About Me

About me

My name is Nik and I am Mum to two small boys called Sam and Oliver and partner to the long suffering Ali and we are based in Devon, England.

My blog is about my journey though life, the highs, the lows and all the fun and messy bits in-between.

It is a personal blog that is written by me and only features my opinions. I do work on behalf of businesses and companies, writing posts and reviews but I will only give you my honest thoughts, if I love it or hate it I will tell you.

If you would like to get in touch with me or my mini monsters please contact me at
themummymonster1@gmail.com





Saturday, 13 January 2018

Innovations


So what's your favourite little innovation that you think should be everywhere?

 

So I had a long train journey recently and it gave me time to think about random things. Sorry be warned I do this a lot!!

 

For example, is there a reason between why two yellow lines means no parking? Surely the colour of no is red. No entry signs are red, red ski slopes are the most dangerous etc., so why yellow?

 

Anyway I started to think about things about innovations that I have recently seen and wonder why these aren’t rolled out further or are still stuff of dreams.

 

For example, I would love lines to be put on the barrier in front of me when parking that show car parking lines. No more opening doors to make sure you are within the lines. Why haven’t I seen this done locally?? It seems so simple but effective and helpful. 

 

I would also love an internet buying meet up point, apparently these already exist in America and I don’t understand why they haven’t been introduced here.

 

If you are anything like me I am always buying and selling stuff on the internet through Facebook or eBay and once sold you then have to agree to a collection point to exchange money and items. It can be all very dodgy in supermarket car parks. When I do this I always try and meet somewhere public as you have no idea who this person is or if they are going to do a runner without paying.

 

These spaces are manned with cctv to provide you with a little bit more added security. To me this is a fab idea. It saves having the conversation about where to meet and what you are wearing so you can be spotted. 

 

I spoke to some fellow bloggers to see what innovations they swear by or would love to see in the future. Here are some of their thoughts:

 

Charlie Beswick Those little coin imitation key ring things are wicked when you don’t have a pound for the trolley! Www.ouralteredlife.com

 

Pete Chatfield I love Apple Pay. The number of times I would go out and realise I had left my card at home. Now, it's not such an issue. www.householdmoneysaving.com

 

Amy Shipham RingGo app, so helpful for remembering when your parking runs out and can add to it without going back to the car! So useful!
Www.epsandamy.co.uk

 

Heledd Jones I would love to see drive-through shops! Would be so handy!!!
https://yummyblogger.com/.../5-ways-businesses-could-be.../

 

Melanie Cossins Oh I would like to see those meet up spots for lonely people.

 

I have to say I own a coin keyring and use it all the time, especially as one of our local supermarkets still uses them and I never seem to carry cash anymore.

 

Apple Pay, I am yet to set up. I am still getting used to contactless, so bear with me and I will catch up.

 

I use RingGo all the time at work and thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is like me and rarely carries cash!! I am often stuck at work in a meeting and it means I can just extend my car parking through an app. Fab idea.

 

Heledd’s idea of drive though shops is just simply amazing. When travelling with the boys I often just want to pop in for a couple of items but it’s such a hassle getting them out of the car. Occasionally Oliver will fall asleep in the car and there is no way I am waking him just to buy a pint of milk. PLEASE someone invent these!!

 

Finally I think Melanie’s idea would be great. With mental health service budgets dropping, why can’t we have spaces to meet where lonely people can meet just to chat? Somewhere if you have five minutes you can offer a listening ear. This is so simple but it could be so effective.

 

Are there any innovations that you have used or seen that are a good idea??
 
#themummymonster #blog #innovations #pleaseinventdrivethroughshops #meetupspot #whatelseshouldbeinvented


Monday, 8 January 2018

Cervical Cancer


This post is a bit more of a rant on a serious note. Cervical Cancer!!

 

I was recently sent an article that had been taken from The Manchester Evening News. Its headline was “The Jade Goody effect has long gone as smear test rate hits 20 year low” Now I mostly remember Jade Goody being on Big Brother but I also remember how she tragically died from cervical cancer leaving two small boys behind.

 


 

Before Jade’s death she did everything in her power to campaign for women to have regular smear tests or cervical screening tests as they are now known. The amount of women undertaking their routine screening rocketed and this had an effect on the amount of women who caught their cancer early enough to receive treatment rather than full on chemo.

 

So why has the amount of women having their screening tests done dropped? Yes it is embarrassing to have to get your lady bits out and have equipment used to scrape inside of you but seriously are women too proud to do this for 5 minutes max when it could save your life?

