Thursday, 21 February 2019

Watching CH4's Naked Attraction with my teen...

I wrote this post a few of months ago but never got around to posting it. Oops.

Have you ever seen the CH4 show Naked Attraction? It is a very risky "dating game show" in which a clothed person selects a contestants from six naked people, whose bodies and then faces are revealed in stages from the feet up. It is the type of TV show that I would have never dared watch with my parents.

A picture of a tv with the text watching CH4's Naked Attraction with my teen

Becky had been on about it for a while, had seen it advertised and she wanted to watch it too. Up until a while ago I said there was no way is she watching that. It shows willy's and boobs. I was being a prude! She is 16 years old. Is she old enough to see just naked bodies on TV? Like she said it was Blind Date but without clothes, well sort of.

After watching it, it left me thinking that it was a fantastic thing to watch with a teenager. I admit is it so strange to watch at TV show like that with a teenager. I cringed a lot but it is a great conversation starter. 

Becky knew that all bodies are not the same but this proved to me that she knew this. People come in all shapes, colours and sizes and that's OK. Sometimes people have big or small boobs, stretch marks, perfect skin, lots of pubic hair or none, bigger of flat stomachs, amazing tattoos hidden under clothes and it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

I was quite proud that Becky watched it without giggling and being childish. I really expected her to be. There is nothing wrong or to be ashamed about the naked body. It opened up the subject that someone of her age should not be seeing naked bodies in the wrong situations. Watching on TV with your mother on a "game show" like this is OK but someone flashing their bits in the street is not. Seeing a naked person in the swimming baths changing rooms is OK but someone sending naked photos to you is not! She gets what is right and what is wrong. 

The episode we watched was where a woman who must have been bisexual had 3 men and 3 women to choose from. That was different from what I had ever seen before on the show. I have only seen men choosing women and women choosing men. Becky did not even question it! I silently cheered! She gets that same sex relationships are normal.

From what I have read Naked Attraction has been slated in the press but it is showing normal bodies on TV as opposed to air brushed super models that you see online. It promotes body confidence and positivity.

A lot of the chat that Becky and I had was serious but some of the things she was coming out with was hilarious. A naked man and all she mentioned was his hairstyle, it was a man bun. She laughed at when one of the naked people were fully clothed, in her words "they looked better naked, they need Gok Wan to give them some style tips". How does he have more hair on his face than anywhere else. That piercing is so pretty, oh, that must have hurt!

A few weeks ago I would have never have watched something like this with girl but now I am glad I did. It gave us a lot to talk about and it showed me how mature Becky can be.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Making bath bombs with the So Bomb DIY, 3 Pack Bath Bomb Kit!

My girls and I are a big lover of bath bombs so when we were given the chance to review a kit from Canal Toys where we could make our own we jumped at the chance. We were sent the So Bomb DIY, 3 Pack Bath Bomb Kit to have a look at.

This fun kit comes with everything you need to create 3 bath bombs, each with a surprise figure to hide inside.

Inside the box there is 3 bags of baking soda, 3 bags of citric acid powder, 1 bag of decorative sprinkles, 3 surprise characters, 3 moulds, a mini pipette and instructions.

To make the bath bombs you pour the baking soda mix into a bowl, take a pipette of water and mix it in, then you add the packet of citric acid powder and add it to the bowl. When everything is mixed you can add sprinkles to the mould and then the powder you have just mixed and don't forget the surprise character. When the moulds are filled they slot together to make the bath bomb! 

Every ingredient is already coloured, fragranced and measured out so there is no messing about. You can even combine the coloured powders to create a marbled effect.

In theory it all sounds easy enough but between opening the box and getting started we lost the pipette so guessed with the amount of water. I don't remember seeing one but we made do. It was a learning process. It turns out if there is too much water the mixture fizzes. To be honest, Ellie loved it! She wasn't too fussed that it went wrong. 

We did better with the green one but the yellow one we got the amount of water just right and the bath bomb worked out perfectly.

When you add the right amount of water the bath bombs are easy to make and they look fantastic too with the sprinkles in

We did made these around lunchtime and Ellie went in the bath at about 7pm and the bath bombs were set. I wouldn't say they smelled of anything but they fizzed in the bath and everything dissolved which is what bath bombs are supposed to do.

When we started making these I wasn't too sure that I would buy Ellie them again but by the time we had finished I sure would. She had great fun, even when they didn't work out and it felt like we have got the hang of making them. Ellie has some pocket money and she is going to buy another set as she liked them so much.

