Friday, 30 May 2014

An Afternoon with Nana and Grandad

A few weeks ago we took advantage of a rare sunny day and we went to see what Nana was getting up to in her garden.

Nana loves her garden and has been busy planting seeds so that she has lots of pretty flowers in the Summer.

 I have a real fear of bees and wasps so for me I am not too keen on flowers but Nana's garden always looks pretty and colourful. 


 Little J enjoyed looking at the plants and he seemed to like the feel of them too.

 Nana showing us all her seeds.

 Daddy got this for Nana for Christmas. Its a ladybird tower and Nana said lots of ladybirds come and go all the time.


 Enjoying a rare bit of sunshine


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Big J did a 4k Run for Charity

After weeks of getting himself prepared and training, last week Big J did a 4k run for charity.
 
The Edmund Rice run is an annual event that is organised to help raise much needed funds to aid the work of the Christian Brothers in West Africa. 
 
Edmund Rice is the founder of two religious institutes of religious brothers. The Congregation of Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers.
 
After the death of his wife and the birth of his disabled daughter he devoted his life to education, servicing the poor and the Irish republican cause.
 
Big J gained lots of sponsors and his money will be going to support Kanvilli Roman Catholic Junior Secondary School in Tamale, Northern Ghana.
 
Before being handed over to the Christian Brothers, Kanvilli School was really rundown and poorly managed. Since then classrooms have been renovated and roofs repaired. Water supply and toilets have been installed. Overall scores have improved by 80%
 
The school celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011.

 We are very proud of Big J for being involved in raising funds for such a worthwhile cause.
 
WELL DONE BIG J.
 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Surprised by Aldi Tipples

We were recently sent a variety of tipples from Aldi and I have to be honest and say I was really surprised with just how nice they were.

I don't usually shop at Aldi so I hadn't seen their range of beers, wines and spirits but since I was sent some samples I had a browse online and I cannot believe just how big the selection available is.
 
I am not a big drinker and neither is Daddy although we do like a little weekend drink or two ;)
 
If I was to choose my favourite tipple it would be Baileys. It can be quite costly if you don't find it on offer in the supermarket so when I was sent an Irish Cream from Aldi I was looking forward to giving it a try.


Ballycastle Irish Cream Liqueur was really delicious. It didn't taste exactly like Baileys but it came pretty close. I had it over ice and I really enjoyed it. I usually pay around £15-£18 for Baileys and this is just £4.39 for 70cl which is a huge difference.
 
As you can see from the photo above its has won awards and I would definitely give it a Thumbs Up.
 
I will  be buying this next time I need to purchase a bottle because for me it was almost like drinking Baileys and at a 1/3 of the cost.

We were sent Brasserie Bière Blonde Lager for Daddy to try. He liked these and as they are only 250ml they are perfect for a light drink after work, a summer night or BBQ.
 
2.6% vol and priced at just £1.99 for a pack 8, which is only 25p a bottle.

These were Daddy's favourite. Brasserie Premium French Lager. Although these are 4.6% vol, Daddy still said they were light, refreshing and a perfect summer nights drink.

Priced at just £3.49 for a pack of 10

Daddy has asked me to put these on my shopping list :)

 We were also sent two bottles of wine which we haven't tried yet but once we do will add below what we thought.

French Pinot Noir
French Pinot Noir

This is described as soft, smooth & fruity with rich red fruit aromas & lush berry flavours. 
 
Priced at just £4.69 and again an award has been given for this.

 
Limestone Coast Chardonnay
Limestone Coast Chardonnay
 
I am looking forward to trying this one. Its described as rich and intense with tastes of honeysuckle, white peach and fresh pineapple. Sounds delicious.
 
Priced at £5.99 with three awards above.
 
I am so glad we received the above tipples because I have to admit Aldi wasn't a shop I would think about buying alcohol from but that's obviously changed now.
 
Its also made me think about other items that I might be able to purchase which are similar to brands I normally buy but for less.
 
 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Walking, Talking and Waving Bye Bye

So little J hasn't made any attempt to walk, talk or wave bye bye. All things that by the age of 14 months he should (in the health visitors eyes) be doing. He does babble and will say Mama and Dada but we are not quite sure whether he has actually linked the words to people yet.

Last week little J got his first ever pair of shoes. His toe after his operation is not completely fixed yet and he may have to have more surgery but we did find while shopping in the Disney store a pair of soft shoes which looked wide enough for him. We tried them on in store and I almost cried. It was so strange seeing him with shoes on. He looked so different.

Nice grips underneath so if he did ever fancy taking the plunge and stand or even walk then these would be great for our slippy wooden floors.


I am so pleased to say that within minutes of him wearing the shoes he managed to pull himself up to standing while holding onto the sofa.
 
I am so proud of him and now that he knows how to get himself up he is doing it all the time. He also now takes a few steps to the side and shuffles along the couch so I'm guessing it wont be long before he's walking round.
 
