Saturday 30 March 2013

Easter Snow

This year Easter has been a bit different to previous years. As usual we've driven up to Scotland to visit my partner's parent's pony farm.
We have brought with us a bag of foil wrapped eggs for an Easter hunt on Sunday morning, we've played with the ponies and the little boys have been riding the same as last year.

The big difference is what no-one can fail to miss - the weather!

Before we arrived - the impassable driveway!
The roads being cleared just in time for us!
Grandma and Grandad live in the part of Britain most affected this time by the snow and the wind. Had Easter been a week earlier then we could have joined them in being trapped in the house for 3 days and nights with no power, battling the blizzards to feed the animals and playing board games by candlelight for entertainment. As big an adventure as it would have been, I think it's probably better that we turned up a week later, when the roads were cleared of abandoned cars, the shops have re-stocked, the wind has gone and we can watch the Dr Who special!

Fortunately the ponies aren't too bothered by the snow, and after being rescued from the blizzards and moved indoors last weekend, they're really pleased to be back outside - despite the snowdrifts! On some of the flatter and more sheltered fields there still isn't any grass to be found, so they've been having lunch delivered.
 One of the rewards for helping with the ponies is to get a ride. This is Leo - he's quite an old man now, but he's still very patient and ideal for the little children to ride. Both boys first sat on a Shetland Pony at less than 18 months old, so they're old hands now and supremely confident!
 All of the children have ridden the Shetland Ponies, but they're mainly too big now and luckily the ponies are taught to drive, pulling a carriage - but not in the snow!

Some other, smaller, creatures have been leaving tracks. Boy no.3 thought maybe it was a Pterosaur, but I think it was a much more modern type of bird!

Boy no.4 also left plenty of tracks, completely oblivious to the fact that actually he was running across a drift that is 8 feet deep in places - and we can't follow him because we're too heavy! I sent my other half off to rescue him while I stood a safe distance back. Boy no.3 in the foreground is standing on a 3 foot high stone wall, something I don't think he'll understand even when he sees the comparison photo's.

With the ponies back outside one of the main jobs has been to dig out and repair the electric fences ~ something the smaller children can't really help with, although they very much enjoyed running about feeling as if they were useful!


After work comes play ~ and we've really tried to make the most of it. Snowdrifts are brilliant for mini sledge runs for small people!

Why build one snowman when you can build an entire army?

Ice hole!
Our ice hole is still there, but it isn't big enough for Grandad or our youngest child to sit in any more. Sadly our snow is melting, but we really have had an Easter to remember forever and we haven't even had any eggs yet!

I hope that you have as much fun as we have had. Happy Easter!

Photo credits to Grandad - who is an excellent photographer, has his camera almost permanently grafted to his shoulder and took the first 6 photo's! 

No Worries - Worry Eater review

This is Biff, a Sorgenfresser, or Worry-Eater, and is just about the cutest cuddly thing your child can ever possess.

Biff is really super soft and has a zip up mouth so that when you are worried about anything at all, you can say it, or write it down, or draw a picture, and put your worries into the Worry Eater's mouth, and he will get rid of them for you. Monsters under the bed, bullies in school, spending time without your Mum or going to the dentist....he will eat away any worry, and stop it eating away at you....
Sorgenfresser Worry Eater review teddy Biff orange and white stripes

Worry Eaters are available in a multitude of different shapes and colours. Ours has 3 ears so that he can hear you better when you are whispering....

Child sleeping peacefully with Sorgenfresser Worry-Eater soft doll

We won ours from Izziwizzi Kids Playfest, and Coiledspring posted it to us direct. If you'd like to buy one then they are available for the general public to buy from The Toadstool. They may even work for adults...

Update: 07/082014 We've now had our Worry-Eater for nearly 18 months and he looks as good today as he did when we got him.He's been hand-washed no end of times, loved and hugged, used and stuffed full of Wotsits. He never seems to mind....

