Saturday, 4 February 2012

Something I saw and wanted to share...

Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Show Me Your Man Drawer!


Everyone has one, a tangled tardis of things which no longer work, are broken, or out of date, but you just cant bare to part with them as one day they might just be useful again.

Here is ours



Broken clocks, a slither of sandpaper, chargers for various electrical equipment that we no longer own, all different types of dead batteries which you cant throw away just in case they, with a combination of other dead btteries give you that tiny bit of charge that you need, old phones that aren't compatable with the chargers that re in there, one mitten, christms cracker prizes, and a single payslip from six years ago.

Go on, I've shown you mine now you show yours, there's no shame in it, everyone has one.

To get you in the mood here is in my opinion one of the funniest comedy sketches that I have heard.



Saturday, 12 November 2011

Natural Consequences - The proof is in the Pudding

Zane will soon be two years old and he is fast becoming a typical toddler. He knows what he wants and he wants it now! We have been blessed with a very calm and placid boy, I think it is mostly his personality but partly because me and Gary are very relaxed, don't get stressed out with things and generally go with the flow and it has rubbed off on him too.

So far we haven't had "tantrums", I do hate that word, because tantrum suggests it is negative behaviour, when it is just frustration that the child doesn't have the emotional maturity or intelligence to be able to deal with rationally like we as adults have learnt over time, even some adults still have tantrums, they shouldn't be ignored or punished, support is needed to work through the emotions and provide emotional literacy for the future. We have had situations that look like they could potentially head towards a meltdown, but with distraction and validation of emotions we have managed to avoid frustration on Zane's part and ours.

I am keen to avoid power struggles with Zane. As I see it, yes I am his parent, but I'm not here to control him, I am here to guide and enable him to have a happy life, he is also a human being with his own thoughts and feelings which have equal rights over mine. Please don't take this to mean I am a permissive parent as some people seem to think when they see how we react to Zane. He has firm boundaries for things which we think are important and we are consistent, but we don't sweat the small stuff which he will learn through modelling ours and other peoples behaviour. 

One tool that I have had stored in my parenting ammo for a while is natural consequences. A natural consequence occurs when parents do not intervene in a situation but allow the situation to teach the child, adults should refrain from saying anything, particularly variations on the "I told you so" theme. If parents intervene by lecturing or by dispensing additional punishment, they risk destroying the natural learning situation by creating power. Of course there are situations where natural consequences would work but it is inappropriate to use, such as when a child runs into the road, you don't want them to learn not to do it by being run over so you intervene, as it is your job as a parent to ensure that your child is safe. Or there are times that you should adapt the consequence, the natural consequence for a child that doesn't brush their teeth is that they will get cavities, but the result will be delayed so not effective, so the consequence should be relevant, such as a child who doesn't brush their teeth shouldn't be allowed sweets until they learn to brush more effectively. Here there is a logical connection between the behaviour and the consequence.

I have been using natural consequences for a while to get into practice, even though Zane hasn't been old enough to understand fully so I have used my judgement for when to intervene as of course he is a toddler and thinks of here and now and doesn't have the capacity to think ahead to a different time and place, but I do. Today we have had a breakthrough and I have really seen how natural consequences work for us. Zane doesn't like to wear his coat sometimes and today was one of those occasions. We were going on a walk down the canal and it looked like rain was imminent but instead of forcing the issue and making him wear the coat which would result in a emotional meltdown because I wasn't taking his choice into consideration, I calmly and clearly said "I hear that you don't want to wear your coat right now, but I think that you may get cold later on so we will take it with us.  If you get cold tell me and you can wear it." Its a lot of words for a toddler to understand, but we have always spoken to him like an adult even though we don't expect him to fully understand, but it will all be stored and remembered for a later date.

So off we go on our walk, although it wasn't the nicest of days it wasn't windy and making it too cold. Zane was quite happy practicing his running and collecting leaves down the canal path to think about being cold, but I occasionally reminded him that I had his coat if he was cold, he was quite happy though, although I was cold and wearing my coat, I am not him and he might not be as sensitive to cold as me. After an hour or so he had slowed down and came to the pushchair and said unprompted "cold now, coat on mummy" whilst slinging his coat over his shoulder trying to get it on. Hearing this made me doubly pleased, firstly because he had made the connection between getting cold and putting his coat on, and secondly he had processed what I had said earlier and applied it to himself when he needed it. He was empowered to make his own choice and he felt free to change his mind at any point he wanted which I think is a good lesson in life.

