Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Goodbye Blogger

There comes a time in every bloggers life where they just move on, they get itchy feet, look for something bigger, they want to spend money they don't have to move from a free hosting site to one that charges money. Why you might ask, why?

Well I don't have the answer to that, but it is something that just happened to me!

So this is not a goodbye, it's just a "I'll see you on Wordpress"

I couldn't be bothered with all that transfering of data so this blog is staying where it is so I can visit every now and again but for all my new stuff (there isn't much to see at the moment) get your arse over to the all new 

Sunday, 9 August 2015


I don't go out to restaurants very often, mostly just special occasions. If I'm honest, when I have the money and want to treat us all I much prefer to just get a takeaway and enjoy it in the comfort of my own home! With Jasmin pestering me to take her to Prezzo (she loves Italian and Mexican food) and a Tastecard burning a hole in my purse I thought it was about time we had a meal out for a change.

After an afternoon of shopping in Bromley we caught the bus down the road to Beckenham.

On entering the restaurant I was surprised at how large and spacious it was. Split onto two levels, it was very light and airy and modern looking.
The restaurant was quite empty with only a handful of other diners in attendance but I suppose being a weekday afternoon it is not likely to be bustling.

The waitress that served us was lovely and we ordered our food and drink within a few minutes of being seated. The food arrived promptly and looked very appetizing.

For starters Jasmin ordered the king prawns in a pomodoro sauce and I ordered the crab cakes with a garlic mayo. Both starters were delicious and I could of actually ordered another lot of crab cakes to go with my main course...I didn't!

For the main course Jasmin had the Penne Arrabbiata Which tasted lovely and was very filling. I was a bit disappointed with the choice of pizzas as I am quite picky with my toppings and usually go for something with chicken. I was not too keen on their options so chose the classic Margherita. The pizza was really big and covered the whole plate but was nothing to write home about taste wise. After a while it got quite hard to eat as it was so dry but I suppose you cant expect too much when you order the basic Margherita and it didn't stop me eating the whole thing!

We would have loved to of sampled the desserts but was just too full after stuffing our faces so maybe a trip back is in order!

Overall it was a pleasant experience and we left feeling full.

Prezzo offers 2 for 1(excluding drinks) for up to 2 people on the tastecard all week except Friday and Saturday. We did not need to book in advance, I just informed the waitress when I arrived. The total bill for two drinks, starters and mains was just over £20

I quite liked doing a restaurant review, I just felt a bit self conscious taking photos of all the food when it arrived and nobody was even looking, imagine how I would feel if it was full up! Anyway I am hoping to use my Tastecard more often so if you have any recommendations then drop me a comment!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Summer book delivery

Flicking through the latest Book People leaflet I noticed loads of great value sets that I wanted to get the kids to keep them (and myself) occupied over summer. The Book People's books can be highly discounted and they are always bringing out new ranges which is why I often cannot stop myself from buying more and more!

Coming home to a new delivery always gets me excited especially when it has all these goodies inside...

My youngest son is just getting into action novels and was eager to start The Maze Runner collection so hopefully that will keep his evenings busy. I doubt very much I will get through 10 novels but for £4.99 for the whole collection I couldn't not order them, I'm sure eventually I will read them all!

My daughter loves YouTube and is a keen crafter so if she gets bored of watching Alfie and Zoella, she can just read about them instead, or make something with some fabulous fun tape.

I am not sure who is more excited about the Querkles and the Dot to Dots, we have all had a turn and I am amazed at the outcome! They actually take a lot longer than I expected to complete but I suppose that means I just get peace and quiet for a bit longer.

It cost me just over £25 for 17 books which I think is a bargain, although I still have loads of other sets that I have my eye on!

What are you reading over the summer?

Saturday, 1 August 2015


Last week myself, a few friends and the kids took a day trip to Hastings. We were very fortunate that we chose a day that had really good weather as both the previous and next days were pouring with rain and probably would have ruined our fun!

