Farewell,adieu and Thank you

As readers of the blog will be aware my life is always busy,as a result I haven’t posted for a good few months.This blog went in a direction I wasn’t 100% happy (I got a bit too eager with the whole product review business ) with so I would like to take this opportunity to bid you all goodbye and say a huge Thank you for all of your support.I have been amazed to see how many people have showed an interest in what I have to say. I had hoped this blog would focus on my family life with my children. By my own admition I got sidetracked.I do have another blog on the “other” platform which didn’t get sidetracked so for now I am going to see how that goes.You are all very welcome to come and take a peek at Manicmummyhood and see how I’m getting on.As always I welcome comments and feedback.


BlogCamp Bristol

This week I am off to BlogCamp Bristol and I can’t wait. I’ve never been to anything like this before and am feeling both nervous and excited. It’s going to be a very long and busy day for me as I have to be on a train just after 6am and won’t be home before 7pm. For the last 12 years (almost), anytime I’ve travelled further than our local area I have been with my children and/or my husband. I’m going to take a book for the journey,my smartphone,a notebook and a couple pens. I’ve been looking at the schedule to prepare myself and am really happy that SEO will be featured,it’s an area that still baffles me.
More than anything though I am really looking forward to meeting other Bloggers who understand this fantastic,new world I have entered. It has given me a new lease of life and some inspiration to develop and realise my ambitions. I really want to be able to work from home so I can both contribute towards my family and be here when they need me too. Blogging has given me a much-needed confidence boost and encouraged me to believe in myself. I look forward to receiving information from BlogCampthat will help me to develop my blog further.

A few new ventures

Hello everybody.What a busy month September has been.I am now looking forward to October. Firstly,on the 6th October I will be attending my first Blog event- Blog Camp Bristol and I’m quite excited. I have my business cards ready,outfit ready,a new pair of boots and a beautiful necklace to wear. I have found it a lot more difficult shopping for an outfit than ever before. I have to admit I prefer shopping online these days. I have been lucky to have had 2 shopping trips into our local city centre without children-the most recent being with my mum (Our first shopping trip without kids in tow for almost 12 years.) I find shopping a lot more of a chore these days and love the convenience that shopping online offers. The only downside is if items don’t fit-I’m rubbish at returning things.
October also brings my Birthday,I’ll be 35 this year. All I really want for my Birthday is a meal out with hubby and the kids. Theres a lovely pub near us that has a great outdoor play area for the kids to run about in. A couple days after my birthday I have another event,this time its in Brighton and is a Business Mum event. My ideal scenario would be to run my own business from home. I am hoping this event will give me some inspiration as where to go next. I have recently started as an Avon Rep,which I am really enjoying. The village where I live is quite a close knit,friendly community and I know quite a lot of people. I’d stay here forever given the option. I’ve lived here for 8 and a half years now and it feels more like home than anywhere else ever has done.
My daughter will be starting full time at school after the October half term which she is looking forward to. (Me too,it has been tiring going backwards and forwards so much) Currently,she is going from 9am until 12pm,from the 10th October she will stay for lunch for 2 weeks then it will be half term.The Friday before half term is my eldest daughter’s 9th birthday,she wanted a trip to london but we are postponing that until after Christmas and having a day in Southampton instead.
Once October is over and done with the countdown to the dreaded C word begins.(Aswell as my eldest son’s birthday on 4th December and my youngest son’s first Birthday on th 24th December) CHRISTMAS!!!! I’m not quite ready to even think about that too much just yet.
Where on earth has this year gone?
Answers on a postcard please.

Silent Sunday

What a busy week

This week has been our busiest for a long time. It started with a Girl’s day out on Monday,just me and my 2 beautiful daughter’s. Our first stop was Clarks for shoes,I had staggered the uniform shop this year but still had 1 pair of shoes left to get. It seemed I was 1 out of a lot of people that left it to the last minute. We had a nice day shopping,lunch in MacDonalds followed by a trip to the cinema where we watched The Smurfs. To be honest I was dreading the film as I’d read a bad review,however I really enjoyed it.
Then,on Tuesday it was BACK TO SCHOOL- Yippee!!! My eldest began a new chapter in his education by going up to Secondary school,so far so good-the only mishap,which he has already learnt from was missing all of the buses to our village on Wednesday. My 4 year old started infants and was so excited. She is a very happy little girl that has such a thirst for knowledge and is really enjoying being at “Big school” so far,she keeps asking when she’ll be staying for lunch. She can’t wait to try out school dinners. It will be a few weeks yet,as she is one of the younger children,having a June birthday and I have decided to stagger her start to school. She will go part-time until after the October half-term which I think,for her is the best thing. This week she has been extremely tired and has even gone back to having a nap. She wakes up for tea and then goes back to sleep at her usual time. This makes me more convinced that a staggered start to her school life is best-I feel lucky to have been given the choice.
Today I took the 3 younger children to a local Toddler group,I haven’t been for a while and it did them all a lot of good. From next week onwards I’m going to aim to take the 2 youngest to 2 or 3 Toddler groups each week. My 2 year old definitely needs to socialise more. He needs to learn to share and mix with children that aren’t his brothers or sisters more. He’s due to start pre-school in January and I can’t quite believe how fast he is growing up. His vocabulary is growing on a daily basis.
As for the baby,he is now 8 months old and like my 2 year old son,he is the spitting image of his Daddy. He has such a lovely nature and is a pleasure to be around. The only time he’s not smiling is when he cuts a tooth. Why do they all have to grow up so darn fast. Don’t get me wrong,I love seeing my children develop into little people but I hate the fact that as they get older I can’t protect them from the world as I used to. I love my childrens similarities and their differences too.

