Thursday, June 30, 2011

B Record Plus Review

You may remember a couple of weeks back I mentioned that I had been given the opportunity to trial a new energy supplement called BRecord Plus (Give me back my energy please!)

BRecord Plus is a liquid food supplement made up of a unique blend of four key amino acids and the Vitamin B-12 to boost energy, overcome fatigue and improve concentration and improve intellectual performance. Unlike many caffeine-based energy supplements that provide a quick buzz, the micro-nutrients in BRecord Plus works with your body metabolically to produce sustained energy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Holiday - Scarborough

We headed into Scarborough fairly early on Tuesday morning - partly coz we had all been up since 6:30 (thanks Little Man) and partly coz the weather forecast was not promising and mentioned rain moving in by lunchtime.
The Little Man couldn't wait to get back on the beach and, despite the nippy air headed straight for the sea!
 Wave jumping... you really should try it!
 The Little Man absolutely LOVED the gulls but they weren't to keen on him (at least not until he starting feeding them chips at lunchtime...)
 Young gull not yet with it's adult plummage but still an impressive wingspan!

After lunch of Harry Ramsden's cod and chips on the beach (in the rain...the British sure know how to holiday!) we headed up to the castle on the promontory. The view from the ramparts is pretty impressive, over looking the harbour...
...and it's flotilla of little boats.
 The castle walls snake along the finger of land that juts out into the sea, enclosing the long, thin promontary with impressive stonework. On the seaward sides it was protected by steep cliffs.
 The castle keep itself sits on top of the hill looking dark and brooding as storm clouds brewed...
 There was plenty here to keep the adventurous amused...
The Little Man contemplates the 150 ft well in the inner bailey... that's a long way down!

Scarborough Castle was a fabulous place to visit, well kept with plenty to keep everyone occupied. If you do visit, accept the free audio tour gadget at the entrance - it's a really good way to learn more about the history of the different parts of the castle and the events that occured there. There were a couple of school parties there when we visited but otherwise it was not busy. At less than a fiver for adults and free for the Little Man as he is under 5 I felt it was excellent value for money - but beware the only parking is down the hill from the entrance and the walk up is VERY steep!!

If you want to see more pictures from our day at Scarborough, including some incredibly atmospheric black and white shots please visit the Tales from Mount Pleasant Facebook page.

ShowOff Showcase07/08/11 This post has been added to the Show Off showcase - to give those who missed it the first time round a chnace to see it again. Why not pop along and have a look at all the other Holiday themed posts getting a second airing. Just click on the badge.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Holiday - Cayton Bay

Apologies if you have popped by this week looking for something new to read but we have been on holiday!
My mum and dad took me and the Little Man up to the North Yorkshire coast for a 5 day sojourn in a caravan.
The weather forecast was not good and to be honest 'caravanning with the olds' is hardly my idea of holiday heaven but it's good to get away and to a part of the country I had never visited before.
The Little Man was about as excited by the whole prospect as only a three year old can be, however, and when we arrived, after a nearly five hour journey, he couldn't wait to get down to the beach...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

How to have fun (the toddler lesson)

Having fun is something kids know instinctively how to do.

Yesterday I agreed to have my mates four year old for a couple of hours so she could work and was faced with the prospect of keeping not 1 but 2 pre-schoolers entertained and happy for the morning.

And to be fair, it wasn't too bad.

Apart from a few 'I want to do this.' 'Well I want to do that' type arguments, for the most part they played nicely together - drawing, watching a sing-a-long dvd, playing cars. And sofa jumping...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Make and Bake with Mencap

I was contacted recently by the charity Mencap regarding a fab fundraising initiative they have set up.
Make with Me and Bake with Me are all about getting together, getting crafty, having fun and raising awareness and funds for Mencap and in particular to highlight their newly launched 'Stand by Me' campaign that aims to put a stop to disability hate crime.

So how can you get involved?

 Mencap want you to get
together with your friends, your mums and tots group or playgroup, your kids school or youth club, and get creative - learn a new craft, pass on your crafting skills to others make new friends and have some fun! They have even got some celebrity crafters to help their campaign including Barley Massey of Fabrications who has created some fabulous Gingerbread People Bunting. If baking is more your thing you can try Something for the Weekend's resident chef Simon Rimmer's Cake Pop recipe or the Queen of Cakes, Jane Asher's mouthwatering Gingerbread Men recipe. All these are available to download for free from the Make with Me website.

