Colour Popping With Red Candy

I decorated my living room a few years ago now but there is just some thing about it that doesn’t look finished.

I went for the extremely popular grey tones as it seemed to be a colourthat wasn’t moving anywhere fast, is a calming and neural colour and is super versatile which is important to me as I get bored very quickly.

I had gone for a Scandi vibe with white and wooden accessories but my love of vibrant colours and something fun was missing and what I felt was needed to complete the room.

Red Candy had asked me to select a couple of items from their fantastic online shop and to be honest this was no mean feat!

Their site is full of fun, colourful, quirky accessories and gifts to fill any room in your home.

From dinner plates to dinosaur lamps there is something for everyone and anything you chose is sure to be a conversation starter.

I went for a stunning cotton lampshade from Love Frankie.

The classic design and cloud grey overlay holds a fab gold PVC lining that radiates georgous hues around the room, creating a really warm feel.

When it comes to interiors at the moment you can’t fail to see that tropical themes are a huge thing.

From palm leaves to pineapples, bright prints and cacti they are pretty much everywhere.

It’s such a fun trend that I had to follow and to go alongside my pineapple that my husband hates I couldn’t resist this gold cactus vase.

 

This can be used as a traditional base and filled with flowers or simply left as it is which is just how I like it!

If you are looking for some cool accessories for your own home or a special gift for someone else then Red Candy really does have a huge range of items that are just that little bit different and will certainly give you something unique at affordable prices.

*collaborated post.

Learning To Cook With Jamie Oliver’s Hotpoint Teaching Kitchen

How many of you cook your evening meal from scratch every night?

I would hazard a guess that it won’t be many of you and as research from Jamie’s Ministry Of Food shows this sadly the case for many of us.

In fact a huge 1 in 5 adults rely on takeaways and convenience food due to a lack of knowledge in cooking skills and a whopping 1 in 10 have never cooked from scratch.

For me one of my favourite lessons at school was home economics and was actually the only A I got at GCSE.

It was an outlet away from the more academic subjects that I never thrived in and it certainly gave me a great knowledge of food preparation and nutrition that has always stayed with me.

Sadly in many schools this is not on the timetable at all now and 7 in 10 people feel the rise in takeaways and convience food has been greatly affected by this.

This makes for a vicious cycle of parents then not having the knowledge to pass down to their children creating a nation with little knowledge on food at all.

I was shocked to find that 1 in 5 can’t boil an egg, a quarter struggle to cook rice and a third of the people asked lack the skills to correctly cut an onion.

For these reasons Jamie’s Ministry Of Food has got together with Hotpoint to create a fantastic teaching kitchen that is setting up in the towns where obesity and diet related illnesses are at a high.

I was asked along to have a lesson at the truck earlier this week in Selhurst, South London.

I arrived in the car park of Crystal Palace Football Club which seemed like a pretty strange place to be learning to cook.

The truck was nothing liked I expected and was in fact a spectacularly kitted out set up with high tech appliances from Hopoint and plenty of natural light to make for a fantastic area to learn new skills.


Although I would say I’m a pretty confident cook my repertoire has become pretty limited due to cooking for a large family with limited time.

To be honest the majority of my meals are prepared from scratch but I’m a bit of a one pot fan and I was hoping this lesson would open my eyes to creating something new for the family.

Any nerves I had about starting the session were soon quashed when the super friendly chefs introduced themselves and started the afternoon.

Our mission was to prepare a beautiful dish of salmon teriyaki from scratch which is one of my favourite meals but something I’ve not tried to create mysel.

Each step was shown to us and then as we went through the process ourselves there was plenty of experts on hand to help out at any stage.


I learned some great tips on food wastage and an entirely new way to cook rice that I will be trying out at home!



Children as young as 7 can go along to take part and I think this would be the perfect way to introduce little ones to the exciting world of cooking and sparking off something that could turn into a real passion for them.

The truck is in Selhurst until 16th June and you can book your slot HERE for free.

It is then moving onto Bristol, Middlesborough, Sunderland and Liverpool.

There is then an exciting opportunity for one community to win the chance to have the truck come to your town.

All you need to do is post a picture on social media showing members of your local community such as a youth group or scout troop holding wooden spoons.

Simply let them know the name of your town and why they are deserving and is the hashtag #cookforchange.

I would love to know if you decide to visit the truck and if you do what you think!

