30 Mar 2014

Assistance Dogs Transform Lives

A dog is always considered to be man's best friend. There are times when a dog can be more than a friend. Certainly a lot more than just a pet.

It can be a companion when you are feeling down and out. It can be your eyes and your ears and look after you when you are not feeling well. It can fetch more than just your slippers; it can fetch you your life-saving meds. 

Not just Man's Best Friend
Most of us have seen guide dogs in action. But not a lot of us know of the other types of assistance dogs that can offer help and support to people in need.  I certainly was unaware of the wide range of tasks these marvellous creatures are capable of.

Assistance dogs are specially trained to assist people who, for either physical or emotional reasons, cannot lead truly independent lives. They can be attentive and life-changing companions to young people as well as adults. 

These canny canines are capable of performing a variety of specialised roles. They can detect low blood sugar levels in diabetics or alert their owners of an impending seizure. Some can provide comfort to veteran's suffering from post-traumatic stress. 

Whatever their role, assistance dogs can dramatically improve the quality of life of their owners. 

It was quite a revelation for me to learn about assistance dogs and the brilliant levels of support they offer. You can see a lovely poster about the different types of assistance dogs and how they help enrich the lives of their owners on the Bolt Burdon Kemp website.

Disclaimer: This post has been written in collaboration with Bolt Burdon Kemp solicitors. I retain editorial rights for all the content in this post.

29 Mar 2014

Sunday 30/03/2014


27 Mar 2014

26 Mar 2014

A Meadow of Spring Flowers for Center Parcs

Spring. A time when Nature throws back her cold, freezing blanket of frost, ice and snow. A time when new life springs forth. When the days grow longer and the nights feel more welcome. The dreary grey of winter is replaced by the warmth of colour. When lush green meadows are awash with the colour of flowers sparkling in the golden sun.

A Meadow of Spring Flowers - an Artist's Impression
It is this picture of a meadow of spring flowers that my nearly-3 year old son and I decided to paint for this month's Center Parcs challenge.

25 Mar 2014

First Family Holiday Abroad

First Family Holiday Abroad Booked 

J was just over 18 months old when we booked our first ever family holiday abroad. We booked to go all-inclusive to Majorca and after a particularly miserable winter, were really looking forward to relaxing in the sun, sand and sea.

J had started to walk without support only recently, and was gaining in confidence with each passing day. Not to mention getting more independent and adventurous.

First Family Holiday Abroad, Majorca, Spain

The Fracture
About a month before we were due to fly, he was up to his usual exploits when he slipped and fell. Nothing unusual about that, you would say. Toddlers who are learning to walk do fall over a million times a day. Only that this time, J had fallen at such an angle, that he was in a lot of pain. The poor child could not even touch his foot to the ground, let alone stand up and walk.

24 Mar 2014

Starting out with The Slimpod

Comfort Eating

Anybody who knows me will know that I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. It does not help that I am an emotional eater. I eat when I am happy. I eat when I am sad. I eat when I am bored. I eat when I am stressed. Whatever I am thinking, however I may be feeling, I always end up finding refuge in food.

21 Mar 2014

3 Things to Wish For

If I had but three wishes
What would I wish for
Not all the riches in the world
Or a basket full of stars.

I would ask not for gold
Not a million pounds in the bank
I would wish not for diamonds
Not fame, fortune nor rank.

My first wish would bring
Peace, love and joy
To me and all around
No hunger, pain nor cry.

My next wish would see
My boy in good health and cheer
A long, wise and loved life
Wanting for nothing, never a fear.

For my last wish
I want for nothing more 
Than a loving hand to hold
When I am grey and old.

If a genie in a lamp
Is listening in to me
Here are my wishes
One, two and three.

Prose for Thought

20 Mar 2014


Alone in a crowd
Alone in a house
Alone in a room
Alone with a grouse.

Sharing a bed, not a word said
Alone with my screams.
Alone in my thoughts
Alone in my dreams.

My word for this week is 'alone'. Apologies for unleashing the poet in me for WotW. I cannot seem to help it. I try to  sum up my week in one word, and the verses just seem to follow. 

