Monday, 31 March 2014

Me and Mine - March

I have wanted to take part in this project.
Mr J even managed to pick up a tripod at a car boot sale.
We took it down the beach. And the rain started.

But we've finally managed to get off the starting line.
Thanks for a friend's outstretched hand.
So, hopefully, this is the first of many.
Mr J is loving:
  • Getting out for meals with friends.
  • Scotch bonnet chillis.
  • The start of car boot sale season.
  • Winning at squash matches.
Mummy is loving:
  • a continued motivation to keep fit.
  • wonderful nights out with friends.
  • four day week's at work.
  • a really comfy Team Honk hoodie.
Seren is loving:
  • Doc McStuffins.
  • Supper. An added meal to the day.
  • Rwster points for eating all her cinio.
  • Swimming.
Tom is loving:
  • Paw Patrol.
  • Drawing over himself.
  • Mickey Mouse deckchairs.
  • Doc McStuffins' otoscope projector.
Seb is loving:
  • Paw Patrol.
  • Big boy pants.
  • Swimming with only one set of arm floats.
  • Mister Magnolia.
dear beautiful

A 5 year old's Rainbow Birthday Party

And so it happened.
In a way which only the mind of a nearly 5-year old girl would have.
My daughter's confidence in her own thoughts led us a merry dance.
Until we decided on a rainbow party.

Mummy had to scrap ideas of Numberjacks, and fairies, and pirates, and princesses.
The constant elevator ride of a child's imagination.

And when we stopped, we turned to ebay, and The Works, Baker Ross, and Home Bargains.
To make rainbow goody bags.
To find the clouds, the rainbow, and the pot of gold.
And, as a commitment has begun.
To making my children's birthday cakes.
So it continued with a rainbow cake.
And a rainbow dress, another purchase, exhausted by all UK shops, which ebay saved.
A contented 5 year old.
And a happy mum.
The rainbow cake a success.

And then to the actual birthday.
To rainbow cupcakes for class mates.
A complete trial for mummy.
Which fortunately worked.
Happy birthday gorgeous girl.
5 years in.
5 years of showing mummy and daddy what a wonderfully kind, caring, happy and independent person you are.
3 years of being the best sister a child could ever hope for.

You are headstrong.
You are funny.
You are caring.
You are ours.
And we are yours.
Love you always.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

My #TeamHonk Experience

If I thought this post was hard to write.
I can't begin to appreciate how Penny, Tanya and Annie feel.

I have known for a while I am not a completer/ finisher.
Too eager to move onto the next thing.
So what when the next thing seems so far away?
We were fortunate to get involved with the #TeamHonkRelay early on.
And WOW did we do a fantastic job.
What I loved about #TeamHonkRelay Wales was how involved schools from West, to South, to North, were willing to be in supporting the begins of the Sport Relief journey- of how many bloggers children got to take something so special into school for the day.
I loved that bloggers got to meet up and to put their effort into supporting the greater good.
And that all the way along so many supported the baton's journey up to John O'Groats.

And as I sat at home in the final weeks, I began to think I hadn't done enough.
We had been poorly, I had kept my promise to start Zumba but by then the Baton has left.
It felt that there was more to do.

I would love to know what I was thinking one Wednesday afternoon.
As the idea of a flash mob at the Sport Relief Mile seemed like a good idea.
And with the "get on and do it" vote from the amazing Team Honk team so a plan formed.
After getting the amazing Jordan on board, I entered a police station, asking for permission to organise a flash mob. And then the amazing organisers of the Sport Relief Mile- the Vale of Glamorgan Council- came on board, agreeing to let us be a part of the event (rather than a gatecrasher!), and organising for Bro Radio to get the playlist out through their PA system. The Council sorted our money collecting permit in record fast time, and The Boy and Me offered to come down to photograph us in action.

And in less than three weeks an idea became a reality.
The day of the flash mob the baton would arrive at John O'Groats- we would be a long distance cheering squad.
This lady.
Well, this lady put all her energies and focus into making this plan a reality.
Organising 'rehearsal' sessions.
Incorporating the tracks in every day Zumba sessions.
Uploading videos of her completing the tracks for those of us who couldn't get there.
Making it happen.

