Welcome to my new little corner of the web

Welcome to my new little corner of the web.

Those of you that know me from Mum in Meltdown will know I haven’t written on there for a long time as I simply fell out of love with that site. Each time I went on there it became apparent I had out grown  the Mum in Meltdown label. My boys are no longer younger teens (which was my main focus on that blog) and no longer happy to be talked about………..which is absolutely right and understandable.

So I deliberated for a long time not quite knowing whether to continue blogging………..I mean what the hell was I going to write about. I blogged the teenage years because it’s an absolute brutal minefield that will send you right over the edge on countless occasions. Yet, at the same time I was engaging with people in the same boat, going through the same struggles and therefore, it made me feel……………..well, almost normal.

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It’s been a while!

Well it’s certainly been a while since I have been on here!

It’s not like there hasn’t been anything going on for me to write about it’s more like I haven’t had the urge to write, but lately that has been changing. So rather than bore you will loads of catch up posts I thought I would do a quick run through everything that has been going on.

So this year I have had more hospital imput for my M.E/ Fibromyalgia than I have over the last 8 years since being diagnosed. Finally I managed to get physio treatment for the Carpel Tunnel in my left hand which has helped ease some of the numbness at least. I have also been referred onto a pain management course due to start late September for 7 weeks and I hope that helps me with at least pacing any activity I do ( I am absolutely rubbish at saying ‘No’ to anyone and generally end up overdoing things and then crashing afterwards!). The course will run me up to almost Christmas when I have been told I may get referred onto an exercise class suitable to help with my illness.

Excitingly, earlier this year a ‘dream job’ sort of fell into my lap via a good friend of mine. Dream job in the fact I can do the job in my pj’s, at anytime of day, keeping my own time! Sounds bloody good eh? It comes in the form of running a social media account for a local clothing boutique called Kimmicass (would love you to come and give us a follow) that sells amazing womens clothing that you just cannot find in the high street shops (and will be looking to expand and sell online as well as open more shops too). This one account actually led to a second account for a London florist who lives locally but works independantly for clients like the V&A! This account is a slow burner and is not fully up and running but is definitely getting there and should be more active before Christmas. So how great is that? Literally a dream job for me as with my illness its difficult to predict health wise how I will be feeling on any particular day, but this job does not require me to be anywhere in particular for any length of time! So I get to work from home in my pj’s which I am loving ………….total result!

Also, we had an amazing surprise with my youngest’s sons GCSE results. His plan was originally to do a Level 3 Early years Childcare course at college which he needed 5 passes including English and Maths. Now hes a clever boy so we knew he would get the 5 passes unfortunately his worst subject is maths so we were extremely concerned ( as was he) that he wouldn’t pass that and therefore not be able to do his course. So the results morning was literally the most stressful time ever and I had lots of contingency plans running through my head should he not get his maths. Well talk about a total surprise, not only did he get a level 5 in his Maths ( the new marking system is numbered!) but he also passed ALL 10 GCSE’s and did so well was offered a place back at the school’s 6Th Form!! He was so gobsmacked he literally didn’t know what to do with himself and although he still went over to the college to enrol he ended up taking the place at 6th form to do A levels instead. As you could imagine it was total surprise all round so we ended up going out to his favourite restaurant to celebrate………….it would have been rude not to!

alex meal out

Then it was birthday celebrations for my husband who was turning 50 at the end of August…………….50!! Now he’s not one for big parties etc although is more than happy to go to others he hates being centre of attention himself. So I came up with a cunning plan to use the money that a big party would cost and instead take him away to somewhere I know he has wanted to go to for a long time- ROME! So I managed to find a little family run boutique hotel in the centre of Rome for 4 nights and booked that and some flights etc for early October for the two of us. However, because this was going to be his only present , except for a few bits from the boys, I wanted to make it a little special. So, I came up with the idea of putting some clues together to put inside a cabin size suitcase and then wrap it all up. So I numbered the clues…

  1. A picture of a fountain and some Euro coins (for the Trevy Fountain)
  2. A spanish style fan with a picture of some stone steps ( for the Spanish Steps)
  3. A rosary (hopefully making him think Catholic!)
  4. A dvd of Sparticus with a small Italian flag!! (The Colosseum obviously)

Each clue was wrapped up and numbered and then his present was a gift of 2 guide books for Rome with the flight tickets inside.

present box

suitcase clues

suitcase pic

Now my hubby is not one for showing emotion at ALL but as he opened the guide books his eyes did well up and his hands were physically shaking which showed me he literally had no clue up until that point of what his present was. I had even gone behind his back to one of his work colleagues to help me book his time off work and get it approved (he is in the police so it’s not an easy thing to do without him finding out)……………..BUT I BLOODY DID IT!

rich and present

It was a tough thing to make all the decisions on my own with regard to the flights, the hotel and when to go so I was actually quite relieved when it all seemed to work out. Thankfully now I can relax as I know he will sort everything else out from here- he has already done our medical cards and booked airport parking! The only time throughout that I gave myself a total heart attack was when my Mum asked me on the phone if our passports are in date! For anyone who doesn’t know us we never go away anywhere abroad as we cannot afford it normally and the last time i used my passport was when he took me to Venice for my 40th birthday 7 years ago……………………………………..SO THANKFULLY THEY WERE IN DATE!!

