Thursday, 22 August 2019

It's GCSE result day but not for my teenager.

Up and down the country thousands of teenagers will be picking up their GCSE results today but not us. We moved house over 150 miles away from where Becky went to school. As much as I'd have liked her to have the experience of picking up her results from school, it just isn't practical. She's not too fussed. I'm glad she is a patient person, she will have to wait for them to be posted out. Eek!

It really doesn't seem that long ago that Becky chose her GCSE options. They were a sore subject for us. Becky only got half of the subjects she wanted to do. Geography and Health and Social Care were the one's she wanted and Statistics and Computer Science were the one's she didn't. 

Computer Science didn't last long as the teacher went on the sick and it was turned into iMedia and a new teacher took over which I wasn't to fond of. He didn't know Becky's name at parents evening despite teaching her for a good few months. It became a bit of a joke with Becky and I. I said I'd love her to get a decent grade but I wasn't too bothered if she didn't. She spent most of year 10 and the first few months of year 11 completing homework for other lessons and revising other subjects in her iMedia lessons. It was only towards the back end of year 11 the teacher started teaching.

I'm glad to say she seems to have done really well with Statistics. Her teacher was optimistic about Becky getting a decent pass. Fingers crossed she will, she worked hard!

Becky worked so hard revising for all of her subjects. I am so proud of her. She went into all of her exams feeling positive and came out feeling like she tried her hardest and that's all I can ask.

Next week she has her enrolment session at college to take her GCSE results in, get her security pass, bus pass and sort out all the things like that. When we went for a look around a few weeks ago we were surprised to find out Becky would be entitled to financial help. The college she goes to has a big budget and apparently most of the students get some sort of help with stationary or free meals which she is looking forward to and I am too. 

She is really looking forward to starting college but is slightly worried about getting the bus each day. She should be fine. There is a bus going from our village and drops her off right at college door. It's the last stop so she'll have to get off the bus. lol I am going to go with her a couple of times just to make sure she feels confident doing the journey. She's never got a bus by herself, she's always had someone with her whether it was a family member or a friend. It's going to be a big deal for her but I'm sure she'll be fine.

Becky has had a fab summer. She has found herself some part time work gardening and helping out in a shop. She seems to have really grown up since she left school. She is looking forward to the next stage of life and that envelope coming through the door telling her if all her hard work payed off.

I hope all the teenagers get the GCSE results that they want!

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

(Ad - Gifted) Keep track of keys, bags & anything else by attaching a Tile!

As a family we are forever losing things. My fella his phone, Ellie school things, Becky Xbox controllers and me, the remote control for the TV. As a whole family we are always losing the back door keys too which have the key for the garage, garden gate and the little outhouse on. We waste so much time looking for these things but we have been sent something to help us out a little.

The Tile Mate is a small bluetooth tracker and easy to use app that finds everyday items in seconds. You can attach it to keys, wallets and anything else you can't live without and using the app on your phone you can track where your missing item is. 

It comes with a replaceable battery, has a range of up to 150 feet and a high volume which is easy to hear as well as smart home integration.

I opened the box and had it set up within minutes. I simply downloaded the app via the Google Play Store (you can use it with Apple products too) and linked the Tile and my phone together! I'm not good with technology so if I can do it anyone can.

For now the Tile is going on the back door keys. The kids are on their summer holidays still and I think we have more chance of losing the keys than anything else at the moment.

When you have lost your item that the Tile is attached to you go to the app and press the find keys or whatever you have named the item.  It then connects with it and plays a little tune to help you hear where your lost item is. When you walk towards your lost item there is a little circles on the screen which let you know if you're getting closer.

Not only does the app let you find say your keys, if you have lost your phone you can double press the button on the Tile gadget and it will make your phone ring too!

If you keep your Tile app running in the background it will remember the last place and time you had your item to help you find it too.

Here's a video from Tile which explains things probably better than I did.

Supported Devices include Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, Samsung Note, Nexus and most other Android devices equipped with Android 6.0 or newer. I have a Samsung S5 which is quite old now and it works perfectly with that.

As well as using them for house keys I think the Tile will come in handy especially for Ellie and her school things. I am tempted to put it onto her school bag so she can use her phone to keep track of it. 

