30 December 2010

You have to take him to hospital right now

I did a lot of bargaining yesterday with a God I don't believe in.

As I drove two year old Cash to hospital with suspected H1N1 Swine Flu I was prepared to give anything and everything for my baby to be well.

It sounds a little over-dramatic now, as he is much improved, but my thoughts were tortured with images of watching him struggle to breath. I watched my brother's lungs stop working and I watched my Dad's heart fail. I was not going to watch my baby die.

As an asthmatic myself I know the discomfort and terror of not being able to breathe. Cash was having difficulty breathing yesterday. His burning body, rapid rasping breaths, heaving diaphragm and lethargic whimpers were enough for me to brave the GP's receptionist and demand an emergency appointment.

The GP said the words I'd feared, that we had to go straight to hospital. I'd already put a change of clothes, water and a muslin in my bag for Cash, just in case. My first trip out after almost two weeks of being snowed in and we're off to the pediatric assessment unit.

Then my brain clearly demonstrated that my migraines are stress related. Great timing brain. I had to ignore my symptoms and concentrate on my little boy.

I willed my darling Cash to get well. I had a lot of time to do this. I spent hours perched on hospital chairs cradling him. These hellish hours were punctuated by nurses treating him with paracetomol, ibuprofen and ventolin. He eventually relaxed, his temperature fell from 39 to 37 degrees and his breathing improved.

Cash's request of 'I want to go home' finally paid off. Armed with antibiotics, tamiflu and ventolin and instructions to stay away from the 'at risk', we came home.

He's not out of the woods yet, but he's been playing this morning and asking for food - so different to yesterday. I have the mother-in-law of all headaches and a fistful of new grey hairs, but my boy is home.

We had a lovely Christmas Day, but since then have been nursing poorly children. Not quite as festive as I'd hoped, our main aim now is avoiding hospital. Roll on 2011.


22 December 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Moonrise


20 December 2010

Snowed in

This time last year we were snowed in. We live down a lane, down a hill. It's almost impossible to get the car out to the main road. After almost a month I was going stir crazy.

On Friday it snowed again.

A lot.

I hate that we get snowed in. I hate even more when we can get the car out and the roads are icy. Even though I pretty much hate the effects of the snow, I still watch it fall with child-like wide-eyed wonder. I'm excited by it. It's beautiful. If I wake up in the middle of the night I peek out of the curtains to see how much we've had.

The boys love it!

There's only so much time you can spend outside in the snow before you get too cold, although we've done our best.

Our snow is weird this year, it's a fine powder and not great for building snowmen.

It's deep enough to go over the top of little wellies.

And to coat woollen mittens.

So we came indoors to paint. I made the mistake of answering my phone and moving into the kitchen to chat in peace. This is what I came back to.

Andy took pity on me and bought back a packet cake mix from the local shops to entertain us.

This is what the cakes are supposed to like like.

There are Presley's.

There are Cash's.

I think they're wonderful AND they were edible.

I'll have to find some more activities for tomorrow or maybe we'll just snuggle up in front of the television.

It is nearly Christmas after all.




17 December 2010

Win a Kellogg's Hamper this Christmas

This competition is now closed.

The winner is... Live Otherwise.

Would you like to win this hamper from Kellogg's?

All you have to do is leave a 'pick me' comment on this post, along with your email address or Twitter ID so that I can contact you if you win.

This competition is for UK residents only (sorry, international readers).

The closing date is midnight on Sunday 19th December 2010.

I will make the draw using Random.org on Monday and contact the winner to ask for their address. Hopefully you will receive your prize before Christmas (weather permitting)!

Thank you to Kellogg's for this giveaway.

Good luck!


14 December 2010

It's all going on...

Firstly, I've been nominated for an award. 

I'm shortlisted in the 'Outstanding in their field' category in the British Mummy Bloggers Brilliance in Bogging 2010 awards.

