My Summer Bucket List

As summer is right around the corner, I thought it was about time that I made a list of things I would like to do before it’s over.

As my eldest, Gning, is now in full-time school, my summer falls in line with his.  He breaks up for the summer holidays on 21 July, and he goes back on 4 September.

That gives me a little over 6 whole weeks to try to mark everything off on my bucket list…  I have the final week of the holidays off work, so the list I have made below has to either fit around my usual working times, and then take advantage of having the week off to complete the list.

I’m going to revisit this post in September, to see exactly what I managed to accomplish, and what is still outstanding.  I think this could be a rather interesting experiment!  So, without further ado, here is my Summer Bucket List of 30 things to complete within my son’s 6 weeks holidays.

  1. Have a bonfire
  2. Attend an outdoor concert
  3. Watch the waves
  4. Lie in the grass
  5. Go to a funfair / amusement park
  6. Have an ice cream at the beach
  7. Have a picnic
  8. Make a summer soundtrack
  9. Have a water balloon / water pistol fight
  10. Have a BBQ
  11. Go camping
  12. Take more pictures
  13. Finish a book
  14. Make homemade salsa
  15. Play frisbee
  16. Visit a water park
  17. Visit a heritage garden
  18. Go on a day trip
  19. Make ice pops
  20. Wear flowers in my hair for a day
  21. Feed the ducks
  22. Walk up a hill with the boys
  23. Buy a helium balloon, tie a message to it, and let it go
  24. Swim outdoors! (Bear in mind that I live in the north west of England…)
  25. Draw on the driveway with chalks
  26. Finger paint a summer picture
  27. Have fish & chips at the beach
  28. Visit a park we’ve never been to before
  29. Watch a family film together – snacks incl. popcorn essential
  30. Spend more time with the boys!

What’s the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom?


My baby loves to head bang…

So, Donut is going through a bit of a phase at the moment, where whenever he doesn’t get his own way, he gets on to all fours, and *slams* his head in to the floor.  Let me explain a little more…

Donut is 21 and a half months old.  He’ll be 2 in June.

His speech is only just starting to come in, and although we can understand a few of the words, he’s still doing a lot of baby babble.  He’s frustrated because he can’t tell us what he wants or needs yet, and although we do get our “guesses” right most of the time, the other times, he gets wound up.

In order for us to give you a bit of a breakdown as to what usually goes on, allow me to give you a few examples:

  1. He asks for a sweet, biscuit or chocolate (he can say sweetie, biccie and choccy), but it’s dinner time, and he needs to eat that first.  We say “no – you need to have your dinner first…”  Donut then gets on to his hands and knees, and headbutts the floor.  Sometimes just the once, sometimes up to 4 or 5 times.
  2. He’s in his (wooden) highchair, having a bit of time out / relaxing a little after dinner, and we give him a book / toy.  He either throws the toy, or starts ripping the book.  After we’ve told him several times not to do it, he starts “reverse” headbutting the backrest of the highchair.
  3. We’re in the car, and he drops a toy on the floor.  We’re unable to turn around to pick it up for him, so he starts screaming (oh, it sounds like he’s screaming murder!!), and then rocking – almost violently, backwards and forwards in his car seat, banging his head all over the place!

Welcome to a day in the life of Donut…

Let’s be honest, as a parent, you don’t want your little one injured.  It upsets you (as well as them) when they get hurt, and it makes you feel absolutely awful – and sometimes completely helpless, when they start hurting themselves deliberately!

Donut has been doing this headbanging thing for about 3 or 4 months now, and last night I’d had enough.  He was very nicely sitting on my knee, eating a sweetie (Parma Violet), and he asked for another – “more”.  I said he can have another one, as soon as he has finished the one that he has in his mouth.  He started getting frustrated, and lashed out at me.  He screamed, and punched me.  I said, “I’m not having that – that was naughty.  Get off my knee.”  I gently pushed him off my knee, and the next thing you know, he’s on all fours, and “BANG”.  He’s headbutted the floor.  He was then the proud owner of a massive red mark across his forehead.

