Thursday, 31 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge Me & Mine 2016 - March

I decided to dedicate my last day of the 31 Day Blogging Challenge to my little family because they are the most important people in my life and without them, well it just wouldn't be worth living. They are my rock, my strength and I love them to the moon and back a gazillion times.

Our photo this month was taken at a beach just a short drive from home. We are so lucky to live near such beauty and tranquillity. The kids had the best time running through the waves, collecting stones and pebbles and playing at the park. We all slept well that night. 

College has stepped up a gear with coursework in the last few weeks and I've had report after report to write. They've been coming out of my ears! I'm really looking forward to the two week break from next week although I'll have stuff to write up for my Graded Unit so I won't be completely college free! I've been loving watching Blind Spot and catching up with Hollyoaks on my days off and having fun with the kids and Husband on our weekends together. 

Husband has been working hard as always. He did have an off night and headed to his friend's house for a game of poker and a beer drinking session. He even had a sleepover there! He's been enjoying Blind Spot and the fact that we have a show to watch together. 

Z has been enjoying reading his collection of Bear Grylls books this month. He also really enjoyed taking part in the space topic at school and creating his very own planet Earth. 

Miss C has been loving the lighter evenings and the chance to play outside for a bit longer after dinner. I think she is going to love the Summer holidays and being outdoors as often as possible. She is really coming on at horse riding and has started to not hold on to her saddle when she goes in to canter; something even I'm a bit cautious about doing yet! 

I am so grateful for these three. They are amazing and I wouldn't change them for anything in the world. 

The Me and Mine Project

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - Hopes for my Blog

In July, I will have been blogging for 7 years! I started when Miss C was just a few weeks old and over the years I have documented the high and lows of our parenting journey.

More recently I've thought about whether or not to carry on blogging. My children are growing up and are aware of social media, as are their friends and I wonder if I really want to continue sharing so much about them online. I love that I have a virtual diary of memories that they can look back on but part of me wonders if it's a good idea to carry on. I have also wondered for myself both personally and professionally. However I do really enjoy writing my blog and recording our adventures for the kids and family to read.

I hope that I will continue to enjoy writing my blog over the next few years. Once I start working full time again, it may have to take a back seat and I may post a lot less. It may take on a different direction. I love posting about children's fashion and it might grow into more of a fashion blog as the kids get older and develop their own sense of style and I have more money to spend on treating myself to new things! It may become a more education focused blog as I begin my journey as a newly qualified Early Years Practitioner. What will happen with this blog? I really don't know what the future holds.

I recently found out that my blog had been nominated in the MADs for "Best Use of Video" which made me very happy and very grateful to whoever nominated my blog. If you enjoy reading my blog and watching our YouTube videos then I would love for you to consider giving us your vote in the "Best School Days Blog" and "Best Use of Video". If you really, really enjoy the blog, you may even consider us for "Blog of the Year".

You can nominate here.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - A Confession

Dear children,

This is my mother's confession.

There are many things that I have kept from you. To protect you, you understand. But everything I did, I did because I love you.

When I let you both watch TV for pretty much a full day and you thought it was the best thing ever? I did that because I felt like death warmed up and I really couldn't deal with the fighting or, well, anything really. Except to acquire sustenance for you both. I'm a responsible ill mother like that.

When I stand in the kitchen and mumble at you then turn away and say "I'll just be a second!" 99% of the time I'm stuffing your chocolate or sweets in my face and I don't want you to know about it. I know, I'm sorry, but it's for the good of your teeth and stuff.

Sorry, I just told you another white lie...I must confess it is actually 100% of the time. And it isn't always your chocolate. Sometimes I have my own stash and it's just too good to share.

Sometimes, when you are lying in bed, I let out a huge sigh of relief that the day is over. Not now you are older to be honest, more so when you were toddlers going through the terrible twos and threes. Oft those were exhausting times. I would high five myself for getting through the day, wondering how I managed.

Actually, I know how I managed...I ate your chocolate and sweets. And it was good.

When you were babies and I broke wind, I blamed it on you. It was OK back then cause you were so cute and people let you both off with it. I was a twenty-something mess and people judge. I can't get away with it these both find bottom burps hilarious and have to out the culprit as soon as you hear it. Or smell it.

(Dear Husband, I have to confess. That time the cat pumped in bed and you almost died from the smell? It wasn't the cat. Spicy chicken just doesn't agree with me!)

Please remember that everything I did, I did because I love you lots and lots.

Love always,

Mummy xxx+o

Monday, 28 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - A Most Embarrassing Moment

As parents, children provide you with plenty of opportunities to feel embarrassed. It's usually when they ask something in the middle of somewhere where everyone can hear and it's usually something pretty innocent to them but mortifying to you. Like the time I was in a public toilet with a 3 year old Z and he asked me if I was going to do a wee or a poo. Obviously an appropriately location for the question but still, the giggling from cubicle next to me made me stay in the toilet until I knew they had left and it was safe to come out.

But my most embarrassing moment isn't actually a moment that occurred with the kids in tow or even because of the kids. It doesn't involve Husband either although he can be pretty embarrassing to be around sometimes. My most embarrassing moment happened when I was a young girl.

