Wednesday, 19 July 2017

School's Out For Summer!

summer time beach
photo by Jerry Keisewetter/ Unsplash 


School

Boo and the Little Man break up from school today and Star breaks up on Friday. Then we have an extended eight week summer holiday! The two schools that my children go to are merging so eventually they will all be at the same school and it will be an 'all through school' from reception to year 11.

Holidays

As I'm writing this it's grey but very warm outside and I can tell that thunderstorms are threatening to arrive. But I'm not worried about the weather, I just want this to be the best summer ever! We've already had our holiday in June. Next year I'm going to plan our holiday for the summer, it will be more expensive but we've not been away in the summer for many years now. I'm wishing we had something planned this year now, but the holiday we had in June was planned last year and I went for cheap rather than timing. 

Bucket List

I don't have a bucket list, although I might plan one with the kids later as I've lots of ideas. We will be going to visit relatives in Dorset so we'll definitely see the beach again! I also want to visit some national Trust Properties, we have a few close by that we've not seen yet, but I want to go a little further too. 

I also want to take them swimming, we have some fabulous pools nearby and I've just ordered Passport to Leisure for us all (Apparently you need these to go swimming here.) The kids enjoyed the pool so much when we were away so I think they'll like to go and splash about. I'm going to sign them up for swimming lessons later in the year, or see if there are any courses held over the holidays. I think they need to learn.

There are two places nearby that are by rivers and I really want to take the kids for days out there. One is Stratford on Avon, I haven't been there for years but I know it's lovely to visit. Maybe we can even go on a boat, I'm just not sure how I'd get on, but you never know there may be some way. The other place is Stourport, which has a small leisure park and arcades which the kids will love. If I remember correctly they also have a big outside paddling pool which will be loads of fun.

Closer to home I think a visit to the local library is in order, the kids like it there and we can go and pick up some summer reading for the rainier or lazy days.

I also want to visit the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, it's always an interesting place to go and they have some fantastic exhibitions. A couple of years ago we took some sketch books and pencils and the kids re-created some works of art.

Then if finances allow we could visit the Think Tank. I believe they have a huge moon landing there this summer. It's not cheap but it's a great day out.


Not Going Out

There will be times when we won't be able to go out for whatever reason, but there are plenty of things we can plan at home. I would love the kids to help with the garden, I'll like to get some nice potted plants sorted and maybe even a special fairy garden. 

Also for the garden I would really like a paddling pool for the kids to cool off in. We also have swings and a slide in the garden. I'm thinking maybe some badminton rackets or rounders bats for some bat and ball fun. Of course they have their nerf guns too, we just need to replace the bullets.

We have some birthday cakes to bake, so there will be time in the kitchen. I'm also planning on getting the kids to make their own lunches while they are at home. With supervision, of course.
I'm sure we can think of many things to cook up!

The girls are getting  a little old for the arts and crafts sessions, but if I start something with the Little Man they like to join in. The girls have their own art books that they are always drawing in. They also write their own stories.

Birthdays

For us, summer is birthday time. Boo turns ten next week! She's having some friends around to make some Splodge Teddies. She's chosen the dog pack. It's going to be fun making them and then the kids will get the chance to decorate a cupcake for their teddy's birthday. 

Next up is the Little Man's seventh birthday. We are having a family BBQ and inviting a few family and friends around to celebrate. I've found in the past that when you have a birthday in the middle of the summer then school friends can't make it, or forget about it. So this way I will be making sure that we have people around to celebrate. 

I tried to get Star to agree on something different but she's insistent that she spends her birthday the same way that she has done for the past five years. That's a visit to Pizza Hut then toy shopping. She normally goes to build-a-bear but we are skipping that this year. 

Bring It On!

I am so ready for this holiday, it may be longer than usual and I'll probably be glad to see the back of them come mid September, but I just want to make the best of it.

