Thursday, 17 August 2017

The working from home struggle

home office

Working from home can be a real challenge, if it's not the demands of the task at hand then it could be the people who think that because you 'work from home' you can drop everything to do them a favour (one that usually takes up the majority of the day!), or for instance today... School's out for summer, which means that Leo is at home until September.

I always find it hard working when Leo is around because I feel like it isn't something that he should have to endure, and I am lucky in the sense that my working life is very flexible around him. I should really be working evenings right now, so I can get everything done, but the reality is that this doesn't happen. 

I watched this video this morning and found myself laughing and nodding along with the scenario, do you see yourself?



Even when Leo is at school it can be hard to get everything that you need to do done, the dog needs walking, there's a class that you really want to do on at the gym...Life happens. It really is all about organisation and juggling everything around so that you have every base covered. 

The perks are that you can have coffee on tap, you can work in your PJ's and with bed hair...(So glad you cannot see me right now!) and you can take the dog out for a breath of fresh air.

I am lucky enough to have a home office, a setup with desk and a decent spec computer that allows me to get to work on my ever growing to do list. However... that is not to say that my setup is perfect, the one thing my home work space is missing, is a desk chair. It has been the next thing to buy for the home for a year now, but sadly there is always something more pressing that needs to be done. So what do I sit on? I sit on my vanity table bench, and it is far from comfortable I can tell you.

It is not a good seating position at all, and there are times I have to stand up just to give my back a rest, but the alternative is kneeling on the floor which in the grand scheme of things is an even less attractive option. 

I have been having a look online for some cheap office chairs, and I really need to make a decision and get one ordered.  Ideally I would like to have this sorted by September so that when Leo goes back to school, I can get straight back to work and be much more efficient.

How do you find working from home?




WIN £100 worth of Sandown Artificial Grass with Artificial Grass London

Summer UK

Summer is officially in full swing (even if the weather doesn't want to reflect this all of the time!), and any chance the sun shines is the perfect excuse to get outside and enjoy your garden spaces. Right now I am in a little bit of despair with my own little garden, the lawn mower broke a few weeks ago and right now it looks like I am living among a wild wilderness, the dog merely steps outside and is engulfed by long green grass.

Okay so it is not quite as bad as I have let on, but still that lawn is getting rather unruly. I have purchased a new mower but as I have never personally mowed the lawn before, well... I am waiting for the man to get hands on with it. I have spoken before how I would love nothing more than just ripping the entire lawn up and putting down some artificial grass. Having a dog loose in the garden means that the poor lawn is always being burned by dog pee and dying back, finally rejuvenating and then the process repeats again, and again. 

I won't tell you how many grass seeds I have had to scatter...

I keep looking at what I would need to do for the garden, but there never seems to be a 'perfect' time to do it. I have read some amazing things about how it has improved gardens that have dogs running around (I cannot even begin to imagine what having 2 Dalmatians would do to my poor lawn!), and I think that in the long run it really would be an amazing investment.

Dalmatian Puppy

COMPETITION 

If any of you are looking to do away with your lawns in favour of an artificial lawn.... Then let me draw your attention to Artificial Grass London who are giving you the chance to win £100 worth of Sandown Artificial Grass (2m x 4m), which is the perfect size for smaller gardens that need a refresh.

All you need to do is enter on their website (here) and use the Gleam registration form.

The competition is open now and ends on the 25th September 2017 (so the winner will have the perfect space to enjoy what I hope will be an indian summer!).

The winner will be announced on the Artificial Grass Facebook Page on Tuesday 26th September 2017 - So make sure you have liked the page to see if you are the lucky winner. 

The perks of not having a 'real' lawn would actually be amazing, no cutting, no pet burn, no yellow grass, no mud from where the lawn has died... It really would make getting outside that much easier because it takes away so much of the maintenance that needs to be done. 

Well I best go and attempt to unpack this new lawn mower (turns out it's electric so I need to plug it in much like your conventional vacuum cleaner...Can you even imagine?), which to me just confirms that it's a Blue job and not a Pink job...

What are you waiting for? Hop on over and enter the giveaway!

Good luck everyone!



Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Yo! Sushi - A Family Affair - Worcester -Review

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

In my older years I have been much more open to experimenting with different types of food, but that was not always the case, as a child I was rather fussy and I wouldn't even eat basic fruit or vegetables. Leo has always been a rather fussy eater himself, and although vegetables are still a sore subject, in the last few years he has been really impressing myself and his Dad with the diverse new foods that he is willing to try.

