Sunday, 20 November 2016

Are you a friend or foe? - Poem

Are you a friend or foe?
Do you lift me up or make me sad?
Do the good times outweigh the bad?
Should we part ways or carry on to the end?

My recollections are sometimes jaded.
Have things got blurred or faded?
Do you remember them like I do?
Am I being selfish or not seeing your view?

Things have changed its clear to see.
Maybe interpretations are distorted.
To be judged or judge.
Do we really see through truth?

Our actions are not always as they seem.
We act on loyalty, friendship or duty.
Our thoughts are our own.
Are they friend or foe?


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Friday, 18 November 2016

The word ONLY!

Have you ever thought about the word only?

I'm only a mum.

I'm only part time.

I'm only term time.

I'm only able to do x, y, z.

Its so negative and I say it ALL the time.

Why do we put ourselves down? Why do we make our achievements seem insignificant?

I attended a workshop this week and for the first time ever something clicked.


I'm good at my job. I'm a good parent. Both through my job & being a parent I have loads of transferable skills (you do too!)

I can multi task. I have good communication skills. I have patience. I can empathise. I can be creative. I have strong English language skills. I have IT skills. I can budget. I can build a rapport with all types of people. I can effectively manage time & workloads. I can inspire.

I am not only a part time worker.  I am a valuable worker. I am not only anything.

Let's just hope I remember this in a few weeks time and I hope this has given you a boost too.

Love

Emma xxx

Monday, 14 November 2016

Do you Believe? - Short Story


Do you believe?

I’ve always been a cynical person. Ghosts, angels, hypnotherapists I don’t believe in any of it so when a friend suggested a trip to a Tarot reader my first thought was what a load of rubbish, she’s certainly a fake followed swiftly by it might be a laugh.

My friend Samantha was organising a long overdue girls night out and had found out about a local restaurant offering tarot readings for £10. We’d decided to eat, see the tarot reader, and then head into town for some drinks and dancing.

The following week we arrived at the restaurant and were served swiftly. Samantha and Ellie had visited tarot readers before and were happily discussing what she may reveal as we ate and I listened smiling. “This isn’t really your thing is it?” Ellie piped up whilst swiping one of my onion rings.

“Well I just think most of these people just use generalisations or experiences most people will have had and embellish them based on your responses.” I said taking a sip of my drink. “It’s probably quite easy to fake if you have someone willing to divulge a lot of information.”

“Well some probably do but my mum has seen this lady about 5 times and swears by her. She told her about meeting Frank and buying that place in Devon.” Ellie continued,

“Yeah but she just said the coast not specifically Devon.” I said shrugging,

“And that’s loads of people’s dreams for retirement.” Sharon joined in grinning.

“Oh shut up you two.” Ellie said playfully throwing a chip, “I can’t wait for my go.”

After we’d eaten we moved to a small waiting area and were given a ticket to await our turn with Penny the Psychic. I grinned as I looked at the name on the ticket. Even the name sounded a little fake.

Ellie went in first and came out beaming with a sparkle in her eye. “Well?” I said smiling as she sat down next to me.

“She was amazing. Her prediction is that I’ll be engaged soon and she reckons a baby will be born in the family.”

“Well that’s a bit vague and has Rob actually mentioned getting married?” Sharon asked,

“Well no but I had a feeling it was on the cards. We are going to Bath in a few weeks just the two of us so you never know. We are staying in a really nice hotel so maybe a bit of ring shopping might be on the cards,” Ellie replied beaming. “And my sister has mentioned being broody again.” Ellie continued whilst gazing at her ring finger obviously already visualising the sparkling diamond.

Sharon was called up next and came out saying she thought she was credible but wouldn’t be holding her breath. Samantha was next and looked just as thrilled as Ellie when she re-emerged saying Penny had given her very good vibes about her forthcoming promotion. It was my turn next and I vowed not to reveal anything. Penny could work hard for her money.

