Hedrin ONCE nitsWARNING: This post may make you scratch your head

The girls started school back in September and sometime during the first term I was contacted by a company asking if I’d like to review their head lice products. The voice inside my head said ‘You might need that one day.’ But life got in the way and the email slipped out away forgotten. UNTIL that is Alice came home scratching and itching her head one evening as we were reading together on the sofa.

I looked at where she was scratching and to my horror I found an egg tightly stuck on a strand of her hair. Can you imagine my disgust?

Way back at Cybermummy I had discovered a Boots Electronic Head Lice comb in my goody bag, my two weren’t even at preschool then so I popped it in with other bathroom paraphernalia in a huge blue basket and forgot about it. Fortunately for me it was still there that evening when I hunted it down and I had the AA battery it needed to work.

I brushed her hair with a normal brush to get rid of any knots and then I combed her hair piece by piece. I found a number of head lice. The beauty of this comb is it electrocutes the lice, you know you’ve got one as the comb goes silent instead of sending out it’s constant humming sound. You stop, clean the electrocuted lice onto a tissue and carry on. It’s pretty vile but has to be done.

Not content that we were nit free I bought a product from the supermarket called Full Marks solution. It cost around £10 and the box says ‘Kills Head Lice’ that was good enough for me. I applied it to all three of us. It’s very oily and when I went to wash it out after the suggested 10 minutes, the shampoo wouldn’t even lather! I did another wash and rinse and still no luck. The head lice were dead and the eggs had been eliminated BUT our hair looked as dull as dishwater. I apologised to the teacher the next day as they looked greasy girls.

That’s not the end of the story either as although the school had sent out a text someone hadn’t acted and checked their child’s hair as poor Alice a few days later, the electrocuting comb detected more of the blighters in her hair.

head lice treatment

I repeated my thorough electrocuting combing technique and my next shop turned up Hedrin Treat & Go mousse. Fuss free head lice treatment with revolutionary Activdiol technology. Again around £8 – 10. Clinically proven to kill head lice and eggs without pesticides.

I applied the mousse to all three of us (dad gets away with it as he’s only got a Number 2 and a quick electronic comb reveals he’s clear). Again we had the same wash out problem and this was three days before the wedding. Eek! I also had my daughter and granddaughter over from Italy so we doused them too for good measure.

Greasy hair again, daily washes and once again on Monday she returned from school with eggs in her hair. ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!

I was angry.

Here am I spending loads of money and diligently trying to get rid of the problem only to find that one trip to school and we’re back to square one.

I had a good rant on the class Facebook community page and I called the school and told them too.

I learnt

  1. The school no longer has a nit nurse
  2. The school can no longer send a child home if head lice are detected
  3. The school won’t single parents out but can text messages to all parents, only some parents do not pick up these messages and some, clearly, aren’t taking any action on them.

I understand we’re now too politically correct for our own good.

For chrissakes, if a kid’s got head lice let’s clear them up immediately and stop the problem.

I have picked up a few tips from other frustrated school mums and if you have any to add leave them in the comment section for us all to act upon as sadly I think there will be another time *sigh*

Tips to keep children’s hair free from head lice

  1. Use a few drops of tea tree oil in water as a final rinse after washing hair.
  2. To rid hair of the greasy products, fully dry the hair after one rinse and then re wash from dry – school mum tip ;)
  3. Use Vosene 3 in 1 kids shampoo
  4. Read Actually Mummy’s infographic for myth busters and more information
  5. If you find a live louse, then do a wet conditioner recomb every 3 days until you are clear with no eggs and no live lice. You need to bring the comb right close to the scalp and divide the hair into sections to do it properly
  6. Make it practise to fine comb everyone’s hair once a week with lots of conditioner.

I have received many favours at weddings especially in Italy where the bride takes a lot of time and effort to give her guests something special and personal to say thank you.

Bag of Happiness JM

When Paul and I decided to get married the wedding favour was high on my list of things to do and I wanted to give something a little different from the usual, something with a lot of meaning and that wasn’t going to cost a bomb. When I came across the Bag of Happiness I knew I had found my perfect wedding favour.

