Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Expectations

Expectations are the one thing that is sure to ruin a day out or a planned event, why is this? Because nothing will ever live up to our expectations. Our expectations are full of smiles and giggles, throughout the whole day and do not involve tears, tantrums and tired children. These things seem to get forgotten when we are thinking about plans.

I love my boys to bits and I wouldn't change them for the world, but days out with them never live up to my expectations because they will cry, they will tantrum and they will be stroppy - but that is children for you and this is something that I need to factor into my expectations because once I do I will stop feeling as I do right now.

I won't go into details but we had a family evening out last night and as lovely as it was, it wasn't how I expected or wanted it to go. Finley was extremely tired as this term at school has taken it out of him and as much as he wanted to skate, he didn't want to actually skate. And the photo I wanted to get with Father Christmas didn't happen so I came away feeling a little deflated and a little guilty for feeling that way as we had really had a lovely evening. It just didn't live up to my expectations, which were fairy lights, laughter ALL the time and no tantrums. But I need to remember we had a good time despite this and the boys loved time with Mummy and Daddy.

This is something I tend to do a lot of the time and I put myself under a lot of pressure to make things perfect. Well my perfect isn't what the boys would call perfect, they would be happy with a McDonalds and a slightly late night. But I try and go for everything which in all honesty they are not at the age to appreciate, and I'm not saying that in a bad way because I don't want them to expect lots of expensive things, I just set myself up for a fall trying to make things perfect.

I think I need to take a step back and just go with it, stop making so many plans and really stop worrying about what others think of me. I'm not saying that I don't appreciate the time we have as a family, as I really do and love every second, I am saying that I put a shadow over my own experience as I think of the expectations I had. That shadow isn't anywhere near the boys as they would have had a brilliant time and will forget the tears on the ice rink next week and just remember seeing Father Christmas and skating round with a blue seal!

Advice to myself - chill out!!


Monday, 5 December 2016

The Shack - American Inspired Meals Review

We love to try new food in our house and when it is something that we don't have to cook ourselves it is even better. When I was asked if we would like to try some products from the new The Shack range at Iceland I accepted and was excited to give them a try. A parcel arrived a few days later and to my surprise they were the meals, all 9 of them! This would keep us going for a while.


The all looked really tasty and as it happened that evening I was going to a girl friends house for some food and wine. I suggested that I took some of the food round for us all to try so that I could get a few opinions on what the food was like. That evening we tried the Chicken, Waffle & Buffalo sauce, Smokey House Beef Burrito, Chilli Beef Wedges and the Chicken Fajita. They are really easy to cook, you can either chose to oven cook them or use the microwave, depending on how speedy you want your meal. We chose to oven cook them which took out 45 minutes for all of them to be cooked at the same time. My favourite of that night had to be the Chicken, Waffle & Buffalo Sauce as I have quite a sweet tooth and it was nice to try something a little bit different. The chicken and waffle went together really well and the sauce just added some sweetness to the meal. The girls also agreed this was their favourite too. We all tried the others and liked them but they all do have a little bit of a kick to them with the spiciness of them.

I loved really enjoyed the Smokey House Beef Burrito but I think if I had had a bit of our cream with it, it would have taken away the kick of the spice in it. The other meals we have been trying over the last few weeks and we really like them for convince as, with the above meal, they are simple and easy to cook when you want proper meal but don't fancy cooking something. I really liked the Mac & Jack and it was so cheesy, but again with a little bit of a kick. The Ultimate Burger was a bit hit as it has the pulled pork and the brioche bun with I think just make a burger amazing!

We really enjoyed all the meals that we were sent, if a little bit on the spice side. I would recommend these meals to anyone that wants a taste of America at home, but if you aren't a fan of spice I don't think these meals would be for you. The instructions on the packaging is very straight forward so they are very easy to follow.

It was really nice to try something different for our teas over the last few weeks as we tend to eat the same foods every week, so the change was nice.

* We were kindly sent The Shack meals through to review. All opinions are 100% my own.*


Saturday, 3 December 2016

The Saviours - Mummy Friends

These people are your saviours as a parent. They are the people you can moan to and be met with a 'me too' which can make your whole day that much better. They are the ones who will silently sit there while you child has the biggest tantrum in the biggest shop and not judge you, they will laugh with you about it later or put their arm around you when the tears start to flow.

Without my mummy friends I really don't know what I would have done with myself the last 5 years. They have been there in my darkest hour as a parent and they have also been there on my brightest days when parenting isn't all that bad. They don't judge me when I am having to tell off the boys for the whole day when they aren't listening or when one of the boys has done something to upset their child. They know exactly what to say when I need it and they also know when to say nothing. They will stand by my side and hold my hand when melt downs are happening and they will hug when me when I have tears of joy.

