Friday, 21 November 2014

Win a Copy of the New Game The Sims 4

New Mum Online has teamed up with EA 
to offer you the 
chance to win 
a copy of the 
new Sims 4 game.

Since EA’s original release of The Sims in 2000 the game has sold more than 175 million copies of the series making it one of the most successful video game series in history.

The Sims 4 boasts a whole range of new features ranging from creating Sims to building houses and exploring new worlds.  With rich emotions and quirky personality traits the all new Sims are more expressive than ever.  Storytelling with The Sims 4 is more powerful, more fun, and weirder than ever. 

New menus and layouts put life at your fingertips with everything you need to know conveniently available at all times.  Take your Sims back and forth; live in one world, visit the gym in another, pursue relationships across multiple neighbourhoods, explore for collectibles and secret locations. The world is your oyster. 

A free update has also been announced, with EA introducing swimming pools, Star Wars costumes and Ghosts to the game.  You can now build rooftop and infinity pools as well as dressing your Sims as your favourite Star Wars character including Darth Vader and Princess Leia.

Creating a Sim has never been so much fun, using direct manipulation gives you easy, all over control to make whomever you can imagine, from original Sims to simified versions of real-life people. With more support for ethnicities and body shapes than ever, there really is no limit to who you can create.

Follow The Sims on Twitter 
or via the hashtag #TheSims4 
or like on Facebook

The Sims 4 is available to buy from for £49.99

To enter my competition and unlock other ways to enter answer the following question:

What is the name of the language that Sims speak?

1.  Simlish
2.  English
3.  Dutch

Added to Super Lucky Di's December Blog Comp Linky, which can be hopped over to via this button:
SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

How Low Can You Go

It's not a good day. It's a cry at the drop of a hat day. Worse still, when I am in that mood, Aaron gives me reasons to cry.

I got up ten minutes late, but still tried to stick to our normal routine. As Aaron sat on my knee having his breakfast and watching TV, under the blanket that has become necessity since the dark cold mornings began, I read this: "You don't have to be a writer". Even though I knew some very good writing would ensue, given the capabilities of that blogger, I was already stopped in my tracks by the heading. When I realised that my writing is below par, I stopped writing from the heart, quite some time ago. Given that I already was not a foodie, or a crafter, or a home interiors, or beauty blogger, it didn't leave me with much. Which is why you more often that not just see blog posts that are a showcase of "we did this" or "he did that". The heart and soul went out of my blog a long time ago, and recent readers would not even know it was ever there. But it was. Oh yes it was. 

But I put my blog and a piece of my broken self in a tupperware box, and it was only reading that post this morning that made me come face to face with that reality. Not whilst reading. No, of course not. Whilst reading I was caught up in Mammy Woo's world, enjoying her writing style so very much and feeling empathy with everything she described. My overwhelming feeling whilst reading, was that I was so so very glad that she was back. The blogging world is quite a two dimensional place, and it is people like her, would provide its colour. I like colour.

So, back to my morning. I got in the shower late. But rushed like a loon so that we made up for some lost time. As he often does since the mornings got colder, Aaron stayed watching TV whilst I got the bikes out. Today is the first day that the curtains were still closed as we left, as it was THAT dark, but thankfully it wasn't actually dark by the time we set off. Thank God as despite buying red and white lights for both of our bikes months ago, I still haven't put them on.

There's a slight incline shortly after we leave here, and Aaron always cycles up it. I always walk, being that I am not as fit. Today he struggled as he was in waterproofs and his school shoes were slipping on the wet pedals. As I could see he was struggling with the incline I put my hand on his back, careful not to push as I know only too well that he likes to do everything. everything. by. himself! Anyway he went loop the loop. "Why did you push me?" "I can do it by myself" and so on. He went to go back to the start, to prove he could do it by himself. This is where I went into a panic, because two days ago we were so late, the register had already been done, so we'd had to sign in at reception. It'd made me feel like we were listed in a naughty book and I swore I would never go through that again. My panic overspilled and I said to Aaron "you can't cycle up again, we can't be late and I don't want to end up in that book" - he saw my distress, didn't know how to process it, and went into "paddy" mode. When he saw this distressed me further he was at a complete loss and started to kick me again and again, with a line of cars stuck in traffic staring at us. He then said "I don't care if you go in that book" "I want you to go in that book" and I cried. Right there in front of the traffic a 4 year old boy made me cry. My.son.

