Super Single Mum's Blog

Life and all the shananigins!

Not another iPhone review!!!

Ok I’m sure most of you have read about the iPhone, seen it on the news and no doubt many of you own one. I got mine just over a month ago and here’s why I love it……

Internet access on the iPhone is my favourite thing. No matter where I go I have access to any site I want. Ok I use the usual; Facebook, twitter, emails – but I have the whole net in my pocket. And the quality of the screen is fantastic. I did wonder when I got it how much I would use the net because on my old phone I had access but even with WiFi it was slow and pointless.

The next thing I love are the variety of apps available. I’ve only used free ones to now but I am able to access networking sites and my blog ( this post. Is being written from my iPhone!). On top of all that I can access my mobile account, see cinema listings, shop on eBay and amazon, pretend my phone is a light saber and even track the planets of our solar system!!! I think I am a true geek at heart after all!

Now one of my big reasons for not getting an iPhone before was the camera. I love the fact that with camera phones I always have a camera on me and my last phones camera was 8.1 mega pixels which was great. But I decided not too long ago to save up for a decent camera and so my phone would just be a backup. I have the iPhone 3GS and the camera is a much lower spec with no flash. That said, I’m not disappointed at all. It is crystal clear and to be honest I don’t notice much difference in quality, in fact I would say when zooming in the quality is better. What I really like though is that when I take pictures and then view them, there is also the added bonus that it knows where you were when you took the photo!! Like I said I am realising what a geek I actually am!

Oh yeah and it’s an iPod too, which means all my music is in one place and it connects to all the stuff I already have!

On the down side, I’m not impressed with the battery life. I am generally having to charge it every day and that’s not something I am used to having to do. In truth though that is most probably because I leave the WiFi switched on and use it a hell of alot. There are apps that claim to improve battery life but I have no idea if they are worth buying.

All in all I am really impressed which is good seeing as I am tied into my contract for 24 months. I’d love to hear from anyone who has found other brill app’s or tips on how to improve battery life! I really do feel like the whole world is at my finger tips now………

………..BUT, on the flip side it’s also got me thinking, is it all too much? Do we all rely on a virtual world too much now? If this much attention was put into “real life” would the world be a better place? What do you think?

August 31, 2010 Posted by | Entertainment | , , | 2 Comments

Things That Annoy Me: MEME

I have been tagged by MummyMatters in this one, and the aim of the game is simple; to tell all about what annoys me, so here goes……

1. The way people talk to their kids. I mean seriously, swearing at a 2year old is not going to do anything but teach them those sort of words are ok. And belittleing kids in public is no form of discipline. I’ve seen kids dragged around town by parents, screaming their heads of yet getting told off because they have no right to be bored! It makes me wonder if people treat their kids like that in public, how do they treat them at home? I mean, don’t get me wrong, my 2 are no angels and they play me up in public, but I would never shout and swear and drag a child about! Argh!!!!

Ok now I’m getting annoyed just thinking about what annoys me so this could be a long one!!!

2. People who don’t drive properly. Ok, I was going to agree with MummyMatters and just say people who don’t indicate, but on second thoughts it’s not just that. People who stay in the middle lane on motorways, they don’t move to let you past and they won’t move out into the third lane to let you pull out, they just sit in the middle! Then there are the people who cut you up, on roundabouts generally, and look at you as if you were the one in the wrong. And the other thing is when people refuse to filter. Come on people if you’re stuck in traffic and there is a cue of traffic trying to merge what real delay will it cause you to let 1 car in, I mean if everyone let 1 car in, everyone would face the same delay. I could go on about driving but I don’t want to bore you! I guess with the driving I do, I notice something every day so it feels worse than it probably is.

3. People who say “basically” all the time. I’m not thick and I’m sure if I can’t handle the details I’ll ask questions! Oh and “obviously”, if it was obvious you wouldn’t need to tell me!!! I find these words most annoying when used by sales people and if they annoy me with these words, no matter how much I want the product, I will buy it else where!

