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My youngest is two years old. And his greatest love, besides me, is Mr Tumble. Dubz watches 3-4 episodes of Something Special every day (please don't judge, but if you do then you can F*** right off). I don't think there is just one thing Dubz likes, but he seems especially enamored with Mr Tumble's red nose and the use of sign language.

But let me be clear, this is not a post bashing Mr Tumble. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I love Mr Tumble. He is kind and silly and funny. He makes my son laugh. And in the past few months, while Dubz has struggled to speak, Mr Tumble's sign language has engaged him. Dubz has begun to use some sign language and the words have finally come.

But when you've watched as many episodes of Something Special as I have, you inevitably have questions.

1. Home - Mr Tumble used to live in a big country manor with his extended family. But he has recently moved to a terrace house. Why has he moved? Did Lord Tumble gamble away the family fortune on a high stakes game of croquet? I know that many people have had to downsize and watch their pennies in this economy, but I wish I knew what exactly had happened.

2. Family - Mr Tumble has such a strange array of relatives. Granddad Tumble is a working class cockney. Lord Tumble is a posh aristocrat. Is Aunt Polly a relation by marriage? Why don't we know her surname? Fisherman Tumble and Cliff Tumble (pop star)are also quite random. And what about Mr Tumble's parents? Did they die in a horrific clowning accident? Or are they travelling the world as international clown spies. Why are they never mentioned? I need to know.

3. Narrator - Who is the child speaking to Mr Tumble and Justin? Is he/she trapped in the telly? Or is he/she a figment of Mr Tumble's imagination? Instead of laughing along to Mr Tumble, should we consider calling a mental health professional?

4. Justin & Mr Tumble - Why can't there be an episode where Justin and Mr Tumble hang out? Why are they never in the same place? They seem to know each other, but never spend time together. It makes me wonder if Justin and Mr Tumble are perhaps the same person. Hmmmm.

5. First Names - What is Mr Tumble's first name? Gary? Rupert? Toby? He is awfully formal for a clown. Why don't we know everyone's full name (except for Cliff Tumble)? Is the Tumble name an alias? Are they all on the run from an international drug cartel?

If you, or anyone close to you, knows the answer to any of the above questions please contact me as soon as you can. I can't handle another night lying awake in bed and wondering.

 

 

*Photo credit: BBC website

 

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This week Mum Turned Mom offered 'Shine' as the topic of The Prompt. This made me think about how I raise my children. How my friends raise their children. We want our children to do well. Many want their children to excel. But how much? Do you want your child to be the star of their class? The prima ballerina or the black belt in karate? Perhaps you just want him or her to be the best person they can be. Whatever that means.

But what happens when they do shine? What do you do when little Wilfred or Freya is the best student in their class? Do you make a Facebook announcement? Do you send an email to your family and friends? Or do you just keep the knowledge between you and your partner, and gush about your little darlings in the evenings? Recently, parents were announcing their children's GCSE grades on Facebook. Although I did not grow up in the UK and am not overly familiar with GCSEs, I didn't think that some of the grades were very good. Parents seemed thrilled nonetheless.

And what about your child? Are they allowed to tell everyone that they are a candidate for Mensa or even that they can now ride a bike? Or are you teaching your child to be modest and self-deprecating? A few weeks ago, my six-year old daughter was mentioning how clever and beautiful she is. Husband was aghast to hear such outspoken self-admiration, such high esteem. But shouldn't children have healthy self-esteem? How are they to succeed if they do not think highly of themselves? How can you shine if you are not confident in your intelligence or your abilities? I understand that too much self-esteem can lead children thinking they have greater abilities than they do, but I think we need to find a balance. As parents, we should give our children the confidence to feel that they can shine. How do you find the right balance?

 

mumturnedmom

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Diet Chef meals

I can't believe I have just finished 28 days on Diet Chef. It has really flown by. Above are some of the yummy foods I have enjoyed - as breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners. As this will be my final post on the meal delivery programme, I thought I would go through the highlights of the past month.