We moan together, we cry together, we shout at our children together and we drink a hell of a lot of tea together, maybe even some wine once the kidlets are in bed. The ones that you can tell how horrible your children are being and how infact you don't like them at that moment and don't judge, are the awesome ones. And the ones that tell you the same back are just friends for life!

I have mummy friends who I see almost everyday and I call them my family, and I have mummy friends who I see once in a blue moon but nothing changes. We are all each others rocks and we all understand each other. I have lost track of the amount of times that I have said sorry for the boys behaviour and my outburst, and we still get together next time, and most of the time laugh about the last time.

We have an understanding of each other and know when we can tell the others children off. Not in the sense of a real telling off but the 'um, don't think you should be doing that.' My mummy friends are there when I need a babysitter for that parents evening or that doctors appointment. I had one friend once organise for her husband to pick up her daughters from school so that she could sit with the boy so that I could go to the doctors with the most awful ear ache.

I have had some mummy friends since Finley was born and then there are the ones that I have met along the way. My very best friend is someone I met 3 years ago when Noah and her little one were very tiny. We met and hit it off instantly and now we are inseparable and she is my sane. We do things with the kids and without the kids and all I can say is, if you get in our way then goodness help you!

There are mummy's that I would now class as friends that I only met 7 weeks ago on the school playground. We talk about the kids and there isn't much else we have ventured into just yet but we have had the 'me too' conversation so they are one like me, a mummy just trying to do their best. Mummy friends are awesome and you know the true ones as they are there through the bad parenting days as well as the good.



Thursday, 1 December 2016

December Running Streak

I may be mad but I am going to be taking on a challenge in December along with a few others from my running group - a December running streak!

Now I accepted this challenge a week or so ago before the weather turned ultra cold so I may be regretting it a little but I will do this. My thought behind accepting it was that it would give me motivation to run throughout December, even when it gets cold and I just can't really be bothered to get out there. This will make sure that I do.

I have a half marathon in February and I am also toying with the idea of booking a marathon in April so I need to up my running anti and not let my fitness slip during the festive period. Thankfully there are a few others that will be doing it with me so that I have the motivation and support from them to get me up and out the door. Also it will mean that I can have the one more mince pie and that extra glass of milled wine!

Already I am wondering how I am going to fit in a run some days but the minimum to run is 1 mile so it may have to be some early morning runs with the alarm being set at 6am and some late night runs once the boys are in bed.

Lets do this!!


Christmas Is My Favourite Time Of Year

We are finally here, December 1st 2016 and I honestly couldn't be more excited! I have always loved Christmas, even before we had the boys, but since they came into our lives it has been so much more special and it has made the meaning of Christmas a lot more meaningful. The 1st December also means the arrival of Sausage the Elf - which is when the boys really know Christmas is on it's way.

They are both at such a lovely age this year that they are both understanding Christmas as they can really get into the Christmas spirit with us, also the bribery of Father Christmas watching is a brilliant one - I love December!

This year is also extra special because it is going to be our first Christmas in our new house and we are also spending it here with family. We get to wake up on Christmas morning and not worry about travelling but still know that we have loved ones around us to spend the day with. We are also close enough to Mr C's family that we can just walk up the road after lunch and celebrate with them too. This Christmas has been a long time coming and I couldn't be more excited.

I have finished my Christmas shopping, I know sorry, as I wanted to be able to enjoy December and all the things we have planned without having to worry about buying presents around our plans. I have been very strict this year with presents that we have for people and have made sure we stick to a strict budget, we also haven't gone mad with the boys presents as from previous years we know that it just gets too much for them. What I have done is picked the presents carefully so that I know each one will be loved and appreciated.



Our Christmas celebrations started last weekend when we went with a few friends to a local Christmas market. It was really lovely and got me into the Christmas spirit with the help of mulled wine! Our family celebrations will kick off tomorrow where we will go to our towns late night shopping event. This is pretty exciting as it will be our first one and we have heard just how magical it is, Finley has also entered a colour competition that a local business is running so finger crossed for him.

We have plans to make our own gingerbread house, visit father Christmas, go to an enchanted Christmas lights event, go ice skating along with lots of other festive activities. It is such a magical time of year and we are throwing ourselves into the spirit feet first.

Last years Father Christmas

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Keeping Safe With Scooti Lights - Review & Competition

The boys are obsessed with their scooters, wherever we go they will come, even if it is just a quick trip to the supermarket. I don't complain as they make the journey a lot quicker and make little legs a lot less tired than if they were talking. Saying this with the nights drawing in, it is getting darker a lot earlier and sometimes we are still out when it is dust and the light isn't that great. This is where Scooti Lights come in!


