Monday, 28 September 2015

Miffy's Adventures Big and Small - Win a Miffy Sensory plush toy

Autumn term is always a time of new and exciting things. The leaves change colour, there are conkers on the ground and the prospect of fireworks night is thrilling. For parents of pre-schoolers - and fans of Miffy - there is a new treat to look forward to in this her 60th year - I know she just doesn't look it does she ? 

A new generation of British pre-schoolers can discover the charm of the classic character, Miffy, when the new TV series Miffy's Adventures Big and Small launches on Tiny Pop on 2 October 2015, at 7pm.

Based on the storybooks by Dick Bruna, the new series marks the first time Miffy has been seen in CGI and is comprised of 52, seven minute long episodes which see Miffy and her friends exploring the exciting world around her. Simple narrative and fun songs ensure even the youngest children stay engaged throughout. 

Using Dick Bruna’s distinctive palate of bright primary colours and simple shapes, combined with plenty of space around them for a child’s imagination to roam, ‘Miffy’s Adventures Big and Small’ encapsulates the essence of Bruna’s classic books whilst bringing his characters to life on screen.

Miffy’s new series will become a key part of Tiny Pop’s evening block, Cuddle Time, which features gentle programming allowing kids, mums and dads to enjoy calmer family favourites before bedtime.

If you'd like a sneak preview take a look at this clip the lovely folks at Tiny Pop have sent me to share with you:

To celebrate the series launch I'm giving away a plush Miffy Sensory toy which is just lovely and suitable for pre-schoolers or slightly older Miffy fans like me. To enter the competition just leave a comment below naming your favourite childhood character (it doesn't have to be Miffy). The winner will be  drawn out of a hat on Monday 5th October and announced on Twitter, Facebook and here. 

And as if all that wasn't exciting enough you can also join in Miffy's Surprise Party this Friday on Twitter. See you there ?

I'm proud to be a #MiffyMum and have been working with Miffy to celebrate her 60th birthday this year.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Can eating cake cure cancer ? I'm not sure, but it probably helps.

This week I'm all about raising awareness and money for cancer charities. When I was growing up no one mentioned cancer at all and I thought it was a rare thing that only happened to other people. As time has gone on I've worked with people who have developed cancer, my aunt was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and passed away not long after. My beautiful friend Soraya was diagnosed with breast cancer, was treated for it and last year we did the Moonwalk together to celebrate her recovery. In a few weeks time I will visit the lovely Penny who was the midwife who attended the birth of Big Boy. A few years ago Penny was told she had pancreatic cancer and that her prognosis was bleak, she refused to give in and defied the odds to recover from it.

Soraya and me before the long walk 

That's why this week I'm spending a lot of time eating cake. Well, not just me. I hosted a Macmillan Coffee morning earlier in the week and all the lovely guests who attended brought cake - and barely ate any - so I had loads left over. Then today we had another coffee morning at playgroup and there was even more cake. So I have started to act as a 'cake courier.' I'm delivering cake to friends locally in return for a donation to Macmillan.

Loadsa lovely cake 

I have a personal connection to Macmillan as their nurses have cared for and supported friends and loved ones who have sadly passed away. The nurses were kind enough to attend the funerals and I know how much it meant to the family members that the care extended beyond their lives. It was also great to be able to thank the nurses for providing end of life care. I have a lot of respect for Macmillan and the work they do.

All ready to raise funds for Macmillan

On Saturday night I will be walking a half marathon through London with my lovely friend Carole to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I've been a bit under that weather for over a week so my training has taken a bit of a hit, but I've walked a full marathon before so I know I can do it. I'll be bold and brave and shine brightly for all those wonderful people I know whose lives have been affected by cancer.

If you would like to sponsor me that would be fantastic. Any amount will make such a difference and I promise that this is the last fundraising ask I will make for a while. I'm a bit done in with having done the danceathon earlier in the year and I think I'll take a break after the walk.

