Thursday, 25 October 2012

Meet The Family

I think it's time I introduced you to my family. First up here are my older two, Son no1 and Eldest Daughter

Ok, I'll admit it, this photo was taken 20 years ago :-) No1 son is now studying for his Accountancy degree despite having Asperger's Syndrome. Eldest Daughter is learning Japanese.

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Now here is big girl, who from now on wants to be known as Star!

Of course she is my star, with a 16 year gap she was long awaited. Last year she was diagnosed as having high functioning autism and although things are going well now we have no idea what the future will hold for her.

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I'd like you to meet Boo! so named even before she was born.



She's my cheeky five year old who never fails to entertain. She doesn't seem to hear things the way everyone else does which causes much amusement. Especially the time she was dancing around with a stick pretending to be a Biscuit Ear!! (musketeer) 

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And here is baby no 5, most often referred to as The Little Man


He might look like an angel, but believe me, he's a little devil :-)

So there you go. I do have a photo of me and the Other Half, but that will have too wait because I can't find it (???)

Here's some family facts:
Each of my children has a grade of lighter hair, starting with no1 Son's almost black hair, to Little Man's blonde locks!
I started with a boy who was born by Caesarian Section, and finished with a boy born by Caesarian Section, the three girls in between were all natural births.
No1 son and Boo have brown eyes, the rest have blue. I have brown eyes, dad has blue.
My first three children are all really tall and lanky, the youngest two are shorties!
My lightest birth weight was Eldest Daughter at 7lb 2oz, the heaviest was Boo! at 9lb. 
No1 Son was 10 days late, Eldest Daughter was born 2 hours after her due date, Star was 2 weeks early, Boo! was born 2 1/2 hours after her due date, Little Man was born on his due date. So only one of the five went past their due date!!
My longest labour was 18 hours for no1 son which resulted in an emergency section. My shortest labour was Little Man because he was elective section (i.e. no labour) the others averaged 5 hours!
Eldest daughter was breech up until her due date, she turned and I went straight into labour. Little Man was breech and refused to turn.


Linking this up to 3children and It 'Oldies but Goldies' because even though I'm biased I think my family is beautiful :)

(unfortunately I can't get the button to work but the link above will take you to linky)



Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Half Term Autumnal Art

With the little ones off school this week I've been trying to keep them busy. Yesterday we went for a walk and picked up some gorgeous autumn leaves in all shades of golden brown, yellow and red. They were a little damp so we stacked them on the buggy shopping net and by the time we'd walked around the shops they were almost dry. I left them spread out on the table for a little more drying time. Then we pulled out the glue and paints and let the fun begin.











3ChildrenandItThis has been submitted to 3Children and It's Oldies But Goldies Blog Hop

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Proud to be a Center Parcs Family Blogger

See my badge at the side there --------->
It means that I have been chosen to be a Center Parcs Blogger and I'm really excited. I won the opportunity through a competition by Tots 100 and my Pinterest Board.
I've always wanted to visit Center Parcs but haven't up until now, so it's going to be completely new and fresh to me. My family love outdoor activities and being in the countryside. We don't even mind cold weather, we just love being outside. I'm sure already that we are going to love it at Center Parcs.

Yesterday I was invited to Sherwood Forest Center Parcs to meet the PR staff and other family bloggers. We had a lovely relaxed day and took in a lot of the sights as well as an activity and a lovely lunch.

The activity was painting pottery which was good fun. I'm not really an arts and crafts person (unless you count my cake decorating) so it was a little out of my comfort zone, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it's definitely something I will be doing with my family when we take our holiday.
before and after :-)


The finished product

There were a lot of holiday makers there, obviously enjoying the October sunshine. I love the idea of travelling around the park on bikes. The play areas are fantastic, my kids are really going to enjoy those, and the boating lake looks like fun too. We've been canoeing before so we know that's something we'll be doing as a family.

