Marathon of bedtime

Bedtime is chaotic in this household

It’s a constant battle to get the children to sleep.

You just about think your winning. They’re in their beds all tucked up and looking like little angels and just as you take a foot over the threshold of the bedroom door, thinking of how you are going to spend the last couple of quiet hours of your evening, when you hear…

“I need a wee”

“I’m thirsty”

“I’m not tired”

“Just one more story”

“I’ve got a belly ache”

Anything to stay awake for those extra few minutes of the evening

The longer they stay awake the more tired and irritable I become. I was so close to the finish line of relaxation.

For a moment there I could see it, but yet I was so far away.

Our bedtime routine can sometimes be a fast one, with  no arguments but most of the time it can take up to over an hour to get the little rascals into bed. So I set myself a goal of reducing it to half an hour by setting up a routine.

We have always had a bedtime routine but it seemed to have lapsed the older they got. Before we moved home, the boys all shared a room. They now have a room to them selves which makes it easier to stagger their bedtime. It is always hard to keep to a routine when the children get older as they attend after school clubs that normally finish near to their bedtime.

Our newest routine consists of

  • Wind down time, removing any electrical equipment from them about an hour before bedtime. I sometimes have to hide them in my bedroom away from their sneaking hands
  • An hour before bed they can have a small glass of water. Any more than that and they will be up in the night going to the toilet
  • Half hour before bedtime they are told to have a shower/wash and to brush their teeth, I give constant count down reminders about what they are doing next.
  • They get there clothes ready for the next day, placed neatly into a pile near to their bed
  • They can choose a book to read to themselves for 10 minutes
  • Once in bed I then sit down and read a book to them. This is a book that both boys have chosen. We are currently reading Harry Potter together. I normally read them a chapter a night. The two younger boys have a connecting room, so this is easy to do whilst both boys are in bed
  • I always end the day with a cuddle and a kiss and give them a praise about their day. Falling asleep on a positive note relaxes them and encourages a good nights sleep
  • Tuck them up in bed and turn off the lights

I try to keep the landing light off too, as this seems to keep them awake. Also talking a calm voice and not rushing them along helps them to the routine running smoothly.

I must admit this doesn’t always go to plan and I still get the odd shout from the boys bedroom about them not being tired enough for sleep. We’re not all perfect after all!

 

 

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Utter Delicious Coconut Bites Recipe

This recipe is simple and easy to make and tastes deliciously smooth. The coconut bites are ideal to give as treats to the little ones or to wrap up and take out on days out. I like to keep them stored in the fridge, they are a great for a nibble or with a nice cup of coffee.

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They are not entirely a healthy treat but contain no added sugar. A nice crispy chocolate coating with a moist creamy filling

Ingredients:

  • Tin of coconut milk 400ml
  • 250g desiccated Coconut
  • 3 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 tbsp Brown Rice Syrup or 3tbsp of sweetener
  • 200g Dark Chocolate (The darker the better)

Method:

Add the coconut milk to a pan and heat up over a medium heat. Add in the coconut oil and sweetener. Once heated up add in the desiccated coconut and combine well. Keep mixing until it thickens and clumps together.

Take away from the heat and place the mixture into a square tray. Press down to compress the mixture.

Place in the freezer for 1 hour until the mixture sets and becomes hard.

Melt the chocolate in a pan with a tbsp of coconut oil.

Take the coconut mixture out of the freezer and cut up into squares, about an inch by an inch.

Place the coconut chunks into the chocolate, once all coated take them out and place onto a piece of parchment paper.

Put the coconut bites into the fridge to set.

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Now enjoy! Your own little taste of paradise

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My Personal Experience of Radiotherapy

Back in 2016 I was diagnosed with a rare form of Bowel Cancer, there were only 2 cases of it at the hospital where I was under. My Oncologist explained all the details about the diagnosis but I think I found out more by doing my own research. As a part of my treatment I was offered chemo-radiation, this is a treatment that means I was to have radiotherapy alongside taking chemotherapy tablets.

Radiotherapy is the use of controlled, high – energy radiation. It is offered alongside chemotherapy as it makes the cancerous cells more sensitive to the radiation.

I was told that I would have radiotherapy first to try to shrink the tumour before surgery, as this would make it easier for the surgeon to remove it. My tumor measured at 3 cms and was close to my rectum, sitting on the sphincter muscle – which controlled the movement of the bowel. The tumor was very close to the skin, so close that it could be felt from the outside.

