Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A plain & simple rant!!!

I eat a really bad diet.  It's no secret and no surprise that I am this size. Chick is a different story and I make sure that she eats a varied balanced diet with plenty of fruit and as many vegetables as I can hide in her food.   She isn't too fussy about her food and I think she understands healthy eating pretty well for an 8 year old.  

Obviously she is allowed chocolate and biscuits as I don't want any food to be 'bad', just eaten in moderation.  The only thing that I'm really quite strict about are fizzy, sugary drinks.  Occasionally she is allowed a fruit shoot but never coke!! (Yes it's very much a case of 'do as I say, not as I do'!!!!)

We were at the shop yesterday and I was trying to decide which biscuits I fancied when Chick asked if she could buy a drink.  I waved at her indicating yes and left her to choose on her own.  A couple of minutes later she come back with some kind of OJ and I said 'sure' seeing as it's not fizzy and full of crap then I'm happy! In the car on the way home she was reading the info on the juice bottle and the conversation went a bit like this:

Chick: oh look it says it one of my 5 a day

Me: Hmmmmm....that's nice!  (Not really listening and singing along to Bon Jovi!!)

Chick: It's also get X, Y & Z in it

Me: That's nice Babe.....are you going to read the whole list???

Chick: It's got 17 grams of sugar in it

Me: What?

Chick: It's got 17 grams of sugar in it

Me:  It can't have!! That's ridiculous! Are you sure you have that right?

Chick: (Shoving it under my nose whilst I'm driving) Look, that's what it says

Me: Right, well I can't read and drive but don't start drinking it until we get home just in case you are right!!
Of course she was right!  Now I may not read food labels as a rule but when a small juice drink contains 20% of a child's daily recommended allowance of sugar there has to be a serious problem.  The fact that the juice is marketed at kids and parents as being one of their 5 a day is scandalous as far as I'm concerned.

I was going to name and shame the orange juice in question but having done some research (in the Tesco's aisle!!) it's apparent that I'm completely stupid and most of these kids juices have this much, if not more sugar in them!  I consider it a very valuable lesson learnt and Chick will be sticking to water from now on!!!

I'm interested to hear from you guys on this.  Do you have stuff that your children aren't allowed to eat or drink?  Do you boycott Nestle? Are you as naive as me and never even think about it?  I look forward to reading your comments.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Legoland Windsor

Last week Chick and I took a road trip with my lovely friend Heather to Legoland.  Chick has wanted to go for ages but I kept putting her off because it's just so pricey!  However we were lucky enough to be paid in vouchers for a review job that I did and miraculously with those and some 2 for 1 vouchers from Tesco we could afford to go!!! Yay.....much excitement......until we saw the weather forecast which was mainly rain!  Obviously being hardy British souls we ignored the forecast and went anyway!!  Some pictures:

Chick managed to pass her 'driving test' and got her license!!  God knows how as she ran a red light, drove in the right hand lane and went the wrong way around a roundabout and had two crashes.......I know my driving is bad but seriously!!!!

This is me absolutely petrified enjoying the balloon ride!!

Hev & Chick posing as Woody & Buzz....sooooo funny!!

Don't say I never share with you my lovely blog readers....this is a picture of my arse......my very wet arse!!!  The worst thing?  I was the only person that got absolutely drenched!!  Chick & Hev barely had a droplet on them!!!

Obviously being Legoland I have to show you some lego too!!! This is Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Fountain made out of lego....doesn't it look amazing???

The Easter Island faces also made out of lego:

See how much the weather has improved on the last couple of pictures too! As you can see we had an awesome time and would go back again in a second if we could afford it!  

If you ever fancy visiting I have a few tips to help you on your way:

Get there at 9.15am and queue for 15 minutes until the park opens.  Target the things that you want to ride the most and head there first.  We did this and got to ride pretty much everything that Chick had set her heart on.  Also we got more done and rode more rides between 9.30am - 11.00am than we did the rest of the day.

Bring your own picnic.  Food and drinks are REALLY expensive and not necessarily what the kids want to eat. Spend the money on a Q Bot instead to reduce the time you wait in line!

