Unless I’m working on a project in the house I’m not happy. Recently I decided I’d like a chalkboard wall to write and draw on. Something I can constantly change to suit the season or celebration. First though I had to find the right wall to paint. Now this project made me more nervous than most. After all I was about to paint a wall black!  What if I didn’t like it?

I needed to pick a wall that wasn’t too big, but big enough to fit all my doodles on. Somewhere I could see it everyday. Somewhere that was quite well lit. A black wall is going to be pretty dark so needs good lighting to work.

I chose a wall immediately facing the front door in the hall. I’ve only just painted the hall white, so to paint this wall black seemed a little daunting!

It took a while to chose the right chalk paint too. I looked at lots of different brands and the reviews of them. I ended up deciding on using this one from Amazon. You can find it here.

 

After the paint arrived I had to decide exactly how far to extend the paint, I umm’d and ahh’d about painting above the door. I eventually decided not to and used some masking tape to mark off the areas I didn’t want to paint.

Step by Step Guide

One masked off I started work on the painting, I used a brush rather than a roller as the paint was quite thin. Not like usual wall paint. A dollar would simply splash it everywhere. With a brush I could better control the flow and direction to. The chalkboard paint is also very fast drying so you can’t go over the area many times, you have to move on quickly.


I also covered the stairs with a sheet taped to the wall. The white square on the wall is where the Hive thermostat clips on. I clipped it off to paint, which is a great feature.
After the first coat I decided that some areas looked a little patchy so I gave it a second coat. Left it to fully dry then carefully removed the masking tape. This is what it looked like when all that was done.

At this point I needed to use a tiny paint brush and touch up the very edges by the stairs. I carefully masked over the carpet and touched up the edges. Once all that was done I had to prime the surface. You do this by taking a regular white chalk and rubbing it sideways onto the chalkboard surface. Once it is all covered you will need a soft cloth to gently rub it all in. This part can be messy and I had to vacuum up all the dust from the bottom of the wall after I was finished priming the surface.

Now it was time for the creative fun to really begin!

The Fun Part

I started at the top of the wall. Taking inspiration from the internet, my bullet journal and of course Pinterest!

Anyone who knows us ,will know hat we are big Disney fans in our home. So we defiantly had to incorporate disney on our wall.

disney castle chalk wall

 

Ghanian means family chalkboard wall

Slowly but surely I spent the next couple of days adding doodles here and there as I thought of them.

The coffee sign is pointing to the kitchen and a nod to hubby’s love of coffee and his very own coffee station!

The Finished Project

A few days later I was happy with the effort I’d put in. I know it will change seasonally and whenever I want to update it but for now I’m saying project complete!

Finally after a year and a half countdown! Neither of us could believe it the day had arrived, we were off to board our first ever Thomas Cook flight. We were going to Walt Disney World!

Travel day thomas cook

The Flight

As a family we have been to Florida lots of times but have only ever flown Virgin Atlantic. We have also flown to the east coast of America with Virgin Atlantic. In addition I have flown to New York with BA. So this was our first time flying Thomas Cook airlines. I had read lots and lots of reviews of Thomas Cook, some good some bad but as the flight was cheaper than Virgin Atlantic we wanted to make up our own minds. Thats the thing with the internet, people tend to only take the time to put up bad reviews rather than good ones so when you do research things bare that in mind.

Travel day thomas cook

We booked the flight direct with Thomas Cook website. The prices were good for travel to Orlando but not so great for the return leg so we booked each leg separately. Knowing we had an out flight booked was important to us. We also upgraded to the Premium Class cabin. The upgrade included a larger luggage allowance, more legroom, larger cabin luggage and premium menu.

Just a few months after we had booked I had an email to say the time of the flight had changed. I wasn’t best pleased with this as we been persuaded to fly Thomas Cook by the fact the time pretty much matched that of Virgin Atlantic. We like to arrive in Orlando with enough time not to rush off to bed once checked in to the hotel. There was nothing I could do about it now, we just had to accept that we were now flying at 12:55 instead of 10am.