I hadn't been to Hasting since I was at school and learning about the battle of Hastings in History class but I had some expectations of there being really sandy beaches, not sure where I got that idea because as far as I could see the whole beach was just covered in stones! We didn't let the stones bother us, it was not sunny enough to be laying around sunbathing and there were so many other things to do anyway.

We started off with a ride on the Go carts (the kids, not me) they felt very grown up with the helmets and petrol race cars although I thought the price at £10 each was pretty steep considering they only had about 5 laps around the short course.

A short walk up from the Go carts is the funfair, it is no Thorpe park but there are a fair few rides. I would say it is mostly aimed at younger children. The fair runs on a token system and they cost £20 for 40 tokens which is pretty reasonable considering each ride is around 3 tokens each. The tokens can also be used on the the lake to take a ride in the swan boats.

After tiring ourselves at out at the fair we enjoyed a meal from one of the many chip shops along the seafront, with the seagulls flying over us looking for their lunch. We then spent quite a bit of time (and 2ps) in the arcades winning lots of tat that we didn't need but it is my favourite thing to do!

We couldn't take a trip to the seaside without having a little paddle in the sea so before going home we enjoyed the views and the weather while the kids got their shoes off and went for a dip.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable day and would definitely go back, although next time we would leave the bucket and spade at home! 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 23 July 2015

How I lost 16lb and gained £60

Over the years I have slowly gained weight, so slowly that I didn't even notice it was happening! I was bumping into people that I hadn't seen for years and they would always say 'You're looking really healthy' or 'you've gained weight, but it suits you' and it has never bothered me because to be honest I do believe that everyone has a weight that suits them. I think I do look a lot healthier than when I was a size 8 but it is more than just how you look.

My regular clothes size is a 12 and I am quite happy as a 12 but I noticed that my 12 was becoming a little too snug and flesh was starting to hang over the top of my jeans, everything felt like it was being released when I got undressed, like I have been holding it hostage all day. So I decided to weigh myself!

At nearly 11st it dawned on me that I weighed more than I did when I was nine and a half months pregnant with my first child (he was two weeks overdue) and thought it was time I got myself into shape.

Well this was a couple of years ago and it is easier said than done isn't it? I found it pretty difficult to give up eating anything so I signed up for a 5k superhero race in the hope that training would help me drop the pounds. It did for the time it lasted but after the race I lost all motivation and stopped running. My aim was to get to 9 and a half stone and I have even put it on my bucketlist as a reminder to keep trying.

In January I decided to join the health-club at work, its been running for a few years but as I only work part-time I have never got involved before. The health-club is run by one of the teaching assistants who also happens to be a qualified zumba instructor and she started it to encourage us to live healthier lifestyles and achieve our weight-loss goals.

How the health-club works

It runs between January and July and is great for all those with new years resolutions to lose weight or be healthier. We had 16 members and held weekly weigh in sessions on a Friday morning. We each set a weight loss goal that we would like to reach (and maintain) by July. There started off with 16 members and every Friday we would pay £1 while being weighed. Our weightloss was tracked to see how much we lost and it would be a big talking point in the staffroom by lunchtime to see who had lost (or gained) the most.
All the money was put in to a kitty and saved to use as prizes for the participants that had lost the most. Over the weeks there were members that were not seeing changes and dropped out but for those of us who had lost a few pounds it was great to compete against each other and the prize money was a great motivation to keep going.
I didn't want to go on any fad diets and lose loads of weight only to put it back on again by the end of the challenge so I decided to make healthier choices, cut down my portion sizes and do some more aerobic exercises that would get my heart pumping. It can be a bit disheartening when you don't see massive changes or even when there are weeks that you stay the same or put a pound back on but perseverance is a great thing and the challenge of competing against others and reaching an end goal really kept me going.

And the winner is....