You never know this cake courier thing might take off :)

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Ta-daaa !! Things they are a changin'

It's been a while since I last posted. The longest break since I started actually and I can't say it was because I had nothing to write about. I have been quite poorly which didn't help and I've also been pondering on an issue that I think I've worked out a solution to. For a while now I've wanted to write a blog about our family life and more specifically how we came to be a family. The more eagle eyed among you have been kind enough to notice that I went from writing about one boy to talking about two boys. I have been circumspect about writing about how this came about partly out of privacy and also because it's been so overwhelming that I wasn't sure I'd have the words to. 
I've talked to friends and fellow bloggers about whether to start a new blog specifically about adoption, infertility and parenting a family with an adopted and a birth child. I even came up with some names for this all new blog: 

  • Even the cat is a boy (a bit sexist)
  • A rose between three thorns (too Mills & Boon)
  • Boys, boys, boys (too porno)
  • One homemade, one off the shelf (too flippant)
  • Our so called life - actually I just came up with this one and I might just keep it for later. 

Now, fun though it is to come up with blog names, finding time to write one blog can prove difficult so I wasn't convinced I'd be able to manage two. So, what I've decided is that I will continue with this blog and will use this blog to write about my family instead. I will still feature fun days out and things that we love to do. However it will also be the space where I share our journey and hopefully some information that will help anyone else who is on a similar path and has questions. 

You may notice some changes to the appearance of this blog, and the content will gradually change too. I haven't quite made up my mind whether to do a grand relaunch with balloons, fizz and a Q&A, but as I think about it I may well do. 

For now. I'm well behind on some reviews of lovely things we've been sent to try. I will be posting those interspersed with the beginnings of this new blog about my fabulous family. I hope you will stay with me and enjoy the 'new' blog. 

While it's under construction please enjoy this bit of nostalgia featuring the gorgeous Michael Hutchence in his heyday with INXS:

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Back to school, Park life and Cat napping: my week in photos.

tomatoes in a dish

On Sunday mornings I go swimming with some friends and last week the lady who gives me a lift to the pool gave me a gift of some tomatoes that her husband had grown. They were still a bit green so I put them on the window sill and now they are gorgeous and ripe. I can't wait to try these.

baby boy in foreground and big boy in background

As it was the last few days before Big Boy went to reception I decided to take the boys out for some park fun. They both wanted to take their own transport and I followed on foot. It did help tire them out though so that was great. 

Baby Boy pointing a big toy dog in shop window

Baby Boy was delighted when he spotted this enormous "oof oof" in the window of a shop near the park. He does love dogs, but I think this might be a bit on the big side for home.

Baby Boy observing a beautiful pond with ducks on it

Once Big Boy had gone to school me and Baby Boy went to feed the ducks. There is a lady who goes every day and we love to talk to her. She offered some bread for the ducks to Baby Boy and he was about to eat it when I showed him how to give it to the birds. It really is a lovely spot. 

white cat sleeping on big boy's bed with soft toys.

Being at school is tiring Big Boy out, so he needs to get his sleep. The new bedtime routine includes summoning Neo to lie with him. It is very sweet, but I have noticed that Neo is taking up more and more room. Give a cat an inch ...

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

What is my authentic self anyway ?

A different kind of Mummy
I've seen a lot being written about the 'authentic self' recently. I've been impressed to see others living their dreams or ambitions. Taking risks and making brave decisions that might not even be clear when they start out on those plans. Some of these friends have decided to travel for a year - with kids - or to pack in jobs and start a business from scratch. My personal favourite has been the friends who decided to move to Cornwall and make a new start.

I often have feelings of envy when I hear about such plans, but then I think I'm just piggy-backing onto someone else's dreams instead of thinking about my own. You see I don't actually know what or who my authentic self even is.

Is it the shouty overwhelmed Mummy ?

Is it the barely managing to do the required hours working Mum ?

Is it the fitting in as much as possible every single day multi-tasking (out of necessity rather than choice) character ?

Rare photo of me and my boys

Is it the me who swims like nothing else matters 5-6 times a week ?

The me who loves animals and is so delighted that Baby Boy does too ?

Cat time
Who teaches yoga with a genuine love and passion for making a difference for the people who trust me with their practice ?

The me that presents on the radio and doesn't mind if no one is listening so long as I get to do this one thing ?

Or maybe it's the me that I've rediscovered lately  - the one who will do anything silly or fun to make my kids laugh ?

Hubbie always jokes that I'm a real life Miss Rabbit because I've done so many different things in my life. I'm not entirely sure if that is true - I can't fly a helicopter for a start ! I am working on becoming part of the Mummy's Fire Service though.


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Where on earth did he learn to do that ?

