Saturday, 30 May 2015

Monster High - Draculaura Doll Review

We were recently sent the Draculaura Doll from the Monster High Original Ghouls range to review
Monster High is a hugely popular doll range which seems to appeal to a wide age range and Chloe was really excited to be able to review Draculaura.

Chloe is nearly 12 now, very nearly a teenager, she has never really been one to sit and play with dolls, and she is very difficult to buy presents for, I am always looking for gift ideas. 

It can be difficult once children reach a certain age and their interest in classic toys is lost replaced by a love for fashion and make up. The Monster High Dolls help bridge that gap.

The dolls themselves are modeled on famous sci fi horror characters, such as Dracular, Frankenstein and Zombies.and have heaps of character and style.

Since the release in 2010 there have also been many animated movies and other merchandise to complement the dolls.

We were sent Draculaura to review, one of 4 in the the original ghoul series,  Chloe loved the detail to the doll, her glittery eye shadow and pink hair highlights along with her bright pink clothes and black lipstick.  She comes with a display stand too so you can stand her wherever you would like too.

Her accessories include ear rings, necklace and boots all of which you can remove.

Her hair is soft and can be easily styled. She is fully jointed so she can be posed into a whole range of positions and adds to the play factor.

The age range is 6 and above, I can see young children really loving these dolls, with their cute but fearsome characters they bring about a really interesting imaginative world.

They also hold their interest to the older girls as they are very stylish and not too babyish so can be proudly displayed in even a very fashion conscious tweenagers room.

Priced around £17.99 these are not cheap toys but they really are good quality, and certainly impressed Chloe. If you are in need of gift ideas for any young girl, tween or teenager then certainly do take a look at the Monster High Dolls.

Take a look at our video here too

Monday, 11 May 2015

Baby Days

When you are pregnant with your first baby you really don't know what to expect of the labour, it can be a scary time thinking through how you will manage, what pain relief will be best, how much does it really hurt?

Horror stories from well meaning friends and family, alongside words in books telling you how wonderful it could be with various breathing exercises and positive thoughts leave you not really sure what is about to happen, and the truth is often totally unique and something you are undoubtedly unprepared for.

But no matter if the birth was a wonderful experience or one you'd rather forget, when you hold your brand new baby in your arms for the first time and you suddenly realise this tiny baby is your responsibility and your hit with a strange mix of love, pride and fear all in one.

The pain of labour somehow becomes forgotten as the weeks and months pass in a total baby daze, and I guess thats why stories vary so much from other mums retelling their tales, the truth is most people have forgotten the details, or simply can't put the experiences into an understandable sentence.

When I look back at my first labour I think of it as a fairly quick and easy,  and have been one of those annoying positive experience people, claiming all was rosy and wonderful.

My waters broke at 10pm the evening before my due date, the pregnancy had run like clockwork with no complications at all, no aches or pains or niggles, I barely knew I was pregnant except for the fact my stomach wiggled and jumped around with each baby kick.

By 1am the following day (thats just 3 hours of back ache and pain - which was REALLY painful) several gasps of gas and air and even some pethidine sending me into a somewhat drug induced state, I held Jake in my arms,  due to his quick entry into the world and him becoming slightly distressed, with his heart rate dipping with each contraction vontous had been used to assist the delivery,  along with the vontous I had an episiotomy, a cut to make the opening of the vagina bigger, and so therefore I had stitches. 

The stitches were painful, but overall the birth was uncomplicated and I was overwhelemed with becoming a mother, I genuinely can hardly remember much about it, and the true pain of those hours in labour, and the unpleasentness of the stiches for weeks after became a distant memory, leaving me smiling sweetly and claiming birth was relatively easy.

Like throughout the pregnancy, the preparation doesn't really prepare you at all, and being a mum is very similar.

I quickly had to learn the ropes, with no instruction manules or even a helpful guide on how to be a mum I was back at home the next day stumbling through in my own way. The only real advice I wish I had been given is to have confidence in yourself.

I breastfed successfully and enjoyed every minute of watching my baby grow.

18 months later I was back in the labour ward, this time my pregnancy had been a little more bumpy, I had high blood pressure and had been closely monitored by my midwife who came out weekly to check my BP.  With a toddler to contend with and running my own business I laughed off the risks of the high Blood Pressure  stating it was simply a by product of my busy life, and groaned everytime I had to be monitored at hospital.

