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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Mummy = Super-hero - for this week at least!

Dear readers

I didn't post a book review yesterday as I haven't finished my book as I have been too busy being a Super-hero all week! So today, I thought I would post a personal post as this week has been an interesting so far.

Firstly, I had my Journalism course and I also started a 'developing your research project' last week too.  This week I thought I would add even more pressure and start a Corpus Linguistics course - but why? Do I just like stressing myself out? Not really!  I just love studying and I was interested in Corpus but didn't get chance to study.  This week's lecture and activities were fantastic - but I could have done without the extra studying.  My Journalism finishes in two weeks but I start back at Uni then too!

*note to self - MUST GET READING DONE!

Whilst we are on the topic of Uni, I got my MA grades back for last semester and I was pleasantly surprised because I got a first class mark for my Creative Writing piece and critical essay - well the MA is graded differently so I got a distinction grade but if it had been in my BA, I would have scored a first.  I was just a couple of marks off scoring the same for my literature but I ended up with a high 2:1 (merit) grade - overall I am 1% of a first/distinction grade.  If you consider that I am a level higher than BA level - I am making significant improvements and this really gave me confidence.  Even with the barriers in my life - I have still done well, but I still don't believe it.

I studied the Irish Literature and the Supernatural, and I totally connected with the subject.  My literature essay looked at post colonialism represented in Le Fanu's Carmilla, and I talked about the Anglo-Irish, and their social anxiety fears of belonging as they thought of themselves as Englishmen living in Ireland yet to the Catholic Irish, they were not Irish, and to the English, they were Irish.  as

For my creative writing assignment I wrote a fantasy piece, based on a young girls journey of her heritage and destiny - I'm not going to discuss this one any further as it was chapter 4 of a novel I am writing, and intend to complete.  So SSSSHHHHH!!!

When I read my grades, I could have cried with joy because this is better than I ever imagined! 

My husband is still unwell and we don't seem to be getting anywhere with the doctors' as they keep eliminating things around the problem until his course of anti-biotic are complete.  Which is a pain as the children have had activities on everyday so I am running around, here-there-and-everywhere at the moment.  I have also had to go dance-shoe shopping, and also buy a leotard.

To top it off - tomorrow we have cake shopping, tap shoe collection, swimming lessons for my youngest, then half an hour later sees football training for my middle child and tap dancing for the eldest!

In all honesty, I don't expect to post tomorrow but I am hoping to host a linky on Friday.  This one is a funny family story but it involves our pet dog, Charlie! 

Hopefully, after Friday things will have begun to calm down and I can get back on track as I wanted to start offering my English Tuition services again as they have taken a back seat for a few months and I quite enjoy them - but for now, back to my book, Ryder Haggard's She.

Wish me luck!

Kind regards


Monday, 28 September 2015

Motivation Monday - Week 4

Hi readers,

Hope you are well.  Welcome to week 4 of Motivation Monday and thank you for following me on my weight loss journey.  

Weekly summary
I didn't have a great week overall and I didn't get to the gym, and only swam once.  As I had to do all the kids activities with them, with my other half being unwell, I did do extra walks and housework.  So I was hopeful!

Eating wise I did have a take away on Saturday evening, but other than that, I stuck to my diet plan but again, didn't have high hopes for this week.  

As I mentioned, I didn't go to the gym, just swimming and lots of walking this week.  

Diet Example
On Sunday I had a Sunday lunch and we made our own Pizza so I made home-made bases and then everyone else decorated them.  I was able to monitor portion size, control what foods were in the base, I made my own sauce with passata, basil, garlic and a touch of salt, and only used a little low fat cheese.  This was great as I like mushrooms, peppers, onions, sweetcorn, and I was able to put more of the things on that I enjoy and skimp on the cheese.  I only made a small pizza, however it was very filling and tasty - everyone loved them! 

My five weekly Motivation Monday questions

1# How much do I weigh today?  15stone exactly so I am thrilled (and shocked) to announce that I lost 3lb.  

2# How do I feel about that? Very, very pleased, and still determined to keep going! 

3# What kept me motivated all week?  I didn't really have a motivation this week - I think I just took everything on with my other half being ill and I didn't want to fail.  To be honest my diet and exercise came last - but I'm so thrilled that I was able to look after myself as well as others.   

4# What is my aim for this week?  I would like to lose 2lb each week if possible, and as my husband is still ill, I just want to attempt the two swims, and maybe one gym session at least as well as the walking and housework.  I want to spring clean the downstairs as I did the upstairs last week so hopefully keeping active will assist my weight loss.  

5# What did I find easy/difficult?  I found with my husband being ill I had less time to spend on myself and I just felt constantly tired and drained, as well as being worried.  I found keeping active easy as I was the only one who could get on with what I needed to do.  

My weekly Motivation Monday Tip
Try to keep focussed and not think too much about how the housework keeps you active as this could mean you become overly confident - which could mean failure. 

Words of wisdom! 
Accept a treat but don't get too over-confident because you lost weight two weeks in a row. Set a good example and keep working for what you want and then you can be proud of the results.

Thanks for reading - and feel free to comment and help me stay motivated this week.  

Just hope I can keep it up!

Laters, Janet

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Sunday Summary 27/09/2015

Dear Readers,

My Sunday Summary this week will be fairly short and sweet (and late, sorry about that).  As I explained on Friday things didn't exactly go as planned this week.  On the plus side, personally, I have been a MacMillan coffee morning, and I took the children to their swimming lessons and they have been moved up to the next stage already - all good news, we are getting there guys!  

What did I post this week? 
Well, Monday was motivation Monday, and I lost - woohoo!  I don't have high expectations for this week but we will see what tomorrow brings.  I posted a book review of Jekyll and Hyde, and Wednesday was five steps to a relaxing bath which you might have found interesting.  On Thursday I talked about a personal experience of afternoon tea - but on Saturday I posted about my own home-made afternoon tea that I had made.  I didn't post a Funny Family Friday linky this week, but I did post discussing why I hadn't and how things don't always go to plan.  Hope this week, despite being my 'rough' week made an interesting read.

So, what did I like/dislike and why? 
I enjoyed having a vent on Friday about why things hadn't gone to plan - who doesn't like a good moan now and then?  I don't think I had time to enjoy a lot of my posts this week, but I did enjoy reviewing Jekyll and Hyde as it was a great read, and I also liked posting about my home-made afternoon tea.  

