Thursday 30 August 2012

#R2BC - N is for Norwich....

Happy Thursday, yes I am a little bit excited as that means it is nearly Friday and Friday will be a good day as the kids and I are setting off on a journey to Norwich.

And what on earth is in Norwich I hear you shout?  Well, it is obvious surely?  It is the super fab Clare and her family.  We are going to stay over and have some fun.  Little J loves my big J and the girls and they all think he is super adorable too.  Then  of course you know that Clare and I have a bloggy love fest going on as well, so it is going to be great and I hope it will include some yummy food and maybe a glass or two of vino as well!

Do you think if I ask sweetly Clare will russel us up something like this??

Reasons to be Cheerful is not actually being hosted here this week.  It is over with Angie at Cakes, Photos, Life but I sort of feel as if my summer bloggy break is over and I'm ready to dive back in and grab the bull by the horns, so I'm posting anyway.  But if you want to link up, you have to hop over and visit the lovely Angie and leave her some comment love. Then go visit some others and leave them some comment love too.  I hope to be able to come and visit everyone this week.

A big thanks to Becky who did a great job hosting last week and I see there were loads of people linked up.

I have kept with my alphabet theme that I have been following and this week is the letter 'N'. So we have had Norwich, what else am I grateful for that starts with an N?  Hmm, not an easy letter I have found.  The one thing that has come to mind a few times when I thought about it is 'Nearly there' and I am applying that to a few positive things happening soon - the kids returning to school, Blogcamp in London and my massive trip to Ethiopia.

That's it for this week.  You know what to do and if you don't then go and visit the #R2BC page and find out.  It is simple to join in and we are a community of friendly bloggers who would welcome you abroad.

Be blessed, Mich x

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Just 5 minutes to myself please?

I have been back from holiday a couple of days now and I have some blog posts brewing in my head, reviews I need to write, announcements I want to make, updates to my exciting journey with ONE to Ethiopia and loads of wonderful holiday snaps to share but I can't seem to find the will to blog and that has been bugging me today.  But when it gets like that I find the best thing I can do is turn off the computer and walk away and do something else.

Sadly the do something else today has not been that exciting or stimulating.....  it has mainly consisted of breaking up sibling arguments, chastising one of my kids for their poor attitude and generally trying to get them to be nice to each other and respectful to me.

I easily could have titled this post -

Feeling frazzled!

Please kids, just shoosh!

When does school start again? or

Summer holiday fatigue.

Yes the last 6 weeks of the summer holiday have taken their toll on me.  There have been some wonderful times and we have had a great holiday in Bournemouth last week but school is dearly needed again.  That sense of routine, that discipline, that contact with their friends - bring it back!

Fun times - that see-saw was awesome!

Sorry to all the teachers out there, I know you have enjoyed your summer break, but parents like me across the country need to give our kids back to you.

For the next two days I am off to work and dh has the kids and boy am I looking forward to that. I plan to swim before work, achieve lots in a near empty office, go out on my lunch breaks, read my book and have a wonder around in silence. Then home to a cooked dinner and hopefully shattered kids who I will be pleased to see by that point.

Roll on Friday 7th September my day off work when the kids are back at school - big house clean up here I come....

Do tell me I am not the only Mummy in the world who just needs a rest from her kids sometimes.  This school holiday lark is a lot of fun but sure hard work too! How are you finding it?

Saturday 25 August 2012

National Pride - A guest post from Dorky Mum

The second of my guest posts for this week and this little nugget comes from Ruth at Dorky Mum.  You may have read me gushing about Ruth before, she is a fantastic writer and an inspirational activist.  This is a lady who always makes me think and question my actions - which is a good thing. OK, over to Ruth...

There have been a lot of people asking questions recently about what it means to be British. I think the combination of the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics, combined with the ongoing debate about Scottish Independence have all contributed to this collective navel gazing.

I can't say that my own 'Britishness' is something that I've ever thought about too much. I was born in Scotland to an English mother and a Scottish father. I support the Scottish rugby team, but the English football team. I always thought it was daft when fellow Scots voiced anti-English sentiments, and felt the same when the English slagged off the Scots.

That said, since we moved from Scotland to England at the end of last year, I have been giving it more and more thought. Am I Scottish? Or British? Or both?

