Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Dr Seuss - What Pet Should I Get?

"Can we get a dog?"  said the twin boy on the way home from school one Monday afternoon.

"Why do you want a dog?" I replied.  He didn't know, but at the minute he just wants a pet.  This is just part of many recent discussions on the subject of pets.  His sister really likes rabbits and cats and birds.  Needless to say they can't decide on one (even if I was going to let them have a pet - I'm not).

Coincidentally, that same day a new book arrived for review.  What Pet Should I Get? by Dr Seuss.

I was quite excited about this book, not only because I thought it would be quite interesting for the twins given the recent pet ownership negotiations, but because the book itself is a gorgeous hardback book full of lovely quirky illustrations as you'd expect from the Dr Seuss collection.

In the book a brother and sister go to a pet shop to choose a pet, except when they get there they can't decide which is the best pet to get!

What Pet Should I Get concentrates on how difficult it is to make up your mind.  Well, it is when you are little, isn't it?

I read this book with the twins after school one day. It was a great book to help them wind down after a day at school and fired up plenty of pet-based discussion.  We liked the rhyming storyline, so typical of Dr Seuss books.  Twin girl read it to us with relative ease, all the way to the end.

But which pet did Kay and her brother end up choosing?

The book ends on a cliffhanger - YOU have to decide!  I'm pretty sure we've narrowed it down to a cat, or maybe a dog, rabbit or a bird!  You see!  Choosing is tricky!

This has become a favourite for reading at bedtime and the illustrations add some extra humour to the story. Because its a hardback book I think it would make a lovely gift too.

What Pet Should I Get? published by HarperCollins Children's Books, is priced at £12.99 and is available from 28th January 2016.

We were sent a copy of What Pet Should I Get? for the purpose of this review.  All words and opinions are our own.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The things they don't tell you about having twins... (No. 176)

Forget how do you bottle feed two babies at once.  Forget weaning tips or getting twins into a synchronised routine.  How exactly do you handle it when one twin loses a wobbly tooth and gets a visit from the tooth fairy and the other doesn't?

The books do not tell you about that.


My sister gets £1 from the tooth fairy and I get nothing?
Being a twin sucks.

We may or may not have been a bit late for school that day, as a result of the above.


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Birthday Party Blues

We haven't been to many birthday parties recently.  They always seen to clash with other things.  So, when the twins had an invite for last Saturday, when we were actually free for a change, they were so very excited.

Is it time yet?  Is it time yet? x 3 million said Twin Boy all day.

Eventually it was party time, we arrived and ten minutes later...

Enjoying the party?

Not even placated by a Minion balloon.  Misery guts.


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Seven Stages of a Mum Cold

I've been relatively lucky on the illness front in this family, because no matter which diseases the small people bring home, I've never been unfortunate enough to catch anything from them.  I think I must have built up a terrific parental immunity over the past few years. I've even avoided all the tummy bugs over the last term - watching as the whole family, bar me, were struck down one by one.

Then, just as everyone else is finally fit and healthy I get a mum cold.  Not just any sort of cold, a mum cold, which is different to the usual sort, because it's only me that has it.

The differences don't end there.  *Insert Facebook style meme about how mum colds are the same as man flu only nobody cares, etc, etc* which of course is true, except with a mum cold you have to carry on as normal too.  Which is tough, especially when nobody gives you any credit.

Have you ever had a mum cold?  If you have then I sympathise.  If you haven't, then the stages go something like this...

1.  Inevitably 

It's Friday afternoon.  Only one school run to go and then, the weekend.  Will it be full of gin and frolics? Ah, no, you've got a kids party to go to (standard).  It's only for a couple of hours and then the weekend is yours baby!  Your throat feels a bit achy on one side and your ear hurts when you swallow. Neck a couple of paracetamol, it'll be fine...

