Thursday, 19 December 2013

Blue Microphones - Tiki USB Microphone Review

Tiki is the first USB microphone to combine proprietary noise-cancelling technology, voice isolation and intelligent mute. Combined, these features deliver exceptional clarity for online conversations by focusing on desired sounds and reducing background noise to dramatically improve the intelligibility of the conversations in any situation. Tiki even allows users to switch between two modes: Intelligent Speech Mode for communication and Natural Recording Mode for CD-quality recording of podcasts, vocals or instruments. Ideal for conference calls and chats, Tiki’s voice isolation brings the speaker’s voice to the fore-front while noise-cancelling technology simultaneously reduces unwanted sound.

This mic doesn't look much at first glance, but as I took it out of its packaging I really liked its slick retro design. It is quite small, not much bigger than a regular USB memory stick but don't let its size fool you into thinking its not that good, because its actually a great little mic. It is really simple to use, you just plug and play, no set up needed and no no drivers required to get started which is something I really like. No messing.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this mic, in fact it gets a big thumbs up from The Syders. The sound quality is much better than the built in mic on my laptop and we think it is worth the £49.99 price ticket.

  • Intelligent ultra-compact USB microphone
  • Improves vocal clarity for online communication (such as iChat and Skype) and voice-recognition software
  • Brings your voice to the forefront using voice isolation and noise-canceling technology
  • Eliminates computer fan and typing noise by intelligently auto-muting
  • Recording mode optimized for podcasts and music recording
  • Multi-colored LED indicates muting status and mode
  • Two custom condenser capsules with advanced DSP
  • Plug-n-play Mac and PC with no drivers needed
  • Similar in size to a standard USB flash drive 

Available From Apple Online priced at £49.99

*We were sent a Tiki USB microphone free of charge for the purpose of this review. We have received no financial reward and our opinions are our own.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Rum Christmas Cocktails With #Cbias

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

Finding inspiration for Christmas cocktails was relatively easy. I checked my search engine first, and decided that I'd like to make berry coloured cocktails so I knew I wanted a cocktail that combined rum and cranberry. I found lots of yummy inspiration on Pinterest too.

The Bacardi was easy to find in the drinks aisle of my local supermarket, Asda. There were lots of different Bacardi products on the aisles to choose from like Bacardi Breezers, Bacardi Oakheart - a spiced rum and some ready mixed Bacardi cocktails,  I went for a bottle of the regular white rum. I also found some sparkly cocktail umbrella's in the supermarket party section, just to add a touch of glamour.

Santa's Helper Rum Cocktail - Each Cocktail contains...
  • 1 x capful of Bacardi Rum
  • 2 x capfuls of Coconut liqueur (or Malibu)
  • 2 x capfuls of peach schnapps
  • Pineapple juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • 1 x Candy Cane
  • 1 x fresh lime
  • 1 x small bag of white sherbet
  • Decorations - I used parcel wrap ribbon and sparkly cocktail umbrella's.

How I made the Cocktails...

1. Tie some ribbon to the stem of a wine glass
2. Cut a lime and squeeze the juice on to a saucer
3. Tip your sherbet on to a separate saucer.
4. First twist the rim of your glass into the saucer of lime juice, then straight away twist it into the saucer of sherbet.
5. Add ice.
6. Carefully add your capfuls of of alcohol, then add the juice.
7. Add your decorations and a candy cane as a stirring stick.

We were on our large family holiday when I made these cocktails, a pre Christmas celebration, filled with lots of Family & Friends enjoying the build up to Christmas.  Everyone really enjoyed this cocktail and were pleasantly surprised by how well the combination of ingredients worked together, even the mint of the Candy Cane gave a nice hint of extra flavour. 