It is perfectly nice here. I have made some lovely friends; we get on well with our neighbours, and have generally settled into our new life pretty well. I cheered myself hoarse watching Team GB in the Olympics, and didn't find myself trying to distinguish between the Scottish competitors and the English or Welsh ones.

But, for some reason I can't put my finger on, I do feel different here. I feel like I don't really fit in. Even after nine months, I still find myself taken aback every time I go into town and see the red, white and blue bunting everywhere. I often find the local accent grating. There is a confidence - bordering on arrogance - about a lot of the people who live in this area that I find both intimidating and unattractive. People seem to have a sense of entitlement that I can't recall ever seeing in Scotland, although perhaps that is just my selective memory. And perhaps this small Hertfordshire town is not representative of any wider cultural difference between the two countries - perhaps it speaks only for itself.

Goodness knows, there is no shortage of idiots north of the border either, but I feel myself drawn back to Scotland by something indefinable.

I actually think it's a good thing for normal folk like me to consider issues of identity and national pride because all too often people on the extremes hijack such debates.

What I am finding challenging is that all my own thoughts on matters of national identity are instinctive ones. I am well aware that it is my heart rather than my head is leading me, and that doesn't sit comfortably.

I have never thought of myself as a Scottish nationalist. I am still undecided about how I would vote in a Scottish Independence referendum (although it's probably irrelevant, because if I'm still living in England I won't be able to vote in it). The independence debate should be based on the discussion of tangible benefits and drawbacks - for the economy, the environment and local communities - rather than the patriotic stirrings in people's hearts.

But even knowing that… gosh, how my heart aches to walk on Scottish soil, to breathe Scottish air, to splash my toes in Scottish water.

We are about to head off on a ten-day holiday - firstly to the Western Isles and then to Edinburgh. It will be interesting to see, after almost a year away, whether Scotland still feels like home or whether I feel like a visitor.

I would like to live somewhere that makes me feel like anything is possible. Whether that is Scotland, England, Britain or elsewhere, I don't yet know.

What are your feelings on national identity? Do you feel English? Scottish? British? European?! How do we define ourselves in this modern and ever-changing world?


Thanks so much Ruth, yet again you have got me thinking.  I do think it is sad that there seems to be a lack of pride in Britain, I often muse about the fact that they have citizenship classes in the USA for their kids. They all know the declaration of Independence and the anthem and are proud to be American.  I fear it is not so here.

What you say at the end is so important though, if you live somewhere that you feel it is possible to achieve anything, then you are in the right place!

Thursday 23 August 2012

Come journey with me - Ethiopia Part 1

Who are ONE?

Many of you will have read that I am off to Ethiopia in just over a month and as I have invited you to join me on this journey I feel it is important for you to know and trust who I am travelling with.

The ONE Campaign or are a wonderful campaigning organisation who passionately care about our worlds people - all people - because after all we are one people. But the issue is that only a small percentage of us get heard and are able to fight the big forces to receive what we need to live the life we all deserve. This is where ONE comes in, they campaign at a grassroots level and pressure governments, world leaders and large commercial organisations to stand up to their responsibilities and to make a difference for the worlds poorest people, predominantly with a focus on Africa. One people = - get it?

I have to be honest and say I had never heard of ONE before they reached out to me earlier this year, I got them mixed up with a water company with commercial interests, but after chatting to them and doing some research I came back happy that I can work with ONE, I can trust them and fully endorse the work they are doing and that's really important to me. If I am investing my efforts and heart, it has to be with an organisation that really are moving in the right direction.

I know that when I first heard of ONE I assumed they were a charity, all organisations doing good work are charities aren't they?  Well no.  ONE is an NGO or non governmental organisation and basically this means that ONE operate independently of any Government and as they are not a charity they do not ask for donations from joe average, like you and me. The funding comes almost entirely from a handful of philanthropists on the ONE board of directors (ONE's largest funder is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). The aim is not to fund raise but to raise awareness and pressure political leaders to fight extreme poverty through smart and effective policies and programs. ONE work with many of the big humanitarian aid agencies and charities and are proud to partner with them.  If you support one particular charity for example Save the Children and they are the one you always stand by, that does not mean you cannot support ONE too.  Chances are they work side by side with ONE and are supporting them as well. Putting your name to a petition which helps to show strength of opinion and vocalises that we are not happy about the inequality in our world is a powerful thing. As is taking the time to email or write to your MP.