What is a wedding favour?

Wedding favors are small gifts given as a gesture of appreciation or gratitude to guests from the bride and groom during a wedding  reception.

It is believed that the first wedding favor, common amongst European aristocrats, was known as a bonbonniere, asmall trinket box made of crystal, porcelain, and/or precious stones. The contents of these precious boxes were generally sugar cubes or delicate confections to symbolize wealth and royalty.  As the price of sugar decreased throughout centuries, the tradition of providing gifts to guests reached the general populace and was embraced by couples of modest means.

As sugar became more affordable, bonbonnieres were replaced with almonds. For centuries, almonds were commonly distributed to wedding guests to signify well wishes on the bridegroom’s new life. In the 13th century, almonds coated with sugar, known as confetti, were introduced. Confetti soon transformed to sugared almonds, which later evolved into the wedding favor for modern day weddings. Traditionally, five Jordan almonds are presented in a confection box or wrapped in fabric to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness.

Bag of Happiness

It’s incredibly simple to make your own and once I give you the list of the contents you can then start brainstorming on how to present them. A Bag of Happiness is quite simply wishing a wonderful life for each of your guests and giving them small gestures to help them along the way.

bag of happinessThank you Jean Kemp for all the design and printing

I chose a simple brown paper bag to hold my goodies. I ordered them from eBay and Jean hand printed each one for me using a Gocco, then she bought some dolly pegs and dipped them in acrylic paint to keep the bags closed.

dipped dolly pegs

What does a Bag of Happiness contain?

A plaster to heal you when you’re hurt

A love heart so you know someone loves you

String to hold it together in tough times

Bag of Happiness contents

A pebble so you always remain grounded

A rubber to erase those little mistakes you make

A diamond to bring a sparkle to your eye

guest opening bag of happiness

A marble for when you start losing yours

A lucky bean so you always have luck on your side

A coin so you are never completely broke

Bag of happiness

A star to wish all your wishes upon

A paperclip so you are always organised

A kiss for when you are feeling down

making bags of happiness

Of course you can find them ready made online too if you’re in a hurry ;)

NB. I used heart shaped cookie cutters  and Bacetti chocolates from Italy for Kisses as Italy is such a huge part of me.

Images: an enormous thank you to Jay Mountford who captured the moments above and allowed me to use them here see her website for other stunning wedding photography

chapel of love chocolate house

One of the songs we chose for our guests to listen to whilst they were waiting for me to join Paul at the registrar’s desk was The Chapel of Love by The Dixie Cups, it’s light hearted, it’s fun and hopefully it sets a fun tone for the celebration that is about to take place.

Having set our music in advance and sent it off to the Registrar it got me thinking and as I was ordering our sweets for the Candy Bar I found myself singing the Chapel Of Love song.

From there I thought of a chapel I had pinned to my Mr & Mrs Pinterest board.

From there I thought of my Gingerbread house made from my Lakeland mould at Christmas which could also be used for chocolate

and there it was I could make my own one and decorate it with sweets to go on the Candy Bar

chapel of love bride and groom

Make your own Chapel of Love

You need:

1.2k chocolate
Lots of sweets to decorate
a piping bag
a base to construct it all on

We melted the chocolate in the microwave and poured it into the moulds

lakeland house mould

Leave the chocolate to set for at least two hours – I put mine in the fridge

Carefully release the pieces from the mould with as less handling as possible to avoid fingerprints on the chocolate

Using the piping bag, pipe chocolate along the sides that need gluing. I started with one side and the back then added the second side and the front. I used glasses to prop against the sides until the chocolate set

chocolate house inside

Once the four sides are fixed, I added one side of the roof and then filled our Chapel of Love with Jelly Beans and chocolate eggs.

chocolate Lakeland house

then it was time to decorate the outside. I chose Love Hearts, Jelly Babies and pink smarties

chapel of love front

I also used a few Curly Wurlys as a fence around the ‘garden’

chapel of love

And finally on the Candy Bar

candy bar of LOVE


snowdon summitWhat a fabulous, marvellous, amazing, awesome experience I have just had, it will easily go down in my best evers.

