Just Charlie G
30. 03. 2015

The Easter Holidays have started. I’ve diffused three fights, lost one child’s sandwich to the dog, tripped over a scooter left in front of the front door, repeated myself multiple times for each request made, it’s only lunchtime on day one.

The point being, posts maybe sporadic and please wish me luck, it’s going to be a long two weeks…..

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If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’m not in the slightest bit crafty, you may well also be aware that there are two words guaranteed to strike fear into my heart and those words are Fancy Dress. I neither have the skill, nor imagination to make costumes. For all occasions that require dressing up for either me or the kids, I’ve either bought something, borrowed something or the kids have gone in something they already own.

With world book week looming (which has now passed), I had a moment of madness and decided to make the girls costumes. I’d seen various mentions of no-sew tutu’s around on the internet and thought they sounded easy enough to make, and they were simple to make so I thought I’d share what I created, and my tips.

The girls both had different versions of The Secret Garden for Christmas and with the occasion being World Book Day, I had a vision of green tutu’s embellished simply for a themed costume.

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For the making of the tutu itself, there are no sew options but I opted to make elastic waistbands, cut and measured, and stitched. I hand stitched and didn’t put any care into neatness as it would eventually have been hidden by tulle.

I had huge issues trying to find out how much tulle to order, not only am I useless with numbers, but it depends on the length you require and the size of the child, as well as how puffy you want the tutu to be and each site I looked at seemed to say something different. However, as a rough guide, Chloe’s skirt  (a tall age 8) used about 75 yards, while Lola’s (age 5) was about 50 yards. Although I usually would work in meters, I found that rolls were 25 yards long when I was purchasing. Do shop around, prices vary wildly. Laughably, I bought just one roll thinking I’d make two skirts out of it and had to do some hasty reordering. I bought 7 in total and have about half a roll left.

So once you’ve made your wasitbands its simply a case of cutting and adding your tulle.  You need to measure the length you want it to be against your child, then double it. So I wanted Chloe’s to be 22 inches long so I cut my strips of tulle to be 44 inches. To add them to your waistband, fold them in half and loop behind your elastic, threading the ends through your loop. It’s hard to explain and photograph but its so easy.

P1160707 P1160708Once thats done, all you do is pull that tight and move onto your next piece. And keep going until you’ve covered the whole waistband. I however ran out of tulle about a third of the way round my first skirt!

IMG_2231 P1160633I had to stop for a few days while I waited for another order to arrive but then both skirts were quickly completed.

P1160711 You can add more colours, and you can add more layers, by going around the waistband again, adding more strips of tulle between the existing knots on the waistband, but for our purposes the skirts were complete.

At this point I made the girls accessories for their costumes, after all, what secret garden is complete without flowers and a key! I I used fabric glue to apply the leaves but sewed the flowers on.

P1160715All that was left to do was add some embellishments to the skirts. I started by adding leaves and a little bow finished with a silk rose. All of which I stitched on by hand.

P1160717I bought a couple of felt robins which I quickly stitched together (as they came in parts) and glued to the tulle, using fabric glue. I wouldn’t recommend this, I should have stitched them on but they did manage to stay put.

P1160791The final job was to add a truck load of silk ribbon roses around the bottom of each skirt, although it was a daunting task, it really didn’t take much time, and I’d have like to have added many more for a more dramatic effect as the ones I added, despite using nearly 70, did tend to get a bit lost in amongst the voluminous tulle.

P1160790All that remained was for the girls to try them on!

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I just tied a bit of tulle around the girls heads to make hair bands and teamed with black tights and a black long sleeved tee and off they went. So simple to make and so effective! I’m already planning Lola’s birthday party outfit for the end of May, and if she’s having one then I know Chloe will want one too! Next time they’ll be My Little Pony themed!

Before I go, just a few tips…

Oh my days, we’ve had such fun with this. I recently did a trade with a friend in Japan for some Kracie Popin’ Cookin’ sets in return for a load of Curly Wurlys. A fair trade indeed. We received six sets, some of which were a total fail, but the one that was most successful and indeed the most fun, was the Sushi Set.

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We first became aware of Popin’ Cookin’ when the kids favourite You Tubers started doing videos about the Kracie products, quite some time ago, despite us all being fascinated I am not sure why I didn’t get any, but recently, the opportunity to swap came up and I seized it.