Who am I?

So now you know who ONE are but what about me?  If you are a regular reader you probably have a feel for me or have even met me before.  I am pretty open on my blog so I think it is fairly easy to get a picture of who I am and what I'm about but I expect some of you joining me here are new readers, so I won't go assuming anything.

Perhaps I'll reverse this and tell you what I'm not. I'm not someone who has done anything like this before, in fact up until a couple of years ago it never even occurred to me to be an activist and to get involved.  I'm even ashamed to say that as a young teenager I seriously could not understand why anyone would try to save the world's poorest, I just thought the problem was too big so why bother.  I am pleased to say I have seen the light and yes I do mean that in a biblical way. Ten years ago I became a Christian and my life has radically changed and as such it is my call and my privilege to speak up for those who cannot. My blog was born out of a desire to share my faith but to demonstrate that not all Christians meet the stereotype and we do not always lecture or quote scripture.  We are perfectly imperfect normal people too!

I'm also not a journalist, nor author, nor media guru.  I really am just a very average working mum of three from the home counties who started to write a blog that has done rather well and now I find myself with a life-changing opportunity. That does not make me a blogging star or hero as has been hinted at, it makes me someone with a big weight on her shoulders and one she is ready to support fully.

Why Ethiopia?

Just take a look at this YouTube video (yes it is quite long at 10 minutes but worth it) and see how Ethiopia has changed in the last couple of decades.  In 1984/5 I was 11/12 years old and I vividly remember the famine in Ethiopia, as part of my trip I will visit the Tigray region and see something completely different to those video clips I recall seeing on TV all those years back.

How do I feel about this journey?

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago which went into some of the emotions I am feeling at the moment.  If I swore on my blog I would probably tell you that I am s***ing myself, but in a good way. I expect this journey to be amazing and exciting and on one hand I feel terrible telling you this as I know that I am going to be exposed to some people who are on the edge of survival and I may see sights I never want to see again so how can I say that is exciting? Would it be more appropriate to be forlorn and to keep a straight face. No I don't think so, the people we will visit wish to see hope and to meet new friends.

It is the hope and the powerful stories of breakthrough that I am excited to hear and see and this is what I will share with you, tales of mothers learning to be sustainable and of children being vaccinated and educated. I pray I can use my emotions appropriately, sometimes it might be right to shed a tear and offer a hug and another it will be right to keep my composure and to rely on God's strength to take me through. Whatever the situation I know I will be ill equipped as this is a completely new experience but thankfully I have Him who gives me strength, as well as some other amazing Mum/ Mom bloggers that I am just getting to know.

My aim is to share this journey with you from start to finish and beyond and to do it my way, it might not be eloquent, my grammar may be off and my spelling a bit rubbish but it will be raw and from the heart and I hope to move and compel you to join me and to join and become someone with a heart for the poor.

I could go on and on with this post as pretty much my head is taken over with thoughts of this trip at the moment but I'll stop here and come back later in the week with my next post, one about the preparations that I am going through for this trip.

If you think others will enjoy taking this journey with me, then please share this and my other ONE Ethiopia posts and don't forget to sign up to ONE and offer your voice. I am taking this journey with Jennifer Howze of BritMums, so do follow her journey too and follow #ONEMoms on Twitter.

From 6th October I'll be travelling with a group of 11 other inspirational Mums and Moms to Ethiopia as part of an expense paid trip courtesy of the ONE Campaign. Our trip is about success – Living Proof -- of what is working and why it is important that we continue to support projects that are making a huge, measurable difference for less than one percent of the entire US budget. It is about letting more people know what a tremendous difference the US and UK are making in the lives of millions around the world.  And it is about adding thousands more voices to those already letting their elected officials know they support these life-saving programs.

Reasons to be Cheerful - Week 34

Hello all, I am really not here this week, no post from me I am afraid. Just nipping in here to say hi and tell you I am having a lovely time doing not much at all, just being with my family.

I hope you will sill link up with Reasons to be Cheerful even though I am not about.  Our #R2BC host this week is Becky at Lakes Single Mum. I am sure you know what to do by now but just in case there are any newbies about - write a cheery/ grateful post and then grab the blog hop code from Becky's post and stick that onto your post (no pressure if you are not sure how!), link up and then visit and offer some comment love to some others.

