Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Great #WorldBookDay Dressing-up Box Raid of 2012

It's that time of year again. And until about an hour ago, I had forgotten again.

Yes, tomorrow is World Book Day and my three sons are expected to go to school dressed up as a character from a book. I can't go out anywhere to go and get some costumes and as I forgot all about it until now I haven't formulated any sort of plan to make or borrow costumes, so a raid on the dressing up box it is.

I quickly decided on reusing Harrison's skeleton costume from Halloween, and will be sending him as 'Funny Bones'... A wee bit lazy and possibly a bit cheaty, but perfectly legal in book character terms. One down, two to go.

In a dark dark house, down a dark dark staircase... Some skeletons lived!
Now, there is a book called 'Where's My Mummy?'... I have wondered - do I want to make my lack of preparation glaringly obvious by sending two of my boys in wearing what are clearly recycled Halloween costumes, or do I need to be more cunning?

A pair of too-small trousers with some artfully placed rips, an old white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a waistcoat? I think I can just about pull off an 'Oliver Twist' costume.I think I might even have an old 'baker boy' hat kicking about the house somewhere too...

So, that's two...

Last but not least... In the depths of the dressing up box I have found a pirate costume that I had suspected was there... Arr, avast ye scurvy swabs! We have Captain Hook.

Panic over, job done -- World Book Day 2012 is GO!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Facebook Top 10 Friend List you don't want to be on

I've seen them. You've seen them. Everyone has seen them, read them, maybe even laughed a little at (some) of them while raising an eyebrow at one or two that may actually sound a little like you... Yes. I am talking about the Facebook Top 10 lists.

From most annoying statuses, to the different types of 'friend' you have on your list, to the worst 'duck face' photos... There always seems to be something that someone has said or done to annoy us. What's with all the negativity?

I admit, I am guilty of getting mildly irritated by people at times (normally those who allude to something but then tell people they 'can't say too much on Facebook' & that they should inbox them, maybe they should just inbox that person in the first place instead of writing a status... just an idea), but that's usually because I am being a grouch, not because they have actually done something to me. Though, for the repeat offenders, I either unfriend them completely, or I hide them from my news feed & block them from viewing my status updates (there are special diplomatic circumstances for such people to have to remain on my list, otherwise they too would be unfriended, I feel I should point out).

It's actually quite simple, if someone annoys you then why not either ditch them or hide them?

For example, the favourite pet hate seems to be the bragging status about a child's achievement, or some good luck. Why rain on their parade? Just 'like' it and move on, they're not hurting you and frankly in what can be such a miserable world I am more than happy to congratulate someone on little Fifi's achievement in reading this week.

Or another peeve is apparently someone writing a status update addressed either to a deceased friend or relative, or to a child for a birthday or other such occasion. Personally I think it is lovely to write something thoughtful and heartfelt to someone you love. Who cares if that person won't be reading it, it obviously means something to the person who wrote it and if they are your friend then surely you would either comment with well wishes to someone who may well be feeling sad, or just like it and leave a birthday message for the kid. Think about it, what kind of friend does that make YOU, if you can't even do that?

And the worst thing that people is complain about, is when people write things about doing things with their family, or that they love their kids. What on Earth is wrong with that? They don't have to be overcompensating or trying too hard, maybe - *gasp* - they just love their family, and enjoy spending time with them.

I would rather read something nice about a day out or a family evening in than a constant stream of "OMG the kids have been so annoying today... Can't wait to get these kids to bed...". We all know that children don't behave immaculately all the time (or even SOME of the time in some cases) but maybe the person doesn't like dwelling on bad behaviour and just appreciates the good. I personally would rather read positive things than someone constantly whinging about how awful their kids are.

I really do wonder when I read some of these 'top 10 lists' about people hating this sort of friend and that sort of friend (for example - 'the lurker', 'the liker', 'the let-me-tell-you-every-detail-of-my-day-bore') how the person who comes up with these lists has any friends at all, Facebook or otherwise. Why is everyone so quick to put others down, people who are supposed to be their friends? And since when were there rules about what you can & can't write as a status update?

