Friday, 31 May 2013

A perfect end to half term

I felt so much guilt this week. By the time Tuesday came to end I was beginning to wish our week away.
For some reason Monday and Tuesday lasted forever.
Monday was a great day, but we seemed to fit two days into the one.
Tuesday, the bad weather, and we realised that we rarely have three children under one roof anymore. And on days like Tuesday the house didn't seem big enough. Working from home suddenly seemed difficult.

The last two days I have made sure we've got out of the house. And I think our efforts yesterday paid off. We had great weather today.
Squeaks and Mr J pitched a tent whilst I finished up for the week.
And then we went for a walk around the block.
The great thing about where we live is that our round the block backs onto the Wales Coastal Path.
And life is so much better for a bit of sea air.

And someone slept peacefully tonight...

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Having a dog for Christmas?

Our pets- Miller, Fred and Ginger were part of our family before our children arrived.
And everyone has just got on with each other.

Miller was protective of both bumps, seemingly knowing how precious they were.
Once Squeaks was born he became the protector.
Never too far away from her, always on guard, suspicious of anyone who stepped too close.

Miller knows boundaries. Whilst he and Mr J play quite roughly he has always known that I'm just here for affection. With Squeaks, he has always looked out for her, and never shown anything other than affection.

The other evening Squeaks was pulling the cat's tail, continually, Fred got annoyed and the claws came out.
Squeaks was inconsolable. She could not fathom it.
She knows her boundaries with the boys. They will all retaliate, apologise, play, fight, retaliate...
No matter how much she antagonises Miller he will just accept it.

And when I look back at photos from Yorkshire, you can see the bond everywhere in our everyday life.
Every day this week, it being half term, the morning has started the same. Squeaks gets up and closes our bedroom door, so the boys don't know where mummy is.
Squeaks can now open the gate to the boys' room.
And they spend the next half hour playing back and forth across bedrooms.
Their play of choice is pretending to be dogs.
"Fluffy", "Isabelle" and "Daddy". The random names given.
And it sounds like the best game ever.

Mr J and I have been discussing whether Squeaks is old enough for a pet.
I remember as a young child we had hamsters, and gerbils. And onto rabbits, and then to a cat.
But we didn't have any pets to start.
Squeaks shows so much affection to everyone, and loves Fred, Ginger and Miller.

And so we're wondering.
At a time when our holidays will need to change to term time.
And our choice of holiday will change again.
Should we think of giving Squeaks her wish?
"Dotty the Dog"

It's so tempting.
Seeing how much our pets bring to our family.
And wondering how a pet they nurture will fit into our family.

Do we start with a less reliant pet?
Or one to keep Miller company?
I am thinking a Prince Charles Spaniel.
So Miller, as a cocker spaniel, doesn't feel challenged.

But is this too early?
Are our little people too young?
Watch this space!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Tonight, we're drinking from the bottle - A review

Squeaks was recently sent a Contigo Autoseal cup to review. I was over the moon.
Three times a week Squeaks does wraparound between playschool and nursery school. She takes a packed lunch, and whilst choosing food she'll eat can be testing, providing a drink has also been a challenge.

We've tried providing various cups, but at some point they end up in the bag upside down, and her spare clothes get drenched, and hopefully that happens once she's had her food.

Cartons and bottled drinks have become a preference. Disposable makes an easier choice, but I can't stand how strong they taste, and then throw in the expense.

Contigo Autoseal promised to be spill proof, 100% leak proof, and promised to make drinking easy- a one handed operation, press to sip, release to seal.
So, what did we think.
Well, Squeaks has had a couple of weeks of taking this in her school bag.
And I'm happy to say it's definitely leak proof.
From this point of view it proves much more economical than cartons and bottles.

From a user point of view.
I have to admit it seems quite complicated for a 4 year old to use. S had to get her head around the way the cup operated.
I wasn't sure.
But then something more interesting happened. And any concerns were disregarded.
Our two year olds love the cup.
They too have figured how to use the cup and are more than happy to have it when we are out and about over the weekend.
I'm really pleased that we have a cup which is spill proof.
We have other cups which rely on the children pressing the tip back after drinking, which they never do.
This is a great cup for ensuring no mess.

Retailing from £13.99 these cups are more expensive than our previous purchases, however for the convenience provided, the removal of clearing up spills, not having to rewash Squeaks' spare clothes, and the cost saving of not buying cartons, this is definitely a worthwhile investment. Over the course of a term it would definitely pay for itself.

