Monday 30 May 2011

What a difference a week makes...

…and the difference is me! Yes, I am humming this to the tune of ‘what a difference a day makes, 24 little hours…

This time last week I was itching to write a post about Miss M and the song that was in my head then was ‘How do you solve a problem like Miss M (or more correctly Maria)?’ Yes, I really do think in song, you can just call me Mary Poppins if you like. But you know how a post just does not make it out of your head sometimes?

Let’s roll back a week and see what was on my mind. Miss M is driving me crazy, she is up to some of her usual tricks and I just have no idea why she is such a menace. Her sense of fun seems to be a bit warped, I’m told that she is similar to me as a child but of course I cannot believe that for one moment. Already she has left the dinner table under the guise of going to the toilet and has taken a tub of clover with her to smear around the sink, then the next day she emptied my hand cream into the kitchen sink to make a picture.

Saturday 28 May 2011

Are you MAD about me?

I decided that really I need a weekend off, one where my mind is not constantly on the blog, one where I fully focus on every word the kids say, I actually spend some time with my hubby, I stop and enjoy the world around me....  I bet you know what I mean?  We all feel a bit burned out at times.  Things have been on a high and we keep going and going and then.....   a rest is needed! 

So I am being kind to myself and not coming back onto my blog until at least Monday night or maybe even beyond this, as I have a post scheduled to go live on Tuesday anyway.

While I am not here I thought I better leave you with some reading material. You might be wondering about who to vote for in the MADS (Mummy and Daddy Blog Awards) and I would not be doing myself any favours if I did not give you an idea as to why I am in the final 6 for the Best MAD Blog for Family Life.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

#TheGallery: My Backyard

I have been musing about whether I would join in with this Gallery or not.  What is a backyard for goodness sake?  It that a northern thing to say yard?  I don't have a yard, a garden yes but not a yard!  It sounds like a small patch of concrete that you might see on Coronation Street behind one of those terraced houses.  Am I showing myself up to be a southern snob now? Sorry about that...

Right now in our back garden we have started to grow some veggies and I am super proud of my hubbie and the kids as this is our first attempt and things seem to be going well. We have put in one raised bed to try out and if that goes OK we will get another couple.  I intended to buy some small veggie plants from the garden centre and plant those but hubbie had other ideas and bought some seed packets.  'Oh dear' thought I, this may not work but boy is he proving me wrong. He has been reading his allotment book and taking note!

Sunday 22 May 2011

I Want to say Goodbye!

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Why is it that it is so hard to say goodbye to some things or some people? Things or people that are harmful to us and hurt us, can cause damage that can only be seen in years to come? Why do we keep getting drawn back to situations and practices that are not good for our physical and emotional health? You hear of abused children who continue to love their abuser and kidnap victims who grow to protect their abductor. Then there are also silly people like me with an addiction that keeps pulling them back to something which is causing them and often others harm. Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying that my problems with food are on a par to being abused but let’s be honest that is what I am doing to myself. Every time I stuff my face I take a step towards an early heart attack, diabetes and joint problems.


Silent Sunday = One photo, no words, taken in the last week! 

Thursday 19 May 2011

#R2BC - The MADS Edition!

It's that time of the week!  Yay for counting our blessings...

1.  I suppose it is a given really, that the first reason I will start off with is that I have made the shortlist of 6 for the MAD (Mummy and Daddy) Blog awards.  There were literally hundreds of blogs nominated so I have done very well to get onto the shortlist and that is thanks to all you wonderful people who nominated me.  Thank you so much, it is really nice to know you enjoy what I do!

So how do you fancy voting for me to win now?  That would be the icing on the cake!  The voting is very quick, just enter your name, email address and use the drop-down lists to choose Mummy From The Heart in the Best MAD Family Life Blog.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

My Big Fat Ego: The Michelle I Was!

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I watched the Apprentice last Tuesday and Wednesday night and I have to say that I am hooked already. I love this programme and had it of been around ten - fifteen years ago when I was at the pinnacle of my career in sales recruitment I would have entered in the blink of an eyelid! Am I pleased to be out of that corporate lion’s den environment nowadays? Yes of course I am!

