Life in the Mum's Lane

Posts about life as a working mum. The ups, downs and humour.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Christmas Gift Guide - Ideas for girls aged 8-10

My daughter has very clear ideas of her Christmas wish list having begun compiling it at the end of August. She is Lego obsessed and this makes up 7 of her wish list items. It would have been more but I reined her in!

Here is a girls gift guide based on my daughters list.  Prices may vary. For information I have used Amazon links and images.

In no particular order here is my top 10-

Pom Pom Wow
Pom Pom Wow Decoration Station
£30 approx.

Pom Pom Wow 48540 Decoration Station Toy

Lego Santas Workshop
Lego Santa Workshop
This is actually for 12+ but my daughter is now a Lego expert.
£80 approx.

Lego Creator 10245 Santa's Workshop

(She also wants Lego Minecraft, Lego Skyras Castle, Lego XXL box, Lego City Camper van, Lego Friends Bumper Cars and Lego Livi's Pop Star House!)

Diary of a wimpy kid collection
Book 2
£4 approx.

Popin Cookin (other sets available)
PopinCookin Sushi Set
£4 approx.

Kracie Popin' Cookin! DIY Sushi Kit

Karoke machine
Pink Karoke Machine
£50 approx.

Singing Machine SML-283 Portable CD-G Karaoke Player and 3 CDGs Party Pack - Pink

Golden coin maker
Golden Coin Maker
£20 approx.

John Adams Golden Coin Maker

Neon Science
Neon Science
£20 approx.

John Adams Neon Science Toy (Multi-Colour)

Pokémon Pikachu Plush
Pokemon My Friend Plush
£20 approx.

Tomy T18984D Pokemon My Friend Pikachu Plush Toy

Aqua Sand (other sets available)
Aqua Sand Set - Refills are £5.99
£12 approx.

Character options  Aqua Sand themed set Pirate Adventure

Girls Make up
Make up Egg
£20 approx.

Gentle Girls Egg Shape Make-up Set (Pink/Purple/Blue/Orange/Red)

I hope this has given you some inspiration with prices from affordable stocking filler to the more expensive. Happy shopping.

Emma xxx

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Christmas Gift Guide - Boys List (for info my son is 6 years old)

Christmas is fast approaching.  My daughter's list was easy but for my son its a little harder to pin down as he's easily swayed by a good TV advert. After some browsing of Smyths Toy catalogue, Argos and Amazon I have narrowed down the list.

Prices may vary. For information I have used Amazon links and images.

In no particular order here are the top 10 -

Lego Dimensions
Prices vary enormously but at the moment it is £45 so grab yourself one quick!
My son also wants the Simpsons characters and ghost busters.

LEGO Dimensions: Starter Pack (PS4)

Robo Fish
£13 approx.

Robo Fish Limited Edition Bowl, Net and Fish Set

Lego Angry Birds
£40 approx.

LEGO 75824 Angry Birds Pig City Teardown Building Set

Minecraft DanTDM hero pack (or plush item)
£15 approx.

Tube Heroes "TDM Diamond Dimension Pack" Figure (Multi-Colour)

Rocket League PS4 game
£15 approx.

Rocket League (PS4)

Audi S5 Cabriolet(Don't ask!)
£110-£150 approx.

Transformers Rescue Bots
£10 approx.

Playskool Transformers Rescue Bots Bumblebee

Flying Heros
£13 approx.

Flying Heroes Superman Flying Hero

Carrera Go Race Track (or any similar)
£50 approx.

Carrera GO!!! Speed Run 62367

Minecraft Diamond Sword
£20 approx.

ThinkGeek 52cm Minecraft Foam Replica 1/ 1 Diamond Pickaxe

Hope this inspires you and is useful.  I'm not 100% sure how I'm going to tackle the electric sit on car issue. I think Santa can't fit it on the sleigh!  Happy Shopping.

Emma xxx

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Spooky Short Story

I was looking at photos on my phone whilst lying in bed. The night before had been my best mate Megan’s 30th birthday and had been brilliant. My head throbbed slightly and my feet were ruined from hours of dancing but it had been worth it. The pictures were all of smiling happy people and I laughed as the last few were blurred; my ability to take a photo effected by alcohol at that point. I was just uploading a particularly good one to Facebook when I noticed something odd in the background. I squinted at the photo and shivered. It couldn’t be. In the background someone was smiling over Megan’s shoulder. The problem was it looked very much like our friend Chloe who had died 2 years ago. I quickly looked through the other photos and felt my eyes water as I noticed Chloe’s happy face in each and every one. I rang another friend Rebecca knowing she’d also been taking pictures and hoping she could offer a reasonable explanation.  Rebecca answered after a couple of rings and in a rush I told her about my photos.

“What? Slow down. You aren’t making sense.” Rebecca said. She sounded like she’d just woke up and I knew what I was saying sounded ridiculous. I explained again slower and I heard her take a large intake of breath. "Let me check my phone and call you back.” She said sounding confused. A few minutes later my phone rang and I snatched it up.

“Well. Is Chloe in your photo’s?” I said hastily my hands shaking slightly.