 

It’s not even that often!! Depending on your age it could be every three or five years. I just don’t get it.

 

Of course everyone has a right to not attend and apparently the drop in numbers attending has not been helped since the NHS updated its cervical screening leaflet to say that it is not compulsory to attend. Now most people know it’s not compulsory to attend the screen but do they really need to advertise the fact?

 

I simply cannot understand why a woman would put embarrassment in front of a lifesaving five minutes. Plus the health professional won’t care if you haven’t paid your lady bits any attention recently, I am guessing they have seen it all, including the lady who quickly wiped her bits before her appointment with a flannel she had used the previous evening in the bath with a glitter bath bomb!!! Lol doh!!! (Just for information, that woman was not me!! Honest!!)

 

So please do your family and yourself a favour and book in for the test and be a brave lady, be a strong woman who laughs in the face of a speculum. Speculum sounds like a word Miranda would like “Speculum” Sorry I am heading off topic!!

 

See you didn’t think you would be reading about Speculums tonight did you?? Lol

 

For more information about the tests please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/

 

Cervical Cancer Screening Week is 22-28th January 2018 more information can be found at jostrust.org.uk/ccpw

 

#smeartests #cervicalscreening #speculum #bebrave #itsjustfiveminutes #getitbooked #doesntmatterifyouhaventshaved!! #getyourladybitsout #fiveminutesorlife #cervicalcancer #smearforsmear

 

Saturday, 6 January 2018

The mug and the glass

The Mug and Glass!!
 
I am not sure if I am going slightly mad but other people have started commenting on something I do and when people start doing this, you know you are heading down a strange path!! Lol
 
I have my own glass and cup that only I am allowed to use and if anyone else dares to use one of them, I throw a proper hissy fit.
 
For example, my Mum made my Dad a coffee at my house recently and she made a coffee in my cup. Now I don’t drink tea or coffee and so to have a coffee poured into my virgin, hot chocolate only cup was an absolutely criminal act in my mind!! I shouted at her how my cup was now tainted with the taste of coffee and how my hot chocolate would never taste the same again!!
 
I am also the same with my glass. I bought myself a glass that was completely different to all the other glasses in my house, so I knew which one is mine but over Christmas it was used by another member of the family. (How could they I hear you shout!!) It made me really angry that I was going to have to use a glass that had been drunk from by someone else!! YUCK!!
 
It really is funny how I get so cross about these things but it really matters me. It’s not as if they were expensive or anything as my glass cost me 50p so why does it bother me so much? It is a real feeling of irritation.
 
My sister in law had been present during my meltdown over the coffee so for Christmas she bought me a new mug so my balance has now returned, in the mug department anyway!! Lol
 
Anyone else have any little quirks or random outbursts about things?

#strangewoman #itsjustamug/glass #handsoff #mine #getyourown #mymug #myglass #sharingisnotcaring #headingdownthemaddnesspath #losttheplot #marbles?whatmarbles?

Monday, 1 January 2018

Holidays


Booking a holiday!!


 

Ali and are I desperate to take the boys on a hot holiday. We took Sam when was he was little but haven’t been anywhere since.

I think we deserve a bit of a break in the sunshine for several reasons, the main one would be that the boys would love it. They choose to go to the beach in any weather but to do it in the sunshine would be amazing.

The second one would be to see if my health improved in a warmer climate. I am really suffering, especially on cold and damp days. The cold seems to set into my bones and makes them painful and achy. I have been told that many people actually end up moving abroad because they can enjoy being relatively pain free in the warmth.

The third one would be because sometimes I think it is important to stop and actually send some time as a family. It is something we can look forward too. We can plan where we want to go and do things for all of us.

I can just imagine us sat on a beach making sandcastles and drinking cocktails!! ok I’m dreaming, I completely understand in the real world it will be sitting by the kids pool watching them like a hawk in the water and constantly saying no to drinks and ice creams and singing along to the latest kids club song which will get stuck in my head and I won’t be able to shift even when I get home, but I can dream cant I??

But before you even book a holiday there are so many questions to ask. I find it baffling how 7 sweet days in the sun can cause such anguish beforehand. I genuinely find it stressful. Going away costs so much money you feel that you have to get the very best for your limited budget.

Even though we haven’t been away for a few years we are on a seriously tight budget. We will have to sacrifice other things to afford the luxury.

