Saturday, 31 January 2015

Sephiroth lives!

I was busy looking around for Cosplay outfits today. I know our party is some 8 months away but hey, I already have the wig and have found the outfit so it was just the sword to find (maybe not as a bit pricey for a 6' Masamune replica).  Anyway, here's what I would like to look like:

Doesn't she look awesome!  I think I need the boots too now. Oh heavens, this is going to cost a bloody fortune bit.  Trouble is, as much as I want all this, we get invited to a fancy dress party...err...well, only once before so when would I wear it?  I guess I could put it on on the school run but I'm not sure how the other mums would feel (I suppose I could leave the sword at home).

As I was looking at images of people dressed as my pixel heartthrob (yeah, I know), I came across this guy:

Good grief! Sephiroth IS REAL!  I don't honestly think this chap could look any more like him if he tried.  I bet he was swamped at the cosplay event!

Friday, 30 January 2015

Fat bottom girls

I know Queen sang a tribute to a big butt but I think mine is getting a bit too big now.  Whilst I realise that I am in my very late 40s *cough*, I'm certainly not too old to still want to wear a decent bikini or swimsuit on holiday.  

It occurred to me that rather than embracing the fact that I have curves - albeit, slightly too curvy around my waist and thighs perhaps - I am a lady who has had two more children in my 40s and due to my research at the moment, I am a bit sedentary (I do hoola-hoop in the evening but that's another post!).

We are off on holiday soon and so I went upstairs and tried on my 3 swimsuits. One is purely for going to the local pool so a practical sports type. The second one was from Debenhams and is spotty with a cute little frill around it at the bottom to cover a bit of my thigh-age.  The last I bought on Amazon when we were due to go to the beach in the UK last summer and I suddenly felt rather whale-like so it looks like a kind of demented mini-dress as it covers me up so much. 

She's far to slim and pretty to need this!
You may remember I tried Slimming World (here). I clearly need to eat less to lose weight rather than eating huge plate fulls of 'free' foods.  I've therefore installed my WeightWatcher's type App again and am using that.  It has had mixed results as you will see from my blog on cutting down eating (here) and a points style diet (here).  OK, I'm totally crap at diets!

So, as I'm seriously unlikely to lose 2 stone and be a size 10 by the holiday, I decided that I need to live with the curvy/wobbly bits and find suitable swimwear. Good old M&S came to the rescue.  I bought myself a pair of 'high-rise bikini briefs'. Sounds like a weird block of flats doesn't it.  The picture was just what I was looking for - covering my wobbly mummy tum up.  

Again, if I was this slim, I wouldn't need these!
I then teamed them with a different top to brighted up that spotty look.  I'm excited about my new purchase arriving and am looking forward to wearing it on the beach on holiday.  Let's face it, I'm never going to see any of those people again am I so who cares if I'm not 'beach perfect' *grin*

So, wish me luck for losing a few pounds of wobble before my break in the sun.  I'll let you know how well the high-rises hold up!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Night Terrors in Children

I think I may have found the solution to why S sometimes wakes us up screaming and crying and is almost inconsolable - Night Terrors.

Image from
Some years ago, S began a weird 'phase' where she would go to sleep absolutely fine but a few hours after falling asleep, would start to scream and cry. We would rush in and she would often be sitting up in bed but when we tried to communicate with her, she would stare straight through us and no speak or answer us in any way.  No matter how we tried to console her, she would be almost hysterical and you just couldn't get her to listen or take notice of you.

Both hubby and I struggled with this. We thought she was just so wound up she wouldn't listen to us.  We tried everything. We cuddled her.  We talked to her.  We tried to calm her down.  We even (I'm embarrassed to say) shouted at her.  Anything to try and get her to stop and take notice.  She would scream and kick and inevitably, this would wake her sister who shared a room with her and then, of course, she would start crying as she was frightened.  It was a true nightmare!

The episodes would last anything from 5-20 minutes.  When she finally looked at us properly and the hysteria became just sobs and she hugged us, she didn't really know much about what had happened.  She would often say she just "felt frightened".  No matter how much we said she had a lovely room, cute toys around her, etc, it didn't stop it.  She has a very good imagination, so I did wonder if it was just a nightmare (we are careful with TV programmes, too much stimulation, etc) as you never know what they think about or talk about at school.

