Celebrating The Small Things:Week Twenty One

It has been a pretty quiet week which has made it perfect for my ‘Celebrating The Small Things’ series.

My Little Personal Shopper – Over the years clothes shopping on the High Street has become somewhat of a distant memory for me.

With the rise and ease in internet shopping and the number of children I had increasing the lure of shoppers by centres became less and less and now nearly all of my clothing purchases are done online.

The other day I had to get some last minute bits before our camping trip which ended up being a thoroughly enjoyable trip with Oscar.

We chatted over a babychino, stocked up on goodies for our trip and my most memorable moment was Oscar picking out outfits for me and giving his expert opinion on what looks good and what not so!

Daisy Chains – Sometimes the simple things in life pass us by and one thing that I hadn’t done for such a long time was to make a daisy chain. It’s such a simple task and the kids absolutely loved it.

How We Eat – The other day was actually a pretty big one as we had Mumset come into our home to film the way we eat as a family.

This was a pretty nerve wrecking experience as my kids can be pretty unpredictable at times and goodness knows what little gems they could have come out with!

Although the day was a huge thing for all of us I came away from the day extremely thankful of the fact I get to share dinner time with all my crazy loons!

Win A Family Ticket To This Summer’s Wild Child Festival

For the past three years we have been huge fans of family festivals and I am so excited to be adding another one to our list this year as I become an ambassador for the Wild Child Festival in the leafy grounds of the Dulwich Estate in South London.

This brand new festival is going to be focusing on children’s entertainment and workshops for children aged 0-11 and runs over a three day period from Friday 17th August to Sunday 19th August 2018 and has been kept to only 500 families per day which makes for an intimate and less stressful experience…as lets face it children and queues never mix well!

For me festivals offer time together as a family away from the distractions of day to day life, time away from screens to really connect with each other, try new skills and experience new firsts.

The brain child behind this festival is Hayley Byfield who as a Mum and art producer who has worked on events at several large festivals over the past 20 years is the perfect person to create a festival that will be enjoyable for both the children as well as the adults.

I know all to well that festivals with little ones can be a daunting prospect so having the option to go along for the day to enjoy the festival vibes without the pressure of the camping element is a great way to go.

With over 11 art inspired zones there really is something to cater for all tastes. The Giggly Grove is set to be a giggle a minute with comedy acts aimed at children. The Magic Hollow is the place to go for all those aspiring magicians. The Wordy Wood will allows the children to slip away into a literary world. The Little Top is the place to perform all those circus skills. The Bop Along Ballroom is the perfect place to get those dancing shoes ready and practice those groovy moves. For any coding fans The Imagination Lab is the place to be. If funk, soul and jazz are more your thing then you need to make your way to the Harmony Hideout. For those of you with little ones the Babes In The Burrow with be a lovely little hideaway from the hustle and bustle of it all. I know a hit with us is going to be the Crafy Den where the children can take part in all kinds of crafts from festival crowns and dream catcher to water pistol painting and wacky weaving. Finally is the Play House where the kids can explore a dinosaur world, play games in the unicorn meadow an so much more!

We literally can’t wait to get along and experience this for ourselves and if you fancy coming along to join in the fun then take a look HERE to book your tickets or I am very pleased to say I have a competition running to win a family ticket that you can enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway Terms and Conditions

1. Giveaway is open to entrants worldwide. 2. No purchase necessary. 3. Ages 18 and over only.

4. Prize is a family ticket to Wild Child Festival in Dulwich.

5. A family ticket refers to 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children.

6. Tickets are for any day of the festival that the winners wish to attend. 7. Winner will be notified within 7 days of the random draw.

8. We will make all reasonable attempts to contact the winner; if after 3 attempts the winner still hasn’t claimed their prize, the promoter reserves the right to redraw.

9. Winner will need to confirm their festival attendance date with the promoter, within 72 hours of claiming their win.**

10. No last minute changes for number of guests or attendance date, unless authorised by the promoter. 11. No cash alternative, exchange, refund or resale.

12. Promoter reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value should circumstances make this necessary.

*collaborated post

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Nineteen

This week has been a pretty full one and also one that has seen some changes in my life that for a very long time I didn’t think were going to happen!

Sharing Passions – I have always tried to ensure my children follow their dreams, indulge their passions and to never be afraid to stand out from the crowd.
This is something I feel very strongly about even though it has backfired on me a few times when they have needed to conform and these sayings have been recited back to a teacher of two!
Out of all my children Izzy is certainly the one who puts her all into everything she’s tries and is eager to explore all kinds of new things.
At the weekend we got the chance to go along to a fabulous photography workshop and it was so heart warming to see she has a passion for it as strongly as I do and watch her inventive and very different ideas be put into practice.

