Join the #ACEForSchool Challenge!

So it's just over a month since the kids have returned to school...

Ahhh back to school new-ness!

Gone are the scuff-less shoes; early morning eagerness to get up and head off has been replaced with "oh do I have to?"; wardrobes contain 2 less jumpers & 1 randomly gained cardigan that happens to be 2 sizes too small; and the colourful lunchboxes are already fading and dinted. The joys of motherhood huh?

One thing that is different this year though, is the number of crisp white polo tops binned by now thanks to chocolate mousse stains, paint, or... if you're my child... muddy footprints from treating clothes like a rug after outdoor p.e lessons. 



Seriously, just because these supermarket polo tops are pennies to buy it doesn't mean they are disposable and that's something I've genuinely come to believe in, by utilising a simple product that will give the washer a helping hand. That product range is Ace. What's even better is, I spotted these in Poundland the other day as well so it's completely relative to the cost of the tops themselves.

No soaking, no scrubbing, no effing and jeffing about the number of times I've told Carson NOT to trample on his uniform! Simply spray the Stain Remover directly on to the marks, load in to the machine and pop it on to do it's thang. 

With Finley's autism being so severe, I was in two minds as to whether I should show this image but I just have to. Other parents in the same situation need to hear that i actually vouch for this stuff in genuinely removing stains and definitely eliminating odours!! You see Finley has an issue with sensory processing and will smear his nappy contents for the smell, feel and taste.


So in situations like this you want a fresh smelling wash without the perfumed softener. We chuck in a cap of the Ace for Colours. It genuinely eliminates odours. Again, not expensive and not hard for even the less-domesticated to use! Because, you know, we're too busy cleaning the rest of the house after this!

Crack on kids. Make a mess, explore and enjoy your childhood. Grow, develop and thrive! That's why I've taken part in the #AceForSchool campaign. Because it's all too easy to think of mess made by kids is the same as mess by adults. It's not!! It's crucial that they take part!

What I'd give to be daring enough to go jumping in muddy puddles, or hill rolling myself. When did I become such an unimaginative being?



Anyway, I digress... Not once have I had to throw a top away yet. As Carson just said before... "you Ace-d it mum!"

I did son, I sure did.

With very little effort, but I'm taking allllll the credit. 

What's he laughing at?!


This post is an entry for the BritMums #ACEforSchool Challenge, sponsored by ACE. Get help for all kinds of stains with the ACE Stain Helper http://www.acecleanuk.co.uk/ or to buy head to your local Tesco’s, Morrison’s, Waitrose or Sainsbury’s


My 2018 Goal... I've done it!!

So I write today with a sense of real achievement for I have reached a goal that I'd given myself, for once!

Yes I stuck to something and I bloody well achieved it. Better still, it was something that I'd been wanting to do for the last 15 years and never bothered with. Whether it was for financial reasons or nerves, I never got further than applying for my provisional license. 



I passed my driving test!

I started lessons on 21st March 2018 and had a 2 month break between the middle May and middle of July. That makes the total learning time just under 4 months. I did it!!

I'm not going to lie, being a learner driver royally sucks. At 33, I'm talking huge sweat patches under the arms and boobs and on my back; my left foot would bounce on the clutch as my leg couldn't control the shakes. Just as those nerves would settle down, a normal driver would f*ck things up again by doing something insanely stupid. I mean seriously, the road is full of absolutely numpties.

One lesson was very satisfying in that the impatient cow behind me (getting annoyed I was doing 40 in a 40 ha!) roared past me as soon as it was clear, only for the police to walk out in the road and wave her down. They did her for speeding. Muah hahahaha!!

Anyway, I bloomin' well did it. So I wanted to give learner drivers some tips that I picked up along the way and I really hope it helps.



Eat bananas before your lessons. This really does work. Don't ask me how but several friends suggested it and I could really tell the difference when I hadn't had them.

Chew gum. Saves any dry-mouth situation which really does happen when you're stressed!

Do not wear a lot! You will sweat. Your body is tense for over an hour, this burns serious calories. I have friends who never sweat, even in 30c UK weather, who have admitted that they were dripping at the end of each lesson! No jeans and no thick tops or jumpers!

Ignore people behind you (or to the left or right of you!). I'm not saying to pay no attention or not to bother with your mirrors, but some drivers seems to forget they were learners too once. They're not worth being affected by. Fingers, shouts, flashes, horns... it will happen because frankly, people are dicks. Sorry about that! If you let them pressure you, you will stall or roll backwards, or potentially speed if they're right up your bum. It's just not worth it.

Well I hope this helps someone. If anyone has any questions, fire them at me and I'll answer for sure!