So I have concluded from today's walk that instead of focusing on teaching kids a lesson and both becoming stressed and unhappy, you can focus on having fun and sharing joy, that's the desired outcome after all, the small stuff will sort themselves out.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Review - FancyDressOutfitters.co.uk

FDO_logo - transparent background small
I have been sent a great fancy dress outfit for Zane from www.fancydressoutfitters.co.uk, with Halloween being imminent they sent me a Vampire costume to try out.

When I first opened the package up I was very pleased to find that the costume came with everything that we needed, so no need to buy additional accessories. The costume comes complete with waistcoat printed top, black trousers, shoes, red cape and vampire headpiece, all for a price of £17.77. I think that is a very reasonable price for saying there is no need to buy anything else and it saves you the hassle of running round the shops to find a whole outfit.

I tried the outfit on Zane straight way, and he really looked the part. The trousers and top were a good fit for saying the size was Toddler 1-2 and Zane is a large 22 month old. There was still plenty of room in the trousers and the sleeves were still long on him. I loved the cape, it is silky and has a nice shimmer to it, I only wish that it was held onto the top with something other than Velcro or more of it, as it made the cape easy to pull off, although the outfit still looked great without it. The only problem that we had was that Zane didn't like the headpiece, but that is down to his personal preference, he doesn't even like to wear hats. One thing that I noticed whilst reading the details on the website was that the outfit is dry clean only, which I don't think is great for children's outfits because I can imagine that at parties they get jelly and ice cream down them and they wouldn't be so simple to clean.

FancyDressOutfitters.co.uk don't just do children's costumes, they also do adults with a wide variety of choices such as theme fancy dress, movie, music and TV characters, and Hen night and Stag Do. The adult costumes are still a very reasonable price too. Have a look on their website to see their full range, I'm sure you will find something you like.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

I feel lost......

I've lost my phone, or rather Gary has lost my phone. We know where it is though, its in a scrap yard, in his car, which is now cube shaped. I have never lost a mobile phone before and I feel lost. Its bad enough when you don't wear a watch and feel naked without it, but who needs a watch when you have a mobile phone. I now don't know the time, what the weather is like, or what my Facebook friends are doing. I cant spend every idle minute on baby forums or google-ing everything which I don't know to find the answer in seconds. I am twitchy, when there is a spare minute I reach for my phone, but its not there, life is dull.....

Until this afternoon. A normal Saturday afternoon catching the bus into town and as usual the buses are really early and you miss it, or its late and your waiting around and two come at once. Today it was early so we had a 15 minute wait. Usually Zane would happily look at the many cars and ambulances that go past the bus stop, and I would point out vans and have Facebook on my phone having a nose. Today I didn't have my phone so I thought how bored I was going to be and time would go so slow! Within 5 minutes of waiting and watching the traffic I spotted two colleagues walking down the street and we stopped for a chat. Me, being social without it being in front of a screen! Usually I would be too engrossed in my phone to even notice people passing by. I caught up with some interesting people who I hadn't seen in a while, we had  great chat and caught up, and in actual fact it made time fly, before I knew it my bus had arrived, it was a refreshing change, so in conclusion social networking actually stops you being social in real life, and I can honestly say that I am happier after having a face to face conversation with two people rather than looking at what my 200+ Facebook friends are up to.

I don't know how long I can last until I crack and buy a cheap phone or beg someone to lend me one until my insurance sends me another one. Hopefully I will remember the positives of not having the Internet at my fingertips and maybe use it a bit less, or at least start to look out of the window to see what the weather is like rather than looking on my phone.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Review - Little Dish New Addition








Little Dish have sent me the new addition to their toddler meal range to review with Zane, Chicken & Two Veg Pasta.

Little Dish was founded by mum of two Hillary Graves in 2006. It is the only brand offering a range of fresh, natural meals for babies and toddlers made from 100% natural ingredients and no added salt or sugar, so you can be sure that by giving your toddler a Little Dish meal they are getting a healthy alternative to home cooked food.

Chicken & Two Veg Pasta is a combination of bite sized pieces of  British chicken, carrots, broccoli trees and pasta swirls with cheese sauce. The meal is the perfect balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats as well as a great source of calcium.

