Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 a year to beat...

So 2013 is soon to be history 

I'm not too sad though as it is making way for 2014 which is set to be pretty epic.

But will it be as epic as 2013?... 
because if I'm honest 2013 is going to be blimming hard to beat.

This year saw me become a Mrs, Rocky become a toddler, Kyd become less of a kid and more of a teen and Hoff become slightly greyer than he was before he met me and said 'I Do'.

I don't think we could beat this year and after the hell we went through in 2012 it was a much appreciated change in family play.

I thought, to remember and appreciate the madness of 2013 I'd do a month by month run down pin pointing the crazy times we have had.... hold on to your hats folks it is a mad old run down.

In the month where the country was shocked by the reports of decades of child abuse by Jimmy Saville we spent most of the time doing Wedding Planning as it was less than a year to go and that meant panic stations. To top off the shocking news stories being unveiled about Saville, we also found out we'd been eating Horse Meat in most of our burgers and the country was covered in hideous snow, which caused issues with everything from transport to illnesses.... great start to the year right there...

But in other news... Rocky finally rolled over.

In the month that Pope Benedict retired and was replaced by Pope Francis, who is now on Twitter (a cool pope?... brilliant) I turned 27 and loads more wedding planning took place. I made some pretty cool stuff for it and laughed at the idea of anything going wrong as I was SO organised.... then a meteorite hit Russia and Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend and I realised in this bonkers world ANYTHING could happen between February and July.

In the month that former cabinet minister Chris Huhne is jailed for eight months for perverting the course of justice as you can guess even more wedding planning took place but in between I managed to have tea with an Astronaut... as you do.... I managed to become a judge at the Alternative Queen of Reading awards alongside the lovely Danyl Johnson from the Xfactor and Michelle from Heart FM's breakfast show... I know what you're thinking 'why were you there?' I asked the same question... I still don't know. Even Justin Beiber going mental at the press couldn't mess up Rocky's month though, as he seems to rocket through his milestones and gains a tooth, pulls himself up and crawls.

Oh and in other news.... I got a call from Deal or No Deal, I went to an audition for Deal or No Deal, I got a call up for Deal or No Deal and started filming in Bristol for 2 weeks of amazing fun with new friends I will cherish for life. (I thought I was dreaming... I wasn't, I really wasn't).

So I filmed my Deal or No Deal game dressed as Lady GaGa in the Summer special week called DealFest... you know as you do... I met the most amazing group of people who became great friends AND I won £14k and a Holiday to boot. I can honestly say it was the most surreal two weeks and an event I will never be able to relive, a once in a lifetime thing and one that not many get to do, I am very grateful for the experience and the cash... and holiday too. AMAZING.
After I finished filming and whilst the rest of the country was mourning or rejoicing in the news that Margret Thatcher had passed away, we made a very cold trip to Yorkshire to say a sad goodbye to my Uncle Herbie. Although not necessarily family, he was a huge part of my life and I was sad to see him go. Goodbye was hard but he's in a better place now and I'm sure he was there to watch Kyd fulfil his dream to finally be tall enough for the BIG rides at Thorpe Park... he'd have liked that. Ohhh and obviously more wedding planning was had in between the madness of filming, holidays and trips out.

In May I weighed myself for the first time since I started listening to my hypno diet on my iPod, I had lost a big percentage of my baby weight and I was over the moon. I had never felt better about myself and I could have only done that with the help of Thinking Slimmer, so a big thanks to them. The new thin me then had my Hag Doo (like a Hen Doo but with boys there too) in Camden and puked in a rather expensive taxi home... but hey, if you can't puke on your Hag night, when can you? *looks sheepish* That hurt me the next day I can tell you. Luckily the £14k I won on Deal or No Deal went in my bank... which lead to the purchase of my first Dyson... hurrah. Sadly May started to go down hill as Kyd spent a few weeks in hospital resulting in FINALLY getting the doctors to move forward with doing a Bowel Operation (although that hasn't happened yet but will in 2014) he also got his bifocals and just to kick our Kyd in the teeth a little bit more... Reading FC got relegated from the Premier League back to the Championship (where we belong). Oh and by this point intense wedding planning was in action too as the days and weeks were flying by.

