Friday, 30 November 2012

Megan's Advent Candle Wreath

At Brownies last night, Megan made this advent candle wreath, which I think is brilliant. She is so very clever. The candle has got numbers on it so you can burn a little bit each day in preparation for Christmas.
The wreath itself has got leaves, berries, presents and twisty wire on it.
When we were in the car on the way home, Megan was telling me how she had made it and I told her that Nana Betty used to make Christmas arrangements very similar, for family, friends and church and I can remember my mum having an arrangement on the hall table every Christmas.
Megan liked the fact that she is being creative, just like Nana Betty!
This is going to be one of these special Christmas things that will get packed away and brought out every year.
I am so very proud of my girl, who is creative and clever and getting more grown up every day.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Letters to Father Christmas

Yesterday we decided to write to Father Christmas. We had planned this a couple of weeks and last Sunday when we were out shopping we bought special paper, stickers and a special pencil.

Megan decided about a month ago that she wanted a tablet. She initially asked for an Ipad, but we talked about it and I explained that there were lots of suitable 'tablets' around that worked in a very similar way and she was happy with that idea.

Ben has wanted his own ds for months now. He has played on Megans a few times and is really quite good. And Megan has very kindly said that he can have some of her games that are too young for her now! Peppa pig and Dora!

So we went round to my mums and wrote the letters. My sister went round with her two as well.

Megan very carefully copied her pre written list out:

Slush puppy maker
Badge maker
Sticker maker
Nail salon
Make up
Lego friends
Princess barbie and the Popstar

Ben got very excited cutting pictures out of the Argos catalogue to stick on his list:

Mario kart
Diego game
Pirate ship
Angry birds game

So now Father Christmas just needs to decide what they will get!

Megan, Ben, Jack and Grace also decided to do secret Santa between themselves.

Megan picked out Jack
Ben picked out Grace
Jack picked out Ben
Grace picked out Megan (which Megan was delighted about!)

They are each going to spend £2 on a secret present for each other!

Us adults (me, Martin, Laura, Darren, mum, dad and for the first time this year, auntie Lynne) also sorted out our secret Santa. We send £5 on our gifts and are not allowed to buy food or drink. We have done this for a while now as it saves so much money but is also great fun.

Getting very excited now!

Ben and I posted the letters today, so fingers crossed for a reply in a few weeks!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Sale Christmas lights switch on

Saturday afternoon was cold and wet but that didn't stop us venturing into sale for the Christmas lights switch on. This has become a family tradition now, we have been going since before Megan was born.

As sale is relatively small, the Christmas lights switch on has a family feel.

There is dancing by local dance companies, singing and the local theatre groups perform a bit of panto as a plug for their pantos over the festive period.

The actual light switch on is a big count down and ta da!

This year was extra special as Ben, at 3 years, was aware of what was happening. When we got there and he saw everyone he said, "what's happening here?" When he realised he was very excited.

And even though it was cold and wet we enjoyed ourselves, the children liked watching the dancing and panto and enthusiastically counted down tmtgdagg switch on and thought the lights looked lovely!

Friday, 23 November 2012


This is an incredibly hard and incredibly easy post to write.

Easy because it is a call from fellow bloggers, mum and women I don't personally know, have never met but whose blogs I have read for a while and who offered advice and friendship when I have needed it, who have asked that we all send special prayers, healing thoughts, or whatever floats your boat, to another special mummy blogger, multiple mummy on 24th November at 10pm.

Hard, because I am writing this in such sad circumstances.
Multiple mummy, Kerry, is someone else I have never met and yet I feel I know her in some small way.

As I am sure many of you know, she is currently very poorly in hospital, having suffered a brain hemorrhage.

Her blog is funny, entertaining and very well written, with lots of gorgeous smiley pictures.

So in an effort to give a boost to get Kerry home to her family, show your support and send healing thoughts, say a prayer or light a candle on 24th November at 10pm.

This is a blog hop.


Megan has trampolining every Friday at 5pm. She loves it and is coming on really well. She has got loads of badges and certificates to prove how well she is doing!

At the moment she is perfecting her front drop and has nearly got it.

Trampolining gives her a real confidence boost as she tries so hard that she always gets lots of praise.

5pm on a Friday for Ben means playing with his cars, snacking on fruit and crisps and sometimes stropping because he is so tired, but thankfully that is getting less and less.

