Celebrating The Small Things:Week Twenty Four

‘celebrating the small things’ is still something I’m absolutely loving writing and I’ve had so many lovely comments on these posts that it means taking the time to write them is even more special. It has also got me thinking that I would love to hear about some of your little moments that have touched you, so please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Flowers On The School Run – The school run is more often than not a bit of a fraught experience with trying to get the teen out of the depths of his pit, fulfilling the hundreds of different breakfast requests I get and finding shoes and glasses that go missing each and every day!

There is however a brighter side on a couple of days a week when its only Frankie that needs taking to school and we get a chance to have a little chat(often with the strangest of subjects) and without doubt he will always pick me a flower that he clings onto in his sweaty little hand, but I would take this wilted little flower over a big bouquet any day.

Supermarket Clothes – Its not that often these days that I take the time to actually head out and go to the High Street for clothes. With the ease of internet shopping I tend to lazily go for this option which isn’t really as exciting as getting out and about and trying things on.

Supermarket clothing is also something I rarely purchase but much to my excitement the other day I found some real corkers in my local Tesco store.

My swishy pink and red skirt has had so many compliments and I will certainly be checking out the clothing rails alongside my milk and bread from now on.

My Little Sister Getting Hitched – My little sister getting married is actually a really big thing and I head off to Bath with her and a group of friends to celebrate the occasion.

It was lovely to be part of this celebration with her but it was also lovely to spend some time alone with her, without my little ones trying to join in our conversations and demand our attention. It really was a carefree weekend that allowed me to relax and let my hair down and have some quality time with my little sis!

Elderflower Fields:Our Best One Yet

If you are a follower of my blog it will come of no surprise that we are all huge festival fans. The freedom, the adventure and chance to all be together is such a huge appeal to us that it keeps us wanting each and every year.

Elderflower Fields was the festival that opened our ours eyes to the fun and has had us coming back year after year and this year was the best by far.

Sleeping under canvas at the end of May can be a bit risky but a few weeks ago the weather was most definitely on our side and for the first time ever we managed to get our tent pitched in the sun with very few arguments.

One of the biggest pulls of Elderflower Fields is its laid back vibe that hits you from the minute you arrive. We took some time out round out tent to meet our neighbours for the weekend and grab a bite to eat.

It wasn’t long before the kids got itchy feet and wanted to head down to the main festival. We were pleasantly surprised when we got there as the layout had been changed around slightly and there was a lot more open space for the kids to go crazy in.

The familiar main stage was there and crowds had already started to build up taking in the atmosphere and listening to the fantastic music.

We headed off to see what activities they had put on to keep the little ones busy and saw some familiar favourites along with some new additions.

Mine always love trying their hand at the circus skills workshop, pitting their withs on the climbing wall, putting their woodwork skills to the test with the woodland tribe and using their brains in the science tent.

After a pretty full day we headed back to the tent for a quick rest before heading down to the evening festivities. Pretty hungry by now we decided it was time to fill our bellies and Elderflower Fields never disappoints when it comes to food choices.

Every taste is catered for from sumptuous fish and chips to rich ice creams, spicy vegan curries to sticky sweet crepes and so much more.

Allergies can sometimes be a bit of an issue for us at events like this but Frankies multiple allergies are always catered for without a problem.

Throughouly warn out we made our way back to bed excited for what the next day was going to hold.

Sunday is actually my favourite day of the festival as we are well settled in, have got our bearings and things are more relaxed for us.We started the day with more activities. Disc golf was certainly one we enjoyed along with slacklining and the giant zipwire.

All the activities are included in the price of your festival tickets which makes it great value for money but be mindful that many of them are prebookable before arrival or need to be booked once there as they get full up extremely quickly and due to my lack of organisation we often miss out on the popular activities. Take a look ‘here’ at some of the other great things that are on offer.

Sunday is also the day that the Sussex Family Picnic is held. This is something I’ve not heard of any other festival doing and it is certainly something that makes Elderflower Fields stand out from the rest.

