Monday, 26 September 2011

Mums half hour!

Mums Half Hour Episode Five: Join Us Live 
 Love it or hate it almost everyone has an opinion on breastfeeding! Did it work for you or did you feel a failure for either not giving it a go, or trying but being unsuccesful? Do you breastfeed in public?

 With kids comes exhaustion, we have all experienced that. Do you have a child with a sleep pattern from hell?

 Halloween- do you celebrate? Do you think it's over rated? How do you keep your kids entertained over Halloween?

The panel discuss all of these issues on the show on friday 14th Oct @ 13.30

No one understands these issues more than our panel of mums for the next episode of Mums Half Hour. Joining us live and answering your questions, are Penny Jenner, Pamela Hey and Amber Spain. With half term looming, the panel will be discussing breastfeeding from pumps to positioning, how to tackle disruptive sleep patterns and sharing their own personal experiences and tips on what’s worked for them. 

This webTV show will be live and interactive, with the panel taking your questions and thoughts so if you have something to say, they want to hear it!

Our panel join us live online at on Friday 14th October at 13.30 to discuss breastfeeding, and dealing with difficult sleeping patterns.

Don't forget you can click on the link and submit your questions in order to be involved with the show

For another chance to win a year’s supply of Start-rite shoes, log onto and submit a question along with your contact details

Friday, 23 September 2011

What do Ghoul School, Woolworths and Jeff Brazier have in common?

Simples.............Jeff Brazier has been recruited by to become the Head Teacher of a Halloween venture called Ghoul School to find the scariest kids in the UK!!

Kids from all over the UK are being asked to don their best Halloween outfits including their 'scariest faces' and 'monster attitudes' for the new online event to find a 'Head boy and girl' through a series of tasks at the Ghoul School. Head Teacher Jeff with be helped by his monster team 'The Woolies' to help him on the day!

So how do I know all this?

Well I had the opportunity to interview Jeff about this venture in conjunction with
I have never interviewed anyone before, so to say I was a bit nervous was a huge understatement!! But I thought that I would take note of all the 'self help' style jargon and 'feel the fear and do it anyway'!!

However, I needn't have worried in the slightest as he was an absolute pleasure to chat to. In fact he made the job easy for me as I had finally met someone who could talk as much as me!! he was really down to earth talking about the new venture with Woolworths, how he enjoys celebrating Halloween with his boys, how he tries to 'recycle' some of their sweets they get Trick or Treating and save them from rotting teeth!!

Anyway I thought I would share a few of the questions with you and then I have been brave enough to include the audio of the interview with you!!!

However, there are rules...........................

1. Don't be too critical as it was my first ever interview!!!

2. No laughing at the comedy Irish accent..........that's mine not his!!! ( OK maybe a snigger is allowed)

3. No leaving comments telling me I sound like one of the kids off 'Why Don't You' (those readers of a certain age will remember the programme!!)

Here are a few of the questions I managed to ask..........

Do you dress up and try and scare away the kids Trick or Treating at your door?

No, I dress up and go out with the kids and everyone knows that it's me where I live, if you get what I mean, and my door is probably busier than most. So I think they assume that because I work on television that I've got a shed load of sweets and a shed load of money, and neither of those statements are actually true. But no I really do need to stock up and I know where I will be going to get the sweets as well.

For the kids who want to get involved with the event what exactly do they have to do?

Ok, so what it is, is a one off event actually run by the Ghoul School is their creation and we've basically found a wonderful manor house, a Tudor mansion up in Liverpool called Speke hall, and we would like 10 finalists to join us where on the day we'll play lots of challenges, play games and basically try our very best to find our Head Boy and Head Girl.
Kids have until Sunday to get their entries in. What they need to do to prove that they are the scariest kid in the UK, they need to dress up and get their face paint on, and they need to be as scary looking as possible and parents need to send their picture by email to with 140 words explaining why the kids think they are the scariest in the UK.

Are you going to be a 'wicked' Head Teacher or are you going to try and be nice to the children?