When I was contacted by Buggi Lights and asked if the boys would like to review their Scooti Lights my obvious answer had to be yes. They arrived within a few days and the boys were so excited that we had to get them fitted to the scooter and try them out immediately. They are super stylish in a fun ladybird design and art wearing, a must when it comes to children and scooter accessories I believe.


They are so easy to fit and can be done in seconds. We decided the fit them onto one of the handles to the scooter but they have a loop in them which means that it can go up the main pole and sit in the middle of the handle bars. And just like the fitting, operation of them is so simple which is great when you have a 3 & 5 year old working them. There are three settings, slow flashing, fast flashing or constantly on and to make them do this you just have to push down on the top of them and then touch them again to go to the next setting.


There are four colours to choose from - blue, green, pink or red. We were sent the blue with orange spot ones which go brilliantly with the boys scooter and as they are the same colour there was no fighting over them. Batteries are included and have 150 hours of battery life, so lots of hours of safe scooting fun to be had in the dark.

The Scooti Lights retail at a brilliant price of £9.99 .

Buggi Lights have kindly given one lucky reader to chance to win a red Buggi Light! To enter click on the Rafflecopter link below - Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competiton terms and conditions

UK residents only.
A winner will be chosen at random via rafflecopter.
There will be one winner.
Competition starts at 12am on 30/11/16 and ends 12am on 07/11/16.
The winner will be announced within 2 days of the competition closing.
The winner has 7 days to claim their prize. If the winner fails to claim their prize within 7 days an alternative winner will be chosen.

* We were kindly sent a Buggi Light to review. All opinions are 100% my own *

Monday, 28 November 2016

Mr Tumble With Lights And Sounds Review

Mr Tumble from Something Special has always been a huge hit in this house, especially with Noah. Whenever Mr Tumble, or Justin, comes on the tv he will jump with excitement and sit quietly watching him. Thank you CBeebies! It is such an interactive show and teaches children so much. I saw a tweet on Twitter a few weeks back asking for blogger to review some Mr Tumble products so I had to put myself forward, knowing the smile on Noah's face for anything Something Special related. We were kindly sent a Mr Tumble Lights and Sounds super-soft toy.


And as expected Noah's face was just a big smile with some squeals. He was instantly out the box and having cuddles on the sofa, he has also been taken to bed every night since.


To work the toy you press Mr Tumble's hand and you hear phrases as well as his bow tie lighting up. Mr Tumble is also carrying his own iconic spotty bag which Noah has loved opening and finding little things to fill it. There are lots of different textures to Mr Tumble for little ones to explore, as well as his super-soft hair!

Noah loved hearing Mr Tumble say phrases which he hears him say on the tv, for Noah it was like Mr Tumble coming to life in our living room! The toy also isn't too big so Mr Tumble has come out with us on a few trips to places, he also fits nicely into one of Noah's bag so that he doesn't get dropped and dirty.

The Mr Tumble with Lights and Sounds retails at an RRP of £19.99.

* I was kindly sent the above product. All opinions are 100% my own.*

Saturday, 26 November 2016

We Are In This Together

Last weekend I had some time child free doing things for me, Christmas shopping with my Mum & Nan on Saturday and then Sunday morning I did a local 5 mile race. Obviously before children I would have just gone off and done these things without thinking but with children you always need to plan. I have always found I don't have to ask Mr C before I organise these things, he just knows he will have the boys and that is the way it should be - We are in this together.

On Saturday I was having a stress about the fact that I have done nothing for Christmas when Mr C suggested I go out with my Mum & Nan and do some Christmas shopping. My first thought was 'but you'll have to have the boys' as there is no way I can take them shopping, but then I realised this is a ridiculous thought as he is their daddy and the parenting responsibility is on us both. When Mr C goes out, he just knows that if we have no plans already that he can go out and that is the same for me. If we have plans together then we will arrange babysitters but we both know that if one of us is out that the other is going to be with the boys.

And I know this subject has been big in the blogging world but I totally agree with the 'Dads don't babysit' as Mr C doesn't babysit, he looks after the boys when I am not around and when we are together we look after them together. We have a joint responsibility for them and a joint love of them, they are our children!

When I was out on Saturday not once did I worry about the time or worry about how long I had been out. I am going to be honest, in the past I have and I've thought 'I've been a few hours now so should be getting back' but that isn't because of something Mr C has said to me, it's just because I have stupidly felt that it should be me looking after the boys at the weekend as he works all week - which is rubbish.

So this weekend it hit me that I have been being silly and that I shouldn't be thinking like this and that in fact Mr C loves his time with the boys. I think their time just the three of them is so important and Mr C gets to make decisions on his own with them and he gets to do the sole parenting while I am out. As I do butt in when we are together and I do choose things for the boys without thinking.

I am very lucky that I have the support I have from Mr C and that we parent together.


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