Sunday, 31 January 2016

Homework Project - My slightly iffy poem

Homework for you or the kids???
My slightly iffy poem.

Yippee it's Friday the working week is done
I love saturday and sunday to chill out & rest.
But hold on what's this
A project to be put you to the test.

Please can you make a statue this weekend
A shoe or a rainforest perhaps an igloo.
I'm not really crafty I hate bits and bobs
A trip to the pound shop for felt, paper & glue.

The project gets of to a good start
Then moaning commences and contains to rise.
Creative differences start to emerge
Should it be blue or what sort of size?

You end up sticking bits on by yourself
Cursing the teachers for the mess.
Eventually the task comes to an end
The project looks OK you have tried your best.

On Monday your child is full of smiles
Proudly taking the project glue thankfully dried.
You pray on Friday it will be a simpler task
Or someone else might do it & you can laugh.


Friday, 29 January 2016

Top 5 Annoying Kids Programmes

Over the last 9 years I've been subjected to lots of annoying children's TV.

My Top 5 annoying programmes are:

Topsy & Tim Cbeebies
The voices, the terrible acting the goodie goodieness. It is all deeply irritating.

Jessie Disney Channel
American comedy about a Nanny living in New York. The main character is soooooo annoying. I can't stand it but the kids love it.

Fireman Sam Channel 5
Norman Price!!! Enough said.

Gigglebiz Cbeebies
I find Justin Fletcher irritating in most programmes but the endless awful characters drives me mad in this show especially Rapids Johnson. I can just about cope with Mr Tumble.

Sam & Cat Nickelodeon
Another American comedy the kids love. I just cannot bear Ariana Grande's voice. I've no idea how old the characters are supposed to be but they basically seem to live alone & run a crap babysitting service.

What children's programmes irritate you the most?

Emma xxx


Friday, 22 January 2016

5 Facts about me

I thought I'd share a little more about myself as I've recently upped my blogging activity and am hoping to link up with other mummy bloggers (although I'm not so keen on that desription).

1. I have Crohns Disease. I was diagnosed 7 1/2 years ago & have so far had no relapses.

2. I used to wear glasses but had laser eye surgery nearly 3 years ago. I wish I'd done it years ago.The only drawback is at night I do get additional glare from headlights when driving.

3. I have 2 children who were both born by caesarean.  One was emergency and the other elective. I had hoped to have my son naturally & was booked in for an elective at 10 days overdue.  I never thought I'd get to day 10 but I never even had a Braxton hick let alone a real contraction.

4. I didn't pass my driving test till the sixth go!  I had 2 tests when I was 18/19 and failed and hated every second of it.  I didn't start lessons again until I was 28/29 as I figured now I had a child I really needed to be able to drive.  My lessons always went really well but on test day I'd fall to pieces.  Nerves always got the better of me.  One test was enormously irritating as I only failed for being 1 car length instead of 2 away from the car in front of me on the dual carriageway. Aside from that I only had 4 minors and was so annoyed. I finally passed on my 6th go which was lucky as I vowed to give it.

5. I have 4 happy hens and 2 cute rabbits. I'm not really a pet person but these are all outdoors.  The hens are lovely and have so much character. Two seem to want to be house hens & if they see a open door they make a run for it.  The rabbits are my daughters & she mostly feeds and looks after them although I get the dirty job of cleaning their hutch and litter tray.

I actually found this task difficult but hope you've found it interesting.  What interesting facts would you share about yourself?

Emma xxx  


Saturday, 16 January 2016

Dogs vs Tots

Whilst chatting to a friend the other day we got onto the subject of dogs.

"I'm not really keen on dogs." My friend said wrinkling their nose and staring adoringly at her small tot.  Whilst I'm not a huge dog lover quite a few of my friends have pooches & to say you dislike them would be like them saying they dislike your child!

It got me to thinking that there's actually a lot of similarities between dogs & tots.

1. Both require attention especially when you are settling down to eat. Queue the whine/ cry.

2. Both destroy your house in seconds & leave you unsure what tornado just whizzed through your home.

3. Your washing increases. Dog hairs/ slobber/mud/baby sick/ orange coloured food stains(why is it always orange!)/snot.

4. Your walking increases which is a good thing except when its freezing and/or raining! Although the tot/dog doesn't seem to mind the weather.

5. Strangers talk to you whilst on said walk. This can be odd/friendly or creepy!

6. Outings take on a different meaning. How long will you be out? Is it pet/child friendly? Do you have food/drink/lead? The lead could be for both although you may get a few frowns. Try child reins instead they were a must with my son.

7. You are rarely home alone!

8. Without realising you adopt a silly voice whilst talking to said dog or tot.

"Who's my little cutie-pie?" (Or similar gibberish).

9. Potty training & house training. Both seem like impossible tasks & you have an enormous sense of relief when the job is conquered.