So our budget is set, now to head to the computer. One tip given to me by a fellow blogger is “We google the destination, flights times etc and once we narrow it down a bit we search in incognito mode. This stops the cookies from seeing you keep coming back and sometimes the prices go up- so incognito keeps it a fresh search everyday.” Carrie Bradley  www.flyingwithababy.com https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/fb6/1/16/2708.png

This is something I hadn’t even considered; I forget that the internet tracks your every move!!

So cookies turned off, I then have to make the decision then to go with a ready-made package holiday or look at individual cottages and villas. Carol Cliffe from www.familymakes.com recommended “I always go for a cottage/apartment/villa where possible rather than a hotel. I've just returned from Florida and it's reminded me why- more space to spread out, separate room for the kids, somewhere to prepare food, and most importantly for families, a washing machine.”

I decided to try a package holiday first to see what prices were coming out at. I am stuck to school holidays so due fully I put in the school dates in and was shocked at the price hike that happens when school’s first holiday starts. How is that fair?? Why penalise the ones who wait until the holidays to take their children away? I guess this is a separate argument really, so won’t dwell on it.

 I found a hotel which looked fab in the photos; I then added the hotel name to Trip Adviser. Why do I do this?? I end up more confused than when I started. Some people saying what an amazing hotel it is and others saying that they would never stay their again!!

Charlie Beswick from www.ouralteredlife.com  says “I am a review aholic (but can end up confusing myself!) whereas my OH looks at the photos. With reviews I always filter to the time of year and type of holiday (couples / families) so I’m getting as accurate review as possible. Lots of my friends didn’t even know about that option on TripAdvisor.” I didn’t even know you could do this!!

Ok reviews read then it’s time to see flight times and transfers. I was looking for short transfer times when Jodie Humphries from www.maidenheadmum.co.uk said “I’ve learned to ignore the transfer times from the airport if you’re on a package trip. I booked a hotel that was only 20 minutes away, ideal with an 18 month old. But it took 1hr 20 with all the stop offs! So now I look it up on Google maps and look for a local taxi company!”

 AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!! Why is nothing straight forward and easy??

Right I have forgotten the transfer times, and I will move onto what is in the local area. Is there anything to do whilst we are on holiday? Ali and I both love a waterpark if we can find one. Ali loves history, so is there something that he can tootle off too whilst we sit on the beach? Pete Chatfield from www.householdmoneysaving.com  Is there much to do in the local area? If not, what kind of transport links are there to other areas? A quick google search will often throw up the answers you need. I couldn’t think of anything worse than being stuck in a hotel without much else to do. And if transport isn’t great, hiring a car may be a better option.

This is just getting worse now, I am struggling to make any decisions!!

So I give up on package holidays and decide to look at a static caravan holiday but then discover Eurocamps and all my questions start all over again!!! Oh I give up for today, I will look again tomorrow!!!

Other tips given by fellow bloggers include:

Christy Bruckner Always search if flights and accommodation are cheaper individually. SkyScanner will search for all flights and sometimes it's worth driving a bit further to a different airport for a cheaper flight and you can get a much better price than package deal. www.welshmum.co.uk

Emma Maslin If you are not tied to a specific date (ie school holidays), you will usually find plenty of great deals in the week ahead of travel date so it can pay to leaving booking late. The price saving can mean being able to upgrade to all inclusive for the same price as you would have paid for half board. Or bagging yourself a healthy saving which you can squirrel away for next year’s holiday https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/f7f/1/16/1f60a.png😊
Http://themoneywhisperer.co.uk

Heledd Jones  If you're travelling with young kids always check things like flight times (lots are in the early hours!) and transfer times (do you want to be on a bus for hours?!) http://t.co/7ntcFYHdQZ www.yummyblogger.com

Joanna Victoria Bayford If you are going away with family make sure your seats are next to each other on the plane. We pay extra to do this. http://www.joannavictoria.co.uk

Carrie Bradley Signing up to email lists often mean you first hear about any deals about to be launched too.

Booking a flight on a Tue/ Wednesday is often quite a bit cheaper.

I look at the airline facilities/ length of flight/ price / stopover options and whether I can use products like Plane Pal or Bedbox if flying long or ultra long haul with the kids.

We look at what amenities are close by, do we need to hire a car etc- this may affect packing decisions.

We read reviews but take trip advisor with a pinch of salt ( the guy who made up a fake restaurant called the Shed for an experiment managed to become the 1st listing for top London restaurants- through deliberate fake reviews!) I prefer blog reviews or word of mouth from family and friends.