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Bioshock Infinite

In my free time (yeah, right) I play games. Board games and computer games. I've loved my Playstation for as long as I can remember. As I gained more children I lost more playing time, but I still manage to have a turn occasionally.

I got the platinum trophy for Bioshock (did everything you possibly can with a degree of skill), completed Bioshock 2 a few times and have been waiting a long time for this one.

If you don't play games - but want to impress your other half or stun your teenage kids with your encyclopaedic knowledge, then this is for you -

If your child is playing this then it is an 18 rated game because you kill humans.

Generally you only kill people who are already shooting at you, and most people are just innocent passers-by (at least for the first portion of the game). If there is a red bar above a persons head, they're going to attack and you should probably stop them - now is the time to shout 'look, over there, the guy with the gun, hit him, hit him again' until the red bar vanishes.

The player is a man brought to this cloud version of the 1900's World Fair to rescue a young woman named Elisabeth. He travels there in a glass elevator - however he isn't in Wonkaland, he's in a place called Columbia which is an entire massive town built on top of a layer of cloud (in the 1890's they invented secret engineering techniques which are to this day kept secret from us plebs).

'Columbia' has been purpose built up in the clouds by a bunch of crazies from the US government. The founding men in charge of this land are God-like in the eyes of the misguided folks who live there. Most people in the game are actually drug-addled psychopaths who are fighting each other in a civil war between the rich and the downtrodden.

The crazies spent most of their time encouraging Scientists to invent superhuman powers (called vigors) to be used by the locals. These are collected, bought and implanted by the player. They are powered by 'salts' which is the blue bar at the bottom left of the screen. When it runs out, no special The powers have giveaway names like Shock Jockey and Bucking Broncho.

The player finds useful stuff and picks it up until their ginormous pockets can take no more - objects glisten, so to earn Brownie points say something if you see a shiny that the player is walking straight past. Stuff is also hidden in bins, bodies, cupboards, all over the place. People who die often turn into a small box full of treasure, which you can loot.

Food gives the player health, cigarettes remove health (red bar at top left of screen). If you're really dying you can buy a hot dog from a street vendor.

Cigarettes give the player salts, alcohol removes salts (remember, the special powers thing?)

Alcohol gives the player pishedness, so don't drink too much or it might go a bit blurry. It does however also give you health so sometimes you just need to stop and have a drink. It's remarkably like real life.

Medical kits give - duh.

Salts make the special powers work.

The aim of the game is to find out why you're actually there and what's going on, which is a whole load of 'yeah, okay'. You do know you need to rescue Elisabeth. She has spent the last few years in her own version of The Trueman Show. She's been living in a cupboard, so she's read loads of quantum physics, but her social skills aren't great. Later on in the game she'll no doubt have secret abilities and powers, but you don't know about that yet. Every now and again she chucks stuff at you that she picked up off the floor and she can pick locks.

Elisabeth can rip holes into another world. This world is sometimes Paris. You can't go there, but sometimes she can bring stuff back - flowers and some of Harry Potters Dementors seem to be popular choices.

You can spend money at vending machines. You can buy chocolate and bullets and all sorts of useful tat.

You can hook your hand onto rails that run around the entire town and slide about like a roller coaster. You can even speed up and slow down. It's waaay cool.

You find out the back story by listening to tapes, watching films and chatting to locals. Most of this is drivel at the time, but makes sense later, you don't need to really pay attention unless you intend to discuss it at length on a philosophical level. Just be certain that the people who hired the player to rescue the girl will have a hidden agenda, and will probably also have accidentally created a man-tearing monster who will later on try to kill you.

Every now and again the player gets to a really action-packed bit. This is the equivalent of a 'level boss' at the end of a level. There can be a huge thing to kill, or a horde to dispatch. It will usually have some excitement music and it isn't the time for you to walk in front of the telly or demand that your teen goes to bed. If you want to be popular wait until the music has stopped and then make your move.

