Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Groovy Mum's - via Chloe this week x

I love Groovy Mums and here is this weeks entry from me. Please pop over and check it out where it is being hosted by the lovely Chloe at Our Pea Green Pod

1. Body - Your Sunshine RitualsSummer, apparently, is here! Or at least, we're having a few days of sun & then it'll all be over. As we all know it's so important to cover up, but often we will put off smearing the lotion on if we can help it & then end up a lovely shade of lobster. As well as urging you to be safe in this window of summer we're having I would love to hear about how you've been spoiling your skin, your hair & your nails. I like nothing more than soaking myself in some aloe-vera lotion after a long sunny day & knowing it's doing my skin a world of good as well as feeling fabulously indulgent. What are your rituals? How do you keep safe & indulge? If you don't indulge then do! Treat your self & your skin & keep it feeling great too!
I am a massive sun baby, I love the sun, I love the heat. I am dark haired with dark eyes so don't burn as easily as some but I still always use factor 15, if it is really hot I will also use the kids factor 50 on my neck, shoulders and back. After a day out in the sun I have a shower or soak in a bath and then lather my skin in Vaseline Aloe vera or Sanctuary which is my ultimate luxury. I am getting a little low on my Sanctuary but thankfully it is my birthday next week and my brother (or rather sister in law) is very good at keeping my supplies of Sanctuary up!
2. Mind - That Niggling Feeling
Quite often in life there is always something that we need to do but that we keep putting off. If you are anything like me there will be about 23 of these things at any given time. This week I quite simply want to encourage you to tick one of these silly little things off your list & feel the satisfaction that comes with the knowledge that there is one less thing to do! For now...!
I am proud to say I actually cleaned my car out this weekend for the first time in months, I was beyond embarrassed at the state of it but it is now nicely hoovered, polished inside, seats washed down, even the boot done and it looks so nice. I have also started to tackle my ironing pile again and got round to doing some gardening so all those little things I have been putting off I am now trying to do a bit at a time so they don't get so out of hand or seem so daunting.

3. Spirit - Memories & Legacy
With the untimely death of two musical legends this week - Donna Summer & Robin Gibb - I've been hearing the phrases 'their spirit shall live on in their work' & 'thier legacy is their music' a lot recently. This has got me to thinking about what kind of legacy I'll be leaving my girls. The legacy I want to leave them is memories & stories. A knowledge of our family & what we are about. As a child I remember my grandfather telling me stories about his life in the Navy & being fascinated. Granted, perhaps some of my favourite rememberances aren't suitable for 4 years old ears but sharing is power - it gives such an insight. Memories, for me, also remind me of what happiness is. How would you like your spirit to live on? What stories would you like to share with your children that you haven't all ready? How do you want your children to remember you? Why not share a favourite memory with us? What else would you like to be your legacy?
I completely agree with leaving memories and knowledge as a legacy. I love my camera and try and catch as much on camera as possible. I have loads of photos round the house as well as they are treasured items to me. At uni I was always relied on be the one with the camera and even now 15 years on I get emails asking for pictures to be scanned from those days. 