Thank you to you if you nominated me, I'm absolutely delighted!

Congratulations to all nominees and finalists.

You can find more information and the all important voting form on the BMB Blog.


More good news, I'm Playpennies Blogger of the Week.

I have a love-hate relationship with Playpennies. I love finding out about all the bargains to be had, but I hate that I can't resist a bargain!


I've written a few reviews recently, including:


Robinsons Panto Karaoke is now live. All you need is a webcam and a sense of humour and you can make your own video. This fun challenge is aiming to raise funds for Barnados.


One of my favourite bloggers has a new project. Emily at Babyrambles has set up a new website offering real down-to-earth advice. It's called Real Parenting.


Do you like books and chocolate? I said yes to that question and was sent a book and some Galaxy chocolate. You can win books over at the Galaxy Facebook page.



Check out the Matthew Walker Facebook page for your chance to win a gorgeous Christmas Pudding in their perfect Christmas campaign. I'm looking forward to trying mine.


5 December 2010

A Rock and Roll Christmas!

We had a smashing start to putting up our Christmas decorations this weekend.

Andy was moving the television when it fell off the stand and smashed on the floor. He quipped that smashing a television set is very rock and roll, hence the title of this post!

We now have a small spare television installed and will have to hit the January sales. Andy's been after a flat screen television for ages... Hmm. Did the television jump or was it pushed?!

We were both pretty shaken actually. Thank goodness the boys weren't anywhere near it.

Anyway, we finally put up our decorations. This is the first year since Presley could move by himself that we have dared have a full size Christmas tree. We let the boys decorate it and (surprise surprise) it looks like it has been decorated by toddlers! Presley and Cash were so excited. A little too excited perhaps. I have already threatened to take it down if they play with the tree decorations!

I posted about our decorations last year, so here are some photographs of this year's new additions.

If you fancy taking a look at some more decorations - or if you want to show yours off - the lovely Liz at Violetposy is hosting her annual tour.


1 December 2010

Family Traditions at Christmas

I need your help.

I want to establish some Calico family Christmas traditions, but I don't really know where to start.

I want Christmas to be a magical time for all the family, but most importantly for Presley and Cash. At three and two they are getting excited about Christmas, even though they don't really know that much about it. They know they get presents, but there's so much more to Christmas than that.

I found out on Twitter tonight that Young Mummy and Cosmic Girlie are at the same stage as me and Pippa has promised to give us some pointers on her blog - after all, she is the queen of all things Christmassy.

These are my ideas so far:
  • Advent calendars
  • Go carol singing with our neighbours
  • Visit Father Christmas. This year we have booked to go on the Santa Express steam train.
  • Make or buy new tree decorations
  • Decorate the tree together
  • Make paperchains (if I can find some - suggestions of stockists please)
  • Drive around to look at everyone's lights (I stole this from Cosmic Girlie)
  • A special meal on Christmas Eve and a special breakfast on Christmas Day (to be decided)
  • Leave a mince pie for Father Christmas and a carrot for Rudolph
  • Letters to Father Christmas (the NSPCC will send a letter back for a small donation)
  • Buying one present for the poor children of the world via UNICEF
  • Taking our old toys to the charity shop
  • A walk on Christmas Day after lunch
  • A pantomime between Christmas and New Year

Over to you. What are your family traditions at Christmas?


30 November 2010

The Next 12 Days of Christmas Shopping

Have you thought about doing your Christmas shopping at Next

They sell so much more than just clothes.

Here are my top 12 Christmas shopping suggestions (all references to The 12 Days of Christmas are purely deliberate):

12 - Talking Drum (Zingzillas) £17

11 - Grey Piped Military Coat £65

10 - Dancing Dad £6

9 - Wii Just Dance £20

8 - Blue Milk Sleepsuits (two pack) £11

7 - Floral Cargo Swim Shorts £25

6 - Anti-allergy Goose Feather & Down Pillows (two pack) £30

5 - Gold Napkins Rings £7

4 - Novelty Bird Box £10

3 - Superdry French Navy Foil Print T-Shirt £25

2 - Ocean in my Pocket Turtle Hut £10

and a ...Sorry, couldn't find a partridge, but I did find some Pears Photographic Prints £15

All of the above are available to buy at Next.

