Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Me & Mine 2015 - September

September draws to a close and so begins Autumn, a month for golden colours and crunchy leaves.

Our photo this month was taken, very kindly, by someone when we went to Disney on Ice. We were waiting for the show to start. The lighting was really bad though so I changed it to black and white and I think it works a lot better.

September seems to have gone really fast and I think it's because I'm back in to the routine of doing the school run and then going to college and having coursework to do. College has been hard going. There's a lot of work and it is intense. Deadlines every week for three or four different classes. I'm on track though. I've done a lot of work ahead of time to ensure I'm on schedule for when we return from our holiday.

Husband has been enjoying cycling more in the evenings after work. He does around 5 miles now which I think is quite good for someone who started cycling again after 4 years away from it.

Z has been working hard in school and enjoying his Karate classes. He's also loving going to his best friend's house every Monday and Friday when I'm at college. Z loved going to a soft play fun day a few weeks ago with one of his oldest friends and tackling the huge "wipe-out" style inflatable.

Miss C loved the soft play fun day we went to as it took place in an equestrian centre. It was a bit posh in comparison with her own riding school but the horses were gorgeous. She loved going round all the stables and saying hello to them. She also loved going to Disney on Ice and receiving a Flounder soft toy in her goodie bag. I think she was more excited about that actually than the show itself.

October is a busy month for us. I turn 30 and we go on holiday! I can't wait!

dear beautiful

On Turning 30

I turn 30 this week. It isn't a scary thing. I'm not worried about leaving my twenties behind. To be honest, I've always felt older than I actually am (and probably quite often look older than I actually am) because my friends are all older than me.

We're not doing much to mark the actual day of my birthday. In fact, I have to go to college which kind of puts a dampener on things. Not the ideal way to spend any birthday, never mind a big one. But of course, the real celebrations will start on Friday, when we head down to my Mum's to stay before catching a plane to go to Florida.

I thought I would share some photos of birthdays gone by. Not necessarily big birthdays but birthdays that really meant something.

My first birthday

I don't remember my first birthday but I do have this photo from my first birthday. It's the only photo I have of my maternal Grandparents together. My Grandad passed away in 1988, just before my Sister was born. My first ever memory is of my Grandad. He was sitting in his living room, eating a bowl of something. I think it was cereal or maybe it was soup.

My 15th birthday

My Mum and Stepdad let me have a party for my 15th birthday. Good lord they suffered for that. You probably don't need me to set the scene; teenagers, drink, music, toilets...need I go on? My Stepdad was actually away on business that weekend so he didn't have to witness the horror of a teenage birthday party. He did hear about it when they got a bill for two of those huge water bottles you used to get in offices and hospitals that had gone missing.

My 18th birthday

This birthday was memorable for lots of reasons. I got my tongue pierced. I had my first legal drink. I had my first kiss with my husband. It really was the start of a whole new life for me.

My 21st birthday

I had a big birthday party for my 21st and yet I couldn't touch a drop of champagne as I was pregnant with Z. I found out I was pregnant only 9 days before my birthday so it definitely was a birthday to remember for the most amazing reason.

My 22nd birthday

After a dry 21st, we made up for it after Z was born. I went for a night out with some of my best friends and my Sister, who travelled up from Manchester specially. It was a lot of fun and reminded me that I was still allowed to have a good time despite having a baby to look after.

My 30th birthday will, hopefully, be a really good one to remember. One that we will all enjoy and remember for many, many years.

I think I need to start a bucket list for when I turn 40 though.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Christmas Goodies from The Works

It's less than 90 days until Christmas and with the evenings drawing in earlier, I'm feeling really festive and excited for the holidays. I'm also really looking forward to going Christmas shopping and picking out Christmas cards, decorations and gifts for everyone.

The Works have an excellent selection of Christmas goodies available to buy online now. They are really reasonably priced too and with free standard delivery on orders over £20 or free click and collect in over 300 stores nationwide, there's no reason to miss out on a few Christmas bargains. Here are some of the things on my Christmas shopping list:

Christmas cards

In a time where social media ranks highly in the ways of communicating and passing on messages of congratulations or happy birthday, I still love to send cards and I love receiving cards too. Picking out a card for someone and taking the time to write them a message is such a personal and lovely thing to do.

