Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Tamara Small and the Monsters Ball

We are massive fans of Author Giles Paley-Phillips and when we were sent Tamara Small and the Monsters Ball the children could not wait.

Tamara Small and the Monsters Ball is a massive hit here, the story has all the monsters ghouls and witches included without making children scared and I have to say most children like a scary story until it is time to go to sleep but with this book it does not have the scare factor it is fun.

The illustrations are amazing and really add to a fantastic story, myself and the children all loved this book and  know anyone that reads this will not be disappointed.

My children have read this story numerous times now and have read it to their younger cousins age 3 and 5, they both really enjoyed the story and illustrations, my children have many books which go onto the book shelves and gather dust this is certainly not going to be one of them.

Recommended for children of all ages.

Make sure you read our review of Giles Paley-phillips Award Winning The Fearsome Beastie book here.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Acute Myelogenous Leukemia ( AML ) and Asbestos

People always find themselves looking for answers and still I search to find out what went wrong, I find myself asking so many questions and am still searching.

My dad was a average 59 year old he had worked all of his life one job he worked in Liverpool anglican cathedral doing the maintenance work  before knowing the dangers of asbestos he done many jobs in there which involved asbestos years later he was contacted to ask him to go for a lung biopsy due to the hazards when he worked there, he said he really would not want to know as there was no cure for this.

Another few years passed and he had his regular routine bloods done, the hospital called that evening asking him to go in, he agreed to go the next morning which was a Saturday ( I can remember every little detail of this time).  He went the hospital the next day and they seemed surprised how well he looked and asked lots of bizzare questions and told him the needed to do a bone marrow biopsy asap they would call him Monday to arrange it , they gave him an appointment for the thursday I remember being a little concerned as I knew what the biopsy was for.

On the Wednesday evening we were all at my sisters house and my dad was fine playing with the children and even fitted roof bars on the car, the next day he went for the biopsy and was sent home I spoke to my mum who seemed concerned about him, I went down to there home as I entered my mum was on the phone it was the hospital they had dads results and needed him in the next day but if any concerns take him to A&E .
My dad seemed very confused and extremely sleepy , so we decided to take him the hospital little did I know this would be his last car journey by the time w arrived he did not know who my mum was and when the doctor asked if he knew who I was he didnt in fact he didnt know what a pen was, how could things change so quickly.

My dad was admitted to hospital and the following day we were told my dad had acute myelogenous leukemia and would need 4 months of very intense chemo we decided not to tell him for now as he was too confused, that evening we had a phone call to get to the hospital asap I have never drove so quickly in all my life, my dad had had massive fits and had a bleed on his brain caused by the leukemia and if they could not get a response he was going to be left no treatment was being done .

My sister made my dad wake up and when I say made him she would not give in and he did he was rushed to icu and placed on a ventilator , life seemed so unreal and I don't think I will ever accept that this disease can act so quickly, the following day sunday dad was taken off the ventilator and he woke he knew who we were and seemed like himself again could he get through this all we had was hope .

On the Monday we waited to go in to see him but were told the dr's were performing a procedure and to wait over an hour passed and I was getting concerned what was happening when we finally got into the room I asked how he was and he was in pain he told me he felt like he was dying it broke my heart but I knew he was, I called my sister to come to the hospital. the nurse gave him some pain relief  he settled and went t sleep little did we know that was the last time my dad would be awake., we waited and asked if he was in a normal sleep the nurse told us yes he was, so we decided to go home.
My mum was staying in mine, we were sat chatting and decided to call the hospital to check the nurse who answered said she was just about to call us and we should go up it was 9.30pm and we headed up meeting my brother and sister  there, we knew things were not good and my dad was in a coma he was not responding we waited till 1.30am tuesday and the dr took us to a room and he said there was nothing they could do for him they could not treat him I could not believe my ears 4 days ago we were sat playing and having a laugh life seemed so unfair, they started removing the drips from my dad and I went the toilet , I could not breath my phone rang it was my mum I ran back but I was to late my dad my hero had gone. 

My dad was only 59 and we buried him the day before my mums 60th birthday, we still gave her the ring dad had bought her , but I don't think I can rest till I get answers, I have looked at my dads life and I keep getting back to the asbestos I know that there has been clinical studies and the two are related so if you find yourself reading my blog through searching please share your story.

Please consider signing up to Anthony Nolan you really could make a difference to so many people.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Uniform shopping, mannequins alive

Today we ventured out to get our final uniform bit we decided to go to Marks and Spencers as usually they have a good selection, and its relax, the children really did not want to be there and someone had totally trashed the trouser rails for love nor money I could not find the sizes I needed the children were really quite and I was amazed that this really was not the usual moaning shopping experience ....