That night Daddy picked him up to take him upstairs to have a bath and just like any other night Daddy says 'wave bye bye to mummy' except that night he waved. I wasn't sure at first whether it was just a coincidence but I'm happy to say its wasn't because now whenever you say bye bye, his little arm flaps up and down.
 
He's making some new sounds too and I'm starting to see him saying Mama and Dada when he wants one of us.  I don't think it will be long before he starts to try a few new words, I think he is using a certain sound for 'more' and he seems to only make that sound around mealtimes.
 
It really is amazing at just how quick they can become so confident. One minute your baby looks like they are making no attempt to do something then the next minute they are doing it like they have done it for weeks.
  

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Am I bad mummy?

As many of my readers already know since birth and even before little J has been poked and prodded and at times I've felt he is just like a human Guinea Pig. 

Along the way we've been told he'll have learning difficulties or he has delayed development. Then there's the possible NF1, operations and the forthcoming shin guard that is going to be wrapped around little J's leg to protect his tibia from breaking. 

Our latest appointment with the health visitor was a nightmare. I got little J out his pram and she told me to put him on the floor. There was a student nurse also in the room and called little J over to a selection of toys that had been put on the mat. As expected he crawled over and began to look at them all, deciding which one to choose first. 
 
The health visitor then said 'how do you know which one he wants to play with?' 'Does he point at it?' I replied with 'no'. Little J hasn't learnt to point at items yet. She looked at me utterly shocked and asked me how I know when he wants anything and the truth is I don't know. I guess I suppose but I know my own child and I know when he wants something. This wasn't good enough and for this part of the assessment little J scored a 0

She made it quite clear that she thought little J was very baby like in everything he does. Erm well he is only 13 months and to me he is still a baby but she wasn't happy with how he dealt with certain situations. For example he still puts everything to his mouth first. So when he was given an wooden bead and she wanted him to put it in a container the bead went straight to his mouth first. Again another 0 on this part out of a possible 10 points. 

At this point I started doubting myself as a mummy. Am I doing this all wrong? Is there something else I should be doing? Is there going to be something in this assessment he will score 10 points on?
Next she gave him two small cubes. She didn't tell me what she wanted him to do with them but I guessed she wanted him to stack. This is something we practice every day and while he is so close he just can't do it. When he got them he put one in each hand and banged them together. 5 points. Yay well done little J. Okay it wasn't exactly what she wanted but at least he did something right.

Next he was just left to play with the student nurse while she asked me some questions. They were all about our play time at home. Is it structured? Do you have a rotation of learning toys? At 13 months we don't have structured play, and I told her so. I let little J choose what he wants to play with and we take it from there. To me it doesn't matter what we play with he is learning all the time. We do rotate his toys every day so there is always a mix of different things to do and see.

Personally I am so happy that little J loves books. Big J loved books and loved being read to and little J is exactly the same. I think it's so important to be surrounded by books from an early age. I have seen children who don't even know how to hold or open a book which is so sad so for me I am thrilled that not only can little J open and close a book he also can turn pages too.

Last but not least was sleep. Now this has come up before that little J possibly has too much sleep? Crazy I know I never thought too much would be bad but apparently little J has too much. Her exact words were 'If he is asleep he's not learning' Little J has pretty much slept 10-12 hours each night since he was 4 months old and does have 2 naps during the day most days. She suggested I wake him after maybe 30 minutes. I have been doing this and its been a nightmare. He's cranky, fussy and he used to fall asleep in his cot within minutes at night and now he's not settling at all and waking in the night for a bottle.
 
I am going to try getting him back to his old routine because even though he asleep and she said he isn't learning, he is not learning now when he is awake because he is so tired and he doesn't want to do anything.
 
I always take advice from the professionals but I'm not sure whether they are always right. As a parent I feel we know our children best and sometimes we have to go with what we think is the right thing to do.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Super Excited To See Super Group McBusted In Concert (review)

When big J was little he loved the band Busted. We had the albums and I have loads of photos and videos of him singing and dancing with a guitar to Busted songs. When they split up I was gutted because I had become a fan myself.
 
It wasn't long before a new group came on the scene. McFly, were Busted's support act and apparently they were all friends. I wasn't sure at first whether I would like them or not but soon after they became my favourite group.
 
Over the years I have seen Mcfly in concert so many times that I am embarrassed to mention just how many. I know one tour I went to see them 3 times in three different venues. I am a huge fan and so is big J.
 
When they announced that they had teamed up with James and Matt from Busted to become a super group called McBusted I have to admit I did get excited. Tickets were bought and I couldn't wait to go and see them. Unfortunately my night didn't go to plan I twisted my ankle and before they came on stage I had to go home because I was in so much pain, poor big J was so upset. Luckily for me McBusted were returning to the Liverpool Echo Arena less than 4 weeks later and Daddy bought me some more tickets. Unfortunately there were only two available seats, not three and they were too close to the stage and Big J doesn't like too much noise. So he couldn't come :(
 
So did I finally manage to see the super group in action? - YES and it was worth the wait.
 
