30 Years of Changes with Special K*

*This is kind of a sponsored post as I received some lovely new Special K, as it’s part of the Britmums/Special K “How I’ve Changed Linky” but don’t worry, it’s not a big ol’advert….

Double Denim: That’s definitely been ditched!

Last year, I turned the ripe old age of 30, and I kind of had a shrugged shoulders moment about it. It’s meant to be a bit of a landmark because its the start of another decade of your life, but I just felt it was another year and nothing amazingly out of the ordinary happened on the day I turned 30.

I’m now 31, which is the same age Elder was when we met. Back then, I was 18, and 31 seemed positively ancient and cool as. I felt that, by the time I reached 30 myself, I would be wiser, but infinitely cooler too.

At that time, I had written a bucket list. It was something a few of us did using a stack of old exercise books I’d found on moving from my one room shared house to my first flat by the River Medway. I felt, already, that the cool aspect was already occurring. I also used to do a monthly thing where I’d write down little observations of what we’d all been up, what I wanted to do the next month, and what I considered great or not. Like Mature Cheddar being disgusting as not as nice as cheap Value plastic cheese. Or that Value Coca Cola tasted like chicken.

I do recall on the list of must achieve things was to own a TV set and a proper stereo. Back then, I had the furniture that came with the flat, which consisted of kitchen bits, a sofa, a chair, a little table, a coffee table (seen as so grown up by my teen mates and I) a book case and a bed. I had a few dusty books. I had lots of odd material and posters. A TV had alluded me altogether though. The first time a TV Licence person came and hammered on my door, they didn’t believe me that I didn’t need a licence as I had no radio or TV to warrant one. 

Elder and I in 2002. We do actually decorate now..

I didn’t mind though as I had a discman and a set of rather crap plug in speakers. I had a very old yellow tape deck, but the radio didn’t tune in anymore (being that it was bought from Boots in 1987), and the tape deck door had fallen off. That did us all. In fact, such was the love of the tape deck, it nearly fell out the third floor window to certain death below, as did my sister who was sitting beside it. She was most unimpressed when we all dived for the tape deck lead to save it, and only just managed to grab her leg to help her.

Have we changed much? He’s still cool!

As I look round now, we are no longer in the hated Kent. I know hates a strong word, and I do miss it sometimes (when I’ve had a few gin and tonics), but I never felt right there. I felt displaced by the town of my birth as it was always full of people I felt who didn’t get me and my little gang of strange friends with our weird clothes and our pink hair. 

The proudest achievement of my last 31 years

I now have a very nice TV set (although I do miss the first one Elder gave me, which I could turn over with my toes from the comfort of the sofa as we had no remote and it was touch sensitive), in fact we have three. We have more stereo than is strictly necessary, and the small pile of CDs has grown to a huge collection of vinyl, CDs, digital music as well as good old tapes. The yellow tape deck from 1987 lasted until 2001, then sadly was pinched. I hope somewhere it’s still playing tapes and still requires the use of a butter knife to remove them. 

I have my pictures on the wall, but now they are in frames. I can cook, quite well. I no longer survive on a diet of fish fingers, green pot noodles, lemon Hooch and menthol cigarettes. I still keep a diary but it’s here, online, and there are 4 variations of writing as well as social media hang outs and the rest. I still love books and they are still dusty. I have furniture I really like now. And I bought it myself. (The bits I didn’t rescue from skips and am now sentimental about binning). 

Elder- he of 31 year old coolness- is now 44 and much the same. He is still cooler than me. I am still waiting to be cool. I was told by Mini I was so not cool a week ago while I danced round the living room at breakfast time in my jamas to Little Mix’s new song. I find myself using sentences like my Dad used about my music taste on Mini. I feel coolness may allude me. But that’s fine.

I like this new 31 year old me, I find she cares less for conformity, does things she likes but does think them through first (after all, the trolley race downhill aged 18 seemed like a great idea, but not so much when I look at my chipped tooth now). I love my life, I love that I have these two mad children who I see myself in, and I hope I can help them get to their 30th year and love looking back over those years.

So, Special K is also nearly as old as me, and I do remember the ads for it back in my school days. I remember my Mum eating it I’m sure, and eat it myself for breakfast, I’ve even done the drop a jeans size thing before and it worked.

My Special K was pinched by both the Brats though, who loved it, eating massive bowls of it before school, Mini with milk and Littlest like me without.

It is still as crunchy and filling, and I like the new taste as much as I liked the old one. Its definitely less sugary though. I find sugar really easy to pick up on as I don’t eat a lot of the stuff. I like it with bits of fruit thrown in when I can rustle up the energy at 6.30 in the morning, but like that’s its just as nice to fill up a bowl and eat it on its on in the evening, instead of snaffling biscuits. (As I no longer manage to ingest rubbish food and retain a size 8 figure).

