Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Happy #TheGallery

These two make me so super happy, it's a bit overwhelming sometimes. Yes, there are days when they drive me completely insane but they more than make up for it when they have moments like this.

These moments, where they smile and laugh and have such fun together are happening more and more these days. It's like they understand each other now. Wee Z realises he has to be patient with his sister. Miss C realises that her brother just wants to help and isn't being bossy...all the time.

They love to laugh about silly things together.

They love to cuddle up and watch movies together.

They love to play Minecraft together.

It's so lovely to see their relationship growing. It makes me really, really happy!

Me & Mine #4

I had planned to get to the park as soon as the daffodils started to bloom but it didn't happen. Work got in the way. We managed to get a photo just before they all started to wilt away. It's crazy but they are now all gone! They only last a few weeks; they mark the beginning of Spring and then disappear until next year...a bit like Creme Eggs.

It took ages to get this photo because of where the sun was and where the best daffodils were but we got it eventually. I love how we've gone for a "boy, girl..." set-up. We didn't even mean to do it.

This month I've been loving the sunny days. It makes such a difference when you wake up to sunshine. The two week holiday was great. I really enjoyed spending time with the kids and I loved having a day out with Husband, just the two of us.

Husband passed his big bike test this month which he was thrilled about. He's got his big bike, a Suzuki Bandit. It's big and blue. He's trying to convince me to get on the back for a ride but I'm not sure. I think I'll let him get more experience on the bike before I sit on it.

Wee Z really enjoyed his Easter camp with Karate. The club host camps a few times a year but this was the first one Wee Z wanted to go to. He really enjoyed the games and team building exercises.

Miss C has loved having lots of chocolate to eat and especially enjoyed the Easter egg hunt at her Gran's farm. She has loved going horse riding, as always, and is really coming along now.

dear beautiful

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Week That Was #16

Last Sunday, the kids were really excited to open their Easter presents from Bella and Pops and to start demolishing their Easter eggs. They spent the morning decorating hard boiled eggs for rolling down the hill at the park. After lunch, we headed to the park to roll our eggs. There were lots of other families there with the same idea. The kids had a great time.

On Monday, it was back to work for me. It was quiet with it being a Bank holiday. When I got home, the kids were playing outside and Husband was getting on with some DIY. It was a lovely day. I changed all the bedding so the kids had fresh sheets for going to bed early.

On Tuesday, it was back to school and nursery for Wee Z and Miss C. After having such an early night, I thought they'd be awake at the crack of dawn...I still had to wake them at 7:30! After walking to school, I went to work. When I came home, Miss C wanted to play her Leappad. We collected Wee Z from school and we came home to do his homework. The kids wanted to play outside but it wasn't very nice. Instead we read a book together.

On Wednesday, I picked Miss C up from a friend's house. She'd been shopping with them and they had bought her some earmuffs! She loved them. We came home and I had a quick lunch before picking up Wee Z. After school, the kids had chocolate spread on toast - a favourite snack!

On Thursday, Miss C had been to the park with a friend. She told me she had a great time. We picked Wee Z up from school and came home to play outside as it was a lovely day. I also found out what class Miss C would be going in to when she starts school in August which made it all a bit real!

On Friday, it was my day off. I dropped the kids off at school and then headed to the shops. After picking up Miss C, we made chicken and rice soup. I had a hospital appointment in the afternoon so Husband picked Wee Z up from school. After dinner, Wee Z went to karate with his best friend and Miss C snuggled down to watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua. She loves that film!

On Saturday, it was my weekend off which meant I didn't have to be up early. I got up before 8 though and cleaned the house top to bottom. We dropped Wee Z off at karate and then picked my Grandma up from the bus station. After karate, Grandma treated us to lunch at our favourite Italian restaurant. It was delicious. After an afternoon playing dominoes, we had dinner, got in to our jammies and all watched Britain's Got Talent.

