Monday 21 October 2013

Yummy mummy - Kate Middleton

Click the link to see my latest post for the Daily Mirror

Sunday 8 September 2013

Tips to teach your children to swim

When Puddleducks asked to write a guest post for my blog, it couldn't have come at a better time. Damien has started to become afraid of the water and only wants to stand and play on the steps at the pool.

I know how important it is for children to learn to swim, it's an essential life saving skill and one all children should be given the chance to learn.

I asked for some helpful tips on getting my reluctant water baby into the pool and here they are below. Hope they help!

Learning to Swim: Do’s and Donts for Parents with Reluctant Children
For children, learning to swim is an important milestone in their development, and a vital life skill that can not only bring hours of pleasure and fun and increase health and fitness, but it could one day save their life. Like learning to ride a bicycle, the ability will stay with them for life and will no doubt bring you closer together as a family. Most children love swimming and can’t wait to jump in the water. However, there are some that have misgivings, and may take some encouragement. Here are some tips to coax your youngster into the water and help improve their confidence.

Let them Go at Their Own Pace
As with most stages in their development, be it learning to walk or speaking their first word, children know when they’re ready. The same goes for swimming. If at first they appear intimidated by the swimming pool, try to see it from their point of view: the swimming pool will appear enormous, the water will look very deep, and the pool chaotic and swarming with strangers. It is understandable that this may overwhelm them at first. Let them become accustomed to the new atmosphere. Encourage them to sit on the edge and dangle their feet in the water, or take a ride on your back instead of paddling on their own. They will soon want to join in the fun.

If they have siblings who are perhaps more at home in the water than they are it could be awkward, especially as your other child may want to show off to you whilst you are at the baths together. This could discourage the fearful swimmer. Don’t let them tease either as this is a sure-fire way to prevent them from learning to swim. Instead recruit the confident swimmer to help you. Together you will both be able to show them that there is nothing to be scared of, and encouragement works much better than insults!

Make it Fun
The last thing you want is for your child to associate the swimming pool with being unhappy. When I was learning to swim my instructor was very forceful. She would make us swim lots of lengths without a break and one day she even reduced me to tears. I was put off swimming for months until I got a new instructor who made learning to swim much more fun. Play games with your children in the water; get them silly rubber rings that look like animals, or the swimsuit they fall in love with at the store. Anything it takes to ensure that they enjoy the learning process will be worth it.

The Biggest No-No is forcing your child into the water. Never shout at them, push or in any way force them to get into the water. This will only result in making them more fearful, and could undo any progress you have made. They need you to be a source of encouragement and safety, not the opposite.

Find a Suitable Class
Once your child overcomes the initial fear of the water, you may want to consider swimming lessons to improve their skills and improve their fitness. There are a multitude of classes for varying levels, from toddlers to teens and from non-swimmers to competitive athletes. Choose a class they will enjoy with a smallish group and children of a similar age so that they can make friends. They will gain confidence in no time.

About the author
Olivia Lazenby is a family blogger and considers herself an expert on teaching children to swim. She recommends to parents looking for swimming classes.

Silent Sunday

Shhhhhhhh! It's Silent Sunday! A little photo of a wedding I attended yesterday. Got a little Brucie Bonus.

Saturday 7 September 2013


I haven't joined in with a Saturday caption day for a long time, but I saw this picture when camping and thought it was great!

Please help me come up with a suitable caption for the below.

Thursday 22 August 2013

Beastie Stew - my favourite children's book

I've got a confession to make. I've had the most amazing book and I've kept it a secret for too long! I'm so sorry to its fabulous author Giles Paley-Phillips because its a travesty I've kept it so quiet.

Both my boys love this book and I mean love it. So I guess you all want to know what it's called? It's The Fearsome Beastie.

It's so well written and just flows off the tongue. It's a joy to read out loud and I think the boys love the way it rhymes as they are captivated from start to finish.

My youngest at a year old was hooked on the book and my eldest, now almost four loves the content and story line.

It's beautifully illustrated and an absolute pleasure to read.

I can't believe I haven't shared this with you all before but I can't recommend this book and it's fabulous author enough.