So, what have you done in 30 years, and how have you changed? Are you happy with those changes? Leave a comment below 🙂


AXA PPP healthcare Bowel Cancer Awareness Month- Are You Bowel Cancer Aware?*

Cancer is something most people wont like to think about, but something that will touch most of lives or the lives of those closest to us, at some point . That’s why awareness-especially of the more “embarrassing places” cancers is so important in the fight against it. Many cancers can be dealt with if caught quickly enough, but men, especially, are not keen on taking concerns to their GP.

One such cancer is of the bowel. A staggering 41,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year, and rates amongst men have increased by 29% in the last 35 years. 

Bowel cancer has touched Elder’s family- he sadly lost his Dad to it before we met- so its now something his siblings all have regular screenings for. However, if it’s not a cancer which has affected most people’s lives, they wont be so cautious against it, and can miss the early warning signs that need to be reported to your GP as soon as possible.

Getting active can help prevent Bowel Cancer

The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that 43% of cases of bowel cancer in the UK can be prevented by undertaking a healthier diet, exercise, and keeping your weight at a healthy level. Simple changes such as drinking 2 litres of water per day, cutting down on alcohol, and eating less saturated fats can all lower our risks of developing Bowel Cancer.

With this 43% in mind, AXA PPP healthcare is dedicating the whole of April to making us all more Bowel Cancer aware, including giving healthy tips to lifestyle improvements at their website, and hosting one of their ever popular, expert led Webchats from 2-4pm on Tuesday 30th April. They also have a competition running on their Facebook page to win a Colon Health check, worth £520.

Professor Nicholas Stuart, Professor of Cancer Studies for Bangor University and honorary consultant medical oncologist will be leading the webchat and invites you to leave your questions at the AXA PPP healthcare website on the 30th April or before this at Facebook or Twitter.

You can easily enter the competition to win a Colon Healthcheck at Facebook too, simply log on to the AXA PPP healthcare Facebook page and complete the very easy (if you’ve read the tips on the AXA PPP healthcare website!) multiple choice questions, and enter your details.

So, don’t be shy, leave your question for Professor Nicholas Stuart, and think about what you can do to lower your chances of developing bowel cancer. 

Old Tat? Maybe Not!*

Do you look around your home and think you have too much stuff? Fancy a home makeover but don’t have the cash and thunk you’ll have to hire the team behind Hoarders to clear it all?

Maybe not!

Some things in your home can be worth more than you think, but where can you go to find out?

I found there were several online sites from Antique Valuers to modern collectables buyers, and my personal favorite was Value My Stuff.

Value My Stuff is an easy to use site housing valuations experts and specialists who previously worked for well know auction houses Sothebys and Christies. Such is the popularity of the site they’ve already given 100,000 valuations between them!

If you’re asking how you can possibly receive a proper valuation over the net, well, its very simple. You upload an image to the site, Value My Stuff assigns you an expert, who will look over the images you have uploaded and appraise your item. Then within 48 hours you’ll receive a valuation.

You’ll also receive a comprehensive amount of history and detail of your item and seal to use on Ebay to prove your items provenience. It costs from £5.99 but its worth it and will make your ebay buyers confident in the authenticity of your item.

With online testimonials from previous users you can be reassured your item will be valued with professionalism and honesty- their 69,000 current customers will back that up!

And it’s not just your Moorcroft and Susie Cooper they’ll value either- Value My Stuff will also value stamps, wines, coins and Sports Memorabilia too.

If you’re looking to cash in your collectibles and clear out your clutter, think what it could be worth! And for under £10, you can find out online!

Why not try it yourself, and you too can have the knowledge to sell your unwanted antiques and collectibles, and get the home you want. Visit ValueMyStuff.com to find out more.

*Other websites are available

Affordable Summer Wardrobes For Kids*

Are you looking for good quality affordable clothing for the summer for your child?

Well, if you have a child like Mini, who happily points out what she’d like to see in her wardrobe now the sun is out, you will be!

Its now easier than ever to find great pieces to mix and match and make your child the belle of the ball- or garden party!- and rugged pieces that will withstand even the toughest assault by child in the park you can think of.

One such site is Cheeky Monkeys, who sell a massive range of items which are purse friendly and affordable.

There are brands you’ll know, like Lelli Kelly Shoes, and others which are newer, like Inch Blue, who sell adorable shoes for the tiniest feet upwards.

The site is easy to use and you can shop by brand, product, or by age, so its really easy to find what you are looking for in a couple of clicks. There are beautiful dresses, hardy shoes, and key pieces which will be worn again and again and make up many different mix and match outfits.

You can find Baby gifts too, for summer christenings, and adorable baby clothes in a range of colours from brands like Emile et Rose.

For fans of organic and planet friendly clothing and shoes, Cheeky Monkeys have a whole range of items for you to choose from. On a budget? They have you thrifty shoppers covered too, with items under £20 in a whole click to view section, not to mention sale items too.

It can be hard to find simple, beautiful clothing which wont break the bank and won’t fall apart after one wear, so finding Cheeky Monkeys is great, especially if you aren’t fond like me of chain store clothing which everyone has, or slogan tees which are too old for your child.