There are loads of different clothes this guy can wear that enhance his performance. I've not seen disco-pants yet, but they may be in there.

It autosaves. This means as the player moves through the game it saves the position ready for when you die and have to repeat what you just did, only in a far more skilful way. When it says 'autosave' at the bottom right of the screen, you are safe to tell them that 7 hours is enough for today, maybe you should think about going to bed.......or washing....

If you do play games then this is for you -

Yeah, it's really good, we're enjoying it so far, as we'd expect. More reminiscent of Bioshock 1 than 2 actually, huge map, same familiar controls, different abilities which is nice. The clothes thing takes a bit of remembering and I keep expecting him to carry Elisabeth around. Weird how they felt they needed to have loads of water everywhere when it's set up in the sky rather than down in the sea....

Monday 25 March 2013

50 Kinder Surprise

With a family as big as mine sometimes you can justify some crazy, naughty bulk purchase bargains....

I reckon 3 each for the children..........

and the spare for me.......

Sunday 24 March 2013

No more toddlers....

Happy 3rd birthday to the little one of the family......with his blue 'Mike The Knight' cake that nearly didn't get decorated in time because we spent all day trying to save the fish!

PS. In case anyone was worried, the fish are currently still swimming.....

Friday 22 March 2013

3 Year Old Boy vs 3 Year Old Sharks

To celebrate his birthday in style yesterday (more to follow on that - obligatory cake photo etc) boy no.4 really pulled out the stops.

He's bored, stuck inside all week while his brother complains that things are touching his chicken pox spots. We've missed all the super exciting parties and groups just before the Easter break, the weather has been dismal and we're all full of colds, so it's been a bit pooh.

I went to answer the door to boys no.1 and 2 who were coming back from the Dentist. Seriously, how long does that take? They live here, I only opened the door! I returned to the living room and what greeted me was this...

That is 2 full pots of fish food in a fish tank - this is enough for 6 months, it will kill them.

I spent far longer than I'd like rubbing my head trying to think what to do next and wondering if it would look better if I left the room and came back. I tried a few times just to be sure, but it didn't (damn it).
Organising my head, then 10 minutes running about like a crazy thing trying to find the bucket to put the fish in with absolutely no success. Why is it that you trip over something every day for weeks, and then as soon as you REALLY need it, it's gone? I finally spotted a plastic tub which would do just fine (and the Playmobil is handier when it's chucked out onto the floor anyway).

The fish we have are Silver Sharks. They're not small, they're very quick and they can jump about 30cm. I haven't had to catch them for a while, but it's a 4 handed job. Lacking the extra appendages of an octopus I passed the job on to boys1 and 2 while I sat on the floor ready for the inevitable catch. Stunningly this did not happen. Remember that fact because it's a moment to be proud of in this story - we never once dropped a fish.

We now have the fish decanted into the Playmobil box and the task of emptying the tank is underway with jugs and the household 'sick bowl' because that's the closest we can find to a bucket. There's a trail of water the full length of the house because naturally the best place for a fish tank is at least 100m from the nearest sink or drain. Boy no.4 is having a whale of a time (excuse the pun). This is THE most exciting thing that's happened all week, he can hardly contain his excitement and is desperate to join in. He's running about laughing with spoons and beakers dipping them into anything he can find.

Boy no.3 obviously feels a bit left out by all the attention the fish and his brother are getting, but hasn't the energy to join in, so he secures his position in the pecking order by lying down in the middle of the living room floor and going to sleep.

Boy no.4 is bored with being told off and manhandled away from the action, his brother can't even be suitably poked any more and decides instead to help by getting us some more water for the Playmobil box. He uses the water dispenser on the fridge and the biggest beaker he can find, with which he manages to jam the switch. Water cascading down on him isn't his favourite, so he takes all his clothes off and comes back to harass us again instead. Fortunately boy no.1 spots the new indoor swimming pool before it reaches the edge of the lino, removes the beaker and starts mopping. Doorbell rings. Ah, yeah, Tesco.