However, all those slogans you hear the contestants spouting, like ‘average was never good enough for me’, ‘I’ve been the best at everything I’ve ever done!’ and ‘Lord Sugar might think this guy is too good to be true’ could all have easily been said by me in the past. In fact one of my most favoured snippets was ‘I do not tolerate weakness, I crush it’. Gosh that really makes me cringe and I am not proud to have been such a bit*h for quite a number of years.

Monday 16 May 2011

Mummy, I like your boobies!

Can you believe that this is actually quite a common phrase in our house? One of my 3 year olds is obsessed with growing up and already she tells me she is a teenager and she cannot wait to be 5 years old. She often tells her twin that she is bigger and more grown up than her. Why she has this idea and where she has gained this want to grow older I have no idea. What lays ahead for me as her parent you may well wonder? I won’t lie to you; I am completely terrified of the thought of Miss M and Miss E, my beloved twins growing up far too quickly. I posted recently about how I think little girls are being made to grow up before their time. From the response I received to that post it seems I am not alone, many parents are worried about this very area.

Still very much my little girls!

Sunday 15 May 2011

Have you been to a Build A Bear Workshop?

Build A Bear Workshops, what can I tell you?  We have been twice now and the kids just adore it there.  Before Christmas JJ kept going on about wanting a Build A Bear and we had no idea what he was on about.  Being the right little teddy monster that he is, he just needed one more to add to his collection.  So off he went and logged onto Build A Bearville (the virtual world) and showed daddy and I what it was all about. Cue a nice Christmas present of some money from Nanny and Granddad and off we go to the Westfield Centre in London and try out the experience for ourselves. Roll forward an hour, we walk out of the shop with 3 little cardboard house and 3 very happy children with their new mates!

It was knowing how much our kids already love these bears that made me say an instant YES when asked if we would like to write a review to share with you all about the Build A Bear experience.

So what is it? 
Well the Build  A Bear Workshops are shops in many shopping malls around the country. There are always loads of assistants in the shop to help you ensure that your child's experience is just perfect.  When we visited after Christmas my hubbie and I led the kds around and this time we visited the shop in High Wycombe, Bucks and we had a lovely Build A Bear worker to guide us round.

First you choose a teddy outer, there are literally dozens of different ones.  Not just teddies, but all sorts of animals and branded goods like Hello Kitty. Once you have your teddy you can choose to put a noise inside, a basic heartbeat, an animal noise, a celebratory noise like happy birthday or record something personal and special.  Once the teddy is complete you would then hear the noise by squeezing its tummy.

The next important step is to choose a little fabric heart to go inside the teddy and to bring your ted to life.  Our experience at High Wycombe was really magical at this point (I know that sounds corny but you know how it is, if the kids are happy then you are too).  The children were instructed to do all sorts with their hearts, like rub it on their cheeks to make their bears cheeky, rub it on their ears so their bears can hear bedtime stories..... you get the picture.

At this point the bear is stuffed using a foot operated machine which the kids control but don't worry there is always actually a professional operating this machine and you are not left to your own devices.  The teddies all have a clever closing mechanism on the back so they can be stitched up but without a needle! I had worried that this part might takes ages but when we visited Westfield on 28th December and it was really busy we only waited 5 mins for the stuffing as the staff are very efficient.

Once your ted is stuffed you can fluff them up on the brushing table.  Miss E thought this was fab.  Miss M was much more interested in choosing an outfit for Miss Wolf, who actually turned out to be the worlds least scary wolf in her pink tutu!

The final step is to register your teddy online and gain a birth certificate for them.  On this is the special code which JJ was after, allowing him to access new functionality on the virtual world (think Club Penguin). The teddies are sent home in a cupboard home which the children can carry.  These are still being played with now, over a week later!

Miss M with Miss Wolf, JJ with Army Bear and Miss E with Cutie the bunny!

So whats the cost?
It is one of those things where it can be as expensive as you allow.  A basic bear starts from £9.  The ones my kids chose were £15 and £18.  A noise is from £2 - £4.  The outfits start at £4 and can go up and up, depending how many little accessories you want - golf clubs, sunglasses, a cosy seat, tent? etc etc  In all my kids teddies all came to about £25 a piece on this visit.  Thus they are not the cheapest of teddies but they are certainly worth it in this house as they really enjoy them.