If it's a nice day bring swimsuits etc for the kids are there is a small water park for them to play in which looks like massive amounts of fun!

The staff are really strict about the height requirement but lots and lots of people in every line seemed to ignore this and try and get on anyway....thus holding up the line!!!  If your kid is too short they are not getting on......rocket science huh?!?

The downside:

It is craaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy busy and you need a massive amount of patience, especially if you aren't a pushchair holder, but keep getting rammed in the legs or tripped over by little kids!!!

You can rent a Q Bot which gives you a time to ride and lets you queue jump! However they cost from £15 upwards which would be fine if you hadn't paid £40 each for entry! It's also massively annoying when you've been waiting in line for an hour and all the smug, rich bar stewards with Q Bots keep jumping in front of you!!!!

The whole thing seems like a money making machine and they don't miss an opportunity to try and part you from your hard earned cash.....even the car park is extra!!!  Ridiculously it's also the most expensive place in the UK to buy Lego from.....go figure???

To sum up: Would we go back again?  In a heartbeat.....but only when my bank balance has recovered from this visit ;-) Ouch!!!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Dodo Acad-Pad Winners

This time I've decided to Vlog the winners!!  Doesn't seem like such a great idea now that I watched it back but here goes......excuse Chick's shaky camera work!!!!

If the lucky winners could please e-mail me their full names and addresses to adventuresofanenglishmum@gmail.com and I'll try and get them sent out next week!!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Reviews & Snazaroo Facepaint Giveaway

I've been very lucky in recent weeks to be offered some lovely products for reviews and giveaways alongside the amazing stuff from Toys R Us.  As I mentioned at the start of the week, I didn't start this blog to do that and I feel that I'm barely writing any more as I can't squeeze everything in.  From the entries I'm getting to the giveaways I'm guessing that most of you quite like them so I've set up a separate review & giveaway blog here.  Click on the link to go visit:

Today is your last chance to enter the fabulous Dod Acad-Pad giveaway! Click here if you haven't yet entered:

I was also lucky enough to receive a cool mug from the dotcom giftshop vintage range:

Chick explained how to use the Sprayza Pens and we made some cool pictures to send off around the world.  Last but not least.....today I have a giveaway to win some Snazaroo Facepaints:

To enter: All you need to do is become a Follower of this blog or over at Adventures of an English Mum Reviews and leave a comment telling me that you've done it......simple!! Alternatively you can 'like' the 
Toys R Us page on Facebook!!!  Closing date is Friday 3rd September.  Good Luck!

p.s.  Happy to send these anywhere on the planet!!!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Man I'm Old!!

I don’t know when the transition happens but at some point between your late twenties and early thirties this bizarre thing happens when you start doing and saying stuff that you would never have questioned before!!!!!   I haven’t quite turned into my Mother yet but I do and say stuff now that I wouldn’t have even considered in my Twenties so I’ve put a little list together....

      Squishing bread in the supermarket to make sure it’s fresh and will last a couple of days!

          Saying ‘When I was young...............’ or ‘I remember when................’

-          As much as I love new experiences there actually is ‘no place like home’!!!  I used to be able to sleep on a clothes line!  Nowadays?  I want to be in my own bed and actually sigh with relief when I get back into it!!!!!

          I leave the house without make-up on.

          Saying ‘oooohhh.....you’ve grown!’

          Making sure people are eating enough and taking care of themselves

          Taking a jacket or something warm when you go out.....just in case!!!

         Saying ‘Did she forget to put a skirt on with that belt' about a youngster in a very short skirt.

          Using the word ‘youngster’!!!! ;-)

-          Asking ‘When were you born?’ Then saying......’ Sorry? When?  I have socks older than you! Run along!!!!’

         It takes 4 days to get over a drinking session!

          Guys that wear their Trousers hanging down their ass.....you are not cool and I do not want to see your ass.....I’m probably old enough to be your Mother!!!!

Ok folks now it’s your turn!!  Which ones of these are you guilty of and what have I missed off the list????

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Back to School

As a perpetually poor single parent any offers of help are usually welcomed, especially when my daughter is completely obsessed with buying stuff for the new school year!  I've tried to be sensible this time and buy a new item of uniform each time I've been shopping at Tesco. As we are there constantly I've bought quite a lot of it!!!

