Friday, 18 August 2017

A Family Day Visit to Seaford, East Sussex #CountryKids

A few weeks back we had a spare Sunday with nothing planned and the kids suggested a trip to the beach. Since moving to East Sussex we've been to Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings so many times and they are all great but I thought it would be nice to visit somewhere new. So we got ourselves together and headed over to Seaford, I had no idea what to expect as it is more of a local residential town rather than a tourist one.

As we visited on a Sunday there was plenty of free parking around the town and that's always a bonus. We didn't really walk around the town, preferring to head straight for the seafront as it was a lovely day. It wasn't massively busy on the seafront and the kids could easily have bought their skates, scooters or bikes with them as it is a lovely long, smooth promenade.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

It's my Birthday - Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC

Happy Thursday friends. Reasons to be Cheerful is over with Becky at Lakes Single Mum for August and will be back with me in September.

I'm away in Norfolk with my family at the moment staying in a lovely little cottage in Little Snoring. We booked via AirBnB and it was our first time but certainly won't be our last as it has been wonderful.

The owner has chicken, ducks, cats, sheep and Shetland Ponies in her grounds and my kids have been able to feed them, pet them and we have enjoyed fresh hen eggs too. Miss M has been in her absolute element, being around animals is her idea of heaven and I admit it has been magical. We head home today and I'm expecting some tears.

I came down on the morning of my birthday to find the cottage had been decorated with banners and balloons and I had a little tea party in the afternoon. I was also super impressed that Miss M and my husband managed to cook me a coffee cake when they didn't have any baking tins, weighing scales or other proper equipment!

We headed over to the Bickling Estate, a massive National Trust property and had a lovely day there on my birthday.

We had excellent fish and chips in Wells-Next-The-Sea and loved playing the penny arcades too. The kids all came away with lots of won trinkets and we had ice creams as well, won from the machines!

Then yesterday we explored the town of Cromer and it was heaving as we had arrived during carnival week!

All in all it has been a great week and I've also managed to apply for two jobs, so we will see where those applications go! Somewhere I hope as I am up for a new challenge when the kids go back to school.

Have a fab weekend and week ahead, Mich x
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Dressing my Man with Jacamo - 23 Years On

Our family back in early 2004 when JJ was being christened

My husband and I will have been together for 23 years this Christmas, we were just young 21 year olds when we met working at a hotel in Eastbourne all those years ago. It always makes me smile to think how much I was dreading being sent to work in the hotel over the Christmas period. I was based up at the London Head Office at the time but as a new Graduate Trainee Manager I wasn't allowed to have Christmas off when everyone else on the programme was working so Eastbourne it was to be!

I had visions of a run-down hotel full of grannies where bingo was the highlight of their stay. I thought all the staff would be old and stuck in their ways and the town would have shut down for the Winter period. Of course in some ways I was right, the hotel was full of elderly people and bingo was a definite attraction, as was Jean on the Piano and Malcolm on the Organ but what I hadn't banked on was that the Assistant Manager would become my husband and that most of the staff were young and there was a great many nightclubs in town all catering for our age group.

When I first met dh I wasn't too impressed if I'm honest, I thought he was a bit camp and he tried to give me a staff room with a door that wouldn't lock. I did of course notice how good he looked wearing a suit and tie and it is funny but my overriding early memories of him were that he had great hair and nails. It was almost as if I was assessing him for future pedigree!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Thirty Years on and I'm still dreaming of a Mercedes-Benz

I have to laugh when I think back to my younger years and the ambitions I had. Growing up I had a very strong sense of what I wanted from life and there wasn't any way of steering me away from it. I knew I would be a manager in a large, quality hotel after I completed university and I would work my way up to being the General Manager so I had ultimate control and was earning a good amount of money.

As a teenager I remember having the ambition of earning forty thousand pounds a year. If I earned this I thought I would be set for life, of course that was thirty years ago and it seemed a mega amount of money. Nowadays it wouldn't be buying me so much with a large family.

A four bedroom detached house with a U-shaped gravel drive was next on my must-have list. I never really had any vision of what the inside of the house would look like but I knew it would have the drive for parking my Mercedes on. I had my heart set on a sports model, a SL500 convertible in red. Mercedes-Benz has always been the premium brand that I'd love to own, even now I'd happily have one if I could find the money.

