Thursday, 29 September 2011

Win a lovely Teething Bling pendant - Closed

And the winner is........Nikki Moore - Congratulations!!

Some of you may know of my love of Teething Bling. It all started a few months back when I received my first pendant and realised that I could wear jewellery again! As a mum to three young boys I'd really given up all hope of wearing any sort of jewellery. I had tried but have had earrings pulled (ouch) and necklaces broken. What was the point?! But then I discovered Teething Bling by Smart Mum UK. Amazing pendants and bangles that can be chewed (preferably by the baby though I must admit, I have had a go myself!), and if pulled, the fab breakaway clasp stops it breaking (or throttling you). I've now got three pendants as I needed different colours to be able to accessorise.

Ollie loves it too.  You can read my full review here, but here's a more recent photo of him with the lovely zebra print pendant.


You can buy Teething Bling from http://www.smartmumuk.com/, but if you would like the chance to win a pendant of your choice then please read on.....

The fab peeps at Smart Mum UK have kindly offered a pendant for me to give away on my blog.

To enter this fantastic competition please complete the following actions:

Join Teething Bling UK on Facebook here and/or follow them on twitter here.  Please leave me a comment below to say you have done so, and make sure you leave a way of contacting you, either email address or twitter name.

For extra entries you can complete one or more of the following, leaving a separate comment for each action, and a method of contact.

1. Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect
2. Follow me on twitter here
3. Join my Facebook page here
4. Tweet the following: "I'd love to win a @teethingblinguk pendant from @joanneblunt in the blog giveaway at http://tinyurl.com/5u4hs4f"

UK entries only please.  The competition will close on 14th October 2011 and the winner will be drawn by random.org

Good luck!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Decisions, decisions

It's crunch time for my car.  We have put up with it for the past 11 months since Ollie has been born, but there's only so many journeys I can handle being squashed between two car seats in the back.  Three children and 'normal' cars just don't work.  They may be classed as 5 seaters, but they're certainly not when you factor in the car seats.

Since I've had Ollie, we've had to put Zac's car seat in the front, leaving me sat between Ethan and Ollie.  Now this has caused a few issues:
1 - I have to put up with my husband's driving! (he refuses to sit in the back)
2 - I don't fit very well and can't move once I'm in there
3 - We can't really go anywhere long distance as it's way too uncomfortable, and
4 - Ollie plays up.  It's as if because he can see me, he thinks he should be able to come out.  I spend most journeys trying to pacify him.

We always intended to change our car when I fell pregnant with Ollie; we knew my Peugeot 308 just wouldn't cut it.  But finances dictated and we kept putting it off.  We did look at lots of cars.  My husband got himself a Mazda and when we went to pick it up I fell in love with the Mazda 5.  It has sliding back doors and didn't look too much like a people carrier.  I soon realised why.  There's still not three full car seats in the back, so I would have had to put one of the boys into the third row permanently, which I didn't really want to do.

Around this time, I also decided to become a childminder, so we would definitely need a car with more seats. But what to get?  And how would we afford it?  I have spent so many hours online, looking at different options, yet months have passed and we've still got the same car.  But now it's coming to the point where I've got no choice but to make a decision.  I always buy cars on those three year agreements you get with new car dealers.  I've always found it easier, if something goes wrong I can get it sorted, and I get to drive a nice new car every three years.  Anyway, my three years is almost up.  And the other pressing factor is that my childminding application has been submitted.

I had a phone call from my local Peugeot garage this week so went down to see them and have a look at what was on offer.  I loved one particular car (the 5008 if anyone is interested) but the price tag was way too high.  Even with the discount they offered there was just no way that I could afford it.  I was really disappointed, but I suppose I can't expect them to just give it away (though that would have been nice and would have made me a loyal customer for life!!) It's just so frustrating.  They did make me a really good offer on another car (308 SW).  It's got the option of having 7 seats, though it's more of a temporary 7 seater.  The offer is so good though that everyone is saying I'd be stupid not to take it.  And the more I think about it, the more I'm wondering if it could work.  My husband loves it because it's got a panoramic glass roof (that's how much interest he is taking).

It wouldn't have been my first choice, but it seems like the only way I'm going to get a bigger car, and move all three boys into the back.  It would be so nice to travel as a passenger in the front again!  The more I think about it, the more it's growing on me.  But it's so hard to make a decision about such a big purchase.  I've been reading lots of reviews online, and I haven't read anything yet that's put me off. I found a video on Motors.co.uk that explained lots about how the seating arrangements work.  I think it may be okay for me.  I might phone to order it tomorrow.  Unless I win the lottery tonight of course ;-)

This post is also featured on Motors.co.uk

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

I've taken a big step........

.......and turned off the TV!!

Admittedly it started as a punishment for Zac and Ethan's bad behaviour.  And, I know, it shouldn't have been on in the first place.  But (here come the excuses), I needed to be able to get on with other things and it was just easier to turn the TV on for them.  Okay, that's very lazy parenting.  I admit it.

So, Zac and Ethan have been so naughty since they've gone back to school that I've started withdrawing privileges.  And not just threatening it like I used to.  I'm actually going through with it (even though it makes me feel like a very mean mummy sometimes).  But I really feel like I need a bit of control.  The boys are wild sometimes.  Individually, they're great.  They listen, play nicely, and are as well behaved as I can expect them to be.  But put them together and they turn into whirlwinds of destruction.  They fight, everything gets thrown around, the noise level goes up about 20 notches, and they are completely uncontrollable.  I try talking calmly, shouting at the top of my voice, sending one of them to their room to separate them, but they don't take a blind bit of notice of anything I say.  They seem lost in their own world of naughtiness.  So it was time to change tact.  It was time for Meanie Mum!

