Top Five Reasons To Visit Elderflower Fields

Elderflower Fields was the festival that broke our family festival and camping virginity! Our happy place that is probably one of the only times of the year in which we can really switch off from the world.

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We are getting set to visit for the third time this year and couldn’t be more excited. There is still time for you to join in the fun, so take a look at my top five reasons for visiting if a family festival is something you have been considering this year.

Peace And Quiet – Of course a festival is lively, music filled and full of the hustle and bustle of the crowds; but it is equally a place you can sneak off into the woods for a secluded walk, plot up in the middle of a field and watch the fun from afar and of course the peace and quiet of sleeping under the stars.

Family Time – With the fast pace lives we all lead in this day and age getting away for the weekend with little internet connection and phone connection allows you to spend real quality time together without ant distractions.

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Food – If you are a foodie then this is definity the right festival for you. The amount of top quality, locally sourced vendors at the festival is unbelievable. Each and every one serving the most sumptuous food using top quality, ingredients made with love by the passionate owners.
Another bonus for us is the fact that Frankie’s multiple allergies are always catered for without any problems.

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Learning New Skills – Aside from a few all the activities at Elderflower Fields are included in the price making it fantastic value for money and allows the children to take part in a things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.
Over the past few years mine have learned a whole host of circus skills, trapeze tricks, kayaking and so much more.

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Building Independence – The festival isn’t as big as some and at no time have I felt worried about the safety of the children which is great for allowing them to build their confidence by independently moving to and from different activities and getting stuck into tasks on their own.

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I really could go on and on with reasons to visit Elderflower Fields, but really the best way to see exactly what I’m talking about is to visit yourself. There is still time to grab tickets ‘here’ so don’t miss out.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Nine

This weeks ‘celebrating the small things’ is a bit about how I’ve been trying to think positively when things are not going the way you hoped. I am always a glass half full person and I wholeheartedly believe that thinking positively isn’t about expecting the best but accepting that whatever happens is the best thing for that moment in time.

A No No To Wheat For Frankie: We seemed to be spending a lot of time at St Thomas’s with Frankie this year in a bid to see if we can tick a few allergies off his huge list!
The other month we had a success with baked egg and I had high hopes for the wheat challenge but sadly it wasn’t to be. We had got right to the end of the five hour long test before he broke out in hives and was having itching in his throat and ears. We were both devastated as he had been sitting there all morning planning all the new foods he would be able to eat and this all came crashing down in one foul swoop!

On a positive note the reaction wasn’t as bad as it could have been and there is still good chance he could pass the challenge at a later date which we have everything crossed for.

And So Came The Snow: For me the attraction of snow is very short lived. Yes it looks very pretty and I love getting out to take photos in it, it is great fun to get the sledges out and bomb down the hills with the kids but it brings everything to a complete standstill, everything get cancelled and the kids eventually get bored of the whole thing!

I did however manage to embrace it as much as possible is as its such a rarety to get a few snow days in the UK. We went out and and enjoyed playing in the white stuff and then equally enjoyed getting back in to snuggle up with a hot chocolate.

Birthday Parties: Birthday parties when you have five children tend to take up a huge amount of the weekend, it is lovely for the kids but I often find myself thinking of the hundred and one ways I could be filling my day instead of being there though.

I have to say though this birthday party that was for Oscar’s best friend was an absolute delight.

None of the other children had really formed firm friendship groups whilst at nursery and would never really mention specific friends until primary school age. Oscar however is a different child althoghter and has a best friend that he speaks of very fondly and recalls their adventures at playgroup with such passion.

Its times like this the mum guilt kicks in for moaning about them having their own special times as they are such important experiences for them.

Cetraben Skincare:Review

This house is home to a few sensitive soles of the skin variety and this has come with its challenges over the years.

My skin causes problems with seasonal changes but is pretty easy to manage even if it can be a bit of a pain. A good thick moisturiser usually gets the problem sorted and I don’t have to worry to much about it.

My husband and youngest two however have extremely problematic skin that has caused them a huge host of problems from itchiness that is so bad they can’t sleep, weeping skin that has lead to infections and for Frankie even the extremes of hospitalisation to get the problems sorted.

I actually thought that we must have tried every single emollient on the market until Cetraben asked me if I would like to try out some products from their range.

This actually couldn’t have come at a better time as this harsh weather has caused all of us to have varying degrees of problems that need some attention.

Cetraben is a range that has been developed especially for dry, problematic, eczema prone skins and works by re-hydrating the skin and protecting it from all those nasties that can cause irritation.

The mixture of light paraffin wax, white, soft paraffin wax and glycerin work together to replace lost oils from the skin, provide deep moisturisation and form a protective barrier across the surface of the skin.

The first product we tried was the Cetraben Daily Cleansing Cream that can be used either as a body wash in the bath or applied afterwards like a moisturiser.