15 minutes later we have £200 of  food balanced on the kitchen table, sopping floors throughout, Silver Sharks in a Playmobil box full of tap water, 10 quids worth of fish food goo blocking the drain, a 3 year old birthday boy wearing only a Mike The Knight helmet (presumably to protect him in case of another indoor shower) and a 4 year old with Chicken Pox asleep in the middle of the living room floor. 2 fed up teenagers and 1 Mum who is wondering if there can be any job harder in the entire world than that of parent.

My partner comes home from work...."so, how's it going?".....

I've cheekily added this to Actually Mummy and Just a Normal Mummy's 'What's So Funny?' linky - although it was us asking the question and him answering....

Wot So Funee?

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Alexandalexa Designer Children's Clothes (Sposored Post)

Finding something for a little girl to wear for a special occasion is really easy in my experience, for young boys I've never found it so simple. A nice pair of jeans and a cool t-shirt looks great, but it lacks that special something. It works for a party, but I want something suitable for a wedding. I want to make a special effort. I'm not the sort of person to put their children in bow ties and waistcoats, it just isn't me (or them) so I've been looking for something semi-formal for them to wear.

alexandalexa sell some of the most gorgeous designer children's clothes. They have clothes from all kinds of designer ranges including Chloe, Boss, Burberry, Fendi and Paul Smith. From casual and sportswear through to formal you can find something for every occasion all in one place.


This pale blue Armani Junior pinstripe patterned cuff shirt at £77, or the Junior Gaultier white shirt with tie stitch at £80 are both ideal for an important wedding. I love the idea I could get boy no.3 and boy no.4 into crisp light shirts - and hopefully keep them clean at least long enough to get through the service and the photo's!


I do love little boys in shorts and the Il Gufo navy chino shorts at £53 are really smart and would look lovely while remaining slightly casual. If it's not at all warm then these Tom & Drew smart dress trousers are half price at the moment at only £30 and would really look great on my little boys.

Of course I couldn't resist looking at girls clothes and while there are heaps of beautiful dresses for little girls I did finally remember my teenagers.

I absolutely adore this Monnalisa polka dot cotton dress at £142, but sadly while 2 years ago my girls would have worn it, I think now they'd prefer something more 'teenage'.

The Dino e Lucia cream sequin dress is available for half price at the moment at £86 and the US Angels dropwaist chiffon dress is also half price at an unbelievable £27. Both of these would be really dressy and make the girls feel special without being too 'cute'.

On the website home page they are showcasing the Autumn/Winter 2013 collections which will be available to order later in the year. I'm hoping someone else decides they want to get married later in the year to give me an excuse to treat everyone again!

Alexandalexa offers free postage on orders over £30 and free returns. In addition to designer children's clothing they also
stock school and home accessories, children's toys and designer baby gifts.

This is a sponsored post

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Techno Toddler Toilet Step

Fifteen year olds are not meant to stand on toddler toilet steps.

Six foot tall hairy adult sized young men can't stand on a toilet step and jump about, not even if it's making their little brothers laugh, because it breaks into a bazillion pieces - and has a big foot hole where the bit for standing used to be.

We need a toilet step. Boy no.3 and boy no.4 can't quite reach to pee without it, and taking off their trousers so that they can climb up onto the loo is not ideal, especially not at 3am, so boy no.2 had to replace it - immediately. With his own money.

Off he went, head down and annoyed to the nearest shop likely to sell a toilet step, and returned with something beyond our wildest expectations.

The King of all toilet steps, in a beautiful blue with a big smiley face and 2 huge foot-controlled buttons. It plays music! It has a button for teeth cleaning which plays a 2 minute tune, and a button for hand washing which plays a 30 second tune. The boys think it's fantastic, they love it, it's amazing, it was even "awesun". It's also incredibly loud at 1am when everyone else is asleep and I (being only 5 feet tall with little short legs) put my foot on it when I go to have a wee before bed. Techno it may be, but it's lacking a 24 hour clock....