From receiving my diagnosis til the first day of my radiotherapy it took two weeks. Those two weeks were the longest and slowest ever. Just think, You have been told that you have cancer and then you have to wait a few weeks until you can start you r treatment. All I kept thinking was, that it was more time for it to grow and worsen my diagnosis. Within that time I had a colonoscopy, an ultra sound on the local lymph and I had to be measured up to the radiotherapy machine.

Meeting Linac 

A Linear accelerator machine used to treat all parts of the body by delivering high energy beams/electrons to the region of the tumour. It has several built-in safety measures to ensure that it does not deliver a higher dose and is routinely checked by a medical physicist to ensure that it working properly. Everyone has their own personal treatment plan that has been decided by the doctors on how to deliver the prescribed dosage and calculated time that you will be under the machine.

Tattoo for life Before meeting LINAC I had to be measured up in a CT Scanner. This is when i received a tattoo, which was marked on my body by a small pen. This tattoo never fades and is a sign of what you have been through. A mark that will never let you forget. These marks were where the beams would be directed and used to take measurements for the plan of treatment. I was given three little dots on my skin; one above my pelvis, and one either side of my pelvis. The radiographer used red laser beams to measure them up. I laid down on a couch that had a scanner around it. This would be the position that I would be laying in for all of my treatments. I was under the machine for about 3o minutes. I didn’t feel anything, just heard the sound of the machine.

For my treatment I had to have 25 sessions of radiotherapy. That was every day, monday to friday, for five weeks. I had the weekends to rest up.

Before my first radiotherapy appointment I was able to sit down with someone from the radiographer team and discuss what time of the day would suit me for my daily treatments. I was given a leaflet which told me about the process, what to expect and what side effects I could get. I asked for early morning sessions as then it would be easier for me to get some rest before the children came home from school.

As my tumour was in a very sensitive area, I was told to expect some very severe soreness after week 3. A mould was made to place over the skin to protect it. This was made up for me.

I was given my time-table with all the dates and times printed on it and what LINAC I would be on. The hospital had a few.

I had to drink 750ml of water 45 minutes before going in the machine. I had to hold this in my bladder until the session had finished. This was so that I kept my body hydrated and so the scanner could create detailed images of inside my body. When I turned up to my appointment I was told when to drink by the radiographer. This I found easy for the first few weeks, it then started to become harder as the time went on. I was struggling to hold my bladder as the radiotherapy was burning away my insides.

My first session felt like it went on forever. I remember laying in the machine and counting how many times it went round me and guessing in what direction it would take next. I was in the machine for about 15-20 minutes, It took a while to make sure that I was in the correct position so the whole process could take up to 30 minutes.

My family decided between them that I wasn’t to attend my sessions alone, so there was always someone waiting for me outside in the waiting room. Ready to have a normal conversation with or just be there for me.

I remember talking to the machine as it went round me. Telling it how I just wanted more time with my family, how I hoped that It wouldn’t miss a cell and to make sure that they all went. As I laid there I began to think it was answering me back. Listening to me. I remember the sound of it going round and round. I could hear music in the background. I told the machine to be nice to me and I would sing to it. Silly eh! How can a machine listen to you. It felt like it was the only place I could talk about my feelings without being judged or told to stop being silly. I had to lay there as still as I could, which is hard when you have to think about it. You always get an itch somewhere or feel a twitch in your leg.

Everyone was so nice and welcoming. The staff was helpful and friendly and always smiling. The other patients in the waiting room made conversation, even if it was talking about what brand of coffee they were drinking, it was small talk and just what everyone wanted. There was a sense of calm in the oncology department, quiet at times when you needed it. I almost felt like I belonged in there. People around me who I could relate to, who could understand what I was going through. It was as if I could see them walking around with a big question mark hovering over their heads. We all had the same thoughts, thoughts that we didn’t share with close family and friends but what we transmitted through our eyes. Sadness and hope.

I had lost hope in my body, I had lost my way in life. It was like the waiting room was my refuge. I needed to find strength from the people around me, the strangers in the waiting room and from within.

Hours quickly fell into days and the days into weeks. Not long and I had been going for a month. It seemed normal to get up and make my way to the hospital. The oncology department was at the back of the hospital, away from the busy part, almost a different building. It was like we were being hidden away from everyone. Kept to one side away from normality.

Side effects  The side effects were harsh. The last week I laid in bed crying and only got out for the appointments and to got to the toilet. I didn’t want to drink as it burned when i passed urine and walking became impossible with pain. My skin was so sore that it was blistering and peeling. I was given a cream to apply to the area, but that was only because a friend advised me on what to ask for. I was told that my skin would become red like it would do from sunburn, but I didn’t expect it to literally burn away. The only ease i got was when I let air to it and applied the cream. I gave up on wearing underwear and only wore loose clothing. I had to take imodium tablets as it was playing havoc on my bowels. I was so tired all of the time and some days slept for hours. I could be having a conversation one minute and then asleep the next. I welcomed the weekends as it came me respite from the treatment and by sunday evening I was becoming to feel normal again, only to go back to treatment the next morning.

