Today I’m sharing a photo of Daphne, our miniature labradoodle, just because she really amuses me with the way she sits with her paws crossed! Also she’s so shaggy and desperate for a haircut! !
Oh My Blog is a monthly interview series, where fellow bloggers come together to answer a series of questions on a specific theme. This is a chance to get acquainted with a whole range of bloggers, some of whom you may not have heard of before, and learn a little more about them!
This month, the theme is Mums (because it’s Mother’s Day soon!) and we’re hosting Emma from Emma and Family.
- Introduce us to your mum. What’s her name? What does she do? Reveal her age if you dare!
My mum is the lovely Wendy, I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing but she is 50 years young. She’s a young fit granny! She works as a bookkeeper for her father in law’s accountancy firm one day a week. Don’t ask me what that means she actually does because I haven’t a clue but it is something to do with numbers. She is also the lucky lady who gets to look after my toddler 1 day a week whilst I go to work as well as deal with my ferociously hormonal 13 year old sister.
- What’s the one thing your mum always used to say to you?
I can’t think of anything poignant that she used to always say but she used to sing this little tune to me every morning. It’s about it being time to get up which always makes me think of her and I like to sing it once in awhile to Harrison.
- Someone’s playing your mum. Who is it and why?
OOOoohhh this is so tricky. My mum’s, my mum! I can’t think of anyone that is like her! The first person that sprung to mind was Emma Thompson but I can’t really pinpoint why!
- She’s won the lottery. What’s the first thing your mum buys for herself?
Probably absolutely nothing! Pay off the rest of her mortgage I imagine. She is the type of lady that extremely rarely spends money on herself. Which is actually something I used tell her off for when I was younger but now I’m a mother I find myself doing the exact same thing (I am currently wearing 10 year old leggings that have holes in them because I’m too stubborn to buy a new pair!)
- What embarrassing story about you does she always tell when you meet new people?
Aw no my Mummy doesn’t actually do that! I struck lucky there! So instead I’ll tell you what she used that really embarrassed me. My high school was attached to a gym where my family as well as many of the families of staff and students at my school were members. My mother is one of those women that walk around the changing rooms fully starkers. Meaning the majority of my friends and schoolteachers have all not only seen my mother naked but also probably had an awkward conversation with her whilst naked!
- What are your plans for Mother’s Day this year?
Not a clue in all honestly. I will probably try and see my mum and nan on the Saturday and then Sunday is up for my partner and son to spoil me! Although last year I seem to remember offering to take my mum and nan out for an afternoon tea which I never got round to do doing so maybe I will see if I can find anywhere not already fully booked and take them to that! But my Sunday will ideally be spent with a lie in and a take away with my boys.
- What’s her favourite TV show at the moment?
A combination of Holby City and Casualty. My mum, my nan and I have all watched them both for as long as I can remember and they are pretty consistently the only programmes my mum makes time to watch every week. She likes things like One Born Every Minute and anything-medical documentary kind of thing. I think if it wasn’t for her fear of vomit she would have made an awesome nurse in another life.
- What’s the biggest or most important thing that your mum inspired you to do?
Working hard at school. She didn’t do so well at school and has always regretted it as it stopped her going all the way in the career she wanted. So for as long as I can remember she has always pushed me to do well at school, to go to university etc. In my teens I probably resented her for that a bit but now I’m on the other side I’m really grateful she did. Not going do I have a great education that I will hopefully build on once I have school aged kiddies but I also had the best time of my life at university.
- Your round at the bar! What’s your mum drinking?
White wine, or if it’s near Christmas Baileys! She isn’t really a big drinker, a glass of wine here and there but she doesn’t go in for anything adventurous alcohol wise.
- What’s the biggest different between you and your mum?
As I get older I see more and more of my mum in myself! What will always remain a difference between us is our attitudes to drinking. My mum is terrified of being drunk, she got drunk once and hated it and will do her best to avoid it and has done ever since. Me on the other hand? Give me the booze! All the booze!
- Most important question of the lot. What is your mum’s stance on 50 Shades of Grey? Does she love it? Hate it? Not even know what it is?