What to look out for next week! 
I do have some plans for during the week, but I am going to leave it open for now as it depends on my circumstances as I haven't had time to read the book I was reading or do the online courses I was doing so this week is going to be my catch up week! 

Thanks for reading my Sunday Summary, if you would like to advertise your blog, guest post for me, or if there are any topics you would like to see me discuss in a blog post, please email me at

I would love your input!  

Laters, Janet 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

My Home Made Afternoon Tea

Hi readers

A few days ago I talked about why I loved afternoon tea and I finally did my own variation.  It took me TWO hours and my husband ended up helping - oh yes, it wasn't easy but it went down a treat.

As I was making this for children we had to have simplistic sandwiches so I made ham, egg, and grated cheese.

We had some pastries: mini sausage rolls, quiche, and blinis. I also made cheese scones and flapjacks.

I also chopped salad and made a selection of three cakes including lemon drizzle cake, butterfly fairy cakes (with butter icing), mini double chocolate muffins topped in white chocolate.

I then made a pot of tea and we all (except for my OH) had a cup of tea too!

Overall it went down a treat and although I only cooked a few sausage rolls and made a few sandwiches (3 quarter triangles each) there was far too much food.  We had quiche left which was eaten the next day, and we had cakes, scones, and flapjacks that lasted a number of days.

The thing that I liked about this was the choice, plus it was nice to have cake available for guests and for the kids to have the odd snack - although I wont be doing this on a weekly basis haha!  The thing I liked about home made food (cakes, scones, flapjacks, quiche) is that I control what I use so I knew what we were eating - so they are healthier for my family (although, still an obvious treat).

It's my little ones fourth birthday on Friday and I would love to do this again - but we will see what today brings.  Basically, I suppose mine was just a posh buffet type tea but we all enjoyed the selection.

There are pictures below so see for yourself, laters, Janet

Orange and Pistachio Cake

Friday, 25 September 2015

Funny Family Friday week 4 - My Moan (LINKY NOT GOING AHEAD AS PLANNED)

Hello readers

I planned to post another funny family Friday linky today, however, I have had a hectic week and not a very funny one at that.  I just couldn't write a funny story today as I feel drained so I thought I would have a moan instead, so sorry, the linky is not going ahead as planned, but it will run next week! 

Funny Family Friday  My Moan!

It started on Saturday when my 3-year-old injured his elbow.  It was find at first but kept waking him up through the night so I took him to our urgent care centre who X-rayed it and said it wasn't broken and probably just the scrape that was causing the pain.  I told her I was glad it wasn't broken but it wasn't the scrape because his elbow was hurting and the scrape was further down his arm.  I asked if it could be a sprain and she stuck a dressing on the scrape and dismissed me, insisting it was the scrape, and suggesting I give both ibuprofen and paracetamol to my child.  She told me his X-ray would be checked at the hospital but neither her or the radiographer could see a fracture so I just left.  I had to prop his arm up with a pillow in bed but continued with what they said.

The next day, he couldn't lift his arm up and sometimes he supported it by holding his wrist with his other hand, or it looked a bit limp and floppy beside him. He cried when he had to put a top on and off but I kept on with the pain killers and even took him to his swimming class as he really wanted to go.  He did have a bit more flexibility in the water.  The swelling seemed to go down a little on the Monday and I let him go to nursery.  I live opposite so I told them to contact me if it was bothering him.  They didn't call me but they did say he seemed to be favouring his other arm.  When I got in after school, I received a call asking how my little one's arm was.  I said he couldn't lift it up above his head or lift himself from a laying to a sitting position as it hurt.  I asked why, and the lady said that the hairline fracture had been missed as fluid/blood was leaking into the bone and that I needed to take him to the fracture clinic the next day.

By Tuesday he could raise his arm above his head, the swelling had gone and he said if the Doctor asked him, he was going to say 'it's fine it doesn't hurt' all because he didn't want a cast as it would risk him being able to go to football.  The Doctor said the fracture was tiny, and that as he was moving his arm and seemed to be using it again, he didn't want to restrict it by putting on a cast.

I totally understood and it was much better - but I wondered if they would have come to that originally if the fracture had been correctly diagnosed. Who knows?

Anyway proceeding this, my husband is ill and is now onto his third set of antibiotics - spent Tuesday afternoon in the fracture clinic and then Tuesday evening in A and E with my husband.  He still isn't well and we went back to the Doctor's today for the strongest antibiotics so hopefully these will work!

Sometimes you don't realise how much your other half does until they are ill.  My hubby does the tea a couple of nights per week, does the weekend washing and ironing (I do midweek), he tends to do the pots after tea and clean the kitchen, we take turns bathing the children, taking them to bed, taking them to sports clubs, school drop offs and pickups, and this week I have had everything to do which has been hard.  Plus I've looked after him as he is totally wiped out!

I really appreciate everything he generally does and realise that teamwork is a huge factor in our family, and I am lucky that we support one another as much as we do as if there is one missing link, it really puts pressure on the other and it's in danger of crumbling, but luckily, we are both strong people and can support the family in the absence of the other as we rise to the challenge, no matter how hard it is.

On top of all this, my daughter had stomach ache and was off school on Wednesday.  She didn't look well and then seemed to make a miraculous recovery in the afternoon.  The more I think about it, I think she was trying to get out of her after school sports club to be honest!

Anyway, I now have a cold and the lads are coughing!  

Basically we are the unwell and accident prone family this week.  What doesn't change is how we look after and club together to support each other as we have all chipped in this week to help and that's what family is all about.  Although we haven't all been great, we all had illnesses that we can recover from and we are all lucky to have each other.  

Really love my family and here's hoping that next week is a well/accident free week (if that's possible, lol).

Thanks for stopping by,

Laters, Janet

Not so #funnyfamilyfriday

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Why I Loved Afternoon Tea!

Dear readers,

Afternoon tea seems to be increasing in popularity here in the UK at the moment.  At one point, it would have been something that a well-off person would do with friends, but several Tea Rooms have opened, or even restaurants have started offering this - even a fish and chip shop in my area has its own variation.