Disclosure: We received a Contigo Autoseal Kids Travel Mug for the purposes of this review. All opinions and views contained are our own.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

My job (Part 1)

I flippantly wrote a while ago about my 'Dragons Den' type experience. And received some positive comments, and questions.

I had been with my employer since 2001.
I was the cocky twenty-something who promised myself that I'd stay three years, to have something substantive on my cv before moving on.
Things happened, life, work, education and latterly family.
I started in a complete haze.
Waiting to be found out.
I genuinely thought my manager had hired me to prove that the role shouldn't exist.
He had been opposed to introduction of the role across the organisation and I suspected this was him proving the role shouldn't exist by hiring someone incompetent.

It took me ages to have the confidence to speak out at meetings. I thought everyone else knew their stuff, I was the exception.

A few months in, I started challenging my manager. It turned out this was the point, if I believed in something so much, and fought for it, it was mine. If I couldn't be bothered arguing over it, it couldn't be that important.

The group of people across the country doing the same role, who I thought knew their stuff... My confidence had grown enough to start questioning when I didn't understand things. It transpired no-one had the answers.

And through that role I learned something which has served me well- never pretend to know what you're talking about. Always ask the 'stupid' question, because nine times out of ten it's that one no-one can answer.
To this day it upsets me when a manager tells their team 'never admit to not knowing'. The perceived sign of weakness.
I have a million times more respect for someone in an interview situation when they ask for time to think, rather than the person who flies into their answer and rambles, or who uses the same example over and over.
Nothing makes me lose respect for someone faster who says they 'assume', because they're basically saying they made it up.
Probably because when I promise to do something I want to know I can do it, and I expect the same in return.
I hate it when people blame 'management' for decisions. Because it means you don't agree with it. And if you don't agree with something you should present a challenge within your organisation, or acknowledge you have done nothing, and present it as your view, as an employee of the organisation.
I know I live in a perfect world, but it is one that most days, as an employee, has served me well.

I think I learnt from the best. When I worked for Bhs the most memorable thing I was told was 'never ask anyone to do something you don't know how to do yourself.'
And it's so true, how do you know something takes four days as opposed to four hours.
How do you know you're being realistic.
And how do you know it's possible.

I hate it when people don't think things through.
"Yeah we'll do that." It might cost us £20,000 and tie us into something. When I don't have any financial control.
"Yeah we'll do that." I have no idea of what it means, but the tech team have told me it's possible. So what if it ties me into a service agreement for which I don't have any resource.
"I'm going to escalate this." I haven't bothered to think this through. I want someone else to provide the answers. They'll need to work it through. Which I could do, but I can escalate it. I know it's not their job but does it matter? Does it matter they're our customer?

And I think I have high standards.
I like to think people have the ability to do their homework.
I hate being asked questions, or get challenged on things, where a quick search on Google could get both of us all the answers we need.
That people take the time to write lengthy emails, rather than exploring things.
Or as a starter picking up the phone...
Let's explore this together.
It doesn't have to be down to one person.
Not you, not me.

So, I then trained as a project manager.
The first rule of a good project manager is to recognise your own weaknesses and delegate them.
I'm really good at this one. Unfortunately Excel and finance are everyone else's weaknesses.

I went onto become a performance manager.
And for me and my team, this was the best job we've had.
We became accountable.
We developed our deliverables.
The things people could measure us against.
And whether we were in our control or not, we scoped the target accordingly.
And we did a great job.
Because we always had our mantra of continuous improvement.
And as long as you don't pretend to be perfect, or the font of all knowledge, you can't go far wrong.
And now, well most days I feel like a gambler. Or a barman.
I take aspirations, and bring them together, to make something better.
Or at least I think I do.

Whilst all aspects of what I do now I have done to a greater or lesser extent in the past, now it's accountable.
Someone is looking after elements of the Performance Manager role, it's great having someone appreciate the other perspective, the challenges they once made are now the challenges they have to respond to.
And for the other four days I try to manage the unmanageable.

I spent so long nurturing relationships.
Being conversant with other peoples priorities.
Being so sure that i's had been dotted and t's crossed.
And failing, and taking responsibility.
I watch now as people take on the 'tell' role.
No appreciation, in my eyes, as to the relationships which are being affected.
No idea of the repercussions of the decisions being made.
I am by no means perfect. Butt I have nurtured relationships with those with greater experience and knowledge, people whom I am fortunate enough to give me the time of day.
And yet there are people who give commitment, make statements, offer promises, without any idea or appreciation as to how we can deliver against them.
And of course this is all my own doing.
I don't communicate enough.
I am not clear enough in my expectations.
My standards are too high.