I then went through the motions. We cycled to school. We padlocked the bikes. I walked him round to his class. Just as I was about to leave the class, after taking off his waterproofs and hanging up his coat, they started to sing the "we've stopped we've stopped we've finished song". Aaron came over to me, so that we could sing it together before I'd leave, like we do everyday. I had eyes full of tears and a throat that wouldn't swallow. I couldn't do it. I couldn't act. Acting is a lie and I never lie. So. I pushed him towards the carpet, and said "Aaron go to registration". He wouldn't leave my side so I said "Aaron you kicked Mummy today, so no, I am not going to sing with you". He looked completely crushed and my heart broke into a million pieces right there and then.

As I left the classroom the tears fell.

I was left with mixed feelings. "Would his hurt spoil his day?" wrestled with "Good! Now he knows how I feel". Only, because I haven't got a wicked cruel bone in my body, the first was loud and the latter was a mere whisper. I never, ever, ever, want people to know how I feel. This is the very essence of my problem and always has been. So no, I didn't want to hurt Aaron. But, I could not sing. What's worse is, the Teacher's Assistant heard me tell him that I wouldn't sing. I would never normally show vulnerability like that. Aaron's school life is perfect and I want it to be ever so. But the dam of tears and the floodgates of emotions were open. Reading Mammy Woo's post had ensured that. The genie was out of the box. Pain was outside. The tupperware box was open.

I left the classroom at the same time as two other Mums and we had a bit of a giggle and order was restored. But then I bumped into the headmistress and we ended up talking PTA stuff. To cut a long story short it meant I needed to go back into school.

I went to reception, so that they could print out something I had emailed them a week ago. I was able to say the date that I'd sent it etc.... I waited ten minutes while they looked for my email. I was then told "can you send it again". I knew that the internet data on my phone ran out about a week ago. I knew it doesn't refresh till 24th. I knew that this would mean cycling home, and then cycling back in again, so that I could cut up all the tickets (I'd designed about 8 to a page). I knew that today was the first day I had to myself this whole week. I knew this wasn't going to work for me. I knew I would put myself last and do it. I always do. I quietly left the building and got on my bike and cried all the way home.

Anyone reading this will wonder. Why does her not being able to find your email make you cry? Well the answer to that is ever so simple. Since my self esteem issues began, I have felt invisible. THAT I have blogged about before. Her not finding my email was yet another symbol of my invisibility. The word invisible doesn't even enter my head. It is a feeling, that has a note, like a musical note. Whenever anything occurs that is at the very essence THAT, it is like a knife in my heart. When I am "myself" of course something like that wouldn't bother me, it'd be like water off a duck's back. But broken me, doesn't like to be invisible. Broken me wants to dance on tables and shout at the top of my voice "I'm here". Hey and my email is too.

I feel fine now. But the come down after a cry like that isn't really fine. It's NUMB fine. So today I will sleep walk through the day, in that numb way that is my way of coping. I guess that too, is something that Mammy Woo described. Another reason I resonate with her post.

So that's me. You see. Now you know why I don't write like this, because really I am NOT a writer. Yes, I can string a sentence together, but THAT is not writing. Writing has a melody and a style and I have neither.

EDIT: I didn't have to go back to school after all. The wonderful school secretary printed everything out and cut up the tickets, so all done. I had a lovely sausage and bacon sandwich and order was restored until walking back from the shops a car was so keen to overtake a bus that it did so, whilst driving through a LARGE puddle that resulted in the puddle becoming my clothes. Not normally a problem, but I was carrying a packet of toilet roll in and amongst my shopping, that I had not put in a carrier bag........... GGGgggrrrrrrrrrrrr! 

Sorry, I totally forgot to say, I found this this morning and it is brilliant:

Bye for now, Liska xxx

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Waterstones The Place to Go For Children's Christmas Books and Advent Calendars Without Chocolate

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser: Waterstones. All opinions are mine alone.
Christmas Books Shopping List for a 4 year old boy
I went shopping to Waterstones yesterday for Christmas books for Aaron, with advent more than Christmas itself in mind.

