Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Like Love Loathe 25



I am a little late with my Like, Love Loathe this week, perhaps due to one of my big loathes, but you would be here all day, if I added it as my end feeling. I will tell you its about cheating in my competitions and it has taken 3 good days to remove the offender from my entries Grrrr!!

Enough of that I will get on. If you love these weekly posts, check out the other Like, Love, Loathe posts with Sarah from Life In a Breakdown and Bex from Futures.




LIKE I like the fact the sunshine has come back, it just makes me feel brighter. Getting out and seeing the flowers and butterflies.  As many of you know, I am pretty housebound as I live with and care for my Granny. If I am feeling a bit pent up, its nice to wander in the garden and just relax. I do this a lot in summer, however this year as the weather gets cooler, I am going to wrap up and continue to do the same.






LOVE my garden swing, its was a chance purchase got it for a bargain price and again as we do not get out much, the garden has become the place to spend some of our money on. The absolute surprise was that it has brought Granny into the garden even more, she loves it too. I mean who does not love a swing, child or adult.



LOATHE the darker mornings, I get up early and they are already starting to sneak in. Chris commented on this too. The 50p solar lights we picked up in Sainsbury's are still showing light and it means the days are shortening. However it also means beautiful autumn is coming, woolly jumpers, hot chocolate and kicking leaves. Oh and leaves may become a loathe in the autumn as the garden has quite a lot, but I will see!!

What have you liked, loved or loathed this week?

Jurassic Pterodactyl Kite Review Giveaway




A creative Dorset business has created a unique design of kite in the shape of a life-like flying reptile that used to dominate the skies during what is known as the Jurassic period, approximately 200 - 140 million years ago. 

Did you know fossil pterosaurs, the flying dinosaurs, are very rare because the bones were hollow and light. The first one found in the UK was discovered in 1828 near Lyme Regis, now part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. The most well-known type of pterosaur is the pterodactyl and these were seen in the Jurassic Park movies.

Martin Cooke from Jurassic Kites said, "We wanted to design and develop a kite that would not only be a quality product and fun to fly, but would also help to spark people's interest in The Jurassic Coast. We are hoping that good sales of the kite will then enable us to support other new projects focusing on this famous coastline."

Jurassic Kites sent me one to trial and we have to save we were impressed, even Chris.

The reason I say 'even Chris' is because he actually groaned when he saw the kite.  Paige and Conor when really little, loved an afternoon at our country park flying a kite. Chris not so keen, he grumbled, only to me quietly, it was too faffy, a lot of kites were either really flimsily made or too intricate to launch. 
All reasons he used to get me dashing around with the children trying to get them up in the air after Chris had become hopelessly entangled and given up to take the photos. 

The kite we received is suitable for over 12's so perfect for a teen to carry on the passion handed down by err Mum!! I love kites, the patience and time is worth it to see a beautiful shape guided by you in the sky above. 

The Jurassic Kite is a Pterodactyl, not the pretty girly kite but after an afternoon flying, heads raised and a lot of interest was shown by boys and girls. Lots of wow's and ooh's were head and not just by our family!


The  Kite  before the flight well, instantly we could see it was a good quality kite, tough nylon, fibreglass struts and even just out of the packet the shape of the pterodactyl was plain. The kite is a good size measures 140cm across the wing tips and is 76cm in length and has extra wing tails which can detach, we thought this may happen as lots of string and the tails were already stressing my poor husband as he knew he had to man up and launch the kite.

Handy instructions on set up proved spot on and it was simple, Chris ever the moaner domain said they were more simple than flying it would be! Haha, a bad workman and all that!!

We had to wait for a couple of weeks the glorious sunshine has been fabulous but it has also been windless, being in the flats of East Anglia we knew it would be tricky, our first attempts were grounded. But this weekend the wind built up and by Sunday we knew it would take off.




I can give you no real tips as I am not an expert, we all are not, but the kite on our third attempt of standing 30 metres (roughly apart) took off into the sky and stayed up for a good while!! Chris was off, nobody really got a look in, the Pterodactyl shape comes to life in the cloud and it looks fantastical.  




