Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The price of prom

In the UK more schools are taking on the US tradition of holding a prom to celebrate the end of the students academic journey. It is not only high schools that now hold proms, primary schools do too. My eldest daughter has had her primary prom, next year she will be attending her high school prom and talks about it lots already. For her primary prom she dressed as an 11 year old should, I witnessed false tan, limos, over the top dresses, make up and professional hair. I personally thought all that should be left for the high school prom however I many didn't. Parents are willing to spend hundreds on primary prom never mind high school prom. My voucher codes carried out a survey of 500 US and 500 UK students to find out how much they spent on high school prom, the results can be read on A Girls World website.

Primary Prom
The amount us parents spend can be astonishing, do we really need to spend £800 for our children to arrive by helicopter?  I know I won't, five children attending two proms in their life could bankrupt me. My children will have to make do with counting on their legs to carry them to primary prom unless they know of any fairy godmothers lurking about, I might extend the budget for high school but I can guarantee it will not be more than what a family meal out will cost.
Sure they will get the dress, make up and hair done but I will not go over board.

My middle daughter is due to attend her primary prom this year, her dress is bought, a pretty pale blue one that can be worn afterwards and won't remain redundant at the back of her wardrobe. I will do her hair and I may stretch to a bit of mascara. As for high school prom, looking at the figures I best start saving now.

Does anyone require a dress or helicopter ride review? Nope, raiding the piggy bank it is.

How much would you spend on your child's prom?
How much would you hope your parents would have spent had you attended prom? I would have had to do the old Cinderella trick.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

I have survived my first year at college

Well technically college is out for summer! I've survived my first year at college, not only did I survive but I got top marks too. It just goes to show, a bit of hard work; lots of coffee, many late nights and early mornings, pays off. I've surprised myself in what I've achieved. I remember sitting in my plastic blue chair at the start of induction week. A document flashed up on the white screen. It was of past students grades, one student in particular stood out from the rest. Ever assignment had D written next to it. That student had somehow managed to get a distinction in every single assignment. I remember sitting there thinking "wow" that is bloody amazing. Not for one moment did I ever believe I could achieve the same but achieve I did. As the weeks went by and assignment were handed back to me I got quit addicted to seeing D written on that paper.

With each distinction came more motivation. There was a flip side, I became fearful of getting a merit as my final grade. Why I don't know, a merit is still a good grade and with a merit overall I can still get into the university of choice. But still, the fear was there. Every assignment I put my all into and never settled on a merit. I am pleased I did. Sure, the dark circles under my eyes are starting to take over my face but they are worth it. I have finished college for the year knowing I put 100% into my work and achieved a distinction in every assignment. My overall grade, a distinction star. Little old me, the mature student with a distinction star!
I have had an amazing year. I have gained so much in just the short time. I have loved every second of working with animals and never once was I bitten. I have delivered lambs, wrestled with calf after calf, freaked out when a Madagascar hissing cockroach attached itself to me, laughed when the water dragon was mocked by her food on her nose and watched in amazement the crested gecko.Below are just a few of the amazing animals that have helped me achieve so much.

It is not just the animals that have helped me, of course I could not have achieved what I did without the help of my lecturers. They have made learning enjoyable even if they did work us hard. I also must mention the friends I have made, the majority almost half of my age but all have the same motivation as I do. I did not expect to laugh so much.

Next year I hope to return with the same motivation. I also hope that in August when I open my GCSE result that I am happy with the grades I receive, cross your fingers and toes for me please.

So there it is, I survived my first year of college!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

National Picnic Week

This week is National Picnic week. I must admit I do love a good picnic. I love them even more when we take one to a fun place. Last week we packed the car full of food and headed off to the Welsh Mountain Zoo for little ladies 4th birthday. All of the children were very excited. My brother, sister in law and nephew had all come with us to celebrate too so altogether there were 11 of us.

In preparation for National Picnic Week I was sent some fabulous products to help us have an amazing picnic. So what did we receive?

