Well I’m not really sure how I got to this birthday  but my eldest turn 7 in August this year. How can the first six months of his life pass so slowly yet the rest of the 6.5 years whizz by? Thought I’d write him a little letter all for him.

birthday

Dear Thomas,

Well it’s been a few weeks since your birthday. Your 7th birthday, how did we get this far this quickly. It only seems like last month I was smelling your tiny little baby self. Trying to soak up the smell. Then there was the sleepless nights. The utter shock of becoming a first time mum. The exhaustion while I sat up night after night to breastfeed you. If only I knew what I know now about safely bed sharing with you. The time would have been more enjoyable.

I barely remember you being little now. Apart form the photographs I have. I wish in hindsight I’d got more photos of us together. Of us feeding or cuddling. I barely have any.

birthday

When I think of you as a small person I just remember how fluent you were. You’ve always preferred adult company and conversation. You have always been old before your time.

You are a turning into a bright beautiful little dude whom I’m proud of every day. I’m trying so hard to teach you to be grateful for all we have. Sometimes though when you say it, it comes across as boastful. I know you don’t mean it like that though.

You have done so well in school but your handwriting still needs work!

For your birthday you had your first ever party with school friends. You went to see the Incredibles 2 at the cinema with 3 friends plus Felix (who is your absolute shadow and idolises you!). Due to having Roo I couldn’t come in but you all said you enjoyed it. Cinema was followed by lunch at Pizza Hut and again I ended up watching through the window. Next year little man I will be able to be more present for you I promise!

birthday

(I’ve blurred out your friends faces as I didn’t ask their parents permission and never want to assume)

We bought you an iPad as your present. You’ve been asking for either an iPad or a Nintendo switch for months. Both were a stretch and a very expensive present but you’ve been good and I love spoiling you. I’d also rather you had something educational so an iPad it was, you’ll get more out of it than a Nintendo Switch!

I hope that you enjoyed your special day and that you will remember it growing up.

You will forever be our first born and we hope that because you are the oldest we don’t expect too much of you.

We are proud of you everyday.

Just remember mummy loves you always and forever unconditionally.

Happy Birthday!

Mummy x

How am I going to survive the summer holidays? This is a question I’ve asked myself a lot in the run up to school finishing.

Yet I have to do it. I have to survive each day when theres just me and three people to keep entertained.

Ive have a few days booked out to see friends, which at least is something.

Hubby is off for a few days here and there too which also helps.

I think the thing that  gets to me most is the loneliness. No other adult company during the day. It makes the days long. The hours are ticking by slowly.

I know I should be trying to make the most of the days with the children that I am blessed to have but it doesn’t make it any easier. It doesn’t make the constant ‘mum, mum,mum, mum…’ any less.

I wish I could do more with each of them. My 7 year old wants to play board games. But we can’t usually because the baby is there needing attention or grabbing the pieces. The 4 year old wants to play outside on the scooter or bike but I can’t do that by myself as I need to entertain the baby.

I keep seeing the phrase on facebook that we only have 18 summers with our children. Strictly thats not true, we have lots of summers with them but maybe not all while they are little.

The other prohibitive factor of course is money. Everything we tend to want to do to entertain ourselves costs money. Even a simple lunch outside the house costs money.

I’m trying to be grateful and thankful but its hard. Trying to cling onto the small things each day but it’s hard.

Theres no real point to the post but to record my feelings. If it makes one less person feel as bad as I do. Or realise that maybe there are others fighting their own summer holiday battles then today I’m winning.

We can do it mum’s (and dads).

I’m not going to pretend its easy. I’m not going to be that instagram perfect family, but I do promise to appreciate the small moments. The small victories where they are having fun and enjoying their summer.

We can and will survive the summer holidays.

But for now I have to go as yet again they are hungry……

 

Today is the NHS’s 70th birthday! Happy birthday to our NHS which was started not far from where I am currently based in Trafford.

For all my working career I have worked for the NHS. Have worked for the NHS now for 18 years. In September I will be going back to work for the NHS in a new role for me at a different trust than I currently am employed at and I cannot wait. As I enter my 19th year I will be starting at the bottom of a very tall learning curve.

Everyday at work I see staff going above and beyond their roles to help people.

It takes a special sort of someone to work in the NHS.