Aside from Bens occasional meltdowns, trampolining is a lovely way for Megan to start the weekend. (Even though an hours trampolining on a Friday evening is not mine!)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Play doh fun

Both Megan and Ben love play doh. From an early age we have often got it out and have got lots of cutters, rolling pins and bits to play with.

What I have done for the last few years is make my own play doh. It is so easy to do and can be varied by adding different food colours or flavourings.

It can then be kept for ages in a airtight box in the fridge and used wherever Megan or Ben want to play with it.

The recipe is:

2 cups plain flour
1 cup salt
2 cups water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon oil
Food colouring or flavouring.

Put all the ingredients in a pan and stir over heat until dough is formed.
Take out of pan and knead for a couple of minutes. (Be careful as it can be hot.)
Store or use straight away.
Have fun!

So easy to do and older children can help too.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Girls night out

Me and two of my very special friends, s and k went on a long overdue night out last night.

Although we see each other regularly and have a day out every school holidays, it is with kids in tow, and you know what that means.  Every conversation gets interpreted by the cries of, 'mum', and by the time you have dealt with whatever crisis has arisen you can't remember what you were saying.

So last night we drank cocktails, wine and too much vodka. We laughed, caught up and generally got giggly and loud. We danced to 80's and 90's music, (think tiffany and Brian Adams), much to s's disgust!
We ended up in an old man's pub, where we were the youngest in there by at least 15 years, where k was determined to see the band perform, (we lasted 10 seconds from when they came on!).

And we had a fantastic time and remembered why we are such good friends, aside from being mums with kids the same age.  Because a good laugh and a hug from best friends can mean the world.

Just a shame we all paid for it today though!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The gallery - Autumn

I love Autumn. I love the colour of the leaves. I love the way the leaves crunch underfoot. I love going out with the children hunting for conkers and acorns. I love wrapping up warm and braving it outside. I love lying in bed listening to the rain. I love the Autumn sun creating long shadows. And dare I say it, I love the dark nights.

This weeks gallery is Autumn. I have picked this picture from a couple of weeks ago when we went out on a gorgeous Autumny morning. The sky was bright blue, the sun was shining, the shadows long and it was freezing so we were all wrapped up. We walked along the brook, found a hidden rope swing and had a cold half hour at the park.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Knowing Me, Knowing You Meme

The purpose of this meme was to bring bloggers together, to learn about the person behind the computer screen. (I love things like this!)
The Rules:
  • Nominate five other blogs in your post ( All must have less than 250 subscribers)
  • Post five random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the five questions that the “tagger” has asked you, and then list your own five questions to ask others.
  • Let your five friends know you have tagged them by commenting on there blog/tweeting them.

My Five Random Facts
1. I went to Kenya on safari for my honeymoon and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I would love to take Megan and Ben when they are old enough.

2. I hate horror films. I really can't watch them as my overactive imagination completely takes over and then I can't sleep!

3. I have two tattoos, one on each foot. They are my childrens names and are written in a style so they look like symbols and can only be read if I pointed out the letters. I love them and would like one more, maybe at the bottom of my back.

4. I love Tom Cruise in everything and anything. 

5. I love reading. I don't get a chance to read as much now but still love a good book, mainly chick lit as it doesn't require too much brain power. I am hoping Megan and Ben will both develop into avid readers.

I was asked to answer the following questions.
Is there a moment in your life which was utterly life changing? 

Aside from the obvious, the birth of my children, I think it could be the day I started teaching my first class (year 1) and I realised what a privilege it was to be shaping those young minds and what a huge resposibility it was.

What was the first single you ever bought? 

Vanilla Ice - Ice, Ice Baby. I loved it and remember playing it over and over again on my parents record player. Much to their delight, I'm sure!

Why did you start to blog?

I just wanted to have some kind of record of my childrens lives. I had read other blogs for a while and wanted to take the plunge myself but wasn't sure where to start. After a bit of research I was away! I hope the children will enjoy looking back on it when they are older. I wish I had started 7 years ago when Megan was born.

Would you rather be happy and poor or sad but rich? 

Without a doubt, happy and poor, which is a good job really!

What is your favourite film and what do you think that says about you? 

Dirty Dancing. I have watched it far too many times to count and probably know every word! I saw the stage show last year and really enjoyed it, although I didn't think it was as good as the film.
I think it just says I am a big romantic and a sucker for a happy ending! Plus Patrick Swayze was sooo gorgeous in it!