Making the extra effort with presentation was such a big hit and I received lots of positive feedback on how fab the cocktails looked. They really were Yummy, I'll be making these again very soon.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

What To Consider When Buying Winter Tyres

As the chill of winter begins to set in, we are beginning to think ahead to ice, snow and sleet. While snow is great fun for the children, allowing them to build snowmen, go to bogging and fling snow all other each other with shrieks of joy, it is not so pleasant for us adults, especially when we have to keep using our vehicles for work, shopping and generally getting around. Driving in adverse weather conditions is nerve-racking and dangerous, so reduce your risk of getting into trouble by switching to winter tyres as soon as the first frosts are forecast.

What are Winter Tyres ?

Winter tyres, more properly called ‘cold weather tyres’, are made differently to summer tyres, featuring a lot more grooves which work to increase the surface area of the tyre, providing a good deal more ‘grip’ on the road. Some winter tyres are designed to have the grooves and crevices fill with snow which can then grip onto lying snow, providing good traction. The composition of winter tyres, too, is different, making the tyres softer and more pliable, which means that they grip the road better.

How Do I Know a Winter Tyre From a Regular One?

When looking for winter tyres, be sure to look for the snowflake on a snow-capped mountain symbol on the sidewall of the tyre. Winter tyres perform well from temperatures as high as 7 degrees C, so you can start thinking about putting on your winter tyres in October or November, and leave them on until March – perhaps diarise it along with changing the clocks?

Where Can I Look for Winter Tyres?

Finding your winter tyres does not have to be a major chore. There are online sites that can help you find the right tyres for your vehicle with just the click of a mouse button. For example, have a look at the Point S website and you will quickly see how easily you choose winter tyres for your model of car!

What Else Do I Need?

Along with your winter tyres, make sure that you pack a winter car kit and keep it in your car throughout the winter. Once the weather turns very cold do not let your fuel tank fall below half, and ensure that your mobile is always charged before driving anywhere. For the car kit itself you should include a shovel and ice-scraper, a small but comprehensive first-aid kit (include a small selection of any medications that family members rely on, such as heart tablets and asthma inhalers, just in case you break down for a considerable period of time) and a thick warm blanket. Add a torch and batteries, but do not put the batteries into the torch until you want to use it, and do not forget warning signs, an emergency flare and booster cables too. Sand, salt or cat litter can help your vehicle grip the road after a skid. Some matches and candles cannot do any harm, but do make sure that you wrap them in waterproof fabric as matches readily absorb dampness from the air. Finally, stock up on high-calorie snack bars and packs of nuts and raisins; all small foodstuffs that will sustain and nourish you in cold weather.

Hopefully, with your new winter tyres you will have no need to ever use your winter car kit, but it is always better to have something that you never need than to need something you do not have! With your new tyres fitted and your emergency pack safely in the boot, you are sure to be ready for everything that winter throws your way!

Author Bio: My name is James Smith. I love to write about automotive industry, travelling, family & lifestyle.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Huggler Photobook Review Plus #Win a Weekend Break for 4 To Jersey!

I was eleven the first time that I visited Jersey. Mum & Dad had recently divorced so Mum took me and my three younger Brothers off on an adventure camping. Boarding the ferry we were excited, rucksacks on our backs, sugar barley's in our pockets, we made our way across the channel. It was a brave thing for Mum to do, to take four kids under 12 and a tiny 4 man tent to spend two weeks on the beach. We had a fabulous time, so fabulous that twenty years later I took my own four kids to stay on the same campsite with my Hubby.

Jersey is a very special place and my Family have wonderful memories from time we have spent there. Recording memories is an important part of life for me, it is the main reason why I blog and take so many photo's. Nowadays we have digital photography, which makes collecting snap shots of our memories so much easier. Recently I created a photobook, a memory book for my eight year old Granddaughter.

The Huggler site is really easy to use, no special software download and you can design your own page layouts. 