Back to School can be a daunting prospect for kids and I am all for making the whole process easier! iPad’s, laptops, gym bags and even lunch boxes can be kept safe with the Tile Bluetooth tracking device. PE kits, book bags and musical instruments can be kept tack of too.

I think it will also be fantastic for the morning rush as we will be able to quickly find Ellie's school bag. Even if she's left it at school we can check where it was last seen on a map.

I think this is a fab little gadget. It's something I didn't know I needed until I got one. I think it's going to come in really useful and I know it's going to get plenty of use.

The Tile Mate has a RRP of £20 and is available from their websiteAmazon, John Lewis and Argos.

I was sent this free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

The birthday I nearly forgot.

It was my fella's birthday on Friday and to be honest I nearly forgot! I thought it was actually the middle of this week and not last. lol Stu's birthday was put at the back of our minds. We've had a lot going on here. Sorting the kids for going back to school and college, having days out and spending time with family. 

It got to Monday and I realised I needed to buy some presents. Truffle Shuffle was where I went. I do love that website and have used them plenty in the past. I got some great bargains and even got a couple of presents for Becky's birthday at the beginning of September.

The wrapping had to wait until Stu's actual birthday to be done because I forgot the wrapping paper when we were in town on Monday and had to wait for it to come with the food shopping delivery.

When Stu got up we convinced him to go to town and pick up a few things that we needed like inner tubes for the bikes, rollers to decorate and a few other bits. It gave me the chance to get the food shop delivered and get his presents wrapped. 

The kids had decided that Stu was going to have a party tea so I made a start on cooking that while Becky wrapped his presents!

Stu got back just as I had finished cooking the food and then he finally got to open his presents. Money is tight at the moment so there wasn't many for him to open but what we did get him he loved. Some Wookie slippers, a Star Wars mug, Star Wars Pj's, some chocolate and a new Walking Dead t-shirt. He was very pleased with what he received. Phew!

When tea time came around I warmed up all the party food and put it out on the table. We all dug in and stuffed ourselves. There was loads left which we snacked on all day Saturday too.

We have a running joke about the caterpillar cakes. Either Stu or I have to have one for our birthdays each year. They're a bit of fun and are very tasty too. He rolled his eyes at it but secretly loves it. hehehe

For a birthday I almost forgot I don't think I did too bad at organising things. Stu had a great day and we had lots of smiles and giggles.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Our weekly meal plan! 19th - 25th August. #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went well apart from the fact I forgot it was my fella's birthday on Friday! Oops. I really forgot, I ordered his pressies on Monday and got them delivered Wednesday and even then I needed wrapping paper which came with the food shop. I made a party tea on Friday and then we had the leftovers on Saturday!

Last week has left us skint! I bought all of Ellie's school uniform, her birthday pressies for the end of the month, Stu's birthday pressies and stuff to start the decorating. It's 3 weeks until pay day so I am going to have be really frugal. We have plenty in the cupboards and freezer but I am not doing any more online grocery orders for a couple of weeks. Everything we need will be coming from the local Tesco or Aldi. All we really need is bread, ham and fruit.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Pasta, chopped hot dogs and tomato pasta sauce I have loads of jars of it in the cupboard.
Tuesday - Potato waffles, bacon, fried eggs and baked beans.
Wednesday - Pie, mash and peas.
Thursday - Sausages, chips and baked beans.
Friday - Fish finger sandwiches.
Saturday - Pizza.
Sunday - Some sort of casserole made in the slow cooker. I have a ton of veg in the freezer and packet mixes in the cupboard.

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Week 33 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

Well this is a first. Usually I write my Project 365 post on a Friday afternoon but it was my fella's birthday and I totally lost track of time and forgot about it until Becky asked what photos I had for this week! Here I am at nearly 11pm writing this post. Oops.

Now for a photo every day!

220/365 - 10th August
Ellie went off to the garage again to do her own thing. She was doing some painting.

221/365 - 11th August
Sausage casserole for Sunday lunch. It's my go to Sunday meal when I can't be bothered to cook a full roast dinner.