As I say there’s a wide variety of sets available, we received six, in four different varieties. In my opinion the sets where you have to make things that look like other items of food are far superior, but that may be down to the ease of instruction translation. This is important because unless you speak Japanese, this is what you are faced with.

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For most sets though there are multiple You Tube demonstrations (Chloe’s method of making them) or even English translations, which is how Lola and I created our set. Just have a google, there’s lots of info out there, these kits are very popular.

It’s not at all hard to see why, its a huge amount of fun and whiled away a fair bit of time over the half term holiday!

Chloe, age 8, managed very well making this on her own (although two of the other kits when totally wrong when she insisted on doing them without help so I’d still advise supervision) but Lola, age 5, needed quite a bit of help, which I was more than happy to offer!

It wasn’t long before they were both engrossed.

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And things quickly began to take shape. It really is quite amazing, look at the fish and rice!

P1160495The final products were so impressive, if a little scruffy!

P1160497P1160496 You can even add a dash of Soy Sauce (similar to a cola flavour actually)

P1160504So much fun. As for the eating, well Lola refused to even taste them, Chloe had a good go and pretended she was loving them and the kids forced me to eat two. Lets just say they smell so much nicer than they taste. Really sweet bubblegum and fruit flavours but I think the textures were a bit odd. It wasn’t entirely unpleasant but it wasn’t delicious either!  Except for those little balls, the “roe”. They were delicious! I’m not sure what flavour they were, peach or something similar but they just popped in your mouth and were lovely! The rice is…interesting but smells the nicest!

Anyway, if you’re looking for fun rainy day activities to do with the kids, I’d highly recommend stashing some of these away.  Although ours came directly from Japan, they are available on Amazon and the lovely website, Tofucute.

05. 02. 2015

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I was going to blog today about the new Spring No7 collection, but you know I’m really not in the mood. I will aim to get that one up tomorrow instead, today I’m just not in the mood for talking about make up.

The day started pretty much as usual, except I didn’t get much sleep last night. The usual constant nagging for Lola to get dressed, repeatedly. The usual leaving the house a bit later than ideal thanks to the kids taking so long to do anything.

It went downhill from there. Lola took something to school with her. A toy from a Happy Meal, that she wanted to show her friends.  She isn’t allowed to take toys to school but she promised me she’d give it to me to bring home.

She went into her classroom, hung up her coat, put away her book bag and then it became clear she expected me to wait for all her friends to arrive so she could show them the toy. I refused, took the toy off her. She burst into tears,  everyone stared at me, I even saw a few people whispering. I tried to cuddle her. Her teacher intervened and told her to stop crying and give me a cuddle. I picked her up to cuddle. She carried on crying. I sat down on a seat to talk to her.  A parent came over to try and help. She carried on crying. Another parent came over to try and help, by getting her involved in something, she not only carried on crying but she was rude to the other child too. I bit the bullet and walked out of the classroom.

I burst into tears as I walked away. Not just discrete tears, proper big soggy sniffly tears. I sat on a bench to try and calm myself so I wasn’t walking all the way back to the car sobbing.  A parent came over to see if I was okay. I wasn’t okay. I was tired and fed up, I was also frustrated, upset and embarrassed. Another parent came over to see if I was okay and was lovely, and I managed to calm down and walk out of school. More embarrassed than ever. The first parent who had checked I was okay had gone over to their friend and they were stood watching me. Sympathetically I think, but still, just watching me.

I sat in the car and sobbed some more before deciding I’d go back into school and just ask reception if they could check Lola was okay. She was, she was working and laughing and perfectly fine. I cried some more until I was escorted away for a coffee.

The thing is this. Every day Lola takes a toy to school, half the time she hands it over to me when I leave with no problems. The other half of the time we play out similar versions of the above scene, albeit I don’t usually break down. It’s not just that, she’s not working well at school either. Often having to miss partial lunch breaks to catch up on the work she’s missed. Once even having to be removed from the class altogether.

Why do I let her take the toys in in the first place? Well sometimes she puts them in her pocket so I don’t know they are there, other times I know they are there and (stupidly) trust she’ll just hand it over when I leave the school, and then other times we are running late and I just can’t deal with the battle which will make us even later.  It is my fault whatever way you look at it.

