Tuesday, 16 December 2014

M's Dream Bed

I think a bed is probably the most important purchase you can make.  You spend approximately a third of each day in your bed (or more if you are my teenage son!), yet people shop around for a cheap bed and pride themselves on their cheap but serviceable mattress and then complain when they get a bad back.  I have a simple rule for any purchase I make, how much will it cost me in the long run... so a £365 bed would cost me £1 a night, if I only used it for a year - a bargain, but a decent bed will last 7 years so that's actually only 14p a night.  My friends laughed when I said my bed cost just over £1000 but that's the princely sum of 40p a night.  I spend more on coffee!

So I've been hunting around for a new bed for M.  I may be willing to spend money on a good bed and mattress, but I still want it to be good value, and on my hunt I found Time4Sleep and to my delight they had this great competition running on their website about children's dream beds.

So here we have in her own words M's ode to a dream bed.

For a fairy tale bed that is right for me,
you must first remember the tale of the Princess and the Pea
I want a mattress that's comfy and deep
A bed is after all mainly for sleep.

An alarm to warn me of monsters under the bed
I'd hate them to eat me or my ted
Space at the bottom for my dog to laze
perhaps a compartment for food to graze

A shelf for all the books I read
as each night for ten more minutes I plead
And storage for all my precious treasures
and a snooze button to make the most of life's best pleasure

A charging station for my phone is a must
Without full charge my life is a bust
don't forget I'm growing up now
So even with all this I'll still wake up a stroppy cow.

Time4Sleep have several adult designs on their website for dream beds and it seems that M has chosen an amalgamation of all three in her wishes.  Who says children these days don't know what they want?

My favourite of all of these would have to be the young couples bed.  http://youtu.be/UC3X7yCQ5G8 .  I may no longer be young, but this still has everything I'd want.  If you want to see the other beds, they can be found on their blog here

Light Bulbles

Those lovely people over at lightbulbsdirect.com are once again holding their annual upcycle a lightbulb into a Christmas bauble competition.  I was invited to enter this last year and was really ill, so missed my chance but have been  hoarding lightbulbs all year ready to go for it again this time round.

So here are my ideas.  Actually that's a lie, most of them were the kids ideas, but they are far more crafty than me.

I seem to now have a Christmas tree full of light and light baubles.

It was great fun, watching the kids play with glue, cotton wool, felt and sticky plastic.  I spent £2 in the craft shop for some felt pieces and googly eyes, everything else was sourced from around the home and they did everything themselves except thread the ties on the light bulbs & I now have some lovely new additions to the Christmas tree ( and if you look closely, you will see the marbled ones with snowflakes that I intended to enter last year, still being used).
If you want to have a go, you will find all the details here

Sunday, 12 October 2014

My favourite movie soundtrack... tell me more.. tell me more...


There were lots of contenders for the title of my favourite soundtrack: Pretty in Pink, Say Anything, Breakfast Club or Cruel Intentions and Pretty Woman all got mused over, and yes even Twilight was in there, but when I thought about them in more detail, I realised that I loved the soundtrack for one particular track, not all of them.

Any true contender had to have me knowing every track, loving the majority and having at least paid to download, if not actually own the vinyl or CD.  That narrowed the field down quite considerably. 

The winner, as there can be only one winner had to be Grease.  I know it's cheese on a plate, it's smaltzy, it's old now, and it's not at all cool.  BUT it transports me back 35 years to a time when I was 11 years old, going to see my first ever film in the cinema and being blown away.  This is the film that launched my love affair with the cinema.  A love affair that has never ended, we don't argue, fight or break up.  We don't moan about who's turn it is to do the washing up, take the dog for a walk or battle with the kids over homework.  The cinema and me, have an understanding; I will faithfully visit it regularly and it will in turn, dim the lights, make me feel like nothing else matters and provide me with two hours of escape!
Grease (1978) Poster

Grease was my first date and you always remember that one fondly!