I didn't necessarily plan on buying 5 books, but I did, which meant I ticked every single one of the items on the shopping list I had in my head:
Waterstones Christmas Books Haul including pop up advent calendar
  • 1. Something for advent. A beautiful pop up calendar Dream Snow by Eric Carle (the author of  the much loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar) became the thing that is going to steer our advent (with the help of our Card Factory ELF). We've done chocolate ones in the past, and all that happens is Aaron is so enjoying the chocolate that all windows are opened in 1-2 days. I have bought a chocolate one but it is hidden in the cupboard. THIS pop up calendar will be our thing this year. Start of some *new* beautiful family traditions, and the start of making advent something really special and *magical* for Aaron. Hopefully Mummy and Daddy will enjoy the magic too. I can't find it online, but then you can experience the festive feel instore if you go shopping to buy it the traditional way like I did. It's hard to give you an idea of the size of it, but hopefully you can see that the tree is taller than "my" ;-) Faraway Tree paperback. Yeah, it blew Aaron away, and there's a Santa next to it which is again quite large, but slightly smaller.
  • A wish list book. Stick Man by the people who brought you The Gruffalo - Julia Donalson (Author) and Alex Scheffler (Illustrator) - has been on our wish list since the beginning of September (I must confess I had not heard of it before). I knew it was just right for these festive times and just had to have it. We read it last night and Aaron said "there's the fox from The Gruffalo". The Illustrator has made him identical which was incredibly cute. It's almost like seeing an actor from a show in something else LOL. It also taught me that when Aaron is listening to a book, he is taking everything in, visually too if it is a picture/illustrated book.
  • Something I (Mummy) would like to read. The Magic Faraway Tree Collection - Three Books in 1 by Enid Blyton. This was an easy decision. I adored The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton when I was little so I was thrilled to see Waterstones selling a 3 in 1 book.
  • An educational book. I got a "Fun With Phonics" pack that contains 5 books and a CBeebies DVD so that I could do phonics with Aaron. Not necessarily my best idea but we'll get there. It's for ages 3 and up and is superb value at 9.99 pounds. Aaron's never been a huge CBeebies fan, but if your child is, then this is incredibly GREAT value for money.
  • A bedtime story book. For this I got The Puffin Book of Stories for Five Year Olds by Wendy Cooling and Steve Cox. Last night we read the short story about the elephant. The stories are short enough that they are perfect for bedtime, but detailed enough that the concentrating little one gets exhausted from taking it all in. PERFECT to get a busy mind to focus and doze off ;-)
The reason I bought more than I intended and spent more than I had planned is because firstly it is SO festive in there. There is a buzz from both staff and fellow customers. Two, the store is merchandised SO beautifully and three, there are so many good ideas in there like the advent calendar, which Aaron and I ADORE. The proof that he is that bit older and wiser now, is I did manage to convince him not to open any windows, and he understands that he can't until 1st December, although he doesn't fully appreciate how far away that day is.
Dream Snow pop up advent calendar by Eric Carle
Aaron's favourite thing out of the 5 things I bought was by far the advent calendar. He adores opening and closing it (that's to make it pop up, NOT the doors themselves). LOVES the Santa and the tree! The advent calendar had another fan after Aaron went to bed. Our Elf was snooping trying to see what's inside the 5 gift (pop-up) boxes that surround the tree:
Card Factory Elf investigates the advent calendar
There's currently nothing in them, but I have a plan. The Elf himself will be tasked with putting little gifts for Aaron in those boxes during advent. Because the brilliant thing is, not only do they pop up and surround the tree but they also have little lids on them that ACTUALLY open!

The Elf was quick to catch up with Santa once he'd checked out the calendar and the gift boxes it includes. They needed to have a good chinwag to make plans for advent and Christmas:
Pop Up Santa from Eric Carle's Advent Calendar and our elf
I did the shopping in Waterstones yesterday while Aaron was at school. When I collected him, I told him about the books as we cycled home. I began by saying "I bought lots of things for you today" to which he bombarded me with questions as we cycled: "is it toys?" "is it something to eat?" "WHAT is it?"