It is an odd thing.
It sounds old fashioned, I believe I am here to serve.
I can't serve all of the people, all of the time.
But I can offer the service.
And respond to those who respond in the affirmative.

I still haven't told you about that project.
I've just ranted.
But, hey, now I can create another post with nothing but positivity.

Needless to say, ten years into our relationship, my OH still has no idea what I do for a living.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Monday's Multiple Mum: Musings from a Mum #MMM

This week's Multiple Mum features from Musings from a Mum, as an anonymous blogger I admire the passion which is invested in each post. I love this post about changing to a default position of 'yes', I love the posts about potty training, we will get there!
Musings from a Mum fortunately details the important things we face, and being one step ahead, it's a great blog to go to for an understanding of what each milestone can mean.
So, without further ado...
I’m a multiple mum from Guildford and I blog at Musings from a Mum. I blog anonymously so I can be as honest as possible!
I like running, baking, politics and blogging and of course being a mum.
There’s me, my OH, the big boy (who’s now 6) and the twins, a boy and a girl.

How old are your multiples?
They have just turned 4.

What was your reaction to finding you were going to be a mum of multiples?
Shock closely followed by excitement. As a child I always imagined having twins but funnily enough when I was pregnant it didn't even cross my mind!

What did you want to know?
That they would be ok, that I could carry the pregnancy safely and have two healthy babies at the end of it.

What was the best piece of advice you received when you were pregnant? 
To trust my instincts and not worry about everything too much! Focussing on my big boy helped me get through what was a tough pregnancy physically and emotionally as sadly my Dad was very unwell at the time and we weren't certain if he would ever meet the twins.

What support networks do you use? 
I am lucky enough to have a very lovely close family and friends who kept my spirits up when I was sick every day, reminded me that I had a sense of humour when I didn't feel much like laughing and forced me to take photos of the hugest bump I'd ever seen when I was feeling fat and grumpy!

How was your pregnancy?
I always think it was awful but actually it wasn't at all. I was sick every day and felt grotty but there were no serious problems, I enjoyed being scanned more regularly and seeing the twins’ development and I definitely felt more relaxed once I was past 30 weeks and into the home straight.

How did labour go?
One of the twins was breach; the other was small for gestation, so I opted for a c-section. I had this at 38 weeks so I never got to experience labour with twins but having done it once before I opted for what I felt most comfortable with.

In the end, there were two emergency twin deliveries before me (that’s central London for you!) so I didn't have the section until 2pm in the afternoon. Unfortunately, as I'd been sick that day and wasn't allowed to eat or drink I got very dehydrated and quite poorly and ended up with an infection almost straight after so it wasn't the best first night of being a twin mum. The only saving grace was that the twins were with me, my daughter was small at just over 4 pounds and there'd been a discussion as to whether she needed to go to special care. They decided she could stay with me on a heated water bed and I was very relieved in the morning when she showed she was small but feisty by maintaining her body temperature and coming off her special bed.

How did your other half cope?
He was very excited in the delivery room and took pictures of everything for which I am very grateful as I couldn't really take it all in. He was nervous about having twins but as we'd always wanted a big family the most important thing to him was that we were all healthy and happy.

What are your three best investments for multiples?
I really learnt you don't need half the things you think you might! I had ordered a Mountain Buggy as a special treat but the firm went bust so I ended up at the last minute buying a large EmmaLJunga pram on Ebay at a fraction of the cost – that was my best purchase as I could add a buggy board to it for the big boy, it was easy to push and the twins really loved it. It meant we could get out and about in comfort from really early on.

Second best was my video monitors, they saved me a lot of trips upstairs to check on the babies and I used them up until the twins left their cots. This meant I could keep an eye on them when they were meant to be napping but were actually swapping toys or trying to find ways to climb out of cot.

Third best was bouncy chairs, with the best will in the world its hard work juggling twins when you’re by yourself so I set up bouncy chairs and would pop one in whilst feeding the other and even found them effective winders!

What have you done as a mum of multiples which you never thought you'd do?
I stopped work. I never thought I’d be a SAHM but having two children the same age meant I never felt I had enough time to give them each individually particularly as I also wanted to spend time with their big brother before he started school.