I had been to a garden afternoon tea a few years ago for charity.  We were offered cucumber sandwiches, dips with carrot and celery sticks, scones, and a range of cakes - and pimms along with a large tea-pot of good old tea.  It was pleasant - maybe a bit more like a village fete because there were raffles, stalls and tombolas.  I didn't mind the experience - but it probably wasn't something I would do regularly.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to a baby shower - at a tea room, and we had afternoon tea.  The thought of eating crustless finger sandwiches again made me think 'will I have enough to eat?' and I didn't really fancy cucumber.  I had paid £5 for my last afternoon tea, however this was £15. I was looking forward to the company though as it would be nice to catch up with friends.

All I can say is that now I'm a convert... This was a superb afternoon tea.  We got 4 sandwich triangles each but the fillings were all different.  We had tuna, feta and pesto, egg mayo, and ham and mustard.  I started with the egg because I knew I would like it - but it turned out I liked each and every type.  The tuna was not swimming in mayo, the feta and pesto was great to try and not one I would have chosen.  I thought I hated mustard but it turns out, it's OK.

I am such a fussy cake eater because I only ever like chocolate cake usually.  There was a chocolate fudge brownie, vanilla cheese cake, a scone, raspberry cake, and an orange and pistachio cake.  I tend to like cheese cake and anything chocolate.  It was all served with jam and clotted cream - I don't like jam either.  I know I don't like scones as I hate raisins but I tried the other cakes.  The orange and pistachio cake was that nice, that I had to make one at home - this was my favourite.  The raspberry cake wasn't a favourite of mine though.  I still left full and I was surprised at how full I actually was!

The point of it all is that by getting a selection of things, it meant I got to try new things.  I do like cheese and cherry scones, and I have checked out some other afternoon tea places that offer quiche, mini pork pies, sausage roles, fruit, a salad garnish, and things like cocktail sausages too.  This got me thinking because afternoon tea can be such a varied option but overall it's a great way to try a little of everything. Like I said I have also seen a fish and chip shop variation too!

I really want to do one, on a Saturday for my children. I'm pretty good at baking cakes, and I am sure I could make up a menu that would suit us all in this house, plus it's something new to try.

Now I just need a cake stand and new tea pot - so I must sweet talk the hubby!

My advice to you is that if you have not already tried afternoon tea and have the chance, try it, you might like it - or make your own!

I will be posting pictures and a review of my own afternoon tea on Saturday, so watch out for this to see how it goes.  Wish me luck!

Laters, Janet :)

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Five Steps to a Relaxing Bath (even if you have kids)

My dear readers,

Relaxing is important - but if your anything like me you won't get much time to do this... 

Between work, children, keeping a house, and studying, relaxing doesn't score highly on my list of priorities.  

I started doing the self care posts during September, as a result of my holiday in August.  I visited the Spa, and it dawned on my how important it is to care for yourself.  I am also losing weight so caring for myself and body is important to me.  

I now dedicate an hour on a Sunday evening for a long relaxing bath - last week I talked about my foot care regime which follows my bath, and the week before that I talked about a facial - which I now reward myself with on a weekly basis all in this hour in which I also have a relaxing bath (whilst I complete the first part of my facial up to the facial scrub).  

So, now back to this weeks topic: A Relaxing Bath.  Here are my five steps to making the bath as relaxing as possible.

  1. Choose a time that suits all, when you are less likely to be disturbed.  Explain to anyone who is up, that you are going in the bath and you don't want to be interrupted.  
  2. Lock the door - ask if anyone needs the toiler (if you only have one) and ensure you are locked in or have absolutely no chance of being disturbed.  You set the rules here so don't be shy!
  3. Have some bubble bath or bath bomb and run a nice, hot, steamy, bath. 
  4. Have a Yankee candle, or incense sticks - or both - decorate the bathroom to your taste with music if you wish..
  5. Choose a book or magazine, and have a towel by your bath so you can dry your hands easily.  I find reading a chapter in a nice hot bubble bath is very relaxing and it takes your mind off everyday life.  
This list of tips may seem simplistic, but  it's easy to forget to do at least one of these things if you are not in the habit of doing them.  It's taken a while for me to get it into my head and my hot relaxing bath soothes my back, and also provides me with the opportunity to soak my feet - so both the facial and the foot care can be done during the time (and just after) the bath, so you can make all three part of your self care routine.  

Next week, I talk through a ten minute manicure and this is the final part of my self care post series!

Don't forget to take care of yourself this coming week, laters, Janet :) 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Book Review: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Well, I knew the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in theory, although I had never read it directly - I've seen a TV programme and there was also a Scooby-Doo episode on this too.  It was actually different to what I could remember,

So what did I like...
I liked the fact that the story was from the point of view of Henry Jekyll's friend, as the mystery unfolds in his eyes and I found this interesting.  If I hadn't known most of the story already, I think it would have added to the mystery.  I also enjoyed reading how the Hyde side of Jekyll took him over in Jekyll's statement at the end of the story as it was interesting to hear from his point of view also and how it had led to his demise.

What I didn't like...
Overall I did enjoy the story, but I just didn't get why Hyde killed the man in the street.  I re-read Henry Jekyll's confession letter and Lanyon's but I couldn't grasp an explanation - unless I have completely missed something.  The maid fainting at the site of a murder annoyed me a little!

It was good to read, and it was quite short so I found it easy.  I liked how Stevenson used the fog, and darkness to make his story give a sense of eeriness.  I thought the character of Henry Jekyll was really interesting, how he was lured into a different world from an upstanding and well respected citizen into a dark and criminal world - which he kind of liked and felt drawn to this dark side of him.  I think this represents today's society as it is easy to be drawn into something that is bad, and you struggle to get out of as it takes hold of you.  Hyde is Jekyll's addiction but he is also the side of Jekyll that has been repressed for many years.

Have you read Jekyll and Hyde?  What did you think?  Have I missed something or do you have something to add?

I would love to hear your comments!

Laters, Janet

Monday, 21 September 2015

Motivation Monday - Week 3

Hi readers,

Hope you are well.  Welcome to week 3 of Motivation Monday and thank you for following me on my weight loss journey.  