I think I must have been around 12 at the time and we were on holiday with my Grandparents, my Sister and my cousins. It was Christmas and we were staying at our lodge in Aviemore. After a full day outdoors or in the pool, we would get ready to go to the evening disco/karaoke. We loved being able to have a dance and a sing and play a bit of pool in the games room.

During our stay, we met another family who had a son and daughter. The son and I took a liking to each other and we spent a lot of time together during our stay. I'm pretty sure it was Christmas Eve and we put on our best outfits to meet him and some of the other friends we had made at the Christmas Eve disco. I was wearing a pair of my cousin's shoes which were too high for me, a little white skirt and a black top. We were feeling like we were looking pretty good.

At the disco we were drinking our cans of coke and up dancing to our favourite songs. I can't remember what song was on at the time but my cousin and I were giving it big licks on the dance floor whilst our sisters and youngest cousin were dancing around us. We had made a circle on the dance floor and I remember noticing this boy and his family coming in to sit with our Grandparents and my Aunts.

Next thing I know, I go over on my ankle and fall right on to my bum, legs in the air, knickers showing to the whole room. My cousin was doubled over in fits of laughter whilst trying to pull me back up. I kept hoping and praying that no one had seen, in particular this boy, but of course the full room had seen it happen. I got up and went to sit down to make sure my ankle was OK! The boy did come over and check I was OK and then we were all giggling about it. I'm pretty sure my face was scarlet.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

A Very Ordinary Easter

The kids go to a Catholic school so they are very aware of the story of Easter and why we celebrate it. It's not just about chocolate eggs and eating them until you feel sick...although that is a big part of MY Easter story. They enjoy the story of Jesus and taking part in Lent. They didn't give anything up but they did help raise money for charity through school which I think is brilliant!

Easter Sunday is just another day for us as a family. We usually go out to the park and roll our eggs down the hill if it's nice but more than anything, I just enjoy the fact they we are all off work and school and able to spend 4 days together, doing whatever we want.

The weather is pretty miserable here so for our Easter Sunday I think we'll just be cuddling on the couch, eating chocolate and watching movies. I can't think of any better way to spend such a rotten day!

Happy Easter!

366 Project 2016 Days 80 - 86

On Sunday, we got up around 9am and had breakfast. Miss C and I got changed in to our horse riding gear and we all headed to the stables. Miss C was excited that Z and Daddy were coming to watch. Because it was such a beautiful day, we went out for a hack and then we had a trot and a canter in the field. It was so much fun! After lunch, we headed to the park to meet a friend. The kids played in the park and went to see the new baby goat. She was really cute!

It was back to school and placement on Monday. The day went in fairly quickly and I picked the kids up from my friend's house when I finished. We had chili for dinner which was just what I needed because I was feeling rotten!

On Tuesday, after a day at school and placement, we came home and the kids played outside. Miss C took her horse, Ghost, out to play. After dinner of enchiladas and once the kids were in bed, I decided that the only cure for my sore throat was some ice cream.

It was my day off on Wednesday. Not that that meant much in terms of having a break. I had a report to write so I got on with that. I managed to finish around 2pm so I watched a couple of episodes of Hollyoaks before I had to pick the kids up from school. Miss C was really excited to be gifted some My Little Pony Build-a-Bears from a friend!

On Thursday, it was back to college and we had a 3 and a half hour presentation on Child Protection. It sounds long but it went in so quickly and it was really, really interesting and useful. After college, I picked the kids up from school and they played outside until it started to rain. We received some beautiful Disney colouring books from Parragon! These are the Art Therapy books (some may think of them as adult colouring books because the patterns are so intricate) and I can't wait to sit and do a bit of colouring! I find colouring so relaxing.

On Good Friday, there was no alarm to wake us up which was great! We were still up early though as Husband was going to my Mother in Law's house to do some work for her and he took the kids with him so I could get on with some college work. I cleaned the house first, put on a few loads of washing and then got stuck in. We decided to order Chinese for dinner and we had a bit of Chinese picnic in the living room with a film.

On Saturday, Husband took Z to Karate whilst Miss C and I went to the shops. When we got home, we all had lunch together and my Brother in Law popped in with our niece for a short visit. It was such a miserable day that we just stayed in, watched TV and caught up with the ironing. Well I did that; the kids played on their tablets for a little while before dinner. We had pizza for tea which was delicious! Husband headed out to a friend's house for the night so I got the kids to bed and got on with some work.

31 Day Blogging Challenge - What's in Our Wardrobes?

For this challenge, I thought I'd film a vlog to show you what is inside Miss C's wardrobe, Z's wardrobe and my wardrobe!

Hope you enjoy having a nosey!

Saturday, 26 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - My Hidden Talent

If I think about it, I'm not entirely sure what my hidden talent would be. I'm not really sure that I have a talent in any particular area.

I guess as a mother, you find the ability to carry out a multitude of tasks in a very small time frame. There are only 24 hours in a day and I like to sleep for at least 8 of those. Finding the time to do everything you need to do in 16 hours is a talent indeed.

When you first have a baby, it feels like you will never be able to shower, clean the house, make a cup of tea, drink it whilst it is hot, eat a hot meal, eat at all, get dressed, put on make up, go to the shops; the list is endless.