Luckily though I was in hospital being monitored a week before my due date, as Chloe made her entrance into the world at record speed, so quick her dad couldn't get to the hospital in time for the birth, I had no pain relief, no assistance and no cuts, tears or stiches at all this time and was home the next day.

Two under two, with cries of how difficult that must be ringing in my ears I again smiled my way through it, in a almost hypnotised state, totally encampulated by my children,

Hardly looking up to think of anything else, motherhood had become my thing, I loved every minute, all the hard bits didn't actually throw up many problems , and as soon as each difficult stage passed it was like I had some sort of self protecting mechanisum which instantly erased it from my mind.

Somehow looking past the tiredness, the mess and only remembering the fun and smiles, amongst the house full of toys and chaos.

As my eldest was starting school I was once again expecting, I remember my due date coming and not feeling at all scared about the upcoming labour, I was in fact excited, my midwife performed a sweep at home 2 days after my due date, within an hour I knew things were starting, and from my previous quick births we knew we wouldn't have that long before two become three and the new addition would arrive, and sure enough 3 hours after arriving at the hospital after an hour of tremendous pain and pushing Mikey was born. Gas and Air had been my saviour but no other pain relief and again no assistance cuts or stiches and beforew I knew it I was home back in that baby daze.

The years passed, parenting older children became normal, the baby stage disappaeared and my youngest quickly caught up his brother and sister not needing me for as long  and I started to think my baby days were over completely.

Then with my eldest two both in senior school and my baby no longer a a baby at all I find myself starting all over again.....

I don't have a lot of photos from when the eldest two were babies, alot more of Mikey, but the memories are blurred and hazy now, I wish I had blogged back then to have a firm place to return too where I could look back and smile at the times that were amazing, laugh at the crazy moments and nod in sympathy with the frustration when things didn't go so well.

13 years on from where my mothering journey began I am back at the beginning and blogging it this time over on my new blog Todays Moments.....

Noahs Monthly Updates

Friday, 1 May 2015

Mikeys Roman Homework

If I was a Roman Gladiator

If I was a Roman solider I would fight in a big arena called a Colasseum. There are other big stadiums too these are called ampitheaters.

I would sometimes have to fight with animals but mainly with other people, the Romans didn't treat the animals well and so they are vicious and want to fight, we normally kill them before they kill us, but sometimes the animals kill other gladiators.

We have to fight because the people of Rome like to watch the fights, they think their gods also like fights.

I eat mainly bread and cheese for lunch and sometimes have to fight twice in a day.

and here is a picture he drew in paint on the computer

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Summer Activities

The summer holiday is well under way isn't it, and the weather has so far been mostly lovely despite the odd down pour we have managed to enjoy time in the garden in the paddling pool

And on the trampoline, we are also in the process of a garden make over building a summer house which will hopefully be completed before the autumn weather comes!

We have been trying to find things to do in and around our local area  busing ourselves with local days out, community projects and fetes

South Derbyshire Council have been putting on lots of fun activities across the parks to find your whats on in your local area visit the website here to find a full list of activities in parks across south derbyshire.

We also hope to have a day trip to the seaside, and to London this year, as our last trip to London wasn't very successful for sight seeing, we are kean to get to see all the sights Big Ben being high on my youngest lists.

What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

Starting Secondary school - One year on - Moving forward

It seems totally strange now thinking back to this time last year, and Jake leaving the comfort of the primary school, starting out on the new journey into the second part of his education, but I guess like with many things prior to the event the unknown seems huge.

Being the oldest I was apprehensive about what the year would hold for him, how would it be different having a child who is older, more responsible, less needy? I promised to be organised myself, to help him with his homework and to be more attentive to his learning, it seems however that the year seemed to pass much like the last, secondary school brought about new challenges sure, but it has been a mostly positive experience.

The first term saw him grow up quite a lot, I blogged : Secondary School: Growing up

One of the main things I wanted for Jake to get out of this stage of life was new experiences, Jake has never been top of the class academically, which has never bothered me too much, I am more concerned about his manners, personality and general happiness in his school life than what he scores on test results.