Why not make some gingerbread men and sell them to raise money for Mencap? Or arrange a craft session and ask for a donation to take part. There are lots of ideas in the Fundraising Pack download

Mencap are launching their 'Stand by Me' campaign to coincide with Learning Disability Week 20th-26th June and they are asking you to 'Make a Me' to help raise awareness. Whether you chose to make or bake - upload your a picture of your 'Me' to the facebook fanpages and be entered into a great competition to win some fab prizes.

Whatever you do remember it's all about having fun whilst helping a really worthwhile cause. Let's get making and baking!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Me me meme

I love these meme thingies - here's one I got tagged in a while back by the lovely Julia at I need Curtains... 

The Me Me Meme

If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?
First proper cuddle with my little Man after an exhausting labour and a stint for him in intensive care was an amazing moment

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
There are many things I wish I had or hadn't done, opportunities wasted, snogs that weren't really a good idea... but if I changed any of them I wouldn't be who I am now...

What Movie/TV character do you most resemble in personality?
Back in the days of 'Friends' there was a bit of character comparison going on. I, apparently, was Rachel. I'm not sure but I suppose, given the opportunity I could be pretty 'mean on the boat'...

What TV/Movie character would you most like to be?
Dana Scully - she was cool, intelligent, didn't take no shit and got to snog foxy Mulder

If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?
how could you even suggest such a thing...?

Name one habit you want to change in yourself?
My inability to make up my mind...oh hang on a sec...maybe not...

Describe yourself in one word.

Describe the person who named you in the Meme in one word?

Why do you blog? (Answer in one sentence)
Juggling words into something that reads well, makes sense and is vaguely interesting to other people is a challenge I kind of enjoy.

There, now you know me a whole lot better don't you?

So now I pass the meme on to three more lovely bloggers and fellow #MUMenTUM mums...
Clare at Seasider in the City
Liska at New Mum Online
Anthea at Blue Bear Wood
If any of you ladies have done this one already I apologise... :-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

#TheGallery - One Boy and his Daddy

This Sunday - June 19th - is Father's Day, so what more appropriate theme for The Gallery this week than Dads?

Little Man loves his Daddy and looks forward to every Sunday which has been re-named Daddy-Day as it's the only day the Other Half doesn't leave the house (in fact he stays firmly ensconced upon the sofa, usually with a duvet, but that's the subject for another post...)

It really is quite touching to watch the interaction between father and son, and the older he gets the more Little Man is obviously trying to emulate his Daddy. They play cars together and Lego and sometimes run around outside with a football. It won't be long before he gets a go on his first proper bike (with stabilisers) - Daddy has already found one for him (second-hand) and cleaned it up and got it ready to ride. Daddy's love of motorbikes is clearly being picked up and they will watch the bike racing on TV together (although LM does get a bit bored after a while and starts requesting Peppa Pig instead....) I'm sure in the not-too-distant future they will go and watch live races together (and leave Mummy in peace for a whole day )
As I watch them together, as mummy on the outside, I see the similarities in their expressions and actions, I hear the Little Man using the phrases that he has picked up from his daddy (the cute and the not so cute) and I sense the protectiveness and pride in his lad that radiates from the Other Half - I get a little lump in throat.
My boys....

Now run along to Sticky Fingers and check out all the other lovely 'Dad' posts....

Monday, June 13, 2011

#MUMenTUM : Give me back my energy please!

It's no secret, I am knackered! A constant nagging  'woman-on-the-edge-of-exhaustion' feeling has taken over my life the past year or so. It affects everything I attempt to do, from dropping (and breaking) china whilst washing up, to breaking down in tears when one more thing doesn't go to plan.And before you ask, I DID got to the doctor who said I wasn't suffering from depression, just difficult circumstances and I needed to rest! Yeah, right!

A recent survey of 1002 mums with children under ten by Opinion Matters for B Record Plus, a liquid food supplement by sigma-tau, on the effects of exhaustion revealed that an astonishing 77% of mums forget why they have started a task and 76% regularly misplace items such as keys and mobile phones (I do this all the time and usually end up running around and flapping like a headless chicken until keys/phone/purse turn up exactly where I put them down...)  One in five didn't feel safe when driving the school run due to tiredness and 71% privately admit that they are left exhausted with the toll of everyday life and motherhood.

It would seem I am not alone...

So when I was offered a 10 day trial pack of B Record Plus to judge it's energy boosting effects for myself I jumped at the chance. In a lovely briefing email I had I was told not to expect to see results instantly as the micro nutrients take a couple of days to do their work. I am on day 3 and to be honest not noticing any great difference yet but another 5am wake up call from the Little Man has probably not helped...