Eventually you work out how to do all of these things whilst caring for this small human and that in itself is a pretty big talent. I guess you could say it's a hidden talent because you don't know that you have the ability to do the mothering thing until one day, it just falls in to place.

Friday, 25 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - My Biggest Regret

Mistakes happen in life. It's just part of growing up; you make a mistake, you learn from it and you move on. Therefore I try not to dwell on things that have happened or, in some cases, haven't happened and look to the future and what it may hold.

There are some things from my teenage years that I did that I really regret happening and if I could go back and change those things, I would. However they also made me the person I am today and maybe if they hadn't happened then life wouldn't have turned out quite as it has.

I guess if I had to pick something that I regret then it would be taking as long as I have to finally start doing a job I really, really enjoy. I left high school with amazing grades. I got in to my first choice college to study A Level psychology, biology, English, Math and performing arts. What did I do? I decided that college was no fun unless we were getting drunk and partying.

I left college and moved back to Scotland to live with my Dad. I had to get a job. I started working in McDonalds although that didn't last long as I hated it. As soon as I turned 18, I got a job working for a bank and I was there for over 10 years before deciding that enough was enough. I applied to college and here I am now, 2 years later, fully qualified and furthering my studies to gain a degree in Early Education. I wish I had done it sooner because I absolutely love it but I think the experiences that I have had over the last 12 years have made me a better, more professional, more knowledgeable and focused person.

So I don't dwell on the things from the past. Could they have been very different? Yes. Would I change anything? Yes. Did I learn from it? Absolutely.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - What Attracts You or Why I Fell in Love with Husband

It was 2002 in a grotty rock pub in town. I say it was grotty because the carpet was so sticky your shoes came off it like Velcro ripping and the seats were worn and torn in places. I'm sure it also had fleas. But it had a great atmosphere, really friendly folk and this is where I could be found most days of the week. And it's where I first met Husband.

When I first laid eyes on Husband, I have to admit that I didn't really notice him. I was sort of seeing someone else at the time so I wasn't thinking of dating anyone else. It wasn't until a month or two, after I stopped seeing the guy that Husband and I got to chatting properly. He was really flirty and cheeky and that's what sparked that attraction.

Over the next few weeks, Husband and I chatted more and got to know each other. It was the day after my 18th birthday that we shared our first kiss. I had just had my tongue pierced and it had started to swell but we still managed! That was October and I think I knew I was in love with him by January 1st after bringing in the New Year together with friends.

Aside from being really flirty and cheeky, Husband has a super caring and protective side. Even in the early days, when I first moved in with him and my Dad and his partner moved away, leaving me pretty much on my own in a place I hadn't grown up in, he put me before anything else and made sure I was settled and happy.

Husband and I got engaged in November of 2005 and we were married in July 2006. At that time, we found out we were pregnant but sadly lost the baby whilst on Honeymoon. Husband was so supportive and again, put my needs before his even though he would have been hurting at that time too.

When Z was born, my love and admiration for Husband grew every day. Seeing him with Z, our son, just filled my heart with so much love. He is an amazing dad to our son. And then his daughter was born and he changed before my eyes. Being a Dad to a son is completely different from being a Dad to a daughter. It's unknown territory for men and they suddenly realise that they have a little girl to protect and it all gets a bit serious. Miss C has him wrapped around her finger!

Husband has got one of the biggest smiles you'll ever see and he is very rarely in a bad mood. If he is then it's because he is tired from working so hard. He would do anything for anyone but he doesn't tolerate people taking the proverbial either out of him, me or any of his family. He's so supportive and encouraging of us all and I know that deep down he just wants us to feel happy, safe and loved.

He is a one in a billion guy!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - If I Won the Lottery

Unlike some of the other challenges in this list, where I've found it hard to think of answers, this challenge is super easy! Surely everyone thinks about what they would spend a lottery win on! Money certainly isn't the be all and end all in life but having it certainly helps and I would be quite happy to win a lotto jackpot and know exactly how I would spend my winnings.

Aside from helping family and friends out by paying off their mortgages and savings for the kids in the family, here are some things I would spend my lotto winnings on:

A new house

I wouldn't go over the top and buy a huge mansion but I would buy a home with at least 4 possibly 5 bedrooms with at least 3 of them having en-suites, a family room, formal living room, kitchen and dining area and study. It would also have a double garage and a huge garden. I'd buy all new furniture for it and have it decorated and styled by an interior designer.

A couple of cars

I would buy myself a BMW X6 M-Sport (cause the Ms are ridiculous on fuel) and Husband would have an Aston Martin of some variety. I love my current car a lot so I'd probably keep that or trade it in and order a new one again but possibly go for a bigger engine so I could have fun car too. Husband would also buy himself a new motorbike.


Winning the lottery would mean we could go on as many holidays as we liked, whenever we wanted. We'd definitely go back to Florida and possibly purchase a villa there to rent out to friends and family. I'd also like to go to the Caribbean, Hawaii and Thailand. We're debating whether to go to Lapland this year depending on how much it costs to do all the bits and bobs that need doing in the house but the trip would definitely be going ahead if we won the lotto!