We bought her a night light. Two.  Three.  It continued.  It was mentally draining having to deal with two crying children, although her sister would go back to sleep very quickly.

We started taking her out of her bed (not easy lifting a child out of a top bunk when they are kicking and crying) and bringing her into our room to try and minimise the disruption to her little sister and the household in general. She would continue the crying and blank stare.  We even shook her gently to try and 'snap her out of it' but nothing worked.

Suddenly it stopped.

Yesterday, she had another episode.  It was awful and she was dripping with sweat too (she's been ill this weekend and still is).  My husband was very over-tired from working 18 hour days and I had a headache. Not ideal to then suddenly have to cope with this weird behaviour.  We got angry and told her off but it had no impact on her at all. I picked her up and took her into our bedroom but she carried on.  She was doing this odd 'bouncing' thing on the bed. She was laying flat but was bouncing her bottom up and down whilst screaming. After about 10 minutes, it subsided and she just started to cry and say she was sorry.  Did she know what she was doing?  Was this a tantrum of some sort?  I just didn't know what to make of it.  She said she didn't know what upset her.

I turned to Google and put in some of the behaviours - blank start, asleep, crying, looking through you - and immediately a lot of information on night terrors came up.  Why on earth didn't I do this before?  Easy, I thought she was playing us up, simple as that!

I feel part awful and part relieved.  The awful bit was us thinking she was simply misbehaving.  The relief is knowing what it could be.

I remember as a child having a terrible set of dreams (so vivid I can remember them to this day!) but I knew what they were and what was scaring me.  However, they did go on for a long period of time. In fact, so long that unbeknownst to me, my parents had seen our family doctor who advised a psychiatrist if they continued much longer.  They suddenly stopped.  I read on the NHS page that night terrors are something children can get if their parents have a history of it but I remember my dream so I presumed that was a nightmare.

I've booked a phone call to our doctor today to chat through it. I want to know if there is anything that we can do to help when this happens and how long it will go on for. He advised to leave her alone when it is happening and just make sure she is safe. Talking softly to her may help.  If it happens again, we'll remove her little sister from the room for a while to make sure it doesn't upset her and then deal with S.  He also said with the infection she has at the moment and antibiotics, it is more likely.  However, once she is better, we need to bring her down to the surgery for them to do a few routine checks.  That's kind of worried me but I suppose informed is the best way forward.

Anyone else had this with their children?  Doctor said she would grow out of it but when!?

Monday, 26 January 2015

#GOTExhibit - so much stress for a free ticket!

Honestly, did Sky really not think that the moment they opened up their Game of Thrones Exhibition website that it wouldn't be totally swamped with requests for free tickets by Sky customers?  Really? It is probably only the most watched programme on SkyAtlantic so why would the demand be high?!

I've never had such a stressful 2 hours trying to get tickets.  It started at 10am with Sky Atlantic tweeting:

"Ready ... steady ... GO!
Sky TV customers can now book their tickets for here:

First, the system clearly couldn't cope and after about half an hour the Tweets started as errors were being given to all of us 'refreshers' who were desperately trying to get tickets.

"Sorry for the frustration, due to the huge ticket demand, we've run into some tech issues. Please bear with us as we work through them."

High demand? You didn't realise that would happen?  Refresh...refresh...and another Sky Atlantic message:

"In case you're trying for tickets to , due to huge demand we're seeing a lot of traffic to those pages. Please keep trying."

No shit Sherlock!

After nearly 1 1/2 hours, the errors were sorted but then the system said I wasn't a Sky TV customer! Oh FFS.  I've only been a customer for nearly 17 years so I think my bills alone prove I am. Refresh...refresh...

"Please note: Anyone getting a message that they're not a Sky TV customer, Please log back in with your Sky ID."

Of course I've entered that!  Give me strength.  Finally, in to the system. Chose my date and time.  Accepted all boxes I needed to. Continue.  Time out despite the clock saying I had another 7 odd minutes to do it.  Argh!!!  Refresh...refresh...

Another attempt.  Clock working fine but now every time I pick says there are no tickets available.  Hells bells!  Any chance of actually getting a ticket for this?  I pick time after time.  Finally, it seems no one wants to get there for 10am (nor did I as it will cost a fortune on the train/tube in rush hour!) but I get the time slot.  Yay! Onwards entering my details as fast as my fingers will allow to register for a Sky Tickets account (could we not have done this beforehand?).  Timer counting down.  Continue...