Image: Thanks to The Sandown Group

A lack of money doesn't stop me from dreaming though, I've recently been perusing the Sandown Group website to see what Mercedes-Benz I might one day own. Of course if I was to buy one now Id need something big to be able to comfortably seat all five of my family. Since having the twins ten years ago we’ve opted for a seven seater car and we could do that again and get a V class. It certainly looks awesome in comparison to our much smaller car. Oh what a joy it would be to have enough boot space for all our luggage and to take the three kids without them arguing about who is nudging who and how that bag is in their area! Also with a seven seater we can continue to share the school lifts and take our neighbours kids too, which means I get some days school journey free.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Fabulous Twin Fun - Micro Scooter Sprites - Unboxing at the Beach

As part of my girls being involved with the Start-rite back-to-school shoes campaign they were sent new Micro Scooter Sprites in the teal owl design. Start-rite want the girls to put their shoes through vigorous testing and to make sure they really can stand up to the beating that a normal 10 year old gives them. How better than by regularly scooting in their shoes and lets be honest, kids don't always use the brake on a scooter, they often do it with the sole of their shoe!

Both girls have had Micro Scooters before, they started with the Mini Micros when they were just toddlers and then moved up to the Maxi Micros when they were around 5 years and to be honest they have been moaning at me for the last couple of years that they wanted a grown up 2-wheel scooter. Well now they are super happy and their wish has come true!

The Micro Scooter Sprite scooters start from £89.95 for the silver, £94.95 for the coloured and £99.95 for the patterned ones. They are available in a variety of colours. My girls were sent the Teal Owl with a bell and flower accessory included in the box. I noticed it was on special offer last weekend so it is definitely worth keeping an eye on the Micro Scooters website and signing up for their newsletter, which will keep you informed of their current deals.

Have a watch of our video and see the girls unbox and set up their scooters themselves. I love it when a product is so easy that a 10 year old can take it out the box and do everything they need to make it ready to ride. Even putting their bell on the Sprite scooter is child's play.

My girls really are super happy with their Micro Scooter Sprites and have been having some fun with the 360 degree rotation of the skate platform. I've never really seen them be into the tricks and stuff before either but with these scooters they have been going along walls and trying to do jumps and hops too!

We've only had these scooters for a couple of weeks but I feel 100% confident they will last really well. I say this based on the Micro Scooter Speed that is in my hall. My son got it in early 2013 and it is still working now, despite him having bashed it and abused it for the last four years. Yes it can be hard to fold it now but nothing a spot of oil wouldn't fix.

If you guess that these Sprites will last my girls at least four years like the Speed has done my son (and we still have the girls Maxi's five years later too) then it only works out to around £25 a year and I think that is an absolute bargain!

Why don't you pin this post for later?

I'm linking this post up with Fiona at Coombe Mill for #CountryKids.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Disclosure: We received these Sprite scooters free of charge for the purpose of an honest review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Keeping Yourself Safe at Work - In The Office

Work Safety Image from Shutterstock

Do you know how to keep yourself safe when you are at work?

It might seem a strange question if you work in an office as you're wondering what can possibly go wrong but having worked the last ten years before moving to East Sussex in a very busy HR department of a large University I can honestly tell you how important it is to ensure your work space is safe and efficient.

We were very lucky at the University as we had an Occupational Health Department and Health and Safety department so when you started a new job with the Uni, you were met at your desk by a trainer assessor to review your work space and ensure it worked for you. These two departments worked really closely with us in HR to ensure if any ill health or accidents did come about in the workplace we could be immediately responsive.

Of course this is a luxury and doesn't happen in most offices, especially small ones like I'm currently working in. We have six of us all along a window in a fairly small space and we have to be quite careful not to be tripping over each other and our equipment.

Given the amount of people who are working in offices without the support of specialist trained staff I thought it would be useful to share some tips for keeping yourself safe at work in your office environment -
  1. Never use electrical extension cables plugged into multi-plugs or each other, the last thing you want is a surge and your PC to blow!
  2. Make sure there are no trailing wires across the office, you can easily buy plastic wire covers
  3. Ensure the office stays clutter free. When you finish with files make sure the boxes are moved for storage straight away
  4. If you need to reach something high make sure you use a stepladder or stool (made for this purpose) to stand on. never be tempted to use your office chair as it may just roll away from under you!
  5. When you finish getting something from the filing cabinet, make sure you shut the door. Most have a mechanism to ensure you can only open one drawer at a time but if that is broken and you open a few, you risk the whole cabinet falling onto you.
  6. Ask for your work space to be assessed to ensure it is ergonomically suitable for you. All equipment should be adjustable, chairs, monitors etc and your feet should remain firmly on the floor when you are working.
  7. Take regular breaks from working at your computer to ensure you minimise the risk of eye-strain and RSI
  8. Use a computer with anti-glare protection already built-in or buy a cheap anti-glare screen cover to protect your eyes
  9. If you get wrist or hand ache from typing for long periods invest in an ergonomic wrist support and mousepad
  10. If you need to pick up large or bulky items make sure you have received manual handling training and always remember to bend at the knees, not from the waist
  11. This might seem obvious but when moving around the office make sure you can see where you are going. Don't stack up things so high that you can't see over them and certainly don't be reading as you walk around.
  12. If you have a spill make sure it is cleared up straight away and not left for someone else to slip on
  13. Also do not touch anything electrical whilst your hands are wet
  14. According to UK law we all have a responsibility for Health and Safety in the workplace and as such as soon as you see something you feel is wrong or hazardous it is your responsibility to report it to your manager or the appropriate staff member. 
  15. There should be regular fire drills conducted at your workplace so that in the event of a real fire you all know what to do. If you have been inducted in the fire procedures at your work or been involved in a drill then raise this with your manager.
Also have a look at the excellent interactive graphic over on Accident Advice Helpline where you can find the statistics of how frequently the kind of accidents I've mentioned above are occurring.

