Monday, 31 March 2014

A family that plays together.....

I've been thinking recently just how true the old saying, 'a family that plays together.... stays together' is. Since we have moved to East Sussex we seem to have fallen into a pattern of going out somewhere fun as a family every week. This normally happens on a Sunday afternoon but it can be any time during the weekend.

We are absolutely blessed to have moved to this part of the country as there is so much here to do and we do not even have to spend much to have fun - thank goodness for beaches, woodland and parks.

I do feel that spending all this time together and just letting ourselves go and having fun is making a real difference to the family dynamic. The kids seem to love getting us to really play with them and make fools of ourselves.

Last night I was chatting to dh about how much I am enjoying all our days out together and he asked me if I felt more relaxed living here.  I had to think for a moment and then replied 'of course, how could I fail to be as I don't have the stress of running to a job anymore and coming too too late to then struggle with tea and bedtimes etc'. He also said he felt differently living here and how much he appreciated being able to sleep in the morning rather than commute into London by train.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

A year in photos - week 13

Last weekend the kids and I went on a treasure hunt with our local church youth group and then on Sunday after church it was a trip to the beach, park and for home-made gelato - fabulous!

One of my little treasure hunters

Friday, 28 March 2014

Finding joy in the every day

Psalm 47:1 - Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
It is so easy to get tied up in the minutiae of life and to feel like nothing is going right but I truly find that when you allow yourself to wallow in all the bad stuff that is going on, that is when your joy gets sucked away and the downward spiral starts.

The truth is that at the moment I have a cold and whilst I'm not on deaths door I do feel pretty rotten and bed would be the best place for me. As a mother of three whose husband is at work bed is not a place I can entertain visiting at the moment, so instead I am choosing to set my eyes on the joy in the day.

For the last few years I've maintained that we make a choice to be grateful and that often circumstances have little to do with it. You can wake in the morning and think everything will be crap and funny enough the day turns out to be pretty darn rubbish. Or you can choose to desire what you already have, to be content with it and that is when you find you have a joy filled day.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

How does your garden grow? March 2014

I'm going to try and join  in with linky at least once a month so I can see how the gardens here develop and change over the course of a year. February was all about the pinks and greens in the garden, loads of fabulous camellias and azaleas and slowly these are dying off but the colour is replaced with blossom, daffodils and much more.

All the photos are taken this week in the area of the West Lawn. I was walking through it today to get to our shed and get the girls bikes out and instead of moaning how far we have to go for the bikes I choose to remember how blessed I am to live here and grabbed my camera.

View up the west lawn towards the main house and Orangery

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Would you go to night school?

Driving home from my evening class last week I realised that I've failed to mention anything on here about the fact that I've been going to night classes since last September.  Why was this I started to muse.....  and you know what? I have no idea why it has failed to get a mention.

It certainly isn't that I'm embarrassed or keeping it a secret, people that know me in real life know I am doing a sewing class. In fact, I'm enjoying it loads and finally starting to grow in confidence. I've not been natural at sewing at all, it has been quite a hard slog and that has been an interesting learning curve for me, because (as big headed as it sounds) I'm used to being good at things and doing them well, first time. Sewing is very good at keeping me real and humble as I have to keep unpicking things and doing them again. The whole inside out/ backwards logic of sewing does not sit well with me!

I turned up at my first class in September thinking that everyone would be in the same boat, it was a class for beginners after all but no, everyone else knew how to use their machine and do the basics, I literally had no idea how to thread my machine. The last time I used a sewing machine was 25 years ago at school.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Pink for a Girl and Blue for a Boy – How do we challenge the rules?

Pretty in pink or just stereotyped?
By Lisa Bradburn

It seems impossible to get away from the fact that most girls love pink and boys blue, but has society influenced them or is it innate? And as the director of a toy company, how do I navigate these muddy waters?

There has been much research into gender stereotyping in children. The media covers the topic frequently, taking the debate to the level of the national economy and campaigns such as Let Toys Be Toys and Goldie Blox encourage girls to play with traditionally boys toys and vice versa.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Exciting development on eBay - great for sellers and buyers alike

I was quite an early user of eBay and I remember when JJ was a baby ten years ago selling all his baby clothes and for a while I went to car boots and jumbles to buy quality clothes for literally 20p a piece, then I used to wash the clothes up and make up bundles of Next children's clothes to sell. It was a nice little earner whilst I was on maternity leave and I really enjoyed myself too, something to stop me from developing baby brain!