YES!!!! Two tickets to see the Game of Thrones Exhibit are mine.  It means I'll be leaving the house about 7am to get there but who cares.  I think I need a headache tablet now and a cuppa to calm down.

Who else is going?

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Furniture Village - no returns *unless* you buy it online

I am beyond disgusted today.  The outlaws (you know, much more fun than inlaws) bought a new dining table set from Furniture Village.  The table looked a bit big but they thought it would fit their space well.  When it arrived, it simply was too big for them so they enquired about returning the table although they would like to keep the chairs.  Seems logical - the table itself is on sale at the moment and you can buy it individually (Emily table here).  Furniture Village in Staines said no.  They had the terms and conditions. Once you buy something and it arrives in your house, it is 'second hand goods' and thus they cannot return it.  They are therefore £799 out of pocket with a table sitting in their lounge that they can do nothing with.

I looked on Furniture Village's website.  It says, in clear print, "Free returns to 40 stores throughout England".  I phoned up Furniture Village.  "Ah" says the young man I spoke to "that is only if it was bought online".  So, if I buy it online I can return it?  "Yes" he says.  I can get a full refund?  "Yes" he says.  I take the phone number and managers name at Staines and ring the store.  The manager is with a customer so I speak to a lady there.  She has spoken to my father-in-law about this and already told them they cannot return the item as it would be seen as second hand now and used. I say it is not used but she says they don't know that.  "But" I say "if they had bought it online, they could and get a full refund, correct?" She agrees and says distance selling laws are different.  I am confused.

I buy it in store, it is delivered. It's too big. I cannot return it as it is 'second hand goods'.

I buy it online, it is delivered. It's too big. I can return it and get a full refund.

For both of these scenarios, Furniture Village have no idea if it is 'used' as the lady said or not, yet one allows a full refund.

The manager is supposed to be calling me.  I doubt he will as I explained to the lady that I am now passing this to the media - handy really as my husband works in TV and has lots of journo contacts who would love this story.

What irks me even more about this whole thing is that my outlaws are in their 80s and are not in the habit of buying online. In fact, they don't do it. They like to go out and shop and pick things up.  Therefore this seems 'generationally biased' and ageist towards them as they are not used to doing everything on their PC.

Let's see what the journos and Watchdog think of this shall we?

16th January 2015: I am absolutely delighted to tell you that Furniture Village have been in touch with the outlaws and are collecting the table and giving them a full refund!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Hogs Back Geocaching

We needed some fresh air so headed off to the Hogs Back today to do some more of a figure-of-8 that we did some of last year (or was it the year before?  Time flies).  Hubby packed up lunch and I  packed up the girls.  We skipped a few around here as we've already done them so we were off to hoover up one end of this loop.
Parked up, wellies on (essential kit) and headed off to the footpath to start the adventure.  We left the first of the trail we would be doing to get on our way back and started off at Hogs Back Reservoir #17 which was hard work.  There were lots of suspects around and my GPS was bouncing about like crazy so it could be anywhere in a 13m line!  We ended up splitting up and searching an area each. It was teen's sharp eyes that spotted something odd and there it was. I  guess from previous cachers' logs, it may 'breach rules' a tad but we put it back there just the same.  A tricky little find.  Lots of runners out here today.
#15 was another pain for my phone. What is wrong with my GPS? Hubby's did the trick and we soon had the cache in hand.  Quite a few folk passed us but we carried on regardless trying our best not to look too weird rummaging in the undergrowth.
As we got to the farm through mud that was almost sucking our wellies off, we came across a family about to head up that way. I warned them that without wellies they may have problems as one chap carrying a baby had on a lovely pair of new white trainers!  They ignored us and headed that way.  Good luck!
#13 was beyond easy. This cache (regardless of what anyone said last time) was definitely not in this spot when we were here before as then 4 adults, 1 teen and 2 children all searched this very thing and came up empty handed.  So glad we can tick it off the list this time.  Grrrr...  My bloody sodding pathetic bloody phone died at this point. Really?  So cross. The phone used to be great until an Android upgrade about 6 months ago which has pretty much rendered it useless beyond an hour.  Glad hubby's old Samsung is fine so we're using that now.  Sandwiches being shared out as the family come walking back past us.  See, told you it was muddy *grin*
#11 we didn't find.  To be honest, we had walked past it a bit and although hubby and teen went for  a cursory look, they gave up pretty quickly as we didn't want to be on the road side with the little ones.
#10 was a quick find for the little cachers and they were delighted.  #9 I can imagine being a nightmare in summer when the leaves are on the trees but an easy spot this time of year.  The prickles were nasty and the tree got my hat!  
#8 was another quick spot for the little cachers.  Our final one was #7 which we'd managed to walk past so teen and I headed back to search but despite  good look around and checking the clue, nothing was there that we could see and, let's be honest, there weren't that many places it could be!  Guess the cold was getting to us.
The last one we did, as J scrambled up the bank, we remembered we'd done it before. Oh well, nice to watch her slipping and sliding down again one more time.  Now for the long walk back UP the hill.  My legs were aching at the top.
We had a less than cursory glance for #18 as the girls had spotted the car and just wanted to get back to it now so I didn't bother to log anything here.  Glad to rest my aching feet!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Nixies Mermaid(s)