Granted, he may not always love what he has tasted, but the fact is he has submitted himself to trying new things. 

The other week my little family unit were invited along to the brand new Yo! Sushi in Worcester that has not long opened up it's doors for the very first time. I wasn't sure what Leo would make of the Japanese cuisine, but I knew that he would be very impressed with the Japanese style 'kaiten' conveyor belt! 

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

Leo was a little unsure at the idea of the food, but I told him as long as he gave some things a try, if he didn't like anything and was still hungry, then he could have a McDonald's on the way home...

I myself have frequented Yo! Sushi on previous occasions so I had an idea of what to expect, but the other half and Leo were going along for the very first time, and I don't think either of them really knew what to expect. 

When people talk about Sushi, they automatically assume that it's simply raw fish, but I can assure you that is simply not the case (if you are after raw fish look no further than Sashimi!). Yo! Sushi offers traditional Japanese Street Food along side the Sushi, and the chefs even jet out to Japan in search of new ideas to bring back to the restaurants (if you spot 'NEW' in the menu, then you are looking at a newly sourced recipe all the way from Japan!).

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi


The new Worcester branch is the best I have visited, it's got a very modern look and has plenty of seating, the staff were welcoming and the ambience was ideal. The bar tables are all set out against the conveyor belt that has an array of freshly prepared food on coloured plates dancing around on it. 

The different coloured plates signify different price brackets:

The food is all prepared on site and because of the setup, you can actually watch the sushi and other dishes being prepared in front of you. While we visited we were lucky enough to watch the head chef Stoyan cut a rather larger piece of Tuna! 

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

I can tell you now that it really does take some know how and a very sharp knife.  

Stoyan was very informative and more than happy to answer our many questions about how the tuna was cut and prepared before it was laid out for the masses to enjoy. 

Leo was incredibly excited, I knew that he was going to love the idea of picking his food off the conveyor belt, and he had been telling me all day about how he was going to try some Tuna Sushi. It was really nice to see how far my little fussy eater had come, and he gave most things a go, his favourite being the safer option of the new Farikake Fries (Of which he had about 2 bowls!), and once he was finished sampling the mains he moved swiftly onto the desserts (and tried the majority of the options on the menu!).

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

Luke was equally as impressed and between us we ticked off quite a few of the mains on the menu, they are good to share so that couples can each get a taste for the dishes. My favourites were the Chicken Katsu Curry and the Spicy Pepper Squid.

We had a lovely young man serving us and he helped Leo pick out things that he thought he might like to try, and told Luke was his personal favourites were (because Luke loves a good recommendation when it comes to the best food to eat!).

Overall the 3 of us all had a fantastic meal and Leo had eaten so much Sushi, Streetfood and pudding that we didn't need to call into McDonald's for him on the way back. In fact Leo has been asking me everyday when we can go back and visit Yo! Sushi AGAIN! 

You can see a snippet of our visit below:



Disclaimer: We were provided a complimentary meal for this post. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and our own.

Wedding Vs. Engagement Ring – What’s The Difference?

Wedding Vs. Engagement Ring

Image by Gena M via Flickr

An engagement ring is an important part of the marriage proposal. Usually, it is a beautiful gemstone that’s set on a band. Sometimes, the engagement ring is referred to as the wedding ring, but this is incorrect. So, let’s look at the differences between the two.

The Wedding RingWedding Vs. Engagement Ring



Image by  diamondcentre via Flickr

Wedding rings are the rings that partners exchange during their wedding ceremony. Usually, these are simpler bands compared to engagement rings and don’t have a prominent gemstone or centre diamond. During the ceremony, both partners normally receive a wedding band and they place them on their third fingers on the left hand. Since the wedding band is put on the same finger as the engagement ring, brides often choose to move their engagement ring over to the right hand just for the ceremony. View the Diamonds for Less custom wedding bands in Toronto to choose the perfect ring for your partner.

Men tend to receive their wedding bands on their wedding day, at the ceremony. The men’s varieties are usually thicker in width and made of one type of metal, such as platinum, gold, or titanium. Some men’s band contain small jewels or diamonds.

The Engagement RingWedding Vs. Engagement Ring


Image by Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr


An engagement ring is presented at the time of the proposal. As tradition, women receive the ring and wear it right from the time of the proposal to indicate she is spoken for. Engagement rings vary greatly in style and price, but diamonds tend to be the most common choice.

What Do the Rings Mean?