But why was I SO upset? I guess I’m just not happy right now. I carry the weight of everyone’s emotional well being on my shoulders, and my shoulders alone. Worrying about Chloe’s assessment, dealing with her moods and the constant battles between her and Lola, and the increasing anxiety attacks. Worrying about her rotting teeth, chasing specialist dentist appointments and fighting for help and assessments, fighting even just to talk to someone. I deal with Lola’s fiery character (she’s as happy and loving as she is feisty), worrying about the fact I’m called into talk to the teacher daily, worrying about how she feels when her sister is horrible to her so often, worrying about whether there’s a deeper issue at the heart of her behaviour, or if she’s fighting for attention, or copying her sisters behaviour, or a combination of all of the above. I arrange appointments to talk to people about her. I have to pick her up and drop her off at school daily, keeping my head held high, trying to not to worry about what people think of my parenting skills (or lack of), trying to look like I’m in charge. And I spend a huge amount of time thinking about how much I love them, and how I want their lives to be happy and full of love, and worrying that they don’t know how loved they are.

It’s not just the kids I worry about, I worry about my husband too. Which I’ll never discuss on here. And then there’s me, my chronic migraines that no one seems to be able to help me with and another medical issue I’m aware of thats gnawing away at me.

People say to me that I need to make time for me, but I’m a stay at home Mum, I’m home alone all day, five days a week. It’ never feels like enough. I don’t have the reserves in me to deal with any more battles, thats how it feels.

I went to the GP to ask about counselling a few months ago, I was told my only option was private or Group CBT. I can’t afford private and I absolutely do not want to do any group sessions.

Ultimately though, although today is a bad day, tomorrow I’ll get up and start nagging Lola to get ready faster, tell her she’s not allowed to take a toy to school and she’ll either comply or she won’t, and after school Chloe will either disappear to her room or she’ll choose to stay downstairs and snipe and pick at Lola until they are screaming at each other. And I’ll deal with it, like I always do, and I won’t cry, I’ll go to bed exhausted, I won’t sleep any earlier though, and I’ll wake up tired the next morning and do it all again. Because that’s what Mum’s do.

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We’re already fans of Childs Farm in this house, having tried the Shampoo and Conditioner we were smitten. Chloe suffers with Eczema and Lola can be prone to it too, so it’s important to  us what we put on their skin.

Childs Farm take great care in their production to make sure that their products are suitable for sensitive and eczema prone skin. Even newborns.

The Childs Farm Hand Care Gift Set* seemed to be a hit before we even opened it and tested the products.

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Look at that (slightly deranged) excited little face! The set comes in a lovely little zip up pouch and contains two full size products, a hand wash and a hand and body lotion. The scent of both is Grapefruit and Organic Tea Tree and I must confess, I wasn’t sure the scent would appeal to kids. I was quite wrong though the kids LOVE it. I’ve never seen them so keen to wash their hands and stocks are already depleting fast. I must admit I’ve not used the body lotion on Chloe as she has prescription creams but I have used it on Lola, and not only does she smell gorgeous, her dry patches already look improved.

The entire range is suitable for all ages, and sensitive skin and don’t contain parabens, SLS’s, mineral oils or artificial colourings and are never tested on animals. If that wasn’t enough 10% of all profits of sales go to the RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association). A truly good choice for your family.

Unlike many natural or organic ranges, prices are very reasonable, with this set retailing at £7.95.

Childs Farm products are available from the Childs Farm website as well as Boots, Ocado, John Lewis and Waitrose. A full stockist list is available on the site.

*Product provided free of charge for review purposes.

Meet Lola.

Lola

Don’t be fooled by that butter-wouldn’t-melt beautiful face. Whilst she isn’t the naughtiest child that’s ever lived, lets just call her spirited. But I’m not here to talk about her cuteness and cheeky behaviour, I’m here to talk about her eating habits.

We need to start at the beginning with this one though. My other daughter, Chloe, was a terrible eater when she was a baby/toddler. It was partly to do with sensory issues, everything she ate from 6 months onwards made her sick. Even baby rice. She was well over a year old before we managed to get her onto solid food, and for a long time after that eating was a big issue in terms of not trying things, eating very little, still being sick with certain foods and so on. I found the whole experience incredibly stressful, back then I had no concept of the sensory issues we would see in the future, I just thought she refused to eat. Health Visitors kept insisting she must eat, but never had any suggestions for me re how to make it happen. She wasn’t ill, she didn’t get too thin (possibly because I continued to breast feed for a long time) and eventually at approximately age two, she started to eat properly, started to try everything that was offered to her and everything settled down. Now at age 8, she never stops eating, she has a varied diet, will try everything once, and when she says she doesn’t like something, she genuinely doesn’t.  And so after worrying myself sick about it for the first two years of her life, I swore I’d never do that again. It all sorted itself, with or without me worrying, I vowed when Lola came along, that we’d just work at her pace, I wouldn’t pressure, I wouldn’t stress, confident in the knowledge that things would sort themselves out in time.