The So Bomb DIY, 3 Pack has a RRP of £9.99 and is available from leading retailers nationwide. 

These would make great gifts or a pocket money toy.

We were sent the So Bomb DIY, 3 Pack Bath Bomb Kit free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

She is being included. A birthday party!

When Ellie was at primary school she never had a best friend, she never went to birthday parties or sleepovers. She struggled to fit in. 

Up until about year 4 Ellie played with the boys, they accepted her and she had the best time at school. Then the boys got to an age where they decided girls were not cool and Ellie was left with no one. All the girls in the class had already formed their friendship groups and Ellie was the strange little girl who loved football, climbing and running about in the mud.

A couple of years ago Ellie was devastated that she wasn't invited to a party. All the girls in her class, about 13 of them were. It was implied that Ellie and another girl were left out because they were "different". Ellie was being assessed for Autism at the time and the other girl was already diagnosed. It broke her heart and mine too.

She struggled through the last years in primary school with the hope that when she started secondary school there would be new people and new friends to make. 

Thankfully we were right and there was lots of new friends to make. I won't name them. I will just use their initials. M, K, I, T, K & N! 

She had her first party invite a couple of weeks ago and it made her day, probably her year!! One of her closest friends invited her and a couple of other girls to go to one of the trampoline parks in Newcastle. She was so excited!!

I was a bit worried to start with as the girl asked if Ellie wanted to go and to ask me if she was allowed. Ellie said there was no official invite on paper and the girls mam would pick her up. I would have liked to have seen something in writing but I needn't have worried. Early last week the paper invite came and there was a phone number to text I's mam to let her know Ellie would be going. She sounded lovely. Phew!

We of course had to go shopping for a birthday present. I saw tons of things which tween girls would love but Ellie said no to everything. After looking around the shops for nearly two hours I had to say enough is enough, we either go back and buy something we have seen or find something in Wilko's. Thankfully they had some lovely stationery. Pretty but not too girly, not pink, it was practical and didn't break the bank. We also got her some sweets. Celebration's because there is bound to be something she likes in them and a little bath bomb set. It is so easy to buy for your own children but for other children which you don't know is a struggle.

Ellie got picked up last Saturday just before half past 2 and off she went. She came back just before 6pm and had the best time! She was taken out for tea and most importantly the girl loved her presents.

When she got home she was exhausted. All that bouncing really tired her out. She was in bed early and ached for a couple of days but she said it was worth it.

I love that Ellie has finally found a group of friends where she is included. She is such a happier child for having friends. This is all we have wanted for her for years.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Our weekly meal plan. 18th - 24th Feb! #MealPlanningMonday

We swapped a couple of days around last week but we ate everything I had planned. Stu decided on Friday that he was going to make a big pan of soup/broth. It was packed full of veggies and gammon and smelled delicious. I am not a fan of it but the kids did love it. They had it for lunch on Saturday and Sunday. The leftovers have been bagged up and put into the freezer.

This week it's half term and we have a couple of days out planned. We are going to visit my great aunt and we're planning a trip to the cinema too. We are also hoping to have an afternoon of baking. Yum!

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Waffle pizza fries.
Tuesday - Sandwiches, crisps and the cakes we've baked.
Wednesday - Fish and chips probably from the chip shop.
 Thursday - Sausages, mash and veg.
Friday - We'll be eating out after the cinema!
Saturday - Fish finger sandwiches.
Sunday - Roast chicken dinner.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Feeding time at the zoo! #MySundaySnapshot

On Wednesday Ellie had been poorly. She hadn't been sick but felt it and for most of the day she didn't eat anything. I worry when she doesn't eat as she is the one who usually has about 8 meals a day. lol 

To tempt her to eat I offered McDonalds for tea and it worked. She had a Happy meal and a McFlurry! Hooray! In fact a mid week treat was what we needed to cheer us all up!

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Week 7 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

This past week was a long week. The run up to half term always is but we're here now and the school holidays have started hooray! I seemed to have taken lots of photos this past week and actually had a choice of photos for most days.

Here's a photo for every day!

40/365 - 9th February
She was off to her friends birthday party. She had a fantastic time and ached for days from bouncing so much at the trampoline park.

41/365 - 10th February
The kids finally gave me some of their strawberry creams from their boxes of Quality Street.

42/365 - 11th February
On the laptop.

43/365 - 12th February
I am cheating with this as it's off the Timehop app. From 10 years ago a simple Facebook status which was the start of a rough year for us. The start of the trouble with my girls hearts!