10. Discipline. Both dogs & children can wrap you around their little finger & require love, attention and consistency. Easy right!?!

These phrases sound familiar (dog or child!?) -

"What do you have in your mouth now?"
"No... No... I said NO!!!"
"How did that much poop come out of such a little thing?"
"Come here... come HERE... COME HERE!!!"
"Don't move. Stay.  I said stay there a sec!!!"

Any of the above sound familiar? Hope you have a fab week,the sun shines & your dogs & tots behave ;)

Emma xxx


Monday, 11 January 2016

Disneyland Paris - Rides, Tips for first time travellers and Review

In 2016 we went to Disneyland Paris for the first time as a surprise holiday for the kids then aged 3 and 7.  We went Friday to Monday which I think is about the right length of time. We had an amazing time but with a little bit of planning or know how it could have been even better. I'm hoping this article will help any future first time Disneyland first time travellers!

Disneyland Paris Highlights for 1st time travellers - 

1. Seeing the Disney castle is amazing when you walk through the gates.

2. The 5.30pm parade is fantastic.  This was one of my children's favourite bits. My children were mesmerised especially the 3 year old.  We watched it twice. We also caught part of the springtime parade which was during the day which was colourful & fun.  It seemed to have more of a Mary Poppins theme although some of the main Disney characters were also there.  The main parade starts at the castle and comes down Main Street.

3.Stand out rides for my children were "Its a small world" which we went on 3 times!!! Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast which we queued 90 minutes for but managed to do again the next day in a lovely short 15 minute queue.  Dumbo the flying elephant, the Carousel, Mad Hatter's Tea Cups and Autopia were also favourites..

4. The light show was amazing but very busy.  We were at the back because my son isn't keen on fireworks so couldn't see the fountains but the lights on the castle are brilliant.  My son wasn't that bothered but my 7 year old loved it and wanted to see it again.

5.  The walk home is lovely around the lake and is a nice respite from the music, crowds and queues. Our hotel was Newport Bay and was enormous. The rooms were nice although quite standard.  I'm not sure how it compares to the other hotels but I would happily recommend.

6. We travelled by Euro star and it literally takes you right to the park. A quick shuttle bus to your hotel and you are checked in quickly.  We chose to go to the hotel and have a quick look about but you could have gone straight into the park as your suitcase is taken to the hotel for you if you have Disney Express service.

7.  The entrance is amazing.  It looks soooo Disney and gives a brilliant first impression.

8.  The park was very clean.

9. I loved the appearance of the Cars and Toy Story section in Walt Disney Studios.  The rides looked amazing and the giant Buzz is great.  Unfortunately that was the morning my son refused to go on any rides (more on that later) so we didn't sample much and didn't have time to go back.

10. The food at Annette's was lovely I would definitely recommend.  We were stuffed so only ordered one cheesecake but regretted it as it was the best one I've ever eaten and I could have easily managed a whole one myself.  The evening meal we had at our hotel was also great with lots of choice.  However other meals were more hit & miss. I would recommend the Disney Village for food rather than the main park.

11. The Lego shop. My kids loved it and the Lego Woody & Buzz are amazing as is the Mickey Mouse in the window.  I wish we had a Lego store in Northampton.  I'm wondering who I can recommend it too ha ha!!!

Disneyland Paris Disappointments for 1st time travellers - 

1. I had expected characters to be walking around the park often but we didn't see any.  The characters do appear for scheduled photo opportunities at specific places but the queues are enormous and you need to make sure you are there at the correct times.  If you are elsewhere in the park or queuing somewhere you miss it.  Luckily my children weren't bothered about having their photos taken.

2.  The staff uniforms. Might seem an odd niggle but I had expected the staff to be wearing Disney outfits.  They were all wearing rather odd drab uniforms that had no Disney relevance.  Most had large navy trousers, beige, blue or green over sized shirts and long cape type things.  I thought they would have a basic uniform of navy/black trousers and a Mickey Mouse T-Shirt/Shirt/Jumper and on specific rides they might be wearing a costume e.g. - Jessie & Woody cowboy clothes or Disney Princess dress.

3.  I think some of the rides need updating as it seems very focused on the old traditional characters and not the newer ones that young children know and love e.g. - Disney Junior characters such as Doc McStuffins, Sofia and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Also some of the rides didn't seem to have any Disney relevance at all and could have been at any theme park. They seemed to be more to fit in with the themed zone than Disney eg - Orbiton & Autopia. My children did like both of these rides & weren't bothered but I think as an adult I expected Disney to be everywhere. The only thing my daughter was disappointed about was the lack of Tinkerbell & the other Fairies especially Silver Mist.  I thought there might be a Pixie Hollow section or ride.