“Hello Lauren.” She said smiling whilst consulting her list and I took a seat. “Not really your cup of tea is it?” She continued frowning slightly. “It isn’t for everyone but I always advise to have an open mind.” I shrugged non committedly and she began turning the cards. She began making the general observations I’d assumed and I gave a few half-hearted responses. “Do you live on a flood plain Lauren?” She said looking more animated,

“No. I actually live at the top of a hill so pretty safe from flooding.” I replied smiling,

“Do you have a pond of stream nearby?”

“Not that I know of. Both of my immediate neighbours don’t have anything watery in their gardens.” I shrugged,

“That’s strange. There’s definitely water involved.” She said certainly and turned another card. No further revelations came and I thanked her for her time and left the room.

“So what did she say?” Ellie said excitedly before I’d even closed the door.

“Not much. The usual stuff. You are a little restless at work, happy at home, strong friendships which she’d probably guessed from me being here with you guys. She asked if I lived on a flood plain though which was a little odd.”

“You live on a hill.” Sharon laughed, “Oh well was a good experience. Now come on girls I need a drink. Let’s get going.”

We had a brilliant evening and I forgot all about the tarot reading until a few weeks later when I got an excited phone call from Ellie. “He proposed!” She screeched down the phone. “Penny was right. We went for an amazing meal and he got down on one knee. He gave me a haribo ring as he said he wanted me to be able to choose my own. We are going shopping tomorrow. I’m so excited.” I was thrilled for Ellie who said she’d send me a picture of the chosen ring tomorrow. I hung up smiling and began to wonder for the first time ever if psychics did indeed have a gift.

Over the next few weeks Ellie excitedly told us about her wedding plans. To my utter surprise a date had already been set and they were looking at venues. I’d offered to babysit so Ellie could visit a couple of venues with her older sister Sophie. Sophie had a gorgeous little boy called Ethan who had just turned 4 and luckily for me thought coming to my house was a mini adventure. We made crispy cakes and carrot cakes which were Ellie’s favourite and the only thing I could successfully bake. We watched Toy Story whilst I did the voiceover of some of the characters and made a den out of blankets. I was taking a 5 minute breathier whilst Ethan entertained himself in the den when I was suddenly aware of the sound of running water and dashed upstairs. The sink was overflowing. The tap was on full flow and a flannel had blocked the plug hole. Ethan had obviously washed his hands but forgot the tap. I hastily turned the tap off whilst throwing two towels on the floor to soak up the growing puddle of water. Ethan appeared silently behind me. “Sorry Lauren.” He said looking glum.

“Don’t worry darling. It’s only a bit of water.” I said grabbing a third towel. “Good job I heard it though else we would have had a swimming pool.” I laughed ruffling his hair. He visibly relaxed and I smiled straightening up. The doorbell rang and we both jumped laughing. “I bet that will be your mum.” I said bounding down the stairs.

Ellie and Sophie excitedly babbled about their day and Sophie thanked me for having Ethan. “Any problems?” She said as they were leaving.

“No he’s been as good as gold.” I replied,

“But I forgot the tap.” Ethan said looking at the floor,

“Oh don’t worry about that.” I said giving him a hug.

“What happened?” Sophie asked as she gathered Ethan’s bag and coat. I filled them in on the minor accident and Ellie began to laugh.

“The flood warning.” She said now grinning.

“What?” I replied confused.

“Psychic Penny.  She asked you about flood plains. Maybe she meant a flood in your house not outside?” Ellie explained.

“Oh!” I said surprised. Ellie hugged me and winked nudging Sophie.

“I have news too.” She said beaming. “I’m pregnant had my 12 week scan yesterday. Had no idea. It’s a very happy surprise.” I congratulated her and we had a group hug. As they finally left Ellie squeezed my hand.

“Maybe Penny wasn’t a fake after all. Fancy going again?”

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Dinosaur DNA sets review

We were lucky enough to get a Stegosaurus  Dinosaur DNA kit to review from Ryman Stationary.

The kit is priced around £14.99.

As of todays date it is only £9.99 via Ryman Stationary so it might be a good time to grab a Christmas bargain.  The link below will take you to there page.

