Tuesday, 27 April 2010

A little bit of beautiful sunshine!

I have not one but 2 memes to do so I thought I'd better get them done. I do enjoy a good meme, they are a great way to get to know more things about some of my favourite bloggers. And they make me smile too!

Firstly I have the "Beautiful blogger" award from the lovely Vic over at Glowstars. Her blog is fab, so be sure to check it out. So I have to list 7 things about myself and then pass the award on to 15 other bloggers, so here goes.
  1. I love a nice cup of boiling hot water. I let it cool down a bit obviously but it's really good for releasing toxins apparently.
  2. I love all the Next Top Model shows. Of course my favourite is America's Next Top Model. Mr J is pretty hot and Ms J is just hilarious. And Nigel Barker...yummy!
  3. My favourite TV soap isn't Eastenders or Corrie but Hollyoaks. They really should get more recognition as it is a fab show.
  4. I used to be a cheerleader and I loved it. I don't think I could do it now though. I struggle to walk never mind do the splits mid-air.
  5. I can DJ, but please, don't ask me to do it. I prefer to take part than sit on the side lines.
  6. I'm actually quite a loud person when you get to know me but a lot of people think I'm shy.
  7. I'd love to be a witty person. Sometimes I do come out with some fantastic one liners but I envy those people who can do it naturally.

Cross the Pond passed the lovely sunshine award on to me. It doesn't look like there is anything to do except pass this on so I'll pass it on to everyone mentioned above and also to anyone else who needs a bit of sunshine in their lives!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

If I were running the country...

Ooooo the power! You know I don't envy those 3 men at all. You couldn't pay me enough to be Prime Minister. The decisions Mr Brown must have to make on a daily basis that affect each and every one of us...No thank you. I do not want that responsibility. I also like to be liked!

I haven't tuned in to any of the live debates nor am I clued up of the plans Mr Brown, Mr Cameron or Mr Clegg plan to implement should they make it into the head chair of Prime Minister. I probably really should take an interest because now it isn't just me I have to think about. I have to think about my children and their future.

I suppose I'm like everyone. I'd like to earn more money and pay less tax. I'd like for fuel to be cheaper, council tax to be cheaper, food shopping to be cheaper. I'd like for us to be greener. But for the economy to grow and remain strong we need to give in order to receive. I attended a workshop recently and it was really interesting. It looked at how the Government uses our taxes and how implementing changes can see us come out of a recession or control a boom session. For example in a recession they would look to decrease our taxes so we would be able to spend more and in a boom period they would increase our taxes so we wouldn't be spending as much.

If I were running the country, I'd like to see the following: -

  • A higher earnings allowance for those on lower incomes
  • Higher taxation on those earning a high salary (sorry sure that one wouldn't make me very popular!)
  • Higher road tax on those with luxury cars, gas guzzlers and those cars which have been modified to have exhaust pipes the size of elephant feet (The last one is just purely because I hate those damn cars especially at 2am!!!)
  • Different rates of VAT - for example cigarettes and alcohol would have a higher VAT than say your essentials like bread, eggs and milk.
  • Keep the £! No way to I want to move into Euro, just for the sheer Britishness of the £. Plus Duty Free would be no fun!
  • On the back of Duty Free I'd make everything VAT free at Christmas time! (This one is just pure fantasy and would never work but would definitely be fun!)
  • Reduce the age of nursery starts to 2 as an option to parents needing to go back to work and who can't afford childcare.
  • Restructure the Tax Credits system (This is a fantastic benefit when it works, but when it goes wrong it goes terribly wrong!)
  • I'd love it if our nurses, teachers, health visitors etc could earn half of what those footballers and pop stars earn. I'm not saying that footballers don't do anything for the country but their careers are by no means on the same level as those in our NHS hospitals or our schools.
  • I'd scrap tuition fees but again, this is just a fantasy and totally unrealistic. If they could be capped at a certain amount that would be good and might make it easier for those less fortunate to get into university.
  • Bring those troops fighting back home sooner rather than later!
  • Free heating costs for the elderly during the winter months
  • Quaterly face to face reviews for those who are not working and are on benefits, just to make sure no one is playing the system
Of course some of these policies are being considered by the top men themselves whilst others are just pure fantasy! I haven't yet decided who I will be voting for. To be honest I think they have a very hard task ahead of them whoever makes it into office. The Government have a lot of ground work to do to re-instill the faith of the Great British public.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

An Almost Disaster and I'm guest blogging!

