Monday, 11 May 2015

Mcdonald's Football Mum of the Year Award!

Last weekend we were invited to the grounds of Petts Wood FC to attend a McDonalds Football Mum of the Year event with Casey Stoney. For those of you that do not know, Casey Stoney plays for England and Arsenal Ladies teams. She has recently become a mum of twins herself, so knows only to well how hard it is to juggle life as a Mum!

We of course jumped at the chance to attend this event, Chester and I are big football fans, if you read my blog, you will know that we are Crystal Palace supporters and Chester has been to his first two home matches this season! Millie loves very much to copy her brother, and she is just as active. So even though she does not quite understand Football yet, she does understand how to kick and throw a ball!


During the event the children had a training session with Casey, there was a real mix of ages with the children and I think Casey did a great job at making it fun and challenging for each child. Whilst Casey was teaching the children, she also gave us Mums some tips and tricks that we could do at home with the children. Simple things such as throwing the ball in the air and catching, then perhaps something a little more challenging for Chester, throwing the ball in the air, clapping and then catching.



Can you spot my little Eagles in this video?!


Its fair to say that all 3 of us came away with something from the experience. I was reminded just how easy it is to get outside and play with the children, rather than just watching them!



Since the event Chester has taken on board the skills and he now spends most evenings practicing them in our garden, whether its kicking and controlling the ball against our garage wall, or bouncing on the trampoline whilst throwing the ball in the air, clapping and catching it, he has so much fun! Like Casey explained to us, in these early years the most valuable thing you can teach your children about football is ball control and coordination.

The event was to promote a rather special award. The McDonald’s Football Mum of the Year Award. Which will recognise mums who put in countless unpaid hours of hard work, so that their children and their friends can enjoy playing football.

From time consuming tasks such as running kids to training and matches that can be hours away, to managing their team kits and helping run their child’s local team. Or even starting a local team simply so their children and their friends can play; the awards are an opportunity to acknowledge their selflessness.

Personally I do think that Mums are the unsung heros when it comes to organizing their children's football timetable. Chester has only just started training and playing football with a club on a Sunday. I am the one who makes sure he has everything he needs and I am the one who is there cheering him on from the sidelines at 8.30am on a Sunday morning! I am also the one who cheers him up when he is sulking that something didn't go quite right for him and then I am the one who washed the grass stained kit and cleans the mud off of his Football boots!

Do you know a Mum worthy of the title Mcdonalds Football Mum of the year?!

Nominations for the McDonald’s Football Mum of the Year Award are now open and will close on 19th June 2015. To nominate a mum you know go to mcdonalds.co.uk/mumoftheyear.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Housework. Who's job is it?

As I am typing this I am filled with rage. It seems that my husband believes that he is exempt from helping with some of the house work.

I know that his first defence will be that he helps 'do the dishwasher' but really I think he needs to get into the 21st century. 

I have been watching the clean washing pile move from our bed to the floor for a few weeks now. You might think that is a little odd, I mean why not simply put it away? Well. My reasoning is this. I spent a long time (again, this happens every few months) tidying our room and making sure it is clutter free. I do the washing, fold it neatly and place it on our bed. Then I got distracted, probably picking the kids up from School. When my husband finds it later on rather then simply putting it away he picks it up and dumps it on the floor. 

I am fed up with this little routine he has, so rather than put it away I decide to see how long it takes for him to put it away. It is, after all, just a little bit of washing.

Well today, I couldn't take it anymore and I snapped. When I questioned him about it, his reply was simply 'well they are not my clothes (he is wrong about that by the way) so why should I put them away'.

Now please correct me if I am wrong, but we are not living in Victorian Britain are we? Surely it would be nice if he simply helped by putting the clothes away. Especially as most of the clothes belong to our children! 

We have lived together for almost 10 years and he will help with some of the house work (read that as empty the dishwasher and occasionally the washing). But for some reason he seems to have these old fashioned ideas that the woman should do the house work and his day off should be exactly that. A day to do nothing. That may well have been the case when he lived at his parents but it sure as hell isn't the way here. In the modern day.

Now, I love my husband and I don't usually write this type of post, but I think the final straw has snapped for me. I am certainly no housework queen, in fact some days I would say I am pretty awful. But for Christ sake, what the hell is wrong with helping each other out and working together? 

I have no sympathy for Craig, especially when he comes out with the classic 'I have been at work all day'. Try being a mother Craig, I don't think you would cope. 

Anyone else have this problem? 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Disney Tsum Tsum's - our new favourite craze!