Dinosaur DNA


Now onto the product. My kids LOVED it! It is aimed at 8+ but my 6 and 9 year old both loved it.

The block of clay is quite hard and it took a while to get the pieces out but this was part of the fun although I did have to help.  The kids loved revealing pieces as we dug into the clay block. It was quite dusty but I just had it on a large sheet of paper which I shook into the bin.



Our kit had 9 pieces of dinosaur to discover plus the DNA code. It was a little tricky to put together so adult help will be required but the kids love the finished dinosaur which has been named 'Steggy'. It glows in the dark and is a fun little item.

To use the interactive play mat you need to download the app Dinocodes for free via Apple store or Google play.

I found the app didn't work fully. We got the fun facts, sound and dino feet but not the full image. The second play may with the tornado did seem to work fine. This didn't really bother my children but might be something to look into.


On the whole I think it is a great product and would be a huge hit for any dino fans.  My daughter reckons several class mates would like one.


There are 3 different dino kits. Tyrannosauras, Stegosaurus and Tricerotops. I think I'll purchase a second kit for Christmas.

Hope this has been useful and provides some Christmas idea inspiration.

Emma xxx

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for a review.  Opinions are 100% my own.

Postnatal depression???


Following Adele's recent confession she had postnatal depression it has been a much talked about topic.  By her own admission she felt inadequate but speaking to friends & confronting the feelings alleviated it.  I think its brilliant its in the media & far more open but is it becoming the new must have baby accessory?

I believe a lot of mums have a little bit of postnatal depression. The 'baby blues' are common for 2 weeks but the health professionals consider longer as abnormal. I had my first child nearly 10 years ago. The first few weeks are a blur of tiredness and pain relief due to an emergency c section & lengthy labour. I remember being slightly terrified when my partner went back to work after 2 weeks paternity. I was in charge and felt under prepared. As is sod's law I also become ill and felt on the brink.  This didn't last long thankfully but I began smoking again when my daughter was about 5 or 6 weeks old as I craved the solitude in the garden. I was jealous that my partner could legitimately go into the garden & not hold the baby. I was jealous he could escape & I couldn't. I loved being a mum but the isolation & tedious nature of feeding/changing/napping could sap my energy & spirit.

These feelings lifted after a few months and life moves on.  I didn't speak about it or get treatment.  Was it postnatal depression? I didn't have the same feelings 3 years later when I had my son. I knew I was OK and so was he.  I felt more confident & able.

My point is every new mum struggles sometimes. Every new mum sometimes thinks oh my God!  We are all winging it. We are all doing great jobs.


If these feelings do not lift or worsen then do speak to someone. You are not alone and will not be judged. Being a mum is bloody hard work and there's no instructions. Remember you'll be OK and there is help. Ask. Don't beat yourself up.

I'm glad women feel more comfortable discussing this issue but I hope the media do not trivialise the symptoms or condition and a million celebrities climb out of the woodwork for 5 more minutes of fame.  It feels a little like its the new fashion must have instead of real women and real lives.

If you are worried or not sure what to look out for the main symptoms are:

a persistent feeling of low mood.

loss of interest in things you used to enjoy.

lack of energy.

trouble sleeping at night.

feeling that you're unable to look after your baby.

problems concentrating.

feelings of guilt.

difficulty bonding with your baby.

frightening thoughts.

It is common for some of these to last a couple of weeks but if it's longer or you tick every box do speak to someone.

Take care all you wonderful mummies you are all doing fab.

Love

Emma xxx

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Things I want to do before I'm 40

I am nearly 38.  I'm slightly shocked. How did that happen?

I've decided to compile a list of somethings I want to do before I hit the big 40 and I can then check back in 2 years and see how I've done.