I still know every word to every song.  I still cry, I still sing along and I still wish that I was 11 again watching it for the first time.  I'm transported back to the young girl, nervously just about to start secondary school, without her network of friends (who had all gone to a different school).  I remember that feeling of utter dread on my first day and the worry that no-one would like me, or even talk to me and how Grease saved my life.  First day, first lesson, "tell us about your summer" says the teacher... my hand going up and me saying quietly, "I went to the cinema to see Grease yesterday".  Cue 30 pairs of eyes turning round and the girls all desperate to know what it was like.  Everyone knew the music, the songs had been played on the radio for weeks, but the film was new.  I'd seen it two or three days after it's release.  Break, a time when I'd been dreading, was easy as I was surrounded by girls all eager to know what the film was about; this was a time pre internet, pre instant streaming, pre torrents and illegal downloads.  This was in the days when it could take 5 years for a film to appear on the television.  The only way to hear about a film was to watch Film 1978 on the BBC or know someone who had already seen it. Grease made me my first friends and that lunch time, we all sang along to the songs and planned a visit to the cinema to go again the following Saturday.

Those songs transport me back to that day and for me, Summer Nights, Beauty School Drop, Look at me I'm Sandra Dee and Greased Lightening will forever be the songs that saved my life. I'm still kind of shy, I'm still not good at making new friends, but I now have friends who've known me since that first break, who joined me on the Saturday afternoon cinema visit and who still join me in a sing-a-long whenever we find out it's on tv or we're feeling low and pop on the DVD. 

.... I bet if you heard any of the opening bars of any of those songs you'd be singing along to... wouldn't you?

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Plum Baby Mighty Moments Challenge 2

For their second challenge, Plum #mightymoments in association with Tots100 want you to document a day out (or in) with your little one.

I don't tend to put up a lot of photos of my littlest on my blog.  Other than my huge header picture that is... however, proving I will do anything for a competition I've given my blog over to little M for the time being.

M's big day out..

To start my big day, I had to wait around for mum and dad to get ready.  They take ages, so I went into the garden and climbed a few mountains to get fit for the day ahead.

Then I decided to take a turn digging to Australia, (please don't notice that I ripped my skirt and mum had to change me again before we could actually get out the door).  I was having fun!

Finally we went off for my big #mightymoment.  I got to ride a horse.  All my family have their own horses so today was my go to have a ride and see if I liked it!  I loved it, and cried quite a lot when I had to get off.  The pony I rode was called Sugarplum.

I still wasn't tired even after all that horse riding, so Mum and Dad let me play on the trampoline at the stables for a bit, while they did something called mucking out!  I will find out about this one day I'm sure... it all sounds very smelly to me.

By the time we got home it was time for bed.   I thought after my exciting day, that I was very grown up and could get changed into my pyjamas myself.  I didn't agree with mum when she said I'd got it all wrong so had a tantrum and refused to go to bed or get changed again.  I also didn't want her to take my photo.  I was very tired and I liked the pink pants.

So there you have it, M's big day out, lots of playing and a truly #mightymoment as it was her first time on a pony.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Mybeautycompare.com recommends....

I found this rather nifty website browsing the web the other day: www.mybeautycompare.com 

As they say about themselves.. "MyBeautyCompare is the perfect and easiest way to search and compare beauty products online to suit your personal beauty profile. Are we not all tired of wasting time and money on beauty products that don't work for us? Take the two minute survey at MyBeautyCompare and discover the right products and prices for you and only you! It is the first personalised beauty product recommendation tool."  I have to agree with them. 

It was really quick, it was really easy and the recommendations do seem to fit with my skin type and needs.


I have to admit that my first thought was "Wow", not in the choices of what was recommended but in that they didn't instantly bombard me with a list of products that were the most expensive.  As evidenced in the screen shot of the cleansers they would recommend they really do go from low priced to sensibly expensive.  (It's what I tell my husband something cost when it's more than he'd happily pay but about what I think is really not a bad price at all.)  The links take you to shops online where you can buy the product, or as in my case as it recommended Boots, I just nipped down to town to give it a try.

I've got sensitive skin, so I wasn't surprised to see Simple on the list, but I've never tried it.  I normally stick to Liz Earle or Clinique but thought that for this test that wasn't really fair to grab something I already had in my cupboard.  I was pleasantly surprised I have to admit.  I'm not one for applying cleanser by cotton wool, preferring to slather it onto wet skin and wash it off normally so this was a new experience for me.  That said the cleanser was a nice thick consistency so didn't fall off the cotton wool ball immediately or run down my face and I did feel like I'd given my face a proper clean.

Like everything Simple, there is no smell, so I can't remark on that, other than to say that for me this is probably a good thing. 