Of course, online shopping is growing in popularity and you can find it easy to get lost in a sea of sites, but Cheeky Monkeys is well worth viewing. They also offer free delivery on all purchases over £50.

Why not sit your cherub on your lap and see what you can find for the summer, over at http://www.cheekymonkeyskids.co.uk/

*Other sites are available, prices/brands correct on publication

Is It Just Me: Who Would Never Apply For a Channel 4 Documentary?

I must start by saying that I love reality documentaries. Really, I do, I get some great forum based comedy out of the likes of the X Factor and 16 Kids and Counting (except when I was social media bitch slapped for pondering the width of, ahem, certain areas after 16 natural births). 

However, you would have to be a mentalist to take part in one, right?

I recently saw an irate parent who’d appeared on 16 Kids, she was very unhappy about how she’d been portrayed.  Apparently, it portrayed that they are constantly in the pub and have take away a lot. This, she felt, made them look like chavs. 

Now, I don’t know when going to the pub or having a fish supper went hand in hand with being a chav- I thought that you had to wear knock off tracksuits and have a poor grasp of the English language despite a UK birth certificate for that (eg “Innit, nuffink, bruv”), but if they were filming you for several weeks and that’s where you went quite a bit, then you can’t very well complain, can you?

Its not the first time I’ve seen people annoyed after an appearance. The only group I’ve never seen moan about how they are shown has been the Travelers from Gypsy Weddings, who are happy to be shown in their larger than life community.

Surely, surely if you are signing up or even thinking of signing up, you should perhaps watch some of their documentaries first?

Otherwise, its like a jobless, toothless, tracksuit wearing philanderer with 18 kids by 17 women going on Jezza Kyle and then crying into his crack pipe when Kyle does the full irate git on you.

Most of these shows do portray people in a bad light- elsewise, what is the point? It would be boring if Super Nanny went to a family home to find the kids well behaved and the adults using non-bum slap discipline the odd time they do kick off and have a tantrum. Its much more interesting to see kids climbing up walls and swinging from the lightshade stuffing sweets in their gob whilst their Mum hides shaking under the bed, isn’t it?

That’s why we watch these shows- to make our selves feel virtuous, and to become armchair pundits.

These ads should have “sensible, warm and cosy families need not apply” and “tattoos, piercings and teens pregnant like a conveyor belt? Life a miserable grind of pub visits and chip wrappings? Then we need you!” 

They dress it up as “human interest”, but some of these TV executives and researchers are that into lower class bashing they should take a job with the Tories. Or the Daily Mail.

I was once asked if I’d like to appear in a documentary about Mummy Bloggers. I am pleased I thought to myself “hmm, I spend my time on the net for social media boosting purposes, and my kids watch Beebies whilst I do. Do I want to appear on TV for them to make me look like a lazy cow?” and thought hell no.
 I knew, 100% that they would never show the times I spend reading books, helping with drawing, tidying up (sod off Elder, the Vacuum cleans the floor, not you) and cooking from scratch. I knew they’d edit the show to look like I sat from dawn to dusk on the PC, when in fact from 6pm I’m barely online at all.

So, if you should be wondering about going on one of these shows, think. Do you want the nation to sit and condemn you for eating Iceland chips? Or do you want to keep your private life, well, private?

Complete Your Summer Look with Must Have Baby Accessories*

The summer, its a time when we start ditching our winter woollies, brollies and boots and start stocking up on factor 50 and floaty summer patterns.

Of course, you will get out your bangles, flip flops and shades, for that complete summer look. But what about that other accessory that is a must have to some of us? Our baby! Or more to the point, the baby things we all need to make life that little bit easier!

I was never a fan of the old style of pram bags, so most of the time I used to use a big handbag instead, but its much easier now to find a beautiful Baby Changing Bag fit for the sunshine with sites like Baby Lurve.

Of course, despite the baby bag being a must have for the nappies, wipes and other bits and bobs that if you leave the house without mean a trip to the nearest chemists, you need not lug a boring bag around, and its simple to change between the seasons too- after all, soon we’ll be able to leave the raincover at home, as well as the extra gloves and woollen hats. Summer bags need more pockets to keep juice, sun cream and flannels in (I found a flannel quickly covered in water was a great way to cool down a hot baby in an emergency).

One such summer friendly bag company stocked by Baby Lurve is Pink Lining, whose bags are practical yet stylish, and economically priced. They come in a range of vibrant designs, colours and are great for vintage fans too due to their use of old style patterns. 

Baby Lurve offers a great incentive to buy with free UK delivery as standard, as well as next day delivery for under £4. The website is user friendly, divided into categories depending on what you may be looking for, and they offer a wide range of brands, styles and products from Car Seats to Safety Items- a must have as any savvy parent will tell you once those babies turn into toddlers!

You can even follow them on Twitter and Facebook and be the first to hear about new ranges, sales and other deals.

So, if you’re looking to bring your baby into summer the stylish way, pick something vibrant and pick Baby Lurve for all your newborn to toddler needs!

*Other websites are available online, information correct at time of publication