I had to drink as much as I could in order to stay hydrated, I tried to drink at least 2 litres a day.

Long term effects  My bladder became weak and I could no longer hold in my urine, It felt full all of the time making leaving the house hard. I can no longer have children as my tubes have been burned away and I suffer from hot flushes. I have weaker bone structures and have had physio to build it back.

Two months after treatment finished I spent 10 days in hospital due to having an Abscess due to the effects of radiation. I lost all possible feeling to go to the toilet and was in severe pain. This resulted in my operation to remove the tumor forward by Two months.

It’s been 18 months since the last day of radiotherapy and I am now nearly back to full health. I know I can no longer produce eggs to have more children, but I already have three wonderful boys, so that’s not a problem for me. I still suffer from hot flushes but they say that I may be going through my menopause early due to radiotherapy.  I often get tired, but I just remember to take it easy and rest. I drink at least 2 litres of water a day and eat a healthy balanced diet (although I stay away from processed meats and pre prepared meals). It’s hard to look back and reflect. I need  to share my experience, not only for myself but for others too.

 Please feel free to contact me if you want support.
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Mind The Gap – Travelling on the tube with children

Travelling on the underground in London can be daunting for any adult who has never done it before. It can also be very stressful, especially during the busy rush hour, but it needn’t be if you prepare your self.

Living on the outskirts of London means that we travel into London a lot of times. Sometimes we go after school during the week to get to auditions and other times we travel on a weekend just for a day out. We are so used to travelling during the rush hour that it just seems natural to us. There are some stations and routes that we will avoid at the busy times, which may mean walking through the streets to get to the next station  but they are never that far away from each other.

Travelling with a baby or young children across London can be every adults nightmare, It can also be very challenging but it is definitely possible and enjoyable.

Here are some of our tips on travelling with children on the underground

  • Grab your self and Oyster card or if you can use your phone or bank card if cantactless is set up on it.

-Children under 11 travel free on the tube, overground, DLR , TFL rail and buses if they have a 5-10 Zip or travelling with an adult (under 5 travel free)

-Children aged 11-15 can travel with a Zip oyster photocard. They travel for free on buses and trams and get a reduced rate on all other TFL service

-If you’re visiting London and travelling with children aged 11-15 who haven’t got a Zip Oyster photo card, you can still benefit from reduced rate travel for them. You can get a discount set on an Oyster or Visitor Oyster card that will allow them to pay as you go at half adult-rate for up to 14 days.

Apply for these cards online prior to visiting

  • Remember always to tap in and out at the stations on the yellow card reader with your card. If you manage to walk through a barrier without tapping out after your journey, you will be charged the maximum fare
  • Plan your route. Take a look at the underground map online or download an app. We find the app to be very useful, not only does it tell you if there are any delays on any of the routes but it also plans your route for you and tells you how long each journey will be.
  • Grab a map at the station and give to your child to look at and study. When on the train tell them your destination and see if they can work out the route.
  • Try to avoid travelling during rush hour. With commuters moving around the city, expect the trains and stations to be overcrowded between 07:30 and09:30 in the morning and between 17:00 and 19:00 in the evening. This said, I have also found some stations on particular routes in zone 1 to start getting busy at 4.30.
  • When travelling with babies, try taking a light fold away buggy/stroller or use a sling. It will make your trip a lot more easier
  • Be prepared to walk up lots of stairs. There are also lots of escalators to use.
  • When using the escalator stand on the right as people walk up on them on the left. Keep young children in front of you.
  • Take a look on the map for step free access stations. Sometimes its easier to travel to your destination by using the nearest step free station and walking the rest
  • If you are travelling with more than one child, tell them that as soon as you get off of the train and on to the platform to wait against the wall. Platforms can become extremely busy. You don’t want to be dragged along with the crowd not knowing what direction you actually want to go. We always wait against the wall and then look for the way out sign or where to go for the next line.
  • I know it’s scary but I have always told my children that IF they ever get left on the train to get off at the next station and wait on the platform against the wall for me to get them. I also tell them that if they get off of the train without me to wait on that platform and I will come back for them. This has never happened to us, but the trains do get very busy and sometimes a small child could become disoriented within a crowd of people.
  • Tell your children to always wait behind the yellow line until the train has stopped.
  • If there are two adults when travelling, always have one at the front and one at the back when walking through the stations and even through London streets. Think of a sandwich, keeping the children in the middle. I travel with my three children, who are now 15, 10 and 6. It is always me first and my eldest last.
  • Walk around London from one station to the next, instead of going by tube. For example; although travelling from Oxford Circus to Piccardilly Circus can take a few minutes on the train, it does only take 11 minutes by foot. Think of all those lovely shops and building that you will see.
  • Carry water with you. The trains can become stuffy and hot, especially in the summer. Also have a snack in your bag.
  • If you are going to be on the train for a while, play some games with them to keep them occupied. We like to play the station alphabet game or I-Spy
  • When standing on the platform waiting for the train to approach, wave to the driver. they always wave back and the children love it.
  • Use the wider ticket barriers, they will have much more room for the family to get through. They are marked with a blue wheelchair symbol and normally have an attendant close by.