Go and get a copy. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Remember it's The Fearsome Beastie by Giles Paley-Phillips.

We have Pooh!

So we were lucky enough for Tomy Toys to send us dancing Winnie The Pooh. It's amazing and the boys love it.

The problem I'm having with it is that Dennis at 20 months thinks poo is hilarious. We get mummy poo, jake poo and anyone he meets is poo. So perhaps it was my fault that I told him we have a dancing Pooh! Mummy fail as we now have to take Pooh everywhere. Except Dennis forgets the H and just goes with poo.

"I want poo" is his newest sentence, along with "I like poo" and "take poo".

With the language barrier aside, dancing Winnie the Pooh is a total hit! He is entertaining and very robust. Damien likes to dance with him which results in pooh flying everywhere. See I remembered the H.

Aimed at babies from 10 months up to 36 months he is the perfect playmate. Stimulating and fun, Pooh comes with two functions a dance with me mode and musical statute mode.

Even I was impressed and found myself giving his hand a little squeeze once the boys had gone to bed. Perhaps it should say 36 years not months. I am only 30 be kind.

We are having great fun with our dancing Winnie the Pooh and he has provided many giggles along the way.

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Rainy Day Fun Activities

How to entertain your children on a rainy summer's day

Have the summer holidays got you demented yet? When the weather is nice, it’s so easy just to pop to the park, a beach, or somewhere else outdoors where they can play, see, and do new things. But when it rains, it really scuppers things don’t you think? Don’t just stick them in front of a games console or the children’s TV channel. Here are some fabulous activities to stimulate them and keep them busy on the days where going out just isn’t an option!

Turn Rubbish into Beauty!
Toilet rolls tubes, egg boxes, old newspapers and even old shoes can make fabulous creations. All you need is PVA glue, poster paints, a paintbrush and a limitless supply of imagination. Make masks out of paper plates. Make a cardboard box and loo roll castle model, cutting a drawbridge out of one of the boxes so it can be lowered and raised with strings. The world is your oyster. Lacking inspiration? Search online.

Get Crafty
Craft sets area available for almost every activity, from finger puppets, to jewellery, pottery and even pin-art (using pins to attach sequins to a polystyrene shape or figure). Galt Toys have an amazing range too, designed for children of all different age groups, which will guarantee something to entertain almost every child. Take them to the shops or order online, but let them choose what they want to do to ensure the activity will be enjoyable. Why not suggest they get a set that will involve making something nice for their bedroom or something that will serve as a present for a loved one?

Read Together
Books not only inspire the imagination, but they often hold a wealth of knowledge. An excellent book-inspired activity you can all do together is this:
• Read the book as a family (or choose a story from a compendium).
• Get your child or children to choose a character each.
• Using whatever creative materials you have, create either a drawing or a puppet of the character(s).
• Re-enact a favourite part of the book together.
By going into a story in as much depth, they will remember it and may even learn new language along the way. You can do this with favourite stories, new stories, or even a story in a comic. Choose a different book every time and you can do this over and over!

Bake or Cook
Children love cakes and cookies. Baking is ideal in wet weather and can keep them busy while you make the food, while you decorate them, and while you all tuck in. Why not go a step further and make a three course meal together? Here is an idea of something you can all make.
1. Soured Cream dip with chives and tabasco sauce (use 150ml of sour cream, a small handful of chopped fresh chives, and 3-5 drops of tabasco, which will give it a gentle kick without being too spicy). Serve with Julienned vegetables such as cucumber, carrot or celery.
2. Homemade pizza (make your own bases or buy them from the supermarket and spread with tomato puree before decorating with sliced meats, diced vegetables and lots of cheese).
3. Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
Where possible, try and get some fresh fruit or vegetables into the mix. Children may object to them normally, but helping to prepare a meal using the items may make them more likely to taste and try them.

With a little bit of luck, these activities should keep your little ones busy until the sun comes out again. Do you have any top rainy day activities that you and your children enjoy? Share them with us!

About the Author
This article was written on behalf of Galt Toys. Galt Toys have been manufacturing toys for over 175 years, and know a thing or two about toys…and having fun!