All you need for a large hardcover book like mine is a minimum of 26 photos to get started. You can add pages as you go from 26 to 100 pages with each extra page costing just £0.95.
  • Dimensions: 29cm x 22cm (Approx A4)
  • Pages: 26 - 100 pages
  • Price per extra page: £0.95
  • Style: Perfect bound gloss-finish hardcover
  • Photos: Minimum of 26 photos
  • Paper: 200gsm gloss paper
  • Page Layout: 1 - 25 photos per page
  • Book Themes: Choice of themes and 6 different colour covers
  • Creation Time: 30 - 60 minutes
Other sizes and covers available.

Bottom Line - What Do we Think? Huggler photobooks are gorgeous quality and a lovely way to store your favourite memories. Really easy to upload your photo's and create a fab photo book. Big thumbs up from The Syders.

Win A Short Break To Jersey For Four!

All you need to do is upload your memories of Jersey to the Jersey Travel Service Facebook page Here and you could Win a Weekend Break for 4!

Select a photo using the simple upload options, then in no more than 100 words, tell them why you love Jersey and what special memories it holds for you.

Maybe it’s a particular place or view?  Maybe the smell of the sea or wonderful seafood cooking in your favourite restaurant - or treasured memories of childhood holidays.

Once you’ve completed the short form and clicked ‘enter’, you’ll be in the draw. Then you can browse, read and vote for other people’s stories using the “View memories” button.

The winner will be picked at random from all entries submitted, and will win a fantastic short break to the island, to share with close friends or family. There are ten great runner’s-up prizes too. 

*We were sent a Huggler photobook for the purpose of this review. Our opinions are our own.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Guest Post - Things To Do During Your Commute

Recent research shows that commuters spend an average of 37 minutes each way on their daily commute to work. During that time, 70% of people use a tablet or smartphone for more than 20 minutes. Many may just be killing time as they make their way to the office, but there are other more worthwhile things you can be using your tech for on your journey.
Learn a language - Lots of people want to learn a language but feel like they don't have time, so why not incorporate this into your daily commute? Prestigious language software like Rosetta Stone is available for tablet and smartphone, and there are plenty of apps at a range of prices to help you get to grips with the language of your choice.
Explore new ideas - Earlier this year Apple announced that more than one billion people were subscribed to podcasts though iTunes. There's a huge variety of topics to explore each day, depending on your interests or even your mood. If you're keen to hone in on the pick of the pack, you might want to consider a podcast app to help you find your new favourite show, or just check out a good list of top examples.
Watch something exciting - As traditional media adapts to suit our increasingly mobile tech, a wealth of content has now been made available on smartphones and tablets. The big players in subscription and pay-per-view film and TV all offer mobile services, so you can stay up to date with the next big cultural phenomenon, and even tweet along with other fans as soon as the show comes out. If you're interested in streaming something different, there are loads of mobile channels developing independently in the app stores or on recognised platforms like YouTube. Events like TED talks are also a great way to absorb new ideas from quick speeches, while most comedians run their own mobile channel or show if you want lighter fare.
Small screens are no excuse either: smartphones are getting bigger and there's a great range of tablets available, so you can always find something to support your new commuting interests.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Winter Bird Watching With Kids In The Garden

Webbs, a family-run garden centre chain, are keen to get more families out into the garden during the colder months. They like the idea of encouraging children to spot wildlife and nurture the creatures that live in their gardens, so they sent me a bird feeding station to try out with my Family.

Getting birds into the garden during the cold winter months can be a bit of a challenge but with the right tools it can also be easy. A bird feeding station is great for enticing lots of different species of birds, as you can fill it with a variety of bird foods like seed, fat balls, meal worms etc. Creating a sense of safety in the garden for the birds is vital and once you have done that you will gain the trust of the birds and then they should visit your garden on a regular basis.

