Thursday, 31 July 2014

Our Summer Holiday plans!

So, we are a week into the Summer Holidays and so far we have survived!

I have decided this year to chill a bit with my plans. Rather than write a long list and frantically try to finish it, even when the children are over tired and not playing ball. I will try a different approach. I am going to go week by week, and rather than putting set activities on set days I am going to decide on a handful of things and go with the flow. If we get to do them, great, if not then there is always next week!

I realise that as an obsessive planner and list maker this is a huge step for me, but I think it will help us have an awesome Summer!

The first week has gone pretty well. We had set plans on the first day, Our day trip to Butlins. I knew that the children would be tired after that so apart from Millie's 2 and half year check we had no other plans for the Friday. This worked really well because a day at home was just what was needed. No getting up early, just chilling until we were ready to go out. Saturday we went to my cousins engagement BBQ and then to the park with my Sister. Sunday Craig's parents came over for the day. Monday we had a day at home playing Princesses and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, watching Disney movies and painting the Clay dragons that the children made at Art in the Park a couple of weeks ago. Tuesday we were invited to a friends house along with some of Millie's friends to go in her giant paddling pool, we had a great afternoon, finished off with some magic painting and both children were so tired out they went to bed with no arguments! Wow! Wednesday was another set plan day as we went up to London to learn all about Tesco's Go Craft range.

The week has gone really quickly, we have had barely any boredom tantrums and most importantly we have had lots of fun! We didn't have time to make some pretzels or pizzas, but thats ok I will keep those activities in mind for this week instead!

I am thinking that I will try and do at least one day out a week. That could be any kind of day out, a picnic to the park, the farm or even a trip to the cinema. I want the kiddies to have maximum fun, but at the same time I don't want to break the bank. So I do have a few tricks up my sleeve. For instance Cineworld have got movies for juniors on weekday mornings in the holiday's, its only £1.50 a ticket! We are also lucky enough to have some beaches within half an hour from our house. So day's spent on the beach with chips for tea is a must! I have got lots of Arts and Crafts ideas (thank you Pinterest) for rainy day's too). Not to mention lots of dips in our paddling pool!

We have got a week away planned too, down in Dorset for a week of fun. Craig has managed to get the week off to come with us this time, so the kiddies are super excited about that!

You will notice a drop in blog posts during the Summer, because I want to spend as much time with my family as possible. Its lovely to have Chester at home during the days, Millie really loves having her brother at home to play with. I will be updating my blog as and when I can, sometimes its great to have a break and I think Summer is the perfect opportunity for that!

No doubt I will be posting pictures daily over on Instagram, so if you would like to follow our fun and laid back summer then please pop over and follow me.

Do you have any plans for the summer, or will you just go with the flow?

Go Create! With Tesco

Yesterday we were invited by Tesco to a quirky cafe in London. Drink Shop Do . I had planned for it to be a Mother and Son day for Chester and I, but Craig ended up having to work so we took Millie along for some arts and crafts fun too!

Tesco have launched a great new range, just in time for the Summer Holidays. Its called Go Create Eco Craft.

Go Create is an innovative arts and crafts range exclusive to Tesco. The trend for up-cycling is more popular than ever, I am sure you will of read on my blog many times before about how much Chester likes to save everything incase we ever need it for arts and crafts. Well his foresight has paid off, because up-cycling is certainly the name of the game with the new Eco Craft range. There are 16 sets to choose from, each set comes with the main materials needed to produce your craft item, instructions and save for me tags to give out to family and friends to help you gather the recycled items you need.

Whilst we were at the event, Chester and Millie (mostly Chester) made the Rocket Bottle Jet Pack set. The recycled materials needed for that set were 2 x 2L plastic bottles, kitchen foil, paint and glue. So for us, all of those items can be found in our home. I would also add sellotape to the list, purely because if your child is impatient like Chester you will need it to get things to stick/dry quicker!