We had a lovely lunch at the Forester's Inn before setting off for another walk and getting to see some of the lovely accommodation on offer. The tree houses are amazing.

I think we have finally decided that we are going to take our break next Spring, around April or May. We have also decided who we are going to ask to go with us, yes we can take another family too! We will be going to Whinfell Forest and I can't wait to tell you all about it. Before then watch out for some fun activities and challenges that I will be set.

I'll leave you with some photo's;






Catch up with some other Center Parcs family bloggers:
Jo, from 'Thoughts From the Kitchen Sink
Jenni, from Ginger Bisquite
Rachel, from Here Come The Girls

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Sid's Show Live - Win tickets!!


This competition is now closed

Sid Sloane from CBeebies is soon to be touring with his fabulous new stage show, Sid's Show. The show will be crammed with songs, games and magic as Sid embarks on a journey to find his favourite socks and shoes. Sid will travel to the bottom of the sea, the jungle and outer space in his quest that will delight children aged over 3 years.
Find out more about the show by following Sid Sloane on Twitter 
and liking the facebook page 
The tour dates, starting 28th October 2012 and finishing 30th June 2013 can be found on the site http://www.sidsloane.org/

We have on offer a family ticket, comprising four tickets in either of the following combinations: 2 Adults and 2 children, or 1 Adult and 3 children, to any single performance on the tour (winner to decide - subject to availability). NB. The October dates are not included as part of the competition. Please find general competition Terms and Conditions copied below.


For your chance to win just answer this simple question in the comments:
'What has Sid lost?'

Winner will be announced on 31st october 2012.
Good Luck!



Competition Terms & Conditions:

1. This competition is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland aged 18 years or over, except for those associated with the production company, their families or anyone else associated with this competition.
2. All information detailing how to enter this competition forms part of these terms and conditions.
3. All entries must be received by the advertised closing time date.
4. One entrant shall win a family ticket comprising of either: 2 Adults & 2 Children or 1 Adult & 3 Children to a single performance on the UK Tour
5. The winner may be required to take part in publicity.
6. All prizes are non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives. The prize is subject to availability.
7. Events may occur that render the competition itself or the awarding of the prizes impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter, and accordingly the Promoter may at its absolute discretion vary or amend the promotion and the entrant agrees that no liability shall attach to the Promoter as a result thereof.
8. Raisie Bay  is responsible for the first part of the promotion, which is the publication and adjudication of the competition. All other facilities connected with the provision of the prize are the responsibility of the Promoter.
9. English law applies and the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts shall prevail.
10. The October 2012 performances are not included as part of this competition.


Friday, 12 October 2012

Guest Post for Wriggly Rascals - Is Something Wrong?

I was asked to write a post for Wriggly Rascals, a fabulous advice website. Moira is typical of many mum's who think there may be something wrong with their child's development but don't know whether they should do something about it. I've been in this position myself, twice now, I reacted differently each time so hopefully my story will give a view of what you should do if you ever find yourself in this position.
Please take a look at my story on Wriggly Rascals and while you are there you will find lots more interesting questions answered on pregnancy, babies and toddlers.

Read More........

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About Wriggly Rascals
Wriggly Rascals was set up by Shona Motherwell, a frustrated mum of twins Mhairi and Archie to get mums together to share pregnancy, baby and toddler advice via quick surveys to get the facts about what other mums do. Our mums pass on loads of great tips to mums who have asked for help. If you would like some advice, get in touch at www.wrigglyrascals.com

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

One Mums Lend Us Your Voice meme

"ONE Mums (ONEMoms) was brought about through the notion that all parents share a connection, and if we come together and build on that connection then great things can happen, we can spread the word and so a whisper becomes a booming noise, echoing around the world."

Seasider in the City set up this Meme to raise awarenesses of the One Mums campaign  They are not asking for money, just for your voice to help them to be heard over the world. They are fighting disease and poverty, particularly in Africa. They are shouting about the good they have achieved and the potential they have to achieve more.

