Go Down to Kew in Lilac-time

Despite having lived in London for 18 years now (!!!!) there are still a lot of things that I have yet to do.There is SO much to see and do in London. SO. MUCH. A lot of it is free too, or you can find great offers, like the 2for1 if you travel by train.

I’ve done a lot of the major tourist attractions, such as the London Eye, Tower of London, London Zoo, The London Aquarium, London Dungeons, The Natural History Museum, Science Museum, British Museum, and I’ll be here all day if I list them all.

But, despite living in South West London for the last 6 years, I have never ever visited Kew Gardens. It is right on my door step. I’ve been to Kew of course, we went there one year to go ice skating, but it was pitch black and you couldn’t see anything at all, so I don’t count that time. Also, it wasn’t great fun for me, because I’m no good at ice skating. Some days its a challenge to stay upright, much less stay upright on slippery ice wearing boots with blades on the bottom.

After 18 years of living in London, I have finally paid a visit to Kew Gardens. It. Was. MAGNIFICENT. It is one of my new favourite places.

  
My grandmother, Emma and I picked a brilliant sunny day to visit, the weather was glorious. We used a 2for1 travel by rail voucher, so we only paid £16.50 to visit, instead of £33 and children 3 and under go free. (more money for cake and coffee)

Kew Gardens is HUGE. We got there at 10am and left at 4 pm and we hadn’t done everything there was to do. Which of course means that we need to go back.

Seriously contemplating looking at an annual family pass which is £109 (its almost Christmas to be fair, so maybe Santa will leave an annual Kew pass under the tree)

Might have to plan a few autumn days at Kew, for Emma to run through the leaves, and pick conkers and leave with pink flushed cheeks, whilst I drink copious amounts of coffee!

Oilatum® Daily Top Tip Competition

I’ve worked with Oilatum Junior previously and we love their products; so when they got back in touch with me to run a competition, of course I said yes. Do you want to win a £50 voucher for Boots? Come on, you know you do!

Oilatum Daily are dedicated to helping mums and dads manage their little one’s dry skin needs, and with the help of real parents and The British Skin Foundation, they have collated the following Oilatum® Comfort Skin Tips to try and help manage children’s daily skincare routine.

To be in for a chance of winning, all you need to do is comment on this blog post with what your favourite tip is (see below for Oilatums Top Ten Tips). For an extra entry you can submit one of your own tips too! Terms and Conditions apply (see below)

   

Terms and Conditions

· All entrants must comment on the blog post to be eligible to win; Comments made on Facebook/Twitter links will not be eligible.

· If you have commented once the competition has closed, then your comment will not be included.

· The winner will be selected by a random number generator to ensure fairness. In the event of the winner not meeting the full criteria, then the draw will be done again until a fully compliant winner is selected.

· The competition is open UK entrants only (this does include Northern Ireland)

· Competition is open until midnight on Friday August 28th 2015, any comments after this will not be counted.

· You must provide a valid email address in the comment form so that you can be contacted. If we can’t contact you then you can’t get your prize.

· Competition winner will be notified via email within 1 week of the closing date and will need to provide their postal address in order for the voucher to be posted to them.

· Competition is a collaboration between MrsFlams and Oilatum Junior

· Please consider sharing the post and encourage your friends to enter the competition too

 

Merry Meet!

When I found out that my favourite author was going to be doing a signing in London, I had to go. Especially as she rarely comes to this part of the world due to her fear of flying.

You see my favourite author writes two of my favourite series of books. Books I have re-read four and five times over (no easy feat considering one series is 24 books and counting). They are my go to books when I need to escape life. 

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember; devouring books and I hope that Emma will be the same.

Laurell K Hamiltons books have graced not only my bookshelves and my kindle but also the NY Bestseller List; that’s how good she is.

Her books pull you in. The first one I read, happened to be book 12 in the Anita Blake series. Not the greatest book to start a series on, it was quite confusing; but I was hooked. I own every book released now, and continue to collect them.

Today was amazing. I stood on a queue for three hours before finally getting to meet my heroine. The woman who inspired me to write my own stories. 

I don’t think there have been many occasions where I have felt this happy; this ecstatic; this elated than I do right now. The excitement at the start was immense.  

 Then I met Jon, Laurells husband. He was awesome. Told him that I was so excited and star struck to be meeting Laurell; he was great, calmed my nerves and made me laugh. He pointed out my tattoo and gave me a fist bump, we’re both lovers of seratonin! 

And then. Then.

There she was; saying hello, and I told her how much I loved her *cringe* and that she inspired me to write. She was amazing.  

Absolutely an amazing experience. And I got to meet Media Minion Jess too 🙂

Thank you Laurell! Thank you Forbidden Planet for making it happen!

I’m happy, beyond measurement.

All Change!

It has been very VERY busy around here lately. Which is the reason for my lack of posts!

Our landlord notified us out of the blue that our home was being sold, so it’s been a mad panic to find a new home, pack, clean, move, clean, tidy, sort, donate etc.