The aim is to get people together and share good, local sorced food making it the biggest collective picnic I’ve ever seen.

Again the price of this is covered in the price of your tickets and all you need to do is grab your picnic blankets, get yourself into groups of twelve and have lots of fun!

We always head off into the woods after this and check out the fantastic art displays that have been put on by local schools, play in the mud kitchen, a little bit of pond dipping and made some cool clay sculptures in the Outdoor School.

There is no way we could visit and not have our face paints done by the wonderful ladies at Nam Nams Facepaints, I’ve honestly not found better face painting skills anywhere!

The last bit off fun was yet to come with the Sunday evening entertainment which is always buzzing. The stage was alive and the main field fun of dancing and laughter, marshmallows were being toasted by the bonfire and the big hay fight was taking place which mine wait all weekend for.
however this year is was slightly tainted by Frankie – the little allergy boy having a reaction to the hay and being carted of the the St Johns Ambulance who were absolutely fantastic with him.

Our last night under canvas left me reflecting on yet another fabulous weekend at Elderflower Fields. New skills have been learnt, new friendships have been forged, our family has comes that little bit closer together and everlasting memories have been made. Thank you Elderflower Fields for OUR BEST ONE YET!

David Lloyd:Our Family Fitness Journey Three Months On

Its hard to believe that we are already three months into the new year. Although this year I didn’t set myself any solid resolutions I made life goals that I wanted to implement without the pressure of that huge list of resolutions I normally draw up for myself and things have certainly been moving in the right direction.

My wish to be more organised hasn’t really taken shape yet and is still very much a work in progress but my biggest wish and greatest achievement so far is to find my love of fitness again and share it with the whole family.

Back at the beginning of January I was invited by David Lloyd to try out my local club with the whole family. As a Mum of five over the years my priorities have shifted and making time to exercise had firmly taken a back seat. This for me has caused a huge weight gain, taken a big hit to my self confidence and had an adverse affect on both my physical and mental health.

I’ve never been one to make excuses about not having time to get things done and always want to maximise every hour of the day so making exercise something for the whole family to enjoy was a real no brainer.

David Lloyd has to be the most family friendly gym I have ever come across. With a dedicated soft play area for the family, creche facilities and endless amounts of clubs and sports for them to take part in you really are spoilt for choice.

On weekdays it is just me and Oscar at home so a few days a week he would pop into the creche for an hour allowing me to get into the gym and workout. I have been doing my own workouts mixed with some FUSE sessions on the gym floor lead by super motivational instructors and group cycling classes that are easy to book online as and when you need to.

After a play in the gym Oscar loved to let off some steam in the soft play or head off for a swim in the beautiful pool.

If my days were to busy with work then the after school clubs were the perfect answer. Both Frankie and Oscar loved the active kids sessions when they got to run about to their heats content or the craft sessions for when they wanted something a little calmer.

The biggest hit however was the friday Movie Night where the boys got a whole two hours to chill out while I spent some quality time with Izzy to train in the gym together, take a few lengths in the pool and sneak off for a cheeky sauna!

The pool has in fact been a huge hit and we have spent many a weekend as a family splashing around for a few hours followed by a bite to eat in the cafe which offers a huge range of dishes such as simple and healthy salmon and vegetables to juicy burgers and fruity smoothies.

In the majority of gyms the actual gym floor is off limits to children and in some respects I can understand this as nobody wants noisy children under your feet when you are trying to get on with your training.

David Lloyd however have cleverly put on classes to take part in as a whole family such as the family circuit class that I did many times with Izzy. The class was made fun and appealing to the children but was also hard enough to give the adults a real workout too!

The children have also loved trying their hand at tennis which is something that I’m really not a master of but was lovely to see the kids taking part in as it really is exercise in disguise.

