Tuesday, 22 November 2011

santa's reply.........

Last weeks blog contained a copy of our eldest daughter’s letter to Santa, this week I bring you Santa’s reply. Our eldest woke up one morning to find a red envelope sitting on top of the fireplace with her name on the front. Squeals of delight and endless questions of ‘how did he know that? Magic dust over the floor as she shook the letter in excitement it is a memory I will hold forever.

Dear ……………..

Thank you for your recent letter, I love receiving letters from all of the boys and girls from around the world. You are right, I have a naughty and nice list, I watch all of the boys and girls and only visit the good ones. I was watching when you decorated the house with toilet roll and when you used all of your mummy’s soap and even when your sister tipped over all of the flour, you must try to be a good girl for the rest of the year and yes I love bubbles; so does Rudolph.

            I have seen that you have been doing very very well at school this year, well done on your spelling test last week you were brilliant. I will remember about your roof being slippy and will be sure to tell the reindeers to be careful, thank you for telling me.

            Please tell your mummy I am very sorry for the mess I cause in your house and will try very hard to shake off the magic dust before I come in but im glad that you like it. I love sitting down in front of your fireplace to eat your lovely cookies and mince pies, you really are a great baker; I’m getting hungry thinking about it.

            I have looked over your list and I have checked it twice, you are right it is a very long list. I will see what I can do with the list but as it is so big I’m sure I wont manage all of it but I will try my best; the elves are very busy working hard to make all of the toys for all of the children in the world.  

            Remember to be good and try your best at everything you do, good luck in your competition but remember it’s the taking part that counts. Make sure you go to bed nice and early on Christmas eve and straight to sleep; I know when you are sleeping and when your awake.

                                 Merry Christmas

                                  Santa xxx

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Bribing Santa

The girls recently spent the night with their grandparents while hubby and I spent the night in a hotel, an enjoyable night for everyone; the girls are ‘granddads angels’. After picking the girls up I was handed an envelope to post, addressed to Santa, the North Pole. I thought I’d have a read, Christmas is close and I’m open to all present ideas (well at least I thought I was) Below is my eldest’s daughters letter (with help from granddad) and in it if I’m not mistaken she is trying to bribe Santa, well I for one have learnt something new, Santa will except the best cookies in the world to over look the not so good behaviour, the elves will work extra hard for your child if he/she leaves them a little something for Santa to take back.

It truly is amazing how the weeks leading up to Christmas our daughters behaviour goes from average to brilliant, I for one will not be knocking it though. The Christmas shopping will begin very shortly but it’s safe to say Santa will not be able to get everything on her list, I’m sure Santa can manage some of it but he certainly will not be trying to get an Ipad amongst other things on the list.

Happy letter writing to my readers

Dear Santa,

I think I have been a very good girl most of this year; I know you only come to good boys and girls but when I have been naughty it’s not always my fault. That time in the bathroom with all of mummy’s shampoos and soaps was an accident, well sort of we wanted to make bubbles; do you like bubbles?  Oh and the time when we put the toilet roll all over the living room and kitchen wasn’t naughty either because we were just decorating. I think my sister has been very naughty but please don’t put her on the naughty list because mummy says its not fair if only one of us gets sweets and the other doesn’t, I think she will think the same about presents. Daddy said she’s too young to understand but I think she does because that time we tipped the flour over the table was her idea.

  I promise to be very very very good for the rest of this year and to bake you the best cookies in the whole wide world. I will tell mummy to get the best carrots Morrison’s have so I can fill the reindeer’s tummies up as well. You must be careful because our roof is very slippy, daddy says he will fix it in time but mummy is always telling him to fix stuff that he doesn’t. Santa you make mummy cross when you leave your magic dust and footprints all over the house, I do tell her it’s not on purpose though. Mummy shouts at the hover when it doesn’t Hoover the magic dust up properly so maybe you could bring her a new hover so she doesn’t get cross. I love your magic dust, I love how it sparkles everywhere, and sometimes it gets it my hair, well it does when I put it there, I don’t want mummy to clean it up but she says we have too.

            I have thought long and hard about my list this year Santa and I know it’s big and I might not get everything on it but I do really really like everything and I couldn’t choose; I will be sure to leave the elves a present for their hard work.

Please can I have?

·         Everything Barbie in the book mummy has

·         A go-kart without pedals

·         An I pad like granddads so we can be the same

·         Lots of Lego

·         Magic kit

·         All of the Disney stuff that I saw in Disneyland

·         The soap maker I saw on television

·         Puppy in my pocket

·         The Phineas and Ferb collection

·         A sledge, just in case it snows

·         Some board games

·         The laser pen drawing game

·         A princess castle

·         Pottery wheel

·         A music player like daddy’s

·         A reading pad like mummy’s

·         A wagon so I can pull my sisters around

·         A new bike

Thank you, I will be waiting for your letter back, Lots and lots of love


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Widowed by the ‘war’

We’ve all seen the adverts and the social media are constantly talking about it, Call of duty modern warfare three has arrived. I think I’ve got a headache already, I spent the whole of yesterday searching for the best deal because “babe your better at it than me” I finally found the deal the hubby was looking for and with all the excitement in the air; I went for a nap. Just when I thought I had escaped the call of duty talk; my house was full of family members all discussing teams, clans, strategies and who was going to better. I tried to defuse the debate by putting in my own input “it doesn’t really matter whose better” the crunch line “it’s just a game.” I thought they were going to hang me there and then so I escaped to the kitchen, is it too early for vodka?