I heard a few people saying have you seen those mannequin children they are real children and people were going to have a look including staff, it suddenly dawned on me my children were quiet and not moaning but where had they disappeared to this is what I found.

The fact that they went RAAAAA  !!! to people as they walked passed had the whole shop laughing and kept them very quiet while I shopped.
Love my children's personalities so so much.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Lego Toyologist Fun

Last year our family were very lucky to be chosen to be Toys R Us Toyologists, we had so much fun being part of the team we were really excited to apply again.  Geoffrey giraffe has asked applicants to review a must have toy and being huge Lego fans the children decided that no home should be with out it so here's our review.....

Lego is made of a very sturdy plastic, is totally washable, comes in a massive variety of shapes and sizes which interlock together to form your structure, you can get so many different sets including some well know characters sponge bob, Harry potter Star wars the list is endless

Thomas building with some of our Lego


Lego sets come with a really easy to follow booklet to make the model and give great step by step pictures to follow.

Inside every Lego box you have enough bits to keep you child busy and start them getting creative, some of the larger sets can seem expensive but once you see how many different things can be made you will be amazed I think this is why Lego has been around for so long infact Lego bricks first came out in 1949, my kids asked if I remember Lego coming out, my quick reply was Noooo but dad does haha .


Lego friends is more for girls and is a group of 5 girls,you can get a beauty parlour, cars, dog shows and lots more very girly Lego sets, it's totally awesome so Sophie who is 9 has told me " it is pink and purple also lots of ponies and girl figures".

Michael made a friend for Geoffrey
We have all sorts of Lego,  infact I really would not like to guess how many pieces we own and the children really never get bored, I love the fact that you can use you imagination and make so many different things, when the children first started getting Lego they found it difficult to understand that you do not just have to build the model on the box you can make anything you want but now they totally get it and we have so much fun.

The children spend hours playing with Lego and find it very rewarding its great for rainy days, I love to see any child use there imagination and to me that's what Lego is all about.

Lego prices start from as little as £1.99 and go up you can also buy and collect the different figures adding these to any of your child's creations.

Lot's of toys get released for a second time some a third, very few keep going for this length of time and I think Lego will be going for many many more years to come.

Our overall thoughts on Lego:-

Lego is brilliant and encourages children to be creative.

We have never had a piece of Lego break so it must be strong.

There is no boundaries with Lego, you can make anything from a nuclear powered flying saucers with a castle on top to a farm yard or zoo there is nothing with Lego that you cannot do.

                                                          available at Toys R Us

Monday, 14 May 2012

Poland Syndrome Awareness

I wanted to blog about our experience with Poland syndrome as we had such a difficult time getting diagnosed and finding someone who understood what was wrong with my son going back 11 years now when my eldest was born he was born early and he was happy and healthy.

One day when Thomas was a few months old I noticed that one side of his chest did not appear the same as the other there was a lump like a bone, I pointed this out to my health visitor and my GP and they said not to worry as he was growing this was becoming more noticeable so I asked to be referred to Alder Hey children's hospital we were seen by a doctor who sent us for an x-ray and he said some of Thomas's ribs were fused together and that was that some people are like that and it was nothing else, so off we went.

As Thomas grew his chest became more noticeable and 1 day whilst reading the paper I came across a story of a man who had just been diagnosed with Poland syndrome, I read more and was sure this was what my son had, I took him to the GP whom told me that Thomas did Not have Poland syndrome as his hands were fine, but  the older he got the more I knew that the muscle in his chest was missing and I was sure I was right ......But how do you go to your GP and say your wrong I'm right?

I eventually found an amazing support group here in the UK and spoke to someone I will be forever grateful to, a lady Lynn Farmer at she gave me so much information and support and put me in contact with a doctor who she knew could diagnose once and for all  by this stage my son was 8 years old.

We travelled to derby and the Doctor confirmed finally that my son did in fact have Poland syndrome, I was relieved to know that I was not just a manic mother but I was actually right all along.

After our visit to Derby, Thomas was seen in Alder Hey again this time by a fantastic Consultant whom was really interested in Poland Syndrome and he explained to us how rare it was and that this was the first time he had ever seen this, Thomas had to have a scan to make sure all his organs were in the correct place and thankfully they were although we were told it was a really interesting scan and he has many ribs fused together, also a couple of muscles missing on one side, but another muscle compensates as he can still do monkey bars, swimming and everything else.

Thomas who is 11 now can have surgery if he ever decides he wants it but for now he is happy and does not  mind at all, that's our journey so far but for anyone that does not know what Poland Syndrome is I am adding more information.

What is Poland Syndrome ?

Poland's Syndrome is a pattern of one-sided malformations characterised by the
absence of the pectoralis major (chest) muscle and short, webbed fingers on the
same side of the body.  Poland's Syndrome can affect either side of the body but
occurs more often on the  right side.  The syndrome was named after Alfred
Poland, the person who first documented the abnormalities.  It has also been
called Poland Sequence, Poland Anomaly, and Poland Syndactyly.