I'll be back about mid September and will get back in the swing of things visiting everyone and commenting again. Oh and a big thanks to Julie for hosting last week.

Be Blessed, Mich x
Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Twin Mum = Supermum? Guest post from Trouble Doubled

I am really pleased to welcome Troubles Mum who blogs over at Trouble Doubled and Parenting on the Front Line here to my blog today. This twin mum is refreshingly honest and as a Mum of four girls she comes with a dose of good old common sense, for this reason I always enjoy her blog. She has been blogging since the beginning of 2011 and like many quickly became a blogging addict. She is a pleasure to chat to on Twitter (@trouble_doubled), I'd highly recommend you go and hi say.

Since I’ve had the twins, I’ve noticed a marked increase in people in real life who come to me for advice, or who say they think I must be Superwoman in disguise. This is a bit strange for me. I’ve never been seen as some parenting oracle or superhero before. What has caused this sudden change? I know it’s because I have twins as well as two older children and others think, rightly or wrongly, that I am all of a sudden, the go-to mum in the playground.

I can’t be the only twin mum that feels a bit of a fraud about this situation. Yes, us twin mums tend to stick together and talk about how mums of only one baby at a time would not understand. While there may be some truth in this, I certainly have my tongue firmly in my cheek when I say things like how I feel now I’ve had twins, I can deal with anything. Because I don’t at all believe that this is correct.

To the outside, us twin mums look a fearsome bunch. Online, we have been accused of seeing ourselves as superior to other parents. Again, this is not true. What could certainly be true is that our in-built parenting skills have been tested that little bit more than other parents, and we have still come out smiling. From this comes an increased confidence, and a better understanding of our own limitations. This may make us look outwardly confident to others, and attractive to those who feel their own parenting confidence is lacking somewhat. Maybe. I’m no psychologist.

As a twin mum, I am in awe (read fear) of other twin mums myself. Yes, I got through a full-term, double-7lb-baby pregnancy and that takes some physical stamina, if not mental. But I didn’t go through any of the problems that too many other twin mums go through, or faced my babies being born prematurely. At my twins group, there are women who had twins after years of IVF treatment, and one mum whose babies were born so prematurely, the doctors wrote her babies off. They are now crawling about quite happily, but believe me when I say, you don’t cross that mum! A friend of mine carried twins to full-term knowing that one of them would die soon after birth. She continued with the pregnancy in order to save his otherwise healthy twin brother. How she got through that, I can not understand, and hopefully will never have to.

And don’t forget about all those twin dads. My husband may not have carried and given birth to those babies, or sat up half the night trying to establish dual breast-feeding, but he has changed  numerous nappies, pushed that double buggy to school and back so I can catch up on sleep, and been heavily involved in every other task he is capable of doing. He is as much as a superhero as I am yet no-one asks him about his parenting skills and knowledge.

But for all our strength and courage as parents, us twin mums and dads are not super or special. We can’t do X-ray vision or have super stretchy arms (although I wish we could as it would help) any more than any other parent. We are simply human beings who have been faced with a special parenting challenge, and that could happen to anyone, even Superwoman.

I can certainly relate to people asking me for advice and treating me as if I am bit of a parenting oracle.  It is quite humorous really!  Thanks love for this super post, Mich x

Image Credit

Saturday 18 August 2012

Discovered on the Camera - Country Kids

Earlier in August I was at work and this meant dh was off and looking after our 3 kids.  They always seem to have fun together and it is so nice to have a hubbie who is confident to be left with and care for our children.  Even when we had baby and then young toddler twins I was able to escape away and leave him. It is always good to remind myself what a diamond he is.

Of course when they come to pick me up from work I hear about what they have been up to in the day but normally they are so tired that I get the version that goes something like 'Mummy we dropped you at work and then went to a park and back home and watched TV for a while'.  OK, sounds like they had a half hour or so out in the fresh air.  Oh no, how wrong was I, most of the day they were out exploring, apparently finding deer tracks, fox holes and woodpeckers. Visiting a lake, feeding ducks, playing with random dogs and having an impromptu pic-nic - all sorts.  How do I know this?  Because I found some pictures on the camera and that prompted me to ask dh more about their day out.

I have to say I was very pleased that dh had washed all their clothes before I came home and even tried to clean all the mud off JJ's trainers and the girls boots.