I'm going to set myself  goals more often. I  am loving the feeling of achievement right now!




Great things to do with your kids this autumn

With the summer sun almost out the door and the autumn winds starting to blow in off the horizon, you may be forgiven for thinking the holiday season is all but over. But don’t despair! The blustery period between the end of summer and the festivities of Christmas (yes, the “C word”) doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom and there are plenty of opportunities to have some fun in the fall this year. Consider these opportunities as a great excuse to get out and about, even when the weather leaves you longing for the sunny months of summer. 

Leaf chasing, leaf kicking... same thing!

Leaf Chasing

This is a whole song and dance in America where city-folk from densely populated, not-very-green cities travel out to the country to take in the beautiful colours of autumn foliage. We are lucky in the UK in that we pride ourselves on greenery, even in our busy cities like London and Birmingham, the roads are usually tree lined and there’s always a park around the corner. Of course, it’s not difficult to see the appeal, once the trees start taking on their autumn colours, it’s almost like the world is coming into a whole other life and is a great exercise to name some colours with small children. Don’t forget to collect different types of fallen leaves to keep in a scrapbook, it’s good for identifying different types of trees and leaf shapes. 



You could even turn your leaf chasing excursion into a small break away, while it might be a bit chilly to camp out, most modern-day UK caravans for hire have quality central heating for those cold evenings and there are plenty of sites located in woodlands and wooded areas. Surround yourself with spectacular and colourful autumn nature!

Make an Autumn Collage

Collages are great, not only do they provide lots of interesting materials to use and look at, but they offer plenty of enrichment for children between the different shapes, textures and colours. Get them out in the garden or down to the local park and collect some bits that can be used to make an autumn day collage. Fun, easy to come by materials include dry grass, tree bark, sticks, pine cones, end of season flowers, leaves and even dirt! 

Get a big piece of card or corkboard, use PVA glue to attach your autumn scene parts and tah-dah! A piece of artwork to be proud of. If your kids are a bit older and responsible, help them fix push pins to their larger materials, so they can move their scene around as the season progresses. 



Build a Winter Animal Home

Over the winter, there’s lots of local wildlife that will bed down and hibernate, sometimes around your own garden. Building a winter home for your wild neighbours can be an enjoyable activity for both and your children. Gather lots of sticks, leaves and other natural foliage you can find on the ground to build a shelter amongst trees or under a hedge, anywhere private and out of the wind. You could build a few different types of houses to suit different animals, in the UK we have three different mammals that hibernate; hedgehogs, dormice and bats.

You can use the opportunity to find out more about each animal species together, like the fact that hedgehogs are keen on interior decorating! They won’t enter a nesting box that has already been lined with leaves so leave hedgehog homes bare. 

If you pre-plan and place animal homes somewhere you can get back to with disturbing the animals hibernating, you can always return before the deep winter to find out if the home has become occupied! 



Autumn is a favoured month by many for its pretty colours, fresh winds and the tasty fall vegetables like pumpkin, squash and sprouts. Before the winter chill blows through and the festive decorations start to go up, how will you spend your autumn this year?


Giveaway: Re-live your Wedding Day with Wedding Date Events!







Let’s Set the Scene...
It was the happiest day of your life, there’s no question about it. Weddings go by in a flash and we rarely get to enjoy all of the little moments that we worked so hard to plan for the day.Do you ever look back on your wedding day and wish you could do it all again?Maybe you didn’t get the perfect shot for your wedding album and wish you’d taken more photos?Don’t you ever wish you had one more opportunity to wear your beautiful wedding dress again, other than dressing up to do the dishes?Did you even get the chance to enjoy your wedding meal, or were you too worried about keeping your mother-in-law plied with Pinot Grigio?It’s time to dust off your dresses and suits and get ready for our event which is exclusively for married couples! You don’t have to wear your wedding dress again, but why wouldn’t you?

A concept based on re-living and enjoying your wedding party all over again without the worry of ensuring the page boy doesn't finger the icing off the cake before pics have even been taken. This event is exclusively for married couples... no worrying about any dodgy Derek's from your old job randomly turning up, that's for sure.

This Wedding Date event is a private ticketed event where guests will get the opportunity to wear their wedding attire again (if you like) with an on-site photographer to get their best shots, have an indulgent 3 course sit down meal with fizz, and a dance floor where they can relive the intimacy of their first dance.



Bang for your buck... Tickets are priced at £60 per person and includes a 3 course meal - dessert is wedding cake style of course - a glass of fizz, entertainment for the whole night, and an ambiance and setting that no restaurant could surely replicate. Not forgetting boundless photo opportunities with the love of your life, reminiscing and recounting the memories of your wedding day years before.