When I eventually gave in and said books, he said "no, not books, books are boring" which is an odd thing for a boy who adores reading, and has a huge book collection to say. Anyway, we were near home when he said it, and I knew the advent calendar would soon change that, but in actual fact he came across the phonics book first as he went straight to the TV when home, and as I'd been watching the DVD he found it. He sat on my knee and we read one of the books and watched the DVD but I think it'll need to be one for the weekends or holidays as it reminded him too much of school I think. Don't get me wrong, he is extremely happy at school and adores both of his Teachers, BUT after a long day, it's nice for all of us to unwind, no matter our age! Hey?!??!

Shortly after, we went to the advent calendar, and just as I'd hoped, he ADORED it. At first he was in awe of it, and then he just couldn't stop exploring it.
Large pop up advent calendar by Eric Carle
He must have opened and closed it 50 times last night, but that won't be nearly as exciting as the 1st December when we actually get to open a window AND, it isn't chocolate that is inside...

*Here's the magic *

...but rather each window contains a decoration for the large pop-up tree. By the big day 25th December Aaron's cardboard tree will be fully decorated. I know he'll have so much fun doing that, and it will mark the beginning of each day. Technically Advent starts 30th November this year.

If you love the Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child as we do, then you will adore Stick Man. I bought it yesterday in the same small size card hardback book that the other two we already own are in (beautiful gift those two were from Siobhan, my friend, for Aaron's birthday), and we've wanted it for ages, since we read it at school in September. It's been on my wish list, as I love the Christmas ending that makes it so perfect for THIS time of year:
The Perfect Christmas read from the people who brought The Gruffalo
The small cardboard hardback one is so perfect for handling when you're curled up with a little one in bed. Once the excitement of the advent calendar had died down Aaron straight away wanted me to read Stick Man and then we read it in bed again last night.

I then moved straight onto the Story Book for 5 Year Olds, and read one short story from there. It was a real fun tale about an elephant. 

Then my kind boy said "Mummy don't you want to read your favourite book" - thanks Aaron :-) so I quickly, with glee, moved onto Enid Blyton and was immediately transported back in time. At first he said he was frightened (by the Gnome) but I soon cheered him up. As the book has quite flowery language, he went dead quiet taking it all in (and by osmosis extending his vocabulary at the same time) and I thought he was nodding off, but about 10 pages in, he asked me a few questions, and I could tell he'd listened to everything. It's a real experience when you read a non-picture book to a child for the first time. They listen in a much more focused way, as the words form pictures in their minds, which I think is wonderful for firing off imaginations. Shortly after his questions he did indeed nod off as it was 20:30 and he gets up for 07:30 and his ideal sleep time is 11 hours, so like clockwork he went to the land of nod, and Mummy? Well Mummy was in her element reading the favourite book of her childhood, so I may have carried on and read another chapter. I even kept reading out loud so my voice would sooth him as he went deeper into the land of slumber. The book is a trilogy and I hope Aaron lets me share it all with him! In order to fit this much story reading in at bedtime, you need to schedule it as part of your routine. No point starting when they are already tired, as only two things happen: (a) they get grumpy and frustrated keeping their over tired selves awake to hear the story or (b) they nod off and miss it, which although is great, so you can crack on with other things, means you've both missed out on the beautiful quality time that a bedtime story brings. I am so glad we did this #CollectiveBias "shop" as the last few weeks we'd dropped our bedtime story routine, which we'd got so good at, but I won't let that happen again - it's just too magical.
Christmas instore merchandising at Waterstones UK
If you like books and you like shopping, I'd get yourself to Waterstones. I honestly felt like I'd walked into a Christmas Grotto of sorts and the reminders that it's Christmas are everywhere, with the tasteful signage you see above. I felt so obliged to get something educational, my first stop was this section (below), where I spent a large proportion of my time looking at the "school" type reading/phonics books. Thankfully to the left and right of them there's lots of fun. To the right is where I found the Faraway Tree trilogy in a lovely Enid Blyton section.
Layout of the childrens corner of waterstones
The front facing The Magic Faraway Tree Collection you see below is the one I purchased, but sadly there was a piece of racking behind it, to hold it forward and I couldn't see a copy from the shelf to replace it with. I didn't like to think that it wouldn't be there for another customer until it was replaced from either out the back or a delivery. Ah well maybe I am a unique customer, but I like to think everyone likes a bit of magic in their stories.
Enid Blyton on the shelves of Waterstones
The store was incredibly busy. A lady next to me was choosing three different books for triplets. Unlike us, kids haven't got into Kindles, so books really are the perfect gift. 

