Education · Family · Health

The Smoking Lung

In Association with Health On Line 

When Husband and I met, we’d both been smokers for some time, despite being in our early and mid-twenties. I come from a family of smokers, and Husband’s families had all been smokers when he was younger, so it was no real surprise that we started smoking at young ages. I can’t speak for him, but I smoked a lot – I’d have a cigarette in my hand as often as I could and I cringe when I think of how much money I spent over the years.

Husband was a lot stronger than me, he gave up smoking while we were actually on our honeymoon, after 12 hours on a plane breathing recycled air had given him a horrible case of bronchitis, but it took me about a year longer to give up. It’s one of the best things that we’ve ever done.

I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to a smoker now. The health implications are scary, especially when you factor in that I’m an asthma sufferer. One of the things that has stopped me from ever starting again is the thought of Sausage – I hate her even being able to smell smoke on other people, let alone getting a hug from her Mum and huffing the stench of cigarettes every time. I’m hoping that Husband and I are setting a precedent for her, hoping that the fact that she doesn’t spend any time around people who smoke means that it will be alien and disgusting to her as she grows up, rather than something she sees her nearest and dearest do on a daily basis.

There’s an interactive lung health guide on Health On Line which gives a really clear and concise picture of what smoking can do to the lungs and I really enjoyed going through and seeing how my decision to quit is benefiting not just me but my family too. I think the site is a great resource and would be a really good learning tool for kids who want to know how smoking can effect their bodies. I think that educating children about things, rather than flat-out forbidding them to do something, allows them to make informed decisions for themselves and can set them up with the skills they need as adults to take responsibility for their own health.

Football

We’re Going to Anfield!

You may or may not know (especially if you follow me on Twitter and happen to notice my tweets on match days!) that us Crammonds are fans of Liverpool FC. Husband has been a life-long fan of the club, following in his Dad’s footsteps and I started watching LFC when we became a couple. I’d always been a football fan; my Dad used to take to me to watch our local Ryman League team, which meant standing in the concrete stands of the teams’ tiny ground, freezing and eating pies, but I loved every minute of it.

Once I started to watch Liverpool FC with Husband back in 2006, I fell in love. The team had such a rich history and a real family spirit, and I now consider myself to be a proper fan. The first time I ever held Sausage, after she’d been in the NICU unit for a few days, I wore a Liverpool shirt and once she was big enough she had an LFC babygrow all of her own!

A few weeks ago, the people at Liverpool Football Club got in touch and asked if the three of us would like to travel to the ground to attend a match and take a look at their Family Fun Zone, and obviously I said a BIG FAT YES! We’re going on Friday, travelling up to a hotel and staying overnight so that we can get to the ground bright and early on match day – we’ll be watching the Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion. (Don’t worry, we have someone coming to stay with Chuck overnight!) The three of us are SO excited. Husband has been to Anfield a few times but Sausage and I have never been and it’s going to be such an amazing experience for all of us to share. We’re going to the museum and stadium tour too, which will be a first for even Husband.

Steven Gerrard

This week, as it’s half term in a lot of parts of the UK, the LFC channel is running a special ‘Kop Kids’ week, full of fun programming for kids who love the club, including interviews of our top players by the kids, as well as a special today which sees Martin Kelly and Jon Flanagan battling it out to determine who knows the most about their teammates.

To tune in and to watch for FREE, head to Sky Channel 429, Virgin Channel 554 or LFC TV Online from 21st October. Kop Kids will be shown at 10am, 3pm and 6.30pm everyday throughout half term.

There’s be a full post about of visit early next week, but in the meantime I’m just hoping I can contain all the excitement!

Fashion and Style · Maternity · Pregnancy · Review

Maternity Wear from Zalando

Today is the first time that I’ve really felt like I have a bump. People have remarked on my shape and I keep insisting it’s mainly just fat, but according to my nearest and dearest I absolutely look pregnant. I’m still wearing a lot of my normal clothes, but it’s getting to a point where I’m having to think about maternity clothes. Luckily, a while ago the lovely people at Zalando gave me the chance to choose some maternity wear from their range. These were my choices:

Zalando Maternity Wear

Mama Licious LEO Jumper – grey  – £29.00

Esprit Maternity Slim fit jeans – £50.00

Esprit Maternity Long sleeved top – black – £16.00

Mama Licious TIPPY – Basic T-shirt – white – £10.00

The jumper comes up quite large, so it’s not really an ‘early’ maternity item – it will, however, come into its own once I have an enormous bump and the item itself is actually really good quality and really stylish. Weirdly, the white shirt (which, once you receive is isn’t actually white at all, it’s an off-white with tiny flecks of bright pink and orange in it) is the same brand as the t-shirt and actually comes up tiny in sizing. The XL is supposed to be large enough to fit a size 18, but it was a real squeeze to get it on, even before I has a bump and certainly did not accomodate my bosom!

Positively though, the jeans are amazing – I’ve been wearing them for a couple of weeks because even though I don’t feel like I have a huge bump, I do have that weird internal pressure feeling you get when you’re pregnant and I’m not a fan of the feeling of a waistband pressing into my tummy. The jeans have a brilliant soft panel at the front, as well as elastic pull-in adjusters at the sides of the jeans, which means I can pull them all the way in to wear now, and then let them out as I get gradually bigger. They’re so comfortable, I get the feeling I’ll have to be dragged kicking and screaming out of these jeans when the baby’s about 2 years old!

