Monday 31 July 2017

Parenting a Digital Native - How Hard Can it Be?

I know it's often said that parents nowadays are living in an totally different world to their own parents or grandparents but I really feel it is true. As a child of the 70’s and 80’s there wasn't any such thing as the internet or email, I played with my dolls, drew and coloured and made believe in the street with my neighbours. Now my children meet their friends in virtual chat rooms on discord and challenge each other to jump subway trains (on a screen of course).

It really is interesting parenting in this evolving time and I am thankful that I work as a blogger and as such am very savvy when it comes to tech generally and more specifically social media, but you can't become complacent as that is when something falls under the radar.

I started my first blog back in 2008 and as such opened social media accounts right at the start of their growth. This means that when my eldest child wanted to get online and join various platforms that I was knowledgeable and able to work with him to ensure that the right safe guards were in place.

Don't think it has all been plain sailing though, there have been times when we’ve had to have some serious chats with my son about sites he has visited or things he has said but we've only been able to do that as he has known from the start we would have his passwords and access to any gadgets he has. Then impromptu visits and a glance through his history and such have meant we feel sure he is playing safe.

Friday 28 July 2017

Birthday Party Fun at Go Ape (Moors Valley, Dorset/ Hampshire)

It was my twins 10th birthday last week and they enjoyed an evening out with my husband and I but due to school and all sorts of end of term commitments there wasn't a big fun birthday adventure. So to rectify this gaping hole Go Ape stepped forward with a Tree Top Junior adventure for the girls and their brother to enjoy whilst we were on holiday in Dorset.

We tried out Go Ape at Bedgebury in Kent back in April and all three of them loved it, so they were super keen to go back and had we been home rather than on holiday I'd have happily booked a Go Ape party for the girls and some of their friends.

Thursday 27 July 2017

Reasons to be Cheerful - Scooting, Golf & Go Ape! #R2BC

We are on holiday with my parents and brother in Dorset this week, having left my hubby at home to work. The weather hasn't been great but we haven't let that affect us as it is still great to be away and of course the kids love being with their grandparents and especially their golden Labrador, Archie.

End of Term Treat
Even before we went, once school had finished on Friday, I picked the girls up for an end of term girlie treat, and we headed out for ice-cream milkshakes, signing up for the summer reading challenge at the library, scooting on their new Micro Scooter Sprites on the seafront, wearing their new school shoes from Start-rite (which will be their main school shoes from September), enjoying a fish and chip supper and finishing with some playtime at the park. We were out for hours and then when we got home I had to do the packing as we were leaving at 8am the next morning, lol!

Sunday 23 July 2017

Scooting Adventures in their Start-rite School Shoes

This last half-term has felt like it was very long and we were truly ready for it to end. So finally when that last bell rang at school on Friday I picked the girls up for a few hours girlie time.

First stop, our local town Battle where we had some jobs to do ready for our holiday. Prescriptions to fulfil, keys to be cut, summer reading challenge to be signed up for and celebratory ice-cream milkshakes to be enjoyed! Miss M opted for a bubblegum flavour and Miss E white chocolate; I'm not much of a fan so I had an Oreo cupcake instead.

Thursday 20 July 2017

Quickfire Reasons to be Cheerful - Birthdays, Anniversaries and Holidays!

Good morning friends, how are you today?

All is good here, I am on countdown for the end of school and going away for a week to Poole/ Bournemouth from early Saturday morning. Hubby has to stay home and work but we'll have my parents and brother with us to keep us company.

In all it's been a good week and for this Reasons to be Cheerful post I'm going to do one of my quick-fire lists where I shout out about everything that is making me smile right now!

Tuesday 18 July 2017

Celebrating Creativity with BIC Kids

BIC has been a name I've trusted since I was a child. It makes me smile to think back to when I was a young girl and my Dad was the local Unigate milkman, I used to love to go and help him deliver the milk at unearthly times in the morning and then collect the money on a Friday evening. What's that to do with BIC you might be wondering? Well it was all manual systems back then so Dad had a big leather covered book that he kept all his orders and payments in and about once every six months it had to be re-written as it would have run out of space and that was Mums job and the only pen she'd use to do it? You guessed, yes it was a BIC crystal biro. So we always had a stock of them in our house.

