Thursday, 31 March 2011

My Week of Walking to Work

Last Friday our car decided to break. Cars eh?! When they are running they're great, otherwise they are a total pain in the bum. We rely quite a lot on our car to get us to work, to do our shopping and to go on days out to soft play when the weather isn't so good. It still isn't fixed but we think we know what's wrong with it so hopefully it should be up and running again by the end of the weekend.

Before I became pregnant with Wee Z I used to walk to work every day. Five days a week, 2 miles there and sometimes I'd walk the 2 miles back unless Husband was picking me up. I used to love the walk unless it was pouring with rain in which case I turned up at work resembling a drowned rat. As soon as I started getting ill whilst pregnant, I stopped walking and my Mum and Step-dad gave me some money to buy myself a car. Ever since then I've driven to work.

This week I started walking again purely because my car isn't working. Monday was the hardest day even though the sun was shining because I'd forgotten how many hills there were and realised I'm probably not as fit as I thought I was. After a few days doing the walk though, I feel much better for it and have enjoyed the time to myself to have some thinking time or to enjoy listening to my music through Husband's phone.

The route to my work is really lovely. Very scenic. I can walk through the park and pass the river or I can stick to the main roads which are often quiet and there are gorgeous big houses lining the sides. I walked through the park today and took these pictures of the deer.

I think I may walk to work more often!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Gallery - Hair

Hair today...

Gone tomorrow...

When Wee Z had his first proper haircut, I couldn't believe the difference it made. He went from being a baby faced toddler with gorgeous blonde curls to a proper looking little boy. Isn't it strange how hair can do that?

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Hair.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Learning through play

If you are a member of the Tots 100, then make sure you join in the blog-hop to be in with a chance to win some fantastic prizes from MEGA Bloks including a family day out to Drayton Manor. The theme of the blog-hop is Learning Through Play.

Playtime for me is about using your imagination. We've been on walks and spotted magical dragons and scary wolves in the forest. We've used cushions and blankets to build forts where Wee Z can be king of the castle. When all else fails, a trusty cardboard box always comes in handy.

Other ways we play are by dressing up...

Practising our writing skills with chalk...

Practising our numbers with the foam numbers from our hop-scotch mats...

Building towers with some blocks...

Getting creative...

We love play time in our house!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Gallery - Education

Do you recognise those faces? No? Look closely, I'm sure you will if you follow this lovely lady. Yes it's me and Amy, back in the good old school days. I met Amy in year 7 and we were good friends throughout our high school years. I have some funny memories of Amy and of course of school itself. I was never really interested in the educational side of it, more the socialising.

Amy and I had a few classes together. I think we did French or German at some stage and we learned how to put condoms on big, thick white poles (those were rather deceiving!) in Sex Ed. We used to gather around "H block" at break times and enjoy discussing More magazine and position of the fortnight.

I lost touch with Amy and most of my other school friends when I left high school and moved back to Scotland. It's really great that through social networking and blogging I've been able to get back in touch with her and meet her beautiful family!

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Education.

Monday, 21 March 2011

We're getting a new addition!

A few weekends ago, we decided to take a drive to one of the SSPCA animal rescue centres. We have 2 cats already, although we did have 3 up until 2 months before Miss C arrived when we had to have our eldest cat put to sleep. He had become very ill rather suddenly and it was for the best to have him put to sleep, although it was still very upsetting.

Kittens at 3 weeks old
We knew we wanted a kitten. For us, a kitten would be easier to bring into our home with our 2 cats, who are older cats and for the children to get used to it and for the kitten to get used to them. We thought about getting a dog, but Wee Z is terrified of them. I don't know why; he's never been bitten or hurt by a dog. I'm dreading him being upset when we go to visit Bella and Pops soon, with their big dog Cooper.

We like the white one with the stripy tail
We walked into the cattery and at the very end were some gorgeous kittens. They were only a week old, so they still looked a bit transparent but we could already see their markings and their mum had a lovely nature. We left our details, filled in the relevant forms and were told we'd only be considered if we made an effort to show our interest.

Every weekend we've been driving to visit them and on Saturday they told us we could have first pick of a kitten when they were ready. I'm very excited! Miss C and Wee Z are excited too. Miss C shouts "kitten" when we go in to visit them and Wee Z was happy to give one a cuddle on Sunday when we visited. We think we'd like one of the pure white ones, but they are so gorgeous I'd be happy to have any of them. Hopefully our new addition with be able to come home with us at the beginning of April! Sorry about the quality of the pictures, they were taken on Husband's phone!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Children and Charity - My post for RND

I always have the radio on when we are eating. Whether it be breakfast, when we listen to Chris Moyles or lunch, when we listen to Fearne Cotton and Greg James or dinner, when we listen to Scott Mills (or Sara Cox if she's covering for him.) I love music and I want to share that with my kids.