The kits are aimed at children aged 3+ and I would say that age range is correct, Millie is 2.5 and she was easily distracted. Chester on the other hand absolutely loved making the rocket jet pack. He loved that he was able to use materials he would have at home and he loved that the instructions we easy enough for him to follow. He is a very independant 5 year old! I did of course have to help him with some of the tricky parts, but it was a great activity to do together.

The rocket took an 1.5 hours to make, it turned out really well. However, if we were making it at home we would of spent longer on it and it would of looked awesome!

Another plus to these sets are that the children can go on to use their imaginations to play with them. The rocket for instance goes onto the child's back when finished, Chester has been playing space games with it since he got home, there is now talk of strapping a Lego man to the jet pack as well to help with the space mission!

Action shot! 

The sets are just £3.50 each, so a great pocket money craft, and until 6th August they are also 3 for the price of 2! I have made use of this today and ordered the Juice box bird feeder, the fabric conditioner bottle piggy bank and the snack tube robots! All for just £7.00, That should keep us going for a while!

Do your children enjoy junk modeling, what do you think of these new Go Create Eco Craft kits?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Fun at Butlins with Scooby Doo Ice Creams!

Last week we had a family first, we visited Butlins Bognor Regis for a day. All in the name of ice cream! A great way to start the Summer Holidays!

Chester and Millie were very excited, they had seen the adverts on TV and wanted to see what it was all about for themselves. It was a long 2.15 hours drive, but it was totally worth it. They didn't stop smiling from the moment we arrived!

Beechdean have launched a new range of Scooby Doo ice creams, Honeycomb, Chocolate and Strawberry. Which was the main reason we were invited to Butlins. But whilst we waited for the event to start, we had a little time to spare to go and explore the fairground.

Chester and Millie are both little daredevils and they both wanted to go on the biggest rides! They made me go on a very fast spinning ride and as we needed one adult per child a Butlins employee was only to happy to help! Never come across such kindness at a fairground before!

Soon though it was time to learn all about the new Scooby Doo Ice Creams. Which Chester and Millie were really ready for, as it was a really hot day!

As I mentioned before the Scooby Doo Ice Creams come in three flavours, it would of been rude not to try all three right?! Funnily enough we all had different favourites. Chester loved the Honeycomb, and he made it clear that he did not like the crispy bits in the chocolate on the other two! Millie loved the Chocolate, I am not surprised by this, she is just like me, really loves anything chocolate. I liked them all, but I loved the Strawberry and White Chocolate. I really love that flavour combination. The Ice Creams can be purchased from Toys R Us or from independent retailers and have an RRP of 0.90p. Taking into account the flavour and the size of the ice creams I would call that a bargain!
We then had a little fun dressing up. Well the children dressed up! They absolutely loved it! Both wanted to dress up as Scooby Doo and Millie also wanted to wear a wig, in fact she spent a lot of time in that wig! You can take part in a Scooby Doo selfie competition, the prize is a trip to Butlins. Plus everyone who enters gets £20 off a Butlins Holiday! You can find out more info here .

We then got to watch the Scooby Doo show, which is new to Butlins this season. Chester and Millie absolutely loved it! They joined in with the everything and I 'got' the jokes and nods to the Scooby Doo show I watched as a child.

Lastly I met up with Leta (Attachment Mummy), as always it was lovely to see her (and Steve) and have a catch up, which we did whilst the children were on some more fairground rides!

It was just a totally awesome day! A big thank you to Beechdean and Butlins for having us!

So come on..... who watched Scooby Doo as a child?!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

What makes Flora?

A couple of weeks back, on a rainy Thursday, I headed to College Farm in Cambridgeshire, to walk through some rapeseed fields and find out what the connection between Flora and the Rapeseed on College Farm is.

Those of you that know me will be shouting 'WHAT'?!

You see, as much as I am very interested in learning all about what goes on, on a Farm. I am not the sort of person that would walk through a field where you can not see your feet, purely for the fact there may well be snakes hidden in there!! It is one of my biggest fears, it freaks me out. A lot!  

But, I did it, and I loved every minute of it!

Most of us are familiar with the brand Flora. I use the Flora Cuisine and Flora Buttery a lot when I bake. But I had never really given much thought into what ingredients are in Flora, or indeed where they come from.

