Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Friday, 26 April 2013

Flashback Friday - The Power Ranger Jab!

It's been absolutely ages since I last joined in with Flashback Friday, I used to link up regular back when Cafe Bebe hosted it, then when she stopped doing it I just got out of the habit of linking up every Friday. Then, yesterday, as I took my 13 year old for the 2nd course of her HPV vaccine , I was reminded of the time when my middle Son went to have his pre school booster jab when he was four and I thought it would be a good flashback to join in with again. 

It was quite a few years back now, as our Sons are 22 & 23 this year, but the memories of that time feel like yesterday for me. I loved my time as a young Mum and wish I could have my four all small again.

The year was 1995 and middle Son was in the queue at the clinic, waiting for his pre-school booster. He didn't realise why he was there at first, until he saw another little boy walking out of the nurses room, crying. He suddenly remembered being in the same waiting room, twelve months earlier with his big brother. "I'm not going in there Mummy!" he cried. I instantly began to feel anxious. Taking our babies for their vaccines always upset me. Luckily, I took Papa for moral support and he quickly blurted out "You've got to go in there, how else will you become a Power Ranger? You are here to receive your Powers"

The little white lie worked an absolute treat, as our four year old Son, very bravely walked into the treatment room, sat down and told the nurse "I'm not scared, cos I'm going to be a Power Ranger!" His little face looked so excited, but afraid at the same time. I felt guilty for lying to him, but as he walked out of that treatment room with a huge grin on his face, my guilt subsided. All the way home he kept saying "Look Mum, Look what I can do now!" as he jumped up into the air and threw a Power Ranger punch. Papa and I giggled all the way home.

Twelve months later it was 1996, he turned five and was all ready for his first day of school, after receiving his Power Ranger jab, of course.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Reasons To Be Cheerful

It has been a great week here at The Syders place...

1. I went to Ikea and come home with a Poang chair & footstool. Seriously, Aren't they the most comfortable chair that you have ever parked your bum on? Hell yeah!  

I remember my Mum first bought these chairs back in the 90's and ever since I have been promising myself one. I'm thrilled with my purchase, and so is the rest of the family.

2. The sun has been shining so I've spent a lot of the week outside. I start to feel so alive as I tend to the garden. We made 6 trips to the tip, because I've been removing some bushes that had got out of control. 

Also, the Hubby has built me a vertical plant stand so that I can grow lots more veggies.

NOMINATE ME BiB 2013 LIFESTYLE3. I've only been shortlisted for a BIBS in the lifestyle category! I can't believe it, I'm so thrilled its unreal. I've been writing my blog for nearly 5 years now and being shortlisted for this award means sooooo much to me. I actually cried when I spotted my name on the list. I checked it about 30 times, before it sunk in. Thanks so much if you nominated me, I'm chuffed.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Gallery - Expressions

Papa Syder when he is passed a giant doughnut.
His expression tells us all we need to know about his love of sugary donuts.
I'm not sure he was planning to share.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

I've Been Shortlisted For A BiBs Award!


I'm really, really, really thrilled to have been shortlisted for a very prestigious BritMums Brilliance in Blogging Award in the Lifestyle category. Very exciting!

The shortlist is made up of 16 blogs, 11 represent the top nominated blogs and another 5 chosen by the BritMums team for their excellence in each area.

What happens next?
Having been nominated and shortlisted we now pass on to the next stage, voting.
Votes open on Monday 22nd April until May 12th and the Survey Monkey has been created to allow one vote per person. Only 6 finalists will go through from the 16, (4 with the top votes and 2 chosen by BritMums). The finalists will be announced on 22nd May.

I am so excited to be shortlisted and I would love to get through to the next round, but I really need your votes as I'm up against lots of fantastic blogs. So, if you would like to vote for The Syders blog, then you can by clicking that gorgeous brilliance in Blogging button below. Thanyou so much, I'm chuffed to bits!


Plenty Super Strong Review

The Plenty Super Strong challenge was set.

Fill a shopping bag with all this shopping 
(It did contain chocolate, but I'm afraid it didn't make it to the bag, oops!)

Tear off one piece of Plenty kitchen towel.
Fold in half, slip it through the handles of the shopping bag
And lift.
Yes, lift the bag of shopping with one piece of kitchen towel.

"Yeah Right", I thought to myself.
I was sceptical.

Well, I was very surprised. 
The piece of kitchen towel was so strong that it easily lifted the full shopping bag with no trouble.

