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Like most people I buy a lottery ticket every now and then and wait for my numbers to come up. I haven't yet won the millions, but when I do I have already decided how I am going to spend the money!!!
My first thing would be to give a nice amount of money to my parents, my siblings and my nieces and nephews. My parents have spent so much money on me over the years that it would be great to give them some back. I'd also give smaller amounts of money to my husbands family and a few friends.
After giving money out to everyone else it would be time to spend it on me and my family!! My husband loves cars so it would be his job to buy him and myself a new car each. Seeing as I don't have a clue about whats good in a car he could choose whetever he wanted. Another quick spend would be to pay off all the outstanding debts and to buy a new house! I'd love to live in the middle of the countryside, not necessarily in a big house but one with plenty of character.
Im sure by this point I would have spent a big chunk of my winnings, but all the important things would be done. I'd put a big amount into savings for both me and my husband and also my children. I think childrens education is incredibly important so money would be put aside to pay for schooling and university fees in the future.
A bit of money would be spent on going travelling. My husband and I love to travel so we would probably take a small trip around the world for a month or so taking in Asia and Australia, countries that we would both like to see more of!!
Despite how much I'd love to win the lottery (wouldn't everyone) I am 100%happy with my life as it is and feel totally blessed to have a loving family and son! Sorry if Im making you feel ill, but I do believe that money can't buy the really important things and I have those in abundance!! If I do win though Im ready to spend!!!!
I visited Morocco along with my husband in 2007 and absolutely loved it. Its a wonderful Country full of things to see, interesting people and excellent food. We spend there majority of our time in Marrakech which I have written a seperate review on. Marrakech is known as the 'red city', it is has both a fortified city and a new modern city. The fortified city lies witin the city walls and has a massive medina full of shops and stalls which really batter your senses. Marrakech is getting more and more popular as a tourist destination for people all over the world. There is plenty to do for a long city break with mosques and museums to visit and lots of shopping to do.
If you are planning on visiting Morocco for longer then spend your time visiting other places. We decided to do a desert trip and took a long car ride to part of the Western Sahara where we got given a camel and a guide. We then spent four hours riding into the Sahara to a camp where we spent the night. The next morning we had the most amazing views of sand dunes for as far as the eye could see. Although it was a long trip from Marrakech it was an amazing experience and well worth doing.
Moroccan food is fantastic and suits even the fussiest of eaters. There main dish is tajine which is a very slow cooked stew made with different meats and vegetables. Couscous, spices and green tea are also Moroccan specialitys which can be found all over the Country.
Morocco is definatly a country that you will either love or hate. Some people find the main places such as Marrakech and Casablanca too busy, however there are places in Morocco that are peaceful and the complete opposite of the big tourist areas, the Atlas mountains for example are tranquil and beautiful. If you want to visit a new place and are up for a new experience then Morocco may be for you!
Having a 5 month old son I am well aware of the sleepless nights that arrive once your new baby is in the world. The good news though is that it gets better! My own son has been sleeping through the night since 8 weeks, and apart from the odd night when he doesn't settle we haven't had a sleepless night since!! The first thing to realise is that every child is different and some children wont sleep through until there are quite a bit older, but in my opinion you can help improve the sleeping by doing some simple things.
When my son was first born we started getting him into a very simple routine from day one. Unlike a lot of my friends I kept the routine very simple but followed the same process each evening. We gave our son a bath, then he had a bottle, then he had half an hour of cuddles and then he went to bed, making sure we put the mobile on each time. Obviously in the very early days the baby wakes a lot and you dont really have a routine, but we made sure that each evening we gave our son a bath and then a bottle. As he has got older we have continued this, he doesnt go to bed at a particular time as I find this is hard to stick to, but he is in bed between 6.30m-9pm each night. By having this routine it means that if we are out and come in slightly later it is easier to settle him as he knows having a bath means going to bed, whatever the time.
