Heroes of the Storm

I have the HotS (get it?) for the latest Blizzard Entertainment game which is currently in closed beta right now. Heroes of the Storm mostly got my interest because it mashes two games I like in to one. My love for World of Warcraft and League of Legends.

I have mostly been trying to find characters I enjoy, but there's still many I have yet to play. So far Li-Li and Diablo are my favourite but Valla is also one I may purchase soon. I played Demon Hunter on Diablo 3 plus I'm a Hunter on World of Warcraft so duh of course I'm going to like a character who shoots arrows from afar.

I'm also still trying to get the hang of what characters have what role. Diablo is a melee warrior, he's built like a brick house only with more spikes and fire breath. Li-Li is support, she heals her team mates. I've only played her and Malfurion as support and so far Li-Li wins. Sorry Malfurion but you did act like a dick to your brother and you look like a Moonkin during some sort of plastic surgery gone horribly wrong. But if someone asks me about Sgt. Hammer or Kerrigan's roles are I will just look blankly and guess.

I played Diablo 3 but not Starcraft, I have seen the story and watched it be played out but it never interested me to play the game, though my first character I played was Raynor. Pretty much the character the tutorial seems to want me to like and it kind of did exactly that.

So have you been playing? What characters have you been enjoying the most? Comment below and tell me!

The Gift of Caring with Care Bears

I’m a child of the 80’s and loved a lot of the cartoons of that era, still do if I have to be truly honest. One of those was Care Bears. I had a few favourites… Actually think I loved them all but we remember one with a symbol on their belly of a love heart. Tenderheart.

It’s Valentines Day very soon and what a perfect and cute gift would a Care Bear be specially for a fan of the original TV show? You have a choice of small 8 inch toy, the medium which is 14 inches or the huge bundle of fluffy goodness which is 20 inches.

This is the 20 inch Tenderheart. In the large range you also have Share Bear (purple), Cheer Bear (pink) and Funshine Bear (yellow) each with high quality and well detailed symbols on their tummy. The large bears are £24.99 and perfect for cuddling up to.

The medium size bears are the same bears as above but also include Grumpy Bear and Harmony Bear. These are £17.99 and for a bonus come with a DVD with an episode from the new animated series.

Finally the smaller beanie style bears are Grumpy Bear, Funshine Bear, Share Bear and Cheer Bear and cost only £7.99 each.

I felt a size comparison was required to show how big the 20 inch Tenderheart really is so here is a picture of me with my best buddy. His head is almost as big as my own!

Are you a fan of Care Bears or have a child who likes the new show? Love to hear which bear is your favourite! Check out any of the following stores:

Amazon
Tesco
Smyths
The Entertainer

Disclosure: I was sent the Tenderheart bear to review, however my opinions are my own and unbiased. Amazon link is an affiliate link, any sales made through this link I will receive a small percentage.

Teaching with Twinkl – Room on the Broom

Continuing with our trial of Twinkl from Gruffalo work sheets we have moved on to a new theme but by the same author, Julia Donaldson. This time it’s the lovely story Room on the Broom

We printed out the word mat to help him look up words related to the book and placed it on his table to check out. We discussed the words, sounded them all out and pointed them out in the book. Afterwards we did some Trace The Words related to the story. The words were things like Witch, Wand and Broomstick. He didn’t need my help and was able to sound them out as he wrote each word out. He was very chuffed with his work and wanted to do more!

Next was some addition using images related to the book. We counted the, up and wrote how many there were above them just to help with his writing as he went from being able to write numbers to forgetting some numbers in a short space of time so thought could help him doing this. This is additions of up to 20 but the highest answer was 11 so didn’t feel quiet like additions up to 20. He loved counting and adding with his and again very proud of his work.

You can find loads of Room on the Broom themed worksheets and more on Twinkl. You can choose between free account, Gold account or Platinum. It certainly is worth it whether you’re kids are at school, a childminder, home educator or a teacher.

Disclosure: I was given access to platinum account, some resources I may show on my blog are not accessible to free accounts. My opinions are unbiased.

Guilt Of Being a SAHM

We are a single income family, we get buy but we’re one of those families that earns enough to not need benefits but barely enough. We can pay the bills, we can feed the family and all that but if the car breaks, a pipe leaks or the washing machine packs in we don’t have anything left to deal with that. And I blame myself for that.

See whilst some people may think it’s great that I get to stay at home with the kids and be looked after by my man I actually feel guilty. I feel guilty for being a Stay At Home Mum. I went to college wishing to get in to the media industry and was very strong with working with the BBC. That was 12 years ago, ask me now if I want to work for the BBC and I’d laugh so hard I would have tears in my eyes. But I still love media, but felt my studies were a waste of my life and now I’ll never get a job.

