Saturday, 31 December 2011

2012 - My 50th Birthday Year Bucket List

I don't quiet know how it happened but I have arrived at the year I turn 50! 

I've decided regardless of all the pressures we are under I am going to make this a year of celebration and positive thought.  I've written a bucket list (not things to do before I die, but things to do in this year of being 50). 

50th Year Bucket List

Have a wonderful, happy, bring anybody you want, 50th Birthday Party 

Visit Paris or New York (I have been to neither)

lie on my back and look up at the stars

Have just one day where my twins don't fight

smile at a stranger (it might make their day)   I did this A LOT I just wish I had had the courage to ask people if I could also take their picture

Have just one day where my eldest son doesn't moan   ACHIEVED .  
 Can't believe we achieved this one so quickly.  Have to say he has been a poppet lately.  Maybe something to do with my HRT Tabs giving me horrific mood swings.  He has been keeping a low profile and helping me out lots. Yay for 16 yr old sons.

play barefoot in mud

lie on my back and make cloud shapes

stop waiting for other people to make it right and sort it myself  ACHIEVED ! Feels good, I am finally a grown up.

laugh until my sides and jaw aches  ACHIEVED !
(Mr Poppy from the film Nativity does it every time, cried with laughter watching him in this wonderful film.  Even made all my boys laugh by laughing at mummy crying with laughter ! )

spend a whole day on the sofa watching and crying over soppy films

cook a meal from scratch, I know I can do it, I just hate cooking

accept a compliment with grace and not a negative about myself  ACHIEVED!  This was a major step for me, but I have done it several times and especially remembered to do it once or twice at Cybher this year.

not tell people the price of EVERYTHING I buy to show what an amazing bargain I got.   Managed this most of the time.

dance with my husband like this again

have a week without using the washing machine

just one month where we can afford all our outgoings & still have some money left over

catch up with the special family and friends I've neglected    Achieved this at my Birthday Party, reminded me of some of the wonderful friends I have had in the past. Promises to stay in touch from now on.  Life is too short.

hear my husband tell me he loves me

look in the mirror and be happy with what I see

splash in puddles with my boys and not care about the mess we make of our clothes

visit Ireland

have a dirty weekend away with my husband (who else ! George Clooney is now spoken for)  Sort of achieved (combined with Cybher *cough*

have perfect white teeth

realise that this has gone for good and to learn to live with my baby scarred tummy

stop biting my nails

get my hair dyed white blonde

go camping

open my own vintage homewares shop or just have a corner in someone else's  Haven't quiet achieved the shop, but I do have a cabinet in the wonderful Vintage shop "What Katy did" IN Budleigh!

make some money out of my social media skills (I am always being asked but don't have the confidence)

be happy with my lot

get 50 comments on a blog post *winks*   ACHIEVED !
(This was the first one Woop! would have been the jumping in puddles but I forgot to take the camera to show the proof.  Thank you so much to all the amazing, supportive community of people on twitter, facebook and blogging world, you will never know how much your conversation has cheered, supported and inspired me)

realise I am never going to win the lottery and be a secret Millionaire (and get over it).

Wear a dress when its not a special occasion.

Wear high heels on the school run

Learn how to "do" my makeup

Swim in the sea (in Devon) brrrrr .

Make at least 5 more new twitter friends who I actually meet in the real world

So there we go !
Things to do before I'm 51. 
most not earth shattering, most achievable.  Baby steps.
Love you to join me with your own 2012 Bucket list, let me know and we can link up.
 Would love your support and encouragement on this one. 
Life really is too short. I look around and in a blink of an eye I have more life behind me than I have in front of me.  A very sobering though.

Here's to an amazing, happy and positive 50th Year.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Why its time to say goodbye

We are extremely fortunate to have been ToysRus Toyologists for two years. I can't tell you how thrilled we were to receive the email asking us if we would like to be part of this amazing adventure and then to be invited back for a second year.