I would love to say she hasn’t even heard of it. That’s what I’d like to think anyway. We don’t discuss sex in my family.
- What’s your favourite memory of your mum?
My mum was a single parent until I was 5. I don’t actually have many specific memories of that time but I have this warm overall fuzzy feeling of a memory of how close we were and it just being me and her as a little team and loving that. There is something special about being just a little two person team of a family.
- What do you think your mum was like as a kid?
My mum was a big old tom boy. She was in the scouts and was a competitive swimmer so had her hair cut short. All her childhood and teenage years involved sailing or climbing tree. Although by the time she was 24 she had been engaged twice so maybe she was a little more exciting and adventurous than she had ever let me know!
- Cast your mind back a bit; what was the thing you did as a child or teenager that made your mum the angriest she has ever been with you?
I was 13, I had a load of friends round for a sleepover and everyone stole some alcohol from their parents and we all got drunk! In my house. With my parents upstairs. How I imagined ever getting away with that I don’t know but I definitely was caught. That was without a doubt the most trouble I have ever got in! I was grounded for a month, in a family that didn’t do grounding as a punishment!
- Finally, what’s the BEST piece of advice your mum ever gave to you?
In general, my mum isn’t really a big advice giver. She seems to believe in letting me go out there and make my own decisions and choices and mistakes and then being there to comfort me when those mistakes do happen. Apart from when it comes to my son, she always has little pieces of advice here and there, which to be honest, I don’t listen to many of. She taught me to know my own mind and make my own plans and to trust my gut. I think that is better than any piece of advice she could ever give me.
If you want to find out more about Emma, go and visit her lovely blog and social media.
We have been chosen as one of eight families taking part in a Sugar Smart challenge with Kallikids. We have no idea what we are in for!!
Sugar Smart is a project associated with the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming, to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in our foods and the adverse effects it can have on our bodies.
You may have heard of the Sugar Smart app, which has been created as part of the NHS Change for Life programme. Our children have brought home information from school about this, and are quite aware of sugar and the fact that too much of it is not good for you.
So, Kallikids have teamed up with Sugarsmart to help raise awareness, and they are starting right here with us!!
In the first week of our challenge, we were simply looking at our current habits and analysing the amount of sugar we consume in a normal week. We had to put crosses on our individual charts for natural sugars (fruit & fruit drinks, and honey), sweet things with sugar, and savoury things with sugar listed. The thing which surprised us most was how much sugar there was in savoury foods, such as pizza and bread! What is sugar doing in our pizza, I ask you??
Luckily, we do eat quite a lot of home cooked foods, so we can avoid a lot of added sugar there, but we are a busy family, like most families, so often turn to convenience and processed foods to help us out. It’s really shocking what is in some of these foods!
During week one of our challenge, a great big hamper of sugar free foods arrived to help us with our challenge. This is us opening our treats!
The kids were keen to dive right in, and as we were having chicken curry, they wanted to us the chickpea pop pops as popadoms! They then designed a new dish which looked a little like a blini, piling the chicken and rice onto the little crisp. They found it so delicious, and ate the whole lot! We even made it our Sunday Photo this week!
And how was our sugar count? Not too bad to be honest! The worst things are our breakfasts (tea and biscuits for grown ups, and cereals with sugar in for kids), plus some of the snacks the kids have. They are not as bad as they could be though, mostly cereal bars and brioche, but still containing some sugar. We also noted that none of us are eating enough fruit really. Could do better…
So, keep reading each week of the twelve week challenge to see what we discover about sugar and how we manage to change things as a family!
No, I don’t really like Valentine’s Day. I’ve waited until today to share this revelation however, as I didn’t ‘t want to spoil it for all you lovers out there! There is some romance in this old soul!
Nope, the reason is not because I’m single or feeling unloved. It isn’t because I hate slushy sentimentality. I’m a sucker for it actually, a real girly hearts and flowers kind of girl. It isn’t even that I resent the commercialism (although I do, a bit!).
I hear all the arguments about not needing a particular day to show your love for your partner, and I get that too, but there again I don’t have a problem with special days for any reason. Why not get swept along with the idea? It’s fun, it’s sweet, and card companies need something to keep them going between Christmas and Mother’s Day.