44/365 - 13th February
Ellie had a day off school, on the sofa, under the duvet. She wasn't well but felt better the next day.

45/365 - 14th February
My youngest saved me some of her Love Heart sweets. She is such a sweetheart sometimes. hehehe

46/365 - 15th February
Duck face. lol She does like to play with her Pringles.

Friday, 15 February 2019

This week my Word of the Week is: Positives! #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

What a week we have had. Everyday there has been something to stress me out and test me and I am quite glad this week is over. This post has been quite a hard one to write as there is a lot of our week which I am not going to share. I am going to stick with the positives from our week!

On Saturday Ellie went off to her friends birthday party and had a fab time at the trampoline park. She was worn out by the time she got home and ached for a couple of days but it was the best day ever. It seemed so strange with her not being here on a Saturday afternoon. It was very quiet.

Instead of just playing on the laptop Becky decided to do something productive with her Saturday and got a few t-shirts of hers which she loves but they were stained and faded and dye them. She went off and bought a fabric dye and dyed them all green. She was so pleased with herself. They turned out well and it's like she has a new set of t-shirts.

The Timehop app told me on Tuesday that it was 10 years since Ellie jammed her fingers in the door which led us to find out that she had a heart defect and in turn Becky had the same which ended with open heart surgery. Thinking about it, it is really good timing with it being slap bang in the middle of CHD Awareness Week.

It left me feeling pretty lucky that the accident happened but at the same time it was like a punch in the stomach, thinking about the what if's. I wrote a few posts this past week because I like to raise awareness since Congenital Heart Defects are the most common birth defect.

I got to spend the day with Ellie when she had an unexpected day off school on Wednesday. She wasn't well. She felt achy, sick, worn out and had a bit of a temperature. She spent the day on the sofa under the duvet watching TV. She is so into the Harry Potter films at the moment and she has decided that The Goblet of Fire is her favourite so we watched that. It makes me so happy that she is a fan!

The kids break up from school for half term today and I am so glad. We are looking forward to a break from the routine and a couple of days out. All being well we're going to visit my great aunt and we're also going for a trip to the cinema. Ellie really wants to see the new How to Train Your Dragon film so Stu will watch that with her and I think Becky and I are going to see something else. I have no idea what yet. Stu has the week off work so it's going to be nice to spend some time together.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Advice for new CHD parents. #CHDAwareness

My girls had open heart surgery to repair holes in their hearts in 2009. You can read our story here.

Finding out your child has a problem with their heart is the worst feeling. You step into a different, scary world with medical professionals firing words at you which you don't understand, the unknown and uncertainty. 

You are not alone!

Many parents have been in your position before and many will be in the future. CHD is the number one birth defect and problems with the heart is more common than you think! There is a wonderful, supportive heart community out there. Facebook was a fantastic help to me. There are groups of people going through what you are going through. I am still in the Facebook group for the ward where my girls were treated. New people join and the older members offer advice. It was such an amazing support to me.

Arm yourself with information!

 Learn about your child’s specific heart defect from reputable sites so that you can feel confident in the choices you make for your child’s care! Knowledge is power! Try not to Google the what if's. You will always find the worse case scenario.

Treat Your Child as “Normal” as Possible!

Don't baby your child. You can spend your time worrying and stopping them doing things or you can live in the moment. They are not broken they just have a little bit of them which doesn't work properly. I babied my girls. As soon as I found out about their heart defects I stopped them running about as much and worried myself senseless!

Take Care of Yourself!

I wasn't great at looking after myself when my girls were in hospital and suffered because I didn't. I ate about 3 meals in the 7 days we were in hospital and two of those meals weren't meals they were sandwiches. I snacked on crisps, chocolate and coffee which was not good for me.

Take the time to take a break. Staying beside the bed is not good for you. Get some fresh air, take a walk or just go and sit on the loo and have 5 minutes to yourself. The nurses will look after your child when you are gone!

I was proud of myself at one point. Becky had just been moved to the ward out the intensive care after surgery and Ellie was in surgery, I said to the sister on the ward that I can't do this. I didn't actually say I needed help but I was crying out for it. She got the support/counselor woman to come and have a chat with me and it helped a lot.

You are Stronger than You Think You Are!

You really are! You might not think you are but you are! It is OK to be sad, upset, angry and worried but that doesn't make you weak! You will get through this because you have to for your child. 

Every Child is Different!

It is natural to want to compare your child to another child with the same heart defect but they are not the same. Every child is different! 