We finally found somewhere, that is smaller and more expensive (joy) but there was limited rental properties on the market, so we took it. 

We moved in earlier this week, and there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Hopefully by Sunday, we can put some of our stuff into storage (no room at the inn!) and on Monday the two wardrobes are being collected by charity and then on Tuesday evening the table and chairs are being collected and relocated to a new home!

We currently look like a cross between student lodgings and an episode of hoarders! By next Wednesday, we should have more space! And a sofa! 

My body for a sofa! How I miss just being able to sit on the sofa and watch TV. And Internet. Our internet is being connected today! Ive used almost 2GB of data since Monday!!!! 

Anyhoos, I’ve got lots of stuff lined up.

My Tutu Tutorial, my final Race For Life post, some sponsored posts for Sure! deodorant, Leerdamer cheese and Forever Living (shush)

Hopefully in the next week or two, once I’m sorted and have some sort of a home environment, I can continue!

As Emma currently says (this kid is a riot!) See You Next Time! BYE!

Countdown to the Magic

This time, in 7 days, we will be setting eyes on Disneyland Paris. 

Emma will be 2 in just under 2 weeks and I’ll be turning 31 in just over a week. That means poor Daniel is poor. (Guy has 5 birthdays AND Mothers Day to fork out for this month as well as our annual holiday)

This years family holiday is 5 days at Disneyland Paris Resort.

I first went to Disney aged 2, and now Emmas first trip is the same. I’m hoping to recreate some of the photos. God knows where they are however. I shall have to ask my mother!

Currently, poor Little Duck has a D&V bug 🙁

I’m hoping she gets over it before we go.

Race For Life, because, Fuck You Cancer

In November 2012, whilst pregnant with Emma (Flump at the time) I got a call from my aunt saying that my grandfather had been admitted to hospital. They thought he was having a stroke. I left work, went straight to the hospital and straight into resus, to find my grandmother very distressed and my grandfather in a pretty bad way. He was admitted that evening.

For a week I travelled to and from my home in Feltham to the hospital in Woolwich, via my job in London. 6 months pregnant, it was exhausting and stressful and distressing. Eventually my doctor signed me off and demanded I rest.

You see, my grandfather had been diagnosed with prostate cancer a fair number of years beforehand. He delayed treatment (for reasons that still make me seethe in anger, silly gold digging fake wife) and it spread to his bones; a further diagnosis of secondary bone cancer. He started treatment, and it was all going well. Then it wasn’t. Then the hospital admission.
Scans showed that he hadn’t had a stroke, but the Cancer had spread into his skull and was putting pressure on to his brain, which is why his symptoms were similar to a stroke. His liver was enlarged and the doctors couldn’t do anything else. They made him as comfortable as they could. There was talk of a hospice, however, they then decided that it wasn’t the best option. Just after midday on November 25th 2012, my grandfather passed away.

In the few days before he died, I sat at the hospital with him, with my aunt, cousins, siblings, grandmother and his carer. I only ever left to get sleep, shower and food.

On the day he died, my aunt had said that she was going home to make her youngest son some lunch, her exact words were “I’ll be back later dad, I’ve got a pork chop to cook for Jaades lunch”
I don’t think my grandfather was impressed. Within a few minutes later his breathing changed. His blood pressure dropped, his heart rate slowed. The nurse checked him over and asked if we needed the priest called.

The priest came, gave my grandfather his last rites, and prayed for him.

I sat next to him as he took his final breath.

He was surrounded by family.

He was 73.

(null)
M.A.Pearce

That was the first time Id ever sat with someone as they died.

I was sad. I was upset. I was angry. Raging in fact. Cancer. Hideous disease.

2 years later (practically) I found myself in the same situation.

I remember the day clearly. We’d gone to the pub to celebrate my husbands birthday in 2011. In she came, very matter of fact, “I might have Cancer”
And we were all, “………”

Treatment started, it was going well. Then it wasn’t. They moved on to the next treatment. I lost count of how many treatments she had. They moved to experimental treatments and she joked that she was probably worth a lot of money now, due to the amount of platinum (I think?) that was probably in her body.

We discovered we were having a baby, and there was talk of stem cell treatment. Id recently lost my grand father. I looked into cord banking, but only a few hospitals do it. I offered up mine/Flumps cord stem cells.

I lost count of how many times she was in hospital, how many times we wanted to visit but it wasn’t a good idea as she was in isolation due to being immunocompromised.

Sadly nothing worked, and each set of treatment failed.

She was due to celebrate her 30th birthday. However she was in hospital. So we went to visit her.

My mum looked after Emma. Daniel met me in London. We got burritos for lunch. Then jumped on the Tube to the hospital.

She was in the ICU, on a ventilator. She’d been moved into a private room since we’d last saw her. It was her birthday. There were party hats and cards on the wall.

There were a lot of machines.