As usual, they got wound up and started fighting.  I asked them to stop and they didn't listen.  I told them that if they didn't stop now that there would be no TV the next day.  They didn't care.  They carried on fighting.  I put them both to bed (it was actually bedtime) and left them to it.

When they got up for school the next morning and asked for the TV on, I said no.  NO!  They looked at me in horror, then started nagging.  But I stood my ground and refused.  They ate their breakfast, I got them ready and took them to school.  Easy! Yeah, right!!

After school, they asked for the TV again (they have very short memories!)  Again, I said no and after a bit of complaining, they went to play with their toys.  Now, another *BAD MUMMY ALERT*, they usually sit in the lounge and watch TV while having dinner.  So when I told them they had to eat in the kitchen they cried, and begged, and refused to eat.  They did eventually give in (I suspect little tummies were rumbling), but they made me pay for it.  For the whole meal they argued and messed around.  It took them over an hour to eat their food.  I was frustrated, annoyed, and near the point of giving in!  I realised that they usually spent their meal times shovelling food into their mouths while staring dumbly at the TV.  Now they had nothing to distract them, so they were winding each other up instead.  I only had myself to blame.  I had always taken the easy option and now it was coming back to haunt me.

So I've realised it's me that's needs to change my behaviour.  I need to become a Better Mummy and stop using the TV as a babysitter.  It's now all meals at the table and they are getting better.  They don't misbehave (as much).  And they are getting faster at eating their food.  The baby is loving it as he loves the interaction at the kitchen table.  And I love the chance to sit with my three boys and chat to them.  It's a shame my husband can't be there too, but long working hours get in the way.  We can't have it all I suppose!

Friday, 9 September 2011

And breathe.....

I've finally done it. I submitted my application to become a Registered Childminder today. I can't believe it's done. It's only taken just over a year, and even though I always justify that by saying I've had a baby, it's still a long time to take to complete an application form! Though there were about a million policies to write up too (just a slight exaggeration there). But it's done! Done, done, done!! It's such a good feeling. I have been so stressed this week trying to get it finished. And then I felt really nervous about handing it in in case everyone thinks it's rubbish.

My biggest dilemma last night was over a photograph! The application form said I had to submit a recent photo of myself but didn't say what sort. So I was going through the very few photos I've actually got of myself (do we stop having photos taken of ourselves when we have children?) and none were suitable. There was me in a bikini (not very appropriate), me out with the girls (big wine glass in my hand, don't want them to think I'm an alchy), and then others where I either looked miserable, awful, or my top was too low cut! I eventually had to crop a photo taken of me with the baby. Though I still think I look crap.

Anyway, the forms had to be submitted to the Welsh Assembly buildings so I went over with the hubby and baby. I felt guilty before I even got to my appointment. We had to go through airport style security, and everything was beeping, but I think they could tell we weren't much of a threat and they let us in.

I filled my CRB form in and then waited with baited breath while they checked all my documents and application. And then breathed a huge sigh of relief when they said it was all okay and we could go. So that's it. Just got to wait now. The inspectors will be in touch at some point to let me know of any amendments I need to make to my policies, and my house will have to be checked, but hopefully in about 16 weeks time I'll be a fully registered childminder. Let's hope so anyway!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

If only I was Superwoman

I've decided what I really need are some superhero powers just to be able to get all the normal household duties done. Today, I have spent all day trying to sort out the house, get the uniforms ready and labelled ready for the children to go back to school tomorrow, washing and ironing, plus the usual feeding of children, nappy changing, bottom wiping, bath time etc, etc, etc. And I'm still nowhere near done. I've had to stuff paperwork into bags, and hide all manner of things until I get more time to sort it all out.

And I should also add in here, my children seem to be totally aware of when I'm stressed as they play up to the point that I could cry. The older two have been fighting all day. They took well over an hour to eat their lunch just because they wind each other up so much. They have driven me to distraction all day. Even the baby has been hanging off my legs!

I was hoping to be completely organised for tomorrow. It's going to be a tough one as it is. Zac's used to the routine now, but it's Ethan's first day in school, and I've got to go to work after the school run so need to get myself ready too. But instead of a nice relaxing evening making packed lunches and polishing school shoes, I've been frantically trying to scrub some sort of fluorescent yellow wax off all my washing (a major disaster involving a melted crayon like substance in the tumble dryer). This led to a screaming match with the hubbie and lots of clothes being thrown away. Not good.

So now it's nearly 2am, no packed lunched have been made, all the things I'd started sorting out in the bedrooms have been abandoned, and I feel like crap. How does everyone else get it all done? Is there something really major that I'm missing here? I always say I need a few more hours in each day, but I don't think even that would be enough at the moment. My Sky planner is running out of space because I haven't got time to watch any of the programmes I record!

I'd really better get some sleep because I've got an early start to finish off everything I didn't do tonight. In the words of my 5 year old son: "Not Fair!!!"

Friday, 2 September 2011

Nearly time for school....

I've started so many blog posts over the last few weeks that I never quite managed to finished.  The school holidays are a busy (and sometimes stressful) six weeks what with having three boys aged 5 and under all racing around the house.  Yes, even the baby is on the move now so I need eyes in the back of my head!  But only a few more days and Zac will be starting Year 1, and Ethan is off to Nursery class.  I have got mixed emotions as I can't believe Ethan is starting school.  Ollie is going to really miss having him at home to play with too.  I can't wait to see him in his uniform but he's my baby boy.  I'm going to miss him.  But he's looking forward to being in school with his big brother.  I know he's going to love it.

So just a quick post tonight.  I wanted to get back into the habit of blogging, and I was determined to actually get to hit that 'Publish Post' button.  Going to have to play catch up now.......