'Hide All' and the unfriend button... Learn it, live it, love it - or LUMP it!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Nominate Me for Fresh Voices 2012! #BiB #BritMums

Brilliance in Blogging: Fresh Voices 2012

I would be DELIGHTED to receive a nomination for Brit Mums Brilliance in Blogging FRESH VOICES award 2012. Since starting my blog in the middle of last year I have really enjoyed being a part of the blogging world and taking part in blog hops and making new friends, and it would be a real honour to receive a nomination as a FRESH VOICE.

So if you have visited and enjoyed my blog, please click the link above and let them know! Thanks x

It's time... for CHORE WARS!

Yesterday my friend Sarah recommended this website to me -

and it is FANTASTIC. The kids and I set up our profile, I am the dungeon master and they are my apprentices. I have listed several adventures (chores) for them, including a couple specifically for the husband in relation to decorating hehe, such as making their bed, putting their toys away, doing the dishes etc. Now whenever the kids complete an adventure, they can log in to the account and claim their experience points and gold coins.

I have made it a little more exciting by adding the chance of finding treasure, or encountering monsters (including zombie hamsters, moaning wives and whinging children...) which they can battle with to earn extra experience or to win more gold coins.

The gold coins will turn in to pocket money at the end of the week for them, so I will be keeping a close eye to make sure the barbarians, rogues, peasants and hunters in my party aren't trying to get one over on their dungeon master. After setting it up they all raced off to do their chores and are keen to earn the most XP and gold coins, I don't think I have ever seen them so keen to make their beds or tidy up after themselves, Alicia & Joshua hovered around outside the bathroom ready to put the toys away after bathtime!

Let the chore wars commence!

Meal Plan Monday

Monday 27th February - Cottage Pie

Tuesday 28th February - Beef Casserole

Wednesday 29th February - Lasagne served with garlic bread

Thursday 1st March - Toad in the hole with mashed potatoes & steamed mixed vegetables

Friday 2nd March - Chicken Fajitas, cheesy nachos and savoury rice

Saturday 3rd March - Homemade burgers with chips and salad

Sunday 4th March - Roast Beef with steamed mixed vegetables, mashed potato, roast potatoes, parsnips, onion rings and yorkshire puddings served with gravy, with vanilla cheesecake for dessert

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Thursday, 23 February 2012

#R2BC - Reasons to be cheerful... 1, 2, 3

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Thank you so much for the lovely replies to my R2BC entry last week (click here to view), I am very grateful that to all of you who took time to wish me well. It was very scary, and I am so glad to be at home and on the road to recovery. Most of our family have been very supportive and eager to help out so that's helped us some.

It's difficult to remember to stick to doctor's orders, particularly as when I am just sitting I feel okay so I think I am okay to get up and start doing things... not the case, my body lets me know tout de suite that I need to sit back down and do as I am told. It's difficult, I didn't realise that doing nothing required so much determination lol but it has left me more time for catching up with reading, and I can sit and do puzzles with the kids or watch movies, sit and fold laundry... It's not all bad. A few months and fingers crossed everything will be able to get back to normal.

So my reasons to be cheerful this week...

1. I am recovering. I know that you should never google medical conditions lol but I was curious and I don't think even I realised exactly how serious it all is/was, even with the hospital being so stringent while I was there. I have always taken my youth and health for granted, this has made me sit back and think about things. I am very glad to be on the mend and have every faith that I will have no lasting ill effects on my heart from the inflammation or the LVD and that I will be able to get back to normal eventually.

2. Spring is coming! It is a beautiful day out there today, glorious sunshine, and it reminds me that Spring is just around the corner. It is my favourite season and I am so looking forward to Easter and our family holiday and warmer weather!

3. Good family & friends. I received so many lovely messages of support and well wishes while I was in hospital, from friends & family all over the world. When I returned home I was met with a stack of cards and a gorgeous bunch of flowers from my wonderful friends. So many people who were kind enough to be thinking of me, and hoping that I would soon be well enough to return to my family. Not to mention my parents, siblings and especially my niece who ran my home and took care of my children while I was unable to, and everyone who texted, called, left messages and came to visit me in hospital & brought me things to keep me entertained. And last but not least, my husband Adam who has been flying solo while I am sat around watching him do all the work  ;)  he's one in a million. You really do find out who your friends are at times like these, when it really counts.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Photo Gallery - Week 92, Landscapes #TheGallery

For week 92 the gallery theme is Landscapes.