This past weekend unfortunately yet again we had to use the wonderful NHS emergency services, wards and operating theatres when my 4 year old injured himself.

Everyone we encountered was lovely, kind and caring.

I know it’s not always the case, I have come across people in the past who clearly don’t enjoy their jobs or were having bad days but on the whole I have always had nothing but praise for the staff.

For a health service its amazing, we are so lucky to have it. Free at point of access. There when you need it for emergencies or non-emergencies.

To all the wonderful staff who work there, in such difficult situations. To everyone who daily is reminded of the financial pressure we work under. For anyone who’s ever made a patient smile. From consultants to cleaners who daily dedicate their lives to others, thank you. Thank you for everything you do.

NHS

Happy 70th Birthday to our NHS today!

Today we’ve teamed up with PJ Masks Youth Sport Trust campaign.

pj masks

I’m sure if you have little ones unless you’ve had your head in a cave you’ll know who PJ Masks are! If you don’t have children I’ll explain! PJ Masks are a trio of crime fighting heroes who go out in the night (in their PJ costumes) to help fight crimes. If you’ve got children you’re likely singing the catchy theme tune in your head right now…..the night, is the right time, to fight crime!

pj masks

Felix’s favourite is Gekko! So he was delighted with the Gekko costume he’d been sent! There was lots of running around pretending to be his favourite PJ wearing super hero in the garden.

He was exited to have been asked to take part in activities this week to help promote National School Sports Week. It takes place from 25th June to 29th June 2018. 

The Youth Sport Trust has joined up with eOne’s PJ Masks toys to help children in the UK grow up healthy. 

Did you know for children aged 2-5 in the UK the chief medical officer recommends 3 hours of physical activity a day. That’s why PJ Masks are promoting #PJMasksPowerOf3 . Physical activity can include loads of different things. It doesn’t have to just be a traditional ‘exercise’ activity. It’s important to make it fun to keep children enjoying the activities.

The fun pack we were kindly sent to help promote National School Sports Week included lots of ideas to get children active.

pj masks

The PJ Masks bubble bucket was a great hit. Bubbles feature a lot in our play as I love them. They are environmentally friendly as well as beautiful to look at. You can incorporate bubbles in lot of games. Chasing them, catching them. Running with a bubble wand in your hand. Lots and lots of way to use bubbles to get active over the summer.

 

The PJ masks bowling set was also a big hit with both the boys. 

 

The takeaway message for National School Sports Week, really is to get out, get active and most importantly have fun! Why not try to get your school or nursery involved this week?

If you like me have young children desperate to learn to drive then this post is for you! This weekend we had a new experience. Well one of us did! Thomas was invited along to his first ever driving lesson!

If you’re aged between 5 and 17 you can learn to drive a car with Young Driver in an area near you. Little people aged between 5 and 10 years old they offer lessons in a firefly car. These little cars tour the country and slots book up quickly so be sure to book early. For those young people ages 11 and above get to drive in a real car!

 

Information sent by email after we’d booked was very clear so we easily found the venue (just look for the big red bus!).

 

Thomas was super excited to get signed in when we arrived. Everything was well signed so we knew where to go. Theres a short disclaimer form to sign upon arrival by the accompanying adult but after that its get set go!

Ready, Set…Go!

 

The little ones who are taking part in the firefly vehicles get 20 minutes in the car. This is broken down into a 5 minute instruction session with a member of the staff and 15 minutes driving in the car on the road system laid out.

 

 

 

 

When the instructions are finished it’s time for the parent or guardian to get in the car and be driven around! Don’t worry though you get an emergency stop button just in case your child goes wild!

The little fireflys are great fun! There’s an accelerator pedal and a brake pedal, as well as a switch to change between forwards and backwards motion.

Theres venues all over the country including Scotland and Belfast so where ever you are based there will hopefully be one based near you. You can check venues on the website.

20 minutes passed quickly however I think it was just long enough to enjoy everything and park up at the end.

Felix couldn’t miss the opportunity for a photograph too although he’s still a little young to drive or have a ride.

Passing his Test

At the end of the lesson Thomas was given his very own driving licence which he was super chuffed with. I did have to explain though that he couldn’t actually drive us home afterwards in our car!

Thanks to the Young Driver company for invited us along to take part in a lesson. I’m sure we’ll be back when the middle monkey turns 5 as he was desperate to have a go! Thomas has made us promise for his 11th birthday he can go in the real cars too!