And this was us.
A fab group of the most awesome women and men.
Hopefully entertaining (and wow-ing!) the Sport Relief Mile participants and supporters.
And, doing more than we ever thought possible.
It is one thing for us to commit to a healthy lifestyle.
Turning up at a Zumba session.
But these amazing individuals.
These fab people agreed to do something amazing.
To make something fantastic happen in support of Sport Relief.
Exercising in public is quite something.
A matter of confidence.
As a team.
Anything is possible.
And with the support of Jordan it happened.

Me, out exercising, after more than five years of gaining weight.
£150 raised for Team Honk Wales' Sport Relief effort.
And a boost for the confidence of so many.

And the Johnson's went on, with the Blendall-Barry team, to take part in the Sport Relief Mile.
And, there was no place better to do it, with views only Wales can offer.
 And a wonderful reward for the little people.
What a day.
What a year.

Team Honk really has done so much.
For Sport Relief.
For projects in the UK and abroad.

For bloggers.
And their families.
And their friends.

For individuals.
For making a difference.

Thank you Annie.
Thank you Penny.
Thank you Tanya.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Why technology works for us #CollectiveBias #Shop

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

My husband seems to think my Samsung Galaxy S4 is surgically attached to my hand.
I think he's wrong.
I have a phone for work and my personal phone... so he's obviously incorrect.
I do work occasionally.

I do however love my Samsung.
I never thought I would.
Change is never welcomed with open arms.
I was a Nokia girl.
Mr J got a Samsung Galaxy and before long we were upgrading as often as possible.

And so we are a Samsung family.
I have a Galaxy S4.
Mr J has the Galaxy S3.
And Mr J gifted me a Galaxy Tab for my birthday.
Although it's not so much mine, the children use it far more than I!

What do I love about my phone?
I love that I can do anything with it.
I rely on it for knowing which platform at Paddington will get me back to Cardiff when I've left the office too late and am frantically checking as my phone comes back into life at Edgware Road so that I can make the frantic dash home.
I love checking Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Outlook when I'm out and about.
I love finding out that I've been paid because of the Co-op app.
Most of all I love my camera.
I love capturing my children.
I love that on Sunday, with a fantastic Zumba Instructor, I organised a Flash Mob for Sport Relief as part of Team Honk at Barry Island.
I love how many people love their camera as much as me.
Videoing and photographing on tablets and phones... somewhere in that audience is both of mine!
I love that at the end of completing the Sport Relief Mile (with newly toilet trained twins [not in the least stressful]) that a kind friend separated my hand from my phone and took this.
Photos of the five of us are far between.

And this is the joy of my phone being close to my hand.

The downside.
Accidental damage.
Fortunately my bank account covers mobile phone accidental damage.
We've both had to use it.
Lesson nearly learned.

So at the weekend I popped to our local Vodafone shop.
To look for solutions.
I love the clean lines of Vodafone stores.
And the clear branding which leads you straight to a preference.
Or to turn right and select by contract.

I was impressed by how attentive the team at Vodafone are to its customers.
I was a little bit disappointed by the range of accessories.
Primarily because I didn't find what I was looking for.
If it does indeed exist.
The accessory that guarantees my children cannot damage my phone or tablet.
The cover in stock met Mr J's needs.
So his phone has a sleek cover to protect against adult injury.
He's not stupid enough to let his phone into contact with our children.
I am a soft touch.

But when Seren comes home from a day at school.
Desperate to carry on her learning with the apps and sites she is familiar with.
I am happy.
As she decides on Reading Eggs.
Content that my children learn from everything around them.
And, that I get to capture everything around us.

Making Mother's day child friendly - A Gift Idea

I learned early on that Mother's Day wasn't about me.
My first ever Mother's Day.
A radio station gave me daffodils.
They generously gave every mother in the maternity unit a gift to celebrate.
For me, it was my return after my gorgeous daughter was refusing breast milk.

My daughter's third birthday was Mother's Day, and I found myself sharing 'my day' with three children (it was very definitely her day).

And so, the lesson is learned.

And so I offer my winning combination.
Mother's Day at Asda with Peppa Pig.

Because some just forget to remember.
And others just know giving a bit of Peppa Pig will make children as happy as it makes mummy.
And truth be told, I loved these gifts.
Because everyone loves bathtime and storytime.

And because mummy is amazing.
And because Daddy Pig snorted when he heard that Mummy is neat and organised!

But mostly because reading a book is fantastic!
Disclosure: We received a copy of "My Mummy" and bath mitts for the purposes of this review. All views and opinions contained are our own.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Ordinary Moments: Play dates

I'm so glad to be back for a third week to link in with Mummy, Daddy, Me's linky.