Please let me know, what are your favourites? I say you, because don't we enjoy them as much as they do? Having Aaron opened up a whole new world of magic and literature for me.
Waterstones Loyalty Scheme for purchases instore
Bedtime's been a dream (forgive the pun) since we've had our new books :-)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

What to Buy a Little Boy Who Loves Wheels, Cars and Trains for Christmas

A child that likes trains and cars I find is a child who can entertain themselves for hours. When Aaron was very young we hooked up with old friends of ours from school. Our school friend's wife explained that her son adores trains and tracks - she showed us his favourite wooden track that he plays with for hours. Aaron loved it immediately, and at that point was already into Thomas, so I went the next day to buy him a simple inexpensive (figure of eight) wooden train track and we've never looked back. He progressed quickly so Christmas 2012, by which time he was two and a half, was all about trains and tracks - he received a large wooden town and track from Santa 2012 and a Thomas take 'n' play track which was from our Uni friend Rob. He still plays with them both two years on and there've been many tracks added to his collection since. So if you have a little boy in your family, or your extended family, then you know what to buy them for Christmas - hours of fun!

Now, every time we get back from a day out he's on the floor playing with cars, trains, trucks or tractors. Anything as long as it's got wheels, except now he's big into Planes too, but his recent "Dusty" Plane DOES have wheels. Of course he's into role playing so he adds voices to the cars that don't already have them. The mood determines whether the play is gentle or a bit more rough - sometimes cars crash, but he happily plays it out.

Tesco has a huge online toy selection that would satisfy all of Aaron's car toy tastes and needs, from BigJigs tracks to Brio, from Hot Wheels, to Fisher Price, Thomas, Peppa Pig, and Planes. If I showed him their toy selection I think he'd want it all. It's all there with the added bonus of being able to earn Clubcard points as you shop. Selected products even qualify for Clubcard Boost - a great thing when there's so much you can do with Clubcard points. It's fabulous to see additional Take n Play track pieces there too, as I'd love to add on to some of Aaron's main stay tracks to make them a bit different and further fire up his already extensive imagination. Personally I wouldn't recommend a garage, if your son is anything like Aaron. He played with his garage so little, that I gave it to his best mate, who to be fair plays with it a lot more. Aaron prefers playing on the freedom of the whole floor, or on a track.

I'd highly recommend the large Lightning McQueen cars as that's another thing Aaron's played with every day for two years. He has about 5 large cars from the Lightning McQueen range - some even have voices and pull out wings. Currently on the Tesco site there is a "Disney Cars Silver McQueen 1:24" remote controlled car that is only 20 pounds and qualifies for ClubCard boost!

Actually I'll adopt an Aaron head. I'll channel 4 year old Aaron and tell you what his top picks would be :-)

This is the Lightning McQueen car I mentioned:Cars Silver McQueen 1:24 Remote Control

Aaron's had one of these for years and adores it, so it would be perfect for a younger boy:
 Fisher-Price My First Thomas & Friends Remote Control Thomasit's only 13 pounds.

I've seen this advertised on TV and Aaron would love it. Fisher-Price Thomas Avalanche Escape set. It's 30 pounds and qualifies for ClubCard Boost:

If you are buying for a young Thomas fan then this is a great starter set:
Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends Trackmaster Motorized Thomas & Track Setit's only 10 pounds, but it DOES qualify for Clubcard Boost and will amaze little ones as the Thomas is motorized. Grandad was the first person to buy Aaron a motorized Thomas. Like this it was a simple circular track yet Aaron simply adored it.

So, if you are looking to do toy shopping, don't know where to start, and can't face the shops (or the wind and rain) buy online from the comfort of your armchair. Lots to choose from and lots to bring joy to a child this Christmas.