If you book using the code carsonsmummy15, you'll get a whopping £15 off EACH TICKET as well! You're not going to get all of that elsewhere for £45 each now are you?

Tickets are limited in availability, just 50 couples have the chance to book on to this exclusive event.

Stay over... Fancy booking a hotel room and making a full night of it? Wedding Date Events have wangled a fantastic offer , limited to 20 couples, where you can bag yourselves a double room for the night for just £99. To give you an idea of the magnitude of savings to be had here, at the time of posting this, their current lowest rate available is £289. To book a room with your tickets, please contact weddingdateevents.co.uk directly on how to claim this fantastic discount.

Scrub up... Another added bonus is that all guests will receive a 10% discount with Johnson's The Cleaners to get those outfits looking tip top for the event.

So, whether it's an anniversary coming up and you're looking for something a bit different to do, or you have a child-free night owed to you - I would seriously consider booking in for one of the most anticipated events of the summer, this September 23rd at Radisson Blu Hotel, Liverpool.  Purchase your tickets here and don't forget, make the most of the discount code carsonsmummy15 to save £15 per ticket.



ENTER TO WIN

We're also lucky enough to be able to offer two tickets (rrp £120) to one lucky winner if you enter our giveaway below. All we ask is that you don't cheat, as we will be checking!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entries close Monday 10th September 2018 at 00:01am. Winner's details will be passed over to weddingdateevents.co.uk for prize fulfilment. In the unlikely event that the party is cancelled or re-scheduled for whatever reason, the winner will be made aware by weddingdateevents.co.uk and tickets will be reallocated to the new date. Minimum age of guests is 18 years old. Tickets not transferable or to be sold on and weddinddateevents.co.uk reserve the right to request ID on production of the tickets at arrival of the event. 

How my year's goal are going so far...

You may remember back in January, I blogged about giving myself 4 goals for the year. Four major things that I will do before I turn 34 next February.

Driving was one of my "defo will do's". In fact it was top of my list. Having never had a lesson in my life, I took the plunge in late March and started the lessons. I've not been behind a wheel since the middle of May due to a few bouts of Instructor illness and his holiday, and my dear Grandad passing away. But, I can tell you all that my practical test is now booked! Even if I have to push it back due to the break in lessons, I will do this, this year.  I told you I'd do it and I meant it. I've never been more determined in all my life to achieve something. 

Finley got his spot at a fantastic special needs school and starts in September so there will likely be days when he'll need picking up mid-way through the day. Having some wheels means I won't have to rely on public transport schedules or do an hour's journey on the bus from work to go and get him. I'm also 3 month's into a different role at work, which invariably means travel. Again, how cool to not have to rely on trains etc?

So that's goal number one almost achieved!

The rest, um, I'm working on! Growing strawberries may well be something I've missed out on this year but to be fair, I barely keep a border grass alive, never mind strawbs in this very very dry summer that we're having. Getting a passport is all very well and good but I doubt there'll be any jollies this year due to work commitments and Finley starting his new school soon but hey ho, what I've never known won't be missed as far as I look at it. Making bread made an appearance on the list and nope, I've not tried this either. I'm saving this for autumn Sunday's though, to go with a big bowl of Scouse. 


I cannot wait for Scouse season again... I'm so over this lettuce and lollyice diet this heat is bringing us ha! 

How are your year's goals coming along?


3 Alternative Activities That Help Kids With Autism

As a parent, you need to know that dealing with a child with ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder – can be challenging. There will be good days and bad days as you learn to understand each other and overcome the challenges. As a result, you need to be emotionally strong to be the best parent you can to support your child. But, contrary to the common belief, having a child with autism doesn’t have to be a lonely and painful experience. 

You can find support at the school and with your GP, as well as dedicated groups and communities who are ready to help when you need it. We rely a lot on the members of M.A.C.S (Merseyside Autistic Children's Society), whether it be for advice, tips and tricks in dealing with certain situations, or even just sounding off after a particularly challenging day. It helps to talk things out with those who really understand, in our experience.

More importantly, you can help your child to thrive by providing them with stress-releasing activities. Being a neurological disorder, autism isn’t a condition your child will ever grow out of. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t manageable. On the contrary, you can use hobby and playful activities to encourage positive behaviour. In fact, the Hanen More Than Words course we took part in as part of speech and language late last year, really instilled this exact point.  

Of course not everything works for every child, however three examples are... 