Shopping sprees

This is probably one of the first things I'd do if I won the lottery; go on a fair few shopping sprees and not just into the city centre. No. I'm talking Edinburgh, London, New York, Dubai, Paris and Milan. I'd take some of my very good friends and we'd stay in the fanciest hotels and eat at the finest restaurants. Oh and maybe a few spa treatments and cocktails after a hard day at the shops. What would I buy? Probably lots of stuff for the kids!

Build my own business

I have talked about building my own nursery if I came in to some money and, even if I didn't need to work in it, I'd love to provide an amazing centre to children and their families. Amazing facilities indoors and outdoors, the best equipment and would be fantastic.

Cosmetic surgery

I would have cosmetic surgery if I won the lottery. I'd have my nose fixed!

Two horses and two beagles

This is something that I may eventually do even if we never do win the lottery although I'd only buy one horse for Miss C and I to share. We've also been thinking about getting a dog for a little while now since we aren't having any more children and a beagle is our choice of breed. We love them! But if we won the lottery, we'd definitely have two of each.

Donate to an IVF clinic

Aside from making donations to our chosen charities, I have always said I would donate the cost of at least one, possibly two, IVF treatments. There are so many couples out there who are desperate to become parents but can't afford IVF treatment so I'd love to be able to help someone try to become parents.

Roll on those lucky numbers coming up sometime soon!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - My Worst Habits

I really tried hard to wrack my brain for a bad habit or two that I have but I genuinely can't think of any. Not because I'm absolutely perfect, because I'm not, but bad habits are different from personality traits. I'm stubborn, really stubborn and I'm not happy if I'm not in control of a situation but as for habits, I feel like I had to give up my bad habits before the kids came along.

Some of the bad habits I used to have included smoking and biting my nails. I gave up smoking a couple of years before I had Z. I just stopped cold turkey and I haven't touched a cigarette in over 10 years. I can't quite remember when I stopped biting my nails but it was before I met Husband, so at least 15 years ago.

I guess the one bad habit that I do have is checking my phone. I am quite bad for having a nosy on Facebook whilst the kids are watching TV or after dinner. Sometimes, I'll message someone whilst we are eating. It is really quite bad. I'm making a point of putting my phone elsewhere when we eat now so I don't feel tempted to check it.

Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks and Friendship Games Movie Boxset - Review and Giveaway

Miss C loves anything to do with ponies whether it be toys, books, pictures or DVDs. She was really excited to receive the latest DVD from the My Little Pony empire; Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks and Friendship Games. This is a double movie boxset featuring the My Little Pony favourites: Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Applejack, Pinkie Pie and Sunset Shimmer. Miss C loves them all although her favourite is definitely Pinkie Pie. The difference with the original My Little Pony and My Little Pony Equestria Girls is they aren't ponies, they are young girls!

The first movie in the boxset is called Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks. In this movie, Canterlot High is hosting a musical showcase and Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rartity and Fluttershy are set to perform in their new band, The Rainbooms. However, another band shows up called The Dazzlings and they turn the performance into a battle of the bands, creating a not very nice atmosphere between the friends. It's up to Sunset Shimmer and Princess Twilight to save the day before it all goes horribly wrong! 

The second movie in the boxset is called Equestria Girls: Friendship Games. In this movie, Canterlot High goes up against its rival school, Crystal Prep Academy, in a competition that has a long-standing tradition. It's the Friendship Games which include archery, motorcross, and rollerskating. There is no magic allowed to make the games fair for all but sometimes playing fair isn't what everyone wants to do!

These are two fun filled, light hearted movies that any My Little Pony lover will enjoy. The approximate running time is 2 hours and 19 minutes and is rated U - suitable for all ages. As well as the two movies, you can access a set of bonus features which include 13 animated shorts, music videos and recaps of the Equestria Girls. 

The Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks and Friendship Games Movie Boxset is available to buy from March 21st 2016. 

I have a boxset to giveaway to one lucky reader. This is a great DVD that you could gift to a My Little Pony lover for their birthday or as a stocking filler for Christmas. To enter, simply fill in the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to UK residents only. No cash alternative. The prize is one Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks and Friendship Games Movie Boxset. The giveaway will run from 22nd March 2016 until 5th April 2016 at midnight. The PR company will be responsible for sending out the prize so by entering you agree for your address to be passed on to them. 

Monday, 21 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - What Makes Me Sad

Generally, I try hard to be a positive and happy person. I try not to dwell on things although sometimes that is easier said than done but overall I feel like I'm pretty optimistic and try not to worry about things too much. 

So, in the spirit of trying to stay positive and not start a full on rant post about things that annoy and therefore make me sad, I thought I'd come up with some simple things in life that make me a bit sad. As you read the list, you'll see what I mean.

Coming to the end of a really, really good book

As much as I want to find out what happens, I'm always a bit sad when I finish a really good book. When I finished Me Before You, the last book I read, not only was I sad because of what happened but I was devastated that I didn't have it to read any more. 

Going to take a sip of your cup of tea and realising you already finished it

This makes me so sad, especially if it was a really, really good cup of tea. 

Coming to the end of your favourite TV series

Usually we'll binge watch our favourite TV shows so that we don't have to wait until the next episode. But it makes me so sad when it comes to the season finale and you have to wait months for the next one!

