Monday, 14 April 2014

Why should you adopt an animal from a Rescue Shelter

If you’re thinking about getting a pet for your family, you’ve most likely started to research pets that are available in your area on various selling sites like Gumtree and Preloved. However, with an estimated 55,000 pets that needed homes and were under the care of the RSCPA in 2012, it’s obvious to see that there are so many pets in rescue centres that need our help.

What is a rescue shelter?
A rescue shelter – also known as pet homes or rescue centres – refers to a place where stray, abandoned or unwanted animals are looked after by the workers or volunteers. Depending on the type of shelter, there can be animals of all species, ages, backgrounds and temperaments. Some of the pets in homes may have suffered serious abuse or neglect. Others may have been given up because their families could no longer adequately care for them anymore.
All good rescue shelters will look after their animals and work with them to improve their heath and behaviour, and claim to never rehome an animal that isn’t ready to leave yet.

What can you expect from an animal in a rescue shelter?
There are many concerns people have when it comes to heading to a rescue shelter to get a new pet, and most of them are myths or very outdated. As mentioned above, animals in competent, modern shelters will be treated to the highest standards and will be nurtured in terms of their health and happiness. Therefore the idea that all animals in adoption homes are aggressive and untamed is just not accurate anymore.
Whilst it’s impossible to state that all of the animals will be exceptionally well behaved and healthy, it’s important to remember everything they’ve been through and to take these things into account before dismissing them. They may have been subject to horrific cruelty, or, at the very least, may have been moved around a lot.
What are the true advantages of adopting a pet from a shelter?
When you adopt an animal from a rescue shelter, you are essentially saving a life. There are more animals than homes and overpopulation is a common problem in shelters. To tackle this, some have no choice than to put the animals to sleep (though this is becoming rarer). Also, the animals in shelters are much more likely to have been neutered to eliminate the chance of them being able to reproduce into an already over-crowded world.
Additionally, they will give you a good idea about the animal’s temperament and background which you aren’t likely to get from a breeder (or an honest idea, at least). They will have been treated with the best veterinary supplies at and other well respected animal care product manufacturers.
Shelters also often are a much cheaper way of obtaining a pet, as pet shops and independent breeders can charge as much as they like and they will often want to make a large profit. Most shelters generally just ask for a donation to cover things like admin fees and one or two of their vaccinations. 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Project 365 - week 15

This week has been a long week, the boys were still on a high after our trip to the Warner Bros Studio Tour and spending time with their cousins.  It was the last week of term too for the boys and it was really showing, they've all been snappy, tired and generally not wanted to do much including not wanting to get up in the mornings.  So when 2pm yesterday (Friday) arrived they were so relieved to be starting the Easter Holidays.  Here's our week -

Sunday 6th April - 

After a fantastic week and knowing we had another busy week ahead I took some time to catch up with the weather forecast for this coming week. Over the years I have found that the forecast featured on Country file is the most reliable and I actually enjoy watching Country file too surprisingly.  It's kind of a mark that the previous week is ending and a new one is arriving in a way in our house, a sign it's bedtime on a Sunday night too for the children.  

Monday 7th April - 

I spent the day catching up on housework and preparing things for the next few days.  Erin was happy to spend some quiet time helping me off and on but also spent a lot of time playing with her Hello Kitty teddy that my aunt had knitted her for her birthday.  

 Tuesday 8th April - 

 We're all loving the lighter evenings this week and the dry weather is a bonus.  Even the chickens are enjoying being out in the garden for longer in the day.

Wednesday 9th April - 

 This afternoon after school the older two boys built a rocket.  When they came to launch it in the gardens the chickens couldn't resist coming and joining in the action.

Thursday 10th April - 

The last few afternoons I've noticed that Kitty has been looking for somewhere new to nap.  While the little ones were napping this afternoon I discovered she'd found her new spot in the corner next to the front door but also on top of dad of 3's trainers and sleepers! maybe she misses him during the day!

Friday 11th April -

This morning during breakfast Rowan was talking about shapes and how you can make shapes.  After he finished his toast he made a triangle out of his crusts!  

Saturday 12th April - 

Grandma came to house sit for us this afternoon and brought easter eggs for the children.  They really weren't impressed to be leaving them behind!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 11 April 2014

Every Change Matters - Lets make one change to elliminate plastic polution with gnappies and 5 Gyres

What is the problem?

50% of plastics are produced for single-use

60,000 plastic bags are consumed in the world every second

90% of waste entering our oceans is plastic

7 out of 10 items picked up on world’s beaches are plastic

Plastics are made to last forever, but at the same time they are designed to be thrown away after single use, which causes plastic pollution in our ocean and on our beaches

50 billion plastic drink bottles are used every year

An estimated 37,000 tons of plastics are in our ocean gyres

What does gNappies have to do with plastics and its pollution?