At the start of the Summer, the lovely people from Tesco sent me an e-mail asking if I would like to attend a clothing event with them but for whatever reason it fell through. So they sent their apologies and asked me if I would like a school uniform for Chick instead.  Well, hell yeah! We'd love some more as after all this means less stress for me trying to wash stuff constantly throughout the week.

Imagine Chick's joy yesterday when there was a huge bang on the door (side note - dear parcel force....you can knock at a reasonable noise level and I'll still hear.  We live in a terrace house and not a mansion...I don't enjoy having near heart attacks just for a parcel....thanks!!) and there was a lovely Parcel Force chap with a huge gift wrapped black box that contained this:

I'm not sure what quirk of fate decided that Chick would love school and the associated stuff but I honestly don't know where she got it from....not that I'm really complaining!!  So, Chick is a very happy girl but what about me?  Well obviously anything that helps me out is great but what I also noticed about the uniform is that Tesco have developed a great new thing called 'dirt defence'.  Now I may have a 7 year old girl but she ruins shoes quicker than anyone I've ever known and she is also filthy every day after school.  You would never believe that I send her to school clean so any help I can get is fabulous!!! We'll see how it all washes up but I'm expecting to be VERY impressed!

We also got sent a voucher for Tesco clothing which I'm going to buy Chick a winter coat with and a couple of other bits.  The only things we have left to buy are her lunch box, water bottle and pencil case however she is still poring over the Tesco 'back to school' catalogue trying to decide which one she wants!!

Last but not least I also get to nominate another Mummy Blogger to receive a school uniform from Tesco.  I nominate Karen from All About the Boys as she has a very clever teenager (who got great GCSE results yesterday as he's so clever he took two early!!!) and also twin 5 year olds.  I figure she needs the help as much as I do!!!  

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Toyologists Day Out

As you all know by now, last Saturday we were invited to spend the day at Bucklebury Farm Park which is set in the middle of nowhere in the Berkshire countryside.  We were greeted by the lovely people from Toys R Us and met up with some delightful bloggers, old friends and new!

Immediately we were offered lots of cakes and cookies which is always a good sign!  We were fed so much during the day and everything was delightful but I was so overwhelmed that I didn't take pictures of any of it.  I obviously did get some though.!!!!!

The Farm was really cool but because I was too busy gossiping, we kind of missed most of the animals and the nature trails and I only discovered that they had an indoor section when I saw Urbanvox's pictures......whoops!  Chick had a fabulous time and wants to know if we can do it every week!!!!

This is Chick with Geoffrey Giraffe:

She absolutely loved the Go Karts and spent a lot of the day on them:

We also got to go on a Tractor ride to see the deer:

Unfortunately it bit Chick on the hand when she was trying to feed it and lots of tears ensued.  What could make her feel better??? A giant bouncy pillow with some new friends maybe:

Of course the only thing that could make her completely better would be opening the first lot of toys!!  WARNING - You may want to turn the sound down as it's quite loud and you probably don't want to watch if you get motion sickness because my quality is rubbish......on the plus side it can only get better ;-)
p.s. the first 10 seconds are also sideways!!!!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Blogging nonsense & trying to do good!!!!

It's a funny thing this blogging malarkey....... 99.9% of the time I love it and I write this post not to upset any one particular person but because I’m a grown up and not prepared to act like I’m still at Primary school.  I’ve made some amazing friends doing this and been to places/events that I would never have even considered before.  I’m sure I’ve told you all a hundred times before that I started blogging to keep in touch with Grandma Sharon and Nelly but it kind of exploded of its own accord.

I’m aware that I’ve been very lucky in the events that I’ve been offered but as I say these are a fabulous perk of blogging that I honestly didn’t have a clue about before I started and if I was never asked to anything again then I would continue to blog. (Wow! That was a long sentence....breathe Emma, breathe!!!)