I haven’t worked a proper job. I had a Christmas part time job at college which was only for a few weeks. Then years of nothing. Finally I got myself a paper round, I was clearly too old to do it (on cold and dark days I took the car, yes I could drive that’s how old I was) but no kid wanted the job and I needed the money. And my last job was in the Bullring which was another Christmas part time job which ended on New Years Eve about 6 years ago. That’s my employment history.

It’s not that I haven’t looked, I sure as hell have but then had to look at cost of nursery for Petit Girl which in our area isn’t cheap, plus food for her and with Petit Boy at school I need to have a job that allowed me to work around school times which are doors open at 8:45pm and school finishes at 3:15pm. Not many jobs seem to work around this, not many that do which could pay for nursery costs without us losing money.

So now I’m thinking of ways I can actually bring a reasonable amount of money in to the family home that I can do at home, without costing us a small fortune. I’ve not found it easy but I have some ideas, but I’m scared to do anything incase I fail.

Perhaps I’m just meant to be a SAHM for life. Perhaps I’m forever a non-worker. And I guess that means I’ll be stuck with this guilt for the rest of my life.

Teaching Kids We Should Lie and Cheat?

Some of you will know I’ve been battling and stressing over my son’s school, also the lack of any other decent schools nearby. Those new to my blog then basically the school is a Nursery to Sixth Form Academy, one of the first of it’s kind in the United Kingdom, currently in special measures and failing. There’s so much wrong there and having to tell a 4 year old the difference between bullying and accidentally bumping in to someone was not an easy discussion, nor were the days of finding new bruises that a bully had left on my son’s body.

Yesterday my son came home with a letter. This one was interesting as it had a staple, meaning it was a pretty long letter so probably very important. It was windy, cold and starting to snow so I put it away, he held the pushchair and we walked home as usual. We had the normal chat of what he ate in his lunch box, did he play outside today and the usual curious questions a 4 year old asks like “why is the snow falling on me?” and asking when we get home if he can share crisps with Petit Girl.  The first not so easy to explain to a child his age but I did my best for an on-the-spot rather science-y question and of course he shared crisps with his sister.

I warmed my hands up and started to read the letter. New sponsor? Why is that? Who is this sponsor? Whose this Dame woman? She must be important to have the title Dame but why haven’t I heard of her before?

I rung my mother and we chatted the usual stuff about how the kids are doing, how the rest of the family are and what we’ve been up to and I slipped in about this new sponsor thing. It just so happened she was at her laptop and so did a quick Google. Her response was a bit concerning so I gave the kids a biscuit each to keep them quiet for a bit longer (dinner was still in the oven) and rushed to get the iPad out. I Googled this woman’s name. Dame Mo Brennan and Google suggested “Dame Maureen Brennan news” to me.  Okay that’s odd but I figured Mo was short for something. Anyway she has a Wikipedia page and yes she is head of one of the other schools the trust is part of, she also happens to be the Director of this trust. But then there’s a large section on the page titled “Attendance manipulation charges”. Words I wasn’t expecting to see from someone who was given an honour started to stand out like the biggest sore thumbs I’ve seen in a long time. It talked about GCSE results, attendance records, stuff to basically make the school look good by lying and cheating the system.

cheatlie-dontdoit

I was stunned to say the least. Angered that we consider this okay. Why should children think it’s okay to cheat and lie and be rewarded for it? The line that she did it “for the children” gets used over and over. Really? That’s the sap story we all going to accept? No she didn’t, this was done to make her look like a good person, sod the kids. I dislike how schools are marked down for things often out of their control but cheating the system isn’t the way forward and we shouldn’t accept this nor allow it. If there’s a problem and schools feel the constant need to lie just to get a better report then the system is flawed.

I often saw this trick at my secondary school. Telling kids who should have been excluded to “study at home” and be marked in that fashion. But all those kids did was come to the school gate and bully other kids, throw things over the gate, they didn’t care and the school sure didn’t either. If they cared they would have helped those kids learn, not let them stand at the gate, smoking cigarettes and throwing empty cans at anyone who walked by. And if they got bored of that then they’ll go elsewhere and be a menace elsewhere. “For the children” my arse.

Currently  I’m in contact with the school as best as I can be, the letter had an email although addressed to someone of the old sponsor but they replied and shall forward my concerns to the school. I’ll also be contacting our local MP to see what his thoughts are. He’s been in power here since the late 70’s and proud of many choices he’s made, including voting to allow gays to marry.

Setting Up Twitch

I'm mostly a computer gamer these days. World of Warcraft and Minecraft are my two currently playing games and both are on the PC. I had considered for some time running Twitch but was shy at first so kind of sat back for a moment, hoping I may slap myself around to doing it.

So now I've installed what I need the only issue I noticed during my test run was sound was bad. So before I go totally out there I will need to fix that first, probably just a setting I've messed up. But in the mean time my twitch channel does exist and hopefully I will get some stuff running.