It has been a wonderful experience.  We had the opportunity to review many of the latest toys as they came onto the market and we loved thinking up new ways to review. Making films from the playmobil characters and my all time favourite remains the BigFoot video. 

As a  new blogger I got to meet some established bloggers who were very generous with their time and advice. I met Jen from Mum in the Madhouse during the tea party held to launch the campaign and we have remained firm friends ever since.  

I will always be grateful to ToysRus for the opportunity they gave us and their management of the campaigns, my decision to leave the campaign is no way a reflection on them.

Many people have commented on how lucky we were to have such an opportunity and yes we were, but it is hard work reviewing large amounts of toys. We were never put under any pressure by ToysRus to get the reviews completed but I always felt an obligation to them and the manufacturers because of their generosity. This was really easy during the first campaign, the boys were happy and excited and everybody helped out but as time has gone on it almost became a chore for me.  I have seen a side to my children that I do not like. When a box arrived they would just be interested in ripping it open to see the contents and then would loose interest really quickly. Leaving me to try to get them to build, play and review the toys. This is time consuming and hard work especially when as a self employed person I have many other commitments.  Even hiding the boxes and giving them one item at a time only resulted in a backlog of reviews.  We could of course missed out on a box or two, the option was there.  But I could never bring myself to do that, what does that say about me ?  Was it greed ? not sure, I just know it made me realise things about myself and my children that I really didn't like.

When we began the campaign my children only ever received toys at Christmas and birthdays and now they were getting toys every few weeks and lots of them.    For a family like ours living on a really tight budget and some weeks having very little funds to buy even the basics for our home life, having all these expensive toys lying around the house was very hard for me to rationalise.  I tried really hard to give toys to other people to review and this more often than not ended in more stress, most people were happy to take the toys but very few gave detailed feedback on what they felt about the toy. I felt real stress having to constantly ask people if it was possible for photographs or feedback.  I also then felt an unreasonable sense of anger when they didn't seem "grateful" for the opportunity.  I don't like thse feelings.   We gave a lot away to charity etc but again understandably not always possible to get feedback to complete the reviews.

I really feel this year that I have let ToysRus down with the campaign, my reviews have been lacklustre and without spark, it has become a chore. Reading the reviews of some of the other toyologists only confirms this, particularly James Spence  whose cartoon reviews are something else.

So there we are, I have written to ToysRus withdrawing myself from the campaign .  I feel a real sense of relief now the decision is made.  I will not have it there at the back of my mind all the time.

Thursday, 15 December 2011


At the school the twins attend it is policy  not to let parents take photographs or film of the school nativity.  I have my view on this and can tell you I am not impressed.  Another case of political correctness gone mad.  They do though take pictures of your children and give you copies.  It would appear one of my twins shares the same view as me.

Can you spot him ?

Also begs the question why its ok for them to take a whole class photo and distribute it but  you can't take pictures at the event itself of your own little darling !

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Tots100 Christmas Party weekend at Butlins

When it comes to holidays I admit I was a SNOB. Butlins ! no not for me.  All that Hi De Hi and organised activities for hundreds of people.  

How wrong was I ! All this time my family and I have been missing out.

This weekend I had the opportunity to take the family to Butlins Bognor Regis and to drive there in a brand spanking new Kia Cee'd car (more on this later) all thanks to the totally hugable   Sally Whittle. Sally organised the bloggers Tots100 Christmas party weekend for an unmissable price of just £100 for two days in the Ocean Hotel for a family of five. Over the years I have stayed in some amazing hotels including Disney hotels in Florida and the Ocean hotel more than holds its own.

You are met by cheerful, red coated staff as you drive into the complex. The ocean has its own car park with ample car parking, although at the weekend its probably best to arrive as early as you can. You can't officially check into your room until 12 noon, but you can still take advantage of all the facilities if you arrive early.

