This year has seen my eldest returning to uni but this time he will be house sharing with four other students, friends he has made while living in student halls last year. They have had a year of independence, almost sheltered in a way, by living in a corridor with 11 others and sharing a kitchen and a couple of bathrooms. They work out differences on their own and gravitate towards other students that they get on with or become friends with. As parents, although it breaks our hearts to see them go, it feels like they are still being supported if they are living on campus with all the facilities around them. My eldest goes to Sussex university and it was well equipped with a large Co op, a large cafe, launderette, bar, pharmacy and a GP surgery! I know not all uni’s are the same and some are spread around towns on different areas instead. Read more
That really is the only word that describes it.
Yesterday morning we found our beautiful ‘Gorgeous George’ ( our 19 month old cat) across the street after a missing night. Unfortunately he had been knocked down and killed.
I grabbed him in my arms wrapped him in a blanket and balled my eyes out for an hour and a half on the kitchen floor just giving him a cuddle.
He looked so tiny, untouched with injuries and in a peaceful sleeping position. I had my eldest at home as he was ill and off school who was just an emotional mess alongside me.
We cried, cuddled, cried and cuddled until we knew we had to do something with him. I had phoned my OH but was uncontrollable and just heard words about popping him down in the shed until he managed to get home. My youngest was at school totally oblivious to what had happened, so we wanted to keep him there until everyone had said their goodbyes.
My son and I must have gone down and seen him several times, each time having a good cry and just feeling so sorry for him as he was just a little one!
I had to brake the news to my youngest when he came in and then had another emotional trip to the shed so he could see him.
When my OH got home we decided that we couldn’t bury him in the garden so we opted to have him cremated via the vets.
So with our last goodbyes my OH and I took him and left him at the vets…………………this was so heartbreaking I cannot even put it in words.
We are lucky enough to have another slightly older cat though so this is great for all of us, but she hasn’t been herself since George went missing. She keeps looking for him, following us, sitting at the back window watching for him- it breaks my heart.
I just don’t know why we do it to ourselves!! It’s just a cat I can hear some of you saying– Er no, he was my little baby, totally part of our family and full of his own character……..SO NO HE WASN’T JUST A CAT!!!
JUDGE ME IF YOU WILL- I DO NOT CARE!
R.I.P My little ‘Gorgeous George’ – We loved you loads and miss you terribly!
We bought him on our anniversary – St Georges Day so we aptly named him George, or Gorgeous George!!
This was our most up to date picture taken only weeks ago and featured in My Silent Sunday posts.
Goodbye and sleep well xxx
Yes we are one full week into our summer break. As we were finishing for the summer I decided to get a list of things together to accomplish over the holidays, some for the family and others selfishly for me! To check out my list here
So, one week in and already we have managed to:
*set the pool up with much nagging to the OH….
We have also completed our full day’s fishing with lots of fab catches:
After a full days fishing I also managed to fit in my pj’s day!!! Not through choice but because the fishing day had taken it’s toll so I spent most of the day in bed and stayed in my jim jams for the rest of the day LOL…………….still that counts surely!
Also earlier in the week we found ourselves child free for an evening- Yes you heard me right- CHILD FREE!! So we treated ourselves to the cinema, Gallery seats at Bluewater no less- lots of leg room, super comfy seats and complimentary snacks and drinks………..don’t mind if we do.
Well here’s to next week to see what I can knock of the list- wish me luck.
How’s your Summer Bucket List going?
I have read a few posts lately about the impending school holidays. Love them or hate them they just won’t organise themselves!
I have found it much easier and more fun to organise when the boys were a lot younger. I envy all of you with the 5-10 age group as there are LOTS of things you can do that cost NOTHING but a bit of time and planning- park picnics with friends, days at the beach, walks in the woods/ forests, kite flying…….and the list goes on.
However as they get older I find it becomes far more costly and a trip to the park is literally like you want to end their lives as they know it- SOOOOOOOOO uncool!!! Being able to get away with a ‘special’ trip to the cinema over the hols is now one of the main things they want to do……………….and money just does not grow on trees, whatever anyone tells you.