Braving The Camera – Talking about photography from a different angle this time, with me getting in front of the camera for a change.
I am always told that I should appear more on my blog but due to a lack of confidence its something I’ve always shied away from.
This week however I bit the bullet and with the help of the wonderful Laura Shaw I managed to not only get in front of the camera but to thoroughly enjoy it too!

Hello Mr Sunshine – The weather has been pretty horrific up until the past few weeks where the sun has shown his face and I couldn’t be more excited about this!
Longer evenings, being able to eat outside and making the most of the garden are all small things I have been relishing in.

Bringing Back The Outdoors With Little Tikes

I am a big believer in the benefits of getting the kids outdoors. In this technology driven day and age a huge percentage of children have very little…if any time spent on outdoor play.

According to a government study more than one in nine children haven’t set foot in a park, woodland or beach in the past 12 months and a whopping 74% of children spend less than an hour outside in the fresh air.

The benefits to outdoor play are endless from increasing a child’s self confidence, building their fine and gross motor skills, boosting those all important serotonin levels to give them that feel good boost and so, so much more.

Little Tikes understand all to well the importance of this too and held an event at The Lookout in the centre of Hyde Park to show just how easy it is to get children excited and engaged about getting outside and having fun.

Luckily for us the sun was on our side for this event and I arrived with two super excited little boys who’s eyes lit up the moment they saw the huge array of brightly coloured, beautiful toys that Little tikes are so famous for.

For us Little Tikes have been a part of our family of the past twenty years. My eldest was bought a kitchen from them for her first birthday and since that moment we loved their hardy, eye catching toys that are certainly built to last and allow childrens imaginations to run wild through play which is so important.

The boys headed straight for the Cozy Coupes as they do whenever we come across one and were really pleased to see the truck version which is a little bigger than the original and has plenty of space in the back for them to carry around anything they wish.

From here they moved onto the playhouses and we were all really taken with the Build-A-House which allowed them to customise their own home with interchanging panels that can be attached with easy to use tools. Oscar was also pretty taken with the BBQ to and loved cooking up a storm for everyone.

After a break for lunch and a spot of face painting they got stuck into the water and sand play. I hadn’t realised that Little Tikes had such a extensive range when it came to this and the boys were literally spoilt for choice.

A big hit with both of them was the Turtle Sandbox that they happily sat in building sandcastles and creating forts with the Monster Dirt Digger. Frankie loved looking on at the Fun Zone Splash Face which was like a tug of war that ends with a splash of water in the face if you loose! Int believe that Mr confident – Frankie was to scared to give it a go.

I spent a good part of the day dodging the bucket full of water that fills and drops without warning in the Fun Zone Drop Zone. This great toy can actually be filled with balls instead of water and used for indoor play as well.

The boys love anything involving wheels and spent a good while winding round the beautiful pathways of The Lookout on the Fold’n Go 5 in 1 trike which has a a fabulous parent handle that allows you control of the steering for a super smooth ride and the Lean To Turn Scooters that give them a super easy ride allowing them to really build their confidence.

As the day drew to an end and I struggled to get the boys to leave it came to my attention that my boys who usually have the shortest concentration span ever had spent half a day through engaged, every muscle in their body used and their imaginations stretched to their limits; we certainly give the Little Tikes outdoor range a big huge thumbs up from us!

Around The World In 18 Raves:Camp Bestival Warm Up Tour With Big Fish Little Fish

As I am writing this the sun is shining through the window and I have to say I’m getting a little bit excited for the spring and summer to finally arrive.

The warmer weather for me is the que for me to start dusting off the sequins (well actually mine don’t really get put away)in preparation for festival season.

Last year we got into the spirit of things by attending the Big Fish Little Fish event at Dreamland in Margate and we are looking forward to returning again to get into the festival mood!

Big fish Little Fish put on amazing events that allow little ones to get their groove on along with their parents. Think glitter, sparkle, bubbles, lights and great music all wrapped up into a fantastic few hours that the whole family will love.

This year the tour will be travelling to 18 cities and will be based around Camp Bestivals theme this year which is celebrating all things nautical.

There will be a nautical themed craft area, baby chill out zone, a dance floor filled with bubbles, balloons and glitter and a very special parachute dance.

There will also be a chance for the whole family to have some fun in the photo booth whist trying to win a family ticket to Camp Bestival.

If this sounds up your street then take a look HERE at the differnt locations the tour will be visiting and get those tickets booked!

In The Night Garden Live 2018:Family Ticket Giveaway

It is around this time of year when all the fun of Christmas is over, the weather is rubbish and there is nothing exciting planned that I start to think about the warmer weather ahead and the exciting things we are going to get up to.

One of the highlights for us for the past few years has been the fantastic on stage performance – In The Night Garden Live.