Travel day thomas cook

Travel Day

So on the morning of our travel day we packed up the car and headed to Manchester Airport. We had booked parking at the airport where you pretty much park at the terminal (or just a short walk) and the company move your car whilst your gone. The massive advantage to this as parents of young children is that there is no transfer to contend with. So no bus to board, literally just unload the car onto an airport trolley and walk into the terminal.

Manchester Airport

We seemed to have lots of luggage but we were taking carseats as well as a double buggy.With loaded luggage trolley we headed to the check in desk. As we were flying in the premium cabin there were dedicated check in desks with shorter queues (a massive plus when with young children!) So with little delay we checked in and were directed to the special assistance lane for wheelchair as we had a double buggy. I couldn’t see what the other security lanes were like but the one we used was minimal.

I would never ever complain about the size of a security lane anyway, so long as everyone is being kept safe I’d rather just wait our turn.

Unfortunately we were stopped for a bag search as the security people couldn’t identify a strange shape in our suitcases, it turned out to be the Dobble game (which by the way is a great family fun game!) The guy who did the search was really nice and soon we were on our way through to the shops and restaurants. We’d decided ahead of time we wanted to get bruch in Giraffe. Giraffe is only available in terminal 1 at Manchester airport so we were lucky that it was our terminal!

We were quickly seated by the window with no wait, the boys loved it as they got to watch the aeroplanes whilst eating breakfast!

Travel day thomas cook

 

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The babychinnos went down well!

Travel day thomas cook

Hubby had the Huevos Rancheros which he said was really good and I had the pancake stack. We were after all heading to the land of pancake breakfasts! The pancakes were ok, I just kinda thought there might be more too them. The boys had some porridge.

Thomas Cook Flight

After breakfast we had a wander around the shops in the terminal until our gate was announced. At boarding time we went to find our gate and get settled into our seats. As we were in premium economy we were offered arrival drinks as we sat down. The boys had some orange juice.

Thomas cook

They were also impressed with the little children’s amenity pack that was on their seats too.

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Settling In – Thomas Cook

Everyone settled into the flight and I tried to engage the smallest with some entertainment. I was impressed with the drinks service, we were on our holidays after all!

 

 

I can’t remember how far into the flight it was that the meals came. The children were served first which bought me enough time before my meal to open theirs.


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He had meatballs and pasta, which came with cheese and crackers and a dessert.

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The fig compete with the cheese was so nice (it came with my meal too, I didn’t steal his!)

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I don’t really like meat so I didn’t try the meatballs but the eldest said they were yummy!

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The meals in Premium class Thomas Cook airlines are designed by James Martin. James Martin is a celebrity chef famous for amongst other things Saturday kitchen. For my meal I chose the vegetarian option of Roasted Sussex Charmer Gnocchi with Lemon and Caper cream. It was by far the nicest airline meal I have every eaten. Now I need to mention at this point I’ve eaten lots of airline food and this far exceeded my expectations, which was a pleasant surprise!


I enjoyed it so much I forgot to take a photograph of it open! I actually want to eat it again now that I’m writing about it.

The flight from Manchester to Orlando is usually around 9 hours long. Which is a long time for little people. Thankfully the mix of entertainment on board, and toys I had brought with me was enough to keep them going (mostly!). One of my top tips for long flights with children is to go to a local pound shop and spend £5-£10 on toys. That way you can open a new toy every hour (cars, colouring etc) and just get rid of them before you leave the plane. It certainly keep my two entertained. They love getting something new every hour to play with!

Sometime later we were served an ice cream to enjoy with the film. This again was amazing, really really creamy ice cream. Far exceeding my expectations for airline food. It was Raspberry ripple and Devonshire cream.

The views from an aeroplane window still astound me. It is simply stunning to be able to see the clouds from above. The world really is an amazing place.