Of course there are always many more factors to consider but if you manage to follow all these you'll be doing pretty well and protecting yourself at work.

Have a great day tomorrow! Mich x

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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Choosing the Right Swim Wear as a Plus Size Woman

I don't think there has been a time in my life when I haven't been classed as plus size. Even at my slimmest I was a size 14, which I have to say looks really good on me but for at least the last couple of decades I've been a 20, 22 or 24. I've had a turbulent relationship with my weight and the way my body looks and whilst I have no desire to be a tiny size 10, I do want to be healthier and to have far less of a tummy.

For now, I am still a size 22 and in years gone by choosing a swimsuit that flatters my shape has been my least favourite thing to do but not any longer as Simply Be have the most amazing collection of swim wear available in all sizes to suit women of every shape. In my current size they have 217 swimwear items available, that is pretty awesome, right?

I've had a good look though and thought I'd share my top picks for various body shapes -

Apple shape - wide waist 
You'll want to create the illusion of more of a waist if you have a rounded middle shape. Swimsuits with two colours in panels can really help create this silhouette. Look at the Beach to Basics swimsuit in black and white on the left, it retails for just £32.00 at Simple Be and I think it would be perfect. Or take the Magisculpt swimsuit (£45.00) on the right, it has level 3 tummy control in the swimsuit and a beautiful blouson top over it to glide over the tummy area.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

#SlimmingSunday - A Time of Change

Welcome friends to August’s Slimming Sunday, the linky for all your weight loss, healthy eating, exercise and healthy living posts. #SlimmingSunday goes live the first Sunday of each month and your hosts are Emma at Life According to Mrs Shilts and me, Michelle at Mummy from the Heart.

This is a small, friendly linky and we’re happy to have you join in. We are not big on rules but please, if you link up visit some fellow linkers and leave a bit of comment love to encourage them and I'm sure they’ll do the same for you. I'll be over to visit, comment and tweet out your posts.

So, come on and share - how has July been for you? Share your highs and lows and let us know where you need support. I'll be really happy to pray for you too if you'd like.

It's been a good month for me, it feels like I'm in a time of change and I'm hopeful this is the start of my forever journey to healthy living. I started taking Orlistat fat blocker tablets (prescribed by the doctor) and I was a bit fearful of taking these as they can lead to quite explosive results (if you get what I mean) but thankfully because I've been making good decisions to eat well most of the time I have been fine and at my first check-in at the doctors I had lost just over 3kg which I'm happy with.

I've also had a number of doctors appointments in the last month to try and get some of my health ailments sorted and again I feel as if progress is being made. I had an MRI scan on my foot and there was no evidence of a Mortons neuroma which is what they thought, so on the one hand that's great but on the other I'm no closer to having any answer as to what is wrong with my foot and why I get so much pain. I'm praying that as I lose weight the pressure on my foot will lessen and naturally help it.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Fun for all Ages at Mighty Claws Adventure Golf, Bournemouth

Whilst on holiday in Bournemouth recently we headed to the new Mighty Claws Adventure Golf which is situated over by Littedown on the way to Christchurch at Play Golf Bournemouth.

I grew up holidaying in Bournemouth and Boscombe and it was always a key part of our holiday to have a game of crazy golf. Back in those days it would have been in the Boscombe gardens and I can still recall many of the holes from the course. In recent years I've been taking my kids and my parents on holiday to Bournemouth so we have carried on this tradition and played crazy golf each year. The place we have chosen to play has been in Bournemouth gardens opposite the band stand.

However, this year we broke with tradition and took a drive over to the newly opened Mighty Claws Adventure Golf and played there instead. My son was really resilient at first as he loves everything to stay the same but by the time we had played two holes he was converted. The course is just brilliant. It is so well themed and I'd say that at 13 and 10 years my kids are too old to be into dinosaurs but it isn't just for little kids at all as it is so well done. They really must have spent a lot of money as the dinosaurs are animation too and move and make noise.

Days out by Coach - Do you Enjoy Them?

White bus in Summer Landscape from Shutterstock

I bet some of you read that title and are wondering if you've landed in the right place. I can hear you now ‘Michelle’s 43, right? Not 73. Why she is she writing about coach trips?’ But I love a day out by coach, it is such fun to be amongst a big group of friends and be heading somewhere all together, without having to drive and worry about traffic. Do you not find that the journey always feels quicker on a coach?

