Monday, 2 September 2013

Sponsored Post: Walkers Mighty Lights

A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to be selected to try out some Walkers Mighty Lights crisps.  I've always enjoyed Walkers over other brands of crisps and these are no different.  With 30% less fat than a standard packet of crisps and only 114 calories in each bag, these are great for someone on a diet as well.

When the package arrived with our crisps, I was pleased to see that we were sent a multipack each of all three flavours, Cheese & Onion, Lightly Salted and Roast Chicken.  I'm not a huge fan of meaty flavoured crisps, so I stuck with the other two flavours.  I was lucky to get a look in though, as hubby was off work with the kids, they decided to dive in before I’d even got home from work!

Whilst the boys did enjoy these, I probably wouldn't put these in the little ones lunchboxes.  They are still very much into the more ‘kiddie’ crisps such as Quavers or Wotsits.  These would be perfect for my teenager or even my lunch though.  The packaging is ideal for any age group, so wouldn't look out of place in any lunchbox. 

I found the crisps tasted good.  The Lightly Salted was just that and was not too salty like you can sometimes find with some brands.  The Cheese and Onion were not too strong and didn’t leave a bad aftertaste.  They had a nice crunch to them and I think that is partly to do with the fact that they are crinkle cut crisps.  I don’t know what it is about crinkle cut, but they always seem to taste better than normal crisps and always have a better crunch!  As an on/off dieter, these are perfect to keep in my drawer at work for when I get peckish, without the guilt of all the calories.

In asking hubby what his opinion was on the crisps, he said that they were noticeably less greasy than a standard bag of crisps, but he didn't feel that the fact that they were low fat compromised the taste at all.

I also asked my eldest what he thought and he said that in his opinion, the Lightly Salted tasted a bit like Salt & Vinegar; however, I think that could be more to do with the fact that he’s not that keen on salted flavoured crisps!  When asked if he would be happy to take these as part of his lunch, his answer was a definite yes.

So, I guess the biggest question would be… would I recommend them to other people?  Well, in short yes.  They are perfect for all the family, including the fusspots, they taste good, they are lower in fat than a standard bag of crisps and they aren't too greasy.  Having checked the supermarkets, they are also a decent price as well.

Jackie. x

Discloser: This is a sponsored post and we were sent this product to try for free.  This doesn't affect our opinion and all comments are our own.

Friday, 9 August 2013

I'm still here!!

Oh my goodness, I can't believe how long it's been since I last blogged! 3 months!!  I wish I could say loads of things have been happening in my life since then, but sadly it's been mainly work!  We have had time for some fun though.  

Back in June, PJ was selected to represent the school district for the county trials in triple jump.  He did really well and came in 3rd place overall.  Although he didn't get a place in the county team, I am so proud of him for getting that far.  At sports day last month he also went on to win 2 silver & 2 gold medals in different athletics events. :-)

Last month hubby and I took a whole weekend off from being mum and dad and went down to Wales for a friends wedding without the kids!  I don't know if I was more worried or excited about the prospect of leaving the boys at home with my sister for a whole weekend, but when it came to it, we all had a great time.  

The wedding was beautiful and it gave me and hubs a great opportunity to really spend some time together while the boys had a blast at Chessington with my sisters.  On the Sunday, me and hubby took a stroll down the Mumbles and had some fun in the arcade at the pier.  We also stopped off for an infamous Verdi ice cream as well.

The week after the wedding was my sister's baby shower.  It was organised by our friend Sarah, who did a great job of it all.  As well as a fab cake and decorations, she had us sniffing nappies to guess the smell (luckily all chocolatey products, but we weren't too sure at first!!), using our taste buds to try and guess the baby pudding and also our artistic skills on designing a bib for the baby.  I think my sister had a great day and we are all now waiting (im)patiently for the little one to arrive!

Other than the fun and games we have been having, we have also had some appointments through for Aled.  We finally have an appointment for an ADOS test for next week with Aled.  Hopefully we will finally get the diagnosis that we need for him.  His behaviour both at home and at school has taken a turn for the worse and the tantrums and stubbornness is becoming very challenging for all involved.

Noah is set to celebrate his 4th birthday at the end of the month, so I am busy planning his Spiderman party.  He also starts full time school in September, which is something that I am both happy and sad at.  It is exciting that he is going to school full time, but at the same time, I feel sad that my baby is growing up so fast!

Well, I'm sure I have bored you enough now.  I will do my best not to leave it three months until my next update!

Jackie. x

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Review: Walkers Hoops & Crosses

Last week we came back from our weekend away to find a red card from the postman informing us they have tried to deliver a parcel.  When I got the chance to get down the sorting office, I was very excited to find a very interesting looking package.  I couldn't wait to open it up and was surprised to find this cheeky little monkey looking after a packet of Walkers Hoops and Crosses. 

Each bag of Hoops and Crosses only has 85 calories, making them good for those watching their weight and if your worried about feeding your child crisps, you can be assured that they are made from wholegrains and don't contain any artificial colours or preservatives.

I had planned on sharing the packet of crisps around the family, but Noah claimed them as his own as soon as he saw them!  Luckily, I did manage to steal a couple from him so that I could have a taste as well!  I'm not normally a fan of Roast Beef flavoured crisps, but the flavouring of these were not too strong, so I quite enjoyed them.  If I had them in a different flavour I'm sure I would love them even more.

Hoops & Crosses currently come in three flavours, Roast Beef, Prawn Cocktail and Salt & Vinegar.  All of the flavours are suitable for vegetarians.  I'm a fan of Salt & Vinegar and Prawn Cocktail crisps, but Aled is more of a Cheese/Cheese & Onion boy. 

I thought that the packaging is probably aimed more towards kids, but it's not so babyish that it would stop me from having them in my own lunch box, although at the age of 14, I think PJ would prefer more 'grown up' crisps in his.  Noah would have no fuss with these for his lunch or as a snack, but I do think the flavour options would put Aled off at the moment.  I may have to purchase a bag of the other flavours to see what his opinion of them would be.