A few hours again had passed and we really were getting excited to be getting closer to Orlando. So far Flixster hadn’t had a sleep. I could tell he was getting tired but is not one for napping! Just as he was starting to get restless the afternoon tea appeared! There were little sandwich rolls, a scone, some jam and cream. We weren’t particularly that hungry but we enjoyed it and knew that we may not eat again today so it was a welcome break in the flight. Again Thomas cook premium really was living up to its name.

Just before landing we spotted this awesome thunder cloud, which I know isn’t unusual in the hot and humid climate of Florida, but it was great to see from the air!

I have a love hate relationship with the sky maps on aeroplanes. On one hand I love seeing where we are in the world but on a long flight it reminds you there are sill hours to go!

It was fun for the boy to be able to see how big America is though, and where we were in the world.

Arrival

Sure enough true to predictions as the seat belt signs were switched on for landing, this one crashed out. An early morning followed by a 9 hour flight had really taken it out of him. He slept all the way through landing and clearing customs. Thank goodness I’d brought a carrier so I wore him on my front all the way through the airport. I don’t know what I would have done without the carrier it was a god send.

The only thing I would say about Thomas Cook was that when the plane had landed and the airbridge was connected there was no organisation about how to get off the plane. As there was only one door the premium and economy passengers were all pushing and shoving to get off. I don’t mind when I get off but it was like a crush to get through the door and families were getting separated. Then stopping by the other side of the door to catchup which was causing more delays. Perhaps there could be a little better organisation at exit. My experience of other airlines is that first class and premium exit first then the economy class so that people aren’t causing a crush at the door.

We made our way smoothly through customs (you are not allowed to take pictures there) and waited for our baggage. The wait was quite long but it finally all our bags were there.

Disney’s Magical Express

As we were staying on Disney property we made full use of the Disney Magical Express service to get to our hotel. It meant we could just head straight to our bus without having to pick up a hire car or drive ourselves. You do have to prebook the Disney Magical Express but it is a free service!

Once on the Magical express we could truly relax. We knew from that point onwards we were in the care of Disney and we were on our holidays!

To be continued…

 



As some people might already know we are a family of Disney lovers and we are very lucky to also be DVC owners (if you don’t know what this means in simple terms its a property investment in Disney thats very flexible and suits our family) We love to visit Walt Disney World in Florida and are very lucky to have been quite a few times.

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Memories in our Special Place

Walt Disney World hold very many special memories for us as a couple. It was our first holiday together back in 2005 (although I had been before) The place hubby almost proposed……..almost……

We took our honeymoon in Walt Disney World.

Thomas’s first holiday abroad holiday was there.

Felix’s first holiday was there too.

We’ve been with friends and family, although I’d still love to be able to take my mum, maybe one day!

Trip Report Introduction

Last year we were lucky enough to be able to spend 3 sun, fun and family filled weeks in the beautiful Walt Disney World resort making incredible memories. Although it was last August it’s taken me this long to start writing about it. We stayed one week at Coronado Springs Resort followed by 2 weeks at our DVC home resort Bay Lake Tower. We flew Thomas Cook airline (another first as we have always flown Virgin Atlantic in the past) something I was nervous about as I’d read mixed reviews. I will go into detail about the flight later.

I am going to break up the trip report into parts or it would be too long for one post!

Despite having been to Walt Disney World many times, there were as always lots of ‘firsts’ on this trip, which I want to write down for the boys. Also lots of familiar things which we have very much missed having not been since 2013.

It’s quite hard to explain when you haven’t been to Walt Disney World just how magical the place is. The staff (or cast members as they are known) go the extra mile to make you feel welcome. Nothing is too much trouble, they make you feel welcome everywhere you go. The whole resort is clean, and not just clean, spotlessly so (or so I have always found). It’s welcoming to everyone, young, old, those with and without children with them. There usually sunshine at some point each day and it’s generally warm (I did have to once buy joggers and a blanket, not this trip though!)