Although I was there for the Tots100 bloggers Christmas Party I thought it was just too good a deal to pass up for the family, so we arrived on Friday to make the most of the weekend.

The Ocean Hotel

The Lobby

Truly a room with a view - our balcony view

How thrilled were we when we saw all the space we had in the family rooms

The children's twin bedroom was funky and perfect, even had its own tv !

You can have coloured disco lights that change colour above and under your bed and in the bathroom or if you prefer just normal white ones.  Guess which were a hit with us.  Lying in the bath watching the bubbles change colour kept me amused for hours !

The boys were desperate to get to the Splash Water world but sadly when we popped over there at 4.30 it was just closing.  I will say this was one of the only disappointing things about the complex.  The opening and closing times.  Most shops, activities, Splash Waterworld etc don't open until 10 am.  Now if you have  children, which the majority of people I would imagine do have, you need activities  available from about 8am and certainly breakfast.  There were long queues for the hotel restaurants first thing, so I would highly recommend you take your own breakfast cereals, fruit etc and remember to take bowls and spoons.  saves lots of money and hanging around.

Most of the activities on site are included in the price, which really helps, but you do need to plan and book early.  Most of the popular events get booked up quickly.  We still managed to fit in lots of fun stuff.  The funfair, the playpark, the beach, The splash waterworld was the biggest hit, lots of great water slides and plenty of space to play.  Slightly over cautious on height restrictions for smaller children but apart from that it was the biggest hit of the weekend for the boys.

Lots of great shows and entertainment

Bjjorn the Bear was a massive hit and a real wonder to see .

So much to see and do we can highly recommend you book a break at Butlins.  Thank you so much to Sally for the opportunity and to all the amazing staff at Butlins for making our weekend so fab!

Onto the point of the weekend, about 35 bloggers met up in the afternoon for coffee, cake, mince pies and a little highly competitive, fighting and present stealing (yes I mean you Mrs Shoe Blogger ) , sorry I mean tree decorating competition.    Our team didn't win, even though we decorated our tree in reds and silver and made many references to Billy Butlin.  Hey ho, those judges had NO TASTE !  Sorry for lack of pictures, I forgot my camera, but you can see our teams and trees on the TOTS100 facebook page  

The evening kicked off in bar Rosso with lovely cocktails and trying desperately to put faces to blog names ! Then onto Turners Restaurant for dinner.  I sat with the totally gorgeous Kate who blogs at WitWitWoo  Wendy from InsideTheWendyHouse  and her equally lovely sister Paula from QwertyMum   a lovely evening of laughs and some unease when I tweeted about the stroppy waiter to then find Butlins are so hot on twitter the restaurant manager came out to tell us the waiter had been told to cheer up !  I was mortified, so much so I went into the kitchens to give him a big hug, visions of him being sacked running through my head.  Oh dear, wine and twitter Nooooooooo !

We had a wonderful evening and it was so lovely to sit and chat with these lovely ladies.  Once again, many thanks Sally for all your hard work, you put on a great event.

We were also really fortunate to be offered a Kia Cee'd for the weekend.  It arrived promptly at 9.30 am on Friday morning, brand spanking new, sparkly clean and delivered by the nicest smiley man ever ! After a quick familiarisation and packing of the boot we were off. 

 What a dream of a car to drive, after years of driving a petrol guzzling old banger this was heaven on earth.  A diesel car, it was delivered to us with 3/4 tank of diesel and when we handed it back on Monday morning after a 320 mile round trip it still had a 1/4 tank !  amazing fuel consumption.  Really made my husband and I see how cost effective this car would be for us as a family.  It was spacious and felt like real quality inside.  Not at all what I expected.  You really feel like you are driving a luxury car.  There are all sorts of extras take a look at the specification  We were totally blown away by this car and if we could afford a new one we would seriously go back to this one.

