A Garden of Our Own

This post is an entry for Britmum’s Kids Grow Wild Challenge.

We received a lovely children’s gardening set from Money Supermarket to aid us in our challenge.
To start us off Daddy dug out a little patch of garden next to the wendy house in the garden. We decided that it would be good to give the little gardener’s their own little plot to care for. After we made sure the plot was weed free the gardeners planted their seeds. Then they covered them with fresh soil, gave them labels and watered them.
Stage One:
Digging, weeding and planting.

A couple of weeks later and we have some growth. We’ve had a mixture of sunshine and rain, although probably a little too much rain so the kids have only had to water their garden a few times.

So here are our flowers about to grow. I’ll post some more pictures later if they survive our British summer (and the Little Man’s feet!)
Stage two:

Windy Castle

My kids love Peppa Pig and in one episode the family go to visit Windy Castle, which is a fort like castle on a hill. Well, we have a Windy Castle just a bus ride away and today we treated the kids to a visit. Unlike Peppa Pig our Windy Castle does not have a telescope on the top, although it would be really good if it did as you can see for miles. Also, unlike Peppa Pig and her family, we do not have a car so we had to walk up to the top of the hill. This turned out to be real fun, even though it was tiring, we saw lots of things along the way. Thinking alongside The Gruffalo theme, we found a home for fox, a home for mouse and a home for a snake. We also had to walk through the deep dark woods. The girls looked for footprint trails along the way, it was all very exciting.

windy castle
The Gruffalo said ‘No Gruffalo should ever set foot in the deep dark wood!

Star said this could be a home for fox

A Rabbit hole, or maybe a home for a big bad mouse?

It is a lovely walk up the hill, although it’s very steep in parts. When I used to visit as a child we used to find the steepest parts to climb up, often scrambling to find tree roots to pull ourselves up on. At the top of one very steep hill there was a frog pond but sadly it’s not there any longer and the steepest hills are fenced off because they are dangerous.

windy castle
up up up the hill!

lickey hills
Stop, and pose! Are we nearly there yet?

lickey hills
Up up up some more!

Is it a sign? Are we nearly there yet?

At the top of the hill, after all our walking we are greeted with lots of green, an amazing view and, of course, Windy Castle.

This is Beacon Hill, one of the hills at the Lickey Hills Nature Park. The fort (windy castle) was built to house a Toposcope which shows the distance of notable places that can be viewed from the area. You really can see for miles up here.

lickey hills toposcope
At last, the top of the hill and windy castle

lickey hills toposcope
Can you see me mummy, I’m the Queen of the castle

lickey hills toposcope
This place was built to hold the toposcope which can be just seen in bottom right photo

lickey hills toposcope
Lots of fun
lickey hills toposcope
Hello Birmingham, some views from the toposcope

After all our hard work climbing up the hill we just had to have a picnic while watching people flying their kites.

Perfect time for a picnic

In 1904 JRR Tolkein moved to Birmingham and the Lickey Hills became a favourite haunt of his. They are believed to be the inspiration for his shires where the hobbits lived. Maybe it’s time to introduce my children to The Hobbit and next time we visit we can go looking for Bilbo Baggins.

After our picnic and another play around the toposcope we made our way back down the hill. At the bottom there was time for one last photo and a pose.

Joining in with #Countrykids at Coombe Mill

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

A Summer of Birthdays!

For sixteen years I had two children born almost 18 months apart. That meant one had a birthday in the winter and one in the summer, a whole six months between them. It was good, I couldn’t have planned it better.

Then I decided to have more kids. The first one came in August, the second at the end of July, the third, also in August. (eeeek, guess what I stopped doing in November?) So, after having it so good for 16 years I now have have three birthdays within four weeks of each other, and they begin only a few weeks after Eldest Daughter’s birthday.