With Comic Relief coming on TV tomorrow, we've heard all about the Desert Trek Scott Mills took part in and we've been listening and watching Chris and Comedy Dave attempting to break records in the longest Radio 1 show. Wee Z has been asking lots of questions about Red Nose Day and it got me wondering, at what age do you start teaching your children about charity and helping others who are less fortunate?

My children are very fortunate. They have loads of toys, books and games. They are clothed, kept warm and their bellies are always filled. They have trips, outings and holidays. I don't want them to ever take that for granted because there are people out there, who don't have these things. Even the simple things like running water, which we don't even think about when we turn on a tap.

I've always been honest with Wee Z whenever he asks me any question. I don't get all dark on him, but I do try to explain it without making it seem like I'm trying to hide something or fob him off. He asked me, "What's red nose day Mummy?" So I told him all about Comic Relief and how there are children and families who are less fortunate than us, who don't have toys to play with or who, sometimes, don't have water or food or medicine to make them feel better. He made me so proud, even though he's only 3, when he turned to me and said, "Mummy, we can give them some of our pennies to help them!"

So we did and it made me smile.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A pleasant surprise

This is why I always believe you should be nice to your neighbours, no matter what. You will be rewarded...with cupcakes!


The Gallery - Trees

My Gran had the most lovely tree in her front garden. She called it her Witches' Tree. I don't know what kind of tree it was (perhaps it was a Witches' Tree) but I do remember it was grey with lovely green leaves and it was rather big. I wish I had a photo of it.

We're very lucky to be surrounded by greenery where we live and also to live within walking distance of 3 park areas. These are some of the tree photos I have taken.

Autumn trees

Spooky trees

Naked trees

By the pond trees
This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is trees.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Our Sunday Tweet Up

There is something a bit surreal about meeting people for the first time to whom you've actually spent time talking to online. That was how it felt for me on Sunday when a few tweeters and the guys from Parental Circle met up for lunch and a chat.

If I hadn't have met @julesey10 a few weeks before when we were both in town, doing some shopping and bumped into each other, I don't think I would have turned up. I'm not overly confident about walking into a room full of people I don't know.

Julesey and I got the train together and managed to find the sushi restaurant we were having lunch in fairly easily. There was some confusion over a sign that I thought was a Japanese letter when in fact it was the Pret's coffee shop sign, clearly I need glasses. We were standing outside the restaurant as we had arrived early and were deciding whether to go in or not when 3 guys appeared at our sides. They were the guys from Parental Circle.

We all got seated and waited for @Ellen27, @Melaina25, @SusanKMann and @LauraMcintyre to arrive. As they walked in, instantly we were recognising them because of their Twitter avatars. It was nice to put a person to a face and twitter name. When we were all there, we ordered some delicious food and enjoyed chatting with each other.

The guys from Parental Circle had some great ideas and listened to our feedback and were really nice guys. The ladies were all lovely too and it was really fun to finally meet some of the people I've spent time chatting to. I'm looking forward to our next meet up!

Here we all are me (@lauracymft), @julesey10, @ellen27, @susankmann, @lauramcintyre, @melaina25 and @parentalcircle

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Gallery - One Word

One word...Delicious!

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is One Word. Go and check out all the other entries!

Giving up smoking, one ciggy at a time!

I used to be a smoker. I've not had a cigarette since before I fell pregnant with Miss C, infact I stopped smoking 6 years ago. I'm so glad I did and even though there are days where I think, I wonder what it would be like to just have 1, the thought soon passes.

I decided to stop smoking because I knew that we wanted to have a family. There is no way I could be pregnant and continue to smoke, which is why I chose to stop before even trying to become pregnant.

I was never a heavy smoker, I'd say I'd have 6 a day at the most. Of course, when we were out at the weekend and we were drinking then I'd have more. I used to smoke superking cigarettes, which are the longer ones. Sometimes I'd smoke menthol ones in a hope that I wouldn't smell too badly of smoke.