You will find me on Twitter for any announcements of going on air so please follow me over there to keep in touch. See you soon… Hopefully!

 

 

I’m An Influential Gamer Girl!

I’ve played games for years. My first console was a Master System II which has Alex Kidd built in to it (and a game I never beat because oh my god it was HARD!) and over the years I gained other consoles and even handhelds. Mega Drive, Mega CD, SNES, Dreamcast (yes some people actually owned one of those), Gameboy (and pretty much every version since then). In fact about the only consoles I’ve yet to own are Sega Saturn (never going to happen because Santa didn’t bring me one *sob*), Play Station 4 (also unlikely) and the Wii U (Nintendo do keep trying to make me want one though). Whilst I loved Sonic and Mortal Kombat (yes this was way before age restrictions on video games) I still had my My Little Pony collection and Barbie dolls. To me video games were for kids, just as much as I thought Barbies could be played with by boys too.

topukinflu-gamergirls

So I’m super excited and totally over the moon to be in an article about the most Influential Gamer Girls in the UK. I actually secretly pop over to Charleyy’s Tumblr every so often so was great to see her there as well. Also lovely to see Keza MacDonald who is Kotaku UK’s editor which is a big awesome thumbs up from me. Though my gosh some great ladies aside of me on this list.

So I thought I’d talk a bit more about me as a gamer of the modern day. I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for a VERY long time (it just celebrated it’s 10th Anniversary so I’d say been a player for about 8 or 9 years) and more recently been playing Minecraft to the point we even have our own server. I’ve been messing with Twitch and live streaming but haven’t completely got it to work fully so when I do I’ll be sure to let everyone know so you can enjoy some block-tastic fun and some god awful DPS (I play a Hunter).

So here’s the article that I’m overly excited about. Do have a read and follow some amazing female gamers on Twitter.

Teaching With Twinkl – Gruffalo

Many of you will know the troubles with my son’s school. Recently Ofsted posted a report earlier this month that was deeply depressing for me so I had begun to look in to Home Education. The amazing folks of Twinkl asked me if I would try out their premium package and over the new few months I will be posting Teaching With Twinkl And showing a little bit of what we have been doing.

My son was very unwell on Sunday, boiling hot (38.7C is the highest I got with our cheap thermometer), floppy and complaining about his ears hurting. So Monday we saw the doctor and collected antibiotics and Calpol for an ear infection and to keep the fever down. So recently he has been off school but I didn’t want him to miss out on any learning and thought how could I make it fun?

Currently he’s a big fan of The Gruffalo so printed a few Twinkl resources to do with the book. We read the book several times, watched the animated version and talked about each of the animals. He knew the owl was a kind of bird that flies and remembered where each animal lived and the order the mouse met them. So how else could I use his new found love for this story to continue teaching him?

First I wanted to work on his writing. He is left handed and often he leaves a very faint line. Here he wrote inside the letters as he sounded them out and actually put pressure on to the pencil and I could actually see what he was writing! Still trying to help find ways to make it easier to write left handed as we are all right handed so very odd to teach with my right when he uses his left.

Up next was a simple counting. He was still not very well so decided a simple counting would be good but also help him write his numbers. He did this so fast, this is early learning which is his level at school right now. Thought perhaps next time shall try something a little different.

Addition was on the list the next day. Normally I use toy cars or Lego to help with addition and subtraction so this was a little different. But again he blew through this. He only recounted the owls as he wasn’t sure he was right but he was correct with 8 and wrote it down.

Finally we reviewed the book itself. This was probably the hardest as he was still learning spelling and phonic sounds but he did pretty well. A few spelling errors but at this point. I’m just impressed he kept it up. He found the last part hard so we cut the story up in to three parts. First is the mouse meets the fox, owl and snake, second part he meets the Gruffalo and shows the Gruffalo to the other animals. Finally he ends by scaring the Gruffalo and then enjoying a nut. He said “at the end he eated the nut” but then just wanted to write “nut”.

My thoughts so far? Impressed! I was able to teach him addition, work on his pencil control and help with his literacy all through a story he is currently enjoying. I would never have thought of it myself!

You can follow Twinkl on Facebook and Twitter, keep an eye open for offers and exciting new resources! You can join for free and use any free resources or consider their Gold or Platinum options.

Twinkl Primary School Resources

Disclaimer: I was given access to Platinum resources to review Twinkl. My opinions are my own and unbiased. Some of the Twinkl resources are free, but some may require a gold or premium account to access.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Je Suis Breasts

This kept me up all night on how to best write this and a lot of what I say will be me biting my own arm off. This is about Page 3 being removed from The Sun. If you're not willing to read any more in to this then best look away now.