222/365 - 12th August
We went out shopping and Monkey had to come, of course. It was back to school shopping. £75 for 2 cardigans, 2 polo shirts and a PE top. I nearly fainted when the man in the shop told us the price! Then £20 on school trousers, £15 for a school bag, £15 for shoes and then another £30 on stationary, socks and things like that. I HATE August. Back to school shopping, Stu's birthday and Ellie's. 

223/365 - 13th August
This is the face of someone who had cycled about 10 miles, the kids kept shouting "keep on going, just a bit further". I was sweaty and aching but I had fun! The kids were wanting to go to the Humber bridge which is about 17 miles away! I am sure we'll get there one day! Before we moved house I didn't do any exercise at all so to go about 10 miles is good going for me! We take a packed lunch and always stop halfway to eat it. It's a fun, cheap day out for us.

224/365 - 14th August
I had Becky out in the back garden testing a little gadget. I needed to see how far it reached via bluetooth. She was a good sport going out into the drizzle.

225/365 - 15th August
I finally made a proper start on stripping Ellie's bedroom wallpaper. I am so glad to get the orange paper down and fingers crossed today the paint is going on and maybe the wallpaper!

226/365 - 16th August
It was Stu's birthday and I was so unorganised. I bought the pressies which were delivered on Wednesday and forgot wrapping paper. I had to wait until the food shop was delivered for it to arrive then Becky had the honour of wrapping his pressies while I made the party tea! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Friday, 16 August 2019

(Ad - Gifted) Common Myths About Head Lice & treating them with Hedrin.

Head lice are a normal part of childhood and most parents have the task of eradicating lice in their family on at least one occasion. I have on several occasions. Ugh! There is nothing worse than your children coming home from school with nits. I am itching my head just thinking about them. Eww!

My girls have had head lice plenty of times. The first time I remember well. It was the end of the school year and Becky's class had put on a fashion show. A few days later I noticed her itching. She was riddled with head lice and their eggs. I blamed the school for sharing hair brushes and hats. I was wrong though. It was unlikely the nits were passed that way.

Becky has always had thick hair and it took a good while to get rid of all the lice and their eggs. I treated us all with Hedrin and since then it has been a brand that I have used again and again with great success. It has always cleared them without any fuss and drama.

Common Myths About Head Lice

Lice can jump?
They cannot fly and they cannot jump. They move by crawling and it is why direct head to head contact is the most common way for head lice to spread from one person to another.

Head lice carry and transmit diseases?
Head lice have not been shown to spread disease. They can however cause intense itching which can create a rash from the bites. The skin can become infected from scratching, children can feel irritable and have trouble sleeping because they are itchy. 

Only dirty children get head lice?
Head lice infest children from all backgrounds and walks of life. Anyone can get head lice, no matter how clean their home or hair is or where they live, go to school, or play. All it takes is head to head contact with someone who has head lice. 

Head lice prefer long hair?
Lice do not care whether hair is short, long, clean or dirty. Lice thrive in hair! Specifically on the blood they get through the scalp!

Head lice can live in a mattress or pillowcase for weeks at a time?

Lice need to feed on blood to survive, head lice will only live 1 or 2 days away from the human host.

Your child will be checked for headlice at school?
Nit nurses no longer go into schools to check children's heads. It's your responsibility as a parent to check your child regularly!

Your child should be kept off school if they have headlice?

Headlice are pests but they're not defined as a risk to public health so there’s no reason to keep your child away from school as long as you're treating them. Do tell their teacher if they have head lice so they can be aware!

I usually have some Hedrin in the cupboard just in case. It's there with the plasters, cough medicine and things like that. I really do think Hedrin is a must have when you have children at school! 

The Hedrin Protect & Go is not something I have tried before but it sounds like a fantastic idea. It's a hassle free conditioning spray, helping to protect against head lice. It disrupts the life cycle of head lice, helping to prevent infestation. It is water based conditioner which is easy to use and can be applied to wet or dry hair after shampooing. It is advised to apply after every hair wash or at least twice a week!

Hedrin All-in-One Shampoo is a simple solution for the treatment of head lice. It kills lice in just 5 minutes, the fastest treatment time available in the UK and is twice as effective as combing alone, leaving hair fresh and clean. It can be incorporated seamlessly into bath time. The all in one shampoo is allergy certified, skin friendly and odour free! The Hedrin All-in-One Shampoo does not contain pesticides; therefore, lice cannot build up a resistance to the product, meaning it will work every time.