Diet Chef Highlights:

1. The Food - I think it is a huge plus to be able to choose which meals to have each month. This is especially helpful if you continue with the diet as you can select the meals that you thought were really tasty.

2. The Ease - There is no weighing or calorie counting. The three meals and snack  allotted for each day are worth 900-1100 calories. This gives you a few hundred calories to spend on whichever fruit and vegetables you like. There is also the added bonus of not having to make dinner every night (although I still cooked dinner for the kids, Husband and I just microwaved our Diet Chef dinners every evening).

3. The Results - I was thrilled to lose 2-4 pounds each week, although 1-2 pounds is probably more of a normal loss. But my body was so accustomed to a high caloric intake that 1400-1500 calories really made a huge difference. Husband and I are fans of the sneaky nightly chocolate pudding/candy bar. But we resisted on the diet and even this week have not gone back to our old, sneaky ways. Woohoo.

So, after 28 days of Diet Chef, I weighed myself and was happy to find that I now weigh 14 stone 2 pounds. That is a 10-pound weight loss. My clothes are fitting better and I can start to see my cheekbones again. Cheekbones. Squeal. So thank you Diet Chef. Husband has lost eight pounds and is also pleased. But the healthy eating and the exercise is far from over. I will be continuing on my Healthy Living Lucky Dip, as I still have two stone of baby weight to lose. So stay tuned.

Diet Chef

Total Weight Loss
14 July: 15 stone 1
21 July: 14 stone 12 (four pounds lost)
(diet holiday)
5 August: 14 stone 12
12 August: 14 stone 8 (four pounds lost)
19 August: 14 stone 6 (two pounds lost)
26 August: 14 stone 4 (two pounds lost)
2 September: 14 stone 2 (two pounds lost)

 

I was given a 28-day supply of Diet Chef for the purpose of my weekly reviews. Husband paid for his own. All opinions expressed are completely my own.
 

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London is such a huge place that you can live here but never get to see half of all the cool places. Living in South West London, we normally stay south of the river. But every once in a while, we venture north. A couple of months ago, we went to East London, to Stratford. We were visiting our newest niece in the afternoon so thought we would check out the playground at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Millions were spent on rejuvenating Stratford for the Olympic Games. And Westfield came in and built a super flash shopping centre. So we were keen to see the improvements (we lived in East London many, many years ago). The day was quite grey and cloudy, but luckily it didn't get chilly until we were about to leave. We started off at the Tumbling Bay Playground. It took some navigating to find it from the car park. But we were pleased when we found the playground. The rock pools, sandpits, slides and wobbly bridges were fab. Dubz loves playing in water so he could have happily spent the entire day there.

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After an hour of playing, we were all starving. So we had lunch at the Timber Lodge Cafe. They had a good selection of hot and cold food. And a good sausage roll. Hmmm, sausage rolls. Please ignore the way Dubz has peeled off the pastry so he can just eat the sausage. That kid eats like an animal. I had a lovely stew, with rice and sugar snap peas. East London is totes posh now, doncha know?!

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Unfortunately, we did not realise that there was another playground until we were about to leave the Olympic park (and it was right by the carpark, doh!). But we know for next time. Moozles did manage to sneak in some climbing and swinging on our way out.

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The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is located next to Westfield Stratford. If you drive, you can park at Westfield (costs at the weekend are £2.50 for up to two hours and £5.00 for 2-3 hours). It is much easier to take public transport. Several trains, tubes and loads of buses serve Stratford and Stratford international stations.

This week I'm linking to Country Kids from Coombe Mill. Go see what other people have been getting up to in the great outdoors.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Last Sunday I went to M&S in an extremely last-minute effort to stock up on back-to-school essentials. Instead of buying school shoes for my daughter, I was overcome at the gorgeous autumn collections for both boys and girls.

So I decided to put together my favourite items from M&S. First, the girls' clothes had a great mix of tough, funky, feminine and cool. There were loads of great items, in mustard, navy and purple. And is there a girl who would not adore the leopard print faux fur coat? My six-year old loves a fur coat, and they are normally roomy enough to last a couple of winters. I expect some of these items, if not all, will end up in my daughter's wardrobe quite soon.

