Thursday, 24 February 2011

Today we had good news, so why am I sad ?

Today we had some good news! Actually, not good news, GREAT news.  My husband found out he was not on the list to be made redundant!  In fact, he was offered regular overtime !

After the initial wave of relief I was actually just a teeny, tiny bit disappointed. 

You see, while we were waiting to hear about the redundancies, we were coming up with all sorts of plans for what we would do if he got the chop.  We have learned over the years how to survive on very little, without resorting to income support.  We knew we would manage again.  At 50 it is unlikely that he would have been able to get another "paid" job.  We know from experience in the past how hard that one is.

We thought we might have a go at buying, restoring and selling shabby chic style furniture and accessories.  I was quite looking forward to spending my days with my husband.  We work well as a team, I waited a long time for the right man to come along and who would know it, that my first love whose heart I broke at 17 would walk back into my life 25 years later. 

We have been through a lot of pain together, stuff that would break many marriages apart but we are still here, he supported me when I came home crying every day over a job I hated, actively encouraged me to set up my own little business and has never once told me I should get "a proper" job.  He always has positive things to say when I make mistakes or am doubting myself, and all the time working himself  12 hour shifts in a job that is way below his capabilities, but which brings us a regular income.

Looks like I will have to hold onto my little dream a while longer.

This is for you my love


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Stella McCartney - LOVE ! but £49 for a set of underpants!

I really like some of the new Spring/Summer collection from Stella McCartney, these boys underpants included,  but seriously ! £49 for a set of underpants!    Please do let me know if you actually buy them.


The website itself is great, Its a nice touch the way the images of the children change when you move the mouse across them.  The Lookbook for the Spring/Summer collection has some delicious looking pieces, but I suspect they will be way beyond the purse of many struggling families these days. Still nice to look at.

Some of my favourite pieces from the First Collection :

Boys Otto waterproof parker £72


below - Ted long sleeved printed babies sweater reasonably priced at £35

Girls Ziggy denim pant skirt with star yolks £44 !




Saturday, 19 February 2011

Buggy Snuggle Giveaway

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to enter this giveaway. Its been a fab response.

The Winner chosen at random is :     MEETJOSMITH

THANK YOU ALL - TWITTER IS BROKEN SO HOPE YOU SEE THIS MESSAGE


I was recently sent a lovely buggy snuggle.  Having no use for a buggy these days, thank goodness ! ( memories of struggling in and out of shops and on and off buses with a double buggy) I'm offering it in a giveaway.




The award winning Buggysnuggle (practical parenting - Best Buy, Practical Pre- School Gold Award) was designed in 1997 and has seen many improvements over the years.  This year see's the introduction of an innovative revamp of the original design.  Take a look at here for all the science !

I have been sent the toggles polar Fleece in Charcoal Grey - I must admit I wasn't taken with the plain grey but I love the idea of all the colourful textured toggles for baby to hold (and suck !).  Its a thick, quality fleece with a pocket on the front for teddy or teether or any other little bits and bobs your toddler might be attached to. 



I also like the fact that the zip opens at the bottom so as your baby grows you can keep their shoes on and they can stick out the bottom without marking the snuggle.  (Anything that cuts down on washing has to be good). 

The top half can be removed and the bottom half used as a liner in warmer weather, which is also a good idea as when I initially saw the price I thought it was a bit expensive just for winter use.

Its also designed in such a way that it is compatable with all pushchairs and strollers and is recommended for use for upto 3 plus or until your little one outgrows their buggy.  So will see you through several winters.

To ENTER:

Just leave a comment below telling me which is your favourite buggysnuggle  click here to see the range  mine is the Green Sheep Sherpa (try saying that quickly) .

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

Follow this blog in Google or RSS Feed

Tweet about this giveaway with the following   -   " I have entered the Buggysnuggle comp @allaboutheboys blog"

Post on your facebook page " I have entered the Buggysnuggle comp @allabouttheboys "

Don't forget to post any additional entries as comments here.

Competition open to the UK only I'm afraid.

Competition winner will  be selected at random on Monday 28th February at 8.00pm

THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK XX

Friday, 18 February 2011

High Street Hop

Always on the lookout for value for money and quality when buying clothes for myself and my family, you won't often see me buying items at the actual retail price.  I either wait until the sales, shop on Ebay, TK Maxx or Outlets.  Every now and again I come across an item of clothing whilst browsing the high street which is both  quality and a great price. 

These days more and more families are becoming aware that money spent on clothing has to be a considered purchase and not an impluse buy.  Here are a couple of items I found this week which persuaded me to part with my cash.


H & M - Boys Jeans £5.99 classic style with adjustable elasticated waist inside. Slim style.  These lovely jeans feel and look like quality, they fit really nice and both twins look lovely in them.  I couldn't believe the price when I picked them up.  I can't recommend them highly enough.