I failed again this year. I knew I would. Every year we agree not to bother, or to get ‘just a card’, or ‘just a little something ‘, but whatever I do it’s never quite right. This year we were away skiing, so I got him some lovely merino wool base layers, plus ski socks and a neck warmer from the kids. Not romantic, but thoughtful and practical.
What did he get for me? A pretty little eternity ring, a diamond crossover, presented from the kids. Toby even went down on one knee to give me it! They said it symbolises my two boys, and that they will always be mine, for eternity. I cried. Of course!
My husband is so good at this stuff. Although to be fair he always breaks the rules! Whenever we agree to not bother, he always does. Or he’ll tell me not to worry or do anything fancy, when he’s been planning something for weeks. I know this already, but I’m still always unprepared. I should know better. I DO know better! But I still find it really hard.
The truth is I love my man so much that I just can’t find the right gift to show it. Or maybe I could, but I certainly couldn’t afford it! Plus, he’s not really the sentimental kind (unlike me!), so a lot of things would just get me laughed out of the room, if I was dumb enough to buy them in the first place. Men are so hard to buy for at the best of times, but when you’re trying to reflect your complete respect and utter adoration for someone, and do it in a non-sentimental and relatively inexpensive way, the task becomes nearly impossible.
So that’s why I don’t like Valentine’s Day. The pressure is too great. Ok, it’s self-imposed pressure, but that’s even worse! I’m doomed to fail, because I love my man more than any pink heart or red flower can convey. Next year I’ll be more organised. I’ll read more gift guides and Pinterest posts. But for this year I still don’t like Valentine’s Day because I failed again!
Is it still the time of year for having a clear out? I’m sure any time is good for a de-clutter, but especially between the new Year and Spring Cleaning time. We’ve had a big sort out of our old books recently, and our children have too. So what to do with all of your old books?
We have a few ideas to share with you, whether you’re having a massive, ruthless sort out or just letting go of a few books you know that you won’t read again. Let’s get started with the suggestions:
- Sell to an online agent. I recently sold some books, plus some CDs, DVDs and Xbox games, via an online company called Ziffit. They are advertising on TV at the moment, but there are other sites which offer a similar service. They don’t accept everything, and some offers are really low (literally pennies), but it’s very convenient to just type in or scan the barcode, print off a postage label, and send the whole lot off to them. I set a price limit below which I decided I’d rather give the item to charity, but I still managed to send off two parcels worth approximately £25 or so. It’s £25 I otherwise wouldn’t have had, so why not?
- Sell to Amazon. They offer a similar service, but only on text books, not fiction (plus games, phones etc). The offer can be quite high on something sought after, but I didn’t have any luck this time with any of my books.
- Sell individually via Amazon, Ebay etc. This is a little more time consuming, and you have to handle all of the postage yourself, but you may get a better price for them at least. Alternatively, you could sell them as a job lot, but bear in mind that postage costs may be quite high. Perhaps you could offer them for collection only, or sell via something like Shpock or Gumtree, which expects people to pick up items from you.
- Trade in at your local book store. This may just be my personal favourite since I discovered a store called Barter Books. Followers of our blog or social media will know that we discovered this marvellous book store in Alnwick by accident a few weeks ago. We returned last week to trade some of our own books, and were delighted to receive £55 of Barter credit! OK, so it’s not real money, it is credit to spend in store, but what a wonderful store to spend it in!
- Book Crossing. Have you heard of this? I’ve done it a few times over the years with old books, but had forgotten my account details so I set up a new one. It was very easy. Then you register a book and get a unique ID number, which you write onto the book or a printed label with a message encouraging the person who finds the book to go online and register it. The recipient then reads the book and ‘releases’ it back into the wild. Then the original owner can track its journey. This is really good fun if you leave the books in random public places or on holiday for example. Some people also arrange Book Crossing meetings where books can be exchanged.
- Donate to charity. This can mean anything from taking your old books to a charity shop, which is what we did, to donating them to a jumble sale. Many organisations may have a use for them – perhaps a hospital, refuge or school.
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Hello friends! Did you have a lovely Christmas? Are you still finishing off the leftover turkey and mince pies? Lounging on the sofa all bloated and full? I know, me too!!