I'm linking this post up with Fiona's Country Kids.  She runs a linky every Saturday and encourages everyone to link up any posts they have about their kids getting outside and having some fun.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday 16 August 2012

#R2BC - L... is for Love

Yesterday was my birthday and after a nice evening out with dh for a yummy meal and some alone time I thought I would take the opportunity to use my Reasons to be Cheerful post as a reminder of what love is for me (romantic, husband type love that is).

So this week I give you L is for love and Love is ....
  • dh buying me the same flowers from our wedding day for our 10th anniversary in July (Stargazer lillies in case you were wondering!)
  • taking time to be there for the other one.
  • snuggling into a big chest and feeling completely safe.
  • trusting that he has my and the kids best interests at the forefront of all he does.
  • dh not nagging me when I spend too much time on the computer.... and vice-versa.
  • being willing to compromise. Not just assuming my way is right or best.
  • looking out the patio door and finding dh has mowed the lawn....  which means I do not have to.
  • coming home from work and all the washing has been done and then folded and put away.
  • dh happily letting me go off and travel alone while he looks after the kids, be it with the girls, Church or for a more worthwhile blogger trip such as my upcoming trip with to Ethiopia.
  • Growing old together.

Taken on 15th August 2012, 17.5 years after we met and 10 years after we married.

If you want to link up with Reasons to be Cheerful this week then head over and see Julie at Mama Owl, she is our lovely host for this week, while I have my summer downtime.  And a big thank you to Fay for hosting last week, much appreciated. x

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer, catch you soon.  Mich x

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Sand Le Mere Holiday Village, East Yorkshire - A Review

Last week we took a 4 night, 5 day break at Sand Le Mere Holiday Village in Tunstall, East Yorkshire. This was quite a drive for us and took about 5 hours from Hertfordshire; at about 180 miles this is probably the longest car journey we have braved with the kids and I have to say it was nowhere near as bad as I had feared.  The journey to Hull was simple and the road signs good but the part from Hull to the holiday village was much more difficult, the signage is not great and the roads become country lanes. We reached Sand Le Mere about 3pm on the Monday and were greeted by a lovely receptionist in the bright and spacious newly built complex.

Within minutes we were heading off to find our luxury lodge, dh took the car round and the kids and I walked the 2 minutes it took to get there. I was pleased to find we had an allocated parking space right outside our lodge and that the lodges were attractively arranged with a good amount of space between them. 

Luxury Lodge - 10/10

I'll share with you my top 10 features of the luxury lodge home we stayed in -
  1. Our master bedroom had an En suite with super shower, we don't even have that at home!
  2. They provided the little extras in the kitchen, those that really made a difference like a full size dishwasher and built-in radio.
  3. The lounge had patio doors, so we could really feel as if we were outdoors.
  4. Gorgeous meadow view.
  5. The 2 sofas were full size and very comfy, dh and I were happy to cuddle up and watch a DVD on the flatscreen TV once the kids were in bed.
  6. All the beds were full size and super comfortable.
  7. The lodge was fully double glazed and that meant we did not listen to the evening entertainment after we had left the complex.
  8. Every room had an abundance of hanging and storage space, so very different to caravans.
  9. The close proximity of the lodges to the main complex, we were definitely the privileged ones.
  10. The lodge really was sized and equipped to fit 6 people (even if it was 6 adults).  There was a massive dining table that was very well used.

Monday 13 August 2012

Brilliant fun with Maxi Micro Scooters

The other day I was filling in a survey and it asked me what my 5 favourite top/ preferred/ best brands were and to state the reason why. There was no restriction on what type of brand I might choose. I have to say I found it fairly easy to do the top 3 - John Lewis, M&S and Micro Scooters. These 3 instantly came to mind, they are brands that I trust, they do not let me down and I know the quality will be great time and time again.

For the last 3 years my little ladies have been using Mini Micro Scooters, riding them at the park, to school, taking them on holiday and generally enjoying them wherever we go. They are not the cheapest of scooters it has to be said but value for money is top notch. In the time the girls have had their Mini Micros, JJ has had 3 non-branded metal scooters and each one of his has broken or had a fault in some way. The girls still work perfectly, not a bit of rust in sight. Yes the footplate has discoloured and so has the back break but then we are not a family who lovingly stores them away in the shed every day. It is to be expected, yes they have been left outside in the rain, snow and sun.