All in all, I was pretty happy with these crisps and I would buy them again, although I would like to see more of a variety of flavours available.

Jackie. x

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the views and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Party Time!!

On Friday we celebrated my middle son's 5th birthday.  It's mad to think that it's been 5 whole years since he barged his way into the world 5 days before my planned c/section date!  Creating drama from the start with a prolapsed cord and being rushed into theatre for an emergency c/section, sometimes it feels like I haven't stopped with him.  Still, I wouldn't have him any other way!

On Friday my mum and sisters came round and we had a bit of a family tea party.  We bought Aled some games to go with the second hand Nintendo DS that my mother gave him.  We thought it would be funny to give him the games before the DS.  Along with the DS, my mum also gave Aled a little case to keep his games in and an embroidered t-shirt.  My sister Susan gave him a t-shirt she brought back from South Africa and my sister Helen gave him a Lego Darth Vader torch.

After some snacks, we brought out the cake.  Aled is really into the Lego Batman game at the moment, so I baked a rectangular and a round cake and hubby shaped and decorated it to look like the character Harley Quinn from the game.  Judging from Aled's face, I think hubby did a good job!!

Yesterday we had a birthday party with some of Aled's friends.  As the boys are huge fans of Lego and of Legoland, we decided to hold the party at the Legoland Hotel.  On booking, I checked what was included in the price and although at first glance, it appears quite pricey, I was surprised at just how much you get for your money.  We got 2 hours in the hotel restaurant, table decorations, a buffet for the children, party bags and the cake!  When you think about adding that all up for a standard party in a hall, you would be looking at roughly the same cost, so I thought this was fantastic value.

Having already been pleased with my choice of booking the party here, I didn't expect to be completely bowled over with what we received!!  We got up to the restaurant and was shown to our own cornered off section of the restaurant.  One of the most child friendly things that the restaurant has (other than the play area in the middle of it) is the tablecloths.  They are like a giant colouring in sheet and with crayons on the table, the kids got stuck in! 

We then let the kids head off into the play area.  They all had a great time running around and with Xbox's set up with Lego games, the boys were in their element!  Our host was always around making sure that we were happy with everything and even offered teas and coffees for the adults.  So often at children's parties the parents are forgotten, so this was a really nice touch. 

When I gave the nod, the food was brought out.  I have been to parties at soft play centres before and have never been that impressed with the spread, but this one was fantastic.  There was plenty there to eat for not just the kids, but also for the adults as well.  I had booked for 12 children but only 9 turned up, but even with 9 kids and 6 adults there was still loads left over!

After the kids had finished, we let them go back to play.  Hubby took some of them to the outside play area and they had a great time running around out there.  Before we knew it, it was time for the cake.  Our host came out with about 5 other members of staff and we all sung happy birthday to Aled.  The cake not only looked fantastic, but I can confirm that it also tasted wonderful as well!

The cake was then taken off to be cut up for the party bags, which were also provided as part of the package.  Inside the party bags, we had a Lego mini-figure and Legoland pencil, notebook and rubber.  We did add to it a little by putting in a bag of Haribo and box of raisins. 

I would like to say a huge thank you to Legoland for making my son's party such a fantastic one!  I would recommend them completely to anyone considering where to have a birthday party in the local area.  

Jackie. x

Saturday, 11 May 2013

30 years ago..... #SpecialK30 Linky Challenge

Last week I was sent a box of Special K to try out the new recipe.

After 30 years Kelloggs have changed the recipe to the ever popular Special K.  In using the wholegrain and adding an extra grain to the mix, Special K tastes even better than before.  

I'm always sceptical when I see brands release a 'better than ever' version of a product and tend to think 'yeah right', but this time I have to agree.  The new taste Special K does have a nicer taste to it and even better, it doesn't go soggy as quickly as the old recipe.  I would have liked to of tasted more the of the box I was sent, however it got hijacked by my 3 year old who wanted 'mummy's breakfast' every morning!  I'm guessing that gives it a toddlers stamp of approval as well!

In celebrating the new recipe, bloggers up and down the country have been asked how they have changed over the last 30 years as part of Britmums #SpecialK30 How You’ve Changed Linky.

Back in the 80's
Well, thirty years ago I was a toddler, just like my youngest now.  A sweet innocent 3 year old girl (yeah right!).  We had moved to the UK a year before from South Africa and was living in a small town called Carmarthen in Wales.  I'm going to be honest, I don't really remember much about being a 3 year old! 

My memories of the 80's are Kylie & Jason and Bros!  The first ever album I owned was a cassette of Kyle and I Should Be So Lucky was a favourite track.  I remember being with my friends in the playground re-enacting the songs of Grease and Dirty Dancing, all of us wanting to be Sandy or Baby. (nobody puts Baby in the corner!)

As a teenager in the nineties I loved Britpop and boy bands.  I went through various different fashion styles, sometimes all at once!  I loved watching Byker Grove, Saved by the Bell, Clarrisa Knows it All and Sister Sister.
2013 with my boys

These days it's more about Nick Jr rather than Nickelodeon with my boys.  Luckily my favourite boy band from the 90's are back...Take That and I have been able to relive my youth a few times by going to their concerts over the last few years!  

Nowadays though, I am a mum to 3 boisterous boys and life is all about computer games and Lego at the moment!  Instead of the big rollercoasters of Alton Towers or Thorpe Park, I get my thrills from the kiddie rides at Legoland!

Jackie. x

This post is an entry for the BritMums/Special K “How I’ve changed Linky challenge"

Friday, 10 May 2013

Bank Holiday Madness

Last weekend we took advantage of the long weekend and headed off home to Wales to spend some time with the in-laws.