Weekly summary
Last week I posted about having a tough week, but I have been much more focussed this week and was hopeful for weight loss to occur - anything would do as long as it was a loss.  I couldn't forget the feeling of disappointment all week, when I hadn't lost weight and I think posting my journey is helping as I certainly didn't want to post another post this week stating failure - because that's how I feel when I don't lose, and it's an emotional roller coaster.  I got thinking, is a slip up, really failure - well for me it was because I know I didn't do what I could to ensure a loss but it was a learning curve.  Knowing that all my hard work the week before was crushed by one bad week was crushing, and the fact I knew I had to post the truth was even worse - I felt embarrassed.  Hopefully this has taught me that I must do better every week as if I had lost last week and I hadn't really put any effort in might have made me not put the effort in every week - but now I know I have to and if I don't I have to come on here and admit it! 

I did indulge a little yesterday as I made an afternoon tea as our evening meal so I had made cakes, sausage rolls, quiche, salad, a selection of sandwiches, flapjacks, and some cheese scones.  I suppose that really, everything was homemade and sugar and fat content was controlled - but I tried not to be greedy - I drank a glass of water before I ate, ate slowly, and stopped when I felt full.  I did have a taste of most things, but I limited my portion size.  

Overall, this week I have noticed a difference in my stomach area.  Last week I felt bloated, but this week I looked in the mirror and thought 'wow, I do look a little trimmer!'  That doesn't mean that I don't have a lot of work to do.  Even though I slipped up last week, I have still maintained exercise - walking, swimming, and gym, and even though I didn't do as much, I still did some so I suppose that is a bonus.  I do feel more positive this week, and when you don't succeed you certainly shouldn't dwell on it, you just have to dust yourself off and try again.  

This week, I have been to the Gym three times.  I went swimming the twice but the swimming is making me stronger as I swim constantly now for 25 minutes without resting.  Again, I have still walked everywhere and my boys started football on a Monday and Friday, so I now walk there and back which is an extra 30 minute walk to add to my day.  I feel like my fitness levels are increasing and it's a great feeling.  

Diet Example
This week I want to tackle the issue of eating out, because I don't know about you but I still want to enjoy myself on occasion.  On Wednesday I went out shopping with my Mum, niece, and family friend to a retail park.  We ended up in a cafe that specialises in Jacket Potatoes but I didn't want plain or beans, and the only other fillings had a lot of sauce/mayo or cheddar cheese.  I looked at other options and they did something called toppers, and this is chopped up potato, topped with something.  There was an option for rocket, with a sprinkling of mozzarella, and a drizzle of pesto (there was also an option to add toasted pine nuts).  I really fancied this, so I tried it.  I am not a huge fan of rocket, but it was fresh and a drizzle of pesto and sprinkling of mozzarella really made it tasty.  

I guess what I am trying to say here is - my choice wasn't perfect, but I did think about my choice.  With the topper, I got less potato, so my portion size overall was smaller.  Mozzarella is slightly better for you and it was only a small amount - the pesto wasn't ideal, but it wasn't overpowering so I would guess that there was approximately a flat tablespoon drizzled - if that!  Just make a choice that works for you - everyone deserves a treat now and then, but after my slip previously, I would be careful not to give yourself to many as I did.  

My five weekly Motivation Monday questions

1# How much do I weigh today?  15stone 3lb - which means I have lost the 4lb I put back on last week, yipee!

2# How do I feel about that? I am pleased but I am determined to keep up the good work.  I might have lost more if I hadn't made an afternoon tea yesterday and indulged in a few small cakes/pastries.  Other than that I have been good all week but surprised I lost 4 as only expected maybe 1 or 2lb.

3# What kept me motivated all week?  The thought of how bad I felt the previous week.  

4# What is my aim for this week?  I would like to lost again, maybe 2-3lb, and I want to keep up at three gym visits and 2 adult swims.  

5# What did I find easy/difficult?  I found yesterday difficult as I made a home-made afternoon tea and I wanted to indulge but I felt guilty - last week guilt, anger, and generally emotional - this is certainly an emotional roller coaster. 

My weekly Motivation Monday Tip
Think about how good it feels to lose a bit of weight, and also how much better it makes you feel! 

Words of wisdom! 
Don't be afraid to eat out or indulge a little as a treat but remember not to go overboard - make better choices and think about what food you are choosing.  

Thanks for reading - and feel free to comment and help me stay motivated this week I appreciate you reading and hope to have good news for the following weeks - but hey, we are only human and weight loss can be tedious! 

Laters, Janet

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Sunday Summary 20/09/2015

Dear Readers,

I hope you have enjoyed my posts this week - wow the weeks are flying by and yes, it's time once again for my Sunday Summary.

My children's swimming lessons started today so I lost my Sunday lie-in lol!

What did I post this week? 
Well, Monday was the start of my Motivation Mondays and basically this is about me and my health regime/weight loss - this week the post concentrated on how I lacked motivation in the second week and put on 4lb of the 5lb I had lost the week previous.  I must admit I was gutted about this and the post had me close to tears.  On Tuesday, was my weekly book review post and I reviewed The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.  Wednesday I posted on foot care - six easy ways to care for tired feet which is part of my self-care posts I am running this month, and Thursday was a list post - 10 Random Facts you didn't know about me - which it was difficult thinking of ten things I hadn't already shared, but once I had my facts was nice and quick.  Friday of course was my Funny Family Friday which I shared my Son's strange kissing obsession, and Saturday was a post about free courses I have been studying which are enjoyable and worthwhile.  

So, what did I like/dislike and why? 
I liked my book review this week, and Friday's linky post.  I really enjoyed reading Dorian Gray, much more than I thought I would, so I enjoyed writing the review.  The funny things my son does amuse me and I really enjoy sharing them - even his strange kissing obsession, and I am really interested to find out if anyone else's children have strange obsessions too!  I disliked writing Motivation Monday this week - it was really hard for me emotionally as I was disappointed at putting weight on.  It's hard to admit the truth - even to people you don't know personally as I was so disappointed but I suppose dieting is one of those things in life that a lot of people struggle with and I have been much more focussed this week, so fingers crossed!   

What to look out for next week! 
Next week's post begins with Motivation Mondays so fingers crossed for me this week guys! 

You can also expect a book review of Jekyll and Hyde, Five steps to a relaxing bath, Why I love Afternoon tea, and my Linky which is about challenging behaviour - parent payback #funnyfamilyfriday  I also plan on Saturday, (if all goes to plan,) of making my own Afternoon Tea and hopefully I will post pictures and talk through what I included -wish me luck with that one as I have lots on next week, lol. 