Of course once I went back to my regular job I didn't have the time to keep up with this but I've always bought and sold on eBay and it is my first port of call when I need to purchase something. I love the flexibility of being able to buy new or second-hand in the same place and also you can very often benefit from free postage.

There is now a new reason for me to be visiting eBay. As well as to sell or buy goods, I can now use the site to curate beautiful collections of items and this exciting feature has a variety of uses
  • As a seller I might want to show off to my buyers how they can style one of my products by showing it with accessories and related items. 
  • Or as a buyer I might want to create a visual moodboard for a room I am looking to make over. What a great way to collect all your ideas in one place and to be able to visually see if what was in your heads works in reality.
  • Equally as a buyer I might want to create a wishlist, showing what I desire as wedding gifts or for a special birthday. The kids can even use it to put their Christmas lists together too.
  • or it might just be that I need a place to sort my own head out and to be able to navigate through the immense amount of choices we have nowadays
If you create a collection it will be public for all to see and interested parties can follow your collection so they can be inspired by what you are curating. Celebrities are also creating collections, so if following Danni Minogues style is your kind of thing then go ahead, she has a collection.


I've been working with eBay over the last couple of months to try out this new collections function and you can view my collections over on my Mummy from the Heart eBay account. I've enjoyed the time creating these collections, I'll be honest it has been a bit labour intensive as it was new to me and I wanted to get it just right but an average person wouldn't be creating twelve collections all in one go!

When eBay asked me to create collections around the theme of parenting my head went off in all different directions, what topics shall I choose? The inspiration for my first collection was taken from my six year old twin girls who are Hello Kitty mad, I know it would be there dream to have a Hello Kitty bedroom.


My next collection is probably my favourite and I have to admit that I want to go and buy every item in the collection, if only I had a few hundred pounds a few less stones! My school run capsule wardrobe collection is created with a few staple items and lots of accessories so you can look stylish in navy, white and red.

At the moment I have 12 collections and I'll be creating more in the next few days, why don't you head over to eBay and take a peek and if you want to start your own collection then watch my lovely friend Jen, who has worked with eBay to create a short video about the new collections feature -



Disclosure: I have been commissioned by Ebay to write this post and to help them publicise their new collections feature.
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Saturday, 22 March 2014

A year in photos - week 12

Happy weekend, I hope this has been a good week for you. Mine has been uneventful but that is good, the kids started swimming lessons, I've been busy with voluntary work and the rain has mostly stayed away! Last Sunday we used our new NT membership again and visited Sheffield Park and I got some snaps I'm proud of.

I managed to get some catch lights in Miss M's eyes and from what I have been reading that is a good thing! I do feel as if I can see right into her through those blue eyes in this picture.


Look at my cheeky girl Miss E, this used to be my shy and demure twin, now she is full of mischief and great fun.


Feeling very love up with my kids this week, here they are again!


This is Sheffield Park gardens - it really is stunning, such a good space to meet friends and for the kids to play together.


This picture was a bit of  mistake but I ended up liking it. I was using a zoom lens to try and focus on a swan quite some distance away and what I actually did was focus on the bush right up close!


Here is a little chap we met while at the park -


Then for a bit of fun here is the moon over Eastbourne beach the other night as dusk fell. We enjoyed a car picnic of fish and chips.


Thanks for stopping by, all your kind comments really brighten my day. Have a blessed weekend, Mich x

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky
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Friday, 21 March 2014

A visit to the Hotter shoe shop

I've been a fan of Hotter shoes for a while now. I have a few pairs, a super comfy pair of boots that have done three winters now, a pair of Leanne trainers that travelled to Ethiopia with me and have covered thousands of miles on my walks and more recently a pair of Jewel pumps and a gorgeous red handbag.