My questions are:

1. If you could be anyone for a day, who would you be and why?
2. What were you doing when you were 21 years old? (Job, lifestyle etc)
3. Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?
4. Are you addicted to anything, and if you are, what?
5. If you won a 2 million pounds on the lottery, what would be your top 3 purchases?

Thanks to  for tagging me! I have really enjoyed this.
 Hope to read more about everyone soon! 

Monday, 5 November 2012

My lovely little family

Here is my lovely little family. Random pics taken this evening.
Absolutely gorgeous kids, love them to bits.

Christmas cake - soaking the fruit

I have just started my Christmas cake. During October half term I always put the fruit in a air tight container and add a good helping of metaxa brandy to it and leave it for about 6 weeks to get plump and intoxicating!

This year I have used mixed fruit, cherries, mixed peel and dried apricots.

I will put the recipe on here nearer to Christmas.

Anyone else started their Christmas cake yet?

Friday, 2 November 2012

Museum of science and industry (MOSI)

As it has been half term me and the children had a day out with our friends. Three mums and seven children went to mosi.

We had been before. As a family we have taken Megan and Ben and they both enjoyed it. We have been with our friends too. It's good fun although hard work keeping track of everyone!

I love the fact that in Manchester we have great museums to go to with the children, and I love the fact it is free!

We went on the tram from sale as that is always a big adventure in itself.

By the time we got there everyone was hungry so we headed to the planes and cars hanger where there is a bigish seated area for picnics upstairs where the kids had a good view of the simulator.

After lunch we went to the main building and went straight to the experiment part of the museum. Here you can have a fab hands on experience of different science concerts like watching your skeleton when you pedal a bike, touch and feel, lifting weights, creating mini earthquakes, making cyclones to name a few. There is also a small soft play area for little ones too. Needless to say we sent ages experimenting, testing and having fun. Next we headed outside into the drizzle for a ride on the steam train. Great fun and great value.  We then went over to the gas work warehouse for a trip down the sewers, complete with rats and fake poo that the children found very amusing! We learnt about the history of toilets (always a popular topic with kids!) A quick pop into recycling for a bit more hands on before we headed back over to the main building for a quick tour around the history of cotton, and more hands on, before it was time to head home. We walked back to the tram having all had a brilliant time.

We are so lucky to have such a fab museum local to where we live and I know as the children get older we will continue to visit time and time again.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Hot Dots Review

We were lucky enough to be sent a Hot Dots Pen and Hot Dots Numbers and Counting Set to review.

Hot Dots make interactive activities for children from early years to key stage 2, covering ten key areas of learning and are activities that help to reinforce new skills taught in school.
As a teacher and mum, this sounded perfect for us!

Hot Dots work with a pen that you use to check your answers. The pen rewards you with different phrases when you are correct and encourages you to try again when the answer is wrong. The pen is purchased separately and comes in three different styles, original, Kat the Kitty and Ace the Dog. The bonus is the pen can then be used with any of the card sets you buy, and ranging from £6.95 to £8.95 it is reasonably priced too.

The card sets cover early skills,numeracy skills, literacy skills and science and each set has activities for different abilities. These are priced from £6.95 to £9.95 which is great value.

The numbers and counting set we were sent is aged 3-6 years. Megan who is 7 got first dabs and loved the activities and went through them quickly, counting and using the pen to answer. She also liked getting the answers wrong to see what happened! Megan then requested that we get another set of cards aimed for her age 'as these are too easy!' I pointed out that these were actually aimed at 3-6 years! After flicking through the leaflet she decided she would like the Reading Comprehension cards!

Ben who has just turned 3, then came to see what we were doing. I loved the fact that the cards can be used in different ways and I selected the simplest game which was matching the numbers. Ben quickly picked up that he had to 'find the same one' and he loved the pen praising him and kept repeating the phrases, 'way to go', 'good choice', 'perfect', 'that's brilliant', 'awesome', to name a few!

The other activities include, counting objects and matching to the written number, finding two numbers the same, number sequencing and a few others.

One other thing to mention is the cards have questions on them to help you guide your child through their learning. This is a great idea as I think these are an activity you would do together, rather than a game you let them play by themselves.
So, would I buy these cards? Yes, without a doubt, as a teacher and a mum and I will be recommending them to other mums too and my teacher friends.

Check out Hot Dots website yourself here, and pick out a set for Christmas.

Hot Dots are also running a competition on Facebook, click here to join in and win some Hot Dot goodies!
The competition closes on Friday 16th November 2012.

We were sent the Hot Dots Pen and Card Set to review but all the opinions are our own.