Which brings me to the point of this post.  There are a lot of us bloggers around.  Take a look just at Wordpress.  They host something like 25 million blogs at the moment and they are just one hosting site.  With that said, it stands to reason that not every blogger is going to be invited to every event.  This obviously includes me.  I’m not trying to be all holier than thou and say I never have blogger envy because obviously I do (ahem.....Nutella brekkie ;-) but what I do try to do is be happy for everyone that is invited.  Therefore it also stands to reason that when Toys R Us asked forty of us to be Toyologists there were going to be some noses put out of joint but this is the 0.1% that I REALLY dislike........

I understand that a very small minority are possibly jealous but let me tell you something.......you don’t need to be bitchy and make it a problem.   I sat in a tent with 11 other women and the people from Toys R Us and I wish that I’d videoed the conversation so that I could play it to you all.  Every blogger there had already told their kids that they either couldn’t keep the toys or could keep one or two.  We will ALL be taking part in hosting giveaways and toyologists tea parties to raise money for charity so will definitely be sharing the toy love. (I'll post more about this tomorrow!)

We had also all decided that we would be helping those less fortunate than us by donating toys to:

           Playgroups with little or no funding
          NCT groups
          Children’s hospitals
          Multiple birth groups
          Local respite centres
          Children’s Homes
          Armed forces centres for kids who won’t have their Parents here for Christmas.

So I understand that some are a little envious or disappointed that they weren’t included but not a single person there, as far as I could see, was thinking ‘oh! How fabulous that I won’t have to buy my kids anything for Christmas and they can have a bedroom full of new toys’.   Maybe if we could put the envy aside for a while we could all put our heads together and help the children that need it most?  Feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment if you can think of any worthwhile cause that I haven’t listed above!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Giveaway - Dodo Wall Acad-Pad

When I received an e-mail asking if I would like to review the ever popular Acad-Pad wall planner, I was all....huh?  No clue what you are talking about!!!  Some lovely PR type people sent me a copy to review and all I can say is that I love it.....but I'm guessing you are still none the wiser?

So, basically it's a wall planner based on the academic year, which is great for those of us that work in education and students that are just heading back to school/college/university.  They also sell filofax pages, a desk pad and a mini acad-pad for all types of Scholars and Lecturers.  This is part of their lovely range:

Not only is it bright and funky it's also purple which is one of my favourite colours!!! Each week is set out across a page which has five separate columns for each day of the week, for you to divide up as you chose. 

You could use it as an individual but it would be fabulous for families as well!! The page at the top of the week is left blank for you to doodle or write on as you wish. 

 All the pages have amazingly creative doodles  and random, humorous facts or quotes!!! The quote at the bottom of the following page says 'I can never remember if Moby Dick is the man or the whale' - James Thurber:

What I like most about the Acad-pad is the ability to split up the days into lots of sections because we lead such ridiculously busy lives and that there is enough room for my huge writing!  Also they have all the English and the American bank holidays so I know when Labour Day etc is.  I cannot sing the praises of this product enough and in fact I'm so impressed I'm going to buy an extra copy so that I can have one at home and another at work!!!

You can purchase the range from the website here or from my good friends at John Lewis or at Waterstones as well as most good academic bookstores.  The range starts from only £7.50!!  

I have Five copies to give away to you my delightful readers.  As usual to enter the competition all you have to do is become a Follower and leave me a comment letting me know that you've done this and maybe mentioning how wonderful I am! Also tell me what you would use the Acad-Pad for......organising your life or maybe just doodling!!!!

Closing Date is Friday 27th August.  Winners will be selected at random after this date!  Good Luck!!!!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Gallery - A Memory

Tara's gallery theme this week is 'A Memory'.

Well, where on earth do you start with a theme like that?  I've trawled through my pictures and my memory to try and come up with a suitable picture.  Maybe a shot of a newborn Chick or should I use one from a wedding......maybe Nelly's or my Brothers.

When I was a little girl all I ever wanted was to be 16!  I don't know why but that seemed to be a cool age when you could do what you wanted and wear what you chose.  When I was six or seven my Mum's best friend from school, Yvonne, got married and I was a Bridesmaid.  It was the first time that I remember having a beautiful dress and also being involved in a 'grown up' world.  I got to see the wedding dress but only if I kept it a secret from the Groom.  I still remember now the thrill of seeing the dress and what the wardrobe looked like that it appeared from and the layout of the room but strangely enough cannot remember the wedding day at all!