Not me, but I did come second and got myself £60 worth of Debenhams vouchers as a prize, but even better than that I don't have to squeeze myself into my size 12 jeans anymore! I lost 16lb altogether and was just 1lb away from my target of nine and a half stone, this was a couple of weeks ago and I am pleased to say that I have kept the weight off and according to my scales I am now 9st 7lb!!

There are no massively different 'before and after' pics because I don't think I particularly look much different but I do feel better and that is the main thing, I am now happy with my weight but would love to tone up a bit more so that is my new challenge (I love a challenge I do) over summer.

The healthclub was a great motivator for me and can be set up by anybody (you dont even have to be a zumba instructor) in any workplace or setting that has a large group that would like to join in. It would be great to do between August and December as the prize money could help towards Christmas (sorry to mention the C word) so if you have a target why not go for it!

Now I just have to decide what to spend my vouchers on...

3 Children and It

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Boat riding in Dulwich

Summer time can be a bit of a challenge when you have have kids and need to keep them entertained and away from Minecraft for five minutes! Not wanting to travel to far from my doorstep or spend too much money, I like to see what activities we can do that are close to home.

Dulwich park is one of my favourites, we often go there for a kick-about and the kids find it amusing to use the exercise equipment but we rarely go on the boats, so as it was a nice day we thought we would join the ducks in the water.

I was a bit worried about using the boats so close to the ducks in the lake and thought I may cause a WTA (think road traffic accident but in the water) but they did not seem bothered and it was nice to see them close up.

Considering it is such a tranquil setting, peddling those boats around was far from relaxing and my legs were aching afterwards! It obviously didn't effect the kids as they got straight on the bike to learn some new skills straight after.

So that was day one of the summer holidays sorted, now I just have to keep them busy for another 43 days!


Monday, 13 July 2015

Never too old to learn

A year ago I sat on my mobile phone flicking through Photography Degree courses at University thinking how great it would be to apply but knowing that I would never get onto a course as I don't know the first thing about photography! Yes I love taking pictures and I have a DSLR camera but would that qualify me for a place at University? Not likely!

I had a great career working with children and I still do, but what I really want is a job that doesn't feel like a job, doing something that I would do for free anyway as I enjoy it so much, but with the added bonus of getting paid for it! (unfortunately I couldn't find anybody to pay me for playing candy crush)

My first step was looking for an access course that could qualify me for University so I started looking online at all the local colleges, there were times when I questioned myself, do I want to be a student, going to college and university at the same time as my own children? I am a great believer in the saying 'you are never too old to learn' so decided to bite the bullet.

One thing that worried me most was the cost of returning to college. I found a great course but with the price being in the thousands it seemed out of the question. Luckily while browsing I came across a link for the 24+ learning loan, this is a loan from the student loan company that covers the cost of many courses between level 3 and degree level. It is paid back through your wages when you are earning over a certain amount just like other student loans, and even better, if you go onto higher education (degree level) then the loan is wiped out! Without the help of this loan I doubt I would have even considered going back to college!

I decided against studying just photography at college as I didn't want to be overloaded with five years of studying just that and then get fed up of the sight of my camera. I decided to study Video, Photography and Digital publishing which was only a year long and was aimed at just adults as opposed to the photography course which was two years and 16+.

This year has been a bit of a whirlwind, juggling work, writing essays and keeping house but I have managed to keep my head above water and have learnt so much, including...

  • How to use a DSLR camera in manual mode
  • Exposure - Aperture, ISO, shutter speed
  • Composition - Rule of thirds, leading lines, symmetry
  • White balance
  • Documentary photography
  • Reportage
  • Studio and portraiture
  • Photography and the law 
  • Photography development, dark room skills
  • Photoshop editing and design
  • Video camera settings
  • Script writing
  • Interview techniques
  • Video sound and vision
  • Making a drama
  • Making a documentary
  • Voxpops
  • Essay writing
  • Report writing
  • Research techniques, finding and reading information
  • Writing a blog post (kinda knew that already)
  • Graphic design 
  • Portfolio building
  • Personal statement writing
  • Preparing for university

And probably so much more that I cannot remember! Oh and did I mention that the head of Creative Arts and media gave me an award for being inspirational and a great role model to the other students...get me! Unfortunately I knew nothing about it and didn't turn up to the event where he was giving it out...oops!