As hubby was working late on Friday, we set off Saturday morning.  We had a pretty good journey there and made it down in good time.  The first thing that has changed since we last went was that they now take card at the toll bridge!  Whilst not a huge thing, for us it means no more making sure we have cash on us before setting off!  As I tend to use card for most purchases, this is one little hassle that I no longer have to worry about!  It's just a shame I didn't know that last weekend! lol. 

We spent most of Saturday in my sister-in-laws garden enjoying the sunshine while the boys used up their energy on the trampoline.  As we don't have a garden, they loved it!  Saturday night we headed off to a friends for dinner and drinks while my niece babysat the boys.

Hubby headed off back to the boys just before midnight, while me, my sister-in-law and friend stayed up chatting until nearly 4am!!

On Sunday we headed off in search of a cafe for a hangover breakfast.  My sister-in-law tells us about a great cafe and we head off towards the Mumbles.  As we get closer, hubby asks where the cafe is, to which sister-in-law tells us it's nowhere near where we are!! It turns out she thought we were heading down to the pier, then going for breakfast afterwards!  As we promised the boys some food by the beach, we
decide to head off down to Swansea Marina instead.  We find a fab little cafe and had some food.  The kids meal included an ice cream, to which I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was homemade!  We spent the rest of the afternoon mooching around the Swansea Waterfront Museum.  While the boys were bored fairly quickly, I could have spent hours in there.  They have a twitter quiz in which you get tweeted questions and have to find the answers in the museum.  I love this bit of interactivity at the museum and would love to go back. 

On Monday we headed off for a short walk alongside the beach and then to the LC2 for an afternoon of swimming.  As hubby had forgotten to pack his swimming trunks, he headed off to the town centre to find a birthday pressie for Aled.  This was the first time that I've ever really taken the boys swimming, so I was a bit nervous as to how they would be.  Aled was straight in and loved it, but Noah was a little bit nervous of the pool.  Once he was wet and in the pool though, Noah loved it and was soon running around and going down the kiddie slide.  

All to soon though, it was time to go home.  We had a lovely, fairly relaxed bank holiday weekend and even had some great weather to go with it!

Jackie. x

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

May Photo Challenge

During my last blog challenge, I came across a lovely group of bloggers based in the area that I live.  Today, while scrolling through Facebook, I came across this Photo Challenge set by one of my fellow Berkshire Bloggers for the month of May.

Being one who loves a bit of a challenge, I have decided to take part in this, but as I've already proven, I can be a bit rubbish at keeping up with blog challenges.  Therefore, I have decided to take part in this challenge over on Instagram with a weekly round up on here. 

So, keep an eye on Instagram and Twitter for #BBMPC to see mine and the other lovely ladies entries each day.  

I hope you enjoy it!

Jackie. x

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Our School Holiday So Far...

Don't you just love school holidays?  For the working parent, the drive to work is quick and stress free and for the stay at home parent, the option to get up when you want and not have the usual morning rush is great.

I have had both of these so far during the holidays.  Last week I was working, so the boys went to the childminder or nursery and I managed to get into work early pretty much all week.  My eldest had gone on holiday to Butlins with Laura from Tired Mummy of Two as he is friends with Laura's brother, so I only had to worry about getting the two little ones ready for the day.  PJ had a great time from what he tells me.  Thank you Laura for taking him with you.

This week I am home with the boys.  We had planned to go out as a family to Legoland on Sunday, but as the boys weren't 100%, that had to be postponed until the next day.  I was a bit worried about taking them by myself on the Monday without hubby there to support me, but thankfully, the boys didn't play up too much.

We managed to check out some of the new attractions, such as the Hero Factory and we also watched our first 4D movie in The Legends of Chima.  Both of which were fantastic.  I can see that I am going to have to buy some of the Lego Hero models for Aled's upcoming birthday!  I was really impressed that the boys kept their 3D glasses on throughout the whole movie.  Both the boys were fasinated with the movie and I caught Noah reaching out to try to touch the characters when the appeared to be really close!  I was a little bit worried with how Aled would react to the 4D element of the movie, but when the 'rain' and 'snow' came down, he loved it.  In all the times we've been to Legoland, I can't believe this is the first time that I've taken the boys in to the Imagination Theatre!

We also discovered that Noah is now well over 1m tall, meaning that he can go on some of the bigger rides.  I couldn't wait to get the boys onto Pirate Falls.  I think the picture speaks for itself!

Enjoying a milkshake
Yesterday we had some medical appointments to go to, so not as much fun.  After a bit of rushing around first thing due to the boys letting us have a lie in, we head off to PJ's CAHMS appointment.  The sessions are going really well and I'm positive that at the end of his treatment PJ will be in a
much better place.  As PJ's sessions are 1-2-1 with the therapist, I took the little ones off for a donut and milkshake (well, mocha in my case).

As soon as PJ was out of his appointment, we then had to dash off to Windsor for Aled's check up at the eye hospital.  It wasn't all good news for Aled though as after 6 months of wearing his glasses, his weak eye hasn't improved as much as it should have.  Therefore, Aled now has to wear an eye patch for three hours a day.  Thankfully, he is at a great age where we can tell him that
'Pirate Aled'
he's like a pirate and he is happy with this.  I also know that there is a girl in his class who wears a patch, so it's not something that is strange to him.  The box of patches that we have been given is great and there are 5 different fun designs on them, so he has a choice of which one to wear every day.  Yesterday he wore the blue with aeroplanes and today a red one with dragons.

For the rest of the week, we have a trip to the airport to pick up my mum tomorrow and then a playdate with a friend at the new soft play centre that has opened up in my town.  I'm also looking forward to our predicted warm day on Sunday and will hopefully manage to get out again then.

I hope you are having just as much fun as we are this Easter holiday!

Jackie. x

Sunday, 31 March 2013

#31DayMarch - Day 31

So, here we are at the end of the challenge.  I feel like I've failed terribly at this challenge!