So it is fair to say that I'm not new to Hotter comfort concept shoes. I am however, new to visiting one of their shops, all my dealings with them before have been online via their website. I was excited to see what they had in stock ready for Spring when my blogger visit was organised for the Eastbourne store earlier this week.


I arrived at the shop about 11.30am and approached Hayley the manager, my first words to her were 'wow, is this your busiest day of the year?'.  I could not believe it, there were probably 30 people in the shop actively looking at and trying on shoes, every seat was taken and it is safe to say it was heaving. I stayed in the shop for a good half hour before I tried anything on as I wanted to observe the service. I can honestly tell you that their service is superb, there were four assistants serving multiple customers at a time and Hayley walking the floor overseeing it all, offering help and talking to the customers.

When it came to my turn to try on my shoes I was served by Jess and asked her to try two pairs of shoes, she also bought me back an alternate style as her recommendation. She choose sandals that I would never have looked at in a million years but I thought I ought to try them on and they were super comfy and I might even head back in a month or so to buy them for summer. I was offered everything I needed - footrest, shoe horn etc.  I liked the service as it was attentive but not over bearing.


I choose which shoes I would have to review and was told about how to clean them and preserve them and yes I did end up buying a can of both!  I don't normally get persuaded to buy extras but I do like my new tan 'precious' shoes so much that I want to keep them looking nice. I thought it was really good that Jess reminded me they are a character leather and this means they can scratch and will start to look a little worn. For me this is part of the charm but I know for others that might not be the case, so good to be told I feel.

The Precious shoes come in the regular width fitting for Hotter (which is an E) and they fitted lovely. I do have very wide feet, so knowing this I just went up half a size to try them on and they felt great. Hotter shoes really are fabulously comfortable, just look at that cushioning inside and the flexible rubber sole. The Precious style shoes come in tan, black and blue and retail for £65.00 and they are available in a size 3 through to 9 and the more popular sizes also come in halves too.


It would be easy to look in the window of a Hotter shoe shop and just think the shoes are for a much older lady but don't be put off my some of the clientele, be brave, walk inside and you will see loads of stylish shoes. Mostly flats, some fabulous sandals, great wedges and some very cute heels (what I would call Mary Poppins inspired shoes). It really is worth a good look round or visit the website and browse there.

I also noticed that Hotter sells quite a large range of men's shoes too and I' never picked up on this before, so next time we visit Eastbourne I think I'll have to get my husband to have a look as well.

Many thanks to Hayley and the team at Hotter, Eastbourne. I love my shoes and you are doing a fabulous job.

Disclosure: I received my shoes free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.
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Thursday, 20 March 2014

As a parent I am the antidote to the norms and expectations of society



It's been a funny old week on social media, loads of bare-faced (ie: no make-up) selfie snaps have started to crop up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. What I've seen is lots of women getting on board and doing this (hurting no one I must add) and then a whole load of other people slating them for doing it. What right has anyone to judge another's actions when they are causing no harm?

For the record I'm not big on the viral campaigns that happen on social media every so often and I choose not to get involved. Declaring what bra colour I'm wearing and being cryptic to all the men on Facebook does not appeal to me but I just quietly decline and carry on donating and raising awareness for the charities that ignite my passion.

However many people are completely for cancer related charities and I get that and they want to do their bit to help. So posting a no-make photo on a social media channel won't change the world but it might help one women think about checking her breasts, or a guy his balls for a lump. That's good, right?

I feel mad as anything that after all the animosity people now seem to feel they have to justify why they are posting a selfie picture and we are now seeing lots of images of confirmation of text donations to Cancer Research. People, you do not have to justify your actions to the social media police. You are an adult, do what suits you, we all make our own decisions. Post a photo if you want, post a link to Cancer Research, post a link to how to check for signs of cancer or make a donation, it is completely down to you.

What I have been really pleased to see this week is lots of conversations about women, about our faces without make-up, about our laughter lines, about societies expectations of us and how we should look. These are great conversations. When I see things like my SIL showing her 17 year old daughter that it is OK to go out in public without make-up and feel good about it, my heart lifts a bit.