What is your idea of a nightmare situation? One of mine almost became a living one when, last night, my PC decided it was going to play funny bugger. Do you back up? I always get a prompt from Norton saying I need to back up my files and I always click "remind me later" and never get round to doing it. I've been telling Husband for years that I need to put all the pictures on to disk so I have hard copies of them in case anything (touch wood) ever happens to the PC. It almost came back to bite me in the backside when PC throws up a nasty looking box with a big red X symbol in it. Your hard disk is failing or something like that it tells me. Why does your computer never praise you? It only ever tells you when something is wrong! It would be nice for a message once in awhile with a little smiley face icon and a message saying "Computer is happy, have a nice day!" Anyways, I start to panic! I call Husband through and ask him if he's had this message on his user. He says he hasn't so he goes off to phone our PC expert.

They establish that it's a problem with our hard drive. The brand new one that we've just put in with a gazillion GB in it so I can store all my pictures, videos, documents...basically my life on my PC. The PC is telling me to back everything up then take the hard drive to the manufacturer for them to check it. If I don't back up there is a chance I will loose everything on the drive. Insert an appropriate swear word here! Our PC expert tells us to do something or other to check it and then tells us how to put everything on to disks and also tells us to move everything on to another drive. We have 3...what I need 3 for I don't know but whatever, I'm grateful they are there because chances are not all 3 of them are going to be failing! The PC is going to PC expert this weekend to get checked out so hopefully he can see what is wrong with it and fix it and I can continue to click "remind me later" on my back ups.

For a moment there I was worried that I was going to loose all my pictures of the kids. I'd have been devastated. Those pictures document everything they have ever done, first smiles, first teeth, first steps. Christmas and birthday pictures, visits to Bella and visits to the zoo. You think because you now have the luxury of a digital camera and a PC to store the photos on that they won't ever run the risk of being burnt in a house fire because they aren't paper. But you do forget that a PC is just after all a machine and it's programmed to function a certain way and that sometimes, these things can be a bit temperamental! So lesson of the week is BACK UP!!!!! And to be extra cautious back up your back up!

In other news, I'm guest blogging all about my beautiful country, Scotland over at Smitten by Britain. Melissa is a fantastic American blogger who is smitten by all things British. It's a great blog if you're planning to visit anywhere in Britain whether you already live here or if you are travelling from abroad! When she posted that she was looking for guest bloggers I jumped at the chance to write about Scotland and some of the lovely sites and unusual tastes Scotland has to offer. Be sure to check out my post and also her blog too!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Do you keep secrets?

Last night Husband and I sat down to catch up on our recordings with a nice cup of tea. We decided to watch last weekend's episode of 24 and House from a fortnight ago.

House struck a particular note with me and if anyone saw the episode you'll know why. If you didn't then it it's definitely worth watching when it repeats. This episode, Private Lives, told the tale of a fanatical blogger. She blogged about absolutely everything, including her heated arguments with her partner. Her partner wasn't happy about the way she used her blog to deal with their relationship problems. He didn't mind her blogging, he just didn't want to be written about. She becomes seriously ill and continues to blog about her treatment and condition. At one point in the episode, she is sitting in bed writing on her blog whilst her friend is sitting in a chair beside her reading her blog. It becomes almost too much for her partner when she has to make a life changing decision and turns to her readers for advice instead of talking to him about it.

I don't consider myself a fanatical blogger, more a once in awhile type of girl. I do log in every night and I love to read other blogs and I will comment when I relate to something or if I can offer some advice on something. Blogging is a fantastic tool to help you air your concerns, share your news or just to feel part of a community! I love to write and love to share my stories but I do think there is a point where a bit of privacy is needed. Some things you just need to keep to yourself. Similarly I'm very aware of how I blog about my family and friends. I have to respect that they are individuals who perhaps don't want their lives spread across the Internet. Of course blogging can offer you some anonymity in which case perhaps you can blog about everything and anything. My family and friends read my blog so I would never write something that could hurt them unless I had spoken to them about it first.

How do you use your blog?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Yeo Valley Organic review

We were recently sent a voucher to go and get some yogurts from Yeo Valley Organic. The ones we bought were Organic Little Yeo's aimed at children. We love yogurts in our house and as they are consumed in enormous amounts a voucher for some free ones was warmly received.