I climbed Snowdon

The culprits of this expedition are #TeamHonk who I’ve been talking about now for a good few weeks. They sent me a postcard from Ghana and their latest hairbrain was to climb Snowdon to raise more funds for Comic Relief.

We stayed at the Snowdon Ranger Youth Hostel The drill was: up at 7.00, breakfast at 7.30, leave the building 7.45, meet up at the bottom of The Miners Path at 8.30 start walking at 9am.

Timings were non negotiable, estimated climbs say 3-4 hours up and about the same coming down plus Marit and Al, friends of Gemma‘s who had volunteered their time to accompany us wanted us safely down before sunset. Nikki from Stressy Mummy was our driver and we were lucky to have a beautiful sunny day.

Snowdon Miners path Excitement in the car park as red lacy knickers from Who Made Your Pants were handed out to all climbers to wear over our trousers, @HiTecSports had very kindly sent us along some super warm socks (not one blister!) and Mummy Barrow handed out bags of delicious brownies sent by @GowerCottage for energy snacks on route and encouraged her husband Bruce and son Johnnie as they started out on their trek with us

Snowdon Miners Path form Peny pass

The Miners route is a ‘gentle’ start working us in nicely, warming our muscles up and presenting us some spectacular views on route. Kate (Kate Takes 5) and Laura (My internal world), who had come over from Ireland thanks to Stena Line kept me company on the first part. Kim brought Hettie the hoover with her and her son Miles (testing the icy lake below)

Our first break was 1 hour into the trek at a beautiful iced lake set with a breathtaking backdrop of scraggy mountains.

Snowdon pitstop

Al pointed out a couple of climbers picking their way up the ice to the summit of Snowdon – little did I realise we would be doing something VERY similar shortly after. Greg, a fellow twin dad (Whisky for Aftershave) caught up with us having struggled to find parking and Emma (Bunny Pudding) and Jennifer (Jennifer’s Little World) enjoy a hot drink.

I asked Marit what was the next part of our route and she pointed to the sheer rock face in front of us where a stream of hikers were making their way up the tiniest shelf like path to a miniscule ledge higher up. Our next bit was to be

  • Sheer rock face
  • Icy covered rock face
  • Icy thin ledge to ridge
  • Snow covered slope to summit

In fact take a look at Annie’s blog Mammasaurus to see the trail for your self, she also has an.. er …interesting shot of my bloomers – g’wan take a look you know you want to.

Snowdon steep climb

This second part of our climb was hard going and testing but we took it slow and steady. The rocky mountain wasn’t too bad but as I lifted my legs and used rocks to pull on I knew my muscles were getting the workout of their lives. Hannah (Cupcake mumma) and Kat (Kat a Pillar) in pink tutus

Snowdon ice climb

The icy ledge in single file with sheer drop to the left and steep rocky mountain to the right. I thought, absurdly, of goats quite a bit.

The ridge was covered in snow with a few rocks pointing through and it was slowly turning into an ice rink. Below 1. Annie (Mammasaurus), Steph (I’m counting UFO’s) and Kat (Kat a Pillar) 2. Danielle (It started with a squish, who always managed to find a signal! 3. Kat (Kat a Pillar) 4. Penny (Alexander Residence) with lots of video to check out

Snowdon ice climb done

The last climb to reach the summit was difficult, it was icy, it was packed with climbers and it was steep but the shouts of jubilant cries coming from the top, the smiles on the faces of those who had made it was so inspiring NOTHING was going to stop me.

Snowdon summit

We made it, I sent a photo as I finally found a signal saying ‘I’m on top of the world with #Teamhonksnowdon and it’s the best feeling ever.’ It was sent and I want to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who saw it and RT’d it, liked it, shared it and spread the news of our challenge as #TeamHonkSnowdon had hit the £4,500 mark!

Snowdon lunchtime

The journey down was into Llanberis and trust me it may look gentle but it’s far from it. Luckily for me Annie (Mammasaurus) had a couple of gin-in-a-tin’s in her bag and handed one over, ‘After all it is your hen party’ she smiled at me.