So I now find myself with a 15 and 12yr old, both boys ( and both mine- I didn’t just kidnap them off a random street), and the thought of trying to organise and keep a budget of any kind over the summer is virtually non existent.
However I will not be outdone, I will sort summer the summer hols, it will not break me *cough*. So here are a few things that I definitely want to include over the holidays, both for the kids, as a family, and some ‘just for me’ selfish ones thrown in too.
* Cinema trips- 1st to see Worlds End with the eldest ( as he is 15!) and 2nd to see The Internship with the 12 yr old (not my choice)
* Fishing day- this is already arranged with friends so I can say with confidence that this will happen- next wednesday to be exact!! ( I’m a fishing addict and proud LOL)
* See the Brainiac Live show that is showing at Bluewater and also up London hoping at least one of them will accompany me.
* Organise a huge swim day at a fun pool for both boys and whatever friends they want to bring. I have a 7 seater car so the more the merrier LOl
* Try the ‘Up at The 02’ experience, requested by my youngest- at £25 a ticket I have emailed them from my blog to see if they want a reviewer!! Cheeky I know but if you don’t ask you don’t get LOL- If not I will bite the bullet and let OH and youngest go.
* Take a trip on the new Greenwich cable car- with kids would be good but if they turn their noses up at it then just me and the OH!!
* A mammoth game of Monopoly as a family- this tends to go for hours and I can keep the arguing to a minimum by providing fizzy drink and sweets and snacks.
* Camping- we have actually booked this and are going for a week in Aug to the Isle of Wight!! I cannot wait
* Have some girlie friends round on a sunny evening to drink copious amounts of pink wine, talk crap and eat rubbish! ( even better get a take away)
* I would love a PJ’s day! Just for the sake of it, a lazy, not going out past the door, watching dvd’s all day just because I can!!
* A trip to my Mum’s in Plymouth- on my own LOL like that will ever happen!!! But you never know stranger things have happened as they say! My eldest is getting to go next week for a week on his own- to say I’m jealous would be the understatement of the day.
* Have friends round for a chilled out BBQ, everyone chipping in, kids off playing football out in the park and jugs of Pimms to enjoy for the adults.
* Get the pool up for the boys- I am nagging the OH as I type- he hates putting it up as It is huge- but may encourage youngest to invite his cronies round for the day!
* Sit in a lovely beer garden on a sunny afternoon enjoying a mega cold beer or G+T- this one with no kids and don’t really mind if it’s with girly friends or OH!
* Would love a day down at Dymchurch beach- a bit of a trek for us but worth it if you get the weather and time the tides right LOL
* A poker night! Ok maybe it’s not great to teach your kids to gamble but we love a game of Texas Hold’em in this house. We invested in a poker table with drink and chip holders!!
* A HUGE water fight while the weather is still hot, with friends as much more fun the more people you have- and we are lucky to have a huge park outside our back gate!! I feel a panic buy of water bombs coming on!
* Get to watch through the series 2 of The Killing in peace! I know I am behind on this but lets face it with it being subtitled I cannot exactly
sit on Twitter and FB iron or knit while watching it LOL
* Become an expert in beating the teenagers butts at Swingball! One of the less energetic sports I can do LOL Just bought a new retro metal ‘old style’ proper one- BRING IT ON KIDS!
At the moment that is about it but I’m sure I will add some or change some along the way. Still hoping to get the teens
dragged along involved in someway in at least some of my list, but only time will tell.
So wish me luck and let me know what’s on your list.
When you get into your 40’s (refuses to admit it) birthdays and the years actually seem to fly by. That can’t just be me surely?
I have just
endured mourned celebrated my 43rd birthday this week ( Jaysus pass me another Gin!).
This isn’t a special birthday of any sort so the kids were at school as normal and the OH worked his normal early shift. I spent the morning in bed ( M.E related and not just spoiling myself LOL) and then got ready for the day. The boys were home early as they had their sports events that day, but being teens they just grunted as usual when they came in, raided the fridge for food and then disappeared into their room without a second’s thought.