4.  Some restaurants were closed with no poster or sign stating when it would reopen.  We had a problem at Casey's twice, Buzz's Pizza Planet and Pizzeria Bella Botte.  We also found a lot of the snack food in the park was sweet based e.g.-ice cream, pop corn, waffles and not many places served normal sandwiches or savoury snacks.  There is a lot of food choices but most are sweet or main meals.  We found one place that served sandwiches but they looked horrible and didn't suit our children.  It was ham & cheese that looked quite plastic, grilled vegetables or curry chicken.  This isn't a massive issue but something to be aware of.

5.We felt it could benefit from a few more signs especially for the toilets. Twice we struggled to find one which is a pain with a 3 year old in tow who is busting for the loo!

Disneyland Paris Top Tips for 1st time travellers - 

1. If you can I would study a map before you arrive so you can plan which rides you really would like to go to and roughly were you are going.  This will save you a lot of time.  It is available on the website.

2. You can head straight into the park from the train station and your suitcase will be taken to your hotel for you. This is the Disney Express service you will be told if you have this. Likewise on the way home we checked out and left our case at the hotel & enjoyed a few more hours in the park and collected our case at the train station.

3. Meal vouchers.  We had free half board as part of our holiday but the vouchers were not explained to us fully and we did not really get full use from them.

Breakfast is hotel only and allocated slots. 

Dinner -  We were told you had to book but we found out you could use the vouchers almost anywhere in the park without the need for booking.  To get the best value it is best to choose  places like Walt's, Plaza Gardens, your own hotel, Annette's and CafĂ© Mickey.  We used ours one day in Colonel Hathi's Pizza Outpost. It was quite confusing to start with as the server did not speak English but a manager explained we could use them but they are worth approx 30 euros an adult and no change is given.  Our meals were only 15 euros so we were not getting our monies worth and she was concerned however our son really wanted pizza/pasta 2 other restaurants we'd tried were closed and as it had been a free upgrade when I booked we weren't bothered but you may want to bear this in mind.

Tea Time Treat - Again these vouchers were not explained to us.  We thought you could only use them at the hotel between 3-7pm.  However on our last day we found out they could be used in the park.  We didn't use any of them but as I said earlier it was a free upgrade so I wasn't too worried.  However if I'd paid for the upgrade I would of been annoyed.

4.  We travelled by Euro star but our route home was via Lille. We thought you still needed to be at the train station an hour before departure.  We didn't have time to queue for a final ride so actually arrived at the train station 1hr 30 mins before departure.  It was only after collecting our suitcase & speaking to someone at the station we realised as it was a French train to Lille and we only needed to be there about 15 mins before so we could find our platform.  At Lille we had to show our passports etc but the process was quite quick and the journey pleasant.

5. Take some very comfy shoes.  You will do ALOT of walking. We had serious feet ache but it was worth it.

6. Make sure you know what you are queuing for! On Friday we arrived had a quick whizz round the park & then dinner at the hotel. When we returned to our disappointment Fantasyland was closed (we later found out this is due to the light show & closes early quite often) so we wondered about & then I saw a train so we decided to queue.  It was dark by now & we hadn't consulted the park map.  I had assumed it was just a gentle train that would go round in a circle. However it turned out to be Thunder Mountain which was fast & dark & both kids hated it.  My son refused to go on anything Saturday morning as a result. Luckily "It's a small world" and a present from the Lego shop resolved the situation.  To be honest I'm surprised we were allowed on the ride as my son is only 3. The height restrictions in France seem to be  lower than our own & I'm sure a similar ride at a theme park here would have different restrictions. It is a funny story though & we joked about taking them on the Space Mountain:Mission 2 for the remainder of the trip.

 7. We stayed for a Friday to Monday trip & Saturday was by far the busiest day (90 min queue for the Buzz ride) so if you have a pass for early entry use it on the Saturday.  This allows you into Fantasyland before 10am so smaller queue's & less people about.  Sunday was quieter & Monday was packed again but I think this was due to the bank holiday. If you are able I would suggest travelling midweek to avoid Saturday.

Hope you have enjoyed this post & some of the information is helpful to any newbie Disneyland Paris travellers.


Emma xxx


Saturday, 9 January 2016

Life before & after kids

Life before & after kids
Without children : I've run out of milk. I'll just pop to the shop. Buy milk 
With children: I've run out of milk. Deep sigh. Right kids get your shoes on. Where's your coat? 10 minutes later leave the house. End up buying milk, kids magazines with brightly coloured plastic crap on the front and a kinder egg also full of plastic crap!

Without children : Have a doctors appointment. Bit of a nuisance getting appointment to fit in with work. Get there chill out with magazine before seeing doctor & getting health issue resolved.

With children : Have a doctors appointment. Have to schedule it around work & school pick ups. Have to take kids. Very deep sigh. Spend 20 fraught minutes in the waiting room constantly saying shh & dishing out snacks. Discuss health issues in code whilst entertaining/distracting children.