Aaron's favourite toy of the last few weeks is his Mega Bloks First Builders Fast Tracks Rescue Team which Tesco is selling for 32 pounds and it does also qualify for Clubcard boost. Below you can see it in action and this is a configuration that we invented which is not on the box. The picture top left has a red and yellow car from another Mega Bloks set which we also have that is currently 14.99, as the set below actually comes with 3 rescue cars from each of the 3 emergency services. I love this particular configuration and we had it set up like this for weeks.
WOW, I was going to end this post by saying that even though I am advocating playing with wheels. Every type of wheel be it tractor, trailer, train, car, whatever... Aaron also plays with other things. The main one being his beloved Transformer Bumblebee, but I just checked on Tesco and they are selling it for 25 pounds! Gulps! I paid 35 for it from Toys R Us, but it seems it's now on sale for 30 and Tesco are taking a further 5 pounds off that. So Transformers 4: Age of Extinction Mega One Step Bumblebee is only 25 pounds. Yes, I am gutted, could have saved myself a tenner and got boost points too!

Happy Christmas shopping. This was us last year (hhhm I only wish I knew where that jumper is):

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Avoiding Growth, Self Sabotage and Being a Spiritual Mum on the Run

As a spiritual Mum on the run, the easiest way to avoid our inner work, is to go out. Out to the park, out for a walk, out of… our very selves.  
A late bonus extra month (and more) of Summer, the driest September since records began, means we had some more of this. 
The Autumn leaves reminded us that this would soon end, but the temperatures allowed us to remain in denial. A cold snap came, maybe Autumn was here after all, but then we were teased with a glorious hot Halloween. 
All of a sudden Christmas is in our eye line, yet Summer is not long since waving goodbye, still very visible in our memory’s wing mirror. This year it would seem Autumn is to be beautiful, with less layers required. The wind and rain have made an appearance but only fleetingly each time. Those of us whose mood is so effected by sunlight have had a stay of execution, before the dishwater overcast grey skies come to get us.
Let’s batten down the hatches, and be ready, before the call of nature makes it an absolute requirement.
So what makes you tick? The energy of “now” is asking us that. Some bloggers are harnessing this and posing that question directly to you. You can join in with Mama and More’s weekly #AllAboutYou linky . When I first wrote this post I linked to
which that week came with the bonus of a way to connect via Instagram using the hashtag #AllAboutYouNow
But now, this week's post is just as inspiring "All About You Link Party"
My inner journey has been too long, in recent years, because I am in resistance, rather than actual spiritual practice and it is simply because the changes that transform us the most, are the hardest to embrace, especially when we are naturally the sort to self sabotage. When we are at the edge of a time of great growth or transformation, that - with me at least - is the time to run for the hills and do ANYTHING other than GO WITH IT.
This is the time when inner, not outer work is required. I am finally embracing these darker months, as I know they will facilitate early morning yoga. Rising 2.5 hours before dawn, for the special ambrosial hours, is a more respectable time of day in these winter months than it ever could be in Summer. For someone like me, who has not practiced yoga since 2010, starting a morning routine that commences at 5 a.m. is considerably easier than 3 a.m. Even more so, given that I am a morning person trapped in a coffee addicted body. Yes, I will be dealing with THAT addiction too, and resuming my consumption of delicious homemade yogi tea, which incidentally is a beautiful aroma to fill your home with at 5 a.m. The warm mug, that accompanies you to you yoga mat.
Do you take on the feelings of others? Like a sponge? Such that you don’t know where your feelings begin and their feelings end? You may too be an empath like me. I have been researching this for some time now, but it is also considered by Mom On a Spiritual Journey
Another question. Is it even possible to BE spiritual AND be a MUM and be in the WEST? This is a question I have been asking myself daily since becoming a Mum in 2010. If you too regularly ask yourself this question, then you may enjoy this read: What if Budha Had Been a Mum? A thought provoking quote from that very post:
What if enlightenment is simply our ability to live as we do while not seeking a magic panacea for life’s challenges … and what if that includes not comparing our current world to the world that existed in the times in which those masters lived?
Because, after all, it is being MINDFUL in those challenges, that makes us who we are. Also, those challenges, reflect who we are. We create our own reality, and it begins inside, not out. It begins with our intentions, our desires, our self worth. On the horizon, we see what we believe in, and we then draw this to us. We can manifest a new horizon. When we choose to steer our ship, instead of being flung about by the waters of the sea, that’s when true transformation begins. Hey let’s even CHOOSE the ship before we get in.
