No more WordPress….it’s not for me

I thought I may change from Blogger to WordPress but to be honest, it’s not for me.  I have a good following over on Blogger and my posts get some great attention so I think I’ll just stick to that.

If you’re following here, please do pop along and follow on Blogger – same posts but more of them and from now on my only blog point.  Click the link to hop on over 🙂

My Blogger Account

Thank you for helping me try out WordPress. See you on the other side!

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Night Terrors in Children

I think I may have found the solution to why S sometimes wakes us up screaming and crying and is almost inconsolable – Night Terrors.

Image from yourchildhealthy.blogspot.com

Some years ago, S began a weird ‘phase’ where she would go to sleep absolutely fine but a few hours after falling asleep, would start to scream and cry. We would rush in and she would often be sitting up in bed but when we tried to communicate with her, she would stare straight through us and no speak or answer us in any way.  No matter how we tried to console her, she would be almost hysterical and you just couldn’t get her to listen or take notice of you.

Both hubby and I struggled with this. We thought she was just so wound up she wouldn’t listen to us.  We tried everything. We cuddled her.  We talked to her.  We tried to calm her down.  We even (I’m embarrassed to say) shouted at her.  Anything to try and get her to stop and take notice.  She would scream and kick and inevitably, this would wake her sister who shared a room with her and then, of course, she would start crying as she was frightened.  It was a true nightmare!

The episodes would last anything from 5-20 minutes.  When she finally looked at us properly and the hysteria became just sobs and she hugged us, she didn’t really know much about what had happened.  She would often say she just “felt frightened”.  No matter how much we said she had a lovely room, cute toys around her, etc, it didn’t stop it.  She has a very good imagination, so I did wonder if it was just a nightmare (we are careful with TV programmes, too much stimulation, etc) as you never know what they think about or talk about at school.

We bought her a night light. Two.  Three.  It continued.  It was mentally draining having to deal with two crying children, although her sister would go back to sleep very quickly.

We started taking her out of her bed (not easy lifting a child out of a top bunk when they are kicking and crying) and bringing her into our room to try and minimise the disruption to her little sister and the household in general. She would continue the crying and blank stare.  We even shook her gently to try and ‘snap her out of it’ but nothing worked.

Suddenly it stopped.

Yesterday, she had another episode.  It was awful and she was dripping with sweat too (she’s been ill this weekend and still is).  My husband was very over-tired from working 18 hour days and I had a headache. Not ideal to then suddenly have to cope with this weird behaviour.  We got angry and told her off but it had no impact on her at all. I picked her up and took her into our bedroom but she carried on.  She was doing this odd ‘bouncing’ thing on the bed. She was laying flat but was bouncing her bottom up and down whilst screaming. After about 10 minutes, it subsided and she just started to cry and say she was sorry.  Did she know what she was doing?  Was this a tantrum of some sort?  I just didn’t know what to make of it.  She said she didn’t know what upset her.

I turned to Google and put in some of the behaviours – blank start, asleep, crying, looking through you – and immediately a lot of information on night terrors came up.  Why on earth didn’t I do this before?  Easy, I thought she was playing us up, simple as that!

I feel part awful and part relieved.  The awful bit was us thinking she was simply misbehaving.  The relief is knowing what it could be.

I remember as a child having a terrible set of dreams (so vivid I can remember them to this day!) but I knew what they were and what was scaring me.  However, they did go on for a long period of time. In fact, so long that unbeknownst to me, my parents had seen our family doctor who advised a psychiatrist if they continued much longer.  They suddenly stopped.  I read on the NHS page that night terrors are something children can get if their parents have a history of it but I remember my dream so I presumed that was a nightmare.

I’ve booked a phone call to our doctor today to chat through it. I want to know if there is anything that we can do to help when this happens and how long it will go on for. He advised to leave her alone when it is happening and just make sure she is safe. Talking softly to her may help.  If it happens again, we’ll remove her little sister from the room for a while to make sure it doesn’t upset her and then deal with S.  He also said with the infection she has at the moment and antibiotics, it is more likely.  However, once she is better, we need to bring her down to the surgery for them to do a few routine checks.  That’s kind of worried me but I suppose informed is the best way forward.

Anyone else had this with their children?  Doctor said she would grow out of it but when!?

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GOT Exhibit – So much stress for a ticket

Honestly, did Sky really not think that the moment they opened up their Game of Thrones Exhibition website that it wouldn’t be totally swamped with requests for free tickets by Sky customers?  Really?  It is probably only the most watched programme on SkyAtlantic so why would the demand be high?!