Without children : Get ready for a night out. Have shower/ bath at leisurely pace. Apply make up carefully. Select outfit. Maybe have a glass of wine.

With children : Get ready for a night out. Skip shower you'll be fine you had one this morning. Spend 5 minutes applying make up whilst children try to steal your lipstick & mascara. Throw on your one trusty outfit that hides a multitude of sins & looks vaguely trendy.

Without children : Ah Sunday morning lie in.
Doze. Read. Relax.

With children : Ah Sunday morning lie in. Oh wait I forgot they don't exist anymore. 6.30am rudely woken. 7.30am if you're lucky. Oh well at least we haven't got to rush anywhere.

Good job we love our kids :)

Emma xxx

Day in the life of a mum

Day in the life of a mum

6.15am son wakes up & climbs into my bed.
YouTube is distributed with only 1 eye open so I can doze. I'm so not ready to start the day.

7-8.30am shower, dress, breakfast.
Tell my son 6 times to get dressed. End up helping whilst inwardly cursing myself for giving in. With 30 seconds to spare leave the house.

8.30am mini argument getting in the car as kids can't decide who's go it is in the front. Argument settled pull off.  Have mild road rage as traffic horrific & takes 9 minutes to travel 50 metres!

8.50am drop kids off & with a sense of relief the school run is complete drive to work.

9.15-2.30pm at the day job. Boring but necessary and nice to have some adult conversation which is mainly about holidays, reality TV and possible office desk moves.

3.15pm collect kids.  Try not to lose book bags, lunch boxes, coats, children and sanity!
In the car "What did you do at school today?"
Answer "Nothing."

3.30pm literally just opened the door keys still in the lock. "What can we have to eat?" Shouted multiple times.

4.00pm snacks dispensed and days things put away. Have a much needed cup of tea.

4.10pm "I'm bored."
"He's got my Lego."
"Can I play on the PlayStation?"
"I'm hungry."
Want to hide.

5pm Children sorted. Make a start on dinner. Empty dishwasher. Maybe sort out some washing. Generally multi task.

6pm Everyone eats. This is usually the time my son remembers some gem from school & my daughter will tell me about her lunchtime clubs of which there are many.
The latest school oddity from my son is the most bizarre song about a man named Joe who works in a button factory!

6.30pm bath. This is either a joyful happy time listening to the children talk & laugh or hell on earth.

7pm Pj's & usually Simpsons or You've been framed.  In the summer they'll both go in the garden for speed hair drying. My daughter reckons trampolining helps.

7.30-8pm bedtime for little one. Story read & cuddles given.
Depending on the day my daughter will either read, go on YouTube or watch a bit of telly.

8.30pm Relax!  Watch a bit of TV whilst mentally checking everything is sorted for the next day. Suddenly realise need school trip letter & money and scrabble about searching for a biro that works and £10.

10pm go to bed spend over an hour faffing about on social media whilst yawning head off and berating self for being too interested in latest celeb tweet rather than much needed sleep.

11.30pm sleep before it all starts again!

Emma xxx


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

The mummy juggle - Work vs Parenting

The mummy juggle  (or dad increasingly nowadays) is something many parents battle.  Do you return to work? What hours? What childcare option? The costs? The headaches!

I returned to work after both my children partly due to financial pressure & partly because I never wanted to be a stay at home mum.

I have enjoyed working. I like the adult interaction and feeling like you are contributing. I do think working sets a good example but obviously everyone is different & this post is not saying working or staying at home is right or wrong.  We all have different ideals & circumstances.

My issue is I always feel like I'm not doing it right. I'm failing somehow.  I only work 20 hours a week to fit in with school hours & am very lucky to work term time.  This part time working pattern suits my requirements but leaves me feeling I can't fully contribute at work. I can't volunteer for certain projects, meetings and promotion opportunities are limited.  I  was never career orientated but sometimes feel my part time hours have hindered my progress & choice of employment.

From a parenting side I sometimes feel like I fail here also. I can't always attend special assemblies, sports days or harvest festivals for example.  I sometimes come home from work tired or stressed and don't fully engage in my children's chatter. The school run is always a time management battle. 

The juggle extends to remembering homework, permission slips, lunch boxes and coats.  The housework has to be shoe horned in and any after school activities. All parents will understand this struggle I'm not special or different.

I think a lot of the pressure is internal.  I find faults in myself that perhaps others wouldn't.  My manager is consistently happy with my work output & attitude and my children understand I work & have never commented if I've been unable to attend a school activity.

I think I need to remember my children are happy, my manager is happy and I need to worry less and be happy more. 

What are your thoughts? Are you a working mum? How do you cope with the work/parenting juggle?

Emma xxx