**So if anyone has any recommendations for Rome please let me know**

We also took my eldest back to uni last weekend (sobs) and helped him move into his new shared house ( which is a total state and will be another blog post on its own!) so I am missing him already sitting with us for dinner etc.

Next up is my youngest 17th birthday in a few weeks time before we can get really excited about our trip.

Anyway, it’s lovely to be back and have the urge to put things down in black and white again and would love to hear what you have all been up to. If

Yes I am still here!

You may have thought I had given up on my little blog it has been so long since I have posted on here, but no, I am still here I have just been having a little break.

It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about, there have been loads going on in the past few months in my little corner of the world, it is just the fact that I haven’t had the inclination to put it all on here, call it lack of blogging mojo but I have had a total break from my site although I have been active on my social media sites. Last night, however, I attended a lovely event down in Kent which got me back in touch with the blogging community. It was fun, it was nice to meet new people and get a bit of that missing blogging mojo back.

So, what has been happening while I have been away (and I do not mean the obvious political stuff that is all over social media at the minute). In my little bubble, I haven’t been active on here since attending a review for a local spa, which I have now joined myself and try and go there at least twice a week. I cannot tell you how relaxing it is using the heat rooms ( sauna and steam) there and how lovely that has been for my poor M.E/Fibro muscular pain.

There’s been 18th birthday celebrations for my eldest ( in April) before all the madness of his A level exams recently.

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There’s been more sewing for me as I attended another sewing class learning more skills and meeting new people.

dress collage

There’s been a lot of ‘new to me’ furniture buying and upcycling as we have started to redecorate our lounge from a modern look to a more old style/ country appearance..

Gone from Dark leather to cream fabric
Gone from Dark leather to cream fabric
Again gone from a very dark wood to white and a sanded top, I still need to cover the chairs!
Again gone from a very dark wood to white and a sanded top, I still need to cover the chairs!
Gone from dark to light on the curtains and will be taking down the blinds and putting up voiles instead to make it lighter
Gone from dark to light on the curtains and will be taking down the blinds and putting up voiles instead to make it lighter

There is still a lot to do as the walls need repainting and the feature walls need re-papered and some soft furnishings still need to be sorted, but the majority of the change over is done.

There’s also been a trip to Royal Ascot (which was amazing) for a friends 50th birthday.

That's my friend and I all togged up looking posh!
That’s my friend and I all togged up looking posh!

This was something I always wanted to go and experience and I am glad they invited us to enjoy their special day- things are always enjoyed best depending on the company you go with. This was a fabulous day that I will not forget for a very long time…………….did I mention how close I got to the Queen????

There you go - just in case you didn't believe me!
There you go – just in case you didn’t believe me!

Recent weeks have been tough health wise for me, I felt I was having no relief from my Fibromyalgia pain at all. It was making me more exhausted than normal and was just never ending. I finally managed to get a GP appointment and she is very understanding and finally changed my medication to a slow release morphine ( the strongest thing I have been on ever). However, the detox from the years of Tramadol onto slow release MST was just horrific for about 5-6 days in total. I have never felt so rough in my life, hardly able to hold myself up yet unable to sleep  ( I was literally awake all night on the 1st evening watching films!), there was lots of nausea and dizziness and a bloody awful crushing headache that lasted days. A week or so on from there and things have settled and things are on the up and I am slowly but surely getting back to what would be relative normality for me.

Then last night was a huge milestone when my 18yr old went on his 6th year school leaver’s Prom, having officially left school and now just waiting exam results ( do not mention Edexel A level Maths………….there may well be a meltdown here!) and hopefully for him ( definitely not me) off to uni.

Here he looking handsome and dapper being  forced to stand and have a million pictures taken before he went!
Here he looking handsome and dapper being forced to stand and have a million pictures taken before he went!

So there you have it! There have obviously been lots of normal life thrown in too, ( nothing is ever straightforward or stress free with older teens in the house) but for now I will leave it there.

I look forward to catching up on all the blogging goings on now that I have a little blog mojo back!

It’s been ages!

