Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Zoo News from Paradise Wildlife Park

This month Zoo News from Paradise Wildlife Park finds out about the Three Banded Armadillo, an amazing creature tough enough to break concrete, who is able to sniff its prey eight inches below soil, and is the only type of Armadillo that can incase itself completely in its amour. It also shows how the Great Grey Owl survives in the Arctic Circle and what adaptations allow it to live in cold conditions.  Check out some brilliant wildlife footage in these monthly videos from Paradise Wildlife Park.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Ella is 18 Today

My beautiful baby girl looked up at me and beamed a huge smile at just 3 days old.  When the skeptical midwife saw her grinning, she said she had never seen a baby so young as responsive.  She admitted that she thought I was mistaking wind for genuine smiles, but was happy to eat her words. Ella really was a special little thing from the word go.

Over the years, my adorable little girl has become a wonderful young woman: talented, sensitive, intelligent, gifted, beautiful.  Life is not always easy for her, but she is strong.  A fighter.  She makes me proud everyday. She can light up any room from the moment she enters.

growing up

I am utterly honoured to be her mum.



brother and sister



Saturday, 19 April 2014

Box of OMG and Box of Awseome Review #totallyomg

When our Mega Box of OMG and Mega Box of Awesome arrived, Freddy and Kizzy couldn't wait to get stuck in to find out what treats were inside.  Filled with goodies from top brands such as HARIBO, Plasticine and Nickelodeon, the boxes are packed with things such as stickers, trading cards, toys, sweets and books.  They are great for keeping the kids entertained in the school holidays!

Freddy had a Mega Box of Awesome.  He was instantly delighted to find Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Skylanders and Predasaurs DNA Fusion items among the goodies inside.


The Odd Squad Bully Bait by Michael Fry was a great freebie to find in the Mega Box of Awesome. Although he is a bit young for it now, we'll keep it on his bookshelf for him.  It's a great book to get boys reading.

freebies for kids

Kids are always happy to find a treat size pack of HARIBO Starmix to munch on!  Finding one in his Box of Awesome went down very well.

box of awesome

The Predasaurs DNA Fusion pack featured a Stegasaurus/Triceratops hybrid toy, which Freddy thought was really cool.

Box of Awesome

The Plasticine Squidgems pack was brilliant.  It contained Plasticine, cardboard accessories and instructions needed to make Raphael one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  It was a great activity and of course the Plasticine can be re-used again and again.

Plasticine, Box of Awesome

The Box of Awesome was definitely a big hit with Freddy filled with things he loved.

Meanwhile Kizzy received her Box of OMG and here she is doing an unboxing video.


Again, her box contained a book which retails at £6.99, as well as HARIBO, a funky nail file, stickers, tattoos and Nickelodeon games gift card.

You can receive boxes of OMG and Awesome completely free if you apply online and are allocated one, or you can guarantee your two monthly boxes of Mega OMG and Awesome by subscribing for £4.99 a box. You can also join the community and become one of the Super Awesome Club where you can increase your chances of winning a box through the post by earning Awesome points by sharing on Twitter and Facebook, getting friends to sign up, uploading unboxing videos or inputting codes from previous boxes.  There also great prizes to be won including iPad minis!  It's a lot of fun and well worth joining in.

Check out or go to Facebook at boxofomg and sign up for free now.

Siblings - My Mum and Uncle John

Over the years I unfortunately haven't seen much of my extended family, especially since the death of my wonderful Nan Peck six years ago. So I was really thrilled to hear that my Uncle John was coming to stay with my parents and that they would be visiting us.  The last time I saw my uncle was at my Nan's funeral back in 2008, before Freddy was even born.  So we were all really looking forward to seeing him again and introducing Freddy to his Great Uncle.

It was lovely to see him!  My kids all really enjoyed his company and we chatted and reminisced.  I showed John photos of my two eldest, Joe and Megan, my niece Kate, my nephew Tom, my grandson Ted and great nephew Michael, updating him on all the family news.  Freddy proudly showed him all the certificates he had won at school and drew him some pictures to take home. He loved having a new grown-up to impress.

I took some photos of John with my family.  Taking photographs and preserving memories is so important to me, adding some updated images to my collection of family pics, so the children (and their future children) can see their own history through photos.  

I found an old picture of my mum with her little brother taken in about 1940 and compared it to the photo I took last week.  Now, seventy years on, my mum is over 80 and John is just a few years behind. But they are still that same brother and sister that sat for the photographer all those years ago, dressed in their Sunday best.

family, siblings

In hindsight, I wish I'd recreated the original pose, with John looking a bit cheeky and my mum having a protective arm around her little brother...definitely something to do next time!!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Keep Calm and Party - Ella is 18!