We positioned our Webbs Feeding Station in our front garden, right in front of our lounge window as we thought it would be really nice to relax on our sofa and watch the birds visiting. We hung bird feeders from the feeding station and filled them with a wild bird seed. We also hung fat balls from the hooks and broke up some fat balls onto the feeding tray that comes with the feeding station. Our main objective was to attract a Robin as they always bring a smile to our faces on a cold and frosty morning, but to be honest I wasn't sure we would actually get any so you can imagine our delight when our first visitor was a Robin!

Our chirpy little Robin visits every day, and he is such a joy to watch and when he isn't visiting we get blue tits. The blue tits are a little more nervous as they flit in and flit out. They are quick, so I was pleased when I managed to get a couple of shots with my camera as they very quickly fed & flew away.

The most visits have been from the Starlings. They are funny, noisy characters and very bossy. They bicker over the feed even though there is plenty for everyone. They are very entertaining, great to watch and they have been visiting everyday, especially as the sun starts to go down.

We have really enjoyed our new visitors to the garden, even my older kids call me every time they spot the birds on the table (especially our Christmas Friend Mr Robin.) A fabulous addition to our garden.

Webbs have a great Birdcare and Wildlife section on their website with a range that includes feeding stations, bird boxes and bee nesters.

What visitors do you like to encourage into the garden?

*We were sent a deluxe bird feeding station for the purpose of this review. We have received no financial reward and our opinions are our own.

Friday, 22 November 2013

How to Help Keep the Santa Claus Magic Alive

There comes a time when your children start having doubts about Santa – it’s inevitable. Whether it’s because of older/doubtful children in the playground, an older sibling telling them or just because they have an inquisitive mind, they won’t believe in the big man forever. That doesn’t mean that you can’t keep the magic alive for as long as possible, though. Every child is different and every parent’s opinion of the make-believe Santa stories can vary but most feel that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with injecting a little extra magic into a little one’s Christmas by making Santa as real as they possibly can. 
One day, your child may spot you heading to your car to bring in some wrapped gifts, or will wait up to see “Santa” only to see their dad bringing a bike or an Imaginext Castle out of the cupboard, but does that mean all the magic should stop? 

For most children, they will usually become a little sceptical about Santa by the time they are seven or eight years old, but until then (and afterwards, if you like!), there’s no harm in keeping the magic alive. Here are some ideas how: 


  • Photoshop a picture of Santa Claus onto a photograph of your house. Perhaps a sleigh on the roof? If you don’t have the skills for Photoshop, you can use a website to do the hard work for you.
  • Fake some ash footprints around the fireplace so that it looks like Santa has popped down the chimney. Make sure you clean your slippers or boots afterwards though so you don’t leave any evidence behind!
  • Use fairy dust or glitter to leave a little bit of Christmas sparkle behind – a great idea if you don’t have a chimney, implying that Santa Claus used the back door.
  • Make an envelope entitled “Santa’s Key” so that the children don’t question how he got in if you don’t have a chimney.
  • It’s a traditional one, but biting a chunk out of the carrot, leaving some crumbs from the mince pie and drinking the sherry will make it look like he has, indeed, been to visit.
  • If you have the access without your kids spotting you, go into the loft and walk about a little. Jingle a bell so it sounds like Santa’s sleigh!
  • Ask older siblings to play along with it so that they don’t ruin it for the younger ones.

Make the magic of Santa Claus last for as long as you can; they’re not children forever! Even after they don’t believe, you can still ensure the magic of Christmas never ends. 


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Gone Crabbing - A Seaside Gift Idea

GONE CRABBING is a thriving British company which was started 5 years ago by a Norfolk Mumpreneur from the kitchen table of her small cottage. Spotting a gap in the market for high-end holiday souvenirs, Gone Crabbing chose Colin the Crab for their brand identity and began producing kids’ t-shirts featuring funky, seaside designs in bright, bold colours. Colin the Crab has since been joined by a host of other creatures and crustaceans on a fun and imaginative range of gifts and casual clothing which embraces our truly great British heritage, traditions, food, people and unique landscapes.
Bottom Line - What Do We Think? I love all things seaside and if I received these items for a Christmas gift I'd be totally thrilled. I wish I had one of those scratch & sniff stickers on my blog so you could smell how gorgeous the soap is, it's truly delightful. The mug is fab and the tea towel is good quality, lovely & bright. All sold separately, they can be put together to create a fab gift package for anyone who loves the seaside. Big Thumbs up from The Syders.