In my opinion the most important thing is to be relaxed and not be afraid to let the baby cry for a few minutes. My son is quite happy just lying in his cot so we will leave him there to go to sleep. However he will sometimes cry slightly and we will leave him to go to sleep as he knows it is bed time. Im not saying that what we do is fool proof, but our son is now in a good routine and is happily to sleep through the night. When he does wake up he will settle down and again and only when he is unwell does he actually wake up. If you want your baby to sleep well then do whatever you feel is best for you and your baby and just relax!!
I had a baby 5 months ago and I spent ages trying to decide what I actually needed to take into hospital when I gave birth. I still managed to forget a few things, I imagine most people do, but here is my list of essentials to pack for when you go in to hospital to have your little bundle of joy!
I packed two bags, one had the things I needed to have with me whilst I was in labour and for the first couple of hours afterwards and the other bag had mine and babys overnight things in. In bag one (for labour) I had the following;
* A good book - I never got to read my book as my labour was very quick, but a lot of people are in labour for ages (or if you have an epidural) and you will want something to take your mind off everything. A good book or magazine is essential!!
*Ipod - for the same reasons as above music is great for keeping you busy!!
*Something to eat - I took some bottles of drink and a few things to eat with me for whilst I was in labour. Like the book I never got to use them but they came in really handy after I had given birth as I was starving!!
* Old clothes (or ones you dont mind throwing away) - I bought a cheap night dress to give birth in and threw it away straight after.
* A flannel/towel - I used a warm flannel during labour to wipe my face and it was great. Face wipes would probably also do a good job.
*Toiletries - for when you have a shower or wash afterwards.
*Clothes for baby - I packed a couple of sleep suits (in different sizes newborn and 0-3), a couple of vests, a hat, scatch mits and a shawl. As soon as baby was born the midwifes dressed him for me and I was so glad I had everything to hand.
*A new nightshirt/feeding bra/dressing gown - for afterwards.
*Maternity pads - Not nice to think about, but you will need them.
* List of telephone numbers - to share the good news!!!!
* Coins for the payphone (although my hospital let me use my mobile)
In my second bag I pack another nightshirt, a change of clothes to go home in and a selection of clothes for baby!! I also packed nappys, baby wipes and a little teddy for the baby.
At the end of the day if you forget something dont worry, your other half will be happy to get anything you need and family and friends will go out of there way to help you!! Good luck and make sure you pack your bag in plenty of time.
As someone who travels the roads of Britain regularly I have visited a lot of service stations all over England. The one thing that I find annoying about service stations are the prices that they get away with charging. In a lot of the service stations now you have take away outlets such as Burger King, Wimpey and KFC, however they all charge higher prices than you would pay on the high street. Unfortunatly when you are on a long journey you are prepared to pay the prices, however I am not sure how they get away with inflated the prices so much. Also popping up at a lot of Service stations now are coffee outlets such as Costa Coffee, these make a welcome stop if you just want a nice cup of coffee, which you can also take away with you!
On a positive note I personally would be lost without the service stations. The toilets are always clean and with a new baby the baby changing facilities are always very useful. The people that work at the stations are always friendly and are happy to help. With the new additions of Marks and Spencers at a lot of services it means you can purchase your dinner to have when you get home, or get household essentials which you may not have in at home if you have been away. Other shops are also always available to buy papers, sweets, snacks or books to occupy your journey.
Sometimes actually finding the services can be a challenge, a few of them you actually have to go off the motorway and follow signs to get to them. You then have to follow signs to actually find the car parks and not the lorry park or car park for the travel lodge. Once you actually get to the car park for the services you then often have a little walk to the entrance!!
Overall I do think that the service stations are an excellent facility even if you are just popping in to use the toilet or to grab a quick drink. They allow drivers to relax and get there energy up before completing their journey. They have a safety role in stopping tired drivers from continuing there journeys and possibly causing accidents. Despite the prices service stations definatly have an important role on the motorways of the UK!
