housework vs spending time with the children

As a mummy to three kiddies, I am always busy. People used to say to me while I was on maternity leave, ‘Do you not get bored??’, my reply was always ‘I don’t have time to get bored, there is ALWAYS something to be done in my house!’

And it’s true, there is always something to be done. Sometimes its the washing, but nearly always its the hoovering and mopping the kitchen floor of cat paw prints! There is 3 kiddies, 4 if you count the hubby, that need regular feeding. So when I made the decision to go back to work, I wasn’t quite sure how, and where I would find the time to do everything.
I am very fortunate to work school hours in my sales job, and am even more fortunate to have the most understanding bosses I have ever met. If the kiddies have hospital appointments or are poorly, they never even raise an eyebrow. It maybe because they have children and grandchildren themselves, but I can honestly say their understanding of being a working mum is amazing.
The mornings in our house are manic. The hubby leaves fairly early to get off to work, I am then left to deal with sorting the kiddies and myself out ready for the day ahead. There is lunches to be made, clothes to sort, the kids to dress, socks to locate and all in the process of keeping them entertained so there is no arguments erupting. Jordan has autism, so everything has to be in routine and dare we break it, well it could start a complete blow up!!
I then drop all 3 kiddies off at 3 different schools and nursery, then I can finally toddle off to work and make some money.
Leaving work to come home is just as manic, I have all 3 kiddies to pick up from 3 different locations, all within 25 minutes of each other. I get home and there it all starts again….
but what’s the most important jobs to be done when i get in from work? Should I do the washing? empty the dishwasher? or hoover?? nope, I abandon it all in favour for playing with the kiddies that I have missed all day. We laugh, we sing, we jump up and down, we build sofa forts, we build saucepan towers and knock them all down, we do homework and reading together……the housework is well and truly abandoned.
But do you know what? I really don’t care!! The big pile of hubbys dirty work clothes will still be there later when the kids are in bed. It won’t suddenly burst into flames or walk off down the road if I leave it just a little bit longer…
So if you come round my house and see it looking untidy with toys over the floor, its not because I am just lazy, its because I would much rather spend the time playing with my children, because lets face it, they grow up far too quickly!!

Brooke, me and Jordan 🙂

It’s that time of the year…school reports!

Yep, it’s that time of the year again where parents get the envelope, and children and parents both wince as it is opened…but not in our house.

My 8 year old son Jordan, has learning disabilities including autism. For me, it’s a time to reflect upon the troubles Jordan faces in day to day life.
The school playground is a buzz of parents all comparing how well their child has done, and seeing who has the best results. This is something I have never understood, surely not every child gets the best results in the world. Do the parents feel disappointment within themselves if their child hasn’t excelled in all subjects when they are treating it as a competition and comparing results?

This year Jordan’s school reports include two different forms of assessment. There is the level that the school teacher has assessed them at, and the end of year optional national test levels.
The national test level is something that we recently had done for Jordan privately. We had the issue of Jordan’s school teachers stating that he working at one level, when in fact we believed he wasn’t. So armed with the evidence of a private assessment, I have been fighting for more help for Jordan.
Luckily, since our last meeting with the council, a legal representative and the teachers, Jordan’s school have been making much more effort to help him. I am happy this is now happening, but part of me can’t help but feel angry that I have had to fight and fight just to get him an education. Surely its something that should be available to every child, regardless of disability.

For me opening the school report is not a wincing moment, I open it thinking ‘I wonder if they have told the truth’. It is often that I am left feeling angry by the comments, and this year is no different. I have no great need to open it, and usually put it off until Jordan is in bed so he cannot see my reaction. I am angry because I feel like the education system is letting my son down.