Sympathy Points: 0
Carrying on as normal: 9

2.  Realisation 

Come home from school run with a banging headache.  That paracetamol hasn't even touched the sides. It feels like you've swallowed a million tiny razor blades. Drink copious cups of searing hot tea in the hope that will make it better and curl up on the sofa hoping someone else will go and sort out dinner.  They don't. Arse.  This mum cold has taken hold.  There is nothing you can do now, you'll just have to deal with it.

Sympathy Points: -1
Carrying on as normal: 8


3.  Powering on through 

Saturday.  Children's birthday party time.  Ibuprofen it is and then power on through.  People might not even notice?  After the first 45 minutes your nose starts to drip, the ibuprofen is wearing off and you feel like death.  Dab your nose with a tissue while tactfully ignoring everyone by sitting in a corner of the hall with your phone.  Snarl at your children occasionally and mutter a snippy FFS under your breath when the DJ suggests that the mums and dads might like to get up and join in with the party games.  Two hours is a ridiculously long time.  Eventually, after watching some parents smack the hell out of a piƱata that refuses to die for what feels like forever, the party is over.  Well done, you hero, you. Gold star for carrying on as normal.

Sympathy Points: 2 (someone asks you if you are OK on the way out)
Carrying on as normal: 25 (yes out of 10, you are a bloody hero, remember?)

4.  False Hope

Sunday comes and you don't feel so bad.  You don't even need any pain relief in order to function.  Could you be getting better?  Suggest a nice brisk walk before lunch to blow the cobwebs away.  After an hour you feel fabulous again, apart from the chill across your shoulders.  Go to Tesco, feed people and stay up late, iron and then go to bed.  Not too bad, not too bad at all...

Sympathy Points: N/A
Carrying on as normal: 10

5.  Pestilence 

Monday.  Wake up and realise that you are almost certainly dying (probably). Why the f*ck is Darth Vader in your bedroom?  No wait, that's the sound you now make when breathing.  Close your eyes for a second... for god's sake, you've overslept.  Haul yourself out of bed and make lunch boxes.  After two cups of coffee feel more human and go and put on your exercise gear.  Well, why not?  After the school run go for a real run, made slightly more interesting by the fact that you can only breathe through your mouth.  Will you pass out on the pavement?  Who knows?  On your return marvel at the 72 pints of mucus produced by your own nostrils. There can't possibly be any more in there now.

Sympathy Points: -5 (you are an idiot for going running)
Carrying on as normal: 7 (lose three for the ridiculous noisy breathing)

Pass me a tissue, will you?

6.  Dispair

The rest of the day passes by in a hot/cold/hot/cold blur until teatime when you are now in full on Darth Vader mode.  As a treat your children decide to start a fight (not name calling, actual hand to hand combat natch) and you suddenly wish you had a proper job.  If you had a proper job then someone else would have to deal with this crap while you?  Had the day off.  Plus you'd get sick pay.  Ah well.

Try to eat a meal while having a totally blocked up nose.  It isn't easy.  Ask husband what it tastes like while exasperatingly blowing into a tissue for the 47th time that evening.  Watch as husband rolls eyes at you. Wonder what it's like to be able to breathe properly and go in search of some more medical relief.  You find a surprisingly still in date tub of Vicks and smear it under your nose.  You still can't breathe. It burns.  Then, just when you think things can't get any worse, your husband mentions that he might have a bit of a cold starting and is going to have an early night.  *sigh*

Go to bed yourself.  Vertically (propped up by lots of pillows) to allow the tiniest bit of air to pass through one nostril.  Horizontal sleep is overrated anyway...

Sympathy Points: -10
Carrying on as normal: 2 (you consider shutting yourself in a cupboard while the kids are fighting)

7.  The worst is yet to come

The next day go to the chemists and buy your own private stash of all of the cold and flu killing drugs you can lay your hands on. Feel all better again.  

Husband is still ill/complaining.   These men and their man flu eh?  Laugh/roll eyes at husband's inability to deal with a simple cold.  The fool.

Teen appears in doorway, coughs, sniffs and announces, "I just want to diiiieeeeee..."