How Do You Know If Your Child Has Poland's Syndrome?

Poland's Syndrome is evident  at birth.  The first distinguishing characteristic is
the absence of the pectoralis major muscle, the main chest muscle that normally
attaches to the breastbone.   Nearby chest muscles on the same side of body
may also be absent.  In girls, the breast on the same side is usually absent.  The
second characteristic of the syndrome is the hand malformation of shortened,
webbed fingers on the same side of the body as the absent chest muscle.  In
rare instances, more severe finger,  arm, kidney, or spine problems may be

I am a member of The Poland Syndrome support group who can also be found on Facebook they are very supportive and full of great advice.


Stress Stress and more Stress ......... My 11 year old is feeling this way as his first SATS exam is today, I never thought about these year 6 exams before this year and I feel for any parent or child going through this. 

I suppose not all children feel the heat, but My 11 year old worries about worrying and these SATS exams have taken him to a stage in his life that no child should go ....... he feels that if he does not do well then he has failed and will never get a job and be one of life's failures, ( he's 11 for godsake).

I have been revising with Thomas the past few weeks and have never felt thicker, believe me I have found words and meanings I never knew existed I did purchase some amazing books Letts, KS2 Success  from amazon and these explain so much I can honestly say I would have cried without them I will do a review of them as they were so good and helped me and Thomas.

So what are SATS .......... National curriculum tests - popularly called Sats - are taken by 11 year olds in England in their last year of primary school, at the end of Key Stage 2. Pupils sit written tests in English and maths. The results are published by the government and are used by the media to compile primary school league tables................ So the question is will they have any impact on my childs future and the simple fact is NO!

I have tried my hardest to help Thomas and even though he got fantastic marks in his mock exams a couple of weeks ago the confidence has faded as I am sure it has for many other children.

Why when 11 year olds are going through a stressful enough time with the thought of moving from primary to high school add even more pressure to them? my so was upset and could not get to sleep last night due to the pressure he feels under which is not good for any child of any age.

I really cannot wait for this week to be over for the children so they can start enjoying what little time left in primary school they have.

I hope all children taking exams now stay calm and just do there best, us parents are proud of you this way no matter what the marks are.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Auditory processing difficulties - what next

Michael my youngest has had a long battle with his hearing and breathing problems, everything had been fine until his first birthday when he got Scarlet fever, and things went down hill his hearing was affected I did have to battle as I was told his hearing was fine by the age of two he had a teacher for the deaf and a speech therapist coming to see him weekly, and to add to this he was in and out of hospital with breathing problems severe asthma.

Now at 7 years old in year 2 his hearing loss has really gotten much better and he speaks brilliant, he does have SEN, me and his teacher decided he could benefit from another hearing test so a couple of weeks ago we went along to audiology and his hearing was ok, but Auditory processing disorder was explained to us and we were told it was very hard to diagnose but Michael did have Auditory processing difficulties and  most hospitals will not diagnose Auditory processing disorder no follow up appointments nothing.

 we are very lucky as my sons teacher has arranged one to one maths of a morning when all the other children are in assembly and he gets other one to one support in class but my worry is what will happen when the support stops?

We were told by Audiology that there was no need for a further follow up appointment with them as they could not treat Michael, so feeling a little lost  .

It  looks like google and finding other parents and ways to push Michael as hard as possible is my only way forward to try and help Michael as much as possible memory was one of the really low results so will be on the look out for memory games and as much information as I can get.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Ravensburger 3D Puzzle Review - not just your average puzzle

When we were asked to write a review for the Ravensburger 3D Puzzle we jumped at the chance, The 3D initial launch collection has 4 different amazing designs, The Eiffel Tower, Big Ben , The Empire States Building and A Red and White Lighthouse.

The puzzles have 216 pieces which include hinged and curved pieces and amazingly no glue is required because of great interlocking system, The recommended age for these is age 10-99 years, so an ideal gift for everyone, The prices start around £16.99 rrp.

We received the Eiffel Tower puzzle which once completed 
stand a brilliant 44cm tall.    

Inside the box you receive a very study cardboard decorative base, 7 plastic parts which will help form your 3D Eiffel Tower, 216 jigsaw pieces and your instructions which have some very interesting facts about the building you are going to make.

Thomas my 10 year old made a start on our puzzle, all the pieces are numbered which make things easier when constructing, The Eiffel Tower is built in three sections so Thomas decided to separate the jigsaw pieces for each part the numbers he needed were clearly noted on the instructions and this made things a lot easier and saved lots of time too.