GONE CRABBING have a great selection of stocking filler and pocket money presents as well . . . from crisp cotton tea towels & oven mitts, mugs & coasters, to pencils, erasers, badges, fridge magnets and a fun range of cards.
*We were sent some Gone Crabbing products free of charge for the purpose of this review. We received no financial reward and our opinion is our own.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Cardooo Cards - A Review

Cardooo cards are the only cards that help kids with literacy, numeracy and imaginative development. They are a small company of three people with book publishing backgrounds who have created fantastic story book and activity greetings cards designed to get kids more engaged in reading material in book format. They publish cards that are full of entertainment, activities and stories that are really colourful and engaging.

Bottom Line - What Do We Think? I love them and think they are a fun way to wish someone a Happy birthday, Merry Christmas or Get Well soon. The cards are lovely quality and the illustrations are really gorgeous. They are reasonably priced too at £3.50 each. Cardooo receive a big thumbs up from The Syders.

*We received some Cardooo samples free of charge for the purpose of this review. We have received no financial reward and our opinions are our own.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

SnapBox Canvas Review

I love to hang my favourite photo's on the wall. They give our home a personality, a sense of who we are and who we come from. I have many photo's and it is always difficult to choose which one to use in a canvas, but when SnapBox contacted me I knew immediately which one to use, my Mum when she graduated from The University of East London.

Using the SnapBox site was so easy. I tried it from my mobile phone first and it was really simple, even for someone like me who usually has to call the kids to help me operate my phone. Once uploaded, you can edit and apply filter options to your photos to give different effects such as black and white, sepia and vintage. So I uploaded my chosen photo, emailed it to SnapBox and within a few minutes they emailed me back with a preview of how my canvas will look.

If you are happy with your preview then you continue with your order by choosing your required size. Prices start from £19.99 and sizes available are:
13 x 13 cm
13 x 18 cm
20 x 25 cm
23 x 23 cm
25 x 33 cm

Bottom Line - What Do We Think?
The canvas arrived really quick, within a few days and was packaged superbly. I love that it is a canvas inside a frame which makes the canvas really pop out. It gives a different spin to the usual canvas. The quality is lovely and I've had a lot people comment on how lovely it is. I love how easy the site is to use from my phone, perfect for uploading all those special photo's that I have stored on my Smartphone and putting them onto a canvas.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A Younger Me


A Younger me was crazy about Madonna, fancied Nick Kamen, watched Pat Benatar's video over & over, wanted to be a fashion designer, told everyone that one day I will write a book, kept a diary religiously, went to church, was a Mormon, partied hard, got grounded, smoked on the top deck of the bus, got grounded, bunked off school, got grounded, loved my 5 little Brothers with all my heart, would fight anyone who upset them, prayed every night, gave Thanks for my food, got drunk, run away from home, begged for my dad's attention, never got it, cried myself to sleep, worked in a poodle parlour, on Romford market and in Dolcis. I loved Christmas, King's night club, lace in my hair, bangles up my arms, hairspray, black nail varnish and blue eyeliner. I was a wild child, made loads of mistakes and learnt a lot about life.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Crocs Winter Boots - A Review

Way back in 1984, I was a fourteen year teenager. We were fast approaching Christmas, snow was falling heavily so I was wearing my moon boots that I had purchased that day from Romford market. I was all dolled up with clumped electric blue mascara, heavily applied Heather Shimmer lippy and tinsel bows in my lacquered hair that was starting to flop from the cold, wet snow, but I didn't care as I was  linked arms with my mates, singing Wham's last Christmas out loud for the whole World to hear. Good times and great memories.