The tradition of an engagement ring dates back a number of centuries, when a man would ask his beloved’s hand in marriage by presenting her with a valuable ring in exchange for the approval of her father.

Over time, engagement rings have become more extravagant as they grew to represent a man’s wealth. While this may be a dated notion, the tradition of offering an engagement ring has continued.

Should You Wear Both an Engagement Ring and a Wedding

 Band?

Since the engagement ring is often the flashier ring of the two, many women choose to wear the engagement ring on their left hand or they stack their wedding bands beneath the engagement ring. Some women prefer just to wear a wedding band. It’s really down to personal choice.

Often, men prefer to buy an engagement and wedding ring set to ensure the rings match in style and can be comfortably worn together. But, this is not a set rule, and you can buy the rings separately or even have them custom made.

What About the Cost?

Both engagement rings and wedding bands vary in price depending on the metals used, the size, and the diamonds or gemstones. Generally, engagement rings will include at least one diamond whereas most wedding bands don’t have gemstones, which means that engagement rings are usually more expensive than wedding bands. How much you choose to spend on the rings is a personal choice that comes down to budget and preference.

Both rings represent the bond you and your partner have committed to each other. Whether you choose something elegant and understated or flashy and big, it is a piece of jewellery that will show off your commitment to one another.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Summer Holiday Bike Ride Fun With Ridgeback Kids Club & The Bicycle Society

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

The schools have been kicked out for summer just over a week now, and the little man in my life is asking me what fun we have planned for each and every day of the break, and my bank card is wincing in anticipation of what he may wish to do next...

This week though we had something very exciting planned, Leo and I were travelling to London to spend the day with Ridgeback Bikes at the #RidgebackKidsClub event in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 

The Ridgeback Kids Club is something rather special, you can sign up after purchasing a new Ridgeback Kids Bike, and it is a way of picking up some great tips and tricks for your budding adventurer (always great if your little people are anything like my zoom along Leo!). Upon joining you receive a FREE goodie bag worth over £25 and that comes kitted out with a lovely reusable bag, Hi Vis Vest, Sticker sheet, Crayons and water bottle! 

For as long as you are a member you receive exclusive offers and all of the latest news, birthday treats and even invitations to exclusive events! 

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

Leo had been counting down the sleeps until this trip, he absolutely adores getting outside into the big wide world, and he loves nothing more than adding a bit of speed to his endeavours, and of course taking part in an adventure bike ride with Ridgeback Bikes and the Bicycle Society... How could his tummy not be somersaulting excitedly!?

So we awoke early and hit the road, quickly whisking away from the sleepy little town we call home, and before we knew it we were on the tube heading into the big smoke of the city. Every couple of minutes Leo asked me 'Are we there yet Mum, are we there yet!?', so when we met Jaime, Joshua and Jacob from The Oliver's Madhouse, Leo was happy to meet someone more of his own age, and the boys very quickly became friends.

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

The sun was shining and the day looked like it was set to impress, and we could not have wished for better conditions. We arrived just before 11am and were invited inside Pave Velo where there were a number of impressive pastries to enjoy and an even more impressive selection of Ridgeback bikes set up to have a look at!

Each of the children in attendance had been assigned a bike for the day, they had taken the measurements of each child ahead of time to ensure that they would be perfect for a good bike riding session on the day. Leo is currently in between sizes, and the initial bike that he was assigned was just a little bit too big for him, and this knocked his confidence slightly. The team noticed this straight away and presented him with a Silver 16" that was just right. As soon as Leo had perched on the seat and one of the guys said 'Take it slow!', Leo had zoomed away at speed to demonstrate all the while modelling a very big smile!

Rob Reed The Bicycle Society

Rob Reed The Bicycle Society

We were lucky enough to have instruction from Rob Reed of The Bicycle Society, and he quickly got a grasp on each of the children's levels of ability (could they ride already/were they learning still), and with this knowledge he set up different teams each with their own objectives (all on their own Ridgeback Bikes of course!). 

The Bicycle Society aim to teach children to ride a bike through fun games, and they even teach children as young as 18 months old. I was really impressed with how Rob was with all of the children and they all responded to his gentle teaching methods instantly. 

It became apparent rather quickly that Leo had a need for speed, I later discovered that Leo was treating the courses as a Mario Kart track, which was plain to see as he weaved through the other children on their bikes (I am just glad he didn't have turtle shells or banana skins!).