Obviously I have the guilt now because I'd expected it to cost him about £3, and he had to use all of his hard earned £10. But there's a big lesson learned there, not only for him, but for all of our lot.....

Still.....I might let him sweep the drive later for a fiver if he's lucky......

Monday 18 March 2013

The Pox!

Finally boy no.3 has caught chicken pox. It's taken years of trying and of course it happens exactly when we have outings and parties planned, it's the last week of pre-school before Easter and there is loads of fun stuff to do....and it's 3 days before his little brother's 3rd birthday.

Last night ~ Day 2

I don't really want boy no.4 to have chicken pox on his birthday, but that is kind of outweighed by a desire to get it over and done with......

It would be really handy if they both caught it from the same source and it's only a matter of hours before boy no.4 joins his brother on the sofa not wanting to touch anything. What's more likely however is that he'll continue to be fine and want to play fight four times every fifteen minutes and will spend the next six days leaping on his sore brother and removing the tops from his spots via the power of friction, scraping every available inch of skin as he jumps up and slides down him, grabbing at his arms and anywhere else that is already acutely painful.
He'll want to play and go do loud things, and his ill brother will mainly want to read books and watch movies and we'll have a week of trying to keep 2 little boys busy at both ends of the table.

This morning ~ Day 3
Boy no.3 is being the stroppiest, whiniest, grumpiest and mardiest he's ever been, which is standard for Chicken Pox, and combined with his brother wanting to invent another 15 wrestling moves before lunch isn't going too well, but thankfully he's not really very ill, just a bit hot and tired and feeling very sorry for himself  (Calpol and Piriton are doing a great job).

I've never had to look after a chicken pox child while I have another at home who wants to harass them the entire time. I wouldn't recommend it.

This afternoon ~ Day 3 ~ Lets hope his brother leaves him be for an hour

Obviously in order to draw out the agony to it's fullest extent boy no.3 will just get better and we'll have a couple of days of normality, but not quite enough to get back into the swing of things before boy no.4 develops spots and then I'll have the entire thing in reverse......

Saturday 16 March 2013

Lego Chima 4D Movie at the Lego Discovery Centre

On Thursday we took boy no.3 and boy no.4 to the Legoland Discovery Centre at Manchester Trafford Centre to see a preview screening of the new Lego 4D movie which is officially released this weekend.

We've been to the Lego Discovery Centre many times, we bought Annual Passes last year and used to go in and have a coffee while the little ones and boy no.2 played and the girls went shopping - something for everyone. We have never been at night though, and we've never been on a school day. Boy no.3 knew all about it, and was incredibly excited, he had even explained everything in great detail to his pre-school teacher and the rest of the Foundation Stage (age 3-5) children.

When we got upstairs I was delighted to see that not only was Pippa aka Red Rose Mummy there, but I also got to meet two other bloggers who I've harassed with inane comments several times - Jen from mymummiespennies, and Laura who doubles up as Tired Mummy Of Two and Blogs Up North.

My boys are very used to the 3D glasses, and because of our prior knowledge we knew where to sit in order to get full benefit from the 4D special effects (i.e. we sat at the front because we don't mind getting a bit wet!).

The film was brilliant. We've been waiting for a new film for a long while now, and it didn't let us down. The story was fairly basic and straightforward enough for boy no.4 to follow easily, but interesting enough to hold an adult's attention. It features a tour of Chima by 4 young animals and their guide which starts out as a normal tour but they become increasingly involved with other characters in the land. There was action and there were jokes (watch out for the skunk) and the 12 minute film introduced a lot of the Legends of Chima characters and Lego sets, including a great Speedor race between Cragger the Crocodile King and Laval the Lion Prince.