For a dinosaur fan this is a real unique present, it  makes Jurassic Park seem a bit closer than a TV screen does. It had lots of interest from people and it will definitely be one we will use with our kids even as older teens. My little cousin is coming to England next week and will be flying and loving this I know it.



We had a superb time flying it and thoroughly recommend you leave the wing tails on. It crashed a few times which in the past with other kites has bent the struts and ended the pastime, the Pterodactyl remained in one piece, no bends and continued to launch and fly.

 At £17.95 it makes the perfect present for dinosaur mad children and provides an excellent excuse for the whole family to get outdoors and have fun together. It is available from selected Dorset based museums and visitor centres along the south coast as well as online from www.jurassickites.co.uk 

For two readers Jurassic Kites have kindly offered me two of the beautiful kites to give away.  Just fill in the easy peasy rafflecopter below. 

Disclosure: I received the Pterodactyl kite for the purpose of this review, I received no other incentive and my opinions are my own.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Freebie Friday 15th Aug - 21st August



Hello again, I could not find lots of freebies this week, check last weeks Freebie Friday as there were quite a few and a lot are still running.

But please if you have stopped here for a moment click on the 'Donate 50p' freebie, will cost you only a few moments.

Bloggers the giveaway linky and all the lovely compers who visit this post need you.
Add your giveaways, deals, discounts below and have a great week.


Spotlight

Barclays Cycle Hire free trial weekend 28 May

Teaching children kindness.



I have always been a person who likes random acts of kindness. There is nothing better than taking a small free amount of time out, to touch somebodies life. Make them smile, feel cared for, appreciated, loved. They can be family members, however it seems to be a greater act if done for a stranger.

I felt that if my children learnt anything, it is that kindness is valuable, the deed actually has a dual feel good factor. Maybe even more, as in the future the story being recounted makes people smile too. I know it always makes me feel good hearing about others helping people out.

I hope this in no way comes across as me boosting my ego/trumpet blowing or preaching  but to share how good it is to go that little step further and how it can create a good example and encourage generosity in my children.

My son said that a family day out when he was younger really stuck,  we were eating in a KFC in Leicester and saw a woman sitting up against a shop front, clearly homeless,sleeping as shoppers past by, she was shivering, it was the lead up to Christmas, bitterly cold and raining, trying to snow. 

She awoke every now and again and put out her hand to passers by, it was not in a real begging manner that we have seen before or since. She was middle aged, appeared to me that once a real beauty that had been ravaged by her circumstances. I know some say beggars should help themselves, again I don't want to debate, I just had to help. I could not finish my meal as it was upsetting us all watching her being laughed at by a few, she just looked at people and closed her eyes to the insults.

We bought her a meal and a hot drink,  walked over to her, she had her eyes closed, seemingly to block out her life, she looked so worn, finished. I approached and said Hi, she jumped, clutched her thin baby's blanket around her, eyes wary, frightened, this was no grasping street person hassling shoppers for a quick fix. I handed her the food, she eyed it, clearly hungry but mistrustful.

I said we would leave it next to her, we did not want it to go to waste and we walked away. All we could talk about was this woman and trying to explain to my children how people get into this situation and why does nobody help. 

A few hours later we walked back and she was still there, it was becoming colder so we felt we had to do more. I  noticed two doors along a charity shop, without names being given, it was a charity that deals with people in need, so I went in, explained and asked if they could spare a blanket, maybe even one that they would not sell in the shop as too worn etc. Surprisingly, disappointingly for my children to hear, they said no, it was not possible, not something they do.

 With that, I was a bit emotional, so I found it best to not speak,  we just walked out and  went into another charity shop, this time not asking, I just bought the two blankets they had and took them to the woman. Again leaving them near her and saying they were to help a little. She called after us as we walked away and said 'Thank you, you have good hearts'

Not nearly enough was done for her, even by us and I often think if the children were not my main priority, as we had to ensure they got out of the cold and home for tea, we would have possibly chased up some shelters, seen if somebody equipped to help would come to her.


I have done  more like this over the years and will always do it. Not for thanks, until now only a few of my friends have been told, but the homeless seem to be ever more on town streets, some are there for professional begging and may not be homeless, that too is a tragic way to live. However many are there for reasons that should have been picked up by our social services. These people need hope to get through even another hour.