This picture is of that day.  What makes it extra special is that it's the only photo of have of my Mum and Dad together with me and one of my little brothers:

Unfortunately it's not very clear as it's rather old :-)

About eight years ago Yvonne was diagnosed with breast cancer which was successfully treated and all has been fine.  Last week my Mum called to say that unfortunately the cancer has come back and that this time it's terminal.  Yvonne was coming to my Mum's hen do on Sunday but is sadly now in hospital and too ill to see any of us.  Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Sherwood Forest

I have lots of emotions and blog posts running around in my head today but I don't have the time or brain cells to make them coherent or give them the justice they deserve.  I thought instead I would share a review that I've completed on Sherwood Forest for Supersavvyme and the Daily Mail online.  

We live about 35 miles from Sherwood Forest and until the start of June I'd never actually been there!!  How crazy is that?  Obviously I watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves back in 1991 and laughed my ass off at their interpretation of Nottingham Castle but that was about as close as I got to the legend of Robin Hood.  So as part of our trying to find cheap or free things to do over the Summer we decided that we'd go there!

First up getting there is not easy!!  Apparently we left at the wrong junction of the motorway and there wasn't a SINGLE sign between the motorway and the Forest! Now obviously I can see that I'm IN the damn Forest but I want to be in a specific part that I can't bloody find!!!  To make matters worse when I calmly shrieked at tried to discuss the fact with the Lady at the desk she said that I should've got off at a different junction!!!  Sodding cheek!!  My advice if you plan on going there......take a Satnav or at least a map!!

However, that was the only downside!!  There was plenty of room for the kids to run around and (rather intelligently I thought) we bought the kids bows and arrows before we walked through the Forest so they could run around and be Robin Hood!

One of the biggest attractions in the Forest in a tree called the Major Oak.  It's over a 1,000 years old and is still growing but is so big it needs to be held up:

I thought that all the posts would detract from the beauty of it but actually when you are there it's still pretty cool!  The forest itself feels quite primeval but I don't know if that's because we were absorbed in the Legend of Robin Hood or if it's because I'm such a girl and am always expecting things to jump out of the Forest at me.....when I say 'things' I obviously mean Axe Murderers and the like!!!

There is a small visitors centre and cafe there but mainly people visit to see the Major Oak or to walk or bike through the forest.  The walking is for any levels from a gentle amble around to orienteering.  I loved the fact that most of it is wheelchair friendly and you can take dogs on leads!

To read more about how to get there or to see what other cool things you can do in the UK with the kids on the cheap, then click here:

MailOnline - news, sport, celebrity, science and health stories

The link takes you to a map of England and you need to click on each area for the attractions to show up!  I wrote the Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire ones!!!!

*Disclosure - I was paid for my contribution to the Daily Mail website through Supersavvyme.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Letters of Intent


Are you having the week from hell?  Are you ready for the kids to go back to school or sad that they already are?  Do you have something you need to get off your chest?  Then grab a button from Julie over at Foursons and write your own Letter of Intent!!


Dear Jealousy

You are a complete bitch!  I'm very grateful for the opportunities that I am offered and am trying to be happy for people that are offered other, different, fabulous things.  Just because I am not on the list doesn't mean that you need to keep popping up and upsetting me and telling me that I'm not worthy!!!  I AM and WILL be happy for them (in a coupla days when you bugger off!!!)

Love Me


Dear Work

Seven lots of interviews in a week does not make Emma a happy girl.....seriously sort that crap out......oh wait a minute I'm the Co-ordinator!?!

Dear Emma

Seven lots of interviews in a week does not make you (or anyone) a happy bunny.  WTF were you thinking??? You know that you are only two days away from the week from hell right????

Love Me

Dear Diary of a (Not So) Single Mum

I think that you completely rock and cannot wait to meet you next week!!  I'm positive that everything will go smoothly and your new life in Spain will be fabulous!!