I am also researching my family tree and a cousin has unearthed a typed document from the 1930s which details little stories like an ancestor and family working on an estate and a brother of his cutting down a tree he shouldn't of, so the family were told they were being evicted. As a result the daughters got in a horse drawn carriage and made the journey to the next town to appeal to the land owners who were staying there and as a result were allowed to stay in their home. I also have a hand written diary from a great great something Aunt written in the 1880's of her life on board ship, firstly with her father and brothers and then in later years with her husband. Both these documents go back and the authors are recalling things about their own parents and grandparents so actually take me back to the early 1800's. it is fascinating. From one of them I have found out I use to walk past old ancestors home when at University and one of the buildings now owned by Liverpool John Moores where I sat exams actually belonged to my family where they lived with their servants. I have learnt so much about my Mum's family through these documents, that I would like to leave something similar behind.
4. Special Days - Diamonds & Rings
They say in times of 'economic downturn' it is important for the people to keep morale up & to have events which lift people's spirits. We are certainly doing that this summer with the Diamond Jubilee & indeed the Olympics. Whether you are positively enthusiatic or just plain nonplussed about these giant events, why not have a think about what kinds of events lift your spirits. Could you get involved in some activities nearer to home? Are you taking part in any of the national celebrations this summer? Could you throw a tea party? Could you have a rave? What event, big or small, could you get involved with that would boost morale in your area?
The school PTA are doing a Jubilee cake stall so all buns and biscuits are to be themed to be sold so I am going to get creative in the kitchen for Friday. The Stray in Harrogate has a Jubilee celebration on, on Sunday which we will take the kids to and then we are having family back here for a BBQ and calling it out 'Royal Jubilee decking opening arty' as we have just had some decking put in! I also won tickets to the paraolympics in September so am so excited about that - thank you Sainsbury's!
5. A Big Question - Do You Do Enough?
As a mother (& occassionally a not so groovy one) I am constantly plagued by one, consuming feeling - I'm not doing enough. Of course, it is natural as a parent to want to do as best by our children as we can, but, honestly do we really think we are doing enough? Or are we doing too much? How can we tell that what we are doing is right? I'm not sure I have the answers but I'd love to hear you discuss...
I think as a mum you will never feel you do enough no matter how much or little you do. I a plagued by thoughts I should do alot more reading, writing and maths with my boys especially Little Man as he is 8 and so behind, but he is tired after a full day in school, he is not receptive to extra work on top of the daily reading and weekly homework he gets and I don't want to put him off. Its a fine line between over pushing and supporting. I sit and read with Mini man as well but again by 4pm they are knackered and concentration has gone. it does bother me though, I feel I should do much more. I try and go out alot with the boys, take them places, go to museums and parks and they do get alot from that. Other times though I am conscious they are downstairs while I am on the computer working and that makes me feel guilty, but then which is better me at home working or in an office and them in childcare? As I said though I don't think you will ever feel you do enough as a mum.

All in all I have had a really good week, of course the fab weather helps a great deal and makes me feel happy, but I finally feel a bit more steady with work, time to breath and time to do other things which is really helping me feel more on top of things. Hubby got a bike at the weekend so we also have bike rides to look forward to now which should help cut costs down in the long run.

So that's me signing out for the week, I will be back next week hopefully with another positive, good week!  Thanks Cloe for hosting this week x

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Eye update

Today I had a follow up appointment at the eye clinic following the ulcer diagnosis on Monday.

While I am loving this gorgeous weather we are finally getting, I am also struggling with it as I have been using dilation drops 3 x a day to stop me using my eye so much and give it a chance to recover. These drops dilate my pupil so it is almost as big as the coloured part of my eye which means bright lights hurt. Problem is I can't wear my contact lenses so have to wear glasses which means I can't wear sunglasses. Solution - go half blind! Wear contact lens in my good eye and wear sunglasses!

Anyhow my appointment was 9.10, how a clinic that opens at 9.00 can be running an hour and 50 minutes late within 10 minutes is beyond me, but it was so I wasn't seen until 11am. Thankfully the tiredness I am now experiencing from 48 hours of hourly antibiotic drops has been worth it as the ulcer is almost healed. There is no scarring which is good. They don't know if my eyesight has been affected as the dilation drops gives you blurred vision, hopefully not.

The consultant (a different one to Monday) did say however, I have the start of a cataract in that eye, FFS I am 38 years old not 78. It will take a good few years to develop but I just feel like sitting and crying now (tiredness induced I am sure). I am assuming this is a combination of my high prescription, a family history (my mum had one) and the hysterectomy at such a young age.

I also have a condition called blepharitis which is basically dry eyes, I no longer produce enough fluid so have to use false tears which I need to get from a pharmacist - long term and bathe my eyes in these eye bags daily which I also need to get, all to help my eyes stay healthy.

I am hoping the drops can be got over the counter and are not just prescription only (she wasn't sure). If they are prescription my monthly charges will be £15.00 just for essential stuff as I have to pay for my HRT as well.