This lovely cardigan (well have to buy myself something sometimes)  is right up my street, I have always loved the nautical trend.  It returns year after year is a classic.  You only have to think Coco Chanel to see how far back this trend goes.  Its another reason I love stripes, you can invest in classic navy and white or red and white stripes and know that this time next year it won't be out dated or fussy. 




Cream with red stripes, a lovely weight and not at all cheap looking or feeling, (the stripes on the sleeves even match up to the stripes running acroos the body of the cardigan - small detail but adds to the quality look of an item)  infact its better quality than several "designer" items I have in my wardrobe that I paid much more for.  It cost £7 from Primark ! 

 I first discovered Primark over 30 years ago whilst serving in Northern Ireland and remember back then how amazed I was at the prices of the clothes.  These days Primark are going to great lengths to assure us that their items are all made under strict Ethical guidelines   which makes me more confident, when spending just £1 on a vest !

Want to share your great quality and value buys ?  Leave a comment and if we get enough interest we can set up a regular blog or link hop .

xx


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Layette

Always on a quest to find beautiful, stylish and affordable clothes I came across the lovely Layette site on Etsy.  Taking inspiration from nature, soft colors, all things vintage and using beautiful fabrics .  I love it ! even better  Layette makes some lovely bits for pregnant or not so pregnant mums.



Angel dress in White Linen with a vintage collar



The Frenchie  -  made from a tea dyed cotton linen blend fabric, vintage crocheted pocket and brown plush collar .


Blue Oxford Jacket Cotton and Linen Blend with pin stripes

Monday, 14 February 2011

Olly Murs and being good for Grandma

Two things happened this weekend which brought sharply into focus my age and perhaps the time has come to buy beige crimplene trousers!

I went to see Olly Murs on Friday night with the gorgeous Harriet from Twitter @seasparkle_x  .  As we stood outside the cattle market - Junction 24 in Somerset, in the rain, musing as to why he would be doing a gig in such a place, it dawned on us that 99.9 % of the queue were 14 yr old girls.  Undaunted we shuffled along to a chorus of 

"oh my hair will get ruined in this rain"  -  You should be more concerned about catching pneumonia !  Does you mum know you are wearing that !

"oh look, there's  Laura, Sarah, Jessica and just about every other girl from the local high school "come and join us "  -  yes, as long as you are BEHIND me !

"is that his car over there ? -  Where ? "SCREAMS" "SCREAMS" "it is!  nah ! He'd be in a stretch limo wouldn't he ? "  -  Not likely ! and he has   broken down on the M5

"What does VIP on that door mean ?" - "dunno, isn't it something to do with the security ? " "oh yea" - Oh dear !

 "Wish I was up there with those girls, don't they look glamorous "   - I wish YOU were up there with those girls (clearly the hairdressers from one of the units below who had blagged entry into the VIP Lounge).

Once inside - yes, it is an actual cattle market, but it didn't smell like cattle, which was something, we stood around for what seemed like an age and then we were introduced to the support act. 

I am reliably informed the lad, who wondered onto the stage waving like a bemused cleaner entering through the wrong door only to find himself faced with several hundred screaming teenagers and two confused mummy bloggers , is a reality tv star.  Anyway just for you Helen :



After a couple of very poor renditions, during which Harriet and I tweeted our boredom. He was followed by a Peter Andre Wannabe, another member of said Essex reality tv show called japha "remember my name".  We will sweetie, you are a cake!  and then some girl who was famous on You Tube ! 

 By this time it was 9 o'clock and I had almost lost the will to live, my back and knees felt like they were just about to give way. I'm not used to standing up for so long these days !  Finally Olly Murs appeared on stage, gorgeous, cheeky chappy, he was a dream (if a bit of a sweaty one) it was hot in the cattle market .  He performed about 5 songs and that was it !  Astonished, we shuffled back out of the cattle market.  I for one was just relieved to get back to my car and sit down ! 



The second " you know you are old when...."

The twins were invited to a party on Saturday at the local social club.  It looked like the whole of year one was in the room.  I gave them the usual "be good, play nice, don't hit anybody, say please and thank you " speech and made a hasty exit . WOOP! 2 whole hours of freedom. 

When did parties get so short ?  I can remember as a child in the 70's we used to have a houseful of kids for at least 3 or 4 hours.  On my return after what seemed like 5 minutes, a hula hoop competition was taking place, of course the girls were the only ones in the final.  The rest of the children who had clearly been sitting around the edge of the room for some time were getting fidgety, particularly my boys.  One of them ran across the room to me at my spot by the door, at which point a lady who was either the manager of the social club or a grandma of the birthday boy frightened the living daylights out of  both Milo and myself by screeching " Hey ! you boy ! get back over there and sit down, party is not finished yet !" 

 and in a final flourish, " You be a good boy, your Grandma will still be here at the end" !

Ah! Big sigh, that's the second time I have been called the twins Grandma .......