What’s your best piece of advice for the early days?
Relax and enjoy it and ask for help from everyone you can! They are only tiny for such a short time so take time out to treasure it. Get out as much as you can manage, fresh air is an amazing thing for raising your spirits and helping babies to sleep.

How has your life changed, now you are a mum of multiples?
It’s busy and simple things that seem completely possible with a toddler and a baby become much harder with a toddler and two babies… being outnumbered, not having enough hands to hold theirs was a little scary at first but the more you manage the more your confidence grows and now they're older I feel completely able to manage things that a year ago would have felt unnerving, like a train trip with the three of them or a day out with just me as the only adult.

At this age, what are the best things about your multiples?
It’s the best but also makes me sad in a way - they are so independent now that they need me far less. They play their own games and have their own friends. I love the fact that they are just beginning to take on the big world but I will miss them like crazy when they head off to school in September.

What have your multiples done which have made you laugh most?
They are very funny and constantly giggling. It’s hard to choose one moment but I think it’s the things they say from mimicking me to telling each other stories, they often get things mixed up and it’s so endearing and very funny.

What’s your best distraction for avoiding tantrums, arguments and/ or confrontation?
“Look there’s a lion/unicorn in the garden, can you see it…” seriously that’s what I do when all else is going wrong. Or I start a story. I've realised that most tantrums happen when they are tired, hungry, or when I want them to do something that they really don't want to do. Getting dressed is a flashpoint in our house and lots of jokes and diversion get the job done…well most of the time.

How has having multiples changed your life for the better?
In so many ways, I am so happy to have them and the big boy. Together they have made me a more relaxed parent. If you can't beat them join them as they say and sometimes when the house is a tip, life is crazy and no amount of bribery is getting them to eat their dinner I've learnt it’s much better just to let it go, play a game, have a cuddle and a giggle and remember that tomorrow is another day and it will be the day they learn to love broccoli. This doesn't mean it’s all sunshine and flowers but I've learnt that there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ parent all of the time.

I love the reminder of that 30 weeks target. It really is it when your pregnant with twins, that rather than hoping for 40 weeks, you become focused on the 30 week mark.
I imagine, like every mum, I agree with treasuring those early days, my boys are two, and some days I long for them to snuggle in the way they did then. That early bonding creates so many wonderful memories.
And yes!, if in doubt, or at the end of your tether, wear them out with fresh air (which seems to work at any age!).

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Project #365 Week #21

This week has been a good week.
I think it's because it started well, and ended happy.
Some good weather was thrown into the mix.
And our third wedding anniversary.

So, this was our week 21:

Sunday: we bought Squeaks a camp bed for her dream of spending a night in a tent. She insisted on sleeping on it. And then dragged it from her room onto the landing. Because, of course, this way she wouldn't miss a thing.

Monday: I get so fed up of the boys unzipping their sleeping bags and having the buzz of being free. I upgraded them to the duvets that had arrived so many years ago with their cot sets. It was the right decision. And as always, demonstrating that children will let you know when they're ready for their next milestone.

Tuesday: Continuing their need to grow up too fast, the boys also upgraded themselves from their highchairs. Between kicking themselves back from the table and having mummy on guard with the momentum, and trying desperately to climb out of their chairs. It turns out they're both really good sitting in their 'big' chairs.
And of course mummy watched on as her boys grew up too fast.
Wednesday: I have no idea how this one started. I had not long got home with some new dressing up outfits for the little people. Mr J was sorting the laundry. And suddenly the boys were banding round dresses they had such an urgency to try on. And this is no doubt one of the photos which will haunt them... but at least their dad has little to say in the matter!

Thursday: Working in London. I needed this (only one was mine!).
Friday: I picked the boys up on my way home from London. And maybe, because it was so late, I decided to treat them on the way home in the hope they could eat on the move and go straight to bed when we arrived home. Needless to say, Tiny fell asleep in the car holding tightly to his food, so they ended up eating at home anyway. Staying up late... the parenting fails go on!

Saturday: the little people had the most fun going to a super hero party. Squeaks had insisted she didn't like any super heroes and I gave in and bought her her first princess outfit. Whilst I know the boys love "the hero next door" I couldn't find anything to fit them, so decided they could go as my super heroes (because sometimes mummies do get their own way).
And of course next week starts with a Bank Holiday- so it can only get better!