I am so pleased the ulcer is fine now, I can wear lenses again in 2 weeks but for some reason I also feel like sitting and crying!

On another note, I rang Boots Opticians on Tuesday to complain that their optician had missed an ulcer on the eye but there are no managers in this week so I rang customer services instead. I almost feel guilty as my aim is not to get anyone into trouble but more to highlight that if an optician isn't sure they should get a second opinion. Anyhow, i got a senior manager call me back to tell they had launched an official investigation into it as it shouldn't have been missed and they would be in contact over the following weeks. I am glad they have taken it seriously and looked into it.

My next battle which is about to commence is to ring about the monthly plan I pay for. II have just paid over £100.00 for a new pair of lenses which got sent at the beginning of this month but as they are not the right fit, I am on a second pair and need to get these checked. I know they are still not right. However, I have no faith left that they will get them right so want to start again with a new optician, but don't want to lose the money I have already paid or be left with a pair of lenses that are not right. So I am going to see if I can have a refund under the circumstances and not take lenses from Boots. Wish me luck, I think I already know the outcome but if you don;t ask....

Monday, 21 May 2012


I am beyond cross tonight, I am so wound up I feel like a coiled spring and woe betide anyone who gets on the wrong side of me tonight!
Why - well here's the story.
When we lived in Hemel, I use to go to Boots Opticians in the town centre. It was a small practice and very good. I always saw the same lady, she knew me, knew my eyes. I have very bad eyesight (most people are anything up to a -6 and these people consider their sight bad, mine are -13!). I automatically transferred to Harrogate Boots, a much bigger opticians as I pay a monthly amount for new lenses yearly and all my eye care. In the last 18 months they have lost my records from Hemel, it took 4 attempts and 4 different opticians to fit a new pair of lenses last year, and this year is shaping up to be no better and I have never seen the same optician twice.

Last week saw me picking up the 2nd pair of lenses in an attempt to get the right fit for my new ones. I also mentioned that occasionally I see a slight shadow across my right eye first thing in the morning which clears within a minute. Due to my prescription and family history I am at risk of detached retina so I was asked to go in on Friday to have my eye dilated and looked at in more detail. Fair enough, I was impressed by the care. The lady I saw (yet another optician) was brilliant and wasn't happy so referred me to the hospital and less than 24 hours later I spent 3 hours on Saturday in the emergency eye clinic seeing a consultant.

The consultant also dilated my eye and was happy with it and said the back of my eye looked very normal for someone with such a high prescription and not to worry so sent me on my way.

Today I should of had a routine contact lens check at Boots, but this morning while on a teleconference my right eye started watering and on investigating I could see a large yellow blister on the white of my eye. I rang the optician who was very undisturbed by it as it didn't hurt and was not impairing my vision and told me to go in at my allotted time. I took my lenses out however as I wasn't happy with it. It has to be bad for me to wear glasses as despite the ultra thin lenses they are still like bottle bottoms.

Yet another new optician looked at it and said it looked like a blister or cyst and was probably nothing to worry about. She could tell I was not happy with this so eventually said it was my decision if I wanted to go to A and E and get an appointment through them with the eye clinic. I asked her to ring through and refer me and she said there was no need and to go to A and E.

I did, organise my mum and dad to pick the boys up and settled down for a 4 hour wait in A and E. The triage nurse said it just looked red but rang the eye clinic and I was told to go and sit and wait there and they would see me at the end of clinic. I saw the same consultant who started by saying she didn't think it was appropriate for me to be at an emergency clinic but as I had waited so long she would see me to put my mind at rest. She took one look at my eye and actually said 'oh my god'.

These are not the words you want to hear. It seems my bloody optician has failed to see a bloody big ulcer on my cornea which has spread to my stroma and if untreated could blind me. The consultant said if I had of gone home by tonight I would of been in agony and probably ended up admitted on IV antibiotics in an attempt to stop it damaging my sight.

I am now on one type of drops which I have to put in hourly for 24 hours and then 2 hourly for the next 24 hours. A second type of drop 3 times a day and some cream and I am back on Wednesday morning to see her.