I’ve never had such a stressful 2 hours trying to get tickets.  It started at 10am with Sky Atlantic tweeting:

“Ready … steady … GO!

Sky TV customers can now book their tickets for here:

First, the system clearly couldn’t cope and after about half an hour the Tweets started as errors were being given to all of us ‘refreshers’ who were desperately trying to get tickets.

“Sorry for the frustration, due to the huge ticket demand, we’ve run into some tech issues. Please bear with us as we work through them.”

High demand? You didn’t realise that would happen?  Refresh…refresh…and another Sky Atlantic message:

In case you’re trying for tickets to , due to huge demand we’re seeing a lot of traffic to those pages. Please keep trying.

No shit Sherlock!

After nearly 1 1/2 hours, the errors were sorted but then the system said I wasn’t a Sky TV customer! Oh FFS.  I’ve only been a customer for nearly 17 years so I think my bills alone prove I am. Refresh…refresh…

“Please note: Anyone getting a message that they’re not a Sky TV customer, Please log back in with your Sky ID.”

Of course I’ve entered that!  Give me strength.  Finally, in to the system. Chose my date and time.  Accepted all boxes I needed to. Continue.  Time out despite the clock saying I had another 7 odd minutes to do it.  Argh!!!  Refresh…refresh…

Another attempt.  Clock working fine but now every time I pick says there are no tickets available.  Hells bells!  Any chance of actually getting a ticket for this?  I pick time after time.  Finally, it seems no one wants to get there for 10am (nor did I as it will cost a fortune on the train/tube in rush hour!) but I get the time slot.  Yay! Onwards entering my details as fast as my fingers will allow to register for a Sky Tickets account (could we not have done this beforehand?).  Timer counting down.  Continue…

YES!!!! Two tickets to see the Game of Thrones Exhibit are mine.  It means I’ll be leaving the house about 7am to get there but who cares.  I think I need a headache tablet now and a cuppa to calm down.

Who else is going?

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Hogs Back Geocaching

We needed some fresh air so headed off to the Hogs Back today to do some more of a figure-of-8 that we did some of last year (or was it the year before?  Time flies).  Hubby packed up lunch and I  packed up the girls.  We skipped a few around here as we’ve already done them so we were off to hoover up one end of this loop.

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Parked up, wellies on (essential kit) and headed off to the footpath to start the adventure.  We left the first of the trail we would be doing to get on our way back and started off at Hogs Back Reservoir #17 which was hard work.  There were lots of suspects around and my GPS was bouncing about like crazy so it could be anywhere in a 13m line!  We ended up splitting up and searching an area each. It was teen’s sharp eyes that spotted something odd and there it was. I  guess from previous cachers’ logs, it may ‘breach rules’ a tad but we put it back there just the same.  A tricky little find.  Lots of runners out here today.

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#15 was another pain for my phone. What is wrong with my GPS? Hubby’s did the trick and we soon had the cache in hand.  Quite a few folk passed us but we carried on regardless trying our best not to look too weird rummaging in the undergrowth.

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As we got to the farm through mud that was almost sucking our wellies off, we came across a family about to head up that way. I warned them that without wellies they may have problems as one chap carrying a baby had on a lovely pair of new white trainers!  They ignored us and headed that way.  Good luck!

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#13 was beyond easy. This cache (regardless of what anyone said last time) was definitely not in this spot when we were here before as then 4 adults, 1 teen and 2 children all searched this very thing and came up empty handed.  So glad we can tick it off the list this time.  Grrrr…  My bloody sodding pathetic bloody phone died at this point. Really?  So cross. The phone used to be great until an Android upgrade about 6 months ago which has pretty much rendered it useless beyond an hour.  Glad hubby’s old Samsung is fine so we’re using that now.  Sandwiches being shared out as the family come walking back past us.  See, told you it was muddy *grin*

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#11 we didn’t find.  To be honest, we had walked past it a bit and although hubby and teen went for  a cursory look, they gave up pretty quickly as we didn’t want to be on the road side with the little ones.

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#10 was a quick find for the little cachers and they were delighted.  #9 I can imagine being a nightmare in summer when the leaves are on the trees but an easy spot this time of year.  The prickles were nasty and the tree got my hat!

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#8 was another quick spot for the little cachers.  Our final one was #7 which we’d managed to walk past so teen and I headed back to search but despite  good look around and checking the clue, nothing was there that we could see and, let’s be honest, there weren’t that many places it could be!  Guess the cold was getting to us.