Thank you so much to Kia UK for the opportunity to drive this car, we loved it.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Wigwam - Garden Games

We were recently asked if we would like to review an item from the range of products available from the Garden Games website.  Although it is Winter and most of us are inside on our computer games I thought this might be a great opportunity to get the boys interested in a more traditional toy.  I chose the Wigwam  which can also be used indoors.

Big chief "hiding face" Milo

It was really straightforward to put together, even I managed it on my own, although could have done with an extra pair of hands for the fiddly knot tying at the top (but this I am told by my husband is only because I am left handed ) ! Just slot the poles together, slide through the loops on the inside of the canvas, thread the string through the tops of the poles adding a wooden ball spacer as you go. tie it up, stand up the wigwam, pull the drawstring of the canopy and tie the two together ! Simples !

It's sturdy and well made with lovely heavy painted canvas material for the wigwam itself.  One of those toys that I rank alongside the wooden train sets and lego.  A toy that you would keep for life and hand onto other children in the family. 

The twins love playing in it, they both easily fit inside along with as many cuddly toy (wild animals) that they can find. 

Really well priced at £49.99 certainly worth a look if you are considering something other than electronic type toys this Christmas.

Available to buy from Garden Games. Do pop over and take a look at their great selection .

Many thanks to Garden Games for sending us the wigwam to review and keep.  All views are my own.


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Aldi Christmas Hamper

We love December in our home, not only do we have Christmas to look forward to but its also the twins Birthdays.  Lots of fun and excitement, but also its our most expensive month. Thanks to the lovely folk at Aldi we received a wonderful selection of Christmas goodies yesterday.  They will certainly help towards the Christmas cheer.  If you haven't yet shopped at Aldi you really should pop along.  Full to bursting with food products & home goodies for cost conscious families, they combine quality with great value style. 

Yummy Yummy !

Now that's my kind of bottle of Chardonnay !

We can confirm the Stollen is absolutely gorgeous.  We gobbled it all up last night whilst putting up the Christmas decorations.

Baby rabbits at Christmas ?  nooooo they are yummy chocolate baby reindeer .

We received the above food and wine items above from Aldi.  All views expressed and photographs are my own.

Many thanks once again to Aldi xx

Monday, 28 November 2011

All About The Boys - Cyber Monday giveaway

Many thanks to all who entered this giveaway.

The winnner picked by Birthday boy Jarvis this morning is :

CONGRATULATIONS -  Karen from @missingsleep

This Giveaway is now closed.   Another one coming soon xx

If we are to believe all the hype that is "Cyber Monday"  i.e the Monday that follows Black Friday in America, all to do with Thanksgiving and the start of shopping for Christmas.  Everybody will be online shopping like mad today.

I thought it might be a good day to offer a giveaway from my own online shop All About The Boys instead.

I sell discounted authentic designer clothes for children.  All upto 60% below the UK RRP.  Stock sells fast and new items arrive on a regular basis.  I buy direct from trusted suppliers in America, who I have been trading with for over seven years.

To take part in the giveaway, just pop over to my website All About The Boys  have a little look around and leave a comment below telling me what item you would like me to send you if you win !  Simple as that.

You can have one additional entry for each of the following :

Follow this blog & leave a comment

Tweet the following  :  I've entered @allaboutheboys designer clothes giveaway

Facebook the following  I've entered All About The Boys designer clothes giveaway

Giveaway will end at 8pm on Monday 5th December.  Open to UK residents only.  Winner picked at random.  No cash alternative.

Thank you and good luck xx

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Hot Wheels Wall Tracks

Hot wheels are always a big hit in our house.  We were recently contacted by Mattel and asked if the twins would like to review the new Hot Wheels Wall Tracks.  This is a genius toy that fits on the wall for play !  Perfect if you are short on floor space or just like to try and keep a tidy home !  We love how it looks on the wall in the twins room, really adds to the decor.  You do need approx 3 sq ft of wall space to fit it on but it can easily be removed from the wall if you only want to put it up for play.    It comes complete with 3M command strips which stick to the wall to secure  the tracks.  They do remove very easily, although it does say they might not be suitable for walls with wallpaper.