Now I love children’s birthday parties, always have done (although No1son was never a fan.) Summer children’s parties are the best, you can have them at home in the garden weather permitting, but it generally is if you get the timing right. BUT THREE PARTIES IN FOUR WEEKS IS A LITTLE BIT TOO MUCH EVEN FOR ME! Sorry, I didn’t mean to shout, but honestly I just can’t do it, I’m not getting any younger and even small amounts of children to entertain for a few hours at a time is getting to be a strain.

Not only that but parties during the school holiday bring their own stress factor….will anyone turn up! Star is the unlucky one with her birthday just a couple of weeks before the end of the holiday. All the children invited have probably forgotten all about the party, and so have the parents. half of the invited drop out straight away because they are off to some sunny beach somewhere. We’ve have a few parties now where I’ve catered for twenty and only six have turned up. It doesn’t really bother Star that much but it does me.

Last year Boo had a Hello Kitty party. She’s quite lucky being at the beginning of the holidays she gets quite a good number turn up. The party was a big hit and we finished off with a BBQ for the adults and it turned out to be a good day.

hello kitty party

For the Little Man we just had a party tea and cake with only our family invited. I didn’t think at two he would mind very much.

Then came Star’s birthday. She’d asked for My Little Pony and I went out of my way to make it as special as possible. Four of her friends turned up, so along with her and her sister there was six in total. Just before the party there was a big thunderstorm so we were lucky anyone turned up at all. I did my best to make it as special as possible, but sadly it’s the same story every year.

my little pony party

This year we are doing things a little differently.

Boo is still having a party at home with all the trimmings, games and cake you’d expect for a six year old. We are planning a disco theme so I’m gathering my disco balls already. The cake design is being planned (I always make them myself) and ideas for games collected along with any little bits and pieces that I find along the way.

On the Little Man’s birthday we will be on holiday, so I think maybe a picnic on the beach with birthday cake will keep him happy.

Then for Star, she is having her birthday at The Bear Factory. She’s inviting a few of her special friends along to join in, make a bear and come back for birthday cake afterwards. She’s happy with this idea and it means we only have to invite a few children and can pick the ones that are less likely to let us down.

So, only one party and less stress for me, but three very special birthdays. Plus with them all being so very close together it’s like one big celebratory month of fun, it doesn’t matter who gets the party, the day out or the treat, they all get to join in anyway.

I’d love to know what you would do in the same situation. Please feel free to tell me how you celebrate your child’s birthday. (I may need some more ideas for the future)

My Pregnancies – The Little Man

After the girls I really thought my family was complete, I didn’t plan on having any more children and I wasn’t trying. Then in December 2009 I was busy re-papering the living room just before putting up the Christmas decorations up. I found it really hard going and was so tired. Once finished I realised that my period was late, and my period is never late so I worried a little. My first thought was that maybe it was a sign of the peri-menopause! Before rushing off to get my hormone replacements (only joking) I decided to do a pregnancy test first and splashed out on a stick from the local pound shop. This is how convinced I was that I wasn’t pregnant, I just wanted to rule it out. I was a bit shocked to get a strong positive.

The booking in visit with the midwife was done at home. She told me I would need consultant care. I sighed, I’d always had consultant care because my first pregnancy ended in an emergency c-section. So I complained ‘but I’ve had three vaginal births since my section’ The midwife kindly pointed out that was not the reason for the consultant care, the reason was, in fact, my ‘old age’

At 12 weeks I had a dating scan and a triple blood test. It was advised because of my ‘delicate’ age. It came back as 1 in 7 chance of Downs Syndrome. I went to the hospital to talk about my options. I wished I’d not taken the test. The lady we spoke to was honest and clear in all our options and told us to imagine our own worst case scenarios before decided what we wanted to do next. This is what we came up with;
1. finding out the baby did indeed have Down’s Syndrome
2. having a miscarriage whether the baby did or did not have Down’s Syndrome.

We agreed that number two was the worst possible case scenario and opted out of further testing. It’s a very personal choice but we were happy with our decision. We had decided that we wouldn’t terminate anyway and the only advantage of finding out would be for preparation. I did feel a weight lifted off my shoulders and longed to meet my baby, Down’s or not.