            It didn’t matter what I was doing or where I went I couldn’t escape it, the girls were telling me daddy was getting a new game, the phone was ringing to ask about meeting times even the checkout lady in Tesco’s was talking about it, I had to ask myself if I had lost my marbles. With the girls in bed I was ready to catch up on my ‘trash’ television and do absolutely nothing until bedtime, it wasn’t to be; how did I not know that hubby had to get into his ‘war’ mode? God forbid he gets beat by his nephew/friend; he was going to practice (on the old one) until quarter past eleven – the only way is Essex had to wait.

Now I know I watch some terrible car crash TV but surely that’s better then hearing: capture the flag, the other team has the flag, enemy missile inbound.  I was starting to feel like I was in the war, the war (whispers) that is just a game. Hubby went off to the supermarket to get his copy at midnight (wtf) he stood queuing for over an hour, is one game really worth this? I honestly thought that once he got home he would go to bed, wrong. To be honest I think I was a little naive thinking he would go to bed but as he had to be up and out by half seven in the morning I thought he’d get some sleep. By half three I had lost the plot, his language was terrible and he was shouting, I was upstairs and felt like we were in the same room. I stamped down the stairs and very nicely (depending on your version of nicely) asked him to be quite. He responded in mumbles that quickly turned into “where are you, I need help I’m at the back”

Today is another day, the ‘war’ continued into the hours of this morning and no doubt I will have a tired hubby when he arrives home, I wonder though; would it be funny to hide his remote control tonight? I think this game is going to be here for the long haul, another year probably, I can only hope the volume stays low and the language kept to a minimum. Mums world needs to sleep and as I am now a widow to the ‘war’ I WILL be getting some sleep tonight.

I would like to take this opportunity to send my condolences to the other gaming widows that are no doubt out there, may you get a good pair of earplugs and an even better night sleep. My bed shall be spacious but no doubt there will a little body lying with me by morning, a silver lining to the ‘war’

Thanks for reading, please follow a tired mums world on twitter


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The right to choose a caesarean section

Pregnancy is an exciting time but childbirth can be a very worrying and troublesome time for many expectant parents. Many common fears of childbirth include; Episiotomy, stillbirth, the pain, loss of sexual enjoyment after tearing, accidental bowl movements, medical intervention, the cord around the child’s neck, meconium problems and so many more. Fears are natural, some would say normal, so do these fears warrant a caesarean section?

            New government guidelines (to be published next month) will give all mothers to be the right to a caesarean section even if it is not medically needed and at the cost of the NHS. My question is this, should the NHS pay for women to have a caesarean section because they ‘don’t want’ to push or because of cosmetic reasons? A caesarean section cost around £800 more than a vaginal birth; in the current financial state of the UK should this option be available? If the UK reduced the caesarean rate by 1% the NHS could save a massive 5.6 million pound a year.

            A caesarean section is certainly not a decision to be made lightly; it is major surgery that can take months and months to recover from. I have three children; all born by caesarean sections and if I’m honest none of the births were a positive experience for me. My first C section was in October 2005, our eldest daughter weighed a whopping 10lb 4oz; with me having childhood hip and pelvis problems the doctors decided it was the best way for her to arrive. Due to complications and the weight of our first child the doctors thought another c section was best, in October 2008 my second daughter arrived. When I fell pregnant with our third child I had lengthy discussions with the doctors about trying a vaginal birth but he ruled it out again on medical grounds; our third daughter arrived in august 2010. Each experience (for me) was worse than the one before it and the recovery time longer.

 I understand there are a lot of reasons women might choose a c section and I’m all for choice but surely every case should be looked at on an individual basis; I totally disagree with a woman choosing this form of delivery because its ‘quicker’ or ‘easier’. As a generation, are we becoming more and more removed from the ways our ancestors did things? If I could have delivered my girls vaginally then I would have. I would have loved to be able to hold my daughter straight away and be able to look after her without the help of others.

Hospitals already struggle with the amount of patients they have, they like to have you in and out as quickly as possible to avoid bed shortages. Caesarean sections usually require a three day stay in hospital and I’m not sure our hospitals could manage with the intake of patients they could have because of these guidelines, and I also think a bed shortage is inevitable. A lot of doctors will only perform a caesarean if it is absolutely necessary, under the new guidelines these doctors can refer their patients to another doctor; some doctors will inevitably have more patents than others.

 One of the main things to concern me over the new guidelines is theatre space and lack of midwives. During a caesarean there are approximately seven or eight doctors/nurses/midwifes in the operating room; if caesareans birth rates dramatically increase where will the extra staff come from? In my local hospital they have two theaters on the maternity unit, one for emergencies and the other for necessary planned c sections, around 6 planned sections are preformed a day;  how will the maternity unit manage if that number doubles?, what standard of care can really be offered in such a busy environment?

I’m not a big fan of the new guidelines and I think they raise questions that have no answers.

Thanks for reading. Please follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/hayleythompson1

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Tips for saving money and keeping warm this winter.

The winter is fast approaching and a lot of people are dreading the bills that will be soon be landing on the doorstep. Energy prices have risen again and the cost of heating your home doesn’t come cheap. I have been talking with other mums and dads this week about the little and sometimes big actions we take to save money and stay warm during the winter months.      It’s sad but true that a lot of families can’t afford to turn their heating on and would rather go cold than go into debt to keep warm. I have put together a list of ways to help save money and keep warm, some are free or inexpensive and some come at a cost but will save you money in the long run.

Expensive solutions.

