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30.7.13

A Day That Never Gets Easier

I hate today.
Whenever my brother visits I dread this day. The day he goes home.
I hate it.
I hate it.
I hate saying goodbye to him.
I. Hate. It.

For just over a week he has been "home" and it's been so amazing. We've had busy days out, the boys are exhausted but have had so much fun with their Uncle. They truly adore him and their faces light up as soon as they see him or even hear his name.
I adore him. He is the best brother I could ever ask for.
My twin.
We have always been close, and friends, and I love that we can go out and spend the day together. We'll take the boys to the zoo, to the park, to soft play, and we all have fun.
I'm proud to be seen with him. I am happy and relaxed in his company.
I am able to forget the miles that keep us apart when he is at his new home in Somerset.
I love having him in my life, even though he is too far away.
Although I find that, in my head and maybe openly towards him, I am quite mothering and a bit protective. I want to know where he is, if he is ok, who he is out with, who he has seen, if he's still talking to X, Y or Z.
In a perfect world I would know all of these things. And I would be happy.
But there are things you can change and things that you can't. I can't change where he lives. As much as I want to.
But I can change my feelings and finally learn to accept that it's not a year out. He's not there temporarily. It could be forever.
As much as that breaks my heart.
A week is never quick enough. 
And I already want to count down until his next visit. Whenever that may be.
The best uncle.
The best brother.
My best friend.

29.7.13

The Little Green Sheep Mattress Protector {Review}

When we decided to move Harry into his own bedroom we had to purchase a new cot bed as Charles' one had broken (apparently they can't cope with the weight of a man jumping on them, who knew?!) we also decided to get a new mattress.
We couldn't believe the state Charles' old one had got into with just a year and a half of use.
We were surprised at how horrid it was as we used the disposable mattress protectors all of the time, and this clearly proved that they weren't as absorbent as we hoped.

I was given the opportunity to review an Organic Cotton Mattress Protector from The Little Green Sheep.
I was interested to see if it would be any different to the disposable ones we had been using.

At first I was impressed with the size, as it completely covers the whole of the mattress (70cm x 140cm), the only thing that would have impressed me more if it was in the style of a fitted sheet so I could guarantee that it wouldn't move underneath the bed sheet.

Harry isn't a big bed wetter (by that I mean with leaky nappies) so we had to wait a while until we were able to review this product properly.
He does occasionally take a drink to bed which will sometimes leak or spill in some way and the mattress protector passed the test when it came to this.

Then, after thinking that we would never actually be able to do the leaky nappy test we had a breakthrough. Harry sat on his bed after a bath, without having a new nappy on, and well, wet the bed. Now normally I wouldn't praise such a thing but I was rather excited and immediately checked (and changed) the bedding. Although it had clearly soaked through to the mattress protector it hadn't gone any further than that.
Success!

The mattress is still as good as new and I am confident that it will remain that way for a very long time.

The mattress protector is easy to clean and is machine washable and tumble dryer safe.

The price may seem a little steep at £29.95 but when you consider the material used, the fact that it works and that you'll save money on disposable sheets then you can justify that cost.
If we needed to we would purchase another of the mattress protectors.

I was sent a mattress protector from The Little Green Sheep for the purpose of this review.

Motivational Monday #2

Last week I posted my first Motivational Monday quote, something I'd like to continue every Monday.
I want these to be something which will put a smile on my face, and on the face of whoever reads it, and sends everyone off in a "I must remember that" state.
Which brings me on to this weeks quote:

I love this. Sometimes it's so easy to take the easy way out. To quit doing something, going to something etc.
Sometimes you just need a little boost to carry on and keep going, even if it is a struggle, to prove people wrong. To prove that you can do it, you can succeed, you can continue. That you are good enough.


28.7.13

Some Things I Love #3


 
Without being a soppy suck up I can't really miss out on the opportunity to share two posts from two of my favourite people.
My Two Mums
A Question from Clara.
And An Answer from Kirsty.
Warning, you may need tissues.
 
My brother has a video camera for his motorbike and on Thursday, during his visit back home, we went on a day out to a woodland play area. He had a fab idea to strap the camera to Charles so we could see what it may be like to be him, and what he says/does if he is away from us.
Last Sunday I had a date day with my husband. I planned on wearing a summery maxi dress but felt it was too cool so went for my new French Connection dress, which is beautiful and was a bargain at £18 BUT the material is so thin I'm not sure it will last long at all. I chose to wear tights and biker boots and oh my goodness. I've worn these boots before and had no problems but today the blisters were just ridiculous.