This ranch is based in Tucson, Arizona, about a half an hour from the airport. It is in a rural location surrounded by gorgeous mountains and Saguaro National Park. Everywhere you look there is cactus and desert terrain.
* The ranch
I travelled to the White Stallion ranch on my own after having emails from the owner saying how many people visit on there and also speaking to other people who had visited. My first impressions of the ranch were fantastic. I was picked up from a hotel where I stayed over night in an air conditioned minibus and driven to the ranch. As it was in the mid 30s the air conditioning was more than welcome and driver was happy to answer questions about the ranch.
The ranch itself is like a piece of paradise (if you like horses), as you drive down the main driveway everywhere you look there are horses. We were greeted by a lady at reception and taken straight to the restaurant where we were given a lovely lunch.
The accomodation was great, I had a lovely room which were set in small blocks scattered around the ranch's land. I felt as if I was quite secluded and right outside my door was a paddock full of horses.
For someone visiting a ranch the main attraction is probably the riding. The White Stallion ranch was fantastic for this and on the first morning matched everyone with a horse which stayed with them for the duration of there stay. Each day there was a different riding programe which included fast or slow rides, mountain rides and cattle penning (with real cows!!). There was also the option for a little cost to have lessons which were really valuable. I had never ridden western style, although I have ridden a lot in England. The ranch make sure that everyone is able to Lope (or Canter) safely before allowing them on fast rides. Each person is asked to take a small test to enable them to assess there ability. It was encouraging to see people who had never ridden before being able to canter like a pro within days!
Half way through the week there was a chance to do an all day ride which was approximately 25 miles. This was probably one of the hardest things I have done as the heat was intense, however the scenery was truly breath taking and it was well worth doing.
Apart from the riding there was a chance to go hiking, have BBQs, go on hayrides and also see a rodeo. The ranch was also in a great position to go on day trips to places nearby. I only left the ranch once to visit Tombstone which is about an hour away, but it was well worth the visit.
Food was great and was served outside most nights. The breakfast and lunch was self service, with the main meal having lots of choice.Each evening after dinner there was entertainment which was anything from a man visiting to talk about local wildlife, so a man doing rope tricks.
I will never forget my stay at the ranch, it truly was amazing. A standard double room per person is from $137 per night. The price you pay per night includes all the riding and three meals so in my opinion it is well worth the money.
I made some great friends over my two weeks staying there and would definatly recommend it to anyone who fancys a ranch holiday. Don't worry if you go on you're own, you'll have a time you'll never forget.
I joined weight watchers at the beginning of December last year so I have only been attending for a couple of months. I had never seriously thought about going, but after having my son I decided I needed a push to lose the weight I had put on. Along with a friend I decided to attend the classes in the village where I live.
* First Impressions
When you go to a meeting for the first time it really isn't as scary as you think (or I thought anyway). You queue up to be weighed and when you step on the scales nobody can see how much you weigh so it is just between you and the person weighing you. In the class I attend the first half an hour is for weigh ins and the second half an hour is a meeting where anything from different food options to peoples experiences is discussed.
* Payment options
The cheapest way to pay for Weight watchers is to buy a monthly pass which also entitles you to free access to the weight watchers sight. A monthly pass is around £17 and works out cheaper than the £5.50 per class.
* The plan
The weight watchers plan revolves around counting points and making sure you dont go over the amount of points you are entitled to each day. The amount of points you are allowed varys depending on your age, sex and activity level. Weight watcher products can be bought at the meetings and also in the shops and these state exactly how many points your eating.
The plan allows you to still have the food you enjoy, you can even have the odd takeaway. In my opinion its more about becoming aware of what you are eating and realising what is in and what could be healthier. I still enjoy takeaways and the odd bit of chocolate, Im just a lot more aware of what I can eat.
*Does it work?