This week was pretty ordinary, and pretty extraordinary.

Last Summer we found out that Seren's best friend from nursery would be going to a different primary school.
I was heartbroken.
We were fortunate.
They live around the corner.

So we've had play dates and parties to keep everyone in contact.
Mummy has been lucky.
Seren's best friend's mum, I would like to think, is now a friend of mine.
Someone whom I look forward to enjoying a coffee with.
Someone who I had the courage to say "Can I join you at Zumba?"

With a little special bonus.
The best friend's little brother is the same age as Seren's little brothers.

And so this weekend, we had a playdate.
A special playdate which meant no-one was left out.
I loved it.
I love watching my children interact.
More special, was spending time with the best friend's little brother.
I was reminded of a child's rich imagination.
Tom & Seb always have each other, and sometimes I miss the imagination of one.
Of the conviction of your own mind.
I loved that it gave me a kick up the backside.
That I must start spending time with each of my children as individuals.

But most of all I love that all three of my children are old enough to enjoy playdates.
To look forward to the company of people they love.
And enjoy every moment.

"How to Catch a Star" 10 years on. Oliver Jeffers. Review & #Giveaway ends 05/04/14

It is my daughter's namesake.
A star.
Wished upon.
A star we were fortunate enough to meet.
And greet us on a daily basis.

This was the first book I bought for her.
Five years ago.
Already five years on.
So now, as Seren turned five, so 'How to Catch a Star' celebrates its 10th anniversary.
And so much has happened in that time.
Seren now is fortunate enough to have a book signed by Oliver Jeffers (don't let on to her, but her mummy actually met him!!).
And Seren, five years on is reading the book for herself.
With a little bit of mummy's help.
And thanks to Oliver and HarperCollins, Seren is fortunate to be able to celebrate her birthday and an anniversary in style with this exquisite gift edition, including a letter from the author and previously unpublished drawings.

What do we love?
We love that anything is possible.
And we love reading.
And we love that we have an extra copy to giveaway to someone else. To play it forward.
Please get involved.
So you can enjoy books as much as we do.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: We received a Book an goodies for the purposes of this review. All opinions and views contained are our own.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Arrgggghhhh..... like arrrggghhh. Listography. Books

This has to be the most amazing nightmare.
Kate Takes 5.
How on earth can you make a Listography with only 5 books.

I am going to accept advice.
And go with those defining books.
The books that went onto define us.

I will start with "Matilda".
(Of course I could just list all books by Roald Dahl).
But this book makes reading acceptable.
A positive personality trait.
"The Diary of Anne Frank"

I can't begin to explain the impact of this book.
I remember. I would save it for Library afternoon. In Year 7.
I wouldn't read it inbetween.
I would save it.
A role model.
Someone who demonstrated so much courage and commitment.
Someone who allowed history to be understood.
To create compassion.
And strength.

And from there to Stanislavski's "An Actor Prepares".
This is a more random choice.
It is one of those books that takes you places.
To Chekhov and Ibsen and Brecht and to Boal.
But this is where it started for me.
Understanding theatre.
Loving theatre.
And growing confidence.

"The Five People You Meet in Heaven"
A recommendation by school friend, who had such impact on my life. The best of forever friends.
And this book.
It stays with you.

And my final choice.
It is sort of in the here and now. I am nearly in the now.
But my life now is about authors. A sign of commitment or a lack of attraction to change.
And so, I turn to my 'quotes' book, the scribble book where I write the things which mean something to me.

Without recollection.
I have annoyed myself at work, with my new found motto: "it will be, what it will be."
And as a look back in my quote book, I find:
" 'Si es atal es atal'.
Things will be as they will be."

And more so.

"Do you believe you can change your destiny?' he (Sajhë) said, seeking an answer.
Alice found herself nodding. 'Otherwise, what's the point? If we are simply walking a path preordained, then all the experiences that make us who we are - love, grief, joy, learning, changing - would count for nothing.”

"Labyrinth" by Kate Mosse. I have loved every book since.
But this one. It kept me. On every emotion.

And so this is it.
I feel drained.
I don't think I've written enough.
And that, that is the joy of books.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Welsh bit of the jigsaw #teamhonkrelay

There are days you think you can really make a difference.
There are days when you know you are a teeny part of this mighty world.