Silent Sunday #17

Saturday, 26 April 2014

365 Project 2014 Days 110 - 116

Day 110 - Easter Eggs are yummy
Day 111 - Mini Lindt bunnies are addictive
Day 112 - More chocolate, this time on toast
Day 113 - The cats having a cuddle
Day 114 - Holding hands on route to school and nursery
Day 115 - New Lego to build
Day 116 - Up early to get started

Easter Outdoor Fun #CountryKids

Easter Sunday was a beautiful day
The perfect day for rolling eggs

We headed to the park together
Hard-boiled eggs on hand

We found the biggest hill to roll them down
Which was rather busy too

We watched as our eggs exploded 
And then headed to play

The kids found lions to climb upon
They rode to kingdoms far

Wee Z found a rope swing 
He climbed on to have a shot

Miss C watched and decided she would try too
She wasn't as keen as Wee Z

It was a beautiful day on Easter Sunday
We had lots of fun at the park

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 25 April 2014

Flashback Friday - Practising With the Walker

It was around this time four years ago that Miss C started standing and pulling herself up using anything she could steady herself against, including her baby buggy which doubled up as a baby walker.

I can't get over how cute and chubby she is in this photo. 

She didn't go very far with her baby walker at first; she was just pleased with herself for being able to stand and look around.

Once she got going though, you definitely had to watch your toes. Miss C figured out quickly that her walker would help her to get to the places she wanted to a lot quicker than crawling did!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Easter #TheGallery

After rolling our hard boiled eggs down a really big hill at the park, the kids found a swing tied to a branch.

Wee Z was first on it.

He had to give himself a few push-offs from the tree but once he got swinging, he was having a great time.

All that swinging helped burn off the chocolate he had eaten for lunch!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

So That Was Easter

The school holidays are over.

It's time to get back to routine.

Early rises.

School runs.


But we had an excellent Easter holiday.

Spending time together has been fantastic. I was off work for the second week of the holidays but, because I was on late shift, I got to spend the first week with the kids too. I was leaving for work just as they were going to bed. Husband had 4 days off over Easter weekend and it was great to have him at home too.

We enjoyed trips to the park, meeting up with friends, play dates, shopping trips, watching films, playing outside, Karate Camp and eating lots of chocolate.

These are the days we remember forever. I have such fond memories of the holidays I spent with my family and friends. I hope Wee Z and Miss C will be able to look back in years to come and feel the same.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Me & You #4

So it isn't the best photo we've ever taken, but here is Husband and I taking a "selfie" on my phone. We're both knackered after our day out together. I had wanted to get a photo of us in the city centre beside some of the gorgeous monuments but we were just so busy, going from shop to shop and enjoying the sunshine.

It's very rare that we get days for just us, so when we do, we take full advantage and head out somewhere together. The kids were off to their Gran's farm to go on an Easter Egg hunt. They were very excited. Husband and I decided to go to the city centre to get their birthday presents and enjoy a spot of lunch together. We got the train so we could have a few drinks too.

It was lovely walking along, hand in hand, enjoying the sunshine. We didn't have to worry about holding on to a small hand or making sure the kids weren't touching things they shouldn't be touching in shops. We didn't have to rush around or make quick dashes to the toilet. We enjoyed lunch being able to talk to each other without having to make sure a small person was eating their food and not spilling their drink.

It was just a day for Husband and I to enjoy being just us. Of course we missed the kids but we all need a break from each other now and again and it makes a big difference when it's during the day instead of at night, once the kids are in bed.

The Week That Was #15

Last Sunday, despite a late night the night before, I was up at 8:30 and getting on with the cleaning whilst everyone else was snoring away! I took Miss C to horse riding and she had a brilliant lesson. After horse riding, we had lunch and had a lazy afternoon at home. We watched Britain's Got Talent! I took the kids for their swimming lessons and then we came home to chicken curry for tea.

On Monday, it was day one of Wee Z's Karate Camp. He was very excited although, he did think they were actually going camping at first. Karate Camp is a week of extra Karate lessons but with some games and there are limited numbers, so it isn't as busy as a normal class. Wee Z had a great time. Miss C and I went to the park and bought some pizza for lunch. The sun finally arrived so the kids played outside for most of the afternoon and after dinner.

