Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Tooth Fairy is coming

S lost her first tooth today.  It's been wobbly for near on 4 weeks.  She wouldn't wobble it.  Unbelievable I know!  I remember when I was a child I almost pulled my teeth out so not even wanting to wobble one seems bizarre to me - and she's my daughter.


Anyway, it was at such an odd angle this morning and making her feel a bit sick that I told her to give it a good wobble, which, amazingly, she did.  She got dressed and brushed her teeth. That's when we heard the shout.  Her tooth had gone down the plughole of the bathroom sink!  I said not to worry as the tooth fairy knows she's lost her first tooth but hubby was not going to be deterred by this and got on with some instant plumbing.  She wanted to keep her first tooth you see and has written a lovely letter to the Tooth Fairy to ask if she can and she did her a little picture too.

She is the 2nd to last child in her class to lose a tooth and the same in her year.  The only one left is her little friend who is almost a year younger.  I said well done to her. Must mean she's a super tooth cleaner *grin*

I understand the going rate is £1 per tooth, but £2 for a first one. I only have £1 in change I've just realised so she may end up getting £5 for her first tooth...

Friday, 20 March 2015

Tunisian Holiday

We are all due to go on our first holiday abroad in 3 years in the next month...to Tunisia.  Yeah, I know.

I feel for the country with what has happened in Tunis on Wednesday (see here).  There is a natural panic. I had that sense of dread about the holiday and for a while I said to hubby that we should just not go and sod the money we've spent, but then I began to think about it more logically.


Tunisia is heavily reliant on tourism for the economy.  Cruise ships have already decided not to dock there at present and some countries have removed their citizens. The Foreign Office in the UK says it is safe to travel to coastal resorts but to be aware of what is going on and only use recognised tour companies internally.  Many holiday firms have therefore suspended their tours to Tunis and surrounding areas.  Sensible.  We, ourselves, have decided not to risk going on excursions that we had considered as heading off to tourist 'hot spots' may not be the wisest idea.

However, we don't want to end up confined to our hotel either.  It seems an awful shame to visit such a different country and not see any of it so we will probably look around the Medinas and visit some local markets although we may not venture as far out as we would normally have done.  Security will be heightened.  Probably the safest time to go.  A bit like flights becoming far safer after 9/11 - no more cock-pit chats with the flight crew while sitting in the jump seat - yes, I did that quite a few times as a passenger before that fateful day.

My worry, beyond anything, was for our children.  As adults, we can put ourselves at risk but should we do this to our children?  How big a risk is it?  Is it any worse than going into central London for a day out?  Nobody knows the answer but ultimately, we decided that unless anything else happens and something changes, we will be heading off to Tunisia to have a lovely, relaxing holiday enjoying the pool, food and sunshine that the resort offers.

I hope that the country settles as they have done so well since Arab Spring.  I'm sure the Tunisians also hope that we support them as the world did France recently after the attacks there.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Mother's Day

I had the most wonderful mother's day yesterday. The girls woke me up with a cup of tea in bed and my cards and little gifts.  The gifts were the usual chocolate from N and a wooden necklace from S which she had cut out and made herself.  Having been spoiled with multiple cards, I ventured downstairs to have my breakfast and then we headed out for a swim to our local pool.


It was an extra treat to be told there was no charge for my swim today due to it being us mums' special day.  How nice!  In we went and had lots of fun with the girls swimming around (both without armbands now) and going on the lazy river and flumes.  I got to go on the fast flume too whilst hubby stayed at the bottom with the girls and then I returned the favour.  I also went on the dark flume on a rubber ring which was a right laugh.  There was an official photographer at the pool and he asked to do some photos of us with no obligation to buy. Of course we said yes!  How often do you get a family shot of you all in a swimming pool?  Here's are lovely one of the girls.


After our swim we came home and had a light lunch and curled up to watch Mamma Mia! while hubby pottered around doing some other bits and pieces before he cooked dinner for us all.  I also got a text from J when I got home as she's not around this weekend.

I looked at myself in the mirror as my hair had dried naturally today and what a lot of curls it has!

Sorry, it was a no make-up day too!
What a super day and what a lucky mummy I am!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Royal Holloway Science Festival



We arrived early (9.30am) as J had her tutorial in Bedford Library first.  On our way there, we spotted the birds of prey.  Fantastic!  The girls loved the owls but the kookaburra scared the life out of them when he called which did make me laugh.










Whilst J was being tutored in maths, the girls and I headed off to take part in a psychology experiment in Windsor Building. They were very excited about getting stickers for it.  We then picked up a Science Passport (you have to find letters in each area) and headed off to the Bourne Laboratories to make perfume. In the reception there they girls made their own medicines.