Brilliant.  Welcome to the 72 hour hell that is the teen cold.

Sympathy Points:  Oh who cares, you get the picture.  Until the rest of the family comes down with the same cold you are basically a being a drama queen who can't handle any illness whatsoever.  You will have the last laugh.
Carrying on as normal:  Yes, all the frigging time... *sigh*

Monday, 11 January 2016

Doorbells, daffodils and gardens made of Lego...

Twins - I don't know what goes on in those bonkers brains of theirs but it does keep me smiling.

I suppose that you could say there is a general theme here at the minute of the both of them trying to make sense of the world in their own unique way.

Last week, the following:

One afternoon we arrived home from school as usual.  Twin girl ran up to the front door and started playing with the doorbell (which doesn't work most of the time - the game is to try to get it to work).  Then, stopping for a second she asked, "Mum, have you moved the doorbell?  It's lower".

Erm, no not exactly.  As you might be able to guess it was her that had grown taller and not the doorbell that had suddenly moved a few inches down the door frame, although it did take her a little time to understand this.  What was funnier is that her twin brother, hearing her question, immediately thought the same.  I'm a bit worried that he seems to believe everything that his sister says at the moment...

We've had some daffodils on the kitchen table this past week.  A bit early I know but they are really cheerful.  Twin boy loves looking at flowers when we have them in the house (and very often chooses a bunch for me at the supermarket - then gets the unsuspecting person he's with to pay for them #welltrained) and so had been carefully monitoring the buds as they had opened throughout the week.

We replaced them with a new bunch on Friday (they never seem to last all that long and I was enjoying them) and when he got home from school he ran into the kitchen and then back out again to tell me very urgently that something had gone wrong with the daffodils.  "They've all closed up again!" he said.  He was quite relieved to find that they weren't broken and were just a new vase full that hadn't yet opened!

Our Sunday morning walk, which included no ninjas whatsoever.

Lastly, we had a little walk out on Sunday to a beautiful garden near to us - Biddulph Grange.  If you don't know it, Biddulph Grange has some wonderful themed areas to it's gardens one of which is a Chinese garden.  The children really enjoyed exploring the gardens and when we got home I asked the twins which bit they'd enjoyed the most.  Twin girl piped up "Oh, the Ninjago bit was my favourite!".  They are big fans of Lego Ninjago and I suppose the Chinese area of the garden reminded her of that - the power of branding, eh?! (Although Ninjas are Japanese - maybe we should work on our Geography?)

Little Hearts, Big Love

Friday, 8 January 2016

New Year Fitness Fails

And so, that's it, Christmas has been and gone.

Now for the New Year, which is when you are supposed to make resolutions about the things you want to change in the coming months.  

I never make resolutions.

But that's not strictly true.  I never make resolutions apart from that same one every year.  The one that everyone makes after they've eaten too many mince pies and scoffed the kids' selection boxes.

I must get fit and lose weight.

Every year I have a new idea on how I'm going to achieve this and every year I fail.  I have made a catalogue of diety disasters over the years, convinced that each one would change things, but none of them have ever worked.  I wonder why I bother.

In my 20s, before children:

The Plan - Buy the latest fad diet book, a celeb fitness DVD to add the the other 12 in the cupboard, maybe do a detox (everyone is on about detoxing, so it must be easy and quick).  Splash out on a Slendertone (flat and firm in 4 weeks you say?  How many can I strap around myself at once?), and last but not least buy all the gym gear and then join an exclusive and expensive gym on a complete whim (can we afford it?  I don't know but who cares?  We are going to be fit, thin gym goers in a matter of weeks!).

Essentially I was going to spend myself thin.

The Reality - This never worked.  Instead I ended up skint, hungry (the diet book would be gathering dust by 4th Jan at the latest), and knee deep in footballers and their wives while I pretended to get my money's worth from the gym membership I was tied into for the next 12 months.