Firstly was this amazing AlpenHome cooler basket from Wayfair.

It truly is a beautiful cooler basket, with its full buff antique wash willow exterior & its fully insulated interior it is sure to keep your food cool on a hot day. The top of it is made from a cream canvas and it has a colour coordinating zip on the top to allow you to put your food in and to seal it closed, preventing any buzzing insects from entering and helping to keep the food cool. Its willow handles are comfortable when carrying it loaded with food. I was nervous about the willow pinching my hands but I needn't have worried.
Its size is 21cm H x 42cm W x 37cm D, now looking at it I thought it looked small but its size is deceptive. My mother in law who prepares all of our delicious picnic food was impressed with how much she was able to fit into the cooler. It was like a magic basket when I was taking out the food, tupperware box after tupperware box emerged from the basket.
I would highly recommend this luxurious basket, it is fairly priced at just £38.74

Wayfair also sent me this matching AlpenHome double lidded picnic hamper that is suitable for four people.

The picnic hamper compliments the cooler basket beautifully, it has the same high standard finish and comes with an insulated compartment. This hamper comes complete with four stainless steel forks, knives and teaspoons, a corkscrew/bottle opener, Salt & pepper shakers, four 7" plates that are held into place with a cream faux leather strap, four wine glasses and four napkins. It is secured with a matching cream faux leather strap with a single handle which again is comfortable on the hands when filled with food.
The size of the hamper is 42cm H x 48cm W x 28cm D. Again the insulated compartment is deceptive and can hold plenty of food. Between the hamper and the cooler basket we had plenty of room for cooled food for 11 people. 
Priced at just £82.30 I highly recommend this picnic hamper

Both of these items complement each other beautifully, I will be the envy of other picnic goers this summer.

Tune in tomorrow for part two of our #nationalpicnicweek fun

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Top five ways to achieve glowing skin

Lifestyle and environmental factors can easily take their toll on your skin, but the great news is there is plenty you can do to revitalise this largest organ in the body, leaving your skin looking youthful and glowing. Here are five easy-to-follow ways to improve the appearance of your skin.

Water, water, water

Dehydration can cause skin to look tired, dry and dull, so make sure you provide it with the vital fluids it needs to stay looking its best. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water every day, and top your liquids up even more during hot weather and after drinking alcohol. You can get your daily quota of water by drinking other liquids, such as green tea, which is packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients that can soothe irritated skin. I must admit I do not drink enough water. I am a huge coffee lover and possibly drink too much of it. Since starting college though one of the rules are that you can only drink water in lessons which has helped me to drink much water. Funnily whilst sitting my maths exams I drank a whole bottle in just under 2 hours.

Ditch the cigarettes

As if smoking doesn't do enough harm to your body, it can also wreak havoc with your skin, causing premature ageing, wrinkles and bags under the eyes. It can also cause yellow stains on the skin of your fingers, and can make the skin condition psoriasis worse. Research has also shown that scars on the skin take longer to heal for smokers than non-smokers. Breathe vitality back into your skin by quitting smoking. If you are having difficulty giving up, switch to something like
Vapouriz e-cigarettes instead, which cause less damage to the skin.
Giving up smoking 2 years ago was one of the greatest things I have achieved. I noticed a real change in my skin, concentration, taste and health not to mention my bank balance. I know it is a really difficult thing to do but it is worth it in the end, my only regret is not doing it sooner.

Wear sunscreen

Damage from the sun's harmful UV rays can cause premature ageing and accelerate the rate of wrinkles forming. Keep your skin looking youthful with an eternal glow by wearing sunscreen all year round. If your skin gets burnt from the sun, apply soothing Aloe Vera gel to calm the skin and reduce redness.
Again I struggle with this, I am allergic to the majority of sunscreens. Even applying it to my children would cause a rash to appear on my hands. Recently I seem to have had a break through. I have found a factor 50spf oil that agrees with me. I will no longer have to go in the sun unprotected.