Thanks for reading my Sunday Summary, and I hope you are excited for next weeks post.  If you would like to advertise your blog, guest post for me, or if there are any topics you would like to see me discuss in a blog post, please email me at

I would love your input!  

Laters, Janet 

Saturday, 19 September 2015

My Review so Far: Free Introduction to Journalism Course

Hi readers

As you have probably already concluded, I love to learn and education is really important to me.  I recently decided to take on a 6 week Introduction to Journalism with Future Learn.  The great thing about Futurelearn is that the courses are free, however, if you want a formal certificate then you do need to pay at the end of the course but there is no pressure to do so.

Basically, you can complete a course of interest, wherever you are in the world which is great as I am only on to my second week and I have already met some great people from different walks of life, with different careers and experience.

Materials are released on a Monday, and you watch videos and take part in activities.  There is a comments box at the bottom of each page and sometimes you are asked to share your thoughts.  Another positive thing here is that it is actually ran through real educational establishments so for example, the University of Strathclyde run the Journalism course and you get to watch real lectures (run for under 10 minutes).  You do have to spend a few hours per week - I spend about 3-4 hours on the Journalism course, but I also started a course called Developing your Research Project, as I thought this would be handy as I have to complete a dissertation for my MA English next year.  This course is with the University of Southampton and only requires an hour per week - so each course is different.

I am really enjoying these courses and as they are short courses, they finish within the first few weeks of returning to Uni, so it's great interim learning and keeping my mind active in the meantime.  I also thought the journalism in particular will be useful for me, as this week we got to write and article, and then rewrite and edit an article which is great to help me develop my writing.  In the first week, we looked at interview techniques which was also useful.

You get feedback from other learners on your work, which was also really useful - everyone was constructive, yet really nice.  You also have to comment on at least one other learner's work, which was also a good experience and it was good to see how someone else would write in comparison to your own.  For instance, someone included something in their piece that I didn't even think about so I complimented them on their proactive thinking.

If you can spare some time and want to improve your skills and knowledge, I would certainly recommend giving Futurelearn a try as my current experience has been great, and I'm looking forward to Monday when the new week's course material will be released.

Free learning is rare, so if you're ambitious, and you feel ready, I see check out their website and see if they have anything for you!

Laters, Janet

Friday, 18 September 2015

Funny Family Friday Week 3 - The Kissing Obsession of a Three-year-old

Hi readers 

Welcome to week 3 of Funny Family Friday and if you are linking up to Funny Family Friday, or you are a returning link up - thank you so much in advance! If your just here to read, feel free to make a comment in the comments section and share your thought.  

For the rules of Funny Family Friday click here! 

Feel free to grab my badge below and don't forget to link up at the bottom of the page!  

OK, so it's embarrassing when you take you take your three year old out and he wants to kiss things - by things I mean not people, which is a blessing as you want him to be aware of stranger-danger.  I mean, he kisses random concrete objects like for instance, last week, he sat in the bus stop, kissing the windows.  Now, I dread to think what germs these things collect, being outside, and close to main roads.  When I went to secondary school, some rank boys used to spit at the bus stop windows so I always think of that and keep my distant, but Al, thinks it's OK to kiss these.

I told him it was dirty and he isn't to do that. He did stop for a while looking sad.  I tried to distract him by pointing at the map in the bus stop that shows you the different bus routes and stops - but then he started kissing the map!

Again, I told him no and explained he would get a poorly tummy and we sat on the bench together.

An Elderly lady sat at the other end of the bench in the bus stop.  After a while, Al becomes bored because as usual, the bus was late.  There is only so long you can entertain a three-year-old at the bus stop.  He starts to slide along the bench and I ask him, 'What are you doing?' and Al squeaks 'Nothing!' but then his curiosity gets the better of him.  'Mum,' he asks in a loud playground voice 'why is that lady there so old?' *points his finger towards the lady at the other end of the bench.  'She's really old isn't she, but why?'  

This is the time that you want the ground to open up and swallow you!

I told him to ssshhh!  I was finally saved by the arrival of the late bus.

Damn you late bus, this embarrassment wouldn't have happened if you had been on time!

We got on the bus and I explained to Al that you saying people are old is cheeky and you mustn't make comments like that as it might upset others.  He listened attentively, asked why, but before I could explain his attentions concentrated back on his kissing obsession.  He started to kiss the bus window, so I again had to explain that germs are on windows which I was growing tiresome of saying now, it was like being on repeat.

So then the next thing, he is off his seat, bent over, kissing the bus seat - I told him:
'Right now behave, son, people's bottoms go on the seat and you don't kiss bottoms.'

I knew I was playing with fire here, as if he can't access your face for some reason, maybe because you are standing, he tends to kiss the bottom of me, his dad, his brother, and his sister.

I was relieved to finally get off the bus, and I distracted him by running up the street and jumping over the pavement cracks with him.

Other things he likes to kiss are lamp posts, cars, toys, the dog, and chocolate bars.

Why can't my child have a cleaner and risk-free obsession?

Does your child have any strange obsessions?  Comment below and let me know.

Remember that Funny Family Friday is a linky and can be linked up to any family post or any funny post - it doesn't necessarily have to be a funny family story, that's just what I choose to write about! 

I would love it if you could link up, so don't forget to link up with Inlinkz below! 

Check out next week's funny family post to find out how I deal with bad behaviour! #parentpayback

Laters, Janet 

The Dad Network
My Random Musings

Thursday, 17 September 2015

10 Random Facts you Didn't Know About Me!

Dear readers,

Today, I thought I would do a list post of 10 random facts you didn't know about me.  