A competition to say Thank you -NOW ENDED

As a huge Thank you to everyone that reads my ramblings and/or reviews I am going to run a new competition. The prize will be a £10 Argos Gift card,which I hope will come in useful. As many of you will know I only started blogging in May and am really enjoying it. It gives me an outlet to express my views to an audience which is something I’ve never really had before. As well as that it is giving me a visual and written record of my children’s developments.

To enter this competition all you need to do is comment below telling me what your favourite thing is about the month of September. The winner will be chosen at random using Random.org
Please remember to include a way that I can contact you: Email,Faceboook or Twitter.
Closing date for this competition will be Friday 30th September at 6pm,Winner announced the following morning.

THIS COMPETITION ENDED ON 30/09/2011 as stated above. Please no more entries.

The end is nigh

The Summer is almost over,that’s if it ever really started in the first place. I spent a couple hours at the park on Friday with my 5 children,my friend,2 boys she child-minds and her own daughter,it was great fun,the kids all played nicely together. After a couple hours letting the kids run about and use up some of their never-ending energy supply we went back to my friends’ house for lunch. I have to admit that to get 5 children out of the house and organised has become a military operation and I’m starting to wonder what it will be like next week. Last year was by far the easiest year I’ve had in regards to the school run. My eldest son was at the same school as his sister so they walked together,meaning I only had to do preschool runs. It was lovely but as they say all good thing come to an end and this year will be mayhem. My eldest will need to be at the bus stop for 7.45am,meaning he’ll need to be up earlier than ever before-that in itself will be fun. He’s enjoyed staying in bed late most mornings over the summer.
On Monday I have a last minute dash to our local city centre to get school shoes for my 8 year old daughter. This year,due to having more at school I have staggered the uniform and shoe shopping. I am just hoping we’ll find a nice pair that she likes that fit her. We are also going to the cinema to use our tickets we got from trading in our Clubcard points. As a larger sized family we had,until this year only tended to go to the cinema occasionally,now thanks to Clubcard rewards and Sky rewards we have already been a couple times this year. A couple weeks ago my husband took my son to watch Cowboys and Aliens.They had a great time and the money saved on tickets meant they could treat themselves to a Hot Dog and Coke each.
Our only decision now is what film to see,its going to be a girls day out,just me and my daughters aged 4 and 8. I’m really looking forward to it. The girls are keen on watching The Smurfs. I loved The Smurfs as a child but am not sure about a film version,that said, I love the 2 Alvin and the Chipmunk films and didn’t mind the Yogi Bear film which we watched over the Summer.

The Bopps

On Thursday 26th August I was given the amazing task to act as a Mummy Blogger journalist for the 2nd time for Nick Jr. As some of you may or may not be aware I recently interviewed Helena Dowling the presenter of Nick Jr’s Wake Up World in connection with the Help Dora Help scheme.
The interview with the Bopps was great fun. For those of you that haven’t already been introduced to The Bopps,they are Stan Cullimore (Previously of The Housemartins) and his musical partner Keith Littler. I had been recording episodes via Sky plus for a number of weeks and we now have 7 unique episodes that my 2 and 4 year olds re-watch often. We don’t often have television on early in the morning in our house (Especially during term times) as I find it distracts my children from getting ready for school.
What I loved the most whilst speaking to the Bopps is that they are very genuine people and as daft (in as nice a way as possible) in real life as they are on television. I think this is what makes them so much fun-the characters are believable. The Second series of the Bopps is currently showing on Nick Jr at 7.35am. The show is on for 5 minutes,this I feel helps to keep it fresh and fun. The show is a great,fun,brightly coloured mixture of Slapstick comedy and original children’s songs. They wear stripey T-shirts with braces in most scenes and Beatles inspired jackets when they are singing and dancing. Their very British music is great fun to listen to and watch with pre-school children. The Bopps have been inspired by other top British singers such as Ray Davis,Paul Wellar and Snow Patrol.
Stan and Kieth originally came up with the idea for the Bopps whilst recording separately in 1992 but the Bopps were re-born in 2008 when Nick Jr saw their potential and brought them into the homes and hearts of the children of the UK.
A series of the Bopps generally takes around a week and a half to record and it is kept fresh by not doing too many re-takes. Children are included in the show and are seen joining in with singing and dancing in each episode. The Bopps has featured Helena Dowling as a special guest and her energy and passion for music and dance enhances the Bopps. She fits well with the dynamic of the show and has a natural rapport with the Bopps. The Bopps participated in this years Lollibop festival which drew crowds of approximately 10,000 people a day. I think the Bopps are definitely worth checking out if you have pre-school children. My 2-year-old now asks regularly for The Bopps to be put on.
I’d love to see them live with my younger children and think a feature length episode or movie could be great fun. They remind me of Mr Bean but with music.