The last one we did, as J scrambled up the bank, we remembered we’d done it before. Oh well, nice to watch her slipping and sliding down again one more time.  Now for the long walk back UP the hill.  My legs were aching at the top.

We had a less than cursory glance for #18 as the girls had spotted the car and just wanted to get back to it now so I didn’t bother to log anything here.  Glad to rest my aching feet!

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Nixies Mermaid(s)

I’m doing this review not because someone sent me one of these dolls to test, but because S was bought one for her birthday and loved it.  In fact, we got one for N for her birthday too as the first one was so much fun!

The first mermaid that arrived was Amelia.  A friend bought it from Amazon but you couldn’t decide which one you got as you received one of the 3 that there are. No problem as we didn’t have one so it didn’t matter which one came.  This also meant that the toy itself was a bit cheaper (around £8 with delivery).  S was excited to try it out (it had been on her wish list you see) and I had read good things about them in reviews so was also keen to see how good it was.

Nixies Amelia

Nixies Amelia

She arrived with the battery compartment part-opened. I suppose this is to remind you to put a battery in.  One AAA battery later and both girls were eager to get into the bath.  Noting that there is a little propeller in her tail, I tied up S’s very long hair to ensure we didn’t have any tangling problems.  Switched her on and away she went. Screeches and giggles started coming from the bath as she swam around them, went in figure of 8’s, and over their legs too.  You can position her body at the waist to make her go in circles and, in a lovely deep bath, swim in loops under water.  If she bumps the side, she often changes direction too. She looks terrific and is very good value, even if she’s actually small (about 5″).  I was very impressed.

N’s birthday came and she wanted to choose her own Nixies.  Amazon offer this service but dolls are more expensive when you select the one you want (£15 in this case). She ordered her Bella and it arrived next day (love Amazon Prime!).

Nixies Bella

Nixies Bella

Battery in and bath filled. Two mermaids swimming around.  As they bump into each other they change directions. They really do seem quite lifelike to watch.

Having tried other mermaid toys before and been beyond disappointed, it has been a real treat to have something that does what it says on the label. If you want a mermaid toy, you’d do well to pick up one of these and wait for the laughter in the bath.

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Star obsession

I have a confession. I am ever so slightly obsessed with Julian McDonald’s Star clothing range, particularly his dresses.  Whilst his clothes are not always cheap (around £70 for a dress),  I am getting quite a collection. However, I don’t shop in Debenhams for them (sorry Debenhams if you’re reading this but you are too expensive – even in the sale!)

Star rules my wardrobe

Star rules my wardrobe

I am an avid eBayer.  Yes, that’s my secret. My Star wardrobe (and it’s becoming the prominent designer inside) is made up of my collection of eBay found dresses.  I have a smug smile as I write this as some of them were still new with all tags on and I picked them up for a song (well, between 99p and £10 more like).  99p for a dress. Nuts huh?  A couple haven’t quite been me but at that price, I can sell them on and most likely get my money back.  I’ve discovered that cowl necks or wrap-over dresses are most definitely something I should avoid.

I think when you find a designer/style that fits you and feels good on, you do kind of stick to it.  These dresses are all wonderfully stretchy but not too figure hugging so they look lovely on.  Hopefully they’ll fit when I’ve lost a bit of weight too (that’s another post!)  You may see that I have picked on a certain style that suits me.  The dresses can be worn for the school run, work meetings or just around the house. That’s what I love about them.  You can dress them up or down.   Ideal for someone like me.

I also love the excitement of those little packages arriving through the post.  It’s like Christmas all year round!

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Hamming it up by the Thames

We haven’t been out geocaching for a while so as hubby was off today, we had a look around for some local(ish) caches and headed out to Old Windsor to pick a few up and have a walk by the Thames.

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Nice and easy to park up in a residential road, wellies on and away we went. It was very chilly so I was glad we all had our hats and gloves. I say all but by that I mean all but the teen of course.  She was frozen although I’m pleased that at least she had put on a sensible coat today.

Low flying planes

Low flying planes

Our first cache was Manor of the Ham and was a nice easy spot. Hubby retrieved that for us as it was on the corner of a road. Signed Team Scorpio for us all.  Off we strolled down beside the church and around the corner onto a public footpath, admiring some houses as we passed. It was then I noticed that we were walking away from the cache. Had we made a wrong turn? We doubled back and tried to turn at a different spot but this just led us to the gates of a nursing home. Oops!  Doubling back on our double back (following still?) we then followed the original footpath to the end.  Hooray!  The Thames.  Right on top of the next cache.  Saxon Moorings was a reasonably quick spot and the youngest cacher made the retrieve. Signed and carefully replaced, we started our walk down the towpath.