Finding an empty wrapper in a sweetie tin - especially if it's your favourite

This makes me sad and mad. Especially annoying in After Eight boxes! 

Not having any washing on a nice day

I feel like it is a wasted day if I can't get some washing out on the line to dry when the sun is shining!

When the kids are sad

It has to be said, the kids don't get sad very often, thank goodness. Sometimes they'll be upset if we have to go somewhere and they'd rather stay at home and play Xbox but that soon passes. We haven't had any incidents where friends have fallen out yet...I'm sure that will come. But when they do feel a bit sad, for example if they have hurt themselves, then I feel really sad with them. 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - What Makes me Happy

I think happiness is a pretty easy thing to find in life so long as you look for the most simple or most ordinary things to make you happy. If you keep wishing for bigger or better things then you will never feel truly happy with what you have.

Don't get me wrong there are times when I wish I could have a bigger house that didn't need things doing to it, like our house does. But I also think how extremely lucky we are to have a roof over our head that belongs to us. We don't rent and we don't have a massive mortgage which means that, in a few years time, we can potentially be mortgage free!

But happiness doesn't come from these materialistic things. Happiness is about waking up in the morning, looking out of the window and seeing the sun. It comes when you hear your children playing together whilst they wait for you to get out of bed. Or when one of them comes into your room for a cuddle.

My children make me truly happy. They are really good kids. They have their moments like any child but in the grand scheme of children, they are really, really good kids. Seeing them together just fills my heart with so much pride and joy and all I want to do is make them feel as happy as they make me feel.

366 Project 2016 Days 73 - 79

On Sunday, Miss C went out for a friend's birthday for the full day. The house was so quiet without her there. Z and Husband went out for a 6 mile bike ride whilst I got on with some work. Miss C got home just before dinner and she told us all about her day. It sounded like she had a lot of fun!

It was back to school and placement on Monday but it was a pretty quick day! When we got home, the kids finished off their homework and then played outside. We had fajitas for dinner which were delicious.

On Tuesday, after a day at placement, I picked the kids up from my friend's house and Z announced that he had to make a model of planet to hand in on Friday. Husband picked up the supplies to make a paper mache Earth and they got to work on it after our carbonara dinner.

On Wednesday, I had another day in placement. I do love going to placement as we have a lot of fun; it really doesn't feel like work! I picked the kids up from school and we headed to the dentist for our bi-annual check up. We all got a thumbs up for keeping our teeth clean and healthy! The kids enjoyed playing in the sunshine after dinner.

I had the day off college on Thursday so after dropping the kids off at school, I got on with some college work and caught up with a bit of Hollyoaks. I'll definitely miss these days off once I'm working full time. Z finished his project for school which was to make a model of a planet. He chose Earth and I think he did a fantastic job!

It was back to college on Friday. The day went pretty quickly, as usual. On my way home, my Mother in Law was finishing work and gave me a lift home so we had a catch up with a cup of tea and some cake. After dinner, Miss C wanted to watch Black Beauty so I watched it with her in her room. Z and Husband watched Despicable Me 2 before Z headed to his Friday club.

Saturday was my day to be a taxi in the morning! I dropped Z off at Karate, headed to the shops with Miss C to get our food shop and then rushed back to Karate to pick Z up. After lunch we headed down to our local Next store for a nosy in their mid-season sale. I managed to get a few bits but not as much as I would normally get at the Summer and Christmas sale. The rest of the afternoon was spent at home, kids playing outside, Husband cleaning the cars and I did the ironing!

Saturday, 19 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - My Favourite Movie

I don't watch a lot of movies and I haven't seen a lot of the classics. In fact, I hadn't seen Dirty Dancing until I got together with Husband and he made me watch it. I loved it! Husband is a huge movie buff and will pretty much watch anything whereas I have a taste in films and I don't really watch a movie unless it falls into these categories: Disney, RomCom, Chick Flick or Action Packed, preferably starring Tom Hardy or some other fine specimen of a man. I don't like Sci-Fi unless it's action packed with a bit of humour. I can't stand alien films, robot films or things like Gremlins. And I absolutely hate horrors. So narrowing down all the movies I've ever seen to my favourite wasn't too hard. 

My favourite movie has to be Clueless. It was one of the first chick flicks I watched and I still love it to this day. It is really light hearted but at the time I watched it, as a teenager, I really empathised with the girls because they were going through all the emotions and experiences I was going though. 

Cher is my favourite girl in the movie. I love her outlook on life. She is always so positive even though she comes across as spoiled sometimes. And naive. So naive. 

I love that she gets together with Josh at the end of the film. I think I saw that coming from halfway through. 

I think I'll need to go and watch it now! Some of my other favourite chick flicks are Never Been Kissed and She's All That. Those were the movies of my teenage years!

Friday, 18 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - A Photograph of Myself

Hello! It's me! 

A quick selfie just before drying my hair. I'm not great at taking selfies. Apparently there is an art to it if you check out the celebrity selfies on Instagram. They always look amazing! 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

My February on Instagram

I'm a bit late posting my collage of Instagram photos for February! It was a rather tasty month featuring pancakes, chocolate cake and Krispy Kremes.