I love that a lot of the eighties style is back in fashion, and I literally squealed with delight when I spotted Croc's Crocband Multi 11.5 Winter Boots. How retro are they!!! 

I have never owned a pair of Croc's before, so didn't really know what to expect and as I slipped my foot into the boots I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they are super comfy. I have quite wide feet, so I warn you now that these boots do come up small. I usually buy a size 5 or a 6 depending on how wide the footwear is, and I found that the size 7 Croc boots fit me perfectly. So if you decide to buy a pair of these beauties then you will probably need a size up.

I went for a nice long walk wearing my Croc winter boots, the weather was cold and drizzly but my feet were kept dry, comfy and snug. The quilted, nylon upper with puffy fill kept me really cosy.

Bottom Line - What do we think?
We seriously love them! So much so that my teenage girls have claimed both pairs that I was sent to review, which really surprised me as my thirteen year old is usually very difficult to please. My eighteen year old is super fashion conscious and is in the photo's below, demonstrating how fab they look on. We just need some snow now, so the girls can really enjoy them. Very retro, very cool!

Available from priced £69.99

*We were sent two pairs of Crocband Multi 11.5 Winter Boots free of charge for the purpose of this review. Our opinions are unbiased and completely honest.

Monday, 11 November 2013

This Day 24 Years Ago I Got Hitched

I woke to Mum banging on my bedroom door "Come on, time to get up!" As I poked my head from under my duvet I could hear the buzz of excitement downstairs. Two of my five younger Brothers,  were on the landing whispering to each other excitedly "Is she up yet?" and as they pushed my bedroom door open, I sat up, and pulled my heavy curtains to one side, nervously checking the weather. It was dry. I felt a sigh of relief and smiled as I thought of today's date, the 11th November 1989. I knew it would be a date that I would never forget, a date that would change my life forever. 

I quickly jumped out of bed and ran downstairs to join the rest of my Family, some of my younger Brothers were sat at the kitchen table eating sugar puffs and Mum looked like she was about to have a nervous breakdown. "You better eat something now Emma, cos you don't know when you'll get the chance again!" The thought of actually consuming any food made me want to vomit, so I politely declined and instead made my way towards the kettle.

Five hours later and I was dressed all in white and heading down the aisle of the church that I was raised in. My Family and Friends faces were all there smiling at me and I could see my baby Brother, ahead of me climbing all over my Mum. I thought my legs would give way as I tried so hard to concentrate on not tripping up. 

The ceremony quickly passed without a glitch, although in a bit of a blur and today, twenty four years later I recall the morning of my wedding day with a happy heart. Happy 24th Anniversary to Papa Syder, my soul mate, my best friend, the one & only love of my life.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Bottlegreen Drinks - A Winter Warmer

The nights have suddenly turned really chilly haven't they, we have already made a dent in our winter log store as we cosy up with Family & Friends. Bottlegreen Drinks have a lovely range of hot non alcoholic drinks, that are a perfect alternative to mulled wine or hot cider, perfect for sharing with loved ones on a winter's night. Three delicious flavours are available: Spiced Berry, Ginger & Lemongrass, Coffee & Blackcurrant. These cordials are a tasty warm treat for the whole family.

Available from all good supermarkets across the UK, Coffee & Blackcurrant is exclusive to Waitrose and spiced berry is only available from October - January. Priced at £3.15 for 500ml.

*We were sent a sample of bottlgreen free of charge for the purpose of this review. Our opinions are our own.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Life Lessons Learned - Listograpghy

Totally thrilled to see Kate's Listography back. It's a fab linky and it is kick starting with a subject very close to my heart as over the past ten years (probably like most of us) I have learnt some really painful life lessons.