As mother I feel I need to try and offer the antidote to the norms and expectations that society, TV program's, glossy magazines and advertising are placing on my children. I regularly go without make-up. Why? Because I want to? Sometimes I can't be arsed, sometimes I want to give my skin a rest and other times it might just be too hot in the summer to worry.

This doesn't mean that I'm lucky and I have no spots or lines. I'm 40 years old and about 7 stone overweight, I have my issues, which you will clearly realise if you have ever read this blog before but I do feel passionate that even though there are parts we want to change, we must not get hung-up with what is expected of us. We can tell our children all sorts of wonderful things and encourage them to live different to us but you know what will stay with them? Your actions, they watch you and learn from you and when you flinch when they cuddle your flab they see that and subconsciously register 'fat is bad'. So in the same ilk when you refuse to never go bare-faced they register that and the subconscious says 'ladies must wear make-up every day'.

You might read that and get mad at me, what am I putting on you? All these responsibilities that you hold as a parent, they just feel too much to bare and how will you cope? But you will, we all do. We won't do parenting and modelling perfectly but we will do it good enough and we need to give ourselves a break and recognise that we are good enough and real. perfection does not exist!

And there ends my rant. What is your take on this?

Oh and if you feel like donating to Cancer Research then I'll make it easy for you and here's the link - http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/
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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Trying out my new Fitbug Orb Activity Tracker


This is the third time I'm trying out an activity tracker and I have to say I really like this one. The first one I had to return to work as it was just part of a short-term initiative, the second one got wet and it seems to have died and this third one is the Fitbug Orb.

What is it?
This is the first time I'm trying out a Fitbug product and I'm really happy with it. The Orb is a small disc which is about 3cm diameter and you can wear it in various ways, as a bracelet, clipped to your belt, pocket (wherever basically) or around your neck. I love that all three attachments come as standard with your Orb so you can choose what suits you and adjust it to suit different times/ activities. In the main I have been wearing mine clicked onto the pocket of my jeans and it is discreet and stays on firm. So firm that I'll let you in on a little secret, mine had a wash and got tumble dried and miracle upon miracles it is OK and is still working just fine (I obviously recommend you treat yours better than I did!).

When you purchase your Orb for the very reasonable price of £49.95 you can choose from three colour ways for the accessories - bright pink, black or white. The original purchase comes with a battery to place in the Orb and whilst this is good in a way, as there is no recharging necessary, it does mean you will have to change the battery and purchase new ones (they estimate the battery should last about four months). Not a big issue as the batteries cost just 95p direct from Fitbug but just something to consider.

The Fitbug Orb does the same things as most of these activity type trackers do - count your steps, track aerobic movement, monitor the quality of your sleep and track calories burned. You can also input your food consumption so you can see how your input and output matches up.

What is it compatible with?
The Orb has been designed to be used with a free to download app but my issue came in that it is only available for about ten Android products and for iPhone users (like me) you have to have a 4S or newer phone. This meant that I can't have the app to be able to stream and track my movements on the go, which is a shame.

However, it wasn't the end of the world as Fitbug kindly sent me a dongle (which you can purchase for £9.99 if you would like to sync with your laptop). As I regularly sit down at my laptop anyway it just meant that each time I did I pressed the small button on my Orb and a green light comes on and the data syncs to my PC and then I can check my dashboard to see how I am doing. It is all very easy and intuitive to understand.


Set up of the Orb
I didn't find it hard at all to get the Orb ready to go, insert the battery, log on to Fitbug and then input a few details such as your weight and Bobs your uncle you can start to use it. The first week the Orb just tracks and gets to know you and your patterns of movement and then it can start to set you goals.

How can I get motivated?
You'll find that you start to receive emails very quickly from Fitbug, practically every day so if you do not want them that frequently just go in and adjust the settings in your dashboard. There are some great feature articles highlighted in lots of the emails and if you need a good kick up the bum and to get motivated, then these will probably work a treat for you.

Kik is your personal digital coach and it monitors all that you are doing and eating (as long as your sync and update your other details regularly) and then you'll find it gives you suggestions and short motivational messages.

Overall opinion
I think the Fitbug Orb is a great product and it does an awful lot for it's price-point. Its is versatile, sturdy and looks good. I'll give it a 8/10, it has only lost points as I cannot get the app for my iPhone 4 and also because I'll need to replace the battery.