My favourite photo has to be the one of Z and Miss C on the tyre swing. I love how I've caught the sun rays in the corner of the photo and the kids were having so much fun.

31 Day Blogging Challenge - My Favourite Blogs

Part of the reason I started blogging almost 7 years ago now was down to my love of reading other blogs. It is such a lovely community to be a part of and I've met some wonderful people in the flesh as a result of blogging. Choosing my absolute favourite bloggers is hard because I'm sure I'll miss someone out. What I will say is that my favourite blogs to read are available to check out for yourself on the right hand side of my blog under "My Favourite Blogs".

Mummy Daddy Me

I've followed Katie since she first started blogging when her eldest daughter was born. I love her sense of humour and writing style and by god does she take beautiful photographs. I also love watching her videos on YouTube; she's so creative!

Susan K Mann

I've met Susan in person a fair few times now and, as a fellow Scottish blogger, I love reading about the boys and her little girl. She is such a beautiful person, inside and out.

Dear Beautiful

Lucy is another blogger that I have followed since her Beautiful Boy was born. She also takes amazing photographs and I love watching her videos on YouTube.

The Brick Castle

Jenny is such a wonderful and amazing person. I've never met her in real life but I have spoken with her on many occasions via social media. She loves LEGO and has recently been adopted by a cat.

Write Like No-one's Watching

Charlotte's blog is one that I recently came across, within the last year or so. It was actually through her YouTube channel that I found her. I love her writing style and I could listen to her talk all day because her voice reminds me of where I spent my teenage years.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - My Thoughts on Education

Education is such a topical subject and everyone will always have something to say on the matter whether your child attends public or private school or if they are home-schooled. In the UK, every child has the right to an education. It's the law. How you choose to educate your child is down to you and your own beliefs and what you want your child to get from their education.

What are my thoughts on education?

Z and Miss C attend a public school. I would love to have been in the position to send them both to a private school and have the luxury of smaller class sizes and access to more resources and activities however our nearest private school is 20 miles away and with myself not working full time, we couldn't afford two sets of fees. The important thing for me is that the kids enjoy going to school and like their teachers.

Of course we have additional support needs for Z in that he is a highly able pupil, who was moved up a year in 2014. He skipped from Primary 2 to Primary 4. A scholarship may have been an option for him at a private school but he is very settled and has an amazing group of friends at his school. Could he be more challenged? Yes he could; but he is happy and doesn't feel under pressure from being pushed too much and I believe that his happiness will enable him to continue to do extremely well in school.

There have been talks about increasing the age a child starts school from age 4/5 to age 7 to coincide with Finland and their excellent attainment rates. Personally I think it depends on the child. If Z had stayed on at nursery until he was 7, he would have been bored and the teachers would have had to find ways to keep him engaged and challenged. Whereas Miss C would probably have enjoyed staying on at nursery and starting school this year. She turns 7 in May. Every child is unique and therefore their ability to do things like learning to read and write will vary according to them.

One thing that I don't agree with is the Chancellor's idea of increasing the number of hours children attend school in a day. This proposal is for schools in England although I can see Scotland following suit because they want to get more parents back in to work to support the economy and childcare is such a huge expenditure for working parents if they don't have family or friends to help out. A way to solve this? Increase how many hours the kids spend in school. They are already looking at doubling the provision of early education for 2, 3 and 4 year olds in Scotland to help parents get back in to work. Six hours is already long enough for children. 30 hours a week! I know some people who only work half of those hours in a week. Children need the opportunity to be outdoors, playing with friends or taking part in extra curricular activities, not spending more hours in a classroom!

The last thing that I've noticed being talked about a lot is the introduction of formal assessments for primary school aged children. Should we be testing them as young as 4/5? Again I think it depends on the individual child. When Z was 5, he went through a series of formal assessments to identify how he could be supported in school. However he wasn't told he was going to be tested; the assessor made it sound like something interesting to Z. Having said that, they could have told Z he was going to do some tests and he would have loved it! There are benefits to assessments as they enable the teachers to plan for the children to help them progress or to identify if the child needs some form of support. But there are ways that can be done without making it a standardised testing system. Children don't need that kind of pressure in primary school! They will have enough of it when it comes to sitting their standard grades or GCSEs.

I'm not sure what the answer is in finding the perfect form of education for children in the UK. Perhaps making the move from nursery into primary a more fluid transition instead of boom, let's learn to read,write and count might be a good start and making childcare more accessible and more affordable for parents too. Ultimately though I guess so long as the children are happy and given the opportunity to enjoy being children is all that really matters.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - Where Will I be in 5 Years Time?

Five years may seem like quite awhile away but in fact, it really isn't and I'm sure I'll be turning 36 in the blink of an eye. I haven't really thought about next year and what we'll be doing, never mind in five years time but here are some of the things I hope will have happened.

I hope to have graduated from University

Once I finish my college course in June, I'm hoping to get a full time permanent job fairly quickly. At the moment I'm able to do supply work but until a full time position comes up, that's really all I can do within Early Education. However once I have a full time job and have gained 2 years working experience, I'm going to apply to University to enter third year of the BA in Childhood Practice. My plan is to do the last year of my degree over two years so I can do it part time at night. All being well, in less than 5 years time, I'll have graduated with a BA.