Monday 29 July 2013

How to make the perfect gingerbread man

Well what can I say, clearly I'm a total domestic goddess in the kitchen! This time I have totally excelled myself.

I decided to turn my hand to making Gingerbread men with the boys, I mean how hard could that be? I even cheated and bought a packet mix from the supermarket.

I actually don't own a pair of scales and hadn't read the instructions before buying which said add 30g of butter. Hmmm, I may have added a touch too much. I also don't own a jug so guessed 10mm of water.

Big mistake! The soft dough it described on the box resembled cake mix. I thought about putting it in cup cake cases but Damien was having none of it. So, nigella here, added a load of flour, self raising I may add,which turned my awful mix into something which I thought may work.

It started off promising, it looked good and rolled out well, then we got out the cutter. It just turned to mush. So I decided to turn them into round biscuits. All the mixture stuck to my hands as I just threw the random shaped biscuits into the tray.

Well, when I looked in the oven, I almost had a heart attack. This massive phallic biscuit was staring at me. See pictures below.

Just when I didn't think it could get any worse. I saw Damien's decoration of them. That was it, I was doubled over with laughter and have to say it made my day.

Friday 26 July 2013

Tomy's Neil the seal

The lovely people at Tomy sent us gorgeous Neil the Seal and he is certainly a hit.

My 18 month old and three and a half year old fell in love with him instantly. He's colourful, great fun and very cute.

He loves chilling by the pool and being taken for walks. Or perhaps dragged my my youngest would be a more appropriate description.

I'm having the usual boy battle over whose turn it is to play with him and that is the making of a great toy when both boys want to share him.

Damien settled for wearing the box on his head and being a robot. So the product is really great value all round.

I would say Neil is aimed at children closer to Dennis's age, 12 months and up. But even the nine year old I was looking after couldn't get enough of him. "He's cool" were the exact words she used. In fact the boys had a hard time even trying to get a look in to start with.

The idea is that you push Neil along using his stick and as you do so, the ball rolls from the ground and ends up on his nose. We have had a fantastic time seeing how long we could each balance the ball on his nose for.

I would recommend this product to all my friends and we are certainly enjoying having Neil the Seal as a family member.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Try, try, triathlon

So I receive an email from work this morning telling me I've been signed up to do a triathlon. Am I still dreaming or have I really just read that?

For those of you that don't know me that well, this email has filled me with dread. I haven't exercised for years.

I tried snowboarding a few months ago and ended up pulling all my stomach muscles and being put on some prescription anti inflammatory medication after a rather embarrassing trip to the doctors.

I have several problems with this but I guess my biggest is that I don't own a bike! This could become problematic when it comes to the actual training and obviously the event!

Secondly, I haven't been on a bike since I was about 15. So I've basically not ridden a bike in over half my life.

I'm really not cut out for exercise. The last time I agreed to take part in an organised event, a 10K run, I fell pregnant and had to pull out after three days of training. This training consisted of running to the end of my road and back.

Anyway, in for a penny in for a pound and all, I'll give it a go.

As an after thought I actually don't own any trainers, if that isn't an indication of how unfit I am, I don't know what is.

Perhaps I can run and cycle in my wedges? Now that's a thought....

Tuesday 23 July 2013

I'm back!!

My break from blogging is over and I’m ready to get back to being Miss Milkshake Mummy. Life’s changed drastically for me since I started the blog over a year ago and so you may see some subtle changes on the content since I first started out on my blogging adventure.

I won’t go into details although, needless to say, my life has been like an episode of Eastenders since January and all of it would have made for countless Christmas specials. Move over the participants of Jeremy Kyle, you have nothing on me.

I’ve upset people and been upset by people but things are much better now and hence the return to my blog.

Enough about me, let’s talk about the two little devils which inspired me to actually start this blog. Damien is now sleeping through the night whilst with mummy and in his own bed. Gone are the days of him creeping into mine and hogging the bed and there is no more five am starts. The back to bed routine worked for me and being consistency and persevering were and still are key.