Well its no secret that we are all a little Disney obsessed in this house. So when we heard about a new Disney craze - Tsum Tsum's we simply had to find out more!


Disney Tsum Tsum (pronounced ‘Soom Soom’) means “stack stack” in Japanese, and stems from
the Japanese Zen art of stone stacking. Tsum Tsum was  originally developed in Japan as a social mobile smartphone game, which was then followed by the collection of soft toys. The success so far has been amazing. For instance, in Japan when the app of the game was launched it took just 4 days before it hit 1 million downloads! Chester and I both have the game downloaded and I have to say I am not surprised it is so popular, it is an easy game to play and very fun, not to mention addictive!

Now, for the first time ever, Disney Store Guests in the UK are able to buy the cute and colourful soft toys! We, of course, have been collecting the Tsum Tsums ever since this launch a little over a month ago!


We were very excited to also find out about Tsum Tsum Tuesday at the Disney Store... In honour of Tsum Tsum, the first Tuesday of each month will be renamed ‘Tsum Tsum Tuesday’ and will see an additional new character released. The first of which was a Tsum Tsum Alice in Wonderland on April 7th. Next Tuesday, May 5th, see's a double release, one which we are most excited about. It will be Big Hero 6 AND The Little Mermaid! We are all super excited about this, I have spoken before about our love for Baymax and all things Big Hero 6 and of course we are all big Little Mermaid fans, staying in the Little Mermaid rooms when we went to Disney World! So needless to say both of those ranges will be top of the pocket money spends for May!

The Tsum Tsums are created for tweens and teens but as you can see from the photos Chester and Millie, who are aged just 6 and 3 are having enormous fun collecting them. In fact so am I! They just love to row them up, stack them up, knock them down, make them bounce high on the trampoline!



What I think makes them even more awesome is the price. For a mini Tsum Tsum it is just £3. For me, that means pocket money toys. Its an achievable goal for the children to save that money and be able to come away with a decent product rather than the handful of sweets and a bouncy ball that kind of pocket money would buy! So for us that will be the ones we collect the most. However, Millie did buy herself a medium Winnie the Pooh Tsum Tsum which was £15 and is just the right size for her to carry around or take to bed as a cuddle toy if she wishes. The large Tsum Tsums are £20 and whilst I think this is a little out of our budget for an everyday treat, I will admit that I am eyeing up a couple to use in place of large scatter cushions on my sofa!

So, what do you think of this new Disney craze? Will your children be collecting?



Bernard Matthews Turkey Escalopes - A perfect Al fresco meal!

Recently Bernard Matthews asked me to participate in an activity which included using their Bernard Matthews fresh breaded products. I needed to come up with a way in which I would incorporate them into a meal.

It didn't take me long to decide that I would use them to make a family meal to inspire Al Fresco dining! During the summer months (and most of spring to be honest), as a family, we love to eat our main meal outside. The lighter, warmer, evenings mean that we can enjoy the day for just a little bit longer!

Thinking about time (or lack of it) and meals that would suit our whole family I decided to incorporate Bernard Matthews Turkey Escalopes into our meal and make Turkey baguettes, served with sweet potato fries and homemade coleslaw.


Firstly I peeled and cut 4 sweet potatoes into chip shape/size pieces. I then placed them in a lightly oiled baking tray, drizzled with a little more olive oil and popped them in the oven for 25 minutes.

The Turkey baguettes were the easiest part to do. I simply popped the Bernard Matthews Turkey Escalopes into the oven for the time stated and cut and buttered the baguettes!


Lastly I made the coleslaw. To do this, I placed finely sliced carrot, red cabbage and celery into a big bowl. I then mixed together a 60ml tub of sour cream with a couple of big squeezes of mayonnaise.


I then mixed this in with the salad items until it was coated. Voila! A really delicious homemade coleslaw!


The whole meal, including prep took less than half an hour to make and the end result was that everyone was satisfied and happy with their dinner!


My only change would be that next time I think I would served the adults Escalopes in Ciabatta bread as I think this would be a lovely 'grown up' combination!

Do you love to dine outside in the summer months? Whats your favourite summer time meal?

Monday, 27 April 2015

Lanhydrock, my new favourite National Trust property!

You may remember me telling you that whilst on holiday in Cornwall over Easter, we made full use of our National Trust passes. Well, I really want to tell you a little bit about our day at Lanhydrock. It seems to have put a spell on me, and it is now my favourite National Trust property! I am just itching to go back and take in all of those magnificent rooms and history again. Sadly though, living in Kent means that this is not going to happen anytime soon, so instead I shall settle for telling you all about it!