Here is my entry:

One Mum


Once I only thought of myself
Next I fell in love
Even then my heart had more room

My children fill my life with love
United as a family
Meant to be together
Special moments shared







Monday, 8 October 2012

Epic Straws from Cravendale

You must have seen the ads by now, Epic Straws are available to collect until December 16th, and they really are good fun.
We were sent two packs of straws to play with. The girls had great fun making their own creations, but mummy had to help to get them so they would actually work. Then we got the milk out and the races began. The Little Man couldn't wait to join in too.
Then once we were done the straws pack up in their net bags for easy rinsing in the sink.




I was sent two packs of Epic Straws for this review, you can find out how to get your own straws at www.epicstraws.co.uk


Friday, 5 October 2012

Solar Mobile Chargers, review and competition

This competition is now closed


I was sent four solar mobile chargers to review from www.mobilesolarchargers.co.uk
The models I am reviewing are:
The Lite
The Buddy
The Pocket and
The Classic.
Read on and find out about our fabulous competition where you could win the Pocket Solar Mobile Charger.

Now the first thing that you will think of when you hear the word solar mobile charger is how will they work in our wonderful practically sunless country? The idea is to move away from thinking solar and think more of them being portable chargers. Each one can be charged in several ways, in sunlight or by USB via your pc or laptop, in-car, or mains. Once fully charged they hold the charge until ready to use. Take a charged one with you wherever you go and you'll never had a 'dead' mobile phone again. Just plug the mobile into the charger and it will charge.
My partner is forever forgetting to charge his phone and he's there desperately trying to charge it up five minutes before going out. Now he can just plug it into the charger and take both with him. The chargers are small and around the same size as most modern mobiles, so it's like taking two phones with you.
We like going on day trips, our hobby is Geocaching. This means our mobiles are used not only as phones but also for their GPS, camera and internet access. The mobile is a brilliant device, but even when taking two phones with us we still end up losing one or both because of the battery dying. With one of these chargers we can now charge both phones back up while still out, and if the charger starts dying we have the added bonus of solar energy to keep giving it a little boost.

Pop one in the kids school bags and they'll be able to contact you even if they go out straight after school and the battery in their phone has died. If you have a teen you'll know how much this happens, before mobiles you'd worry where they were, then mobiles came along and you are worrying even more because they haven't called you or you can't call them because their battery is dead.

You can also use these chargers to charge other devices. Most chargers will charge a wide arrange of phones including iphone, Motorola, Blackberry, Samsung and Nokia. Some will also charge up your ipods, mp3 players and even your ipad. The Buddy has the most adapters and we put it to test with the Nintendo DS, the PSP, the Wii sensor bar.

Now I won't go too techi on you but here's the bits you need to know about each charger and what I discovered about each one.
One thing I did look up was the meaning of Mah, it is milliamper hour, or measure of a batteries energy storage capacity!


The Lite Solar Mobile Charger (1500Mah)



Specifications:

  • Capacity of battery: 1,500mAh
  • Solar panel input: 120mA maximum
  • Micro USB input: 5V DC ± 5%, 500mA
  • USB output: 5V DC ± 5%, 500mA
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 120 x 65 x 13mm
  • Weight: 108g
This is a compact and lightweight charger with a handy little flexible LED light. 

This is a neat little charger which still does the job. I love the little LED light which you can pull out and twist around. It comes with five interchangeable connectors and can give a smart phone a full charge. I charged this phone by a USB power adapter for 2 hours and used to  to charge up a Blackberry phone. There was enough charge left for a small MP3 player. The back of the phone has a handy light up capacity checker so by pressing the button you can see how much power the charger has. 


