Wen we moved into our first flat just over five years ago, we didn’t have a sofa. We spent our first few days sitting on the bed. Thankfully, someone that my brother worked with was getting rid of a three and a two seater sofa – for free!
We were incredibly lucky because it was in near perfect condition. Five years, five house moves and three children later, it is still in pretty good nick. There’re a couple of marks on it, the one part seems to be sagging a little bit and there’s a small rip in the leather, but considering it has three boisterous little boys jumping all over it every day, it’s not too bad at all.
Everyone moans and complains about the health and safety rules in the UK, but whilst some are undeniably ridiculous, most are there to protect us and keep us healthy and safe.
Accident Advice Helpline has launched a competition for children under the age of 16 to raise awareness of the importance of health and safety, and more importantly, how to reduce the risk of accidents.
Harrison was more than up for the task of designing his own health and safety poster. We sat and talked about all the different ways of keeping safe. He came up with:
- Don’t go outside without a grown up
- Don’t play with scissors because they are sharp
- Wear your helmet on your bike
- Keep hot drinks away from your children
I’ve written before about how much of a stationery geek I am before. I love new notebooks, pens, post-it notes and planners. I’m not usually one to celebrate ‘days’ or ‘weeks’ for things, but National Stationery Week is one I can definitely get on board with! It kicked off on Monday 25th April, and celebrates all things stationery.
In a world where digital technology rules, many of us could probably go days, or even weeks without needing to write something down. I know in the period between leaving work and starting blogging I barely wrote a thing. My rather sizeable collection of notebooks, pens and post-it’s sat on a shelf gathering dust.
I completely forgot to do this post last week, so you have a bit of a roundup of the past fortnight in photos. It’s been a slightly crazy couple of weeks, with lots going on at work and my nan being taken to hospital, so I wasn’t on Instagram quite as much. Normal service has resumed though!!
We had some beautiful sunshine, and it finally felt like was spring was well under way. We sat in the garden, the kids played and we had our first ice cream of the year. Two days later, it snowed!
Now Ben is walking more and more, we’ve been looking to trade in our beautiful but slightly bulky Cosatto Giggle for something a bit more lightweight. We adore our Giggle, but it’s not the lightest of pushchairs and takes up a lot of room in the boot of the car. We were very kindly sent the Chicco Liteway to review, and so far it has ticked all of the boxes.
The Liteway has been around for a few years but has just been given a bit of a makeover for the new season. It is available in a range of colours – red, purple, coal and special edition denim. We opted for the rather cool looking denim one. The frame is grey, with a chrome finish to the wheels and handles. It looks very smart!
Last Sunday, we were invited to Quest at Intu Merry Hill. We haven’t been to Merry Hill for a few years – in fact, the last time we went there I went into labour with Alex! Quest wasn’t there when we last went, otherwise we certainly would have been before Sunday!
Intu Merry Hill is a huge shopping centre near to Dudley. It has plenty of free parking, which means it is perfect for a day of hard shopping and something to eat, and with the addition of Quest, it is a fab day for the whole family.
Quest is a large, fun packed play and activity centre, situated on the lower floor by Debenhams. With soft play, Nerf arena and indoor rope course, there really is something for everyone!
Last year, we tried out the menu at Raja Monkey. We absolutely loved it, so were excited when we were given the opportunity to visit Fiesta Del Asado, which is also owned by the Lasan group.
British Springtime is a funny thing. As I write this, it is snowing here in Birmingham. A huge difference to just three days ago when this photo was taken, when the sun was shining and it was warm enough to sit in the garden. We let the boys have their first Mr Whippy of the year from the ice cream van. I think Ben enjoyed it!
I know vaping is not the best alternative to smoking. We all know the best alternative is not using anything at all. I also know that vaping may have some risks and is far from perfect.
My dad, along with my younger brother, gave up cigarettes just over a year ago, after almost 40 years of smoking. Tom, my brother, had been smoking for five or six years. They both gave up using a vapouriser. Now, whilst it might not be as good as giving up tobacco based products completely, I am pretty damn proud of both of them. From what I can gather from doing a bit of reading, vaping isn’t as harmful as cigarettes – for starters, they don’t have that yucky tar in! The NHS website has a link to a report carried out by Public Health England that states that they believe that the use of e-cigarettes is around 95% less harmful to health than smoking. To me, that’s a pretty good statistic.
First week back at work: done.
It’s always tough to go back after a holiday but you soon get into the swing of things – it was like we’d never been off. Only another 6 weeks until the next week off!!
We’ve actually had quite a nice week, going back to work aside. I was at a blog event on Saturday, we picked up our new little lady on Monday, and Graham and I went out for our first meal child-free in over a year on Wednesday. Granted it was for a blog review, but it was still really nice. Watch out for that review soon!
Onto this week’s Little Loves…
Razors and cocktails. Not something that you would usually combine. In fact, I’d probably advise against it. But on Saturday, this combination worked so, so well, when a group of bloggers was invited to Bar Opus in Birmingham city centre for a cocktail masterclass to celebrate the success of Friction Free Shaving.
I love a good cocktail or three and was even more excited to have a go at making them. Most of the cocktails I have made have consisted of chucking any bits of alcohol in a glass and downing it in one because it has been too bloody disgusting to drink any other way. I am partial to a decent Cosmopolitan or a bit of Sex on the Beach, but it’s more of a cockfail than a cocktail when I make them.
Well, the last week has been a bit of a wash out hasn’t it? All of our plans to do plenty of things with the kids – seaside trip, picnics and walks completely fell by the wayside. It just seemed to do nothing but rain!