Lanhydrock is a huge country house, with a huge estate. In fact so huge that we got the land train from just past the play area down to the house!


I absolutely love anything Victorian, this era has always fascinated me, since I was a child I have wanted to learn more about the way of life back then. So imagine how I felt when I realised that this house has been set out in exactly that era!

We got a feel for what life was like for the maids and servants, both in the vast kitchen areas and in the servants living quarters.


We got to see what kind of things the Children did to keep themselves entertained in the Nursery. This part really fascinated Chester and Millie, imagine, life without Ipads and computer games! Millie being a dolly loving child was fascinated with the detailing on the dolls back then, she loved the clothing they were wearing. As everyone knows I am not a dolly fan, and was secretly pleased that dolls are not made to look like that anymore!



With well over 50 rooms to explore it really was a great way to spend the day. It gave such a great insight into life back then, the phrase 'oh how the other half live' was heard many a time as we walked round and took in the details!

We also had just enough time to explore the gardens too, Chester and Millie completed an easter trail whilst Craig and I took in the beauty of it all.


The National Trust say this on their website.. 'Lanhydrock is the perfect country house and estate, with the feel of a wealthy but unpretentious family home.' and I think that sums it up perfectly. I think that the National Trust have done this property proud, keeping the feel of life back then and keeping it very personal to the family and staff whose lives were lived out there.


To be honest we could of done with another day there just to explore the grounds. It is so big that you can even hire bikes! It would have been nice to have time to go on one of the walks too. We made use of the wooden play area for the children, this was situated near the car park so I should imagine that many locals make use of this in the summer months, I know we would!


My only regret about the day was that I forgot to buy the guide book at the end. I managed to soak up a bit of information about the house and the family that lived there, of course, but when you visit with children you are bombarded with questions such as 'why do they have an animal as a rug', or 'how did the meat stay cool in that room', meaning I didn't get chance to read every bit of information! I should imagine the history of Lanhydrock would make for a very good read!

Are you National Trust Members? Do you have a favourite property that you love to visit?

Another trip to Selhurst Park.

So ever since we got back from our last trip to Selhurst Park to see Crystal Palace play football, Chester has wanted to go again.

Luckily for Chester, he has a Grandad who couldn't wait to take him to watch a football match!

So last weekend my parents traveled all the way up from Dorset so that my Dad could take Chester and I to watch Crystal Palace v Hull.

My Dad had chosen that match because we all thought it would be a sure way of Chester seeing Crystal Palace win. But, sadly that was not to be. Dad and I know how unpredictable Palace can be, they always seem to do the opposite of expectation. Chester however, at only 6 years old, has not yet learnt the ups and downs of being a Crystal Palace supporter! Needless to say, that he was very disappointed that they managed to lose again!


But from a parents point of view, I was very proud of Chester that day. He loved watching the match, he sang some songs and clapped along.We were sat on the second row in the Arthur Wait stand and were just by the halfway line, so he was happy to shout out at the players, telling them what to do! I couldn't help but smile when he was shouting out 'what are you doing, pass the ball, pass it wide'!

None of us were very happy when Palace' goal was disallowed, and as true Palace fans we spent the long walk back to the car moaning about the ref!


Even though we lost Chester had a great time, (I think the fact I brought him the away kit and some goalie shorts and socks probably helped soften the blow!) Once he had gotten over his strop about them losing, he was soon back to his happy self eager to tell his Dad all about the match  He desperately wants to go back again and he would love to see some away matches too. So hopefully next season I can arrange this for him.

Do your children like to watch football matches? How do they take it when their team looses?

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Our Easter break in Cornwall..

Wow, I haven't been on here in ages! Thats because over the Easter holidays we have been super busy having some much needed family time.

The second week of the Easter holidays we took a holiday of our own, down to Cornwall.



We decided to stay in a lovely 2 bedroomed cottage in a small village called Coombe. It was just a short drive from Mevagissey and only 20 minutes to Newquay. A very central location, I am so glad we chose it and we will definitly be going back!

As both children love the beach and we have got National Trust memberships we decided to spend most of our holiday making the most of those two things. Finding places to go and explore was easy, the hard part was choosing exactly which ones. Cornwall has got so many gorgeous beaches, and National Trust properties (and beaches for that matter), we could not possibly fit them all in a week!

But I think in the end we made some pretty good choices, I am going to do a separate post for National Trust properties as I think some of them deserve their own write up, one in particular, Lanhydrock, is now officially my most favourite National Trust Property!