I stopped using will-power alone. I cut down gradually, one cigarette at a time. It was easy to do during the week when I was at work. Instead of going for a cigarette at my first break, I'd stay inside and have some fruit in the canteen. After a few days, I stopped going out for a cigarette at my last break and eventually stopped having one as soon as I finished work. Weekends were a bit harder because there was no structure to my day, but I occupied myself with cleaning and planning our wedding.

The hardest ones to stop were any that I used to have after eating. It had become a habit of mine (and I'm sure most smokers would agree) to have my dinner and then dessert would be a cigarette. Those were always the best ones. And the first one in the morning with a cup of coffee! It didn't help that Husband was (and still is) a smoker but eventually he agreed to go outside for his cigarettes and that really helped too.

After a few weeks I stopped smoking altogether. I didn't feel stressed or grumpy but I did notice that I was putting weight on because I was tasting food properly again and eating to replace the cigarettes. I had a wedding dress to fit into so I began to exercise more and really watched what I was eating.

The first time I slipped up was at a work's night out. I was pissed as a fart and it seemed so unnatural to not have a cigarette in my hand. I pinched a few cigarettes from a friend and puffed away like a chain smoker. The next morning, my throat felt raw...but I didn't crave a cigarette.

My Gran was a smoker and she ended up with emphysema, a chronic lung disease. I could hear her struggling for breath when she was walking to the shops or even climbing her stairs. The health risks involved with smoking were enough to make me want to stop too. Of course, people could smoke for years and not have anything wrong with them whilst people who have never smoked a day in their lives could end up with lung cancer. I wasn't (and am not) prepared to take the risk and I'm glad I've stopped. My children and my health are far too important.

Monday, 7 March 2011

My Scotch Pancake Recipe for Pancake Day

It's Pancake Day tomorrow! It's a little later this year and I have been so looking forward to Pancake Day because I love pancakes.

I remember my Mum used to make pancakes quite regularly when we were growing up and they were always delicious. I also remember going to a pancake house when we were visiting America and their pancakes were to die for. Yum!!!

My favourite pancake is sweet and fluffy so I use a Scotch pancake recipe. Scotch pancakes are the small, thick pancakes you can buy in packs in the shop and are much sweeter than your normal pancakes.

This is the recipe I use, which makes about 12-15 small pancakes or 3-4 big pancakes.

100g Self Raising Flour
60g Caster Sugar
1 egg
150ml full fat milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Measure out all your dry ingredients and put in a mixing bowl. Add in all your wet ingredients and mix it well. You then cook in a frying pan with a little oil or butter. Delicious served with anything you like. Fruit, yogurt, honey, syrup or margarine. We usually have chocolate spread and bananas.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

World Book Day 2011 - Our Favourite Books

It's World Book Day today and that explains why when dropping Wee Z at nursery today I saw a bumblebee, a princess and I'm pretty sure I saw a Gruffalo too, but that could have just been one of the parents.

Reading is one of our favourite things to do and we have plenty of books to read. If it's a rainy day and we can't get out for our walks, Wee Z and I will cuddle up on the couch, him inside his "nook" and we'll read a book. Miss C is also really taking to books and enjoys looking at the pictures.

These are some of our favourite books to read: -

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. I'm sure everyone knows who The Gruffalo is by now and he is a firm favourite in our house. Miss C will shout for him "guff-a-wo" and gets very excited about reading this book. We really enjoyed the short film of the book on the TV at Christmas time too.

Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child. We've accumulated a fair few Charlie and Lola books as Wee Z loves them. I like the way they are written and illustrated. If you've never read one, get one and look out for Lola's imaginary friend, Soren Lorensen. Our most recent purchase was Slightly Invisible and Soren Lorensen features a lot in this one, you have to look very carefully for him. 

I Don't Want to go to Bed by Julie Sykes. This was one of the first books I read with Wee Z. I remember I got it free with out Book Start pack when Wee Z was just a baby. It's about Little Tiger who doesn't want to go to sleep. He runs off into the jungle, meeting his friends along the way who are all getting ready for bed. He then finds a new friend, Bush Baby, who is nocturnal. There are loads of other books featuring Little Tiger and when Miss C was born I borrowed Little Tiger's Big Surprise which is all about his little sister being born.

Ten in the Bed by Penny Dale. This book is literally the story of the song, Ten in the Bed. We sing it when we read it and Wee Z makes all the crashing noises as all the animals fall out the bed. The illustrations are really lovely, classic looking. It's also good for learning to count.

What are your children's favourite books? Or your own favourite books?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The Gallery - Simple Pleasures

I love a nice cup of tea and a croissant for breakfast, my simple pleasure!

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Simple Pleasures.

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