*Special note* On the 22nd of this month the world was shocked and saddened by the death of soldier Lee Rigby, my heart and prayers are still with his family today and I pray that they stay safe and strong for his baby boy throughout his life. RIP Lee Rigby.

This month was one that flew by without any of us noticing but was an amazing gig month. I went to see Green Day with Bradders (again) at the Emirates stadium and then we went to Hard Rock Calling with my sister and brother to see Kasabian headline at the Olympic Park. In between I attended Britmums Live with my epic Bloggy mates in which I got slightly drunk and had a surprise Hen Doo which resulted in many many willy straws being passed around the room as we watched some of my lovely friends win some amazing awards. So proud of them and so grateful for my surprise Hen Doo. Thank You you epic bunch of lovelies.... at this point my brain was in wedding overload and I spent the entire month making paper flowers from books and sticking tea cups together... obviously for the wedding.

This month our little Rocky turned 1 and started to walk... where has my baby gone? or that year for that matter? My time on Deal or No Deal went live on air on the same day as his birthday too so that was amazing timing. What a day that was. That day aside ALL of July was taken over by my wedding planning which became all I could think about in the final few weeks before the
big day, nothing else mattered not even the birth of the royal baby broke my concentration. Gluing, sticking, buying, sorting, listing, making and creating all sorts of Alice in Wonderland themed must haves was the theme to July until....

WE FINALLY GOT MARRIED... in front of 180+ people in a DIY Alice in Wonderland themed wedding. It was the most amazing day. So many people and many friends and family we hadn't seen for years came to celebrate with us. Rocky had his christening during the service and Hoff didn't run away or faint, which was a bonus. An amazing day topped off by a messy night and a hideous hang over the next day but it Tortoise for my wedding present he hadn't even hatched yet... ahhhhhhhh... I bought him a Shite Shirt... says it all really.
was all worth it. Ohhhh oh oh, Hoff bought me an actual baby

To top this Epic month off we drove to Bath in a Ferarri for our honeymoon. It was only a few nights but it was hugely appreciated and the Ferrari was given to us (hired for us) by Hoff's friends at work and for that we are also HUGELY thankful... I felt like a celeb everyone was staring at us.

Well August started off well as My Deal or No Deal game got aired on TV on August 1st. I can't tell you how relieved I was that the show went down so well with family and friends. 10% of my money went to charity, 5% to Kyd's local Downs group and the other 5% to the most beautiful and inspirational blogger I met this year, Anecdotes of a Manic Mum, for the charity she set up to support her husband through a brain injury, I really wish I could have given her more, she deserves a break and her husband to be home.

There was a bit more Thorpe Park action to be had this month, a few trips in fact. Kyd was now a fearlessReading festival and saw Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro and many more bands that you've probably never heard of but we love. Kyd has been to many festivals and this year attended 2 days of the 3 with us so that he could see his beloved Green Day live (again). Thrilled and ecstatic are two words which described his facial expressions that weekend.... tired and exhausted were two that followed soon after. We also picked up baby Bruce the Tortoise who was the size of an old 50p and so so so cute it was bonkers. He's bigger now but still teeny and fitted in to the crazy family ever so well, the perfect pet, quiet, contained and doesn't need much attention.
thrill seeking pro and Hoff... well, he went on his first ever BIG ride this year too... so proud of him. The fun didn't stop there this summer, we went to

This month Kyd started at his new SEN school and also turned 11... where have the years gone? He only moved schools because he is set to have his operation soon and his mainstream school wouldn't be able to deal with his medical needs and he'd have to have lots of time off... he was moving to that school next September any way so it isn't a big deal.