One of the ingredients in Flora is rapeseed oil. Unilever, the company that own the Flora brand, work closely with LEAF to find and work with Farmers across the UK to source the rapeseed that is added to their products. If you didn't know, which I didn't before my farm visit, LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) is the leading organisation promoting sustainable agriculture, food and farming. They help farmers produce good food, with care and to high environmental standards.

Andrew Nottage, College Farm manager, took us out on a tractor/trailer to show us the Rapeseed fields and explain further how the Rapeseed on his Farm gets in the Flora product.

As you can see the Rapeseed fields are just beyond the Tractor. What I LOVED hearing about was how the Farmers are not only concerned for their crops, they are also concerned for the wildlife. For example, the big set of tree's to the right of the field are not just there to look pretty, they are there to encourage birds. The bit of green you see before the Rapeseed starts is also their to encourage wildlife, in includes certain flowers that encourage insects, such as bee's. In fact each field even has its own beehive! How awesome is that?!

We learnt a lot on our trip to the fields. We learnt that Rapeseed has to be harvested at a specific point in the farming cycle, moisture levels are critical in deciding when to harvest. It takes almost a year to grow and harvest the Rapeseed crop, if we happen to have a particularly wet time around the harvest time , then it could lead to the whole crop being destroyed. How disheartening must that be for Farmers, a whole years work, ruined.

I am a very visual person, so was really grateful when Andrew got out a square meter (made from pipe) to show us that a meter squared will plant around a kilo of Rapeseed. That kilo will produce around 440ml of Rapeseed Oil. That may not sound a lot, but looking at it in perspective, looking at the size of the whole field, this means that the Rapeseed grown here equates to almost 80,000 litres of Rapeseed oil to be put into Flora products! WOW, that is a lot!!

The Rapeseed's are black, they look similar to poppy seeds. We got to handle some and even though they didn't look it, they were very oily (hardly a surprise really when they are made into oil). We were told that none of the crop goes to waste, after the oil is extracted the rest is made into animal feed.

Now, I don't know about you, but I hadn't really put much thought into what ingredients are in Flora. I cook a lot of my meals from scratch, so have a pretty good idea what goes into them. But when I stopped to think about it, I actually have no idea what goes into the Flora that I bake with almost weekly! I am pretty annoyed with myself about this, especially with two young Children, I really should be taking more notice of these things!

Anyway now I do know, so I will let you know too....

Flora is made up of 3 key oils, Rapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil and Linseed Oil. We got to taste all three by the way, and I can confirm that Linseed Oil is disgustingly bitter on its own! However I loved the taste of the Rapeseed Oil and wondered why on earth I have never cooked with it?!

Flora Original has 80% less saturated fat than butter. The Sunflower oil in Flora contains Omega 3, which combined with Omega 6 (also in Flora) helps to maintain cholesterol levels. Now Craig has got a cholesterol level that is a bit on the high side, so I was very pleased to hear this. I was also surprised to learn that the emulsifier in Flora also comes from Sunflower oil! So no hidden unhealthy nasties in there! It also contains vitamins A and D. I have just been diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency (more on that soon) so this was a nice surprise for me.

After spending lots of time out in the fields, we came back with a lot of new found crop knowledge. The afternoon was spent eating lunch and baking savory scones with Edd Kimber (winner of GBBO), I will be posting separately about that part of the day, so keep a look out for that post, coming soon!

I am so very proud of myself for going out into that field, I am very pleased to report that I didn't see a single snake the whole time I was there and I was so distracted by the information I was being given I barely thought about snakes the whole time! But more importantly, I am very grateful to Flora, College Farm, and LEAF for giving me a great insight into how Flora goes from Farm to Shelf! So Thank you very much!

How about you, do you ever stop to think about what goes into the spreads you eat or how they are made?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Real Mums All Bran 5 day challenge

This post is an entry for the Real Mums of All-Bran Linky Challenge, sponsored by Kelloggs.

Recently I was sent these 3 All Bran cereals to try over 5 days and see if it makes any difference on how my tummy and general well being feels. 