  • Visit Venice & Barcelona child free.
  • In the UK a visit to Bath is top of my list and Bourton on the water.
  • Change job - Hoping to work in a school
  • Get another tattoo
  • See Strictly come dancing at Elstree Film Studios
  • Go back to Majorca for a family holiday
  • Family stay at Center Parcs
  • Have some success from my blog or writing
  • Have pink hair (Slight cheat did this in the summer)
  • Be comfortable in my own skin
  • Maintain good health (Crohn's)
  • Get a piercing considering Tragus!
  • Learn how to apply eyeliner on my top lid!!! I'm an absolute failure at this.
What about you? When's your big 40?  Any big plans?

Emma xxx

Ah memories of Center Parcs & Majorca.............










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Twinlakes Review

On Tuesday we visited Twinlakes in Melton Mowbray. I had been before but this was about 3 years ago.

It is a brilliant family park and ideal for toddlers to tweens. There are loads of outdoor play areas dotted about with picnic tables and a few covered areas to help with rainy spells. The new dream Fantasy Castle area is great and my 5 year old preferred the play areas to the actual rides.

There is a mini farm and great splash park for warmer days.  Some people were using it on Tuesday but it was a tad too chilly for me.  It does look brilliant though and on a hot day  it would be a good idea to pack the kids swimming costumes and towels.

We spent nearly 5 hours at the park and could have stayed longer as the kids weren't bored.


We had lunch in the Buccaneers Island Zone.  It is a bit noisy but clean and loads for the kids to do.  Prices also reasonable.  My children had a chicken chunk & burger meal (similar to McDonald's happy meal) with slush puppy upgrade and it was £4.45 each.  I had a jacket potato with tuna which was £4.74 and was really nice.  This zone has several rides and lots of seating so perfect if it does rain.


As the weather was nice we stayed outside & didn't try the Labyrinth Zone on this occasion which would be another good place to get out of any rain. 


Both kids loved the new bouncy pillows just outside the Labyrinth Zone and would have stayed for hours!  My son loved the Bumper boats (steering was terrible though haha!) and Running Bears Summit Toboggan Run. My daughter's favourite was Jester's Revenge (fast teacups) and Buffalo Stampede (Rollercoaster). The Action USA Zone was our favourite zone and perfect on a sunny day and also the place to get very nice donuts 3 for £2.



I would definitely recommend Twinlakes but would suggest checking the website for height restrictions before going to ensure your children can go on enough rides and will be entertained.


It is an all weather park but obviously the sunshine helps and means you can enjoy the whole site.


They have themed events throughout the year and Halloween will be the next big event with FREE pumpkin carving.

My only criticism is that it maybe needs more signage as we got a little confused with which zone we were in.

Check out the website for prices and more information. Website link below

Twinlakes

Prices are dependant on height.  Under 95cm FREE.  It is cheaper to book online so make sure you book before going.

Thanks

Emma xxx


Disclaimer: I was given 4 free tickets in exchange for a review.  All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

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Pass the Pen Review

We were lucky enough to receive a copy of Pass the Pen from Wicked Uncle.

Wicked Uncle

Wicked Uncle is a website of fun, unusual and different presents for children. They can giftwrap your presents, send them direct with a handwritten birthday card and even send you a birthday reminder every year.




Pass the Pen (Family game Ages 8+) is a super fast drawing game with a special pen that retracts the tip on a timer.
This game is fun and simple to play. Pick a card & roll the die to determine what your drawing challenge will be, then press the pen timer and start to draw. If someone guesses correctly what you've drawn you both get points, but if your nib disappears before they can guess, then you have to ‘Pass the Pen’. The pen timer can be set to 10 or 15 seconds.  There's 500 subjects to draw.






My children are 9 & 6 and both loved the game although we needed to adjust it slightly for the younger one and doubled up the time limits.



It is a quick easy game that takes up minimal space and could be easily transported.  My children loved the retractable pen. I must admit it was a little harder than it looks to get a meaningful picture done against the clock but it was good fun & we ended up with some funny pictures. It was nice to play a proper game instead of the kids being glued to YouTube or computer games. I would happily recommend.

Disclaimer: We were sent Pass the Pen to review.  Opinions are 100% my own.