The musical theatre show brings to life all the familiar characters from the popular TV show through magical puppetry, breathtaking projection, enchanting music and life-sized characters.

Tickets go on sale from 26th January 2018 and there is also an exclusive resale on 23rd January.

The O2, London

Thursday 24 May – Saturday 9 June

Performances at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm

No performances on Tue 29 May & Tue 5 Jun

Richmond Old Deer Park, London

Saturday 16 June – Sunday 1 July

Performances at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm

No performances on Tue 19 Jun & Tue 26 Jun

Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham

Saturday 7 July – Sunday 22 July

Performances at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm

No performances on Tue 10 Jul & Tue 17 Jul

intu Trafford Centre, Manchester

Saturday 28 July – Sunday 19 August

Performances at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm

No performances on Tue 31 July, Tue 7 & Tue 14 Au

If this sounds like something you and your little ones would be interested in then or if you are feeling lucky then I have a fantastic competition for you to enter below for the chance to win a family ticket for four(minimum 1 adult) at a venue and performance of your choice.

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The competition closes at 23:59 on 14th January 2018. Good Luck!

Camp Bestival-The Best Christmas Present EVER

When it comes to Christmas presents I always have a bit of a dilemma with myself. The children compile lists of plastic toys that I know will be discarded before Boxing Day, and every part of me wants to fulfil their wishes…however the sensible side of me thinks all that money would be better spent on experiences that will last a lifetime rather than faddy toys that will last for minutes.

If we look back over our year then one of the experiences that sticks in all our minds the most is certainly Camp Bestival – the family festival that has to be seen to be believed.

This year sees fantastic musical acts taking to the stage such as Rick Astley, Clean Bandit an Simple Minds. Regulars to the festival are Mr Tumble and Dick and Dom will be returning to amuse the children…well and the adults too!

One of the shows that my little ones are most excited to see though is Dinosaur World Live that looks absolutely outstanding.

This really is the kind of gift that I would love to find nestled under the tree on Christmas Day and if it sounds like something your family would love to receive to then there is a great promotion running until 11th December.

If you book your tickets before this time you will receive a whole host of fantastic stocking fillers such as nautical tattoos to go with this years ‘Sets Sail’ theme, character stickers, a hand illustrated Christmas card and a limited edition sew on patch.

If you would like to spread the cost then you can still sign up to the 30 week payment plan and still receive all your goodies!

Take a little look at just a few of the reasons we love Camp Bestival so much:

Scree Free, Quality Time: This for me has to come top of my list as it is something that is so lacking when we are at home. Its a chance to put away those phones, leave the iPads alone and just enjoy spending time together talking, laughing, playing and having fun.
My lot spend a huge time arguing and fighting when we are at home, and don’t get me wrong it is never an argument free trip but we are certainly more drawn together as a family and that bond gets a little tighter.

Good Food: As a family we are often drawn to places with our bellies and I can assure you if you are a foodie like me then Camp Bestival won’t fail to stimulate your taste buds.
From ice cream covered waffles to juicy burgers, scucculent corn on the cob to crispy chips every palate will be catered for and every belly filled.
Th little ones can also get more hands on and prepare their own food which was a big hit for mine last year.

Enjoy The Great Outdoors: The whole trip involves being outside which can seem a little daunting but there is actually nothing better.
From enjoying the hustle and bustle of the main festival to simply chilling out round the tent or hiding away in our favourite place – The Dingly Dell there is a whole host of ways to enjoy the great outdoors.

Late Nights: As a Mum of five bedtimes are pretty strict in this house for the sake of everyones sanity to be honest. Camp Bestival allows us to kick these rules aside and just let them all stay up until they drop. They love being up until way after dark, huddled up in their trailer listening to music and watching Mum and Dad’s silly dancing.
The last night has to be the favourite though with is spectacular firework display that is simply not to be missed.

Learning New Skills And Using Their Imaginations: Camp Bestival isn’t just about the music and acts on stage, it holds so much more and really allows the children how to build skills by trying things they may not have come across before such a circus skills, woodwork and cooking and bundles of activities that allow them to use their imagination and just LET KIDS BE KIDS!

I hope this has given you a little snippet of just some of the fun Camp Bestival can bring and has you wanting to experience it for yourselves next year!

Tear And Share Picnic Bread

Over the summer we spend the majority of time eating out of a picnic hamper.  I love eating outside on the go but it can become a little boring if you don’t try out different things to add.

We had our first camping trip over the Bank Holiday and I wanted something tasty that would feed us all, take up limited space and not create lots of rubbish to throw away.

I have seen lots of breads that are filled with yummy ingredients and wanted to give it a try with all the things we love.

Here is my recipe for my ‘tear and share’ bread that was a hit with us all.