4. So, thinking of sales people has made me think also of customer service. Ok lets not beat around the bush here. These days it’s crap! Not just in shops, but everywhere. Just one example, I took the girls to the zoo today and while there we stopped for lunch in the cafe. When I went in one of the staff members were filling the chocolate on the counter. So I waited patiently then me and B went to choose what we wanted. Whilst deciding, I heard “excuse me” from behind and it was the same woman with more chocolate to fill up. She then pushed past to fill up said chocolate even though I didn’t move. How rude, she is paid to do the job and that includes customer service. You don’t move a customer out the way to fill up some chocolate, you wait! I think I will follow MummyMatters lead here and start writing letters when I am not happy!

Right, I could go on and bore you more but to be honest, the other stuff is not as annoying!!! I’ll save it for the next time I’m tagged! So over to you. I’m passing this one on to:

WeeWifie

Singlemummy

Freesia13

August 30, 2010 Posted by | meme | , | 4 Comments

Day 3 on the Quest to find the New Me!

Ok don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you all with a day by day account of how I am doing but as I’m just beginning I thought I would bring you all an update on what I have been doing to kick start the mission to let the slim Supersinglemum out!!!

Well, to give you an idea of a typical day before dieting, this is what I used to eat:

 

 

Breakfast was either nothing or a large bowl of Crunchy Nut with Skimmed milk.

No snack mid morning.

Lunch was a large cheese and salad cream roll, bag of crisps, piece of fruit, Babybel, something chocolatey and a yoghurt.

Mid afternoon I rarely snaked.

Tea was whatever I was cooking, generally home made and fresh, balanced and what the kids will eat. Once a week we would have chips and other processed food like sausages etc.

Evening, well where do I start. Snaking varied as to how hungry I was feeling and would consist of things like crisps, chocolate, biscuits, toast…….

 

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that’s not going to work. My portion sizes we’re also an issue. So in the last 2 days what have I eaten?

 

Breakfast – 30g Crunchy Nut and a piece of fruit.

Mid morning snack – Fruit

Lunch – Soup and 1 slice of bread or cup a soup with Krisprolls and cottage cheese.

Afternoon snack – Fruit and Smoothy

Tea – Same as before but the right size portion and much bigger helpings of veg.

Evening – If I feel like it and have the points, a low fat small snack such as fruit crisp slice or low calorie crisps.

 

On top of that I have been making myself be more active. Not in any major way but parking as far away from the door when going to the supermarket, sitting down as little as possible at home and finding jobs to do where I before ignored them!

I hope it all works to a good kick start to my diet and will stick long term, but you know what, even if I don’t lose weight this week I can safely safe my stomach hasn’t rumbled since Thursday and that’s not normal. Changing the kinds of food I am eating is definitly making a difference, lets hope it shows on the scales too!!!

Do you have any tips of little things to be more active because that’s my next focus and would love to hear what you all do!!!

 

August 29, 2010 Posted by | Mummy Tummy Begone | | 4 Comments

The Slimmer me is Fighting to Get Out!!

Those of you who know me know that my weight isn’t something that stops me doing things and it isn’t like I sit and moan about my size all the time. Thing is though, since having H I have been full of the right intentions and yet just lately I have been eating more than ever – and the wrong things! So last night I took the plunge and signed up for Weight Watchers. I’ve done it before, when B was 14 months I signed up and lost 2 and a half stone over 4 months. I felt great although still needed to lose another 2 stone to reach “normal” weight. The thing is a list of excuses began, we moved house and after 6 months I had completely lost track of what I was doing. The weight started going back on so I signed up again and lasted about 2 weeks. My heart wasn’t in it and it didn’t work.

When I fell pregnant with H I hadn’t quite got back up to where I was but wasn’t far off and I vowed this time not to eat for 2. I didn’t!! Mainly because at 5 months my world was turned upside down when I became a single mum. After having H I was around the same weight as I was after B was born, but I lost weight quickly and within 2 months was back into my pre pregnancy clothes. I was happy, for the time being as I hadn’t put on and kept on the pregnancy weight this time.

H turned 2 just over a month ago and we went on holiday the week of her birthday. The holiday pictures made me see myself in a different light. Having not weighed myself for at least a year, and still fitting in the same clothes, I’d been denying I was putting weight on. I decided to diet, go it alone, why pay for someone to weigh me. Well, if I don’t have someone there who might catch me out, I cheat! That’s why I am now back with Weight Watchers and have no intention of leaving until I am down to my ideal weight.006

My initial target is 5% of my body weight and for that I need to lose 11lb. I’m taking seriously this time though, I’ve been shopping and bought so much fruit and veg it almost didn’t fit in the fridge! I know it won’t be easy every day. Today has been a good day but I am determined and that’s what matters. Plus I will be updating everyone on here so not only will my WW Leader be keeping tabs on me, you lot will be too!

My freezer is sorted,I threw out a bin bag full of stuff out of date or ridiculously high in fat and have already worked out the points for what I eat most. Cheese will have to be missed for a while! So wish me luck and check back each week to see how I am doing!!!

August 27, 2010 Posted by | Mummy Tummy Begone | , , | 11 Comments

Harlen Coben – Play Dead

It should have been the happiest time of her life. But Laura Ayers’ honeymoon turned into a nightmare when her sports superstar husband went for a swim – and never returned.

Whilst struggling to cope with her almost overwhelming grief, Laura is plagued by questions and doubts. Was it an accident? Or suicide? Or is it some terrible, ill-judged hoax? As events unfold, Laura starts to question David’s mysterious disappearance. She begins to uncover a conspiracy which reaches deep into the past, and is now slowly beginning to destroy everyone involved. Someone will do anything to keep Laura away from the awful truth – and she has no idea who she can trust…….”

This is the first Harlen Coben book I have read. I find it really hard to find books that I enjoy, I don’t know why but it’s always been the case. Romantic stories and Chic Lit don’t appeal and after draining the Vampire fiction market I had to find something else!

I wasn’t disappointed. This is one of Coben’s early stories that hasn’t until now been published and he hasn’t edited from his original. This made me a little wary as his introduction starts with “Okay, if this is the first book of mine you’re going to try, stop now. Return it. Grab another. It’s okay, I’ll wait.” Oh dear, I thought! If a book doesn’t grab me in it’s opening 100 pages I don’t finish it – an awful habit I know but life is too short!!! So I was prepared for this to be one of those.

How wrong could I have been. Coben’s writing constantly has you guessing and there are twists, turns and somersaults throughout the book. I won’t go into the plot more than the synopsis above, but right from word go there are questions you’re dying to know the answers to. I have to say I got one of the twists early on, but once I’d finished the book I realised I was probably meant to! It was such an easy to read story that I got lost in it sometimes, but then isn’t that how a good book should be?

I loved this story and it has everything, love, deceit, crime, trust, friendship……it even made me shed a tear a couple of times. Coben builds the characters well, even the ones we’re not sure we should be feeling sympathy towards. They jump from the pages as people who could be real and I loved that. It’s also written from many perspectives, so you get into the minds of everyone involved throughout the story and I liked that. The great thing was, there was no confusion. Coben’s work flows in such a way that you really get to learn what makes each character tick.

So my recommendation is simple, whether you’ve read his work before or not give this one a go. If I managed to read it in under a week then that means it’s good! Let me know what you think? Oh and if you’ve read any of his others I’d love to hear some recommendations of where to go next because I think I’ve just found a new author to add to my list of favourites!

August 26, 2010 Posted by | Book Reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Shell have won me over!

Ok so, yes, this is a parenting blog, and yes I really am going to talk about petrol!!

You’ve probably all seen or heard something about the new Shell Fuelsave Unleaded and Diesel, but if you haven’t I hope this post will interest you. Shell claim that with their new fuels you can save up to 1 litre per tank based on a minimum tank of 50 litres. What on earth does that mean?

The fuels are designed to reduce energy loss in the engine caused by friction and the build up of energy deposits. The fuel ignites faster and burns more effectively, whilst also including detergents that keep engine parts clean. Now I don’t know about you but I was pretty sceptical about all this. Yeah sure maybe I will save that 1 litre per tank, but really, what difference will that make. So after using just 1 tank of this new Shell Fuelsave Petrol, I have decided to let you know the difference it has made to my car!

To give you an idea of my consumption, my tank takes approximately £50-£60 to fill from empty. I generally use a tank per week as I work in the community and drive around 350 – 400 miles per week. The majority of my driving is town driving and country roads, so not much cruising down duel carriageways and motorways involved. I’ve always thought my usage was good, considering I drive a 7 year old Scenic, and tend to get around 33 miles to the gallon on average.

I normally top up at Tesco, but the nearest filling station is a 30 minute round trip including the time it takes to fill up. My nearest Shell garage is literally round the corner and currently is selling their Fuelsave petrol 0.9 pence a litre cheaper than the Tesco I use, hence why last week that’s where I decided to go. The cashier gave me the leaflet about the new fuels and it was only from having a read of that I got interested. So what have I found out?

I still have a quarter of a tank left and my working week of driving is done. I have driven just under 300 miles on this tank, and my onboard computer says I have 140 miles left in the tank, driving how I have been since I filled up. The biggest difference though, is instead of getting 33 MPG, I’m getting 36 MPG!!! Over a tank that’s the difference of 30 miles. Ok it’s not masses, but that’s a big difference for me. I am impressed and converted. It’s no more expensive than their old fuel but so much better. Not only that, my car was struggling to start on damp mornings – I can sympathise! Since using the new Shell Fuel, it hasn’t struggled once and this morning it was very damp.

As to whether constant use will make a bigger difference, that remains to be seen, but I would recommend you give it a go, what have you got to loose??

August 26, 2010 Posted by | Current Affairs | | 2 Comments

Sleep Nightmare Continues

Some of you may remember I recently wrote a post about the Sleep Nightmare with trying to wean H off her dummy so I thought I would update you all and also see if there are any other opinions on what I am doing.

In a nut shell, the attempt has been made for H to no longer have a dummy at all. Since then she has done really well in that during the day she doesn’t ask for it at all, it means the tantrums have hightened but even for her day time nap she no longer has dummy. Admittedly her daytime nap is now rarely in her bed, simply because we have been out and about during the holidays and she has napped in the car or pushchair.

Night time is a different story though. Since my last post she hasn’t improved and I have resigned to letting her have dummy at bedtime because I couldn’t deal with the tantrums in the day coupled with the crying to sleep at night and the waking 3 to 4 times a night. We stayed with family over the weekend, and the strange environment added to the whole issue. One night in particular she took 3 hours to settle even with her dummy. We got home on Tuesday and for 2 nights now she has slept with dummy, without waking and I have caught up on my sleep.

So now we are in the situation where the dummy is back and H is apprehensive every night as to whether she will have dummy or not and that’s putting us all on edge at bedtime. Part of me wants to forget the whole thing and leave it to settle down again for a while. She isn’t the sort of child who will have her dummy till she is 5 or 6 and I’m really not worried about her teeth, because once asleep she spits it out and she now only has it for bed. Thing is though she is back to her dad’s next week and I know he really wants her to be without her dummy. Plus he did put in alot of effort the 1st week to get her off it and a part of me thinks he will really hold all this against me. I just know he won’t see my point of view and that bugs me.

So am I doing the right thing in sticking with dummy so as to relieve us all of the bedtime anxiety and then give it another go in a few weeks? I know some of you will say I’ve done the wrong thing but I can’t help think now is just the wrong time, what with her being off nursery and visiting her dad’s and other family more often. I’m just hoping I’m not putting off the inevitable by waiting until she is back to the normal routine!!!