The lite retails at £19.95



The Buddy Solar Mobile Charger (2000 Mah)

Specifications:


  • Solar panel 100Mah
  • Battery capacity 2000mah
  • Charging time by AC-DC adapter: 2-3 hours
  • Charging time by PC USB:3 hours
  • Charging time by direct sunlight: approx 15 hours
  • maximum load current:500Mah
  • Lithium-ion batter:2000Mah
This is a sturdy looking charger which comes with 12 interchangeable connectors, so you can use it for practically anything. I tried it on an Mp3 player, the Wii Sensor bar, the PSP, the Nintendo DS as well as a couple of different mobiles (HTC and Blackberry) It has a handy bar on the back which by pressing the buttons will tell you how capacity and charge there is left. It also has a little torch fitted in. The case has a rubberised feel which gives it a sense of strength so you feel happy about sticking this charger in your pocket or your bag. In fact this little buddy has been everywhere with me.

The Buddy retails at £19.95



The Pocket Solar Mobile Charger (2500Mah)


This charger requires you to press a button to begin charging. It is powerful but beautiful with it's lovely curved and compact design. It comes with three interchangeable connectors, Apple, micro usb and mini usb so it will cover most mobiles and smart phones as well as your ipod and iphone.

Specifications:

  • Battery capacity 2500Mah
  • super extended standby time - over 4 months
  • solar panel multi-crystaline 5.0V 1A
  • Input 5v 1A
  • Output 5v 750Ma
  • size 100, 75, 14.5mm

This powerful charger will charge up two mobiles with ease. It will also keep it's charge for 4 months so it will be on hand for an emergency charge. It has a charge level indicator so you know when it's running low. It also has a short-circuit, overcharging and over-discharge protection. 


The Pocket retails at £19.95 (Find out how you can win one)


The Classic Solar Mobile Charger 3000Mah



This is the most powerful of the chargers I was sent to review. It has a much bigger battery capacity and charges your gadgets even quicker. It has a clean and durable design, and me, being a woman, noticed that the back can  also be used as an emergency mirror.




Specifications:

  • battery capacity 3000Mah
  • self charging time:8 hours by laptop, 4 hours by travel charger, 28 hours by solar panel.
  • Solar panel mono-crystalline:5.5V
  • charging and discharging indication lights
  • revers current protection circuit
  • size 60mm x 103mm x 10.8mm
  • weight 104g

This charger also comes in a choice of black or white. It has 5 interchangeable connectors which is sufficient for most needs.  Mini usb (Motorola etc)  Micro usb (Blackberry etc) Nokia, Samsung, Apple

The front is acrylic and the back stainless steel.
The classic retails at £29.95.

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COMPETITION:
I am giving away a Pocket solar mobile Charger as described above. It comes in a gift box.
To win this lovely prize all you need to do is perform on small task. I have recently set up a Facebook page to accompany this blog and it's in need of a few likers, so please head over and like the page if you wish to be entered in the draw. You can say hi on the page if you wish :-)


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Thursday, 4 October 2012

So Long Ago

Here is my first born as a tiny baby.
It's not very good quality as it was taken from a cine film recording which had been transferred to CD.
The video was taken by my older brother 24 years ago.


This picture shows my baby Craig, my mum who passed away Christmas day 2008, and Gordon the Gopher (remember him? and Philip Schofield) Gordon is being 'worked' by my younger brother who passed away New Year 2009. 
I only found the video last year and it gave me 4 minutes and 24 seconds of beautiful precious memories that mean so much. 
So maybe not the clearest, cutest or funniest of baby pictures, but one that means the world to me and now I'm sharing it with you. 


"This blog post has been written as an entry into the Tots100 competition in association with Boots Mother and Baby"

Would I Change My Children?