Unfortunately, things seem to have gone the opposite way with Lola, I don’t recall having any issues weaning her, and although she’s always been cautious when it comes to food (sniffing everything first), as a toddler, we never struggled to feed her.

Now however, age 5, we do seem to have a problem. Lola will eat Bran Flakes, Baked Beans with bread (but only tesco’s own baked beans), peas, carrots, chicken, roast potatoes so long as they don’t have any brown on them (you know, the roasted bits!), toast so long as it doesn’t have any brown on it (you know, the toasted bits), spaghetti bolognese (but only mine, not out of a jar and no one elses because it doesn’t taste the same), ham sandwiches (but only one type of ham and sometimes she says she doesn’t like that), cucumber, Tesco’s ready meal Tikka Masala, milk and bananas. That’s pretty much it. It looks more when I write it down actually! She eats things at school that she refuses to eat at home (burgers, yorkshire puddings and chips for example) and there are some things she’ll at home but not anywhere else.

She won’t eat pizza, chips, fish fingers (all the things that would be helpful if she did eat so I could actually feed her some time), usual “kids” stuff. Nor will she eat anything thats brown, whether it’s supposed to be browned or otherwise.

Now, at this point in time I’m still calm about it, when I’m cooking food for the family I know she won’t like, I just give her beans and bread (safe in the knowledge she’s had a cooked meal for her school lunch), or a ham sandwich. But it is starting to be a bother. Staying at Grandparents for example, it causes them stress because they don’t know what to feed her and going to other childrens houses or parties, can be embarrassing when she refuses everything.

Every now and again she gets brave and asks to try things, but it’s nearly always a yuck.

So I’m wondering what to do now? Do I keep going, hoping that she gets braver as she gets older, or do I start getting tough. Lola’s tantrums are really something to behold and I’m already tired and stressed so much of the time with Chloe’s issues (more on that in another post sometime) that I take the path of least resistance, partly to avoid causing myself more stress, and partly because I’m still hanging onto the hope that like her sister, she’ll just grow out of it.

So my question to you, if you are reading, what do you think?

Thank you for reading.

09. 01. 2015

I thought I’d do a little introductory post about me and my family. I think most of my readers probably already know who I am and a bit about my family, but I think an introduction (albeit a few posts too late) is always nice.

So the G family all live in the South West of England, in a pretty much perfect location, the sea is less than 10 miles away, we have a great shopping centre, but if it’s not big enough for you, there are major shopping centres an hour away, we live in a town and there are four of us.

There’s me, Charlie.

Me

I’ve been blogging a long time, but haven’t done so for quite a while. I missed not talking about things online and especially when I had Christmas presents and found myself thinking they would make ideal blog posts, so here we are. Previously I was a beauty blogger, but I’m hoping to be more general this time, but I don’t doubt that beauty will still play its part here, it is a passion of mine after all. Aside from blogging, I am a stay at home Mum, I write copy for a couple of clients on a self-employed basis and I am also a qualified nail tech, although working on a very small-scale at the moment. I watch a LOT of American TV. Currently suffering a massive Sons of Anarchy void right now!

Then there’s my husband Graham.

GrahamWe’ve been married since 2006 and I doubt he’ll appear much in the blog, other than references to him occasionally. He likes to be an enigma.

Then there’s Chloe.

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Chloe is 8. She likes clothes, Minecraft and Lego. We’re going through assessment for ASD/Aspergers with her at the moment and at this point in time I haven’t decided whether I’ll use the blog to talk about this or not. It sure would be good to have a place to talk about it at length, and possibly provide support to others just by sharing experiences, but equally I’m wary about protecting her privacy. TBC. Aside from clothes, Minecraft and Lego, she’s stupidly clever, heavily into jokes and practical jokes and I’m told by her friends she’s the funniest kid in class. <3

And next up is Lola.