Milo set to work building several variations of the suggested layout and preferred not to use the easy to follow template.  Mattel has a great  video tutorial

You can continue on the track on the floor with the traditional Hot Wheels floor tracks so the combinations are endless.  Milo has spent hours discovering which combinations work best.   Not just a fast track game but also great for teaching children about problem solving, basics of design etc.

The video shows the Hot Wheels starter set and drift valley spin out set.

There are several sets to choose from, the basic set starts at around £16 with the starter set retailing for around £28.  A great value for money classic toy.

One of the things I love most about this toy is NO BATTERIES REQUIRED ! Woop! 

We were sent Wall Tracks to review and keep, no payment was received and all views expressed and photographs are my own.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

First Love

I made dinner for Jacob and his girlfriend tonight as it is the anniversary of them meeting two years ago today.    When I went into the dining room to clear up afterwards, I found this on the table.  I'd like to think it was a little thank you to me for making them a special  dinner, but actually would be more thrilled to think I had taught my son how to be a romantic soul.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Christmas is Coming

The twins were born in December, as you can imagine that particular Christmas was not quite as organised as previous years.   Jacob, Nigel and I spent most of the time in our PJ's staring at these two strange creatures who just cried, ate and slept ! 

Out of that time a new tradition in our family was born. 

I buy the whole family new pajamas for us all to wear on Christmas Eve.  We get changed into them in the early evening and all cuddle up on the sofa to watch something Christmassy on the tv (well in my perfect "this is how christmas should be " imagination).  It usually turns into  "ouch, your foot is touching me" or "I can't see, stop leaning on me" .

I try to buy as much as possible from independent retailers all year round and even more so at Christmas.  Being an independent seller myself I know just how hard it is out there at the moment.  Trying to compete against the big chain stores is not easy.  Whilst browsing through independent online shops I came across some lovely ideas for Christmas presents.    Please do pop over and take a look at these great sellers and when you are next in the shopping mood please consider shopping independent.

Gorgeous Organic Ella & Otto Sleepsuit & Moose hat from Baby Duck Store

Perfect snowflake shoes from Baby Not Included

I thought we were the only household where all the men make a point of wearing odd socks !  Looks like somebody else likes the idea too. Fab set of 3 mens weekend Oddsocks from   Two Magpies 

Too die for Oilcloth pink flower bag from Funky Diva Designs

What can I say !  A girly chocolate gift pack from The Chocolate Library

Beautiful Bouy pendant from Sea Sparkle

Hope you find something to inspire you to buy from an independent retailer.  Please do leave a comment if you have come across any great independent retailers you think might like a mention on the blog.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Multiple Mayhem Carnival

Firstly, many apologies for the lateness of this carnival post.   I've been a bit busy with half term entertaining the twins and visitors, Halloween party, back to school and then catching up with the work I couldn't do when the twins were off school.  Anyway excuses over, here we go. 

This is my first time of hosting this wonderful carnival which celebrates everything that is good, bad and downright amazing about being parents to twins or dare I even say it ; Triplets or more !

My little darlings !

Reading through all the contributions below and probably being the mum to the oldest multiples in the group, my boys are seven next month (please accept my apologies if I am wrong) I can certainly relate to all of the posts, having gone through all of the situations at one time or another.

Karen from Tales of a twin mum tells us the classic bath time dance story and the very different reactions her twins have to bath time.  A lovely, funny story.  

Debbie from Johnson babies (love the blog name) has the age old dilemma of the feeding routine.  Still makes me wonder how on earth I coped mostly alone during that time. 

Marianne from Marisworld gives us a round robin of her 3&1/4 yr old twins including the "oh I remember it well" day they started pre-school and the worry of the will they come up to scratch in the assessments.