  1. I used to do kick-boxing and gained a couple of belts in this (although I most likely couldn't to it now).
  2. I got married when I was 18 years old.
  3. As a teenager I developed Agoraphobia for three years and barely left the house - my education suffered.  
  4. I still suffer with depression and anxiety on occasion but I am lucky enough to be able to control them.  
  5. On my 21st birthday I sat in the house, and ate a big bar of Dairy Milk Chocolate and watched Bridget Jones as I was eight months pregnant with my first child. 
  6. I am the first in my family to gain a degree.
  7. I am not bad at copy-drawing and although they don't have one on their walls at present, in previous homes I have drew and painted children's TV characters on their bedroom walls.  
  8. I always new if I had a daughter I was going to call her Abbey from the age of 7 - this is because a baby called Abi went missing from a hospital when I was 7 as someone abducted her, but she was found safe and well so I always associated that name as a lucky, happy name.  
  9. My children don't have a Grandad as both myself and my husband lost our dads.  We lost my father-in-law when I was 6 months pregnant with our first child, and my father 11 days before she turned 1 - however he suffered a deteriorating illness and dementia had kicked in before she was born so he never knew her.  
  10. I have never travelled out of the UK but plan on doing this within the next couple of years.
So there you have it, 10 random facts that didn't know about me.  Probably not the most interesting post in the world.  I thought about doing a list of ten funny things my children have said to me over the years.  If you read my blog regularly, I hope you enjoyed reading more about me!

Laters, Janet :) 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Six Quick and EasySteps to Take Care of Tired Feet

I don't know about you, but I walk a lot.  Probably because we don't have a car at the moment and live quite central.  I can drive and I am insured to drive my Mother's car but I only use it if absolutely necessary.  I think it's easy to forget about feet, as although they might ache, they are tucked away in socks, shoes, and slippers.

I was at a Spa recently when on holiday and I had a foot treatment (you may remember me mentioning this) and the lady doing the treatment said that caring for your feet is very important and to be honest, it's something I never considered.  She told me that simply adding them into a moisturising routine by rubbing cream on your feet is a simple way to keep them soft and nourished - I nodded in agreement, however, it's hard to add this to a moisturising routine, when you have stacks of moisturiser and body butter because you NEVER find time moisturise.

She did comment that my feet weren't in bad condition, and I think she was being honest as although I have a touch of hard skin on the bottom of each big toe, I don't have a huge amount of hard skin - I must be lucky!

Whilst on holiday, I got thinking about caring for myself more and I think this is initially when I decided that I needed to lose weight - hence Motivation Monday posts.  As I tone up my skin through exercise, I thought what better time to start moisturising, and get myself into a routine.  I am not a fan of baths - I'm more of a quick shower type of gal, but I have now scheduled sometime on a Sunday evening for self-care.

There are obvious complaints in the household about this as I am in the bathroom for a long period of time now haha!

The facial I posted last week is now a weekly occurrence but I have also developed a foot care regime in six easy steps, especially for my tired feet.

  1. First of all, I soak my feet in a hot bubble bath for around 10 minutes (usually I have my face mask on at this point so I kick back and read a chapter of my book).  
  2. Then, I use a body scrub or a beaded body wash to remove dead skin and I put this onto a shower scrunchy and scrub my feet.  I then leave them to soak for another 5 minutes or so whilst I do whatever else I need to do in the bath.  
  3. When I get out of the bath, I dry my feet thoroughly and I use a pommy stone and give a quick scrub of my feet with this.  
  4. Dry your feet, ensuring you dry between the toes!  
  5. When moisturising, I ensure I use the moisturiser on the bottom and top of my feet, especially on the areas of hard skin.  
  6. I then slip my feet into my slippers for the rest of the evening, the moisturiser has had time to soak in.
I repeat the moisturising of my body and legs once or twice more through the week following a shower.  If your feet have lots of hard skin, there is nothing stopping you soaking your feet for a while in hot water and using the stone again, before moisturising.  The choice is yours but I would certainly recommend moisturising your tired feet at least twice per week and if you moisturise every day, why not just build it into your routine?  

I hope you enjoyed reading this post.  Comment and let us know how you take care of your own tired feet (if you do).  It would be great to share tips here!

Laters, Janet

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Book Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Dear readers, welcome to my book review this week.

Book Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray        Author:  Oscar Wilde

I started this book last week and to be honest, I wasn't looking forward to reading it.  I knew a little about the background - a portrait that has an evil demon like figure inside and how Dorian Gray was a beautiful man that did bad things - like kill people, and this kept him young. The prospect of reading it was daunting as I felt it was going to be dull and boring. 

I hadn't really thought about how Dorian acquired the painting, it wasn't a thought that crossed my mind.  I must admit that the book wasn't dull, like I had thought.  The portrait being painted itself, watching Dorian change from an immature boy to a corrupted adult figure was interesting.  I never considered the fact of Dorian having friends, and servants either.

I think the overall message here is that vanity and greed can lead to corruption as those that grew older seemed happier than Dorian.  There is more to life than money and youth.  

So what did I enjoy?
I was hooked from the beginning of how just one innocent wish from a young beautiful boy turned into such corruption that ruined his life, and this was all down to his vanity.  I loved Dorian's relationship with Lord Henry Wotton as they become great friends, yet Harry doesn't ever really know him - nobody does.  I found the whole plot more interesting than I thought I would as it's the portrait that grows old and evil looking whilst Dorian maintains his youth.  The demonised picture seems to influence Dorian into killing his friend, Basil, the original painter of the portrait.  It also seems more than a coincidence that anyone who has it in for Dorian meets his end, like James (Sybil Vane's brother), Alan Campbell (a doctor, and his old friend who he fell out with but nobody knows why), and Adrian Singleton (who appears to have been corrupted in one way or another).  

So what did I dislike?  
I thought the part with Sibyll Vane was far fetched.  Dorian insults her once and she meets a dramatic end - yes he is cruel but I felt it was harsh to commit suicide so quickly, however she is a critical character as this is the significant act that feeds the portrait, and it starts to noticably change - just because of Dorian's wish for youth (also far fetched).  

The Irony
I quite liked the use of irony in the novel - the irony that Dorian gets bored with youth, the irony that the picture corrupts him further, that Dorian thinks his problem will be solved by destroying the painting which sees his own end. Irony plays a huge part in the novel but in some instances it's dramatised and seems extravagant.  

Character Analysis (not all characters)
Dorian was an interesting character who shows vanity, and immaturity at first.  He quite enjoys staying young during the middle of the book, but then he grows bored of it.  The killing of Basil Hallward changes him and he has regrets - yet he still thinks the portrait is the problem when in fact, it is him.  He always blames the other party and never truly matures and grows up.

