see link for listings) and the usual 'try your luck' games which I really like although again these can be expensive as they are not included in the wristband or admission.  Middle Son won a rather fetching parrot on the racehorse racing game.  

There is a good mix of rides to suit toddlers to teens and also a seal Lion show, animal encounter area and a small bat cave that you can walk through.  It is worthwhile checking your map and show times leaflet as you go as there are many talks and shows throughout the day and you are best to plan ahead so you don't miss any.

We had a great day (abet the changing facility!) and I would definitely go again.  So could you as with every paying visitor you get a free return ticket - now that's a fantastic offer!  Check the West Midland Safari Park  website for any other offers and enjoy your visit...

West Midland Safari Park:
OPEN: 10am-5pm daily
from 19th February.
(Last admission 4pm).
Under 3’s: FREE
Children: £11.99*
Adults: £13.99*
Concessions: £12.99*
*Also Includes Free Return Ticket! Rides wristband payable 

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Friday, 8 July 2011

How do you know when enough is enough?

A small dark nagging question keeps rising to the surface of my mind - how do you know when enough is enough?

Let me explain further....

I spent the morning with 3 friends having coffee.  Joining us was Little Man and one of my friends 2 week old baby.  We compared just how quickly babies grow and the difference in size between Little Man and the new baby - there it was, the darkness.

Since I was 18 years old I have been a Mother.  For longer than I was 'BC' (before children) I have had the Mummy title.  It is the biggest part of who I am and when I look at Little Man I find it really hard to think that he is my last baby.  It makes me so sad to know that I will never have a child smaller than he is now, never will I hear the small rasping breathes of a sound asleep newborn or the feeling of total overwhelming pride and love when you meet your baby for the first time.  The sadness at this is immense and consumes me enough to have me in tears at the prospect.

I have friends that have easily said after 1 or even 2 children "That's enough for me" but I do not seem to have that ability, that finality of decision.  It is not because I like being pregnant - in fact the opposite could be said. The pregnancy with Little Man was stressful (another story for another day) and as I am now in my late 30's it was also harder on my body than my first pregnancy at 18 or even subsequent pregnancies in my 20's.  I felt sick all day for long after the usual 20 weeks and I suffered  at times with very low moods as I tried to accept my speedily expanding waistline. I would rather go through labour than be pregnant!

So with this in my mind I do not understand why I do not just accept that and know Little Man is the last of my children and instead I cry at the fact that he is growing, getting bigger and worse still will be one before I can blink - how selfish that feels.

But then again how do you know when enough is enough and how do you stop the aching feeling of wanting to hold time still and stop him from being any other way than how he is now?  Perhaps then that dark nagging question might just disappear...

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Slimavite Diet Diary - Week 10 weigh in...

Wow it's July already and the weeks are zooming by.

I have been following the Slimavite Plan for 10 weeks now and I really have to say I have been impressed so far!

I have lost weight every week for the last 9 weeks and have never felt deprived or hungry.  I can eat things that may be classified as 'naughty' as the Slimavite website tells you how this affects your Bite plan.

Slimavite replacement shakes
So the summary of the last 9 weeks looks like this: Starting weight 16st 4 lbs and total loss up til last week was 1st 11lbs.

This week I weighed in at 14st 5lbs so a 2lb loss for me this week (even after a lovely buffet lunch at a PR event) 

Total weight loss is now 1st and 13lbs in 10 weeks and I am now only 1lb off having lost 2 stones so I really am pleased with the plan this far - why not see what Slimavite can offer you?

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Christmas in July event 2011 - Camden

Yesterday I attended the Christmas in July event as a Mums Choice Panellist.  The event was a showcase for toy companies to highlight to the Media and panel bloggers their new and 'must have' toys for this Christmas.

It was a real treat to be able to see, try and preview what is in the pipelines for companies such as Trunki, Mega Bloks, Micro Scooters, Flair and many others.

I attended the event with Little Man who came along to give his input!

Among the toys and games on show I especially liked a new Olympic design Trunki that is coming out in August to celebrate London 2012.

Little Man really liked the Thomas the Tank Engine range and it was hard to prise him away from this Thomas I can tell you.