We did manage to get to the woods for a walk and a bit of fresh air. It was so, so muddy but nice to get out – and I got some lovely photos of the boys.
Anyway, here is this week on Instagram…
Two food posts in less than a week – I am surprising myself with my level of domestication (is that even a word?) right now!
I’m not even sure where I got this recipe from. I *think* I wanted to make a lemon drizzle cake but didn’t have the right tin so adapted it in my own Rachel-like way. I love lemon curd and adding a blob of meringue to the top of it just seemed so right! Everyone in our house loves these cakes – they’re all lemony (obvs!), zingy and light. When you bite into them, the lemon curd just sort of drizzles out…mmm.
They’re not the prettiest of cakes – I really do not have the knack of making them look great (or taking photos!), and rather than do any fancy piping of meringue, it kind of just got splodged on – but it tastes amazing, and that’s all that matters, right?
We went for a lovely walk in the woods this week. It was really, REALLY muddy but after being cooped up all week because of bad weather, it was nice to get out and about. Other than one couple with a dog (who jumped up me and covered me in mud), we didn’t see anyone else. When you live in the middle of Birmingham, little moments of solitude and quiet like that don’t happen very often.
It’s almost the end of the Easter holidays – sob! I’m really disappointed and felt like we have wasted the two weeks. We had so many plans but because of the atrocious weather never got to do any of them. All we have done is go to the farm and go for a very muddy walk in the woods. Still, it’s been nice not to have to do the school runs or go to work!
So what are this week’s Little Loves?
It is no secret that I adore stationery. I can spend hours just looking at pens, planners and notebooks. There’s just nothing like opening up and starting a brand new, fresh notebook, so you can imagine just how delighted I was when Pen Heaven sent me this beautiful red leather notebook!
I don’t really do much cooking. In fact, I do very little. We lived in this house for almost six weeks, and I have cooked three meals – this and lasagne twice. Don’t worry – I don’t starve the children, Graham does the cooking!
When I feel like it, I do enjoy cooking. I have such a short attention span and get so easily distracted that I need meals that are interesting to cook, and don’t take long. This ticks those boxes. It’s all stuff that we usually have in the house and only takes twenty minutes or so. My mum gave me this recipe – it’s something that she has been cooking regularly for the past few years and it has become a firm family favourite!
I’ve always been a fan of Instagram, but in recent months it has become my favourite social network. I love looking at photos and seeing a snapshot into people’s lives. Anything seems to go on there as well – no one bats an eyelid if you post a photo of your cup of coffee, or your tea!
Every week, I’m going to do a little roundup of some of my photos from that week from Instagram. These are the ones that don’t always appear on my blog, or on Facebook. I don’t really have a ‘style’ or a theme to my photos – it is very much just a little peek into our lives. For me, Instagram is (mostly) instant and real.
Last week I read this post by Laura from Mum of 5 Staying Sane about getting children involved with doing jobs around the house, and it got me thinking about what we expect our kids to do.
Graham and I tend to split the jobs fairly evenly. He does an extra couple of things whilst I am out at work, but we both do our fair share. He does most of the cooking, whilst I do most of the washing. We both do the washing up/tidying/vacuuming etc. It works well because although we both like to have a whinge now and then, we both do pull our weight.
We also both expect the kids to get involved in doing a few jobs around the house. We don’t expect them to do a lot, and at the moment, they don’t get pocket money or anything for doing them (mean parents, I know!). We think it is important that they understand that it is their home as well, and to keep it nice, everyone has to help out.
We had planned to tidy up the garden on Saturday morning, but when we woke up, it was grey, wet and miserable. As often happens when the weather is so naff, I looked back at some holiday photos from our time at Bluestone last year. We were so incredibly lucky with lovely warm temperatures and blue skies every day. We all fell in love with Tenby – the beautiful beach, the harbour and the pretty pastel coloured cottages along the front!
Like most children of his age, Harrison loves Lego. It’s only been since Christmas that he has begun building his Lego collection, but he already seems to have amassed quite a lot of it!
The one problem that we have is storing it away. To play with it, he would have to tip it the box out onto the table, which would mean bits of Leo flying everywhere. Not great when you have a toddler running around who still puts everything in his mouth! Now, thanks to Blokpod, we have a much neater and more organised way of storing it all.
Last October, a huge new shopping, leisure and entertainment complex opened just ten minutes down the road from us. Resort’s World Birmingham is situated on the NEC site, opposite the Genting arena. It’s easily accessible by road, rail and even air – it’s just a short walk from the Birmingham International Station and the airport.
We are always on the look-out for new places to take the kids on weekends and in the school holidays, and one place we always enjoy visiting is the farm. We are regular visitors to our local ones, so when the National Forest Adventure Farm in Burton on Trent invited us there for the day, we were really excited!
It was a beautiful sunny day when we went, and when we got there just before ten, the queue to get in was already quite long. It moved really quickly though, which is always a bit of a bonus! The first place we headed to was the 120 seat restaurant and soft play centre. It was HUGE! We grabbed a couple of coffees and a big jug of squash for the kids (a very reasonable £1.85) and let them have a play whilst it was still relatively quiet. I’m not usually a fan of soft play but I was really impressed. In fact, I’d happily take them to the farm just to go to the soft play. Not only was it spotless, but geared up for the grown ups to have fun as well. Dotted around were members of staff to keep an eye on things, but in no way were they intrusive.
There’s fun for the whole family this Easter with this eggs-cellent DVD package from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, including:
Yogi the Easter Bear: The Easter Bunny has been captured by some crooks who want to spoil the holiday. Can Yogi and Boo Boo rescue the Bunny before the Ranger sells them to the Siberian Circus? A holiday adventure for the whole family.