Day 31: Self Portrait and Explain What You Liked Most About This Challenge.

This is me, right now, enjoying
a lazy Easter Sunday morning!
I have really enjoyed this challenge.  Now that I'm working full time, I have found it much harder to blog, but this gave me a reason to keep coming back to my blog, even if it was erratically!

I have enjoyed reading the other blogs in the challenge and have even found a local bloggers group from it!  I have also enjoyed the different outlooks on life and the different backgrounds.  I love that with challenges like this one, a group of people who wouldn't normally mix with each other all have this in common.  It's a great way to meet new bloggers and to read blogs you wouldn't normally come across.

I would like to thank Tiffany for hosting this blog challenge.  I have loved posting up with you every chance I could. :-)

Jackie. x

Saturday, 23 March 2013

#31DayMarch - Days 22 & 23

Day 22: What Do You Do When You're Home All Alone?

Well, as a working wife and mother, this is a very rare occurrence   I am often on my own in the evenings with the kids in bed and hubby has gone out.  Does that count?

On those evenings (usually once a week), I will catch up on my soaps.  I tend to record them during the week and try to catch up on a Friday night and over the weekend.

Before I started working full time, I would get a couple of hours to myself each morning while Noah was at nursery.  Those mornings were filled with doing any errands that I were harder do while having the boys under my feet, such as the weekly shopping or doing the dishes!

Day 23: Do You Have A Hobby?

I guess technically I do.  I obviously write my blog, which can be put down as a hobby.  I also love to read.  I am taking part in a #50Books2013 reading challenge through Goodreads and with Mama Owl.  I've gotten a bit slack with my reading and have only just finished my 7th book of the year!  I really need to sort that out if I want to hit my target of 50 by the end of the year!  I am also logging my reading progress with a short book review on my other blog.

As well as the blogging, reading and of course watching soaps on tv, I play darts on a weekly basis. I play for a local women's team.  For us, it's more about getting out once a week and having a laugh.  If we win, then it's a bonus!  I'm not a great player, but I was pretty pleased with myself when I scored 100 with 3 darts on Tuesday!  I just need to work on my adding up now for when I have to do the scores.  We're not allowed to use calculators, so it has to be done in your head, which I really struggle with!

So, what are your hobbies?  Don't forget to pop by Tiffany's blog to see the other entries for today's linky!

Jackie. x

Thursday, 21 March 2013

#31DayMarch - Day 21: What's Your Biggest Fear?

I am such a big old scaredy cat and I'm scared of quite a few things.  My sister has actually found it quite amusing that I get scared at so much.  I get very claustrophobic in tight crowds and hate being on a crowded tube train.  A mixture of crowds and enclosed space really freaks me out.  We went out to London for the day back in January and I ended up having a small panic attack from going on the tube.  I also hate downgoing escalators.  I'm ok with ones going up, but the ones going down really freak me out.

I've always been afraid of heights, but the last few years I realised that it's more a fear of falling that I have.  If I'm on a secure surface (and can't see down and nowhere near the edge), then I'm fine being at heights.  When I went to South Africa last year, my sister got married on top of Table Mountain.  I loved being up there and looking at the view, but couldn't go anywhere near the edges.

I'm also scared of insects and bugs.  They really freak me out.  Along with spiders, that includes ants, bees, moths, beetles.  Near enough all creepy crawlies!

But, I think just like millions of mothers out there, my biggest fear is something happening to my children.  We've already had to deal with my 14 year old getting mugged, which was awful and still affects us today.  If we ever had to deal with a major illness or worse, I don't know if I could find the strength to cope with that.

Jackie. x

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

#31DayMarch - Days 19 & 20

Well, here I am playing catch up again!

Day 19: List 5 Blogs You Read on a Regular Basis and Why?

Only 5, really?? lol.  Ok, so my top 5 blogs would be (in no particular order):

  1. Thirty Mummy.  It is partly through Lisa that I first became interested in blogging.  She wrote on our baby forum group about her blog and I loved reading it and the idea of writing a blog.  Through the blog and also the forums, I feel like I know Lisa just as a friend, even though I have never met her. 
  2. Views from The Spectrum.  This is another baby forum friend of mine, this time from my other son's birth group.  Stacie writes mainly about her experiences with her 4 year old ASD son.  Having a son the same age who is also possibly Autistic, I find Stacies experience and advice invaluable. 
  3. Tired Mummy of Two.  I started reading this blog as she is the sister of my 14 year old's best friend.  The more I read of Laura's blog, the more I was hooked.  Laura is an amazing mum to two little girls, one of which is fighting against Leukaemia. 
  4. Mama Owl.  I 'met' Julie through a blog challenge that I took part in last year.  I have been reading it ever since.
  5. Ok, I'm going to cheat here as I'm torn between two blogs, so I'm going to list them both.  BusyBeeMummyBex and Shay & Family are both mums from the same forum as myself and Lisa.  Again, through reading their blogs, I was inspired to start writing mine.  The four of us all took part in the May Blog Challenge in 2012 along with Julie. 

Day 20: What Do You Collect?

These days I don't really collect much any more.  I used to collect Piggins and I still have some put away somewhere.  Every birthday or Christmas I would get a new pig, but when the little ones came along and we had to baby proof the flat, they ended up getting put away.

I do like to get a fridge magnet when we go somewhere new, so I guess you could say that I collect them now.  I have to keep my 'good' or breakable magnets at the top of my fridge freezer though, as the boys love to play with them!

Jackie. x

Monday, 18 March 2013

#31DayMarch - Day 18: Where Are You Happiest?

If I had to choose one physical place in the world, then I would say Cape Town, South Africa.  Since moving to the UK at the age of 2, I have only been back three times, but I feel so at home there.  Alot of that is to do with the fact that I have loads of family out there and I think it is more their presence that makes Cape Town such a happy place for me, although the sunshine might have loads to do with it as well!