Let’s make as much effort designing our destiny as we do in putting together that Autumn craft that we so badly want to post on Instagram. I write because I am avoiding craft. You may craft because you are avoiding writing. Let’s decide where our points of resistance are, and dive right in. The things we find the hardest to do, are often the ones we see the most sense of satisfaction from when completed.
Also, when you do something that nourishes your very soul, the world can tell. All of a sudden, like minded souls will connect with you. They sense that you are connected with your inner divine, and you doing so, means they suddenly realise they can too. It's like you shining gives them permission to shine too. There's a famous quote along the lines of that right? A bit of a higher version of “smile and the world smiles with you”. Remember:
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” - William Arthur Ward
We are now in the Aquarian Age, where people have to have a personal experience of what we describe. We have left behind the shackles of the Piscean Age where people would take our word for it. THIS is why children now don’t just “do as we say”. It is not  the case that we are all into middle class parenting that contains no structure or discipline. It is that the subject, the child, has changed. We as parents sense this. Children now, need to SEE US demonstrate what we want them to do, and then they need to EXPERIENCE it. So there is absolutely NO POINT in telling them to tidy their toys in a messy house. Yes they might do it if you yell and holler, but wouldn’t you want them to do it, because you have SHOWN them all the reasons that they should. In a loving home, a child will want to please you, because they can FEEL this makes things GOOD. As so many Mums realise, the change begins with US, and the child then follows suit. You’re angry, the child is angry. You yell, child does too. You are suddenly ZEN, surprise surprise, child is too.
If you really want to experience yelling less, then a fabulous book has just launched:
Yell Less, Love More and it includes a 30 day book club.
I know what my trigger points are, and I am working on them. I hope this book will further my journey, which reminds me, I must buy it for my Kindle today. I love the Book Tour blog posts that I have read. Lots of Mums/Moms out there embracing change.
Amanda, from The Family Patch, so eloquently explains the many benefits that can be experienced by getting out in nature. That post is a feast for the soul. A reminder of the me-time we HAVE to create. We do have to make this time for ourselves, and over recent years I have seen the blogging community get better and better at this. It helps when: role models like Annie champion this. That post is a feast for the eyes.
So, what have you done for yourself lately? To propel you on your life’s path? To ensure that your soul is growing, as your tension dissipates?
You know, you don’t have to attend a yoga class to experience its many benefits. If you are fit and able to do this simple pose, try Archer pose. It applies pressure to every cell in the body and strengthens the entire nervous system. By applying a stretch to the sex nerve that runs along the inner thighs, this exercise stimulates your potency to develop courage. Remember we are spiritual beings having a human experience, so if you feel your spirit soaring and your body dragging you down, time to do the breathing or the asanas required to address the imbalance.

I'm joining in with the All About You linky. You can too, just click here:

Mama and More

Monday, 17 November 2014

What Do You Buy The Coffee Lover in Your Life for Christmas

Well I can answer that question straight off; for the coffee lover in your life, you buy them a Nespresso coffee machine, and I think they will love you and Santa forever! I would!
This is us learning how to be a Barista, but a smaller Nespresso version can see you be a Barista without leaving the house. Perfect for those lazy Christmas PJ days!
I am fuelled by coffee. The machine that is Liska goes about her business purely on the strength of coffee (that's a lie, I consume a fair few cups, more like buckets, of tea too!). When the coffee / caffeine runs out, this brunette sleeps! Which thankfully I was even able to do last night despite spending the whole day drinking coffee yesterday.
On the long journey home in the car, my phone's charge ran out, so given that I don't drive (Daddy's job) and Aaron was behaving well, I was at a loose end and played with the settings on my camera. The above 3 pics of the cocktail maker (didn't catch his name) are 3 different effects: one, the original (far right), another a water colour (far left) and another an "illustration". Truth be told there isn't much difference in them, but he was great, and is the Manager of the Tea House (Waterloo Tea) we were in, and once did the cocktails for Lady Ga Ga's birthday in Oz. I know!!!! Luckily I saw the cameramen spend quite some time with him outside, so I think, if you watch this space, we will get to hear more about his skilllzzzz.