No, I'm going to get rid of Jeff Brazier for the day. I'm going to be the Head Teacher of the Ghoul School, I've yet to think of a name, my alias. I'm going to make it my personal mission in life to scare them all the time and really put them to the test!

But to hear the interview in full just click on the link below to download and listen. He talks about all things Halloween, his kids and sweets!!!!

Jeff is currently working with to find the nation’s scariest children to attend the world’s first ever Ghoul School which Jeff is head teacher of. Ghoul School will be held at Speke Hall, Liverpool on 8th October 2011 where Jeff will help name a Head Boy and Head Girl of Ghoul School.
Visit for further details and to meet The Woolies.


Monday, 19 September 2011

11+ nerves

It's 11+ tests tomorrow and I don't know who's more nervous.......mum and dad or the son who's taking it!!!

We have a 13 yr old who has already gone through this who comfortably passed his and attends a really nice grammar school close by. This school is perfect for him as it is mixed and because he is a sensitive soul we thought it would be better for him. He loves it there ( as much as any boy 'loves' school!) and has made a great set of friends that from the beginning of year 7 to today in year 9 have all stuck by each other.

However, I think this makes it more difficult for the second child. He also wants to go to the same school as his brother, he has already had a look around and loves the drama department there ( as some of you may remember he is a budding 'actor'!!). He is also a very capable child and has been in top sets for maths and literacy in junior school. But there is no guarantee that he will get through on the test!

He has worked hard towards it with his dad ( which we did with our older son) however, we have tried not to put too much pressure on him about it. Rightly or wrongly we never sent either of our boys to a tutor in order for them to pass. Any work they have undertaken over the summer has been worked through by my OH who seems to have the patience of a saint when it comes to school work!! We live on the border of Kent so the children can also apply to do the Kent 11+ too and I know some of the kids from his year have taken that on Saturday. He decided (just like my eldest) that he didn't want to take this test as it would possibly mean that he would end up in a school out of our borough that he would have to travel to, and therefore lots of his friends would not be living close to him. So in the end we didn't register him for that test as there would be no point sending him to a school he didn't want to go to.

So now all his hopes are on the test tomorrow and Wednesday. He seems confident and we have confidence in him. But is it wrong to try and prepare him in case he doesn't get through? That is what we have been doing. Trying to tell him it isn't the end of the world if he doesn't pass. It doesn't make him any less capable than his brother. There is a lot of competition between them over the silliest of things so this really would cause a major upset!!

We certainly don't want him to feel any sort of failure. We don't want to be seen as treating him any different from his brother if he doesn't get through.

So the next 3 weeks waiting for the results just won't go quick enough!!! Talk about wishing your life away. As with his older brother we have told him that the letter will arrive and we will not open it as this will be his job when he gets home from school.
( What we won't tell him is that we will have steamed the letter open at lunchtime when it arrives so we know the outcome before he gets his grubby mits on the thing!!)

And then the drama will start!! The next day at the school and adults alike all eager to hear if your child has passed or not!! Whispers behind peoples backs about the shock passes and 'fails' ( although no child at the age of 10 and 11 should be seen as a failure!!!) But that's what it all comes down to with a lot of parents these days.

So on that note......


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Advice needed.

I started blogging way back in March for something to occupy my mind and hopefully keep it active. I have been off work now for 2 years having gone through a series of consultations and eventually being diagnosed with M.E.

I miss my job though. I worked hard to become qualified as a Driving Instructor and built up my own business that fitted perfectly into the school times as a second income. I had a great pass rate with my students and I felt as though I really had found a job, not only that I enjoyed but something I was good at.

I fully expected to get back to work after treatment and really thought that this illness would not last this long. However there were many delays along the course of my diagnosis ending up with my NHS Borough refusing to pay for the treatment that is available at Kings College Hospital in London. Don't get me wrong I know there is no miracle cure but the 12 week programme at the research centre helps to keep it under control and enables you to get back on your feet quicker after any relapses.

So after being told that the treatment was not going to be paid for my GP ( who has been excellent along the way) advised me there wasn't much she could do about the decision and that I had to do the best I can to manage the M.E myself. So apart from the painkillers I get on prescription for the muscular pain I am pretty much left to get on with it.