The meals are simple to cook, just pierce the film and pop them in the microwave for a couple of minutes, cool to desired temperature and serve. The first thing that I noticed was when I pierced the film the smell came through instantly, it was delicious, and it smelt even better once cooked. I knew instantly that if it tasted as good as it smelt then it was going to be a hit.

One thing that I really like about Little Dish meals is that they actually look like a proper home cooked meal, I have bought meals before for Zane and they haven't looked like something which we would all eat together, which is important to me as we have always fed him what we have eaten and with these meals each element is as easily recognisable as home cooked food. The pasta is just like what we use at home, the veg is perfectly cooked, not too soft and not too firm, and the pieces of broccoli and carrots are obviously brocolli and carrots but perfectly sized so that they aren't daunting. I always taste meals for Zane before giving them to him as I wouldnt feed him anything which I wouldnt eat myself. I could have eaten all of it! The cheese sauce tasted great, cheesey, perfect consistancy, and it didnt mask the flavours of the chicken and veg. There was enough of each element to get a forkful of everything each mouthful. It was a great combination and the flavours went really well together.

Zane really enjoyed eating it too, he loves anything with cheese in like his mum so as soon as he tasted it he didnt stop eating. He can sometimes be a little picky about veg but he ate all of what was on his plate, I think the size of the pieces contributed to his enjoyment, as at home he has much bigger pieces but with the ones in the meal being smaller he wasnt phased at all.

I would really recommend Little Dish Chicken & Two Veg Pasta, it went down really well with my toddler. The meal is available to buy in Tesco from 5th October, andOcdo later on in the month, and will retail at £2.49.

If you would like to find out more about Little Dish and the rest of their toddler meal range take a look at their website http://www.littledish.co.uk/.


Friday, 30 September 2011

I'm Back!

After a short while away from Blogging I am back! I can't really say that much has happened over the last month except a crisis of confidence and feeling lost within my own identity be
cause of the therapy that I am having because of PTSD due to Zane's birth. Its very hard work this therapy lark with days of lost sleep and emotions all over the place but the end result is worth it and each session makes things clearer.

Home life has been lovely, we have a new addition to the family, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Jager. We got him when he was 6 months old and I hope that we are giving him a better life than where he was before. He is very much loved by all of us, even the chickens who scare him and peck him on the nose if he gets too close. He is very loving and so patient with Zane who isn't exactly an angel with him but is getting better and I think they are pals which is what we wanted.

So what do I have in store? I have a couple of reviews to write up, some news and general thoughts and feelings on issues that are relevant to us.


Saturday, 20 August 2011

And the Winner of the Little Dish Favorites Cookbook is ...........


Well Done Danielle!!!

I will be in contact shortly to arrange posting the fab cookbook to you.

Keep an eye out for more giveaways coming shortly!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

GIVEAWAY! Little Dish Favourites Cookbook



I am pleased to announce my very first giveaway, one lucky person could win the Little Dish Favourites Cookbook, which has over 60 simple recipes suitable from weaning onwards.

The cookbook is fantastic, and something I wish I had a year ago when we were introducing Zane to solid food. The book has lots of tips and information, and the recipes are easy to follow, simple and suit a wide variety of tastes. Some of the recipes include home made fish fingers, chicken enchiladas, meatloaf, and burger with hidden vegetables for fussy eaters, I can guarantee that you will find something to inspire you.

All you need to do to win this fabulous cookbook is Like me on Facebook, Follow Me on Twitter and leave a comment on my blog to say that you have entered.

The giveaway will be open until 12 noon on Saturday 20th August, and the winner will be announced shortly afterwards.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Review - Little Dish Childrens Meals


I have been sent a cool bag full of Little Dish goodies for Zane to try. Little Dish meals are suitable for children from 12 months, and are made from 100% natural ingredients with no added salt or sugar. Something which I was very impressed with is the fact that the chicken and beef used in the meals are free from antibiotics and growth hormones, and the vegetables used are free from pesticides. As free range chicken owners and organic gardeners this is something very important to us, as we like to know what we are eating and that it has been produced/reared in the most natural way.


We were sent six different meals, Chicken Risotto, Pasta with Cheese, Peas & Broccoli Trees, Monty's Favorite Spaghetti & Meatballs, Salmon & Broccoli Pasta Bake, Chicken & Butternut Squash Pie and Pasta Bolognese. The meals were so simple to cook, just pierce the film and pop into the microwave for two minutes and then its ready to eat once it has cooled down to the required temperature.