I love the black long-sleeved t-shirt too; the material is really thick and stretchy and will definitely accommodate a growing bump. It’s perfect for layering (I’ve been wearing it under a gilet, seeing as it’s been so mild for October) and looks great with my jeans and a pair of boots.

Last time I was pregnant, maternity wear seemed frumpy and over-priced, but this time around just 5 short years later, it seems like retailers have really upped their game when it comes to providing for pregnant women – and I for one couldn’t be happier!

Thanks so much to Zalando for the clothes and to you for reading.

Family · Fashion and Style · Kids · Review

Sausage Tests Mini Boden

A couple of weeks ago, the lovely people from Boden got in touch and asked if Sausage would like to choose some clothes from the Mini Boden autumn/winter range to try out, and obviously we said a big fat YES! Here’s what she chose:

Mini Boden

Sausage actually has great taste when it comes to clothes, although everything on the Mini Boden site is absolutely gorgeous, so it wasn’t difficult for her to make excellent choices. The coral appliqué t-shirt is stunning, Sausage calls it her ‘Royal Pigeon’ shirt – the material is thick and cosy and is great for layering on days when the weather is unpredictable. The colour looks amazing on her, too.

The knitted woodland dress is so cute and funky and looks amazing when worn with colourful woolly tights and chunky boots – exactly what Sausage wore when we all went to the cinema at the weekend. It’s comfy and warm and makes a great ‘Sunday chic’ outfit.

The pyjamas are probably my favourite item of all – the soft, brushed cotton is so perfect for winter nights and the pony pattern is unique and pretty, ideal for my pony-mad little lady. In fact, I almost wish they made them in adult sizes! Maybe if I were to follow one of the diet plans at Carnivore Style, I could fit into large kids clothes!

I was really pleased when Sausage chose the bootleg cords. Her selection was mainly based on the fact that they’re bright pink, but I think cords are such a good choice for kids in winter; they’re warm and comfortable whilst having enough give in them so that her movement isn’t restricted like it might be in jeans. The bootleg cut means they can be worn with boots on colder days, or Converse when it’s slightly drier.

On a practical note, all of the clothes have washed really well and haven’t succumbed to the dreaded bobbling that cheaper items might. Sausage’s haul came to £106, but there’s actually a sale on at Boden at the moment, which means that you can get your hands on everything above for £93, including delivery, which I think is pretty awesome. Mini Boden is officially my new go-to place when looking for clothes for Sausage and I can’t wait until we find out if we’re having a boy or a girl tomorrow, so that I can look at the baby clothes too!

Thanks to Boden for supplying Sausage with such a great haul.

Education · Family · Opinion · Parenting

Sausage the Super Nerd!

Commissioned Post

super nerdSince Sausage has been back at school, there’s no doubt that she’s 100% happier in her new class. The work seems to be engaging her on a whole new level, she’s powering through the reading books and I think is probably almost ready to move up to Level 5 of the Oxford Reading Tree, which shows that she’s made great progress since moving up to Level 4 at the end of the last school year. She had her first spellings test last week and got 10 out of 10, which made her Dad and I unbelievably proud! We love the fact that she’s achieving at such a high level and are very happy to welcome another nerd into the family, a label which her Dad and I have been given on more than one occasion!

Sausage seems to have a real thirst for knowledge – I’ve never known a kid to be so keen to do homework every night! Her school provides her with a subscription to EducationCity, which is a site that she can log on to, learn at her curriculum level and then complete tests on the subjects. The site monitors her individual progress and reports back to her teacher so that the school can see how she’s getting on. I think it’s a brilliant idea and anything which keeps her engaged in that way can only be positive.

However, Sausage is really lucky that not only does she have her own laptop, but we have a high-speed broadband connection at home. I can imagine that it would be really tricky for anyone who doesn’t have those resources and I feel really sorry for the kids who aren’t able to get involved with extra-curricular learning because their parents aren’t in a position to provide them with such things.

These days, we tend to view the internet as an ‘essential’, in the way that landlines were when I was a kid. Many of my generation didn’t get PCs until they were much older and having the internet at home usually meant dragging a phone cable across the house and waiting an eternity for dial-up. There’s no denying that the internet has made things a whole lot easier, as has the advancement of technology. Being a blogger and all-round information junkie, I’ve likened being without the internet to feeling like my arm has been cut off – it’s obviously a rather extreme analogy, but knowing that I can look up just about anything that I ever need to know is a great feeling.

It’s not just homework either – Sausage now has her own Nook, which means we can buy and download books from the ‘net. When I was a kid, if you wanted a book, you had to go to the shop and buy it, whereas now if Sausage has a hankering for a new Roald Dahl at bedtime, we can have in in our hands in under 5 minutes, all thanks to the internet.

So, what are your feelings towards kids and the internet? Do you think it benefits children and their education in the long term or do you keep your kids away from the world wide web and wish things were still like they were when you were little? I’d love to know.