Image source

Being part of a sport team

Don’t let other parents or teachers convince your child can’t interact in a social environment. In fact, you can encourage your child to take part in sports activities. If they are unsure of what they would like to do, participation in the sports day at school inspires children to discover new activities and develop new skills. Additionally, it’s a safe environment, where your child can find reassurance in your presence. You can even show the example by volunteering to parents’ sports, from racing to football. This will nudge your child in the right direction. And who knows? You might have a football champion or a fantastic racer in the family! As they find their interest, you can gradually help them to meet their local sports team and make new friends.

Image source


Listening to music

Music is a powerful tool that can improve anybody’s mood. But for autistic children, music can also be part of an active therapy that helps them to develop their curiosity about the world and interact with others. Additionally, as a learning tool, music can do wonders for grasping the language and understanding new words. 

When your child feels down or stressed, playing their favourite tune can do wonders to their mood – and to yours too! Additionally, you can also use music to activate cognitive mapping. Children with non-verbal autism can understand the intention behind verbal communication through musical cues. This has happened with Finley very recently in managing to say "go" at the end of a rhythmic and melodic "ready, steady...". He also now knows that that is a cue for when we are ready to to do something. It's truly fascinating. We also get the most eye contact from Fin when we sing to him. This is a winner in our eyes!



Enhance their experience through DIY art

Finally, if music isn’t the preferred method of communication for your child, you’ll find that simple art projects can dramatically transform your relationship. Indeed, art can give children the possibility to communicate their emotions through a range of sensory activities, so that feeling that can’t be expressed verbally can be exposed. Additionally, creating something can also develop your child’s self-esteem and encourage a positive relationship. Your child may want to share their art with you, which strengthens your bond. If you plan on running a simple art project with your child, you need to define with them, their favourite medium: clay moulding, finger painting, creating a 3D canvas to hang at home, etc. Ultimately, art should be fun, so respect their wishes. Even if it means having coloured rice launched all over the kitchen floor!! 

In conclusion, children with autism can benefit from creative and sportive activities that let them expand their experience of the world and use different communication methods. This can give you the chance to establish a more profound bond. Even if it feels like it's not working at the time, take it from me, it really does work in the long run. 


This is a collaborative post

Summer Skin Changes - is it just me?

For the last 3 weeks I have dared to bare my skin in public for the first time in many many years. Yes that's right, I've ditched the contouring and foundation!! This heat does absolutely nothing for me when I wear the stuff, it slides around my face like a bar of soap in a wet sink. It's gross. Try to set it with powder and I look like dried out old carrot.

Go back twenty years to when I had horrendous skin. Awful acne that covered my face and back, it was mortifying. Guess what my safe acne treatments recommendation was from my GP? You won't guess correctly because it was to go one the sunbeds twice a week. I shit you not. "The rays will help"... how times have changed hey...

A post shared by Jo Smith (@carsonsmummy) on



These days I apply a face mask once a week to draw any impurities from my massive pores (thanks teenage years). Then I have a daily routine to help try to close them and keep my skin looking blemish free. Past scarring etc makes this a drag to do. I will never be a skin's-glowing kinda girl but I've made peace with this. Hence finally going out and going to work without foundation.

Bare as bare can be... and grey.


I have to say though that the natural tan gained from the recent heatwave has seemed to settle my skin a lot so maybe the doc was on to something... just not a very safe thing! Or maybe it's just that my tired black-ringed eye bags aren't as obvious thanks to the change of skin tone, or that my newly embraced grey roots take the eye away from the skin. Who knows?

What I do know though is my make-up time has reduced by 30 mins everyday and is now a mere 30 seconds in a quick Makeup Revolution brow powdering and mascara lashing. Oh, and I've saved a fair few pennies too.

Winner!

How does your make-up routine change of a summer? If at all?


This is a collaborative post.



Finley's Journey continued... EHCP

I rarely write about Finley and I've explained why that is in past posts, but I feel compelled to share the fantastic news with you all... Finley's EHCP has been granted and he has been offered a place at our preferred special needs school for children with complex learning difficulties, without us even having to fight for it. 


Snug as a bug... ON a rug?!

Despite me being typically hard faced and logical about things, I didn't stop crying for half an hour when I heard the news last week! The built up pressure must have finally wanted to spill out of me like water from a tipped up jug. Boy, did it feel good!!

Anyone going through the turmoil of requesting an EHCP assessment, keep going. It will be worth it in the end and it will be the greatest feeling ever when you get some good news. It's not easy, it can be very complicated, and will take up a lot of your time, not to mention be quite distressing when you have to fill that form out with every single issue in black and white. But DON'T GIVE UP!


He might have his issues but he's a ray of sunshine on this beach :)

We're ecstatic that we've managed to do something for him. I am feeling so incredibly hopeful for what this huge milestone can do for him in the long run. 