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

Leo zoomed around the track like he had always known how to ride a bike (and may have perhaps been a little bit too over confident, who needs brakes anyway!?), and you wouldn't have thought that he had just started riding the Ridgeback bike that very morning. He took a few short breaks to get some water, but then it was straight back to business.

Leo started riding without stabilisers last summer, and in true Leo style he literally just took off one day out of sheer determination to prove me wrong. He had been outside playing with a neighbors son and decided to have a go on his 2 wheeled push bike. Of course I had my reservations because we hadn't even taken the stabilisers off of his just yet, but he assured me he could do it, and then he just did. And that was that. 

Learning to ride with balance bikes

I firmly believe that it was all of those years of riding his balance bike that aided his transition so quickly, and we introduced that just before Leo's Second Birthday. By the time Leo graduated this bike, he really had mastered the aspect of balance and could take corners and combine the speed just like a pro.

When the time came to make a move back home towards the Cotswolds, Leo discovered that Ridgeback Bikes had very kindly gifted the bike he was riding to him. Leo was so happy, as he had fallen in love with his speedy set of wheels, and he loved that it was a proper 'big boy' bike (it had no stickers unlike his Thomas the Tank Engine Bike that he refused to ride these days!).

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

So we thanked the team for an incredible day and Leo navigated the London cycle paths back to Stratford International Station, turning countless heads as he went (he must have been London's youngest cycle commuter of the day!), the sweet little glances that passing pedestrians gave him as he carefully made his way home. 

Upon getting back to the car at Uxbridge, Leo fell straight into a very deep sleep, and slept the entire way home... I can only begin to wonder why he was as tired as he was?

Leo has now informed me that I need to get a bike of my own, as family bike rides are apparently imminent, it would be rude not too though, I can't keep my little speedstar cooped away, he wants to leave me eating his dust as he zooms off ahead of me! 

We have shared our day on our YouTube Channel, you can check it out below!







Wednesday, 12 July 2017

A New Found Confidence

6 years old

Leo is now 6, and you can really see just how grown up he has become. I have found myself at a crossroads in terms of what I can share online, of course I will continue to share his journey, but when I post things now I have to sit back and consider if Leo would want me to share it, would what I write or the video I post embarrass him?

As with anything I think it is very important to be careful with what you do post online, you just need to read about the Dark Side of Mummy Blogging over on the Daily Mail to see why...

It's for this very reason that I unfortunately cannot share the video of Leo dancing like a champ to Despacito (but I will be saving it for his 18th Birthday!). In all the years of being Leo's Mother, I have never seen him move the way he does in that video, and I slyly managed to point the camera in his direction and get some rather beautiful footage, but I know that he would hate me to publish this, and it is for this very reason that I won't be.

That's something that has really progressed this year, and that is Leo's confidence. I have been amazed to watch him singing and dancing in his school assembly and then the Nativity play over the festive period, and that has just continued to blossom.

There was a point that Leo would have just stood there and not taken part, and that is what makes this video of Leo singing and dancing to Despacito so special. When I showed it to his Granny and Dad, neither of them could believe it, his Dad even rang me up from work to ask me how on earth I had captured such a display!

This confidence is pushing Leo to try new things all of the time, his swimming lessons are coming along beautifully, he's given Taekwondo a try and he even wants to get on a Football team and take part in football tournaments over the summer holiday. 

This year at school has been a changing point for Leo, and I genuinely believe that it is his fabulous teacher who has been the pivotal factor in this. She has been incredible, kind, firm and fair. She has focused on what Leo can do, and not what he can't. She has given him time, supported him , and been an incredibly positive factor in his life. 

In return I have seen Leo progress and start to enjoy learning. His reading is coming along all of the time and just last week he smashed a spelling test on the numbers One through to Five, and he only got 1 of those wrong. If you had seen how hard we practiced for this test, you would have witnessed how difficult Leo found it, you would have seen me writing in Leo's spelling book, that despite how hard we had tried, it had been a real struggle. 

So when his book came home again that night, I honestly didn't expect to find such positive news, but there it was. The practice had gone in, even if I didn't think it had. 

Leo is still delayed (whether it is classes as global development delay, I don't know), and the delay is about 12 months at this stage, but when the school report came out I couldn't help but beam with pride. Leo's teacher had wrote some absolutely lovely words, she spoke of how he was a credit to his Dad and I, how she has enjoyed teaching him and how he is always happy and well behaved. 

It is these qualities that I focus on, so even though he is not where all of the other children are, for me the absolute gold of that report is that Leo is a well liked, polite and happy little boy. I don't think his teacher will realise just how proud reading that report made me, and I cannot thank her enough for the time and patience she has had with Leo this year.