Snowdon descent to Llanberis

The lovely Jennifer (Jennifer’s Little World) opening the gate for us. I had been warned that coming down was hard on the legs but I hadn’t realised how much. By the time the last few hundred meters were in sight my legs were giving way and Kat had told me earlier that walking backwards would help, I mentioned it to Penny and Jennifer who were with me at the time and we tried it, it was true! We managed the last bit past the pub and down onto a more gentle slope walking backwards.

Mummy Barrow was waiting for us at the bottom, lots of photos, knicker throwing and general laughter was had before setting off to the hotel for a drink.

mummy Barrow Snowdon photo

Would I do it again? Not immediately but yes. Somebody mentioned Ben Nevis, someone the Wicklow mountains but first I need to regain use of my legs and walk down the aisle!

Please visit the TeamHonk Snowdon fund raising page and a little love if you can xx We’ve teamed up with Clare Balding on her Twitter Million challenge

Knackered Mother's Wine ClubI’m in it! No honestly I am. I drink wine and I’m knackered, so that means I am in it. Are you?

I *watch it claim to fame coming up* actually met Knackered Mother a few years back, we were invited to a vlogging camp by BritMums in London and we sat next to one another, one more clueless than the other and we talked wine as it was one of our common denominators – apart from being knackered, that was the other.

Anyway Helen and I chatted, I told her about setting up a wine bar in the hotel in Italy with my ex and having to taste every bottle of wine Italy could throw at me, for research purposes you know and she told me she used to buy wine for a major British supermarket, so she won that chat hands down but how goddamn cool is that? Helen’s street cred shot up a billion points with that nugget of info.

Anyway, via Twitter or Facebook we’ve kept in touch. She reprimanded me when I wrote about our stay in Sandy Balls as she was close by – a missed opportunity to drink more wine together and recently I received a copy of her brand new book.

The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club

Now you’re all going to say, oh but she’s your friend so your bound to say the book’s good which is true BUT let me tell you this. It’s awesome!

For example answer these questions

  • Do you – Frequently panic in the wine aisle and end up reaching for the same old thing. Every. Single. Time?
  • Simply pick the bottle with the nicest looking label?
  • Always choose the second cheapest wine on the wine menu?
  • Feel it may be time to extend your wine horizons beyond Pinot Grigio?

If you answered yes to the above then this book is for you too

Because life’s too short to drink bad wine

That’s KM’s quote above by the way and she does write very well indeed, in fact you must bookmark her homonymous blog with the same name Knackered Mother’s Wine Club because every week she gives the white in the fridge and the red in the rack and all the info a KM needs to know. It’s insanely easy and she knows what she’s talking about.

So without giving too much of the book away because it really does deserve to be on your bookshelf I have discovered there’s more to wine than just Italy – yes we all know I am Italy obsessed but since reading I have tried a Falanghina from Puglia and a Nero’d’Avola from Sicily – yes I know they’re both Italian but they were KM’s suggestions, next up is a Viognier from Chile and a Garnacha from Spain.

I can honestly say the Chardonnay from New Zealand was delicious, I think I may have even tweeted her that one. Helen has had this amazing shopping list drawn up and I copied it onto my shopping list. Colour/Where from?/grape made from/why choose it?

Simples, she gives the country ie Italy (not that I’m pushing Italian wine or anything here) the region Campania and off you go to the supermarket and search.

First up it’s amazing to find myself actually looking at what’s in the bottle, I’ve discovered an entire new world to explore and secondly, I’m starting to enjoy shopping for wine rather than head for the 3 x £10 or on special this week. which however are not to be knocked because as Helen says in her book (which you really must get) sometimes they put some fabulous wines on special and of course if you recognise them you can stock your wine shelves up and make the most of the bargain.

So, have I convinced you? I hope so, you don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t buy it. It’s on sale for RRP £12.99 but right now Amazon is offering it for £8.44 with Free Super Saver Delivery get in there!

PS Tonight from 8 – 9pm @knackeredmutha will be on Twitter doing a Q&A with @TescoWines, come and check it out