Dennis is also sleeping soundly through the night and this happened through the awful, yet amazing power of controlled crying. Now he will sleep for 13 hours straight and I no longer have to rock him off in his buggy. That was breaking point for me, having to push the buggy with my foot at the end of the bed whilst cuddling a toddler to sleep at 1am,2am,3am etc was enough to make me realise that a change was in order.

Not only that, but when you can no longer function as a human being, you know things need to change. Leaving your front door open, handbag on the pavement, bank card in the fridge and your keys in the ball pit at the soft play gave me the wake-up call I needed. (No pun intended).

I’ve also started becoming late to things, never did this happen when my little men didn’t sleep, I guess when you have been up since 5am most days there really isn’t any excuse to be late for something which starts at 9am. I mean, I’d had four hours to get ready. I now have to set an alarm clock to get up and most days have to actually wake the boys up.

So I hope you all forgive me for my writing rest and hope you enjoy the rest of the journey!

Wednesday 6 March 2013

A great Family Day Out

I love Moors Valley Country Park it's a great day out for children of all ages. There is a fantastic family day out being organised on the 17th March and I'm handing my blog over to the organisers to tell you about it....

We are pleased to announce that the Doggy Day Out event will be held at Moors Valley Country Park on the 17th of March from 10am-4pm. Come and find us by the Visitor’s Centre.

The aim of our event is to primarily raise money for the charity, but also local awareness. The event is a family fun day with many activities and demonstrations on offer, all centred around the ‘five senses’. All the exciting games and activities focus on taste, sight, hearing, smell and touch. There will also be a raffle held with a wide selection of prizes kindly donated by local businesses such as Poole Pottery, Lush, Farmer Palmer’s and many more! There will be demonstrations from the Dorset Search Dogs team and the opportunity to ‘get found’ by the dogs themselves!

You can keep up to date with the event by following @doggydayout2013 on Twitter or reading our blog at

If you want to ask us anything more about the event or Dorset Search Dogs simply email:

Please follow the link at the bottom to find out more about the Dorset Search Dogs!

Doggy Day Out is an event organised by a group of Bournemouth University Event Management students. In our second year as part of our course, we are set the exciting assignment of organising a live event for a local charity. We had to prepare pitches and proposals but finally got our dream charity the Dorset Search Dogs.

This charity is based in the Bournemouth area and was set up in 2006 with the purpose of assisting the Police services and other statutory bodies when searching for missing people.

Where's me keys, a where's me phone?

On the 1st of January my top new year's resolution was to become more organised and stop losing my car keys, phone and bank card. Well, I've spectacularly failed on that! I've lost my bank card three times, that's once a month, it last appeared in the fridge. And I pretty much misplace either my keys or my phone on a daily basis.

Normally I lose my keys in the house, either I put them somewhere or one of my lovely children decide to hide them for me. Yesterday though, I lost my keys at the soft play centre. What a sodding nightmare that was.

After getting the boys togged up ready to leave, that itself is a major mission, I discovered my car keys were no longer in my bag. After several times of emptying the entire contents of said bag on the floor, reality kicked in and I looked at the ball pit, it looked back at me, and I thought about the ridiculous task ahead. It's me against the balls, with a three year old and a one year old as my allies.

Well boys, you were a great help, if you call beating each other up and running off whilst mummy was neck deep in plastic balls helping.

After calling in some more adult assistants, 40 minutes later the search was called off. One clever person, who obviously wasn't as frazzled as me decided to ask reception if any keys had been handed in. Genius! Then like magic my car keys appeared, yes someone had taken them and places them with reception.

I'm think I'm destined to a life of losing things, my womb is not a tracking device and my boobs are not crystal balls that can see where things are. Fact!

Thursday 28 February 2013

Sleep is Priceless

I am now a week and a half into sleep training and we had that golden night, that one magical night every parent with non sleeping children craves, a full nights sleep.

Charlie aka Dennis, went to bed at 5:45pm and Jake aka Damien at 6pm. Neither cried or protested and slept through until... Wait for it... 8:15am.

I nearly fell over when we went downstairs and I saw the time. I felt amazing and both boys were happy and full of energy.