Polypropylene and polyethylene are the two most common plastics found polluting our oceans and most “disposable” nappies on the market do contain the mentioned plastics. gNappies disposable inserts do not.

What is the partnership of gNappies and 5 Gyres about?

The gNappies and 5 Gyres collaboration is to encourage parents to eliminate unnecessary, single use plastic from our homes. With the launch of the Great White Shark gPants and Clean Water T-Shirt of gNappies, 5 Gyres will be sponsored to clean up a foot of beach for every design sold.

Who is 5 Gyres?

5 Gyres is a charity committed to ending plastic pollution.

Why are we doing this?

This is to raise awareness of single use plastic.

What gNappies are asking you to do :

gNappies would like you to make one change to eliminate single use plastic. For example, you can simply find a single use plastic item to be removed from your home (whether it is a water bottle, or a kitchen roll, or jiffy bags). Then, post a picture of this on gNappies’ Facebook wall or tweet @gNappies #ChangeMatters .

gNappies are linking up with eco charity 5 GYRES to help rid the world of single use plastic pollution with the launch of their great white gPants and clean water t-shirt and pledge to clean up a foot of beach for everyone sold

great white shark gPants £17.95 from and available at Ocado

Do you have a long jouney planned for half term? why not check out Britax's printable fun activity sheets to occupy young mindsw

With half term underway, families up and down the country will be setting off to visit friends and grandparents far and wide to make the most of their time off with the children.  So begins... the car clean, the car seat checks, route planning and packing. 

As many of us parents here at BRITAX know, packing a small bag for the car to keep the children entertained for a couple of hours en route should also be high on the list of priorities, even for the older children!

Fully charged electronic devices? Check. Snacks? Check. Emergency Wipes? Check.  Favourite cuddly toy? Check. Pen, pencil and notebook? Check. For even longer journeys, as parents, we know, you also need a repertoire of songs, car games and a LOT of patience. 

To mark the launch of our most exciting and technologically advanced new Group 2/3 car seat, the KIDFIX XP SICT, for children aged from 4-12 years or 15 kg to 36 kg,  we wanted to lend parents an extra helping hand with our fantastic printable activity sheets for children four years and older.

As you head out of the city or countryside to hit the motorway, we’re challenging your younger children’s bright little minds to spot key landmarks, planes and animals.  With a visual printable ‘I Spy’ sheet, they will just need a pencil to circle what they spot and can also colour in the images while they play!  Older children are also encouraged to put their literacy skills to the test and create short sentences featuring everything they have spotted on their journey. No mess, no fuss, just fun. For the older travelers we also have a ‘Number Detective’ worksheet to challenge their minds with harder, logic solving questions which will even give the parents a run for their money if the kids get stuck.  We guarantee at least 15 minutes extra peace on your journey!


Funspiration activity guide from Flora

With our Easter holidays starting today I have been trying to come up with activities to do with the children.  There are times when you need to think on your feet and come up with ideas using household items that don't take ages to get together.  

Coming up with ideas is not always easy either but now Flora has developed a 'Funspiration' activity guide with the help of Tanith Carey who is a award winning parenting author.  The 'Funspiration' guide has 15 fun activities to help inspire busy parents.  The activities are perfect for when you have 15 minutes or so to fill.  

Over the last couple of days we tried out two of the fun ideas from the guide and had lots of fun in the process.  Here's how we got on.  

Egg Cartoon Crocodile

You will need :

egg boxes - ideally 1 dozen box(large box) and 2 half dozen boxes(small box) (we only had half dozen boxes so improvised)
felt tip pens
card - we used white and green.  

method -

  • We stuck two boxes together to form the body, if you've a dozen box you can skip this stage.
  • cut one small egg box in half and glue the bottom of the box to the top of the large egg box, bumpy side up to make the scales.  
  • take another small egg box and glue on the top of the other end of the large egg box, this will be your crocodile's head.  
  • I then cut a long tail out from the green card but if you have another small egg box cut in half and use that.
  • Then using white card the boys cut out teeth and stuck them along the front of our crocodiles head.  
  • using the other half of the egg box you cut up to form the tail, cut two sections off and glue onto the head to make your crocodile's eyes.  We used the two dividing bits from inside one of the boxes.  
  • Using the felt tip pens draw pupils onto the eyes and nostrils above the teeth. 
  • You could paint your egg box crocodile if you want but we choose not too.