I'm doing this review not because someone sent me one of these dolls to test, but because S was bought one for her birthday and loved it.  In fact, we got one for N for her birthday too as the first one was so much fun!
The first mermaid that arrived was Amelia.  A friend bought it from Amazon but you couldn't decide which one you got as you received one of the 3 that there are. No problem as we didn't have one so it didn't matter which one came.  This also meant that the toy itself was a bit cheaper (around £8 with delivery).  S was excited to try it out (it had been on her wish list you see) and I had read good things about them in reviews so was also keen to see how good it was.
Nixies Amelia
Nixies Amelia
She arrived with the battery compartment part-opened. I suppose this is to remind you to put a battery in.  One AAA battery later and both girls were eager to get into the bath.  Noting that there is a little propeller in her tail, I tied up S's very long hair to ensure we didn't have any tangling problems.  Switched her on and away she went. Screeches and giggles started coming from the bath as she swam around them, went in figure of 8's, and over their legs too.  You can position her body at the waist to make her go in circles and, in a lovely deep bath, swim in loops under water.  If she bumps the side, she often changes direction too. She looks terrific and is very good value, even if she's actually small (about 5").  I was very impressed.
N's birthday came and she wanted to choose her own Nixies.  Amazon offer this service but dolls are more expensive when you select the one you want (£15 in this case). She ordered her Bella and it arrived next day (love Amazon Prime!).
Nixies Bella
Nixies Bella
Battery in and bath filled. Two mermaids swimming around.  As they bump into each other they change directions. They really do seem quite lifelike to watch.
Having tried other mermaid toys before and been beyond disappointed, it has been a real treat to have something that does what it says on the label. If you want a mermaid toy, you'd do well to pick up one of these and wait for the laughter in the bath.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Obsessed with (a) Star

I have a confession. I am ever so slightly obsessed with Julian McDonald's Star clothing range, particularly his dresses.  Whilst his clothes are not always cheap (around £70 for a dress),  I am getting quite a collection. However, I don't shop in Debenhams for them (sorry Debenhams if you're reading this but you are too expensive - even in the sale!)
Star rules my wardrobe
Star rules my wardrobe
I am an avid eBayer.  Yes, that's my secret. My Star wardrobe (and it's becoming the prominent designer inside) is made up of my collection of eBay found dresses.  I have a smug smile as I write this as some of them were still new with all tags on and I picked them up for a song (well, between 99p and £10 more like).  99p for a dress. Nuts huh?  A couple haven't quite been me but at that price, I can sell them on and most likely get my money back.  I've discovered that cowl necks or wrap-over dresses are most definitely something I should avoid.
I think when you find a designer/style that fits you and feels good on, you do kind of stick to it.  These dresses are all wonderfully stretchy but not too figure hugging so they look lovely on.  Hopefully they'll fit when I've lost a bit of weight too (that's another post!)  You may see that I have picked on a certain style that suits me.  The dresses can be worn for the school run, work meetings or just around the house. That's what I love about them.  You can dress them up or down.   Ideal for someone like me.
I also love the excitement of those little packages arriving through the post.  It's like Christmas all year round!