Little Man liked the  Thomas range
Two items that my older children asked me to look out for were the Hexbugs and the Globees as they really liked the look of those.

Whist looking around I came a cross a new product to be launched, Matilda, your girl for all time (I have put the link here awaiting it's launch - August/September 2011 and they have a Facebook page as well.)

Matilda is a beautiful 16" vinyl doll that can be dressed in historical clothes and follows the History Key Stage 2 curriculum.  Matilda, a Tudor girl, is the first in a series of 'A Girl for all Time' dolls and books and I think something to look out for this Christmas for girls aged 3 + although she really is a collectable in herself and would appear to older girls for this reason.

Also of note was a range I hadn't seen before from Red Toolbox. It is a range that gives parents the opportunity to work with children and help them develop their carpentry skills.  Together you can create a whole range of items from bird tables, tool boxes and chairs to treasure chests and comes in beginner, intermediate and advanced levels so they really do suit a wide range of ages and skills.

Red Toolbox
From Little Mans age range I really liked the soon to be launched Mega Bloks baby walker. All of my children have had Mega Bloks and the range is still new and current.

Mega Bloks walker

SpongeBob 3d puzzles
The Smurfs are also on their way back courtesy of Schleich and with the launch of the new Smurf film. These small blue figures bring back memories of my own childhood.

Smurfs are coming back...
One of my favourite items is the Ezy-Roller from Micro Scooters was being demonstrated at the show and it was nice to see the other scooters in the range.

I really enjoyed my visit to the Christmas in July event and there were too many great products to individually name them all but I have tried to highlight the ones that stuck out in my mind.

It was really nice to catch up with some of the lovely bloggers that I met for the first time at Cybermummy and we all had a really nice complimentary lunch together which was fantastic before heading back and making our recommendations for this years 'Mums Choice' must have toys for this Christmas.

Upon leaving we were given our very own Trunki Quinn filled with surprises from the other companies at the event - he is gorgeous and a lovely gesture from the companies involved.

I really enjoyed my day and look forward to hopefully attending further events.  Want to see what we chose? Click here!

Another Little Man favourite on the day -  Driver Dan

Monday, 4 July 2011

Listography - 5 things I want to do this summer

In Kate Takes 5s absence the Listography baton has been passed to Keith at The Reluctant Housedad and the theme for this week is 5 things I want to do this summer.

So our house is on the brink of the 7 week school holiday chaos and I have to say I always look forward to it from a side of dread of the lack of routine and a side of enthusiasm for what we can get up to in the long, hopefully warm, break from school runs and school lunch making.

With that in mind my list looks a little like this:

I want to go camping

I never thought I would hear myself say that as I am a canvas phobic when it comes to the great outdoors!  My husband is born for it and so every so often I give in and go camping.  With being pregnant last summer we haven't been since the year prior and I am amazed but I have actually missed it.

The children really enjoy the freedom and we always go to the same camp that allows fires for cooking ( rare these days and has a shallow lake and a rope swing across it.  Fun is guaranteed for very little money and we all get together and spend quality time without phones, computers as there is no signal there.  Without a television we get to talk and reconnect in a relaxed setting and an added bonus is that my husband takes over all the cooking...perfect!

I want to go to the beach

I want to spend time with the children swimming

All my children started going to the swimming pool very young and Little Man is now exception and I like to take him as much as I can.  It does mean me having to wear a costume (argh!) but it's worth it as I really see his enjoyment at splashing and watching the older children playing in the water.

Our Flexibath is often outside when we can't get to the pool.
I think being able to swim is important and can obviously be a lifesaver.

I want to relax

I am one of lifes stressers and I am very aware of this.  I stress over small things when big things don't seem to have the same impact.  I want to be able to relax and see what the summer brings and try not to cram everything in or expect too much.

I may even invest in a sun lounger and see what that does as I am not someone that can sit and do nothing easily.

I want to read a book

Something that may work well with the above 'want'.  I have been trying to finish the same book for months and the local library will be sending in the bailiffs for it soon!

I enjoy reading but always seem to put something else in it's place.  This summer I will change that and finish that book - fact!

What's your 5 summer 'wants'? Check out the other Listography links and share yours....

Image: Evgeni Dinev /

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Silent Sunday