So I decided I could either sit in and wallow or take myself out into the sunshine on my own. That’s what I did. I headed out to the local park where they have water activities going on, a lovely cafe and lots of people passing through to watch as I enjoyed a yummy cappuccino. This sounds quite sad but actually it was lovely and relaxing, sitting by the lake and watching the world go by. So after chatting to my mum and thanking her for my fab new Tassimo coffee machine ( love a Costa latte and cappuccino) I sat in the sunshine, switched my phone on silent and just enjoyed the hour or two on my own!
When I did get home, everyone was in so I got to open my pressies. Now I don’t know about you but I’m not really one for big expensive stuff, I don’t really do brand names or designer stuff and generally am happy with little bits as I like the thought that goes with it.
Therefore I was chuffed with my Tassimo machine that my mum and brother got me via my exclusive deal with Costa were it only cost a 1/3 of the normal price!! ( Oh I love a good bargain).
I was chuffed to get a super duper electric toothbrush from my MIL ( something I have always wanted but refused to spend out on). Then came the pressies from my OH and boys:
Les Mis DVD……LOVE IT
New V shaped support pillow…..LOVE IT AND NEED IT
A new Ladyshave………..SO NEEDED IT
**** and a surprise**** an MP3 player……………LOVE IT………I DONT DO IPODS!!!! LOL
Then my friend popped round with a new Cath Kidston purse and sunglasses case……………SO LOVED IT AND HAVE CHANGED MY SMALL PURSE INTO MY NEW BIG ONE!! I will never go back to a small purse ever again.
Thankfully I didn’t have to cook ( seriously that would have just been WRONG) so we popped up to Bluewater and into Wagamamas, one of my favourites.
By the time we got home I was too tired and full to do birthday cake, so in true diva fashion I extended my birthday and we planned a day out to Whitstable the next day (without arguing kids), were we enjoyed a fab plate of fish ‘n’ chips and the required Mr Whippy ice creams!!
After a cold Kopperburg in the garden I then had room for 2 big slices of b’day cake ( well it was my birthday after all).
All in all a good birthday was had and I know that the next one will come round far too quickly!!!
Teenagers and the Summer Holidays
Recently I have been reading and envying all the latest posts about keeping the kids entertained over the summer break. I used to do the same. List all the things we wanted to do and all the places we wanted to visit, arrange meeting up with friends for picnics in the park, swim afternoons, beach visits. But teenagers and summer holidays is a whole different ball game.
My boys are now 15 and 12 years old, and with ALL the will in the world I cannot get them enthused about anything. Bbviously Xbox is not included here. I’m aware that the age they are now they like to lay in occasionally, have lazy telly mornings and later nights. But really what the hell am I going to do over the holidays?
I cannot let them fester in their rooms all day. I know they prefer to manage themselves, even if it means just watching telly or playing on their phones or whatever they do whilst they lounge about in their bedrooms. The mere mention of going to a park or a walk somewhere sends them into meltdown mode. Things like cinema/ bowling/ Go Ape etc all cost lots so would only do occasionally.
So, I’m frantically looking for options.
We have booked a week away camping in the Isle of Wight in August.
Actually they are both looking forward to this as they went there with their primary school on their Yr6 trip. So, although we have booked the campsite, we are leaving the holiday up to them.
We have the guide books and they know pretty much the places they want to visit over there (inc the hotel that they stayed in ). So this week away should be great for all of us, even with their continuous bickering. To top it all off we are NOT, I repeat, NOT on a budget this time. After I had a little radio win in May I have purposely kept plenty of spending money!
Mr B will be working as normal on shifts throughout the summer so there will be days when he is here with us and others were he wont. The days he is not here are perfect lazy days or cinema days that will fit in with my chronic illness. However, when he is here I would like us to actually DO something rather than waste the 5-6 weeks.
So apart from the normal having friends over for xbox and a sleepover I’m manically trying to sort ideas that wont cost the earth. But also things that they actually want to do. There is absolutely no point forcing them to do stuff they don’t want to as no one ends up enjoying the day.