Remember where ever you go in London; on bus, tram, tube or river boat to enjoy your self. Have a great trip and Mind the Gap!

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Do You Want To Build A Snowman? – A Cute Little Food Gift For The Children This Christmas

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I was searching through the internet trying to find a fun food gift to give to the children in school. I didn’t just want to give them chocolate, I wanted to give them something that they could do by themselves.

I found this fun marshmallow snowman on google images. What a great idea to give to the children at Christmas, which would also be ideal for birthday party treat too.

You will need:

  • Three marshmallows (I found Halal ones for the children that was Halal)
  • Two iced eyes
  • Three mini coloured chocolate Smarties for the buttons
  • A Matchmaker stick for the twig arms broke into to two pieces
  • An Iced carrot for the nose
  • A strawberry lace for the scarf
  • A couple of white chocolate buttons to use to glue it all together

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Now all you have to do is construct it and build your snowman!

To present the snowman I bought some cellophane treat bags from Hobbycraft and made up a little label on word and then stuck it onto some card. Finally I stapled the label to the bag. As an added little gift I sellotaped a packet of fake snow on the back (I did emphasise to the children that the packet of snow wasn’t food and that they must show their adult first)

These fun little treats would be a cute little gift to find inside a stocking. I handed them out to the children in school and they loved them. Our elf on a shelf brought them to the boys and they immediately wanted to build their own snowman. It kept them occupied for a few minutes and they got to eat their little creation after

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Fancy trying one yourself? Download the lable below

The snowman was not my idea, I found a picture online and adapted it to my own version. 

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Make Your Own Real Fruit Winders

Looking for a way to get your children eating more fruit? Than these fruit winders made from fruit are just the way to do it.

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Made from only fruit-with no added nonsense-not only do they taste good but are also healthy too.

I am always looking for different foods to add into the boys pack lunches, as sometimes they can get stuck in a rut with asking for the same foods every day.

Although they are easy to make, with only two ingredients, they do take quite a bit of time to make.

Ingredients:

  • Fruit + banana
  • Honey (if you want a sweeter taste)

Step 1 : Choose your fruit – We chose Mango and Blueberries. What ever fruit you choose you will need a banana to add to it. We used 1 large mango for one and 250g of Blueberries for another . Using a food processor, combine the fuit together until its a mushy consistency

Step 2 : If using a fruit that has seeds in it, you can use a sieve to remove them now

Step 2 : Place the mixture into a pan and boil away until it reduces to lamost half of the amount and you are left with a thicker puree. You should be able to draw the back of the spoon through it and the mixture will not fall back into the gap for about 3-4 seconds

Step 3 : Pour the fruit onto some grease proof paper and baking tray. Level it out as much as you can, so that it cooks evenly, Smoothing it as you go.

Step 4 : Place the baking tray into the oven a very low heat for about 4 hours. We have a fan oven so out them in for about 3 hours at 80f. Keep checking the fruit as you don’t want it to burn. You will notice that the texture begins to change and it becomes to look like leather

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Step : Touch the fruit and it should feel a little tacky. Turn off the oven and leave in it to cool down

Step : Remove the fuit and cut it into strips with the grease proof paper still attached. Roll them up and your ready to eat them.

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Just unravel them when your ready

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They really are very juicy, chewy and delicious. My children love them. From one mixture you should get about 15 strips.

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Support Save the Children this Christmas Jumper Day

This year, Save the Children’s annual Christmas Jumper Day is taking place on Friday 15th December ’17.  Millions of people up and down the country; colleagues, school children and friends will be adorning a festive knit so that they can help the charity do whatever it takes to make sure the world’s forgotten children get the chance to have a brighter future.