My girls had the same heart defect, a hole in near enough the same place in their hearts but their surgery and recovery was so different. Becky struggled to keep her oxygen levels up and fainted a couple of days after surgery but on the 2nd day for Ellie she was bouncing around her cot wanting to go to the play room. I was having to practically pin her down to keep the drains and wires in her. lol

Take One Day at a Time

There will be good days and bad days, sometimes good hours and bad hours. Celebrate the positives and try not to worry too much about the negatives. Looking too far ahead can overwhelm you. 

Before my girls even went into hospital I worried about how I was going to cope with two in at the same time. I spent far too much time stressing about the what if's but looking back now it was a waste of time and energy. You can spend your time worrying or you can live in the moment!

Ask Questions!

Ask questions about what you don’t understand. There will be things which you don't understand. Our surgeon was an amazing man but he was so laid back and relaxed about everything. What was a huge deal for us was just every day for him. He skimmed over things and we asked him to explain things in full which of course he did. There is no such thing as a stupid question. 

Hearing that your child has a heart condition is devastating but remember that surgical outcomes in the UK are some of the best in the world and the vast majority of babies born with CHD survive into adulthood and live normal lives!

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

S.W.A.K. Kissable Keychains - Review!

My 11 year old Ellie loves any little collectable toy, if it makes a noise it's even better! Recently we were sent some fab keychains to have a look at from WowWee.

Each S.W.A.K. keychain is lip shaped and comes with KissTech, a unique sensor technology that detects your cheek and gives you a kiss. The longer you hold it the longer it lasts.

There are 12 different keychains in the SWAK collection. Each S.W.A.K. comes with a postcard, sticker, and removable keychain. With a slot located at the top, your S.W.A.K. is also a fun way to display your favourite photos or cards.

We were sent 3 of the fab keychains to have a look at:

Stellar Kiss!

Why wish upon just one star when you can wish upon a billion of them? Close your eyes and dream big with Stellar Kiss!

Glitz ’n Glam Kiss!

Channel your inner starlet with Glitz ’n Glam Kiss! And be sure to invite your friends to the party. What’s a celeb without their entourage?

Prrrfect Kiss!

Cool cats unite! It’s time to unleash all that makes you wild and wonderful with Prrrfect Kiss. Me-ow!

Ellie loved them all. She couldn't pick her favourite. She liked the colour and design of two but the sound of the other better. She has decided to love them all equally and wants to collect more. At £5.99 each they are affordable for her to buy with her pocket money and I can see her buying more as she is so taken with them.

Reviewing these gave us a great opportunity to talk about kissing. I know at 11 years old she is not interested in kissing other people but it opened up a conversation about consent and how she can't go using these keyrings on anyone as they may not like it. She knows to ask permission but she is just going to stick with "kissing" me, herself and her sister if she lets her!

I think the S.W.A.K. keychains would make fab gifts for tween or teenage girls. The designs of them are sassy and the sounds they make are fun! Ellie has already decided to give two away to her two best friends so they can all have fun together.

We were sent these S.W.A.K. keychains free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

My blog posts about Congenital Heart Defects. (CHD's). #CHDAwareness

Over the years I have written quite a few posts about Congenital Heart Defects. (CHD's). Instead of rewriting them I thought I would just share some of the one's which are most important to me.

I wrote about The reality of heart surgery. It was a bit of a bit of a mind dump where I explained how I was feeling when my girls got diagnosed and stayed in hospital.

I wrote Where to find help & support when your child has a heart defect. Google is not the answer! When you Google things you always find the worse case scenario! 

I wrote about How having a CHD effects my girls lives. You would never guess they had heart problems if you met them but the signs are there.

I wrote about Louise, Jessica & Little Hearts Matter. Louise who blogs at Little Hearts Big Love has always inspired me to write about heart defects and I felt the need to when her daughter Jessica passed away.

I wrote Full of questions? Death? What if? when Becky had just turned 14. When my girls were diagnosed with their heart problems the doctors, consultants and surgeons said that without surgery my girls would have been dead by their teenage years. It hit me that Becky was a teenager!

I wrote about The Children's Heart Unit Fund. CHUF.  CHUF’s mission is to make life better for children and young people who are born with or develop heart conditions by providing lifelong support to them and their families. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

That time of the year where I talk about Congenital Heart Defects!

February is all about the hearts with Valentines day but to me it is also about raising awareness about Congenital Heart Defects

It is over 9 years since my girls and I went into hospital so they could both have open heart surgery to repair the holes they have in their hearts. You can read our story here

As many as 1 in every 100 babies born in the UK has a serious heart defect. They are the most common birth defect's. They kill twice as many children as cancer every year! 