The Hedrin Detection Comb is the easy, effective way to spot head lice and nits. I have used similar in the past and they are brilliant and are a must have. The comb is made from tough Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. The teeth are precision engineered to trap the lice and prevent bending in use.

The Hedrin range is available from pharmacies, pharmacy counters and medicine aisles in stores.

I was sent a selection of Hedrin products free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

This week my Word of the Week is:Ten! #WotW #CHD

This week my Word of the Week is:

Today it is 10 years since my girls and I made the trip to the hospital so they could have their open heart surgery! 

If you don't know our story, both of my girls were born with holes in their hearts which missed at birth, they were only discovered after my youngest jammed her fingers in a door and needed surgery to straighten her fingers. It was a freak accident but that accident saved both of their lives. If Ellie didn't have that accident they could have been dead by now. I have been left with the thought of all the what if's?

We went into the hospital on Sunday, Becky had surgery on Monday and spent a night on PICU, Ellie had her surgery on Tuesday and took Becky's place on PICU. It was the worst time of my life. I did write about the reality of open heart surgery but even that can't get across how I was feeling. Taking one child for surgery is bad enough but taking another less than 24 hours later. I don't know how I did it, I really don't.

Now my girls are fit and well. Their CHD's don't really effect them now. They will need surgery to repair the leaking heart valves they were left with eventually but that is at least 10 years off. 

This time 10 years ago, I was a mess and I wasn't seeing past the next week. I really can't believe 10 years has passed! I still remember it like it was yesterday but at the same time it seems a lifetime ago. 

Becky is a young woman now, not the scared 6 year old. She has gone right through school and is awaiting her GCSE results. In a few weeks she will be starting college and turning 17! 

Ellie has grown into a real person, she was only a toddler when she had her surgery. 1 and 11 months old. She is a walking, talking, unicorn obsessed crazy child now but I wouldn't change one bit of her!

I certainly didn't expect either of them to be able to run about, ride bikes and cause chaos like they do! I am so glad that their heart defects were picked up, treated and they have gone on to live normal lives. I will always be grateful at the doctors, surgeons and all the nurses and staff at the Freeman hospital who made difficult time a little easier.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

A trip down memory lane. My first times.

I came across another fab tag on the wonderful blog which is Frasers Fun House and it has been sat in my drafts for a year. It is all about first times and it looked interesting and had me reminiscing.

Here are my answers I hope you enjoy reading them! If you want to do this tag feel free to copy the questions. 

First app you check when you wake up in the morning?
I will pick my phone up while I'm in bed and the first app that I go for it usually Twitter. Instead of reading the morning newspaper I find out what is going on in the world from Twitter. 

First broken bone?
My arm. I fell down the stairs when I was about three years old. I don't remember falling down the stairs or any pain but remember sitting on the settee eating dry cereal waiting for my dad to take me to the hospital. I also remember being woken up at the hospital and asked if I want any hot chocolate. I didn't, I just wanted to sleep. Some things never change.

First foreign country you ever visited?
I have only ever stayed in the UK. I have visited Wales and Scotland. The first time I left England was to pick up some cows my dad had bought from somewhere in Scotland. We lived on a farm when I was a child so it wasn't as random as it sounds.

My first make-up item?
I think my first proper item of make-up was a Rimmel lipstick in the shade Heather Shimmer. It didn’t suit me at all, but for some reason back in the 90’s girl of my age group was wearing it and it seemed like a good idea, the photos tell a different story.

My first ever tape or CD?
Now That's What I Call Music! 23 was the first album I bought out of my own money. I bought it on cassette tape when I was out with my friends in town.

My first car?
I don't drive now but when I was 17 my dad bought me a Vauxhall Astra which I did drive a few times. I just didn't take well to driving. lol

My first Celebrity crush?
Peter Andre!! That body!!

My first cooking experience?
My great Aunt is an amazing baker and I remember making fruit scones with her. No matter how hard I try my scones are never as good as her's!