And there are days you watch, and you know that in this teeny, tiny world people really can make a difference.
From the light bulb moment to twenty four thousand pounds.
And an appointment with Downing Street.
Three bloggers.
To two hundred.

And Wales, Wales did their bit. We hit our target.
We raised awareness in schools and across the country people were happy to be a part of our fund raising mission.

And, so, here we are.
The final leg.
The final week.

And as the #TeamHonkRelay reaches John O'Groats, and as the Queen Elizabeth Stadium once again celebrates the best of Britain, and thousands participate in Sport Relief events across the country.
I am left to ponder.
How can my local Sport Relief Mile be amazing?
If I didn't do enough, how can I turn this around?

How can I show that this is making a difference?
How can we best support the #TeamHonkRelay on the final push?

Well, I am hoping.
I am hoping that I can do these three bloggers justice.
That we have our y peth cyfrinachol.
After Sunday, I am going to have a lot of thank-you's to make.
Sooooo many people have agreed to give up their time and talents to make a random idea happen.
And snowball.
I can't believe how many people have let Team Honk into their hearts.
So, can you be at Barry Island this Sunday to support us?
We'd love to see you.
Anytime from 10am would be great.

Thank you!!

If you can't be there, and would like to support us, you can donate whatever you can afford at: Wales Team Honk  

Team Honk 2014 blogger Relay

Help your children engage with nature this spring

Our little ones love of the outdoors is well documented, Seren's fearlessness when it comes to exploring rocky pools at the beach, all of them climbing trees as a try and guess who's most likely to need help, and don't even get me with their compulsion to pick the flowers we are so desperate to grow.

The recent good weather has been much appreciated, we are back to enjoying our back garden and the local beaches.
And I know we are not alone.

As the nights become longer and the days warmer millions of families around the UK will get off the sofa and of the house to enjoy the great outdoors. But as spring bulbs bloom and new bursts of foliage turn our landscape lush green, how knowledgeable are we about the plants and wildlife around us?

Do you struggle to name a bird when your little one hears a cooing sound coming from a tree in the park and do you find it hard to name the flowers that are coming into bud? Now is the time to brush up on your knowledge about nature so you can tell your children about the exciting world of plants and wildlife in their own back garden, or the local parks and woodlands.

Join our live WebTV show where Zoologist and nature writer Jules Howard will reveal some interesting facts about nature in Britain and guide you through what to look to out for this spring when you are in the great outdoors. Following a survey conducted by Cbeebies show Tree Fu Tom which revealed that many parents admit to feeling stumped when put on the spot by their children to identify the name of a plant or tree, now is your chance to swot up.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Marketiers4dc Broadcast Bloggers Network 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Harrington's Pet Food #Review

A little while ago we were sent Harringtons cat and dog food for review.
In honesty, neither Mr J or I could recall seeing Harrington's at our supermarket.

As Miller, out cocker spaniel, was at the end of his dog food he was the first to try out his food.
Harringtons Complete Adult Dog Food is described as a complete pet food that can be fed to all dogs from 8 weeks onwards. Carefully formulated to provide wholesome nutrition and contains no artificial colours or flavours, no dairy, no soya and no added wheat, and this was really appreciated by Miller.
Miller does have senstivities around food, and along with this he's a complete nightmare for turning up his nose at certain foods.
We didn't have any problems. They disappeared quicker than quick.
And before too long the cats started casing his food bowl.

Fortunately the cats also got to have their taster session too. Like the dog food, Harringtons Adult Cat Complete is a complete pet food for all cats from 8 weeks onwards. Again, carefully formulated to provide wholesome nutrition and contains no dairy, no soya, no beef, no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and no added wheat.
And the cats were just as eager to enjoy their food.

Our view on Harringtons- well, Mr J has since bought Harringtons for Miller at Morrison's.
Mr J, the main supermarket tripper, decided Harringtons was more than a reasonable price.
We both agreed, that it was comparable to the more specialist foods we have bought Miller in the past due to his more sensitive tummy.

Unfortunately the cats weren't as lucky, we haven't found Harringtons at our local supermarkets, and hope they will start to stock them soon.
Our conclusion, we would definitely recommend Harringtons, as demonstrated by it moving onto our shopping list!

Disclosure: We received Harringtons Cat and Dog food for the purposes of this review. All views and opinions contained are our own.
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