Specsavers have launched a range of Converse glasses with stylish optical and sunglasses and they challenged me to style them up.

This coincided with me finally feeling the fear and doing it anyway and signing up for my college reunion dinner. It would be 25 years since I had seen a lot of the people there. Age may have withered me so I needed all the help I could get!

I was so impressed on my visit to my local Specsavers. The staff were so courteous, friendly and helpful. It struck me that they took the lead from customers and provided a very individual service.

I had various health checks on the eye. I was so pleased I had come as it turns out I need to have my left eye checked at hospital as there is an issue with it. I think many of us forget that regular eye tests are essential for highlighting potential health issues as well as helping us to see clearly.

My eye test showed that my eyes had got worse which I was aware of from everyday life. It was certainly time to get a new pair of glasses and why not a designer pair?

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I had already decided I wanted to choose a colour combo to highlight the brown of my eyes. Being able to look online at what is available speeds up the whole process of selecting frames.

Converse’s take on the classic tortoiseshell was perfect. The traditional shaping, styling and keyhole bridge are offset by the gold-coloured metallic temples and etched Converse name.

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I wish selecting my outfit for the reunion was as simple. I was trying on so many dresses in the run-up to the event. I eventually settled on a midnight blue three-quarter length dress with a cowl neck and illusion skirt. I loved the little jewels sewn into the dress which reminded me strongly of a dress I used to wear when at college the first time round.

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The good thing is that I should have gone to Specsavers if only so I could recognise college peers a quarter of a century after leaving Trinity Hall.

I love my new glasses and will be returning to Specsavers next week to choose my new prescription sunglasses. Well, why not?

The Converse range, which is available in Specsavers nationwide for £99 are fantastic for creating a statement look, with modern looks for every occasion.

I received a £150 voucher to go into store and purchase a pair. The voucher also covered the cost of my eye test.

We would like to share our Cafe Rouge review as first time visitors to this particular restaurant. We had an amazing lunch at the Portsmouth branch yesterday.

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We have just moved and meals have had a degree of lack of planning about them as we have cleaned, moved furniture and explored a new area. So it was a real treat to take time out for a special lunch at Cafe Rouge. Why special? Because I feel compelled to give a glowing review.

Our day did not start well as due to extremely heavy traffic we missed our booking. The staff were wonderful with us offering us a table inside the stylish interior or outside on the Historic Waterfront.

We fancied outdoors and settled down to take in the vibrant atmosphere. It soon became clear that my daughter was feeling the cold. We asked if we could move inside and the staff facilitated this with speed and understanding smiles.

I love the menus in this restaurant. There is, of course, a French theme but not a daunting one so that although there are some French words on the menu, a non French speaker would not be unable to work out what they wanted to eat. In any event, all the staff we came across were so well trained and keen to assist.

The food was exceptional. My children are not the fussiest of eaters but they rarely clear their plates when we are out and about. That is always a little frustrating when you are paying good money for their meals.

Both children loved the warm fougasse artisan bread with crudites and tomatoe dip. My children are 9 and 11 but I could see this really working for a much younger child who enjoys finger food.

My son enjoyed ordering Le Burger which was of a large size and he loved the presentation. He did need help cutting it into manageable portion sizes but he found the whole dish very exciting.

My daughter had chicken and was very quiet during the meal which is always a great sign that she is enjoying her food.

Both children ordered profiteroles with my daughter wolfing them down with gusto and my son finding them slightly too rich for his taste. Mum was more than happy to help with that one!

My husband enjoyed a steak and I went for my favourite Croque Madame served with frites.

We had desserts and I was delighted after studying the menu and being tempted by 3 options that you could have them as a trio of mini desserts. More eateries should offer such delights!

Café Rouge say “Using only the finest ingredients served in a stylish and relaxed environment, Café Rouge’s carefully designed menu has been created to tickle even the pickiest youngsters’ taste buds. To cater for fussy eaters, Café Rouge is offering easy first courses of warm fougasse bread finger with d’signy butter and crudités with a tomato dip. Other (hopefully) tantrum-busting dishes include the new tasty Macaroni Cheese, Le Burger which uses the best Aberdeen Angus beef and the sautéed ‘Poulet Ooh la la’ with all the trimmings. For children who like to eat like an adult, there is a selection of mouth-watering desserts such as traditional French crêpes with chocolate sauce or children can get their ‘five a day’ the Café Rouge way with a simple bowlful of fresh fruit salad. Ice cream is a classic summer indulgence and is available in six tempting flavours. All of the petits enfants favourite dishes can be washed down with flavoured milk, bottle of green cordial or a selection of soft drinks. We look forward to hearing your verdict!”