I've had no reaction to the product at all, and I can come out in hives with baby lotion and other hypoallergenic products so this is another plus.  My skin feels nice and soft and it hasn't dried it out in the slightest.  So for me a success... I'll keep using it for a few more days, and see how I fare... but I will definitely use the site again.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Plum Baby Mighty Moments challenge 1

Anyone with a toddler will appreciate that snacks are a necessity.  Toddlers also don't have  a lot any patience when they want a snack. So providing nutritious snacks quickly is important.  I've tried everything for speed, from handing M half a cucumber to gnaw on, to cheese chunks and boxes of raisons but prefer to use fresh fruit and vegetables for her snacks rather than topping her up with processed or sugary snacks.  I was, therefore, excited to see the Plum Mighty Moments challenge on Tots100.  This week they want you to look at the  Mighty 4 range of products, and use them as inspiration for your own healthy toddler snacking idea. 

Plums, Mighty 4 snacks are based on fruit, vegetables, grains and Greek-style yogurt. 

This is something that I loved the idea of, healthy snacks!

So I present for this weeks challenge, M's new favourite speedy snack:  Apple aliens & stars, in a sea of Satsuma moons around a planet made of Greek yoghurt.

I find if food is fun M eats it so much easier.  She loves that she can dip the fruit into the  yoghurt (ok, smear the yoghurt all over the plate and then get her fingers messy).  It's not a major cookery masterclass, I don't profess to be Mary Berry, but a couple of cookie cutters and some slices of apple and voila, one snack guaranteed to be eaten and it doesn't take any longer than peeling an apple and Satsuma so can be made up in a hurry when only some quick food will do. 
If you have an idea why not head over to Tots 100 and have a go at the challenges yourself.  They take place every week for the next few weeks, so there is still time to get involved.

Friday, 2 May 2014

If I won the Jackpot

Anyone who reads my blog will know I'm a bit of a comper.  When I'm not working, running around after the kids or the horse, then I'm tapping away at my computer mainly doing competitions.  I prefer those where you need to put in a bit of an effort, but occasionally I love to just sit and play a couple of online games.  My favourite game of the moment is Piggy Payout on www.888ladies.com.  It's basically an online slot machine game, which requires little or no effort but is strangely addictive.  I admit it, I do love nipping down to the sea front and playing on the 2p machines and although this costs a little more, it's almost as good as the real thing.

Some of the jackpots are great and I can sit there watching the wheels spin dreaming about how I'd spend the money... and believe me I've spent it more than a few times.

First up I'd love to be able to afford to insure my son in his car.  19 years old and car insurance that is more than the cost of his car.

Secondly, I'd give it all to my friend.  Her son is trying to make it in competitive Ice Dance.  He and his partner are currently the 3rd ranked couple in the UK and as they are 3rd they get no funding at all.  NOT one penny comes their way other than what they can earn or raise in the way of sponsorship.  Sponsorship in today's climate isn't exactly forthcoming and if they are to continue much longer then they need help... winning a jackpot would make a difference to me, but would make far more of a difference to them.  So I'd be good and change two lives for the better forever, rather than my life for a couple of months.  When they become the next Torville & Dean I can be paid back in kudos and gloat that I saw them first.  Now that really is competing in the extreme as they should be representing us at the next Olympics...

This is my entry for the 888Ladies Bingo Competition

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Out With The Old… In With The New!

My daughter has a lovely bedroom, decorated in fresh duck egg blue paint, which is obscured by her many teen loves who gaze adoringly at her from a multitude of posters, prints and drawings all over the walls.  She loves spending time in her tiny haven but there is one problem.  She is 5ft 6" and growing... her bed is a high sleeper.

It's a wonderful piece of furniture that we scrimped and saved for intending it to last her for years... and it has until now.  I never gave a thought to this bit of forward planning when we bought the bed.  We thought about school work - hence it has a desk.  We thought about storage - hence it has shelves, and we thought about sleepovers so it has a pull out chair bed. In fact it is perfect in every way, except one!  Now she has to wiggle like a snake to get onto the actual bed and has to remember when she wakes up not to sit up!  A lesson she has learnt the hard way with many many bumps to the head.  She has now taken to sleeping on the pull out, a pull out meant for occasional use, whilst her lovely tempur mattress lies unused and useless five feet above her. 

This photo was taken in the middle of the day with the light on... another problem with this bed is that it drains all the light out of the room.