I found this perfect to use during bath time for the boys as they are not fans of having to stand there and have a moisturiser applied after their bath and this can be applied whilst they are playing with them barely noticing.

The cream absorbed well and left them with very moistened and less itchy skin which is exactly what we were looking for.

I tried it as a moisturiser after my bath and although my skin was noticeably softer and my dry patches completely disappeared I wasn’t so keen on the clinical smell, although this did fade pretty quickly.

Frankie had a pretty bad flare up of his eczema after an unsuccessful allergy challenge last week and was suffering pretty badly with very angry, red patches of eczema that needed something a little stronger so I tired out the Cetraben Lotion on these localised areas.

It worked wonders on this very irritating skin by getting deep into the skin and giving a really deep and long lasting moisturisation; in fact during these times emollients have to be applied to Frankie several times a day but morning and evening was all it took to keep him happy.

We were all really pleased with the results we got from both of these products and it is certainly something that is going to be a staple in our bathroom cabinet from now on!

*We were sent these products for the proof this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

The Polish Bakery:Review

There was a big knock at the the other day which lead to a cheery man at  clutching a bag of goodies from The Polish Bakery.

I have to admit I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to Polish cuisine so I wasn’t to sure what to expect in my parcel.

The Polish Bakery has been running since 2003 and produces handmade bread, buns, rolls, cake, doughnuts and even birthday cakes with authentic recipes and ingredients directly from Poland.

My parcel included a loaf of their premium white bread, rye bread with prunes and a delicious cheesecake.

Frankie who has multiple allergies was over the moon that he could eat the rye bread and claimed the whole loaf to himself!

It was a perfect combination of ingredients and the juiciness of the prunes added a really good soft  texture to a drier style of bread.

The premium bread was beautifully soft and kept for much longer than most fresh breads.

I saved the best for last with the delectable cheesecake. There was in fact a bit of an argument over the last slice!

The cheesecake looked more like a tiramisu and was a delicious creamy cake with a delicate chocolate taste.

I didn’t imagine their products to be that different to the style in British bakeries but I was very pleasantly surprised and will certainly be going back for more!
*collaborated post

Jamie’s Italian Guilford:Review

I am a little ashamed to say that even though I have been a huge fan of Jamie Oliver since his ‘Naked Chef’ days I have never set foot in to one of his restaurants.

His immense passion for food and will to share this with every walk of life is one of the things I love about him and I know this love and passion will be passed into all his restaurants.

We were recently asked to go along to Jamie’s Guilford branchto see what we though which was a very exciting prospect for me.

A short drive into Guilford lead us to a quirky shaped building that homed Jamie’s Italian.

We were shown upstairs to our table in the brightly coloured restaurant that had had an industrial feel softened by glimpses of rustic Italy.

We had the youngest two with us which is always a challenge when eating out as their attention span leaves a lot to be desired.

Luckily as soon as we were seated the boys were given activity sheets and fantastic viewfinders that they could chose their meal from…these were a hit with the big kids too!

The children’s menu was a great mix of the usual suspects mixed with dishes such as fish stew and gnocchi which is really refreshing to see as not all children like a plate of beige food for every meal!

Oscar went for the baby beefburger which was served with a portion of sweet potato fries and a delicious salad.

Frankie had a bit of a harder time in choosing as his multiple allergies were a little hard to cater for, but our waitress worked round them and was able to alter the happy chicken lollipops that were also served with sweet potato fries and much to Frankie’s excitement a salad in a jar that he could shake himself to cover with dressing.

 

They still had plenty of room for pudding and Frankie was extremely happy with his strawberry and mango lollipop whist Oscar went for the more indulgent warm chocolate brownie that much to his delight was topped with popcorn.

 

Darren and I went for the Super Lunch which is a great value set menu where you can chose from a good variety of dishes and have either two or three courses.

The greediness in me went for the three courses while Darren only opted for two.

Pate is on of my favourites but I can be a little fussy with it. I wasn’t disappointed and the creamy chicken liver pate that covered the crispy bruschetta and made for the perfect combination.

I’m not normally a burger fan but the Gennaro’s Chicken Club caught my eye and I was really glad I went for it.

The soft brioche roll was filled with succulent chicken, crispy pancetta, spicy mayo, rocket and juicy tomato.

If you are a follower of my blog and have read my restaurant reviews you will know that my husband is a creature of habit and calamari and steak are choices pretty much every time we dine out.

Jamie’s Italian had a little twist on the usual calamari and was instead a selection of battered fish and squid that have been coated in a delicately spiced fennel flour and served with a sharp garlic and lemon aioli.

The steak was a little different too as it had first been marinated then served with a garlic butter, crispy fries and a beautiful purple slaw that set off the meal wonderfully.

