Saturday, 30 July 2011

Lose Inches And Save The Children

I have a confession to make.  I've never been a 'gym bunny' me anything to lose some inches and stay in shape with little effort and I'm there.

So when I heard about HotPants from Zaggora I was champing at the bit to get a pair.

What did they promise?

- Reduce your body fat
- Reduce the visible appearance of cellulite
- Lose 2 jean sizes in 2 weeks with no crazy workout or nutty regime

I must admit though, I was skeptical.  Surely a pair of pants weren't going to achieve all that!

Proof I do housework
But, you know what?

They have and I've done NO exercise either...unless you count vacuuming as exercise!

I absolutely LOVE them.

I'm actually going to buy another pair for when my first pair are in the wash. I also need to buy some new jeans as my current pairs keep falling off my hips. Result!

Imagine what would happen if I actually did some usual exercise too?

My best friend came over last week and saw my inch loss and asked me what my secret was.  Well, wearing Hot Pants is my secret.

Not only that, my Sister has also got a pair and they are working wonders for her forthcoming holiday.  Mind you, I say 'holiday'...where's she going?  She's traveling across the Sahara Desert...always likes to be different my big Sis. She loves them. I've told her she needs to take them to the desert with her. Imagine the fat she'd burn over there in that heat.

Anyway, as usual I digress, sorry.

So, the lovely people at Zaggora are very generously offering all readers 10% off a pair of your very own 'miracle worker' pants (usual retail price £44.99) using the code 'HEATHERLU' at the checkout.  In addition to this they will also donate £4.50 for every pair sold to my chosen charity Save The Children (I could claim this money for myself but I want to donate).  So, not only are you shedding some excess body fat, you'll be helping to help save children across the world, including the UK. At the moment there's a terrible drought in East Africa that I blogged about the other week.  Just think, that money could be going to help starving children.

I wouldn't recommend these Hot Pants if I wasn't entirely happy with them. You haven't just got my word for it, you've got my Sisters word too and hundreds of other Hot Pants Ambassadors across the world.

You won't be disappointed!

Just don't forget to use the code 'HEATHERLU' when you check out to claim for 10% and help Save The Children.

Please let me know if you order a pair with the code so I can keep track of the money raised for Save The Children.  I'd also love to hear what you think of them.

This is not a sponsored post.  
I did receive a pair of Hot Pants to try but all views, 
opinions and photographs are entirely my own.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Humpty Dumpty Get Out Of The Wall!

I think I've only ever blogged one proper video of Mini Cheddar previously (not counting the ones at Peppa Pig World) so it's about time I did another one and I just HAD to share this gem with you.

This was last month when she wanted me to film her singing skills.

'Row Row Row Your Boat' went to plan but she got a bit carried away with 'Humpty Dumpty'

and I lost the plot laughing at her!  Excuse the snort.

Also, just to let you all know I have written a guest post today for the lovely Alex over at Doing It All For Aleyna.  It's a bit of a tongue in cheek one so I hope you enjoy reading it as much I enjoyed writing it for Alex.

If you haven't discovered her blog yet then go over and have a look as she's so fantastic, down-to-earth and hilarious.  I love her.  She also has the most beautiful daughter Aleyna.

Just don't get too distracted in her fabulous blog that you forget to read my post ok? ;-)

Monday, 25 July 2011

When Playtime Becomes A Past Time Not A Pastime

A few weeks ago now I visited a local indoor play centre.  We are lucky enough to have two large ones within a 15 minute drive of our house and I probably don't use them enough as Mini Cheddar loves them.

They are never overly busy either, in fact once we had one of them to ourselves once.

I'll often go with a friend but sometimes Mini Cheddar and I like to go just the two of us.  I love seeing her face light up as she realises where we are going and her excited shrieks and eagerness to get inside. She desperate to get her shoes off and start exploring and I love to join her on the bigger equipment and slide down the huge blue wavy slide together.

This particular day there were probably about 5 or 6 other Mums and Dads there with their children. A couple together but most on their own. Mini Cheddar and I went off to explore the 'big kids' area.   

As we were playing a little girl approached us, not much older than MC (I'd say she was about 3 years old).  She came right up to me and almost pushed MC out of the way.  "Can I play with you?" she said holding up her hand to try and grab mine.