Also this month I went to the Houses of Parliment to meet Lord Saatchi and help him with the new Saatchi Bill to help beat cancer. Such an honour to be involved in this and to visit parliament not as a tourist. I was joined by a few well known bloggers who had the same ore and admiration for Lord Saatchi as I did. More to come in 2014 on this subject, stay tuned to see what. From serious to stupid.... I got drunk at the MAD Blog Awards and walked through Kensington High Street dressed as a Giraffe with the man from Just Eat and a fellow blogger who was dressed as a strawberry... because that's a completely normal thing to do isn't it *shakes head*.

My post about Kyd and how if I could go back I would tell myself it would all be ok, came from seeing a beautiful young couple and a baby who looked just like Kyd as a baby at the hospital. It was well received by many and got published on several parenting websites which was very humbling... the best part was the couple in the story
got in touch to say that they'd read it and that they were happy and loved that I wrote about them.... I felt like a stalker a little bit but it was amazing.

Also in October we saw a huge storm hit England.... on the day we flew out to Orlando, Florida, amazing timing there as usual, luckily it made only a 15 minute delay to our flight. In Florida Kyd was in his element. He became even more of a fearless thrill seeker than ever before and he made the most of being in the parks and managed to ride 110 rollercoasters in 10 days... yep you read that right 110... Kyd and Rocky were also overly impressed when they met Mickey, Spiderman, Captain America and SO many more characters. Kyd also swam with a dolphin... this was a huge highlight of his life. He swam for the first time on his own and it was with a dolphin... amazing... not only that but he was also taught to land a space buggy on the moon by an actual astronaut called Jon McBride who we spent the day with (I had tea with him in March, we are now besties).

Bonkers month...

We landed back in England in November and a few hours later I went to Actually Mummy's wedding whilst very jetlagged, I wouldn't have missed this renewal for the world. I love that couple and I am not afraid to shout about it. I also spent the night in someone else's hotel room, she knows who she is, 7 hours sleep later I went to Mumsnet Blogfest in London where I continued with my jetlag and thought I'd just drink Windsurf on the Mark Warner wind surf whilst drinking a cocktail and wearing sunglasses.... classy. I may have drunk them out of cocktails and drunk them from a green beaker, I then had a bit of an argument with a feminist or two from the balcony of the main room *looks around innocently*... ANNNNND then I hid from twitter for a few weeks because it went a little bonkers... NOT my fault *hides head*
through it... looking back that may not have been a good idea as I went on to...
Annnnywaaaay.... Also in November I went to see Mr Russel Brand, who was pretty awesome. *runs into December to change the subject*

*catches breath from running* I got a new DC59 Dyson this month... exciting stuff for me as I am a Dyson geek. Working with Dyson for me is like Kyd going on a BIG ride... I know, I know, I'm a geek.... On top of that excitement whilst at the Dyson event I got an email to tell me I won the pleasure of being a Mark Warner Mum ambassador meaning we get to go on another EPIC holiday next year EEEEEK. I honestly did not expect that one. I was up against so many bloggers who are way above my standards and
ability and I managed to get it... Me? Really?... anyway I don't think that will sink in any time soon so expect some random, unexpected whoops of joy from me for a few months yet.

A few days later Kyd got a date for his Bowel Operation and so my bubble was well and truly popped. On 16th January Kyd will be having an ACE tube fitted into his bowel during a 6hr surgery. We've begun to prepare him for it already and he is getting set to spend a week or more in the John Radcliffe Hospital.... he's excited... yep, the most bonkers child ever, excited over an operation.