M&S

I was also pleased when I saw the autumnal clothing range for little boys. Boys' clothes can leave many of us underwhelmed. My two-year old son, Dubz, is quite particular when it comes to what he wears. He loves his clothing to contain animals, monsters and robots. I like him to look nice but to feel comfortable. Have you seen anything cuter than the fox welly boots?

M&S

Do you love autumn clothing? Have you started your autumn shopping? Will any of the above items be making their way into your little one's wardrobe?

 

Fashion Friday on MummysGotStyle.com

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Starting School

You've done it. After weeks, maybe even months, of agonising about it, you have sent your little one off to school. You may have even shed a tear while walking hesitantly into the building. Your child, on the other hand, most likely skipped into the classroom exhilarated with the thought of now being a school boy/girl. Perhaps you've been happily enjoying some quiet time in a coffee shop? Maybe some cake at home while tears drop into your tea?

Well, there's no need to worry about your child. He/she is at school, making new friends, learning new things and generally being quite happy. And yes, they will be quite tired at first and will also be hungry, so hungry (make sure to always have a snack when you pick them up from school). But you need to worry about yourself. Because it's not just your child who has begun school. You. Have. Too.

Making Friends--Your child isn't the only one who will be making friends. Sure, you could just freeze out the other mums and dads, but that won't be easy. Other parents  can be great if you're ill or running late, and need someone to help with school pick-up and drop-off. It's also nice to chat with others who are going through the same things. And since they normally live near you, it's dead easy to meet up for coffee/gin. But just because your children are friends, it doesn't mean that you will like one another. And just because you like another parent, it doesn't guarantee that they will like you in return. Another tip, if the parents have older children, be prepared that they won't have time for you. It turns out that parents normally make their closest relationships with the parents of their eldest child. Don't take it too personally if someone you get along with, doesn't want to be your new bestie.
Homework--If your child has begun Reception, you won't really have to worry about regular homework until Year Two (unless they are at private school--then it's homework every day). But there will be projects. Projects that your child won't actually be doing. They may pick the topic and do some sticking, but it's going to be Mum or Dad doing most of the work. But there will be weekly reading. Some children are happy to do this. Some children need some bribery persuasion. You will need a lot of wine/gin/chocolate to cope with the arguing.
PTA--Schools need money to run those fun, educational extras, and that's where the Parent Teacher Associations come in handy. If you work full-time, you will feel guilty for never being able to help run the bake sale stalls or to volunteer in the classroom. If you are a Stay-At-Home-Mum, then you will feel bitter for always having to help. Do as much as you can, but don't feel bad if you can't help.

There you go. Some helpful tips for surviving school as a parent. Good luck. I know you can get through it! xx

 

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Dassie knitted dolls

Oh my days, have you ever seen a jungle animal wearing a jumper? Talk about super cute. Dubz and Moozles were so pleased when they each received a new little animal friend. Dubz received a giraffe called Ruvimbo and Moozles received a lion called Zimbo. The animals are wearing jumpers because it is their first trip to the UK and they want to be prepared in case it gets chilly. *squeal*

The animals are hand-knitted from Zimbabwe. The women who make the dolls are able to earn money to help support their families. And each item comes with a tag, which includes the name and picture of the woman who knitted the doll. Such a nice, personal touch in an age where stuffed animals are made by machines in factories. And I feel a bit ashamed that I worry about fair trade and organic food but don't really think about fair trade clothes, homeware or toys.

There are eight animals to choose from, and they each cost £8.95 on the Dassie website. Excellent price point, especially when you see how well the animals are made. Moozles spent the day throwing hers up to the ceiling and catching it, and somehow little Zimbo showed no signs of damage. And considering that knitted dolls normally seem to unravel in minutes around my children, I was even more impressed.