"Where's your Mummy sweetie?" I asked

"She's too busy to play"

"Are you here with your Daddy?" I replied, thinking Mummy was maybe at work.

"No, I'm here with Mummy. She's just too busy".

This little girl then proceeded to follow Mini Cheddar and I around the play centre all morning.  

I didn't hold her hand, even though every part of me wanted to but I was conscious she didn't know me and that, essentially, she'd be holding hands with a stranger.  

I felt awful about it.  

All this little girl wanted was to play with an adult through the large and sometimes daunting maze of steps and slides.

As we all went down the big slide together, the little girl waved and shouted "Hello Mummy!"

I noticed a woman reading some trashy novel look up from her cappuccino. She forced a fake smile and returned to her book.

Later on, Mini Cheddar and I headed back to our table to get some lunch and the little girl ran over to her Mummy "Mummy, come play with us, it's fun" it she excitedly.

"I'm busy, go play by yourself and don't be annoying other people" came the reply, hardly looking up from her book.

I saw the disappointed look on the little girls face and I just wanted to give her a cuddle.  

I haven't been back to the centre since.  The memory of that little girls face still stays with me. 

I'm not saying I'm perfect.  I'm not saying I devote 100% of my attention to MC 24/7.  I'm not saying there aren't times when I'm busy.  I'm not saying that sometimes I will let the TV babysit MC for 20 minutes whilst I grab a break.

However, I'm not in the habit of letting strangers babysit my daughter.

This woman knew that her daughter had tagged along with us playing. For me, that would have been the point when I would have put my book down and given my daughter the adult attention she needed.

MC and I will return the play centre and I'll continue to play with her as much as she needs.  

I just hope I'm there in the capacity of a Mummy and not as a Nanny too.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Flashback Friday - Plight Of The Poodles

Ever since I was just a twinkle my parents eyes they have owned poodles.

You know the ones, yes?  The fluffy canines that come in 3 different sizes, small, medium and large toy, miniature and standard.

Remember Roly in Eastenders?  Yup, that's them.

Mum and Dad owned toy poodles, the smallest of the breed.  First there was Tina who was bought before I was born.  When I was about 4 (I think) Mum and Dad bought Kizzy to keep Tina company.  Then, when Tina passed away and they realised Kizzy was lonely, they bought Toby.

All these dogs were a huge part of my life.  I even modelled my hair on them, clearly.

Many a school holiday was spent riding down to the local Spar shop with Kizzy (my favourite) in the front basket of my shopper bike (I was SO cool!), ears flapping in the breeze.  I would sit her on my Sindy beach buggy and she'd let me push her around the front room.  Basically, she kept me entertained.

One of my favourite pastimes was 'borrowing' my parents camera and taking snap shots of Kizzy in various set-ups.  Remember the days when you used to have to drop your 35mm film off at the local photographic shop and wait about half a year for your photos to be processed?  None of this instant digital malarky.

Well, Mum would get a shock when she opened her pack of photographs and saw these delights:

I put them in make-shift beds on the carpet
If ever I saw a dog trying to do a Playboy pose, this is it! 
I celebrated their birthdays in secret parties in my bedroom
Clearly I must have been old enough to play with matches (!)
The dogs are well overdue a haircut...
I think they put up with it because they couldn't actually see!
I even celebrated Christmas with them .
Ho ho ho

But this is the pièce de résistance and the one that made my Mum laugh the most...

I give you Kizzy the newsreader!
I actually rearranged the furniture in my bedroom to do this and check out the attention to detail.  The glasses, the signage, the paper, the plant (!) and Kizzy even has a heart framed photo of Marti Pellow on her all newsreaders do, obviously.

NOTE: No animals were harmed during the making of this post.

Now head over to Cafebebe and check out the other entries and why not join in yourself and air some photo archives?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

From Rags To Riches

Some of the more observant of you will have noticed that I didn't do a post for The Gallery this week. It was about time I skipped one.  I have to admit, I did feel a bit twitchy.

Another thing that's been making me twitchy these past couple of weeks is the fact that my parents have been away on holiday so I've been unable to volunteer for Save The Children.  For those of you who don't know, I volunteer in one of their shops one day a week and I love it!

So, what I can do to address the balance is blog about donating to charity shops and Save The Children.

One thing I've learnt from volunteering is that we do welcome all donations.  I know some people won't donate damaged clothes or clothes that are unsuitable for resale but others do.