I must admit whenever I buy kitchen towel I usually buy the budget one from the supermarkets own brand, but after trying Plenty Super Strong I will be buying this on a regular basis. I have been using it for everything. I've scrubbed my kitchen & bathroom floors with it, and it doesn't rip. It is just as strong as using a cloth rag. Brilliant stuff, I love it!

*We were sent a big bag of shopping and a roll of Plenty Super Strong free of charge for the purpose of this review. We received no financial reward and we always give an honest & unbiased opinion.

Monday, 22 April 2013

A Year In The Life Of A Raised Vegetable Bed

It feels like it has been such a long winter and I've been so eager to get outside and plant my seed potatoes. The past week has felt so much warmer, so I have been busy in the garden preparing my raised beds for this seasons crops.

My raised beds were really overgrown, but after a bit of digging over and some help from the hens, they were ready for seeding. Getting out in the garden always raises my spirits, and the muddier I get the better I feel. Apparently mud under your finger nails stimulate our skin receptors, causing a release of serotonin to the brain, which acts as a natural anti-depressant. So, gardening really is, very therapeutic.

I had left a bag of potatoes growing over the winter period and as I emptied the bag, I harvested some delicious fresh spuds. The satisfaction you get from growing your own food is immense. This is a year in the life of a raised bed.






Did you have a good harvest last year? Have you started your seeding yet?

Friday, 19 April 2013

Lollibop - The Big Bash For Little People

I've been saying for a while now that I'd like to take our seven year old Granddaughter to a festival. I think she is just that little bit too young for a proper concert, so a kids festival is perfect. We have been invited to Lollibop 2013, which takes place August 16th - 18th at The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, and we can not wait. 

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park said: “This summer at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park there will be something for everyone. We are delighted to be welcoming LolliBop to join this year’s line-up. LolliBop encompasses some of the best loved names in children’s entertainment, as well as quality theatre, crafts and activities. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park begins to open from July 2013 and will be fully open from spring 2014. We are on track to deliver a fantastic summer events series and a great legacy for east London.”

Described as the big bash for little people, it promises to be a fun packed weekend filled to the brim with everything from live music, theatre, walk-about performance, sport, literacy, interactive demos, workshops, dance lessons, circus skills, cooking classes and more.

LolliBop Live – playing host to some of the biggest names in kids entertainment, with live music and performances from stars of stage and screen.  Headliners coming soon…

Lollipalladiam - is a live theatre tent showcasing performances from pioneering and internationally renowned companies and artists.

The LolliBop Kitchen where creative little cooks will have the chance to learn new skills from live demonstrations and interactive workshops.

Tween Town will host a number of activities including street dance, hula-hoop, and beat-box workshops.

Imagination Stations - A hub of creativity with lots of mess and mayhem thrown in! From clay modeling, puppet making, customised fashion workshops, balloon modeling, graffiti painting, face painting and much more

Science Zone - Make a rocket, hold a dry ice cube, or get messy with gooey slime in the LolliBop lab - brimming with exploding experiments for pint sized guests to try!

Run wild and have fun in the LolliSports area.  With activities including retro favorites like swingball, hula-hoop and frisbee to football tournaments and sports day style races.

The pre-school 3ft & Under area is also returning, along with the Enchanted Forest and The Village Green with live music, craft stalls and street theatre, making it an ideal spot for a picnic.

Extensive covered buggy parks, baby changing and breast-feeding areas will be available.

Early bird tickets available now from £18 For more tickets and more information:  http://www.lollibopfestival.co.uk

See You There!


Vanish Stain Remover Review

When my Boys were small I bought Vanish on a regular basis, and I would always put some in every wash, because in my experience boys tend to stain everything they wear. Not only are they messy eaters, as they shovel down their food in eager anticipation to get back outside with the football, but their knee's are constantly covered in grass stains too. So in my younger Mum days Vanish was a great stain removal and was one of my best Friends.

To tell you the truth I haven't actually bought any Vanish for quite a few years, so when I was asked to review some, I thought I'd like to see how it works nowadays, in a Family with kids who have out grown the grassy knee stage.

So, I decided to test it on one of my T-shirts that I have a small annoying stain right on the front.

I followed the instructions of mixing a little Vanish with some water, then put it on the stain. I will admit, as this is an old stain, I really wasn't holding out much hope of it disappearing within a few minutes.