The boys had great fun making the egg box crocodile and Erin happily watched.  Afterwards our crocodile joined in the fun with some Lego duplo play too.  The activity kept the children entertained for a good twenty minutes and you can get as creative as you like. 

Keen to try another activity the boys wanted to build a Secret Den, always a favourite activity here.

Secret Den, you will need:

Trystan took the led in building the secret den but Erin wanted to help and once the sheet was up she quickly out the cushions in.  
We tend to use the children's chairs and a variety of things around the playroom to hold the dens the children build.  On this occasion we used the toy kitchen to help give some height.  

All the children joined in the den building fun and spent a good hour or two yesterday evening playing in it afterwards.  It took me about five minutes to grab a sheet and clothes pegs for the children to use and another five minutes to build the den.  But it provided lots of fun and laughter.

Why not take a look at the 'Funspiration' guide and see what fun activities you can do.    You can find the guide and remember fun just needs a little imagination.    

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Marks and Spencer and Marine Conservation Society Volunteers set to tackle Port Eynon Bay as part of the Big Beach Clean-up

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is urging the Swansea community to descend on Port Eynon Bay to free it from litter as part of this year’s Big Beach Clean-up.

Taking place on Wednesday 30 April from 10am, the Big Beach Clean-up is hosted in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and invites local residents, businesses, universities and societies to join employees from M&S Fforestfach to scoop up unwanted rubbish. What’s more, customers who register for the event in advance at will also receive a money-off M&S voucher on the day of their beach clean*.

Julie Carpenter, Store Manager at M&S Fforestfach, said: “We’re calling upon as many local people as possible to help us rid Port Eynon Bay of litter. This is a fun initiative that will bring the Swansea community together to help our local environment and protect our precious marine life.”

Volunteers across 95 beaches and 45 canals in the UK will this year join forces with the aim of clearing more than last year’s massive haul of 30 tonnes of litter – the equivalent weight of two double decker buses. Most of the litter collected on Port Eynon Bay will be common waste items such as fishing nets, ropes and bottles tops. However last year M&S beach and canal cleaners found an array of unusual items including a bath, coffee maker, HM Prison Service toothbrush and a Freeview box.

Additionally, MCS will take the opportunity to assess the impact this year’s storms have had on beach litter and debris at locations across the country.

Last year over 9,000 people (4,000 M&S employees and 5,000 M&S customers) volunteered and collected 4,000 bin bags full of litter after cleaning over 300km of beaches and canals.

Samantha Fanshawe, MCS Chief Executive, said: “This week of action is a great opportunity to clean up some of our best loved beaches and remove litter that has built up following recent storms.  Rubbish washed up or left on beaches not only harms wildlife but spoils our enjoyment of the coast too, so the more people that take part the more litter we can remove from harm’s way.  Throughout the year, there will be activities and resources for schoolchildren to learn more about our seas and the fascinating marine life they support.”
The M&S Big Beach Clean-up is part of M&S’ Forever Fish campaign which is funded by the profits from the 5p carrier bag charge in M&S foodhalls. Since its introduction in 2008, the charge has reduced carrier bag use by 75 per cent and raised over £6 million for good causes.  

Customers can find out more and follow the event on twitter (@marksandspencer or search #beachclean) and facebook (

Review - Great Gismos 4m Green Science Kits - Green Rocket

Last week we were sent a Great Gismos 4m Green Science, Green Rocket kit to try out with the boys.  The older two boys were so excited when they came home from school to find the kit waiting for them.  I knew it would be a hit with them as Luc and especially Trystan are very interested in making things and finding out how they work at present.    

I let them have a read of the instructions to find out if we needed anything in addition to the contents of the kit so that they would be able to get on and make the rocket.  They quickly discovered we needed two empty plastic drinks bottles.  Trystan went off to have a look to see if we had any, he discovered we only had one that was suitable so I promised to go and buy another bottle of pop as a treat so that they would have the two bottles required.  

Yesterday we finally had the second bottle we needed and were able to get on and build the green rocket.  So yesterday evening while dinner was cooking the older two set about following the instructions to build the rocket.  

The instructions were really easy to follow and had diagrams to refer to as well as the steps clearly set out.  The boys managed really well to follow them and the only help I needed to give was to help tighten the screws.  

Rowan and Erin watched with great interest as the rockets took shape, Rowan kept asking if he could have a turn launching a rocket too.  Between the two boys the whole assembly took about 20 minutes to do which is just long enough to hold the boys attention without them getting bored at the moment.  

Once ready we headed out on to the patio where I helped fill the launch station bottle to stop it from falling over.  Excitedly the boys took it in turns to launch their rockets across the garden trying to see who's would go the furthest.  Even the chickens came over to watch the action.  