You can also check out what a couple of other friendly bloggers thought about the Orb, here is a review from Vic at Verily Victoria Vocalises and also one from Tinuke at Circus Mums.

Disclosure: I received this product free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

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Monday, 17 March 2014

Slaughter - It is becoming normal to us...

It's hard to believe that the Syrian conflict has been going on for three years now. Saturday just gone marked the third anniversary and the situation there is as appalling as ever. I won't pretend to you that I know all the ins and outs of what is happening in Syria but the bits I do know horrify me and make me feel physically sick. Last night as I wrote this I read about the 140,000 deaths of Syrian people that happened before the United Nations stopped counting in January.  That really did break my heart; this is so out of control that they cannot even keep up with the amount of people dying as a result of all this.

How can it be that in this day and age a small group of local people can't take to the streets for a peaceful protest without the army opening fire on them and causing three years of heartache? As well as the 140,000 deaths there are over 2.5 million refugees who have had to flee Syria to the neighbouring countries.


Last night I sat and read an account about a Syrian lady called Safiyyah. She is 23 years old and the mother to a toddler. Before she fled Syria she was training to be a teacher. It therefore makes sense that she is working as a supervisor in a kindergarten for Syrian refugee children in Jordan. The kindergarten is run by a local charity in partnership with Tearfund. Safiyyah felt she had no choice but to leave Syria, not when there were tanks shooting at them in the street and she was regularly witnessing friends and family being attacked, mutilated and slaughtered. She is quoted as saying -‘It’s normal. It’s becoming normal to us.’ It makes no sense at all that slaughter can become so commonplace that is is thought of as normal.

Safiyyah explains how she is worried for her young son, that her extreme fear during pregnancy damaged him and has affected how he will grow up. Yet her love for her country remains strong and she wishes to return to Syria so he may grow up there. Of course the Syria she desires is the one she loved prior to March 2011 and the start of this barbarism.

Syrian children at a kindergarten in Jordan. As well as education they receive a snack to supplement their diet and sessions with a psychologist each week. 

The children who get to attend this kindergarten are some of the more lucky ones, many children have no school to attend and are lost right now, just trying to stay alive living on the streets with no parents and having watched atrocities that no person should be exposed to.
Safiyyah tells of a young boy of 5 and a half who approached her to tell her his mother had been killed. 
‘I asked him, “How did she die?”  
‘He said, “We were in our home in Syria my dad asked my mum to bring him a glass of water. And she said ‘its shelling I can’t go.’” ‘But he forced her to bring him some water to drink. She went to the kitchen and a rocket came and hit the kitchen. She screamed and the children all went to go to the kitchen, but he did not allow them. ‘When the shelling was calm, they went to the kitchen and all the rubble was on top of the mother. So they were all trying, fetching, how they can help. This boy, he got hold of something of his mum, he pulled, it was the head of his mum. ‘He told me that he hates his dad. He feels that he is responsible for killing his mum. He’s 5 ½.’

It really is heart wrenching stuff. I've got two six year olds the worst they have ever had to content with is a dead mouse. No child that young should be trying to pull their mother from bomb rubble and just discovering her head.

Tearfund are working hard with their partners to support as many people as they can in Syria. You can help too.

Please pray for the people of Syria, for the refugees, for those still in the country and most importantly pray for peace and resolution (for a miracle). There are some good prayer resources from Tearfund.

Of course if you are able to give money then  please do that too. £110 will buy a whole winter kit, giving a family four mattresses, warm clothes and blankets and a simple stove. Every penny you can offer will go towards something really worthwhile for those living in terrible circumstances. 


 ‘ON HIM WE HAVE SET OUR HOPE THAT HE WILL CONTINUE TO DELIVER US, AS YOU HELP US BY YOUR PRAYERS.’
 2 COR. 1:10-11

Saturday, 15 March 2014

A year in photos - week 11

It has been a really good week, you know when things just feel right and you are happy and content. It is a nice place to be!

Taken on my Lumix G5 and nothing done to it

Taken on my Lumix G5 and then enhanced in Pic Monkey.  I like to call this one look up!