My first ever boyfriend/girlfriend?
My first ‘boyfriend’ was a boy who was in my class at primary school. He was called Kieron and I thought he was lovely. We didn't kiss or anything because when you are about 8 years old. When I was that age I thought that's how babies were made.

My first ever mobile phone?
I was 18 years old and for my birthday I got an Alcatel phone which looked just like this! I remember ringing up to register it and it was T-Mobile and they asked my date of birth and they realised it was my birthday and decided to send me a card with £10 credit on just to be nice. The phone was huge and looking back now it looks like a toy one but at the time it was quite fancy. I thought it was anyway.

My first fear?
The Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough. We lived on one side of the river tees and my dad had a business on the other. It was easier to go across than drive around. I used to have such fear of going across it for no reason at all. You used to drive your car on a platform and it went across. I swear every time I thought I was going to end up in the river.

My first internet activity?
When I first got the internet the first thing I remember doing was chatting in the WWE (Wrestling) chat rooms. I also remember downloading music from Napster. 

My first job?
I got a Saturday job at some stables near where we lived when I was 12 or 13. In exchange for mucking out horses I would get riding lessons. The stupid thing was I had my own horses at home but the grass is always greener and someone else's horses are always better.

My first language?
English. It's my only language.

First musical instrument?
I played the recorder at school. I only wanted to play it so I could go to the music teacher on a Monday afternoon and get out of normal lessons. hehehe The people who played recorders had to play it in the assemblies and I used to fake it. I used to move my fingers but not blow. 

My first pet?

I'm not sure who came first Anchor the huge German Shepherd dog or Scampi my first pony

My first piercing and when did I get it?
I got my ears pierced on my 16th birthday. My parents wouldn't let me get them done any earlier. They lasted a few weeks. I did a lot of horse riding and pierced ears seemed to get caught on everything. I soon took them out.

My first tattoo?
I don't have any! I do want one though. I want one that means something to me. I might get one for my 40th birthday later this year.

My first soft toy?
I was given a pink teddy bear when I was born. It was made by my godmother. I had it until I left home and then my mother decided to throw it out. She wasn't sentimental and didn't think that I would want to keep it.

My first thought today?
Oh my goodness, is that the time! I slept until 10am which is late for me now. 

My first time on a ship?
I have never been on a ship. The closest I have came is in a rowing boat when I was child. I didn't like it. My uncle was rocking it and I was screaming to get off. Hmmf.

The first book I remember reading?
 I remember being read stories as a child by my Grandad and the one that stands out is Each Peach Pear Plum.

The first book I remember reading myself has to be a Roald Dahl one. I would read his books over and over. It was probably something like Matilda or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They were my favourites.

The first concert I ever attended?
Way back when I was a teenager (in the 90's) I went to one of those radio roadshows where there was a load of singers and groups on. There was Let Loose and Ant & Dec were there as PJ & Duncan.

The first film I remember seeing?
It has to be Jaws for the sole reason that my dad got in so much trouble off my mam for letting my brother and I watch it because we were too young. My brother was hid behind the TV scared. Bad parenting. hehehe I did used to love watching films with my dad though. 

The first person I talked to today?
It was Becky my teen. I walked in her bedroom telling her to get up. She was actually awake, she just couldn't be bothered to move.

The first text I sent today?
I text Stu to ask him where the back door keys were.

The first thing I do every morning?
Hit snooze on my alarm. Then I always run to the loo.

The first thing I do when I get home?
Take my shoes off and switch my laptop on.

The first time you ever got drunk?
My best friend & I were so sneaky. I was about 13/14 years old. She said to her parents that she was sleeping at mine and I said I was sleeping at hers. We left our house in normal clothes with little shorts and tight tops underneath. We took the frumpy clothes off and hid them in a hedge and went off to meet some boys from the next village over. They had bottles of Castaway. The first alcopop I can remember drinking. lol I may have also stolen some Gin from my dad. Oops. The night ended with my friend running down a hill and twisting her ankle badly. We ended up back at her house and a trip to A&E. This was at about 2am. Her mother was furious. Thankfully my parents never found out even when I toddled the mile back home, with barely any sleep the next morning with my first ever hangover. I seriously thought I was dying but couldn't tell my parents. 

I really loved answering these questions and thinking about all the happy memories that I have. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

How to prepare your child for starting school!