My son cannot read, nor can he write independently. He suffers from lax ligaments that causes his wrists to be very loose, therefore he cannot control a pencil or pen very well. He cannot read words, he can recognise some letters and sound them individually but cannot put them together in any way to form a word. Because of this Jordan cannot undertake the actual test papers so we have to rely on the teacher assessments. Last year he undertook an intensive workshop of an hour a day of one-on-one Maths tutorial, this has given him the chance to try and catch up and he is just about reaching into the average level banding for his age now because of it. What I can’t understand is why they refuse to use his statemented hours to do the same for his writing and reading. Oh well, the fight goes on…

Anyway, this year the teachers have given a level for effort and one for achievement.
In achievement they have three options:
Working above, Working at, and Working below.
In effort they have 4 options:
Excellent, Good, Satisfactory and Poor.

So there we are in the playground, and I am surrounded by ‘Oh what did your child get? My child got Excellent and working above in all subjects’. Yes I understand they are pleased for their child, if my child was highly intellectual and excelling in all subjects I would be very happy. But I am just not sure that bragging and boasting about it to other parents, who’s children are not necessarily achieving the same, is something I could, or would do. Maybe its because I have never been in that position, who knows. I can’t help but wonder do they get satisfaction from hearing that other peoples children didn’t get marked as highly as their own?

Jordan has no idea what in in the envelope he brings home. I do not reward him for it, nor do I punish him. Instead I reward and punish him throughout the school year as and when I feel appropriate. I keep a close eye on what my son is doing, so none of it is a surprise to me.
I am proud of my son regardless of what is inside the envelope. Everyday he has to learn amongst other children who are fully aware they are ‘more clever’ than him, but never once has he let it get to him. Maybe its his autistic bubble or maybe its because he is my little solider who knows that regardless of anything, I will always love him.

Persil 2in1 with Comfort & Camp Bestival

Persil have created a new washing detergent that has the cleaning power of Persil and the softness of Comfort. Persil 2in1 comes in two fragrances, ‘Sunshiny Days’ and ‘Passion Flower’

Persil really know how messy children can get, Kelly Scorah, Brand Manager at Persil comments:
‘Children getting dirty is a natural part of everyday play – and its not just their clothes which get mucky, it’s their toys too. New Persil 2in1 with comfort works to remove tough stains from their most beloved teddies, so whatever adventure they go on together, the unique forumla will keep them soft to touch, feeling and smelling like new’

The concept of Persil and Comfort together was my ideal partnership! I always buy Persil detergent and a separate bottle of Comfort fabric softener. With the two being combined, it cuts out the extra costs of buying the two products separately , not to mention the eco-friendliness of cutting down on the plastic bottles.

We tried out the Persil 2in1 with Comfort in Passion Flower fragrance.

It smelt gorgeous in the bottle and after I tried it in with my first load of washing, it smelt even better! It left all our clothes clean, feeling soft and smelling great!
Baby Marky absolutely loves his comfort blanket, and is very fussy about the smell and softness of it, so the real test was washing it in the new Persil 2in1 with Comfort, and I am pleased to say it passed the softness test!

Persil 2in1 with Comfort comes in 18, 23 and 25 wash packs. It is available in a liquid bottle and as liquid capsules. It is available in all leading supermarkets. You can check out the Persil website at http://www.persil.com/

READY, TEDDY, GO!
Teddy bears are invited to the festival event of the year as mum Jo Whiley launches a summer of ‘Persil Pass on the Love’ Picnics
Will you go down to the woods today? Or are memories of teddy bear picnics as distant as Stylophones, Space Hoppers and Rubik’s cubes? Well, happily the traditional teddy bears picnic is set for a refresh this year thanks to Jo Whiley and Persil 2in1 with Comfort.
This summer sees the launch of ‘Persil Pass on the Love’ picnics, where mums and their little ones are encouraged to get together with friends, bring along their once-loved-but-now-forgotten teddies – newly washed – and swap them with other children to be cherished again!
We all know that kids quickly grow out of their teddies, so rather than throw them away, Jo is encouraging mums bring their old (but clean!) soft toys and then pass them on for another child to love – either by swapping with a friend or donating them to charity partner Oxfam.
To launch the campaign, Jo will be holding the first ever ‘Persil Pass on the Love Picnic’ at Camp Bestival on Saturday 30th July, providing a fun activity to keep the kids happy before the music gets started! At the award-winning kid-friendly festival, families will be able to see the DJ and TV Presenter take part, swap their newly-washed soft toys and join in on the first of this summer’s picnics.

