The Girl On The Train With A Mop Bucket!

She was coming to see me.

Ten years ago I would have been the PR girl schlepping a bag of samples and a press release on and off trains to visit people for my clients, but roll on a decade and I'm the one being brought treats! I wish it could have been make up, fashion or maybe a shiny new gadget but my little gift was stuff for cleaning!

It made me laugh later that day as I unwrapped my easy rinse power scourer. In my head I still feel like a trendy teenager on the cutting edge of cool. If PRs want to send me any products to try they should be Margarita Mix and a pair of suede hot pants to wear whilst I'm drinking it. In my head, I'd be whisked off on a hedonistic weekend break by the travel PR for the Isle of Fernando's whilst carrying the latest 'Harper' bag, given to me by my good friend Victoria Beckham.

But the reality is that I don't drink much at all- the odd glass of Asti maybe at a party, or if it's a hot day- a cool beer. ...And I'd never get those hotpants past my knees- even after I get to my Slimming World target!

Let's face facts, I'm a mum. I love being a mum - and if I say so myself, I'm a pretty good one. But mums don't get whisked off to the Isle of Fernando's - they get sent mops to play with instead.

Bless her, Vic had hauled ass from Manchester to Wakefield with a change over at Leeds in her trendy outfit - accessorised with a shiny red mop bucket. That's dedication. She took me through the Vileda range, enthustistically telling me what each bit did and how it all worked, and I told her that I can't really get excited about mops unfortunately, (unless they are like robot mops that come and do it all for you- making you a cup of tea after they have polished the floor)! But I listened and took it all in and was rather pleased later that day when I whipped the 1.2 Spray Mop over my kitchen floor and found it easy to use and did the job in seconds so I could have a proud housewifely moment, enjoying the clean floor before the cat came in and chewed his beef in gravy all over it.

Mums may be the target audience for products for the home, but we are also the target for sleepy kisses from our soft cheeked kids, cuddles at bedtime after they have gotten into their clean pyjamas and wonkily hand drawn pictures of one eyed chicken robots with 'I love you Mummy' written underneath. Whoever gets to go to Fernando's wont get all that, so I wouldn't swop it for the world. Even if Paddy McGuinness came to the door and asked me himself!

The Vileda website is here in case you are motivated by this post to have your own housewifely moment! Here is the blog too.

This is me and Victoria (The Vileda PR) at our meeting:

She's the young, good looking one on the right, in case you were wondering.

Disclosure: A) I was given a few free mops and pan scourers by the Vileda PR which is why she got a train to see me.
B) Victoria Beckham doesn't know me from Adam!

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WigWam Bam, Gonna Make You My Man!

Here is my little man - and my little miss in the new wigwam! We reviewed this recently and here are my thoughts!

**This is a Product Review Post**

Product Name: Wigwam by Garden Games
Buy Online Here:
Price: £49.99
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The blurb: Our Wigwam is a house for your "savages" to hide away and plot their day. Decorative motifs adorn the textile cover held up with 6 wooden poles standing 1.9m tall. Wigwam diameter: 1.4m. "New" Updated Versions now come with Velcro fastenings instead of ties...

Initial Thoughts: We were so excited when the wigwam arrived and set about building it straightaway. The instructions are printed on the box, but they proved quite tricky to follow. The first time we assembled the teepee it ended up inside out! (So the print was on the inside) We had to pull apart each pole at the central connection to reverse the fabric to get it right. This wasn't really difficult to do but we felt it could have been made clearer on the box. Once assembled, it was a good size- my kids both got inside with some dolls and a cat to play, but as it is still so cold outside we played indoors. In the summer we plan to erect it in the corner of the garden and it will make a great extra place to play on a hot day!

I Liked: The fabric of the teepee was really good quality, very thick and substantial, and I love the print design on it. It worked great for my kids as it was neither too girly nor too masculine! It was quite a retro design which would work well in any house or garden. Kids always love a 'den' and our cats enjoyed hiding in the wigwam too!