Love Me

p.s. You can totally be my bridesmaid if I can pull this off!!! xxx

p.p.s Given my track history I wouldn't hold your breath ;-)


Dear Family

Please play nice at my Mum's hen party on Sunday. It's not too much to ask and I'd hate to kick anyone's ass....ok!?!

Love Me


Dear Girls

You are supposed to be my best friends and posse.  Leaving me out of things or making decisions without me when I've asked to be included means that you suck.  The fact that not a single one of you has even noticed how upset I am speaks volumes.  Please don't call me next time you have a 'drama' because I may not be interested. (Not sure why I bothered with this one because it's not like any of you read it anyway!!!)

Love me


Dear Emma

Seriously girl you need to sort your life out.  Let me give you some advice:

Stop living in the past....it's done!!! (p.s. sad music from the late '90's does NOT help)

Keep turning off the laptop and spending time with that girl of yours!  She is growing so fast and if you blink again it will be gone and she'll be 18 and away at Uni!!!

If you want to actually write, stop Tweeting your life away and do some writing.

Also it's the quality of your Twitter followers that matter not the quantity!  You are not Dooce and do not need to be loved or hated by everyone!!!

Lose the friends that aren't there for you.

If you want to make a difference.....do it.  You trained for and ran the London Marathon remember?......you CAN do it!


Dear Nelly

I miss you to the moon and back.

Love Me


Thursday, 12 August 2010

Learning to Cook!!!

*This is a sponsored post

I’m not sure how many of you know this but my daughter loves to cook.  I think it’s a novelty thing because she has a Mum that cooks like erm, well, never really (apart from the odd batch of chocolate marshmallow sticks)!!!  I’d love to make beautiful food and invite people around for dinner but man that takes effort.....so much effort and luckily my friends are the kind of people that will eat take-out pizza if I ply them with enough wine!!  Now I’m not quite at the Carrie Bradshaw stage of using the oven for storage (‘cos that’s what the dishwasher is for!!) but I avoid cooking wherever possible.

Well now, a couple of things have happened recently that make me think I need to support my daughter and her love for cooking by actually doing some!!  First off when I was at Bon Jovi (back in June) Chick stayed with my Sister-in-Law in London.  I’m not sure how derogatory Chick was about my cooking skills but I’m thinking she wasn’t altogether pleasant as she came home from her trip with a cook book (very subtle hint...thanks Mrs.B ;-)  Then when I was at CyberMummy I met chief Chef of Mummies who was completely awesome and felt somewhat ashamed in admitting that my 7 year old is a better cook than me!!!

In preparation for this new challenge I've had to compare home insurance quotes (just in case!!) and bought the most ridiculous basket of shopping ever that included things such as vanilla essence!!!!  I’ve promised Chick that we’ll try and make something new each weekend and she is so excited it’s ridiculous!! We started a couple of weeks ago with the simplest recipe in the book which was ‘Real Hot Chocolate’ and actually it turned out pretty well:

I’ll let you know how we fare when we start on the more complicated recipes!!!!

*This is a sponsored post

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The lights are on.....

.......but there is no-one home!  I'm blogging over at Smitten by Britain today and talking about Coventry Cathedral!  Here's a taster:

I have to be honest and say that Coventry is not one of the most exciting places in the world that you can ever visit! It was probably best known for manufacturing the first British motor car as well as being the car making capital of England until very recently. Maybe worldwide it’s better known for the fact that Lady Godiva rode through the City naked to persuade her husband to abolish the crippling taxes he’d levied on the Townsfolk.

Click on the logo to read the rest of the article!

Smitten by Britain

You could also pop over and see Chick who has a picture featured in an article about 'Street Style Kids' here:

If you are looking for some ideas of things to do with the kids over the Summer why not jump over to Super Savvy Me and check out some brilliant ideas that Mum's (including me*!!) have come up with!!!

If you have time to visit any of the above blogs it would be great if you could leave some lovely comments!! Have a great day!!! :-) 

*Disclosure - I was paid for my contribution to SuperSavvyMe

Monday, 9 August 2010

I'm an Ologist.......a Toyologist!!!!