I could only get the 4 pack from my supermarket but you can also get 6 packs. They come in strawberry, peach, apricot and raspberry flavour and as the name suggests they are organic. I'm not too bothered about organic food to be honest but it's great to see a product like this available to those families who do buy organic. And they were quite reasonably priced, pretty much in line with most of the other non organic brands. Wee Z really enjoyed these yogurts, they were really creamy and didn't taste like some of the other children's' yogurts on the market. Some brands I have found taste quite sugary or sickly but these ones were quite nice. I'd definitely buy them again if they were on special offer.

Yeo Valley Organic has also just launched an online guide for childhood nutrition at http://www.littleyeos.co.uk./ The new website is full of useful information as well as fun and interactive games for children. The website coincides with the launch of the new Yeo Valley Organic No Added Sugar Little Yeos. This exciting new product is great for weaning babies due to it having no added sugar. Designed around a family farmhouse kitchen with views of the surrounding British countryside, parents can explore the kitchen and use the site to learn about childhood nutrition from the do’s and do not's of weaning right through to toddler age. The site gives parents access to child-friendly recipes, which can be found through clicking on furniture and ornaments in the farmhouse kitchen. Wee Z and I had a look at the website and found it really easy to use and fun to navigate. We've also found some yummy sounding recipes to try out.

I received some vouchers to buy some Little Yeo's yogurts. The opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Top Tip Friday

Kitchen utensils.

Now obviously they have to be safe for babies and toddlers to play with. I know common sense is a strong trait of us parents but seriously, watch those Uncles! They can be a bit clumsy, such as my brother in law almost sticking a knife in the hot toaster to get his toast out...!

Whenever I'm in the kitchen cooking or cleaning (as I'm never in there otherwise) I let Miss C play with wooden spoons and tupperwear dishes. She has great fun banging on the containers with the spoons.

Miss C is 10 months old now so she's moving about and is in to everything. Most of my cupboards are child proofed but I do keep the odd one unlocked and full of things she can pull out and play with. Our bottom kitchen drawer has tea towels, ice cube trays and tupperwear dishes. Our TV unit has empty DVD boxes which she can pull out, chew and then attempt to put back in.

Who needs expensive toys eh??

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Welcome to the world Miss C

The lovely Amy at And 1 more means 4 is hosting a birth story carnival! The picture on the right is of her beautiful little Pud! I love a birth story. I think having a baby is one of the most wonderful experiences I will ever have. Here is my story...

May 23rd, I'm in the hairdressers having my hair done and I start to feel quite strange. My tummy is aching every now and then, it's like period pain. It seems to come and go and I assume it's just braxton hicks like I've been having for a few weeks now. By the time I get back from the hairdressers, the pains are getting more frequent. I decide to phone the hospital for some advice. I never went in to labour with Wee Z because I was induced so it's all a bit new to me. They tell me to come in to get checked out so off I go...

It's a false alarm however the DR has decided to bring me in for an induction as I'm starting to break out in a rash and it maybe similar to what I had whilst pregnant with Wee Z. The induction is booked for May 27th at 2pm.

From Sunday to Tuesday I partake in any activity recommended to naturally induce labour in a hope that I can go myself. I want to experience the rush to the hospital, my waters breaking, Husband timing contractions...It doesn't work. Nothing!...Nope not even THAT! On 27th May I drop Wee Z and Daddy off at the park to met Uncle R and his kids whilst I drive myself to hospital to be induced. I'm excited! I know the next time I drive my car my baby girl will be with us. I'm admited to the ward and left to get comfy. It's lovely to see some of the midwives who were there when I had Wee Z, one of them even remembers me. I'm in a room with 2 other ladies who are also being induced. They have their partners there which is hard. I wish Husband was with me but we don't have anyone free to look after Wee Z, so I'm left with a copy of OK! for company. A midwife comes round to give me my gel to get me started. It's 4.36pm. The midwife tells me they will check me again tomorrow morning at 7am. I have to lie down for half an hour and then I can go for a walk. At 5.06pm off I go for a long walk. I end up back in my room at 6.30pm with my dinner (turkey, chips and cauliflower cheese!) and Hollyoaks. After dinner I decided to go for another walk, I call Husband and say goodnight to Wee Z and then have a shower. I make some tea and toast and get ready to go to bed. When I was induced with Wee Z it took 2 days. It's going to be a long night.