As many parents are traumatised by their little darlings starting reception this week I feel I may have taken a lackadaisical approach to Big Boy's impending launch into full time school life. To be fair he has been at the nursery for one year and we had all the 'starting big school' drama last summer. 

He has a fab teacher this year and I hope he will be happy. I am relieved we went through all the teething issues of starting school last year as I don't think I could have coped with them now we also have Baby Boy starting pre-school settling in days this week. 

Both my boys are pretty sociable and respond well to play and learning settings. They can find things to do and will engage in imaginative play as well as interact with other children which is wonderful to see and hear about. 

What I cannot get my head round is some of the strange capabilities Big Boy seems to have.

Yesterday at football he managed to persuade Daddy to give him some money then proceeded to 'buy' a bag of crisps for 20p at the shop using what I can only imagine were wiles or menaces ! 

He's clearly destined for a life of crime or a place on the Apprentice with those negotiating skills ! 

When we were on holiday at Coombe Mill I spotted a bite mark on Baby Boy's arm and asked Big Boy if he knew how it happened. He said he'd seen the whole thing and a donkey had bitten his brother. I said that was odd as the bite marks were too small for a donkey and he said, "Oh no it wasn't a donkey, it was a chicken." When I pointed out that a chicken has a beak and not human teeth he finally admitted it might have been him who did it. 

That is a criminal level of dishonesty. He is going to be a politician at this rate ! 

His ambition has gone from being a fire officer, to a police officer, a knight and then to wanting to be Prince Hans, "because he has a sword Mummy." I was becoming suspicious that he admired duplicity and cunning a bit too much, but now he wants to reach for the status of Master Yoda. Green and grammatically challenged that path may be, but a vast improvement it is. (See what I did there ?)

On a daily basis he will invent some partial truth that he makes sound so plausible I almost want to believe him even though I know it's complete baloney. He's had a secret jelly baby eating pact with Grandpa for over a year now, they have been in cahoots without me or Hubbie knowing. That is a disturbing amount of deception right there ! 

I'm not sure how helpful any of these skills will be in his school life, but I do hope that he manages to use his powers for good. I want to believe that he has the capacity to be a Captain Mal* character and to have good intentions even if his route to them is a little dubious. 

Let's face it, even Darth Vader had a mum, come to think of it so did Yoda. When they observed their sons I'm sure they had moments when they wondered what would become of their beloved boys too ? 

All I can do for now is ensure his shoes are shiny, his clothes have name tags in and that he's brushed his teeth and hair as he sets out on this new chapter. I will give him a supportive hug and whisper, "be careful out there' and chuckle to myself at the reference he won't get.**

If your little one is starting reception I hope it goes well and that you're not too upset by it. If you need a cuppa, a biccie and a virtual hug, I'll be here :) 

*if this reference is lost on you then google Firefly and give yourself a telling off for not knowing. 

**Hill Street Blues - seriously don't you watch any decent telly ? 

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Go to school - please - just go !!

I love my boys. No really I do. It's just that...

Well, you see...

Sometimes we dress up and role play doing housework - it passes the time and makes me smile.

Then at other times we go to a new park that has a climbing wall and I notice that Big Boy has grown so much lately. 

Or we all go to the fire station and the boys compete to see who can get to open the doors (they both got to do it)

Then the lovely mums at Big Boy's school gave Baby Boy a Scuttlebug and he's been loving it.

Neo has been finding it difficult with the boys around all the time so he has been finding new places to hide all day. This is my favourite - camouflaged by all the bears on Big Boy's bed. 

But, the thing is I have another week of them both being at home and...


I've had enough ! 

I'm sorry, I know this is a wonderful time and I'm so privileged to be able to spend it with my children and they grow up so quick, yada yada yada. 

What I am saying is...


Yes I'll miss them when Big Boy is at school and Baby Boy is at pre-school. Right now, though I just spend all day trying to wear them out. 

Today I took them swimming in the morning and then to the scooter park in the afternoon. I was exhausted and they were irritable by the time we got home for dinner. 

Of course by this time next week I'll be feeling bereft that they're not around all day. I'll also be able to access the internet during daylight hours, pop to the post office during the day and maybe even sneak an episode of Castle or Hawaii Five-0 when Baby Boy is napping.

At least I'll still be able to pop in to check on them at night and find Neo sleeping with Big Boy - which is just adorable.