For this reason when the letters came home about the school trip to France I was eager to encourage Jake to go along.

As it happens French, has not been one of Jakes favourite subjects, in fact it is his least favourite, but still I paid for the school trip and the trip away symbolised another milestone in his life story.

With money tight we have never been able to afford a holiday abroad as a family before, and yes the school trip was expensive, but manageable in monthly instalments, I personally wanted to offer him something which growing up I never got the chance to experiences.  Waying up the cost with the experiences which Jake could gain that I simply couldn't provide myself it made it seem worthwhile.

So to mark the end of his first year at senior school, a new chapter finished, Jake and his friends packed their bags and left the home comforts for new shores, new experiences and new memories.

Abit apprehensive before hand, although not letting on quite how much, we waved him off on the coach.

With no contact over the days away just the hope that he was indeed enjoying this new experiences, the text to say they were nearly back was a relief.

Jake had had a great time, he had been on the beach, to a snail farm and to a bakery making croissants! Although packed with a camera in his bag, other than the a couple of photos of the white cliffs of Dover, the camera was not used!  I hope the memories he made last him a long time and he goes on to enjoy the journey through senior school.

decade of being mum

(I wrote this post a year ago and never got round to hitting publish until now, but my thoughts and feelings are still very much the same so I thought I best hit publish!) 

I was just 18 when I found out I was pregnant, but I was not like most 18 year olds. I remember not feeling much like a teenager at all, having never been the one who was into drinking or party going, I was much more of a middle aged person already. I moved out of my parents home when I was just 17, but not due to drunken teenage madness, due to crazy teenage love.

The months directly after moving in with my partner were abit surreal, for a while neither of us had jobs and we learnt the hard facts about life, money and living, no food on the table on several occasions and no one to ask made us quickly appreciate the simple things and harbour a new love for tinned tomatoes on toast.

My family were not happy about my sudden uprooting from their home, the forgotten dreams and unhappy ending in their eyes of the daughter they had amazing hopes and aspirations for quickly burnt bridges between me and them, and as such in those first few months we had no support apart from anyone except each other. Darrens family were full of their own ideas and wanting to get on with their own lives, and mine disowned we really did have to learn to fend for ourselves, and it was tough. But ever the optimist I didn't think too much about it, and instead focused on creating a business and life for ourselves the best that I could.

Within the year everything changed we had set up a shop and were renting our house from my partners parents, trying hard to pay our own way and making our own mistakes, we were carving out a family routine. All be it a bit of a manic one.

We had neither planned or tried to prevent getting pregnant, so it was neither a shock nor a surprise, the timing could have perhaps been better, and I felt in some ways far too young, and in others perfectly ready to become a mum.

Unfortunately Darrens mum passed away before we broke the news to anyone at all, and it wasn't until after her death that we told my family by then I was nearly 6 months pregnant, for those first months of my pregnancy it was just our secret and in those months, even with all the things that were changing in our world, the new exciting prospect of the future kept spurring me on.

Once the news was out however things became more real, I tried to rekindle relationships with my parents,and things did improve, but the damage that had been done and had taken its toll. It took many many more years to be more appreciative of each other again, on both our sides mine, and my parents.

So even tho we were on talking terms to my parents, to say they were supportive would perhaps not be quite right,  my midwife wasn't the nicest most supportive person either,  I tried to see her as little as possible too. Running our own business I couldn't afford to take things easy, and she couldn't really understand our lives, so for the most part I continued life as normal with just pregnancy books to work my way through what was to come.  I guess it is in these months when I become most happy not confiding in anyone at all, those who I should of been able to talk too were the ones I couldn't connect with in any way, luckily my pregnancy passed with no troubles, in fact most people had no idea I was having a baby at all until I held him in my arms.

Besides being the totally unknown, being pregnant felt perfectly natural, I remember it like it was yesterday, looking back I was totally unprepared for a baby, my relationships volatile with everyone close to me, with next to no support network around, but knowing I was soon to become a mum was a wonderful feeling, in that moment, everything else didn't matter.  I loved my baby more with every wiggle and movement, I loved and cared for this baby from the very start.