“Yes.” Rebecca answered quietly. “I can’t believe it. She looks so happy as well. I’m torn between being terrified and overjoyed to see her again.”

“That’s exactly how I feel. Should we actually do anything? Why do you think it’s happened now?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s because it was a big celebration. We had always joked about turning 30 in style.”

“Yeah I guess.  I wonder if she’s in anyone else’s photos?” I said wondering if anyone had already uploaded to Facebook without really looking properly.

“Who knows? We better tell Megan though. Shall we go over together? I’ll get breakfast and we can deliver the news. I’ll pick you up in half hour.”

“Ok sounds good.  See you soon.” I had a quick shower and threw on some clothes. Rebecca arrived just as I was putting my shoes on and I rushed out of the flat.

In the car Rebecca thrust her phone at me. “Dave, Phil, and Vicky have uploaded photos and Chloe is in most of them. This is so weird!” I scrolled through the photos and smiled as I looked at our former best mate. Chloe had a rare heart defect and had died two years ago. She’d always known about her condition and lived life to the full. She’d backpacked for 12 months, bungee jumped, swam with dolphins and her proudest achievement had been meeting Father Christmas in Lapland. She’d been quite ill for 6 months prior to her death and she was bitterly disappointed she wouldn’t reach her 30th birthday. She looked so happy in the photos but I wondered if it would upset anyone especially her mum who she’d been extremely close too.

As the day wore on we realised Chloe had photo bombed every single photo from the party. Some people thought it was morbid, others took great comfort from it, and her mum decided to visit a psychic. The local paper took up the story although I refused to be interviewed.
Over the next few weeks’ things returned to normal. I had been worried about taking more photos but Chloe did not show up in anymore. The existing photos had taken on a shimmer where she stood and looked faded but her smiling face was still clearly visible.

Rebecca was the next of our group to turn 30 and had decided that a small group would visit Dublin. On the short flight Rebecca asked me if she thought Chloe would appear. “I have no idea. It’s so strange. Maybe this time though we’ll sense her as we are prepared.”

“Wow! I hadn’t thought of that.” Rebecca said and turned away deep in thought. I looked out of the window relishing the calm before the madness of a boozy weekend and wondering if Chloe would join us.

Throughout the weekend no one sensed anything and although photos were checked almost obsessively Chloe did not appear. It was only once home that she made her appearance. Photo’s seemed to change and it looked like she was actually with us. Her arms were wrapped around us in several shots, she was doing bunny ears over Phil’s head smiling, and she was actually kissing Megan’s cheek in another. I couldn’t quite believe it.

Over the next few months. Chloe appeared in each of our 30th birthday pictures.  Instead of worrying we looked forward to seeing her. Her mum although sad loved seeing the photos and had become an honorary member of the 30th birthday gang. People offered all sorts of explanations ranging from camera glitches, group hallucinations or even that she wasn’t really dead. I have no explanation but have loved seeing my friend and hope she has enjoyed partying with us.

Emma xxx

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Monday, 17 October 2016

The anonymous blogger

Recently I've been thinking more about the anonymous bloggers.

I sometimes find it hard to engage with the parent bloggers whose profile picture is a logo & their Instagram is all children, day trips, food and the odd lower body clothes shot.

However I think maybe they have it right & I'm wrong.  Anonymity means you can write more freely. Talk about topics you might not want your mum or work colleague to read.

My posts are always honest but we all have a tendency to highlight the good bits. We photograph the smiles and successful play days not the days you are bored rigid and would happily lock yourself in the toilet for a few minutes peace.

I wanted my blog to be identifiable with personality and warmth. My humorous posts fit that description and do well.   But I feel sometimes I'm going through the blogging A-Z for post ideas. Day in the life, share a recipe, blog about a craft project. I love these things but it does feel a little average. Recently I've veered more towards sharing Northamptonshire events & this has gone well but means I can't participate in linkies so much as the posts won't appeal to the masses.

I have also read more about Facebook commenting groups which seem to be about cliques and Instagram accounts using 30 hashtags for optimum likes with a million filters &  absolutely nothing instant about it!  It all seems so engineered. Maybe that's what you need to do to be successful in the parent blogging community.

I've been happy with my growth apart from the annoyingly static Facebook but the more I read the more I don't seem to know. I'm not a techno wonder & have yet to schedule my tweets. I feel like a bit of a blogger fraud. I don't use Google analytics or Tweetdeck or understand SEO.(Google analytics is on my list to do though. I'm trying to go pro!)

I think I've gone off on a bit of a tangent but bare with me (OMG!!! I'm not sure which bare it is. bear/bare. I tried both neither look right.)

I love blogging for the creativity. I've conversed with some lovely people. Maybe I need to engage more (definitely felt more involved since joining a brilliant Facebook group UK parent bloggers). 

Writing & blogging can be a very solitary pursuit and maybe I need a tribe (oooh is that a proper blogger term). I love writing. I've actually dusted off some of my short stories and have begun to share. It was my first love.

Getting back to my original topic I do think some topics would be better written anonymously & the freedom must be so enlightening! To be able to have a proper rant or constructive bitch must be amazing.

Emma xxx

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