Firstly I'm more anti-The Sun then I am Page 3. To me The Sun isn't a newspaper and people do not buy it for news, it's at best a young adult (mostly male) magazine made to look like a newspaper. Half the coloumnists I would rather they fell in to the pit of Hell and others I just pray they can one day get a journalist job somewhere better. Also might I add my hatred for anything Murdoch related? So yes this is painful for me to write and honestly last night I felt sick mulling over what I wanted to say. So yes just remember I am not pro-The Sun or Murdoch News Corps. For goodness sake look back to Hillsbourgh, what The Sun did there offends me more then a pair of tits.

Now Page 3 use to bother me when I was younger, but then I started to follow some models who happen to also be Page 3 models. I've images of nude women in parts of our household, my kids can be naked and we can be naked, we don't have an issue with nudity one bit. To me Page 3 models are just saying “embrace your body” and god I wish I had the confidence to pose nude. I have spoken to a few models in the past and they are so lovely and full of confidence. Many of them endure Internet trolls and called awful names but they brush it off. Wish I could do that!

So to me when women are out on social media praising the end of Page 3 I think oh great thank you for telling women they cannot enjoy their figure, thank you for censoring the media, thank you for putting some models out of the job. And yet few weeks ago these are the same people who were all “Je Suis Charlie”. Are you really? Because to be Charlie you're admitting that censoring the media is wrong. But wait, you just censored the media. Hypocritical? Yes.

And don't give me the “think of the children”. If a child is reading The Sun that's the parents choice, not yours or mine to slander. And no the internet isn't always the best place for “smut”. Have any of you watched a porno? They are funny as hell, no one has sex like they do in porn and that's not what I want my kids to think is normal.

What we should be worried about is forced marriages, domestic abuse and female genital mutilation. These are problems women should be helping end in a First World Country. Because guess what? I have tits too, not like yours but who the hell cares? We should be proud of them not offended by them.

Je Suis Breasts. Because I'm proud to be a woman.

Have I Lied About My Dyslexia?

There are boring moments in our lives where we adults have to fill in forms. I hate forms and exams? Ugh they were a nightmare, my version of Hell would be sitting at a desk trying to understand one of those stupidly long English or Science questions you get in GSCE papers and by the time I finally understand what it means the time is up. But there is a question that comes up in some forms that I never really know what to say. In comes in various forms so let me answer all of them in the way my head tells me to put down.

Do you have a learning difficulty?

Well, Helen, that's a tricky one. I mean you get on with life just fine. There are some people out there with severe learning difficulties compared to dyslexia so should you really say yes? Seems selfish to do that when others need more help then you do.

Do you have any form of disability?

Does this mean physical only? Is dyslexia a disability (note: it took me 4 tries to spell disability right and only got it because autocorrect finally understood what I was trying to write) of any kind? No it probably just means physical and yeah you do have a back problem but surely they want to know about people who are actually disabled, like in a wheelchair or deaf or something like that, no you're fine just say no.

Do you suffer from any of the following? (Various answers include learning and physical issues, dyslexia isn't there but Other is)

Well Dyslexia is well known so surely if they meant it to be on the list they'd put it there. Nah just leave it blank. I mean look at the choices, Helen. These are pretty serious things compared to you unable to get numbers in the right place or being able to read a book. Nah you're way down the scale.

Now firstly let me tell you a bit about my dyslexia because often I get odd looks or questioned on how can I be dyslexic and yet also write a blog. Firstly autocorrect, whilst it can be a bitch at times, is the Holy Grail (note: Grail took me several tries and because I failed I got words like trial and gale autocorrected in place of Grail for me) to my Dyslexia and I. But actually my biggest problem is with numbers and reading rather than actually writing. Hand me a novel like any book of the Game of Thrones series or Harry Potter. I can probably get halfway through a chapter before I give up and usually wallow in self pity for the rest of the day. As for numbers, I can't read large numbers. For example if you handed me the houses for sales page of a newspaper and asked me to say the prices out loud what will happen is whilst I see the numbers that are there I jumble them up. Okay so say a car is for sale for £23,995. I will then say £32,599. See the numbers are there but not in the right order, get what I'm trying to explain? Also sometimes with double numbers like £32,995 I may see it has £32,555 or something along those lines. I don't realise what I've said until someone says “that's not right, Helen” to which ends with me feeling pretty stupid and wanting the world to eat me up.

So have I lied about my dyslexia? Is it something I should be shouting about and telling people “yes I do have a problem!” Y'know maybe less like a crazy person. I mean not in the middle of a busy market place or at the checkout. For I want to defeat my dyslexia, I want to be able to pick up a book and read the whole thing without the desire to burn it and send it to Hell. If I had a Room 101 it would be filled with books, car trader/sales magazines and estate agents if I keep this up. I want to read like everyone else can. So the question is… Where do I begin?

Thanks for reading. Do you have a learning difficulty or have someone in the family with one? Do you have any advice for me? Please feel free to comment below!