Persil 2in1 with Comfort liquid detergent leaves laundry so soft that it can be used on even the most precious items, so that well-loved teddies stay clean, irresistibly soft, smelling gorgeous – and ready to attend a picnic!

Festival-lover Jo Whiley says “As a mum, I know how difficult it can be to find family activities over the summer, which is why I think the fresh take on once-retro teddy bear’s picnics is such an inspiring idea. Toys will not only be given a new lease of life but with Oxfam, they can be passed on for other children to enjoy. Please host your own ‘Persil Pass on the Love’ picnic with friends and family this summer and let us know how you get on!”

For your chance to win a family ticket to the first ever ‘Persil Pass on the Love Picnic’ at Camp Bestival visit http://www.blogger.com/www.persil.co.uk/kids-activities/pass-on-the-love. Alternatively from July 25th hold your very own picnic by getting an exclusive Persil picnic pack at http://www.blogger.com/www.netmums.com/persilpassonthelove. Among the picnic goodies in the pack is an Oxfam collection sack – and with over 700 shops across the UK, you will be able to pass on the love, the soft toys, and any other items you may want to contribute with minimum fuss!

Dry Like Me and my 6 year old daughter


My daughter Brooke is 6, she will be 7 in September. She has never been dry during the day. Potty traning was a nightmare and the nightmare has not yet ended for us.

I managed to get Brooke referred through to an enuresis clinic who diagnosed Brooke with an overactive bladder. This is where the muscles that cover her bladder constantly contract. This gives Brooke the urge that she wants to go for a wee permanently, which over time she has blocked out of her mind. She has no idea when she actually needs to go and when she doesn’t. As a result, Brooke regularly leaks urine. We have tried many different techniques, including a watch that vibrates to remind her to go to the toilet and even medicine to relax her muscles, but as of yet we are still to find a cure.

One of the big issues we have is wetting at school. Brooke constantly has to carry spare clothes to school each day. One of the problems is that she wets her knickers, sometimes just a little dribble, but its enough to smell. She isnt allowed to wear nappies to school and the school don’t have the time to change her. She doesnt reconise the feeling of wetness, as it has always been there for her, to her, its normal!

When I found a company called Dry Like Me, I was intrigued!
They produce disposable toilet training pads for children. Something I have been longing for, for years!! I had even contemplated putting her in adult sanitary pads!!

The fabulous staff at Dry Like Me sent me some to try out with Brooke, but also to assist with me potty traning Mark.

Dry Like Me are child sized pads which are green in colour, giving it a funky feel to kids. They come in a little plastic wallet which has their logo of a lizard on the front. This little plastic wallet has been great for Brooke. Its slimline and fits discreetly in her book bag. It is also waterproof and Brooke can pop her soiled pad in there for us to dispose at home (there is no sanitary facilities in children’s toilets)
Dry Like me pads have tabs on them, which enable Brooke to remove the pads from her knickers hygienically. This has really given Brooke a boost of confidence. She can change it by herself with no fuss, meaning she doesn’t have to get an adult to help her.

I was really surprised the first time Brooke used a Dry Like Me pad, she knew she was wet! They have a special layer which initially feels wet to help your child recognise when they have wet it. This was a big surprise for us because Brooke is never bothered by wet knickers and would happily sit in them all day at school. They also start to feel heavy if they have been wet, which Brooke can also feel and realise that she has been. This is a great reminder for her to actually get to the toilet. They can be used either way round to catch poo or wee. They hold up to 60mls of liquid, which is roughly about half a toddlers full bladder. Dry Like Me have been useful to us at night too, Brooke can feel the wetness and it wakes her up, reminding her its time to go to the toilet.