In my opinion it certainly works. I didn't have a lot of weight to lose however I have already lost almost a stone which Im very proud of. Its good to go to the meetings as they motivate you to carry on. You get given goals of 5% and 10% of you body weight to lose and then your goal weight, this means you are always working towards something.
If you have weight to lose I would definatly give weight watchers a try. It may not be for you, but its definatly worth a go!!
Having only had my son four months ago his birth is still extremely clear in my mind (and probably always will be!). I had been told all the way through my pregnancy that my baby would be big so when my waters broke at 1am in the morning almost three weeks early I was almost expecting it. I always imagined that I would be in a complete panic when the big day arrived however both me and my other half were surprisingly calm. Due to having been tested positive with Strep B (and infection that can effect Baby) during my pregnancy I was told to go straight to the hospital as soon as my waters broke. I was having no pain at the time so it was a pleasant journey to hospital and I almost expected to be sent home again!
Of course that didnt happen and within two hours the contractions started and I was told that baby wouldnt be long. The midwife's were great and I can't remember feeling worried throughout the birth. I had gas and air and with lots of encouragment from my other half and the midwife my gorgeous little boy was born just after 8am, only 7 hours after my waters broke and with only 4 hours of contractions!! The worst was yet to come though as I had a retained placenta and had to be taken to theatre. I think this was the worse bit as I was taken away from my new baby and other half and suddenly surrounded by lots of people all getting quite worried. The midwife stayed with me throughout though and was excellent.
Having a baby so early in the morning meant my fiancee stayed at the hospital with me all day and got to spend time with me and his son. I hated it when he went home that night but luckily I was discharged the following morning. My whole experience was very positive, I was looked after really well and the hospital staff were great. The birth wasn't half as bad as I expected as well!! Just knowing that someone is there should you have any problems definatly put my mind at ease, and the fact you can have pain relief certainly helps!
My son was bought a bumbo baby seat for Christmas and has already got a far bit of use out of it. It is basically a molded seat which allows babys to sit up in a supported position. They are approximately £30 to buy and are available in many high street stores. They are suitable from as soon as your baby can hold their head up, but as a guide I think they say for a child between the ages of 3-14 months or 4-10kg. My son is 4 months and is only just beginning to get use out of it, any early and his head just wasnt strong enough for him to sit in it comfortably.
They are very useful to put your baby in whilst you are doing things around the house. I always make sure that my son is surrounded by some padding though (blanket or something) because as he is getting bigger he is sometimes leaning backwards so much that the whole chair moves. Im hoping that it wont tip over, but I prefer not to take chances. I cant imagine that he will be in it until 14 months, however the size of the child will really dictate how long it can be used for. One good use for the bumbo is to take it with you when you go out to restaurants, my son prefers it to his high chair!! The only negative that I can think is that it is slightly bulky, however this is the point of the chair so it isnt really a criticism.
Having recently had a new baby I am quite used to hearing 'breast is best'. Throughout my pregnancy I heard lots about how you should really breast feed as the baby will be healthier, have less infections, you'll loose weight quicker, you'll bond better with baby and the baby will be smarter! Being a first time mother I really felt as if I had no choice but to breast feed, I didnt even consider bottle feeding. After giving birth to my son I realised that it is in fact a lot harder than it sounds. I imagined the baby being born, latching on and all would be fine, but it really wasnt like that. I struggled from the beginning, my son wanted to be fed every hour or two and it was extrememly painfun. After two weeks my son got quite ill and ended up in hospital after developing jaundice. At the hospital they realised that he hadnt been getting enough milk and so the decision was made that he would go onto bottles and within three days he was much better and was feeding really well.
Although my son did much better on bottles I still was made to feel to some degree that I was doing the wrong thing. My husband was wonderfully supportive, but there is so much out there that advertises that breast feeding is best, that I felt I had failed my son and also my husband. It took a while to realise that it wasnt my fault and I just wasnt able to feed him myself. I have heard my story repeated by so many women and it makes you realise how much pressure some women feel under to breast feed, when it may not necessarily be for them. Since being on bottles my son has thrived and is now a healthy four month old that is growing fast. For me personally I would think very seriously about whether I will breast feed for future children as the pressure I felt was a lot to put up with. I think more has to be done to support women who may not be able to feed the child themselves and also those women who may just not want to. Breast may be best for some babies, but not necessarily all of them!!