Rockfords Rock Opera review

When the Rockford’s Rock Opera CD arrived ready for me to review I was pleasantly surprised at the beautiful illustrations on the cover. The Rock Opera consists of 3 separate discs each contain a beautifully decorated box that opens out to show a lyric booklet,the CD and a play list. The special collectors edition set I was sent includes the complete story over 3 discs.The CD’s have been enhanced so they include fantastic CGI animations of the characters.The main character Rockford is a loveable dog with floppy,long ears. On his adventurous journey he meets a wonderful variety of fun characters. We are introduced to Rockford’s friend Moog and Moog’s uncle. Rockford travels to the Island of Infinity by way of the Sea of Tranquility where the last of all extinct species live. Here he meets some magnificent creatures including ; Patrick,Cocklebur Ick,The Sloth,Moa,The Registrar and Great Auk.
The story is educational and teaches children about extinction,wildlife and the environment. There have been links forged with Battersea Dogs Home,the World Wildlife Fund,The Open University,Buglife, and the BCGI as a result. Children will learn a lot from the story of Rockford and his adventures without even realising. The story is fun and the music enhances the whole experience.
I have included images as words alone will not be able to do justice to show how amazing the illustrations are. The music and storyline is fantasy at its very best almost to a point of being surreal. Even though my youngest son,at 8 months old is too young to fully appreciate the storyline he loved the music,as did my 2 year old. My 4 and 8 year old daughters loved listening to the story as well as the music and we listened to it at bedtime over a week instead of their usual bedtime story. Each evening they eagerly anticipated the next installment.
The musical extravaganza was written by the talented Matthew Sweetapple,Steve Punt and Elaine Sweetaple and has recently been made into an Apple iPhone app. The story is recommended for children aged from 5-12 years old but I feel younger children will also enjoy the musical aspect,mine definaitely have done. It is a story that children won’t tire of as it captivates them,they want to know whats going to happen next.
I give a huge Thumbs up to this fantastic and original story and the way it has been put together to create a multimedia experience little ones of all ages will love.

Mixed Blessings CD Review

The opportunity to review a CD of soothing,relaxing music was too good an opportunity to miss. The composer of Mixed Blessings is Sheena Coote ;a semi-professional composer,wife and mum of 1. Sheena wrote the music with her daughter in mind after she had trouble getting her to sleep. She found that by using soothing music as part of her bedtime routine it had a soothing effect. Sheen a has an extensive musical background beginning when she started piano lessons at the tender age of 3,composing began when she put her poems to music when she was just 5 years old. Sheena has written a successful musical which has run both in Edinburgh and the West End. She is currently in the process of writing a second musical. Sheena was a runner up in the UK song writing competition with her song “Messin”

Sheena Coote

Currently we have experienced no end of problems settling my 2 youngest children at bedtime. We had tried a strict bedtime routine of food,wind down time,bath then bed to no avail. My 2-year-old is at the stage where he is becoming afraid of the dark and doesn’t want to be left,this in turn upsets his younger brother. It’s like a circle settle them down,2-year-old screams,wakes 7 month old,both wide awake until they are both exhausted or we give in and bring 2-year-old down.The first night,I sat in the room with the boys,calmed them both down and put the CD on. Baby started swaying side by side like he usually does when music is playing and after 5 minutes was sound asleep. It didn’t have such a good effect upon my rather manic 2-year-old but there was a noticeable improvement and I will be incorporating the CD into their bedtime routine.

Mixed Blessings CD Cover

The Album’s line up:
4.Angel’s kisses
5.Mixed Blessings
6.Little Dance
7.Happy Hearts
9.Sprightly nightly
10.Song of hope
11.Place called love.
Each time I listened to the Album I seemed to have a new favourite,I wouldn’t be able to choose 1 but my favourites at the moment include Sonatina,Elation and Farewell.The music seemed almost magic to me and I could see it being featured in a fantasy film. Sprightly nightly would be good for a chase scene.
I felt that the music would be fantastic background music for a film and it reminded me slightly of the music from Twilight. The music helped me feel less stressed and helped me to relax and unwind aswell as the boys which was a bonus.I can also imagine the music being used in the background of a documentary.
The album can be downloaded from itunes.

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