Thursday, 10 February 2011

Pre School Punk on Bouf

I receive many, many emails per day and it is often hard to tell at first glance whether they are worth opening or not.  I must admit the name of this site attracted my attention immediately.  BOUF ( like the sound you  make when your six year old twins jump ontop of you !) it describes itself as a hand selected range of unique fashion, homewares etc .

I wasn't disappointed.

Look at this great range by Pre School Punk for little boys.


Available from 3 months to 9 years. 


I love this one ! It would Soooooo Not happen in this house !


Fab Knotted hats for baby boys - Says it all .

Monday, 7 February 2011

Dairylea, a celebrity chef and a fishcake man !

To say we were excited about a trip on a train to London was an understatement.  Hubby and I were not so thrilled at the prospect of getting out of our warm bed at 5 am though.  Its been a fair few years since I was last in London and the first time the twins have ever been on a train.  Courtesy of Dairylea, we were off to a cookery event with James Tanner Celebrity Chef !

Safely seated at 6.40 am and still dark outside we wizzed our way London bound. (yes Milo IS reading the safely instructions on what to do in an emergency) .


Arriving in London about an hour early and after another first for the twins, a trip on the London underground


we had some time to spare before the event began, so what better way to spend your time on Oxford street than with a trip to the biggest EVER Nike store I have seen in my life.  Hubby was really disappointed to find they didn't stock a Golf range. I was blown away by the massive chandelier made from skipping ropes, tennis balls and trainers! 

The twins are standing in front of a huge sign made out of trainers.


If I sound a little bewildered, I also felt a little silly taking these pictures with the security guards and obvious London residents looking on in amusement.  Us Devon folk ! Bless.

We met fellow twin mum Michelle from  Mummy from the Heart   outside the venue.  Once inside, it was a tight but cosy.  Its always lovely to meet other mums who you might know or chat to on twitter, there was Carol from New Mummy's tips    , Jobeaufoix , Mumrablog  and the iconic ! no really ! that is not over the top,  Sally Whittle  and her gorgeous daughter Flea.



Lynne from Dairylea shows us what really goes into making their products. Surprisingly little actually.  All the bad press they have received over the years has prompted them become more proactive on advising people that actually most of Dairylea products are free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.  These include Dairylea spreads, slices or dunkers.  We were advised that Dairylea spread is 40% less salty than it was in 2001 and is currently less salty than Cheddar.



It was then the turn of Azmina the Dairylea Nutritionist to play a little game, Michelle's smashing son was a star at this game.  Interesting facts and top tips on how to help your children eat well.



James Tanner ( Ready, steady cook and Lorraine Kelly breakfast TV ) did a wonderful job of preparing five dishes whilst children, talked, played and cried around him.  Really lovely, simple dishes to encourage healthy eating in children.  Unfortunately we were unable to have the recipes for the dishes so I won't be posting any actual ones I have been able to make for you to try with your children.  I think I can just about remember what was in the fishcake recipe that we made on the day.  It was a great demo but probably a bit too adventurous with so many young children. 



We choose to make the fishcake recipe and decided to make our cakes into a man !

Afterwards it was off to the Rainforest cafe for Lunch ! Oh! the noise and the crowds ! London on a Saturday, I had forgotten what it was like.    Time to chat with the other mums and then off home after a very long but lovely day.

Many thanks to Carolanne, Lynne, Azmina & all the Dairylea team for this fab day out and special thanks to James for his Patience and smiley personality under fire !









Friday, 4 February 2011

Busy Peas - Bubble London

A whole new take on " like peas in a pod " if you have twins and even if you don't,  you are sure to love this gorgeous fruit and veg inspired clothing range from the new Busy Peas.

Available from 0 - 18 Months and very reasonably priced, the range also includes matching soft toys & books, bibs, shoes, blankets and hats.



100% Cotton all -in-on  Tomato


Tomato toy



Vibrant bib

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Kristina Calco

Whilst Looking for Rachel Ashwell fabric yesterday I came across a store selling the most beautiful shabby fabrics.  When I clicked on the site I could never have been prepared for what I was about to read. 


A terrible, shockingly sad story about a child's death and a mother's loss.  If you have children (and even if you don't) I ask you to take a few minutes to read this deeply moving account of Kristina, her life and why she ultimately died.   I was shocked to the core that such a beautiful, bright girl could take her own life at just 15 years old.  I have 3 sons, my eldest is 15 and has recently had "issues" of his own.  He is deeply sensitive and cries easily, something I find very distressing to see.  I always talk to him, cuddle him and reassure. But how do you ultimately protect your children from others and their own demons ........

Please take 5 minutes to read Kristina's story and pass it on to anyone you think might have children with similar issues.  If it strikes a chord with just one person a life may be saved.

http://www.theshabbycastle.com/kristinacalco




Kristina's Mother Michelle gave me full permission to post .

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