Thomas set up his base and began building he built each part before placing it on the base and the puzzle was sturdy enough to do this, the pieces clipped together and stayed in place which really helped him to do it this way, The hinged pieces seemed a little tricky at first but he quickly got the hang of how to do them.

As the puzzle got taller, it also got thinner which made the pieces a little harder to place but Thomas managed fine.

Thomas really enjoyed making this puzzle and needed no help in doing it, he now has his completed puzzle on display in his room, I cannot say anything negative about this puzzle Only positive.

 Thomas has said he wants the other ones now, we would recommend for people of all ages.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

A new family member finally arrived ......

After a very anxious and scary wait my little niece Abigail arrived, I have to say she is so beautiful and perfect in every way possible.

I am so lucky that I have a close family and see them everyday, sophie is no longer the only little girl and is over the moon that she finally has a little girl to dress up with her.

Congratulations to my family and Abigail's 2 big brothers ...Welcome to the world Abigail .

The Goblin and the Girl by Neil Irani ...... great book

Goblin and the girl children's book by Neil Irani and illustrated by Yun Park, published by Maverick books.

This book is quite simple and my children really liked the story  and the illustrations are brilliant being a mum I thought this book was getting another message across reading the title you obviously think there is going to be a Goblin in it, but its actually gone one step better and the little girl sees herself as a goblin when ever she looks in the mirror I don't want to give to much away but I guess most girls and boys at some point feel like this and this story does actually address that just because you feel this way it is not true.

At the end of the story it shows that the little girl actually only needed a friend and someone to talk to  and when she looked into then she seen herself in the mirror .

In today's society where people are so wrapped up in being perfect, this book explains in children's terms.

I highly recommend getting this book my daughter loved it, its easy read but a deep story with a simple text.

Secondary school placement wait

As every parent understands once their child reaches year 6, you have the dreaded decision of trying to choose the best secondary school for your child.
I like most found this really difficult what if I picked wrongly this was actually the hardest decision I have ever had to make, much harder than buying a house or picking a wedding dress this massive decision was my child's future and even worse what if they did not get a placement !!!

We have 3 secondary schools near us 1 which is catholic so this was not an option the other two like many parents we went and walked around taking the grand tour and meeting pupils basically cemented our original choice but catch we live just on the boundary or the catchment area like many other children applying.

The applying on the form it requests you put down 3 options, I did not want any other school and neither did my son, the secondary school we have picked is next door to my children's primary school so I will be there if my boy will still walk with me ( so many parents have told me once they go into high school it is not cool to be seen with mum) my boy still kisses me at the school gate, NEVER to old to kiss mum.

So the on line for had to be completed the beginning of October 2011, why does it take soooooo long to give us parents the decision Did our child get a placement ?? myself like many other parents am going loopy waiting, I try not to think about what if he is refused but as the 1st March draws closer my heart is sinking.

Really what if we do not get a place, Like thousands of other parents its a waiting game, and if I have not totally lost the plot by announcement day I will hopefully be able to celebrate.

Good luck if your a year 6 mum like me xx

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Shrove Tuesday better know as Pancake day

Me tossing the pancakes

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent begins I have not decided what I am going to give up for Lent yet but we had a fantastic time making Pancakes, we had lots of toppings including nutella with bananas, strawberries and icecream they were sooooo yummmy and to top it off my new  little niece was here with us,

Everyone tucking in yummmy

I did not make my own pancake mix I cheated and bought shaker ones this was so much easier well lazier haha

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Wild Science Face Mask Laboratory Toyologist Review

We received Wild Science Face Mask Laboratory in our Toys R Us Toyologist box to review.
Face Mask Laboratory retails at £14.99 , which is a great price for what you actually receive.

When I asked the boys if they wanted to try this out they both said NO !!! and there was definitely no changing minds, Sophie on the other hand could not wait.

 Most things have a place on the neat sized workbench and you have protective gloves and mask although Sophie would not wear the mask but loved the gloves.

 The Instructions were really easy to follow and Sophie who is 8 years old managed fine following them.
The fragrance does state 3 drops but we found the scent really strong which made me a little nervous letting her put it on her face, also the colouring did not really do much to the colour of the clay, so maybe a little more was needed.
We had to add a little more water than stated as when we mixed it was to thick but this was so simple to correct.

Sophie applied the mask after we had done the instructed allergy test on her wrist, she did need help with this but we had a great laugh doing it.

Once the face mask had been on for 5 minutes she could not wait to rinse it off to see the results and this was really easily done with some warm water, her face felt lovely and soft .

You can also make a store clay buttons which can easily be made into face masks by adding the correct amount of water which is a great idea.

Also at the back of the instruction booklet you have 2 fun experiments to do which the boys joined in with.

Myself and Sophie really enjoyed the Wild Science Face Mask Laboratory and would definitely recommend this.

Tia gave paws up for the box she loves it !!

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