As always I try the food for Zane before he eats it as I wouldn't feed him something which I wouldn't be willing to eat myself. I was most impressed, the meals were all delicious, none of them were bland and they tasted just like something that I would cook myself. Zane was very happy to eat them. I was a little worried as he was going through a fussy phase before I received these meals to review so I was hoping that it wouldn't affect the results but the change seemed to inspire him to eat. His favorite meal was Monty's Favorite Spaghetti & Meatballs, I was amazed that he cleared his plate, ate all of the meatballs when he usually isn't too keen on meat, and when he had finished he was trying to scoop the sauce off the plate with his hands, he didn't want to waste a single bit. The meal which he wasn't so keen on was Salmon & Broccoli Pasta Bake, which I was surprised at as it was my favorite, I thought it was the tastiest of all the meals and Zane usually loves salmon, the only thing I could think that he wasn't keen on was the distinct flavour.

Something which I found very novel was the picture to colour in on the inside of the cardboard sleeve. Perfect to keep little one's occupied whilst they are waiting for their dinner too cook and cool. In our case it even kept Daddy out of trouble for five minutes.

What I loved the most about Little Dish meals is that there is a whole load of goodness in such a convenient meal. I would have no worries or ingredient scanning if I hadn't been so organised throughout the day and needed to get Zane his dinner quickly. I sometimes feel guilty if I have to serve him a microwave meal but with these I know that there are no added nasties and only good quality ingredients are used. Something which didn't suit us was the portion size, it is very generous so that would be a positive for most people, but for us Zane seems to be intimidated by a plate full of food and doesn't eat it so well. This was fine once I had realised though as I could adjust the size that I served him and my taster was increased, they really are good enough for adults to eat!

You can buy Little Dish meals at Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Waitrose Deliver, Ocado.com, and Boots. You can find out more about Little Dish on Facebook and Twitter or on their website http://www.littledish.co.uk/.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Skip Treasures

Gary is a skip rat, he loves having a look at what people have thrown away to see if there is anything which will be useful again, and save us some money. A few months ago whilst out he spotted a skip so went to have a look. He was amazed to find a Belfast sink in perfect condition. He asked permission to take it and carried it half a mile home. His arms were aching so as soon as he got back he dropped it right my the garden gate,and that is where it stayed.

We filled it with flowers and we love it, it looks great in its position.


I bought the flowers for a bargain price at our local corner shop. Next Spring we plan to plant wild flower seeds to give a real natural effect, like the sink has been dumped and beautiful flowers have sprung up.

The sink is a lovely feature in our patio and it inspired us to have more flowers in that area. Now we have a little oasis which is very calming and relaxing. Doing this area has been a god start for making our mark on the whole garden, and I am already looking forward to next spring.


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Doing My Bit For The Economy.

Since the recession I have been passionate about supporting local and small businesses. This is important to me for personal purchases as well as in my job in Facilities Management. Within the procurement process at work I always research local businesses first to see what they offer, and bigger businesses second. I find that there is a massive gap between small and large business in terms of customer service and satisfaction. When I use a big business I always feel like a number or another figure on their target sheet. When I use a small business I mostly get personal service, and I feel like my custom means so much to them that they put their all into my purchase. I have worked in customer service for my whole working career and it is something which is important to me so I pay special attention to how my custom is dealt with.  I have such a sense of satisfaction when I find a new small business that is excellent at what they do, and for myself because I am supporting the local economy and doing my bit towards stabilising our country.

I want to show my passion by sharing a small business which  have had a great buying experience with and I want to champion them.

I wanted some cushions for Zane so that he has a comfy area to relax in. I came across Towards Mayhem and saw that they made cushions and had a transport design. Zane loves anything with wheels so I knew that it would be a winner. I spoke to Michelle, the owner to tell her which one I wanted and also asked her if she could get a fabric with emergency vehicles as that as the current obsession. Within minutes she found a perfect fabric and posted me a picture as a sample. I loved it so said go for one of each material. The next day she posted me another picture of them made up. I was amazed at her speed, and the efficient communication. I received them the very next day, so from start to finish the process of choosing, making, posting and receiving was less than 48 hours!