Lord Henry, or Harry, is a bad influence initially on Dorian, however even though he can be cheeky and insulting, maybe even arrogant, he never does anything truly bad that would make him evil.  He ill-advises Dorian - he taunts him about growing old, compliments his youth, and gets him to ignore all existence of Sybil Vane and ignore that he drove her to death.  This is the beginning of Dorian's demise - he listens to Harry and reads a book he sends him and becomes obsessed with it as its concepts seem to corrupt him.  Harry is unaware of the influential role he plays in Dorian's transformation into an immoral figure.

Basil Hallward, he painted the picture and he, himself notices how the portrait has influence but thinks it's his imagination.  His love of Dorian makes him vulnerable as he never believes he can do anything bad.  This belief is the reason he is killed - he puts too much trust in him because of his beauty, and his love for the person he was when he first sat for the portrait and he can never let go of this.

Sibyl Vane - a dramatic young actress that meets a dramatic end as she acts badly on one occasion (after acting beautifully several times at first), which results in Dorian revealing he no longer loves her and that her bad acting ruined their relationship.  She is a significant figure because her death signifies the change in Dorian and the portrait.

James Vane, Alan Campbell, and Adrian Singleton are quite mysterious figures in the novel.  They add to the mood of the gothic theme of the novel and even though you don't find out everything about them, the mysteriousness of their characters add something to the novel - but now I am left wondering what happened to destroy Dorian and Adrian's, and Dorian and Alan's relationships?

Sometimes it's frustrating to end a story when you still have questions in my opinion.

Hope you've enjoyed reading this review - have you read The Picture of Dorian Gray, or maybe seen the film on TV? Comment below and let me know what you think, maybe I missed something, or maybe you have a different opinion or analysis in comparison to me - let me know!

Laters, Janet

Monday, 14 September 2015

Motivation Monday - Week 2

Hi readers,

Hope you are well.  Welcome to week 2 of Motivation Monday and thank you for following me on my weight loss journey.

Weekly summary
Well, I'm not going to lie, I had an awful week and I totally lacked motivation.  I felt dreadful, I had late nights, and I would say I slipped almost every day.  My husband was ill at the beginning of the week which prevented me going to the gym.  I had a take away to celebrate my success on Monday last week, which because I felt so crappy meant I had a further two and then was took out for a meal - once by my mother, and another occasion with the children.  

I have a contraception implant and with dieting and exercising, I think it was a huge shock to my body to be honest as I have been affected in womanly ways too (without going into too much detail).  Towards the end of the week, my eldest son decided to share his cold and sore throat with me and I am still aching today.  On top of all this, I ate two chocolate bars throughout the week.  

I feel really bloated and I knew that I wasn't going to be impressed when I got on the scales this morning and I'm really afraid that my hard work for last week will not have paid off as I don't feel emotionally ready to deal with it. 

OK, now I've made my excuses.  I DO know that I can only blame myself and I can make all the excuses in the book, but in my heart I know this was down to me. Just hope this motivates me this week :( 

Although I have walked everyday for at least half an hour, I only visited the gym once for 40 minutes, and swam once for 20 minutes.  Like I said, all motivation has left me and I spent the whole of yesterday in my pyjamas feeling down and depressed (so I ate a chocolate bar - damn you chocolate!).  

Diet Example
Maybe I shouldn't give this, this week as I don't want to be a bad influence! 

My five weekly Motivation Monday questions

1# How much do I weigh today?  Today I weigh 15stone 7lb which means I have gained 4lb

2# How do I feel about that? I am so disappointed and I want to cry my eyes out.  I know it's totally my own fault and if I hadn't have lacked motivation this week then I would have lost - you can't expect to lose weight without any effort!  

3# What kept me motivated all week?  Nothing!  I'm an emotional wreck and couldn't face it!  

4# What is my aim for this week?  To get back on track and lose a bit of weight in time for next week and drink more water! 

5# What did I find easy/difficult?  I found it easy to do nothing and eat what I want and not exercise.  I found my weigh in difficult - I am now giving myself a good talking too as I know I could have done more - I have a gym membership and free swimming that has been totally wasted this week.  I find my shame difficult - this post was difficult to write as this week I have failed and I have had to admit it on here for you all to read.  

My weekly Motivation Monday Tip
Remember how you feel on the week that you didn't lose, that your motivation slipped.  Remember the disappointment, the emotional trauma of admitting defeat.  Every time you want to stray this week, remember that feeling - this week I'm going to use this to motivate me.  I certainly don't want to be posting an increase next week! 

Words of wisdom! 
If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again! 

Thanks for reading - and feel free to comment and help me stay motivated this week - try the shaming technique if you like, but believe me I am being very hard on myself! 

Laters, Janet

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Sunday Summary 13/09/15

Dear Readers,

I hope you have enjoyed my posts this week. Yes, it's time once again for my Sunday Summary.

What did I post this week? 
Well, Monday was the start of my Motivation Mondays and basically this is about me and my health regime/weight loss.  I think this post will help me to stay motivated however, I don't know what to expect tomorrow when I get weighed as I have had a rough week.  On Tuesday, I posted a book review of The Hound of the Baskervilles, and this was a widely viewed post which was fantastic.  As I scheduled to post for Tuesday I had to complete the book so it kept me motivated as I need to read this for Uni in October.  Wednesday I posted a how to give yourself a facial at home post as I know what it's like to not have time and money to visit the salon, and Thursday was just a thoughtful post about why I'm thinking about Christmas even though Halloween is first.  Friday of course was my Funny Family Friday - and I posted about my own mishap - oh, the irony!  Saturday of course was a post about my own blogging anxieties and how I overcome them.  

So, what did I like/dislike and why? 
I loved the facial post, it was my favourite.  It pushed me into doing my own facial as I used to do this once each week - and doing it meant I might be converted again! You have to look after yourself, right?  Self-care is so important, especially if you are stressed and I really enjoyed sharing this with others.  

I disliked Thursday's post as I felt it was boring in comparison to the others, simples!

What to look out for next week! 
Next week's post begins with Motivation Mondays (which may not be good news, but hey, read about it tomorrow), and Tuesday sees a book review of The Picture of Dorian Gray. 

My 'how to' post is again about caring for yourself and focuses around caring for tired feet.  Other posts look at a free Journalism course I am completing online, and also a list post of ten random facts you don't know about me!  

Friday, of course, is my Funny Family Friday Linky week 3, when you can read about my son's strange obsession!  