I would urge you to donate all your clothing items to charity.

Yes, all of them.

Basically we can sell items that aren't suitable for resale straight to a 'rag man' who will pay us by the kilo for the clothing or fabric.  The shop can make a few hundred pounds a month just from old rags!

What is helpful to charity shops though, is if you separate these items into a different bag and mark them clearly as rags as it will save volunteers having to sift through them.  Just check with your local shop that they do sell to the rag man.

I feel extremely passionate about Save The Children and you can read all about my journey by clicking here.

At the moment there's a crisis in East Africa.  Severe drought has struck and millions of children are dying through starvation - the UN are saying that this is the worst drought in 60 years. No child should be born to die.

Read more about the appeal here and please spend a minute to watch the video below.

Please, I urge you to help in any way you can.  If you can't afford to donate cash right now then spend an hour or so going through your home this weekend and donating some clothes and bric a brac to your local Save The Children shop.

Don't forget the rags!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Strange Case Of Dr Mini And Mr Cheddar

I've always been thankful I've been blessed with a lovely, well-behaved toddler. Mini Cheddar is a delight to take out anywhere - especially restaurants and cafes (clearly shares her mummy's love of food) - hasn't had a public tantrum and is genuinely a thoughtful child even at such a tender age.

As from last Thursday evening I'm retracting that statement.

I don't know if it was the fact she'd had a trial at play school in the morning and then crashed out on the sofa in the afternoon but it was as if someone had fed her a bag of pure sugar, whispered nothing but evil thoughts into her delicate ears and told her in true Gladiator style "At my signal, unleash hell".

She wouldn't listen to me, she just laughed when I was stern, she screamed and shrieked at everything, she slammed doors, she kicked the dog and she even hit me!  For a moment I thought Regan MacNeil was in the house.

She's never behaved like this, I was mortified.

Her sleep patterns seem to be changing and last week has seen her pretty much ditch her afternoon nap in favour of 'quiet time'.

Mini 'Hyde' Cheddar
She turned 2 in March so maybe it's the 'terrible two's' finally rearing their ugly head and my gorgeously calm little girl is turning into a little monster. I guess I can count myself as lucky that I've escaped it until now.

I'm hoping it's a one-off but I very much doubt it.

As I sat and watched her playing this afternoon I was wondering what was going on inside her adorable little head.  Wondering if she's just ticking away quietly waiting to explode like an atomic bomb of pure naughtiness again.  It's the only way I can describe her outburst last week.

I'm wishing they had meetings for troubled toddlers, like AA meetings, only the kiddos stand up in the circle and babble "My name is Mini Cheddar and it's been 4 days since my last tantrum".  Obviously there would be milk and cookies afterwards.

Whatever it was that fuelled her outburst I'm hoping she remains in her Mini 'Jekyll' Cheddar state for as long as possible because I'm not sure I can cope with Hyde right now.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

I is for... I

I as in 'me'.  Self indulgent, I know.  However this is about the 'blogging' me.

On the way to the train station a few weeks back the taxi driver asked me where I was going to.


"Anything nice?" he replied

"Yes, it's a conference"

He looked confused "A conference? Doesn't sound that nice. What's it for?"

"It's called CyberMummy. It's for parents who blog"

Cue a confused look on his face (it was only 5.20am though) "What's a blog?"

I tried to explain in my semi-conscious state.

"Why do you do that?" he looked puzzled.

It got me thinking.

A lot.

If you're not a blogger and you don't read blogs then blogging can be difficult to explain.  Why would some people want to blog their innermost thoughts? Why would some people want to essentially have a diary online for anyone to see?  Why would some people want to tell the world all about their life?

Some people blog for therapy, some blog to make their voice heard, some want to be writers, some want to do reviews, some want to get freebies, some blog anonymously, some are very much out there telling the world about anything and everything.  Bloggers are diverse, we share stories and we support each other and that's why I love it so much.  I was embraced so much by the world of blogging when I started at the beginning of the year and I'll be forever thankful for that.  I've made some fantastic friends through blogging, many I got to meet personally at Blog Camp and Cybermummy.  Of course, I've seen some 'disagreements' in the blogging world but you get that in real life, it's par for the course.