I will be sad to see Leo moving out of her class as I genuinely believe that it is because of her that Leo has made such good progress this year, and she was the perfect teacher for him, giving him everything he needed in the school environment. 

I know he will definitely miss her too.

I am excited to watch this confidence and desire to try new things develop, and I am so very much looking forward to the summer holiday's with my clever, little man.













Things to think about before committing to a puppy

Things to think about before getting a puppy

This time next month, I will have had Lux for an entire 12 months. 1 whole year.

Seriously though, what year it has been. 

Has it been easy?
HAHAHA. No.

Has it been hard?
In a word....YES.

Has it been stressful?
Yup.

Has it been eye opening?
Hell yes.

Would I ever have another puppy?
Erm, no.

But has it been worth it?
Yes, it's been so worth it. It's been a complete eye opener, but the love little Lux conveys for his humans, and the bond that we all have with him has made everything else so worth it.

I am going to be sharing some of my personal highlights over this last year, but if they aren't enough to make you really consider 'is a puppy right for our family', then maybe these 10 points to consider before getting a puppy will help...

Although it was rather funny when Leo and Lux accidently went viral earlier this year. If you missed them, check Lux out over on the Daily Mail, and you may recognise them both from this video...


Puppies are hard work, they will push buttons you didn't even know you had. They will eat your shoes, socks, underwear (come to think of it there isn't much that they won't eat.), they will even eat your walls and make holes in your laminate flooring (Karndean Flooring is the way to go, forget about carpet...)

They will be excited, out of the box excited. You will meet people you didn't anticipate in meeting (mainly because the puppy has dragged you through the field and over the fence to get to them, Note: wear comfortable shoes). They will take things and run away just to get your attention (and then after you have done 10 laps of the garden, they will chew it up just to spite you). 

Things to think about before getting a puppy

In those early days (and then some) you can bet your bottom dollar that they will use your house as a toilet. All the puppy pads in the world cannot help you, they will just go wherever they feel like going... 

The puppy phase (which is still a thing at 13 months for us....) is hard. You will need wine, you will need thick skin and you will need patience. Lots and lots of patience. 

Granted Lux is getting better, it's taken time but with each week and month that passes, we are slowly and tentatively making progress. Although if you were to ask the poor man who had Lux for us while we were on holiday, he might tell you something completely different. He could not wait to give Lux back to us, and even attempted to bring him back a day early (while we were still out of the country!), but settled for the very first thing in the morning...(we are talking before 9am, and originally he wasn't due home until the afternoon!).

Things to think about before getting a puppy

When I describe Lux there are Two endearing terms I like to use. He is the original Asbo Pup and he is also the real life Marley, the naughtiest dog in the world. It's true, this puppy once tried to steal a mince pie from an unsuspecting elderly lady at a Christmas market in the Cotswolds, and it quite honestly seems like his actual goal in life is to humiliate/destroy me.

Let me count the ways Lux has put his life goal into action...

1. He cocked his leg on the coffee table when we went to visit the dog board for the first time...

2. He tried to dominate another dog's face....(need I say more?)

3. He did a number 2 as he walked  through town that was beyond picking up... It needed scrubbing. So guess who had to come back with hot water and a scrubber? Yes. Me,

4. We were walking up a hill through the nature reserve at the back of my parents house. Lux saw another dog, went back down the hill taking me with him. It was a case of hold on to the dog for dear life so that he doesn't run to the dog...Or smash my face into the tree. I opted to let go of the lead, leaving the man and the dog at the bottom of the slope in disbelief, he didn't believe that my family home was at the top of the hill and quite obviously thought I was dodgy...

5.  He once chewed my phone to the point that the screen was nothing but colorful lines... Yes I had to upgrade early.

6. One time I walked into the kitchen and found him in bed with £300 of cash... Thankfully I got in there before the shredding had commenced (Luke doesn't leave his wallet on the work surface anymore...)

7. He once pooped on Leo's pillow...

8. He once ate my sisters Biology coursework... The dog really did eat her homework.

9. He once ran away from Luke on a walk and decided to go swimming in the marsh... it took him an hour (and my help...) to get him back.

10. He made a hole in our laminate floor, so I taped down a mat (which he later ripped up and destroyed as I watched and protested over his pet cam). I walked around B&M Bargains like a mad lady shouting at her phone.... I haven't dared go back in since...

Still want a puppy?