About 4pm, the doctors wanted to speak to her mother and husband. We were about to leave, but as they came out her mother was very distressed. There wasn’t anything else they could do.
Immediately I was transported back in time, 2 years previously.

My husband and I set about to call friends. Handholding, fetching drinks.

Visiting numbers to the room were relaxed, as were visiting hours.

Friends arrived. Family arrived.

Her dad arrived. He drove from the North, getting there in 4 hours. In laws arrived, driving 2 hours from the South.

We talked to her, held her hand, joked with her and each other. Her vitals improved when people spoke to her, when they touched her. She occasionally opened her eyes. She knew we were there.

We said our goodbyes, and on her 30th birthday she passed away. From Cancer.

I remembered how much I despised this disease. My friend was now a widower. At 30. It was unfair. They’d been married less than a year.

(null)
S.L.Hardie

I think about her and my grandfather every day. Every. Single. Day.

They are why I’m doing Race For Life this year. If I can raise just a small amount of money which will go towards Cancer research, so that, hopefully, one day, this awful disease will be treatable, and people won’t lose their loved ones to it, then why not. Why the hell not.

I’ll admit it’s not something I was going to do, but then they got in touch with me as a blogger and I wasn’t sure still. I definitely wasn’t running it. I don’t DO running. But I can walk it.

So this summer, I’m doing the Race For Life. With Emma. A 5k walk.
We will be wearing matching tutus, that I’m going to make using the colours of the Cancer awareness ribbons for the types of Cancer that my grandfather and friend had.

So over the next few months, I’ll be sharing more information about Race for Life, as well as tutorials for making the tutus, and posting the details for my fundraising page. Plus there will be other stuff, offers for those wanting to take part and I’ll be sharing on my Facebook page and Twitter account.

Thank you Race for Life for asking me to work with you. I’m looking forward to it.

Best start getting prepared!

Motivation

Ive been lacking it of late, which considering recent events isn’t surprising.

I need to get back on track.

I’m still coming up with ideas on how to do that.

I want to lose weight.
I want to get fitter.
I want to clear my debts.
I want to start writing again.

There’s a lot I want to do.

Baby steps.

I have 11 months left on my loan (I think… Might be 12?)

I’m in planning stages with Cancer Research UK for a project about Race for Life, so there’s stuff there, which will help with getting fitter and losing weight (hopefully)

As for writing, I need a muse. I may have to kidnap one. Anyone know where they hang out?

Le Sigh

I am no closer to an official diagnosis. Instead I am stuck in a limbo between the GP (who is pushing for a diagnosis) and an under-funded and under-resourced Mental Health trust who keeps pushing me back to the GP as my issue is not “severe” enough.

Le sigh.

But, I expect it’s going to take a LONG time. My options are to ride it out and continue to be frustrated and annoyed by a broken system and manage as best as I can, or look at going private.

Le sigh.

I have become disillusioned with the system. Up until recently, I had nothing but great experiences. Helpful, quick, supportive and practical help. Now? Not so much.
I have a fantastic GP team, not as amazing as my previous GP team, but still pretty fantastic. But the rest, not so much.

Le sigh.

I’ll get there, but apparently I have to take the full boring long winded route.

P.s I apologise in advance for upcoming posts where I ramble and use you all as my therapy sofa. It could be amusing and odd for you AND me.

Plotting Against Me

Freaking. Out.

Went to the kitchen sink this morning, tipped the water out of the washing up bowl and accidentally killed a massive spider that had taken up residence.

Freaked out. A LOT.

Checked again, definitely dead, or at least mostly dead on account of being drowned.

Freaked out some more. Texted husband to tell him I’m not doing any washing up today on account on the massive dead spider of accidentally murdered.

Update Facebook, because that’s what you do in a spider related crisis.

Get told by friend that spider should just go down the plug hole if flushed with lots of water.

Don’t see how… Spider much to big for plug hole.

Get teased by father in law about turning dead spider into curry.

Spray a load of bleach around the sink. Flush with more hot water.
Gingerly lift up washing up bowl.

Spider is gone.

It was too big to go down the plug, so where the hell has it gone?

It’s obviously crawled out of the sink, horrendously disfigured and disabled now, covered in burns, and calling to it’s mates to come back for revenge.

I’m going to be attacked by spiders now.
I’m going to die aren’t I.

They’re all sat plotting against me.

Argh!

Coming Soon!

The blog has been pretty neglected recently, what with moving, settling, working and parenting. Plus, you know, sleep!

But I do have a few things coming soon.

I’ve been testing a new hand wash from Dettol, with e45. So there will be a review coming soon for that.

Little Duck and I have also been testing a new cream from Oilatum Junior. So there’s a review coming for that as well.

I’ve also got some new designs of bottles coming from Tommee Tippee UK to try out. So stay tuned for that post too!

But for now, I’m taking a well deserved break, and spending a girly weekend with some mummy friends.
Little Duck is spending the weekend doing Daddy/Daughter things.

Have a great weekend all, I’m back in July!