Our first day was spent traveling and just exploring our cottage and local surroundings. We stopped on the way for breakfast at Route 303. It was an American diner type place and the only reason we stopped was the simple reason that the car park was packed! Our instincts were right and it was delicious, filling and great value for money!


On day 2 we spent the morning in Newquay, this originally came about because Chester was whinging on about wanting to buy some Tsum Tsums. These can only be brought in the Disney Store or Clinton Cards. Cornwall are not lucky enough to have a Disney Store, and only have 2 branches of Clinton Cards, so we headed to Newquay in search of Tsum Tsums!

After purchasing some of the new Disney craze we wandered down to the beach. Stopping for an ice cream on the way of course!



It was a lovely morning and I was cross for not being prepared and leaving the kids swimwear and towels at the cottage! Nether the less we still had a great morning and then spent the afternoon/evening at two National Trust Properties!




Day 3 we headed into Mevagissey. I had heard so many lovely things about this little fishing harbour, we really wanted to go and explore! We  were not disappointed either, spending the day wandering around the lovely boutique shops, eating fish and chips on the quay, visiting both the small aquarium and the local museum. Both of which were free, although donations were welcome, and after having a fab time in both we were very happy to donate!



On the Tuesday we decided to venture down to St Ives for the day. Rather than drive all the way, one of my friends had suggested that we catch the park and ride train from Lelant Saltings. What a great suggestion that was! The children really enjoyed the train ride and Craig and I loved the scenery! It dropped us off at St Ives train station and the walk into the main town/sea front was less than 5 minutes! St Ives turned out to be one of our favourite days. We spent the day wandering through the narrow lanes filled with shops, in the amusement arcades and building sandcastles on a lovely warm beach. Not to mention the lovely lunch we had in a restaurant with beautiful Sea views!



We have named the Wednesday as disaster day! It was my fault from start to finish! I had researched (although clearly not enough) a National Trust cliff top walk which lead down to a lovely cove/beach. Upon arriving, it because apparent that I had misunderstood the tide times and after a VERY windy cliff top walk, we came to realise that the tide was very much in!


So we headed back to the car and moved along to Watergate Bay. For some reason I had not really noticed the fact that the beach was covered mainly with surfers. I regret not paying much attention now. Chester, Millie and I were paddling happily in the sea, it was barely up to my ankles, when all of a sudden the strength of the current knocked Millie out of my hand and under the water. I tried to reach out to her, but the current was so strong and was pulling me back. All I could see was my baby (ok, 3 year old, but you get what I mean) rolling over and over again under the water. I somehow managed to stay calm, and kept reassuring her it would be ok. After what seemed like forever, but in reality was probably only about 30 seconds I managed to get to her and pull her out. Still remaining calm I was upbeat in my reassurance to her that everything was ok and the silly sea must of been playing tricks. The last thing I wanted to happen was a fear of water. Thankfully Millie is ok and so far she appears to still be confident in the water. I however, am still shaken by the whole thing!

I will say though, that the day finished well with a trip to the local pub for dinner!


We visited St Michael's Mount the next day, it was the longest drive of the week at 50 minutes, but it was totally worth it! A bright, sunny day, we were able to walk across the causeway to the castle, and then by the time we were ready to leave the tide was in so we could catch the boat back to shore. The children were fascinated that we were able to walk over to the island, yet now, just a few hours later it was totally surrounded by the sea!



On our last full day we decided to drive the 10 short minutes down the road to Charlestown. Famous for its Tall ships and appearances on TV and in films, it really was a picturesque location. We visited the Shipwreck and heritage museum, which to our surprise was free for children! We spent well over 2  hours in there, exploring and learning. Chester was very pleased that he learnt to spell his name out in Morse Code! We ended our day with a final trip to Mevagissey for another portion of their delicious fish and chips and an ice cream for the children (read that as an ice cream for Craig, and the children!)


We left fairly early on our last day, its a long old drive back to Kent, and we had a plan! We decided to drive in 2 hour sections. So our first stop was Route 303 for Breakfast, our second was at Mottisfont, a National Trust property in Hampshire, so that we could stretch our legs and break the drive up a bit, then it was just over another 2 hours until we reached home! This format seemed to work quite well, so I am glad we decided to do it.


We had an absolutely fantastic week in Cornwall, lots of memories made.  Its back to reality now though, washing to do, School and Nursery runs to make, and dinners to cook!! Did you go away this Easter? What did you get up to?! Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall