Book Review: What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday

A few weeks ago I signed up with NetGalley to read and review the latest new book releases. Over the weekend I was checking out the latest releases when I happened across What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday. This is the latest book by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks and knew I had to request it.

The kids were over the moon when my request was accepted. Bedtime couldn’t come soon enough on Monday so we could read it.

What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday by Julia Donaldson  and Lydia Monks

“One fine day, in the middle of May, The ladybird went on holiday.”

Those two bad men, Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh, are back! They may be in the city instead of the farm, but they haven’t changed their thieving ways. In fact, they’ve got even more ambitious. They’re planning to steal a monkey from the zoo and use it to steal the Queen’s crown. It’s a pity for them that a certain crime-busting ladybird is holidaying in the very same city – and she’s got a good idea that will ensure the dastardly pair won’t get away with it!

With a whole host of noisy new zoo-animal characters to meet and even a cameo from the Queen, What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday, from stellar picture book partnership Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, is a sure-fire hit.

Our Thoughts

The book is everything you would expect from a Julia Donaldson book. It’s fun for adults and children alike. We all had a fantastic, if noisy time, making the different animal noises and catching up with the ladybird’s antics.

We are huge Julia Donaldson fans in this house and as usual she hits the mark with this wonderful follow up to What the Ladybird Heard and What the Ladybird Heard Next. The fabulous illustrations are by Lydia Monks and complement the book perfectly.

This book will be joining our Julia Donaldson collection as soon as it’s available.

Thank you to Netgalley, Macmillan Children’s Books and Julia Donaldson for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday is available from 29 May 2017 and priced at £11.99

Easter Egg Suncatchers

Most kids love arts and crafts and mine are no different. This year we have decided to make a selection of things for their grandparents for Easter.

After scouring Pinterest they have decided they want to make some egg shaped suncatchers. We also went to Hobbycraft and bought some ceramic Easter baskets which we will decorate using foam clay.

Easter Egg Suncatchers

For the suncatchers I started with an egg template that I found online. I printed it out onto yellow card and then cut around the inside to leave a border.

I then covered the egg with clear sticky back plastic (I used this) and cut to size. The kids were given a box with pieces of pastel coloured tissue paper and left to their own devices to cover the sticky part of the egg.

When they had finished I added a piece of ribbon and stuck another piece of sticky back plastic over to seal it.

The finished product
Almost finished

Voila, some fantastic suncatchers for our Easter baskets.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

 

My Easter Bucket List

The Planner Girls Collective have chosen this week to put together their Easter bucket lists and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Here in Leeds, the kids have already been off school for a week as they broke up for their Easter holiday last Friday. This means I have already had a week of trying to break up arguments, maintain some semblance of a household routine and conjure up a never ending list of things for them to do when the inevitable should ‘Mum, I’m bored’ from wherever they are stationed.

I prepared this list so I could find things to do with the kids during half term and it hopefully won’t break the bank.

So here’s what I’m planning

Easter Bucket ListEaster crafts with the kids

I have planned a couple of Easter related crafts to do with the kids in case the weather turns out to be rubbish. We are planning on making some egg shaped sun catchers, a handprint chicks and some Easter cards and baskets for the grandparents. Watch this space to see how they turned out.

Decorate the house for Easter

I love adding seasonal decorations to the house, plus it stops me from getting fed up with my existing decor. This also means my OH doesn’t have to listen to me waffling on about mood boards and colour swatches. We have already picked up some bits and pieces so will be putting those up very soon.

Easter Baking

I love baking and it seems my kids have caught the bug so we will definitely be making some Easter goodies. I’m thinking maybe some Rice Krispie nests and some cupcakes

Easter Bonnet Parade/Easter Egg Hunt

There are a few Easter events happening at the stately homes near where I live. Hopefully we will make it at least one of them to show of the Easter bonnets the kids have made.

Conduct some Easter science experiments

My little boy spent the last two weeks talking non stop about science week and the experiments he did at school. He asked if we can so some of our own experiments during the holidays so I promised him we could attempt some Easter experiments.

Paint my nails using a pastel nail polish

I’ve been neglecting my nails a little recently, I even had to resort to some stick on falsies last week. That being the case I’ve decided my hands/nails need a little TLC.

Don’t forget to check out what the other girls have on their bucket lists!

Emma-Louise Smith at The Stationery Geekette

Kelly Vizma at The Scrapbook Girl 

Louise Parkinson at The Vintage Planner

Alyson Duncan at A Life Lived in Words

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Things I Loved in March 2017

Can you believe we are already a quarter of the way through the year? Spring has almost made an appearance, the weather is slowly warming up and the nights are getting lighter.

There have been some big changes recently as Anya has started nursery 2.5 days per week, leaving me a little bewildered at what to do with myself.