I wasn't Keen: Aside from the trouble with the instructions, we did find that the teepee kept shrinking down so the fabric would slide down the poles at the top and needed pulling back up. It never prevented the kids from getting inside but we kept needing to tighten the knot at the top of the wigwam to keep things in place.

Overall: There are three playtents on the website. The wigwam is here and is personally my favourite of the three. If your kids are looking for a fun play tent, this one is suitable for all ages. My children are 9 and 4 and they had great fun in it!

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Shhh! A Cheeky Secret!

I did something a few weeks ago that made me smile in secret all day long!

I had seen a little job advert and had decided to go for it - what the hell, eh? It was a writing job so I'd be able to work from home and it consisted of doing one column a month for 12 months. I figured I would apply - the only thing is that this was a writing job with a *ahem* difference! It was to be the new Sex Columnist for Easy Living Magazine!!

I have been with my husband for more than 20 years (even though we are both in our 30's) and we have two young children. This was the criteria you see. You had to be in a long term relationship with AT LEAST two young children and be keeping things spicy! I thought we might just fit the bill. I wasn't up for any 'same sex' or 'threeway' shenanigans, but a bit of dressing up, a toy or two and some dirty talk would be pretty easy to accomplish and then write about anonymously.

I smiled all day long because what a secret eh? To be walking round your town or doing the school run looking like a normal person when actually you are a secret sex goddess!! To have on your lace trim satin tie side panties and matching balconette bra under your jeans and T shirt combo, rather than the usual Hanes black hi-leg stretchy practical briefs?!

My husband couldn't stop smiling either- when I told him what I'd done. We had a juicy secret, and it was a lot of fun! Then a few days ago I got an email. One of those 'Thank you for your interest but we have been inundated with applications and on this occasion, you didn't make the shortlist'. I wasn't surprised- it actually made me giggle a little. Thank God! I think I was a bit relived that I didn't have to share my bedroom antics with the world at large. But it was a nice daydream for a while - it brought our intimate life into more focus. It is easy in a marriage to take each other for granted or start to neglect the activities that you maybe did seven times a day when you first got together but have lapsed to once every few weeks because you are both working all the time, the kids have been ill and the cat keeps on puking up on your carpet. It made me think about it a lot more, and you know how the saying goes - thoughts lead to action!

...I'm also pleased to say I have spring cleaned my knicker drawer!

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The Train, The Zoo, The Pandas and The Family

Isn't it funny how the smallest of things can make you feel so happy? Check this out...

I know I should've turned the flash off, but if you can see it says 'Reserved Hill'- when we got on our train last weekend for a short break in Edinburgh, this is what greeted us in the First Class carriage! Like a country bumpkin on Rodeo Drive, I had to get out my camera and take a shot - even if that meant looking uncool in front of the other 'Firsties'!

Cross Country Trains very kindly offered my family and I a return trip on their network, so after an evening spent with a map of their route and the family diary in hand, we chose Edinburgh! I wasn't expecting to get tickets for the First Class carriages (I usually travel 'standard' because it is cheaper) but it was lovely to be seated in a less crowded carriage away from the hustle and bustle of other peoples' tinny headphones, rustling papers and one sided chats on mobile phones! Here we are making ourselves at home:

Once we had zoned in on the destination, I'd set about some internet research to work out what we'd do to occupy our time in Edinburgh and was delighted to see that Edinburgh Zoo is now the home of two Giant Pandas who arrived in December for a ten year stay, on loan from their home in China. I remember seeing this on Daybreak- the massive lorries slowly rolling through the streets of Edinburgh, transporting Tian Tian and Yang Guang to the zoo, with well wishers lining the streets waving flags! I knew our kids would love to see them so we booked our tickets and a panda viewing slot and off we went!

Here is Tian Tian playing peek a boo with my camera:

...and here she was bored after a few seconds!