Many of my classmates were not impressed with the way the course was run and had other expectations but to be honest I attended (nearly) everyday, took each challenge as it came, completed the work on time and managed to achieve 7 merits and 5 distinctions along the way. Most of all I met some really lovely people who I hope to keep in contact with (the joy of social media) and follow their progress into the world of photography and film making.

For anybody wanting to learn a new skill or take the plunge into a new career I would urge you to look up your local learning centre/college and see what is on offer.

I was offered a place at Southbank University where I will start my next learning journey in September and feel completely prepared and super excited! I also gained a new interest in graphic design while on my course and am currently working on a new this space!

You Baby Me Mummy
Not My Year Off

Sunday, 3 May 2015

My holiday memories

Summer is fast approaching but unfortunately we have no plans to travel to any far off places. We will try to get around the British Isles and visit a beach or two during the summer holidays but in the meantime I will flick through photos of our first family holiday abroad to Spain and savour the memories.

This is one of my favourite images from our holiday because it is very typical of our whole week; me relaxing and topping up the tan while the kids enjoyed themselves in the water!

This is my entry to Covered Mags #myholidaymemories competition. To win a load of holiday goodies visit Covered mag and find your favourite holiday snap!

My Prime 5 baby names

With a new Princess in town there is lots of talk about baby names. It reminds me of that precious time when I had a tiny newborn that I had to give a name to, that they would be stuck with for the rest of their lives. I am always doing that thing of imagining another baby in the family and thinking of what I would call it, although I do not have any intention of extending our family, there is no harm in dreaming!

So here are my list of the top 5 boys and girls names I would consider for my own little Prince or Princess

Boys names
1. Taylor
2. Blake
3. Jenson
4. Harrison
5. Elijah

Girls names
1. Sienna
2. Rosa-Mae
3. Isla-Louise
4. Amelia
5. Ella

I tend to go with pretty names that may be classed as trendy but I believe would still sound nice into adulthood. My own children's names are a mix from different regions and so far they are all quite happy with the choice I made!

What type of baby names did/would you choose for your own little cherubs? Traditional, Vintage, popular or cute?

Come and link up below with your own list of baby names #myprime5

Tantrums and Glitter

You Baby Me Mummy

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Putting my face back on

I do love the holidays for doing nothing much, catching up on things that need doing and just lounging around the house. I am glad that my kids are old enough to keep themselves entertained and have been out to all sorts of places with their friends. I am also glad that I have a job and go to college during term time otherwise I fear I may turn into a bit of a recluse and sit and watch call the midwife everyday!

It has only dawned on me at the end of the Easter holidays that throughout the past two weeks I have not used any cosmetics, not even nail varnish! I haven't worn a single piece of jewellery, not even earrings and I normally wear them everyday! I haven't even taken any notice of what clothes I have put on each morning, just grabbing the first comfortable thing I see out of the wardrobe.

I have left the house, but nowhere of any purpose that I have felt the need to look presentable and it has been nice to not have to worry about my appearance. Looking in the mirror however, I do feel plain and dull and like I need to brighten myself up a bit.

Summer term is my favourite time, everything is fresh and bright, everybody seems happier and I don't even mind doing playground duty as I get to top up my tan while outside... nothing like multitasking! I only have ten weeks left of college and we can all count down to the summer holidays...yay!

So tomorrow, although it's the end of the holidays I will smile, put my face back on, and be ready for what is ahead!

Goodnight Charlie

Last week we went through the awful experience of losing one of our beloved pets.