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Lola is five. Adorable, fiery, fearless (except when it comes to food!) and she packs a powerful punch of character. Always nearby with cuddles and kisses for her family, on demand, she’s the family member to go to when you’re ill and looking for some sympathy! She loves Playdoh and Playdoh videos on You Tube as well as school and learning.

Last but by no means least is Thor.

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Thor is our 7 month old Shih Tzu, perennially scruffy (except for about half a day after a grooming sesh), we’re all besotted with him. Laid back, cuddly, and a bundle of fluff, he’s a really important part of our family.

And so, welcome to my world, and my family. At this point in time I don’t know how much people will feature, if at all, or even how long I’ll keep up the blog, but if I do, now you know something about my life.

So i love with these beauties that popped through my letter box a week ago. Introducing the L’Oreal Color Riche Neons for Summer!

L'Oreal Color Riche Neons

I love the combination of colours but most of all, I love the Yellow! It’s just stunning on!

Here’s how I’ve been wearing them.

Wasabi Hint (green) and Acid Watermelon (pink)

L'Oreal Color Riche Neons

And here’s Flashing Lilac (purple) and Banana Pop (yellow). Please forgive the photograph, it was taken with instagram although there are no filters applied. I think you get the gist though.

L'Oreal Color Riche Neons

The gist is that these shades are awesome.

I haven’t found these to be sheer like most neons are and that means you don’t need to bother with white underneath and the formula is a breeze. Just gorgeous nail polishes. The yellow is my favourite. It’s opaque, bright, not streaky and just gorgeous.

The polishes came with the most amazing balloon!

Bubblegum Balloons

Our balloon escaped out of the back door and there were tears from Lola and I nearly cried too. We loved it so much!

The L’Oreal Color Riche Neon Pop polishes are £4.99 and available from Superdrug and Boots (although I can’t see all the shades on the Boots site).

The fabulous balloon came from the wonderful Bubblegum Balloons.

07. 02. 2013

 

Childs Farm Review

First of all I must apologise for the stock image there…I could have sworn I’d taken photos of the actual products…turns out I hadn’t and now they’ve all been used up…so I could stop this post there, the worlds shortest review, can there be any better review than “so good we used it all up”….

Anyhow, I’ll start at the beginning. Childs Farm is a truly British brand of bathtime goodies for children. The products are affordable, organic and free-from, with beautiful packaging that really appeals to kids. This is the first kids’s range to include argan oil  and my little monkeys both have lovely soft shiny hair as a result (actually they had lovely soft shiny hair in the first place, but dare I say it, they look a bit softer and shinier).

We tried out the shampoo, conditioner and bubble bath and all were given the big thumbs up by Chloe and Lola. They were both particularly taken with the scents… the shampoo and conditioner are both Strawberry & Organic Mint…. it’s definitely more strawberry milkshake than mint though, and the bubble bath is Organic Tangerine and gave us a lovely amount of bubbles (with sodium coco-sulfate as the foaming agent.

All in all this is a jolly good range and I should add that both of my girls suffer with eczema, one considerably worse than the other, and the products didn’t seem to affect the skin condition in any adverse way.

All the products are £4.69 and as well as the shampoo, conditioner and bubble bath there’s also a body wash in Organic sweet orange. Yum

Also available are various gift sets.

The range is available from John Lewis as well as www.childsfarm.com

*Dislcosure – PR Samples*

TooFruit Douce Mousse Cleanser for Kids

Absolutely loving this cleanser for kids from French brand TooFruit. Or rather my six year old, Chloe, has been loving it, she’s loved it so much it’s all gone. As a child who a) is  very messy and b) suffers from eczema this product has been a godsend, cleansing her skin softly and gently and most importantly if you’re six, it smells delicious, coconut and pineapple! I must say I’m rather fancying the cleansing mist!

The range is small and perfectly formed for children’s skin, which is different of course from our own, in that it has very little or no oil. The range essentially reproduces the effect of sebum through the Filmo-Protect complex, which is 100% vegetable. It’s created by a dermatologist, it’s organic, and free from nasties, so you won’t find any alcohol, silicone, palm oil, sulfates, parabens etc and I’m keen to get my hands on more for Chloe and indeed even Lola.  I love love love the sound of La Creme Gourmande, a banana and figs moisturiser!

The range is not easy to find in the UK but I found it here and will be stocking up. It’s really scrummy stuff!