When I opened this parcel, the first thing I got excited about was CHOCOLATE!!!! Surely Chocolate can't be good for you in a cereal? Can it? Well apparently it can, and I can confirm that it is indeed VERY yummy! I was in no way expecting a healthy cereal to taste yummy, but it did! 

As you can see from the picture above, I was also eager to try the strawberry version too. I love strawberries and this did not disappoint, it was just sweet enough and very filling. 

The Golden Crunch version was ok, I would probably not put that one on my weekly shopping list, however, that does not mean that I wouldn't eat it again. It just wasn't my favourite of the three. 

Initially I found the 5 day challenge hard, because quite frankly feeding MYSELF breakfast in the mornings is usually the last think on my mind! Making sure the children are fed, washed, dressed and Chester is ready for School is my priority! It is honestly like a comedy show in our house in the mornings! It usually consists of me saying shouting WE ARE GOING TO BE LATE or WHERE IS YOUR OTHER SHOE. The best one being 'no Millie you can not wear those shoes with that dress'! Resulting in a meltdown that means we only just make it to the School gates in time! So I am sure you can see why breakfast is not for me!

BUT I did make sure I had breakfast on 5 consecutive days, and I did enjoy it. I found that it gave me more energy than I am used to. 

Part of the campaign is about learning to love your tummy. This is something I struggle with. Yes I have had two Children, so my tummy is not going to be as nice as it was. But I just need to accept that and be happy with what I have got. I am working on it! 

I am pleased that I took on this challenge, it has given me the boost I needed, its nice to eat something that you know is good for you and enjoy it!

What do you think? Could you do the All Bran 5 day challenge?!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Quorn Toad in the Hole recipe.

Toad in the Hole is one of our favourite dinners, and as much as I hate to admit it, my Dad's version is the best.

But its not exactly the most healthy of meals is it?! This is where Quorn come in. Quorn sausages, are both low in fat and a great source of protein. We are not vegetarians (although my Sister is), but that doesn't mean that we can't enjoy a meat free meal.

Until now, we had never tried Quorn Sausages, but as you know we tried the Quorn meat free chicken nuggets recently and were very impressed. So we were very looking forward to trying them.

The recipe for the Quorn toad in the hole can be found here. Do also check out the other recipes as they have some delicious meal ideas!

This is how our toad in the hole came out....

It was really yummy. In fact it was so yummy that Chester ate everything on his plate, and Millie had seconds! That is virtually unheard of! Obviously its not the same texture or taste  as meat sausages, but the texture and taste it did have was really enjoyable. Knowing how much healthier they are compared to meat sausages, this version on toad in the hole will definitely be on our monthly meal planner!

Do you have a favourite family meal in your house?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Ozeri Elite 3-piece Ceramic Knife set review

Being a busy Mum of two I am in the kitchen a lot, even more so in the summer holidays! I like to cook as many fresh meals as I can so therefore knives are a kitchen essential to me. I use them on a daily basis. So it is imperative that they are of good quality and will withstand use.

I was recently sent a Ozeri Elite 3-piece Ceramic Knife set to review. Having never used ceramic knifes before I was intrigued to see how they would fair.

My first thought when I got them out of the box, was how light they were! My kitchen knifes are all relatively heavy, so this was hard for me to get used to at first, but it was a welcome change!

The knives are easy to use, they slice through most things without any real pressure. I have been using them every day over the last few weeks, cutting a range of foods from malt loaf, onions, apples and potatoes, to uncooked Steak and Chicken. With the blades being ceramic each blade is close in hardness to diamonds and preserves its razor-sharpness 10 times longer than traditional steel blades. I was dubious about this at first, but after using the knifes every day for a few weeks I can confirm that I have not had to sharpen them once! They are still just as sharp as the day I got them!

Because they are Ceramic it also means that they do not corrode or rust. So this means that they should be long lasting.