Rebecca from Here come the girls (another fab name for a blog) has the flashback to discovering she was pregnant with twins and the classic  comment "do twins run in your family? "  .  That moment I personally, will never forget.  We were in for an early scan due to bleeding, 3 months earlier I had miscarried a baby, only to find out that I was now pregnant with twins !  oh how we laughed !

Mich from Mummy from the heart tells us about co-sleeping and has the most adorable photographs of her twins.  We tried and sadly failed with this one.  My twins were kick boxing champions at the age of two weeks, no chance of peaceful co-sleeping for us.

Kerry from Multiple mummy gives us the potty training lowdown.  My view, don't panic, let them go at their own pace, after all very few children attend their first day at school still wearing a nappy. 

Heather from Young and Younger has the forever endearing tale of the special bond between twins.  In our case not always apparent until that is they are apart !  It never fails to touch me, however much my boys fight (and they do, a lot)  when they are apart there is almost puppy like pining for each other.

Finally the wonderfully funny Emily from More than just a mother raises a smile with her embarrassing behaviour Ron Weasley tale.  Please tell us Emily that you will put the poor boy out of his misery.....

So there we have this months Multiple Mayhem Carnival, Please do take a moment to follow the links to the posts for a wonderful read.  A great roundup of the tales of twin parenting.  If you have twins or more multiples we would love you to join in next time.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

WowWee Light Strike interactive battle game Review

I was recently contacted and asked if I would like to review the Latest Light Strike interactive battle game from WowWee.  Having had their fair share of guns, lightsabres etc I was not sure that this would be suitable for the twins.  Whilst mulling over the email, my eldest son came into the room and I asked his opinion.  "What about me mum, I never get anything to review"  He had a point.  As it turned out, this game in our opinion is probably best suited to age  10 - 15 years.  It requires a certain amount of skill to understand the operation of the light strikers, the fast pace and the objective of the game. 

We received :

Two complete sets of Light Strike Assult strikers with targets. - £39.99 RRP
Light strike enemy scanner - £9.99 - £12.99 RRP
Light strike machine gun BI Pod - £9.99 - £12.99 RRP
Light Strike refactor Launch  - £9.99 - £12.99 RRP
Light strike scope   -  £9.99 - £12.99 RRP
Light strike ITS -  £24.99 RRP

Jacob's friend Pete was drafted in to "play" and the lads got to work unpacking the boxes.  Their initial thoughts on the strikers were their impressive skins "shiny" (for want of a better word) decals, the good weight and quality feel of the light strikers. 

Designed to look like futuristic weapons, they look and sound really impressive with all the flashing lights and commands when in operation.  

Including :

Instant reload for fast action
weapon selection
Team Selection
Health meter
light and sound that puts you in the middle of the battle
ammo meter
fingerprint verification - I kid you not !
single fire/semi automatic

 On the down side each striker requires 3 x AAA and 4 x AA batteries !

Accessories include :

Refrector Launch system   to defeat enemies with one super shot, with real recoil action and enables you to gain a tactical advantage.  This fits underneath the striker. -

Rapid Fire system - rapid fire super ammo provides major blasts, real recoil action and gain a tactical advantage . This also fits underneath the striker.

Scope   LED targeting system, increases gun range upto 100 feet, defeat your opponent with one shot in sniper mode

Enemy Scanner   Detect Enemy movement within 30 feet and gain a tactical advantage

The boys found all of the above accessories added to the enjoyment of the game, were not essential but gave some advantage to the player depending on which add on they chose.

 An added feature of the game is the Intelligent Targeting System which provides three settings, a medic, a bomb and a sentry gun. Whoever controls the ITS gaines an advantage during the game.

Game Objective

You can have upto four teams, each team represented by a different colour and the main objective is to depleat the opposition's health by shooting sensors and lowering life points, whilst running around, jumping over things, hiding behind things and getting as dirty as possible !  All good fun boy stuff. 