Thankfully, we have a Witch Hazel stick, that we bought from a pharmacy.  It’s great for kids, because it means that we don’t have to try to hold a piece of kitchen roll, soaked with the usual liquid Witch Hazel, over the “bump”.  We got that on him straight away, and this morning, there’s no mark at all.

So, I did what every mum does, just before they get to the wits end of getting medical advice for their kids, and I took to social media.  I made a post on Mummy Social, asking for advice, and primarily, to see if anyone else has had the same problems.

I received several replies, and I am pleased to say that I am not alone.  A lot of the comments were from mummies who have similarly aged children, who are either going through, or have been through a “head banging” stage.  One of the mummies there gave a link to a page on the Baby Centre website, simply entitled, “Head banging (12 to 24 mo.)“.  Here’s what I’ve found on that website:

Why does my toddler purposely bang his head?

Head banging is surprisingly common. Up to 20 percent of babies and toddlers bang their head on purpose, although boys are three times more likely to do it than girls. Head banging often starts in the second half of the first year and peaks between 18 and 24 months of age. Your child’s head banging habit may last for several months, or even years, though most children outgrow it by age 3.

Possible reasons your toddler may bang his head:

  • Self-comfort. As strange as it may sound, most toddlers who indulge in this behaviour do it to relax. They bang their head rhythmically as they’re falling asleep, when they wake up in the middle of the night, or even while they’re sleeping. Some rock on all fours as well. Developmental experts believe that the rhythmic motion, like rocking in a chair, may help your toddler soothe himself.
  • Pain relief. Your toddler may also bang his head if he’s in pain — from teething or an ear infection, for example. Head banging seems to help kids feel better, perhaps by distracting them from the discomfort in their mouth or ear.  This is rather convenient, considering Donut was diagnosed with an ear infection just a couple of weeks ago, but his head banging started a couple of months ago…
  • Frustration. If your toddler bangs his head during temper tantrums, he’s probably trying to vent some strong emotions. He hasn’t yet learned to express his feelings adequately through words, so he’s using physical actions. And again, he may be comforting himself during this very stressful event.  This is my initial thought for why Donut bangs his head.
  • A need for attention. Ongoing head banging may also be a way for your toddler to get attention. Understandably, you may tend to become solicitous when you see your child doing something that appears self-destructive. And since he likes it when you fuss over his behaviour, he may continue the head banging in order to get the attention he wants.
  • A developmental problem. Head banging can be associated with autism and other developmental disorders — but in most of these cases, it’s just one of many behavioural red flags. Rarely does head banging alone signal a serious problem.

What can I do about it?

Give your toddler your attention — but not when he’s banging.  
Make sure your child gets plenty of positive attention from you when he’s not banging his head. If he still bangs his head to get your attention, though, try not to make a big deal about it, or you may reinforce the behaviour. Even if you can’t completely disregard the behaviour, don’t scold or punish him for it. He’s too young to understand the situation, and your disapproval may only make matters worse.  Easier said than done, if you ask me.

Protect your child from injury.  
Check all the screws and bolts on your toddler’s crib once a month or more to make sure the rocking isn’t loosening anything. You can also put rubber casters on the crib legs and hang a soft fabric or quilt between the crib and the wall to reduce noise and to minimise wear and tear on the walls and floor.

Don’t put pillows or blankets in his crib to soften his surroundings, because these are a suffocation hazard. If you want to use bumpers on your toddler’s crib to soften his blows, make sure that they’re thin, firm (not puffy), and securely tied to the crib railings, so your toddler can’t get his head between the bumper and the railing.  This isn’t appropriate to us, as Donut has been in his own (toddler) bed for almost 10 months…

Try not to worry.
Your toddler may get a bruise or two, but don’t worry — head banging is usually a “self-regulating” behaviour. This means your child is unlikely to hit his head hard enough to seriously injure himself. He knows his threshold for pain and will pull back on the throttle a bit if the banging hurts.  Again, easier said than done.  