We did take some footage on camera and as soon as I’ve edited a video together I will be posting it up too!

You can find out more information about the Young Driver lessons here.

Where did the last 6 months go? Blink and you missed it. I can not believe that this little guy is 6 months already. Let the adventures in baby led weaning begin! Spaghetti and meatballs certainly went down well! I love baby led weaning for the ease of just having what you are having. I’m not super keen on the mess but it’s only short term and at least with this glorious weather we can eat outside!

 

Photalife

Theres no other point to this post except to list all the things I am grateful for today and to put in words what a great day I’ve had.

Today as soon as the older two were at school and nursery I headed out to one of my favourite places to go to spend some time…. Intu The Trafford Centre! If you don’t know Intu Trafford Centre its a huge shopping centre. Now this might sound like I’m a massive spender, I’m not. I like to browse, get ideas, have some lunch. More browsing. Grab a bargain or two. Have a coffee. Meet a friend.

I’ve been coming to the Intu Trafford Centre for years, probably around 18 now. I love the place.

So Roo and I drove there, he slept and I drove!

When we arrived I sat in the car for a little while whilst he finished his nap. In those moments just sitting there watching him sleep I realised again how lucky I am. I always have a grateful attitude. I know that by being grateful for ever little thing it makes me a happier person. The realisation once again that I have three beautiful children in my life who I adore. My husband is a wonderful man, he works hard to provide things for us and he comes home from work and helps around the house and helps with the boys too. He’s always there for me when I need him, he is my rock.

Once Roo was awake I put him in the Bugaboo and set off for a browse.

We are going on holiday later in the year so I’m on the lookout for a really comfy sandle/shoe for the boys to wear whilst we are there. Ideally they would be waterproof and made of quick drying material.

I found these in Schuh and thought they’d be great. The boys weren’t with me so I couldn’t try them to buy but has anyone already bought them? If so please do let me know what you think.

 

We wandered around for a little while and stopped for a coffee. Roo was getting hungry so I breastfed him in the coffee shop whilst I tried to eat a yoghurt. After eating and burping he seemed tierd again so I took him for a walk outside. The weather has been so sunny and beautiful. I’m so grateful to be able to walk in the sunshine under the amazing blue sky. I listened to the birds and took in the smell of the flowers.

When he finally fell asleep I walked over to the canal nearby for a wander along the tow path. There were people out for a cycle and boats passing by. Others were walking their dogs. I loved it. The trees provided enough shade to not be too warm and the breeze was really refreshing.

At a recent blogging conference I heard the keynote speech about happiness. In the presentation it was mentioned that a certain hotel chain has a 5/10 rule for staff. If someone is within 5 feet of staff you should say hello. If they are within 10 feet you should smile and acknowledge them. I don’t know why I remember this above all else but I really try to practice it daily now when I’m on a walk. Obviously not in a crowded place, that would be daft. However along the tow path I said hello to everyone I passed, or the people on the boats. There was only one person who didn’t reply. That’s ok though, maybe they were having a bad day?

gratitude

It made me think though about how much I’d love to do a canal boat holiday. I’ve never done one and it seems so peaceful. It’s on my bucket list now for sure. I have a feeling though we’ll have to wait until the boys are a little older.

It was in that moment walking along in the sunshine that I felt total happiness and took a moment to just be silently thankful for the day and all it had given me.

I guess the point of the post is to prompt you to be thankful too. List all the things right now in life you are thankful for and it will give you a lift and make you feel happier. Gratitude truly is the key to happiness.

 

 

 

 

Guest Post

While the office designers are now advocating for the open-plan office for its neat and clean look, such open-plan offices are responsible for creating noisy work environments. These swanky offices are vulnerable to the resonating sound in the office and could be a major cause of distraction and ultimate loss of productivity.

Maybe, you have had the experience of being in a noisy restaurant and had problems of hearing what your friend sitting across the table is saying. Such places also have an open sitting arrangement with chairs and tables scattered all over the floor.  

No matter if it is a commercial office, auditorium, restaurant, gym, a city court or any other public spaces, the resonating sound could be a major issue as these lead to deterioration of health, hampers communication and impair the learning process.