For my very close friends and family, I tend to pick out a pack of really special, really pretty and more than likely covered in glitter. For neighbours or for the kids to give to friends at school, I buy a couple of the large packs of around 30 cards.

Christmas paper and fancy bits

My Mum went to a workshop on how to wrap presents and she always gives you such a beautiful looking present, it's almost a shame to open it. The kids even take their time opening a present from Bella. I'm not the best wrapper. In fact, the standing joke in our house is that the kids would know all about Santa if I wrapped the presents so Husband tends to do a lot of the wrapping. Being an engineer, he's quite precise with his present wrapping technique.

I'm the one who chooses the paper and all the little bits that go with it. I love fancy bows, pretty tags, ribbons and glittery things. I choose different paper for family presents and I'll often buy gift bags in various sizes for presents for friends.

Christmas essentials

Things like sellotape, batteries and even pens for writing my cards are things I stock up on near Christmas time. I love having special pens for card writing and often go with a red and green or gold and silver colour scheme. Stamps are another thing that are a necessity at Christmas time, especially if you have quite a few cards to send.

Christmas books

A tradition that we have come to do every year since the kids were born is to buy a new Christmas themed book. The Works have a huge selection of books and I always manage to find a bargain if I go in to my local shop. We also love to buy the kids some new books for their Christmas and there are lots of boxsets of books to choose from.

Christmas crafts

The kids enjoy making their own Christmas cards for Bella and Pops, Gran, Grandpa, Papa and the rest of the family. I buy in some coloured card and some Christmas themed stickers and leave them to it. It's a lovely way to spend the afternoon, with some Christmas music on in the background and a cup of hot chocolate to warm us up.

Stocking fillers

Usually I buy big Christmas gifts online as it's a lot easier than trying to find the time to go Christmas shopping at the weekend and finding someone to watch the kids. I do pick up stocking filler bits though as and when I can. The kids' stockings tend to have a sweet of some sort, underwear, a cuddly toy and something related to LEGO or Playmobil.

A Secret Santa gift

When I was working in an office, I had quite a few Secret Santa gifts to buy. Thankfully now I only have one or two at the very most to buy. Secret Santa shopping can be quite hard especially if you don't really know the person you are buying for. The Works have a selection of Secret Santa gifts ranging from 59p up to £17.

That's about everything on my Christmas shopping list! Is there anything that you would add to it?

Monday, 28 September 2015

Disney on Ice Worlds of Enchantment - Review

We were invited to review the opening night of Disney on Ice's brand new show Worlds of Enchantment. Opening night was just a week from when we travel to Florida so I knew it would get us even more excited for our holiday. We've seen a few of the shows now and they never disappoint.

Before we took our seats, we were invited along to a VIP meet and greet where Z and Miss C got to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

The Worlds of Enchantment show features Toy Story, The Little Mermaid, Cars and Frozen as well as appearances from Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy. There really is something for everyone.

Toy Story was the first performance and it was incredible. It was based on Toy Story 3, when Andy heads off to college and the toys end up at a daycare centre. Seeing the toys on the ice was amazing. We couldn't get over the costumes for the likes of Rex, Hamm, Lotso Bear and Slinky Dog. They were so good! We were delighted to see the Spanish Buzz Lightyear appear as it is one of our favourite parts of the film.

Next up was The Little Mermaid. It's my favourite film and I always get a bit teary eyed watching Ariel skate to Part of Your World. Again the costumes for Flounder, Sebastian and Ursula were fantastic.

We were super impressed with the Cars performance. There were actual cars on the ice! I'm guessing they were controlled from backstage and didn't actually have people in them but you never know. Either way, they were handled fantastically. They moved across the ice with ease and never bashed in to each other once!

The show ended with Frozen which we thought would be the case given it has been such a huge success for Disney. Everyone joined in with the songs and Anna and Elsa got the biggest cheer of the whole show; even louder than Mickey and Minnie!

The sets and lighting for each performance were incredible and they transitioned so seamlessly. The music had us all dancing and singing too. There are some loud bangs and flashing lights throughout the show though which might startle a bit.

We were all captivated by the show, the kids especially. I made a vlog of the show and there are points where I turn to Z and Miss C and you can see the awe in their eyes. You can also hear Husband singing along to all of the songs!

One thing that we've always wondered, as we've seen it happen before, is how the children are picked to go on to the ice during the show. We asked and it's available to anyone who has registered with Feld Entertainment for the priority booking (which is free to do) and then the tickets are drawn at random so if your ticket that you purchased is chosen, your child can go on to the ice.