My two are teens now, I have a typical teen boy, who is a little self absorbed in our house, needs lots more prompting, I have felt at times  that I failed, that  maybe my ideals did not work or pass down. I'm not expecting my children to follow my every characteristic, but hoping they would be giving of time and nature also. 


I was recently rewarded, when I was told, not by him, that he walked a elderly lady home with her shopping, refused any payment and then got lost for an hour, as he did not know the area, not his moment for his kindness paying him back. The feeling of doing something good was payment enough he said. It made the people who told me feel that teens can be good, gave me a sense of 'Yes that is my son!'  made him feel he was doing something good.


Recently he sat in McDonald's with his friends, one of my moans is eating in there, but it paid off for one person, they  saw a guy sat crying, while others laughed, he and his friend went and sat with him.

The man was in crisis, felt no reason to go on, said his day was so bad it was the last straw.  Conor and friends who joined not being overly equipped to support and advise,  called an ambulance,  but stayed, sat and talked. Later as he was helped by the paramedics, the man said to Conor and friends he could not believe they were so kind, that he had nothing and felt life not worth it, thanked them and said he felt more with it.  Conor will never know what happened, but I believe he made a difference that evening. 




That for me is pretty profound that a simple sit down with a stranger can change things.

Paige has done many such acts, for strangers, it seems to be inherent and comes easily, her heart is amazing, hers are lots of everyday acts. She most recently did a random act for her Dad and I, taking over the care of my Granny for me so we could have a break, that is indeed a big task for a 19 year old to take on, she totally sacrificed two weeks of her time for us, refused all payment, getting very grumpy about us paying for some respite.

So I feel my wanting to help has moved on to the next generation, that they too will touch family, friends and strangers souls and make a small difference.



These are examples only, kindnesses can be as simple as an extra thank to my children after they have done something good or helpful for me. I say thanks a lot but an extra touch of a hand. eye contact and saying you really appreciate it does wonders. In children, it teaches courtesy, a feeling of being valued for their efforts and makes the chores you gave them seem a little less tiresome. 




To pick some flowers free in your garden and give them to a neighbour who the children know. A simple act, touching the recipient, making your child feel special and giving a parent a feel good buzz too.


It makes them aware and value doing something for nothing more than the great feeling in your heart.

These acts sometimes seem thwarted by bureaucracy, my regular 'pay it forward' act of leaving a parking ticket for somebody if we have a few hours left on the time, is now a complete no in some council car parks we visited while on holiday with signs stating not to pass on tickets, I realise its to make money but its a rare act, only happened towards us once, so I see no real loss to councils. 

What do you think, do you like random acts of kindness, ever done one, received one, is it a good example of teaching children kindness?



Random Act of Kindness photo thanks to Shutterstock

Homeless woman photo thanks to Shutterstock

Breaking rope photo  thanks to Shutterstock

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Like Love Loathe 24




Time for another Like, Love, Loathe the wonderful way to rant and be positive all in one post, the idea hatched by Sarah from Life In a Breakdown and Bex from Futures. If you like the idea of finding two nice things to chat about and a little rant to get it off your chest pop over with a post to 

http://www.lifeinabreakdown.com/like-love-loathe-24/



LIKE  I like minions I decided that when I am unhappy these cute little yella fellas make me smile, on Facebook the emoticons of Minions for Private messaging move, dance, snigger, shake their heads in disbelief. I am afraid I may becoming a little obsessed, I got terribly excited when the previously 'sold out everywhere' Minion sweets were discovered by my husband in a little post office and I still have a few left for moments of dire need.


LOVE  I am so happy that I got to go with Chris to the airport to meet Paige back from her fortnight as Camp Supervisor in a kids camp near Tallinn. It was not going to happen as you know we care for my Granny and I never get out unless Paige is about to care for her. My very good friend helps out, but I feel cheeky asking them. I received a phone call last week to say 'No arguments, I was going to the airport to meet her' my friend and her husband insisted.

Paige had not a clue, I managed to keep it quiet and when she text to say she wished I could be there, I said Aww I do too. We made a placard with her nickname on and for once it did not embarrass her as she was so thrilled I was there! I loved this memory and I love my friends for making it happen for me.