I was impressed with the cushions when they arrived. Michelle knew how old my son was so she decided to design the cushion covers so that they easily slipped off for washing. The cover fits the cushion perfectly, it isn't tight or baggy, and the cushion easily slips in and out. The quality of the sewing is fantastic, and the covers have been washed quite a few times whilst I have had them and they haven't shrunk or lost shape. I cannot fault the product, or the service that I received, so I would highly recommend Towards Mayhem.

I should add Zane's reaction too. He loves them. I put them out before he woke up and they were the first thing that he went to when he walked into the living room. He loves pointing out what each vehicle is, and he has started saying the colours too. He loves to roll around on the floor with them, or just lie cuddled up on them watching the TV. I put them in his cot to sleep on and they haven't been downstairs since. I loves looking at them before he falls to sleep, and I like to think that they send him to sleep happy.


Sunday, 31 July 2011

Follow on from my Therapy - My Safe Place

So I have told you about my Sentor, now I will tell you about my safe place. This is somewhere where my brain can escape to when I am anxious and it instantly calms me. I knew straight away what I was going to choose for this.

A few years ago we went on a tour of Holland, we didn't book anything but the flights, I had looked on a map for which town and cities we could go, and I had looked for an idea of where we could book hotels once we had got there. We landed in Eindhoven, and then over eight days we went on to Rotterdam, Den Haag (The Hague), Haarlem, and then Amsterdam. The Hague was one of the best places I have ever been to, but that is most probably because we went in October, when we left England it was wet, grey and miserable, and it wasn't much different in Rotterdam, but when we got to The Hague the weather was glorious, very warm and sunny, not a cloud in the sky most of the time. We stayed in Scheveningen which is the area of The Hague that has a seaside. I didn't even know that there was a seaside there so it was brilliant to arrive on this glorious day and walk along the beach.

So back to my safe place. When I imagine The Hague as my safe place I remember the palace like hotel at the end of the main beach road, the dog leaping around in the surf without a care in the world, the three boats on the horizon that didn't seem to ever move from the same position, the chip van that did the greasiest chips ever and the biggest blog of mayonnaise but tasted Divine, and the unique statues which always make me smile when I think of them. I loved that place and would have happily stayed there for our whole holiday, I would love to go back their for our honeymoon if we ever get married I would get the same hotel and the same room. How we got the fantastic room is another story. As I said earlier on we hadn't booked any hotel rooms, once we got to The Hague we went to the Tourist Information who told us about the beach area, and that it was 15 minutes down the road. Fifty minutes down a very long straight road we were fed up. We said that we would book into the first hotel we came to as we were so tired and sick of walking. When we got there we asked if they had any cheaper rooms for that night and what are budget was. For an extra ten euros we got the penthouse luxury room! Compared to the flea pit in Rotterdam this was VIP quality!

Here is my special place.


  

 

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Follow on from my Therapy - My Safe "Thing"


When my counsellor said that she was going to install a tiger in me I thought, ok your nuts! When it came to doing it she explained that it was an imaginary support in my brain, and I can call upon it when I need it beside me. She said that it can be a person, an animal, a mythical creature, anything I wanted. Once she had explained it and I had got over the amusement I thought it was rather exciting, I had watched a film at the cinema a few years ago called Looking for Eric, where the main charactor has an "imaginary friend" which is Eric Cantona, and he eventually helps him be stronger and face his problems, the whole time Eric was at his side.

I was stumped, I dont have the best imagination for this kind of thing. First I thought Freddie Mercury, one of my idols, but then I remembered that his mental health wasn't the best so he might not be the best thing for me. I then thaught of a Sentor, half man, half winged horse. I loved it. I imagine it to be Mel Gibson like he was in Braveheart as the man, and for the horses body it is violet/blue with a body like peacocks feathers. He is very pretty, and very strong. You can't stroke him, he isn't friendly. He is aloof, and always ahead, leading the way and he never stops until he gets what he wants. Rather like the opposite to me, a doormat, who always puts her needs last, and gives up because i'm probably not good enough anyway.

I have been able to call up my Sentor when I have needed him, and he is good for getting to sleep when my mind is on overdrive. He quashes all of the worries so that they are no longer there and so I can drop off.

Here is a Sentor, not my Sentor, but a rather pretty one.


at adam resimleri ar┼čivi, centaur, sentor, kentaur

Next time I will talk about my safe place, it is somewhere very special to me.