August 19, 2010 Posted by | Parenting | , , | 8 Comments

MEME: What job can you imagine your baby doing?

I’ve been tagged by the lovely Mummy Matters in this new MEME so here goes!

The aim of this one is to predict what you think your kids will grow up to be, and I was tagged a few days ago and have been thinking about it ever since. I can’t really decide on what I want to say for either of them so here goes with my pondering!!!

First B, well she loves dancing around and singing and keeps telling me she is going to go on X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent when she is old enough. She likes to act out and loves to be the centre of attention. She’s also quite shy at times though! She loves doing arty things and making things and doesn’t like to sit still so what do I think? I think she is most probably going to be a mum first and a career girl second. She is always talking about when she has kids and she has a really caring nature about her. However, if that doesn’t happen before the career then there are a few things I think she may do. First is a hairdresser because that’s what she says she wants to be. She loves things surrounding hair and fashion, so maybe even a beautician.

I can also see her as a teacher because again it’s something she has spoken about wanting to do, yet I really can see it in her because of her caring nature and he want to teach others. She is always coming home and telling me new things that she has learnt and she has a great enthusiasm. She’s also very creative so when I say a teacher, I think in primary school when they still get to do fun stuff!

Thing is though, I know that she would love to have a career in performing because she is always willing to dance, sing and just generally try and entertain. After out holiday in Butlins, she said she wants to be a Red Coat, and so you know what, I think if that’s what she wants and she actually puts her heart into it she could well succeed because she definitely has the personality and the drive for it.

As for H, well being only 2 years old at the moment this one is a bit harder. She is very much into role play at the moment and her favourite toy is her kitchen.She will play for hours bringing me cups of tea and plates of food. She will also have a full on tantrum if I am cooking and she can’t watch. So maybe she is going to be a chef. She stands with her pans making her Bolognaise and acts out adding a bit of this and a bit of that, stirring and dishing up. She puts more into it than I have seen a 2 year old do before.

The main thing with H at the moment that is coming through is her temper though, she gets so frustrated when she can’t do something and will keep trying until she masters things. She is also very intelligent for her age. Oh and if she doesn’t get her own way she’s very persistent in trying every way she can to get her way in the end. Maybe this is the kind of personality she needs to be a top business woman, doing what I don’t know but I’m thinking down the lines ofher running her own big company. But then back to reality, she is 2 and as such anything could happen! The thing with H is she has a string personality and a lot of intelligence, which means she could do anything she wants to if she puts her mind to it. That’s the key though, will she want to do the things she has the skills for?

One thing is for sure, whatever my girls want to do I will support them 100% of the way. I can’t promise I won’t push them to try harder but ultimately as long as they chose a path they are happy with then I will be so proud of them, as I am now!

So what do you think? What do you see your kids doing as adults?

August 17, 2010 Posted by | meme | Leave a comment

I Wanna Know What Love Is

Yes yet again I have taken inspiration from a song for my latest post!

Thing is, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about love, friendship and feelings. Most of you know my background as to how I became a single mum, and due to that it has taken me a while to get back to a position where I can trust enough to make new friends. I am there now though, I have made a new life for myself in a new area and I love my life. Thing is though, I think I have forgotten what “Love” is, in the sense of a relationship. I mean, I know what the love for my kids feels like, and the love for my family and my friends.

I think part of me doesn’t want to remember the feeling, until it happens. Although when will that be!!! I’ve given internet dating a go, which isn’t for me but that’s another story. Other than that I find it very difficult to meet blokes, my work is very female orientated and I’m really not enthused by the idea of going to a bar on the pull. So I’ve resigned myself to it not happening, but what if that means I miss what is right in front of my eyes?

In my perfect world, love is wanting to be with someone 24/7, always having a smile on my face, always agreeing with the other person on everything, not having to worry about the little things, going away for weekends at the drop of a hat. But at the same time love isn’t necessarily all these things so am I looking too hard for perfection that is meerly just a dream.