I will begin with the biggest and most expensive solutions:

  • Fit an energy efficient boiler – new boilers are not cheap but with an old boiler you are potentially wasting money. A new energy efficient boiler costs around £530 upwards but could save you up to £500 per year.
  • Double glazing – costs anywhere form around £3,000 upwards depending on the size of your house. Double glazing could save you around £100 a year and many companies offer BOGOF offers, shop around to get a great quote.
  • Solar panels - a basic solar panel kit is £12,000. Solar panels can produce 50% of your homes electricity and save you up to £200; some major fuel companies will let you have the solar panels for free. You can benefit form the electricity but you will not own the panels. I would recommend weighing up the pros and cons of solar panels before choosing which route to take.

Inexpensive solutions and tips.

Inexpensive solutions can make a huge difference in your home and in your purse:

  • Loft insulation – government schemes are in place to help people with cost of loft insulation. The elderly 70+ can benefit from free loft insulation, people who are on certain benefits can also benefit from free loft insulation. People who are not on any benefits can still receive up to 70% off. Loft insulation can save a family up to £175 a year. (www.freeinsulation.co.uk)
  • Draught tape – can be brought from as little as £3 from a lot of hardware stores.  Use a candle to locate any draughts and seal them, this will help keep the heat in.
  • Draught excluders – can be brought for around £2-£5, keep all of the heat in one room and stop a draught. You can also make this yourself, as a women and mummy I have lots of pairs of tights and odd socks; cut the tights in half and fill them with odd socks, place in front of doors and bingo.
  • Rugs – rugs on hard floors and help keep the room insulated and also stop your feet from getting cold when you get up.
  • Ecoflaps – letterboxes can loose 27% of your homes heat, eco flaps are around £20; they seal up the letterbox and still  the post to come through the door.  Ecoflaps are more available online. To save money you can just seal up your letter box yourself but remember to unseal it before the postman arrives.
  • Radiator boosters – as seen on dragons den. Radiator boosters sit on top of the radiator and suck up the lost heat from the back of the radiator and circle it though the room; they only cost 30p a year to run.  The cost of a radiator booster is around £20.

Free solutions and tips.

Saving money and keeping warm and free, what could be better?

·         Open blinds and curtains during the day to let the sun in and close them early evening to keep the heat in.

·         Layer up – its better to wear a few thin layers than to wear one heavy layer, jumpers and t-shirts will work great together.

·         Bleeding radiators – feel the radiator at the top and bottom, cold patches usually indicate that the radiators need bleeding. Bleeding radiators makes sure you are receiving all of the heat that you are paying for.

·         Remember not to cover radiators – keep the radiators clear to allow the heat to travel.

·         Candles – candles produce heat and a lot of people already have them in their homes; remember to be careful.

·         Light blankets/dressing gowns and socks - keep you warm if your just relaxing watching TV or reading.

·         Lots of hot drinks – hot drinks will warm you right though on cold days, thermo flasks will also keep your drinks warmer for longer.

·         Hats – the majority of your body heat is lost though your head so to keep the heat wear a hat.

·         Exercise – exercise will warm you up and keep your blood flowing, get the whole family involved in the housework; it will keep everyone warm and get the jobs done.

·         Keep doors open – when using the shower or bath and even cooking. If the kitchen and bathroom doors stay open it allows the heat to travel.

·         Washing on a lower temperature – using the washing machine on lower temperatures reduces the energy the washing machine uses and saves you money.

·         Try not to use the tumble dryer – getting the children’s clothes dry can be a nightmare in the winter but it will save you money if you use a clothes rail instead of the tumble dryer.

·         Hot water bottles – again a lot of people will already have them, great for keeping you warm.

·         Snuggles/hugs – my favourite; nothing beats snuggling up on the sofa with the hubby and girls and sharing body heat.

Stay warm. Thanks for reading, please follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/hayleythompson1

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Disneyland Paris………..The magic begins the moment the tell them! A mums world review and our experience.

The Magic begins the moment you tell them, that’s the slogan and it isn’t wrong. I wish we hadn’t told them as early as we did because it was along time coming as the girls haven’t really got a concept of weeks and months.

            We had an early start, we left the house at 630am, the adventure began there, “but mummy its still dark and I’m sleeping” breakfast felt like it lasted an eternity and the girls got so excited it was hard getting them to stay still for shoes and coats. The drive to the airport wasn’t bad, the roads were clear and the girls were happily chatting to one another, I’m a terrible flyer and my stomach was in knots all the way and by the time we had arrived I was already panicking and we hadn’t even checked in. I chose to fly to Paris (even though I hate flying) because it was a lot quicker and at the time I thought it would be more exciting for the girls because they had never flew before. Check in was self service, clever mummy used the wrong machine and it couldn’t find us on the flight, after nearly crying and stamping my feet like toddler we got checked in, luggage was underweight and we had plenty of time to grab a coffee. We sailed through security and I even managed to control myself in the airport shops; all that was left to do was to get on the plane. My fear of flying isn’t because of crashing or anything like that, it’s because I can’t stand the feeling of going up in the air, I feel sick and my stomach does summersaults. I didn’t want to frighten the girls I had told them how great flying was and how much they would love it, if only I could convince myself. The plane was small and we found our seats easily, the only problem was that because the plane was so small we couldn’t all sit next to each other; I was to be across the isle.

I had my sick bag at the ready as soon as the engine started, I pretended to use it like a fan so my eldest didn’t think anything of it but I felt terrible. I had been sat next to a pilot (not the pilot, just another passenger going on holiday) and can never thank him enough; he spoke to me all the way up, giving me hints and tips on how not to throw up. Once in the air I was ok again, I got my pre packed picnic out (to pass the time) and gave the girls some snacks. The flight was really quick and the landing was smooth; minus a couple of seatbelt mishaps (mishaps being my middle daughter wouldn’t keep it on) we had arrived. The nightmare had just begun; no one could have prepared me for the nightmare at the France airport we had landed in.