Sleep well

When you sleep your skin is working hard to repair itself, so make sure you get adequate shut eye every night. Lack of sleep can leave skin looking dull and tired. Sleep deprivation is also thought to increase the release of stress chemicals in the body, which can trigger skin problems such as acne.
Coming from a full time student and a mum to five rather energetic children I know how important sleep is, I also know how little sleep we busy parents get. I am nothing but grumpy and look awful if I do not get at least 7 hours a night.

Remove make-up

If you're tired at night it's easy to forget to remove make-up, but do get into the habit of thoroughly cleansing and moisturising the skin every day, especially after wearing make-up. If left on the skin overnight, make-up can clog the pores, leaving your skin looking lifeless and prone to irritation. Also, change your make-up brushes regularly and avoid using old make-up.
Again I am guilty of falling into bed with a face full of make up. Even with the make up wipes placed at the side of my bed I only remember to use them in the morning. I will make more of an effort to achieve the make up free sleeps.

Summer days are just around the corner, we are all jetting off for our holidays and always want to look our best. But adding the above tips into my daily routine I am certain my skin will be better cared for. 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Student Pleasures

This time last year I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be excited over printers, new pens and folders.
I am currently on my last break from college before I finish for the year. I have four assignments to complete and revision to do. Next week I start to take my exams. I am incredibly nervous, I was not this nervous in 1998 when I originally took my exams. Back then I was the teen that thought she knew better, the teen that had her career dreams dashed through medical reasons, the teen who had the ability to do well but lacked the motivation. 17 years later I am now a nervous adult who has motivation and has put in the hard work. I currently have distinctions in every assignment; there has been plenty of them too. My controlled assessments have given me a grade A so far in English, I doubt I will achieve that as an overall grade but I am ok with that. I will be happy with a C in both my Maths and English. So as a mature student who is going through a stressful few weeks I am going to share my student pleasures.

My old printer is that old they no longer sell the ink for it and I have totally ran out of spare ink for it. This week I treated myself to a new printer from Tesco. No longer will I have to rush into college early on a Monday to print off my assignments. It is a Canon all in one, I paid just £59.99 and saved £40.00. It prints, scans, copies and can even send a fax(I don't think that last function will ever get used). What is even better is, it is wireless, no longer will I have to move the sofa just to print. It also prints double sided, I will no longer have to waste paper and ink trying to print a document double sided. I am so pleased with it.

What also gives me pleasure is pens, not any pen, Pilot pens! I am in love with my frixon Pilot pens. I chose to use them over my livescribe pen at the minute. Every piece of writing I do is done so using my trusty Pilot pens. I love that I can erase a word if I have written it incorrectly. I often get other students trying to steal my pens so I guard them with my life, ok that is a bit extreme. I would not give my life for them but I would hurt the fingers of the person who tried to steal them.

I have a love hate relationship with my folders, mainly because I have gone through so many of them the last nine months. I have had so many that last week I turned up to my English lesson with an empty folder. I had forgotten I had bought a new one and threw the old one in my bag in a rush whilst running out of the door. It is safe to say I felt rather stupid that I could produce no work that I had completed. I won't be making that mistake again and have learnt to throw the old ones out.

So there you have it, my student pleasures. I can't wait for August when I can go stationary shopping ready for my last year in college.

I really should invest in a new keyboard as the one I have the majority of the letters have rubbed off. That can wait for now, I enjoy playing guess the letter every time I type .