I took this picture on the 'zig zags' of Ben Nevis in June 2011.

I remember standing there and taking that picture and being in awe of how breathtaking the Highlands are, and thinking just how quiet it is at that altitude, there aren't even any birds singing, there is just complete silence. It was such a beautiful day with good weather and clear skies and we were so lucky to have been able to have been able to experience it.

It's certainly one experience I won't forget in a hurry due to my unusual method of descent after injuring myself, but I am proud that I made it to the summit on foot especially as I had an injury. It was worth it for that view.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Pancake Day Yummies & Recipe #ShroveTuesday

Pancake Day is a firm family favourite in our house, this afternoon I prepared our pancakes for dessert and kept them warm in the oven until after dinner when we and the children tucked in with gusto! I made two stacks of "American style" pancakes (our favourites) from my Giraffe Family Cookbook and served them with some caramelised bananas, and a selection of toppings including maple syrup, golden syrup, and toffee and chocolate sauces.

The caramelised bananas were delicious. I used a very quick & simple recipe from the BBC website which can be found here and is as follows -

Caramelised Bananas

55g / 2oz caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence
1-2 tbsp hot water
2 bananas
Knob of butter

1. Heat the sugar, vanilla and water in a pan, until it forms a caramel.
2. Add the banana to the pan, shaking to coat.
3. Add the butter to the pan and heat for another 1-2 minutes.
4. Transfer the caramelised bananas to a serving plate.

See, how easy is that! Nothing to it. Very naughty but very nice, especially with pancakes. A lovely treat for Shrove Tuesday.

#50BookChallenge - Book 9 "Glass Houses" Rachel Caine

Number nine complete -


I have started reading The Morganville Vampires series on the recommendation of my eldest daughter, who has gushed about them non-stop and assured me they were not all teen angst & such nonsense so I thought I would give them a whirl. I was pleasantly surprised with this first book, it is about a girl named Claire who goes off to College in a strange town called Morganville, and discovers that the town is run by vampires.

So far so good, I enjoyed Glass Houses although I have to admit the author's repetitive use of the verb 'blurted' irritated me slightly, but that I think is a minor flaw in what is otherwise a good story with an interesting plot, and I look forward to finding out what happens next!

Monday, 20 February 2012

#50BookChallenge - Books 7 & 8

I completed books 7 & 8 over the weekend

LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS - Charlaine Harris

CLUB DEAD - Charlaine Harris

These are books two and three of Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries series which follows the life of a telepathic barmaid named Sookie Stackhouse from Bon Temps, northern Louisiana.

If you are a fan of stories of the supernatural and indeed of the TV series True Blood, you will enjoy these books. I found them quite captivating and got through them in no time at all, now I must get and purchase the rest of the series! Definitely worth reading.

Meal Plan Monday

Monday 20th February - Cottage Pie

Tuesday 21st February - Brinner, with pancakes for dessert

Wednesday 22nd February - Cod in butter sauce with mashed potato & vegetables

Thursday 23rd February - Baked potatoes with cheese, coleslaw, baked beans & salad

Friday 24th February - Chicken Fajitas with savoury rice & cheesy nachos

Saturday 25th February - Deli pizza

Sunday 26th February - Roast Gammon with mashed potato, roast potatoes, steamed mixed vegetables, stuffing, yorkshire puddings and parsnips served with gravy

Thursday, 16 February 2012

#50BookChallenge - Books 3-6

While I was in hospital I managed to read the following titles -


The second book in The Hunger Games triology, and equally as attention grabbing as the first. It is a thrilling read and I enjoyed it thoroughly.


I have to admit I didn't enjoy the third book of The Hunger Games trilogy as much the first two, but it was a pleasant read with a good structure and a satisfying end to the story.


This book overwhelmed me with a plethora of emotions and is the story of one woman's struggle for freedom for herself and her young daughter from a foreign land. It was truly captivating and I found myself willing her on as she got closer to freedom. Fantastic.