I am so, so angry. How could a trained optician miss this? The consultant said it should not of been missed. In my time in the hospital the blister had popped which had spread the infection. The consultant said it could be poorly fitting lenses that has caused it, although I wonder if it could of been the drops being applied. Who knows, point is, I was told it was 'probably nothing to worry about as it doesn't hurt'.

Tomorrow I am taking the lenses into Boots, giving them back to them, asking for a refund for the year I have paid and moving opticians to a small private practice. I will also write to head office and complain and if Boots refuse to refund me, then I am going to try and take it further.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Groovy Mum's - back at it

So I did the month long A-Z Challenge and think I burnt myself out a bit as I have just had a 2 week period of no blogs - one extreme to the next. I was away last week for a works meeting which was very full on plus with 600 delegates in the one hotel, the Internet connection was pretty rubbish to say the least unless I fancied getting up at 3am when less people were trying to use it.

Had lots going on, mostly good. I have missed my Groovy mums so hope I am back onto a regular thing here, and hello to all of you old and new

Here are this week's challenge ideas.
1. Body - Best Foot Forward
How are your feet?  Would you happily publish a photo of them on your blog or could they do with a little care and attention?  What could you do to treat your feet this week?

Strangely enough this is something I was only thinking about this week as my feet are a bit minging! Ever since I have started running I have more hard skin and with them getting wet in my trainers I am now suffering from athlete's foot and it is so painful, I had no idea. I am currently suffering at the mo and was thinking I needed to get the pumice stone out and some foot cream and give them some attention. The weather is doing nothing to inspire me to do it but seeing a selection of potential bridesmaids shoes for the wedding in September has inspired me!

2. Mind - New Words
I want you to find 3 new words this week and hopefully ones that mean something to you.

One of my new words which I am liking is cantankerous! I even did a blog post about it for C on the A-Z Challenge. It is just one of those words that rolls off the tongue and sounds nice. I like its meaning as well, grumpy! not me but it describes my hubby pretty well in the mornings!

Ergo is another word I came across this week which means therefore or as a result of. I kept reading this in some of the literature I am searching at the moment for work and admit I needed to look it up but it does sound so much better than therefore.

Abominate - believe it or not this is a word my 8 year old asked me about and now keeps using at every given opportunity. it means to 'hate something intensely'. He did make me laugh despite the circumstances the other night when he was chucking up at 3am and turned round and said he 'abominated being sick'!

3. Spirit - I always struggle to come up with a challenge for this one so if anyone has any ideas on how to move this one forwards, let me know.

For me I just need to believe in my spirit and believe in me again. My confidence is shot in all aspects and I can't really convince people to believe in me, if I don't. I need to like myself again and find me who I know is hiding in there.

4. Blogging - I am inviting you to get behind my new blog hop type thing which will take place on Fridays.  It is called Savvy Online Shoppers (SOS)  It is all about celebrating the things we buy online from the mundane to presents to the spectacular.   Come back here on Friday and find out more.

This sounds really interesting, I will try and log on for it on a Friday's. On-line shopping is something I am doing more of. I don't tend to buy clothes or shoes on line but I am buying more and more like books, dog things, food and presents.

5. Charity Connections - It is #charitytuesday so BritMums are asking people to blog about their charity shop finds and experiences.  If you write a blog, tweet @BritMums to let them know and they will promote the post for you to their thousands of followers.

Again I am using charity shops alot more. One of my new years resolutions was not to spend money on new clothes for me. However, there are things I do need or that need replacing so I am allowing myself only to buy things for myself either in sales or in charity shops (other than underwear or shoes which must be sales items) and it is working. I have had some good finds, most recently the perfect costume for a 1920's fancy dress we are going to.

I also urge you to read these two posts and to take action.  I am really disappointed at the numbers signing up to my #mums4good campaign so any help will be appreciated. Do click on the #mums4good on the sidebar and find out more.  Discovering what it is all about will only take a few minutes of your time .

