Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Gruffalo Adventures by Liska and Aaron for Tell a Story Day

Aaron loves the Gruffalo stories, so a couple of years ago while out shopping, we bought him the teddy. One sad day, we realised that the Gruffalo had left our house. He was a lost teddy bear and we needed to find him quick. The other toys said he’d gone to a quiet forest, so that he could look for the snake, the fox and the wise old owl. Aaron insisted we drive him to the forest. Aaron decided that if he looked for the mouse he would find the Gruffalo. But Mummy insisted that Aaron should first look for the snake and remember what the toys had said. If he found the snake, he would find his lost teddy bear. Aaron looked for that snake, high and low. But sadly, could not find it, no matter how hard he searched.

He searched in the woods, he searched on the rocks,
he searched in his shoes, and on tip toe in socks.
Silly small Aaron, didn’t I say,
I’ve never seen a snake, in the UK.

Aaron heard that in cities, foxes are urban, so he headed for the path out by the road. He was determined to find that cunning fox. Find the fox, find the bear.
Foxes go out by the road at night, they don't risk it in broad daylight
Foxes are cunning with a steely mind, We must think like a fox, for him to find. 
Silly small Aaron, didn't I say, "It'll be tough to find a fox in the middle of the day".

Aaron decided his luck was in. It’d be the wise old owl that would lead him to his lost teddy bear, The Gruffalo.
We listened, to hear a twit twoo, but alas the forest was silent. Not a noise, not a peep. All we could hear was birds as they tweeped.

Wise Old owls can be seen in the day
But you have to time it right
Just after dawn and just before dusk
Ready, look up, let’s sit tight!
We heard the hoot in the trees ahead
But we did not see that owl
I looked at Aaron to see if he minded
His face was ruined with a scowl!

Silly small Aaron, Didn’t I say,
"It’ll be tough to see an owl, before he flies away!"
We were just about to get in the car to go home, when Aaron remembered the real star of the story. Who was everyone afraid of? No, not the large Gruffalo. But instead the small mouse! The strong, quick thinking, brave mouse. Small in body, but big in mind.
So off we went, with our eyes to the floor
We’d find that mouse, before hometime for sure!
Where the mouse would be, so too would the teddy
Once we’d find our cuddly Gruffalo then we’d be ready!

Aaron quickly packed his rucksack, 

off to find that elusive mouse

He was so determined to get, 

his Gruffalo back to our house!

He found the mouse, he did, my boy,

never give up, that’s his ploy.

The mouse was asleep
our Gruffalo under his head

Aaron tip toed in
And changed that mouse’s bed

Silly old Mummy
Didn’t she know
It’s the Mouse who’s the star
Of the Gruffalo

Find the mouse, find the teddy
The adventure’s complete, now for home we’re ready!

I hope you enjoyed this story, which was written by Liska NewMumOnline and son Aaron, especially for Tell a Story Day on 27th April, in conjunction with Room to Grow. There are lots of bloggers participating. I will link to them as their posts go live:

Room to Grow are on Twitter: @RoomToGrowBeds
and Facebook: Room To Grow Beds

For this challenge, we were provided with three prompts, as the basis for the story:
  • a character: a wise old owl
  • a setting: a quiet forest
  • an object: a lost teddy bear
I hope you like what we came up with.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Shared Parental Leave Everything You Need To Know

From 5th April 2015 Shared Parental Leave went live for those people whose baby is due on or after 5th April 2015 and this includes adopted children, as with the majority of parental legislation.

Last day at the office before maternity leave.

Despite not working since Summer 2012, I have a huge interest in this area, not just as a mother, but also as a professional as I was a HR (Human Resources) Manager for the last 6 years of my career, and began my time in the HR sector 2 years before that (all of those years in a Head Office environment).

Although to be honest, as I went straight into Retail Management from University every single position I ever had involved HR, as it always does when you are a line manager. 

Yes, this can be to a lesser or greater degree depending on how competent and independent you want to be in your role, but in the blue chip companies I worked in, we were encouraged to know our stuff. 