The children full and happily playing I endulged in Jamie’s favourite lemon polenta cake which was served with cream and a fruit coulis.

The texture the polenta gave the cake was a good change to a traditional sponge style recipe but I could have done with a little bit more of a lemony kick.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our first experience of Jamie’s Italian from the warm welcome to the delicious food.

I think the real pull for me though was the attention to the children’s menu that was not only vast and full of variety but allowed the children to get hands on with their choices and preparation of the meal which I always find is key to encouraging them to eat and try new things.

If you have been inspired to try Jamie’s Italian out for yourself then from now until the 31st August one child eat free with every paying adult so it’s the perfect time to try it out.

FEGO Banstead:A Eatery Perfect For All The Family

FEGO Banstead:A Eatery Perfect For All The Family

How often do you walk past a restaurant or cafe and immediately dismiss it for not being ‘child friendly’?

For me this is something I do regularly with my brood, as lets face it eating out with small children isn’t always the most enjoyable and stress free experience.

For a while now I have passed by FEGO in Banstead gazing in at their stunning decor and  scrumptious looking cakes longing for a few childfree hours to while away my time.


It looked far to pristine to take my motley crew into and the thought of them in there would bring me out in a cold sweat before my feet passed the threshold!

With these thoughts still firmly in my mind when I was asked along to visit FEGO I was more than a little apprehensive as to how they would cater for us.

We arrived at FEGO on a busy lunchtime during half term and were greeted with a smile and shown to our table near the back of the restaurant that was buzzing with a great atmosphere and full of a real eclectic group of people…including children!

The menus were brought over and I was happy to see there were a good range of different meals without the menu being large and over bearing. We were also welcome to chose from the breakfast menu even though we were there for a late lunch.

I love flexibility in restaurants as lets face it a stack of warm pancakes are welcome at anytime of day!

There is something to cater for all tastes from full english breakfasts to delicious salads, juicy burgers to pizzas and so much more.

The boys were kept amused with the colouring sheets while waiting for their burgers that they picked from a great selection that offers something a little different to the usual chip heavy childrens menu.


I opted for spicy scrambled eggs that were a tasty combination of eggs, cheese, avocado and tomatoes with a fiery kick of jalapeño and my obligatory soya latte.

Frankie’s allergies were catered for brilliantly and not a scrap of their burgers were left on either of their plates.

Crispy fresh chicken breasts served in soft rolls with plenty of salad and juicy, homemade beef burgers would be hard to resist.


It wouldn’t be a meal out without a sweet treat to finish it off. The boys went for a bowl of creamy blueberry ice cream and a sticky waffle covered in vanilla ice cream and sumptuous chocolate sauce.

All my preconceived ideas of this restaurant were quashed the minute I entered the restaurant.

The staff were all warm and welcoming, the food was beautifully presented and a delight to eat and the decor is simply stunning.



FEGO has something to offer the whole family from grabbing a quick pastry to a cosy date night with a cheeky cocktail or two.

There is so much more that I want to try such with their infamous ‘coffee in a cone’ being top of my list.

*collaborated post.

Allergy Friendly Easter Cupcakes

Easter is always a tricky time for Frankie and his allergies but this year he is feeling it even more so.

For a few months he had been allowed dairy and it had opened up his eyes to the world of real chocolate.

We had all really hoped that this would be the first year he would be able to get a Easter egg the same as his siblings but sadly this isn’t the case.

Stomach problems, bad skin and mood swings had all come on in force again and the doctors decided it was probably down to the dairy so we had to say goodbye to it again.

It’s been a hugely tough couple of months as he was so enjoying everything that came will the inclusion of dairy so this Easter I’m going to have to go that extra mile to make it special for him.

These cupcakes that mimic a chick cracking from an egg have really put a smile on his face and could easily be converted to your usual ingredients.

Allergy Friendly Easter Cupcakes 

  • 100g gluten free self-raising flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g dairy free spread
  • Egg replacer for equivalent of 2 eggs
  • 1tsp baking powder 
  • Pack ready roll fondant icing 
  • 12 decorative chicks
  • 12 cupcake cases 
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/400F and lay out cases into cake tin.
  2. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix with electric whisk until combined.
  3. Place ingredients into cases as bake for 13/16 mins.
  4. Once cook allow to cool on rack.
  5. Whilst cooling roll out a small amount of icing to about a thickness of 2cm.
  6. Cut out a circle slightly larger than the cakes and create a cross in the middle.
  7. Lay on top of the cake and peel up edges of the cross to open a whole in the centre.
  8. In this gap place one of the chicks to create the look of a hatching chick.

Olsson Haircare Collection Review

We are a pretty sensitive bunch in this house with my husband and youngest two being eczema sufferers and psoriasis causing regular problems for me.

Over the years I have found plentiful products that deal with sensitive skin but not so much in the realms of haircare.

