Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The MAD Blog Awards Are Almost Here!

I really can't believe it.

In 2 days time it's the Mum And Dad (MAD) Blog Awards in London and I'm going! Eek!

I have no delusions of grandeur. I don't think for a minute I will win the 'Best New Blog' category but just to be a finalist is totally amazing. Never in a million years did I think I would be a finalist, especially as my family and friends were unaware of my blogs existence. Thank you SO MUCH again for voting for me!

I didn't know if I would go to the awards as I live in North Wales so it's a fair way to travel, especially when you don't think you stand a chance of winning. I think I know who has won my category and a very deserving winner indeed, as are all the fabulous people in the running for each category.

"Why would you want to go if you don't think you will win?" my husband said to me a few months ago.

The answer to that question is easy.

There are SO many amazing bloggers going that I can't miss it! It's a chance to see some friends I've met before and make some new ones and I'm so excited I could actually wee my pants (that's quite easy to do given my recent announcement). I'm also sharing a room with the utterly gorgeous Alex who, I not only hit it off with through blogging but, I fell in love with when we actually met in June.

Sally and Jen have put so much hard work and organisation into the awards that it's set to be a totally amazing night.

I've also been supplied a lovely dress from Ellos so, despite my ever expanding baby bump (it's seriously that big - I started to show at 5 weeks! - that a lot of my friends thought I was having twins) I should look reasonably glamourous for the occasion.

For those of you who want to follow the action in a live blog on the evening you can log on to - the event starts at 6.30pm with the awards taking place from 7.15pm.

Here's to all the finalists and a great evening!

*chinks glass of water and pretends it's wine*

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Day I Cried In The Tesco Cafe

Monday 1st August 2011 to be exact.

It wasn't due to the fact I have grown a hatred for Tesco and their awful customer service. No, it was something much deeper than that.

I was happy deep down and I guess they were tears of joy mixed with tears of confusion and the unknown.

For only 2 hours before the water works started in the cafe, my husband and I had just clapped eyes on this.

I know I announced my pregnancy with my Silent Sunday post and shocked you all (sorry), it's been hard to keep a secret from everyone and we only told our own parents the other weekend. Yes it's been the 'real' reason I haven't been blogging much as I've felt quite rubbish if I'm perfectly honest. Life has been a bit crazy for the last couple of months. There have been ups and downs - elation, happiness, sickness, tears, extreme exhaustion and confusion.  Oh and not to mention the whole headache scare last week. Thankfully, as I write this, today is the first day in well over a week that I haven't had a severe headache. I actually feel like I've been reborn (dramatic eh?).

Anyway, this pregnancy was planned. Completely planned.

So why cry?

I can only describe the moment, that exact moment when my pregnancy hunger and craving for meat (more on that another time) led me to stop off for a bacon sandwich at Tesco cafe only 2 hours after consuming my breakfast at home! Yes my waistline (and arse) is expanding rapidly.

I was with Mini Cheddar and we both sat next to each other on the sofa.  Maybe it was the fact she was secretly after some of my bacon butty (probably, knowing her!) but she looked at me, put her head on one side, put her hand on my hand and said "I love you Mummy". It was if she just knew.

That was enough in my emotional, newly pregnant state for the floodgates to open.

Being a stay-at-home mum means that MC pretty much gets my undivided attention. In 6 months time that will change and it's going to be a big learning curve for both of us. Back to having a new baby for my husband and I. Having a sibling for Mini Cheddar.

Here's to the journey of pregnancy and birth again and all it brings with it.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Thomas & Friends - Day Of The Diesels, The Movie!

You know me, I'm not really one for doing reviews, but once in a while something drops in my inbox which sparks my interest a little.  So when we were offered a sneak preview copy of the new Thomas and Friends hour long feature 'Day Of The Diesels' on Blu-Ray it was hard to refuse.

I've mentioned Mini Cheddar's obsession with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse a few times and the only thing that comes remotely close to it is her love for Thomas and Friends. According to MC, her favourite train is 'Toby' - the square one! Personally, I like Emily and Daddy likes Gordon...not that we watch it *cough*

Mini Cheddar was so excited last month when the copy landed on our doorstep. We had a month to review it but no, she wanted to watch it that very same day!

It focuses on the classic Sodor rivalry between the Steam engines and the Diesel engines and I was actually surprised how 'dark' it was in certain places.

The Diesels take advantage of Percy feeling lonely and use him in their plan to take over the Steamworks. Needless to say, Mini Cheddar LOVED IT.  Just look at that face (right).  Since then it's been watched quite a few times, I may need to purchase another copy incase this one wears out.

Thomas & Friends Day Of The Diesels the movie is out today in shops RRP £12.99 (Blu-Ray £14.99)

This is not a sponsored post.  
We did receive a blu-ray preview copy of the movie but all words,
views, opinions and photographs are entirely my own.

Monday, 19 September 2011

"I Don't Like Dinosaurs" And More Memories Of Chester Zoo

Last Monday (12th September) it was my wonderful husband's birthday. Did we go out for drinks? A meal? A romantic break away?


We did something much more fun than that. We went to Chester Zoo!