The future is bright, I just know it.

WIN: Cece The Strawberry by Vitaminnies

If it ain't dripping in grease or flourescent blue, are your littl'uns interested in being told to eat it? If you just answered yes... you got skills! Seriously though, trying to hit that 5 a day can be a struggle regardless of how much you explain why it's vital to their healthy growth.

Vitaminnies are a completely independent limited company who recognise this issue and are releasing a book series specifically targeting children. Striving to educate through fun, the characters will aid children in learning exactly why different types of fruit and vegetables are good for them by explaining the effect that different vitamins and minerals have on our bodies. Not only will this generate more of an interest in their own five a day choices, but it makes learning fun whilst introducing the collectible element.

Cece The Strawberry is the first in a series by Vitaminnies

The first book of the series is called Cece The Strawberry. And boy is she cuuuute! With clear large font on beautifully illustrated pages, it grips the child from the get go. At just £3.99 for a paperback book (or £2.99 for an ebook, if you little one enjoys sharing the tablet with you before bed), it's pocket money pennies for, potentially, a great return.

Encouraging to understand why fruit & vegetables are good for you, not just because "I said so!"

I have 2 books to give away to two lucky readers of Coming From Carson's Mummy. Their books are self published with a strong belief in children having the ability to make the best, and informed, choices. All you're asked to do is help spread the Vitaminnies word. It's the least you can do for the chance to win one!



Enter the giveaway below via the rafflecopter and you're in. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

REVIEW: Googly Eyes by University Games

Asked to take a look at University Games' offerings and pick a couple for review, I was feeling a) very lucky & b) very excited. Let me tell you why, there were two particular games that jumped right out at me and I just knew Carson would get involved. Him being almost 10 years of age now he'd rather watch YouTubers on his iPod in his room so to get him away from that and in to the spirit of good old board games, I was gearing up. I mean, is there anything quite like a family games night?

First up, for today's review...



Googly Eyes

Suitable for ages 7+ and can be played by as little as 2 people, right up to 4 whole teams of people. The aim is to ensure your team correctly guesses what you've drawn, in order to move along the board. The team who gets to the finish first, wins. Huzzah!


Contents

1x Dice (and stickers to place on it yourself)
4x Pawns
1x Pad & Pencil
3x Set of activity cards (Places, Objects & Entertainment)
1x Pair of oh-so-fashionable glasses frames.
3x Sets of lenses
1x Game board
1x Timer

What's in the box


What's What?

The glasses have interchangeable lenses dependent on the colour of the spot you've landed on, on the board.

The activity cards  have 3 categories: Objects, Places & Entertainment. They detail your challenge, dependant on the colour of the spot you've landed on.

Green is deemed easy, giving 15 seconds to draw & correctly guess the challenge; yellow slightly more tricky with 30 seconds; and blue is, well, hard - giving 45 seconds.

What challenge did you end up with?


How To Play

For your first go, roll the dice and move the pawn the correct number of spots on the board, whichever colour you land on is the colour lenses you will need to wear. Look for the corresponding coloured challenge on the card that you pick up from the board and shield from everyone, this is your challenge. You have the seconds listed on that card, to draw your challenge and for your team mates to guess it correctly. If you manage to succeed, roll the dice immediately afterwards. Whichever spot you've landed on is what you'll face on your next go. If you & your team don't manage to get it right, you stay where you are and face doing that same coloured spot, with a different activity card, on your next go. Keep failing and you'll be left behind so roll those sleeves up and get serious!  Keep an eye out too, as there are a couple of wild spots on the board to throw things up in the air a little along the way, for example - you must swap hands to draw (eek!!).

Guess what he's drawing!


How Did It Go

This is the funniest game I've played, ever. We literally couldn't breathe from laughing at one point. Fun for any age, regardless of drawing talents, because it's the laughter that keeps this game alive and exciting, not the winning or 'being the best'.  It encourages team playing, a real element of concentration and also creativity. I mean, how am I going to draw a Pizzeria? Never mind how am I going to draw a Pizzeria when I can't even see the pencil, never mind draw to any degree of standard! Why not draw a round spotty blob and an ear? Pizza Ear! See... clever huh?


This is priced typically at £19.99 from Amazon & Argos, you'll get your money's worth in laughs on your very first go. At the time of publishing it's got 25% off at Amazon so too good to pass up on!

Let the hilarity ensue...



Celebrating Another Birthday & Your Chance To Win

So you may have read yesterday that I'm pledging to achieve some milestones before I hit 34. That might have something to do with the fact that I turned 33 yesterday.