Once off the plan we followed the signs to collect our luggage, we had to get a tram. My partner stepped onto the tram and the doors shut, the girls and I were left standing on the platform. 10 minutes and a lot of worry later we stepped onto the next tram to meet up with daddy and collect our luggage; wrong. Once off the tram we found my other half and went through passport control but still no luggage; three walking escalators and two lifts later (buy now the baby was getting heavy) we had the found the right carousel. The problem we were facing was no pushchair, the airport staff couldn’t understand me and I couldn’t understand them either, where was our pushchair? We finally found an English speaking employee who informed us our pushchair would come out separately on another carousel; a ten minute walk away. I was getting stressed out and regretting the whole idea to fly.

 All our luggage together we set off for our Disney transfer coach, we found it easily enough because the queue was spilling into the airport. “I need a wee mummy”, by the time we had been to the toilet the coach had been and gone and the next one wasn’t for another thirty minutes. I started feeding the girls, crisps, sweets and anything else I could find to pass the time before we could get on the coach. Once the coach arrived (late) we were on our way to our hotel only forty-five minutes to go.

            It was smooth sailing from then, we had a pleasant journey to the hotel and check in was very quick and very smooth, all we had to do was find our room. The Disney hotel SANTE FE was very basic but it was well compact and clean, our room was fairly big and we had everything we needed, the staff were friendly and very helpful. I unpacked had a quick cuppa and we were ready to go and explore. The hotel runs a free shuttle bus to the Disney parks, it arrives every ten minutes like clockwork and a godsend when you don’t know the way yourself.

            I found the Disney park a bit of a letdown if I’m honest, too many shops and I thought they could have more rides. The decorations were amazing, its Halloween season and it really did look magical but the girls were so excited and so tired. We had a walk around the main park but didn’t really go on any rides or in to many shops, it really is massive. The plan was to get an early night and then spend a whole day in the park. Once the children were asleep I started to find faults with the hotel I had chosen. As we only had one room with two double beds and a cot, once the girls were asleep my partner and I couldn’t really talk, watch TV, or have the main lights on; these are not faults of the hotel but faults with my booking of the holiday. 

            The next morning we headed to the main area of the hotel for breakfast and along the way we bumped into Mickey and Minnie. The girls gave the characters a hug and had their photos taken and also got autographs. Once we found the canteen I was pleasantly surprised at the choice for breakfast, I had read a continental breakfast and wasn’t really sure what to expect, it was wonderful. The buffet style breakfast had something for everyone; bread rolls, croissants, ham, cheese, fruits, cereals and toast not forgetting the wide variety of jams and spreads. We loaded our tray and set off to find a table. The hotel was busy and finding a table wasn’t easy but finding a high chair was impossible, I asked the staff and was told to look around the room because they didn’t have many. After having no luck with finding a high chair I asked a family who had one if I could have theirs when they had finished, I felt very rude interrupting someone else’s breakfast but they didn’t seem to mind and sure enough they let me know when they finished with it. The canteen also offered a wide variety of drinks at breakfast but I had developed an instant disliking to the French milk so it was just water for me. Before we had left England I had read on a parenting forum how expensive the food is in the Disney parks and the advice given was to make ham rolls at breakfast and take them with you for lunch. I set about making the lunch and tried to be discrete but half the hotel guests were doing the same thing and the staff didn’t seem to mind.

            Once we arrived in the park the dance train/parade was just beginning, the train passed us and the characters waved and dancers were dancing in front and behind the train; the downside to the parade was the ignorance of other people; I understand that everyone wanted to see but people were moving children’s prams out of the way and pushing people so their child could see. During the five days we were there the ignorance of people was astounding, the pushing and shoving to see characters and shows was unbelievable and that was the biggest disappointment for me. The prices of items in the park were very expensive, a coffee, water and juice was over ten euro! The children loved fantasy land and seeing the princesses, it truly was our favourite part of the parks. The queues for the rides were very long, many of them being an hour long, Disney offer a fast pass and in hindsight it is worth buying; queuing for up to an hour with three children could be hard work.

            During our visit we went to the Walt Disney studio park, the live shows were amazing and the interactive stitch show is a must see. We hired a pushchair for our three year old because the walking was getting too much for her, we paid nine euro a day for the privilege, the buggy was very lightweight  and another must have; I hadn’t realised just how big the resort was. The toy story play land was brilliant and very imaginative but we found it wasn’t really suitable for young children; many of the rides had height restrictions and were really a bit more for pre teens upwards. Playhouse Disney live was also very good. Our three year old got so into it, dancing to the music and she loved seeing her favourite characters on the stage (even if they were puppets.) All of the live shows were free and available in many different languages, the times and languages were clearly shown so you knew exactly what time to be where.

            Out eldest daughter turned six while we were away and we had a meal booked at cafĂ© Mickey with a surprise birthday cake. We arrived for our reservation and were kept waiting another twenty minutes for our table to be ready. Once seated we gave our food orders to the waiter and enjoyed seeing the characters walking around the restaurant, they took the time to stop at every table and spend a few minutes with all the children. The food wasn’t great, I’m not a very fussy eater but my stake was over cooked and very chewy (I ordered medium rare) and the chips were cold. The cake arrived with Mickey Mouse and the whole restaurant clapped their hands and sang happy birthday to my daughter. With our meals my partner and I had a starter each and a desert but I was still very surprised to be presented with a bill of 159 euro.

            Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party was next on the agenda. The park opened at night for the event and was very well lit and also very quite. The characters were everywhere and all of the rides were also on, the best bit was no ques. At 25 euro each (over threes) the night didn’t come cheap but we met so many different characters and also saw three parades, the children were given trick or treat sweets on every corner and felt really special, the final show was spectacular.

            A tea party with the characters, 19 euro each (over threes) was a bit of  let down for us. I had expected a bit more from the food on offer, it was just pudding, doughnuts, yogurts and chocolate cake.  I wasn’t expecting a three course meal but maybe something hot. Five characters were present at the party but seemed to spend more time back stage then they did in the eating area. If we had known how little time the girls would get with the characters we wouldn’t have paid the money.

            The journey home was better than the one to get there, the bus dropped us off where we needed to be and we checked in without any hassle. The flight wasn’t very smooth but I think I handled it quite well; the holiday had been a great success until the plane began to land. My little one (1) began to cry as we were landing and a French man shouted over to my partner in broken English, “cant you shut it up” to say I was offended is an understatement. We were already doing what we could to settle our daughter but babies cry, my partner was very angry and a few choice actions back to the other man made the whole situation worse. By the time we hit the run way the man was shouting at my partner in French, we could guess what he was saying with his hand signals. I am very proud to say that my partner picked our daughter up and walked off the plane and never said another word to the man in question, the better man walks away, and with our children present it was the right move.

            It’s lovely to be home and the memories we will hold forever, were talking about going back next Christmas. To sum up my review id say: it’s brilliant just to see the children’s faces light up. I do think it’s too expensive once you are there but that isn’t going to change. Timing is crucial for characters/parades and shows so try and plan well ahead. Book as much as you can; meals, shows ect. before you leave so it is one less thing to worry about then you get their. Disney offer a great meal option when booking. I have found; are the cheapest place to book your package is with Disney directly.

Please follow me on twitter hayleythompson1

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

cancer - destroying families for far too long.

Cancer is soul destroying, you know that your parents are going to die one day but when you hear the dreaded C word life as you know it changes. Emotions are hard to comprehend; you want to break down but yet be supportive and tell them its going to be ok. Life becomes about numbers and levels, I spent months doing research about what to expect and how to help but the feeling of helplessness is so overwhelming and that feeling never goes away.

It was 2009 when we found out my dad had prostate cancer, while going through the required tests doctors told us that is was unlikely to be cancer because my dad was so young and his PSA level wasn’t actually that high, hope is hope so we clung onto it. The test came back positive for cancer; the plan was surgery and the doctors were confident the cancer wasn’t very developed so surgery was a good idea. While waiting for the operation to have his prostate removed the cancer grew and progressed, my dad didn’t want to talk about it at all so all we could do was just watch  him sink deeper into a depression. Surgery was a success; the doctors removed the prostate without any problems but had decided that radiotherapy was also a good idea just to make sure all of the cancer cells had gone.

While my dad was recovering post surgery, the colour came back to his face, his depression seemed to have got a bit better and it was great to see him laughing and smiling again. I’m not an only child, my dad has five others, my little brother’s were so young that they didn’t understand what was going on and I honestly think maybe that was a blessing for them. As adults the rest of us helped when we could, he was our priority. The radiotherapy did not happen, the people who take part in the cancer trails are picked at random and even though the doctor thought it was a good idea my dad wasn’t chosen and it was a bit of a blow. My dads PSA level had dropped to almost what it should have after the surgery so life should continue as normal, in theory we were cancer free. Having the knowledge that my dad was on the mend wasn’t as comforting as I thought it would be, the constant dread of what ifs, never seemed to fade.

After having prostate cancer my dad had to have his blood levels checked on a regular basis, and each time the appointments came around it was sleepless nights for all involved and for almost two years the results were good. During the two years my dad changed his life; he stopped smoking, lost a lot of weight and was living healthier than he ever had, a healthy mind a healthy body was a theory he had but it wasn’t to be. Hearing the news that his PSA levels had risen twice consecutively hurt more than when I had originally found out about the cancer, my mind had gone into overdrive; could you really beat cancer twice? The second time around the options change, surgery isn’t an option because it has already been done, radiotherapy was on the horizon as were hormone injections; round two was about to begin.

The hormones have been started and radiotherapy will begin shortly, hope is in the air because after all if you haven’t got hope what have you got? Technology is a wonderful thing and new treatments are found all the time but when it’s a member of your family suffering the new treatments are not happening soon enough. The hardest part for me to grasp is that a few months ago my dad was healthy and since treatment has started he’s in pain and suffering from the other side effects of his treatment, I don’t think anyone wants to see their parent/s hurting. This time around my little brothers are older and are starting to understand more, as much as we are trying to avoid the C word you can see that their curious as to what is going on, children pick up on everything.

Cancer affects so many people on a daily basis but I don’t think you can ever understand properly until it’s your family going through it. Every cancer patient is a mother/father/son/daughter/brother/sister/grandparent and the whole family go through the emotions that it brings. My step mum has been brilliant through this whole process and can never be thanked enough. I donate monthly to cancer research if not for my dad but for someone else’s and I pray that one day a cure will be found. I pray and hope that we as a family can beat this for a second time around, cancer destroys so many lives a cure is vital. I’m sending well wishes to everyone out there fighting cancer, stay strong and remain positive.

Since writing this blog a new drug trail for prostate cancer has been stopped early because it is so successful, hope is alive.