However in a retail environment this meant knowing current stuff which Shared Parental Leave now is, but in my last few Head Office roles, I had to research forthcoming legislation changes often looking 3-10 years ahead, so I have known about Shared Parental Leave for a very long time.

Reading up on it now, to refresh my knowledge, the thing that grabs me, about how it has been launched (post consultation) is how the leave can be taken in blocks. That will appeal to a lot of people. 

You can book up to 3 separate blocks of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) instead of taking it all in one go, even if you aren’t sharing the leave with your partner. 
If your partner is also eligible for SPL, you can take up to 3 blocks of leave each. You can take leave at different times or both at the same time. 
Interestingly SPL does not replace maternity leave; it starts once maternity leave has finished, and the 2 weeks compulsory maternity leave that was in place still stands. As that 2 weeks must be post birth it is added to any maternity (or adoption) leave that you take before you are due. Confused yet? I'm used to the technicalities surrounding this, as in my second from last job I actually spent 6 months writing the company's Working Family Guide, but if these kind of rules wrap you up in knots, see the infographic below.

If you are not used to reading employment legislation it can be a tad confusing to get your head around it. When it applies to you, when to notify your employer etc... etc... so it is marvellous that GoToMeeting have produced this fabulous Infographic below. To see it in all its glory and to read the full article go to: Shared Parental Leave Everything You Neeed to Know 
I do remember feeling devastated when Daddy's paternity leave of 2 weeks came to an end, and I did get post natal depression, so this kind of flexibility would probably have worked really well for us as a family.

What do you think? If you are pregnant will you be making use of it? Is it just the ticket for your family?

All the best,
Liska xx

Are You a Frugal Mum Coupon Addict Who Loves a Money Off Voucher?

If so, then I've just been introduced to a great website, which gives you money off vouchers, or links to great deals, on up to 2,000 brand websites. When you first go on to the site, you can type in the name of your favourite retailer in the search box, top right, or you can filter your search, in the box top left, by choosing a retailer category. You can even select your budget...

Here are the many reasons to use

Just so you know, when you click on "Show Voucher and Visit Site" if it then says "activated" in the pop up box, then you do not need to enter a discount code in your online shopping basket checkout. The discount is already on the brand's website.

However, if there is a unique discount, then a code will pop up, such as this one "KNOWHOW50" for Currys, which is one of the site's most popular retailers. That code applies to their mobile pay monthly broadband unit. 

I love that Voucher Bin tells you in the end column whether vouchers have been successful - thankfully the majority of them have a green thumbs up, with the words "100% success".

You can even get Hot Vouchers by Email by subscribing with your email address on the homepage (on the right hand sidebar).

It's not just products on there either. One of their brands featured currently is

Personally I love the clothes on if only either Aaron was older, or Daddy dressed like that ha ha. I do have a cousin in his 20s who would love those clothes though - must tell him about the voucher codes. The Zavvi code that just caught my attention is:

25% Off on New Zavvi Products


New Zavvi voucher: Flash Sale – Extra 25% Off Jeans + Extra £3 off when you buy 2 pairs. Includes Jack & Jones, Brave Soul, Voi Jeans and Smith & Jones.
Thanks to Voucher Bin I have just discovered that Homebase is doing up to a third OFF garden furniture - hoooraaah!

This would be JUST the THING for my patio.

I can even see myself sitting on it. Either my imagination is too good or it is just a classic consumerist: I WANT!!!! That's not the only Homebase offer on either so head to Voucher Bin and click on Homebase and you can see a summary of all of the current offers! Perfect for the sunshine which has graced us with its presence! The set featured here has been reduced from 500 GBP to 300 GBP. The chairs do not fold away, for Winter, to go in the shed, so Daddy wouldn't let me buy it but a girl can dream hey?

If you head over to Voucher Bin and see any great offers do let me know.