This Christmas saw me cook the Christmas dinner for just us for a change. It was calm and relaxed and had my hair done for the first time since the wedding, which was an amazing feeling... HELLO BLONDE goodbye roots... Thanks to my brother sister and dad for the money to do that, amazing gift. Actually present wise I did really well this Christmas. Hoff bought me a Rizzo the Rat (from the muppets) I had searched for one in Florida and nothing... I reacted like a child with their first bike.... loser. I also got a beautiful fresh water pearl bracelet from a friend of mine, on it had a heart charm, on the heart charm she'd had it engraved... 'ahhhh' I hear you all say, 'how lovely'... she engraved it with the word TWAT... which for me was perfect and it brought a tear to my eye. I won't tell you what I bought her, it is too rude for you lot.
we went to see family in the evening and drove to Cambridge to see more family on Boxing day. Chilled and relaxed, that is not what I'm used to but it was lovely all the same. Ohhhh I finally

Speaking of rude... We went to the most fabulous Burlesque Cabaret night at Proud Camden. I can not tell you how excited I was when Hoff booked this for my main present. I have wanted to go for ages. The night brings you a posh 3 course meal and then a show which sees beautiful women do a burlesque dance on the stage in front of us. One was dressed as Cat Woman... Hoff may have had a mild heart attack in his chair when she made him undo her black PVC corset... You should go sometime it's amazing.

Tonight, NYE, well we are currently sat here on the sofa with a gin and a bottle of champers chilling. We plan to drink out, what you would agree has been an AMAZING year for us, and drink in a year which can only beg to be as amazing but is sure to give it a run for it's money.

In Brief

This year has been epic and I am really sad to see it go. There has been very sad things happen in between the above but I am concentrating on the good at the moment and for those things I am grateful.

I met some of the most amazing people this year, some that will be friends forever. I believe that people and situations come into your life for a reason and sometimes those reasons are hidden until you need them but some you can see from the start.

To ALL of the people that have come into my life this year THANK YOU,

To ALL the people who have been here for a while and stayed by my side THANK YOU,

To those who have made this year what it has turned out to be THANK YOU,

To My Husband and My Beautiful Kids, THANK YOU

To everyone who has read my blog, followed, helped, commented and shared... again THANK YOU.
*does a little bow like she's winning an Oscar*

Thank You 2013, you have been EPIC... Bring on 2014

Love to you all and 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Review: The Dyson DC59 - Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

I visited the Dyson HQ this week in South Kensington. We went to see a demonstration of their new technology and their new handheld model the DC59 Digital Slim.

We bought our first Dyson Upright this year. I had wanted a Dyson for years but I couldn't afford to get one as a single mum and so we had a Hetty instead. Hetty was fine for a while but the suction wasn't brilliant and as it had a bag it has been harder work than it should have been but we loved her all the same...

But I'm fickle...

I had always set my sights on a Dyson.

My aunt worked at Comet all of my childhood and so she had many Dyson's. She had the big old grey and
yellow one, which was the first ever Dyson and we thought it was the don. She then went on to have many more over the years and the Dyson envy grew as I did.

I always said that if I ever came in to money the first thing I'd buy was a Dyson....

So, when asked by Noel Edmunds and the team at Deal or No Deal when I appeared on the show this year 'What would you buy with the money?'... after explaining about the charity donation I had pledged to do... I explained it was a Dyson that I was going to buy first... much to their amusement.

The thing is, I wasn't lying....

The moment that my winnings went in I was straight on their website picking my new beast out.

Isn't it funny how a Dyson makes you feel like a grown up. I wrote this on my facebook:

'You know you're getting old when you get stupidly excited about the fact you now own a Dyson...'

It got so many likes and so many people commenting about them saying the same thing and how much they loved theirs. So I know I am not on my own with my Dyson madness at least.

We have loved him ever since... his name is Derek.

Anyway... back to the new member of our family Baby Derek...

Baby Derek is a Dyson DC59 Digital Slim, he is part of the Animal family. He is cordless and has an easy access docking station that can be attached to the wall making it a space saver as well as a housework angel.

When they showed me what the DC59 did, I was in awe of the power that little monster had. It has 10x more suction than many other handheld cordless models on the market. they showed us the difference by spilling some baby powder and chalking the carpet as we watched the DC59 make light of the work, the others struggled to suck up the mess with even several attempts at the same spot. We were all very impressed.

When I got Baby Derek home, Kyd, who was off school ill, came to greet me at the door. On seeing the huge box that I'd just negotiated through London, he beamed with joy.