With My Two Mums asking this week for Space themed songs for their sons first birthday party I found myself on YouTube listening to David Bowie, Babylon Zoo and Simply Red. I didn't switch the tv on at all that evening as I was lost in this flashback moment.

My husband.  I won't say too much as I'm in the middle of writing a post about him but he's pretty amazing and because of his hard work and dedication, as well as talent, I am able to be a stay at home mum.




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24.7.13

Our Royal Baby Tea Party

Since the Royal Wedding I have been completely into the Royals. I always quite liked Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry but I got swept up in the excitement of the wedding, and the Royals and have been excited about them ever since.
My husband is a Royalist and suggested we have a tea party for the Royal Wedding. At the time I wasn't too interested in seeing the family members as they arrived so I was busy in the kitchen all day preparing the many courses we had throughout the day and popped into the lounge every now and then when something interesting happened (when Prince William and Prince Harry arrived for example, which made a heavily pregnant me break down sobbing as I could just imagine how proud their mother would have been if she had been there).
We celebrated the Jubilee last year, making an effort to get to local events and to have flags and bunting up at home. So of course with the Royal Baby due, a Prince and a Future King, it was obvious that we had to celebrate it too.

The boys have very much caught our excitement and love for the Royals and Charles asks who everyone is, he asks where The Queen is, and Prince Charles and was desperate for the baby to arrive and to see him.
Harry loves babies and thought it was rather entertaining that their names were mentioned a few times on Sky News.

My husband works from home and now tends to come in, grab his lunch and then take it to work. We planed that the day the Royal Baby arrived or the day after would be our Tea Party day and we would do it at lunch time, with him sitting with us.

We didn't go over the top. We picked simple foods. But it was lovely to just sit together as a family, with bunting up at the window, waiting to hear when the new Prince and his parents would be leaving the hospital.

 
I'm opening this up as a linky so we can have a sort of mass (or small, whatever) blogging celebration for the new Prince.
Link up a tea party or anything you've done to celebrate the Royal Baby.

Best Family Camping Spots in the UK {Guest Post}



There’s no greater staycation than a camping trip – getting out into nature, sleeping under the stars (well, under a tent under the stars, hopefully) – that’s the stuff of which childhood memories are made.


You might not remember all the swear words mummy uttered when she was trying to put up the tent but you’ll remember the campfire nights and the taste of tea from a plastic cup, the feeling of being surrounded (and a bit covered in) nature.

While the weather’s still good, grab yourself a family-sized tent here and take your pick from some of the best of British campsites below. To keep this geographically fair, there’s a camping spot suggestion in every corner of the UK. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

North: Rothiemurchas, Scotland

The perfect campsite for a family that’s into their outdoor activities; you can try clay pigeon shooting, go on a ‘safari’ of the local wildlife, give archery a go and catch a fishy dinner.

East: The Secret Campsite, Sussex

Founded by a botanist with ambitions to create an ‘edible campsite’, this area of colourful natural beauty has been carefully preserved to create a clean, clear, earthy environment for children to explore.

Go wild swimming, go on a nature trail to discover beautiful (and delicious) plants, and if you really miss the city, head to Brighton for the day. There are also facilities for campfires and barbecues, so you can set up your Weber and grillyour supper.

South: Gwithian, Cornwall

Gwithian campsite is a leisurely walk from the gorgeous Gwithian beach. With clear water, soft sand and truly incredible views, you’re near the lighthouse that inspired Virginia Wolfe and ten short minutes from the St. Erth railway station – so, when you’re tired of soaking in the sun and sand, you can take the picturesque train journey to St. Ives and grab some food at the crab shack.

Then head back to the family-and-pet-friendly campsite for some shut eye or follow our top tip: head out to the beach after dark for truly incredibly views of the stars in the night sky.

West: Rhosson ganol, Pembrokeshire

About as far west as you can go before the ocean, this site has lovely views and is within strolling distance of a beach and boating adventures. Peaceful, tranquil – it’s a place to escape to for completely rural relaxation.

This post is in association with Argos.