While trying for a baby:

The Plan - More dieting (bleurgh), take all the vitamins, give up booze (boo!) and finally make use of that gym membership.  Must take some time to be totally fit enough to conceive.

The Reality - Oops, too late, pregnant already... (well it was the year 2000 - that New Year was particularly good as I recall).  Pile on 2st during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.  Bollocks. #iateallthepies

In my 30s, after children:

The Plan - once the Christmas chocs are all gone I'm going to start walking everywhere with the buggy, stop snacking between meals and eat three sensible meals a day.  Oh, and when I go for coffee with mum friends I will only have black coffee and will definitely not eat any of the chocolate hobnobs on offer. Also, no bath time wine any more (that's the children's bath time, my wine).

The Reality - No sleep, the kids have been tag teaming me all night and I'm so knackered.  Let's just stay at home today and watch Cbeebies.  Pass the chocolate hobnobs will you?  Wash them down with some wine. Err, how many propoints is that? *wobbles post-baby belly*

All the cool gear - this year will be the year, won't it?

In my 40s:

The Plan - I had no plan. In fact, as I approached my 40s I had done no exercise for years.  Also no dieting.  I was fat and unfit.  So I thought I'd take up running.  After all I'd seen a lot of other school gate mums doing it, how hard could it be?

The Reality - Running is really hard to keep up.  But, I'm still going running nearly a year on from when I started.  I am still not thin.  I am thinner, but this doesn't really matter because I am comfortable with myself.  Finally.

As I start yet another year of secret diet and fitness resolutions I am sure I'll keep it up, get better even.  I'm not sure what's changed really.  Maybe I just needed to be kinder to myself, more realistic.

I still keep thinking I'm going to trip myself up (not actually, although have you ever tried running on an icy pavement?  #bambionice), but I've got loads of cool running gear now, so this year will be the year. Definitely.

*Opens left over Christmas Bombay mix*

Maybe... ; )

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie Read Along Storybook

At the start of the Christmas holidays we were sent a lovely little children's book for review - The Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie Storybook.

I was really pleased by this because rather than just another picture book this particular book is also a read along book.  The twins have recently come along leaps and bounds at school with their reading and I was sure that this book would appeal to them.

The 32 page book is based on the new Peanuts Movie, which is currently in cinemas, and tells the story of Charlie Brown and how he tries to find friendship with the new girl at school (all with the help of Snoopy of course).

The text is just the right size for the twins to read by themselves and there are plenty of colour pictures to discuss as we read along.

The twins were really impressed with this type of reading book because they had seen the movie advertised and so were keen to pick it up and read.  I think anything that gets children wanting to read books by themselves is a good thing so that gets the thumbs up from me too!

I also loved that as Snoopy was a favourite character from my own childhood, through the new film and this book I can introduce him to my own children.  We're now all big fans here!

I'll certainly be looking out for some more of the Puffin read along style books for the twins to read in the future, especially as their reading appetite continues to grow.

The Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie Storybook is priced at £4.99 and can be bought here.

We were sent a copy of the Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie Storybook for the purpose of this review.  All words and opinions are our own.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Smile for the camera!

I'm back!

I hope you all had a brilliant Christmas.  Ours was... noisy, but the important thing is we had a nice break, which I really didn't want to end.

So to kick things off for the new year I thought I'd share this quick shot I took this afternoon on the school run (boo!).

I've been joining in with #snaphappybritmums over on Instagram, which is a photo prompt a day for a month. I've tried to take part before and failed but I'm determined to make it to the end of this month's list. Do follow me over on Instagram if you don't already to see if I actually manage it!

Today's prompt was 'car' and so what better way to illustrate than with a post school car selfie of us as we left for home.

Unfortunately twin girl decided that she'd edit the pre-teen boy out of the shot in her own unique way...

Why do they always have to fight, eh?

There is of course a heavily filtered happier version over on Insta-sham, so that people think my children are completely normal (they aren't).

Oh well, back to reality...

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