Don't get me wrong it has been difficult to get my head around it. In fact you almost have to grieve for your old life in order to accept and get on with your new life. This for me is easier said than done!!!! Some days ( like today) it just gets right on my nerves and I feel like punching someones lights out!!! I hate the fact my body hurts all the time.......and I mean ALL THE TIME!!!!! I hate the fact that I am exhausted all the time........and I mean TOTALLY EXHAUSTED ALL THE TIME!!!

You get where I'm coming from. Think of a time you have been knocked off your feet by the Flu. That literally is how I feel ( without the head cold) all the time. It gets right on my bloody nerves!!

Anyway, I started my blog back in March and it really has given me something to concentrate on. Something that's mine and somewhere to go to be someone other than mum and wife!!! That independence I lost when I had to give up work.

But I was thinking the other day about blogging about my M.E experiences. Not necessarily on this blog but maybe if I was to start another blog just for the M.E related stuff. A diary of my experiences up to now. Articles that relate to the condition. Maybe tips or lists of things that could help other sufferers on a daily basis or to get through busy times.

The main problem with M.E is that it is invisible. People look at you and because you look fine they think there is nothing wrong with you, or take the approach ( whether they mean it or not) that you are a malingerer!!!!! There is no tell tale visible signs, for example. no plaster casts, no scars, no wheelchair etc.

So advice is needed. I would love to raise more awareness for this condition, I personally have no support group as my nearest one is in  Maidstone and I live on the London/Greenwich border!!! So I have no one that I can talk to about my condition. Family try to understand but I never really let them know how bad it can get. I always just go 'I'm fine' as otherwise it would feel that I am moaning all the time.

So I wondered would it be a good idea for me to start a new blog not only to help myself but hopefully help others too in  the process. It not only affects the person with the condition but also the families too. My OH is fantastic. He works shift work and thinks nothing of coming in and taking over at home ( with the exception of cooking!!) however tired he is. My 2 boys also cope well and are very helpful too. They will come shopping with me to steer the trolley and lift the shopping into the car. They are also helpful in the house. My bedroom is 2 storeys up so they are my fetchers and carriers!!! They also take on responsibility when my OH isn't there at the weekends and get me up with a coffee in the morning or in the afternoon if I have had to go for a lay down again.These are the the things I am not proud of but have become the norm in my house.

So I would like to keep the M.E stuff separate from this blog so that people don't start seeing me in a different light or feeling sorry for me. That way I can continue this blog as normal but hopefully raise awareness of the condition and help others on the new blog.

So what do you think? Is it a good idea or would I be biting off  more than I can chew (so to speak).

All advice welcome  and would definitely be appreciated.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Can you 'Think' yourself thin?........tough question!

As mentioned in a previous post here the mere mention of the word 'diet' throws me into a state of panic which makes me end up eating more than I had previously! Thus leaving me with muffin tops, or should I say 'family sized cakes' that even Mary Berry herself would be proud of.

So a decision was made to try 'portion control' as opposed to cutting out certain foods to see if that helped instead. That alongside the fact that I had been offered the chance to try the new Thinking Slimmer Slimpods that I had heard so much about via Twittershere!

So I opted for the 'Drop a dress Size' although it had been initially intended for me to try the 'Drop a Jean Size' however this wasn't available online at the time, but it is now. I also took the opportunity to try the Chillpod they do, as lets face it unless you really are Mother Teresa in disguise who doesn't need to chill out a little when they have kids!!

Excitedly I downloaded my new Slimpods onto my Ipod and chose to start listening to them everyday in the evening before I go to bed.

The premise is that you listen to the slimpod for 21days consecutively and then start listening to the booster pod after that for another 21 consecutive days, and then as and when you need it afterwards.

Now I'm a firm believer in mind over matter anyway ( although harder to put into practice) and love all forms of alternative healing and medicines. So this really is right up my street.

I started on Tuesday 6th September, as I felt it was a great new start as kids were starting back to school and our whole routine was about to change anyway.