Keeping Kids Hydrated With Fruit Shoot Hydro

Children are like sponges, they soak up everything around them and retain every bit of information they pick up.

So for me this is why it is super important to try and let them experience as many different things as possible at a young age so that they can find things they are passionate about and hopefully take that with them into their adult life.

Robinsons Fruit Shoot are currently running a campaign called #itsmything that is encouraging real kids to celebrate what they are passionate about and through this allow them to channel their creativity and individuality.

To support this fantastic campaign I took my super individual child Izzy along to Castle Climbing in Hackney where Fruit Shoot had put on a fantastic event allowing the children to take part in a 90 minute session of climbing to get them active and try something new.


Izzy is by far my most individual child who will always buck the trend if it is something she feels passionate about is truly a free spirit.

As she approaching those akward teen years it is important for me to keep that zest for life going and hope that peer pressure doesn’t steer her away from trying new experiences.

Izzy confidently set to the challenge of the climbing wall and was happy to have meet up with a friend that she has made through the wonderful world of blogging whilst I went outside to listen to a talk from the highly knowledgable dietitian Jo Travers.


Of course all this fun and exercise is fantastic for young bodies and minds but we need to be aware that it can take a toll on their growing bodies and one of the most important things we can do to keep their bodies and mind fit and active is to keep them hydrated.

For me this a no mean feat and aside from my youngest who guzzles litres of water a day, hydrating the others…especially Izzy is a constant challenge and something as bad as it is I often forget to do!

I took away so much from Jo’s session and it is now my mission to keep us all as a family more hydrated.

Here are a few of Jo’s top tips on keeping your kids hydrated:

The choice of drinks is always a constant battle in our house, especially with the older children who are easily lured towards the unhealthy fizzy drinks as let’s be honest water doesn’t have a great appeal when there are so many other drinks with more flavour readily available.

This is where the clever people from Fruit Shoot have come up with Fruit Shoot Hydro that has all the goodness of water with a hint of flavouring making it much more appealable to youngsters.

It is a naturally flavours spring water with no sugar of artificial colours and comes in a handy sized bottle with a resealable cap, making it perfect for kids on the go.

With my mind buzzing with all this new information I was going to take home and hopefully implement with my family and Izzy warn out and super hyped after her climbing adventure there was a chance to have a delicious lunch and of course sample some of the Fruit Shoot Hydro.

My water dodging daugher was extremely impressed with the flavour and even went back for a second bottle which is pretty much unheard of.

Full up and hydrated our afternoon was bought to an end and we set off home with a fantastic goodie bag full of great stuff to keep Izzy active and a voucher to try out Go Ape which be fantastic in her bid to keep the #itsmything challenge going for that bit longer!

*collaborated post

Getting Messy At NSPCC Messathon

Through the course of the year I always like to try and find ways a way give a little back.

Be it a cake sale at school, a sponsored silence or a jumble sale there is always a way to raise funds and I feel it is especially important to include children in this.

We can all get caught up in our own lives and forget about those in a much harder situation than ourselves and this awareness should be bought to the attention of our children in the hope that is will help them to become thoughtful and compassionate adults.

A great way to do this is to find something fun that the whole family can take part in and this is where the NSPCC Messathon is the perfect event for family fundraising.

The clever people at the NSPCC a charity who’s aim is to help neglected and abused children launched their first Messathon and we were lucky enough to be asked along to take part.

The event is aimed at families with competitors as young as four allowed to compete.

We were up early on Saturday morning with Frankie absolutely champing at the bit to get started.

Tshirts and headbands at the ready we made our way to the starting line at Frimley Park  in Surrey for the warm up that got everyone going and eager to get started.

The claxon sounded and each team set off one at a time to make their way around the 2.5km obstacle course.

My super competitive family raced ahead to get going with the fun and I have to admit I was really excited to see what the course had in store for us.

We were faced with hay bales to scale, bubbles to slide through, a water slide to plumit down, a squelchey pool of mud to wade through and so much more.

It was a welcome break from the technological world that seems to take over our life so much and brilliant to have some good messy fun.

It had us in fits of giggles and really bought is together as a family by cheering each other on and helping each other to overcome each of the obstacles.


We bounced out way across the finish line on space hoppers to collect our medals of honour for taking part.

Sufficiently covered in mud and soaking wet we stopped and grabbed a well earned bite to eat from one of the many stalls offering great refreshments.



Everything has been though of at this event to made it fun and stress free to take part as a family.