On Tuesday, Husband was off work to sit his bike test. He took Wee Z to Karate Camp which meant I didn't have to rush about to get ready. Miss C spent the morning playing with her Playmobil. After lunch and after Husband got home from passing his test, we went to the park. It was a lovely day and quite warm when the wind wasn't there. The kids had a great time. We went out for Chinese for dinner and the kids were zonked by 8pm.

On Wednesday, we dropped Wee Z off at Karate Camp, ran some errands and then came home to hang out the washing. Miss C decided she wanted to draw and ended up designing her very own Superhero Lottie Doll. After lunch we went outside to tidy up the garden and then cuddled up on the couch to watch some TV. Wee Z had been to a friend's house after Karate Camp and came home at 5pm. He had a great time.

On Thursday, we dropped Wee Z at Karate Camp for his last day. We came home and Miss C played with her Playmobil swimming pool. We picked Wee Z up and came home for lunch. It wasn't a very nice day so we stayed in and watched Walking with Dinosaurs. It's such a great film!

On Friday, my MIL picked the kids up and took them to her farm for the day. She had planned an Easter Egg hunt for them. Husband and I took advantage of our child-free day by going in to the city. We took the train incase we wanted to get some drinks with our lunch. We picked up some stuff for the kids for their birthdays. Sadly, Disney Store was all out of Frozen stuff! We were knackered by the time we got home, as were the kids.

On Saturday, after working in the morning, I came home and we had lunch. It was a lovely day so we headed out in to the garden. I washed my car whilst the kids played Harry Potter Lego game and looked at insects with their magnifying glass. They found a ladybird. Only Wee Z was brave enough to hold it. After dinner, we watched Walking with Dinosaurs again as Daddy hadn't seen it.

Silent Sunday #16

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Project 365 2014 Days 103 - 109

Day 103 - Spot the real ones amongst the teddies
Day 104 - Fun at the park
Day 105 - More fun at the park
Day 106 - Making pancakes
Day 107 - "You look faraway Mummy!"
Day 108 - Mummy and Daddy day out
Day 109 - Felix is looking for Wally

Playing in the Park #CountryKids

Finally a sunny day arrived
And we decided to go to the park
Miss C literally leaped as she ran 
I didn't even give her a head start

We started at the squirrel
Rocking to and fro
Then headed to the assault course
To practising climbing up the wall

It was such a lovely day
Just playing and having fun
We love when the days are warm
So we can play out in the sun

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 18 April 2014

Flashback Friday - Miss C's first Easter

It was 2010 when Miss C celebrated her first Easter. She wasn't even a year old so she didn't get to eat her Thorntons Easter Egg her Uncle had bought her.

That April, it was roasting hot. We spent the day at the park with the kids' Uncle's dog. Miss C was fascinated with him and kept trying to climb on to him. She wasn't walking but she was getting good at getting where she wanted to be.

After the park, we came home and enjoyed the sun in the garden. Before we got our trampoline, we had a swing in the garden and Miss C loved sitting in it and being pushed for ages...a bit like she how she enjoys the swings now.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Enjoying a Healthy Breakfast

A few months ago, I was asked to keep a record of what we ate for breakfast for one week. After the week, our record would be passed on to a nutritionist so they could evaluate our breakfast habits to see if they could improve or suggest anything we needed to add to our diet.

I do believe that breakfast is a really important meal to have. It sets you up for the day and helps you concentrate. I'd like to say I put on a really fancy breakfast but I just don't have time, especially on weekday mornings.

Every morning, the kids and I will have a bowl of cereal. It's quick and easy. Wee Z will have yogurts too but Miss C really struggles to eat a full bowl of cereal. She takes after her Daddy, who can't eat anything until at least 11am.

For myself, I like Weetabix, muesli or something like Crunchy Nut Cornflakes or Special K. The kids like Honey Hoops, Multigrain Shapes and Coco Pops but they will also eat Golden Syrup Weetabix. I try to get them to eat fruit in their Weetabix, like they used to when they were babies, but they don't like it in their milk.