I hope you have a good week. x

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Introducing my make up bag

Ok, so not exactly my usual blog fodder.
Last Bank Holiday Monday we went into Cardiff and I treated myself to some replacement makeup.
I'm a girl of tradition. I popped into John Lewis to for replacements.
I was surprised by the uncomfortable feeling in my stomach to find out not only have they changed the packaging (I expect this given how often I wear make up) but that they'd completed changed it.
And I'm not happy.
But it got me to thinking, are you meant to throw make up out after the prescribed time on the packaging?
Do people use make up until its depleted? Or is that just me?
And if you don't use it till its depleted, do you have a make drawer full of half used, past their 'use by' date products.

This is what got me upset. And yes, please excuse the state of my existing stock. I love Dior loose powder. I've probably been using it for over 15 years. Although in that time I'm probably on my fourth purchase.
And there's been lots of different packaging in that time.
I love loose powder because it has the minimal approach to make up. In my experience, pressed powder remains really evident on your skin. (I maybe wrong, it's the way I use it. But I found loose powder and I like it).
But they've only gone and changed the applicator, from a lovely applicator brush that fits within the packaging, to one of those powder puff things, which usually results in too much being applied.
I wonder if that's the motivation.

I've been so upset, in my head I'm even thinking about putting the powder from my new purchase into the casing of my existing loose powder.

So, I've found one area of my life where I don't cope well with change.

But I got to thinking, when was the last time I bought loose powder.
How out of touch am I?
And I think, since the wedding, I've bought an eye liner.
The wedding was May 2010.
I suspect all my make up has expired.
But, in fairness, I think this makes a great recommendation, if I carry on using it, it must be good.
Admittedly, I only wear make up when I'm working away from home, or when I'm off out for the night.
Since children, I don't usually wear make up for days out, and I don't wear make up when I'm working from home.

So, what in my make-up bag (and how old is it?).

Well, my trusty, repeat purchase items are:
Yves Saint Laurent Touche D'Eclat: completely sold on the fact it reduced the visibility of darkness under the eyes. Whether it does or not, I'm not turning down any help.
Yves Saint Laurent Perfect Touch Radiant Brush Foundation: I love the simplicity. I don't need to faff around with how to apply foundation. It covers well and absorbs as it needs.
Yves Saint Laurent Flash Radiance Skincare Brush: I read a *few* years ago that this was the best skincare support for over 30's. I'm happy to accept a recommendation. Again, happy with all the support I can get.

When I got married I had a Mac consultation. The makeup has stayed with me. I love the quality. I have other Mac make up (blusher, eye brow pencil, eye smudging stuff) which I don't use on a day to day basis. What I do have is:
Primer: never used before the wedding, now a must-have, eye shadow and eye liner applies and stays put so much longer now.
Matt brown eye shadows-  for work
Shimmer brown eye shadows- for a night out.
Shimmer purpley eye shadows- for a night out.
Eye pencil- I love the purpley colour (Prunella), and how easily it applies. Definitely a repeat buy.

I've also got some Dior matt brown eye shadow. I suspect this is near the 12 year age bracket. I think I found it when we moved house.

Eye liners- I'm happy between kohl pencils and liquid liners. I have lots. I used to have a range of Urban Decay liquid liners to co-ordinate with my clothes. Now I stick with brown and black, and the aforementioned, beloved Prunella.

Mascara- one of the aforementioned eyeliners came free with a purchase of two mascaras. I've dated it. I was 11 weeks pregnant with my first child. It was one of those aeroplane deals. We were on our way home from Egypt. Which means they're probably coming up to five years old. (Bows my head in shame). I love them. They're the L'Oreal Telescopic ones. One for day time and one for evenings.

Lip pencil- for the wedding I had a lip pencil, lipstick and lip gloss. The lip pencil stays in the make up bag, dependent on occasion depends on the lipstick and/ or lip gloss.

I've realised I need to get out more.
So I can replace my make up more often.

But also, to discover new make up.
I've never thought myself resistant to change.
But I think I've found my achilles heel.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Playroom art for a fiver

I've saw this on Facebook and loved it.
So, went out to try it.
I suspect it will end up costing me £15 rather than my proposed fiver.
But if you read this post to the end, you'll learn from my mistakes, save yourself a tenner, and have something great for your play room for a fiver.
That's right, I know it, you're sold.
Did I mention my lack of creativity?
Anyway here goes:
I love the idea of crayon art.
I saw a crayon table and chairs once, which I loved.
And this just seemed even better.

I prefer take two- but it's still not perfect.
So I suspect they'll be a take three.