Thanks for reading my Sunday Summary, and I hope you are excited for next weeks post.  If you would like to advertise your blog, guest post for me, or if there are any topics you would like to see me discuss in a blog post, please email me at

I would love your input!  

Laters, Janet 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Blogging Made Me Anxious, but Now I'm Proud!

Dear Readers,

Yesterday I launched my second ever Funny Family Friday Linky and I hope it is as successful as the first.  I got two link ups this week, but I was just pleased to get the whole 'linky thing' up and running correctly.  I was writing for a particular niche of people, which means you are limited as to who links up and it was the first linky I had hosted.  Two people/blogs linked up to mine and this is truly two more than I expected and it was really successful in viewings - my highest ratings on a particular post.

I hope that week 2 is just as successful and hopefully, maybe three people/blog will link up, and maybe the people who viewed the last will come and read again - they might even think I am interesting (or strange - either could be true, but certainly worth a read)!

OK, so that was me being positive!  When my first linky went live last week, I was like slab of jelly - I had a wobble!  It happens to the best of us.  I felt sick, my stomach was in knots, and I had to contact a fellow blogger to check my linky - and the Inlinkz link wasn't working properly.  A
fter some coaching from my fellow blogger, who also calmed me down - I was live... and I felt even worse.

What if someone doesn't like my post? Doesn't find it funny? Doesn't think I'm a good Mum? What if I'm personally attacked by a troll? Oh, yes, I wanted to delete the darn linky that I had worked hard to host, for a good few days.

Then I had a word with myself...

Why was I being so silly?

Well, this is the honest truth.  I have publications, I have a good viewing rating, I get asked to write articles and guest posts for others, but I wobble - well maybe it's not me directly, my confidence wobbles.  My whole life, I have wanted to write and now, I'm writing every day and building a publication portfolio and I still cringe if I have to say 'I am a Writer'.  In theory, I am a writer. I have articles, stories, blog posts, training material, posters and leaflets, all in print, and then I have this blog.  There is no shying away I'm a bloody writer!

You see, I don't just want to be a writer, I want to be a good writer, or the best writer - to just be a writer isn't enough for me - but again, why?

I spoke to a very good friend of mine, which amongst a lot of other harsh words, told me 'Who cares if someone doesn't like your post, or they don't find it funny? If you get a troll, delete the troll's comments, who cares what someone thinks who doesn't know you?' and guess what - they were right!
I thought about why I write this blog, and with the utmost respect for my readers' I write for me!

I thought about the things I write, and yes, I do and can write for others, but when writing on this blog, I write for me.  Blogging has introduced to a whole network of lovely people, it gives me the opportunity to talk about whatever I want to talk about, and it's helping me to learn about HTML, analytics, and most of all it gives me confidence in my writing.

The good thing about having a personal blog is that you don't need high expectations - it is what it is!  You control your own fate here, and if you want to make money you can, if you want to include your readers by having link-ups or guest bloggers then you can.  It's entirely up to you!

This blog is Rambles, Rants and Writings - and it's mine, my ramble, my rant, my writing (mainly).  Today, I had a ramble, yesterday I wrote a funny family story, tomorrow, I might have a rant but I know that I'm not going to be anxious about my blogging any more.

My linky worked first time this week - Inlinkz was all loaded and I felt more prepared than last week.
Why should I be anxious when I just learned how to host my own linky, and I was self-taught (minus a little coaching from one's friend)?

Blogging is a learning curve, it's a breath of fresh air, and it's an experience.  It's a great way to meet new people and gain new skills in the process.  I'm proud to be part of a blogging network!

Laters, Janet

Friday, 11 September 2015

Funny Family Friday - *week 2* - Watch you don't spill the paint!

Welcome to week 2 of Funny Family Friday and if you are linking up to Funny Family Friday, or you are a returning link up - thank you so much in advance! If your just here to read, feel free to make a comment in the comments section and share your thought.  

For the rules of Funny Family Friday click here! 

Feel free to grab my badge below and don't forget to link up at the bottom of the page!  

The story I want to tell you today is a reflection back on my holiday 2 weeks ago.  I took the children the to pottery painting at Center Parcs, with my Mum.  We chose our pots (and paid an extortionate amount of cash for them), then we headed to our table to paint them.  We were advised that the paint washes out, except for two.  We were also told to put at least three layers on our paint as they needed to be treated and baked in an oven for several hours afterwards, before being blasted with a shiny coat. 
They only had aprons to fit my youngest so me, my Mum, my daughter, and my eldest son were all exposed to the paint.  I just assumed all would have aprons so we hadn't dressed in old clothes - in fact me and the children had new clothes on - how silly of me! 

The pallets were small, so I was helping the children to put the paint into the pallet, and sometimes the paint had gone crusty over the hole, so I kept saying to the children repeatedly,

'Be careful, don't spill the paint!' and reminding them to ask for help if they needed it.

I started working on my master piece - a nautical themed plate with a large crab on a beach, and fish in the sea.  I was most impressed with my design!

My young son decided he wanted brown for his doggy, but it was stuck, so I offered to assist.  I told him again how important it was to ask for help as we didn't want paint everywhere.  The top of the tube was well blocked and I poked the end of the paint brush in the hole, to try and unblock it. 

I shook the tube hard towards the pallet once, and squeezed - a bit too hard!

With a squelch and a slurping sound, the paint flew from the tube, splashed into the pallet... and back out again... far too much paint for that small pallet... and covering my daughter who sat opposite, myself, and my son, beside me.  It was all over my daughter's face, her hair, her new top.

She looked at me with her eyes blazing, fuming.  'Mam, what did you do that for? You put paint all over me!'

Everyone looked at us!

'Sorry,' I said - looking horrified.

'But Mam, erm, you said don't spill the paint,' reminded my three year old son. 

Thanks for that! 

My other son, and Mum sat sniggering!

Good job we all have a sense of humour - I mean what chance do these children have of not spilling the paint, with their mother as a role model!  #embarrassingholidaymoment #itcouldonlyhappentome

So, to prevent my further embarrassment, post a comment below and share your embarrassing moment - has anything like this ever happened to you? Have you told your children NOT to do something and then it happens to you?  Come on guys share, embarrassed Mum here!

Don't forget to link up with Inlinkz below!  

Laters, Janet :)