Thanks for reading. Please follow me on twitter hayleythompson1

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Getting my groove back

I recently read a blog post about mums getting their groove back and it gave me some ideas on how to get mine back. Since having the children I have definitely let things slip, as we all know their needs come first (and rightly so) and ours, well they get done when and if we have time. My partner and I have a date night once a month but I don’t really think that, that is me getting my groove back. The things I loved before having the girls were selfish, I was young and carefree.
            I think back to what I used to do before having the girls and all I can really come up with is drinking, partying and socialising. I went to college and studied my chosen profession and at seventeen - eighteen my weekends were spent with friends or working my part time job (to pay for the weekend’s antics) and not really doing a lot. I moved on to thinking about what I enjoyed when I only had one child and more time and responsibility; the list looked better. I used to love nothing more than a long soak in the bath using luxury salts and bombs; it isn’t quite the same when the children are in and out the bathroom ‘mum do you want some toys in there?’ or “mum can I just dip my feet in?” A quick shower in the morning is nowhere near as nice.
            I love to read but just don’t really find the time, I usually grab a chapter or so in the evenings but I used to read for hours on end but living in a busy house and having things to do it just isn’t possible to read for a good length of time. I read on the Amazon kindle and it hasn’t got a back light so no reading in the dark for me (something I used to do) and constant ‘mum are you sharing your toys” or “is it my turn mum” puts me off reading in the day and when I’m home I prefer spending the day times doing activities that include the girls.
            My wardrobe is pretty bland if I’m honest, it mainly consists of formal wear and then lots of jeans, basic tops and cardigans. Before having the children I loved shopping; shoes, bags, dresses and whatever really caught my eye. Since the children I love nothing more than shopping for them. I get myself clothes when I need them. Shopping for myself isn’t something I enjoy too much and money matters more when you have responsibilities then it ever did before. I will walk around the shops and if I like something I’ll weigh up what else is going out that week or what the children might need and then I end up talking myself out of purchasing it.

            To get my groove back I decided to start with the luxury bath, I brought some bombs, salts, melts and some candles to set the scene, I set the kindle up with a new book, my partner and the children were baking in the kitchen so I had an hour. I ran the bath but while it was running I put the washing away, it would save a job later. Once in the bath I turned the kindle on and settled in, the bath was lovely the book was a good read but after twenty minutes I wanted to get out, I could hear the family downstairs playing and laughing and I was bored. I got out the bath threw some clothes on and went to enjoy the fun.
            I also attempted clothes shopping this week; I wandered in and out of shops and brought a few items, nothing amazing or special just some winter bits and pieces. While shopping, I couldn’t resist buying the girls and hubby a few bits as well and I know they didn’t really need anything but I felt bad that I had something new and they didn’t.
            My attempt at getting my groove back wasn’t all that great. I’ve come  to realise that I didn’t loose my groove in the first place well at least I don’t think I did, my groove  changed. The activities I used to love are still great but they do not make me feel like the old me and I don’t think I want to be the old me. I adore the girls and love being a mummy and yes at times it’s tiring, frustrating and could test the patience of a saint but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I could carry on about the wonders of being a parent but you all know them wonders yourselves. The old me was selfish and irresponsible and yes I had some great fun but I’ve changed, more importantly I’ve grew up.
            Everyone needs ‘me’ time and I’m not different, I will make more of an effort to make time in the evenings for more reading and have long (well until I get bored) baths from time to time but I don’t need my groove back, I have a new groove now and I love it.

Thanks for reading please follow me on twitter hayleythompson1

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

But mum that’s my favourite and the attack of the shark.

Our house is covered in toys, we have a toy box in the front room, a toy chest in the girls bedrooms and a bath toy box but yet somehow every surface and floor ends up covered in ‘favourite’ toys; I even have a tiny toy box in my bedroom for the unexpected 6am wakeup calls. Favourite toys come and go and I try to rotate the toys upstairs with the ones downstairs so that everything gets played with but some toys are never chosen so in my mind they are no longer needed. My two eldest children both have birthdays in the same week and with Christmas around ten weeks after their birthdays I like to have a clearout; mainly to make space for the new toys that will no doubt be arriving with the birthday fairies and Father Christmas.

When the weekend came around I suggested that the hubby take the girls to see his parents to give me time to sort through everything; he is as bad as they are, I have a loft full of items that we will ‘need’ one day. With the house empty I began the dreaded task; dreaded because nothing ever turns out to be where I think it is. The main toy will probably be in one room and the accessories in another. I had three piles, one to donate to the charity shops/hospital, one to bin and one to keep. Half an hour in and it looked like a nuclear bomb had gone off in the living room, I was hot and bothered and wondering why I had ever started. I had sat on countless parts and pieces and the accessories that I knew I had put at reach had gone; or rather I hadn’t put them where I thought I had. The girls were back, nanny and granddad had to go out; lack of planning turned out to be my downfall.
In for a penny in for a pound as the saying goes, I will continue I kept chanting in my head.

“mum that’s my favourite toy what are you doing with it” I explained about the poorly children needing toys only to be met with “but what if we get poorly we might need it” I was loosing the battle and it had only just began, I could feel my partners eyes burning into the back of my head; the fact that the toy in question hadn’t been played with probably since new year didn’t seem to come into the bad mummy moment I was apparently having.  “oh look, mum you found my racing car, I’ve been looking for that for ages I love this toy” it was news to me, I didn’t think it was lost; how could I not know it had been lost all the time it had been sitting in the toy box missing a wheel? I tried to explain it was broken and couldn’t be played with anymore but “daddy will fix it.”

 I thought I had finished in the living room so with a smile on my face I went off to the kitchen to get the bags and heard an almighty crash shortly followed by... “gggrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhh I’m a shark”
 I was standing in the door holding my bags just looking at the shark that had conveniently found itself thrashing around in the middle of my lovely neat piles of toys. I had just spent hours sorting through the toys and everyone around me was laughing and I just stood there with my mouth wide open debating an emotional breakdown.