The show is on until the beginning of January in Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast, Dublin, Sheffield and finishes in London at the o2 Arena. If you can get tickets then do it. The shows are truly magical for all the family!

You can watch my vlog of the show below...

We received tickets for the show in return for a review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Steps to Take When Hiring People to Work in Your Home

Recent research from QualitySolicitors highlights that a whopping 81% of Brits now rely others to do work around the home like gardening, cleaning, decorating or plumbing. It also reveals that are not fully aware of their responsibilities when hiring people in their home: over half (52%) were not aware they were responsible for their health and safety and two fifths (42%) admit they don’t take any steps to protect them, which could leave them legally liable in the event of an accident.

To ensure that everyone can work safely in your house, QualitySolicitors has compiled a checklist of measures to take before hiring someone in the home:

* Ensure you have home contents insurance and that it covers you for legal expenses - if you are the soul employer of that person, you will also need employee liability insurance
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* Check smoke and Co2 detectors are fitted and working
* Ensure your wiring and sockets are safe
* Alert the person you hire of any pets/ animals that are in the home or property grounds
* Make sure you leave keys near the doors and windows to aid escape routes
* Make sure lighting is adequate, especially near to stairs
* Ensure any spills are cleaned up promptly to prevent slipping
* Advise friends/ family that have access to property that someone is working there
* Remove any obstacles or trip hazards from out of the way such as electrical leads, toys or loose mats

Find out more, visit or call 0800 999 7070 for Free First Advice.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Being VIPs for a Day

It may sound like a cliché but when I started my blog, I never thought it would lead to some of the most amazing opportunities that we get to experience as a family. I started writing because I wanted to keep a diary of the children as they grew that my family could read since they all stay so far away and because I have a genuine passion for writing. I used to write stories and poems when I was younger and sometimes I feel like I'm much better at expressing myself when I write than when I'm in person. 

I work hard on my blog. I'm writing almost every night and I will keep doing so until I get fed up. Although, I don't think I could ever get fed up of writing about my children and family. It's not about stats or views, however nice it is to have good ones and lots of; it's about us. Just my little family and I. 

On Friday, one of the most amazing things happened to us. We were invited along to see the Disney on Ice Worlds of Enchantment show. We've been really lucky to have been asked to review the show before and we are always so grateful of the opportunity but this time we were told we'd be treated to a VIP experience before the show with a meet and greet and a goodie bag. 

When we arrived at the meet and greet, there were actual famous people there. Leon Jackson, who won Xfactor many years ago, was stood within touching distance. Of course I didn't touch him but he did have a chat with us and the kids. We also saw Susan Boyle who was on Britain's Got Talent. She was really enjoying herself with her friends as we watched her have a little boogie in her seat. We also saw a Celtic player who was there with his family. It was so surreal.

The kids were so excited to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse. We told them we'd see them in Florida; Mickey high-fived Z and Miss C got a big hug and kiss from Minnie. They were delighted with their goodie bag filled with lovely Disney on Ice goodies. We had amazing seats to watch the show and got to go in an hour before everyone else so we could take some pictures right in front of the ice rink.

Z turned to me at one point and said, "why are we getting to be VIPs?" I told him it was because we had been  asked to go along to the show to write about it and tell other families what we thought of the show. And Z said, "also because we are really lucky!" 

We really are very lucky. We're not famous, we haven't done something worthy in the world. We're just an ordinary family, working hard and trying to make the best memories for our children. 

The Week That Was #39

Last Sunday, Miss C and I were up and ready for our horse riding lesson. I rode Bobbie, the horse Miss C normally rides as she wanted to ride a horse called Teddy. He's a bit of grump but she likes him. Bobbie was good to ride even though he hates poles and blocks. We did some trotting and cantering but no jumps as Bobbie hates those too. After lunch, Husband took the kids to a fun day whilst I got on with some work.

On Monday, we got up at 9am! Thankfully it was a holiday for us or we would have been in trouble with school! We had breakfast, got dressed and I let the kids play a bit of Minecraft so I could do some college work. After lunch, the kids headed outside as the sun was shining. They played with their LEGO mini-figures and ate custard creams under a big tree.