I've loved going out on a coach day trip since I was a kid. The company my Nan worked for were very keen to be family friendly and each year as well as Christmas and Easter parties they organised a few family trips to the seaside or local attractions by coach and all for free. I was chatting to my brother the other day and we were reminiscing about the trips to Littlehampton where we would enjoy fish and chips, a few goes on the funfair rides, a dig with our bucket and spade and of course something beachy to take home. I used to buy real shells or maybe a shell full of those candy sweets that looked like pebbles. It was the stuff that childhood memories are made of.

I'm pleased to be doing the same with my children too. You might know that I live as part of a Christian community and there are probably around 100 of us nowadays at the conference centre where I live. A few times a year we close the centre and have community day where we all spend time together and deepen our relationships. Very often these involve days out and we've had recent coach trips to Dover Castle, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Windsor Castle. I've been able to get to know people on a level that a day at work or a shared dinner just doesn't provide by sitting next to them on a coach for 2 or 3 hours chatting.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Well Fed is Best! #FedisBest

Image from Shutterstock - Young Nursing Mother

I realise it is World Breastfeeding Week right now but what I am wondering is do we really need a world breastfeeding week promoted here in the UK? It was only six weeks ago that we had National Breastfeeding week and surely there is enough pressure on women to breastfeed in the UK already?

It is of course a different story in the developing world and breastfeeding is often the best option for nourishing a baby as there isn't access to sanitary water to be able to prepare formula milk. Although, as I saw in Ethiopia, even this isn't as cut and dried as it might seem as so many of the mums are so undernourished themselves that after having a baby their body can struggle to produce milk and certainly to produce milk that is of a good enough quality to adequately nourish the child. So of course the fight still needs to continue to ensure that all people in our world are able to be fed and nourished well.

But don't get me wrong, I am not at all anti-breastfeeding. I successfully breastfed two of my babes and really tried with the other but it wasn't to be so we moved to bottle feeding and it was the best thing for us as she finally started to put on weight instead of losing it and and heart-ripping label 'failure to flourish' was removed from over her head.

And I think that is my point here. All we want as responsible and loving parents is for our child to be well fed. To me it doesn't matter if it is from the breast or a bottle as here in the UK we are lucky enough to have clean water and high quality milk power available to us.

Yes, I agree let's promote breastfeeding as the best first option for a child. It is what God intended after all; the milk is perfect for our babe, contains all the antibodies they need and is super clever morphing itself to what the child needs depending on factors like the weather and their age. But let's also realise that a mothers sanity and well-being is really important in this too. Telling a new Mum to put her babe first and to persevere through the pain as they will be depriving their babe otherwise is just not helpful.

As a new mum you're already feeling a million emotions that you had no idea existed as hormones surge your body and the last thing you need is to feel you are failing your baby by not producing the milk they need, or being in constant pain or them not being able to latch on.

I remember being about six months in to feeding JJ and it was mixed feeding by then but I had stopped enjoying breastfeeding him as the constant biting hurt. One teary night I said to my husband 'do you mind if I stop breastfeeding him?' and it had taken me age to feel confident to say this as it was such an emotive issue for me with the press and friends telling me it was best. My husband looked at me like I was nuts and said 'of course not, as long as he is fed that is all that matters'. He took the emotion out of the situation and the next day I weaned JJ and it really suited us.

And that is how it should be for everyone. Doing what suits them. In the same way that baby-led weaning is right for some and pureeing is right for others, breast to bottle should be viewed in the same light. If the woman is going to be desperately unhappy breastfeeding and it adversely effects her mental health then surely we can all agree that isn't the best thing for babe as we all know our babies tap into our state of mind.

So I urge you friends, please lets be kind to each other however we feed or fed our babies. Fed is most definitely best at the end of the day! In the UK it doesn't matter if it is bottle or breast.

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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Review: Codenames Board Game #BoardGameClub

I was super pleased that our family were asked to be part of the Blogger #BoardGameClub where we will receive a different board game each month for twelve months and our family will get to try the game out and share with you an honest review.

Codenames - an Introduction
The first game we have received is Codenames which has been crowned the Blogger Games Club game of the year 2016. It's not a game I've heard of before but it sounded interesting from the box blurb -
Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES. In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right colour while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin. Codenames: Win or lose, it's fun to figure out the clues.
Codenames is designed by Vlaada Chvatil, a Czech board game designer who has had much success in the last decade. When you look across the web at reviews for Codenames it seems to be widely agreed that Vlaada has done it again with Codenames and it is a massive hit with games geeks. Take a look on Board Game Geek and see for yourself what the self-proclaimed board game experts say.