Over the past couple of months my blog has taken a downturn.  This was due to my holiday in Italy (I still need to blog about that!) and then picking up some freelance marketing work - I've let things slide.  I haven't been on Twitter much, I haven't been involved in conversations, I haven't been commenting on other peoples amazing posts (sorry I am lurking occasionally).  Basically blogging has taken a total back seat but it doesn't phase me.

I haven't got a top blog and I'm not after being a top blog, in fact, as most of you know, I felt really uncomfortable when my blog made it into the top 100 of the Tots rank a few months back. I feel more comfortable being where I am now.  Being a finalist in the MAD Awards was a total shock to me.  I know I won't win it but it doesn't phase me at all as I know there are far more worthy blogs than mine and just to be a finalist is far from any expectations I ever had.

I guess what I'm trying to say in all this is that I just want to enjoy my life and my blog.

So why do I blog?

I blog to share past stories and photographs.

I blog because it's my personal space to do with what I want.

I blog as place to document my journey as a stay at home mum with Mini Cheddar.

I blog because it's somewhere I can look back on in years to come and laugh (or cry) at moments I've shared.

I blog so Mini Cheddar can be proud of her mummy.

I blog so she can enjoy her childhood in the written word when she's old enough to read it.

I blog as a release.

I blog to get my thoughts down.

I blog for fun.

I blog to build friendships.

I blog because I want to.

I blog because I like to.

I blog for my daughter.

I blog for me.

Part of my A to Z posts
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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Gallery - Travel

I almost whooped when I saw the theme to The Gallery this week.  I adore travel so I'm VERY excited to look through the entries this week.

I've been lucky enough to have been to some fabulous places in the world and have already blogged about seeing the Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle (The Gallery - Green) and travelling the path of Route 66 across America.

Ah the good old US of A.

I have a great love affair with that place, have travelled over there a few times now and it even featured a couple of times in my Top 5 Places I've Visited (one of my very first blog posts).  I find the country so vast and so different from state to state - I think I've visited about 17 of the 50 states so far - and I have quite a few relatives over there too which is always a bonus!  We've travelled to the major tourist spots such as New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles and also been off the beaten track in places like Amarillo in Texas and Yukon in Oklahoma.

Then there's it's sister Canada.  Again, I love that country (I do SO wish I'd added it onto my list).  The scenery is stunning and the people are lovely.  My husband and I spent our 1st wedding anniversary at Chateau Lake Louise which was just amazing.

So, it's only right I dedicate this post to my favourite photos from my trips to both those beautiful countries.  I've not been out there since BMC (before Mini Cheddar) but I'm hoping to get back there someday soon to notch up some more states and provinces.

I think these photos sum up the diversity of the countries perfectly.

An icy Lake Louise, Banff, Alberta
Peyto Lake Lookout, Banff National Park, Alberta
Reflections of Patricia Lake, Jasper, Alberta
Night time in Vancouver, British Columbia
Dusk over Shuswap Lake, Salmon Arm, British Columbia 
The Space Needle, Seattle, Washington

Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington
Sunset in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Hotel view over Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
Capitol Hill down Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC

The Grand Canyon, Arizona (see the people on the cliff edge on the left)
Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois
'The Bean' (Cloud Gate), Chicago, Illinois
Just off Broadway, NYC, New York
If I haven't bored you already and you want a nosey at my other photos then most of them are in my Flickr stream.

Now head on over and check out all the other entries...

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Boobie Bulletin

For my Silent Sunday post this week I posted this picture (right) of Mini Cheddar which caused much amusement.  So I thought it deserved some explanation - not that it really needs it but I thought it was a cute little story and wanted to include it within the Mini Cheddar Chronicles.

Being a stay-at-home-mum means I just get to shop all day, every day.  Yeah right, that's a joke by the way...if I actually do any shopping it's usually food shopping or just window shopping with eyes glazed over longingly at things that I can't afford to buy.

Anyway, Mini Cheddar loves shopping, she adores coming to Asda with me (we used to shop in Tesco - where this photo was taken - but their service stinks and I'm NEVER shopping there again but that's another story. Mini-rant over...sorry!) and delights at everything around her.  She knows all the big shop brand names like Asda, George at Asda, Next, Tesco (grrr), Costco, Starbucks, Boots and Clarks.  I think she's going to be in marketing like her Mummy!