Now I feel very lucky to live in the area I do. We live in North Wales. We aren't far from the coast and rolling hills but are only about 7 miles from the beautiful city of Chester, England - I feel we have the best of both worlds (and free prescriptions!). I'm guilty of not appreciating Chester because it's on my doorstep but, if you've never been, have a look at the Chester Guide and tell me what's not to love?

We had planned to take Mini Cheddar to Chester Zoo for her birthday but she ended up in hospital.  Since then, through one thing or another we haven't got around to taking her - bad parents alert! So when the people at Superbreak offered to let us have a day out at Chester Zoo I have to admit, I jumped at the chance. It's only a 10 minute drive from our's kind of rude not to go. Also, it was my husband's birthday, yes. He was 35. However, we obviously used the trip as a belated birthday treat for MC *cough*

Chester Zoo is actually the number 1 zoo in the U.K. and we love it there. Every time we go we have such a great day out. You may remember last Monday was a bit of a windy day, the remnants of Hurricane Katia were battering us but thankfully when we went it wasn't that bad although the lions weren't on display because of the wind.

I won't bore you with in-depth descriptions of what we did and what we saw, I'll let a selection of the photos speak for themselves. Highlights of the day included:

  • Seeing one of the tigers (my favourite), really close up. 
  • Seeing all the giraffes close up together. 
  • A chimpanzee taking a shine to Mini Cheddar and splashing water at her. 
  • A penguin taking a shine to Mini Cheddar - he kept coming back to the same spot to see her. 
  • The Bat Forest (always a favourite for me).

What wasn't a highlight for MC was the 'Dinosaurs At Large' exhibit (open until 8th October). Lots of rather large (and some spitting) dinosaurs which terrified MC a bit. Since then all we hear from her is "I don't like dinosaurs"!

"Wait for me Mum!"
"Can't catch me Daddy!"

"I don't like dinosaurs"
"A cameral shortbread and cappucino please"
"My mummy seems to have turned into a pile of leaves"
"You looking at me?"
So, that was our day pretty much.  Doesn't it make you want to go?

I can actually recommend Superbreak as I've bought gift vouchers from them before for my parents and they had a wonderful short break away using them. If you fancy going wild at Chester Zoo then why not make it a short break at Chester Zoo.

This is not a sponsored post.  
We did receive entry to Chester Zoo but all views,
opinions and photographs are entirely my own.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

This Has To Stop Now!

Yesterday was just an ordinary Saturday for most people - but not for some big hearted friends and bloggers who attended the Save The Children conference in London, giving up their precious weekends in the name of charity.

I should have been there and I was totally gutted I couldn't make it.

Regular readers of my blog will know that the Save The Children charity is a big part of my life as I give up my spare time to volunteer in my local shop. I can honestly say hand on heart I absolutely love it. I was ill this week so I couldn't go in and I hated not being able to work.

Unless you've been living underground recently you will have heard about the tragic situation in East Africa. Thousands of innocent children are dying each day and it has to stop! A severe lack of health workers in the area means that children die needlessly - one every 6 minutes in fact. Read more about the East Africa Appeal here.

Next week, a fellow blogger, Chris, is attending the UN General Assembly in New York. She is going there with Liz from Save The Children to put pressure on David Cameron to play his part in solving the health worker crisis. There's a target of 60k signatures to collect by this Tuesday so PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION NOW IF IT'S THE ONLY THING YOU DO.

Please don't ignore this post, don't pass it off as someone else asking for help. This is genuinely serious - innocent children's lives depend on it.

Two blogging friends of mine, Michelle and Gemma (who I've both met in person) are asking for 100 people to join this linky by Tuesday. It may seem impossible but I know just how strong and amazing the blogging community is.

Please visit Michelle's blog to read more but basically we want people to sign the petition, write 100 words about a health professional you have encountered in your life (tweet: #healthworkers), ask other bloggers to participate and spread the word in any which way you can - Twitter, Facebook, email, phone or accost people in the street if you have to!

Here are my 100 words:

"6 months ago, Mini Cheddar was struck with the dreaded norovirus and it hit her badly. I can easily say this was the worst moment of my life - watching her unable to hold even a thimble full of water down without vomitting. I was totally helpless. I remember leaving the doctors surgery after my doctor made a swift phonecall to the hospital, running in the house, packing a bag and rushing to the paediatric unit. Dehydration is horrible. Trying to hold my daughter down with a team of nurses whilst the doctor hooked her up to a drip was pure hell."

The thing is, Mini Cheddar had these medical professionals to help her. She had the latest drugs, the very best medical equipment and the knowledge of the professionals which meant she only spent 24 hours in the hospital and we were able to continue her care in a warm and safe home.

The children in East Africa don't have these things that we take for granted. They don't even have fresh water. The situation out there is awful - see for yourself below and don't ignore the crisis. These children need your!