After recording our breakfast diary for one week, I passed it on to the nutritionist. They came back to me and told me that our breakfast habits were quite good; we just needed to add in fruit and some whole grains. Whole grains are an important part of the diet as they can help reduce the risk of heart disease (an important one for me!), type 2 diabetes and strokes. They also help you feel fuller for longer. Eating a portion of fruit counts as 1 of your 5 a day and by eating one or two portions at breakfast time, it is easier to achieve that target. A serving of 100% pure fruit juice also counts as one of your 5 a day.

We were sent a box filled with lovely cereals from Nestle that contain whole grains as a thank you for taking part. The box contained Shreddies and Shredded Wheat but also fun cereals that the kids love; Golden Nuggets and Cookie Crisps. The kids were delighted as they don't usually get these kinds of cereals as I didn't think they were the best cereals for them. But the nutritionist recommended them because they are made with whole grains. You can easily tell which Nestle cereals have whole grains in them by the green banner across the top of the box. 

It was really interesting to get feedback on our breakfast habits and we're definitely taking steps to improve what we eat for breakfast.

What do you and your family like to eat for breakfast?

How to Have a Fun-Filled Easter Holiday

We are in to week two of the Easter holidays and while last week was a bit of a washout weather-wise, this week it has been glorious! I hope I haven't just jinxed it!

Here are some of the fun things we've been doing in the Easter Holidays:

We've been drawing and getting crafty. I love colouring as I find it very relaxing and you can spend a good hour with the kids just drawing pictures or making Easter inspired crafts.

We've been listening to music and getting up to dance. I have music on whenever I can as having a dance around the kitchen with the kids is great fun. We received the Go! Go! Go! album which is a CD filled with songs and a DVD with dance routines from the new Nick Jr show. The songs are really catchy and the kids loved learning the dance routines too. Our favourite song was "Wake up Smiling!"

We've been playing board games. Orchard Toys have featured heavily in our Easter fun. We love their jigsaws and board games. Perfect for rainy days which we have seen plenty of this holiday!

We've been watching movies. We received Walking With Dinosaurs The Movie which was released on DVD on 14th April. This is such a great movie and the kids were in awe of the dinosaurs. It's about a Pachyrhinosaurus called Patchi, who goes on a journey to find where he belongs. He makes friends along the way and encounters dangerous enemies too. The movie is just stunning to watch.

We've been playing with Playmobil. Miss C loves Playmobil and she will sit for ages and come up with all these stories for her Playmobil people. It's fun to watch her imagination running wild. In this photo, they've gone on holiday in their campervan to a pony ranch.

We've been enjoying the sunshine. We've managed to get to the park a few times. It's so nice to have the sun here. I always feel better for getting outside for some fresh air and I do believe it helps the kids sleep better and wake fresher in the mornings.

What activities have you been up to in the Easter holidays?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A Favourite Place #TheGallery

My absolute favourite place to go to is the beach. That may seem like a crazy thing to say given that we live in Scotland where, for most of the year it's raining but having grown up abroad, I love being near the sea and feeling the sun on my skin.

There are the rare days here where the sun will be splitting the skies and everyone flocks to the beach. We tend to go later in the day when everyone has started to pack up and head home. It isn't as warm but it's still nice and it's quiet.

I love the smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks and the glittering from the sun hitting the sea. We're lucky that we live near a few beaches and it's just a short drive to them. The kids love building sandcastles and splashing in the water.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Math Seeds - Review

After reviewing Reading Eggs in February, we were happy to be asked to review Math Seeds. Math Seeds is designed to help children aged 3-6 years become aware of numeracy and math skills. Children can work through the activities at their own level and are rewarded at the end of each section with Golden Acorns that can be used to add items to the child's online treehouse or to add to their avatar.

To start the Math Seeds journey, your child does a simple math test. As soon as your child gets three answers wrong, the test stops and this determines which level they start Math Seeds from. Miss C did well on hers and started on level 21.

