Slimming world with a small s

I’ve lost the slimming world plot, I’m a diet terrorist refusing the even use capitals when writing their name.

It all started two weeks ago when I was ill, then hurt my back…since then I’ve made ginger cakes and scones with gay abandon. Our esteemed leader Jean has sent me a text which I recieved with fear in my heart. But the truth is, I’m feeling bad.

So I’ve stopped with the cake making and restocked the cupboards with all things legal and I’m hitting it hard Monday, any good dieter knows Saturday and Sunday’s don’t count.

No doubt Jean will be brimming with eager disappointment next week, keen for me to fill in one of her diaries. I
plan to fill these out on a Monday with an aspirational menu. It’s not so much to that I plan to cheat, it’s just the monotony of my weekly food intake will only serve to highlight just how much brown rice and egg based meals I really eat.

Instead I shall sprinkle such words as cous cous and quinoa across my weekly meals, punctuating with elaborate vegetable tagines and the odd slow roast something. Come on Jean, tear this one apart, I’ll think as she tries to decipher exactly how any syns it all involves.

The truth is my slimming world journey is still very much one of cat and mouse. Currently I’m stuck in my hole, next week I’m going all Jerry with plans to get back on track and maybe annoy Jean just a little along the way.

Pass Around the World!

Remember the thrill of placing a message in a bottle and wondering where it would end up?
That sense of creating a chain reaction across the world. I loved it and while I’m sure there are still several bottles with little notes from me bobbing across the channel, I did once receive a note back.

Monsieur Chardour sent me a hand written one back saying he’d found my bottle and he hoped I’d had a lovely holiday and was enjoying school. Those few words, helpfully translated by my French teacher made me feel something bigger and at nine-years-old it was all very exciting!

This summer holiday why not create your own chain and get involved with #Passaroundtheworld. It’s Allianz’ new campaign in honour of the Rugby World Cup 2015 and to celebrate their partnership with Sarecens RFC. They are asking families to create their own rugby pass video and upload it.

Arthur has been to Tiny Triers a few times at our local rugby club and I loved the sense of family and community it instilled. Watching all these little people working together and passing a rugby ball for the first time was fantastic.So I can’t wait to take it one step further and upload our own video and link up with rugby fans and families across the globe.

Get involved,spend a bit of those long six weeks of summer creating your little rugby pass masterpiece and you could win £150 Ticket master vouchers and loads of different Sarecens goodies including tickets to see them play and signed merchandise.

Take a look to see what it’s all about and find out more at

You can then upload your film here and help create something special.

It’s a fab idea because it uses the power of social media to create community. It’s our own modern day message in a bottle and I’m looking forward to seeing yours too.

CBeebies Furchester Hotel magazine


Furchester Hotel Magazine.

Googly eyes, framed faces and lots and lots of games!
Arthur and I had a lovely rainy afternoon reading through the stories in the Furchester Hotel magazine from CBeebies.

Aimed at 3-6 year olds, it’s bright and colourful it had a lovely mix of educational and fun stuff. Arthur loved creating portraits and he thought the stories set in the hotel were funny! I particularly liked the one about making toast as Arthur is currently obsessed with ‘cooking bread’.

He also put his cutting skills to the test and made the mask at the back of the magazine and it’s now sitting pride of place on his bedroom shelf. It had a good mix of early curriculum stuff hidden in the games and stories, a little maths, lots of wrds and reading and some puzzles too – all ackaged in the perfect way for a four-year-old.

All in all a lovely little magazine which filled a couple of hours, lots to do, some nice games and I thought the free gift was a really nice one. Not a piece of plastic tat but something children could actually do.

We’re looking forward to next month’s!

Starting school and learning life lessons

And so it begins. Arthur stayed for two hours at school today in preparation for his start in September.

Gazing around the bright, overwhelmingly new room we looked at each other and off we went. He hesitated at the water table while some boys played and he hung back and my heart lurched just a little bit.

“Hello I’m Arthur” he said, a little nervous, wiping his floppy fringe out of his eyes. They looked at him and kept playing and a little of me cried inside. But that’s life and it’s absolutely right he should put himself out there and, that at moments, he will face rejection.