I really hope the effects kick in soon as I could do with a boost (or a kick up the backside) to get me back on the exercise bike!

And so for all you MUMenTUM ladies here's a little video by B Record Plus with Nell McAndrew giving us some simple exercise tips. I will keep you updated on my energy reclaiming process!!

Silent Sunday explained...

Thank for all your lovely comments on yesterday's Silent Sunday post
So now, for all of you who enquired I will expand a little...
The OH has a shop in the market town of Newent, Gloucestershire. It's quite a large space with high street frontage that stretches back into the courtyard of the Old Shambles Village, a former museum of Victoriana now being redeveloped into a 'retail village' dedicated to small local business and particularly arts, crafts and gifts. He has created a unit at the back of the shop that opens onto the Shambles courtyard and there are also two units upstairs that would make perfect shops/studios for the right person...
The whole complex is a mish mash of original 'old' buildings and newer 'vintage styled' additions built using reclaimed  original features to create an authentic look. One of the upstairs units used to be a part of the main 'on the high street' house but at some point in the past it has been blocked off from the rest. A vintage conservatory has been tacked on to the back of this space to create a really nice, airy room that would make a fabulous interiors or antiques/curiosity shop...

 I suspect that, whilst the panels are all original they may not have all been together and have, rather, been collected and added to the conservatory as replacement glass panes. Thay are not in the best condition as I am sure any stained glass worker could tell you (yes, DiomoGlass, I am looking at you!!!) but they are a very pretty and unexpected find, hidden away where they are not even visable from ground level.
A proper 'Magpie' find I think you'll agree...
Me and My Shadow

ps - if you know anyone who may be interested in renting this space please message me :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Good Bloggers Pay it Forward...

It so nice when a fellow blogger likes your blog enough to recommend it to their readers and that is just what Pay it Forward is all about! So many thanks to the lovely Kerry at Multiple Mummy for tagging me and all the other MUMenTUM ladies (thanks for tagging ALL of us!)

And now - the Rules
1. Put the badge at the top of your post.....DONE
2. Refer to the lovely blogger(s) who awarded it.....DONE
3. Pay it forward to five others....

So here are five blogs I pop along to regularly
1.  Michelle at Lost in Translation is new to blogging and would really appreciate some more blog love :)
2.  Tracey at Painted Ghost makes gorgeous things for babies and is right on my wavelength
3. Erica at 92three30 A lovely blog full of great reviews and gorgeous photos. And possibly the best named 'parent of school age kids' blog ever!
4. Him up North at The Blog up North He always makes me chuckle. Even when that's probably not what he intended. Probably already been tagged but what the hell...
5. John at Files and Records Father of 5 lives much further up North than Him up North! Cooks a lot of curry...

So there you have it - five very different blogs. Hope you find something new you enjoy :)


Silent Sunday

Friday, June 10, 2011

What am I reading in June?

Well it would seem there is a bit of a travel theme going on this month - this is possibly due to my 'itchy-feet' syndrome kicking in, but as money and time constraints mean the furthest I shall be travelling this summer is to a caravan park in Yorkshire with my parents and the Little Man, I shall have to content myself with reading about other people's adventures instead.
My local library had similar ideas and thoughtfully provided me with a huge display of travel books to chose from when we popped in the other day!

So first up is 'Red Tape and White Knuckles' by Lois Pryce
This caught my attention mainly because it involves a motorcycle and, what with the Other Half being a biker and running a Motorcycle shop, you know, sometimes I have to 'show willing'. But this is not just any old 'biker' chronicle - this is a female biker travelling alone through some of the harshest and most dangerous regions of the continent. And she has a sparkly lid (biker term for crash helmet...). Really looking forward to this one.

Changing the back drop and mode of transport completely we have 'Adrift in Caledonia' by Nick Thorpe. Following one man's trek around the Scottish canals, lochs and coastal waters, hitching a ride on various vessels to complete his journey. Apparently this was a Radio 4 'Book of the Week' so I have high hopes for it. The opening pages introduce us to an eccentric boat man wearing a kilt and a floral waistcoat. I think I am going to enjoy it!

Third on the list is 'Tasting Tuscany' by Beth Elon, which not only takes the reader off the beaten track in one of the most beautiful regions of Italy but provide lots of lovely, authentic Tuscan recipes to try at home (although I suspect the 'Hare in sweet and sour sauce' may go untried...)
Perfect for a sunny afternoon read (or a 'cosy up in the conservatory dreaming of sunny afternoons' read if flaming June continues as it's begun)

Last and by no means least I have the latest issue of that fabulous homage to all things crafty, vintage and make-do-and-mend - 'Mollie Makes' to enjoy! I have already lined up a few projects to take on holiday with me to do. Well we are going in a caravan. In Yorkshire. In June. Rain seems fairly safe bet...