DEAD UNTIL DARK - Charlaine Harris

I am a huge fan of the series 'True Blood' on FX and I have had the first three books that the series is based on for several months, and I have now finally started reading them. Being able to picture the characters made it easy to connect with the story and it really brought it to life in my mind. The story follows the life of Sookie Stackhouse, a telepath living an unassuming life with her brother and Grandmother in Bon Temps, a small town in northern Louisiana, USA who meets and falls in love with a vampire, Bill. I wholly enjoyed this book, particularly as an accompaniment to the tv show and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

#R2BC - A very big reason to be cheerful this week

This week's #R2BC is hosted by the lovely Seasider in the City, be sure to pop across, have a read and link up.

I only have one reason to be cheerful this week, but it is a pretty big one and I can honestly say that I have never been more aware of my own mortality as I was on Tuesday morning last week.

It started out much like any other day. Adam was away so I was home alone with the children. Erica had woken around 4.30am with earache so we got up and got her some medicine and some water, and we went back to bed. Just after 7am my alarm went off, to wake me to get up and get the children ready for school.

I sat up on the bed and felt tightness in my chest, as if I had slept awkwardly and it felt like it had a 'crick' in it. I moved to the edge of the bed and stretched out, which didn't help. I stood and walked out on to the landing, and heard the door slam - Alicia leaving to catch the bus to school. As I reached the landing I was overwhelmed with a crushing, squeezing pain in my chest that sent me to my knees. I tried to stand back up but immediately that hot, white fuzz descended behind my eyes which disorientated me and left me kneeling on the floor, unable to get my bearings to stand and wondering what the hell was going on. I managed to half stand using the landing wall to get up, but was washed over by nausea and then an intense cramping pain that shot down my left arm and I ended up back on my hands and knees again.

I was very aware by this point that I was the only adult in the house with four children, I alerted Joshua from where I was on the landing and he got up and took Logan and Harrison to the kitchen to get them some breakfast, Erica was fortunately still fast asleep on my bed. I crawled from the landing back in to my room and managed to locate my phone on my bed, and called my mum.

She told me to call an ambulance (which I replied with "but I can't, I have to get the children to school"... of course) and that she and my dad would be right there. Luckily, they live only a couple of streets over, and they were with me in minutes. At this point I am sitting on the landing, leaning against the wall with my knees pulled up to my chest, my left arm was almost numb except for the vague pins and needles I could just feel in my fingers. Dad went straight in to see to my boys, shutting the kitchen door to keep them calm and mostly unaware of what was going on. Mum came upstairs with me, and called the ambulance.

This part is a bit of a haze. I remember talking to my mum, I remember sitting there looking at her through fuzzy eyes, but I don't remember what was said or how long it was before two men came bounding up the stairs with a bag and some oxygen. They were Firemen, and first to arrive so they put the mask on me and asked me questions, which I remember answering, I just have no recollection of what they asked or what I said. Shortly after, a lady arrived, a First Responder. At this point, I remember nothing. Next thing I can recall is I am sitting on my sofa, with the First Responder, and two paramedics who have arrived in the Ambulance.

I am hooked up to an ECG machine, and given a spray of something under my tongue (it may well have been acid because it certainly burned like it was). I sat and watched the three of them looking at the ECG reading and tutting, then saying it needed to be sent in and then they told me that I needed to go to hospital. They got me in to the ambulance, and put a cannula in my hand (I still have the bruises to show the three attempts it took), and then informed me that they were taking me not to the more local general hospital as I had expected, but to Bristol. This set little alarm bells ringing in my head, because generally they only take you that far out if something is very wrong. The paramedic gave me some morphine, told my mum (who had to stay and take care of Erica, my Dad had taken the boys to school) where we were going, and then off we went at full speed through morning rush hour traffic with sirens and blue lights going in earnest.

We were nearing Bristol when the paramedic told me what was going to happen when we arrived, he told me to stay calm but that people were going to come rushing at me and asking me lots of questions, and then he mentioned the words HEART ATTACK. I am sitting here (because that is all I am allowed to do currently) and feeling really emotional remembering it all. I can honestly say I have never been more terrified of anything in my entire life than in that split second when he said that to me.

We arrived in Bristol, and they had me out of the ambulance and in to the British Heart Institute in seconds. They took all of my clothes, put me in a gown, hooked me up to machines, took some blood and gave me a sedative before whisking me straight in to the 'cath lab' and performing an Angiogram, through the femoral artery in my groin. I was awake much to my utter horror, my immediate thought was that surely you would be knocked out for something like that. You're not. I was however pleased when I realised that it didn't hurt and I couldn't feel anything at all. After that, I had to sit very still on the stretcher bed for a couple of hours, covered in iodine and blood from my leg, hungry, terrified and actually rather needing the toilet.