 While I finished getting dinner ready the boys and Erin who watched the fun from the back door, spent a good twenty minutes playing with the rocket, trying to find the perfect position to help the rockets travel further.  It was the perfect activity for after school and helped burn off some of their energy as they took it in turns to retrieve their rockets from the bottom of the garden.  

When dinner was ready the boys decided they wanted to put the green rocket safe so that they could use it again at the weekend and stored it safely in the garage.  The conversation over dinner was rocket focused of course and we chatted about how real aeroplanes have to carry fuel when they fly and how they manage it.  They certainly enjoyed building and using the green rocket.  I've suggested we take it to one of the local beaches or even the local rugby field where there is more space to fire the rockets to see if they can get them to travel further.  So fingers crossed for some dry weather over the Easter holidays so we can do just that.  

The Great Gismos 4m Green Science - Green Rocket kit costs £12.95 which I think is a reasonable price for a science kit like this.  The Green Rocket kit is suitable for children aged 8 years plus which is about right.  Luc and Trystan are 9 and 8 years old and they managed to use the kit without help apart from tightening the screws.  Rowan however at four would really struggle and due to the small and fiddly parts would need a lot of help.  He did however have a lot of fun trying to launch the rockets with his brothers.   For more information or to buy your own Green Rocket Kit please visit here 

No chickens were harmed in the process of launching the rockets!

Disclaimer - we were sent the Great Gismos 4m Green Science, Green Rocket kit for the purpose of this post.  The content of the post is 100% my own.   

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Do you know any one who suffers from IBS?

Over the last few years I have been hearing more and more about IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)  I know several people who suffer from the condition and in the last two years since having my younger two children I have also experienced some of the symptoms.    

I don't have a formal diagnoses but know from reading about the condition that I have some of the symptoms.  I have in part put down having had four cesarean sections as a trigger as the symptoms started after the third one.   I know that stress, some foods (mainly bread)  and my menstrual cycle can also impact on the symptoms and have learnt through trail and error how to reduce the symptoms so they don't impact on my daily life.  Of course there are times when its not possible to manage or reduce the symptoms and for me if these instances increase this is when I will talk to my GP.  

So what is IBS? well the most common symptoms include:

  • abdominal pain and cramping - often relieved by emptying your bowels
  • a change in your bowel habits - such as diarrhoea, constipation, or sometimes both
  • bloating and swelling of your abdomen
  • excessive wind (flatulence)
  • an urgent need to go to the toilet
  • a feeling that you need to open your bowels even if you have just been to the toilet
  • a feeling you have not fully emptied your bowels
  • passing mucus from your bottom  
Bowel symptoms, these are the main ones
  • IBS with diarrhoea - when you have repeated bouts of diarrhoea
  • IBS with constipation - when you have repeated bouts of constipation
  • IBS mixed - when you have repeated bouts of diarrhoea and constipation
                               (information taken from

For me I know that when I have over done things and have trouble sleeping if I don't take time out it can trigger bouts of bloating, stomach cramps and constipation.  Now I love bread and there are times when I crave bread which in itself is okay if eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy diet however there have been times when I have literally had several slices of toast for breakfast, then at lunch have had soup with several slices of bread and butter and then at tea I've had two or three more slices of bread taking my consumption up to around 10 slices in one 24 hour period, opps!  I know that, that night the bloating will start and I will start feeling constipation, by the following afternoon I will have cramps and the urgency to go to the toilet and finally a couple of hours later diarrhoea.  I usually end up feeling like I've done ten rounds in a boxing ring, drained and exhausted. It's only over the last 18 months I have started to make connections between the symptoms and my diet and also stress. 

I've also been reading articles about IBS and ways of managing the condition.  I recently came across this article which started talking about a product called Bimuno IBAID (Intestinal Bifidobacteria Aid) and the fact that it can help reduce and manage the condition.  Bimuno are a second generation prebiotic that helps sustain the good bacteria (Bifidobacteria) in your gut.  Bimuno IBAD helps encourage and maintain the levels of good bacteria, helps manage their intestinal comfort and reduce the bacteria that cause bloating.  Through looking around the internet I came across reviews from people who have been using Bimuno IBAD which you can find here,they are very helpful. 

My reading made me aware that IBS is very common and that it's not something to be embarrassed about either.  I know feel that I can go and talk to my GP if my symptoms worsen but at present my bouts are quite spread out and happen maybe once every nine or ten months so are not at a stage where I feel I need to seek intervention.  Thankfully I'm at the mild end of the spectrum and maybe by taking a product like Bimuno IBAD I could reduce the flare ups even more. 

This post is brought to you by Bimuno however the content of the post is 100% my own.