Help foster your child’s love of rhythm in other ways.
Your child clearly likes a good steady beat, so help him find other outlets for his love of rhythm. Experts often recommend dancing, marching, and drumming or clapping to music together. You might also try putting a metronome in your child’s room to give him the comfort of a steady rhythm. Make sure he gets lots of physical exercise during the day, too, to help him burn off some of the nervous energy that may feed his head banging.  We’ve noticed that if we put some loud music on, Donut tends to stop what he is doing, and dances to it instead…

Start a soothing bedtime routine.
If your child is banging his head as a way of “coming down” from his busy day, try setting up a relaxing routine. A warm bath, a calm rock on your lap, and a quiet story or song may help. You may want to spend a few minutes before bed rubbing his back or stroking his forehead. Soft music in his bedroom can be soothing, too.

Consult a doctor if your child’s behaviour becomes worrisome.
If your child bangs his head a lot during the day or continues to bang his head even though he’s hurting himself, you may have cause for concern. Though it’s uncommon, head banging can be associated with autism and other developmental disorders, which sometimes become apparent during the toddler and preschool years.

Autistic children generally don’t relate well to people. They often aren’t interested in physical contact with their parents and seem to look through people rather than at them. If you notice that your child is losing physical abilities, language, or other skills he’s acquired; if he’s becoming increasingly withdrawn; or if he’s consistently delayed in achieving common developmental milestones, that is the time to seek medical advise.

So, I think all in all, this is a common phase that Donut is going through, so it’s just a matter of riding it out.

20 Uses for Coca-Cola (other than drinking it!)

One of the ingredients in Coke is sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, which is an alkaline substance that can help take care of your body and clean your belongings. Here are 20 new ways to look at the drink.

Rust Buster

Soak rusted material in Coke overnight and scrub in the morning. The rust will weaken and come off more easily, fading t0 a shine.


Window Cleaner

Wipe down windows with Coke to remove grease and dirt without overusing chemical and toxin-ridden household cleaners.

Bolt Loosener

Because Coke is so useful in dissolving rust, it can help to loosen bolts that have rusted into a position that makes it nearly impossible to remove.

Meat Caramelizer

Marinade chicken or beef in Coke along with spices and other condiments. The Coke will give the meat a browned appearance, and when cooked, the sugar from the Coke will caramelize and offer the dish an added depth in taste.


Windshield Defroster

Awaken to a cold Winter’s morning with a layer of ice on your windshield? Save yourself the extra morning-time muscle and pour a bottle of Coke over the windshield. Wait a few minutes and then witness how much more easily the ice comes off when scraped.

Skunk Odor Killer

If you are ever in the unfortunate position of having been sprayed by a skunk, hop into the shower with a bottle of Coke and pour the soda over the sprayed area. The Coke helps to eliminate the odor.

Hiccups Ridder

Gargle a mouthful of Coke in the back of your throat, and word on the street is that your hiccups will disappear.

Hair Curler

Gaga was onto something when she used Coca-Cola cans as curlers. Massaging the beverage into your hair can also help to curl it. While it dries, crunch your hair with your hands to help facilitate the process.


Pain Reducer

Stung by a bee? Bitten by a mosquito? Attacked by a jelly fish? Nothing Coke can’t relieve. Dab affected area with the beverage to relieve the burn.

Hair Gum Remover

There can never be enough ways to remove gum from the hair, because let’s face it – it’s often the difference between a pixie cut and long luscious locks, so there’s no playing around. Pour Coke over the area tangled in gum, let it sit for a few minutes, and then begin to pull out.

Pot Cleaner

The bottom of household pots often become blackened. Pour Coke into your pots, letting it sit for a bit, and then washing the pots as normal with special attention to the discolored areas. The Coke will remove the grime and release the shine!