I may not be well enough to do much with them next year, I want to make happy memories while I can.  Up until now I've put things off because it can be so difficult being in a wheelchair, but I've been silly, it's time to forget about my wheels and just get on with life, plenty of other people do. At least I can go out with having to carry lots of equipment with me, I don't know how long that will last so I really have to make the most of it now. 

The future scares me and the past makes me feel sad because I can't do as much. I have to live for the here and now and think of my wonderful children that I have been blessed with.

So, what are your plans for the summer? Have you made a bucket list? Are you going on some fabulous holiday? I'd love to know what you are up to, do let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Strange, Unusual, Gross and Cool Animals - Book Review

Do your kids love animals?
This book is sure to please, My kids love it and are always flicking through and saying 'oh look at this!'

strange, unusual, gross and cool animals book

Hardcover: 128 pages
Age Range: 8 - 11 years
Publisher: Liberty Street (7 July 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1618931660
ISBN-13: 978-1618931665
Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 1.6 x 31.4 cm
Author: Charles Ghigna


The Blurb


The ickiest, stickiest, blobbiest, oddest animals in the world are the ones kids really want to know. Packed with more than 200 vibrant photographs and fun facts about animals with unusual behaviours, strange appearances and remarkable stats, this deluxe gift book is perfect for established readers (ages 8 and up) or anyone who loves animal facts. Animal Planet's fascinating exploration of animal oddities introduces young animal lovers to some of the most astonishing, gorgeous and obscure animals in the world - including some brand new discoveries!

The Book

This is a colourful, fascinating book with loads of photographs.


This page shows lots of small photos with snippets of information. Other pages have less but bigger photos, and some have just the one huge photo...these are usually the grossest animals! The book is informative, but mostly it will keep the kids fascinated which is an excellent way to learn. I bet there are plenty of animals in this book that even parents will not of heard of!

Our Opinion

It's not a book to read from cover to cover in one go, but it is one to pick up over and over again and enjoy new facts and photos each time. My kids love it, even the Little man. The adults in the house have had a look through too, it just arouses curiosity.
The book is large, hardback and the pages glossy and show the photographs well. This is going to be a favourite book in our house for a long time and we have to give it a big thumbs up. 

You can buy Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals (Animal Planet) from Amazon for £14.99.

Look for this and other great books at The GMC Group



Laura's Lovely Blog





Disclosure:  I was sent this book for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, 17 July 2017

New Clothes!

I had to change my style last year when I got ill. I've not worn my jeans since because they feel so rough and uncomfortable. My skin is not sensitive but my nerves under my skin make me feel things differently, it's so hard to explain. Anyway, it was out with the jeans and in with the dresses. I can wear leggings so long as they are soft cotton, so I can keep warm in the cooler weather. In the hotter weather I am faced with a dilemma. I cannot leave my legs exposed and it's too hot to keep them covered.

My legs have a life of their own which is why I don't like them on show. I have, what the Doctors call, a spastic gait, and it's obvious. I can't walk very far but when I do my legs are all over the place. When I stand I feel like I'm standing normally, but photographs have shown me different.

Then I was asked if I'd like to try a Maxi dress from JD Williams. Now, I'd heard of JD Williams, mostly because of their ad. Maybe I watch too much television but I'm often heard around the house singing 'Awoo!' However, I'd not actually visited their site before. I was happy to do so, it was full of amazing clothes and accessories perfect for online shopping. Not only that but it was so easy to narrow down your search to what you were looking for i.e. size, colour, length, brand etc.

Now Maxi dresses remind me of the 70s (yes, I'm old enough to remember!) My mum would make me wear one to every special occasion and then take it up afterwards to make an every day dress suitable for school (school uniforms in primary schools were not a thing back then.) I hated maxi dresses, being tall for my age they never really went past my ankles and I always looked daft.

These days people are taller, even taller than me and clothes are showing this. I can buy a pair of jeans that are long enough so maybe I could by a maxi dress that was long enough not to be classed as a mini dress?

Then I had a light bulb moment. A maxi dress would hide my legs. I would be able to look pretty normal standing and maybe even look okay walking!