1. Live For Today - During my Mum's last days seven years ago, she told me she had a few regrets. Her main one being, that she spent too much time working and not enough time with her Grandchildren. You see, she was working so hard trying to pay off her mortgage so she could retire and spend that missed time with her Grandkids, but she never got to do it. The pain and regret in her eyes was unbearable, as she told me to always live for today and not worry about tomorrow. Mum's wise words changed my life.

2. Watch Who You Trust - This has been a hard lesson for me to learn. Over the years certain people who I thought would always have my back turned out to be only interested in themselves and what they can get their grubby little hands on. Sounds harsh I know, but it's been a lot of people, not just one or two and I've been totally devastated by the actions of family & friends who I genuinely thought cared about me and my Family. I find it very hard to trust anyone these days.

3. Fight To Be Yourself - I no longer feel hurt when people snigger because I like to be creative, because I like to write, crochet, sew or tend to the garden. I no longer care what people think about the way I like to dress or how many more tattoo's I will get. I no longer make excuses for the way I live my life. Why should I, I love what I do. So what, if I'm different from you. So what if my opinions and hobbies are different from yours. So bloody what! I'm not perfect, but neither are you.

4. Speak Your Mind - Go, on...Do it! It is truly liberating. I used to hold back, bite my tongue, let people walk all over me. Not anymore, Hell No! I fight my corner and I stand strong for what I believe. Tell them exactly how it is and take no s**t!

5. Appreciate The Genuine People In Your Life -  There will be genuine people in your life. They will be loving, giving, caring, loyal people. Appreciate them, love them, support them, treasure them, adore them, fight for them. Never ever take them for granted. They will always have your back.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Cancer Genetic Testing - My First Appointment

Our Mum

Shortly after losing my Mum to Endometrial Cancer in 2006, I visited my Doctor and very nervously asked "Is Endometrial Cancer hereditary?" Her response "Not at all, your Mum was just unlucky". I felt a bit uneasy with her answer as the Internet was telling me a completely different story. However, I put it to the back of my mind, (thinking the doctor must be right) until last May when I spotted Angelina Jolie in the news speaking out about having a double mastectomy after learning that she had a 90% risk of developing breast cancer. 

I felt sad that Angelina had also lost her Mum to cancer (breast) aged 56, the same age my Mum lost her battle with cancer. I could relate to her concerns about hereditary risks and began to look for more information to see if I also had a hereditary predisposition to certain cancers. I discovered that my Mum's cancer did carry a risk of being hereditary, especially as she was so young (only 56). To die from a cancer that usually effects women in an older age bracket was quite rare, so I realised that maybe I should go and speak to my new doctor about it.

I explained my fears to the doctor, and also the fact that I had recently lost my Nan (Mum's Mum) to Ovarian Cancer in 2011. He agreed to refer me to the Great Ormond Street cancer genetic specialists and within a few weeks I had received an appointment for six months time.

Yesterday, I went for that appointment. I expected to walk in, be given a simple blood test and walk out again. However, the procedure wasn't that easy. The appointment lasted 45 minutes with a genetics specialist, who introduced herself as a cancer genetic counsellor. I found her to be really professional, sympathetic and informative. I was asked all about my family tree, the medical history of my Parents, Grandparents, Great Grandparents, Siblings, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. I felt really emotional as we discussed my Mum's diagnosis, her symptoms and how quickly we had lost her. I was told that endometrial, ovarian and bowel cancers are all connected with hereditary risks. I was then medically informed about my options, should it be discovered that I am high risk of genealogical cancers.

The specialist will be requesting my Mum and Nan's medical history over the next few days and if it is confirmed that they had endometrial and ovarian cancer then I will be offered a blood test and if necessary preventative surgery. Of course, I feel anxious about having surgery, but if Mum had, had surgery in her 40's then she may of still been with us today. I feel sad that my Mum was never given a chance.