It isn’t over yet! We have New Year to come. More alcohol, more naughty nibbles. Staying up late and over-indulging. It’s what this season is about, isn’t it? Then helping the kids with all those selection boxes, and dipping into another tin of Quality Street, followed by the guilt and the resolutions to eat better and get fit in the New Year!
In among the resolutions, please remember your gut! Think about what you’ve put your poor belly through recently, and make a resolution to make amends with your body!
In advance of the festive season, I made sure I was stocked up with Probiotics. I’ve often turned to yoghurts or yoghurt drinks to top up the good bacteria in my gut, but then I got a bug which made me not tolerate dairy products very well, and I had to rethink my strategy. So I was pleased to receive a sample of Nutri Advanced ProbotiX Daily 5 Live.
Have you heard of Probiotics? How much do you know about these tiny guys doing all the good work in your intestines?
Here’s the science bit:
Probiotics are ‘friendly’ bacteria that offer positive health benefits. Bacteria are essential for the health and function of your intestinal tract, which has a tremendous impact on your overall health. They play a crucial role in the gut’s ability to fight infection and support general digestion as well.
Many factors in our normal life can disrupt the balance of our good bacteria, leading to poor health. Do you recognise any of these?
- Antibiotic Use
- Stomach medicines such as antacids
- A high fat, high sugar diet (mince pies and Quality Street?)
- A low fibre diet
- Foreign Travel
- Food & Water contaminants (Chlorine, pesticides etc)
- Alcohol (oh dear!)
- Stress (Oh deary dear!)
Well, no wonder I needed to crack open the ProbotiX at this time of year!
I took the ProbotiX capsules for the month of December. During this month we had a very busy time, and were also all fighting off a bug which threatened our family (and finally brought the little one down in the final week of school). Of course everyone’s lead up to Christmas is busy, and I also decided to take part in Vlogmas (which you can see week 1 & week 2 plus here), plus I was in hospital 3 times for procedures on my back! We also had the usual Nativities, School Discos, Football parties – all the pre-Christmas craziness.
The poor little probiotics were certainly put through their paces! I was lucky I even remembered to take them half the time!
How did they make me feel? I’ll be honest, at times it was difficult to say. Not surprising really, with the amount of pain relief I was taking and the number of sleepless nights I had. But I did feel a difference, the greatest amount when I took them right before bed. I guess when you lay off the mince pies for a while you give probiotics a better chance to do their thing! I awoke feeling much less bloated and looking much ‘flatter’, which also felt more comfortable. There was also less of the early morning nausea and generally grogginess I sometimes feel. That has to be a good thing, right?
At other times, even when I didn’t feel a massive difference, I still had the reassurance that my friendly little bacteria were keeping me topped up and doing their hard work for me, quietly and without complaint. Thanks guys!
Finally, we should ask ourselves what makes a good probiotic? They need to be scientifically studied, effective bacteria strains, have proven delivery and survival in the gut, guaranteed stability and quality, high potency, and clinically effective probiotic formulas. Did my Nutri Advanced ProbotiX have these? Why yes! The strains of good bacteria within ProbotiX Daily 5 Live have been chosen to work synergistically together, and provide over 5 billion good bacteria in each capsule. They help each other grow as well as creating an optimal pH range for good bacteria in your gut.
For more information visit www.nutriadvanced.co.uk/more-about-probiotics.
Disclosure – we were sent some ProbotiX Daily 5 Live supplements for the purpose of this review, but all opinions and experiences are our own. This is not a clinical trial, nor does it intend to replace the advice of a health care professional.
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Week two of Vlogmas saw us flagging somewhat. We managed 6 of the 7 days I think, plus a few more, and then….. well it’s all starting to fall apart a bit!
Last week was the final week of school, which meant so many busy things happening. Two nativities, school disco, and Santa visit which I’d co-ordinated via the PTA. I also had my little one off school sick, which meant I missed out on the school dinner I was invited to. Lots of school events which I wasn’t allowed to share unfortunately, so no great Vlogmas content!