For soundproofing any commercial interior we have to treat ceiling along with the walls and the floor and this is a very tricky affair. To block the sound resonating from the ceiling, you have to make it sound absorbing and that can only be done by increasing the amount of mass in the ceiling. But, this is not desired. This is because the heavier ceiling will face much stronger gravity pull. 

Of course, you can build an acoustic ceiling using acoustical ceiling tiles for noise reduction. You can either glue these to the ceiling or have a drop ceiling with these tiles. In the first case, there will be a substantial increase in weight and in the second case you will reduce the headspace.

Hanging sound baffles provide an easy and low-cost solution to noise control problems. Suspended from the ceiling these absorb the airborne reverberated sound and reduces noise pollution in the interior.

What are ceiling sound baffles?

These are unique sound absorbing mediums that are hanged from the ceiling. These are mostly used when a commercial interior needs acoustic treatment but do not have much wall space or where soundproofing panels cannot be installed due to design limitation.  These can be used in the isolation room or on the stage for improving the acoustic effect. Designed for vertical suspension in rows and columns spreading the entire area, these can be suspended from the truss or from any other pre-designed suspension system. Sound baffles also have excellent echo blocking capacity.  In large rooms sound cause echo and reverberation due to multiple bouncing off the walls and the ceiling. Using sound baffles significantly reduces such noise pollution.

Different types of ceiling sound baffles

As both sides of the ceiling sound baffles remain exposed, these deliver great noise reducing solution. These can be of different types.

  • Foam Sound Baffles: These are made of class 1 fire rated melamine foam and can absorb the sound of almost all frequencies. You can get these in a wide range colors and in standard sizes of 2 x 4 feet and 4 x 8 feet with options for customization to meet specific décor needs.
  • PVC and Sailcloth Sound Baffles: This is made of acoustic fiberglass core in PVC or Sailcloth cover with heat seal.  This is lightweight and cost effective but good noise reducer and great for use in wet areas like swimming pool, gymnasium and animal shelters. These budget panels are also available in definite geometric shapes.
  • Polywarp Sound Baffles: Coming in white polythene bags, these contain sound absorbing fiberglass and are used in the factories and the manufacturing facilities. This is also an economical option.
  • Sanitary Baffles: These come in reinforced Mylar light and reflective white bags and are used in food processing and drug manufacturing units. Only FDA approved durable, chemically resistant, dimensionally stable and washable materials are used in the construction of these baffles.
  • Fabric wrapped Sound Baffles: Made using decorative fabric, these are designed to reduce the sound level and provide great noise reduction with increased speech intelligibility and clarity of the music. They have an eye-catching look.

Features of the Ceiling Sound Baffles

  • These are made in custom sizes and are available in light to moderate weight.
  • Coming in a variety of finishes, these great sound absorbing capacity.
  • Available with suspension system and the vertical drop can be customized.
  • Entails considerable reduction in noise level.
  • Can be installed easily.
  • Suitable for noisy spaces with large areas.

Benefits you can enjoy

By installing sound baffles you can enjoy many benefits. Other than affecting a drop in the ambient noise it also changes the entire look of the commercial indoor. This is an affordable option when compared to the other sound absorbing options and allows enough installation flexibility. These also have good reflectivity and can improve the interior illumination.

The CSISOUNDCORE advantage

Being a leading designer and manufacturer of noise reducing elements, CSISOUNDCORE can help you out in your journey for noise reduction starting from the planning to the implementation stage. Having more than 160 designs in 6 different core materials they can deliver you the right noise controlling solution regardless the type and size of the commercial interior.

Their Flaps Collection includes a wide range of ceiling baffles and acoustic baffles. These uniquely designed hanging sound baffles have the capacity to fulfill both architectural and functional requirements of any commercial interior. These ceiling baffles sound absorption collection is made from high-quality acoustic fibers and 100% wool fabric. The Cumulus collection sound baffles are also available in a range of materials, colors, sizes, and shapes and you can have almost endless combinations.

Materials used in manufacturing these sound baffles contain no VOC and are non-toxic and non-allergenic making these absolutely safe for the people and environment as well. These are durable and weather resistant and hence undergo no change of color. The sound baffles comply with the requirements of ASTM E84 and are rated class ‘A’ fire safe.