Toilet Cleaner

For the rusty and moldy nooks and crannies, add a can of Coke into the mix to help hasten the cleaning process. No one wants to spend more than the minimum cleaning the toilet, so consider Coke your new best cleaning mate.

Clothing Stain Remover

Pour Coke right on top of a stain and let it soak. The stain will slightly discolor, but after you throw the apparel into the wash, it will come out clean.

Lawn Improvement

Flat Coca-Cola is an effective gardening tool. Simply add one can per week to a compost bin to give microorganisms a boost. They will feed on the Coke, improving their strength and health.

Stomach Soother

Balance the pH levels in the stomach. Coke will temporarily relieve indigestion, heartburn, and other stomach-related pain.

Bugs and Wasps Deterrent

Distract outdoor bugs and wasps from the party by isolating a few topless cups of Coke away from the main event. The bugs are attracted to the Coke’s sweet aroma.


Bug Killer

Even though bugs are drawn to Coke, once they venture into the liquid, they meet their demise. If you want to get rid of an ant hill destroying your patio or rid roaches from cabinets and nooks in the attic or basement, spray bugs with Coke.

Hair Dye Fader

Wash your hair with Coke to help fade a dye that may have been layered on too thick or dark for your liking.

Paper Ager

If you want to give documents a more authentic look, soak them in coke for 10 minutes, remove them carefully, and allow them to dry. The papers’ browned look will fool anyone into thinking their antiquated.

Explosion Maker

Mentos + Coke = Explosion. See for yourself.

Please note that the above post was taken from this website

Facebook is good for something


The mere word can start a fully fledged conversation as to how brilliant it is for keeping up-to-date with family & friends and for playing games, or it can send people running for the hills due to security and safely implications.

I’m a bit of both.  I love the fact that I can keep in touch with my family members and friends who live a distance away.  We share photo’s and funny stories about our lives, that otherwise would be missed.  What I don’t like is that anyone can search for you.  They can find out some very simple facts, and some very important, private, life events.  This includes total strangers.

Take, for example, when I set up an ‘event’ for my son’s first birthday party.  It included dates, places, times, photo’s, etc.  A lot of things that I wanted to be kept private from those who were not invited.  Because of this, I set the privacy and viewing to ‘invited only’.  So one day, I see a notification that someone had commented on one of the posts in the ‘event’.  I log into the page, and what do I see?  A comment from someone I have never even heard of.  This person turned out to be ‘a friend of a friend’.

How on earth..?  I re-read all the privacy T&C’s to see, in very small print, that ‘friends of friends, and in place, friends of friends of friends (etc.) can see the event and comment, etc. in the even page if an invited person makes an initial comment’.

So what does setting the privacy factor to ‘invited only’ mean?  Obviously nothing.

But regardless of what has happened there, it seems that one particular story has had a very successful outcome.

On 27 January 2013, a young woman posted this picture:


I read the following story with interest, as sometimes good things do happen.

One woman in search of her biological parents found her apparent birth mother and father after posting a picture of herself on Facebook. On Jan. 27, Jenessa Simons shared a photo of herself holding a handwritten sign with her birth information.

Two days later, her birth mother reached out to her.

Simons’ search began when she was 18, but she had to wait three years before submitting paperwork to the state. She decided to try her luck on Facebook while waiting, after seeing the success of posters who garnered 1 million likes for a puppy.

Her photo included what little information she knew: her birthday, hospital, parents’ dates of birth and contact information. They were 16 at the time, and they named her Whitney. The image spread quickly, with more than 14,000 likes and 160,763 shares at time of writing.

On Tuesday, Simons announced on Facebook that she found her birth mother and, later, contact information for her birth father. A high school friend of the two contacted Simons’ biological mother, who got in touch with the 21-year-old.

She was skeptical at first until the woman sent her baby pictures Simons’ adoptive mother had given her.

So how was that for an uplifting story?  The privacy factor on Facebook is still a huge problem in my book, but when it comes down to it, the lack of security in place makes things like the aforesaid story happen.