I recieved the Ipod touch for Christmas and haven't put it down since. It has most of the capabilities of an Iphone without the phoning facility, so it is much more than an Ipod as you can use it for more than listening to music. You can put your tunes onto the phone using the Apple Itunes store, as I had another Ipod before I just transferred all my music over to the Ipod touch. I do believe at the minute you can only put music onto the touch (or any apple Ipod) that is purchased form the Itunes store, however this wasnt a problem for me as all my music was purchased from there anyway.
As well as the music funtion, you can access the internet (using safari), put your photos on it, you have a calculator, diary, notes function, weather, calender and have access to the application store. The application store gives you a whole range of other applications that you can add to the phone. For example I have added an ebay application and have also added a few games. Some of the applications you have to pay for, but others are free, there are a lot to choose from!
Like the Iphone, the screen is touch sensitive and whatever way you turn the phone the image on the screen turns to. The screen can sometimes be a little too sensitive for my liking, especially if you have long nails as it can take ages to type out the right word. The ability for the screen to tilt enables you to look at photos and web pages long ways, as well as up right. The sound can be adjusted using the control on the right of the Ipod and you can tur the sound off or have it loud enough to listen to your music without having headphones in. The sound quality is very good and clear.
To look at the Ipod touch is very slim with a silver back. It has the good looks of an apple product and comes with a pair of apple headphones which completes the look. The Ipod touch is retailing for £165 on the apple website and like all apple products I sure it will hold its price really well. I really like this product and may have even been converted into wanting an Iphone when I next come around for an upgrade. Its a great gadget thats worth the money and gives you way more than just music!!!
Im writing this as I think it will give me an excuse to give my poor bag the well needed clean out it needs! So here were go;
The bag; this is a brown leather over the shoulder bag which can hold a lot of things and looks good with most of my clothes. I love bags, but I also tend to use the same one again and again.
In my bag is the following (its like a lucky dip!).
* A red leather purse - which is holding a few cards, a bit of change and a picture of my little boy.
* A packet of tissues - I have a packet of tissues with me all the time, especially since having a child I realise that you are always needing tissues!! Its surprising how many people ask you if you have a tissue as well....I can always say yes!
* A load of reciepts - these really need to be thrown in the bin as Im sure they are all past the time I can take the items back anyway. Theres a few reciepts for Christmas presents and one from a dress shop I visited a week or so ago.
* A pot of vaseline (for my poor lips that are always dry) and a bottle of coco chanel perfume (my weakness). I always have a bottle of perfume with me, you never know when you have got to smell good.
* My sons rattle- I wondered where this was, this doesnt usually live in my handbag!!
* A bib - Just in case we have any accidents whilst im out with the baby
* A hairbrush- I always need my hairbrush, having long hair I always need to be sorting it out.
* A book- Im reading an old Lee Child book at the minute. I am always reading and there is always a book in my bag.
*My work ID- Im not at work at the minute, however the ID badge is there waiting for me to go back. Its a reminder everytime I go in my bag that im not on holiday, but on maternity leave!!
I think thats everything, all the reciepts have been thrown out now and my son has his rattle back so at least I have had chance to sort the bag out!!
As I've got older the things that make me happy have definatly changed, although Christmas and Birthdays are still fun I do believe that its the little things that make me the happiest (and those that dont necessarily cost much money!).
Family is definatly one of the biggest and most important things in my life and as long as I am surrounded by family I am happy. I love spending time with my parents and siblings, but Im at my happiest when Im with my other half and my son sat at home watching something on television and having a giggle. Having a young child makes you appreciate things much more and all he has to do is look at me and smile and Im on cloud 9 all day!!