This is a sponsored post.

26 November 2010

UNICEF 'Inspired Gifts'

The ideal Christmas gift for those who have everything – UNICEF ‘Inspired Gifts’

UNICEF has a unique Christmas gift that’s ideal for those difficult to shop for friends and family. Just what do you get the person who seems to have everything?

The answer is simple: get a Christmas gift that’s different, easy to buy online, and helps children in need.

UNICEF Inspired Gifts are real, life-saving supplies that are delivered to children in emergencies and disasters around the world. They include products such as water containers, vaccines, medicines, food, and education materials. Your friend or family member will receive a card which tells them how the gift is making a real difference in children’s lives.

Treat 100 children for dehydration for £26.50

Weighing Scales for babies and children, £26.50

You can view the full range of gifts at www.unicef.org.uk/inspired

For those who don’t have everything, UNICEF also offers a more traditional selection of cards and gifts: www.unicef.org.uk/shop

My lovely friend, Rosie Scribble, has seen first hand the amazing work that UNICEF does in Cameroon. If you haven't read her beautifully written account yet, you can find it on her blog.



25 November 2010

And the Winner of the Vtech Kidizoom Video Camera is...


Congratulations to Second Time Mummy!

Please email your choice of a pink or a blue video camera and your address to sandycalico (at) ymail (dot) com


I'm running a new competition over at my reviews blog, Sandy Calico Reviews. The prize is £50 of Mothercare vouchers and a month's supply of Fairy. This competition closes at midnight on Wednesday 1st December.



24 November 2010

Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktops are the One-for-All

My first home computer was a Dell. I'd used computers at work for many years and was a competent user, but I didn't know that much about them. I certainly didn't know what to buy, but I found the Dell website easy to use. With a few clicks of the mouse I had built up a specification for a desktop computer and had selected all the options I required.

At the time I was single, so my needs were basic. I wanted to go online, upload photographs and play around with Microsoft Office. The Dell desktop I bought did what I asked of it and it did it well. In fact, five years on and it is still in use.

Of course, now I have a family, my requirements for a family desktop computer are different. 

Soon the boys will be using the family computer more and more. A computer in every home was unimaginable when I was at school (yes, I really am that old)! Using computers is second nature to my two and three year old sons. Already they can move a mouse and use the keyboard, picking out their initials.

We now want a family computer that is multi-functional. We want to go online and play games, watch videos and much much more. We want a high-tech interactive touch screen. We want sleek and space-saving design, with no tower, so that it can fit anywhere in the home. We want a high resolution screen for viewing photographs. We want to create and listen to music. We want it all!

The Dell All-in-One Desktop seems to fit the bill.


Further information can be found here

the youtube Video

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23 November 2010

Black and White

I'm rather proud of this photograph. It was taken in a park in Epsom a few years ago with my trusty old Fuji Finepix E550.

The theme for the Sticky Fingers Gallery this week is black and white.


21 November 2010

Do You Lie to Your Children?

I'm not talking about those harmless white lies we all tell our children. You know, when you've had a hard day and you put them to bed early but you don't tell them it's only 6pm. Or when they want a seventh yoghurt and you tell them there aren't any left and you'll put them on the shopping list.

What I'm talking about is Father Christmas. Do you tell a tissue of festive lies or do you come clean about the big fella with the white beard and red outfit?

The big argument for telling the truth is that your child may be devastated when they discover that you have been deceiving them for years. Has this happened to anyone? Were you the child who didn't like having the cotton wool beard pulled over their eyes?