Our View

 The lads found that to play the game properly you needed to be outside, when played in a confined space indoors you could "kill" your opponents without them being in sight, due to the lights bouncing off the walls or ceiling.

They loved the voice command effects and really felt that they added to the enjoyment of the game, especially the fingerprint verification . 

Overall the boys really enjoyed playing with the strikers and certainly felt they were up there with the best interactive target games.  There are enough options available to keep the games fresh, you can play alone or have unlimited numbers of players in the four teams.  Certainly one to get the kids running around outside.  I also really like the fact that there are not hundreds and hundreds of "bullets" or discs to pick up or to risk injury with !

On the downside as with many toys is the unfortunate number of batteries required to operate the strikers.

Visit the Official Light Strike website HERE 

This is not a sponsored post but we were sent the strikers to review and keep.  All views expressed and photographs are my own.

Many thanks to WowWee for the opportunity to review this product

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Choose a Christmas Charity

Once upon a time (in the 1960s actually), there lived a beautiful, sad and lonely girl.  She spent her days dreaming about the family she never knew, the life she thought she would have had (an American G.I. father was her favourite.  One day he would come back to England and take her home to her family).  The beautiful girl lived in a children's home, no family, no love, no hugs, just the essentials required to bring an unwanted child up. 

The beautiful girl found herself in her sport.  She excelled at running.  She ran and ran everyday.  Running from her pain and towards her future.

One day, like many innocent girls with nobody to guide them, she met "the one" she loved him with all her heart and believed his promises of eternal love, she soon discovered her dreams were dust .  She was carrying a child and was alone again.

Scandal in the children's home, she was 16 years old and pregnant, she was sent away in disgrace to a Salvation Army Mother and Baby home. A christian charity, one of the few in those days who would take unmarried pregnant girls in. She had to work for her keep, cleaning, scrubbing floors, washing.  Long days, no love and all with the knowledge that when her baby came it would be taken away from her and put up for adoption.

She lay awake at night talking to her baby, muffling her cries into her pillow, crying for the life she never had, lonely and alone.

On her hands and knees scrubbing floors, the baby decided it was time.  The beautiful girl was taken to hospital and there her tiny baby daughter was born.   They told the beautiful girl "You must nurse the baby for six weeks and then we will take her away from you " .  Every moment of every day she marvelled at her beautiful child and loved her more and more.  A seed started to grow in her heart, she would fight, she would never give up her tiny child.

When the day came for the baby to be taken away, the beautiful girl refused.  She would not let anybody have her baby "don't be a silly girl, you are only 17 years old, you have no family, you cannot go back to the children's home !  what do you think you will do ?"   She refused to give in, holding tightly to her tiny baby.  "She is mine, she is all I have, I will not let you take her from me".

The beautiful girl won her battle to keep her baby and was moved back to the Salvation Army Mother and Baby home where she worked and worked and worked.  Her baby by her side .

The beautiful girl is my mother and I am the baby .

Please join me this year in the run up to Christmas and actively support a charity on your blog.  If you are unable to raise money for your chosen Charity at least raise awareness for them by blogging, tweeting and facebooking about them.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Virtual Reality Life

From my first ever follower on twitter a couple of years ago, some people in my "real world" have scoffed and exclaimed that they "don't get" twitter or facebook and why would I spend my time typing conversations to strangers. 

I have always responded with comments about how interesting the people I talk to are, they are usually like minded, with similar interests or lifestyles, although not always and this adds to the interest for me.  I have come across such a range of people with all sorts of stories to tell, people I would otherwise never have met.

 "Ah yes, but you can't be real friends with them can you?".   I beg to differ, I went to my first Mumpreneur Conference with the lovely Harriet who I met via twitter.  We got on from the moment I climbed into her car at the services in Somerset, we chatted all the way to Birmingham with no feelings of self consciousness or awkward pauses.  Several of us from the West Country got together and created the Devon Coup, we meet up and go for lunch, attend parties and events and generally have a great time.  We are all different ages, backgrounds, both male and female and we all get on really well together. 