There were plenty of toilets and changing facilities to get out of your soggy clothes or capes to save your car from the mess if you are unorganised like us!

Plenty of places to keep you entertained before and after the race with face paints and tattoos and an area to educate you a little more on the good work the NSPCC do.

Or simply spend a few hours in the beautiful surroundings the event is held in.

There are still two more Messathons for you to take part in this year with the first one being in Bristol on 29th July and the second in Herts on 19th of August.

If this takes your fancy then I have the discount code BLOGM25 that will save you 25% on your entrance fee if you add it at the checkout. 

We are now champing at the bit to take part again and I would love to know of any of you decide to have a go yourselves!

Watching My Child Have Her Baby

It’s been a little over a month now since I became a Nanny and the little bundle of joy has fitted herself into the family as if she has been here forever… although it seems like yesterday I was there watching her come into the world.

One of my biggest regrets through my births was not having enough to photos to look back on.

For me a large part of labour is always a blur and I would love to have been able to capture those moments be they good or bad to document the highs and lows of childbirth.

I spoke to Alice about this and she was more than happy for me to be there with my camera to capture those moments you will never get back.

The original plan had been for Alice to stay at home for as long as she could and then once she had got to the stage she needed to go to the hospital I would meet her and her partner there.

As with many births things don’t go to plan and I got her face timing me at 6.30 in the morning bouncing around on a birthing ball, hair like a mad woman and a real sense of panic on her face.

Anyone that has experienced labour for the first time will understand the worry and fear of the unknown and sometimes all you need is that little bit of reassurance that everything will be ok.

I got round to her as quickly as I could and  told her to take it easy as it was going to be a long day!

We reached the stage that she felt the need to go in and although she had managed to get to three centimetres without to much worry there was still that one centimetre to go before she would be admitted.

Home again, food eaten and a long bath was had and it wasn’t long before we were back in the car and in our way back again.

For me this is always an anxious time but Alice was taking things in her stride. Listening to the advice from the midwifes, staying mobile and coping much better than I would have thought…then the fun began!

The birthing pool was filled and for a good while she managed to stay calm and take each contraction as it came with a little help from gas and air.

The pain suddenly got far to imence for her and she started to lose control.

As much as Alice was going through the worst pain she had ever experienced, I was feeling the pain of ultimate helplessness and all I wanted to do was to take that pain away from her but there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

She was moved from the birthing pool to the labour ward as she was desperate to have an epidural and being so close I was trying my hardest to talk her round and just battle though those last few centimetres.

In my head I had for her my idea of the perfect birth and as bad as it seems I found it really hard to sit back and let her take control of her own decisions.

That Mum instinct kept kicking in and I realised that she was now a fully grown woman, capable of making her own decisions and I was going to have to let her go ahead and do what was right for her.

With the lack of anethitist and Alice not wanting a drip she managed to get through the next few hours on her own.

Screaming, shouting and in a complete state of panic there was nothing anyone could do to calm her down and it was honestly the most painful thing to watch as a mother.

She had lost control and nothing anyone said or did was going to comfort or calm her and I spend the next hour watching the clock that seemed to be on go slow. It was one of the lifestyle hours of my life.

It is your instinct to want to do all you can to comfort your child and childbirth takes this completely out of your hands.

You can be there but the battle lies with them and all you can do is support them as much as you can until that magical moment happens and your grandchild makes their way into the world.

That overwhelming rush of love flowed through my body in exactly the same was it had done with all my own births.

The tears were flowing and I knew from that moment things were going to change forever.

All the pain, worry and fear had left us both and we were left gazing at this perfect new life that was going to bring us such love.

All those new things we can help her discover, all those milestones that we can enjoy watching are laying out there in front of us as I was enternally grateful to have been allowed to be part of this once in a lifetime experience.

Birth is nothing short of a miracle and each new life coming into this world is a unique and beautiful event.

I was privileged to be able to go through every moment of this with my own daughter and is something that will be etched in my memory forevermore and I am so pleased that Alice now has a collection of these and more intimate photos to look back on and share with her own daughter in many years to come.

WWE Smackdown Live At The O2

I have to admit I wasn’t filled with excitement when an email popped up in my inbox asking me along to the O2 to watch WWE Smackdown Live.

However after seeing the face of my usually unexcitable teenage boy light up at the thought of it I knew that is was going to be an event that he was going to very much enjoy.