I found this particularly hard with the boys as I have always been very careful to keep their baths product free so when it comes to hair washing it always has to be done before they get in the bath which they hate and just adds extra time and stress to bath time.

We were asked by the Scandinavian company Olsson to try out their haircare range that has been formulated especially for sensitive skin.

Their products have been geared towards allergy and asthma sufferers but would be suitable for the whole family to use.

All additives, perfumes and parabens have been avoided, leaving a haircare range that would cover a huge range of allergies and sensitivities.

It is a complete collection that covers cleansing, conditioning and styling and offers shampoos, conditioners, mouses, hairspray and styling wax.

I am always a little apprehensive about trying new things on the children but given they all have the seal of approval from Allergy UK it put my mind at rest and was happy for us all to see how they stood up to the test.

The volume shampoo left us all with squeaky clean hair and I didn’t miss the fact it wasn’t scented like I thought I would be.

It caused no irritation to the boys scalp or their skin even though the suds were I the bath with them for a good while.

The wash off conditioner was a great addition to our haircare routine and the addition of aloe vera and B5 left all our hair really soft and conditioned.

Number three has very unruly, long hair that always need a little extra TLC so the spray in conditioner was easily combed though and didn’t leave any sticky residue like a lot of leave in conditioners can.

The styling products were left down to my to try and first up was the spray, lift and hold mousse. Instead of spraying into your hand and applying to your hair it is sprayed directly onto the roots.

It was a little watery for my liking but still gave me good hold and was easy to blow dry once on.

With my flyaway hair a good hairspray is an everyday essential for me and Olsson have created a medium hold hairspray that didn’t sting my scalp like many hairspray a can and controlled my straggly hairs perfectly all day.

I found the whole of Olsson’s range perfect for the whole family. No irritations and perfectly cleansed and styled hair for us all!

*we were given these products for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Celebrating National Pizza Day With Sweetpea Pantry

Who doesn’t like pizza would be an easier question to ask than who does.
Pizza is the the most popular choice when it comes to takeaways with pepperoni coming in as the top choice; and if you thought pizza was a relatively new thing you would be very far from the truth as the first ever pizzeria was opened in Italy way back in 1738!

There are a whole variety of toppings available now and as a family we love evenings of making up our own combinations.

It is the perfect meal to allow everyone to get hands on and pick the things they they really like.

To celebrate National Pizza Day I have joined up with the lovely people at Sweetpea Pantry who challenged us to create on own pizza using their fab Playful Pizza Dough Mix.

A while ago we were lucky enough to try out their Ginger Giggles Biscuit Mix and were more than impressed with the child friendly mixes that are easy to prepare, healthy and great fun.

The Playful Pizza Mix lived up to what I expected and created the perfect base to make our creation.


I decided to steer away from the norm and create a sweet pizza but keeping  sugar to a minimum with a few products that are low in sugar but still taste good.

Take a look and see if it is something you fancy giving a try, it would actually be the perfect treat for Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Heart Pizza

  • Pack of Playful Pizza Dough
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g dairy free milk choc chips
  • 50g dairy free white choc chips
  • 300g Jim Jams reduced sugar hazelnut spread
  • 50g freedom vegetarian mini marshmallows
  • Handful of raspberries
  1. Mix the dough according to the instructions.
  2. Once ready take one of the three dough balls and create a heart shape leaving a slight lip around the edge to create the crust.
  3. Prick the dough with a fork and cook for 10 mins.
  4. Take out and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Next take the hazelnut spread and cover the base.
  6. Sprinkle over the chocolate chips first, followed by the marshmallows and finally add a few raspberries to the very top.
  7. Place under the grill until the marshmallows have slightly toasted and the chocolate has melted slightly.

Let me know if you give this a try as I would love to know what you think!

Chocolate Playdough Sweets For Valentine’s Day 

I am literally going stir crazy this weekend staying in with the children due to number five’s chicken pox!

The only thing for it was get crafting and with Valentine’s Day just round the corner I thought I would try something that would allow the kids to get involved in the celebrations too.

Mine always love playdough so I made an allergy friendly chocolate playdough that they could create chocolates from and wrap up to use in role play.

I used the same recipe that I use for my lavender playdough and just substituted the lavender for cocco powder.

It literally smelt good enough to eat and I had to stop the boys several times from doing so!


They had great fun rolling the balls to form the chocolates but had more fun creating poo!


When the balls were ready I popped them into the freezer for a while to harder up and then wrapped up in a square of cellophane and finished off with a piece of ribbon tied into a bow.


If this looks like something you fancy trying out yourself then take a look at this really simple recipe:

Chocolate Playdough

  • 150g gluten free plain flour
  • 50g salt
  • 2tbsps oil
  • 150g water
  • 4tbsps cocco powder
  1. Place all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the oil and then slowly add the water until the playdough forms a ball.