Perhaps we'll have moved house

We've been talking about moving house for awhile. There isn't anything wrong with our current house but we want more space, especially as the kids are getting older. Whilst we have 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms, Miss C's room is quite small and I'd like to move to a house with 4 bedrooms so we can have a guest room for whenever family come to stay, which they do quite often. The area we live in is fine but there are nicer houses and nicer areas to live in where we stay and I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to move to something bigger and nicer if we can.

Will we have made it back to Florida?

Our holiday to Florida was amazing and whilst we said it might just be a once in a lifetime trip, we knew even before we went for the first time that we'd want to go back. We were talking about going back in 2019, when Miss C would be 10 and Z would be 12. This would mean the kids could enjoy all the rides and experiences Florida has to offer. It would also give us time to go on a few other holidays before saving for a big one again. Florida is amazing but it means a lot of hard work and saving for!

I hope that our little family is still happy and healthy

Two things that I feel we definitely take for granted in our fast paced life; our happiness and our health. We've have had many ups and downs over the last 5 years and I'm sure we will experience both over the next 5 years. Thankfully we have all felt happy and have been healthy in the last 5 years and long may that continue over the next 5 years and beyond. There are times where we wished we could have had a bigger house or a bigger car, more holidays or more money but the fact is, these are materialistic things that in the grand scheme of things, really don't matter. They help, of course they do, but the roof that's currently over our head is someone else's idea of a palace. Your happiness and your health is your biggest wealth in life.

Sibling Moments #27

These two delight in each other's company. Well most of the time they do. Miss C loves to show her big brother what she can do and how she does it and Z loves teaching his little sister the ways of the world since he has a whole 1 year and 361 days more experience of it than her.

Of course, there are times when they don't get on and they really know how to wind each other up. Despite these moment, we know that they love each other and would be lost without the other.

Miss C went out on Sunday for the full day with some of her friends from school. Z mentioned that the house was so quiet without his sister there. And even though he laughed that it was so peaceful without her, we could tell he was missing his companion. He had no one to play Minecraft with or to go on a bike ride with. When Husband made himself two chicken burgers and one for Z and I, Z was the first to say, "why didn't you keep one for C?"

And even in this picture, where Miss C went mental at Z for putting his arm around her, she was the one who leaned in to him. 

The Me and Mine Project

Monday, 14 March 2016

31 Day Blogging Challenge - My 3 Healthy Habits

Before I got pregnant with Z, I used to smoke. I don't know why I ever started smoking. It's such a nasty habit and it makes you smell horrible not to mention it being extremely unhealthy. But knowing that I wanted to have a baby, I gave up, cold turkey and I haven't smoked in 10 years.

Aside from smoking, I've always tried to be healthy but I'm a firm believer in everything in moderation. I don't deny myself a treat if I fancy it but I make sure I eat plenty of fruit and veg and drink plenty of water every day.

My 3 healthy habits would be:

Drinking lots of water

I must drink almost 3 litres of water a day and aside from a cup of tea or coffee a day, it's the only thing I drink. I don't drink juice especially fizzy stuff unless I'm having an alcoholic drink but even that's a rarity. I'm constantly peeing which is the only downside but I always feel better for drinking lots of water and I feel it helps me to feel full so I don't snack a lot.

Exercising 4-5 times per week

I walk a lot. In fact the only day my car gets used is on a Thursday when I need to collect the kids straight after college and at the weekend to do my shopping and when we go horse riding. Otherwise I'm walking. I also workout at home 4 times a week. I get up an hour earlier than I need to so I can exercise for around 20 minutes. I use a kettlebell in my workout and I do a lot of cardio. Horse riding is another great way to keep fit. I really feel it in my legs two days after my lesson.

Having a positive outlook

I look for the positive in every situation if I can. Of course I'm only human and sometimes that can be easier said than done. But I do genuinely believe that if you have a positive outlook on life then you'll attract positivity to your life. I can't stand constant negativity and I try to keep myself away from people like that. Everyone is entitled to an off day and believe me, I've had them myself. But when your life is a constant cloud of negativity, well it just isn't healthy.

Art of Animation Disneyworld Florida - Review

When choosing to stay onsite in Disneyworld Florida, there are so many beautiful and fun resorts to choose from. We decided to go with the most recently built Art of Animation after friends stayed there when it first opened and loved it. It was the theme of the hotel too; The Little Mermaid is my favourite Disney film.

Art of Animation not only features The Little Mermaid. If you are a Lion King, Cars or Finding Nemo fan then you have the choice of staying in one of those areas of the resort. But even if you aren't a fan of those films, you'll love the Art of Animation for it's family and fun feel. Everything is really bright and animated. It is located within the Wide World of Sports area of the Disneyworld resort and is closest to Hollywood Studios and the two water parks; Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. The furthest away park is Magic Kingdom and it takes around 20 minutes to get there.

The Little Mermaid area of the resort is ideal for parties of 4 or less. Having said that, if you are travelling as 4 adults or even with teenagers, you may want to consider getting two rooms as there are only 2 double beds. There isn't a lot of room in them but they represent great value for a family like us who were only really using the room for showering and sleeping. You get a small fridge in the room, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, safe, a dressing area and 3 small drawers. There is also a small table and two chairs. You can watch my room tour here.