Now, I'm feeling some serious love from you all so I've already launched a giveaway on facebook to win a mahoosive 850g bar of Dairy Milk. If you haven't entered it yet, I suggest you toddle on over by clicking here or searching Coming from Carson's Mummy on facebook. All you need to do is tell me who you'd share it with... if anyone, of course ha!



That giveaway is live until Tuesday so be quick, but, I wanted to hold a little competition for those not on facebook as well so that maybe you'll celebrate with me regardless. And what better way to do that than with prosecco and chocolates?
Oh yes!

I've chosen this little beauty of a hamper as the prize, all it needs now is a couple of entrants and we have a good old giveaway on our hands. Should the product be unavailable at the time of drawing a winner, You'll get something of a similar nature of equal or higher value, this means that the prize on offer is worth a minimum of £39 (correct at time of publishing)... you lucky devils you! Please note that this is only open to UK residents and you must be 18 years or over. 

You know what to do...

Prosecco & Chocolate Hamper Giveaway


Good luck xx



4 Things I Pledge To Do Before I'm 34

Yes this week I turn 33 years old. No longer am I in my early 30's, but hurtling towards my MID thirties. Oh the joy! In all seriousness, I'm feeling pretty positive at this stage in my life, despite my life's 'to-do' list hardly being scratched off in recent years. I am lucky enough to have a nice, albeit rented, family home complete with hubby and 2 wonderful children. A steady full time job for the last 8 years, which is feeling more and more like a career with every week that passes. I have a couple of cracking select friends that have stuck by me through some pretty grim times over the years and I know they're there for life, which feels incredibly rewarding. I am even sad enough to rejoice in the fact that I have a newly decorated hall stairs and landing too! Small things count too you know!

This year I have written a list of things that I will do before I hit 34. If I fail to achieve more than one of these, you can spam me with the link until I disappear from the internet for good. That's how serious I am! So, here are my aspirations for the grand old age of 33...

No more back seat driving for me!

I will learn to drive. 

There's no getting away from the fact that this is fast becoming the biggest stumbling block in my day to day life. Yes it will help with work and open doors that I so wish would open, but mainly it's for the kids. With Finley having special needs it is becoming increasingly more difficult to get out and about in normal circumstances, never mind attempting to get away for a weekend break on public transport. I am tired of having to be confined to events or visits that are within a taxi ride's reach. Time to take our freedom in to our own hands. I will learn to drive. Count on it.


I will grow strawberries.

This might sound trivial to some but it's one of the many things I miss about my Dad not being around anymore. It was a tradition to go to Claremont Farm, near us, every summer and strawberry pick. Even when the Grand-kids came along, we still did it. There is no reason why I can get a strawberry planter and make my own, where Finley can get in on the action himself from our own back garden. 


I'm not even on the toy plane FFS!!

I will get my very first passport... might even get on a plane, who knows?!

Yup, I've never ever, in all my years, even been to an airport - never mind been on a plane and gone on an abroad holiday. A lot of people are astounded by this news, like, actually blown away! I've just never been able to afford the passport, never mind the holiday. Well, I'm learning to manage what spare change I have a lot better these days so this is more than do-able if I plan properly. A couple of quid a week; any Christmas or Birthday money, anything I manage to sell etc. then it won't be long before it's in my hands. Winner!


I will make my own bread.

Not only is this the ultimate "Mum's amazing" badge earner, but I am sick of spending several quid a day on bread and getting nothing back in return. It's half eaten butties in the lunch box, crusts not touched on toast... and I don't even get so much as a whiff of home from it. I want my kitchen to smell utterly fantastic, the kids to appreciate what tasty bread really is and eat it themselves, and I'll be more inclined to use the leftovers in something if I know I've made it myself. Less wasteful in my eyes, and something I've always wanted to do anyway so it's a no brainer!

So there we have it. Bookmark this page because you can scratch them off come this time next year, I guarantee it. I want to know if you ever got to an age where you thought 'enough is enough', or what made you bite the bullet and get shit done? 



3 Simple Ways To Convince Your Other Half To Join Your Healthy Quest

I bet you swore to 'get healthy' on January first? And, I bet that's mostly gone to pot now we're nearing February? Well don't beat yourself up!! It can be ridiculously difficult to find the motivation to make positive lifestyle changes. You might be finding that the last few pounds you want to shift are stubborn, your desire to head to the gym is slowly (possibly swiftly!) slipping away, and you have little time to yourself to recharge your batteries and clarify your thoughts. Welcome to the world of motherhood! This is me on a daily basis, despite the full support of my husband. However, it can be even trickier if your other half, through no fault of their own, is unsupportive. They may eat everything you can't the carb heavy foods you are trying to avoid, be naturally slim and have never needed to diet or they just may not understand what you are trying to achieve. Don't forget, we're perfect in their eyes! Anyway, take a look at these ways in which you can get your other half on side to help you fulfil your health mission.