Having this genetic testing is taking a huge weight off my mind. I feel Thankful, that I am in the position of having a choice, unlike my poor Mum and I will do everything I can to reduce my risk, . I feel lucky that I have a good doctor and should the genetics team come back and tell me that my percentage is high, I will have options that could possibly save my life.

Linking up to Michelle's Reason To Be Cheerful

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Stocking Filler Idea - Mini Lalaloopsy Loopy Hair Doll

The Syders are big fans of Lalaloopsy, so we are always thrilled when we discover a new product. The new Lalaloopsy Loopy hair dolls have hair made from real wool that you can curl, twist, plait, brush and straighten into loads of different styles. Each doll has its own unique wacky hair made from yarn, which children can play with over and over again.  The doll is dressed in a cute outfit and comes with a fun hair styling brush and hair clips to create endless silly styles. 

There are four different dolls to choose from:

- Peanut Big Top™, who was sewn on 1st April from a clown’s costume. She is a silly prankster who's a little bit clumsy and loves to make her friends laugh.
- Jewel Sparkles™, who was sewn on 13th March (National Jewel Day) from a real princess' dress. She is very graceful, a little bit bossy, and loves to dance and wear sparkly clothes.
- Spot Splatter Splash™, who was sewn on 25th October  (International Artist Day and also Picasso's Birthday) from a painter's overalls. She's super creative and loves bright colours, big messes, and eating spaghetti. She has a pet zebra.
- Mittens Fluff 'N' Stuff™, who was sewn on 21st December (First Day of Winter) from an Eskimo's scarf. She loves hot cocoa, snow fights, and snuggling by the fire. She has a pet polar bear.

The cute new Mini Lalaloopsy™ Loopy Hair dolls, with amazing wool hair, are also available to collect in the range. The dolls are miniature-sized versions of the larger Loopy Hair dolls, which can fit inside the palm of your hand. They each come packaged in their very own houses, which children can keep to help recreate the magical world of Lalaloopsy™ land for themselves.
The sweet dolls have moveable arms, legs and head. Each character is individual, making them perfect to collect. Mini Lalaloopsy™ Loopy Hair dolls are priced at around £8.99, suitable for ages four plus and available from all good toy retailers nationwide.

Bottom Line, what do we think? We are Lalaloopsy fans and when we were recently at the Lollibop festival, we were thrilled to discover Lalaloopsy was there. What we like about these miniatures is that they are small enough to pop in a pocket or handbag, so they can be taken anywhere to keep your little one entertained. We think these mini dolls make the perfect stocking filler for any Lalaloopsy fan, as they are really cute, bright and fun. Big thumbs up from The Syders.

*We were sent a Mini Lalaloopsy loopy Hair doll free of charge for the purpose of this review. We received no financial reward and our opinions are completely our own.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Milly Green Doodlemat Review

Milly Green Doodlemats are perfect for practising drawing, counting, writing or just plain old scribbling… They provide the perfect antidote for overexposure to the iPad (and they don’t require batteries)!

The Doodlemat is supplied with a black dry wipe pen (and pen clip) allowing the melamine surface to be wiped clean again and again! The cork backed mats are available in two sizes (approx. A4 and A3 - ideal for tabletops and little laps). Children love interacting with the colourful designs.

There are twelve different designs to choose from, ranging from pirates to ballerina's. The mats are lovely quality with a cork backing and they wipe clean easily. They are perfect for stocking fillers and are ideally priced for Grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles etc to buy for their little loved ones.

Milly Green also offer cork backed personalised activity mat that can be used as a conventional placemat during mealtimes and as a surface for all sorts of arts and crafts at other times of the day.

For more information visit

Personalised Activity Mats
Standard Size (29cm x 22cm ):£16
Large Size (39cm x  29cm): £24

Standard Size (29cm x 22cm): £10.50
Large Size(39cm x 29cm) £16.50

*We were sent two Doodlemats free of charge for the purpose of this review. We have received no financial reward and our opinions are completely our own.


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