When the arena went dark the fans were screaming and I couldn't not join in so up I stood screaming and eagerly waiting for the boys to come on stage.

Music started to play and the video screens came on playing the Back to the Future theme tune. Matt and James were on the video in a Delorean travelling to the future then all of a sudden a Delorean appeared on stage through the smoke. Matt and James jumped out of the car and then Tom, Danny, Dougie and Harry burst onto the stage to the Busted song Air Hostess.
 
There was a OMFG standing area at the front and the stage came out into the audience so our seats were amazing. We were in Block A had an amazing view.
 
The first 4 songs were Busted songs and the memories of Big J dancing round our living room when he was a toddler made me smile and I laughed when I still knew all the words.
 
Air Hostess was first, You said no, Britney and one my favourite Busted song Who's David. The singing was shared out between the band and James and Matt sounded great.

Then we were treated to Mcfly's first two songs, that were released way back but they still sound amazing. Five colours in her hair and Obviously. Mcfly usually finish their concert with five colours so it was nice to have it towards the start of the show.

Then it was back to Busted. James came to the front of the extended stage and sang Sleeping with the lights on.

Afterwards the arena went dark and as expected McBusted were making their way above our heads to a rumoured 2nd stage. There just so happened to be a giant UFO hanging just above us :)

The video screens came back on and Harry, Tom, Dougie, Matt, James and Danny were pretending to be from America and they had spotted a UFO in the sky.

We turned around and just above our heads was the UFO coming down into the arena.
When it landed it was just in front of us and then they started singing Star Girl (another of my faves).

 We had Tom right in front of us, Dougie to our left and James to our right.

A nice close up of Tom

James decided to sit on the edge of the UFO above all his fans.

Danny joined our side while they played Nerdy

Then they finished on the UFO with Room on the third floor.
 
When they came off the UFO they ran right past us back to the main stage for Thunderbirds then it was straight into a cover version of Jackson 5's I want you back. Danny, James and Matt did the dnce routine which was brilliant and then out the corner of my eye I spotted the Tshirt Blasters. They have used these before and its great fun. Basically Matt and James filled the blasters with rolled up tshirts and shot them into the crowd as Danny got the audience going by asking us to cheer and scream. None came our way unfortunately but still theres next time ;)
 
Shine a light was next and I'm not a big fan of this one because to me it isn't a sound I'm used to Mcfly playing but I still enjoyed it. Next Dougie asked us all would we like to hear him sing a solo. Then it what could only be described as a chipmunk voice he sang Celine Dions 'My heart will go on' while all the lads including Harry (who usually stays at the drums) came behind Dougie for a huge big cuddle.
 
Then Dougie asked us if we wanted to see some big balls? Out the sides of the arena came 4 huge inflatable balls while the band played That's what I go to school for. One nearly came to us but then bounced the other way :(

Then the encore arrived and the video screens came back on with a video of the now famous Tom's wedding speech and then it was straight into Crashed The Wedding. Matt was in a wedding dress. Then it was All about you and to finish Year 3000
 
I really did enjoy the concert and for me it was just like watching one band as they all seemed to fit well together perfectly. You can tell that they are all best friends and they really do seem to have so much fun on stage. I actually said that it wouldn't surprise me if they continued as McBusted for a little while after the tour and maybe write an album. I cam home and googled and they have mentioned it recently that they are the happiest they have ever been as a 6 piece.
 
There were 17 songs in total on the set list
10 Busted
6 McFly
1 Cover
 
I read on one forum that McFly fans were so angry about this because It should have been an equal split but for me I thought the song choices were great and if they do decide to continue as McBusted they can still count on me to be a fan.
  

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Birthday Wishes Come True

Well last week both big J and I celebrated our birthdays. We received some amazing presents and its fair to say we got spoilt. I thought it would be nice to share some of the lovely presents we received and say a huge big THANK YOU

The Lion King Tickets - I wasn't expecting these at all and I'm so excited. I have wanted to see this for years and I really cannot wait.


Both big J and I love board games. Big J is Star Wars mad so was happy to receive Star Wars Clone Wars Monopoly and I got DESTINATION New York

Big J loves his xbox and was totally shocked when he got a new headset. He loves talking to his friends online so this was a perfect gift

He spent a few hours making this Star Wars Lego.

Agnes is so cute and has a new home sitting on my sofa.

Big J's birthday wouldn't be the same without a few balls

I got ALL the Disney Shoes I wanted and I love them.

This made me laugh. I tasted a Kit Kat Chunky Peanut Butter for the first time a few weeks ago and for my birthday big J decided to get me 36 bars :)

Lots of Disney Traditions Showcase Collection Figurines



Pals for all time


World Cup Fever is starting to take over our house. Big J wearing NIKE Netherlands Kit


These are stunning and are made by Swarovski



My  favourite present a personalised mug and coaster of my two monkeys
 
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