My list so far:
* Groupon have a great offer on for tickets to Horrible Histories Live in London ( still a pay out but def worth doing for a major treat)
* Thinking of possibly one of those Cineworld monthly tickets. Anyone tried these and are they worth it?
* Eldest has already arranged to go stay in Plymouth at my mums as my brother lives there and they spend days walking the moors!
* Fishing with the youngest while the eldest is away……youngest loves it and eldest detests it.
*If the weather holds out we will definitely get a day at the beach, complete with burgers cooked on the beach for tea. That we still like doing but cannot swamp them with doing it too often. Might offer them each to bring a friend which will separate them and contain the arguments.
*They still enjoy movie nights. So I will invest in a few new DVD’s or a pay per view off demand, with popcorn and fizzy drinks to keep them happy. Again I could get them to invite a mate or two as a change.
* Games nights as Monopoly is a favourite, as is Texas Hold’em. We invested in a proper poker table last year which they love
Other than that I’m pretty stumped. Neither are bothered about cooking or baking really and making things/ craft is absolutely not their thing at all.
All you with teen boys, help me out with ideas for teenagers and the summer holidays. What else would you suggest?
Yesterday we celebrated St Patrick’s Day. Not that I am southern Irish or catholic!! I do have the accent though. However, living in England, married to an Englishman with 2 English sons it’s just nice to get them thinking about the fact I’M NOT FROM HERE!! LOL
Anyway it is a true excuse to terrorize them with LOADS of diddly diddly music, Irish food and all things green.
So here’s how it went:
I would have liked to head up to the parade in London this year, however, one son had extra piano lessons today and the other had his Lamda practice…………..so it wasn’t to be.
I am waiting until they are both over 18 so we can go on a proper long weekend in Dublin, complete with a tour of diddly diddly bars, a few Guinness’s and yummy food! Until then my friends it’s down to me to keep the madness going!
What did you get up to?
Spin Mania Review
We had the chance to review a new game, Spin Mania, out in time for Christmas. It’s not your normal board game with dice and counters, believe me we have loads of them in this house.
Spin Mania is more of a hands on game and puts extra pressure on with a timer.
This game comes from Drumond Park which sell all sorts of games online check it out at their website www.drumondpark.com
Here’s the what they say about it
A 2+ player game to test speed and agility by completing spinning plate time trial challenges in the fastest time. Includes 1 x motorised spin base with timer, 3 x spinning plates, 3 x plate bases, 1 x plate handle, 4 x scoring pegs, and instructions. Requires 2 x ‘C’ batteries (not included). Suitable for children aged 6 years upwards.
No assembly is required other than putting together the three plate stands by pushing the posts into the three-legged bases. Batteries also need to be inserted into the underside of the Spin Base prior to play – a Phillips screwdriver will be required for this.
To play, each player turns on the spin base (via a switch on the underside) and, ensuring that the timer is set to the start position and the tip is spinning steadily, starts the timer and lowers their first plate onto the tip. Once the plate is spinning on the tip, the player must use their plate handle (or ‘spin spike’) to pick it up and transfer it to one of the positioned plate stands, following which they must then rush back and repeat the process with the second and third plates.
Obviously players take part one at a time, and to make the game more challenging the other players secretly place the plate stands around the playing area (agreed in advance) prior to each turn, for example in a visible but slightly difficult-to-get-to location!
The plates must be spinning at all times during and after transfer – if they are dropped en route or they stop spinning, they must be ‘spun up’ again. Once the third plate is spinning on its stand, the player races back to the spin base to stop the timer. Coloured marker pegs are included for each player to handily record their time (via holes around the side of the timer).
The winner is the player who completes the challenge in the shortest time.
Here’s what we think:
So my boys are 12 and 14yrs old. This game is suitable for 6+ although to be honest it would depend on their motor skills at that age. We gave it a go and thought it would be probably too young for my boys. How wrong could I be.