Eventually they all played together but to face and conquer a sense of rejection is so very important. At home and at nursery he is safe and accepted and never rejected.

A sense of resourceful courage and grit is such a beautiful life lesson and all the more important as it’s something I would struggle to teach him. I could and would never reject him or turn him down. But that someone does, means my boy will dig deep and come out the other side.

I left him for just two hours. At first he clung to me but after a while I said:” I’m off now Arts, see you soon”. A very selfish tiny part of me wanted him to cling a little more to me. But he looked and said ‘ok’. That was when I knew he’d be fine. Me and my boy knew, at that moment, it would all be ok.

When I picked him up he was running round eating veg from their garden and grabbing my hand to show me the guinea pigs. All at once I saw a lifetime of moments tumbling into one. School pick ups, play dates, fights, fallouts and homework…all of it colliding it that one afternoon.

Life is changing and while I’m a little bereft at the thought of losing our special time together, I know it’s time he goes out there and learns the things I could never teach him. It’s also time for me to learn a few home truths too. We’ve ticked along on an even keel, both needing each other, an equality which charted our lives from the day he was born.

I think he’ll need me a little less, or maybe just a little differently soon and I have to accept the same will never be true for me.

Good luck my beautiful boy – you are all and more. Xx

BeWILDerwood – a magical adventure

We’ve had another glorious day at BeWILDerwood, nestled in the Norfolk countryside.

I’m always harping on about it but I just can’t recommend it enough! It’s a glorious,magical playground of adventure all set against the back drop of the BeWILDerwood books by Tom Blofeld.

We arrived and hopped straight on the boat where one of the fantastic staff takes you on a little journey and you first hear about Swampy, the Boggles, Twiggles and get to meet Mildred the friendly Crocclebog.

Then it’s off into the world of tiny tree houses and boggle villages. I love the attention to detail with miniature brooms outside the tiny homes, washing lines hanging between the trees and a sense that the magical moments of childhood are really here to discover.

Arthur just loves the climbing and exploring through the Tricky Tunnels and the wonderful Sky Maze. So brilliantly made amoung the trees.

We also love the stories where staff tell the stories of all the BeWILDerwood characters and the children can join in mixing marsh mallows and dressing up in costumes. It holds their attention and I love the fact it is innocent and doesn’t rely on fast rides, computers or anything other than play, trees, and an ample sprinkling of magic!

Magical Twiggle houses

Magical Twiggle houses

There’s a great toddler area too for the real little ones and I know a fair few adults enjoy the huge slides – me included until a rather nasty bottom injury called time on that! My fault, not BeWILDerwood’s I might add.

It was quiet when we went this time as it was out of the holidays and we got to meander around and really take it all in. I was impressed they were offering free face paints – something many other places charge extra for.

It always has been one of my favourite days out because the children just love it! Oh and there are always loads of places to take a rest too! Lovely clean loos and even a nursing room for breast feeding mums. I would recommend a picnic and there’s plenty of space and you are quite limited with what to buy once you get there.

BeWILDerwood we love you and long may this rather magical love affair last!

Father’s Day dilemmas

It’s that time of year again. Comedy socks, mugs with ‘Best Dad’ and a whole host of novelty ‘stuff’ to buy the dads in your life. It’s a minefield of wrong moves and potentially rubbish presents. Of course Arthur will create something cute and meaningful at nursery but I still have to pull it out of the bag with something he’ll actually be able to use.

But as Father’s Day draws ever closer I’ve been struggling to find something. Apart from drills, wood and anything you can build something with, I’m not sure what my own dad will appreciate. And apart from tents, sleeping bags and all things climbing, I’m not sure what Jonathan would like either!

I’m always happy to spend a little but I’m not in going to be shelling out hundreds. Although I am aware this would set a rather handy precedent for Mother’s Day. But that’s not in the spirit of the day. Is it?

Then I had a bit of an epiphany! I realised that both of the lovely men in my life enjoy a drink! My dad’s a bit of a wine lover and Jonathan enjoys a real ale. So for dad I’ve gone for a lovely rich Malbec and for Jonathan I’ve tracked down a beer we had when on holiday in the Lake District – he harped on about it for weeks so at least it will keep him quiet for a while.

