Monthly Archives: October 2013

Charlie and Lola Best Bestest Play! #Win a family ticket!!

The Charlie and Lola books are popular with my children, and they always have a giggle at the BBC tv series, now Charlie and Lola are taking to the stage this December and heading to Glow at the Bluewater Shopping centre in Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play. Tickets are available now, and if you book quickly you may be able to grab tickets at the bargain price of £10 (There are 20 standard tickets available at this very special price for each performance.). Children need to be accompanied by at least one adult, but the show promises to be very entertaining and Time Out said of the show:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the creative yet faithful translation of the books for stage. More importantly, so did my three year old.”

The show is aimed at 4 – 6 year olds, and is an ideal first introduction to theatre, the performance lasts 55minutes with no interval. If you’d like the chance to WIN a family ticket to see the performance for any of the performances (subject to ticket availability) follow the simple steps below! Good luck!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:

 One entrant per household. UK entrants only. Winner must respond to winning notification within 72 hours of prize notification, failure to respond within 72hours will forfeit right to prize and a new winner will be selected.
Winners details will be passed to Boom Ents for prize fulfilment.
Winner selected at random from all correct entries.
The winner receives a family ticket for 4, to see any performance of Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest play between Dec 13th 2013 and Jan 5th 2014.
Children must be accompanied by at least 1 adult. Best tickets available will be given. Tickets to be collected from the box office, no cash alternative.
Tickets are subject to availability and cannot be sold or exchanged.
Competition brought to you on behalf of Charlie and Lola by Boom ents (

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Preparing for a Storm…

Ok, so I don’t want anyone to panic but having heard on the radio that our council is preparing for a storm as big as the one in 1987, I decided to look into what we may be getting ready to expect and decided we are not prepared at all if the weather does turn nasty! 
Power cuts, thankfully they don’t happen very often here, but if they did we’d have not lighting, no method of cooking, heating or communication other than via mobile phone. So, here are my plans for making life easier if we get a power cut:

  • Ensure mobile phones are charged, locate the rechargeable battery charger and charge it!
  • Charge all rechargeable batteries.
  • Locate torches, or buy new ones!
  • Flasks, keep them topped up throughout the day.
  • Fuel, keep the car with half a tank – if the power goes off there will be no fuel pumps..we’re rural so need the car to go anywhere at all!
  • Blankets on beds, and dig out all the extra warm fleeces!
  • Bread, butter, cheese, jam, biscuits, – things we can eat without cooking!
  • Camping stove put ready to use OUTSIDE – please don’t risk carbon monoxide poisoning by using one indoors!
  • Check elderly friends and family are prepared (I’ve offered torches and flasks to some who think i’m hilarious but when I was a brownie I was always told to be prepared..!) 

Jobs we need to get done in case of high winds..

  • Secure the shed roof! (Our shed roof looks very much like it may fly off like something from the wizard of Oz!).
  • Visual check the roof tiles and guttering!
  • Put all garden furniture, garden toys, plant pots etc safely away (in the shed?! – hope it stays put!).

Have I missed anything? What would you add? Are you preparing for the storm forecast to hit the South of England next week? 

Ms G x


4 Months Post Ectopic..feelings..

Four months ago, I was waking up from surgery, I can still remember how I struggled to open my eyes and how when I finally did I cried, and crying hurt. It was incredible pain, nothing like I’d ever felt before – even in child birth – pain which was like someone was stabbing me with every breath. The crying provoked an odd response from a nurse who said “Why are you crying?” loudly while standing to the side of my bed, and my shaky reply was “I don’t know…” she was shushed by another member of the team, one with slightly more tact. Of course, I knew why I was crying, but I felt vulnerable laying there and wasn’t prepared to explain that my tears were due to losing a baby and yet surviving myself. Internal bleeding caused by a burst fallopian tube, a tiny baby who we’d been so excited about conceiving and the very thing which nearly killed me. I felt a mix of pain, heart ache, annoyance (yes I was annoyed that I was stuck in hospital when I should have been at Britmums, selfish? probably). I remember getting a huge dose of morphine, and it made everything go away, the pain, the thoughts, general conciousness.. Yes, I was totally out of it, and struggled to string a sentence together before drifting off to sleep. When Mr G came to visit, I have no idea what I said or did, but I remember I kept saying sorry that I’d fallen asleep, and I remember him holding my hand while I lay feeling relieved to be back on the curtained comfort of my hospital bed. When I woke up and started to come round from my drug induced state of numbness, I made the decision to try to avoid any further pain relief, I needed to feel the pain, and I needed to deal with the emotional turmoil. Whether it was a good choice, who knows, but it was the right choice for me, and I began the journey back to normality.

I’m sat typing and holding back tears, it feels like a lifetime ago, that someone else went through the pain and fear, yet that emotional pain is still raw and real. I found the list I’d written just in case something “bad” happened, and honestly I wonder why Mr G would need to know or even care about the shopping voucher I’d stashed away for Christmas, or that Boo needs change for snack each break time, but in the hours before I went to surgery, I had written a list of everything I’d not told him, somehow I felt calmer being wheeled along on a trolley in the knowledge that he had a list.