Click on the badge below to find out what everyone else is reading this month...
What are you reading?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Losing my MumEnTum

After the euphoria of buying a new pair of jeans in a smaller size last week I have come back down to earth with a bump.

The snotty cold from hell completely wiped me out for the best part of a week (it's still hanging on in there but I am choosing to ignore it!) and total exhaustion just took over leaving me in a zombie state of grumbling and shuffling from kitchen to sofa. LM also decided this week to resume his 'Let's wake mummy up REALLY early in the morning' routine (4:30 one morning!!) Diet and exercise have gone right out of the window and so has pretty much everything else. Look I am even 4 days late with the MumenTum Monday link-up!!!

Back in March I set myself a goal of losing at least half a stone before the LM's third birthday at the beginning of May and I am pleased to say I achieved this - and some - mainly, I think, through using my exercise bike, every evening for half an hour. I cycled approx 5km in 30 mins which is enough to work up a sweat but not so hard going that I fall off at the end and can't move for an hour! (unlike the old work outs I used to do back in my Kung-Fu days that would, quite literally, kill me now...) I had intended to keep this up and aim to lose another half stone before our holiday, which is less than 2 weeks away. But it hasn't happened, for one reason or another. And I am not best impressed with myself!

So MumEnTum ladies -  I am telling you all now that as of TODAY I will be back on the exercise bike for half an hour EVERY evening, no excuses (I want you to shout at me if you spot me tweeting! Can't bike and tweet at the same time!). It's too late for me to shift that half stone before we go on holiday and the temptation is to just leave it till we get back. But that's just another excuse and I am getting tired of making excuses...

Monday, June 06, 2011

And this is what I do when I am not blogging...

Those of you who have only been reading the blog or getting to know me on Twitter in the last couple of months would be forgiven for not having a clue what I do when I am not blogging about the Little Man, reviewing stuff or sharing scrummy recipes.

Forest Flower Designs is my own little craft business. I design and make everything myself and sell through a local shop, craft fairs and online.  It's all been put on hold for a bit recently while other stuff (you know, life) got in the way but now the Little Man is in nursery an extra day a week I finally have the time to devote to MY passion again so, just a warning, you will be hearing a lot more about Forest Flower Designs in the coming months.

There are a couple of exciting developments in the pipeline that I can't really talk about yet and a really interesting project/collaberation in the very early stages of planning that I DEFINITELY can't talk about yet too!
But in the meantime I am re-filling my shop at with some old favourites and some brand spanking new stuff too. Here's a little selection that I added today - I hope you like them. More lovelies will be added over the next few weeks :)

#MagpieMonday - My FREE Kitchen

Me and My ShadowHaven't done a Magpie Monday post for a few weeks but this week I became the ultimate magpie and managed to pick up a whole new look for my kitchen - FOR FREE!!!!
I came home from shopping the other day to see a couple of cupboard doors lying on my neighbours lawn.
I knew she had the same original fitted kitchen in her house as I had in mine except hers was a nice pale beech effect whilst mine was a dingy silver grey. I have hated it ever since we first moved in.
The cupboards themselves are sound and sturdy so there was no justification to replace the whole lot (even if we could have afforded to). The hinge on the corner cupboard broke off about 2 years ago and that door has been propped up against the gap ever since (I know, I know - I don't know how I put up with that for so long either!)  I even began painting over them but as ever it was a spur of the moment thing that I started but never finished...
So I wasted no time knocking on her door - well sometimes you have got to take the bull by the horns and I am not proud...
'So are you getting a new kitchen then?'
'Yes' says neighbour, with a grin.
'What are you going to do with the old one? If you're just going to get rid of it would you mind if I nabbed the doors?'  Not a problem, says my (lovely) neighbour. She even tells me to add the old ones to her pile of rubbish and she'll get rid of them for me!

Now there were a couple of snags - the main one being that her kitchen is the mirror image of mine - this means that I had to swap all the hinges around and now all my cupboards open on the opposite side to previously which is going to take a little getting used to. The only one I couldn't do this with was the the narrow wall cupboard in the corner so I had to put the door on upside down with the handle at the top. As this is used as the medicine cupboard it's not the end of the world  - there's no way the Little Man will be able to reach it to open it - even I have to stand on tiptoes!