On Tuesday, it was back to school for the kids so I dropped them off and then came home to do more college work. I got quite a bit done! After school, Z had homework of his own to do whilst Miss C was feeling smug that she hadn't been given any. The benefits of being in the lower end of the school! We had spaghetti bolognaise for dinner which was really yummy and then the kids headed outside to play in the sunshine.

On Wednesday, the kids took part in a fun run at school so they had to take fancy dress costumes with them. My two decided to take their onesies! I spent the day filming some videos for my YouTube channel and packing up our hand luggage for our trip. It was raining at pick up time so I drove to school, picked the kids up and then headed out to get some treats for when we go to Disney On Ice on Friday. The kids didn't know that's what they were choosing sweeties for though!

On Thursday, I headed in to college after dropping the kids off at school, It was an exhausting day, mainly because the room was so warm! I felt sick with the heat at one point. After picking the kids up from my friend's house, I came home and treated myself to a cup of tea and a Tunnocks teacake!

On Friday, I headed to college for the day. We have a curriculum class first thing and then the rest of the day is spent on psychology and sociology. They are pretty intense subjects so by 4pm I was ready to run. Run I did as we had to get to Disney on Ice for a VIP Meet & Greet experience followed by the show. It was so good!

On Saturday, the kids headed to their Gran's for a sleepover as Husband and I were heading for a night out with friends. I spent the day doing blog work and Husband headed out shopping for technology stuff with a friend. We had pizza for dinner, in front of the TV and then headed out for lots of drinks!

The Black and White Photo Project #63

My Sunday Photo 2015 #39


Saturday, 26 September 2015

365 Project 2015 Days 263 - 269

Day 263 - A yummy dinner - my roast potatoes were spot on!
Day 264 - Cuddles on the couch 
Day 265 - It was a miserable, dark day
Day 266 - Spaghetti bolognaise for lunch
Day 267 - I needed this after a hard day at college
Day 268 - We went to Disney on Ice
Day 269 - So good!

Friday, 25 September 2015

What Miss C's Been Wearing - Autumn Trends

As much as I love Summer and dressing the kids in shorts and t-shirts, Autumn brings a whole different wardrobe filled with cosy jumpers, fleeces and UGG boots. Here are some of the outfits Miss C has been wearing now the cooler weather is coming in...

I just love her UGG boots. Student discount meant I got these with 20% off! UGG boots are so cosy and keep your feet really warm. They also go with pretty much anything so Miss C will be getting a lot of use out of these this Autumn. 

Her grey leggings are super cute with sparkly butterflies all over them. 

Miss C loves to wear shorts and tights together. Her tights have French poodles on them and I think they go great with her mustard and red stripe jumper. She looks so toasty! 

The jumper is a little big for her but that's what I love about Autumn; wearing extra thick, heavy and slightly too big jumpers whilst sipping a hot chocolate. 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Beauty Giveaway Win - Vlog

Last month, I entered a giveaway on Charlotte's blog where the grand prize was the Urban Decay Naked Smoky eye palette and lots of other lovely goodies. How excited was I when I found out I had won? Very!

I love beauty items even if I don't always have the time to use them. I love make-up, bath creams, lotions and potions.

I made a short vlog to show you exactly what Charlotte sent me and I can't wait to try out all of these gorgeous products. Which one is your favourite?

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Learning to Ride Bobbie

I enjoyed my second horse riding lesson last weekend. I was really looking forward to going again after my first lesson. My legs and bum ached for days but it was worth it for that amazing feeling of being back in the saddle, riding a horse.

I thought I might have ridden Bandit again but our teacher asked me if I wanted to ride Bobbie. He's the horse Miss C usually rides but she decided she wanted to try a different horse. She chose Teddy, the 37 year old grumpy pony. She'd be lucky if she got him to trot never mind canter.

Bobbie is a gorgeous pony. He was born at the riding school so he's been a riding school pony all of his 17 years. He'd been out of the school for awhile as he was lame. When he came back, about 8 months ago, he had a lot of excess weight which meant only small children like Miss C rode him until he was back in to the routine of working again.

Despite the fact that he has been a riding school pony for so many years, Bobbie spooks easily and he hates blocks and poles. This made me a bit nervous because, in all my years of riding as a child, I never once came off a horse. There's a saying that goes something like you aren't a rider until you've come off a horse seven times. Personally I'd like to think that I may be one of the lucky few...I hope I haven't just tempted fate.