I have struggled the last few months, really struggled mentally to come to terms with the surgery and even to look at the scars. “Friends” who have said “well you have two children and now you’ve had surgery that sort of finishes it doesn’t it..” are not really friends,  yes I have one less fallopian tube, but I still have one and having two children doesn’t make things easier, I’m still allowed to grieve! There was no apparent reason for the ectopic, no infection, no deformed tube, it was just..unfortunate. “Friends” who have asked me how I am, knowing I would normally reply “I’m ok..” were shocked when I replied “Actually, I am struggling, really struggling..” some became true friends, standing shoulder to shoulder to help, while others suddenly were “busy” or didn’t want to talk about it as it made them sad. Writing that, actually made me smile, as for the first time in my life, I really know who my friends are, and it’s quite a nice feeling. I have good days and bad days, and I’m looking forward, forward to trying again, even though the thought of it feels me with fear of all the “what ifs”.. watch this space.

The Little Reindeer – Review & Giveaway!

The Little Reindeer, is an absolutely charming film ideal for getting your family into the festive spirit! Following the story of a young reindeer who accidentally boards Santa’s sleigh gift wrapped as a present, and ends up becoming friends with a young boy who unwraps him. The animated film is accompanied by a wonderful soundtrack which really aids to spark little imaginations! Both of my sons were thoroughly enchanted by the film, and unlike many Christmas films which leave them terribly over excited, this film seemed to delight them in a calm and positive way. Although it is a festive film, it is a film which could be happily watched throughout the year, and yet will make ideal Christmas Eve viewing!

The Little Reindeer is out on DVD on the 28th October 2013 via all good DVD stockists, Abbey Home Media have offered 3 copies as prizes to winners of the competition below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: We received a copy of the DVD for the purposes of the review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Dear Vinnie…

Dear Vinnie,

Thank you for the delivery of delicious Fox’s biscuits, we couldn’t wait to tuck in!

How clever of you to theme these biscuits with American style desert favourites, you must have visited America and been inspired right? Wow, Who knew Pandas had passports?! Fantastic!

The cherry cheesecake Jam N Cream were popular with the whole family, a total taste sensation, super sweet and utterly yummy! However, we weren’t quite so keen on the blueberry muffin party rings, guess we’re not quite sophisticated enough for this flavour. 

Key Lime crunch creams were only for the grown ups, and the Mississippi Pie Melts were not for sharing..with anyone..they were just to good, if you know what I mean!

Oh, and Vinnie? We caught you on the TV last night Vinnie, Looking good..

Ms G x

Easy Halloween Cake Pops! – Dairy Diary.

I’m going to promise you one thing, there is little to no chance of me ever applying to be on the Great British Bake Off, the reason? I’m positively awful at baking, actually that’s a lie, what I make always tastes good but presentation in the kitchen isn’t my strong point! However, the lovely people at the Dairy Diary have come to my rescue this Halloween with an idiot proof recipe for cake pops, so I can pretend to be a super domestic goddess and fool all the other parents – ha! 

The recipe requires no baking so is ideal to make with children, to make 18-20 you will need:

285g (10 ½ oz) Madeira Cake


125g (4 ½oz) full fat soft cheese


100g packet orange chocolate buttons


110g (4oz) white chocolate, chopped
Hundreds and Thousands, sprinkles and popping candy to decorate.
Cake pop sticks.

Crumble the cake into a bowl, beat the soft cheese and then add it making sure you mix it (with fingers!) really well into the mix, it should end up looking a bit like this:

Divide your mixture into evenly sized balls, we laid them onto baking paper for ease.

Melt your chocolate, carefully dip the cake pops into the mix and ideally wait until the chocolate has set before you decorate with sprinkles..we didn’t and the first one or two don’t look as good as the ones which had stood for a minute or two! We struggled to find orange buttons, so stuck with white chocolate and used lots of orange and silver sprinkles!

They do need to be eaten on the same day they’re made, but that wasn’t a problem for us! What do you think? They were so easy to make, we’ll definitely be trying them again! This recipe is one of many you will find in the Dairy Diary 2014, first published in 1982 the Dairy Diary has sold 30million copies since it was first produced! You can still order it from your milkman, but it is also available to buy on-line. It’s a really handy book, in spiral format with plenty of space to write notes and I love that it also has handy sections for keeping family accounts and information on how to do things like remove stains! They have also produced a Clever One Pot Cook Book, which is full of recipes which are easy to cook, and I have to admit we’ve been enjoying trying some of these out already! 

Dairy Diary are offering one reader the chance to WIN a copy of each book,  follow the simple steps on the rafflecopter widget below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

DISCLAIMER: We were sent a copy of each book for the purposes of the review, all thoughts and images of cake pops are my own. The recipe is reproduced with permission from Dairy Diary.

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Getting to the root of the problem. Gums!

“You need to floss..” Yes, yes most of us have heard those words as the dentist pokes about with that metal poker causing us to occasionally wince as that sensitive gum complains at being poked. I never really understood why flossing was so important, I brush my teeth twice a day surely that’s enough? My dentist shook her head pulled out a pack of floss, and suddenly I was shamed into realising the build up between my teeth which my brushing wasn’t reaching, and why my mouth felt so sensitive. I walked away from my appointment vowing to try harder!