We still use BIC biros but nowadays you'd be more likely to see BIC Kids products around my house. One of my 10 year old twins, Miss E wants to be an artist when she is older, it's been her dream for a number of years now and I'm not seeing any signs of it subsiding. Even in her recent school report it was her creative work that she got outstanding marks for her.

So like a good Mum I have to encourage her to keep going and to extend her passion. She has an amazing eye for photography, makes beautiful beaded jewellery, is forever crafting bookmarks and I love her acrylic paintings too. Have a look at this montage of some of the pieces of Miss E's work displayed around our house. I think it is really good for all the kids to see their work on the wall, it helps to give them a sense of pride.

Thursday 13 July 2017

Reasons to be Cheerful - Just regular Life #R2BC

Happy Thursday friends. I'm on countdown to the end of the school year and thankfully we are nearly there. Six school days left and this last week always seems a bit of the fast as the kids are tired and the teachers are tired and not a lot of learning goes on but yet the Government insist the children stay at school!

But I shouldn't really start of an R2BC post by moaning, should I? I've titled this weeks post, just regular life as there is always something good we can find and Candi is our very own example of this.

Pool Party Fun
Over the weekend the girls and I went to a pool party for the children who are coached by people like me who volunteer for the charity TLG (Transforming Lives for Good). We had a wonderful three hours, with the kids all in and out the pool so many times I lost count.

Great Doctors
I'm so grateful for my GP, she is an absolute diamond and is really helping me to investigate my many ailments that I have at the moment. I left her office Monday feeling empowered and read to shift some weight. I am giving Orlistat a go to see if they can help me kick start things.

Wednesday 12 July 2017

Guest Post: Islamic Family Traditions and Culture

Image Credit: Muslim Family Prayers from Shutterstock

We live in an increasingly multicultural society, so it is great to know and understand the traditions and culture of other religions. One culture that is brought over all the way from the Middle East is the celebrations and traditions followed by Muslims. Just as Christians celebrate Easter and Christmas, Muslims have an Islamic calendar with holidays to celebrate.

Educating yourself and your children about these traditions is a great idea to help you to understand the basic beliefs of Muslims. Whether your child is at school with another Muslim child, your neighbours are a Muslim family or you work with someone of that culture, showing an interest and knowledge of their culture can go a long way.

There are three main holidays in the Islamic Calendar; Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. Many of the holiday traditions are commonly shared by Muslim families. Here are some of the exciting celebrations and fun traditions Muslims participate in during these holidays.

Moon Sighting 
The holiday dates for Muslims vary each year; this is because they are determined by a fully lunar calendar. For this reason, a sighting of the moon is a very important part of the tradition. A new born crescent moon is sighted to mark the beginning and end of a month – such as Ramadan. If the crescent is there then the festivities can begin and if it is not, they will begin a day later.

Sunday 9 July 2017

How to make a New Parents Survival Kit for under £5

Last year some friends of mine were expecting their first baby and the Mum-to-be was quite apprehensive about having her first baby. She isn't the most confident of women but I just knew that having her babe would be the making of her. I wanted to get them a gift but there wasn't anything material that they needed and all I really wanted to do was give her something that would encourage her to trust her instincts and to realise she would know best for her baby.

I therefore came up with the idea of giving her a New Parents Survival Kit, full of reassuring tokens to symbolise all the wonderful times ahead and qualities that the new parents already have but maybe don't realise. As my friends are Christians, I created a Christian new parents survival kit but you can tailor the kit to any faith or none.

My friends loved this gift and it was so inexpensive to make that I am making more this year for other friends who are expecting babies.

Thursday 6 July 2017

Reasons to be Cheerful - Family Time, Blogging Success and the Beach #R2BC

Hello friends, happy Thursday, I hope it looks to be a good one for you. Mine should be good and busy as I'm on the school run and then coaching my little boy first thing. Next I need to get a couple of tyres changed (Nothing exciting there) and then it is time for quick bite to eat and the girls parents consultations at school. Once they are home, it will be the normal homework, catching up with blog work and doing their dinner before I escape out with the my lovely friend Izzy for a meal and a catch up.

I'm sorry I haven't posted many R2BC posts recently, I seem to have had loads of paid work to do and whilst that's good (and with the summer holidays looming, definitely a reason to be cheerful) if I want any kind of work/ life balance it means I need to do less personal content but you've got me for every Thursday in July now as it's my month to host.