Liska x

Collaboration with Voucher Bin. But all words and all opinions my own.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Going on a Walking Adventure Ends up a Hiking Adventure

Now the sun is out to play, Aaron and I are back in the great outdoors. I don't drive, so when Daddy is at work, it means A LOT of time on my feet. We walk for miles sometimes and have done since he was born - I don't know HOW my buggy lasted through all the many long adventures it went on. All the walking keeps him slim. He has bucket loads of energy and stamina. I'm really not sure where my *coughs* healthy figure comes from, given the miles I walk. Clearly I need to change my diet, but I know this...

I've had what I thought was gout for the past year, and I have now had it confirmed by about 4 different people that it is definitely plantar fasciitis. I got flip flops the other day, the German cork soled ones... you know the ones that begin with B. They are great and don't seem to aggravate my bad foot at all. BUT they have given me a blister on my bunion.

But when Aaron goes off the beaten path (i.e. hiking) as he did just yesterday in the picture you see above, Mummy can't really follow him in these (below)... and given we have an upcoming trip to Wales, it is time to look for the correct walking attire. Looks like I can stay "in the pink" AND these are affordable:
Hiking ladies boots for under 50 pounds
I don't want to miss out on great views just because my footwear isn't safe enough or practical enough to get to great heights. Views like this are worth hiking for. Another pic from yesterday:
Yesterday, he had as much fun climbing on the rocks as he did playing in the playground adjacent to it. Would have loved to follow him up here but I am not really steady on my feet, even more so in incorrect footwear so I watched. But watching him happy and free range is a complete joy!
The thing I love about hiking boots is the ankle support that they provide, which I am really lacking at the moment. Having plantar fasciitis and walking cautiously and tentatively for a year has made my ankles really really weak! The above Jack Wolfskin ones seem good and high too - just what I need, and they stop just before my fat calves start ha ha!

Great thing about ordering these hiking boots from Cotswold Outdoor is:
Click & Collect: FREE
Buy now and collect from store
Standard Delivery: FREE
Free delivery on orders over £30.00. Buy now and deliver to your home.
Next Day and Named UK Delivery: £4.95
Buy now and set a fixed day delivery to your home
Returns and Exchanges
Hassle-free returns to UK stores or by post
If money was no object though, I would get these Salomon Women's Comet 3D Hiking Boots. Having worked in footwear for 6 years, I know firsthand how necessary it is to have Gore-tex when walking in the British climate! Breathable but guaranteed to keep you dry!

And of course you CAN go trekking in sandals - such as these Jack Wolfskins - as long as you have the right support - the sort of sandal that can be adjusted in three places: heel, ankle and toes. That means you can jog along, without any slippage. Great security for 360 degree movements.

Hopefully, with the right footwear I can keep up with Aaron and he won't be a dot in the distance like this:
Do you go on long walks trekking, hiking or trailing? What do you wear?

I am sure the road ahead contains lots of adventures for Aaron and I, given the pace at which he attacks life. I want to be right there by his side for all of it
And that means losing some weight and getting fit, just as much as wearing the right thing on my feet!

Bye for now, Liska xxx

Collaboration with Cotswold Outdoor.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Ten Reasons to Go To Weston Super Mare seafront!

I am going to list below 
you really MUST 
go to 
Weston Super Mare. 

After reading them you can even watch this short 10 minute 
edited soundtracked video 
Vlog of our day :-)

1. It may not be the most golden of sands, but it is not a pebbly beach. Hoorrahh! At low tide it can be muddy but that's only near the water. I adore the sand! Even when the sand is dark/wet it's all the better to make sandcastles with and yes it sticks to you, but as soon as dry, falls off just the same as the white/golden stuff. Ignore the reviews that speak of mud - near the road it's as lovely as this even at low tide so dive right in like my Aaron:
2. The Land Train along the sea front is wonderful. I made a video of our trip on it this Thursday. It goes at a decent speed and provides a quick pleasant way of seeing some views. It enabled Aaron to spot the playground which we'd never otherwise have found as we hadn't planned on walking down that way.
3. The Grand Pier is fab. This is my friend Jane's video of her 11 year old's birthday party there:
4. The Weston Wheel is fab. I will be uploading a You Tube vid in the coming days! Yes the capsules are open, but the railings are good and high. You get to really enjoy the weather and the views on a sunny day. Also love the music they play on it. If you hate that feeling where your stomach rises as a ride descends, you don't actually experience that on the Wheel, which is GREAT as I hate that too. Literally cannot bear it. The Wheel goes at a good pace without that happening - thanks be to God!
5. We've been twice now and Aaron just ADORES the donkeys namely Jake, Paddy and Sandy :-) A ride down the beach and back up is a very reasonable 2 pounds!
6. There is a Premier Inn right on the sea front (they're one of my favourite hotels). Love their consistently high standards throughout the chain. I haven't yet stayed at that one though but we saw it from the Wheel (as you will hear when I finally edit and upload the footage).