I found a dress I liked, it was Joe Browns and I loved it on the web site. In real life it was even nicer, the material was soft and comfortable. Also with a length of 54 inches (137cm) I knew it would be  the perfect length.




I'm no model, but I'm really happy with my new dress. (Not sure what my hubby was trying to achieve with the angle of the photo)


I love the pattern and the material is soft and stretchy, it's figure hugging but not too much, it still has a flowing feel to hide those flaws.

While I was there I also chose a gorgeous Joe Brown's tunic top. It's a beautiful floaty fabric which is lined. I just love the pattern. As this is shorter than the normal dresses I wear (But only just seeing as it is described as a blouse rather than a dress,) I would have preferred to wear it with trousers rather than leggings. However, as I'm mostly in my wheelchair it think it's perfect and I don't have to worry about my wonky leg problem, so I can wear it with leggings until I can find the perfect trousers to go with it.




I just love the pattern on this top, it's so pretty, and it's fully lined so no see through bits except at the very end and the capped sleeves.


Disclosure: collaborative post

Saturday, 15 July 2017

My Sunday Photo - 16th July 2017


Stage Fright

It happens to the best of us. I can remember getting stage fright at my school concert when I was around ten years old. Then my eldest daughter had stage fright in her nursery performance. Star has always been pretty good with school plays and concerts. We saw her perform at Christmas with her school band and although she did fine.

Star's school does Band Musicianship which I think is fantastic. The kids have a proper recording studio and so many instruments. They are put into groups and allowed free range of everything. They write songs and music and then practice their pieces to perform. The kids learn so much about music, but it's not only that, they are learning by fun and developing talents and confidence. It must take a lot of confidence to perform in front of an audience and these kids get loads of opportunities to do so.

Yesterday it was the school BBQ and concert. We piled into the concert hall to watch twelve different groups perform. Most of the kids were nervous but there were a few that  appeared more than once and it was obvious that these were the most confident if not the most talented. 

We waited and waited for Star's group to come on. Then when they did, Star was missing. She is a singer (Although she likes playing the keyboard too) and has a pretty good voice for her age. Her group is called the Young All Stars and I think they are all stars... but where was our Star? She had an attack of stage fright. Her teacher was great and let her come out and sit down at the back with a microphone. She also gave her the song sheet so she didn't feel as though she would forget the words. She couldn't sing though and started to cry, so her teacher took her out. Poor Star.

I was so upset that I didn't get to see her sing with the others. I think that maybe losing a lot of time from school, and rehearsals may have a played a part. I hope that if we can get her health issues sorted out then she can get more confidence to perform. 

We bought a CD that all the children had recorded a song on and I recognised Star's voice straight away, she even had a solo verse and sang so beautifully. I do hope this hasn't put her off performing in the future.


Photalife

Friday, 14 July 2017

No No! My Hairless Review

Since becoming ill I have had a real problem with hair removal. My condition is neuropathic and it's difficult to explain but what I feel on my skin has more to do with my nerves than my actual skin tissue. Shaving feels like I'm ripping off my skin, similarly waxing (although, I will admit I've never been a fan of waxing anyway.) Depilatory creams sting on my skin and the most painful suspect is epilators.

Then I was asked to try No! No! The No! No! is a thermicon hair removal tool that promises to be pain free. There is a 60 day guarantee where you can return the product if you are not completely satisfied.

When I first put on Facebook that I had a No! No! I was met with a few comments that said it was useless, so I went into my review period feeling un-optimistic.

What's in the Box?


no! no! box contents

The No! No! I received was 
no!no! Thermicon 8800 Face & Body Complete Painless Hair Removal System - Heat Treatment For Short & Long Term Results With No Side Effects - For Men & Women

It came with the No! No! two thermicon tips in different sizes, a buffer, a charger and a cleaning brush.

Before Use

The No! No! needs charging for about five hours then you get three hours of usage time. 
Your skin needs to be clean and free from any sort of products.
Be prepared for the smell with aroma candles or air freshener.
Hair should be about 1-3mm for best treatment.
Assemble the No! No! with the correct tip. The booklet has details of how to do this with pictures. I found it really easy.