So, this particular day last week we popped into Tesco.  Now, Mini Cheddar is obsessed with stickers and I'm usually running around the shops trying to stop her pulling stickers off everything. You know the ones '3 pack', 'Buy one get one free' and so on.  Well, she usually ends up with them all over her.  So if you're reading this and work in a supermarket and wonder where all your stickers are, wonder no more - my daughter has probably visited.

The lure of her sticker obsession meant I lost her down the lingerie aisle as she spied the '2 pack' of bras.  She stood for a moment looking at them all before she screamed "BOOBIES" at the top of her voice and trembled with excitement. Any regular readers to my blog will remember this little 'boobies' gem from her a while back. 

She looked at me, then at the 'boobies', then back at me, then towards the 'boobies' once more. I smiled.

It was all she needed to be let lose on the lingerie and then she ran around squeezing all the different coloured ones to screams of "pink boobies"...."oooooh yellow boobies" and so on.

What did I do?  I did what any blogger would do...

I photographed her and thought "now there's a blog post right there".

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Gallery - Grandparents

I was unsure whether or not to join in on this weeks Gallery theme of 'Grandparents'.  Simply because I've already blogged about my grandparents who have passed away but this gives me the chance to talk about my parents - Mini Cheddars Grandparents.

My parents are wonderful Grandparents to her and she loves them both dearly.  She always talks about "Going to Grandma and Grandad's house on Friday" - they look after her every Friday so I can do my volunteer work.  I'm so lucky in the fact they are both retired and they live about a 10-15 minute drive from my house.  Mini Cheddar squeals with delight whenever she sees them.

I know a lot of people don't have any support from their parents, they have passed away or they live far away.

So each day I try to remind myself just how lucky I am.

Taken by me March 2010

I hope in years to come that I can be as wonderful to my Grandchildren as they are to Mini Cheddar.

"Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation" 
~Lois Wyse

Now head on over and check out all the other entries...

Monday, 4 July 2011

"Mummy's Got A Visitor"

The moment my husband said to my daughter "Oooooh Mummy's got a visitor", I could quite easily have rammed the cooking tongs I was holding in my hand firmly somewhere the sun doesn't shine.

Yup, PMT is guaranteed to drive you nuts at the best of times but add a piss-taking husband to the equation and it's a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

Why do all men most men does my husband think it's acceptable to assume I'm expecting my monthlies when I'm in a bad mood?

What's worse though? He's always right! He always knows. Like he has some built-in period radar. Again, something else to make me even madder!  Maybe it's a gift he has? Or maybe it's because I'm such a lovely, sweet, adorable and calm wife the rest of the month he can easily tell? *cough cough*

I think maybe the tiredness from CyberMummy caught up with me last week and made my hormonal outburst even more venomous.  The thing is though, I'd been feeling relatively calm all day and in quite a happy mood.  My husband had been out at meetings all day but as soon as he walked in the front door I felt the rage build up inside me.  Yes, it was just him that was destined for the wrath of my menses!

Apparently I'm not alone in this.  I was talking to a couple of my closest friends last Thursday and they admitted the same.  They will feel fine all day in work and as soon as their hands touch the front door to their house it's like something inside them is unleashed.

Whatever it was I've warned him not to ever utter those words again. Nor is he to say "Hmmm clearly rag week" which I've heard him say before.  I know, I know, it's a wonder he's still breathing.

In turn, I've promised to stay away from all sharp objects in the house at certain times of the calendar.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Flashback Friday - Happy 40th Big Sis!

It's my big Sister's 40th birthday today.

I can't believe it.

I can't believe it because in just over 3 years it will be my 40th birthday. Eek!

My Sister has actually featured in the last two Flashback Fridays I've joined in with (see Beach Holidays and Scary Bear) because, thankfully, I have so many pictures of us together as kids.

My Sister and I have always got on well, although we did go through a stage in our late teens/early twenties where we used to wind eachother up quite a bit.  Usually because she would make a mess of my bedroom trying to borrow my clothes and make-up.  I even remember driving up to the local pub because I knew she's pinched my favourite lipstick and we had a massive row in the toilets about it.

Through our 20's and 30's though, my Sister and I have become like best friends.  I feel like I can tell her anything and I love spending time with her.  She's also a great Auntie to Mini Cheddar.

So Happy 40th Birthday Sis.  I love you.

Now head over to Cafebebe and check out the other entries and why not join in yourself?


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