The Ozeri Elite 3-piece Ceramic Knife set is currently on offer on Amazon for £49.99. For 3 good quality knives that is an amazing price. I can see them lasting for many years. Having never used Ceramic Knives before I can honestly say that I am very impressed, they have cut down my prep time so much, they are certainly the way forward! The only 'extra' I would like to see is the option to have a knife block included too.

Who does all the cooking in your house? Do you class it as a chore or a way of getting a bit of me time (I see it as the latter).

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

What a difference a School year makes!

I have just been reading this letter I wrote to Chester just before he started School last September. There are tears in my eyes! I can't believe my little boy has finished his first year at School!

As I predicted in my letter, Chester has come on so much in this first year. He can now write full sentences, he can read, his Maths is above average, his attention span has improved and although he has had his moments, most of the time he is a good boy. But more importantly his imagination is still just as fantastic! In fact it was written in his report last week about how he has got a great imagination and he uses things that have happened that day/week as a base for his role play.

I could not of wished for a better first year for Chester, he started the School year knowing no one and has come out at the end with a huge bundle of friends. He is happy, he is inquisitive and he has a lot of respect for his teachers.

It amazes me every day that he still has the same enthusiasm that he had on his very first day. But he is ready for the 6 week break now, I think his class and his teachers have earnt it! He is tired and ready to rest and relax (yeah right) before he starts his Year 1 journey in September.

Anyone else's child just finishing their reception year?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Why Manchester is the place to be this Summer.

I have always loved visiting places in the UK. Weekends away in this country can be very fun and interesting. I think that there is so much history in the country and sometimes we can miss what is sitting on our own doorstep!

I have always lived in Kent, which has the nickname 'Garden of England' it really is a stunning place, with lots of exploring to be done. But I think its nice to be reminded that there is a lot more exploring to be done outside of the comfort of the beautiful County I know and love!

I am a curious person, and there are plenty of areas in the UK that I still long to explore and learn about. Manchester is one of them. I went to Manchester when I was 18. Well I say I went to Manchester, I went to Old Trafford to watch a football match! So all I remember of Manchester was a stadium and then lots and lots of Motorway driving!

I have a couple of Friends who live in Manchester and there clearly is a lot more to see and do than I thought! Its the kind of place where I think a long weekend would be a start, but a week would be even better! I have  been looking into accommodation on Hotel Direct and it has given me an idea.... Wouldn't it be great to be a bit flexible and not stick to just one base? There is so much to do in Manchester that it would be wise to book maybe 2 nights in the City Centre and then another couple of nights further out.

Until recently I was unaware that Manchester has its own 'Wheel'. The Wheel of Manchester. Its in the centre of Manchester and at 196ft you are sure to see across the whole of Manchester! I was shocked at the price, it is only £9 each or for your own private capsule its only £45! Already I can see why Manchester is a great place to visit!

Having friends in Manchester, I get to see lots of lovely pictures of Heaton Park on my social medias! Heaton Park is just 4 miles from Manchester City centre. Its the biggest park in Manchester and the biggest municipal park in Europe! It has a grade 1 listed building (18th century Heaton Hall) a farm, boating lake (with rowing boats), woodlands, 2 playgrounds, an observatory, and even an 18 hole golf course! If that wasn't enough they have events going on throughout the summer! Looks like the perfect picnic day out to me!

Of course, with a Son called Chester we would have to visit Chester Zoo! His name is in no way connected with the place by the way, but that is a story for another day! The Zoo is the number one zoo in the UK and it claims to be one of the worlds top Zoos! . We visited Colchester Zoo recently and that is our absolute favourite Zoo in this country, so I would love to visit Chester Zoo and see how they compare!

Situated a short drive away from Manchester, it makes for a perfect excuse to not stick to one base! If we were to stay in a hotel on the outskirts of Manchester we could certainly include Chester Zoo in our sightseeing!

How about you, have you ever visited Manchester? What would you recommend as a must see or do?

*Big thank you to Jennifer over at My Mummy's Pennies, who let me use her lovely pictures for this post!

*Please note this post is written in collaboration with Hotel Direct, it has been written by me and all thoughts are my own

Jacamo - fashion for men!