7. There is a fabulous adventure playground with a water park (splash pad) on the seafront. It's 1.50 pounds to get in but free till 1st May. It's well worth a visit
8. It's a beach that is largely unspoilt. You feel as if you are being transported back to the 1960s (in a good way). It doesn't have the franticness of Brighton and the prices are way more reasonable!
9. There is currently a fab sand sculpture on, which is very affordable to access.
10. The best bit of Weston Super Mare is it doesn't get insanely busy like other beaches. Yes I took these pics in April (including the one below) but there is truly a slower pace of life in Weston that will chill you out and lower your blood pressure in a way that Brighton cannot (maybe my personal opinion) but you can't beat a holiday in the West Country to chill you out. Look at the speed at which a local says Brighton compared to the speed at which a local says Somerset. Says it all really ;-)
A lot of regeneration has taken place at Weston Super Mare including rebuilding the Grand Pier which was sadly burned down in 2008, and reopened in 2010, so it is spotless. We love the carousel (think horses like Mary Poppins style, on a merry go round - just opposite the entrance to the Grand Pier), which we went to last Summer, but sadly it wasn't open on our recent visit of Thursday 16th April.

When we stay at home, Aaron often makes me want to climb the walls, but at Weston, HE was climbing the walls. I'd say that ranked as one of his favourite parts of the day:
If you are within driving distance go on a day trip and if not, stay for a few days/a weekend. You won't regret it. I love the old fashioned cafe on the seafront where you can get a plate of chips for a pound. Told you it wasn't Brighton!!!!

Our trip to Weston made us very happy indeed
Liska xxx

Monday, 13 April 2015

My Wish List for Summer Knitwear

My shape has changed and so too has the weather, so I need a couple of jumpers for the evenings or cooler days. 

I will be publishing a video shortly, but basically I have a waist again - hooorrrah. We're now in that changeable weather where the days are hot but the late afteroons and evenings are cool/cold. Perfect for a skimpy jumper. Shapely, but with some warmth.

Thankfully I have been introduced via blogging to Woolovers which is just the ticket. You'll have read in recent blog posts, how COLD I get when I am in the park with Aaron for hours, particularly when it nears sunset. Yes, it's warm when we arrive, but NOT when we depart for home. 

A Spring/Summer lightweight jumper (or two) would be just the ticket and cashmere, cotton, silk and wool sound like divine ingredients!

I wanted to show you my personal favourite lightweight Summer jumpers if I were to buy a jumper right now. My wish list is here:
Do you like my choices, or do you see something you like more? If you forced me to pick ONE, or my budget, most likely dictated that I could afford one, it would have to be number 3. 

In case you can't read the text on my collage, here are the details and where to find them:

30% silk / 70% cotton
26 pounds or 2 for 45

90% cotton / 10% cashmere
29 or 2 for 52

30% cashmere / 70% merino
38 or 2 for 70

30% cashmere / 70% merino
49 or 2 for 90

I love that when you hover over colour options, the picture of the item just automatically changes colour.

Woolovers is a really lovely website with a great deal of choice. The colour selection alone is phenomenal. I love the materials, colours and the fact that they've been going 26 years with such a bespoke tailor made service, so targeted to their consumer's tastes. I better stop looking as now I have just spotted the Aran coat cardigan which would be perfect for a Summer's evening *drools* and how perfect, with my son being called Aaron ;-) and it's only 49 pounds, despite being pure British wool!

This post is a collaboration with Woolovers.

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