For those Twilight fans out there, I feel like Bella, except its all hypothetical! Do I search for my Edward and settle for nothing less, or do I accept Jacob because really that’s life! Is finding someone that makes you smile and laugh, but also winds you up some times; someone who makes a difference in the small ways, but doesn’t make the earth move; is that the person I should be looking for??? Love takes many forms and having had the heart skips a beat, intense and overpowering love before – that didn’t work out – am I setting my sights too high that 12 years on from then I’m not going to find that now!

Just a little insight into the random mind of me!!!! But I’d love to hear you’re views!

August 13, 2010 Posted by | Me, myself and I | , , | 12 Comments

Sleep Nightmare

I have been lucky with my girls. B slept through from 8 weeks and H from 4 weeks and I was always thankful for this. Especially as a single mum, the evenings are my time and it has made things so much easier knowing that by 8pm they are both in bed and in general both asleep by 8:30pm.

A week ago the dummy fairy came and took H’s dummy. She had given up having her dummy during the day when she was 1 and now she had turned 2 the time was right. She was at her dad’s when the fairy came and I was getting nightly text updates on how she was doing. It involved tears and tantrums but she was doing well. Also, for the last 3 weeks she has slept in a room with someone else – we had a week’s holiday where she shared a room with B, then at her dad’s she shares with B and their half sister L.

Saturday they came home, they had been with dad for 2 weeks and I had missed them like hell but was looking forward to how the no dummy thing was going to work. Saturday night she went straight off no fuss and slept through. I was amazed but thought maybe it was just that the time was right. Sunday night she didn’t settle quite so easy but once she went off she was asleep for the night.

Monday H went back to nursery and managed a nap there without dummy, I was really beginning to believe we had cracked in but Monday night things changed. She went off ok but woke at around 3am. Now she is a very intelligent 2 year old and when I asked her if she was going back to sleep she said… “No I don’t want to”, when I asked her why I got various excuses – “I got tummy ache”, “My feet hurt”, “There’s a hair on my finger”, “My feet hurt” the list goes on. After an hour of attempting controlled crying, which made her worse, and sitting with her, which made her wake up more, I decided enough was enough and out came the dummy. Now maybe this was my turning point and I should have stayed strong. Thing is though, as a single mum it’s all me. I can’t share nightmare nights with someone else. I have to deal with it alone, feeling tired, frustrated and guilty for my actions. She went straight back off to sleep.

Tuesday night she played up as soon as she went to bed. She wanted me to stay with her so I did rather than her get upset because controlled crying has never worked with her even as a baby and sitting by her bed for 10 minutes generally relaxes her enough for me to say I need to go and do something and will be back in a minute. She then settles off herself before I come back!! She again woke around 3am and again I tried for an hour and ended up giving her her dummy.

Tonight the tantrum started as soon as I said the word bed. I struggled to get her PJ’s on, she was taking her top off as fast as I was managing to get it on her. Enough was enough, I am worn out this week and so I told her if she calms down she can have her dummy for bed. She did calm down so off we went to bed. I gave her dummy, said goodnight and left. Then the screaming started again. Now she wanted me to stay with her, because the last few nights that’s what I have done, and, like I say she has shared a bedroom for the last 3 weeks. I told her she had to chose between dummy or me sitting with her. She gave me dummy back and after half an hour she was in dreamland.

She woke up about 20 minutes ago. Same excuses for not wanting to go back to sleep. I gave in straight away. I am racked with guilt and I know her dad will thing I’ve undone all the work her did. I just can’t work out what’s best. Do I persevere, and hope that these sleepless nights are only short term. Or do I give up on trying for a while and just accept that as she only has it to fall asleep (she spits it out once asleep), and doesn’t have it for her day time nap or during the day, then actually it’s no bad thing for a little while longer.

Help, all advice gratefully received, what would you do? Persevere or give up on this attempt????

August 11, 2010 Posted by | Parenting | , | 7 Comments