As dh and I seem to breed tall children I have been thinking for a while that it is time for the girls to move up to the next level of scooter and for me their was only one model in mind that I wanted them to have, a Maxi Micro scooter. It has just been their birthday and they were thinking of spending their money on the scooters when luckily Micro offered the girls a beautiful limited edition Union Jack Maxi Micro each to review. They had the pick of red, blue or white footplate and were both able to get their first choice. Sensibly they chose different colours so we need never have arguments again over which belongs to who!

Within 1/2 hour of the parcel arriving at our house, dh had built the scooters. Well, built is a bit of an overstatement, they are so easy to put together it is unreal. All you have to do is clip the handlebar into the footplate and you are there, ready to scoot. The attachment clip to put any accessories onto the scooter was already attached and we received another in the box, I assume in case we wanted to add more or if we broke/ lost the existing one.

The Maxi Micro is recommended for 6-12 year olds and takes up to 50kg in weight.  Our girls are only just 5 but as I mentioned pretty tall. We changed the handlebar height to suit the girls height and this was very easy, you can use the provided alum key to tighten it if you require. Our limited edition Union Jack Maxi Micro scooters came with a neoprene union jack bottle holder. The girls love this quirky addition and the first thing I was asked was if I could fill up their water bottles please. The bottle holder detaches really easily from the accessory clip and has a drawstring handle so you can carry it anytime.

Miss E with her old Mini Micro and shiny new Maxi Micro Scooters.The Maxi is just right for those who have learnt to ride a Mini Micro and when you see them together you know it is the perfect progression. My girls both jumped on the Maxi scooter and rode straight off, no need to get to know it.

The thing I really like about the Mini and Maxi Micro scooters is the sturdy double front swivel wheels, these mean the kids can manoeuvre so easily with just a slight touch of the handlebar. My friends kids have got the same scooter but instead of a traditional handlebar, her kids have joysticks, which I thought looked bizarre at first but them seem to be all the rage at school.

I am not sure if it is because the wheels are more durable but the Maxi scooter really can move across most surfaces very easily.  Grass does not present any problem at all, which has pleased my little ladies.

I was pleased to read on the Micro Scooters website that these scooters have a really good safety record and they state their ingenious Swiss design company who made them (Micro Mobility Systems) as the reason why.

I can honestly tell you that every day since we received these scooters my girls have wanted to ride them. I know my girls are now looking forward to September and being able to show off their new scooters on the school run.  I just have one issue, JJ is in a bit of a strop and wants to know why he has not got a maxi micro, 'oh Mum, they are so awesome.  Too cool for the girls!'. Not long until October and his birthday I suppose.

The limited edition Union Jack Maxi Micro Scooters retails for £105 including the bottle holder.  Then if you have younger kids the Union Jack Mini Micro Scooter retails for £70 including a stunning Union Jack bag. I also noticed there is free delivery when you order a Union Jack Micro scooter at the moment.

So, the big question - would I have bought these scooters at £105 each now I have seen them in action?  100% yes.  They are fantastic.

Design and styling                10/10
Ease of ride and stability      10/10
Choice of colours                  9/10
Accessories available            9/10

A fantastic product, I am happy to endorse.

I'll leave you with a little clip of my girls riding their scooters and telling me what they like about them.

Disclosure:  We received 2 Maxi Micro Scooters for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Saturday 11 August 2012

Country Kids - Beach Combing

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays CornwallI am super chuffed to be linking up with Fiona at Coombe Mill and her country Kids linky.  I often see this linky and think I must join in and then I forgot or get too busy, doh!  So while I am having some down time over August and completely suiting myself, this is the perfect time to join in.

Last week we went on holiday to Yorkshire and for the first couple of days the weather was not to great, but you can't let that stop you getting outside can you?

So we headed off to a local beach at Hornsea and enjoyed watching the life boats come in and combing the beach for precious stones that we could take home and treasure. Then what is a day at a cheesy English seaside town without a trip to the arcade and fish and chips on the sea front?

We found some lovely big stones on the beach and the kids insisted we bring them home, but I put my foot down and let them choose just 5 each.  Then whilst I was painting the bathroom yesterday morning the girls had a lovely time colouring in some large white pebbles.

