Celebrating The Small Things:Week Twenty Six

I am miles behind with these posts as I predicted I would be at the beginning of the year, but I’m going to try and play catch up with them as I’m very good at this and these posts are something I’ve really enjoyed and had great feed back about.

Coaxing The Teen From His Den – For those of you that follow my blog I’m sure that you will have noticed a bit of a gap when its comes to posting about my eldest son. This is not by choice or because he doesn’t want to be featured, it is purely because the lure of the Xbox is to great most of the time and quality moments are pretty rare.

However we had a pretty good run lately as he been taking part…and dare I say enjoying the Disney 24 Hour Challenge that we have been set.

The challenge in short is a way to encourage families to get active together in any kind of way you want. It has been a real breath of fresh air for us and we have thoroughly enjoyed spending time together in an active way and hope to keep it up even after the challenge has been completed.

Strawberry Picking – This is definitely one of my favourite simple pleasures in life and as soon as the sun shows his face I am eager to get out their and pick all those juicy strawberries.

It gives the children chance to run free and get to know a little more about where food comes from. It was always something I loved to do as a child and adore doing with my own.

Afternoon Naps – Oscar to me seemed to skip the toddler phase completely and moved straight onto a pre schooler. He has always been wise beyond his years, tackled toilet training at really young age, dressed independently for a long time and as for those longed for afternoon naps well they were given up at just over a year.

Although I love his fierce independence and grown up attitude I kind of feel robbed of those precious toddler years that seemed to skip by to quickly with him. So walking in on him curled up and fast asleep on my bed the other was a lovely reminder that he is still my little one that I have for a few more months yet.

Capturing The Wonder Of Mayfield Lavender With Rachel Thornhill

For the past few years the Mayfield Lavender fields in Banstead have been my first glimpse that summer has arrived. The magnificent sea of purple that fills the landscape and the beautiful smell that engulfs the air is a sight to be seen and one that I never ever tire of.

Mayfield Lavender has really gone from strength to strength and not only does it offer you the chance to enjoy this natural wonder there is also the opportunity to enjoy a huge range of scrutipous food and drink from the cafe such as juicy hotdogs, delectable homemade cakes and even a lavender cream tea which is still on my wishlist to try.

The shop is also fully stocked with goodies from tolliteries to lavender flavour sweets and of course a change to take home some of your very own lavender.

My little ones love being able to just run free through the fields but if you want a little more adventure then hop onboard the tractor for a ride around the fields to get a completly different perspective.

I am always the one holding the camera on our trips which I absolutly love, but this year it was a little different as we went along to meet the lovely Rachel Thornhill who is an expert when it comes to photography…especially at Mayfield Lavender.

Rachel is in fact one of the photographers recommend by Brendan Maye – The owner of Mayfield lavender and the moment I meet her I could understand why.

Her friendly smile and calm, welcoming nature put us all at ease when we arrived and she chatted at length with the children about what our morning was going to entail and how to care for the fields and the nature living there during the shoot.

I am not a fan of posed images and much prefer a playful, natural style of picture and this is exactly what Rachel tries to create. Capturing the children at play or us all in deep conversation creates a much more natural image and one that tells a story allowing it to be a more memorable capture and something to treasure for years to come.

During our shoot that lasted a little over an hour we got the change to explore, play, chat and giggle and at no point did the children get bored or restless as Rachel worked her magic and kept them happy and engaged throughout, she even managed to keep shooting when Oscar bundled in for cuddles.

What really sets her apart from other photographers is that she creates bespoke museum quality wall art and framed prints personal to you and hand made by professional printers in both the UK and Italy that are designed to stand the test of time, and become a part of your family story. The products are not available to buy from anywhere other than professional photographers, so really quite special?

Mayfield Lavender is a truly magical place that is pretty hard to find in the UK. It is a place to make special memories to keep for a lifetime and with something like a photoshoot with Rachel these special moments can be captured and remembered for many years to come.

*collaborated post

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Twenty Two

This week was a busier week than usual and a lot of it involved being grateful for the people around me.