It's 9.30pm and I'm watching The Apprentice. My bum is aching. It feels like there is this huge pressure force just pushing down on me. I call the midwife and I'm hooked up on to the heart/contraction monitor. After 2 hours and some paracetmol I'm told I'm definitely contracting...no kidding! The midwife calls the DR to come and check me. The DR is in theatre so I have to wait until 12.30am. I'm knackered. I knew I should have slept earlier. When the DR arrives she tells me I'm about 2cms dilated. Off I go to labour ward to get my waters broken. I phone Husband. He can't quite believe it's happening quite so quickly. Infact, he has only just gone to bed. Best friend is staying over to look after Wee Z.

At 1.30am my waters are broken. I'm coping well myself so my midwife just lets me get on with it. I'm a bit annoyed because I just want to get up and walk about but they insist on keeping me on the monitor. The contractions start to get stronger and stronger so I ask for some gas and air. Woooo! I feel like I'm in a club, music thumping and I'm pretty much bungalowed after 10 minutes. Much better. It's about 3am but to be honest I'm so out of it I'm not aware of anything. The contractions start getting worse. It's at this point I become a bit hysterical...or so I'm told. I want an epidural. The midwife checks me. I'm only 3 cms dilated. In 3 hours I have only moved 1 cm!!!! Husband's face drops. He's in for a long night with no sleep! She tells me to try and hold off for an hour so off I go back to my gas and air. 30 minutes later and I'm crying for something else. How do these women do it all naturally??? They deserve a medal!!! Unlucky for me the Anaesthetist is in theatre so I have to wait at least 30 minutes. They offer me morphine which I'm all for but Husband isn't too keen. "Well, what about the baby, we didn't really want to have that." "I think if your wife wants something for the pain you should just let her have it. The effects are quite minimal if any." It's about 4.30am when I get my morphine. "Give it 20 minutes to work!"

I'm lying back down now. I feel a bit abused because when the nurse was trying to put a drip in for me she made a mess of it which made my wrist swell up and is now bruising. They never put the drip in after all the hassle. Suddenly I feel this overwhelming need to push. Wild horses couldn't stop me! It's not sore, it's just a need. I'm really quiet...apparently I didn't tell the midwife I needed to push. They quickly realise that little baby is about to make an appearance and they are still sitting drinking their cups of tea. I don't give them very long to dress the place as it were. I think it was about 2 pushes and she was out. Instantly I was alert. The woozy, cloudy head feeling had vanished. And there lying on my chest was my beautfiul little girl. Well done me!

Miss C was born on May 28th at 4.57am weighing 6lbs 14oz. She is just perfect in everyway!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Hot Cross Mummy...keep those eggs away!

It's almost Easter time again. Easter...the holiday that never falls on the same weekend every year. Infact, Valentine's Day, Halloween, Bonfire night and Christmas are the only holidays that fall on the same date every year. (Please correct me if I'm wrong...) I like Easter because I get to enjoy the bank holidays...can you guess where I work?

I'm not a religious person so we don't go to Church for Easter. It really is just about having an Easter egg and painting hard boiled eggs and rolling them down a big hill. To be honest though, I'm not really into Easter and would sooner the day passed by unnoticed. Especially when the family insist on buying the kids an Easter egg...

WARNING RANT AHEAD!

Wee Z is 2. He doesn't need 5 or 6 Easter eggs. Mummy and Daddy buy him 1 that we all share and that should be suffice! AND Miss C is only 10 months old. She doesn't have chocolate at all. "Oh but they'll be missing out!" Not if they don't get it forced upon them every year that they need all these chocolate eggs to scoff until they are sick! It would be much more beneficial if those who wanted to buy them something for their Easter to give me the £1 they would spend on an egg and I could put it in their banks. That will be much more useful to them in the long run. Am I being too harsh? Am I taking the fun out of Easter? Like I said before, I'm not a religious person however after going to Church when I was younger and having read the Bible, perhaps some people out there would say the real reason behind Easter is being lost because it, like a lot of our other holidays, is being made far too commercial?

Back to the matter at hand...

The most inconsiderate thing about the family buying all these eggs is that it will be me who has to eat them all. So please, dearest family, whilst we appreciate the thought and effort of going and choosing an egg, dropping it off and encouraging my 2 year old to eat chocolate even though Mummy said NO, please, can we just have the £1? Or better yet, don't get anything. Just a visit and perhaps a walk to the park would be nice. Thank you!

Happy Easter holidays to everyone!
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