So let’s see what else I’ve been getting up to in the last month.

Mother’s Day

The day started off quite well. I got a lie in and breakfast in bed. After that it didn’t quite go according to plan and we ended up making last minute changes to our schedule. This meant that I was left at home alone while the kids went with my OH while he dropped off his Mum’s card and gift.

The day might not have been as originally anticipated but it turned out OK in the end and I did get some lovely gifts from the kids to boot.

Madam Secretary

Why have I not watched this before? I absolutely love it. I’ve been binge watching while doing my ironing and am already 4 episodes into series two (I had a lot of ironing!!)

Lethal Weapon

Although I don’t watch TV that often, but every now and again something catches my eye and gets me hooked. This was one such program. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first saw it advertised and knew it would have to be really special since I loved the movies with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.

Well I have to say it is. I love Damon Wayans portrayal of Roger Murtagh and Clayne Crawford’s Martin Riggs is easily on a part with Mel Gibson.

Reading

You may have realised but I love reading and this month I have managed to get through 7 books bringing my total for the year to 18. Some may have been less than 200 pages but they still count.

My Goodreads 2017 Challenge

Night Out With Friends

We attended a black tie awards dinner a couple of weeks ago which obviously meant a new dress. Thirteen dresses later I finally found one I was happy with.

We had an amazing evening with friends both old and new. We ended our evening at the casino before making our way home at around 4.30am! Luckily the kids were having a sleepover at Nana and Grandad’s so we did get a lie in.

So that’s March in a nutshell. What have you been loving this month?

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Parkinson’s Awareness Week

Today I’d like to talk to you about something that affects me on a personal level. I’d like to talk to you about Parkinson’s.

I know it seems like every month there are various health awareness days, weeks and months from the various charities/organisations each promoting their cause and April is no different.

This month is

  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Bowel Cancer Awareness Month
  • IBS Awareness Month

Then we have

  • Parkinson’s Awareness Week on 10-16 April
  • Orchid Male Cancer Awareness Week on 17-23 April
  • MS Awareness Week – 25-30 April

Finally

  • 2 April – World Autism Awareness Day 2017
  • 11 April – World Parkinson’s Day
  • 17 April – World Haemophilia Day 2017
  • 25 April – World Malaria Day 2017

Although there are several areas mentioned above that I support, I would like to talk to you specifically about Parkinson’s as this is one disease that is very close to my heart as a few years back my Dad was diagnosed this currently incurable disease.

What is Parkinson’s?

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition caused by a lack of a chemical called dopamine due to some nerve cells in their brain dying.

The loss of nerve cells in the brain causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s to appear. Plus without dopamine people can find that it takes longer to do things as their movements become slower.

There’s currently no cure for Parkinson’s and we still don’t know why people get the condition. However, drugs and treatments are available to help manage the symptoms, which get worse over time.

So why am I writing this

People with Parkinson’s need a breakthrough. Only with the support of the public can we develop better treatments, faster.

It was over 50 years ago since the last significant drug discovery for Parkinson’s was made. However, the current Parkinson’s drugs aren’t good enough. They don’t stop, slow down or reverse the condition or its effects. They can only mask some symptoms for a time – and they can have distressing side effects.

I’m seeing this first hand with my Dad. His current level of medication is causing hallucinations. He has seen people stuck in trees and a whole family sat in the living room watching TV with him.

World Parkinson’s Day

This year World Parkinson’s Day (Tuesday, 11 April 2017) falls within Parkinson’s Awareness Week. This day marks 200 years since the Parkinson’s was first recognised as a medical condition.

How can you help?

On World Parkinson’s Day, use the hashtag #UniteForParkinsons wherever you can on your social media channels. I know I will be!

If you want to find out more about Parkinson’s and what you can do to help/raise awareness then please visit Parkinson’s UK and the EPDA 

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

6 Months to Change My Life – Review

Back in September I set myself a set of goals in order to make some changes in my life.

Unfortunately I have fallen very short with almost all of my goals, so much so that I decided to abandon them at the beginning of the year. I spent some time reassessing my situation and trying to work out where I went wrong.

How Did I Do?

Personal Development

I have set up my planner and have almost set up my GTD system. However I haven’t been using them as much as I’d have liked recently.

Since the beginning of the year I have read a total of 13 books so I have managed to keep up with this.

Relationship

Again this is a 50/50 win. We haven’t been having as many date night away from home or our movie nights but the counselling is going well.

Health and Fitness

The less said about this the better. I haven’t reach my target weight, nor have I begun any kind of exercise routine.

Career/Blog

This is one area where I have actually made some progress. I’ve been trying to post regularly and have begun to look into ways to monetise by blog.

I have also been looking at some possible jobs in my local area which fit in with my family life so all in all I would say this was an area that I am winning in.