Cape Town - Photo taken from Table Mountain
Even at home here in the UK, I would say just being with my family makes me happy.  Having suffered from PND the last few years, I sometimes forget this, but seeing my boys happy makes me happy.

Don't forget to pop by Tiffany's blog to see what makes everyone else happy in the link up!

Jackie. x

Sunday, 17 March 2013

#31DayMarch - Day 17: Why and When Did You Start Blogging?

Well, I have been absolutely rubbish at this blog challenge haven't I??!!  I was going to do a catch-up post with all the days that I have missed, but decided that would be too long, so I will just pick up where we are at now.

Well, I started blogging a year ago (almost to the date)!  My first 'official' post was on the 19th March last year!  A couple of my online baby forum friends write blogs and after reading their blogs I felt inspired to do one of my own.  Initially it was somewhere to post about my crafty makes and bakes, as I felt I was bombarding my facebook friends with them (not that it stops me, but I can go into more detail here).  I was also on a diet at the time and hoped that my blog would give me the push I needed to continue.  Unfortunately, the dieting didn't work out for me and I ended up only doing 1 weigh in post!

Through my blog and mostly through the Blog Challenge I took part in last May, I have found some great blogs/bloggers that I love to read.  There is a whole community of bloggers that I never knew about before.  Now my blog is a bit more random and I just tend to write about anything and everything that is going on in my head!

Jackie. x

Silent Sunday

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Sharks and Dinosaurs

A week last Sunday we decided to take the boys into London and visit the Natural History Museum.  The boys are dinosaur mad and one of hubby's colleagues had told him all about the dinosaur section of the museum.  As we were going into London anyway and having Merlin Annual Passes, I really wanted to visit the Sealife Centre as well.  So, off we went with the boys being told that we are going to see some dinosaurs at the museum and to find Nemo and sharks at the Sealife centre.

One of my worries was how the boys would be on the train and tube.  I am very nervous around the tube and the last time I went into London with my mum and sisters I had a mild panic attack while on the tube.  I needn't of worried though, the boys absolutely loved it and enjoyed the adventure.  They were hopping on and off the escalators with no fear at all!

After a bit of checking on our phones as to which station we needed (for Scout leaders hubby and I aren't very good at advance planning!! lol), off we go.  We went to the Natural History Museum first and after getting off at South Kensington station, we realised that there were two entrances to the museum.  We went to the first one that we could see off Exhibition Road.

Still, we had a good morning.  The little ones didn't really get most of what the displays were about as we worked our way through the Red and Green Zones, but they enjoyed pressing buttons on the interactive displays.  I found the fossils fascinating, but didn't get much of a chance to fully explore.  The boys all went off to the Creepy Crawly area and I got the chance to rest my feet a little.  By the time we'd reached the central hall, the boys were getting a little bored.  They loved the Diplodocus skeleton there.  It was at this point that we realised that we had used the wrong entrance for the dinosaur display.  As there was a queue waiting to go in and the boys were getting a little restless, we decided to leave it for another day.  

After a search for the nearest Maccy D's, we set off to the Sealife Centre.  As annual pass members, we bypassed the ticket desks and went straight into the Sealife Centre.  The downside to this was that we didn't get a visitors map, so were going round a little blindly.  The first thing that we came to was a glass flooring where you walk over the aquarium.  You then come to a lift, where you go down two floors and work your way back up.  I absolutely love aquariums and could spend hours there.  The boys however, had a more direct attitude, especially Aled.  Once he had seen something, he was ready to move on.  Quite often I found myself left behind as hubby and the boys had moved on to the next display without me!

My favourite tanks were the rays and sharks.  There is something about them that is so fascinating.  Seeing the giant turtle swimming around with sharks and rays was amazing!  The walkthough tunnel was also fantastic, but a little too short and crowded.  

All in all, a great day was had.  The boys behaved relatively well and I think even PJ had a good day!

Jackie. x

Monday, 4 March 2013

#31DayMarch - Days 3 & 4

I was doing so well, then we had a family day out yesterday and I didn't get the chance to blog.  Instead, you get two days for the price of one today!

Day 3 - What Makes You Happy

Naturally, as a parent, seeing my children happy makes me happy.  I love it when the play together with no fighting or squabbling!

Other than that, I would say getting some 'me' time.  That could be getting a couple of hours of total peace to be able to relax and read a book, or spending time with friends or family.

Day 4 - Best Childhood Memory

That one is a bit harder for me.  I can't think of any one time that really sticks out for me.  Before my dad died I remember having a really happy childhood with snippets here and there of the things that we did.  When I get together with my cousins we can talk for hours of the things we got up to as kids.

I remember going abroad on Keycamp holidays with my cousins and getting up to all sort of mischief.  One time, we had gone to Spain on a Keycamp holiday and on exploring the campsite, my cousins and I had found a gap in the wire fence to the deserted campsite next to ours.  We decided to climb through the fence and explore the other camp.  We probably would have gotten away with our adventure if my cousin hadn't cut her leg open on the fencing on the way back to our campsite!

Sorry for the short and sweet post tonight.  I worked on an extra couple of hours this evening and I am exhausted!

Jackie. x

Saturday, 2 March 2013

#31DayMarch - Day 2: Favourite Quote(s)

I've never really been big on quotes until recently.  Last year I saw a picture of a quote on Pintrest which I was determined I was going to have tattooed.  Here is my Harry Potter quote tattoo:

It says 'The ones we love never truly leave us'.  I love the saying and it's so true.

I want to get a similar style tattoo on my other foot, but with a line from Breaking Dawn saying 'In our hearts we'll always be together'.  

Jackie. x

Friday, 1 March 2013

#31DayMarch - Day 1: Self Portrait & 5 Random Facts

Day 1: Self Portrait and 5 Random Facts About Yourself

Well, it's the 1st of March, St David's Day for all my fellow Welshies and also the first day of the March Blog Challenge!