The first five months passed happily, I had none of the worries that had bothered me with my previous two pregnancies, no bleeding which was such a relief. Then it was time for my 20 week scan. We had decided to find out what we were having and were greeted from the moment the scan began with ‘boy parts’ We were overjoyed. He was perfect, he showed no anomalies at all, everything was in place and working properly. The grins continued.

Then the atmosphere changed and the sonographer left us to get a second opinion. Baby was fine but she’d spotted something that worried her. Whispering on the other side of the curtain allowed me to catch the word tumor. My grin was disappearing fast. However, back on the scan and the second opinion was not a tumor but a big fibroid, the size of an orange and almost covering my cervix. It was ok though, I was told that baby could still push his way through and they would take a closer look.

The closer look flagged up another problem. My cervix was funneling, the top part was opening and closing. I had no idea what this meant so I was told I’d be rushed in to see my consultant. He gave me the news that I could miscarry at any time and offered me a surgical stich to close my cervix, which would be taken out closer to the birth. Then I was told of the risks of having a stitch at such a late stage in my pregnancy, in particular infection which could cause a miscarriage anyway. I’d got so far without miscarrying I decided that the risk of infection was just as bad, probably worse than the risk of miscarriage so I declined.

What a day, first the huge high of having a perfect little boy, followed by the incredible low of thinking I may lose him at any time.

The next day I was back in hospital with a nasty UTI and again I was offered a stitch. Again I refused and the anti-biotics cleared up my infection.

My pregnancy continued and as each week passed I became more relaxed. At my 31 week anti-natal the midwife was concerned about the size of my baby and the size of my fibroid and she sent me to see the consultant. He seemed to the think the midwife was wasting his time and did not even examine me.

At 36 weeks I was sent for a growth scan because the midwife was still concerned about my little man’s growth rate. It turned out that he was fine but there was too much liquor and a urine test flagged up protein so I was sent for a diabetes blood test. The test was ok and I was told to go back in two weeks for another scan.

At 38 weeks I found out that he was breech and that my fibroid had grown even bigger so the chances of a vaginal birth were minimal. I’d already been told that I was not going to be allowed to go over my 40 weeks so my best option was to go for an elective c-section. At first I was dismayed. I’d hated my first Caesarian and really never wanted another, but I had to do what was best for me and baby. The chances of having him turned were poor and not advisable with my age and condition (yes, my poor old body was suffering.) Delivering breech was un-advisable because of my fibroid. If baby was in right position and head had become engaged then he could have pushed past the fibroid, but delivering breech could have caused a lot of problems. So I really had no choice.

So the Little Man was born by elective C-section on his due date. We were first into the theatre and he was born at 9.50am. Just before the operation they scanned me again to make sure he hadn’t turned, but he was still feet down. The operation was surreal, so calm and amazing. My first section had been an emergency under a general, so it was strange to be awake while they opened me up. The surgeon’s were lovely and talked me through everything. I told them Little Man’s name and they used it throughout. It was particularly lovely when they held him up over the screen and said say hello to mummy and daddy. Then moments later he was in my arms. My precious little man.

My Blackpool Tower

We love Blackpool but we’ve only ever been there on day trips. Every time we say we are going to stay next time, but we still haven’t. It’s just too easy to jump on the coach at the end of the road and visit for the day, if we go at the right time of year we can even see the illuminations before making our way home.

I was really excited when I heard about The Tots 100 Blackpool competition. How fantastic it would be to become a Blackpool Blogger and get a whole weekend in Blackpool!

So I’ve built my own Blackpool Tower. It had to be a cake.
This is the Tower by day

This is the tower by night with the illuminations.

I had loads of fun making it, good job I got a bargain deal on the Curly Wurlys, I ended up buying twenty of them.

Here is how it was made

This post is an entry into the Tots 100/visitBlackpool competition

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

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.