At the end of these three months we have all gained so much from our time at David Lloyd. We how have a competent swimmer in Oscar, Izzy has a new found love of circuit style training, Frankie is set to become the next Andy Murray and we have prized Archie away from his beloved Xbox and he has actually enjoyed spending time with us.

For me though the benefits have come by the bucketload. Spending quality time as a family, watching the joy of their faces as they accomplish new challenges and even getting to spend a few cheeky nights with the hubby for a date night.

But I really have saved the best until last as over these three months I have managed to keep up and thoroughly enjoy training several times a week which has made me drop an amazing two and a half stone and two dress sizes, boost my confidence no end and improved my physical and metal health ten fold.

David Lloyd health clubs really do offer more than just a gym. It has been our second home and be it pushing my body to the limits in the gym to kicking back with a coffee there really is some thing for everyone to enjoy.

*We were given a family membership for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Eighteen

At the beginning of the year I wrote a post as to why I wasn’t making any resolutions this year and my ‘celebrating the small things’ series seems to be a testiment to the fact I never seem to be able to keep anything up and my organisation skills leave a lot to be desired!

I have decided to forget about a few weeks of this year and get back on track and fingers crossed more organised as I do love recording and looking back on all these moments.

Anyhow that is enough procrastinating, here are this weeks small but special moments.

Blossom Fights – This wonderful weather has meant we managed to get out and about a lot last week and we managed to spend a wonderful day with friends taking in the sunshine whist BBQing in their beautiful garden.
They are lucky enough to have to most wonderful blossom tree over hanging their decking that I sat and admired for most of the day.
As the evening drew to a close the kids…well actually the big kids decided to shake bucket loads of petals from the tree allowing them to have the roar amazing blossom fight.
They spent ages trying to catch handfuls as it fell from the trees, bundled it all up into piles and of course covered each other in it.
The giggles of excitement were an absolute delight to hear.

Finally Friends – On Sunday we attended the most amazing event with Little Tikes where Frankie and Oscar got to go on a behind the scenes tour of Silverstone Racktrack and a once in a lifetime helicopter trip. This in no way counts towards a ‘small thing’ but one thing that really stood out for me amongst all the excitement was the fact that the boys have finally started to build a lovely bond with each other and played, whispered and giggled their way through the day which after a long few years is so refreshing to see.

A Fab Parents Evening – Last week was parents evening for Izzy. She’s not naturally gifted when it come to anything academic and has always struggled at school. However since starting secondary school she has really found her feet and is blossoming. Each and every teacher said she was a delight to teach and always gives her all which is all I have ever wanted.

Handprint Flowers: #BostikBloggers

This months challenge for BostikBloggers was based on flowers. As I had chosen a more complicated craft based on a flower for Easter I decided to do something that the little ones could join in with this time.

Handprint Flowers

What you need:

Coloured Card
Wooden Skewers
Thin Green Paper
Textured Green Felt
Scicorrs
Glue
Sellotape

First take your coloured card and draw round your little ones hands.

Next cut out the handprints to form the flower head and put to one side.

Next take your wooden skewers and wrap in a little of the thin, green paper and fix along the edge with glue to create a flower stem.

Whilst the glue is drying draw varied leaf shapes on the felt and cut out ready to attach to the stem.

Once the glue has dried on the stem attach the hand prints to one end with a couple of strips of sellotape.

On the other end of the stem take a little glue and attach the leaves that you have cut out.

Once the glue has hardened the flowers are all good to go. My boys decided to give theirs to their Nanny, who would you gift yours too?

Styling Tips With Amara

A few weeks ago I was invited along to a gorgeous home in Shoreditch to attend the Amara Home Refresh Event. It was lovely to walk in and see some new faces and have a good catch up with blogging buddies Elfa from Californian Mum In London and Jacqui from Mummy’s Little Monkey.

The day kicked off with a workshop from the founder of Amara herself – Sam Hood. It was wonderful to hear the back story behind this fabulous interiors brand and see how much love and passion has gone into it.