What did we think?
It is excellent, we had a great time on both occasions.  I would say that age 4 upwards is perfect for a visit as the child then really understands and appreciates the toy.

Quality of items                5/5
Value for money              4/5  Just because there are cheaper toys out there
Choice and variety           5/5
Lay out of stores              5/5
Shop Assistants/ Service  5/5

JJ could not resist filming you a short vlog too, here is what he thought....  from the mouth of a 7 year old!

This is a review post: We were lucky enough to be provided with 3 bears to the value of £25 each for the purposes of this review. I was not told what to write and I remain honest.

Saturday 14 May 2011

Friday 13 May 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 - Week 19

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Evening all.  How are you all on this fine evening?  I am hoping it has been a good day for you, it certainly has for me and that takes me straight on to my first #R2BC.

1.  I have been to #blogcamp today in London and it was amazing.  I met so many bloggers that I tweet with and it is great to finally meet them all.  Thanks to @swhittle and her team for a super (and free, well apart from the £80 nursery fee and £25 train fare!) day and as for those cupcakes from Sweet Things, well they were just to die for!

Wednesday 11 May 2011

5 parenting lessons my husband needs to learn!

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I have a pretty fab hubbie, I have told you this before and even sung his praises in the daddying stakes but you know what there are still a few parenting lessons that he needs to learn.  Those essential ones that us mummies took on board ages ago.  Let me share these lessons with you for it might be that you need to direct your husbands here to have a read!-

Lesson 1
That you  take your eyes off the kids at your own peril! Last Wednesday I needed to work so good old hubbie took the day off to look after our kids (see I told you he was great!) but before it even got to the time to drop JJ to school at 8.45am I understand the girls had already emptied a jar of sugar across the kitchen and playroom.  Why? because daddy had measured it out for a demo at cubs that night and silly daddy, he left it on the side in the kitchen like a little invitation to Miss M to make mischief!

Tuesday 10 May 2011

JJ Reviews: Lego Game Ramses Return

 {As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, any affiliate links will be marked with #ad}

Have I told you about my little Lego fan before?  We have actually now got to the stage where we have had to say to JJ that he can not really have any more Lego until he makes some of the sets back up!  Right now he has two enormous recycling tubs full of Lego and he is only 7 years old!  He has a serious addiction.  The good thing is that Lego is the best toy as its appeal lasts for years.

When I said to him, 'JJ, fancy reviewing a new game from Lego?'  he nearly knocked me over in his jump for joy!  On Friday he returned from school to find the package on the table and again squealed, 'can we play tonight Mummy, please, oh can we?'.  Well, Mummy was going out so I left Daddy in charge of having a game with JJ and reporting back to me.

Monday 9 May 2011

Wow, Just Wow!

Have a watch, it may just blow you away! 1 minute 44 seconds, you have nothing to lose....

Come on, together we can reverse it!

Mich x

Ohh and did you know it is delurker week on Mummy From The Heart...?
If you are a frequent lurker or if this is your first time stopping by, do leave a comment and say hi (I have anon commenting allowed, so you do not have to log in even). If you have a blog I'd love to visit you and will commit to do so and if you don't have a blog then it would just be nice to get to know those who are reading! Thanks again. Mich x

Sunday 8 May 2011

Meet Priya, the newest member of our family

As you know we went away to Spring Harvest recently and had an amazing time.  Each year at Spring Harvest we see the stand for Compassion, a Christian charity who work in developing countries to help improve life for the children there. Six years ago was the first time dh and I attended this festival and at that time we decided to sponsor a child, his name is Carl Henri and he lives in Haiti. I have mentioned him before a few times.  It is so rewarding to receive letters and drawings from him and to watch him grow.  We have seen his letters change and mature over the years, just as I imagine he must of, especially with being in the capital when the tragedy happened last year. When we received the news that he was well we were over the moon and then receiving letters from a little fellow who told us he was scared to sleep in case it happened again broke our hearts but we know that, partly due to the work Compassion do in his local community, his family have been able to rebuild their lives again.

#SilentSunday - Pick of the Week

Silent Sunday = One photo, no words, taken in the last week!

Saturday 7 May 2011

Last night I dreamt about sex!

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Yes really I did and it was a good dream.  Very good!  It is not often I dream anymore but for some reason last night I had a vivid dream about pretty rampant sex! It's OK though I can tell you, it was only a dream after all and it was my husband that it involved - so all is above board.