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The next cache was Thames Path – St Peter’s Church. Despite spotting a likely suspect as we walked past the houseboat there (the girls loved the decorations they had up), the GPS said another 30m.  We walked past and then when I looked again, we were past it.  Darn GPS.  I think my phone doesn’t like the cold.  Back we went and the 2nd youngest made the retrieve.  Cache lid was breaking and contents were sodden. Fortunately the log book was in a plastic bag so spared the worst of it.

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We came to a little bridge over the entrance to one of the houses boat port (what do you call that really?) where another chap with his children were feeding the ducks.  We walked on down to the lock and the girls fed the ducks here themselves.  Glad there is no flooding for the folk living along the river this year.  Dread to think what it was like here in 2013.

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The next cache for us was Thames Path – Ham it Up! and that was another easy spot.  Decided to walk down to the final one along the river of Bridge to Ham Island.  Another very easy spot and we opted then to walk back along the road which was much quicker as my phone was already shouting it was almost out of battery.  We were hoping to do one more but my phone died and I’d forgotten my Power Monkey.  Oh well.  It was a nice walk.

I suggested to hubby that maybe we need to get a GPS now as the battery life on our phones is getting worse it seems.  Anyone recommend a good one – not too expensive?  We need to input the caches we want to it though so I’d prefer not a bog-standard GPS.

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Bored opening too many presents?

‘Tis the season to put even more pictures of what you are doing up on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (among others).  We see stacks of presents and numerous photos of Christmas dinner. Really?

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I guess it’s the same people who photograph every part of their mundane lives that insist on telling us they are drinking a Christmas cup of coffee with a mince pie, having a Christmas sherry, eating a Christmas dinner (no, really?) and having a Christmas fart (too many sprouts). Thanks for that. Where would my life be without your updates?  In actual fact, I didn’t bother looking at Facebook until today and only checked my Twitter because someone had posted something on one of my accounts that was actually interesting.

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I’ve been shocked by some peoples’ Christmas present stack. I mean, really? Did Toys R Us have anything left by the time you finished?  Did you children actually enjoy opening 100+ presents?  Did they actually really, really want any of them?  I have been guilty of this in the past as when J was little, she did get totally over-spoiled at Christmas.  She had a positive sack of stocking presents along with a ton under the tree. This was complemented by another how sack from my eldest sister (who also spoiled her) and then she had another sack and ton under the tree from my ex-husband. Spot the guilt-trip here?  Exactly!  Anyway, it all stopped after one Christmas and I’ll tell you why. She got bored of opening presents.  Yes, bored.  Not just a bit fed up trying to get into the wrapping but she actually said “how many more have I got to open?”  She said she didn’t want to open any more.  She suggested I open them while she watched TV.  What?!  That’s when it hit me. We simply had bought her too much. Almost everything she’d mentioned in passing the year before had appeared under the tree.  She had nothing special. No one present meant anything to her.  Some were never played with at all.  What the heck had we done?  The following year I listened carefully to things she talked about.  I bought one special present and lots of fun bits including colouring books, felt pens, craft stuff.  I changed the huge stocking for a tiny one that you could fit about 8 tubes of Smarties into and filled it with proper stocking bits.  I asked my sister to buy one big present for her, or at least a couple of decent ones rather than a sack of things she wasn’t bothered about. She had a fabulous Christmas. She loved opening every gift and was excited about them all.  Phew.

Now my children have around 8-10 presents for Christmas plus their little stockings (Santa fills those). It’s perfect. We open them one at a time and everyone watches everyone else.  It’s fun.  I spend the same on each of my girls and hubby and I usually exchange smellies (we’re always out of perfume/aftershave by this time of year as the last Christmas one plus holiday ones have run out).

So, you won’t be seeing any pictures of my Christmas dinner as I’m sure you know what a Sunday roast looks like.  Yes, that’s another thing. Why do people get so stressed about Christmas dinner? They manage a roast dinner many times a year but at Christmas it becomes a trauma for some. I’ve never understood that.  I’ve also never understood people fussing about turkey. Hey, if it’s that great, why don’t you eat it at any other time? Yeah, because it tastes horrible, no-one likes the legs and it takes 5 times the cooking of a chicken.