I quit and I admit my failure with a smile on my face, my two year old daughter, sorry shark had beat me, the  next time I attempt the living room toys I will pre arrange a visit when nanny and granddad have no plans. I’m also sure my partner winked at our little shark after the crash; better luck next time mummy.

I escaped the bomb site and headed upstairs closing the stair gates behind me. The toys upstairs were a doddle in comparison but I think that had more to do with the fact I had no interruptions, Countless jigsaws with missing pieces, train tracks with missing tracks and a Barbie who was somehow missing her arm were just a few of my finds.  When I thought nothing could surprise me anymore I asked my daughter if she knew where barbie's arm was and I was informed that Barbie had wanted to be like the women on CBebbies with one arm because the lady off the telly wanted someone else to be like her. I normally would have told her off for deliberately breaking a toy but her heart was in the right place, well sort of. I did explain that she shouldn’t have just ripped Barbie’s arm off and how lucky she is to have so many toys but I’m not sure I made my point very clearly, maybe it was the suprise of her answer.

 I bagged the toys up and hid them in the spare room, I wasn’t going to risk taking them downstairs when the girls were awake just in case of another unexpected shark attack or another ‘my favourite toy’ moment.

Thanks for reading please follow me on twitter hayleythompson1

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

24 hours with no electric devices and gadgets.

Nothing irritates me more than speaking to one of the children and them not listening because they are watching television or playing on one of their handheld devices. The list of devices is endless but are these devices taking away traditional family time? Adults and children alike love them, my partner loves his Xbox, (I’m pretty sure he thinks he is actually in a ‘war’) I’m always on the laptop checking emails and sorting out appointments or reading on the kindle and the children are obsessed with the DS and like nothing more than to watch the television.

 Family time had changed. I decided that on Saturday we would spend twenty four hours with no gadgets or devices.


 Usually the elder girls would watch a children’s channel after breakfast while I do the housework; today I encouraged the girls to help, my eldest had a dust cloth, my middle daughter was running around with the dustpan and brush while I pulled the baby around in the wash basket filled with toys; my partner was still in the land of nod. The novelty soon wore off and the big girls became restless, “please can we just watch Phineas and Ferb until your finished mum? pppplllleeeeaaassseee” I wasn’t going to give in, “no but why don’t we wake your daddy up and then we can go to the park” the girls ran off up the stairs; the housework could wait, next stop the park.

Once everyone was ready we headed to the park and it was nice to chat on the walk with no interruptions from phone calls. The park was quite and we had a great time, getting the girls off the park however was a nightmare, after countless five more minutes I prized them off the climbing frame and we headed home for lunch. With lunch on the table I admit I was tempted to check some emails but I resisted the urge as I could hear the girls talking about joining up the DS’s, they had no chance, not today.

I fetched the dolls house, the dolls and prams not forgetting the cars, trains and trucks and the toy of the moment, the shark. The imagination of a child is wonderful, I love watching how my middle little girl fits a shark into any form of role play she is doing. As a family we sat on the floor, I couldn’t remember the last time we spent such quality time together and laughed as much as we did. The girls were having a great time and when the baby had a nap, we switched to a more ‘grown’ up game of Uno. It wasn’t long before my eldest was crying because she didn’t win, her dad on the other hand was smiling because he did; like father like daughter their competitive streaks are identical. 

After dinner we were all tired and I would have loved to put a film on and snuggle up; it would have been an easy option but instead we decided to walk dinner off and go conker picking. We told the girls stories of conker games we had played as children, they were excited to play. We talked about the changing seasons and how Christmas isn’t far away. Armed with leaves and conkers we headed home, bath and bed was definitely on the cards.

            The children were out like a light but  then my partner turned the XBOX on, he had thought that 24 hours actually meant until the girls went to bed, he is in a ‘war’, how could I forget. I grabbed his remote control and hid it in my handbag, 24 hours is 24 hours. We spent the night playing cards and talking about our dream wedding; (our ideas are very different) holidays and Christmas; just enjoying each others company. Since having the children we try to have a date night once a month, we go to the pictures or bowling usually but just talking and playing cards was actually a lot more enjoyable than a night out but I couldn’t wait to sleep.

            Reflecting on our 24 hours I must admit it was harder than I thought it would have been. Technology does make life easier; I would have had the housework done for a start, if I had let it, it would have kept the children entertained while I caught up on the things I had to do. I could have hogged the telly while being on the laptop once the children were in bed while my hubby was participating in his ‘war’. I have come to the conclusion that technology and gadgets make us lazy at times and sometimes you don’t get to actually spend quality time together as a family. Previously we had played family computer games and enjoyed them but I found the weekend’s role play activity so much better.

Of course when Sunday came around the house came alive with the sounds of the various gadgets but we have limited (more than before) the amount of time we spend using them. In all honestly I didn’t think we overused them in the first place but I didn’t like the way the world disappeared while using them. The 24 hours definitely brought us that bit closer together but it isn’t something we could do on a permanent basis. The phones had to be turned back on and luckily there was no big emergency in the last day; that thought hadn’t crossed my mind when I turned them off.

            Monday to Friday’s are a different story, the internet is always on; I encourage my eldest little lady to use the computer to work on her school work, although she doesn’t actually get home work she has targets for the autumn term and she works towards them. Education city is great for this, number lines, letters and sounds and other key stage one activities. With the eldest on the laptop our middle child is usually sat next to her at the kitchen table playing on her handheld and I’m preparing dinner. The phones are always on; hubby plays his computer most nights. The television is on for a few hours in the morning and evening for the children and most of the evening for me. I constantly read and also from time to time enjoy joining in on hubby’s ‘real life war’ much to his annoyance. (I don’t take it seriously enough and I also don’t have a strategy; woops!)