Each activity is bright and engaging. Miss C had to order numbers, click on the numbers she was being asked to find and recognise amounts. It was fun to watch Miss C work herself through each activity. It made me realise she actually knows more than she lets on sometimes! She still has a bit to work through but, even with a few minutes on Math Seeds as and when, I've noticed a big improvement in her number recognition.

The activities are very responsive to your child's touch or click of the mouse which is good for stopping kids getting frustrated. If they haven't chosen an answer within a few seconds, the question is repeated for them.

As well as working through the levels on the map, there is also a playroom where your child can go in and play number games, learn about shapes, symmetry and quantities. These are great if you don't have a lot of time to work through a lesson with your child but have a few free minutes to play a quick game.

If you'd like your child to try out Math Seeds for a four week period instead of two, use the code UKB27MST to register on the Reading Eggs website.You can use Math Seeds on your desktop or laptop and it can also be accessed via a tablet or phone for easiness.

This is another fun programme that encourages children to learn through play and we've really enjoyed using Math Seeds. 

We received a free trial for the purposes of a review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Woolly and Tig: Woolly at Nursery - Book Review

We received Woolly at Nursery to review from Random House. The book is about Woolly and Tig, who are characters in the popular TV show on Cbeebies. The book is written by Brian Jameson.

Tig goes to nursery and loves to take along her cuddly toy spider, Woolly. He really enjoys going to nursery with Tig. They have lots of fun and enjoy playing with the other children at the nursery. Tig really likes her nursery teacher, Miss Claire. She is very friendly and helpful.

Tig is playing at nursery when she bumps heads with one of the other children. He blames Tig and Tig blames him. Neither of them were very happy. Tig is so unhappy, that the next day she tells her Daddy she has a sore tummy and that she doesn't want to go to nursery. With help from Woolly, Tig eventually tells Daddy and Miss Claire what happened. They explain that accidents happen and the children say sorry to each other.

Miss C really liked Woolly. He's really colourful and he looks very cuddly...for a spider! I don't think your child would have had to watch the TV show to enjoy the books; Miss C hasn't seen the show before and she really enjoyed this book and its characters.

The book isn't illustrated; it has photos on each page of what's happening in the story. What I love about the pages though, is the bright colours that create a border on each page. Miss C loved looking for Woolly.

Woolly at Nursery is a great book to read with children who are at nursery so you can talk to them about what they do at nursery, who they play with, what to do if something happens at nursery that makes them sad and encouraging them to share their worries.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Week That Was #14

Last Sunday, we woke up at 10am. Luckily we didn't have anything on so we lazed about, had breakfast, cleaned the house and then lazed about some more. I took the kids to swimming lessons and Husband went to the gym. After dinner, the kids watched a movie as they didn't have to get up early for school or nursery. Holidays rock!

On Monday, it was a horrible day. It rained right up until after tea time. We spent the day indoors, tidying up Wee Z's room. It was recently decorated but it still isn't finished. That's just the way decorating goes when you're doing it yourself though. Wee Z practised his magic tricks whilst Miss C watched. After tea, I had to go to work but the kids were able to get outside to play on the trampoline until bedtime.

On Tuesday, it was another miserable day although there were a few breaks from the rain and the kids managed to get outside to play on the trampoline. After lunch, we cuddled up in my bed to watch Masterchef. The kids love watching Masterchef and other shows involving food and cakes. Miss C decided she wanted to be a chef and told me she'd make me some yummy dinner!

On Wednesday, it was a very windy day but the rain held off and we decided to walk in to town and back. The kids took their scooters. I thought this would make them faster but it just meant we had to stop more often to fix handlebars or to carry them across the road. It was good to get out and get some fresh air though. We got a doughnut from Greggs as a treat. They were yummy but not nearly as good as Krispy Kremes!

On Thursday, the weather hadn't done much improving. We nipped to Tesco to pick up some goodies for a gathering we are going to on Saturday. When we came home, we decided to watch some more Masterchef. The kids really get in to the show and already have their favourites!