What did we do?
It was so simple, not only did it cost less than a fiver but it only took 15 minutes.

For the first attempt we bought a big cheap canvas from Home Bargains, Crayola crayons, and we used our glue gun and a hair dryer.

Conclusion: position the crayons in line with the canvas rather than try to glue in a straight line, and use a smaller canvas.
For the second attempt we used a smaller canvas and cheap thicker crayons.
It worked so much better working across the top of the canvas, it worked much better on a smaller canvas, and it worked with thicker crayons, but as they were cheap some of them refused to melt with the hairdryer.
Conclusion: we will have crayon art. It will be on a small canvas with crayola crayons positioned across the top of the canvas. Now I've figured out what I'm doing Squeaks will be in charge of the hairdryer. And it will be fantastic. And it is possible for a fiver.
Look out for our perfect art work in the background of future piccies!

Thursday, 23 May 2013


I would guess, over the next couple of months, my blog will touch more on religion then before.
My children will be christened in July.
I would think that is sounds wrong to say I think religion is a private thing.
I guess I think religion is a personal thing.
I want my children to grow up knowing they can choose their own religion.
I want them to grow up with the beliefs of a religion which is tolerant.

To us, our children should have moral values: respect, tolerance, and happiness.
I accept there are things we cannot understand, but I do not want my children to stand in judgement.
I would like them to have understanding, forgiveness and hope.

I want them to have courage in their convictions.
To have understanding, patience, and empathy.
To know that we are not all the same but that we are all equal.

Mr J and I were brought up, respectively, as Church of England and Church of Wales. Anglicans.
I would not be where I am today without the Catholic college which got me through my A-levels, and supported my personal well being.
We are both agreed that it is the moral framework, and to to some extent the respect and routine.
Which isn't itself religion dependent.
But as we got through Tiny's surgery, and as we reflect daily on what life can deal the strongest people.
I find without the belief in God, well, it's so difficult, impossible to contemplate.

I think of my atheist friends.
And love them to the sky and back again.
But I cannot contemplate my children without God.
Without me, or without them in life.
It is morbid, but sometimes it is only by understanding the worst that you can hope.

I think about the rationale of some, that God wouldn't have done 'that'.
But I can't help but think that living without God gives no hope. And doesn't make it any easier an understanding.
But that we are all here to be the strongest we can be.
For numerous reasons, of which I am glad, our children will be christened together, at two and four.
Not too dissimilar to my own christening.
But I am glad we are christening them at a time we can commit to the Church.
When Squeaks is excited about Sunday School.
And that the boys can see that excitement and would like a part of it.

We will see how the weeks, months and years go by.
How my children feel about religion being a part of their lives.

I hope that in the years to come my children will choose their own religion, their own faith.
That we are here to be challenged and we are here to have faith.
To create the best possible life we can for ourselves and those around us.

I hope it is the things we do for our children that give them every opportunity.
That we cannot hide behind the Church or behind a school.
That we take responsibility, that we promote the values and morals which create the basis of our children's lives.
And religion and education support us in doing this.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Sonic Blasting Iron Man 3 - Review

So, when we received this addition to our family I had hoped it would make a poorly Squeaks feel better.
Unfortunately too poorly to appreciate it, we instead found two little Iron Man 3 fans!
Iron Man 3 is part of the Marvel's range of super heroes. As a massive X-Men fan I'm kinda of keen to get Squeaks and the boys appreciating this part of their imagination.

The Sonic Blasting Iron Man 3 is a 15" figure, with a light up detail, sound effect and a missile-blasting arm (which can be positioned to guarantee safety!). 

Iron Man is fantastic, for the boys to have a play (at 2 years) we just took the missiles away. They still loved it. With arms and legs which can be positioned, and the sound and light effects it is enough to keep the boys entertained.

To see what a 4-year old made of it, we waited till Squeaks was better, and we've had so much fun.
She loves him, so much so, she may have 'glammed' him up with a heart sticker and a necklace.
If it's getting her introduced to Marvel, I'm not complaining!
Sonic Blasting Iron Man 3 retails at £29.99, which makes him comparable with other similar Disney products.
Given the popularity of Super Hero birthday parties I would think this would make a great gift for a lot of little people (although make sure you invest in 3 AA batteries as well!).