The lesson went really well and Bobbie was great to ride. He didn't spook once but he was a bit dubious about going near the blocks and over the poles. I just gave him some encouraging words and was firm with him and he did as he was told...reluctantly. He had an equally smooth canter like Bandit. I can tell why Miss C likes him so much.

Miss C and Bobbie 

We won't be back at horse riding for at least 5 weeks now because we're going on holiday and because I didn't fancy having really sore legs for walking around the parks. I can imagine it is going to take me at least a week to recover again.

But I can't wait to go back again. Once a month might not be enough for me!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Honey, I Love You

Miss C absolutely adores animals. It doesn't matter what shape, size, colour or breed they may be, she just wants to shower them with affection.

It also doesn't matter if they are four legged or two legged or if they have wings. In fact, I wasn't at all surprised when she developed a love for birds and in particular, owls.

Her first encounter with an owl was back in 2012. There was a local display on at the park and Miss C was straight over to this beautiful scoops owl called Honey. Not only was she brave enough to hold Honey, she was stroking her and trying to kiss her. 

Honey and Miss C met again on her fourth birthday when we hired the bird of prey team to come along and show off some of their birds. Even when Honey decided to poop on Miss C's skirt, the love was still strong.

At the weekend, Husband took the kids along to a fun day hosted by the owner of a local motorbike shop. Husband visits the shop regularly with his own motorbike. There was a bouncy castle, face painting and...

...owls! This isn't Honey but it is the same kind of owl. I love their little tufts of feathers on top of their heads. It makes them look a bit cat like.

Miss C also held a barn owl which is my Mum's favourite kind of owl. I just love her face in this photo. Despite the noisy background and rubbish quality, Miss C's beaming smile immediately stands out.

Monday, 21 September 2015

School - A Month In

The kids have been back at school for a month now. It's hard to believe really as it has flown by and we're almost at half term again!

I went along to a meet the teacher event a few weeks ago where I met Miss C's teacher on a Tuesday and Z's teacher on a Thursday.

Miss C loved showing me around her classroom. There were lots of numbers and letters covering the walls, just as you'd expect with a Primary 2 classroom. Miss C showed me where she put her coat and bag, where she sat and all the lovely artwork she had been doing. She loves drawing and being creative. She showed me the book corner which looked really cosy and inviting and she showed me how to spell the word horse using the magnetic letters. I didn't chat much to her teacher but Miss C really likes her and I've heard from other parents that she is fantastic.

Z has two teachers this year. He had two teachers when he was in P2/3 so this isn't something new to him. I'm not sure how his teachers are going to compete with his P4 teacher as she was amazing and the kids all loved her and were pretty devastated to be leaving her from P5. When I met them both, they seemed really nice and Z seems to like them too. Z has settled in to his class well but I knew he would anyway as he's with his group of friends and they work so well together. They are also such a close knit group. They are all extremely social and would talk to any kid but when they are together, their personalities compliment each other and they just bounce off one another. Watching them playing and chatting in the classroom made me smile. They have the sort of friendships that in 10 or 20 years time, they'll still be chatting and laughing together.

Miss C's reading and writing is really coming on. She's good at Math and loves anything art related but she isn't as keen on reading herself as her brother is. She's getting there though even if she protests whenever she has to read her homework book. She doesn't seem to have a group of friends that she is close to like Z has but she does prefer to play with the boys in her class and maybe one or two girls. Sometimes, when I think back to my school days, it's better to stick with the boys. There's less drama that way.

Z continues to do extremely well in school. I had a nosey through his assessment folder and he's still performing at the level a school would expect from a 13 or 14 year old. He doesn't know everything about everything but he has such a thirst for knowledge that hopefully the school will continue to feed.

I'm so pleased that they have settled in to Primary 2 and Primary 5. Long may it continue.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Week That Was #38

Last Sunday, we got up and ready for Miss C's horse riding lesson. Miss C decided to ride Jocky again and she did a great job on him. When we got home, we had lunch and then spent the afternoon just chilling out and watching a bit of TV. It was raining heavily so the kids couldn't get out to ride their bikes until after dinner.

On Monday, I dropped the kids off at school and headed home to do some college work. Soon I'll be on placement on a Monday and Tuesday so I'm taking advantage of these extra days to get as much of my written work done. And, with going on holiday soon and missing a week of college, I want to make sure I can be comfortably ahead for when I get back so I'm not playing catch up. I had to go in to college for a couple of hours and I picked the kids up from my friend's house when I was finished. We had chili for dinner which was yummy!