So why is Mich telling us this? Has she lost her marbles? Is she that in need of hits on her blog that she has to stoop to sex stories?  No, it's OK it is none of those.  I just thought I would share my realisation with you.  I have been pondering all day why I dreamt about impromptu, stand-up sex with my husband in a house that was not ours where we were practically caught!

I think this dream was the next step in my 'I am beautiful' quest.  You may have read my recent post about believing I am beautiful and loving and accepting myself even when I do not look how I want to, well the message that sits with me from this dream is that my husband also loves and accepts me just as I am.  That Mich in the dream who had no hang ups and was not worrying about flabby bits being on show or squashing her husband when she is on top (yes I really do have that fear) is the one that dh finds sexy.  She is the one he wants to be with and as he is one of the nicest men on the universe there is no way he will ever say anything derogatory to me and as such, 'why do I worry?'.

Have I told dh about my dream yet?  No, that will be tomorrow and I think we need to set a date night up! We have some unfinished business....

How about you, do you dream?  Don't worry I am not asking you to tell me about your risque dreams!

Thursday 5 May 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 - Week 18

Hello and welcome back to Reasons to be Cheerful.  Week 18 and this year is passing so quickly, I have to say that my year had been great so far....  long may that last!  How has yours been?  Chances are that if you are here joining in you can probably find something to be happy and grateful about!

Keeping it simple this week, here are my 3 reasons for being a happy lady!

1.  Re-discovering my love of marmite on toast and finding that my little ladies love it too!

2. A hands on family day at the farm.

3.  Washable floors!  Up until last summer I had a cream carpet running through my lounge and dining room - can you even imagine what it looked like??

Over to you, what is making you happy this week?  Share with us your reasons to be cheerful in whatever way you fancy!

Shw some blogger love and visit other people who have linked out.  Tweet your post using #R2BC and then we can all find it!

If you want to put the R2BC badge on your blog, please do feel free to.  You can get the code from HERE and you can read all about Reaosns to be Cheerful there too if you are new to this.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Simply Perfect Days

I have had some amazing days just recently, ones I have really enjoyed and you know what?  They have been so simple. There really is no need to over complicate life!

A pic-nic on holiday at Spring Harvest

Take the other Saturday, my parents and brother came to visit us and bought their dog.  Then Dh's sister, her partner and 3 of their kids came over.  Mum and me took all the kids to an Easter egg hunt and I cooked a lazy buffet dinner. We planted a few flowers, we played with the kids and not a lot else.  It was great.  JJ had his cousin to stay for the night and they were as good as gold.

Friday last week was another superb but simple day.  Dh drove down to my parents where we all watched the Royal Wedding, out for a Wimpey lunch (we know how to live) and on to the park for the kids to have a play.  Dog walking through the woods finished the day off.

Nanny H and Miss M enjoying the swings!
I used to be a bit of a crazy woman and every day and even practically every hour had to be planned out and whilst I had a very full life, I hardly ever had the time to savour it and take in all that was going on but in this last year things have changed.  I have mellowed and learnt the value of chilling and taking things as they come.  Big learning for a control freak like me!

I read an article in a quality magazine today (Fabulous, free magazine with the Sun - told you it was quality! lol), it had an article about how people worry about what they will miss out on if they are not there.  I know I used to be that person, I would over stretch myself and attend everything I was invited to 'just in case'.  In case of what who knows but I hated the thought that I might miss out.  I then had a realisation, that I was missing out.  Missing out on lazy Saturday mornings in our PJ's, missing out on whole days spent at home just watching movies and playing games with the kids, missing out on making memories in the park or at the farm.

I now say no to quite a lot of things.  I have become rather good at it, in fact I may even have gone the other way and become too laid back....  oh well, I'll live!

Me and my babies, Miss E not looking too impressed at all!
What about you, do you appreciate the simple things in life?

Monday 2 May 2011

Review & Giveaway: Gwyneth Paltrow Cook Book

I had to ask my dh the other day if he thinks we are old fashioned with the meals we eat and the answer we came up with was 'yes, probably'.  Both of us grew up in working class families where the norm was to have meat, potatoes and at least two veg on your plate.  That was a real filling meal for all the family. I must say that even now this is still engrained in me, without even meaning it to be.  I was cooking a quorn chilli last night and I was fretting that the kids were not having veg.  Yes I had conveniently forgotten the onion, tomato, red pepper and sweetcorn that went into making the chilli.