It would of have to happen on a preschool day, and I did have to run around like a headless chicken to get all three of us ready. Or at least semi presentable.

I've not once in three years had to set an alarm clock. If the boys slept until 6am that was considered a lie in.

The day flew by, I guess when you get up at 5am everyday by around 9am you've already done four hours and feel like it's lunch time.

The journey has been hard, but not as hard as the constant sleep deprived nights.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Controlled Crying - Night Two

Control crying two children at the same time is hard! It's 2am and I've been awake for the last hour. I'm currently listening to Jake shout: "I want my mummy" he isn't crying as such, just moaning and desperate to get in my bed.

Charlie has also been up but is now back to sleep. He is actually doing really well with his new routine, only crying for around ten minutes when he wakes up now.

I thought he would be the hardest nut to crack but it's my determined three year old who is hanging on in there.

In doing the back to bed routine with him, and thought I would spend hours putting him back into bed. But no, he has only gotten up a handful of times. Instead he stays in his bed, shouting for me.

The main problem I'm facing is them waking each other up! If one starts they set the other off.

However, I'm determined to see this through and we will get there in the end.

Monday 18 February 2013

Controlled Crying - Round One Mummy

Tonight, is the first night of our new routine. Having only had three hours sleep each night since Thursday, I had to do something.

Although, I've said I hate it in the past, I decided I have to give control crying a go. I was at breaking point, exhausted mummy and exhausted children is not a good combination. My two have always been bad sleepers, but recently it's got totally out of hand. And that is my fault for letting it get so bad.

So tonight went as follows, bath, pjs, milk and story. Then I tackled Charlie aka Dennis. I've been rocking him off to sleep in his buggy for the past six months and it had to change.

It was awful, listening to him wailing mummy in desperation and frustration and coughing away. I went in every ten minutes and each time I left the room I felt awful. I had to keep in mind why I was doing it, and that is so we all get some sleep in the long run.

Charlie took 50 minutes before he settled.

Next up was Jake aka Damien. I am following the Supernanny 'back to bed' tactic with him. But to my surprise he didn't get out of bed.

Now Jake being Jake didn't make it easy for mummy either. He cried for me for a good 50 minutes too.

In fairness, this was slightly easier to take as he is three and can communicate his feelings.

So, all in all, I would say round one goes to mummy. But let's see who takes round two. I know it can't be that easy.

I'll keep you all updated on how our sleep training progresses this week.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Silence is golden!

My boys are so loud, they make a rock concert seem quiet. I sometimes crave silence. When the've finally gone to sleep, it's nice to just enjoy the peace.

But when you put two toddlers together, and two very active toddlers at that, the last thing you want to hear is silence.

Well this is exactly what happened this week. My friend and I let our boys go upstairs and play in his bedroom. We turned the TV off so we could hear them and things were going well.

All of a sudden. I turned to my friend and said: "Can you hear anything?", "Nope" replied my friend. We just looked at each other and knew it could only mean one thing. Trouble!

Up the stairs we went and this is what we were greeted with.... No more words needed!

Monday 11 February 2013

Keep calm and paint

I fancied having a bit of a spruce up of my house today, I know it's not spring and I'm certainly not nesting, I just fancied freshening things up.

So off I trek to my local DIY store, buy the biggest tin of white paint I can find and a starter set of brushes. I'm the girl who struggles with the most basic of home improvements, so you can imagine how proud of myself I felt.

After a quick stop off to see a friend, it's time to pick up Jake from Preschool. My head still filled with how amazing I'm going to be at painting. Perhaps, I'll discover an unknown talent?

Hang on, we don't even get that far and disaster strikes! I arrive home, pop inside with the shopping and go back to the car to get the boys. Jake innocently says to me: "Mummy, can we play with the paint now?", hmmmm, "Not now sweetie I say."

Then I see his eyes look to the floor, mine follow and I think, that's not right. I look again. Still not right. Then I look for a third time and it hits me. The entire contents of the paint tin is across the floor of my car!

Oh my god! Now what do I do. I take the tin out, it covers the pavement, I move the mat and it covers the passenger seat. I move my new brushes and it covers me!