Well, as I can't draw for toffee, instead of a stick person drawing, I will post a photo of myself.  As it is St David's Day, here is a picture of me as a child in my Welsh Costume!

5 Randoms facts about me....well that's a hard one trying to find ones that I haven't already posted about before, but I will try!
  1. I have a scar on my chin from when I fell over at school and whacked my chin on the tiled floor. 
  2. The first ever pop concert I went to was in 2007.  I was 27 years old, 6 months pregnant and was to see Take That's Beautiful World Tour!  I have been almost every year since to see them!
  3. My name is Jackie and I am a chocoholic!
  4. I have 3 boys, am the eldest of 3 girls, my mum is one of 3 girls, my dad is one of 3 boys and I have 3 stepbrothers!
  5. I play darts for a local women's darts team.
Well, there we are.  A little late in the day, but I managed to get the first day done!! I look forward to reading everyone elses answers. 

Jackie. x

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Liebster Award

A little while ago I was nominated for a Liebster Award from the gorgeous Shay and Family.  I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get around to it, but I am chuffed to have been chosen. :-)

The award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers who deserve acknowledgement and encouragement to keep on blogging.

The rules are as follows:

  1. List 11 facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  3. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
  4. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  5. Choose 5 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate.
  6. Go to each bloggers page and let them know about the award.

11 Facts About Me:
  1. I was born in South Africa, brought up in Wales and now live in England!
  2. I have six tattoos with plans for at least 2 more.
  3. I am a total soap addict.  Most of the time I'm playing catch up and end up watching about a weeks worth in one sitting!
  4. I hate to cook, but do enjoy baking.
  5. I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan!  In fact, one of my tattoos is a quote from The Half Blood Prince!
  6. I run a small crafting business with my mum. You can visit our Facebook page here.
  7. I have recently become an Ann Summers rep!
  8. I'm a complete chocoholic.
  9. I'm a little bit obsessed with teapots.
  10. I also write another blog dedicated to my book reviews. 
  11. I love to read & watch Vampire series, such as True Blood & The Vampire Diaries.

11 Questions from Shay and Family:

1. What, do you feel, is your biggest achievement to date?
Other than my boys, I would say completing Cancer Research's Shine 1/2 marathon Walk in 2011.  I'm not a big walker and due to having flat feet, I find it painful, so to have completed the 13.1 mile walk overnight was a huge deal for me.
2. Would you rather read the book or watch the movie?
Always the book.  If I've watched the movie first and found out that there was a book, then I will read the book.  It is very rare that the movie/programme is better.
3. What song is guaranteed to get you dancing?
I'm not a big dancer and usually have to be quite drunk to allow myself get pulled onto the dance floor.

4. What's the most exciting thing happening for you/your family this year?
I guess starting my new job is the most exciting thing happening for us this year.
5. What three words would you use to describe your blog?
Ooh, tough one.  Um, I think honest, family and fun.  At least that's what it is for me.  I'm always amazed that people are interested in reading my ramblings! lol.
6. What tv programme do you always make sure you watch/record?
As mentioned in my 11 facts, I am a huge soap fan, so Emmerdale, Corrie and Eastenders are always on series link.  If for any reason that fails, then I will watch it on Catch Up!
7. One amazing meal, it can be anything in the world, what would you have?
I'm going to have to go for a 2 course meal here and would have a roast lamb dinner and cheesecake for dessert.
8. The house is on fire! You can only grab 2 things, what would you take? (excluding family & pets)
Knowing that my boys were safe, then I would have to grab my mobile phone and jewellery case.  Most of my photos are now on Facebook or Dropbox, so are easily accessible from my phone.  If I did have time to get one more thing, then it would be my fathers coffee table.  It's been with me since my first flat in 1997 and was made by my dad in his woodwork class at school, so is older than me!
9. Money and travel are no object, where in the world would you travel to?
There's no contest on this one....South Africa any day!  If I had the money and job security I would move out there in a heartbeat.
10. If you were a superhero, what would you super-power be?
Hmm, another toughie.  If I could have one super-power it would being able to fly, so that I could visit my SA family anytime I wanted.
11. What is your favourite quote?
Seeing as I have it tattooed on my foot I guess it would be my Harry Potter quote: "The ones we love, never truly leave us."  

11 Questions from MrsJC;

  1. What's the one item you can't live without?
  2. Team Edward or Team Jacob?
  3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
  4. If you could be a famous person for the day, who would you be?
  5. What's your ideal job?
  6. What's your all time favourite book?
  7. Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?
  8. What would be the best present ever?
  9. Tea or Coffee?
  10. What is your favourite childhood memory?
  11. If money was no object, what car would you buy?

5 Bloggers I nominate:

  1. Views from the Spectrum
  2. Mummy with More Than Two Point Four
  3. Motherhood or Madness
  4. The Mummy Returns
  5. Cupcake Mumma
I look forward to reading your answers ladies!

Jackie. x

Saturday, 23 February 2013

March 31 Day Blog Challenge

As mentioned a couple of posts ago, in order to try and get my blogging mojo back, I am going to take part in a 31 day blog challenge.

Back in May last year, when I was first starting out in blogging, I took part in a 31 Day Blog Challenge set by Outmumbered.  Through this blog challenge I met alot of my favourite bloggers, most of whom I still follow today.

This time I will be taking part in the challenge set by Fabulous Finds by Tiffany.  I am new to Tiffany's blog, so I'm looking forward to getting to know her and others taking part in the challenge.

Here is the challenge...

So, who's going to join up with me?