Talk To Your Partner

It sounds simple, but it’s vital that you have a heart to heart with your nearest and dearest. You need to explain to them that while you are trying to implement a healthy balanced diet, you can’t have them bringing in a takeaway pizza after a particularly stressful day at work on a Friday evening, as much as it appeals to you. The chances are that they will be mortified that their actions are giving you such a hard time and breaking your will to succeed. You never know, your other half may be so enamoured with your drive that they decide to join you in your quest. You can then spur one another on to shift the pounds, tone up and get fitter. 

Allow Them To Take On A Protective Role

When out and about, it can be especially hard to stick to your new lifestyle plan. You know that heading to your best friend’s birthday meal is going to be tough. However, with your newly informed partner by your side, you will find things a whole lot easier. As you sit down for a meal with friends, you can work out the healthiest things to eat and share a dessert with your loved one, rather than foregoing it altogether. It’s vital that you understand the value of everything in moderation rather than banishing treats forever. That is where we all go wrong at some point in our dieting lives!

With your other half in your corner, they can help you resist the temptation of a crafty cigarette or an extra glass of wine. Instead, they’ll relish taking on a protective role and encourage you to explore healthier alternatives. You could visit this website to research vaping, rather than succumbing to tar filled nasties. Sipping on mineral water or lime and soda will be arduous when others around you are enjoying your favourite tipple, but you’ll feel better for it in the morning when you wake up with a clear head.

Show Off

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with showing your partner just how much progress you are making. If you’re shifting a pound a week, eating healthier and toning up, there’s no way your loved one won’t notice the difference. You won’t just appear slimmer or be wearing more flattering clothes, but you’ll feel more confident, your skin will be glowing, and your whole demeanour will be more positive and optimistic. This change could be enough for your partner to want to get in on the action and accompany you to your next spin class or boxercise session. If not, show him your moves when you get home - he'll soon be interested!

Getting healthy is difficult, hell, I know that more than others, but especially if you feel like you have a long, never-ending road ahead of you. However, with the support of your partner, you could find that road appears shorter and more manageable. Have that chat and start afresh whenever you're both ready. Don't stress, be happy. That was my New Year's resolution, to stop being so down on myself if I make poor decisions, I'm learning to love myself like never before. Why don't you too?


This post is collaborative and may contain affiliate links. It also contains some pretty good advice :)



7 Things Sacred To A Girl's Night In

Ok guys. It's Friday, the week's been long and we deserve a break! But, alas, it's the weekend before payday so any extravagant plans of dolling up and heading out are gone with the wind!

Every time I have a girls night in, the same stuff happens regardless of whichever girlfriend I'm with. It can't just be me, it must be every single one of us, surely?!!

Let's see what you think...

1. "We'll take it slow"


Yeah sounds like a plan. Single voddies all night, no problem! Three drinks later there's more vodka in the glass than air in the kitchen. Who needs mixers by 10pm?!

2. "Remember the time when..."



What is it with bevvies and memory lane? The same shit is funny every, single, time! Is it just me or do we not even make new memories any more? It's all about the good old days.

3. "Hold that thought, I need a wee... you coming with?"




The conversation is that intense... it's suddenly perfectly acceptable to follow your bestie and sit on the edge of the bath whilst they pee. 

4. "Sorry to interrupt you..."




Dominant speaker. There's always one!! Wouldn't have it any other way though would you. Gives us more drinking time and stops the conversation getting out of hand... or does it...


5. "OMG stick the Spice Girls on!"


Yes this is me haha!

Is there anything quite as enjoyably pathetic as that "whoooooo do you think you are" solo, followed by your best bitch doing the Mel C bit straight after? "Do you THINK YOU ARE?!"

6. "What was my point?"




Talk about going off on a tangent. One thing leads to another, which leads to another, which leads to utter verbal chaos that wouldn't know a point of conversation if it jabbed them in the boob. 

7. "What shall we eat?"



With all the good intentions in the world, that diet is out of the window. Sod the pre-planned hummous and carrot sticks and sod the fact that it's so close to payday - there's always wriggle room for pizza!

Hit me with your regular going's on, let's see how many I've missed out...!

8 Thing You Can Do Thanks To The Internet

Image Credit: Pexels

The internet is massive. An absolute whopper of wonder, right at our finger tips. The sheer number of things that you can do in the internet is growing all the time. Back in the day, when MSN Messenger & MySpace were about all our devices and minds could take, we couldn't have dreamed of such a phenomenon! I love the fact that our kids will grow in such a digital age, and let's face it, it comes in handy for us as well.