For me, as a child, the excitement I experienced every Christmas was priceless. I remember it as a magical time. My brother and I would decorate a box that we left by our beds. Father Christmas had to leave one present in these boxes so we would know that he'd been. Our large stockings were waiting downstairs. We didn't notice that Father Christmas had used the same wrapping paper as Mum. We weren't concerned that he had the same handwriting as Mum.

I thought I saw him once. When I was five we had friends staying. I was sleeping on a camp bed in Mum and Dad's bedroom. I say 'sleeping', I was trying to sleep, but far too excited. When I heard footsteps on the stairs I turned to face the wall. I saw a red reflection in the radiator. Then, relieved, I slept.

I think it dawned on me when I was nine that maybe Father Christmas didn't exist. I felt neither disappointed or cheated. I pretended I still believed so that my younger brother wouldn't find out. Christmas was still magical. Until I left home the same sacks would appear downstairs every Christmas morning.

I'm almost certain I want my children to experience the excitement, joy and magic of believing in Father Christmas, but it's only possible if we all take part in the big Christmas lie, isn't it? Can Christmas be just as magical without the jolly bearded chap and his flying reindeer?

If you have decided not to take part in the great Christmas deception, what will you tell your children about Father Christmas? Do you think your child will be the odd one out at school? Are you worried your child will spoil it for the rest? I'd love to know what you think.

Ho ho ho!


19 November 2010

Tiny Acorns

Earlier this year the fabulous Tim from Bringing Up Charlie ran a free creative writing e-course. I thoroughly enjoyed it and picked up plenty of writing tips.

You know the saying about tiny acorns? Well, Dotterel Press has published the course and selected pieces from those who took part in a mighty oak of a book, called 'Tiny Acorns'.

I am delighted that two pieces wot I wrote are in the book.

You can buy 'Tiny Acorns' direct from Dotterel Press for just £8.99 plus £1 p&p (no matter how many copies you buy). 

'Tiny Acorns' is also available internationally from Lulu for £9.99 and to download there for £2.99. 

All proceeds will go to Children In Need.

I am immensely grateful to Tim and so so proud of all those who took part in the course, especially Nickie from Typecast and Mummy Limited - my wonderful writing buddies.



18 November 2010

WIN a Vtech Kidizoom Video Camera

*** This competition is now closed ***

Would you like to win one of these Vtech Kidizoom Video Cameras? 

The giveaway winner can choose which colour they prefer as the camera comes in pink or blue.

The Vtech Kidizoom video camera has a RRP of £59.99.

It is a child's first video camera featuring tough design and easy operation. You can record and edit video and take photographs. It has a 1.8" colour screen, 256MB internal memory, 4x digital zoom and 2.0 megapixel resolution and includes RV and PC connections.

Would a child you know like this for Christmas?

This prize has kindly been provided by Argos, who provide a wide range of toys, such as Lego and Barbie dolls.

The Vtech Kidizoom Video Camera is on Argos' list of the top 10 toys for Christmas 2010.

How to enter the giveaway

  • For one entry simply leave a 'pick me' comment on this post. Please leave your Twitter id or email address so that I can contact you if you are lucky enough to win.
  • For an additional entry follow this blog on Google Friend Connect and tell me in the comments that you have done so.
  • For another additional entry follow my other blog, Sandy Calico Reviews, on Google Friend Connect and tell me in the comments that you have done so.
  • For yet another entry sent the following tweet "I've entered the #competition on http://sandycalico.blogspot.com/ to #win a Vtech Kidizoom Video Camera" and tell me in the comments that you have done so.
  • That gives a maximum of four entries per person.

The rules

  • Open to UK residents only (sorry to my international readers).
  • The closing date is midnight on Wednesday 24 November 2010.
  • The winner will be picked using Random.org and notified on Thursday 25 November 2010.
  • The prize will be sent to the winner by Argos. Please allow 28 days for delivery.

Good luck!


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