Charity/Giving

Again, I have made some progress on my goals for this area. I have been giving blood as often as I can and have been helping others where possible too.

The only thing remaining is to make a decision regarding the Dyspraxia Foundation role.

Friends/Family

Things haven’t worked out too well in this area. I have made some moves towards reaching my goals but unfortunately they haven’t quite gone to plan.

Finances

Not gone quite as well as planned due to some unforeseen expenses. However we have some money saved some I’m not counting it as a loss just yet.

Physical Environment

There is no way to put this other than to say that this area has been a total fail. That said I have got some new bedding, towels and paint for our bedroom so I did make some effort.

As far as the clutter goes, it’s still there smirking at me with all it’s friends – I’m blaming Christmas and birthdays for it all!

Wellbeing

As many mums will tell you, taking care of yourself is usually low on the priority list. Well, this mum is no different. No matter how hard I try to find regular time for myself I usually end up cleaning up after the kids or something equally as mundane.

Fun/Recreation

It’s easy to see where my priorities lie. I have managed to book a family holiday and had an amazing time for my 40th birthday.

We have also had some amazing family fun so overall this area is on track.

Where Did I Go Wrong?

After giving it some thought I think my main issue is trying to do too much in one go. It’s also pretty easy to see, after analysing my wins, where my priorities and focus lie. I love reading and writing so any goals relating to these areas are easy for me to reach. Whereas, things like exercise and eating healthily, aren’t things I overly enjoy (although I love the results) so I find goals in these areas harder to focus on.

Next Steps

I’m not giving up on my goals just yet, although I will be making some changes. I’m planning on reducing the number of goals I aim for within each area and will be focusing on the goals I find harder more often.

I will be back very soon with more information on my goals for the next 6 months so watch this space.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

Keeping Mum ~ Oh My Blog! featuring Jades Long Journey

Oh My Blog is a monthly interview series where fellow bloggers come together to answer a series of questions on a specific theme. This is a chance to get acquainted with a whole range of bloggers, some of whom you may not have heard of before, and learn a little more about them!

This month, the theme is Mums (because it’s Mother’s Day soon!) and we’re hosting Jade from Jade’s Long Journey.

1.  Introduce us to your mum. What’s her name? What does she do? Reveal her age if you dare!

My mum is called Sarah and she works in a hotel which is great if I need a hotel room as she gets discount. I don’t think she will mind me telling you all that she is 47 years young.

2. What’s the one thing your mum always used to say to you?

I was a naughty child so I was always getting told off so I think as bad as it sounds it I always remember being told I was grounded. Oops!

3. Someone’s playing your mum in a film. Who is it and why?

This is really hard and I honestly have no idea. If Barbara Windsor was younger I would say her because my mum has a similar laugh and she loves carry on films.

4.  She’s won the lottery. What’s the first thing your mum buys for herself?

This is a conversation we have had many times, when I was little I picked the lottery numbers and every number I picked came up the issue being my Nan refused to pay for the numbers I chose as she thought they were silly. So I know she would buy herself a horse and stables.

5.  What embarrassing story about you does she always tell when you meet new people?

I don’t think there is one. When she met my boyfriend for the first time she hit him with a whip and put a vibrator on her nose (we were in Ann Summers). My sisters normally tell the stories.

6.  What are your plans for Mother’s Day this year?

I think we will just go for a meal she has been eyeing up a menu at a local pub restaurant that has a 32oz steak (could be 23oz).

7.  What’s her favourite TV show at the moment?

Well The Walking Dead has just come back on so she will be hooked on that but she also likes watching her old classics like Auf Wiedersehen Pet.

8.  What’s the biggest or most important thing that your mum inspired you to do?

To be strong and not let things get to me. It is something she inspired me to do without even knowing it.

9.  Your round at the bar! What’s your mum drinking?

Strawberry Daiquiri  

10.  What’s the biggest different between you and your mum?

She loves horses and spiders and I’m scared of both spiders more than horses.

11.  Most important question of the lot. What is your mum’s stance on 50 Shades of Grey? Does she love it? Hate it? Not even know what it is?

She has read it but I haven’t as I’m really not a fan. I think she enjoyed the books.

12.  What’s your favourite memory of your mum?

Oh there are so many as she is just funny unintentionally. We were all talking about the game station SEGA and she said oh yeah the logo was green and we all just looked at her and said no it was blue her response well it was green in my head. And life with my mum is just like that.

13.  What do you think your mum was like as a kid?

A bit of a goodie two shoes. She was in the church choir and was on songs of praise but left when offered to help at the local stables.

14.  Cast your mind back a bit; what was the thing you did as a child or teenager that made your mum the angriest she has ever been with you?

I don’t think I dare say on here. I was arrested once accused of theft from a house I babysat in she was pretty angry with me until she knew I didn’t do it.