This time the film seems to have made much more use of the lighting on the walls at either side of the room, using it to enhance what is happening on screen, depicting water, greenery and the special powers that the Chi Orbs have. The 'snow' 4D effect seemed much better done than before, it covered the crowd much more thoroughly and floated down really effectively.  Be warned there is a lot more water than in the previous movie and although you will still be dry after 5 minutes you might find tiny children aren't impressed and it's better to sit further back than the first 5 rows!

We had a great time and I have no doubt it won't be long before we're back again....

The Legoland Discovery Centre is at Barton Square, Trafford Centre, Manchester. It is open daily from 10am all year round and is entirely under cover. Until 2nd June there is a special Star Wars miniland display and special events include a Star Wars weekend May 18th & 19th.

Friday 15 March 2013

Vinyl V's Plastic

I have hundreds of 7" and 12" vinyl records, I even have far more than my fair share of 10" vinyl.I have picture discs and shaped discs and discs made from paper and recycled bottles. I have a big collection of CD's and tapes (tapes, for goodness sake, the kids would think we were insane).

I used to work 3 part time jobs when I was at College, and if I didn't spend it on booze and fags, I spent it on music.
I used to buy a new CD each time I did the weekly shopping, now I order online for delivery and rarely even venture into music shops in town.

I'm actually quite annoyed at myself for the lack of interest I pay in the new music. Maybe it's just the natural way of things, but I'd rather fancied myself as still giving more of a damn about the charts when I'm 60 than most people do when they're 30 and I am beginning to realise that just isn't going to be. In some ways I've 'passed the baton', my older kids all grew up going to Glastonbury and other festivals and have really eclectic musical taste, my eldest now works part time at a big music venue and hopes to do Event Management at University. The children have all dabbled with instruments and we have a budding bass player in my 15 year old. There is music played in my house all of the time, but it's usually not my choice!

Sadly I haven't had anything that plays vinyl out where it can be used for the last 6 years, I only play CD's, so mostly I don't play any of my old favourite music. I may not be using it, but it's occurred to me several times that maybe I'm storing my pension in the loft (or maybe I'm fooling myself and it only has sentimental value). I know there are a few rare ones in there but I wouldn't ever sell any of them unless I had to. Vinyl really does have a special something, it's sexy and sleek and it's huge, so the cover artwork is poster-sized. You have to care for it or you break it. It has a special feel and the ritual of removal from the sleeve and putting it onto the turntable is one that CD's have never managed to replicate.

I do play CD's though, and when I came to live with my partner we had a lot of musical taste in common, so we have a few duplicate copies of albums, mainly from the last 15 years. We also have a lot of CD's that were bought on a whim and we've played once and won't play again. I do not have the same sentimental attachment to CD's as I do to vinyl at all, so I've been meaning to have a look through and sell some on for the last 6 years, it's just one of those things you never get around to - until today. I had a look on Music Magpie to see what my haul might be worth. It was really easy and took seconds, it even totals it up so that you can see at a glance what reward your unwanted duplicate or rashly bought CD's can realise in total. It's not going to make me rich in a hurry, but I'm not doing anything else with these discs and they're just sitting gathering dust, so it really is better to clear it out a bit - everyone keeps telling me that if you haven't used it for over a year then you don't need it, and while I wouldn't ever agree about vinyl, I think they may be right about CD's!

Come to think of it, I can also trade in some of those old Wii games.....

This post contains a sponsored mention.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

What the heck is a Sta-danger?

Boy no.4 is only 2, but he has excellent speech and can hold a conversation with anyone, so it's a rare one for us for him to not be able to explain himself.

One whole hour of crying and sobbing and asking me where his sta-danger was and I felt like a failed parent. 

Later we picked up 4 year old boy no.3 from pre-school, brought him home and I asked if he could try and work it out. "Can you tell what your brother is saying, because I can't?"