I have signed up for this and will do a blog post about who I choose and why, please watch this space. Even though work is quieter this week, I am now playing catch up on so much admin and household/personal email stuff I still don't have much time! never ending!!
6. Special Days - Think about an important day for you that is coming up.  It might be a birthday, an anniversary, a day off from work/home or a holiday.  Commit now to making it really special for YOU.  How will you do that?
This year my birthday falls over the jubilee weekend so it is 4 days. Last year I decided to celebrate my birthday with a combined housewarming and invited loads of people, we spent lots on food for a BBQ and booze and on the actual day of the party we were left with my brother and his wife still coming, 2 friends and then 2 friends who were already busy and had promised to try and pop in for 30 minutes or so, so I threw my dolly out of the pram and got very upset about it and cancelled it. My brother bless him knew how upset I was and turned up anyway with alcohol, his wife and little girl and we had a really pleasant afternoon but not quite the party I had hoped for and to be honest, it blew my confidence so even though this would be the perfect year to make something of it, I have been a little burnt and don't want that feeling of being let down again.

I have just discovered though that I have enough air miles to get the 4 of us over to Nice, France on July for just £180.00 so I am trying to find some reasonable accommodation for a week and perhaps we may be going away - that makes me VERY excited. Mini Man is 5 and has never been on a proper holiday. Both boys are desperate to go on a plane so if I can make it happen I will!

7. Twitter Party - All mums and mum-friendly employers and businesses are invited to the #groovywork Twitter party tomorrow Wednesday 16th May from7-8pm.  If you have never attended a Twitter party before, fear now.  Just be on Twitter between 7pm and8pm (you don't have to be there all the time) and use hashtag #groovywork as we chat about all things work-related for mums.

As I am self employed, work from home and juggle my work with all the kids activities and the school runs I  really desperately want to take part in this but Little Man has athletics until 7.30 and there is little reception in the hall, and then it is straight home and bedtime so I am likely to miss it, I will try my best though.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The good and the bad A-Z Challenge

A-Z Challenge

On the 1st April I entered the A-Z Blogging Challenge. The idea was to submit a blog post everyday starting with the letter A as the theme, then B and so forth. I am gutted that my blog has changed onto this new format and for some reason my scheduled post for yesterday did not work so my Z post went out on the first of May.
To complete the challenge we are asked to write a post about the experience, what we have gained, learnt from it etc.

The great bits
I have actually really enjoyed the challenge. I struggle for time to do anything at the moment and knowing I didn’t want to fail this challenge, I managed to find the time to write a post (almost) everyday.

I really enjoyed having to try and think up something to blog about beginning with the relevant letter and this led to a really diverse set of posts – instead of the normal family and everyday trivial posts I normally do, I wrote about all kinds of things from family, days out, travel, history, medical based posts, current topics and it opened a new way of blogging to me.

The challenged asked you try to visit at least 5 different blogs a day and although I didn’t manage 5 every day, some days I did 10 or more so on average I think I managed this. I have discovered a whole new set of blogs to follow, I discovered very different types of blogs and styles of writing and especially enjoyed it when I came across posts for the same subject and yet they were all so diverse.

I have gained about 20 new followers which for me is mega amounts and that in itself has given me a boost.

The not so great bits
These are niggles really – I found it quite annoying that I couldn’t go and visit everyone’s blog who came to mine as very few left their URL – it’s not something I do either but might change that now. As there were around 1900 entries it was impossible to find the relevant people – so if you did visit me and I never returned the favour, it’s not because I don’t want to.

Not everyone turned off word verification and I don’t think I did either (this is my lack of knowledge and the fact I struggled to get disque set up so was riled to muck around with it). I don’t mind the word verification but am I the only one who sometimes (often) struggles to actually make out what the letters actually are!?

I tried to visit some blogs which were private or not really participating. I found it a bit odd the private ones had signed up in the first place.

Would I do it again?
Yes I think I would.
So to the organizers, thank you very much for the chance to take part in this. I really enjoyed it, visited many new blogs and met and gained some lovely new people x