I wrote a post on another blog about a tv program I had watched
about autism. It was in the Extreme Love series with Louis Theroux.
One of the questions that I was faced with after watching the program was would I wish my children to be different. My eldest son has Aspergers Syndrome, he was diagnosed at the age of 12 and he is now 24yrs. My 7 yr old daughter also has high functioning autism, she was diagnosed last summer. They are both verbal and live relatively normal lives. My son is currently in his third year of an accountancy degree. My daughter is in yr 3 and if she does as well as her big brother then I will be happy.
I can ring the changes in my two autistic children's lives. With my son I found it hard to accept he was different, that's why he was diagnosed so late. Sadly we got to the stage where I had to cry for help, even though it had been offered to me before and I'd rejected it. The most difficult years were from where my husband left us (my son was 9yrs old) to mid teens (about 16) My son was hard to control, violent, angry, un-cooperative and generally difficult. He couldn't understand what was happening and neither could I. I didn't handle any of it very well and I'll put my hands up to that. It's not been plain sailing since then, but things have improved and mostly my son is a wonderful, caring person. He's different, yes, but he's a good person who is trying to find his way in a complicated world. We are getting there slowly, I just hope he makes it. I used to fret that he didn't have girlfriends, or even friends. I worried that he would never find a job. I accepted that he'd probably be living at home for all his life. Sometimes I see a glimmer of hope, a sense of change, a wistful thought that maybe things will be different for him in the future. Would I change him?
My daughter is about to face her most difficult years. Being in mainstream school with other children emphasises her differences. I hate seeing her sad because she doesn't understand the rules of friendship. I know with a sinking heart that life is just going to get harder for her. The choices I face are keeping her in a mainstream school or finding her somewhere else to continue her education. With my son Mainstream didn't work and he was transferred, it took a look time for him to catch up with his education but he persevered in the end. He did, however, find life much easier in his new school.
So would I change her?
Such a difficult question and one I can't really answer with conviction. Yes, of course it would be easier if my children did not have autism, easier for me and for them. Life can be difficult for autistic children and adults, but hopefully with more awareness the future could be better. It would be nice to think my children will lead lives just like anyone else, get married, have children of their own, have jobs, all the things other people do.
Yet, I love my children just as they are. They are difficult at times but mostly just a little different. They are still my children and I would feel like I was betraying them or letting them down if I wished them to be different. So my answer would have to be, no I wouldn't change my children, but I would do anything to change other people's negative perspectives of them.


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

My Thoughts...

I'm sticking my neck out here as I know this is a sensitive subject and everyone has their opinion, but this is my opinion, my thoughts. Yesterday evening a five year old girl went missing in a Welsh village.
Today social network sites have gone bonkers with everyones wishes and opinions and even judgements. I hope it's a good thing, surely with everyone talking about the disappearance there is more hope of finding her? I hope so. You have to hold on to that hope and pray that she will be returned safely to her family.
I have a five year old daughter. I would crumble if she went missing, it's every mother's nightmare. So why risk it? Why take chances? Because you do, everyone does at some point. My daughter is safely in her bed at that time in the evening, but what if she had asked to stay out with a friend just a little later? I might consider it, she might have older friends to look after her. My daughter only ever plays in our garden if she's on her own, or with her sister. I don't think it's safe for them to play anywhere else. But I don't live in a village where everyone knows everyone else, and most likely looks out for each other. The girl was taken from the street, but what if the person who took her knew exactly what he (or she) was after? They may have been brazen enough to take a child from their home or garden while mum was busy cooking.
So you may say the child should have been in bed, or the parents should have been watching her at play, or she should have been playing somewhere safer, but every parent has that time when the rules are not so strict, everyone gets called away, has something else they might need doing that only takes a minute, has heard the phone ring, no-one can be on the ball every second of every day. These things happen, no matter how careful you are. The situation may not be the same, but things still happen. Your child might be in the care of someone you trust implicitly while you are at work and something might happen. I wish these things did not happen, but they do.
Instead of assigning guilt we need to focus on supporting the parents and praying for the safe return of their child.

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay



Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I've also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me...is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I've loved. If I don't love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It's always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I'll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.
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