Its not often that Craig gets mentioned on my blog. Yes I can hear your sighs of sympathy! But the truth is he works very hard so often misses out on the things I do with the children.

Because he works so hard, he almost always misses out on choosing what clothes he buys himself too. That is my job!

But one thing I draw the line at, mainly because I don't know how to do it myself, is tying up his Tie! For everyone who is unsure on how to tie up a Tie, Jacamo have released this helpful video...

With the summer now in full swing, I think its safe to say that we have hit wedding season! If its not a wedding its a party of some sort. Craig, being an MOT tester/Mechanic is not really a smart dressed kind of guy, his wardrobe is looking a sparse in that department!

Jacamo to the rescue! They kindly let me pick a lovely smart outfit for Craig, so that he can attend the weddings and parties of this summer without having to spend hours walking around the shops finding the perfect outfit!

I found the website to be very easy to navigate, and there is so much to choose from! I was amazed, something for all occasions. Also worth noting that there is something for all sizes too. Chest size goes from a Small right up to a 5XL, leg 27"-36", waist 34"-54" and even footwear up to 15. So whatever your size you can keep up with the fashions of today. They have helpful size charts too, not only for their own branded clothing but also the other brands they stock too. This was a big plus for me, when you are buying online its difficult to be certain that you are buying the correct fit.

After being distracted by the vast amount to choose from, for a few hours, oops. I finally decided on an outfit for Craig. I chose each item because it can easily be paired with other items of clothing to make further outfits. This will be his staple smart outfit.

We went for this Black Label by Jacamo Shirt and Tie set because its Craig's style, he doesn't like anything heavily patterned and I think it compliments his personal style well. At only £25 I think its a bargain, the quality of the material is great.

Next I wanted to choose some trousers, as I had gone for the black on black shirt and tie I wanted to go for lighter trousers. So I decided on these Jacamo 5 pocket trousers in charcoal. I think they are smart and go well with the shirt and tie, the colour is something different to what Craig is used to and even he agrees that they look (and feel) good. These trousers are only £22.50, for smart trousers I think that is a great price!

Lastly, I went for this Black Label by Jacamo slim belt. I think sometimes its good to keep it simple, this belt is exactly that, but it does the job it needs to and I think it looks good. Its a good quality leather belt, priced at £20. Bargain

So altogether (excluding the shoes, which are 'the model's' own) the whole outfit cost £67.50. I cant believe it! I think thats an amazing price, especially as the quality of the items is so good.

As you can see, Craig wanted to test out his modelling poses! What do you think?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Baking with Soreen!

I really love Soreen Malt Loaf. I have it toasted with butter, its just so yummy!

But until recently I had never thought about baking with it! Soreen have released this video to show just how easy it is to make Soreen Flapjacks! Yes, you heard that right, Soreen Flapjacks!

How yummy do they look?!

The written recipe is on the Soreen website.

I really wanted to make some Soreen Flapjacks after seeing this video, so thats exactly what we did! The kids loved getting involved too. I decided to omit the chocolate from ours, only because of how hot it has been over the last few days. They were truly yummy and so easy!

Chester said he loves how Soreen is just so squidgy, and Millie couldn't speak because her mouth was full of flapjack haha!

Next on our Soreen bake list is brownies! Using the Soreen Banana Loaf. So look out for how we got on making that very soon!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

A fun day at Art in the Park!

Today, the kiddies and I have had an awesome day. I was recently made aware of an event being held in a local Country Park, Milton Creek. It was called Art in the Park and was suitable for children and free to get in.

It was raining when we got up this morning, but as I am not really a heat kind of girl, I was quite pleased about that. The kiddies popped on their wellington boots and rain coats and off we set.

I didn't really know what to expect, when we arrived I could see lots of marquees and stalls. We happily made our way around them.

We stopped at a stall so that the children could make a bug hotel and a bee hotel. To my surprise it was free! We had a little chat with the owners about what bugs might like to visit the hotel, Chester and Millie were very pleased, when we got home we painted the hotel's and they are now in the Childrens part of the garden!