We then headed down to the labs for them to make their own perfumes which they really enjoyed.


J then came and joined us and we headed back up to the labs for them to make cress heads, spinners, and become DNA detectives, followed by making DNA bracelets (J was the only one who followed the 'rules' as the girls just wanted to put the pretty beads on).






The girls then had their hands examined for bacteria under a special light which they thought was great.  They had to wash them afterwards to make sure all the bacteria had gone (I'm pleased to say there weren't many to start with).

Herbology and magic cauldrons
We then headed to Bedford Library for them to make their own books which they enjoyed doing and are now colouring in at home.  After that, we went to get something to eat back by the birds of prey.  The girls didn't fancy anything there so S asked for an "Old McDonalds" as we were heading off to see their grandparents after we were here so I agreed.  Just time for a few more photos of the birds of prey before we left (and for them to stroke 3 more).




The day was glorious with sunshine, around 16C and lots of people were picnicing around the place. Really nice to see so many families walking around and enjoying the festival.  We missed lots as our feet were aching so I'm sure next year we'll be here even longer.

Thank you Royal Holloway for hosting such a super event and for the time and effort by all the staff and students in making our day so much fun.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

King games are killing my phone battery

I used to thoroughly enjoy playing the odd bit of Candy Crush Saga or Farm Heroes Saga on my phone for 15 or so minutes whilst waiting for me girls to finish school but in the last couple of weeks, this has been impossible.  Why? Well, for some reason, suddenly 5 minutes in my phone battery has gone from 80% to dead.  Dead!  How the hell can that happen?  I have no idea what has changed. I can leave my phone all day without any services turned on and the battery is fine (yes, I know, I've had problems with having WiFi and Mobile Data on which kills my Galaxy S3 battery in about 2 hours flat) and then I used to happily play some games at pick-up time.  Now. Not a hope.  The screen flickers, the phone dies.  Today it went from 61% battery to zero in less than 5 minutes!

Desperately searching for battery life!
King - what are you going to do about this?  It's not just my phone either.  My husband has a Galaxy S2 and exactly the same happens to him and a friend on an iPhone 5 has the same issue. Conclusion - King has changed something about these games.

Whatever it is, please put it back to how it was before so we can enjoy playing again or else we may as well remove them from our phones and PC and give up.

Monday, 2 March 2015

DeviantArt

If you've not come across DeviantArt you are seriously missing out.  It's an amazing place to experience some stunning artwork by a range of artists you're unlikely to have heard of but can produce the most amazing images.  Here are a couple of ones I've found recently.  Check out the images for each artist's homepage and go look!

The first are variations on zodiac signs produced by Damon Hellandbrand.  Have a look at his site here.




These second gender-changed characters are by Sakimichan who has a page on DeviantArt here.  Check it out.




Recognise these Disney movies with male lead roles?  Aren't they amazing!

Go check out DeviantArt.com for more fantastic artists.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

University fees - up/down/scrapped?

It was a Labour Government that stopped free university education and made it into a fee-paying priviledge.  Indeed, tuition fees rose with the Conservative/Coalition Governments' backing from £9,000 for 3 years to £27,000. That's only the cost of the tuition fees - you still have to live beyond that, which, with accommodation, food, books and sundries needed for higher education, is likely to be a conservative £13,000 for 3 years, meaning a total outlay of £40,000 because you want to continue in education. I find that beyond appalling and wonder how many young people are put off university altogether due to these kind of costs? 

Royal Holloway, University of London
I was fortunate when I went to university because the company I worked for paid the fees. However, as a post-grad currently doing my PhD I'm self-funded.  OK, so PhDs are cheaper due to the fact that we do not need any kind of tuition/lectures but they are still around £4,000 per year, amounting to approximately £12,000 if you can complete in the hoped for 3 years of study. 

Education is important - I believe - and can do so much for our younger generation. With the law changed to say young people cannot leave full time education until they are 18, shouldn't we be encouraging them to continue, not scaring them off?  

I recently saw that that UKIP says:

"Subject to academic performance UKIP will remove tuition fees for students taking approved degrees in science, medicine, technology, engineering, maths on the condition that they live, work and pay tax in the UK for five years after the completion of their degrees." 

That's great!  Please do that.  Sort out some of your other issues and you'll definitely get my vote.

Labour want to lower the fees for university to £6,000 per year.  They make this sound like it's a great offer for our young generation, but let's not forget who started this fee fiasco in the first place!