Charlie Whiskers was the kitten of our cat Coco. Coco has had a few litters in the past and most of the kittens have gone to our family members or friends, but we never kept any ourselves...except Charlie! I don't think we ever had any intention of keeping him we just never re-homed him, we got used to having him around and he became part of the family.

Charlie Whiskers had two names because we couldn't decide on just the one, he was just under a year old and was such a sweet natured kitten. He was so chilled out and would happily climb all over you to get attention and a snuggle. His sister Kitty lives next door with the neighbours and she always climbs the fence to come and visit. Coco would hiss at the two of them if they disturbed her but they would happily chase each other and roll around on the grass.

It was 8 o'clock in the morning when a lady that lives a few doors down came and knocked. She said she knew we had cats and that there was a black and white cat down the lane next to our house that was dead. There are a lot of black and white cats in our area, most of them are boys that sit on our back wall calling Coco, I know it sounds bad but I hoped it was one of them and not Charlie. We called Charlie and whistled but he didn't come running like he usually would when he knows he is being fed, that's when I knew it was him.

Funnily enough I never usually lock the cat-flap but Coco had just had her neutering operation and we were told not to let her outside for 10 days. I locked the cat-flap that night and pushed the bin up against it because I knew they can pull it out of the wall if they wanted to. Neither of them usually go out at night anyway as they are always waking us up climbing over us and deciding whose bed is the most comfy to sleep on.

I noticed the bin had been pushed aside and the flap must have been pulled up where Charlie had sneaked out.
The scene was horrendous, there wasn't blood and guts everywhere but poor Charlies head was gone, where it had gone I have no idea! I identified him from his tail which was black with a white tip. I couldn't touch him and although the kids knew he was there they hadn't come outside to see him so I decided to cover him up so they didn't have to witness the horrible scene.

A few years ago our cat Toffee (Coco's sister) had died and we buried her in the garden but the foxes continually dug where she was buried. We decided that as Charlie was out on the street we would call the council and get them to collect his body.

We don't know exactly what happened to Charlie, we hope it was a terrible accident or even that another animal such as a fox had attacked him because we know that in nature that sadly these things happen, but hopefully it wasn't something more sinister and Charlie was not taken purposely by another person.

We do know that we loved having him for the short time he was with us and that we will miss having him in our home!

RIP Charlie Whiskers


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Spring cleaning with OUST

The Easter holidays are the perfect time for a good old clear out, there is nothing like a bit of Spring cleaning to make the house ready for the summer time. Not only have we been having a bit of a makeover in our hallway but wiping away the cobwebs in the rest of the house as well!

A lot of the time we clean areas where we can see dirt but what about all those hidden places where limescale builds up and causes damage without us even knowing? As a calcium compound, limescale creeps onto every surface that comes into regular contact with water and makes it a particular nuisance in the kitchen and bathroom. 

The OUST range of descaling products make it easy to get rid of limescale and are designed to restore good as new shine and performance to your household items

Unfortunately earlier in the year my dishwasher broke down, cleaning dishes in the sink is not so bad but it just made me appreciate my washing machine even more! I know all too well what it is like to have to wash the clothes of a family of six in the bath and it is not something I would like to do again!

Two of the most used appliances in my house are the washing machine and the kettle, for obvious reasons...Coffee!

I loved both the OUST kettle and washing machine descalers as they were just so simple to use. The washing machine powder was just poured into the barrel and put on a 60 degree wash and the kettle just had a drop in bag that was left for ten minutes, making it shiny and new looking again... no more flakes of limescale in the coffee!

Now to tackle the rest of the house!

I haven't had any babies in my house for years but one of my top tips for cleaning is baby wipes! I use them to clean everywhere. What are your top tips for Spring cleaning? #oustyourhouse

I was sent an OUST descaling set from the lovely people at OUST and Myriad PR for the purpose of this review but had to do all the cleaning myself!