The Cars, Lion King and Finding Nemo sections are suites, sleeping families of up to 6. They have a queen sized bed in one room, a double sofa bed and a double bed that pulls down at the table area. They also have a kitchenette, a living area and 2 bathrooms. We considered a suite but the price difference between a Little Mermaid room and a family suite was almost £1500 for the two weeks and that was money better spent on good food and shopping. However, Art of Animation does offer you the cheapest option in terms of getting a suite for your family in Disneyworld because it is classed as a value resort.

Despite it being classed as value resort, you are staying on Disney property and it certainly doesn't feel like a bottom of the pack place to stay. Arriving at Art of Animation is simply breathtaking. The building is beautiful in that it's very colourful and fun. The kids were in awe and couldn't wait to get inside. The cast members can't do enough for you and they are so friendly and cheery.

The reception area is like a rainbow on one side and then you have the progression of animation on the other wall. Drawings from the four films feature everywhere. Within the reception building there is the Ink & Paint shop to buy souvenirs and any medicines, the Pixel Play arcade and the Landscape of Flavours restaurant.

As you exit the main building, you are greeted by Disneyworld's largest pool; the Big Blue Pool. It was such a fun pool to visit with a splash play area and a large pool where you could listen to music under the water. The kids loved it and even though there weren't any slides, they really enjoyed swimming in the pool and joining in with the various pool side activities run by the cast members from the kids' club. There are another two pools within the resort located in the Cars area and The Little Mermaid area. This was another pool we used a lot because it was right outside our room. The pools were spotless as were the toilets within the pool area. At the Big Blue Pool, you'll find the pool bar where you can get free water and plenty of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Every pool has a selection of life jackets for children to borrow and we found we used them to give Miss C a bit more confidence in the deeper end of the pool. There were plenty of sunbeds and tables and chairs too. Also within the Finding Nemo section is a small playground but I'd say it was more suitable for younger children. Z was definitely too old for it!

The kids' club runs throughout the day with loads of pool side activities. At night, they have films under the stars on a blow up projector. The kids went to watch The Incredibles on their last night and Miss C actually fell asleep on her blanket. Within the reception area, there is an artist area where you can learn to draw some of your favourite Disney characters. This is available on certain days and times which you can check with reception.

Childcare services are available to book at a cost but they aren't located within Art of Animation, These are located within some of the deluxe resorts within the Magic Kingdom area, Animal Kingdom area and Epcot area. Art of Animation do offer in room babysitting and the hourly rate depends on how many children you have. We didn't use either service but it's good to know that the option is there should you wish to have a child-free day or night.

The Landscape of Flavours, where we ate breakfast most mornings and the occasional dinner, has a huge selection of main meals and snacks. If you wanted Indian but your partner fancied Italian, you could both please your taste buds! The food was fine but it was always busy which meant sometimes my food was almost cold by the time we got the kids pizza or pasta (the most popular section) and found a table. Price wise, it was really reasonable. Staying onsite, you aren't going to eat as cheaply as you would if you went out on to International Drive but an average breakfast cost us $29 which is around £18. Sometimes the seating area wasn't the cleanest but with so many people moving through, it wasn't bad either.

We had a few issues with our room. First off, the sheets weren't clean on one of the beds when we arrived. The second day, they replaced our towels but one of them had a massive yellow stain on it. The third day the toilet hadn't been cleaned properly. Z and Husband were both very ill on the second day of our 15 day trip and we wondered if it was down to the cleanliness of the room...or lack off. However, credit where credit is due, the staff couldn't have been more helpful and the head of housekeeping checked our room every day after we reported the incidents. It didn't spoil our trip bar the bit of sickness and tummy upset.

The towels were replaced in the room every day and you can ask for more as and when you need them. You can take the towels from the room to the pool which saves you precious suitcase space which you will definitely need!

Parking at the resort is free for onsite guests and you can park at any of the parks for free as an onsite guest. There are buses on a fairly regular basis from outside the reception to all of the parks and Disney Springs area and these are complimentary. There are usually quite a few pick ups first thing in the morning, which is when the buses are really busy, and they start maybe around an hour to an hour and a half before the parks open. Then it dies down to around every 20 minutes. Depending on the season, you may have to get more than one bus to a water park but buses to the theme parks are always direct; you don't have to stop at any other hotels for pick ups or drop offs and it's the same coming back from a park.

As an onsite guest, if you choose not to hire a car from the airport, you can book yourself on to the Disney Magical Express which is a complimentary bus to and from the airport.

Overall, we were really impressed with the Art of Animation. It is a huge resort filled with colour, fun and most importantly, magic! The kids loved it as did Husband and I. Would we go back and stay there? Yes, although we would like to stay at some of the other resorts as well. But for our first Disneyworld experience, it was a great resort that offered us good fun and good value for money.

If you are considering booking a Disneyworld resort, it's worth noting that, at this time anyway, Art of Animation does not offer any sort of free dining incentive unlike some of the other value resorts that sometimes offer free breakfast.

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