Weekends have always been about family time, family time with gadgets, my opinion has definitely changed

Weekends are family time, the less technology the better!

Thanks for reading, please follow me on twitter - hayleythompson1

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Dairy free pizza; an easy inexpensive meal to suit the whole family.

Cooking a meal for the whole family never used to require too much thought but since having a child who is lactose intolerant things have considerably changed. After a busy day I can’t just throw something out of the freezer into the oven because the odds are it will contain dairy; fish fingers, pizza, golden drummers and anything covered in breadcrumbs is out. I have found it hard to feed the whole family and would usually end up making separate meals for the baby. If anyone reading this has ever tried dairy free items you will know that most of them aren’t great; my other children don’t like the ones we have tried so this eliminates making the one dairy free meal to suit everyone. I set out to try a few recipes; I was determined to find at least one meal we could all eat together.
Today we made a dairy free pizza and the little one loved it. The activity turned into a family event with everyone getting involved and adding their own toppings. The girls loved making their own dinner and it was great way to spend some quality family time. The pizza took around thirty minutes to make and was a huge success; it was also a fraction of the price of a takeaway pizza and it fed the whole family without complaints.
I made the pizza base from scratch but you can buy a dairy free mix from most supermarkets for around 50p, all you need then is the tomato puree (also around 50p) and  the toppings of your choice; we used ham, bacon, sweet corn, mushrooms and pineapple. (The children’s choice)

The Pizza base recipe.

-          1 cup of strong white flour
-          1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
-          1 teaspoon of salt (optional)
-          1 teaspoon fast acting yeast
-          1 teaspoon of olive oil
-          Half a cup of warm water

Mix the dry ingredients together first and then add the water and oil, knead together until you have a soft smooth dough; cover with a tea towel and leave for approximately 5 minutes to rise. (For best results leave for 10 minutes)
Once risen, roll the dough out on a floured surface to the shape of your choice; apply the tomato puree/ tomato sauce and begin adding your toppings. Once all of the toppings have been put onto the base, place the pizza into a preheated oven 180 ◦c for approximately ten minutes. Enjoy.
Warning – a great family activity but it can be very messy, we had more flour on the flour than on the table and in the bowl.

please follow me on twitter - hayleythompson1

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Back too school xxx

       The summer holidays have been and gone, late mornings, late nights and a stress free six weeks with no timetable.
       September comes around and apprehension filled the house, shoes didn't fit properly trousers needed heming and  my little diva did not want to go back to school because 'you cant play in year one mum'; well that settles it then no school because you can't play - god loves a trier.
i would have been more than prepared if it wasn't for the two other children  throwing up all night, believe me i  would have preferred ironing the school uniform then cleaning up sick off the carpet, the smell alone makes me ill, my children are so considerate!
       The alarm went off and no one moved, for the past six weeks the girls had been up by half seven but not today, i gave her a little rub to wake her up to be greeted with "did you not know i was dreaming?" Well mummy's sorry come on time for school; the look on her face was priceless.
Breakfast, oh the joys. To get out of the supermarket with all three children in tow and with all of their limbs attached we ended up with coco pops, chocolate weetabix or nesquik  - great i was sending my child to school on her first day high on sugar; young mummy mistake one, no healthy breakfast.
I'm not sure why getting dressed creates so much drama in our house, i know shes five but i like her to look neat and looking neat isn't always achieved by letting her dress herself, lets be honest its the first day; she can dress herself everyday after today. My daughter doesn't like her uniform at all, doesn't understand why she is wearing a vest and not a crop top, and tights how could i put her in tights? getting dressed took longer than it ever had but on the upside her hair should be easy.
       I had prepared her hair the night before so it shouldn't really have any knots this morning - wrong, toothpaste all through the front gggrrrhhhh. Ten minutes and alot of screams later we were ready to go; no rephrase that she was ready. i think mums on the playground like to play supermodels in the morning, full face of makeup perfect hair perfect outfit - not me, if i had my way I'd go in my nice warm cosy pj's and to be honest i don't have the time or energy to even try, i pull my jeans on, throw on whatever is closest to me and scrape my hair back. I think its clear to say i'm not 'in' with the other mums; young mummy mistake 2 - not trying with the other yummy mummy's.
I threw some clothes on and off we went, On the walk to school i reminded her of what we had done over the holidays because she has a knack of forgetting and when its her turn to tell her news she replies with "i don't think we did anything" I realise the money spent on various activities and holidays was well spent and she had such a good time that she had forgotten.
      We reach the school and the super mums are all there in their high heels and manicured nails discussing their perfect little angels, Ive not brushed my hair because i didn't have time, so to sum it up i look like Ive rolled out of bed and down the hill to school.
       I look down only to realise my little diva had her shoes on the wrong feet - note to self check shoes before we leave the house not at the school gate! I thought about cunning ways to change her shoes before we reached the classroom and before anyone noticed but came up with nothing. The only way forward was to do it there and then on the playground, if i didn't fit in before with the super mums i certainly do not now - "but mum i like them like this" Please dear god not now just change your shoes. Shoes changed, nightie hanging out of my coat, time to get into the classroom.
At home time my little lady looked like she had been dragged though a hedge backwards, walking out balancing her coat on her head while proudly showing her ripped tights, I on the other hand was dressed appropriatly and my hair was brushed - better late than never.
"how was your day sweetie"
"boring, i'm not going back tomorrow"
The school year had officially began........