Here are our scores on the doors!

Starters – 10 out of 10

Mains – 9 out of 10

Desserts – 9 out of 10 with a proviso that you need to think about what your children might enjoy most as some of the mouth-watering desserts may be a little bit rich for some tastes. Ice cream and fruit salad provide milder options.

Service – 9 out of 10

Affordability – 10 out of 10 – where else can a whole family dine out with starters, mains, desserts and drinks for around £50-£70

Atmosphere – 10 out of 10 – we felt very relaxed, unrushed and enjoyed how the restaurant seemed to actively welcome all age groups.

Location – perfect with great views and people-watching opportunities. It was lovely to have a choice of eating inside or outdoors.

Conclusion – I wondered why we have never visited before as we have missed out on a real treat. I very almost went back for breakfast the next day! I love going for a meal where at the end of it you are satisfied but not uncomfortable. Sometimes as you eat the food, it feels of good quality and this was our experience at Cafe Rouge. We will be back and regularly both for family meals and for the occasional date night.

Family Fever

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

How to decrease allergens at home may not be the first thing on your mind but it is important.

Nothing dampens summer like allergies. Bissell have a few tips on decreasing the presence of allergens in your home environment:

1. Keep Humidity at a happy medium. Invest in a humidifier and set the levels to 50% as dust and pollen are more easily provoked in dry air.

2. Replace filters in your heating and cooling systems. This is an essential part of keeping the air in your home clean.

3. Sacrifice soft surfaces. Of course they are cozy, but if you are too busy sneezing and spluttering to enjoy them then there is no point. Opt for easy to clean furnishings such as leather.

4. Turn up the heat and wash all fabric items you can (rugs, curtains, bedding etc.) once a week in hot water.

5. Invest in a Bissell Bag-Less Vacuum cleaner, or one that features an easily interchangeable bag, so that the dust stays on the inside while making the switch.

Bissell have a range of carpet cleaners that can help remove dust and allergens. Bissell has stood the test of time and was one of my late mum’s go to brands for home cleaning. I have recently tried out a Bissell Spot cleaner. So many cleaners promise the world but deliver disappointing result. Not so this compact little beauty. After a particularly yucky cat incident, this machine got to work and almost immediately I could see that it was going to work and well restoring my carpet to its green colour and totally blitzing the brown! I know too much information!

BISSELL includes the power of Oxy to deep clean and permanently remove tough stains and left my carpet smelling so fresh. There was a Deep Reach Tool which can remove embedded dirt and stains from the bottom up. Heatwave Technology® helps maintain constant water temperature throughout the cleaning process

One of the things I really love is its sleek and good-looking design. It is lightweight and easy to move around the home including up and down stairs as necessary.

Secondly, it was easy to understand the instructions for use and within minutes of opening the box it comes in, you are cleaning away with this nifty gadget. There are separate tanks for clean and dirty water which are very simple to fill and empty.

Trial size Oxy Gen Boost® and 2X Spot & Stain Formula are included.

Camping in the Forest immediately sounds romantic and like a great adventure. What family can resist the idea of getting back to the simple life and enjoying nature?

I hate how my children spend way too much time chained to electronic gadgets and video games so was very keen to get away from it all. My younger children aged 9 and 11 were very excited at the idea of sleeping in a tent. My teenager was less convinced but came along too.

We recently spent a lovely weekend at the Holmsley Campsite in the New Forest and near the beach delights of Christchurch.

I loved the breath-taking scenery. I do believe green countryside calms the soul in the most wonderful way whatever is going on in your life. The beautiful woodland put me in mind of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. However, my absolute best moment was seeing the lovely New Forest ponies.

Him Indoors who is a workaholic amazed us all by relaxing and even riding a bike for the first time since he was in the Royal Air Force and serving in the Falklands War. He was joined by my 9 year old son Ramsey who thinks bike rides are the best thing ever.

My daughter loved having her own bedroom in the tent and we had so many stories, songs and giggles as we settled down for the night. Her very best moment was winning a colouring competition as she fancies being an artist for a career.