Jackie. x

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Update on Aled

Back in December I wrote a post about Aled and the fact that he may have ASD.  Well, things have gotten a little bit further with him.  With the fact that I was returning to work, I wanted to speak with the schools SENco to check on how things were going at school.  I had a very productive meeting with her and she pointed out all the good and bad things that were going on at school.  She told me that she was surprised that Aled didn't have a diagnosis as in her opinion he was showing a high volume of autistic traits.  She agreed that she would write me an observation report of what she has seen at the school.  She also gave me a copy of the most recent Speech & Language report from the assessment that was done at the school.  Although I had changed the boys address with the school, it turned out that the SENco's records hadn't been updated with our address.

A couple of weeks later, after I had started my new job, I got a call from sister.  She was told by the class teacher that I was supposed to have a meeting with the SENco and EP that morning at 10.30am.  This was the first I had heard about it (I didn't even know what she meant by the EP!).  My sister and the class teacher agreed that it was best to get the SENco to call me on my Monday.

Monday morning, I bumped into the SENco as I was dropping the boys off at the Sure Start centre.  I briefly spoke with her and it turned out that she has asked for an Educational Psychiatrist (EP) to see Aled and my permission was needed for this.  She also advised that the EP would want to speak with me about Aled. I agreed a time for the EP to call me while I was at lunch and a form was going to be put in Aled's bag for me to sign.

Later in the week I spoke with the EP.  I was asked about our home life and what my concerns were.  The EP then went on to let me know what she observed and what the class teacher and SENco had said.  It (unsurprisingly) turns out that we all have the same concern about Aled's social skills.  I advised her that Aled had a review coming up with the child development centre shortly and she kindly agreed to write up a report and email it to me for us to take.

The report was very supportive and outlined observations in his fine and gross motor skills, his 'ticks', the fact that he needs to chew things, his speech & language skills, his social understanding and skills and also his behaviour.  The report also took into account what the SENco, class teacher and I had said, even if the EP hadn't witnessed that on the day.  It also gave the actions that were agreed for the school to take to try to help Aled develop the skills he requires.

Earlier this week, Aled had his appointment with the Child Development Centre.  As I was working, hubby had to take him.  Armed with the reports from the SENco, EP and Speech Therapist and with instructions from me as to what to highlight off they went.  I am currently waiting for the report to come back, but it doesn't sound good.  The consultant has agreed that yes Aled does show autistic qualities, however, the fact that Aled is able to show affection makes him reluctant to give a diagnosis and he thinks that Aled might grow out of it!  

Neil pointed out to the consultant that we (us and the SENco) are concerned about how he will cope when he goes up to Year 1 in September if he doesn't have the help he needs and the consultant replied that maybe we should give it a term to see how he is.  I was so angry when hubby told me this!!  To me that is like the old fashioned attitude of 'chuck them in the deep end and see if they can swim!'  The consultant did show concern of Aled's tick's and did say that we do need to keep an eye on that, as it could develop into full blown tourette's.  

He did mention a test that can be done to check for autism and that if I really wanted, I can request for this to be done.  He said that if it does transpire that Aled has autism, in his opinion it would only be a mild form.  I have decided that I am going to wait for the full report to come back and will then seek the advise of the SENco as to what our next step should be.  

So, all in all, we do have the support of the school and the EP, but not the consultant.  We have our first appointment with the Occupational Therapist in a few weeks, so will see how that goes.  

Jackie. x

I'm sorry!!

Wow, I knew it had been a while since I last blogged, but didn't realise just how long it has been!!  I am so sorry!

I bet you've been wondering what's been going on, why I have abandoned you?!  Well, as I mentioned in my last blog post, I now have a full time job.  Due to childcare issues, I did have to push back my start date by a week, but life has been pretty manic since!  It turns out that this is pretty much the busiest time of year in the HR department of a theme park and my working day (and sometimes weekends) have been pretty much taken up with employment contracts!  I can't wait for the part to open and I can sit back and relax a little!

It's not been all nose to the grindstone though, last week I went on a 2 day course to learn one of the HR computer systems.  One of my colleagues came with me, as she is also new to the department and we went off to the town of Marlow for our training.  The training course was very well put and the pièce de résistance was being taken to lunch at Zizi's!  Yum yum!

Aled has settled well into the childcare setting well, however Noah is having a little trouble adjusting.  Due to the availability of my childminder, the boys have 2 days with her, 2 days in the Sure Start centre and a day at home with my sister.

I have found myself exhausted at the end of the day and most evenings I am falling asleep on the sofa by 8.30-9pm!  I never realised just how tiring it is to work full time with two little ones and a teenager!  It had seemed so easy when I was a full time working mum to PJ!

This week I decided to give everyone a bit of excitement at lunch time.  Somehow the heel of my shoe went from under me and I went flying in the staff restaurant!  A plate full of food all over the place and I managed to hit my hand on the drinks fridge and slice open my finger!  I had about three guys rush over to check if I was ok, getting me a chair to sit on, a cup of water to drink and some tissues for the blood dripping from my hand!!  I don't think I've ever had so much male attention at any one time! lol.  My colleague was called down from my department and I was taken over to the first aider.  One look at my finger and she told me it was best to get it looked at by the local minor injuries unit.  She cleaned it up a little and put a dressing on it for me.  As it was so busy, I went back to work for a couple more hours, then left work early to get it looked at.  The nurse at the minor injury unit took a look and advised that due to the way my finger had been cut, steri-strips were the best course of action.  So, I now have a finger padded out with plasters with the instructions of keeping the steri-strips dry for a week!  Not an easy task for anyone I think, especially when you have children!  Luckily I have a couple of days off, so I can rest it a little.  Even something as small as using a pen was painful!

Well, that's me up to date.  I will write up another post with an update on Aled and I have found a new 31 day blog challenge that I am looking at taking part in for March to help me get back into the blogging spirit!

Jackie. x

Friday, 4 January 2013

#R2BC - The New Year Edition

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year.  Mine was a fairly quiet one, as I've written about in my last post.