Tear And Share Picnic Bread

  • 1 large loaf of tiger bread
  • 2 balls of sliced mozzarella
  • 120g antipasto selection platter
  • 285g jar of drained and chopped chargrilled peppers
  • 285g jar of drained and chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese
  • 400ml mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 1tsp dried thyme
  • 1tsp dried rosemary
  1. Cut 2cm slices into the tiger bread stoping just before the bottom.
  2. Mix together the mayonnaise, garlic and herbs and spread a generous amount into each side of the bread.
  3. Into each section place a mixture of meat, mozzarella cheese, peppers and tomatoes.
  4. Once it is all nicely filled sprinkle the top of the bread with cheddar cheese and place under the grill on a low heat for around 5 mins to melt the cheese and allow all the filling to mingle together.
  5. Once cooled wrap in brown paper and pack up ready for your picnic.

The Perfect Break At The Old Barrel Store Margate

We discovered the delightful town of Margate last year and immediately fell in love with the up and coming, quirky seaside resort.

When I was offered the opportunity to have an overnight stay at the Old Barrel Store in the heart of Margate town I was over the moon.

We had a short and easy drive into Margate with just the youngest two and easily found the property nestled just off one of the quaint streets that house some wonderful shops selling anything from vintage homeware and clothes to yummy retro sweets.

The boys ran to the front door of the grade ll listed flint cottage to be the first in to investigate.

We were lead straight into the kitchen that had everything you could possibly need including a cupboard stocked with all the essentials you need to prepare meals that you wouldn’t necessary want to drag along with you which ead a lovely touch.

The kitchen also housed a visitors book full to the brim with positive comments and lots of great tips and piles of leaflets to help you get the most out of your stay.

We headed from here into the living area that was a real step back in time.  The furniture and accessories had all been perfectly sourced to create a wonderful vintage feel which is a huge love of mine.

Although the decor is immaculate it still felt homely and with the addition of plenty of toys that could be used indoors or taken down to the beach with you I was at complete ease having the two little wirlwinds with me!



The living room leads straight out into a pretty little garden that is perfect for the children to play in, cook a yummy BBQ or simply relax and have a drink while soaking up the sun.

With bucket and spade in hand he boys were itching to get down to the sea which is literally a few minutes walk away.

They ran up and down the beautiful stretch of sandy beach and were even brave enough to take a paddle in the sea that was still extremely chilly!

It wouldn’t be a trip to the seaside without some seafood which we grabbed from Manning seafood stall which is situated right by the Turner Contempary.

We then made our way to Dreamland amusement park that the boys were itching to get to. We had a good few hours there trying out everything it had to offer and we were all extremely impressed.

We had worked up a good appetite so headed down to GB Pizza where we sampled the best pizzas I have even tastes and I challenge you to say anything different!

With two extremely tired boys in tow we headed back to the cottage for bath and bedtime.

The bathroom again was immaculately decorated and had a wonderfully calming atmosphere perfect to start a relaxing evening.  The children were thought of again in here with a slip mat provided to prevent any accidents with slippery little ones!

All cleaned and ready for bed we headed to the children’s room which had the vintage theme carried through.

There were pretty vintage decorations, plenty of books for bedtime stories and crisp white, cosy bed linen that the boys fell asleep in within minutes.

With the children fast asleep for the first time in months we savoured the moment by having a cheeky glass of wine while enjoying our beautiful, peaceful surroundings.

It wasn’t long before we made our way to our cosy room that had a good sized bed, ample storage space in the wardrobe and the all important hairdryer that I’ve often found missing in many self catering properties.

We woke up after a good nights sleep and the only night number five has ever slept through and grabbed a quick breakfast before heading out to do some more exploring.

We bumped into some very friendly neighbours as we made our way to the shell grotto that I had wanted to visit on our past trips but had not yet got round to.

It was only a short walk from the cottage and was strangely situated in the middle of a residential street that I was not expecting.

Once inside it was a magnificent sight and well worth a trip.

The boys were itching to get back to the seafront and I was desperate for an ice cream.

We stopped at Melt ice cream parlour in the Sands Hotel that served the most delicious ice cream in a beautiful setting.

Sadly it was now time to make our way back to pack up the car and say goodbye to the Old Barrel Store.

We had a perfect stay in a wonderful cottage that was steepted in history and loving resorted to create the most wonderful holiday getaway.  The passion for their cottage really shine through and nothing had been overlooked, everything you could ask for was there for you to make your stay as easy as enjoyable as possible.

The Old Barrel Store would make a fabulous weekend getaway as a couple as much as a family holiday with all the family.

If you are looking for a seaside getaway with a difference then look no further than this fabulous cottage.
*we were given an overnight stay for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.