On Tuesday, I dropped the kids off at school and headed home to lock myself away to do my college work. It took all day (well until 2.45pm) but I got 2 parts of the SVQ units I have to do done. Only 40 odd more to go! The kids did their homework when they came home and then played outside on the trampoline. We had chicken tikka for dinner which was yum and once the kids were in bed, a friend popped over for a catch up and a coffee.

On Wednesday, I dropped the kids off at school and it was another day spent locked in my cupboard, doing my college work. I got a lovely delivery from Chi Chi London; the dress I'll be wearing to my sister's wedding. It's so pretty! I can't wait to wear it. After school, the kids enjoyed the sunshine outside until bedtime. Hopefully the good weather keeps up!

On Thursday, I dropped the kids off at school and headed to college. It was another quick day which is always a bonus but there is just so much information to take in. At 4pm, when I finished, I was in need of a cup of tea. Thankfully it was still sunny outside so I was able to enjoy some sunshine and hang my washing out. The simple things! The kids went for a bike ride after dinner with Daddy and then came home to watch some TV before bed.

On Friday, the kids had a day off school as it's the September weekend. I know, they've only been back a month and on holiday already! I was off as well so we didn't get up until after 9am! We had breakfast, got dressed and I did some college work whilst the kids played Minecraft. Not ideal but I needed to get some work done. After lunch, we met up with a friend and her daughter to go to a fun day. The kids had a brilliant time whilst we enjoyed some red velvet cake.

On Saturday, Husband had to go to work so I got up with the kids, got Z ready for Karate, dropped him off and then headed for my shopping with Miss C. After lunch, we headed in to town to get Husband and Z a haircut. Miss C loves going to the barbers because she gets a lolly! We spent the evening at home, watching Xfactor and eating pizza.

The Black and White Photo Project #62

My Sunday Photo 2015 #38


Saturday, 19 September 2015

365 Project 2015 Days 256 - 262

Day 256 - All set for horse riding
Day 257 - Chili con Carne cooking away
Day 258 - Chili always tastes better on the second day
Day 259 - Having a cuddle on the couch with Jazz
Day 260 - Making some tack for her toy horse
Day 261 - Red velvet cake all to myself
Day 262 - Miss C crept in to my bed for a cuddle

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 18 September 2015

The Countdown to Florida - 15 days

I can't believe we are only 15 days away from getting on a plane and heading to Orlando, Florida for our two week Disney holiday.

The trouble with the holiday being this close is I'm finding it hard to concentrate on my college work and I really need to get as much of it done before I go. I want to have stuff in before the deadlines so I can get it marked and fixed if needed; I don't want to be playing catch up when I get back!

Another thing that's getting me down a bit is, because it is so close to us going and because of how quickly the time passed to get to this point, I know our two weeks there are going to be the quickest two weeks of our lives. I just know we won't want to come home, no matter how much I'll miss my own bed and "normal" milk!

Despite these woes, we're all really excited that we'll soon be enjoying a highly anticipated family holiday. Every day, Miss C asks, "how many more sleeps til Florida?!" Every day, we tell her it's one less sleep and her little face lights up.

I've been packing, unpacking and repacking bags quite a lot over the last few months. I started a mini series on my YouTube channel called "What's in my Case?" so if you are interested in seeing what we're taking on holiday, pop over and give them a watch.

The last thing I need to do before we leave is pack our hand luggage. Husband and I will be carrying all the boring stuff such as travel documents, insurance and technical equipment but I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to take in the kids' cases. Do you have any suggestions or advice for what to take in children's hand luggage?

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Studying: Getting Back into College

On September 3rd, I returned to college after 11 maybe 12 weeks of Summer holidays.

I'm already qualified as an Early Years Practitioner but I decided to return to college and continue with my studies to strengthen my qualification. This is year 2 of my degree and once I complete this I want to get a job and then complete my BA in a few years time through night school. I have plans. Big plans. Whilst my family seem to be getting married and having (more) babies, I'm completing a degree and contemplating getting a puppy to ease my broodiness.

The first day went fine. It went quite fast actually and we were given an introduction to each of our classes and the assignments we would have to do in order to pass the course. Six different classes over two days, each requiring lots and lots of paperwork and reports. I must be mad.