Thursday 9 August 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful - The kids loved Sand Le Mere

Good morning all, I hope the summer holiday is going well for you, or if you don’t have school age kids then I hope you are being blessed by some nice weather and having a great summer anyway.

I just finished work yesterday and I won’t be back until 28th August, how lucky am I? We were away for a holiday in Yorkshire last week and I can report that we had a super time at the Sand Le Mere holiday village. We are also heading off for another holiday soon, down to the south to my Uni town of Bournemouth – how I love it there.
I am due to be using the letter K this week as the prompt for my reasons and that has not been easy, the words that came to mind were kids, kiss, kettle and kitchen.  As I am having some down time over the summer I am cheating a bit and using the ‘K’ to share some photos of my kids from our holiday at Sand Le Mere last week, they had such a great time.  It has a really superb kids club; the entertainment staff are excellent and genuinely seem to enjoy their jobs.

With faces painted at the day time kids club.

Spy themed kids club, working together to cross the crocodile infested waters!

Loving the cheesy English seaside arcades.

On the cliffs at Tunstall Beach.
I am not the host of #R2BC this week, it is over at Fay's at Glass Half Full, so please go over and see Fay, there you will find the linky.  Grab the code and put it in your post and then hop from blog to blog and share some love.  I'll be back hosting again after my summer break. A big thanks to our lovely host Clare for last week.
Wishing you all a blessed week.  Mich x
Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
Disclosure: We received a 4 night break for the purposes of an independent review.  I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest. A full review will be published soon.

Monday 6 August 2012

The Race Against Hunger - Play the game...

While we are all wrapped up in the glory of the Olympics here in the UK there is still a very real problem, one which is so much bigger and more important than gold medals. The eyes of the world are on London at the moment and I am pleased to see David Cameron make use of this with his global nutrition event to be held next week to coincide with the closing day of the Olympics.

Right now world leaders are in a position to act to help prevent another famine. How much of a privileged position is that? How can they sit on their hands and wait for the famine to take grip?  There really is no need to wait for us to start losing people at a rapid rate. Surely enough lives have been lost with the famine in East Africa?
There is time to change things for the people in the Sahel region. We must join together and urge David Cameron to announce the biggest ever push on hunger at his global nutrition event. This summit will be attended by influential business figures, non-governmental organisations and campaigners as well as prominent world leaders. We CAN pressure them to make a difference. When us average people stand together we CAN be heard.
One easy way is to sign’s petition to show David Cameron the strength of opinion of the British public.  Please sign and share and do it NOW, the petition will be given in to No. 10 this Friday, ahead of the summit.

But if you are the competitive type who likes a bit of fun, don’t just sign the petition, play ‘the race against hunger game’.  It will take moments to sign in via Facebook and then you can play against your friends and family.  I have to admit I was really terrible at this game and my best score was about 20 seconds!  Whereas my contact at ONE is at 6.74 seconds, I have no idea how she got that good – I hope there has not been any cheating Claire?
Go on have a go at the game and let me know the score; surely you can beat my lame 20 seconds?  Then straight after sign the petition and share it.

Thanks for walking with me in this battle against injustice. There is just ONE people and we all deserve to live.

Mich x

Click HERE to play the game, the above is just a graphic on my blog!

Sunday 5 August 2012

Not So #SilentSunday - Getting back to basics.....

Over the last few weeks I have had a real sense that I need to get back to basics, my life has become cluttered. My head is cluttered and even parts of my house are cluttered. For someone who prides herself on being good at clearing out, there are a few places I have allowed to remain full of crap and that is not good.

I was at one of my counselling sessions a couple of weeks back and the counsellor asked me what I thought about something eating and weight related (I can't recall exactly what) and I sat there for a few moments and I got quite scared.  You know what? I had no idea what I thought.  I knew what the theories say, I have read numerous books and been to various clubs and fellowships to learn about my issues with eating but the sad things is I had no idea what I thought.  What does Mich believe?

Well I'll tell you what I believe - I believe I have got a bit lost along the way.  I have done so much study and tried so many different things that I now have no real idea what is me and what is just stuff I have read. There I was trying to be a diligent little solider learning more and more, quenching my thirst for all things new and what have I actually done?  Confused myself.  Whoops.

So today I had a bit of a clear out - no more diet or self-help books for me, even Christian ones.  Everything I need to know is in my manual for life (yes the Bible) and whilst it is not the easiest read it is one that gets better with time and understanding. I'll still read some fiction, a bit of fluff is good for the soul but no more books designed to change me.