The day I went into labour was much like any other, we'd been at the shop all day, I went to pay cheques into the bank as I always did in the  afternoon, and we called into the chip shop on the way home and decided to take them to eat at my parents house.

We chatted about the imminent birth as it was my due date the very next day, but with no niggles yet I had no idea what to expect or when it might be.

We arrived home and I was tired so lay on the sofa, about 10pm I woke with a funny feeling and my waters broke in the bathroom. I must admit I was at that point scared. The reality dawned this was it.

The day our lives would change forever.

We jumped into the car grabbing our dog and heading back to my parents to drop him off there and head towards the hospital. As we drove I was feeling fine, no pain, but once we neared the hospital sheering pain shock through my back. I have a fairly high tolerance for pain but this was more painful than I had expected. We found the maternity unit and waited for a midwife, they came and chatted and didn't expect anything to happen quickly as it was my first baby, but I knew this baby was on its way, I managed to get them to take me and the pain seriously and before long I was pushing.

Then suddenly the room filled with people, with beeps and buzzes and commotion, doctors were called and I was terrified, talk of help needed and vontous or forceps. After just 3 hours in labour, at 1am, Jake was born with the help of the vontous suction cap.

The immediate love I felt was overwhelming, a perfect tiny baby which was now my soul responsibility to care for. 

We were discharged from hospital the next day as Jake was feeding well, I came home with this tiny newborn baby, with thoughts rushing through my mind, wondering if I really was ready to be a mum, would I know what to do when he needed me too, would I be able to care for him the way he deserved. I just hoped that I would.

The night passed, and I was feeling good, confident with my ability to do this, to make it work, breastfeeding, although painful, was working well, Jake fed brilliantly and I loved the way I could keep him safe and nurture him myself.

We had a slow stream of visitors that day, but by coincidence the midwife turned up when I was alone, even Darren had stepped out to the local shop, the unhelpful less than supportive midwife came in and spoke to me in a  tone of voice I doubt I'll ever forget, downgrading she made me feel like I was just a silly young girl who shouldn't really of had a baby at all. Yet I felt like the opposite, in my own home, with my partner, and baby and business I was no stranger to an 'adult' world. She came in and weighed Jake and assumed from the off I 'must be formula feeding' when I told her actually no, I was breastfeeding she didn't hide her surprise, 'oh young girls don't normally' she snapped, no supportive encouragement, no advice, no insight of what to expect.I remember being worried about bleeding after the birth,in no books had it mentioned that, and at no point had anyone sad that was normal, In fact even in the hospital I don't remember anyone taking much time to talk to me about the birth or caring for this new baby, breastfeeding wasn't discussed, it is only thanks to the books I had read prior to the birth and my own motherly instincts that helped make it successful. I'm not quite sure why but as soon as I knew I was pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed, again the lack of support from every avenue just spurred me on to do it anyway. The midwife weighed Jake and was again shocked to see he had put weight on, no encouragement no words of wisdom. Infact although I can't quite remember what upset me so much now, I remember her making some hurtful comments, leaving me wishing I had of had the courage to snap back at her, instead I let her walk out the door, me waving her off, then returning to the room and sobbing. She had made me feel that bad.
Thankfully she discharged us on her next visit and passed our care to the health visitor team, and I didn't mind them anywhere near as much.

The weeks passed, they quickly turned into months. Jake grew,and my bond grew increasingly strong, I fell into motherhood and loved every aspect of it. I was proud of myself for not stumbling, not relying on anyone else, carrying on and continuing against all odds. I was proud to still be breastfeeding at 9 months, much to my mums disgust, she had been a long standing negative force behind breastfeeding, much like the midwives,she even went as far to buy me bottles and formula, which I never opened! No, being mum was something I was going to do my way.

But obviously being a first time mum, knowing which way is your way isn't easy, the bad advise and lack of encouragement meant I made plenty of mistakes, I weened too early, with the chimes of 'hes a big boy he will need more than your giving him' and 'you can't be giving him anything good he needs some proper food' despite the fact he was gaining weight consistently when exclusively breastfed I  ended up starting him with baby rice and first foods at around 3 months old. But I did continue to breastfeed along side the baby food until he was 9months old, when again the 'you're not still doing THAT' are you?' finally made me think perhaps it was indeed wrong to still be breastfeeding at that age. and so I weened Jake off the breast, not because I wanted too but from peer pressure.