Blogging Success
In fact I think I could name all things blogging related as reasons to be cheerful as my Facebook blog page seems to have taken off and I am managing to be consistent in my posting and I've had a wonderful blip on YouTube. I assuming it is a blip but you never know I might just be the next big thing! Lol At the time of writing this I've had over 33,500 views on a slime tutorial I put up about five weeks ago. For the first four weeks it did what I thought was well with about 5,000 views and in the last week it has moved up by nearly 30K, that's pretty astonishing isn't it?

Tuesday 4 July 2017

Flying for the first time with Jet2 from Stansted Airport

Back in December I started to plan our holiday to Playa Montroig Camping Resort with Eurocamp and I was really grateful there is no set arrival day so I could seek out the best price for our flights. As we needed to travel during May half term I knew there wasn't going to be any bargains but I hoped to secure something at least half reasonable in price.

At first I checked flights from Gatwick and Heathrow as these airports are closest to us and ones we've flown from before but the dates, times and prices were not ideal. I then remembered that fellow blogger Vicki from Honest Mum is working as an ambassador for Jet2 and I decided to check them out.

Who are Jet2 - Should we fly with them?
Being a Southern girl they weren't an airline I’d heard of before but when I started investigating them I found out they are the UK’s fourth largest scheduled airline. But more importantly that they were named the ‘Best Airline – UK’ and the ‘Best Low-Cost Airline – Europe’ at the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards and they are also the only UK airline to have ‘Which? Recommended Provider’ status. It was all pretty impressive but the clincher for me was that they were starting to fly from Stansted in May and that's only a couple of hours drive from us.

Almost straight away I found an ideal flight time from Stansted to Reus with a 8.45am departure and a 2.15pm arrival back in the UK. To be able to secure a good price I booked for the Monday of half-term and resigned myself to the fact I'd need to ask for a day off school for each of the kids. There were flights on the Friday and Sunday too but these were around £600 more for the five of us and thus a day off it would need to be.

Sunday 2 July 2017

Slimming Sunday - Regaining My Focus

I've been worrying about this post since the beginning of the week when I realised this weekend was the first weekend of the month and I'd suggested to Emma that would be a good time for our #SlimmingSunday linky to publish. We were doing it weekly but in truth hardly anyone was joining in and we wondered if people didn't want to write a post quite so regularly and thus have changed to become a monthly linky. 

From now there will be a Slimming Sunday linky every first Sunday of the month and it will be over on Life According to Mrs Shilts and here with me too.

So you might wonder why this post has been playing on my mind, its not as if it is a difficult or controversial subject to write about but it's about me feeling bad, sad, guilty, ashamed, whatever it is that I'm feeling as I haven't lost any weight since I posted my last Slimming Sunday post and even worse than that I've not really done anything positive towards sorting myself out. 

I'm not quite sure what's up right now but I'm obviously not in the right place to be really focusing on healthy eating and exercise in an effort to lose some of this weight. For one reason or another, or perhaps it is one excuse or another I've hardly been to my Monday night fit club, I haven't focused on my walking and my step count has dramatically reduced and I've been eating whatever I like.

Saturday 1 July 2017

Talking Intimate Health with your Daughters

**Giveaway Closed, Congratulations Carol T**

We all struggle with different issues as parents and I've certainly got areas where I need to up my game but I am thankful that one thing I don't struggle with is being able to talk to my children openly about all sorts. The girls are now nearly ten and a few weeks back we had the growing up, periods, body developing and (surface level) sex talk and then a couple of weeks ago I was presented with a prime opportunity to talk to them again, this time on the topic of intimate health.

Now don't get me wrong, it isn't like I enjoy broaching sensitive or potentially embarrassing conversations with them I just figure that if I tackle them head on and without my face going too red they will grow up knowing that it is OK and normal to talk openly. I pray this will stand them in good stead when they have relationships of their own one day, nothing worse than a wife who beats around the bush and can't be honest with her husband, right?

So there I was a couple of weeks back, I wasn't feeling that great having developed a cold when we returned from Spain and I was coughing and sneezing like a good’un. I've also got some women's issues and I'm waiting for my appointment for a colposcopy, as after nearly ten years of excessive bleeding it has become too much to live with. Then to top it all off I started to feel uncomfortable down below, I was itchy, sore and just generally feeling very tender. I was pretty sure it was thrush but due to my heavy bleeding I couldn't spot the tell-tale white discharge that normally accompanies it but I knew it was time to take action.