LOATHE I hate seeing signs for 'SALE'  as I am confined to the house  all week, being a bargain hunter, the big sales and clearances that appear in the shops make me wistful for times when I would be there, comfy shoes and bags at ready!! However this weekend as Paige was home, I rushed out for an hour, money clutched tightly and headed for the B and Q Clearance, with promises of wheelbarrows for £3 and drills for £7 and garden bits, I was most excited not only to be out for the second time in a fortnight but a chance to buy, buy, buy!

Only to arrive and nearly cry, cry, cry, our store had broken items, trellis for £3 but it was green, not painted green, oh no, it was mould. A bath tidy with broken fixings, grotty paint shades and garden benches with split wood. I spied a shower curtain, not overly a bargain, £10 instead of £15 and  with a desire to purchase anything, made my way to the checkout, to discover it was not in the sale!! Grrrrr.
So my motto was B and Q Clearance means broken and if it was free, I wouldn't even take it, it would take up room in the bin!

Sale word on fabric thanks to Shutterstock

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

BritMums 42 Days of Summer #Sweeet




The long school summer holidays loom ahead, this year it has been unbelievably warm and sunny, as we know with our temperamental weather this can change, well in a flash flood as seen this weekend.
I was asked by BritMums 42 Days of Summer #Sweeet Linky Challenge to tell readers  about my tips for activities and as a long campaigner for cheaper ways to do everything. There are obvious ones like go for a walk, pond dipping, baking however, I  also have a yearning to go back to simpler times, I have come up a few suggestions. 


Simpler times and bygone childhood games, OK, maybe not as far back as these 'Good Little Girls'  I mean who has a pony out there, if you have summer is sorted??

I do think when planning how to fill the days of school hols, we all should look back to our own childhoods and remember what made us happy, games we played do actually suit our children. Hopscotch, marbles, two bally, french skipping is a fab game, I have taught my children and their friends, even the boys had a go as the height of the elastic feels like hurdling!!



Nature activities, children I feel need to be in touch with this planet of ours, to learn more about the beautiful land we live on, how to care for the wildlife that supports our plants and trees. So get out there, we climb trees, play  ball and for a free indoor activity when weather gets tricky to the museum,  lots of nature displays at our local museum and a chance to dress up too. 

Talking of poor weather, we have so far been lucky, but on rainy days you can do a few cheap afternoons, a Movie day, get chairs lined up in front of the TV, make some popcorn with the kids first and draw the curtains and snuggle!



This is a fave sneaky activity, my garden benefits from getting my little ones making flowerpots, the children love it and the wildlife gets a chance to thrive!!


 Indoor paint session for indoors on the rainy days, utilise those paint sessions for pretty pots using old baked bean cans, get your children painting washed out tin cans to make summer bedding plant pots, they get the joy of painting, you get to plant up some fast growing annuals.



 Nasturtiums are fab about 69p for a  pack of 20 seeds. They grow fast even if planted now, they attract butterflies and another day can be spent counting the butterflies for the Big Butterfly Count online!!



Picnics, we was sent some BN Biscuits in Chocolate and Raspberry Flavours and its a given that we all have picnics in the summer at the park, beach or beauty spot, but a really good tip for a rainy day is an indoor beach picnic, now don't do what I did one terribly rainy summer and bring the sandpit indoors to make a beach feel!!! Oh no you will be cleaning up for summers to come, several enthusiastic toddlers decided it would be fun to throw it about the kitchen!!



However sand aside, bring in deck chairs, get the shorts and sunglasses on, my daughter insisted on princess bikinis!! Get some beach tunes pumping out of the stereo and have a picnic, forget expense, their fave marmite sarnies, a drink and an ice lolly even homemade is perfect but a nice treat always helps. The BN biscuits are very tasty, crunchy and sweet, adorably cute to nibble on with 45% wheat and wholemeal, they are also a slightly healthier snack for children and Mums too. They 
certainly  make the outdoor weather sun or shine fade away for a bit!



Good Little Girls photo thanks to Shutterstock
 This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. Learn more at http://bit.ly/1mRpMCL

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