So I’m sorted with a few days to spare and it was all online alcohol so I didn’t even leave the house! What with Arthur’s magnificent cress head creation – Jonathan’s in for a real treat. It’s a first for me not to be running around frantically on Saturday afternoon…that said I still have to get a card. Hope there are some left!

Making the most of summer

With the summer months fast approaching, everyone wants to get out and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. Get creative this summer by doing some fun outdoor crafts in the garden. It’s a great opportunity to add a splash of colour to your days, save some cash on expensive days out and even get the children involved.

1. Fairy Homes
A magical trend has been looming around gardens and homes across the country lately and it looks as though the fairy home creation trend is here to stay. Get your fairy craft supplies from Craft Superstore and have fun transforming an area of your garden into the perfect fairy-tale home. Make washing lines for the fairies to hang their washing with sticks and a long piece of cord. You can use a tiny bird house as the main home for these little creatures and let your kids decorate the front door with outside acrylic paint. This is a great way to bring some magic to your garden this summer.

2. Bird Shelter Decoration
Wildlife and nature seems to blossom into life during the summer months and there is no reason why you can’t bring the wonders of nature into your back garden. Consider decorating a bird house and hanging it up so that little winged friends will begin visiting your garden more often. You could even put up a few signs about the garden that say things like ‘Hedgehogs and Rabbits Welcome’ and leave food out to make the kids excited about the prospect of meeting new fluffy friends.

3. Seed Starters
If you love planting then making your own seed starters will definitely be of interest to you. Kids enjoy this craft as well because it is simple and they can get their hands messy, which all children seem to love. According to the best way to make a seed starter is to use shredded paper and tissue paper mixed with a small amount of water until the solution is soft to the touch. Place this mix into a decorative cookie cutter and add seeds to the wet paper once the shape has taken. After it has dried you can go ahead and plant your gorgeous summer flowers.

4. Paint Rocks
Every garden has rocks but they are usually pretty boring and uneventful which is why it could be a great idea to add a touch of colour and life to them. Grab some paints, pipe cleaners, sequins and googly eyes to decorate your rock. Kids will enjoy turning them into little creatures to display in their room or on the windowsill as a little summer ornament.

5. Flower Pot Fun
Another great idea for the planting fans out there is to paint and decorate the flowerpot. You could add a splash of colour to a once ordinary flowerpot or make it even more original by following this simple idea from Martha Stewart. She advises that painting the collars of clay pots with ‘stripes of chalkboard paint’ is a great way to add a touch of personalization to your plants. It also gives you the opportunity to identify your home-grown kitchen herbs as you can write their names on the chalkboard collar of the pots.

Keeping an eye on your health

Since the age of 17 I’ve worn glasses for long distance. Well, that should be I’ve ‘had’ glasses for long distance. The truth is I rarely wore them.

But for the last few weeks  people have been asking me why I look so miserable. My mum said:” you look like the bottom of the world has just fallen out”. How rude I thought as I squinted at my laptop screen and reread the last paragraph of the article I was writing – again.

It slowly dawned on me, my miserable, squinty face was all due to a well overdue eye test! My latest set of glasses were well over ten years old and years of computer work was creeping up on me. I used to rub my eyes all the time and Arthur would say: “Why do you keep squashing your eyes mummy.”

Basically Arthur, because I couldnt see properly and it was about time I looked after my eyes. If we have a bad tooth we go to the dentist. But the slow creeping of my changing eye sight meant I didn’t bother to give them the same time or concern. God, I can live easily without a tooth, even have it replaced. Let my eyes down and the world becomes a very different place and there’s very often, no going back.


So I went and got them tested at Optical Express,it was quick, simple and painless. I also found a little more about laser eye surgery, once I’ve finished paying for small people, I’m definitely going to think about it.

But for now, peering into new lenses was like wiping the sludge of several years of neglect away. I’ve also booked Arthur one as you can never start too soon. The eyes may well be the window to the soul, but, more importantly, they are the window into my little boy’s eyes. I can see sadness, wipe tears, see the crinkle of a giggle and enjoy life in all its technicolor glory. I can also proof my articles a lot more quickly and spend hours trawling paint charts for the right hint of grey in my white ( that might be just me but it’s important!).