Two weeks in and the work in piling up. I'm very organised. I like lists. I make plans. I work out what I need to do, prioritise and try to get things completed at least a week before the deadline. As a mother and wife, I  have so many other things to factor in to my daily routine that I have to be sure I'm prepared if anything gets in the way of my ability to do my homework.

It has been hard trying to get in to the swing of writing college essays. Blogging; that comes naturally. If I know what I want to blog about, it literally takes me 10 minutes to write a post. Sometimes less. It comes from the heart or it comes from the head. Or a bit of both.

Essay writing is a whole different story. It would probably be quite easy if I could just write what I knew and analyse it, evaluate it and summarise it. But referencing is my enemy. College essays need references. You can't just write what you know because what you know has come from somewhere before. A theory. A piece of legislation. A policy or a piece of research. You have to quote. I find paraphrasing easy. I can read something and put it in to my own words and then reference at the end but our lectures want quotes which we can then use to back up what we're saying. It's so time consuming.

Our impending holiday is also putting me off. I feel like I'm not really going to get in to the swing of college again until we're back from our holiday. Whilst that would be great, I already have work due for every class. Thankfully we haven't started our placements yet so I have 3 days a week when the kids are at school and I'm at home and I can lock myself away in my cupboard and write. I need to focus. I don't want to be playing catch up when we get back.

I know that this time will go really fast and by 10th of June 2016, I'll have another qualification under my belt. It will be worth it. But darn it is hard to get back in to studying.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Sibling Moments #21

Something the kids have started doing more frequently since their Dad bought himself a bike is going on bike rides. They love it! I think I might get myself a bike and join in with them but for now, it's a good time for them to spend some quality time together with their Dad.

Z is a really confident cyclist. He can ride really fast and dares to go without holding on. When I was younger, I was always super impressed with those kids (mainly boys) that could cycle their bike with no hands. Now it gives me the fear so I don't watch Z but I hear from him that he is doing well.

Miss C has come on leaps and bounds since we took her stabilisers off in the Summer holidays, We got her a new bike as she has outgrown her old one and she can go her new bike so much better.

They can cycle for miles. I think the longest ride they have done so far is just under 5 miles. They were so tired when they got back!

The kids also love cycling down to the local park. They call in for one of Z's friends and they play on the cycle area. It has recently been given a facelift and the council have painted road markings on to the ground. It looks fantastic and the kids love practising their highway code on it.

dear beautiful

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Meeting a New Puppy

Last Saturday, we went to visit my MIL at her farm. The kids love going there for sleepovers but this was the first time Husband and I had been up there since my MIL remarried 4 years ago.

The reason for the visit, aside from getting a cup of tea and a biscuit and to nosey around their newly decorated home was to visit their new puppy; a little jack russell called Brodie. The kids were so excited as they love animals, especially baby ones.

When we arrived, their older jack russell called Becky was waiting to greet us along with their cat, Tibby. Z and Miss C were out of their seats and, if it wasn't for the child locks on our doors, they'd have jumped out whilst the engine was still running.

Inside the house, in a small playpen in the kitchen, was a sleeping Brodie.

He looked so peaceful and cosy in his little bed. Of course, as soon as Miss C saw him she said, "when will he wake up?" Her Gran reassured her that he would wake up soon. How unthoughtful of Brodie to be asleep when we came to visit him. The kids had a biscuit whilst we had a cup of tea and a tour of the house. As we settled in the living room, leaving the kids in the kitchen with their biscuits and toys, we heard Miss C say, "Brodie is awake now!" Of course he was!

He came out of his playpen and came right up to Miss C for a cuddle. She kept her biscuit away from him cause it would have made him very ill if he got a bit. 

He has a little love heart marking on his side which is so cute. He was giving kisses and following the kids around the kitchen. Whenever they sat down on the floor, he would go up and cuddle in to them. Z, who is usually a bit unsure around animals, was really gentle with him and petting him. He thought he was really cute. 

Brodie played with them; the kids threw his ball for him and he would run after it, his little legs almost giving way as he ran across the laminate. After an hour, he was shattered again and back in his bed asleep before we left. 

The kids are excited to go to their Gran's for a sleepover in a few weeks time so they can play with Brodie again. So long as they don't get any ideas about us getting a puppy!

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