The element of competition with the timer was brilliant. Also the fact that they could place the plate bases anywhere in the room!
It wasn’t as easy as it looked though and I would suggest everyone has a practice of transferring the plates before the game starts. Our boys are very competitive so it was entertaining in itself waiting to see where they had placed the base plates.
The plates need enough spin to keep going until you can place the last plate but it’s a fine line between enough spin and wasting time.
All in all we found this to be an different style and very entertaining game. This one will definitely be played over Christmas and will be hilarious after a few glasses of wine ( for the adults of course).
Spin Mania retails around £22.99 and is in keeping with most game prices. There is no major set up but remember like most games the batteries are NOT included.
DISCLAIMER: we were sent this game free of charge for review purposes
No I haven’t won the Lottery ( I’m still waiting on that) however, I am getting the chance to drive something you may buy if you did win the Lottery!
Ok I will explain. I was recently offered the chance to ‘Review’ a brand new car for 3 weeks!!! YES a brand new car, from the lovely Volvo people, with a full tank of petrol( or actually diesel in this case) and both myself and my OH fully insured to drive it.
Well lets face I would have been a complete mug to turn this opportunity down- wouldn’t I?
So this car was delivered to my door yesterday evening and the driver took me through a quick brief of all the gadgets, buttons and controls.
To say this car has been pimped is an understatement!!
The car itself is a Volvo XC60……………I realise that will probably mean nothing to most of you so I thought I would show you instead:
This was a quick snap taken when I went out in it today……………yes I have already put it to use! This picture does not really do it justice so I will be posting better ones over the next few weeks, as I will be posting about how ‘we’ as a family find the car for town journeys, shopping and days out, how family friendly it is, and how we all get on with the gadgets…………..and believe me there are many!!!
CD and DVD player
Digital TV ( I know……….AMAZING!)
Bluetooth technology to sync my phone ready for hands free!
Tinted back windows
Heated Seats people!!! HEATED SEATS
That’s before I start on the safety elements on the car- all of which I will go into in later posts. Today on my 1st run out I happened to notice a little orange light on the inside of the door opposite the wing mirror???? Now I kept seeing this light coming on and off and couldn’t work out why!! Then the penny dropped…………………..its a warning light indicating that someone is overtaking and in my blind spot!!! GENIUS
Now as an ex driving instructor some of the available gadgets do go against the grain at first sight- the reversing camera for one! I’m a true believer that if you going to drive a car then learn to do it properly without relying on anything to do it for you!! HOWEVER, I’ve got to say I found myself looking anyway as it comes on automatically……….so I may get converted yet.
So, to say I am a happy chappy is an understatement.
For the next 3 weeks I will be looking as though I’m living like the other (rich) half do!! Blimey, who knows I could make a ‘Yummy Mummy’ yet……………………………………………………..OK don’t hold your breath on that one.
I was sent a copy of the newly released Journey 2 The Mysterious Island to review over the half term, however earlier in the year my boys and I attended the screening for this film. Having no real expectations for this sequel to Journey to the Centre of the Earth, we were pleasantly surprised to come away having enjoyed it!!
So premise of the story if you don’t know:
Sean gets crypted messages from a ‘mysterious island’, Hank ( stepdad) helps him uncover the code and accompanies him find the island. Gabato and his daughter help them get there by using their helicopter. Long story short…….they get there by default, find Sean’s long lost grandfather (Caine) and have to find a way off the island as it’s sinking!! Cue the Nautilus/ Atlantis slant.
Anyway, all in all a great film to entertain the kids over the coming half term. Action, adventure and a splash of comedy makes for a kids film that even the parents may admit to enjoying for what it is. Michael Caine is great as the long lost grandfather and the initial strained relationship between him and Hank will have you smirking. Look out for the taut pecs and berries routine………don’t say you weren’t warned!
The film has been rated as a PG and has a running time of 94mins
Prices will vary depending on both the retailer and package ( dvd/ blueray/ or triple play)
DISCLOSURE- I was sent the DVD free of charge for review purposes only, however, all views expressed are my own.