I'm now surrounded with a white mess, everywhere, and I mean everywhere. What do I bloody do now? Yep, I call my Dad! Who else hey?

Having to explain the mess I was in wasn't my finest hour and he then came and spent the next two hours attempting to clean my car, the pavement and all the clothes!

I'm all for letting kids have messy play, but I draw the line at painting my car!

Monday 4 February 2013


Well, who'd have thought it, eight months into my blogging journey and my little ole blog has been nominated for Best New Blog of the Year in the MAD (Mum and Dad) Awards 2013.

To say I'm excited and actually a bit proud of myself is an understatement.

When I started my blog, it was around the time last years awards were taking place. I say there and thought, this time next year, I'd love to be up for nomination.

And guess what, now I am! Well my blog is anyway. And someone other than me nominated it. So thank you.

Nominations are still open so if you want to up my chances, just go the following link and vote away.

Friday 4 January 2013

Watching your waist - Try this

I have a confession, my name's Lisa (*stands up*) and yes, I like a glass of wine in the evening. It's fairly common for wine o'clock to start in my house once the boys are tucked up in bed. That's my relaxation time and there is nothing wrong with that, except I seem to lack the self control button. The button that lets other people stop at a glass, I on the other hand want to then drink the entire bottle.

As it's a new year, its time for a new start, at least for the next few weeks anyway. I'm sure my halo will slip at some point. I mean, come on, I'm only human. Plus I don't like housework so polishing it is a bit inconvienent. So, as a result of my decision not to partake in the drink of the gods, I need to find a replacement and I need to find one soon.

This is where KOJI soft drinks come in. Kindly, KOJI offered me to try its low calorie soft drink. Low calorie soft drink, I hear you ask? Bonus.

Not only does it taste lovely, it only contains 49 calories per bottle. Now that is a hundred times better for your waist line, than a glass of vino, or bottle in my case. In effect then, drinking this is like killing two birds with one stone. Its a win win situation. It's better for your liver and better for your belly.

The drinks are available in two flavours, Lemon and Ginger and Mandarin and Cranberry and are a sparkling fruit infusion, naturally low in sugar. They are a fantastic alternative to Coke and lemonade which is full of sugar and guaranteed to make a dentist have a coronary if drunk regularly.

This maybe a little bit naughty, but they would be great mixed with a vodka, poured over ice and enjoyed as a long drink on a warm summers night.

See how long did it take me before my thoughts turned to the alcohol which I am meant to be cutting back on.

This Review is based on my own opinion and is no money was exchanged for this post.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

The World is my Oyster

Clearly I had too much to drink last night, the guy at the garage said to me: "You look different today, were you the last to leave the party?" Hmm, was it that obviously I was totally shit faced yesterday evening and spouting all my plans for the New Year.

Quitting smoking, is always top of my list, lets see, we are 14 hours in and I have epically failed at that one...again.

Drinking less is another one of my personal favourites but for some reason, I always seem to spectacularly fail. Perhaps I should change it to drink more, that way I can't lose. I'm convinced at some point today, I will have a hair of the dog, or two, or three. Sod it, I'm going to find the biggest hairiest dog and devour it.

This year though, I want to set some meaningful resolutions that I can stick to. Here is my list:

1. Work harder and smarter. If I don't like your product, or want to review it then I wont. When I started this blogging journey, I took everything going. Now it's my space and I know what works and what doesn't.

2. Stop giving my children snacks just for the peace. I will however still use sweets as a bribe. Let's not lose sight of what's important here.

3. If I choose to have a glass of wine in the evenings, I will not then proceed to wash it down with the entire bottle.

4. Get organised - I sometimes don't know my arse from my elbow. I can no longer think it's a success to leave the house with two kids in tow. I will endeavour not to leave my bag on the pavement when I drive off, or out in public, or at a friend's house.

I will also know where my keys, phone and bank card are at all times. I will not waste anymore precious hours tracking them down.

5. At points this year, I have drank wine and had a good cry - but as of today, I will only be drinking mojitos knowing the world is my oyster. - Thank you Lou, for yesterday's words of wisdom.

New Year, New Start - Hope you all enjoy this year's journey.