Here is her panda friend Yang Guang, sleeping (so cute!)

Other than the pandas, we saw all sorts of monkeys, birds, big cats, bears, zebras, hippos and penguins. Here are a few shots:

...and this picture was just begging to be captioned! Even in the animal kingdom we have multi tasking mamas!

What a great weekend! We've never taken a train for a family short break before, usually taking the car but it made a pleasant change for all of us to be able to relax en route, rather than my husband being the driver. It also helps that you can take small kids to the loo without stopping the journey which is a bonus!

Disclosure: Thank you to Cross Country Trains for the return train tickets from Leeds to Edinburgh.

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CybHer Meet n Greet!

Whilst browsing blogland, I saw the CybHer Meet n Greet post on Rosie Scribble's blog and was inspired to join in! I'm looking forward to this event- to have a day out 'sans children' for a start, but also because I just love making new friends, catching up with old ones and buying a hot new dress for the occasion!

Here is my 'Meet n Greet' - I can't wait to see you there!
The basics -

name: Nadine Hill
web: Juggle Mum
twitter: @businessmum
height: I always thought I was 5ft7 but apparently I'm only 5ft6. I must have shrunk!
hair: Red, but my collars and cuffs don't match! I was blonde for 8 years but red is a new one for me. I'm originally a brunette!

Five things about me:
1. I'm a game show junkie. I've been on Wheel of Fortune, The Weakest Link, Blankety Blank, Brainteaser (Channel 5), Who Wants to be a Great Cook (cable tv), A Place in the Sun Home or Away (ok so this isn't strictly a game show!) and I'm currently waiting for Noel or the Banker to get in touch about my Deal or No Deal application!
2. I've lost two and a half stone so far of a seven stone journey. By the time we get to CybHer, I plan to have shifted a couple more stone and be wearing a size 14. I'm currently an 18 but not for long *cackles and rubs hands together!*
3. I'm married to my childhood sweetheart and have spent more years with him than without him (20+). Plus I still think he's sexy.
4. My favourite word is 'effervescent'.
5. I love Asti Martini and soft rock and a bit of bling and bright toenails and new clothes and Clarins hand cream and people who smile a lot. Plus I can't get enough of Aussie sitcom 'Kath & Kim' "That's noice"!

If you are going or want to see who else is, just add your post to this linky!

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The One Where I Was 'Slimmer of The Week'!

I'm like a dog. Seriously, The Sunday Times actually called me that in 2010 when the episode of 'A Place in the Sun- Home or Away' featuring my mum & I was on! They said the show is worth watching for the "Mother & daughter duo who are endlessly enthusiastic and excited like yapping dogs!" So there you have it! A dog I am.

What I mean when I say I'm like a dog is that I do have boundless energy when I'm engaged in something - and the best way to train me is with lots of praise and treats!! I got this at Slimming World a few days ago when I was crowned 'Slimmer of the Week'!

I'd lost 4lbs in weight which was the highest at that meeting that week, and whoever gets the biggest loss receives a lovely collection of low fat foods like fruit and low calorie snacks. Each member takes something in for the prize and as ours is a big group, I came home with all this!!

I'm really enjoying Slimming World. Little things like getting a round of applause from the group and a certificate calling you 'Slimmer of the Week' don't sound like much but the praise and encouragement really helps to keep you motivated and on track. I think we should celebrate our successes daily - even the 'little' ones.

When I was handed the basket of goodies and my certificate I actually felt like Miss World! I wanted to go home and get out my tiara and wear it for the rest of the day (just like I did the other time I felt like 'Queen for a Day' when I won the show on BBC Radio Leeds) - see here! But this time I didn't. I had to do boring stuff like take the car to the garage and get in some supermarket shopping. But I will. I plan to do it again - I loved the applause and the goodies and I want another certificate for my fridge, so I'm determined. If I don't do it this week, I'll do it another week - and when it happens, I WILL wear my tiara for the rest of the day. Wish me luck!

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