Disclosure: We were sent a Sonic Blasting Iron Man 3 for the purposes of this review. All content and  opinions detailed are our own.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Be a part of the JoJo Maman BeBe Community

Don't you just love a new community site which really seems to understand children?
JoJo Maman Bebe has launched a new online community full of fantastic things for you and your little ones.
I love the printable downloads which will certainly keep our little people entertained.
And I can't wait to upload our more entertaining photos of their antics to the 'Little Stars' section.

(And I couldn't resist the chance to check out the Competitions and Offers section!)
(And maybe just maybe I happened to click the link to the shop to get some more ideas for the children's christening!).

Well, it's a new one on my favourites bar... will it make it's way to yours?!

Our Wedding- Hardcastle Crags

Today is our 3rd Wedding Anniversary.
As I reminisce through wedding photos I can't help but miss the place where we married.
The walk which we looked forward to each Sunday afternoon

One of the most difficult things for us to decide was where to get married.
If we had our way we would have just gone somewhere, with our parents and Squeaks.
Travelling wasn't going to be an option.
So we looked closer to home.

I had decided on Haworth.
Everything nearer to home seemed so 'done'.
And so one afternoon we set off to have a look at some potential venues.
And we both entirely disliked them.

As we drove home Mr J suggested taking some time out at Hardcastle Crags.
To get some air and options.
And as we walked I remembered that Gibson Mill held a license for weddings.

And so we took a look around.
And loved it.

We weren't able to have our reception at the Mill and so another search began.
Between hotels and restaurants we couldn't find anything.
And then we thought of the Fielden Centre.
The perfect space we were looking for.

And, as most couples would go on to say.
We had the most perfect day.
One of the 'downsides' of Gibson Mill was that people had to walk the mile or so to get there.
Fortunately the weather leading up to the day and the day itself was perfect.
And with lots of fizz to meet people on arrival at the Mill we got away with it.
The good weather meant everyone could spend the reception outside overlooking Centre Vale Park.
We had Chinese Lanterns, and I daresay a good many wishes were granted that night.

Little did we know that two little boys had already made there way into our lives.
A fortnight later we returned from honeymoon to a positive pregnancy test.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Monday's Multiple Mum- 3 Kids and a Gluestick #MMM

I'm so excited, today's Multiple Mum is one of the mums I watched from a far (do I sound like proper stalker material?).
Jo is a mum of 5 year old twins, and as a mum of newborns on the TAMBA forums, Jo was one of the pro's- the parents who asked questions about parenting that made you confident that you would get through the early days as there were other challenges on the horizon.
Jo blows things out of the water a little bit more by being a homeschooler. With a fantastic blog- 3kidsandagluestick - does anything sum up parenting better!

So, without further ado, here's Monday's Mum:
I am Jo, married to Gordon. We live in Surrey and have 3 kids; 5.5 year old g/b twins, Jasmine and Thomas, and our youngest Ben who was 3 in February.
We home educate and I blog about our days of messy play, craft and learning at

What was your reaction to finding you were going to be a mum of multiples?
It is a long time ago now so I can’t really remember! But I do remember I’d been having these weird thoughts as I got closer and closer to my 12 week scan about going back into work and announcing we were having twins, so I don’t think I was too surprised to be honest. As the pregnancy progressed I became more and more aware of what it meant.. 2 babies.. wow!

What did you want to know?
From the moment I found out I was pregnant I really wanted a home birth so I wanted to know if this would still be possible (no was the answer I was given even at that early stage)

I also wanted to know (I’d even go so far as to say needed to know!) the sex of the babies so I could plan!

Other than that it was just practical stuff that I guess any first time parent wants to know; what pram/pushchair should we get, what car seat etc.

What was the best piece of advice you received when you were pregnant?
Sleep when the babies sleep!

What support networks do you use?
I am very lucky to have an amazing mum and Mother-in-Law who came and stayed with me when Gordon was at work for the first 5 months after having the twins. My mum covered weekends and Gordon’s mum came in the week (Gordon works shifts) Their help was invaluable.

I also joined TAMBA and used the message boards a lot, especially as Jasmine and Thomas became toddlers.

These days I use Facebook. I have a lot of multiple mummy friends online that I have known for years now and whenever I need help, advice or just a chat someone will be around to listen, help out and understand.

I also have a couple of good multiple mummy friends locally and we try and meet up as often as possible to have a coffee and chat. Having twins is such a unique experience it really is true that there are some things only another multiple mummy will understand!

How was your pregnancy?
I am not one of these people who “blooms” in pregnancy unfortunately. I was tired and uncomfortable most of the time. I had gestational diabetes so had to watch what I ate. I was glad when it was over!