They did then bring me some lunch while I was in the recovery room, which I sat and chewed in silence while I waited to find out what was happening. I didn't actually even know 100% where I was, I knew it was the British Heart Institute in Bristol, and then came to find out it is in the BRI. The cardiologist returned, with the good news that my Angiogram was clear, he could find no blockage in my arteries, but my blood tests and the ECG indicated that I had had a heart attack despite the test revealing no evidence of this, and he said I was to stay in hospital and have further tests to find out what had happened.

I was moved on to a recovery ward until late in the afternoon when I was collected by the ambulance service and transferred to the more local general hospital. I was put on the Coronary Care Unit, hooked up to a heart monitor and had to stay in bed while they arranged further tests. I spent two nights in CCU before they moved me round to the Cardiac Ward. While I was there I had a CT Scan, and an Echocardiogram, several blood tests and ECGs and given heart medication while they tried to figure out what had happened. The nurse told me that they were all quite baffled by me, the enzymes in my blood were raised and my ECG was telling them one thing, but none of this was visible on the other tests. I was quite the anomaly.

A week after I had first arrived, on Tuesday morning (Valentine's Day, ironically) they took me back to the BHI for an MRI scan of my heart.

I have to say the MRI was quite scary. I am not a fan of enclosed spaces and I had to keep my eyes shut the whole time (except for the brief occasion where I opened them to have a quick look, and immediately wished I hadn't done so). It took around 20 or so minutes and I was very pleased when it was all over. I was keeping everything crossed that they would find the answers that they needed, so that I could get better and get home to my family. No pain compared to the evenings when I had to sit and watch my babies leave to go home without me, I missed them so much and desperately wanted to go home.

The rest of that day was pretty boring, sitting around on the ward waiting for the results, chatting to the other ladies on the ward (I was the youngest by at least thirty years but they were all lovely and actually rather funny), watching TV or reading and having cat naps when the ward was actually quiet for five minutes. In the evening my Auntie and cousin came to visit with a delicious New York cheesecake for me, as they knew I was missing out on the Valentine's cheesecake I was meant to be having with Adam and the kids! And while they were there, the Consultant made a surprise evening visit to tell me the great news...

It WASN'T a heart attack!

HUGE relief! The MRI had shown that I have inflammation of the heart probably caused by an infection (even something as simple as the horrid cough & cold that lingered for weeks over Christmas and New Year) called Acute Myocarditis, with left ventricular dysfunction. Serious, but treatable provided I do as I am told.

Yesterday morning (Wednesday), he returned with a treatment and follow up plan. I have to have 6-8 weeks of strict rest, with very limited activity, I am not to do too much and absolutely no strenuous physical activity. I must continue to take heart medication to ensure my heart doesn't work too hard for the next three months, and in three months' time I have to have a repeat Echocardiogram and follow up with the Consultant. The sister brought me my medication and discharge notes, and I was home just after lunch with my gorgeous babies and husband.

I am so beyond relieved that it wasn't a heart attack, and have been given a real wake up call. I always simply pop some painkillers and get on with things when I am ill, I don't slow down or stop because I like to be independent and do for myself, I don't like to rely on other people or ask for help. This however has shown me that sometimes it is perfectly okay to take a day off and especially to allow myself to get better when I am ill, sometimes you don't realise that you are doing yourself more harm than good - I know I certainly didn't.

I'm still feeling very drained and tired but I am being well taken care of by my husband and children, I am very glad to be home and I am resting as I have been instructed (luckily blogging is one activity that I can do while I am sat around doing nothing recovering!).

I'm looking forward to getting better, and to continue enjoying every single second of my time with my family, but also to know when I need to stop and take a minute, so that nothing takes me away from them again.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Meal Plan Monday

Monday 13th February - Brinner

Tuesday 14th February - Valentines Day Special of steak, hand-cut chips and salad with vanilla cheesecake for dessert

Wednesday 15th February - Baked Cannelloni

Thursday 16th February - Cod in butter sauce, mashed potato and vegetables

Friday 17th February - Chicken Fajitas

Saturday 18th February - Spaghetti Bolognese with garlic bread

Sunday 19th February - Roast Pork

Monday, 6 February 2012

Our Birthday Boy

Our eldest son turned 11 yesterday. I can't believe how grown up he is now, he's becoming a young man. He's such a sweet boy and so thoughtful and caring, I'm very proud of him and I am looking forward to meeting the man he grows up to be. It's bittersweet, you want to keep them small forever but they grow up so fast.