All inclusive - beware of fully inclusive. Try and find out how good the choice is first or you could be stuck. Part of the beauty of travelling is experiencing the local restaurants. But if you are in a remote place- it may be the best (only) option.

I’ve plenty more
https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/fd0/1/16/1f602.png
😂https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/fd0/1/16/1f602.png😂https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/fd0/1/16/1f602.png😂https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/fd0/1/16/1f602.png😂
www.flyingwithababy.com
https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/fb6/1/16/2708.png 

 
Veronica Mitchell if you are concerned about the issue of expectations vs reality, you can use google street view as there as some areas where you can actually view in 360 degrees virtually.
http://myparentingjourney.com/

 
Victoria Hatton We found a holiday that worked for us, and have done that on repeat for the last six holidays. www.starlightandstories.com

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Spots

This is my face this evening, this is the reality of having spots at 37 years old!! Yes I’m 37 and I still get spots!!
How is that fair?? Surely I should have been done with them in my teens??
I normally get one massive lump of a thing and the only thing I use on it is toothpaste. I swear by it. I put it on before bed and by morning the redness has gone and it’s dried up.
This time I have been plagued by the tiny horrid little pinheads known as blackheads!! They are stubborn little buggers who refuse to move so I have taken action and applied the seaweed face mask. I just hope it works!!
Any other hints and tips for this spot ridden mummy??
#spots #blackheads #toothpaste #themummymonster #blog


Feeding Oliver!!

Feeding Oliver!!

Trying to feed Oliver is a complete nightmare. I thought having an allergy child would be the hardest thing I would have to face in the feeding world but oh no, feeding Oliver is completely different kettle of fish!! (Sorry, excuse the pun!!)
I am used to feeding strapping lads, who are hungry after every meal that I have just severed them and I have empty cupboards because they have been raided again!!
Oliver lost weight when he was born and was diagnosed with Group B Strep and was hospitalised for three extremely long days. We were so worried about him. He was pumped full of extremely strong antibiotics to kill off any signs of the infection and slowly over the next few months he started to gain weight.
However I started to notice that he was never hungry for his milk, I would often have to set an alarm to remind myself that he needing feeding ad then when he did have his milk, he was never really hungry for it and often leave some.
At Oliver’s 12 months check, it was noticed that he had dropped several centiles again and wasn’t growing either so the Health Visitor wanted him placed on weight check ups every two weeks. So this meant getting to our Children’s Centre every two weeks, he became a bit of a regular. The receptionist knew our names and Sam knew what he was going to play with before we even got there!
Oliver still failed to put on weight and so was finally referred to the Hospital. The hospital couldn’t find a reason why he is failing but decided to run some blood tests in the meantime and told me to put him on a high calorie diet.
Now a high calorie diet sounds like the ultimate life goal doesn’t it? If you fancy something you can eat it!! If he fancies chocolate, he can have it, if he wants a biscuit I am to give it to him, however Oliver just isn’t interested. People on the street must think I am nuts when I am trying to feed him wherever I go, but he is just not interested!!
There are some days where he will completely fool us and eat a full dinner but then he will go back to only living on enough to keep a gnat alive. I used to cook him separate meals, things I thought I could tempt him with.
It was almost the longer I spent preparing and cooking a meal, the less he would eat, so I gave up and started serving him any dinners that I cooked for Ali and I. Occasionally he would surprise me and eat a bowl of Coq au vin or chicken and mushroom risotto, however 99% of the time he wouldn’t eat them.
He is also still not interested in his milk either so often goes to bed on an empty tummy, meaning that he would wake up hungry but still wouldn’t take any milk.
Ali and I are still so frustrated in trying to make him eat that we are just at our wits end.
The blood tests have finally been returned to say that he has an abnormal thyroid function. I guess this explains some of it but it still doesn’t take away the frustration when you know he is running on empty. I just don’t know where he gets all his energy from.
He has now had some more blood tests which we are waiting the results of but for now, we will continue to offer food just in case he eats it and keep feeding him high calorie treats but has anyone been through anything similar??
Any advice or tips??

#food #feedingboys #normallyhaveemptycupboards #thyroid #justwonteat #highcaloriediet #calories #notinterested #frustrated #themummymonster

Innovations

So what's your favourite little innovation that you think should be everywhere?   So I had a long train journey recently and...