On Friday, we went food shopping. Normally the kids are in school and nursery when I do my food shop so it doesn't take long at all. With the kids in tow, it definitely takes longer. They have to stop and look at things and pick things of the shelf that they want to buy. Usually I avoid this happening by getting them to help with the shopping list. After lunch, we met up with Wee Z's best friend and his Mum at soft play. The kids had a great time running around whilst us Mums had a good catch up.

On Saturday, we went to a friend's house to watch the Scottish Grand National. When that finished, we ate lots of food and most of the house got drunk. Not the kids, of course, and I was designated driver so I was on the water. The kids watched movies and had great fun playing together and tormenting each other too. The adults had a great time chatting and laughing a lot. It was a great day!

Silent Sunday #15

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Project 365 2014 Days 96 - 102

Day 96 - Masterchef in bed with breakfast
Day 97 - A day for playing with toys
Day 98 - Wee Z is learning tricks to be a magician
Day 99 - Felix didn't want to get up!
Day 100 - Wee Z enjoying runny boiled eggs with soldiers
Day 101 - A walk to soft play
Day 102 - Making some lovely pictures

Scooter Rides to Town #CountryKids

Can we take our scooters, Mummy?
They said with eagerness
So, of course, I said yes

They sped down the lanes
Across the paths
We were getting to town awfully fast

Racing each other as fast as they could go
They were having a blast 
I wondered how long this energy would last

It ran out on the way home from town
The smiles from earlier had turned to frowns
We're tired, they complained
 But it was good whilst it lasted 
Enjoying the fresh air again!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 11 April 2014

A Classic Day Out For Us

A Classic Day out for Wee Z would be
Somewhere to explore and make discoveries
A castle with ruins, places with maps
He loves to learn lots of interesting facts

A Classic Day out for Miss C would be
Somewhere with animals to pet and to feed
A trip to the farm park or perhaps to the zoo
To see lions or monkeys and hold an owl or two

A Classic Day Out for Daddy would be
Somewhere outdoors where imaginations run free
Dens to explore and adventures to be had
And if we get messy, well that isn't so bad

A Classic Day Out for me would be
A trip to the beach to see the sea
To lie in the sun and soak up the rays
Is really the best way to spend our days
For tea we would have fish and chips by the shore
And ice cream for pudding, no dishes for chores

 Our Classic Day out might not be the same you see
But it's a perfect day out if we're together as a family

We love our days out as a family which is why I'm entering the "Classic Day Out" competition hosted by Annie from Mammasaurus and Alice from More Than Toast. The fantastic prize, provided by UGG Australia is our Classic Day Out to the value of £300, a pair of UGG boots for an adult and a pair of UGG boots for a child, which we would love to win. We'd just need to agree on the day out!

I live in my UGG boots but I definitely wouldn't wear them for my Classic Day Out at the beach. Thankfully, UGG Australia have some gorgeous sandals and flip flops; I adore these Lucianna Stripe wedges in tomato soup colour (priced at £120). Perfect for wearing to the beach but they are also dressy enough to wear out to dinner if we decided to go somewhere afterwards.

Miss C also loves her UGG boots but she's almost outgrown her pair of cerise Bailey Bow boots so it's time for some new ones. For her trip to the zoo, I've chosen the Bailey Bow boots in Purple Reign with Lipgloss coloured bows and soles (priced between £110-£130). These are Miss C's two favourite colours combined on one gorgeous pair of boots. These boots are pretty and fun, just like Miss C! UGG boots keep your feet really cosy and comfortable, two very important factors when you're walking around alot in our unpredictable weather. And I know Miss C's feet are well supported as UGG boots don't collapse at the side like other "Ugg style" boots do through regular wear.

For Wee Z and Daddy, a pair of waterproof boots would be the best fit for their days out. All that exploring and climbing means they need a good pair of boots that will keep their feet dry and comfortable.

Hannen in Grizzly for Daddy (priced at £235)
Maple in Black for Wee Z (priced at £90)

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