'Is that for me?' he said

'Well sort of' I said as he ripped open the packaging.

We have been doing a lot of work on Independence recently. As he grows I want him to be able to be as independent as possible and learn all the skills he needs for the outside world. One of the things we have started to focus on recently is 'earning your money'. I am a big believer in teaching kids the value of money from an early age, knowing that it doesn't grow on trees and that everything costs, it is a huge step forward to understanding budgets and so on.

This new addition was Kyd's new little earner. This is how he was going to get his pocket money up from what it is at the moment and you could see the pound signs light up in his eyes as he realised what it was.

The best part was it had a little bit of
charge already and so he could see how it worked straight away, which for him is a bonus, he doesn't do waiting. He instantly started running it up and down the hall way. Rocky was loving it too, laughing and chasing him around as he worked.

Off he went upstairs to do his room... Hurrah... well until it ran out of power and he came down and asked me how much he'd earned... cheeky lil...

I asked our Kyd for his review of the Dyson DC59 and he said:

'It's awesome, look at the fluff in there it's like a bin' 

He also added 

'The trigger is like a gun... a fluff sucking gun'

When I finally got a go, I must admit, it is very light so it made life very easy when it came to the up high bits that I admit haven't been done for ages. It is perfect size for the little things like the stairs and underneath the high chair after breakfast. The fact that both Kyd and Rocky can easily pick it up and use it shows how light it is too.
The trigger means it is easy to start and stop so saves the battery and, as with any other Dyson, the attachments are easy to remove and attach.

The charger is an easy wall mounted (although it doesn't have to be) holder and charger, meaning that you can put it away and charge it at the same time, so it is ready to go when you need it. Saves finding the charger doesn't it. The attachments fit nicely to the docking station too meaning they are all tidy and easy to find.

The attachments are all the same as the ones on your average Dyson. The main attachment is long enough for giants like myself of 6ft and over to use without hunching over, yet fine for short stuffs like Kyd to do the floor too.

Moving from Hard floors and Carpet is simple, there are no buttons to press it just goes from one to the other as if it's the same floor.

The MAX button, is like pressing a launch control button in a sports car. It is amazing but only needed in really tough issues like flour and chalk etc.

The life of the battery is also quite good at 20mins of life at full charge. I always assume with these things that they run out after doing one room but I managed to do the 3 rooms and the hallway before it ran out. Not once did it lose suction or did I have to go over something twice.

The cylinder or 'the bin' as Kyd called it, is quite small as you can imagine but actually holds quite a lot. I did have to empty it twice during the 3 rooms but that is because our rugs malt and so it was full of fluff. It is easy to empty too, just a click of the button and the bottom opens. No taking the cylinder to the bin, the whole thing just needs to be hovered over the bin bag and then you're off again. Easy...

Bravo Dyson I can't wait to see what you come up with next...

On a final note....
We have an issue with our car... it looks like the inside of a trodden on crisp packet. I can not wait for Hoff to take this bad boy out there and clean the inside of the car properly and easily. Kyd will do it when the weather is better, earn some more of that money... I CAN'T WAIT.... I am so rock 'n' roll.

You can find out more about Dyson on their Website, Facebook and Twitter pages 

 I was not paid by Dyson for writing this post but I did receive one of their products to use and keep in return for my honest review of their product.
 All the content from this post is written in my own words (apart from the quote from their website) Click here for more information on my disclosure policy

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Back down to earth with a bump.... Kyd's operation date is here.

So yesterday I'm celebrating an epic win. A huge success. A chance of a life time....

Today, I am miserable.

Sounds stupid doesn't it. I hear the cries of 'You ungrateful bitch' coming from a far.

I should be singing and dancing and moving to the music on cloud 9, whilst celebrating what so many were desperate for, except I'm not.

I mean I did, when I woke up I was still jigging with excitement and then the postman came....

A letter from the hospital...

The Parent or Guardian of *Kyd*

'I am writing to confirm the details of *Kyd's* admission under the care of Mr Grant or a member of the Peadiatric Surgery team.