The Reading Residence

18 Mar 2014

Pay It Forward

Call me naive, call me simple, call me a dreamer. Call me what you like, but there is no taking away from the fact that I am a socialist at heart. I believe in kindness, in equality and in justice for all. I may not have millions to give away in philanthropy, but I can always do my little bit to try and make the world a slightly better place. 

If each one of us did that one little thing, that one little random act of kindness to a total stranger, who knows, the world might just end up being a better place. 

14 Mar 2014

Spring Resolutions


Spring. A time when Nature throws back her cold, freezing blanket of frost, ice and snow. A time when new life springs forth. The dreary grey of winter replaced by the warmth of colour. When the days grow long and warm and the nights feel more welcome. 


Spring.  A time of rejuvenation and revival, of new beginnings. A time to cast off the old and weary. A time to change. When everything around is proclaiming a new dawn, a new awakening.

10 Mar 2014

J Speaks Some More

We have had the first of what I can safely assume are going to be many, "What's that, Aai?" while pointing to a picture of Q for Queen in his letter book.

"It's my!" is now a regular utterance through most waking hours. Laying a very firm and determined claim to property and territorial rights. Just in case there were any doubts as regards ownership.

"No looking, Aai!" is J's way of telling me to stop glaring at him sternly after he has been particularly naughty. Works every time, as I end up in a fit of giggles.

"No calling J!" is J's way of reminding me that I have raised my voice, which I really shouldn't. So this is quite an effective way of keeping The Parents in check.

J Speaks

Fund-raising For The Love of Joni

This is the story of Joni, a brave little girl who is fighting cancer for the last couple of years. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, an extremely rare form of bone cancer when she was just 5 years old.

She has had multiple courses of chemotherapy, stem cell treatment, blood transfusions and a major operation to remove her right thigh bone and replace it with a metal bone.

After being in remission for 15 months, the cancer has returned. Joni has now been given a diagnosis of relapsed Ewing's sarcoma. She has restarted chemotherapy. But as there is no set protocol for treatment of relapsed Ewing's sarcoma, the future for Joni is uncertain.

6 Mar 2014

The Mum Tag

There was this really interesting meme doing the rounds of the parent blogging world. It looked fun and made for compelling reading as it offered a sneak peek into what fellow bloggers made of being Mum. So when the lovely Angela over on There And Back Again...A Mother's Tale offered to tag me on The Mum Tag, I jumped at the opportunity.

Here are the 20 questions and my 20 answers. Happy reading.

1. Are you a stay at home mum, or a working mum?
I stay at home and work at being a tolerably good mum.

#WotW 7 Mar 2014

My word for this week has to be 'Meals'. It was all about food these last seven days.  Elaborate home-cooked meals, easy meals and of course, Pancake Day.

5 Mar 2014

Reading Aloud to a Toddler

Love of the Written Word

When I was little, my mother used to read aloud to us. It was a daily bedtime routine, and I remember asking for one more story every time. She never refused. She continued to read to us long after we could read for ourselves. It was magical to just lie back, close my eyes and listen to the sound of her voice weave a spell as I drifted off to sleep.

This was my first introduction to the world of books. The next inspiration came from a well-stocked library at our school, where we were actively encouraged to borrow and read books. This early foundation set the tone for all future reading.

Now I am a Mum, and it is my turn to instil a love of the written word in my toddler.

4 Mar 2014

J Speaks as a Guest

If you are wondering what has happened to this week's instalment of Jspeak, wonder no more.

J and I have been invited by the lovely Helen (and of course, GG and the Bug) over on Actually Mummy. So you can read all about J's latest linguistic escapades over there.

And while there was no actual tea and cake, we have had a virtual blast as guests over on Actually Mummy. A huge big thank you for having us.

Wot So Funee?

Easy Wholewheat Pancakes

I have been absolutely crazy about pancakes since the first time I ate some at the Pancake House in Cardiff.  The next time I had some was at the Pancake Place in Oban.

I always procrastinated about making them at home. It was not until last year,  when I was running out of recipe ideas for little J, that I actually ended up making some pancakes.  I haven't stopped since. Pancakes are now a firm favourite with both my son and me. M is not that keen on them. So they get made mostly when he isn't around.

Super Easy Wholewheat Pancake

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