Friday, 22 May 2015

A Life of Freedom

Two weeks ago I opened up my collection point for Fresh Start for Hens. Fresh Start for Hens are an organisation that I volunteer for. They rescue the hens before they go to slaughter and find them homes. Every few months I open up my garden to these little beauties. I give them all a health check; which takes a while when you have over 50 hens. I give them fresh food and water and sit with them until their new owners come and collect them, to take them to their forever home.  
This rescue, the hens were all barn hens, I was quite surprised at the feather loss to be honest. It breaks my heart to see them like this but in true hen character they were all active and tucking into the feast that was provided. They never fail to make me laugh, they have their own little personalities too. Some are really nosy and will come and see what you are doing. They all had their first taste of grass. They mowed my lawn for me which saved me digging the flymo out at the weekend(yes I strim it all as we have no lawn mower). This lady above had this piece of grass hanging out of her beak for a while, she made her claim on it and was not letting go. 
As I carried out my head count of the hens I found I had one extra hen. Having lost one of my girls earlier in the year to egg yolk peritonitis, I had room for one more. That is when I saw her. A scrawny, almost featherless hen who looked paler than the rest. I quickly started to make a quarantine room for her. Once her space was ready I scooped her up away from the rest of the group and allowed her to rest. I carried on with the rescue. Slowly but surely I waved the rest of the hens off on their new journey. A journey that carries them to better places. Places of freedom, places of grass a plenty, places where they feel the sun on their backs and wind through their feathers.
Turning my attention to my new lady I checked on her, she was so timid. Her little head poking out to see me as I talked softly to her. 
My youngest daughter is as crazy about animals as I am. I picked her up and carried her outside. She asked why the hen had no feathers, she felt compassion towards our new, frightened hen. She then asked her name. I told her that she had no name at the minute. A puzzled expression came across her face, then she announced that she had a good name for her. I thought here we go, we will have a new Disney princess. She then surprised me, she named her Lucy. So here she is, Lucy the hen with a few feathers on her tail and some on her wings, everywhere else is bald. She has a wound on her back that is healing and feathers are now starting to grow. I will update on her progress soon. I urge you to buy locally sourced eggs, from farms that show you their set ups or buy from neighbours who keep hens. Better still why not keep a few hens of your own, you will never taste a better egg.

Friday, 3 April 2015

My Top Three Travel Bucket List

Usually when it comes to writing posts for competitions I avoid them as they have proved to be fruitless in the past. I made a pact not to do them, however last night I decided to break that pact. Late last night I notice a competition with Transun over on Emmy's Mummy's blog. I was sold at Northern Lights and knew I needed to enter, if it hadn't been so late I would have tapped away at my keyboard right away. 
I have traveled to a few countries with my family, and without them. I met my husband in 2006 and already had three children so we have not really had much alone time together as a couple. 
The last time we had a night away, never mind traveling together was almost 6 years ago which happened to be our honeymoon in Mexico. There, we visited the Mayan Ruins, swam with Dolphins, came face to face with a huge Parrot Fish and got the pleasure of snorkeling with wild Sea Turtles. I have some amazing memories and loved every part of it.

I would love to travel more and have a bucket list as long as my arm. 

My top three destinations are:

The Northern Lights
I am not saying it just because it is the prize, but I have wanted to go and see them for years. I even had my desktop image as the northern lights, up until a cute Spectacled Bear, named Bernardo took its place. The prize is perfect to what we would want to get out of a trip so it is perfect. Every opportunity to see the northern lights in the UK have been a disappointment for us, we never got to see even a hint of the spectacular lights in the sky.

We toyed with the idea of going to Africa on honeymoon but the cost put us off as we were paying for the wedding. This one I may get to for fill in the next few years. I am hoping to study Zoo Management after my Animal Management course is complete. The university I have set my heart on offers the opportunity to spend two weeks in Africa studying the animals out there. I would love to see the animals I love to watch in the zoos and safari parks in their natural habitat. I am not sure how my nerves will hold out at the time but I am sure it will be an experience I will treasure forever.

I would love nothing more than to take my children to Disneyland. They have asked numerous times to go. Daddy2five has been twice when he was younger but as a family we have  never had the opportunity or funds to go. One day I will make there dreams come true, I have no idea when but I will get them there!

So that is it, my top three. I have many more that could have easily been in my top three. They will move up when I can tick off, Northern Lights, Africa and Disneyland.

This post is my entry for the Transun competition.