Monday, 23 March 2015

My Prime 5 - Things to look forward to in Spring

Spring is my Favourite season of all and here are the top 5 things I am looking forward to over the coming months...

Light - Waking up with the sunlight coming through the window makes me happy, I don't feel like I'm getting out of bed in the middle of the night and it seems like I've slept for longer, even though I always sleep for the same amount of hours! After school its like there is still the day ahead to do stuff, like go to the park for a run (yes eventually I will get round to it) and visit people rather than running home to shelter from the darkness.

Warmth - Yes I admit I'm one of those people that complain in the winter that its too cold and then I complain in the summer that its too hot, what can I say I'm like the three bears, I like things to be just right! I think it may be to do with clothes as well, I feel a bit exposed and uncomfortable in summer when I have to strip off to cool down so prefer it when it's not too hot!

Colour - Bare trees do nothing for me, they're just too twiggy and boring! I cant even go into the garden in the winter because it depresses me, so I'm looking forward to some colour appearing on my bushes and having a good clear out the back (not a euphemism)

Chocolate - Yes its Easter and the only thing stopping me from getting all the kids eggs is that I know I will eat them all before Easter actually arrives! Is it just me or does chocolate taste better in egg form.. it just seems to fit perfectly over the tongue!

Birthday - I know when you get to a certain age birthdays are not so exciting but I love being in my 30s, I feel all grown up... even if I do act like a 10 year old at times! I always go out with friends as it is also one of their birthdays around the same time, this year we are planning on going to a karaoke bar which means this year I will be getting very drunk (it usually takes me about 2 hours to get through one bottle of cider)

So what are you most looking forward to in spring?
Write a post and add to the linky below...

Tantrums and Glitter

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Thorpe Park

Last week we were lucky enough to be given Four free tickets to Thorpe park from Mumsnet, these were to take part in the #myfirstcoaster event to celebrate reaching 1.4m and being tall enough to ride on the 'big boy' rollercoasters.

If you read my last post on Thorpe park you would know that I wasn't planning to return to any sort of theme park (unless it's Disneyland) as I am not a big fan of the sick feeling you get after queuing for an hour to spend less than a minute in all sorts of angles, hundreds of feet up in the air! But I couldn't let Kieron miss out on the experience of trying the grown up rides for the first time.

The first stop was the Angry Birds 4D cinema experience, I wasn't expecting much from this as I am not really an Angry Birds fan but we all really enjoyed the surprises and I found that I was actually moving around to avoid things coming out of the screen.

It was a pretty cold and miserable day so we avoided the water rides, which was a shame as these are usually my favourite (no hanging upside down) The kids went on the boat slides but there is not much splash back from these, unlike the others! We did go to a few of the rides that only had five minute queues as I thought they would be tame however the massive swing that is Rush actually gave me nightmares! It didn't seem to faze the children though! 

Luckily the picture isn't clear enough to see me screaming!

We chose to eat in the Pizza and Pasta buffet restaurant as it is the only meal that all my kids will actually eat and we wanted to get in out of the cold for a while. I thought they were reasonably priced but didn't like that they give out little plates so you had to keep going back up to get food. There wasn't many choices either but it seemed to fill us all up so there were no complaints.

The park wasn't too packed as it is only the start of the season which meant there were not too many long queues but there were a lot of groups of teenagers and I didn't notice many things for families with younger children which is a shame, I think if there were then it would attract more family groups. There is an outdoor beach which I have never been in but this was closed, I think there should be more areas where people can sit and relax dotted around as not everybody wants to spend the whole day on rides and may choose to bring their own snacks rather than sitting in the many food places on offer.

The kids favourite rides were Swarm and Nemesis Inferno but the highlight of Kieron's day was having his picture taken with The Sideman... a group of youtube vloggers that he follows

The highlight of my day was this Vanilla latte I picked up on the way out to warm me up and prepare me for the long journey home.

This post is linked up to #countrykids over at Coombe Mill
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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