Off I go now to the charity shop in town, to drop this lot off (and quite a few more too) -

What was I thinking of with some of those books?

On a related note, a film I watched last also really struck me. I was watching P.S. I Love You and the widow was reading one of the letters from her deceased husband. In it he tells her he is not afraid she will forget him but it is the girl he first met, the one full of hopes and dreams that he worries about, as she keeps getting lost along the way.  I thought yes, that is me.  I have lost sight of me along the way.  The lures of this modern world have hooked me in and I have forgotten who I am in Christ.

So this is the next leg of my life journey - to re find me. The me that is a devoted disciple and wishes to live for Christ, not for instant gratification or the search of perfection.

My Pastor had some wise words for me in his sermon this morning, when I am making a wrong choice (and lets be honest, we know when it is a wrong choice) I just need to apply one simple rule - 'don't do it'!  Yes it is that simple. Go to overeat - stop myself and pray. Say something harsh to my children in the heat of the moment - stop, apologise and pray etc.

Life is not easy but it is generally simple and the more I remember that the better.

Us humans are far too guilty of making things more complex than they need to be.

What about you, anything cluttering up your life that you need to ditch?

Thursday 2 August 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful - Celebrating JJ (Week 31) #R2BC

Hey all, I hope you are keeping well.  I am just popping in quick to link up my Reasons to be Cheerful, which is being held over at Seasider in the City this week.  Clare is an established guest host now, she is my favourite bloggy buddy and the one I turn to when I need help and advice. Our children are also due to marry one day, so she will then be my sister in law - aren't you thrilled Clare?

I am continuing with the letter theme over the summer and this week is J.  I am sure those of you who read my blog will be able to guess what might come up for J!  For me there is only really one choice and that is my double dose of J, my little man JJ himself.

Nearly nine years ago I was blessed with a gorgeous baby who grew into a lovely boy and is continuing to flourish and make me very proud.

So I'll share with you a few reason why I love my little man so much -

*  I asked JJ to tidy his room really well this week whilst I was at work, so it would be done for the holiday period.  How many 8 year old's do you know who would dust, sweep, hoover their room, as well as sort all the drawers and shelves? He used to moan like most children and then we chatted about why I should do everything when we operate our house as a family, he got it and he now mucks in.

*  Oh yes he mucks in, this is the little boy who asks me if he can do my washing for me or empty the dishwasher.  Yes he is hoping there might be something in it for him, but for the smart boy does not ask for anything, he knows that helping will get him time with Mummy.

*  And boy does he like his time with Mummy - snuggles on the sofa, a board games together or maybe Uno and of course our Friday evening swim alone together followed by hot chocolate.  Long may he always want to spend time with me and he is such good company, we have a laugh.

*  Oh yes he thinks he is a bit of a comedian and is often found telling jokes, really horrendous jokes of course but they make him laugh and that is very infectious and the girls end up falling about too, even though they have no idea what the joke was!

*  I think I have to give him his due with the girls as well, as he often makes them cereal in the morning whilst I shower. Then if I ask him to help with their shoes he will and he will even direct them and help to get their rooms tided if this means we can all get downstairs quicker for movie time.

*  Recently he started at a football club and this is the lad who lacks agility and grace but he seems to have found his forte in being goalie, he even came home with the player of the week trophy.  Oh yes, I'm a proud Mummy.

*  One of the things I am so grateful for and I pray continues is his willingness to be honest with me and talk to me about anything and everything.  We have had some (age appropriate) sex conversations, talked about bullying, diversity, kindness, alcohol, drugs and many much more.

*  Then lastly I am grateful that he is grateful. Yes he is 8 and he forgets his manners at times but he has no expectation for big expensive things.  I bought him a pencil sharpener yesterday, it cost 79p but he was so thrilled that I got an impromptu kiss and thanks.  He often has clothes from the charity shop and he is just as happy with those as new ones.  He has even commented to me that it leaves more money for fun stuff like holidays so it is great.

I love you JJ, you are perfect to be our little boy.

There is no linky here this week, as Clare is hosting.  Pop over and see her, add the blog hop code to your post, link up and go and visit others and share the comment love.

I'll see you all when I am back from my bloggy break in September, Be blessed, Mich x