The place is full to the rafters of staff who know their stuff. We had to move from "station" to station to participate in all different "workshops" and the chap who taught us Latte Art did this:
A photo posted by Liska (@newmumonline) on

So in addition to moving around the room in groups to attend these demonstrations we were also treated to a rather fabulous lunch (none of my photos do it justice). What I loved about the latte art (despite not getting remotely close to the swan OR heart Simon demonstrates above), was drinking a beautiful milky coffee. This was a very appreciated latte after the "cupping" session. Cupping was where they laid out lots of Nespresso blends (flavours) and we walked along like wine tasters with a soup spoon each and took a sample from each cup to swill over our whole palette. When the coffee hits the rear quarter of your tongue it tends to have a bitter taste. The only one that didn't have this was the Vanilla which soon became my favourite! So, after having done "Cupping" twice; once as part of a workshop and again, where it was a competition that I won :-) I was thrilled to be able to drink a Latte. My art was crap (as I wasn't watching during the lesson) but boy did the latte go down very well.
Nespresso do a machine that includes a vessel (carafe) for milk (the machine that I link to at the top of this post) so if you love your coffee milky like I do, then that's your ticket, OR if you have a machine, that just simply pressures the water through your coffee then there is an amazing add on you can buy. It's called an Aeroccino! I videoed the Nespresso chap who works specifically with Currys, (it's currently loading up to You Tube and ta da it's done - below!). By watching that, you will discover that their coffee is the best 2-3% in the industry AND the pressure that the water puts through, in their machines, is unbeaten by their competitors. So the two words I have underlined above, have nothing minuscule about them. Both the coffee and the pressure are at the top of their game. By owning a Nespresso machine, you can join their exclusive club which sounds amazing too!

There's currently a promotion where if you buy a bundle - A Nespresso machine and an Aeroccino together - you get 75 pounds off your coffee. Click on the red bold Aeroccino above to find out more.

I was too shy to do a selfie in the packed event, but as you can see above I did sneak one in on a trip to the Ladies :-) Looking a little slimmer thanks to all my #SchoolPedal school run cycles.

The event was marvellous. There were a handful of parent bloggers but the rest seemed to be food, lifestyle and beauty, which guaranteed you an interesting conversation with whomever you met. I guess it was just lots of fun to meet lots of new people. 

I made a list of the people I chatted to, so a special shout out to:
Levi Jade
Lovely Appetite
The Little Nomad
Cardiff In a TeaCup
Cookies and Cwtches
A South Wales Blog
A Fashion Oddity
Ginger Fee - can't find this one online
Ojos World
Munchies and Munchkins

I didn't write them in my notebook as I know them already, so I nearly failed to mention the wonderful Laura that is Side Street Style and the lovely Debbie that is Johnson Babies, both incredible bloggers.

If you are still undecided you can read "Why Nespresso?" here.

You can probably guess from the broad smiles on the ladies in my collage, that they have just won a Nespresso machine each - lucky ladies. I won a bottle of Prosecco so that is New Year's Eve sorted:

A photo posted by Liska (@newmumonline) on

Oh and for anyone who reads my blog to see my lovely Aaron. He did come on the long journey to the event but spent the afternoon in the local area with Daddy. He was a very lucky boy and got a new toy. I was so thrilled with the photos I got of him when I met him after this event, that they have a post of their very own that I rushed off the blogging printing presses this morning: My Gorgeous Boy.
Looking incredibly serious I am trying to be a Barista. 

Disclosure: I was entertained all day, kept in coffee, cocktails and refreshed with a beautiful super foods lunch. In addition I received a "Currys" canvas shopper bag which contained a complimentary tube of espresso cups. I have not been told what to say, nor have I been pressured to blog at all; therefore all words above are my own.

For Christmas