After realising that our families eating habits were a bit out of date I was pleased to be asked to review the new cook book by Gwyneth Paltrow. It is called Notes From My Kitchen Table and I have to say that it is a lovely book.  It is so nice looking with great photos that it could easily be a coffee table book!

The book opens up with Gwyneth sharing with us her love of food which she gained from her dearly departed father. She shares beautiful family photos and talks about her upbringing, it is quite autobiographical in style.  The next part I really liked where she talks about including her own children in all things culinary and even gives a quick list of 12 tasks that are great to get the kids involved with.  It is clear that eating with all the family is very important to this lady.

The book starts with the basics, talking you through making a good stock and what essentials to keep in your store cupboard.  I have to say that for me this was not that essential as I did qualify as a Chef many years ago and thus have my own repertoire of basic recipes.  I will be giving her Corn Chowder recipe a good run through though as it looks delicious.

Gwyneth herself does not eat red meat and thus if you are looking for a recipe book rich in ideas for fish, seafood, duck and chicken then this will be right up your street.  There are some  family classics in here, like Macaroni cheese, vegetarian chilli and stir-fry chicken but there are also loads of slightly more exotic family meals too, anyone for grilled 'baked stuffed' lobster?  Not something we eat at our house, but then I did mention we were a bit food boring!

Perhaps being American has led Gwyneth to include a good dessert section.  I am particularly keen to try the peanut butter cookies and the brownies look divine too.

My dh and I decided that this book is quite Nigella in style.  The recipes seem to suit our Spring to Summer months and would be great for al fresco dining with a nice glass of white wine. In all I think that is a very nice cook book with about 150 super recipes which will move me from my comfort zone.  The book retails for £20 and is hardback with a protective sleeve. I see that WH Smiths have a special on at the moment and the book is yours for just £12.00

Like the look of this cook book? Yes, then enter my giveaway, I have 3 copies to give to you!

To enter:

  • Mandatory - Leave a comment to let me know what your favourite family meal is.
  • Mandatory - Subscribe to my blog, either click the google follow button on the right or the RSS feed one and leave me a comment to say you have done so, making sure you leave me a way to contact you, if you are the lucky winner.
  • For an extra entry - Tweet I'm in to #win a Stunning Gwyneth Paltrow Cook Book from @michelletwinmum 's #giveaway

Terms and conditions:

  • The competition closes 12 Noon 11 May 2011
  • The winner will be contacted within 3 working days of the giveaway closing
  • Open to UK & Ireland residents only
  • The cook books will be posted directly from the PR agency
  • The prize is not transferable and there is no cash alternative

Good Luck!


The lucky winners are @sandyhallett, @mum_themadhouse and @mummydichotomy

Please email me or DM your address details and the PR agency can arrange to send your books to you.  Thanks a lot. Mich x

This is a review post.  I was sent the cook book free of charge for the purposes of this review.  I have not been told what to write and I remain honest.

Sunday 1 May 2011

Silent Sunday & The Gallery all rolled into one!

I got my gorgeous hubbie to take this picture for Silent Sunday as I wanted a picture to sum up all the fun I have been having the last couple of weeks with all my family.  I posted it here in the proper Silent Sunday format, you know the drill - 1 picture, no words and then I saw the theme for Tara's gallery this week and this picture completely sums up my April!  So as Jay is on a well earned rest and I am not linking up on her blog I thought I would be a tad naughty and combine my Silent Sunday picture with my Gallery entry for this week!  I am pretty sure Tara 'what are rules?' Cain won't mind  but I am running a bit scared that Jay might boot me off next weeks Silent Sunday (only joking!)

So for me April was all about family fun.  I have had the most wonderful month - on holiday at Spring Harevst and having loads of time off work with my kids. To be honest if April is as good as it gets in 2011 then I have done well!

What about you, how has your April been?  Surely this lovely UK weather must have helped just a bit?

I hope you have enjoyed Easter and the bank holiday days off as much as I have!  Mich x