Then the panic also set in with Christmas shopping. Suddenly I feel very disorganised. I haven’t bought everything I need yet, and haven’t wrapped anything at all. I didn’t even write a card until Sunday!
So I’ve pulled back with the Vlogmas thing. I hope nobody minds. I suspect nobody even noticed!
It isn’t likely to improve much any time soon. I was at the hospital today for a follow-up consultation from the procedure I had done last week. It was successful, but means that the doctor is going ahead with the Radiofrequency Ablation operation THIS THURSDAY!! I’m then going to be out of action for two weeks (like I wasn’t out of action already!), but I’m now in total panic mode trying to do all of my last minute Christmas preparation in the next two days. Or alternatively, I could just write about it…..!
Please wish me luck as you watch some of my Vlogmas videos from the past week or so….. Merry Christmas!
Did you know we were doing Vlogmas? Do you even know what Vlogmas is?? I didn’t until quite recently, when I made the somewhat rash decision to take part! It’s a Vlog a day in the run-up to Christmas, for the whole of December.
Shall I just reiterate – a DAILY vlog!
Crazy, I know! But when I started this blog, it was partly because my boys were really getting into YouTube and wanting to make their own videos, and I wanted to help, guide and supervise what they were doing to ensure they were being safe and sensible. Then, we kind of let things tail off, and it all went quiet for them. So I wanted to pick up the pace and re-spark their enthusiasm and mine.
I also wanted Family Makes to be much more crafty, and Christmas is the best time of the year for crafts, so another good reason to document it.
So, we’re winging it a bit, to be honest. I’ve made a list of ideas with possible dates, but we’ve already deviated from it, as I have such a painful back at the moment (and am going into hospital today to have a procedure done on it – eek!)
So without further ado, here are our first week’s worth of vlogs. Of course, it depends how it goes in hospital today, whether we’ll be able to keep it up or not. Wish me luck!
We’d also love it if you could follow us on Youtube, and leave some likes or comments too if you could please!
Thanks for watching!
This week we were invited to a VIP Christmas Shopping Event at TK Maxx as loyalty card holders.
It had free gift wrapping, prizes, a DJ, and free Prosecco! Well, it would be rude not to! We’ve made a short Vlog as part of our Vlogmas ’16 effort, which you can see here.
In the meantime, I’m teasing you with that free prosecco!
Yes, I know, it’s December already. Have you made an Advent Calendar? Or are you still panicking about what to put in it? Well don’t worry…
The first thing, which only really dawned on me yesterday, is that you don’t have to fill it with a full month worth of stuff. If you do, the little
blighters darlings will only peek/swap around/steal the stuff early anyway. No, panic not, fill the next few days’ worth, then read my list and do the rest later (at your leisure, as it were!)
This is an Advent Calendar I made yesterday using Rust-Oleum Chalkboard paint (instructions here) which I simply put candy canes in, as they look so pretty! It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Some ideas depend on the size of the pockets or boxes on your calendar, some depend on the age and sex of your children, but here is a list of ideas for you to work with. I hope you are inspired!
- Lego – I’m splitting a small lego box for mine. The best way is to follow the instructions as you split the pack so they can be made as they go along.
- Jigsaw pieces – same principle, a few pieces per day to make up the puzzle
- Stampers (rubber printing stamps)
- Chocolate coins
- Real money coins!
- Mini figures
- Party poppers
- Tiny puzzles – I used the little ball/maze puzzles
- Marshmallows to make a snowman or with hot chocolate
- Pin badges (flashing lights/Christmas themed)
- Stationery items – rubbers, pencil sharpeners etc
- Hair bows, bobbles, slides, clips
- Craft items, or split up a craft kit (we’ve got Mr. Maker kits this year)
- Christmas baubles to hang on the tree
- Felt finger puppets or decorations, maybe in kit form if children are older
- Wrapped biscuits
- Christmas style chocolates (foil wrapped mini Santa, Snowman etc)
- Chocolate tree decorations
- Lip gloss or chapstick
- Vouchers or notes for special treats (panto, Santa visit, view lights, movie night – let your imagination run wild!)
- Acts of kindness – we are adding an act of kindness every day in ours. Giving is as important as receiving. It’s a good lesson to give at Christmas time!
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