The little panel that goes under the sink needs the brackets refitted - the holes are just a few millimeters out and  the panel that sits under the cooker is missing coz next door had a free standing cooker not a fitted one - but that's nothing a bit of cream gloss can't sort out.

I think you'll agree the finished result is a massive improvement!
And yes, I did it all myself!!

Now all I need to do is paint over the 'sunny' yellow (what was I thinking?) with a nice country cream and source some new flooring from somewhere. Then maybe, as I have saved so much on the kitchen I might add a few new accessories - from the charity shops of course.

Friday, June 03, 2011

The artist at work...

Recently the Little Man discovered felt tip pens.
I must admit I was a little nervous. The following equation entered my head -

three year old + felt tip pens = home decor disaster

But he surprised me (he's getting good at that). The other day we set him up at his little table with a Thomas the Tank Engine colouring book and some felt tips (washable ones - allegedly) and he coloured...and coloured...and coloured! He used different colours and tried not to go over the lines (too much)
And two hours later he was still colouring...

He even refused pudding after his tea because, and I quote, 'I have to do colouring, mummy'

Yup - he's a leftie...

So now, finally I have found something he can do at the table while I am crafting, that he can do by himself that doesn't require my constant input/attention. Something that encourages his creativity and fine motor skills (bonus brownie points for that) and something that actually keeps him occupied for more than 30 secs at a time!

It's only taken three years...

Is this what they mean when they say it DOES get easier?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Potty Training (part three) It's all about poo...

Sorry, didn't mean to put you off your cuppa but the last few weeks really have been all about poo :(

As you may have read Potty Training Part One and Part Two we jumped straight into toilet training the Little Man a week or so before his third birthday and for the most part it has been a resounding success. He rarely has a pee accident now, can take himself to the toilet on his own if need be (although still insists on removing his pants completely then running around half naked afterwards coz he can't get them back on properly...) He wears pull-ups at bedtime but is dry most mornings when he wakes up so won't be long before I dispense with those as well.

But frustratingly, annoyingly and somewhat incomprehensibly he is still not using the toilet for a number two..

It's not like he hasn't managed it all - three times (yes I AM counting) whether by luck or good judgement on my part, I have obviously caught him at just the right moment and he has been so proud of himself, to the point of telling everyone he sees that day, with a big beaming grin 'I did a poo on the toilet!'

Getting him to sit still anywhere for more than 30 secs is a challenge but I have managed to get him to stay on the the 'throne' for a few minutes using a combination of story-telling and pulling funny faces only for him to insist that 'there is no poo, mummy', climb off the toilet, pull up his pants and runs off to play again.

Guess what folks, five minutes later there is poo...

Even more puzzling to me (although perhaps this is perfectly normal? I don't know...) is that he doesn't seem to notice he's done it. He will happily carry on with whatever it is that he is doing until my nose picks up the scent. 'Have you done a poo in your pants, Little Man?' Sometimes he will deny it (especially if it means coming in from the garden) but mostly he will nod and be led upstairs to change.

I have been told by many people that it's just a stage he's going through and that he will get over it soon enough but I can't help wondering if there is something I should be doing to help him along. If any of you have any tips or advice I would love to hear it! How did you deal with this, did you have to or did your little one get it straight away?

In the meantime Mummy will be trying to stay calm whilst rinsing out another pair of pooey pants...

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

#TheGallery - I'm Grateful For...

There is a lot of talk in the bloggiverse at the moment about the Save the Children campaign to raise awareness of the issue of childhood vaccinations ahead of the Global Vaccination Summit. Millions of children are dying from preventable illnesses every year. Save the Children are asking us - that's me and you - to make a lot of noise, sign the petition and  pass it on  to encourage World Leaders to plug the funding gap. They have even picked three respected bloggers - Christine Mosler, Lindsay Atkin and Tracey Cheetham - to talk about the campaign from the front line. As you read this they are in Mozambique, following the journey of the vaccine from cold-store to rural clinic. You can follow their journey on Facebook .

So this week curator of The Gallery,  Tara Cain over at Sticky Fingers has asked us to think about what we are grateful for.

Well I am grateful for a lot of things. I had a decent start in life, it wasn't easy but I think it prepared me well. I have had many opportunities to try new things, go places, experience life. I have had the chance to study what I wanted to. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in my belly. When I am sick there are people to help me get better and when I am struggling to cope with what life is throwing at me there are friends and family to pick me back up and keep my spirits lifted. I have a partner who loves me and a cat who has stayed by my side for 16 years!

But I am most grateful for having been given the chance to be a mummy to the most amazing little person in the world :)

Now click on the badge below and go and see what everyone else is grateful for...

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