As most of you know I spend an awful lot of time online.  One day last week when I was messing about on Facebook working, the very glamourous and funny Emily wrote this as her FB status:

Emily Carlisle Mtjam

Emily Carlisle Mtjam is now an official Toyologist for Toys R Us and is looking forward to testing some toys! Who else has been recruited?

03 August at 16:17 ·  · 
Which I thought was the coolest thing ever!!!  So being quite cheeky and not averse to 'whoring myself' for toys, I tweeted the lovely people at Toys R Us to ask them if they would consider taking Chick and I on to help!  As we are the jammiest people in the World they told me that I was already on their list and that they did want me to become a Toyologist for them!!!!!  Yay.....how VERY exciting.

So what is a Toyologist???  The lovely Geoffrey Giraffe (pictured below) sent us this press release from Toys R Us:

Toys R Us selected a number of Digital Mums from across the UK to drive their online social media activity. It’s a new programme called “Toys R Us Toyologists”. We’re a mixture of stay-at-home mums, working mums, full time lawyers and more, but all of us are mums who are active within the blogosphere and social media space.

We are being given toys to try out with our kids, to review, and have been asked to share our experiences, which hopefully you will enjoy reading about!

So basically because I spend so much time waffling online, I can now call myself a 'Digital Mum' and tell people that I'm part of the social media movement......awesome!!!  Sounds sooooo much more professional than surfing the net!!!   Toys R Us have set up a Facebook page that you can 'Like' that has loads of info on it and some cool competitions including a Toy Story 3 one worth over £1500.  Click on Geoffrey to take you to their page:

In two weeks time we get to go to a Toyologists Tea Party where we get to meet all the other Toyologists and their Families and also get our first toys to test! I'm not sure which one of us is most excited about this!!!  Obviously being the fabulous Mother I am, I'm using it for blackmail purposes to ensure that Chick is cleaning her bedroom and being on completely her best behaviour!!!!

Once we have the toys we get to throw toy parties with Chick's friends so that they can all test them out together and of course so that I have more to write about than Chick thinking they are all 'awesome'!  No idea where she gets the overuse of that word from ;-)  

We can't wait to get started and hope that you'll enjoy reading our reviews!!!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Dovedale Stepping Stones

* Major rant alert and some swearing!!!!

I was flicking through the Daily Mail yesterday (not my usual choice of poison) when an article jumped out and caught my eye.  It was about some health & safety officials who have paved over some stepping stones to make them safer.  Nothing outrageous in that you may think but actually I am outraged.  Why do these bloody people get such a say in everything that goes on in our lives.  Now I'm all for it where there is a real danger but let me explain.

The stepping stones in question are at a beautiful place called Dovedale in Derbyshire.  It's fabulous for walking and is normally very crowed with families all having a very lovely time.  We've been going there since we were kids and people have been rambling there for hundreds of years.  You have to wait in line (like good British people) and take it in turns to cross the stepping stones.  Your feet can sometimes get a bit wet but the kids love it and it's great deal of fun. These are the stones in question:

Quite picturesque and gorgeous I think you'll agree.

Now some jobsworth has decided that they are far too dangerous and has paved over them!!!!!!!!!!! Unfu**ingbelieveable!!!!  Not only have they paved over them but they done it with huge blocks of limestone!!! My gorgeous stones now look like this:

Return the Dovedale Stepping Stones to their former natural glory!

All I can say is that I hope someone falls off  of them and sues the Council for a shed load of money (I joke......kinda)!!!!  Rant now over so I'm off to join the Facebook group to return the stones to their former glory!!!!  Grrrrrrr!!!!!

So what do you think?  Are the health & safety clowns right to pave over them or should they return them to their former glory???

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The Gallery - Playtime

This week's Gallery theme is playtime and as promised I finally managed to drag my behind out and take some new pictures!!!

It makes my heart sing to see Chick soooooo happy!