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Santa Special Train

We took the girls along today to Mizen’s Miniature Railway in Woking to ride on the Santa Special trains.  They were very excited and we had booked our slot early to make sure we got as close to Christmas as possible (it was the last set of runs yesterday, 21st).  We arrived and exchanged our receipt for train tickets and drink/mince pie vouchers then set off to queue up.  It was really nice watching the other people on the trains.

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Our time came and we got into a very sweet set of carriages. We each had a little cushion to sit on with one person facing forward (the children) and one backwards (the adults) in each bit.  Off we went.

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The girls were delighted to see teddy bears and snowmen all around the track. N didn’t like the smoke from our steam train and kept trying to wave it away (we sat right behind the driver).  Finally we arrived at the tunnel…sorry, Santa’s grotto…to meet the man himself.  He spoke to every child and they got a bag of presents.  Off we went again back around to the station.  Lovely.

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The girls opened their presents while hubby wandered off to get me a cup of tea and the mince pies plus a few bits for the girls. It was very mild so we sat on one of the benches overlooking the station and watched other people getting on and off the trains.  Quite  a few friends from school were spotted!

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After a bit more train spotting, we headed off home.  Another great experience with the super folk from Mizens.

That's all folks!

That’s all folks!

Happy Christmas everyone!

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First ever Build-A-Bear

Yesterday we were sorting out the presents the girls would be getting with their Christmas money (they always get some in advance of Christmas from a family friend).  N decided she wanted a Barbie with wings from Amazon so I placed the order for her using my super-dooper Amazon Prime delivery service.  Hooray, it would arrive tomorrow.

Anna and Elsa Bear

Anna and Elsa Bear

S wasn’t sure but had seen an advert showing an Elsa bear.  We started to look for one and realised it was from Build-A-Bear.  I thought about ordering it online then wondered if it would be more fun to go to the shop and do it. I called the nearest store (High Wycombe) and spoke to a lovely lady there who said they had plenty of Elsa‘s in stock. Clearly I wanted to check this first before heading all the way to High Wycombe only to find they are sold out!  She also told me about what a sweet experience it was for children to build their own bear. I was sold.  We were going to head off the next day (that’s today now you see).

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Naturally, once N knew we were off to Build-A-Bear, she decided she no longer wanted winged-Barbie but wanted an Anna bear.  I hastily cancelled the order with Amazon and fortunately it was just in time so the cancellation went through.  Two excited girls went to bed last night.

This morning we were up early. I was woken by calls from the girls’ room saying “Are we going to Build-A-Bear now mummy?”  It was 7am so I said not just yet.  By 7.30am I had been asked about 20 times if it was now time and could they put their shoes on.  We finally headed off at 8.15am.

A surprisingly quiet drive across to High Wycombe and we parked up easily in the mutli-storey car park over the Eden Shopping Centre.  I got on the 1st floor which was a shock as I thought everyone would be out at the crack of sparrows to hit the shops at this time of year.  Arrived at Build-A-Bear and it wasn’t quite open.  We waited outside and I chatted to another lady who was waiting too.

Opening time!

In went the girls and chose their floppy bears.  The process was really lovely.  They went to the stuffing machine where the lady asked them their names and wrote them on their bears’ collars.  A little bar code was taken off and popped into the bears tummy in case they ever got lost and hopefully were handed in to be reunited with their owners. What a fab idea!  ID tagging for teddies!  I love it!

The girls then put their foot onto the pedal one at a time and filled their bears with stuffing before choosing a little soft red heart, doing a little ritual with it before giving it a kiss and popping it into the bear.  They loved every bit of this.  Once the lady had sewn the bears up, we headed to the dressing table and the girls dressed their bears in the Elsa and Anna outfits we’d bought. They gave them a little brush and they were almost ready.

Finally, the birth certificate. I sat at the console and filled in the details for the bears for each of my girls.  They chose a name – of course Elsa and Anna were the first names but both bears have other names too – and their bears were born.

They were both delighted to get a box for their bears. It’s a house you see and they are colouring them in as I type this, customising them for their own bears.  They also got a little Team Santa medallion so they can play a game on their tablets.

The icing on the cake for me was being able to pick up £10 gift cards for £5 each. I had a couple of those as I know we will be back to Build-A-Bear to buy some more little outfits or get more bears next year.

I am so glad we went there today.  Such a lovely little experience.

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