Starting school is a massive milestone for both your child and you. There are many things that you can do to help your child get ready for school but most don’t involve anything particularly academic. It's not all about the reading, writing and arithmetic.

Get your child on a sleep schedule that will work for school. They will need a good nights sleep if they are going to concentrate at school. 

During term time my girls start getting ready for bed at about 8/8.30pm. They are older, 11 & 16 years old. They have their showers or baths, get their pj's on, sort their bags ready for school the next day, warm drinks and all their computers and tablets get switched off. They wind down and read or sometimes watch TV in bed and TV's are switched off no later than 10pm. Lights go off at half past ten and it works for us. 

Make sure your child knows the importance of washing their hands after going to the toilet!! Washing hands is so important especially at school where there is so many bugs going around, especially in the winter months.

Your child will enjoy trying on their smart new uniform. Let them practice getting undressed and dressed in preparation for PE lessons or on a morning when you are busy doing a million other jobs which need doing.

If your child has packed lunches let them practice eating out of a lunchbox and putting things in bin. Remind your child what should go in the bin and what should be kept in their lunchbox and brought home. I lost so many spoons in the first few weeks of school due to my girls putting them in the bins.

Become familiar with your child's school. Take a walk to school if you will be doing the school run by foot. It will give you and them chance to get used to the walk and show them the building while it's empty and not surrounded by people. Point out the gates, playground and where they'll be going in on their first day.

The night before.

Help your child to pack their school bag. Reception children will need a PE kit and a lunch bag (if they’re having packed lunches). Many schools also ask children to have a water bottle. A spare change of clothes and a waterproof jacket may be useful too. 

Let them know who will take them to school and pick them up on the first day.

In the morning.

Make sure your child has a nice breakfast. Enough to fill them up until lunchtime. 

Take time to snap a picture of your little school starter on their very first day as a keepsake.

Leave home on time allowing time to say goodbye. Be brave and positive when you say good bye to your little one. It really is harder for us as parents than it is for our children.

Show them where you will meet them at the end of the school day and remind them that you will be back to collect them.

If you do stay at school for a while reassure them and make sure they are settled in but don't stay for longer than you have to.

At the end of the day.

Talk to your child about what happened at school. Ask questions. If they are anything like my girls they won't remember. Even my teen can't remember what she did at school but can remember what she had for lunch. lol

It’s natural to feel nervous about your child starting school but remember that your child can easily pick up on your emotions. Be positive when talking about school. If you are enthusiastic and confident your child will feel the same way too. 

Good luck to all the little one's starting school!

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

(Ad - Gifted) Grow some fun with Blume Dolls! - Review! #BlumeDolls

My youngest daughter Ellie is crazy about surprise toys and little dolls so when I was asked if we'd like to have a look at the latest craze that are Blume Dolls I couldn't refuse.

Blume dolls are anticipated to be this year’s hottest collectible doll and Ellie was very excited to get into them!

Each doll is packaged inside a flowerpot. You peel off the foil on the top of the flowerpot then fill the little watering can with water, and pour it on top.

As you sprinkle the water on the "soil", the paper covering will disintegrate and the doll will magically bloom out of the flowerpot.

Ellie was so surprised when the doll came through the paper. I knew what was going to happen but she didn't and she was amazed! She thought it was real magic!

While some toys like this have limited play value these don't end with the reveal. Once the doll is taken out of the plant pot you can open the flowerpot to find 10 surprise accessories such as shoes, clothing, handbags, mini friends and doll stands.

 Each Blume character has its own name and a unique hairstyle. There are 22 characters in the first series to collect ranging from Super rare, rare and adorable.

When we grew the dolls, opened the pots and Ellie had been playing with them for a while she came running inside and said the hair comes off. We didn't realise! As well as mixing and matching the clothes you can swap the hair too! 

Even though you can't regrow these dolls there is still a lot of play to be had. Ellie has decided that she wants to collect them all and wants more for her birthday which is later this month.

You can buy Blume Dolls from Argos, Smyths and The Entertainer for round about £10.00. For the excitement and play value I think it is well worth the money.

We were sent two Blume Dolls free of charge in exchange for this blog post.