The bottom of the scoop is all bobbly, and it feels like it is really crunching up the Vanish powder as you rub it in. Still, I wasn't holding out hope. However, after five minutes of leaving the powder to soak in, it looked like the stain had gone. I chucked the T-shirt back in the washing machine for a quick wash and hey, presto! The stain had completely disapeared!

I'm chuffed. In fact I'm pretty impressed. 

Bottom Line - Do The Syders recommend Vanish for stain removal? Big, fat yes! I'm really surprised at how much quicker Vanish removes the stains, compared with ten years ago when I used to buy it on a regular basis. My teenage Daughter has been putting a scoop of the white Vanish, in with her wash, and she asked me if I can buy it all the time as she has really noticed how much whiter her whites are turning out. Big thumbs up!

*We were sent two pots of Vanish stain removal free of charge for the purpose of this review. We have received no financial reward and as a Family we give honest & unbiased opinions.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Why We Homeschool

Most people that I meet are usually, really surprised that I homeschool, and I'm equally surprised that most think it odd that I would want to do it. When I made the decision to take our girls out of secondary school to teach them at home, I was initially quite nervous. It is a big step to take all responsibility for your child's education, and one that I took seriously.

As it turns out, homeschool has been a positive step for us as a family, and it is a decision that I wish I had made much earlier, when my eldest kids were small. Yes, I regret not home schooling all four of my kids from day one. I think my two eldest would have really benefited from being taught at home. I believe, that some kids are just not cut out to be in the very controlled environment that most schools offer, day in and day out. I think to some kids, the control of standing in line at school is a bit suffocating.

Our Summer Classroom

My kids are very much like me and their Dad, in that they yearn for personal freedom in everything they do. School sometimes call it stubborn, obstinate, headstrong or too opinionated. I call it determined, passionate, decisive and that they would just prefer to march to the drum of their own beat. Their independent, strong will is in their genes. They come from a family who prefer to 'do it their own way'. My Dad works for himself and my Grandparents also worked for themselves. My Mum didn't want to settle for a regular life, in a 'normal' house so she built two of her own. Strong willed and determined to live their life, their way.

I went to school during the 1970's and 80's and I grew up in a London borough. Considering my primary school was in a highly populated, built up area, I had a wonderful experience of my early years in school. I was very lucky to have attended a primary school that was lovely and  I walked away from there, with lots of positive memories.

My secondary school wasn't so positive. I had lots of fab Friends, but that is all I gained from that school. Lots of laughs, messing about, bunking off and smoking in the school loo's. As for gaining an education, well any hopes of that were dashed when the school got together with my Mum and decided that I should pay more attention to my academic subjects rather than the only one, I was any good at, my art class (much to my art teachers dismay).

Devastated, I felt like school had actually ruined my life by taking art away from me. My attitude became 'Sod you and your stupid rules, if I'm not allowed to be creative then you will never get another piece of work out of me!"

As I couldn't study art at school, I decided to work at home after school, not on my school work, but on my art, my drawings, my writing, my designing, my creations. I spent hour after hour, day after day spent wrapped up in my own world. I wrote poetry & mini books of creative writing. I designed my own clothes and made them. I read lots, but they were books that I wanted to read not what I felt forced to read by my over bearing English teacher. I knew once I was in control of my own education, that I would be free.

When I realised that school was not the best place for our Daughters education, I immediately de-registered them. They have since, both thrived at home. The eldest has nearly finished her first year at college and my youngest is like a completely different child since becoming un-schooled. Her concentration levels have really improved, her handwriting is much neater, she is interested in what she is learning about and she now has career goals. 

They are autonomous learners (or self directed, child led), which doesn't mean that they sit and watch TV all day, it means they choose what & when they want to learn. Basically, my Girls learn without a curriculum and our style of learning, as a family is informal & unstructured. I listen to them, work with them, encourage their dreams and I gently guide them. This works for us and has proven to be a great success.

Dad & Nan

I have learnt things about my Girls that I just didn't know about them before we took the plunge to home educate, especially with our youngest Daughter who has turned out to be a fantastic writer (She hated writing when She was at school). They have both naturally slipped into interests, that are passed down from their Great Grandmother (My Dads Mother) who was a dressmaker and a creative writer, as both my Girls seem to be following in her footsteps.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti - school. I have some lovely Friends who are fantastic teachers, and the schools they teach at are great. My Friends & Family have kids in local schools who are doing fabulously well. I just think it is down to each family and what works for them, homeschool happens to work for us.


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