I can see these will be perfect for when Mark is more potty trained but as reassurance when we are out that if he is to have a little accident in the car, it wont ruin his clothes nor the car seat.

Dry Like Me have given Brooke a massive boost of confidence and have given a sense of great reassurance to her. Dry Like Me is a fantastic product I would recommend to anyone who is having problems with their child wetting. Brooke still has a massive way to go, but Dry Like Me has helped more than I can put in to words.

You can find out more about Dry Like Me and their products on their website http://www.drylikeme.com/
They are available in Asda, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Wilkinsons, and online at ERIC’s shop.

ERIC (Educationand Resources for Improving Childhood continence) is a chairty dedicated to helping parents and children who experience day/night wetting. Check out their website for lots of help, advice and tips. http://www.eric.org.uk/

Win Naked for Kids shampoo set

Naked is a range of gorgeous Natural Beauty products. They have recently launched a new range of products just for kids!

Introducing you to…

Naked for kids!
Naked for kids is a collection of three happy hair 2 in 1 shampoos plus a tantrum-taming untangling spray. They are 97% natural and steer clear of the nasty sulphates, parabens, petrochemicals and silicone. So whats the other 3%? It is preservatives that are vital in stopping the products going off.

The shampoo includes 3 different scents..

Banana and custard shampoo 2 in 1 shampoo

While it was normal to pick the bananas out of the custard at school, squishing them and using their goodness with other natural wonders now makes for healthy hair.

Jam sandwiches 2 in 1 shampoo


A fun alternative to sticky lunchbox leftovers, this yummy berry treat gives lovely soft hair after just 1 wash. For best results finish with a big soft towel and a cuddle.

Toffee Apple 2 in 1 shampoo

Ooooh the sweetness of toffee and the fruity goodness of apples. A perfect combination for persuading kids to get into the shower or bath. Work into a feather soft lather for squeaky clean hair

Orange Lollies untangle me spray


Finish off with thei terrific spray on the tangled tresses of your tinies. Makes hair easier to comb so there is fewer tantrums, and with the scent of orange lollies, we can almost hear the ice cream van coming

You can buy Naked for Kids in Boots stores nationwide for just £2.99 each.

You can visit their website at www.nakedbodycare.co.uk

Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NaturalBodycare

Follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nakedbodycare

We have two complete sets of these products to giveaway to some lucky The Family Express readers! To be with a chance of winning, simply leave a comment below! CLOSING DATE 27TH JULY

Bratz All Glammed Up doll review


Bratz have released a new range of their dolls, ‘All glammed up’

Suitable for ages 6+ these come complete with accessories aswell as the actual doll.
Inside the box you get:

A Bratz All Glammed Up Doll with outfit
A pair of earrings
1 pair of shoes
2 hair clips
1 headband
1 hair glitter gel
3 hair shaping tools
1 star brush

My daughter Brooke is a massive Bratz fan, so she was delighted to test it out and let you all know what it is like.


The great thing behind the Bratz All Glammed Up dolls range is that they include memory hair. Each doll has different coloured streaks of hair which hold the shape of the tools that come complete with the doll. There is three tools, a crimper, a wave tool and a spiral tool. Brooke found the crimper and the wave to be the easiest and most effective. The spiral tool took longer to take shape. The instructions that come with the doll do state you have leave the tool in for 20-30 seconds and that the longer you hold the tool in, the better the effect. Once the tool is gently removed (pulling it will cause it to lose the shape) it will stay like it for a short while, I found about 10 minutes later it was straight again ready for changing to a different style.

I personally think this is a fantastic idea as it helped Brooke concentrate. It also meant that she could use the doll again and again, meaning she doesn’t get bored as quick as normal dolls.