The fundraising idea began back in 2012 and has since seen millions of people join in. It has since become a quintessential British Christmas time tradition. We will, as previous years, be donning our festive jumpers. The children will go to school and I to work in our tackiest jumper. But not forgetting to donate £2 each to the charity here

Not only will people be donating to make the world better with a sweater but they can also help raise even more money by buying products as gifts.

Companies such as; Selfish Mother, WHSmith, Ellas Kitchen, Arsenal FC, Kurt Geiger and Ikea have all jumped on board and are offering to give donations from the sales of certain products.

Save the Children do whatever it takes to save the lives of children. From the first moments of life, they work to get children the healthcare, food and water, safety and education they need to survive and thrive. Save the children’s pioneering helps give children, no matter where they’re born, the chance to fulfill their potential.

Selfish Mother have created a range of Christmas Jumpers, in their FMLY store, that no only look good but do good too. The designs feature unique and festive slogans. £50 adult and £25 child, each offering 50% donation to Save the children.

WHSmith will stock two Christmas Jumper day Bears called Bruno and Benji. The bears are sporting their own festive jumpers that were designed by competition winners Holly aged thirteen and Phoebe aged nine. Retailed at £4.99 with £1 being donated to Save the children

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Ella’s Kitchen are selling a Jungle Belly Christmas Dinner. This festive pouch is created for tiny taste buds and includes organic turkey, potatoes and all the trimmings, so little ones can enjoy Christmas dinner with the rest of the family. For every pouch that is sold Ella’s Kitchen will donate 30p to Save the Children.

This Christmas Ella’s Kitchen is selling a Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner.  This festive pouch is created for tiny taste buds and includes organic turkey, potatoes and all the trimmings (even brussels sprouts), so little ones can enjoy Christmas dinner together with the rest of the family. For every pouch purchased Ella’s Kitchen will donate 30p to Save the Children.
This Christmas Ella’s Kitchen is selling a Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner. This festive pouch is created for tiny taste buds and includes organic turkey, potatoes and all the trimmings (even brussels sprouts), so little ones can enjoy Christmas dinner together with the rest of the family. For every pouch purchased Ella’s Kitchen will donate 30p to Save the Children.

 

To help raise funds Arsenal Football Club have created a range of festive knits for all the family, which each carry 20% donation to Save the Children. Even pets and little ones can join in as they have Baby Christmas Sleepsuits and jumpers for dogs

Arsenal Players Swap Their Kit For A Knit In Support Of Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day.  Pictured Granit Xhaka
Arsenal Players Swap Their Kit For A Knit In Support Of Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day.
Pictured Granit Xhaka

Kurt Geiger will donate 10% of the purchase of any Kensington bag sold between 22 November and 24 December

This Christmas, Kurt Geiger will donate 10% of the purchase price of any leather Kensington bag sold in Kurt Geiger stores and kurtgeiger.com between 22 November and 24 December 2017 to Save the Children.
This Christmas, Kurt Geiger will donate 10% of the purchase price of any leather Kensington bag sold in Kurt Geiger stores and kurtgeiger.com between 22 November and 24 December 2017 to Save the Children.

Ikea have launched, third year running, a range of soft toys designed by children for children. The FULL purchase price from the sale of each toy will go to Save the Children.

Now in its third year, IKEA has launched a range of soft toys designed by children for children. The full purchase price from the sale of each toy will go to Save the Children UK, to support children to fulfil their potential through education and play.
Now in its third year, IKEA has launched a range of soft toys designed by children for children. The full purchase price from the sale of each toy will go to Save the Children UK, to support children to fulfil their potential through education and play.

Who doesn’t love a mince pie? To celebrate Christmas jumper day LEON will be selling mini mince pies in support of Save the Children. The mince pies will sell for £1 with a 20p donation.

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In support of Christmas Jumper day, Save the Children have created a range of kitsch tote bags. These feature tongue in cheek imagery of three festive cats and dogs; CHIBBY the Cat, DUCHES the bulldog and CHESTER the westie. Retailing at £6, all proceeds go directly to Save the Children.

In support of Christmas Jumper Day, Save the Children have created a range of kitsch tote bags. These feature tongue in cheek imagery of three festive cats and dogs; CHIBBY the cat, DUCHESS the bulldog and CHESTER the westie. Retailing at £6, all money goes directly to Save the Children.
In support of Christmas Jumper Day, Save the Children have created a range of kitsch tote bags. These feature tongue in cheek imagery of three festive cats and dogs; CHIBBY the cat, DUCHESS the bulldog and CHESTER the westie. Retailing at £6, all money goes directly to Save the Children.

How will you be supporting Save the Children this Friday?

No payment has been received for this post.

 

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