Looking back on things I have done in the past also makes me happy. I dont have any regrets and wouldnt want to change anything I have done and that is a nice feeling.
A nice, long, hot bath with lots of bubbles is one of life's little luxarys, especially if I have a good book and a nice glass of wine with me. Since having a baby I have really come to appreciate my time on my own, even if it is only half an hour in the bath. I love lying with a good book and having ''me'' time for a little while. This definatly makes me happy!!
The last thing is chocolate! I know its not free, but its yummy and its one of life's little treats that Im not giving up. If Im feeling a little down then chocolae gives me a little pick up and makes me smile again!
I think Im a a happy person anyway, but these things just keep a smile on my face constantly!!
On entering this hotel I you have a feeling that you are entering something exciting as there is a buzz in the air! The reception area was really well organized and I managed to check in early after arriving on an early flight. I was travelling on my own and I had a massive room that would have been big enough for a family. The rooms are extrememly clean and mine had a lovely view down the strip, which was spectacular when it got dark. I spent a lot of time in the hotel during the evening and felt very safe on my own. There were security guards everywhere so no one not staying in the hotel could access the rooms. The restaurants in the TI hotel were good, I had the breakfast buffet and you had amazing choice for about £7. The pool was also excellent, although I recommend you get there early as people were queueing outside the door to get into it from about an hour before it opened. As I was on my own I had no problem getting a seat, however if you are in a group you may have problems. One last tip, dont forget to see the Sirens of TI, the free show that runs every night on the pirate ship outside the hotel. It was excellent.
1) What did you do in 2008 that you have not done before?
I had a baby, after finding out in January 2008 that I was pregnant, my baby boy was born in September!!
2) Did anyone close to you give birth?
I had a little boy in September and a close friend of mine had her daughter in January!
3) Did anyone close to you die?
4) What Countries did you visit?
I started off the year in Hongkong, went to Paris in June and ended the year in Belgium.
5) What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
2008 was an almost perfect year for me, I want my family to continue to be healthy and happy
6) What dates will you remember from 2008?
September 1st when my gorgeous son was born
7) Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope...only being pregnany during a hot summer.
8) What was the best thing you bought?
A long pillow which helped me sleep whilst I was pregnant.
9) Whose behaviour has merited celebration?
Definatly my gorgeous financee, he has put up with my mood swings and is a fantastic father.
10) Who's behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
All those footballers that go around being a bad role model to young impressionable children.
11) Where did most of your money go?
12) What did you get really excited about?
Having my baby in my arms, it was such a relief when he was finally born.
13) What song will you remember from 2008?
None that I can think of.
14) Compared to this time last year are you ..happier, fitter, more productive?
I think im getting fitter, and I am most definatly happier. Not sure about being productive though...things seem to be harder to get done now there is an extra person in the house.
15) What do you wish you had done more of?
I wish I had enjoyed my pregnancy more, it is such a precious time.
16) What do you wish you had done less of?
17) What was your favourite TV programme?
Spooks and Wild at Heart..I love them both.
18) Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate last year?
I dont hate anyone.
19) What's been the best book of 2008?
Lee Child- Nothing to Lose, I love this book
20) What was your greatest musical discovery?
Urm...probably the mobile in my sons room, it lets me sleep!! Yay!
21) What did you want to get in 2008?
Engaged (and I did!)
22) What did you want & didn't get?
Nothing, I was very blessed in 2008
23) What is your favourite film of the year?
Im not sure, I liked the new Bond film but this wasnt the best film of the year. I didnt get to the cinema much.
24) What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I was 26 and spent a weekend away in a lovely hotel with my gorgeous other half.
25) What political issue stirred you the most?
Im not sure.....
26) Who was the best person you met?
A friend in the antenatal classes, she had a very sad year but we are still firm friends.
27) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008?
That children really are miracles and they should all be treated so preciously.