I haven’t been around much as I made the decision to invest some money and get some super tech person to upgrade and overhaul my tired little blog.

I had no idea what I was after to be honest but I wanted a more professional, clean cut look rather than something I had thrown together myself. It was time to get someone on the case who actually knew what they were doing! This is where Geek Fairy comes in. She was absolutely fab, gave me links to look at colour schemes and sorted out the header etc. As we emailed back and forth the idea evolved where I wanted muted, almost vintage style colours. Then when I saw it I had the idea of the knitted stitches which fitted in with my craft side of things as well.

She was incredibly helpful, changed anything I wanted as we went along, was prompt and unbelievably easy to work with and to top it all off I was able to pay in 2 instalments- so that really helped me out.

Over all I am really chuffed with it. I think it is easy on the eye, not too busy, simple and clear. It also pushed me into joining instagram which for some reason I have been putting off for ages ( not sure why!) and wanted everything put on there while she was in charge.

So what do you think?
I know it wont be everyone’s cup of tea but it really does suit me, and lets face it we cant all be the same otherwise the world would be a very boring place.

Popping my Britmums Live cherry- 2014

First of all this post is really, really late but I will explain that in another post!

Anyway on to the cherry popping.

So Britmums Live again, after listening to all the talk on Twitter last year, looking at all the fab pictures and generally feeling like I had missed out, I decided that 2014 was definitely the year I was going to go.

An amazing venue
An amazing venue

The venue was fabulous even on the outside.

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To say I was nervous was the biggest understatement. It’s ok to be brave chatting to people from behind a screen via Twitter and Facebook but going inside when it seemed everyone knew each other was daunting. Thankfully there was an arranged meet up beforehand for some newbies in a local Starbucks. This was great as we were all in the same position and it was good to meet a group of people before getting inside the venue.

The place was huge and absolutely mobbed with hundreds of excitable bloggers in a party mood.

Friday night awards with Katy Hill
Friday night awards with Katy Hill

I learned a lot from Britmums Live 2014. The agenda was packed and I certainly made the most of being a newbie and attended loads the sessions on offer. I was inspired by Capture by Lucy and I came away with some fab ideas, from sprucing up my site, talking better pics and generally being more confident about what I do. My favourite one was definitely Geekmummy who ran the tech session which was absolutely packed to the rafters and my pen was whizzing down dot com’s all over the place to help with the technical side of making changes on my site. I’m such a bloody technophobe it’s embarrassing!

It was rounded off by the Bloggers’ Keynote which had me laughing and then crying within minutes. Between that and the amazing opening keynote that morning from Benjamin Brooks- Dutton at Life as a Widower who reduced us all to blubbering wrecks from his speech but managed to be engaging and funny and upbeat all at the same time.

All in all I did thoroughly enjoy Britmums Live although I still felt very awkward and new and out of place, I met some lovely bloggers in the same position, had some great fun at the sessions and enjoyed some fabulous food from the Morrisons kitchen. However, due to my M.E the 2 days took it’s toll and so with that in mind I have decided that next year I definitely need to stay over in a hotel…………….. you know just to cut down on the travel……………..and not have such an early start on the Saturday………………nothing at all to do with staying out afterwards for a sneaky cocktail and a cooked breakfast in the morning……………. no not that at ALL!

 

 

The trouble with………..

……….long term illness is that from one day to the next you never know what it is going to throw at you! The last month has been unbelievably hard, my M.E symptoms have been flaring up. The exhaustion I have had has left me in my pj’s most days until at least 3 or 4pm, the pain in my muscles has seen me put on my new medication (that isn’t working) and generally feeling crap about everything including myself! I have found it difficult to be on here at all and have had no enthusiasm for it, but that is getting back to normal.

………..Mother’s Day with teens is that the presents change as I found out this year. Although I got my usual ‘little’ things that I love, mugs/ good coffee and other bits, I also had a more unusual gift which looked initially like this

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are you getting the theme here? But tucked inside was this……….

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Tickets to a show in the Palace Theatre for Breast Cancer, with Paul Potts, Shane Ward, Joe McElderry and Kingsland Road to name a few. It was a cracking night too.

………….the school holidays with teens is that they actually want to spend most of it in bed or in their rooms. Now the late mornings I am not complaining about but the wasting of days I am! Gone are the days where I would have everyday planned out with them, activities, visiting, meeting with friends at the park etc. But now they are teens, especially my eldest, he had some of his own things going on. He went out with friends to the cinema and bowling etc so a lot of the days were already planned. I do miss the old days but actually found this school holiday far more relaxing than previous ones. We did have the odd day out, Whitstable and Herne Bay -that sort of thing.