Next we came across a clay stall, they were offering for the children to make an animal out of clay, again it was free! Chester and Millie saw that the Artist had made a dragon and they wanted to make one too. So with a little help they got creative and made a dragon each. They even got photographed for the local paper! We have now put the Dragons on the windowsill to dry and then we will paint them!

It stopped raining and started to heat up a bit so of course it was a must to stop for a slushie!

We watched a show not too dissimilar to Punch and Judy, which Chester and Millie both loved, then we wandered around looking at all the local art.

We soon came to a bouncy castle, which Chester and Millie happily played on for at least half an hour. Then Millie asked if she could get her face painted, I said yes as she normally doesn't want her face painted. She really really wanted a baby Panda (what a surprise) but the man said he couldn't do a Panda so after much persuasion she agreed on a butterfly!

Chester then got to make a smoothie using a push bike! He was amazed by the whole thing and chose to make a Strawberry and Kiwi smoothie, which was delicious.

By now we had been at Art in the Park for nearly 3 hours! So I agreed that the children could have a quick play in the playground before we headed home for a very late lunch.

We had the most fantastic day. I am so pleased that something so lovely was held so close to home! Well done to everyone that organised the event, it was a brilliant way to spend a Saturday and we will definitly be putting in our diary for next year!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Chester's first Sports Day!

As you all know, Chester is a really active boy, he doesn't sit still and loves to be running, jumping, bouncing around. All the time. He probably does it in his sleep too!

So he was pretty excited about his first Sports Day at School. Well, that was until he went on a School trip the day before and exhausted himself. He woke up very grumpy and told us he wasn't doing Sports Day. At all!

Luckily, but the time it came round to actually going out on the field he was fine. Phew! I however was very grumpy because I have left my camera on the sofa! Luckily my Sister had her camera with her, but the picture quality is just not the same (as you will see). So annoyed with myself!

Everyone got to do at least 2 races each. Chester's race's were football dribble and the relay race. So it was a long long wait in the hot hot sun until it got round to Chester's races. Luckily the children were under Gazebos. 

It was great watching everyone do the races though. Chester's class were so excited, it was a really fun afternoon for them and they all did really well. 

I love Chester's look of determination in the relay race, he really wanted to do his best for his team! I think next year they should consider him for the sprint, he really did try so hard! 

Chester is fairly new to football training, so the dribbling proved to be a bit hard for him, but again, he gave it his all and all of his team did a fantastic job and won the race! 

Millie then got to take part in a toddler sprint, which was super cute! 

Has your child had their sports day? Do they enjoy it?

Little Dish Celebrate 1st Birthdays!

With Prince George turning 1 next week (hasn't that gone quickly?!) Little Dish have put together a video celebrating first birthdays, they asked their fans for clips of special moments from their little ones’ first year and put a selection together to make this lovely video!

They also sent me this super cute mug! Thank you Little Dish!

I have so many memories of Chester and Millie's first year. Its an amazing time, they learn and grow so much. Baby stage is most definitely up there for me, so many milestones reached!

Millie was cruising just before her first birthday, Chester was not. He was lazy!

We visited a farm when Chester was around 6 months old, a cow licked his pushchair! The look on his face was hilarious!

What are your favourite memories of your childs first year?!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Worlds Apart Toddler sleep guide

Millie is 30 months old now, or just over 2 1/2. She has always been good at sleeping through the night, but since moving her from her cot to her bed at around 20 months old she has become a nightmare at bedtimes.

Getting her to sleep is a major problem. She will try every trick in the book to get out of going to bed. Its so frustrating as we know she is tired!

Worlds Apart have made this interesting infographic about toddler sleep.....

Reading this, I am comforted to know that its not just us going through this!

Worlds Apart sent us a Peppa Pig GoGlow to see if that would help.