I'd love to see these bloggers take over the baton (apols if you've already been tagged as I'm not really on Twitter much lately):

Mari's World
Real Housewife Of Suffolk County
Reluctant HouseDad
A Matter Of Choice
MaƱana Mama
Alysons Blog
Mummy And The Beastie
Doing It All For Aleyna
Looking For Blue Sky
The Syders
This Mid 30's Life

If you're not tagged yet then don't wait to be tagged - there isn't time...please take this as your invite to get signing, blogging and shouting about this. We need to spread this quickly.  I'm so busy at the moment, as you all know, but even I have managed to do this as it's SO important.

Thanks for reading x

Silent Sunday #34

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Time For Play School (and some more funnies)

All dressed for play school
I seem to be saying this a lot lately but sorry for my lack of blog and Twitter action lately. My life is just so full on with a million and one things which doubled with Matts birthday this weekend. We went to Chester Zoo on Monday but more about that next week!

Anyway, I thought I'd give you a quick update.

This week Mini Cheddar finally started play school.

I thought I'd be an emotional wreck but I was actually alright - weirdly enough I just filled up a bit when I went to collect her.

Mini Cheddar had been looking forward to play school since July when she had a little taster of it before the school term finished. When the day finally arrived this Wednesday she could hardly contain herself and was so eager to get out of the house - the excitement even continued in the car.

"I'm going to Play School!"
She settled in fine and I felt more than happy leaving her there for 2 and a half hours.

When I came to collect her she was sat facing the door with all the other children, all wearing their coats and with their bags. She was full of excitement about what she had done and eaten. I could have cried. She came out with a collection of paintings and talked about it for the rest of the day.

She's back there next Monday and we are both very excited about it. Her, because she gets time away from Mummy and gets a chance to play and interact with other children without me. Me, because I love seeing her new found independence blossom.

Lots of play school painting

Speaking of independence, whilst blogging I need to share a few more gems Mini Cheddar has come out with recently.

(talking about The Lion King)
MC: I love Simba and Daddy Lion
Me: Daddy Lion is called Mufasa
MC: I love Simba and Move Faster

(remembering when we went to the opticians with my Mum)
MC: We went there with Grandma
Me: How do you remember that? It was about a year ago!
MC: Grandad didn't come
Me: No, he didn't
MC: He was playing golf
Me: (laughing) He probably was
MC: Grandad always plays golf!

(MC passes me something I asked for)
Me: Thank you sweetie
MC: It was my pleasure Mummy

Looking forward to catching up with you all over the next week to see what you've been up to. I've missed reading your blogs!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Gallery - Shoes

I have quite a few *cough* shoes. Heels mainly, lots of them. In fact, until I was pregnant with Mini Cheddar I didn't own a pair of flats apart from some flip flops for holiday.

Today it's a different story. I very rarely wear heels. Most of them are now in boxes collecting dust in the bottom of my wardrobe. I think something happened when I became a mother to trigger off a reaction to wearing heels. No longer can I spend hours drinking and dancing the night away...give me a pair of slippers and I'm happy.

I'm almost 37, not 77, I promise.

However, I do have one trusty pair of heels that will always be with me and always get an airing. A pair of Kurt Geiger peep-toes that have been with me for years. I love them, they are part of me.

My beloved 'Kurties' to my friends and I.

Even now when we arrange a big night out my friends will say "Are you wearing your Kurties, Heath?"

These shoes have been with me through all sorts. I've got drunk in them, I've eaten in them. I've walked in them, I've danced in them. I've laughed in them, I've cried in them. I've been sick in them (not literally). I've fallen down stairs (and cracked a rib) in them and I've even had sex in them!*

One thing's for sure though, I'll never part with them.

*If I end up wearing these to the Mad Blog Awards later this month, please ignore this!

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

Friday, 2 September 2011

Gone Far Too Soon

It's strange how things happen sometimes.

Every year about this time I always think about an old school friend of mine.

Then, as I'm clearing away some things in the house this week this photograph on the left drops out onto the floor - it's a photo I've not seen in a long time.

A group of friends, about 14 years old, I'm guessing, crammed into a photo booth just for fun. All 8 of us, so full of hopes and dreams.

Incase you're wondering, that's me on the left with the fuzzy fringe.

So what's strange about this photo making an appearance this week? Well, the girl above me is no longer with us. Katie was killed on this very day back in 1995. Her life snatched from her in a car crash at the tender age of 20.

I think her death affected me more than I let on as I still think about her now, 16 years on and think about what she would have achieved. Her life was pretty perfect, she was young, beautiful and extremely talented.

I still think about how her funeral was the first funeral I'd ever been to and I still remember the faces of her parents and her younger sisters walking behind the coffin.

I remember how one of my friends mothers picked us (two friends and myself) up after the funeral. My friend had a mother you didn't mess with, she was permanently moody (I kid you not) but her mood that day was so warm and affectionate, like nothing I'd ever seen before. It was probably the fact that the 3 of us were all propping each other up in pool of tears or maybe it was just a strange relief that it wasn't her daughter who had been taken from her. Now I'm a parent myself I understand more about how all our parents must have felt when this tragedy hit the community.

I still remember how I hadn't seen Katie for such a long time as she'd been away at Uni then about a week before the accident I'd bumped into her in the local pub. We'd shared some talk and a hug.

Then this happened. 

As I say, it's strange how things happen sometimes.


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