In fact it wasn’t only Archie that was full of excitement, my husband and my five year old Frankie are also massive fans which would make it a trip for all ages.

We arrived at the O2 and set off for some pre drinks where we got the chance to see some of the infamous belts and get up close to Dolph Ziegler and Becky Lynch. Sadly we didn’t manage to get a photo but it was still great to meet them in person.

We made our way to our seats kitted out in all the fantastic merchandise and I was astounded by the atmosphere that was filling the packed out arena.


People of all ages were sining, chanting and cheering as the spectacular ring entrances that were taking place and were completely immersed in the thrill of the fight scenes. Many of which were dressed as their favourite characters such as The Undertaker and Randy Orton.

Even I got drawn into the atmosphere and thoroughly enjoyed the three hour long performance that for me was a cross between a rock concert and a boxing match.

The boys sat there glued to the stage, joining in with the chants and getting super excited with each throw and slam dunk they saw.

This show really was an eye opener for me and it goes to show that you sometimes the things you think you will have little interest in can actually be a really enjoyable experience.

We all came out buzzing from a fantastic event and I would highly recommend taking a trip next time they are in a town near you.

 

Ocean Invaders At Sealife Southbank

The Southbank is one…if not my favourite place in London.

Street entertainers, a huge choice of food, and some of the most famous landmarks in London are just a few of the attractions that draw so many visitors to this area along with a whole host of fantastic attractions that are just perfect to keep the little ones amused.

A few weeks ago we were invited along by AttractionTix to have a sneak peek at the new jellyfish attraction called Ocean Invaders at the Sealife centre.

We were lucky enough to arrive before the general public which allowed us to get up close to the exhibits and have a spot of breakfast behind the scenes too!

The colours immediately caught my attention as we entered and the children’s eyes lit up as soon as we saw the huge tanks full of beautiful jelly fish.

  

There are three sections to explore that enables the children to see the jelly fish in all their beauty, learn all about them and their environments and an interactive zone that my youngest two and their lack of concentration gained a lot from. 

As everything is so hands on even my three year old was kept engaged throughout. It really offers something for everyone and even my husband and I came away having learnt something new about the world of jelly fish.

The fun doesn’t stop here though as the Sealife Centre has so much to offer and we spent a good few hours exploring the numerous exhibits.

The children loved to be able to acually touch a starfish in the rock pool area.  

They loved gazing above them and peeping through the holes in the Ocean Tunnel.

The Shark Walk was a huge hit with the boys, as was having the opportunity to get up so close to the magnificent stingrays. 

The favourite though was probably Penguin Point where they happy watched the Penguins play in their very own polar experience. 

Our day didn’t finish here as AttractionTix had a full day of fun set up for us with a trip on a river boat and a visit to Shrek’s Adventure still on our list.

They really are the place to go for hugely discounted tickets on endless amounts of attractions.

They offer such great discounts that combining more than one attraction in a day can become a lot more affordable than you would think, and Southbank is the perfect place to get the most out of your day in this way as there are so many great places less than a stones throw away from each other.

The streets of London as you all know are massively over crowded and it can sometimes be hard to take in the beauty it holds, so one way to get a fantastic look at some of Londons biggest landmarks is a boat trip down the Thames.

The children were all really excited to sit on the top deck of the London Eye River Cruise boat and look out across the water.


They spotted all the landmarks they knew such as the Shard and the Houses of Parliament and some lesser known ones were pointed out to us by the super friendly guide that talked us through our trip.


It was a relaxing and informative 40 minute trip that also gave me some fabulous photo opportunities.

The last port of call for the day was Shrek’s Adventure that we visited last year and absolutely loved.

It was the first time for my husband and he was a little sceptical about how they would managed to fit something based around a film into an entire attraction.

He was in fact proved wrong and so taken back what a great experience it was.

You are taken on a journey through the Kingdom of Far, Far Away encountering all sorts of exciting places on the way from a trip on a 4D bus to mixing potions in the very special bakery.

This interactive show sucks you in from the beginning due to the fantastic set up and highly skilled actors and actresses.

It is a place the children ask to go back to time and time again and I really don’t blame them.


We had the most fantastic day and managed to pack more in then I could have ever imagined.

There was something for the whole family to enjoy and I’m sure you have seen a least one thing here that would take your fancy.

Please let me know if you decide to visit  any of these attractions as I would love to know what you think!
*This event was put on for us by AttractionTix and this are all my own, honest opinions.