I am very proud to say that since that date I have not a biscuit, crisp or a smidge of chocolate has passed my lips!! I am truly amazed, not because I have unbelievable willpower ( otherwise I would have a figure like Cheryl Cole!) but it's been more of a feeling of not really wanting them................I know I'm still shocked! I have found myself saying 'No' to stuff before I have really thought about whether I want it or not. Now don't get me wrong if I really had a craving for something I would have it, but then be safe in the knowledge that I would simply go back to not craving them and saying 'No' again.

Today I put on a pair of size 10 linen trousers that had over the summer become extremely snug to say the least, pretty much making me resemble the Michelin man with his several spare tyres........I kid you not! But today, they were still a bit tight but I could feel the difference with them. They were comfortable for a start and I didn't get the feeling that my knickers were going to disappear up my arse never to return again! Surely that's a step in the right direction.

A VPL I don't want to replicate!!

Don't get me wrong I haven't got shed loads to lose. I have generally been a size 8-10 for a long time but now my size 10's are cutting off my circulation and leaving unsightly bulges in all the inappropriate places. Totally not a good look!

So there you have it, Day 10 of my Thinking Slimmer challenge and at the moment I am totally convinced this is the way to go for me. I am not able to exercise due to my M.E so I have to make do with a little ironing or an odd bit of hoovering to push my activity levels up more than normal.

I shall continue and update you all again after my initial 21 days. keep you fingers crossed the weight will come off.

In the meantime check it out for yourself at or find them on Twitter and Facebook too.

I have not received payment for this post however I was sent the Slimpods free of charge to trial. All opinions in this post are my own.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Love a book online reading group

I have been meaning to link up to this for a very long time. From  June in fact when I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Water for Elephants from the lovely Cara over at to kick start her online reading group.

So first of all sorry Cara that it has taken me so long ( not to read the book) but to write about it for the group.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen would not initially be the type of book I would generally pick to read myself, and with all the hype about the impending film at the time I would have taken the easy way out and watched the film instead.

However, I'm so glad I did choose to read the book rather than just go see the film. This story had me hooked from the first few pages. I love the story being told from Jacobs point of view and the comparison between the young, vibrant Jacob and the old, forgetful Jacob. Initially looking at the modern film book cover you are swayed to believe that the love story would be obvious and predictable. What you don't get until you actually start reading is that there is an underlying but more important bond between himself and the elephant Rosie.Jacobs character is warm and inviting and your empathy with him is strong from the start.

I loved reading about the hardship, hard work, difficult life that these people had during this time. How harsh real life could be for some of these characters both in the book but ultimately a lot of this had been commonplace in those times.

I enjoyed the twists of fate that occurred throughout, just as you thought you knew how the story was going, it would make you stop and take a breath!

I have since thoroughly recommended this read to many of my friends and since have been more inclined to read recommendations given to me. I felt great to get out of the rut of only reading similar books/ authors and this one has taught me to branch out at least.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Dolly at the O2........Big chests at the ready!

Alright, I lack in that department, with the closest I've been to a big chest being 3 days after my 1st son was born. I pulled back the shower curtain and didn't recognise the huge knockers that were staring back at much so that I had to call my OH in just to prove it!!!!

Anyway I digress, last night I went off to the O2 with a few girlie friends, donned our pink cowboy hats and our best 'yeehaw' voices and took our seats with the rest of the crowd.
Thats half of us with me tucked in the middle!

We weren't that lucky with the seats and found ourselves in the upper tier with the 'Gods' so to speak, but it wasn't going to dampen our spirits.  Although at one point I had to promise my friend that if the height was too much I was wearing a belt and that I could, if required in an emergency, take off and secure her to her seat!!! I kid you not LOL

I tried desperately to get a picture on my phone and my camera however Dolly herself is soooo small and dainty and very sparkly so it was hard to pick her up in the big shroud of light that the camera seemed to focus on.............damn the technology and the fact I can't bloody work it properly!!
Evidence that we were up with the 'Gods' and that she is sooo tiny too

An early rendition of Jolene started the crowd going mad. However, the first half of her show apart from the 'Blue grass' stuff ,which was fab, seemed to be mostly new songs. Which to be fair to her were pretty 'toe tappy' in amongst all the chat that she does. Actually she really is a funny woman too. What amazed me the most is the amount of instruments that she can play!!! I really am not kidding, last night included......................
Violin (fiddle in her speak)
Banjo ( including a great intro of 'Duelling banjos')
Guitar ( or Geetaar as she would say!!)
 Penny whistle
 Oh and 2 strange looking, sit on your knee plucky types of things!!