 At my next visit, I heard “You really must start flossing..” I owned up, and said I really struggle with floss feeling a bit pathetic I expected an unhelpful reply but instead she smiled and pulled out a selection of interdental brushes and some flossing tape, “one of these will work, now it’s up to you!”. Since then I’ve been trying quite hard to get my gums back into shape, I’ve discovered that interdental brushes work well for my back teeth, but flossing tape is the best for my front teeth! I sit with a mirror in front of the tv before I go to bed and floss my teeth, it might sound horrid, but I find flossing rather tedious and watching some indulgent american tv series while I floss makes everything better! It’s my little routine, and it is making me feel more confident about my smile, as the clear definition between my teeth makes them appear brighter and whiter!  

Pregnancy certainly seemed to bring on my sensitive gums and now I need to really make sure I look after them. I’m pleased to have been given the opportunity to try out Oral B’s new Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste, I like the fact it’s not too minty, my teeth look good, and my gums seem happy so far, watch this space! 

This post is an entry for BritMums’ #ORALBLoveYourGums Challenge  sponsored by Oral-B, promoting healthy gums – something especially important for pregnant women. Get tips and advice on

Win 1 of 3 copies of Jolly Wobbles Car Wash on DVD!

The second DVD of Jollywobbles featuring Justin Fletcher is out on 21st October 2013, and thanks to Abbey Home Media we’re offering you the chance to win 1 of 3 copies to keep your little ones entertained this Autumn! If you’ve never seen Jollywobbles you’re in for a treat you can read our review of the first Jolywobbles DVD, and I can reassure you it’s still one of the most popular DVD’s we own!

To enter follow the steps on rafflecopter, please ensure when you comment you leave a name that matches your rafflecopter entry or a twitter ID so I can trace you if you win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms and Conditions:

Only one entrant per household. UK entrants only. Over 18’s only. Only One Prize may be won per contest per entrant. Mandatory steps must be correctly completed for entry to be valid. Any entrants attempting to gain extra entries without correctly fulfilling the method of entry, or entering using multiple names/email addresses will be disqualified. There will be 3 winners, they will win ONE copy of Jollywobbles Car Wash on DVD. The Prize will be supplied by Abbey Home Media, winner must supply their postal details which will be passed to the publisher for prize fulfilment. Winners must supply their details within 72hours of winning notification or they will forfeit the prize and a new winner will be selected. Winners will be contacted via twitter and/or email and their names will be displayed on the widget. 

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Spy Net Ultra Vision Binoculars – Review

Boo is a mini James Bond fan, while he’s not old enough to have watched the recent films, he has seen the Bond exhibition at Beaulieu and it capture his imagination! He has ever since been practising his drop rolls to covertly sneak past us when he should be in bed –  though he’s still not quiet enough to fool us – yet! 

Spy Net offer a range of gadgets to help your little spy on their missions, and I have to say I was rather impressed with the range available! When I explained to Boo and Mr G that they would have to test out the Spy Net Ultra Vision Binoculars, they were both rather excited and in fact there was a battle to see who could play with take them on a mission first! 

They look very substantial, but I can reassure you’re they’re not as heavy as they look!

Mr G helped set them up, the hardest part was getting the binoculars out of the box, then he needed 4 AA batteries and a micro sd card (they don’t come with the binoculars) and they were ready to go! Waiting until it was dark, Mr G took Boo to try them out in the garden, as something was making a scratching noise out by the kitchen, they set off prepared to capture whatever they found lurking outside..

This is an image taken in day mode so replicates what they could see standing out in the dark:

Switch mode and this is what they could see..

Switch to thermal mode to see if it was real or just a ghostly apparition..

Definite heat showing on the bins where they had seen the creature!

A scream and in the darkness outside the kitchen door.. they captured the culprit!

We were all really impressed with how well they work, how good the night images are and how easy they are to operate. The RRP is £49.99 and I have to say I think they are very good value, there is a lot of play value and they can be used to snap images day or night and there is the option to record video. 

The other dimension to these binoculars is that files can be uploaded to where there are a host of activities including mini-games. I have to confess we’ve not had a play on there yet, but we’re planning some fun this weekend using the site! 

Disclaimer: We received a pair of Spy Net Ultra Vision Binoculars for the purposes of the review, however all thoughts, images and words are my own.


Kids Capture the Colour Entry

We were lucky enough to be one of the first 100 entrants to Kids Capture the colour, and Boo was sent a lovely light little camera to take his photos with. We’ve been a bit slow at posting as he’s taken so many photos, he struggled to decide which ones he wanted to enter! These are the final photo’s he’s selected, and I’m proud that at age 5 he’s taken some quite funky photos and stubbornly refused any help or tips from us so while some of them are not perfect they are all his own work. Well done Boo!


A cool toy fire engine, it looks big like this!


This photo was taken at a model railway display near Nanny’s house.


This is my shadow.


Flowers in Nanny’s garden.


Nothing as white as these clouds!

You can follow all the entrants on twitter using #KIDSCTC