The clothing comes complete dressed on the doll already. Ours was dressed in very fashionable high heels (which I quite fancy myself!!) sparkly leggings, shorts, and top. All the clothes are removable, so you can change the outfits, great for Brooke as she has a stack of Bratz outfits! The earrings are also removable so they can also be changed.

The Bratz All Glammed Up range also come complete with Hair glitter Gel. Ours was silver in colour, and with it being sparkly, Brook was dying to give it a go! When I told her she could use it on her hair too, well she was ecstatic! It is easy for Brooke to apply to the doll and her own hair. It washed out of her hair easily with just our normal shampoo in the shower. It didn’t leave any glitter behind, much to Brooke’s disappointment! You can wash the glitter out of the dolls hair with water, although we are yet to do that. The hair clips that also come with the doll can be used in your own hair too, Brooke was happy to share one with her doll and wear the other one J

Here is a video of us demonstrating the Bratz All Glammed Up Doll.

Brooke absolutely loves her Bratz All Glammed Up doll, there is loads of accessories included to keep her busy. It has really livened up her Bratz collection, its a great addition!

As a bonus, each one comes with its own secret code that you redeem online to unlock some special surprises at www.bratz.com

You can buy Bratz All Glammed Up dolls from Toys R us, Play.com, The Entertainer and at Tesco.com with a RRP of £19.99

Nick Jr, The Bopps!

On the 27th June 2011 Nick Jr started series 2 of The Bopps!

The Bopps is a childrens comedy show with music and mayhem! It stars two characters, Keith Bopp and Stan Bopp.
Each episode starts with a slapstick comedy sketch with Stan Bopp playing a trick on Keith Bopp which my children find hilarious! The Bopps then perform a catchy song which my toddler loves bopping along to. Some of the songs include ‘Hungry squirrel, Dizzy the Dragon and The Holiday Song’. Each one is catchy and gets your childrens attention.

Stan Bopp says ‘I can’t wait to see what kids think of this new show. I think its funnier, sillier, and boppier than ever, I just hope they agree’

Keith Bopp adds ‘This has been a spontaneous and wonderfully collaborative fromthe very beginning…I’m very excited and hope everyone will enjoy it’

The Bopps released an album from the first series which went to number 1 on the Amazon childrens chart, this summer The Bopps are booked to play 3 festivals and various theatre gigs across the UK.


You can catch The Bopps at 7.35am on Nick Jr. Nick Jr can be found on Sky channel 615, Virgin 715 and TalkTalk 318.

You can find The Bopps online on the Nick Jr website and watch some of their funny clips at http://www.nickjr.co.uk/shows/bopps/

The Rowntrees family challenge


Rowntree’s is a brand I have grown up with. As a child I remember the fun of our family days out in the car, it was always accompanied with a large bag of fruit pastilles or fruit gums that we would share. Me and my dad always used to dive straight for the red and black ones first!!

So when I was contacted by Rowntree’s to ask me to take part in the Rowntree’s family challenge I jumped at the chance!

Rowntree’s have released some new sharing packs which they think are fantastic for sharing with your family and creating some great family moments.
I was chuffed to recieve my package. It was beautifully hand wrapped and it was really exciting opening it seeing what we would have to do.

So our list of challenges were:

1. Show us your sour faces!

2. Dress or act like a Jelly Alien!

Here is a short video with us doing the family challenges!

Lastly, Very Berry Jellies.

Our challenge – Draw us the very berry trees that we pick to make our very berry jellies so juicy!
Jordan and Brooke loved this and here is the results!

Brooke’s Very Berry tree!

Here is Jordan’s Very Berry tree!

We all loved taking part in the Rowntree’s family challenge. It was a great oppourtunity to take a break from the busy routine that we have each day to have some fun!

Why not take part in the challenges youself? Take some time out to have some fun with your family and Rowntree’s.
Check out Rowntree’s new wesbite at www.rowntrees.co.uk and their facebook page at www.facebook.com/rowntrees