Want to learn? 

Gone are the days where we had to go to back to school or college after work, or worse... spend time in a library at the weekends! Nowadays, you just switch on the PC. Yup, websites like Udemy allow you to buy online courses that you can do from your computer. These can be on how to code, learn a language, use software or even on writing skills. There's a massive variety of things that you can learn about on Udemy, so if you are interested in bettering yourself then you should check it out. Countless universities and colleges also offer some online resources for people looking to learn. You can browse or even take online courses at the university or college of your choice, not just wherever is closest like before the days of the internet.

Buy and Sell?

OK, so this is likely nothing you didn’t already know. However, the vast variety of stores that you can visit, and range of products that you can buy, is insane. And it is growing every day as new websites are made and new companies become established. You can buy anything from your weekly shop to electrical products and hair products, to books or even cars. Websites like Ebay allow you to sell your own things online easily, so you can get rid of unwanted items and make some money at the same time.Whereas, sites like Etsy let you sell your own handmade items and make some money from your craft hobby. 

Bookworm?

Reading online is the most obvious point on this list. You are doing it right now. You’ve likely done it an uncountable number of times. There are so many news websites, blogs and other types of written content on the internet for you to enjoy that it is almost impossible to comprehend. If you have an interest in a topic, then there is likely a dedicated website for your chosen interest. You can even read fiction online thanks to things like Kindle and the ability to download e-books. Whether you have an app on your phone or an actual Kindle device, each of them needs to connect to the internet in order to download books and allow you to buy new ones.

Need Prescriptions?

You can order your doctors prescriptions through the internet. This means that you no longer need to go into your GP surgery in order to request your prescriptions. Instead, you can order your NHS prescriptions online. All you need to do is fill out a simple form and you can get 'em. This is much easier and quicker as you don’t need to organize visiting your doctor. Simples!

Social Media

Social media has taken the world by storm. Facebook is enormous and so is Twitter. Not forgetting Instagram and Pinterest that have their own massive user-ship as well. Social media might have started small, but it is now something that plenty of people spend huge amounts of time on each day. (I, for one, am forever being told "Put down the phone, Jo!"). Maybe we're getting our news through it, talking to other people, sharing thoughts and images, or just reading other people’s comments. Social media is mahoosive, and categorically one of the most popular things on the internet. Most businesses and companies now use social media as the first point of contact with customers and as their main way of communicating with them. If you have a problem with something, head to social media and get that problem fixed as soon as possible. Previously, we had to send an email and that could take a while to get seen and addressed... or worse, ignored!

Making moolah!

We touched on making money in the shop section, but making money on the internet goes much further than having an online store or selling things on eBay. You can do freelance work through the internet. Some people have their entire jobs done through the internet. This might be through using freelance sites like Fiverr or making videos on YouTube, or running a blog and writing articles. If you have a skill, then you can likely find a use for it on the internet. Most job listings are now on the internet, so if you want a new job then you can apply and research positions through the internet. This makes the process quick and easy to do. You can also complete things like online surveys for money. They aren’t going to make you rich, but they can be a nice bit of extra income to treat yourself with. A lot of these can be done through a tablet or smartphone. This means that they are perfect for sitting down in front of the TV to complete. I do a lot of surveys for the odd Love2Shop voucher or amazon cards - great to bank for birthday prezzies for people!

Game much?

A lot people play games on the internet. This might be through downloading on to their computer or video games console. They might also take part in online play. These are games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Whilst this isn't for me, people can play with their friends and talk to them through the internet, which seems to keep them happy! However, playing games on the internet isn’t just these kinds of thing. If you have a smartphone, then you can download apps through the internet to play wherever you are. This might be something like Candy Crush (wish I never started - obsessed isn't the word!), Angry Birds or Clash Royale. All of these are different, but can only be played thanks to the internet. This means that you don’t need an expensive video games console in order to play fun games using the internet. Happy days.

Couch potato?

You can watch TV through internet. I mean who would ever have thought that this was possible?! This might be using a streaming service like Netflix or you might want live TV through a website on the internet. BBC iPlayer offers a service where you can stream live TV through your internet. This is great if you don’t have access to your actual TV as you won’t miss your favourite shows or breaking events. Netflix allows you to stream all kinds of TV shows and movies whenever you want. All you need is a connection to the internet. NOW TV is a favourite with Carson, in his bedroom, because he gets all his fave Nickelodeon shows without having to ask for control of the sky box downstairs. Again, very happy days!

I wonder what will be next... 



This post is collaborative and may contain affiliate links

Welcome!

Welcome!