Learning Through Play – I’m a great believer in children gaining a lot through play. As an adult I am certainly someone who learns better through practical experiences rather than gazing at a screen or someone talking parrot fashion at me.

I think this is also true for children and I love to get out and about with my lot to explore and learn about the world.

A trip to the farm with Oscar lead to us talking all things animals, building and shape naming in the construction area and answering question upon question on the runnings of the farm itself.

Finding Good People – Sometimes in life you just come across people that amaze you with their kindness and thought for others. A while ago I met a lovely lady through a couple of projects that I was working on and her warmness shone through from the moment we met.

Before we went away on our annual trip to Elderflower Fields I was looking into getting some henna put up my arm and she kindly asked me into her home, gave up her time and wanted nothing in return. In a world that can seem so selfish at times its refreshing to know there are certainly still a few good eggs.

Our Little Bit Of Peace – As I mentioned earlier we have just been on our yearly trip to Elderflower Fields that I will be telling you all about next week.

Aside from being a fabulous festival one of our favourite parts about the whole weekend is the chance to spend time together and switch off from the outside world. Its certainly a big bump back to reality once the weekend is over.

Everlasting Memories With Little Tikes

The whole ethos behind my blog is creating memories with my family and documenting them all to look back over in years to come so nothing is ever forgotten.

However our minds are wonderful things that can store and recall so many precious memories and this is where I really want the children to keep those all important moments and first in their lives.

I’m sure that we all remember the first time we tentatively learnt to ride a bike, the first time we nervously got behind the wheel of a car and the first time we gained the confidence to swim.

A few weeks ago Little Tikes invited us along to Silverstone Race Circuit where I was set to experience a first along with my youngest two – a helicopter ride.

It really was a ‘pinch me’ moment and something I don’t know whether we would have had the chance to experience if it wasn’t for my work and I am extremely grateful for that.

We arrived at the vast Silverstone Race Circuit and we had to pick the boys jaws up from the floor as they gazed out at the super cars and motorbikes racing around the track.

Their eyes then lit up even more when they walked into a room full of Little Tikes toys that kept them happy whilst they awaited their adventure.

The Little Tikes Wheels And Fylerz Range was perfect for my little thrill seekers as the remote controls are designed for little fingers to get to grips with and drive and fly to their hearts content.

With all the hype of their impending helicopter flight they headed straight for the My First Flyer which comes as a red air ambulance and a blue police helicopter. Using the one touch controls the helicopter can take to the air with it’s spinning propeller and wings and the boys played for ages seeing who could get it the highest and the furthest.

From here they moved onto the Tyre Twister Lights which is an amazing remote control police car with lights and sirens that can run around inside or outside the huge tyre.

I think a real favourite of the day though were the Remote Control Bumper Cars. Anything that involves crashing is a hit with my boys…including my husband, so with the aim of the game to get your competitor to fly out of their car this was a very popular.

After a lot of play and a spot of lunch it was time to go for a tour of the Silverstone Circuit. It was amazing to be allowed behind the scenes of this magnificent racetrack that was first used over 70 years ago!

We got to see the Race Control Centre which really is the hub for everything going on around the circuit, we visited the commentators box which was amazing to think off the amount of amazing races that have been witnessed from that very place, we got to go down into the pits which was an amazing experience for me and finally we took to the podium with the classic Little Tikes Cosy Coupe which is always a winner in our eyes!

As if the day hadn’t been full enough we were now going to have an experience like no other and one I was so happy to be able to share with the boys. We were driven to the helipad where we were given our briefing and kitted out with ear defenders in preparation for our flight.

Frankie who is certainly ‘all mouth and no trousers’ had a little wobble but I hurried him along before the nerves really set in! All buckled in the helicopter started up and their was absolute silence from the boys, which if you know them is a rarity! The helicopter started to ascended and we were able to enjoy the stunning views of the circuit and surrounding areas. We spent the flight spotting cars and areas that we had explored whist on the ground and the look on their little faces will be something to treasure for a lifetime.