After some fantastic news yesterday, I am starting off the year in a very cheerful mood, so, without further ado, here are my Reason's to be Cheerful this week:

  • I GOT THE JOB!!!  I got the phone call at 7.30pm last night.  I was beginning to think that I didn't get it, then out of the blue, the phone call came through!  I am so stupidly excited.  I have been offered a permanent position within the HR department of the theme park at which I was working at last year.  I start on the 14th January, so I'm now in the mad panic of trying to find childcare for the boys!
  • It's a New Year, so new year, new start and all that.  I am determined to make this year a happier year, to beat my depression and to enjoy it more.
  • I have set up a Goodreads challenge to read 50 books by the end of 2013.  I am hoping to smash this target and in doing so, hopefully that will also keep me off facebook so much, as I feel that I spend way too much time on there.  I have also joined in with Mama Owls #50Books2013 linky with this and set up a brand new blog dedicated to my book challenge.
I think, for the time being, that is it for this week.  What have you got to be cheerful for this week?

Jackie. x

Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  Can you believe it, 2013 is here!  I must admit, I've had a pretty quiet holiday and didn't really get into the party spirit that much.  Hubby & I went out on Christmas Eve for a couple of drinks and ended up getting a bit sloshes, meaning that Christmas morning was spent nursing a hangover!  Thankfully, the boys didn't get us up too early, but the eldest wasn't too happy at being woken up at 7am! (If I was up, so was everyone else that morning! lol).

Other than the hangover, Christmas Day was near enough perfect.  We opened our pressies in the morning and the boys were so excited.  They loved everything that we had got them, including the eldest, so we definitely did something right this year!  My mum and youngest sister came over for an hour or so in the morning and there was another flurry of excitement.  I was really pleased with my pressies this year as well, hubby did a good job!  I got the new J.K. Rowling book - The Casual Vacancy, some Ministry of Sound headphones and a couple of Take That picture books.  My mum then gave us a joint pressie of home-made place-mats and coasters, both of which are gorgeous and my sister gave me a Baylis & Harding foot pampering set which included some slippers, foot cream and foot soak.

Christmas dinner was ok.  Hubby cooked the dinner, as he is the better chef. ;-)  In his hungover state, he did forget some of the essentials though, including the roast potatoes, roast parsnips and stuffing!  We had a three bird roast and roast lamb.  I must admit, I wasn't too keen on the three bird roast, but the lamb was gorgeous.  

During the afternoon my stepdad popped in with his 'friend'.  (He and my mum split up a few years ago).  He had with him a large bottle of pink bubbly, so we popped that open and had a couple of glasses.  That was the only alcoholic drink I had for the whole of Christmas Day!

Boxing Day we had family over for a buffet tea.  My other sister, her husband and step-son, Brandon came over along with my mum and sister.  We talked about our days and exchanged some more gifts.  I think my over-excited boys kind of scared Brandon a little! lol.  I was given a lovely long cardigan from my sister.

The 27th was another family day as we had family over from South Africa.  My Aunty Joan came over for a couple of days before joining her husband in Italy for her holiday and my cousin is also over for a couple of weeks.  We had another buffet tea and more pressies. :-)  This time I was given a South Africa beach bag, a vial of sand and seashells, which were handpicked by my cousin from her holiday home and a tea for one teapot set (which I did get rather excited by as I LOVE teapots!!).

On the 29th all of us girls (me, my mum, both sisters, aunty and cousin) went into London, where we had booked a tour of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.  Other than a mild panic attack on the tube (I hate crowded and enclosed spaces), it was a fantastic day.  The guided tour was fascinating and I would love to watch a live play at the theatre.  It was gorgeous.  After a spot of lunch, we then headed off to Portabella Market for a shopping spree.  We then topped off our evening with an Ann Summers party.  Watching my family doing a relay to put on 4 pairs of knickers (over their trousers) and then take them off starting with the bottom pair was such a funny sight!

New Years Eve was a very quiet one.  We watched 'The Hunger Games' and waited up to watch the bongs of midnight on the BBC.  I watched the fireworks on tv, which were amazing as always, and then went off to bed.

So, how was your Christmas and New Years?  Were you a party animal, or did you have a nice quiet family one as well?

Jackie. x

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Last year I took inspiration from Mama Owl's blog and took part in Goodread's Reading Challenge.  I set myself a challenge to read 25 books by the end of the year.

Bearing in mind that I didn't start until halfway through the year, I don't think I did too badly.  I managed to read a total of 21 books.  The majority of these were series books, such as the Sookie Stackhouse series and the trilogy of 50 Shades books.

This year, not one to be beaten, I have doubled the challenge figure and have set myself a goal of reading 50 books by the end of 2013.  I have decided to set up a new blog dedicated to this and will be posting updates and book reviews over at MrsJC's Book Club.  I will also be joining in with Mama Owl in her #50Books2013 link up.

Here are the books that I read during 2012:

  1. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
  2. Living Dead in Dallas -  Charlaine Harris
  3. Club Dead -  Charlaine Harris
  4. Dead to the World -  Charlaine Harris
  5. Heidi - Johanna Spyri
  6. How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff
  7. Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James
  8. Fifty Shades Darker -  E.L. James
  9. Fifty Shades Freed -  E.L. James
  10. The White Queen - Philippa Gregory
  11. The Red Queen - Philippa Gregory
  12. Dead as a Doornail -  Charlaine Harris
  13. Definitely Dead - Charlaine Harris
  14. All Together Dead - Charlaine Harris
  15. From Dead to Worse - Charlaine Harris
  16. Dead & Gone - Charlaine Harris
  17. Dead in the Family - Charlaine Harris
  18. Breaking Dawn - Stephanie Mayer
  19. A Touch of Dead - Charlaine Harris
  20. Dead Reckoning - Charlaine Harris
  21. Deadlocked - Charlaine Harris
I look forward to seeing you over on my new blog!

Jackie. x