Admission Date: 16 January 2014
Admission Time: 07.30

At: John Radcliffe Hospital'

I have been waiting for the letter. Last week we were all really ill with that gastric bug that has been floating around and I was saying I hope we hear soon....

I didn't think it would be this soon.

I didn't think it would be today, of all days. Today, the day after we celebrate being a Mark Warner family and start making plans for our 2014 adventures.

I know I should be happy really, which is silly, but we have been pushing for this operation for years and we are finally going to get this fixed, he is finally going to be out of pain....

But I can't help but have that knot of parental dread in my belly. That feeling of guilt that he is going to go through some horrendous ordeal and I can't help him or take it away.... that is what has made me miserable today, knowing he's going to have to be in more pain before he can fix his ongoing pain... and selfishly, knowing I will have to watch him in all that pain and be helpless.

It is quite extensive surgery, not rare but not common, it will however be life changing and he will be able to enjoy so much more throughout the day pain free. The after care and daily routine is quite a long old job and it will be a challenge to get used to but we are up for it.... maybe not quite ready for it but we have time to work it out.

Wish him luck. I will keep people updated.... what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't!

Anyway I have set myself a new mantra recently,

'Take the positives from the negatives and change your view point on the situation'

It is hard to do but it works and it can change your entire out look on a situation.

So my positive from this blow to the system today is:

'He will be healed and fixed in time for us to BE the best Mark Warner Family we can be and so this is the best timing ever.'

Always keep positive, life is too short to be angry, upset or anxious. Life is what YOU make of it and you learn as you go, mistakes happen, pick yourself up, brush yourself down, take a deep breath and smile. Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Wuhoooo I'm a #MarkWarnerMum

A little while ago I entered into a competition to become an ambassador for Mark Warner, the holiday company. (see the entry here)

As an ambassador we as a family would be sent on holiday to review the resort and work along side Mark Warner throughout 2014 with lots of (currently) secret missions.

This, to us as a family, was a dream job, as it would be for many, a dream in general actually. I entered knowing many others would too. I didn't really think we would stand a chance as the standard was so high, the bloggers were all so EPIC and well, I just didn't think I was going to really.


I only went and blimming won...


I am still in utter shock. 

I was at another event in London when I received the email. I couldn't hold my excitement in... I let out a little squeal, did a little dance and then squealed a little more.

At the event was one of the judges, Laura from Tired Mummy of Two, who looked over and smiled knowingly. I was shaking, I couldn't type my response to the email I was shaking that much. When it sank in a few seconds later, I ran over hugged her, thanked her and almost knocked her to the floor.

You see, I didn't want this role because it was a free holiday... ok that was a bonus... but I wanted this holiday to work along side a holiday company and teach them what is needed for families with children with special needs on their holidays.

I didn't mention that in my post, I didn't want to sway the vote with a mention of Our Kyd and his disabilities, I wanted to win on my own credit and then work it so that it advantaged many families not just ours.

Luckily Mark Warner seem to have the same idea, so watch this space. We are going to listen, feed back and report back the who's, whats, whys and wheres of family holidays with Mark Warner when you have a child or children with special needs and we hope to help both you and them along the way.

As a family that only go on holidays with Kyd when we know all we need to know about the resort and the childcare available and if it suitable for his needs, we know how hard it  is to find somewhere you are comfortable enough to take them. I hope we can help with that and show you places that really are.

I also hope we can help with the siblings too, obviously Rocky will be enjoying all the activities and childcare available to toddlers and he will be reporting back too so we aren't all SEN based.

Not forgetting us adults... WE will be doing all we can to report back to you how utterly amazing it is doing all the activities and sitting by the sea relaxing... it's a hard life. *winks*

*Raises Glass*
May this be the start of an EPIC journey and partnership to come.

Cheers *chinks*

I would like to thank Mark Warner and all the judges for showing faith in us as a family and as a blog. We are so grateful to be a part of what is going to be an EPIC year.

We are over the moon.