Back on terraferma it was time to make our way home with a some amazing memories of an amazing day. The boys were also lucky enough to take home a My First Flight helicopter as a memento of the day. I hope that every time they lift that control it will bring back thoughts of their own helicopter trip and they can relive that very moment time and time again.

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.

Sweets Galore For Barratt’s 170th Birthday

My hands firmly clasped around a small, white ruffled paper bag full of my favourite sweets that had taken so much time and deliberation to choose is one of my fondest memories of our family holidays to Devon as a child.

My sister and I would be taken to the local sweet shop to pick our goodies for the long journey ahead where we would enjoy singing along in car whilst sucking on sour sherbet lemons, winding lengths of liqurique round our fingers and more often then not get in trouble for covering ourselves and the car in sherbet from our favourite Sherbet Fountains.

To so many people sweets are a huge part of their childhood memories and one taste can see them transported back to a special time and place that creates such a warm feeling of nostalgia.

I know this is very true to me and something my own parents have talked about over the years, fondly recalling sweets that are no longer available and the stories that come along with them.

The other week I was lucky enough to attend a golden ticket event hosted by Barratt – the brand behind so many of our much loved and fondly remembered sweets. Barratt have been out of the lime light for the past few years but have made a very welcome return with their patented classics such as Black Jacks and Fruit Salads and some great new products that I’m sure will have the power to conger up those same memories in my own children.

After a sweet themed cocktail…or two! we were given the opportunity to make our very own Dolly Mixtures with the help of a expert in this field who was probably shuddering at our feeble attempts.

With the help of the gorgeous Rosie from Mummy and Boo we managed to create a pretty good raspberry flavoured Dolly Mixture with a lovely pretty marbled effect; and for someone who isn’t a big fan of Dolly Mixtures I have to say our efforts weren’t to bad at all.

After all our hard work we settled down to a talk from the very knowledgeable food historian – Seren Charrington-hollins. I was astounded at how long ago the love affair with all things sweet started and was very surprised to how that chewing gum was intact founded in Greece, I would definitely have had my money on America for that one.

Below I have left some more information of the fascinating history of sweets and I hope this has all got you thinking about your childhood favourites as I would love to hear your stories.

*collaborated post

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Six

I seem to be getting later and later with these posts each week but I am determined to keep them up as I know they will be such a lovely reminder to look back on in years to come.

Last week was full of school runs, clubs and work but we still managed to share a few special moments along the way.

Water Babies: Swimming is by far one of the activities I avoid like the plaque! the sheer logistics of getting in and out of the pool bring me out in a cold sweat as getting in and out of our swimwear seems to take longer than the actual swimming itself.
However I had a real pang of guilt at my reluctance to go when I saw how much they all enjoy it and how well they were all swimming.
So from now on no matter how much I don’t want to immerse myself into the cold pool or struggle with sticky bodies and wet clothes I will get those little ones in the pool at least once a week.

The Perfect Nursery: Choosing schools for our children is always a nerve wrecking choice and I don’t think their is a parent out there that doesn’t worry they have made the right choice.
I’ve been both happy and unhappy with decisions on schooling I have made over the years but one place I couldn’t be more certain on is the nursery I choose for my youngest two.
It doesn’t have all the mod cons or a swanky building but it is full of love and care for each and every child and after picking up a poorly Oscar on Friday who was being cuddled and comforted I know there is no place I would rather enlist my children’s care to.

Woodland Walks: We can all get a little complacent with the things we have and I know that since writing these posts it has made me feel grateful for all the things I have that I would normally take for granted.
Walking Frankie to school in the morning is something I don’t often have time for as I’m busy trying to fit everything into my day; but when I do it is wonderful to be able to take a shortcut through the woods, turn off from everything else that is buzzing through my mind and connect with him and the beautiful surroundings.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Four

This weeks ‘celebrating the small things’ is a little self indulgent as I’m unusually pleased with what I have achieved. I’m usually full of self doubt and always see the negatives in what I do which is really counter productive and something I want to try to improve so here it goes:

Happy In My Work- I recently restarted teaching my ladies fitness kickboxing classes which I have found a whole new love for. Teaching was always a huge passion for me but the more children I had the trickier it became to fit this kind of work in and sadly it stopped a few years ago.
Thankfully the New Year has bought with it some lovely faces both old and new that have made my job an absolute pleasure once again.