23.7.13

Another Mummy Son Date

Back in May I planned a little date afternoon with Charles. I've been desperate to do that again, and with preschool finishing last Friday I thought that a trip to the cinema the following day would be a great start to the summer holidays, and my way of treating him for being so well behaved at school and enjoying it the whole year.
Also, recently the boys have become obsessed with Monsters Inc. and after seeing the Monsters University was on at the cinema I had to take Charles to see it. 
I felt a little cruel not taking Harry as he loves Monsters Inc. too but didn't want to risk him getting bored at the cinema and also wanted that one on one time with Charles.

We got to the cinema nice and early (early enough to pose outside for a couple of photos) and then went in. I talked him through getting your ticket, going to the toilet before hand so you don't have to walk out halfway through the film (which we had to do anyway!), picking sweets or popcorn (and the sweet/salty debate), picking a drink, queueing up then choosing your seat.
Charles has a fear of the dark although he has been to the theatre a few times so knows that the lights go down so thankfully was ok as the room got darker.

He was really good throughout the film, whispering when he needed to ask me something or to tell me that the film kept making him jump.
We snuggled, we laughed, we held hands, we exchanged a long sweet which was too tough for him to eat for a handful of my sweet popcorn and just had a perfect quiet relaxing time.

I was a little disappointed when it was time to go home as I loved spending that time with him but have started making plans for our next date day already.

 

5 Quick and Easy Homemade Treats with Cadbury #cbias

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

With the school holidays upon us I am relying on various things to get me through. Coffee and chocolate will both play a big part in keeping me sane I'm sure.
I'm not a massive chocolate eater but tend to crave it after dinner sometimes so will send my husband out to the shops to get something.
I wondered if there was anything quick, basic with minimum ingredients that I could make at home if the cravings took hold.
Stood in Asda I wondered how many recipes I could create with just a few bars of Cadbury chocolate. You can see photos from my Asda shop on Google+.
Armed with a pack of 4 Dairy Milk bars, a standard pack of Fingers, a Crunchie, a Wispa, and a pack of Dairy Milk Biscuits as well as some other basic ingredients I headed home and got to work.

1: Mini Chocolate Fingers Cheesecake (Recipe Serves One)
 

12 chocolate fingers - crushed
A small spoon of butter
Add the crushed fingers to a saucepan, add the butter and melt. Once combined press into the bottom of a bowl and place into the fridge to chill for 10-15 minutes.
Add a layer of cream cheese.
In a saucepan melt 2 squares of Dairy Milk with a dash of double cream. Once the chocolate has melted pour on top of the cream cheese.
Grate a square of chocolate and sprinkle on top.

2: Mini Crunchie Cheesecake (Makes Two)

Crush the Dairy Milk Biscuits and stir in a saucepan with melted butter.
Press into the bottom of a bowl and chill for 10-15 minutes.
Melt a Wispa bar along with a tiny splash of milk, then combine in a bowl with some cream cheese.
Spread onto top of the biscuit base.
Slice a Crunchie into two, and chop up each half and sprinkle on top of the cream cheese.
Serve.

3: Instant Hot Chocolate/Chocolate Hearts
Melt down one bar of Dairy Milk and pour into a silicone case (any shape!) and add sprinkles or mini marshmallows.
Place in the fridge to chill.
Then either serve as a yummy heart shaped chocolate or place in the bottom of a mug and pour in boiling milk.
Stir, stir, stir and you have an instant hot chocolate.

4: Baked Apples with Chocolate and Raisins

Cut the apple in half and take out the seeds. 
In this 'dip' running down the centre of the apple, place chunks of Dairy Milk chocolate and add raisins. 
Spread a tiny piece of butter on the apple and place the apple on a baking tray.
Add a tiny bit of water and a small nob of butter to the baking tray.
Cook in an oven at 210 degrees for 20 minutes.
Serve with ice cream.

5: Simply and easy ice cream sprinkles.
Am I the only one who has noticed the price of ice cream sprinkles? They can be so expensive, for what they are, and in all honestly I'm not a big fan of the texture of sprinkles when served with ice cream. And judging by Charles' reaction when served with this instead of the sprinkles we usually get I'm guessing he preferred this too!
 

So, for a better texture, at a fraction of the cost of sprinkles, take one square of chocolate, grate half of it thinly, place the remaining half in your mouth and eat.
Sprinkle the grated chocolate onto ice cream.
Easy.

I still have a bar of Dairy Milk left so once we've topped up our marshmallow stash we will be using it to make some of our marshmallow pops.

Easy, quick and cheap recipes.
Try them out.