I'd love to be able to change it for her; something like this would be ideal.
Barcelona Sleep Station Cabin Bed (RHF Ladder)

It solves the desk problem, it solves the storage problem and it solves the major, will she hit her head when she wakes up? problem.   I can always buy another chair bed to go alongside for sleep overs.
If you like this as much as me you can find it here at Furniture Choice. 
Hopefully, Furniture Choice will decide that M deserves to get the chance to kick out the old and get in with a new bed.

If you have a piece of furniture that really needs changing then let them know via your blog and enter the competition here - just in the nicest possible way, don't make your entry better than mine!


When is a Garden shed not a Garden shed?

Like many we had a rather wet start to 2014.  One of the last casualties still remaining and untouched is my garden.  I'm having trouble motivating myself to go out there and tackle the damage left by it becoming my own private boating lake for a few weeks.  I'm embarrassed to admit that this is my shed...
I'm quite convinced that it is only still standing upright because of the things inside it, holding it up.  I had a lovely garden, trampoline, wendy house, decking, deck chairs, fire pit and everything stored neatly in my lovely shed and then Noah didn't warn us what was about to happen.  I shouldn't moan, I know an awful lot of people are far worse of than us... so we've lost a shed and a wendy house...
Other's lost the inside of their homes.  We were the lucky ones. 

However, with the advent of the dry weather and thoughts turning to relaxing in my garden again, the time has come to demolish the sheds and start again with a clean slate and I've had so much fun imaging just what can go in their place.

There are so many options available now, but my dream shed would be a bolthole from the kids, the TV and my other half.  Who says only men want to escape into their potting sheds. 

My dream...
Lovely wide opening doors, fresh painted colours and space for well.... me!  A cosy area to tap away at my blog, write that book that I'm sure is nestled away inside of me and generally relax.  I already have the space, and the futon chosen, and the desk and the chair... I just need the shed! 
Garden tools and detritus from the old shed can languish in the garage, this time I want space to play and relax.
Although in my travels on the internet and in dream world, I also found these.. If you are slightly more adventurous than me and my modest wants these are for you.
Buy Farmer's Cottage Rotating Sphere Lounger Online at johnlewis.com
I absolutely love the sphere which rotates to move with the sun and shade, but suspect that I might have a fight on my hands to keep that just for me. 
I have a plan to make the outside of my shed look completely uninteresting and even thought about putting a fake front with tools and such like on display with a hidden button to make it slide and reveal my space.  Although I suspect that is outside of my capabilities.
The uses for a garden shed now are endless.  I've seen bars, clubhouses, extra sleeping space for guests, hideaways, saunas, gyms and some people even use them for keeping tools and gardening equipment in.
How would you use yours?
If I'm lucky my new shed will look like this... large enough for me and small enough to dissuade the rest of my clan from wanting to take it over.  With windows for light and two doors just waiting for me to fill with my goodies.  Perhaps I could even had a wine cooler in there?
You can find this shed at http://www.beastsheds.co.uk   and if like me you have ideas of how you can use it (or any other shed) you might like to enter their competition to win the shed.  Just like I have with this post. 
Beast Sheds 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Moments that mattered in 2013


2013 has been and gone, as midnight approached on the 31st December, I was quite glad to see the back of it.... onwards and upwards to a new year and a fresh slate on the calendar.   Now I'm looking back over 2013 and actually it wasn't a bad year.

Miley Cyrus twerked, Prince William had a son, the Khardasian's got more famous for being famous and Tom Daley shocked the nation!  My own little world however, continued without any ground breaking news worthy shocks.  My kids continue to grow and T actually made it through this year without any trips in an ambulance, ICU stays or plaster casts.  Amazing really as this was also the year he started to learn to drive!

I was able to make my daughters dreams come true and take her to see Justin Bieber in concert, not once but twice.   We didn't get trench foot at Glastonbury festival although she did manage to break her wrist at Camp Bestival - luckily it didn't put her off and it made a change for it be her not her brother!

I managed to stay married (trust me it's not easy sometimes), had some mad weekends away with friends and enjoyed my life.  I was luckier than most with my year, and not as lucky as some, but sometimes treading the middle ground is nicer than huge ups and downs.  I've cried for my friends both in sorrow and joy.  I've cried for myself and the people I've lost but I've smiled and laughed a lot too.  I'm not sad the year is over but I'm glad a new one has begun....

I've been prompted to write this by the people at Lloyds Bank who are having a moments that matter draw for bloggers to write about their moments that mattered from 2013.