The months continued to pass and Jake grew before our eyes he was a joy and really did change our world, quickly after I stopped breastfeeding Jake, I fell pregnant with Chloe. Leaving just an 18 month age gap between them. The years passed and I loved having two toddlers around, they grew up together, I lavished attention on them and was the 'too kind for her own good' mum, the slightly hippy mum who let them run around barefoot and dance in the rain,  by the time I fell pregnant with Mikey 4 years after Chloe, I had firmly set my thoughts on parenting methods,  breastfeeding and weening and stood my ground much more confidently following a baby led weaning idea and allowing Mikey to self ween from the breast when he was around 20 months old. Letting him co sleep and being the all round attachment parent whos childrens started to run rings around her.

11 years have now passed and I look at Jake and wonder, now he is growing up, leaving primary school soon, embarking on the next stage of his life, what impact his childhood will have on him as an adult, what good bits he will take, and what not so good bits, life has been tough, its been volatile and temperamental with arguments between me and Darren on many occasions, arguments between family, and friends, money has been tight on many many occasions and is a constant nagging problem, we have had really bad times over the passed decade, times which hit hard and hurt more than anything, times which I thought would break us, but we got through, and its also been wonderful and better than I expected.

It's been a learning curve which I am still tying to straighten out, and learn about. Because thats the thing about being a mum, there isn't a cut off point when your job is done. My 'too soft' approach is almost coming back to bite me,  I often wonder if I have given my children too much of a free roam, constantly hoping that they will return the love and respect I try to shower them with, yet the hurtful worlds they now mutter when I do my best to curve their behaviour and shape them into respectful members of society make me question my parenting far more than the when to ween  debate ever did all them years ago. The thoughts of the future now are through the eyes of my children as I wonder if I am giving them enough opportunities to try new things,and if I can help them furfil their goals without having the money to do everything I'd wish for them.

Parenting young children - babies, preschoolers, was the time I enjoyed the most, the fun, creative times the thirst for learning in the childrens eyes, the ever wonder and love they showered on you, their care giver, gave something back for all the time and attention inputted into them.

Now the stroppy pre teen age is hard. The 'I already know everything' attitude is a tough one, no longer eager to sit and create masterpieces from cardboard tubes and sticky tape. No longer hanging on your every word, now old enough to want to see the adult world, but too young to understand the troubles that go along with it.

This is the hardest stage to parent, the one where I find myself once again wondering where to find the support network. And once again I feel left without the help and encouragement, this time even more on my own, with not as many books or information available about what to do once your children hit this age. Most parenting books are all about when to ween, potty train and teach numbers and letters. But what happens after that? you certainly don't stop parenting, infact thats when being a parent really begins.

And those thoughts I had when I held my first born for the very first time, those thoughts if I would know what to do when I needed too, are ever present as I constantly wonder if the decisions I make now are the right ones, in fact the decisions that effect the 11 year old boy are harder to make than those decisions for my tiny newborn who I could hold safe in my arms.

But as much as things have grown, changed and adapted there is one thing which never will and that's my love for all my children and my hope that my best will be enough.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Catching up.

It seem like the days are passing by so quickly at the moment, the weeks are turning into months and the year is flying by.

It is now the end of July, summer is well under way, the children are growing up so very much and life here is very very hectic.

I haven't blogged for such a long time, I don't know if it is because the children are now all at the age where they groan a little when I get my camera out, or if it is because of the added work commitments or simply because I lost a little bit of love for blogging, but posts here are few and far between.

I do miss blogging, and I often flick onto my blog to look back at my posts and smile fondly at the memories I stored here, I then think over the past 6 or so months where I have been terrible at updating and feel a pang of sadness that there is now a huge gap in the blog.

I decided back in January that time was running out and reviews would have to take a back seat, I wanted so much at that time to find the love for recording the every day again, but then real life got in the way and I have hardly taken any photos let alone uploaded them to the blog.

In some ways not blogging has been refreshing, there is a strange sense of realism to enjoying the moment, rather than making a moment for a blog post.

Things are changing around here and I'm trying to find a way to hold on and enjoy the ride.

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