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Dubz loves his little giraffe. He is not one to sleep or play with animals, but he was carrying Twza around loads, even taking him into the tent we put in the living room for a picnic. There were even some kisses. Beyond cute!

GoGo Olive Knitted Dolls

Family Fever
 
We were sent the knitted dolls for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.
 

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In July, my six-year old told me that she wanted to keep a summer diary. I thought this was a wonderful idea. Moozles' writing has come along fantastically since she began Year One. Couple that with her love of drawing, I knew this would be a fun summer activity that could also be a treasured keepsake. Moozles picked out this lovely and bright yellow notebook from Paperchase. The pages are lined, so it is ideal for helping her improve her writing. And it's big enough that she can keep a few summers worth of memories in one notebook.

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Moozles hasn't worked on the diary every day, but she has noted many of our fun summer activities. You can compare her writings and drawings to what we did in real life.

Littlehampton Beach

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Kenilworth Castle

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Birmingham, meeting my friend Emma (Brummy Mummy of 2) and then going to the local pool in Leamington Spa afterwards

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Odd Farm Park, and circus

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We had a great summer, and this diary will serve as a lovely reminder. I'm sure I'll be sobbing over Moozles' summer diary in 20 years' time.

This post has been inspired by Steph Tilley, the Center Parcs Community Manager, who noted that a summer diary can be created using different mementos, including photos and handwritten diary entries. There were some other great ways to capture summer memories, and next year we will try and incorporate all of them.

 

This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots100 August Challenge. If I'm chosen, I would like to visit Longleat Forest.

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Diet ChefMy Healthy Living Lucky Dip is in its fourth week. I have been following the Diet Chef programme for the past three weeks and am quite happy with the results. And I'm not the only one. Husband has been on the Diet Chef plan as well so I thought I would conduct a mini-interview so you can see how he is doing.

Favourite part of Diet Chef: I really enjoy the breakfasts and dinners. I use the My Fitness Pal app to check exactly how many calories I consume. I normally get to eat more calories because I ride my bicycle to and from work on most days.
Least Favourite part of Diet Chef: I miss eating sandwiches for lunch. I wish there was an option to just order breakfasts, dinners and snacks.
Tips for anyone planning to order Diet Chef: Order for longer than just 28 days. There are so many choices, when it comes to ordering your meals. I now know which meals I love and which meals I am not bothered about eating again. 
Weight Loss: 6 pounds in three weeks.
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I lost two pounds last week, which has given me an eight-pound weight loss from Diet Chef alone (12-pound total loss). My trousers are feeling looser and my tummy does not stick out as much as it did. I am a bit sad that I only have one week left of Diet Chef, as I am nervous that other weight loss regimes won't be as successful. But I will work hard this last week and hopefully the weight loss will continue.

Total Weight Loss
14 July: 15 stone 1
21 July: 14 stone 12 (four pounds lost)
(diet holiday)
5 August: 14 stone 12
12 August: 14 stone 8 (four pounds lost)
19 August: 14 stone 6 (two pounds lost)
26 August: 14 stone 4 (two pounds lost)
Diet Chef 
I was given a 28-day supply of Diet Chef for the purpose of my weekly reviews. Husband paid for his own. All opinions expressed are completely my own, unless they are his.
 

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As the warm weather turns cooler and the summer begins to fade, I have been looking back on what the summer holidays have meant to our family. Last summer was my daughter's first summer holiday from school. But as I fell down the stairs and broke a toe one week into the holiday, it was not the summer I had in mind. But we made up for it this summer. Husband took time off, we had day trips and visited the in-laws. We lazed about at home and visited friends and family. We went to cool events and festivals. We ate copious amounts of ice cream.

This summer we made so many wonderful memories. We had six weeks where we didn't have to worry about the school runs, clubs and homework. Dubz had his first splash in the sea. Moozles learned to sew. I didn't break any bones. We made millions of loom bands. Dubz went from speaking 20 words to well over 100. Moozles can now do a forward roll in the pool. I haven't fallen down the stairs once.

Summer 2014, you've been fab. Thank you for all the memories!

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mumturnedmom