These little fellows are all over our estate and boy do they make some noise! Taken on my Lumix G5

I found this beautiful Camellia when I was on Speed Awareness course and took the pic on my iPhone.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky
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Friday, 14 March 2014

One on One time #Countrykids

I think it is really important to spend one on one time with each child at least a few times a year. Of course each child is different and what they require from their parents differs too. Miss M likes me to play make-believe schools, Miss E likes me to get outside and JJ favours a swim together.

Last weekend I was heading out for a walk, just to get a bit of exercise and also to snap a few photos when Miss E asked if she could come too and bring her camera. We had the most delightful time together snapping photos of Spring primroses, stomping in the mud and checking for tracks.






Then we finished off by enjoying a piece of cake together! How blessed are we to have all this land and a tea room right on our doorstep?


I'm joining up with Fiona at Coombe Mill for County Kids, click on the badges to head over and see what others have got up to......

 Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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I broke the law!

I’d always call myself a law abiding citizen.  I don’t think it really goes with being Christian to be breaking the law on a regular basis but the truth is that many of us are. In fact a number of times a week and often we don’t even realise it.

Back in November I was caught on camera for doing 38 mph in a 30 zone. My defence – I thought it was in a 40. Since November I have told my ‘woe is me’ tale to anyone who would listen. ‘Oh can you believe it I was on a big ‘A’ road and it changed from a 60 to 30 and I did not see any signs? Now I have to pay a £100 fine and have 3 points on my licence or go on a 4 hour speed awareness course for the cost of £85. Argghh, I’m so hard done by!’ or something along those lines.

Image Credit

This Monday was the date of my course and I turned up on time and found 24 other people all there to do the same. I felt like a criminal as we all waited in silence, none of us wanting to be there but all desiring to keep a clean licence. We headed in for the course and after the usual housekeeping the trainer asked us what we hoped to get from the course. Obviously 95% of us where there as we had to be and some were candid enough to say this. I’ll admit I was one of those people and I could not imagine any value coming from this course.

Having now sat through my 4 hours, I’ll tell you that yes it is too long and could be condensed but then I realise they don’t want to make it too easy. However, the course content is excellent, I think every driver should attend this course and have a refresher and learn about the impact their driving can have.

I wanted to share with you some of the information I learnt on this course.

Are you aware of the street lighting rule? It seems to have been around for ever but has changed in the last twenty years since I started driving, there is no longer any rule about the distance between the street light. Basically nowadays if there are (three of more) street lights on either side of the road then it is a 30 mph unless there are clear signs to say otherwise.

In the absence of street lights you can then assume the road is national speed limit, again unless there are clear signs to the contrary.

Did you know that national speed limit means different things for different vehicles? Large vans, towing cars and minibuses all have a maximum speed of 50 mph where the road is a single carriageway and is national speed limit. Large goods lorries then have to go slower still and the maximum is 40 mph. Why is this important to you if you don’t drive one of those? Because it means you need never get irate again behind a slower vehicle, they are just keeping to the law and being safe.

Do dual carriageways have to have 2 lanes for each side of the road? No, not at all. What makes a road a dual carriageway and takes the national speed limit for cars up to 70 mph is the fact that it has a central reservation (a physical barrier – hedge, grassed area, concrete divider, metal low barrier etc)

Have you ever heard the phrase – ‘Only a fool breaks the two second rule’? I hadn’t before yesterday but it is a useful one. We spoke a lot about tailgating and how dangerous it is. If you are being followed too closely by another car the answer is to ease off the gas and start to slow a little, this creates room between you and the car in front and either allows the impatient car behind to overtake or at least you get safe breaking distance in the event of an accident.

The two second rule is about watching the car in front of you and as it goes past a fixed marker you would start to count ‘one thousand, two thousand’ and if you reach that marker as you finish speaking then you are staying a good two seconds behind them and have kept a safe distance.

Why are 30 mph roads so important?  I’ll be honest, I always feel 30 mph is far too slow, it feels boring and I think to myself can another 5 mph really hurt or often I won’t even be looking at the speedo and won’t notice my speed has crept up.