Weight Loss Going Well – A New Year, restarting my classes and a big hit of self motivation has seen me finally losing some weight.
I wrote a post a while ago on how the past few years have seen me gaining a lot of weigh which has really bought me down and I’m so pleased that over the past few weeks I have seen some changes for the good.
I’ve banished the scales as these are always a source of disappointment for me and have simply used how I look and real as motivation to keep me going.

Looking Back – Last week the lovely Carrisa over at Little Likely Lads tagged me in a post on Insta Stories that needed me to scroll back through my hundreds of photos on Instagram to find my first ever post.
Of course this task had me stopping and looking over all the photos through the years and made me love this social media platform even more.
Moments captured in pictures are hugely important to me and Instagram allows me to see a whole host of my favourite moments in seconds.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week One

When I first started blogging it was a subject I knew very little about, and to say that I went into it blindly would be an understatement; but through the encouragement of family and friends I began my blogging journey and haven’t looked back since.

Over the past few years my blog has gone from strength to strength, it has now become my full time job and has bought me and my family some of the most amazing opportunities and allowed us to meet some wonderful people…some of which I would now class as good friends.

My blog is a place that I come to when I want people to find out about a great day out we have been on, somewhere I can give advice on great new products I have tried out or to celebrate big milestones in our lives; but as the New Year sets in and we naturally evaluate the different parts of our lives I have realised there is one area I have really overlooked when it comes to writing…The Small Things.

There are so many small moments in our lives that we take for granted or miss all together, moments that although may seem small and insignificant they give us great pleasure and we should learn to cherish and show our gratitude for them all.

I have decided to now do a weekly post highlighting all those little moments that would normally pass me by as a document to look back on in years to come and remember fondly.

Brotherly love: When it comes to the youngest two its always been a bit of a love hate relationship, with the latter certainly being more predominant, so when a special moment such as Frankie requesting to take his little brother out to share his birthday treat is an occasion that should be marked.

Lego: This may seem like a strange one, but the wonderful world of Lego has bought us all so much joy since Christmas in many ways. It dominated the youngest two’s christmas lists this year but has brought the whole family such pleasure and brought us together for some much needed quality time as we all muck in trying to make the next creation.

Storytime: Its been more than a few years since Izzy has requested a bedtime story, and to be truthful its not very often she willingly picks up a book! So after buying her the fantastic Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls it has been an absolute pleasure to see her engrossed in reading and sharing what she has learnt about a whole host of ‘kick arse’ women.

Teaching My Children To Make Non-Resolutions

In the past the 1st January has never filled me with hope and longing for the fresh New Year ahead but more of a sinking feeling that so many of those resolutions I had made the year before had not been achieved and probably more accurately been broken within the first week.

It heralds a time when society tells us that we need to compile huge lists of goals and aspirations for the year ahead that whist writing I am already in my head knowing that trying to fulfil all these dreams and wishes within such a short space of time is going to be unrealistically achievable.

I know that for many of you the dawn of a New Year is the perfect start to clean the slate and achieve new goals and I applaued you for this but it is simply something that has never worked for me.

As my children grow the tradition of New Years’s resolutions are obviously something that they have become interested in so this year I have decided to introduce non-resolutions.

Instead of looking back on the past year and highlighting the things we haven’t achieved I will be earging them to highlight the positives, even if they may have seemed insignificant at the time, its all of the little things that go unnoticed I want them to reflect on and celebrate.

Instead of setting goals within an arbitrary time frame I want them to create life goals they can strive towards and achieve when they are good and ready, have hopes and dreams they can fulfil within a time that suits them and most importantly celebrate simply being who they are and be proud of whatever they achieve whenever they choose to do it.