I've gone on to meet lots of the people I regularly chat to at both the Cybermummy conferences, at PR events and days out.  The majority of the people I have met were as lovely in the flesh as they were online and our friendships have flourished.

One friendship  I took to the next level was with the wonderful, inspiring Jen from Mum_TheMadHouse and her family, who came to Devon this weekend and spent three days with us.     Our families met at events in the past and her two boys are similar age to the twins.  Despite the awful weather we had a lovely time taking them to local attractions, we all mucked in together, there was no being on best behaviour and with similar attitudes towards life, husbands and children I can honestly say we had a lovely time.

All four boys working on becoming the next generation of Virtual Reality Real Lifers !

Not a great picture.  I may have had a glass or two of wine, hence the camera shudder effect.  They all ate my roast dinner though.

Never let it be said that spending time on twitter is wasting your life, I have had more fun, more laughs, some tears, lots of support and encouragement and best of all made the most amazing friends, had the best opportunities and am even starting to make a living.  All thanks to Twitter, blogging and Facebook.

Today the house is strangely quiet.  Role on December when we all meet up again at the Tots100 Christmas weekend at Butlins.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Boys' Autumn/Winter clothing Trends & John Lewis Giveaway

Many thanks to all who entered.  The winner picked at random by a spooktastic No1 son last night is :

DONNA @littlelillypadco

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED .  More giveaways coming soon ......

Boys’ autumn/winter clothing trends

Dressing your lads in the latest trends doesn’t have to mean spending a packet, using up the money they’d rather you spend on toys, or kitting them out in impractical outfits. Here, guest blogger Jo-ann Fortune highlights three affordable looks that will work with any little boy’s wardrobe.  

I am also really pleased to be able to offer you the chance to win a £50 gift voucher courtesy of John Lewis.   You can spend it online, in store at any John Lewis or Waitrose store !  Fantastic prize just in time for Christmas.
 To be in with a chance of winning please follow this blog and leave a comment in the comments at the bottom of the page telling me what you would spend the voucher on if you won.

Arctic explorer

Fur trims, ski wear and Alpine knits were championed on the catwalks as key design details for boys this winter. Parkas, worn over chunky knit jumpers and cardigans are season staples, and look great paired with checked lumberjack shirts and durable cords. Accessorise with fur-trimmed footwear – Ugg boots are still huge – trapper hats and mittens or cosy woollen toggle hats and scarves, but as with all kids’ accessories, don’t spend a fortune as they’re likely to be the first thing to get left behind on a day out…

Protective padding

Padding or ‘quilting’ is central to two of the biggest boys’ trends this season: heritage and urban. With the fashion focus on the English gentry look filtering down from the men’s clothing catwalks, smart country wear is a big hitter in kids’ clothing ranges: Barbour-style riding jackets adding statement style to any outfit. In the city, padding is just as cool, with bold bomber jackets and colour block quilted gilets clashed with stripes and prints for a fun yet functional look.

Urban layering

Many of the big name kids’ clothing designers have used checked shirts as a base for urban layering this season, creating a wide variety of easily achievable looks. Build up an outfit with a classic denim jacket and jeans, hoodie and Shemagh-style scarf for a cool street vibe, pair a chunky cardigan with knee-patch trousers and over-sized specs for a bit of geek chic or keep him warm with a waistcoat, long scarf, trapper hat and chunky boots for a look that works just as well in the country as it does the city.

What key pieces have you invested in to keep the little ones looking cool while wrapped up warm this season?

All images courtesy of

This is a sponsored post - I received clothes for my children and the voucher to offer in a giveaway.  
Competition closes on  Monday 31st October at 8pm.  Winner  selected at random.  Open to UK entrants only.


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