So not only can she sing ' country' and other styles with ease she really is talented musically too!!!

After a quick break ( thank god as I had been bursting for a pee at that point) and a quick change for her, Dolly came back on with a vengeance! With covers of Dusty Springfield and Tina Turner the crowd got going and then right at the last knockings came all the old fav's......
*Here we go again
*Islands in the Stream
*9 to 5
*And an encore of I will Always Love You!!!  Fantastic

At that point I think we ( and I'm sure I can speak for the whole audience) could have listened to her sing all the oldies all night!!

So, that's something I can now strike off my 'Things to do before I croak it' list if I had one!!!

I can now say I have seen a true Legend perform in the flesh ( even though she really is tiny....apart from that fab chest!)

As for the car park and getting home? Don't even ask...............and I was designated driver!!! How do these things happen LOL

Monday, 5 September 2011

Mums Half Hour Friday 9th Sept.

Mums Half Hour Episode Four!
 I don't know about you but I'm well past the stage of looking for maternity clothes ( unless something unexpected happens!!) however I totally remember how hard it was to find anything decent to wear, especially to work!! At that point I remember lots of baggy t-shirts and men's shirts!!! Not attractive in the least and probably would have been better sticking to a black bin liner!!!

Anyway even though I am not at that stage I have noticed more and more high street shops stocking maternity clothes that are actually made for work and casual situations.Anyway this weeks mums half hour is about that so join in and have your say on Friday 9th September 2011 @ 1.30pm!!

Mums Half Hour Episode Four: Join Us LiveThe panel discuss maternity fashion pre and post baby, and the joy and challenges of multiple births
Pregnancy and motherhood present plenty of challenges and all mums know just how different life becomes for the nine months before baby arrives and when he or she arrives and is part of the family.
But it’s not just sleepless nights, teething and potty training that can prove a headache for mothers – there’s also the challenge of finding clothes that fit (and we’re not talking old baggy t-shirts), the pressure to look as good as celeb mums and even our friends, and the motivation to even bother with fashion and getting back into shape.
No one understands these issues more than our panel of mums for the next episode of Mums Half Hour. Joining us live and answering your questions, are Jane Goldsmith, Nifa McLaughlin and Emily Carlisle.  With London Fashion Week just around the corner, the panel will be discussing Autumn/Winter fashion for mums, from where to shop, what styles to look for and which celeb looks to copy and which to avoid. 
Emily also has the added challenge of two little treasures as the mother of twins and she’ll be discussing the challenges for those expecting or now enjoying having more than one little baby to take care of. 
This webTV show will be live and interactive, with the panel taking your questions and thoughts so if you have something to say, they want to hear it!

Our panel join us live online at on Friday 9th September at 13.30 to discuss maternity fashion and multiple births.
For another chance to win a year’s supply of Start-rite shoes, log onto and submit a question along with your contact details

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Typical male 13!

I think it must just be in a male set of genes ( and I don't mean the denim type). I'm no worried that I have inadvertently reared 'another typical bloke' and he's only 13!!

Or it may just be the fact he has just soooo much still to learn ( like most blokes!).

Conversation went as follows:

Teen ......' hey mum they have one of those *nudge nudge* machines in the mens toilets'.

Me..........' oh yeah, which ones?' *cough* OMG what is he going to come out with now!

Teen........' You know those random ones : Condoms
                                                                    Tic Tacs

                  'I mean (he says laughing) how random is that!! Whats the point?'

Ahh bless a bloke he has a lot to learn!!!!!