Me and my lovely boys!
Me and my lovely boys!

We also had some great card game nights after my MIL taught my youngest a few new games when he stayed over for the night at their caravan.

So there has been lots going on but I haven’t been that bothered about sharing it all until now. I will get back into the flow of things and have missed reading all my regular blogs and my conversations on Twitter but I have to admit the break has done me some good. So will be churning a few more posts in the next few days about what has been going on around here like my eldest turning 16!!!! Now that’s another post

 

 

Welcome to the Weekend Blog Hop!

 

Want to find some lovely/ crafty/ funny/ new blogs to read over the weekend?

Then join the fab Blog Hop hosted by the very lovely Clairejustineoxox , who writes about family, fashion, food and lots more! She is also in training for the marathon, so an all round good egg. So please if you haven’t already pop over and take a look at her blog.

She has very kindly offered to let little ol’ me co host this linky this weekend. YAY!

Just add your favourite posts from the week to the linky and enjoy catching up on all the others on the list!

SIMPLE AS THAT!

See what everyone is sharing/ talking/ ranting about this week

Go on you know you want to……………

 

 

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Who’s interested in becomming part of a Blogger Broadcast Ambassador programme?

Sounds like something you have an interest in for the New Year? I have had many dealings through this company and have enjoyed a great PR relationship with Jessica Feldman who has given me opportunities to telephone interview a TV celeb, and review a brand new car to mention a few. They deal with companies from a wide range of products and brands.

Check out the details below:

Want to be part of the brand spanking new Blogger Broadcast Ambassador Programme?

 

Markettiers4dc is launching a new Blogger Broadcast Ambassador Programme and is looking to recruit Mummy and Daddy Bloggers to review products like shoes, clothes and toys for your kids, and stuff for you such as cars and fashion & beauty products which we will send on behalf of brands that we are working with.

 

All we ask in return from you is that you review these products with a video camera that we will supply you with. We will also give you the opportunity to record podcast interviews with celebrities and industry specialists on a number of parenting topics and take part in our live TV shows which you can stream live through your own blogs. Ideally, you will post your reviews in your blogs, tweet about them and upload video to sites such as YouTube and Facebook as well.

 

To help you produce the best quality videos or podcast, those who are selected as Ambassadors, will also receive broadcast media training and some tips on video and audio production, together with a goody bag from us, including video cameras!

 

If you are interested in getting involved, want more information on the clients we work with, or want to know more about the programme contact: bloggerambassadors@markettiers4dc.com

We look forward to hearing from you!

Jessica Feldman
Senior Online Media Liaison
markettiers4dc Logo

Review- Le Toy Van Car and Mat set

I was asked at the end of summer if I would review a selection of toys from  a company called Doll Houses via Big Game Hunters at http://www.dollshouses.co.uk

The toys on offer were really for children who were much younger than my boys, however, a friend of mine agreed to review them as her youngest was the perfect age group as he has just started in reception at school.

I chose the Le Toy Van Car Playmat which retails at £27.50, and the Le Toy Van London Car Set which is £13.00.

Delivery was swift and the items were very well packaged together.

This is what was in the package!

 

The cars still boxed
The mat unrolled

On first glance when I opened the roll mat I thought it seemed a little thin considering the price! However, it has a non slip back on it which compensated as most modern family houses have wooden or laminate flooring and the backing would be very practical.

The cars seemed in keeping with most other wooden car toys aimed at that agegroup, but I thought the London set was a great  idea as it was just after the Olympics and most adults and kids could relate to it.

So I handed the toys to my friend whose children seemed to enjoy immediately. She has 2 boys and 1 girl, 1 boy just started school and 1 just started secondary school with the girl in the middle!! She did pass on that they all had a play with it so we can certainly say it’s a universal toy suitable for slightly older children than it is targeted to as well.

SO HERE’S WHAT WAS SAID……….

 

‘At first glance this mat seems rather expensive but when I compared it to others on the market I would say it offers better value. It lays flat as soon as it is rolled out and has an anti slip backing which is great for our wooden floors! The pile is flat too, which made it far easier for my children to move the cars around. I particularly liked the attention to detail e.g. Disabled parking bays and bus stops.
The London car set that came with it was great too as my children immediately identified them (living in greater London). There was only one small design fault. The steering wheel had been painted on the left! My 8 year old daughter spotted this straight away which is a shame, as the car mat is designed for right handed vehicles.
Overall I would say they were both very good value for money!!’

So have a look at their website here as they cater for both boys and girls with what looks like good quality wooden toys. With Christmas coming this company is worth a look.
DISCLAIMER: these products were sent for review purposes only. All opinions are for a candid and truthful review of the product. No other payment was received with regard for this review.