Sam talked us through the fundamentals of interior design which was a real eye opener to me. I tend to run away with mad, random ideas and get myself in a real mess instead of having a more concise plan that starts off with the basics and can then be added to.

Mood boards were a big part of planning for Sam’s clients and for me this is a great way to channel my random ideas. Sam also surprised me by telling us that the wall colour should be the last thing to consider when designing a room. For me this is always something I choose first and will be a big game changer the next time I’m putting all this advice into practice.

Next up was a workshop with one of Amara’s stylist – Elle Taylor. Her mission was to take a table full of accessories and fill a a shelving unit.

The amount of accessories would have sent my head into a spin and I would have no doubt over filled all the shelves. But Elle cleverly selected specific items and arranged them all beautifully. I took all of her tips on board and will be using them later on to style a selection of my own accessories I was lucky enough to take home from Amara.

We finished the day with a cookery demonstration from the lovely Linda Duffin who cooked up a storm in the kitchen, creating a fresh and fruity said and a creamy chicken risotto that would certainly impress if served at a dinner party but required very little preparation.

With my mind spinning with all this new information I couldn’t wait to put my new found knowledge into action and get started on my own creation.

I was a big lover of the Amara ‘Arcade Trend’ that uses all my favourite vibrant, eye catching colours, in short…everything my husband hates!

To his defence my love for everything colourful can get a little out of hand at times so the first of Elle’s tips I put into practice was to keep a similar theme and use no more than four different colours. I was more reserved than usual and went for vibrant greens and yellows and set these off with darker blacks and greys.

I took a selection of these objects and as advised placed them in different positions with varying heights.

Elle also told us to make use of greenery which is usually something I avoid as I’m not to green fingered, she did however showcase some wonderful artificial plants that I would never have realised weren’t the real thing.

Lastly Elle told us to give every area a personal touch. For me this tends to equate to pieces of kids art work randomly stuck between vases which probably isn’t the best look. So instead I utilised the small clear vase and used it to home small pieces of jewellery.

Amara have ignited my passion for interiors and given me some real food for thought!

*I was invited along to the Amara event and was gifted the items to style in my own home.

Glam Goo Deluxe Slime Pack:Review

Izzy has ben obsessed with slime for months and months now and sadly along with this obsession comes a huge amount of mess!

She spends hours in the kitchen trying to create the perfect slime, mixing, stirring and generally creating a huge mess that the majority of the time is left down to me to clean up.

I have to admit that it is quite therapeutic to sit an play with and aside from the mess I do like the creative aspect making it needs from her.

When I got an email to ask if I would like to review a Glam Goo Deluxe Slime Pack I knew that Izzy would be over the moon.

The pack comes with a large container of Glam Goo which is a pre-made slime(this made me very happy), three slime decorations, two sparkle colours, one scent and a spoon to mix it all together with.

Pieces of slime can be taken from the main tub and mixed together with the decorations of your choice and it all cause very little mess.

Once the slimes are made to how you want they can then be placed into one of the sections in the glitter handbag or the double ring.

The slimes can be changed around and added to as much as you want and then kept safe inside the bag which can be easily transported anywhere you fancy.

This really is a slime lovers dream and Izzy has spent many hours creating new mixtures with her friends.

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

Hanging Hearts For Valentine’s with #BostikBloggers

Crafts are something that sadly got sidelined a little last year and something I have really missed doing with the children. Life seemed to get so hectic that sitting down to be creative was always put on the back burner; so I was really pleased when I was asked to become a Bostik Blogger for 2018 as it has given us all a great opportunity to put of thinking caps on and let our creative juices flow once again.

Now that Christmas is over the house is feeling empty with the distinct lack of decorations filling each and every corner, so with Valentine’s Day just round the corner there is no better excuse to fill the house with pretty things once again.

The lovely people at Bostik sent a box brimming with pink and glitter that I was itching to get up around the house.