Using the No! No!

 It's recommended that you test a small area of your skin first to see if there is any irritation or discomfort. I tried it on my arm and felt nothing. So I moved on to my legs.
When you switch the No! No! on you are met with a small digital screen which shows the battery power, and the treatment level, low, medium or high. It's best to start low, then moving up to as comfortable as you feel with it.

Handling the No! No! is a little more complicated. It has to be held at a 90 degree angle with the rollers flat against the skin. There is a blue light that glows steadily if you've got it right. I found this a little confusing at first and was not sure where the blue light was. When I got it right though I could see the light right at the tip of the  No! No!, it flashes if you are not doing it right and makes a weird clacking sound. It actually made me jump the first time I heard it.

When I'd got the movement of the No! No! right I found it really easy and quick to move it all over my legs.

The next thing that hit me was the smell! Burning hair is really not pleasant. This is how the No! No! works, it gives a gentle pulse of heat to the root of the hair which makes the hair drop out. I'm happy to report that the smell does not linger though and quick burst of air freshener got rid of any remaining smell. Rubbing a moisturising lotion on my legs got rid of the smell there, although the smell did seem to be in the air rather than on my skin.

When I'd finished I wasn't overly impressed, my legs felt stubbly and my skin dry. I gave them a buff with the buffer provided which helped a little, and then put some moisturising lotion to combat the dryness.

I wasn't too worried with the stubble as the No! No! instructions state that it may take more than one session to get rid of the hair.

The good news is that I felt no pain or sensitivity at all from the No! No! 

You Need Patience

The No! No! clearly states that it takes more than one session, you really need some patience. The No! No! should be used 2-3 times a week for the first 4-6 weeks. It can take this long for the  best results to appear. After 4-6 weeks you can reduce the treatments to once or twice a week and then use as needed for maintenance. It all takes time, you have to be persistent to get the best results and then you will find that you don't need to use it so often and your hair will not grow back as quick.
I cannot comment on long term use as I've only just received my No! No! but I will endeavour to return to this post in 4-6 weeks to let you know how I'm getting on.

Where Can You Use use the No! No!

With the different size tips you can use it almost anywhere. You cannot use it on your genitals, eyebrows or around your nipples. You can use it on your face and I  had a try with the smaller tip. Being of an older age I do get some more hairs around my upper lip that I've not had a problem with before. I found it difficult to get the No! No! working properly, the blue light running smoothly, in this area. However, I found that by starting on my chin or cheek, and avoiding my lips, I could get it working and reach the upper lip area more easily. It just took a little practice. The good news is there was no pain or irritation on my face or upper lip area, it was not even red afterwards. 

Of course you have to think of the safety of your skin and do not use the No! No! on sunburnt skin, open cuts, bruises, blisters, large moles, cold sores or big scars. It makes sense really. 

Care of the No! No!

The No! No! is easy to care for, it comes with a little brush to keep the tips clean. Obviously it would not be smart to get the No! No! wet. You need to keep an eye on your tips but your No! No! will flash a warning if there is a problem with your tip, then you will need to replace it. 

My Conclusion

At £149.99 the No! No! is probably a purchase I wouldn't be able to budget for, however, if you have salon treatments regularly it could work out as a much cheaper alternative over time.
I'm not that concerned about immediate results so I'm happy to be persistent with the No! No! until the results are good, this may frustrate some people, but you have to think of the long term effects rather than the immediate ones.

I found the No! No! really easy to use once I'd got used to it, which didn't take very long at all. It was quick and effortless.

I found the No! No! completely pain free, which is a big plus for me. I also noticed no after affects or redness anywhere I used it. What I did notice was dryness which was easily resolved with a little moisturiser.

The No! No! smells and it's not pleasant, but the smell means it's working. It's also not a lasting smell which is easy to get rid of so it's a small drawback really.

I am looking forward to using my No! No! more and I'm pretty confident that the long term results will be good, watch this space!


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