15.  Finally, what’s the BEST piece of advice your mum ever gave to you?

If your not happy then leave.

If you enjoyed this post, you should head over to Jade’s blog and social media.

Blog   *   Twitter   *   Facebook   *   Instagram   *   Pinterest

Thanks for reading

Oh My Blog!

Q & A with a 3-Year Old

Today marks my youngest’s third birthday. I’m still trying to work out where the time has gone. Anyway, in keeping with our family tradition we asked her the same questions we have been asking my son since his 3rd birthday.

Here are her answers

What is your favourite colour?

Red (she was wearing her Wonder Woman costume at the time)

What is your favourite toy?

Poison Ivy (she had just received this doll for her birthday. To be honest it could have been any one of a number of things)

What is your favourite fruit?

Bananas (this was completely expected as she has one for breakfast nearly every morning)

What is your favourite TV show?

Batman (other than her dad and brother being batman obsessed, I’m not too sure where this came from)

What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch?

Potatoes (not sure where this came from, although she does like mash)

What is your favourite outfit?

Wonder Woman (see explanation above)

What is your favourite game?

Batman (again, I blame her brother for this)

What is your favourite snack?

Apples

What is your favourite animal?

An elephant

What is your favourite song?

All the Single Ladies by Beyonce (known as Oh Oh Oh by Anya)

What is your favourite book?

Jack in a box (I have no idea what this book is or where she has seen it as it’s not one we have in our collection)

Who is your best friend?

Niamh and Norah

What is your favourite cereal?

Rice Krispies

What is your favourite thing to do outside?

Play on my bike (again she got a bike for her birthday and has been wanting to play on it since 6.30am)

What is your favourite drink?

Juice

What is your favourite holiday?

Baby?? (No idea what was going through her head, although I think she was getting a little fed up by this question)

What do you like to take to bed with you at night?

Hailie

What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast?

I’ve just telled you that (she’s not one for wasting time repeating herself!)

What do you want for dinner on your birthday?

Tea towels (not sure of the nutritional value, but I’m sure I can oblige if she really wants.)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Go to sleep (it must be terribly hard work being three)

So there we have the thoughts of a newly 3-year old.

Thanks for reading, until next time

Debbie x

Book Haul: The Works

You may have seen in an earlier post that I have been attempting to declutter my books using the KonMari method. However, books spark a lot of joy in this house so we didn’t really get rid of many.

It didn’t help when I came across the multi buy offers available at The Works and bought some books for myself and the kids.

Check out what we got in our latest book haul.

Kids Books

I purchased 15 books in total for the kids taking advantage of the 10 for £10 offer online and later the 5 for £5 in store.

As you can see we got several books by Sue Hendra (Barry the Fish with Fingers; Doug the Bug that went boing; Keith the Cat with the Magic Hat; No-bot). We already have a couple of her books and both kids love them. Hopefully these will be just as good.

My eldest daughter loved Hairy Maclary when she was younger, so when I saw this I knew it had to join our collection.

We chose Evie’s Mad Hair Day especially for my youngest daughter.  She’s going through a bit of a phase where she doesn’t like having her hair brushed and this seemed such an appropriate book for her.

Some books will be added to our seasonal book rotation but most will go straight onto the bookcases.

My Books

These books all came from the 6 for £10 offer online. All the books came from the thrillers/crime fiction as this tends to be my go to genre, but there is a good choice of other books for anyone who isn’t a fan.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Have you made any recent book purchases?

I’d love to hear from you so feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

Planner Girls Collective ~ Valentine’s Bucket List

We are sharing with you our Valentine’s Bucket List this week within the Planner Girls Collective. Don’t worry I won’t be filling the page with lovey-dovey couples things, because personally that’s not for me.

It’s safe to say that me and my OH make a perfect couple due to the fact their neither of us are overly romantic. He has bought me flowers on a couple of occasions. The first time was before we were married. Tthere were so many they filled two (yes, you read that right TWO!) buckets. I ended up running out of places to put them and had to give some to our parents.

On another occasion he bought me some and I couldn’t find my vase so they lived in the middle part of the sink for a week. Funnily enough he hasn’t bought me any since.

Anyway, onto my list. I’ve decided to focus mainly on family and self care as it’s half term this week so the kids aren’t at school.

  • Purchase a new scented candle
  • Make heart shaped cookies with kids
  • Bake Valentine red velvet cupcakes
  • Watch a romantic movie/chick flick with OH
  • Go on a ‘date’ with my kids individually
  • Do Valentine crafts with the kids
  • Put a love note in with OH’s lunch
  • Buy some valentine flowers
  • Paint my nails pink/red
  • Do a random act of kindness

I’ve even printed my list and put it in my bujo ready to be checked off.

Don’t forget to check in with the other ladies from the group to see what they have planned.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie xx