Some congenital heart problems are picked up when the mother has an ultrasound scan during pregnancy (usually at the 20-week scan) but sometimes they are not found until after the baby has been born. Some conditions may not be discovered until the child is older or even an adult. My girls were a year and a half old and 7 before their defects were discovered and that was only down to a fluke accident!

Common examples include holes in the inside walls of the heart and narrowed or leaky valves and in more severe forms of CHDs blood vessels or heart chambers may be missing, poorly formed, and/or in the wrong place!

Many severe congenital heart defects will create signs or symptoms often soon after birth. Every child and condition is different but more common symptoms include extreme tiredness, poor feeding, excessive sweating, difficulty to gain weight, rapid heartbeat, breathing problems, chest pain and a blue tinge to the skin.

My girls really didn't show any of these to an excess. Becky my teen was always thin but it was put down to that's how she was and my youngest sweat so much. Even on the coldest of days she would be dripping with sweat. We have since found out these symptoms were because of their heart defects. 

Some children/people will need multiple open heart surgeries and some may even need a heart transplant. Babies born with CHD’s may need their first open heart surgery at just a few hours or days old or may even be operated on when they are still in the womb

Regular follow-up appointment are needed just to check on the heart, even if the patient has had successful surgery and is leading a very normal life. My girls go for check up's every year/eighteen months. This won't change. They will have these appointments for the rest of their lives because of the way their hearts are. 

Just let it sink in that Congenital Heart Defect's (CHD's) are the most common birth defect's in the UK! If you don't know someone with one, eventually you probably will....

Monday, 11 February 2019

Our weekly meal plan. 11th - 17th Feb! #MealPlanningMonday

Last weeks meal plan went well. We swapped a couple of meals around but ate everything on the meal plan. I put some of the leftover sausage casserole into the freezer and I have a portion left for lunch today. I do love leftovers. As lovely as they taste on the day they always taste better the next day. 

This week on the menu we have:

Tuesday -  Fish fingers, chips and baked beans.
 Thursday - Tuna pasta bake.
Friday - McDonalds!
Saturday - Pizza.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Week 6 of #Project365 - A photo every day for a year!

I've had company all week with Stu having a week off work. It has been lovely. The week has flown over. We've had board games, an appointment at the school. A catch up with the SENCO woman about Ellie. All was good, a shopping trip for a birthday pressie for Ellie's friend and a new Monkey!!

Here's a photo for every day!

33/365 - 2nd February
Board games. It is crazy how loud they can get when they are enjoying a game.

34/365 - 3rd February
The cupboard of doom under the stairs. Stu had planned on tidying it out during the week. He didn't. Ugh!

35/365 - 4th February
Ellie got an invite to a birthday party. She's off to a trampoline park today.

36/365 - 5th February
It was foggy here until lunch time. It looked so spooky.

37/365 - 6th February
We spotted a new soft toy for Ellie. We think he looks just like Ellie's favourite soft toy Monkey!

38/365 - 7th February
They always walk off ahead of me. Eesh!

39/365 - 8th February
A grey and gloomy day. 

Our favourite toppings. #NationalPizzaDay.

Did you know that today is National pizza day? 

We love pizza in this house and most weeks and most Friday evenings it is our go to meal. Nine times out of ten it just comes out of the freezer but sometimes we will have a treat and get a takeaway or even make it ourselves.

We all have our favourite toppings:

Becky loves a Margherita. She isn't into fancy toppings unless it's a homemade pizza.

Ellie loves the Hot Dog Stuffed Crust New Yorker Pizza from Iceland. It is a smoked hot dog sausage stuffed crust pizza base topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, salami and fried onions.

I love the Chicago Town The Pizza Kitchen Roasted Chicken pizza. A classic thin crust pizza base topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, roast chicken breast, red onion, red and yellow peppers.

Stu will eat anything when it comes to pizza. I don't think I have seen him ever refuse or not eat a pizza. lol

According to a recent survey the top 8 Pizza Toppings in the UK are:

Classic Meat pizza.
Ham & Pineapple.
Four Cheese.
Ham & Mushroom.
Cheese & Tomato.
Ham & Cheese.

I am so glad to see Pineapple included. That is one of those love/hate things isn't it! Personally I love it on pizza, especially along with ham and mushrooms.

When we make pizza's at home we use the Tesco bases and always go way over the top with toppings. Salami, pepperoni, tomato paste, mushrooms, onions, pineapple and mozzarella cheese. They are so good!

What do you like on your pizza?