Coming in modular designs these require minimum installation effort CSIsoundcore have solutions for your every need. Just spell out your requirement and they will return with a unique turnkey solution for soundproofing without compromising with decoration requirements.

If you’ve read my blog before you may realise I talk about birth a lot. I love giving birth. I have enjoyed my last two births at home. You can read about my home birth here.

It’s socially acceptable to talk about birth. However at the other end of life is death. It will happen to everyone at some time. Yet most people shy away from talking about death. I’ll quite happily chat about it though.

The trigger for this post came this week when I spotted a rainbow hearse out on the road (twice in the same week).

I just thought it was beautiful. The second time it passed me I noticed it was owned by co-op funeral care. This isn’t a sponsored post by the way. I just wanted to mention that it’s beautiful.

So thinking about death I thought I’d write a post to explain what I’d like to happen when I pass away (not that I plan to for a very very long time!)

First and foremost I’d like to be cremated. As I understand it’s cheaper than a burial and the last thing I want to be is a financial burden for my family. Also I prefer the idea of being ashes and floating on the wind than being got by the worms. Plus I’m claustrophobic so at least I won’t feel cooped up in a box buried in the earth. Cremation is for me.

If my family want to see my body when I’m dead then that’s fine by me. If it helps to heal the hurt and say goodbye that’s ok. But please make sure I look ok. Ask someone to do my makeup as I would have in life, give them a photo! I don’t want to look like a clown upon departure from the earth.

I love the rainbow hearse and so if possible would love to travel in that to the place of service. I also love flowers, so ask that if you are putting any in the hearse don’t waste money on ones that die quickly and you end up leaving at the crematorium. By all means put a bunch or two in to make it look cheery for my final journey but take them away with you after the service. Put them in water at home in a vase. Get joy from them as I would have. Don’t leave them to die on the pavement. I’ve never been a fan of the flowers that spell a word. You know the ones I mean. I know some people like them but I just think they are a waste of money, not for me please.

At the service plan songs and hymns, I love music.

Children – now I know when people die the question of children is often asked for the service. Please don’t think you can’t bring them. Death is part of life. I think it’s perfectly ok for them to see people upset about death. Its normal. Please don’t try to make them be quiet either. Let them run around if they want to. It’s ok, no etiquette for me. Let them sing and play, let them be them. Let them be children.

Don’t wear black because you think you have to. Wear anything that feels comfy. If you want to wear leggings and a yoga top because you feel comfy, do it!

Have a celebration afterwards. Talk about me and relive the good times. Don’t make it morbid. I have and am still living a wonderful life. I try to make the most of everyday. I am eternally grateful for all I have in life. Be grateful for my life.

And finally most importantly, go on and live your own life. (This one is mainly for my own children) No amount of being upset about my passing will improve your own life. I want you to make the best of it. It’s ok to always remember me but don’t make your life down because I’m not in it.

I love living and when I’m gone you should too x

This week we were kindly invited to try the new Jurassic Cove adventure golf at Bents Garden and Home centre.

I’ve written about Bents lots of times before, more recently at Christmas for their fantastic Christmas food market. I love Bents, it’s such a fantastic family friendly destination. I’m lucky that we only live 20 minutes away from it. I’d definatly recommend a trip if it’s within reach for you. Bents has grown to be an amazing place over the last few years.

It’s a shopping destination for everyone, young to old. The food is fantastic wherever you chose to eat while there and for children they playground and indoor beach will keep them entertained for ages.

Bents have had a 9 hole dinosaur adventure golf for a while but this year they have doubled the size of the course.

You can now play 18 holes which are both dinosaur and pirate themed!

The first 9 holes are the original dinosaur theme, whilst the last 9 are the pirate ones. Yarrrrrrr me hearties (thats pirate speak!).

We played all 18 holes and had a fab time. The boys were loving it. It has all the elements of a great adventure golf. Fun obstacles combined with tilts and curves. It’s sure to be a fun time for the whole family. When you’ve worked up an appetite I highly recommend eating there too.

After the Golf

 

Even after all the years Bents is still a family buisness and it shines through with how proud they are and how lovely all the staff are when you visit.

The food is locally sourced where available and is soooooo delicious!

If you’re interested in a visit to Bents their website can be found here.

We made a video of our trip too, we loved it!

Thanks to Bents for inviting us to try the adventure golf. I have not been paid for the post and all opinions are my own.