My teenager surprised us most by never mentioning his beloved X Box One for the entire weekend. He spent time chatting with other campers and playing boules a lot with new-found friends.

The weekend also involved Ranger activities (wild play, bug hunts, forest exploration, woodland foraging, games and scavenger hunts)and a tasty barbecue.

Other blogger families were around us and it was good to get to know new people. Although I am always a bit shy to start with, we forged a little community and I loved hosting an impromptu party outside our tent on the Saturday night. I think camping brings out the best in people and people shared resources in terms of playing with the children, sharing toys and food and more importantly, themselves and their life experiences.

Ramsey comments “My favourite part of Camping in the Forest was the fact we could sleep outside. I prefer camping to a posh hotel!”

Willow said “It was fun to get the boys away from their video games so they played with me more. I also enjoyed seeing Dad have a laugh”

So if you want to get away from it all in a beautiful location, we highly recommend Camping in the Forest.

More information, a map and directions can be found at: http://www.campingintheforest.co.uk/england/new-forest/holmsley-campsite

What was my husband’s reaction to home education?

I always had a fantasy of home-educating my children. My mother had always told me I would make a great teacher. I imagined myself living by the sea in Ireland growing vegetables and giving them a life-affirming childhood.

I think my husband ruled all this out before my first son even entered the world. He has a traditional education followed by years in the military. He likes rules and systems. He likes to know where he is with things. Even setting off for a day trip with no particular destination in mind upsets his equilibrium. Lord knows what he is doing with me? Maybe I am his very own learning experience!

When my parents by then in their Seventies started to struggle with the looking after my first son, we decided to look at nursery education. I had heard fabulous things about the Montessori one so we paid a visit. My husband was so uncomfortable there. Whilst impressed with the beautiful resources and the gorgeous setting, he could not quite come to terms with any thought of child-led learning. He kept banging on about the 3 Rs! My son was about 18 months old at the time.

I think we came to a deal that if he let my son have the Montessori experience, I would put him state school when the time came and give up dreams of home education. I probably had every intention of reneging on this agreement in due course but as it happened I was the chief breadwinner when the time came for my son to go to school so he went after a magical few years with Montessori. I remember sobbing the day he left nursery.

Of course, life sometimes teaches us what we always needed to know and sometimes the worst of times can lead us to wonderful ones. Last year, when my daughter was so stressed by school that she was threatening suicide and when we heard about the practices in the school, both my husband and I agreed we needed to take her out of school immediately.

There followed a troubled period with both of us in a bit of a panic and not communicating particularly well. My husband kept going on and one about the National Curriculum and how important it was. Whilst my view at that time was to follow it, I felt my husband did not believe in my ability to teach the children. So I got argumentative and asked him if he had read the National Curriculum. He had not done so and neither had I in any detail. I read it in detail. I still do on my wobbly days. However, apart from where literacy and numeracy are concerned, I find it quite limited. My husband felt the same way, our eyes were opened and we became a home educating team with me doing most days and him getting involved in the evenings and at weekends.

When we deregistered our two youngest children from school, the local authority offered us an appointment with an Education Consultant. We were both keen to take this up. We met in a supermarket as my housework standards are never really of the domestic goddess variety. When you start to home educate, you are not quite sure of your ground and worry about being judged adversely.
As soon as the woman said she had worked for OFSTED, my husband took her seriously. She said amazing things like some days we might not do any learning in particular, that the children had me and would be fine and that we had already made a great start.

At that point, I relaxed a teeny bit. My husband surprised me and was relatively chilled from that moment and gets more and more so as the weeks and months go by. If anything he has become more “hippy-dippy” that I am. He is enjoying the children more particularly their questions and their firm opinions.

Technically we could place my daughter in a new secondary school now as she is 11. We were sure we would be doing this in September last year seeing home education as an urgent fix to a troublesome primary school. Neither of us have raised the issue of sending her beyond asking her whether she wants to go. She thinks she might want to go at some point but not yet. Having stressed myself all year and finally relaxed and deschooled myself, I am so pleased she is staying.

I suppose I am writing this blog to reveal more about what has gone on with us over the last year and also to reassure those considering home education who have people in the family who are cynical, fearful or whatever about home education.

Things change and sometimes quite radically. My anti home education husband is now its champion.

<img src=”http://sillybabyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Friday-Funday-Featured.jpg” alt=”Adventures with a Silly Baby” style=”border:none;” height=”200″ width=”200″ />