Boy no.3 says "I'll try Mummy".

Boy no.4 pipes up "Yes, I've been looking for the blue power ranger everywhere and I can't find it. Do you know where it is?"

Way to make Mummy look stupid....

Monday 11 March 2013

Mothering Monday ~ That day after Mothering Sunday

I've spent the majority of my Mother's Days over the last 20 years feeling a bit conned. You got your 'day off', but the fallout is all a bit hard work....

On 'Mothering Monday' as you're sweeping, washing pots, washing 3 extra loads of clothes, finding a hidden broken plate and picking up 27 different bits from jigsaws and box games, it's hard not to wonder why you didn't actually do a bit more on Mothering Sunday in order to protect yourself...... I think that's why we get all the chocolates and flowers, it's to distract our attention - and gives us something to nibble on while we sit in a corner sobbing for 2 hours.

My lot tried this year, they tried really hard and I had a lovely lazy day (well, after being woken at 7.20am because the little ones were so excited to open my chocolates). I got a lovely pile of gifts, certificates and cards. I had chocolate brownies cooked for me, takeaway for tea, pots were washed, toys were picked up. I got 3 coffees without even asking. No-one argued. It was a very good day.

Today I got everyone off to school and came home ready to face my task, prepared for a long day. It actually wasn't so bad, in fact it wasn't really any worse than a regular Monday morning. Apparently it really does get better as they get older. To all of you with only young children ~ do not give up hope.

To my children (and my partner) ~ thank you xx

Sunday 10 March 2013

Real Shoes

I am terrible for shoes - and not in the way you'd expect. I don't have any! I have a selection of wellies and flip flops and my trusty 12 year old boots, but no shoes. I'm terribly lazy where footwear is concerned and am happy to be barefoot whenever I'm at home. I've not bought any actual new shoes for years and I've always made do or worn a really long skirt to hide my feet. I have been invited to a wedding this summer and really want to find something special and dressy that I like. As I'll be spending a fair amount I want to be able to wear them again later with a selection of different outfits for different occasions. One place I've never bought clothes or shoes from before is John Lewis. I've never really browsed the clothes in store or online, and I can't think why it didn't occur to me because their range is huge and has everything you could need for any purpose or occasion.

There are heaps of brands represented, but it was really the LK Bennett shoes which took my fancy on this occasion.

These Sally suede scalloped leather trim ballerina pumps in black are on offer at £75, are lovely and pretty without being too girlie and will work with a skirt, dress or trousers. They'll be appropriate for any meetings I might have to go to and will add  little touch of femininity without losing any of the sophistication.

The Linn leather Mary Jane flat pumps in brown snake finish are on offer at £95. They are a bit quirky and add a textured element to any outfit. I love the variety in the shades of brown and tan. They would allow me to choose from any length of skirt and an outfit in any of the earthy or neutral shades.

 If I was feeling brave and daring I could even go for heels. I've never really worn them, but these Freda suede point toe kitten heel court shoes at £95 are subtle and small, and will suit me as I am not tall. The shoes are classic, yet have detail on the toe which adds a little interest and makes them more special.

These Florrie Leather Cut-Out Ballerina Pumps at £165 are my absolute favourite. Although they aren't very formal and wouldn't match with every outfit, they are pretty and they really are very 'me'. They'd be perfect for every event I might wish to go to during the Summer and I have a gorgeous 'oyster' coloured skirt with a cutaway pattern down the centre which would match perfectly. These would be absolutely ideal for completely spoiling myself!

John Lewis has department stores all over the UK. They offer delivery on most items for only £3 and free delivery for orders over £50. There is a Click and Collect service whereby you can collect the next working day from any of a list of 234 John Lewis Department stores and branches of Waitrose, and they are expanding this service in the near future by working with ConnectPlus, which will allow customers to collect from a network of 5000 local shops at a time convenient to them at a cost of around £3.