I have to say that Millie has responded really well to the GoGlow. Its a nightlight AND a torch. When it is in nightlight mode (this happens by putting it onto the rechargeable base) it is quite bright, but dimmer than the main light. Millie has loved seeing Peppa and George glow up for her at bed time. I think it has distracted her and made her think twice about getting out of bed. I wouldn't say that it has made her go to sleep any quicker, and maybe thats my fault as she still has afternoon naps (although these are not in her bed, they are in the car on the way to picking her brother up from School!) but it has made her less likely to stand at her door and call out to us constantly for a couple of hours! She now happily sits on her bed and 'reads' stories to her dollies and teddies, which is super cute to hear over the monitor!

Do you have a problem with your toddlers sleep too? If so this Toddler Sleep Guide by Mandy Gurney will make for an interesting read. It has certainly given me some ideas!

Ready for Bed? - Worlds Apart

Let me know how you get on!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

The mini me and I

A lot of people say that Millie looks like me. She gets called mini Sammie all the time. I can sometimes see the similarities, but I mainly see her as her own individual person.

Yesterday we went to a family BBQ to celebrate my (second) cousins 18th. It was a fab evening and my Mum managed to capture this lovely picture of Millie and I ....

I think in this picture I can see the similarities. I very rarely like any photo with me in them, but I love this one. I think it was captured perfectly. 

What do you think, do we look alike?! 

Friday, 11 July 2014

A Merit for Chester!

You may remember me saying a little while ago that Chester had managed to get his first two certificates from School. They receive certificates when they get 5 dockets and they get dockets for things like good behaviour, good manners or good work.

Well in Chester's class, reception, they only started this scheme after Easter. So after lots of confusion over the amount of certificates needed, we were told that rather than needing 25 certificates for the ultimate achievement, a class merit badge, you needed to get 5 certificates. 

Today Chester came home with this big smile on his face, and this lovely red class merit badge! 

When Chester started at his School last September I never thought he would get anything like this, he has come on so much, I can not praise the School team enough for how they have managed to tame my wild child!

They focus on the positives and that works really well with Chester. He has come to realise he will not get anywhere by behaving badly. 

I am so proud of him. He has come so far since he started, not just with his learning, but with his discipline as well. He has so much respect for his teachers. I think his main teacher especially has been fantastic at understanding how Chester's mind works. She has made his first year at School a great experience and prepared him well for year 1. 

Summer holidays are now less than 2 weeks away, and whilst I can't wait to have my little boy back for a few weeks, I have got a feeling he is going to miss his School routine! 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

30th Birthday celebrations have begun!

Well I can't hide from the fact that I am turning 30 next month anymore. I have been in denial about it for ages, I am the youngest of all my School friends you see. So over the last year I have seen lots of OMG I am turning 30 status updates on Facebook, I have been pretty smug about it, as I know I am still in my 20s. But not for much longer! 

Although I am still 'friends' on social media with lots of people I went to School with, most of them I haven't actually seen since we left School. Probably more so because I now live 50 miles away from my Secondary School!

But there are a handful of ladies from School that I am proud to say are still my friends. Infact some of them are my closest friends. We decided at the begining of the year that we wanted to do something together to celebrate our 30ths. We didn't really want a party, that's not our thing. But we did want to do something. So it was decided that we would have a girly weekend away. Relaxing in a spa and sipping cocktails. 

So last weekend that's exactly what we did! 

We headed to Center Parcs, Elveden Forest, a weekend just us ladies! No Husbands/partners and no kids! Don't get me wrong, I felt incredibly guilty leaving Chester and Millie behind, but it was so nice to do something for me! That is a very rare occurrence for me and it was really needed! 

We had a really lovely relaxing weekend, spent the first evening lounging about in the spa. Which was amazing. So many steam rooms and saunas to choose from, then lots of lovely quiet areas to relax in. 

The second day was spent in the pool and browsing around the shops. We then got dressed up and went out for cocktails and dinner. 

The third day we had breakfast in the revolving restaurant, done some pottery painting (I am very proud of my plate, seeing as I am not artistic in the slightest) and went on a pedlo on the lake, followed by more swimming! 

We finished the weekend off as we had started it, with a pancake! 

All in all it was a great weekend, we had lots of laughs and made lots of memories. 

So that was the start of my 30th Birthday celebrations, it was great to share it with friends, celebrating with family will be up next!