He had a lovely day despite Mr Owl being away. We let him open his presents on Saturday night before his dad left so we could all be there. He was very pleased with his gifts. On Sunday he opened his cards and found his main present, tickets for him & a friend to go and see England v Holland at Wembley with his dad at the end of February, he was thrilled!

Yesterday we had all the family come round to visit and wish him a happy birthday and bring him cards & gifts, it was lovely. In the evening Mr Owl's parents came round for dinner and birthday cake, Josh roped his Grampy in to helping him put his telescope together and then they attempted some stargazing before it clouded over again. After dinner we watched Mr Popper's Penguins, said goodbye to Nana & Papa and then it was time for bath & bed ready for school today. All in all it was a really lovely, quiet family weekend, and he has the big match to look forward to in a few weeks.

I posted a pic of Joshua with his tickets for #SilentSunday yesterday, but here is a picture of his cake. He wanted a football pitch cake, so I added a twist and made it a rainbow cake too. Red cake > orange icing > yellow cake > green icing > blue cake > purple icing. I think it worked well, and it certainly tasted nice (if I do say so myself!)

Work in progress...

Mr Owl piped the pitch markings, because I know zero about football or what a pitch should look like haha

And the end result, cut and ready to serve!

#Mumentum / Free Skinny Me (Week Four)

Argh, this week has not been as successful as the last. During my last full workout I managed to twist my knee, because I am a fool and wasn't being particularly careful. So I have been modifying it to what I can realistically do without hurting myself even more, and I have stopped counting the official days until I am ready to do it properly because to me it doesn't count if I am not doing it as instructed, so I am currently frozen on day nine. I'm a bit put out, but reminding myself that 'it's not a sprint, it's a marathon' and I am not in any hurry.

Apart from that, everything has been fine, all is going well! I am now at a total loss of 10.4lb on Day 22 and asides from having a slice of Joshua's birthday cake yesterday I have been an absolute angel and everything is going brilliantly. I hope everyone else has had a good week?!

Meal Plan Monday

I'm flying solo this week while Mr Owl is away, so lots of simple meals that I can prepare while juggling five kids and the usual daily grind by myself it has had to be!

Monday 6th February - Brinner

Tuesday 7th February - Baked potatoes with cheese, baked beans and cheesy coleslaw

Wednesday 8th February - Spaghetti & meatballs with garlic bread

Thursday 9th February - Mashed potato, sausages & vegetables served with gravy

Friday 10th February - Chicken Fajitas with nachos and rice

Saturday 11th February - Lasagne

Sunday 12th February - Roast Chicken with mashed potato, onion rings, parsnips, steamed vegetables, roast potatoes and yorkshire puddings served with gravy

Saturday, 4 February 2012

#50BookChallenge - Book 2 "The Hunger Games" (Suzanne Collins)

I have just finished my second book

THE HUNGER GAMES - Suzanne Collins

What can I say besides WOW! I could not get enough of this book, and finished it in a single day. I bought the trilogy and have already started reading the second book. It is a truly gripping story, the suspense keeps you turning the pages and you have to know what happens next.

Set in the future, the main character is Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl who has taken the place of her younger sister in The Hunger Games, an annual reality TV massacre where 24 children between the ages of 12-18 from 12 districts are forced to fight to the death. In a public arena where the rules are simply kill or be killed, the children must outwit, outfight or outrun their opponents in order to survive and be the last person standing.

Two thumbs up, utterly unputdownable!

#R2BC - Reasons to be cheerful... 1, 2, 3

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Where are the weeks going? I can't believe it is February already, time is on wheels.

Anyway, my reasons to be cheerful this week are...

1. Healthy children. I have reflected on some things this week, and without sharing too much here (as it is not my place to do so in such a public setting) it has made me remember to sit and think about how lucky I am to have five healthy children. Logan has his difficulties, yes, but we can try to fix some and manage the rest. Some people are not so fortunate, and I will hug my babies that little bit tighter as I think of those people and the angels they only got to hold for a little while. I will be forever grateful for these five little people, our good fortune and their good health.

2. Joshua's Birthday. Our eldest son turns 11 tomorrow, his cake is ready and his presents are wrapped. I can't believe that this is his last birthday before he goes to "big school" in September. I'm looking out of the window right now at the snow and remembering that 11 years ago it had been raining non stop and everywhere was flooded. His football match has been called off tomorrow so we're just going to have a day at home together wrapped up in the warm with a roast and some birthday cake for dessert. Tonight we're having pizza, ice cream and popcorn as a little birthday celebration.

3. Only a week to go until half term. I am so looking forward to a week off of washing uniforms and making packed lunches, roll on February 10th!

Friday, 3 February 2012

#dosomethingyummy for CLIC Sargent's Yummy Mummy Week

CLIC Sargent are raising awareness for their Yummy Mummy Week which is being held from 10th-18th March 2012. Visit for information on how to get involved and 'do something yummy'.

The writing prompt for week one was "What your children mean to you" and I chose option one, a personal post that asked why did I have children, and how did they change my life?

Quite honestly, having children was as far down on my list of priorities as it could get. I had big dreams of a career in the media, working in a big city and living the high life. I fell pregnant with my eldest when I was in year 11 at school. It was that pivotal moment that sent my life off down a path I had never even considered, decisions I made as a typical teenager that believed myself invincible have brought me to where I am today.

Why did I have her? Because when I was just a few weeks pregnant, still reeling from the consequences of my actions and riding a rollercoaster of emotions, I had what they called a threatened miscarriage and was admitted to hospital overnight for observation. The next morning during the ultrasound, I looked over and saw that little bean on the monitor, with her little heart fluttering away, and knew at that instant that life as I knew it was going to change forever. I was terrified, and had no idea what I was letting myself in for, but I started to come to terms with it nonetheless... I was going to be a mum.

Alicia was born in July 1998, a mewling bundle of pink who was unceremoniously thrust in to my arms at 3.34am on a Monday morning. Exhausted, terrified and overwhelmed, I just sat and looked at her. This was mine! I had a baby!

Since that moment, I honestly cannot think of a single thing I have enjoyed more than being a mum. Which I imagine is quite obvious in that we have added another four to our family after Alicia! There is truthfully, hand on my heart, nothing else in this world that has made me as happy as my five babies. Even on the nights where they did nothing but scream with colic, hours spent sitting in hospitals for appointments, surgeries, or a patch up after an accident, days spent cleaning up vomit and lord knows what else when they are poorly. They are my life, my pride and joy, my WORLD revolves around these children. The sun rises and sets on them and they are truly my greatest achievement.

So while I don't have the life I had envisioned, the amazing job, the city home, the gleaming career prospects... I have something better, something I never dreamed of, something I never even knew I wanted - bear hunts and dragon chasing, walks in the woods, baking biscuits & cakes, and even dancing around my living room with a pair of pants on my head. I am loving every single minute of it, and wouldn't dream of having it any other way.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

#50BookChallenge - Book 1 "The Help" (Kathryn Stockett)

On Facebook I am part of a group called 'The 50 Book Challenge', the aim being to read 50 books in 2012, and so I decided I would blog my progress, just for fun and to review the books as I go along.

THE HELP - Kathryn Stockett

Now, the first thing you have to get your head around when reading this book, is that is written how it is said. Once you start reading, and imagining the voices of the women telling their stories, it flows nicely and it is so easy to lose yourself in the book.

This book is superbly written, with real laugh out loud humour and is both heart warming and heart wrenching in equal measure, making it such an enjoyable read.

It is told from the perspectives of Aibileen & Minny, the maids, and 'Skeeter' who is the idealistic young white society lady who wants to help them tell their stories despite the danger that they would face if anyone were to find out. Set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962 "where black maids raise white children but aren't trusted not to steal the silver...", it is a poignant tale of racial intolerance and the efforts of these three ladies to try and change things for the better. The characters are believable and you are gripped from start to finish, I couldn't put it down.

A must read in my opinion, two thumbs up from me. I have even pre-ordered the movie on DVD (released next month) and I can't wait until it comes out!