I also got a clean bill of health for my eyes and no more squinty headaches. From now own my eyes are going to get the attention they deserve…now for that niggling tooth at the back.

Shopping for tat – my pound shop addiction

I am overwhelmed by life sometimes. Like it’s a separate entity happening around me, not of my doing but there, untouchable by any plans I have.

Enough of my jaunty small talk, I guess what I’m trying to say is sometimes things hurtle along faster than you can manage and there’s little you can do about it. One such thing seems to be my unending ability to buy stuff I don’t need. I’m usually quite disciplined with money – I don’t spend loads, I’m careful. But, oh and it’s a beautiful but, if I turn the corner, and walk into the arms of a Poundland, or if I’m running round the supermarket and something bright catches my eye. That’s it, that’s when I know life is happening and I’m just a passenger in this long ole race to the finish.

It’s the thought of missing out on something which brings me back again and again into the pound shops. Granted, there are only so many 25 packs of coloured dishclothes and foreign bleach that I need (I’m sure foreign bleach is every inch as good as British bleach but you catch my drift). What if there’s an amazing snack food in there Arthur will love and I’ve walked past it. How can I not need another packet of coloured paper to shove in his desk.

I have so much Easter shizzle from there I could possibly become a seasonal competitor in my own right. Sometimes I go in and challenge myself not to buy anything but, like any addict, even though it’s not right, I’ll still walk out having purchased at least a packet of European biscuits and some toothpaste – it’s £1 for Christ’s sake, a bloody pound!

But it’s those pounds which become a mountain of guilt. Pound apon pound of endless ‘stuff’ shoe-horned into cupboards that can barely take the strain. Packets of slightly acceptable’snacks’ spilling over in the kitchen. The logic of buying one decent thing for a tenner rather than ten pieces of crap, is not lost on me. It’s just tucked away in the queue behind my insatiable need to buy something for a pound.

I’m going to spend tomorrow lunch time in John Lewis – I love John Lewis and it’s middle-class loveliness doesn’t induce the same intensive ‘urges’ as the more abrupt and outrageously flirty pound shops. Maybe I just love a bit of rough, maybe my tat collection is just a little comfort blanket. Or, more worryingly, maybe I’ll be that mad lady in 30 year’s time with smeared red lips, and a well used shopping trolley, roaming the city looking for my next fix.

I’ve heard Poundland has gone online now – I hope they still have those dishclothes, I’ve only got a few left.

Win a family ticket to Barclaycard’s Family Day in Hyde Park

What better way to build some special family memories than with a day out at Barclaycard’s British Summer Time Family Day in Hyde. park on June 28th.

There’s something for everyone with SpongeBob SquarePants, Bart & Homer Simpson, Horrible Histories, Brainiac Live!, Chickenshed Theatre, Cook & Line – CBeebies Swashbuckling Pirates, The Cuban Brothers, Shaun The Sheep and much more.

New for this year is the Urban Arena with BMX, mountain biking & Parkour displays, I know one little boy who’ll be so excited about this!

You can get in on the action and be in with a chance to win a family ticket for June 28th – just enter my competition below.

The family day is the final day of Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park and this year will be filled with musical acts, comedy and good old fashioned family entertainment, plus award winning street food.

Itwill be headlined by boyband favourites Union J and include everyone from Britain‘s Got Talent winners Collabro to king of kids TV Justin Fletcher and more CBeebies stars, right up to teen YouTube sensations – no other day out packs more into one park.

A big hit with every member of the family, suitable for all ages, Family Day has proved an annual hit in the capital since the start of Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park in 2013. For the equivalent price of a family cinema ticket, Britain’s Biggest Family Event in Hyde Park is fine value for money. The little ones will never want to leave and even the bigger kids will not be able to wipe the smiles off their faces, or the selfies from their phones after grabbing a chat with all their YouTube faves.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*The prize is for a family ticket, two adults, two children, and is for June 28th. Travel and refreshment costs are not included and there is no alternative prize.