I learnt that if I hit a pedestrian at 20 mph there is 2% chance I’ll kill them, at 30 mph that rises to 8% and at 40 mph it has risen to a 32% chance of killing them. Now I could be blasé or over confident and say that I’m a careful driver and I won’t hit anyone as I’d stop in the time as I always have 100% concentration but I’d be lying. I try to be careful and I try to be 100% aware but kids in the car don’t allow for that, nor does poor weather conditions, pot holes in the road or shaky emotions on a bad day!

We also saw some examples of how just a few mph at the point of breaking makes a massive difference at the point of impact. If you compare a car doing 37 mph to one doing 42 mph when they both break, the 37 mph car has managed to come to a stop by impact whereas the 43 mph one is still going at 22 mph when it impacts, how super scary is that? And who knew? I certainly didn’t.

The top tip I received was that if you have a new car (one with an electric engine management system, like all built nowadays you should drive in 3rd gear for 30mph. Your car is made to do that and is happy enough, it won’t let you go over 30 without sounding like it is really pulling and thus you will stay to the limit.

There is so much more I could share as the course was very enlightening but I expect you might be feeling a bit preached at by now. 

So if you are interested to find out more, I’d recommend these sites –
Think.Direct.Gov

ROSPA

I won't embed it as it is a bit sad but here is a recent TV ad from New Zealand encouraging drivers to slow down. It is very impacting, have a watch....
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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Happiness is..... bike riding

Two little ladies being able to ride their bikes and enjoying every moment of it!

)

Bikes and twins is not an easy situation when you have limited time that both parents are home with the kids. Add into that another child and it becomes a bit of a nightmare to get them all out and bike riding. Back in July 2011 my parents bought the girls bikes for their 4th birthday and they rode them a lots of times with their stabilisers on and had great fun that summer.  Then once the nice weather turned for winter they went away in the shed and did not come out again until the next spring. By this time Miss M was adamant she wanted to have the stabilisers taken off so we did that and then she cried lots and would not cycle at all.

There was very little time to take each one of them out alone as realistically that is what a child needs to learn. So 2012 was a bit of a write off for Miss M and cycling and then then by 2013 she was too big for her bike.  So Miss E had Miss M's as it was bigger and Miss M sulked and said she didn't want to ride anyway!  of course we then moved to East Sussex last summer and had loads of exciting things to be getting on with so bikes became low priority.

A couple of weeks back I was out washing my car at the top of a small hill and a friend was coincidentally washing her car at the bottom of the hill by her house and all her kids had their bikes out.  They invited my girls to have a go and try and use them. So using bikes without stabilisers they both kept coming up the hill using their feet and free wheeling down the hill. This small lesson in balance must have worked wonders as this was all the practise they had before we bought a new bike for Miss E home and got out JJ's old bike for Miss M and the two of them set off yesterday and made me so very happy.

Thank you Lord, I literally could have cried. One less thing for me to do and they are having a fantastic time.

They were both up, dressed, had breakfast and playing out in the courtyard by 8am this morning before school. Fantastic, who needs alarm clocks?

I'm linking this post up with -

Reasons to be Cheerful


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Sunday, 9 March 2014

A year in photos week 10

You'll know by now that I am absolutely loving this year long photographic journey that I have embarked on. Here are this weeks offerings -

Today the focus on the Better Photos Project is aperture and how we can use that to affect what is in focus and what is blurred in a picture. I've been playing with this too and I look how this flower just pops against the blurry background!

Lumix G5 on manual with F4.5 and 160 ISO

Lumix G5 on manual, F14 and 640 ISO and then edited in Pic Monkey

This little Robin is always hopping by our house and he has the most glorious bird call.

Lumix G5 on manual with F5.6 and 160 ISO

Another little friend, this time out of my back window.

Lumix G5 on manual with F5.6 and 1250 ISO

Not displayed here as it is a fabulous photo but more because I want to capture their childhood and it was World Book Day 2014. To be honest, this does show how I am progressing though, as in the past this kind of photo would have been taken inside and today we got outside and I used the light and the beautiful surroundings.


And a photo to remember a lovely day in Hastings with Miss E -

Taken on my iPhone and nothing done to it

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

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