How did labour go?
I had a planned C-section at 38 weeks because T1 was breech and T2 transverse.

How did your other half cope?
He was in shock when we first found out it was twins. He was in shock when they arrived. I think he may finally be coming round now! But he is a brilliant dad!

What are your three best investments for multiples?
As babies: Nipper 360 Double Pushchair
As Toddlers: Tommiguard Twin Reins
Now: Bunk beds!

What have you done as a mum of multiples which you never thought you’d do?
There are a lot of things I have done since having kids that I never thought I’d do but I don’t know if any of them are specifically because of the twins.
I blog, but that is about our home education journey.
I have a weird and wonderful collection of bug “pets”, but that is because Jasmine is bug mad and insists of keeping woodlice, ants and other creepy-crawlies in assorted jars around the house!
I have put trifle ingredients in a Tuff Spot and let the kids play with it, and stayed up until midnight colouring rice for the kids to play with the next day, but that is having 3 young kids not just multiples.

What’s your best piece of advice for the early days?
Sleep when the babies sleep!
Also, take lots of photos.

How has your life changed, now you are a mum of multiples?
Pre kids I worked 9am to 5pm in an office. I drove an Alfa Romeo. I had no idea who Ben & Holly or Justin Fletcher were.

Now I am a full time mummy. I drive a bus (well a Citroen C8) and I have favourite episodes of several kids TV programmes!

Being a mum of boy/girl twins also means I can answer the question “are they identical?” with a straight face these days ;-)

At this age, what are the best things about your multiples?
They are pretty self-sufficient now! I can ask them to do something (get dressed, put shoes on etc) and usually by the 10th time of asking, a count of 3, a 5 minute timer and the threat of a toy being taken away that will do what I have asked! Sometimes they even do it without any of that!
But the point is, when they want to, they CAN do stuff by themselves. And that is a huge thing when you are used to having to do everything x2.

Another great thing about this age is LEGO! LEGO will keep most 5 year olds occupied for a very long time. Sometimes I even get to sit down with a cup of coffee that is still hot, by myself, for more than 5 minutes!

They are also excellent at keeping their younger brother occupied.. this also helps me enjoy my coffee in peace!

What have your multiples done which have made you laugh most?
Oh plenty! As toddlers they were a comedy double act!
I love overhearing their conversations when they think I am not listening, especially the ones that end “quick, mummy’s coming”!!!

What’s your best distraction for avoiding tantrums, arguments and/ or confrontation?
As much as possible I try and let them sort out any arguments between themselves now.
If I do have to intervene and they won’t come to a compromise, if they are squabbling over a toy I set a timer and they take turns of 5 minutes each or I take the toy away from them.

When they were smaller I did buy 2 of the most popular toys!

How has having multiples changed your life for the better?
If I can cope with 2 year old twins and a new baby I can cope with anything, surely?! Except spiders. I will never be able to cope with spiders!

Like last week's mum of multiples I love that Jo had multiples and a singleton (honestly I'm not using this feature to convince Mr J!). I'm so glad someone else loves the Out 'n' About as much as us, and I'm going to look forward to reading Jo's Little Builder link ups!

Sunday, 19 May 2013


Project #365 - Week #20

What a week! It's been a mix of everything.
We've had great weather. We've had rain.
We've had fun indoors and fun outdoors.
I had meetings cancelled and only one day in London.
Squeaks finally gave in to Chickenpox and whereas the boys just seemed to take it as another challenge, Squeaks has really struggled with some painful spots. Only to be overheard in her room this morning showing off all her spots to the boys!

As always the little people have amazed me with their love, happiness, and good nature.
Squeaks use of the word "actually" never fails to raise a smile, and hearing "Well, mummy I need to tell you I'm very cross, and I may be a little bit angry with you" has reminded me I may need a new approach.
That alongside the fact Tiny seems to like going to the naughty step for a bit of time out.

The boys have made us laugh so much. We have now concluded that s's are a difficult sound, so whilst Cheeky calls Tiny by name, Tiny has named Cheeky 'Brother' if asked to say his name.

So, here are some of our moments:

Sunday: The outfit of choice for going scootering.
Monday: Enjoying a spin.
Tuesday: Watering the dog.
Wednesday: Playing with a cardboard box.
Thursday: The arrival of Spring.
Friday: Playtime with Grampy.
Saturday: Exploring the newly painted playhouse.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky
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