This is a sponsored post

Saturday 9 March 2013

Our Red Nose Day Jelly Bath!!

We did it! With RedRoseMummy in 6.9 degree temperatures we raised over £100 for comic relief. Thank you to everyone who sponsored us, and everyone who made it possible. The children had the best day ever.....although none of them fancied getting in with us....hmmmm

And if you wish to donate -   Our Red Nose Day giving page

Thank You!

Friday 8 March 2013

Comic Relief Jelly Bath

Well, it's getting close, the huge box of Gelli Baff is here and on the kitchen table. This time tomorrow I'll be staring at a paddling pool in my back garden and willing the sun to come out.

For those of you who don't know, on Saturday along with my friend Pippa aka RedRoseMummy I will be in my garden getting into a paddling pool full of jelly, in the (no doubt) rain and cold, in the name of Comic Relief. The kids will be able to pay us to throw jelly at us, Pippa's going to read a book 'The Jelly That Wouldn't Wobble' by Angela Mitchell and we're going to try and stay in the pool until she's finished. My partner will be filming the event for posterity and mass humiliation.

However it goes, what it'll definitely be is cold. It'll be blinking freezing. There was a thick fog this morning, and it's barely gone now. We've had a frost the last 3 nights and the weather forecast is not being very kind to us after last weekend's beautiful sunshine and positively balmy 11degree temperatures. If you haven't yet sponsored anyone for this years Comic Relief, we'd love to beat our target, and as I type this, we're nearly there... if you've already sponsored or given your kids half your purse to wear their own clothes at school for a day, just send us some warmth. Blow hot air over towards North Manchester, we'll be very grateful....thank you

You can sponsor us on our Red Nose Day Giving Page

Thursday 7 March 2013

New Look

We have two teenage girls. I have spent plenty of hours in New Look, mainly watching the girls drool over potential outfits and listening to their carefully worded arguments as to why they absolutely need two new tops rather than one. They can both shop for hours (days?) and thankfully at their age we can leave them to it and come back when they've whittled their choices down to less than half the shop, or at home we can direct them to the PC and they can browse in comfort and leave all 47 windows open ready for the negotiations when they're done.

 Both of our girls are very slim and fair, but have gone in different directions where clothes are concerned, so our 'girly' girl would choose a pretty Teens Pink Ditsy Floral Hudson Button Front Dress costing £17.99, and our 'rock chick skater' girl  would be more likely to opt for something like the Teens Stone Nerd Pug T-shirt at £6.99.

New Look isn't just for teens though, and for me they stock loads of pretty plus size tops which (to my delight) are not based on tents or huge prints. I'm short with a large chest and a tummy that's still suffering from 2 years with a hernia (and the aftermath of 5 pregnancies) so need big tops and smaller skirts. I have always been able to find something suitable in New Look that is within my budget.

I love this years loose tops with the feminine touches around the neckline and sleeves, and the baggy lower half which helps hide my tummy. This Inspire 2 pack of Red and Black Frill Sleeve Gypsy Tops is also incredibly reasonable at £12.99 for the pair, or the plum version (which is my real favourite) is £7.99.

I'd team it with a maxi skirt such as the Brown Ditsy Floral Print Maxi Skirt at £16.99 for casual wear and relaxed evenings, or a pencil skirt such as the Black Scuba Pencil Skirt at an amazing £7.99 for smarter or more formal occasions.

New Look also have ranges of maternity wear, clothes for younger children, designer labels and a menswear range - which includes the Black Nirvana Band T-shirt which would be ideal for either of my teenage boys, and the Khaki Zip Up Hoodie at £14.99 which will be a perfect gift for my partner for Fathers Day!

We like the convenience of online shopping and New Look offer free Click and Collect for orders over £19.99, but to avoid dragging the kids into town and paying for parking, £3.95 delivery is very reasonable if you don't manage to spend the £45 to qualify for free delivery.

This is a sponsored post