It seems like only yesterday that I brought my beautiful baby girl home from hospital, and now she's officially becoming an adult on the event of her eighteenth birthday next week.  Parenting a teenager can be a challenge in many ways, but it's a challenge I embrace wholeheartedly.  I love having a grown-up daughter who is great company, fun to be around and whose achievements fill me with pride!

Throwing a little party for Ella and her friends, as part of the week long celebrations for her birthday, has been helped along after receiving some brilliant partyware from The Partyware Shop.  The Keep Calm range has real popular appeal with its simple, yet eye catching design featuring the iconic phraseology. 

With plates, bowls, napkins, cups, ice cream tubs, cake cases and cake toppers, the range is perfect for teenagers and adults alike.  The bold colours make a strong statement and will make the party table look bright and colourful.

the partyware shop

We received from the Keep Calm and Party range:

Paper Cups £2.49 for 8
Paper Bowls £2.75 for 8
Paper Plates £2.75 for 8
Lunch Napkins £2.75 for 20
Treat Tubs £2.99 for 8
Cupcake Cases £3.99 for 100
Cupcake Picks £2.49 for 20

Yesterday, some of Ella's friends came over to have a lunchtime party and to watch a movie together.  

18th birthday

The meal plan consisted of veggie burgers with potato shapes, salad, carrot sticks, hummus, fruit, jellies, sweets and cupcakes.  I kept it simple but the lovely co-ordinating partyware made the table look great and elevated the food into something quite special.

the partyware shop

I particularly liked the cupcake cases and picks.  I made some Oreo and some Chocolate Truffle and Berry cupcakes in the cases, decorating some of them with a Keep Calm and Eat Cake pick!  The bowls were perfect for serving up salad, sweets and grapes in as well as using them for eating from.  The treat tubs were used to serve the jelly.

The plates, tubs and bowls were very sturdy and excellent quality, so didn't flop or bend when piled with food. The cups were also very good and were re-used several times.  The napkins were strong enough to deal with minor spills and didn't disintegrate when wet.

Overall, I think the range represents excellent value for money as it is such good quality, is quite unique and looks great.  It is nice to find a design that suits an older child's party (although I don't think Ella would have minded being served her party food up on the new Disney Frozen Deluxe Party Pack which is just £18.99 and contains everything for a party of 8 children).

Frozen birthday party

For a limited time, The Partyware Shop is offering free UK postage and packing on orders (usually £3.95) so it's a perfect time to buy.

Find out more and discover the full range of paper partyware, china and glass serveware and party accessories, games and decorations at

More Sky Entertainment from TalkTalk

TalkTalk have seven Sky channels coming to TalkTalk Plus TV: Sky 1, Sky 2, Sky Sports News, Sky Living, Sky Livingit, Sky Arts 1 and Sky Arts 2, which are all in addition to the 70 Freeview channels currently available to TalkTalk's Plus TV customers. The new channels will bring TalkTalk homes some of the very best entertainment shows from Sky, including Modern Family, Elementary, The Smoke and Bones, as well as a hundred hours of on demand shows each month.  

The Sky Movies Boost is available to buy for two months at half price until 23rd April for existing customers, offering 11 Sky Movies channels and on demand films for just £7.50 a month. There are some great films coming to Sky Movies this month including The Lone Ranger, Trance, Man of Steel and Grown Ups 2.  You can catch a whole host of superhero films on the dedicated Superhero channel this month too!  Perfect for the whole family to enjoy this Easter.

Find out more about the TalkTalk services for TV, Broadband, home phone and mobile plus details of their special offers at

Proud TalkTalk Family Blogger

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

What Fred Said This Time!

what kids say

Freddy has very firm ideas when it comes to his education as this little conversation that he had with his Nana shows:

What did you do at school today?
I played.
Did you do anything else.
Yes but there was something I couldn't do.
What couldn't you do?

Freddy's view on the dawn of man:

All the cars and people used to be statues and God brought everything to life.  He made statue people into real life people and gave us real hair instead of statue hair.

I loved Freddy's attempt at pronouncing these two American holiday destinations:
Flooridor and Clarriflornia
They sound much nicer than plain old Florida and California.

Freddy is a bit of a Harry Potter fan:

I love Harry Potter because he does awesome spells to set things on fire called Incendio and hang people upside down called Levicorpus and blast things called Stupify and make people forget things called....I've forgotten what that one's called.


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