How grown up does Chick look!!!  OMG!!!  Now this is my kind of playtime:


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Holidays

I finally have a week off work!!  It feels like I've been waiting for it FOREVER and now it's here, it's going by soooooo quickly.  I do have lots of things to write about but I promised Chick I would stay off the laptop as much as possible and as I haven't done very well so far so thought I'd go with pictures (for a change ;-) of our week so far:

Chick & The Punk had a sleepover and a trip to the Park, where I made them pose for loads of pictures:

Of course no holiday in our household would be complete without buying some cute new shoes:

Chick has also been practising her Circus skills in case she ever needs to run away and join them:

And even managed to fit in time for horse riding:

Time for a quick cuddle with Mummy:

Then off to the cinema to see Toy Story 3 in 3D:

Then today I saw an awesome recipe for Marshmallow Sticks over at Cherished By Me and so we made these:

Yum, yum, yum!!! Phew....all this and it's only Tuesday!!!  Can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings!!!!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Wedding Shopping & Rude Assistants

There are many things that I love about this great Country but there are many more that drive me insane!!!!  One of the things that I hate is the customer service here and shop assistants attitude in general.  Now obviously not every single shop or retail outlet has rude staff but I’m finding more and more that I come across rudeness or just complete indifference, not all of which can be laid at the door of the humble Saturday Girl (or boy)!!!!

For the last few weeks I’ve been looking for the perfect outfit for my Mum’s wedding (only 4 weeks away....eek!!!) without much luck.  Last Monday I had a whole day to myself just to shop.  Believe it or not this is my idea of hell!!!  Because of my size there are very few shops that stock clothes that fit me so I know before I even start shopping that my choice is going to be limited. 

So, I found myself in the mecca that is Marks & Spencers and lo and behold they had the perfect white linen jacket.  Only mine was the only size that they didn’t have.  I was advised to queue at the customer service desk to see if they could order it for me.  After 20 minutes of steam blowing out of my ears waiting around it was finally my turn.  I explained my predicament to the lovely chap at the desk and the conversation went like this:

Me:        Hello. I wonder if you can help me.  This jacket is perfect for me but I need something bigger than a size 12.  Could you please order me one?

Him:      Computer says No!

Me:        Erm......ok!  Well, will you be getting anymore in?

Him:      I don’t know but we are waiting for the winter stock to arrive.

(Sidenote:  Winter stock??? Winter stock??? It’s July for fu*k’s sake!  I want to buy a summer dress not a jumper!!!! Also if one more person tells me ‘that’s the way retail works’ I shall scream!!!!)

Me:        Fine ok. Well could you tell me if any of the other stores within a 30 mile radius might have one?

Him:      Sorry we don’t have the ability to do that.

Me:        Rightio, I shall take my business elsewhere then.  Thanks for your help (NOT!!)

So they can’t tell me if they’ll get any more stock and they also don’t know what stock the other stores have.  I may not be a shop Manager but that doesn’t seem like fabulous customer service to me and quite honestly I expect much more from Stuart Rose.  Maybe they should’ve let Phillip Green have a go!!!  When I got home I had a look online myself and they don’t even stock my size in the white only in the black!!! That may also have been useful information!

I decided to go to the nearest big city where I found a dress in Evans but again they didn’t have my size and I ended up having to order it online.  When it came it fitted everywhere but my chest (a surprise, I know!!!) and I couldn’t breathe so took it back to the store. 

The Manager looked the dress over and folded it into a pile and then asked me for the paperwork which I duly produced.  She examined it and then asked me if there was anything wrong with the dress and I explained that it was just too tight across the chest.  At which point she re-examined the chest and back of the dress to make sure I hadn’t split it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Now I don’t know if I’m just overreacting or if (as was my first thought) that it was just downright rude!!  She had already examined the dress and I’m sure she would’ve noticed a ripped seam.

When she had finally decided that my ample bosom hadn’t ripped the dress she asked me for my card to give me the refund and then promptly made a big fuss about not being able to see the signature on the reverse. I was asked for other ID which of course I didn’t have as I’d only nipped into Town to take the damn dress back. I did however get my money back after signing my life away several times and I still have NOTHING to wear!

I would love to say that I will never go back to the shop after this but as it’s one of only two places in my town that sells my size, I figure I’m stuck with the rudeness!!  As most of you know I’m quite bolshy in real life but for some reason cannot assert myself with shop assistants.  So what do you think?  Would you have said something?  How do you handle rudeness?  Or do you think I’m overreacting???  Comments always welcome!!!