I decided upon hanging hearts that would look great hanging from the branch in my conservatory that had been looking pretty sparse since the baubles had been taken down, but they would look equally great hanging from just about anywhere you fancy.

Take a look below at how we got on and have a go if its something you think you fancy:

Valentine’s Hanging Hearts

What You Need –

Glitter foam sheet
Corrugated card
Brown card
String
Felt hearts
Jewel hearts
Patterned paper
Glue dots
Glue stick
Scissors
Hole punch

With these hearts there really is no right or wrong way to decorate them. Once the basic heart is made then simply use your imagination to decorate however you wish.

Start off with either paper, card or foam sheet to simply draw on a heart to the size of your choice and cut out ready for the next step. You can have a variety of different sizes like me or more uniformed if that would be your preference.

Next up you need to get your hole punch and make a hole just under the dip in the heart. This then makes it ready to thread through a small length of string to make a loop to make it ready for hanging.

Lastly is where the real fun starts! pick a variety of different paper, foam, felt of jewel hearts and attach to the main hearts with glue dots of the use of a glue stick.

They are now ready to adoren the house in time for all your Valentine’s celebrations.

*We were given a craft box for the purpose of this post.

Being Present This Christmas

How many of you spend too much gazing at a screen, running backwards and forwards trying to get a million and one things done or getting bogged down with a huge workload.

This all sounds to familiar to my everyday life and it is something that I think about continually. I tell myself I am going to change so many of these things but life gets in the way and I never do.

I know that my phone and my camera are like a third hand to me and I spend way much time using both of them more than I should. Doing the job I do makes it hard to switch off as so much of my day to day life is in fact my work and I always end up using this as an excuse when I know that this isn’t healthy for any of us.

The children also spend more time than I like using devices so this Christmas we have all taken a step back and spent our Christmas how it should be…making conversation and playing games with family and friends.

I would usually be filming and photographing every minute of the day from the minute we wake up, right through the day, but instead I took a few snaps and a few Instastories that I couldn’t resist and spent the rest of the past few days being in the moment rather than trying to capture it.

I also made a conscious effort this year to buy the children games that allow them to use their imagination and interact with each other and that is exactly what has happened.

We have all been coming together to build Lego creations and the boys have been playing relatively argument free with their Playmobil models which has been so lovely to see.

It has also come to my attention that simple things such as board games are a real novelty to my children when really I should be making time much more often to sit down and play games like this with them as they bring so much joy to us all.

Emails have been ignored and any impending work has been put to the back of my mind so that I can concentrate on the people that are most important to me.

The world hasn’t stopped spinning because I haven’t opened posted to Instagram, the children haven’t missed out because they haven’t spent endless hours playing games on their Kindles, but what we have had is a few days of enjoying each others company that happens all to rarely and is certainly the best gift I have received this year.

Hot Chocolate Stirrers

With only a few days left until christmas I sure that most of you are all prepared and have gifts all bought and wrapped ready to go…however if you are anything like me then there are always those last few presents that you completely forget about!

My recipe for hot chocolate stirrers will make a lovely gift and is something super easy to make.

I use wooden spoons as the handle for mine but you can easily use lolly sticks or even something like cardboard straws.

The stirrers can be wrapped individually or like we did for the teachers gifts you can add a few homemade biscuits together with the stirrers and package them up in a nice Christmas mug.

If this sounds good to you then the recipe is below for you to try:

Makes 24 sticks

  • 800g mixture of dark and milk chocolate
  • 8 tbsp cocoa powder
  • hundreds and thousands, marshmallows or fudge pieces to decorate
  1. Break up the chocolate into a bowl and heat over a Bain Marie until completely melted.
  2. Slowly add the cocoa and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour the mixture into a silicone mould(we used a round ice cube tray) and into each section place the spoon/stick into the centre.
  4. Decorate with your toppings of choice and then place in the fridge to harden for about an hour.
  5. When they are ready pop them out and gift wrap however you fancy!