So the first part of the report will be travel day. I look forward to sharing our trip with the blog!

 

Emetophobia and Me

You might be wondering what emetophobia actually is. Alternatively you might be here because you have it and might want to find out more. Lastly you might be here to read about another person’s experience of suffering with this phobia.

emetophobia

 

Now before I start properly talking about it I thought I’d mention a trigger warning. Some people with this phobia don’t like to read the ‘v’ word. I am not bothered by it so I will be using it. Everybody’s experience of this phobia is different so I’ll just be talking about me and my experience.

If you’re still reading this I’ll assume you’re ok with reading the word, so welcome and lets move on!

Until about 4 years ago I didn’t even know the word for the phobia I have. I didn’t know it was a thing. I just thought everyone was as scared as I was. Apparently not. My phobia has become far worse since having children. I’m thankfully every day for a husband who doesn’t have the same phobia. He is my rock in the hard times for me.

Emetophobia is essentially a fear of vomiting. People who suffer with emetophobia can have very different fears around vomiting. Not all emetophbics suffer in the same way. So as I talk about it I am describing my person experience, which I know from reading isn’t the same as other people’s experience so please bear that in mind.

Having read a lot about emetophobia it is mostly caused by a childhood experience of vomiting, either by yourself or someone else. I think I know what my experience was but don’t want to type it out on here.

I am scared of the following things. Me vomiting, I am petrified. The children vomiting if theres any chance I can catch it. If I knew they were vomiting for another reason, say a migraine I’m not so bad, but still the underlying fear is there.

The fear of the unknown vomit, that scares me.

I’m scared of other people vomiting if I don’t know the cause. If I know there’s a bug going around and they have mentioned being in anxiety creeps in. If I know they have been sick because they are pregnant or hung over that ok, I can pretty much cope with that.

I’m petrified of someone in our house having a vomiting bug. The anxiety that this causes me is awful. I am lucky in life that not much makes me anxious. I’m blessed to be on the whole a calm and measured person. I’m not a born worrier. I am generally cool about most things except the one thing I can’t control.

I think that’s the worst thing about emetophobia, you can’t avoid it. With most phobias, for example flying or heights you can generally avoid them. You don’t have to fly if you don’t want to (mostly) or go to high places and look down. With emetophobia, you can do lots to minimise the risks but you can’t totally avoid it. Especially when you have children in nursery and schools, there’s no way to control who they mix with or how hygienic it is.

My Symptoms

I want to explain what happens with my phobia and what my symptoms are (again these can be different for everyone). When I think that someone in our house is sick or going to be ill then I get almost instant anxiety. Anyone who’s suffered from anxiety will know that symptoms can vary. For me the anxiety manifests itself as my stomach churning over, I feel sick, for an emtophobic this couldn’t get much worse. There’s a knot inside my stomach, which for an emetophobic is the last thing you want, because this then spirals into worry that actually I am also going to be ill.

I try to reason with myself and think about the worst possible thing that could happen. The worst possible thing that could happen is that everyone in the house is poorly (at worst at the same time) and that would mean being ill for maybe 24-48 hours followed by a period of recovery. However my head won’t listen and never sees beyond the illness to the period of recovery. I assume that we will be ill forever, the vomiting will never ever stop, I would be in emetophobia hell. For some reason I can’t rationalise it out in my head. I become petrified. Feeling so guilty that I can barely hug my own children when they are poorly.

I just don’t know how to handle this phobia, I can’t avoid the trigger. It occupies my thoughts a lot. I sometimes wonder if me thinking about it causes it to happen more?

I’d love to hear from anyone also suffers, and even so much more so if you’ve recovered. I know theres a few programmes out there to try and tackle it but I need to know they actually work before I invest my hard earned money. I can not carry on like this though, spending the winter months in a constant state of worry when I’m not with the children.

Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

In a nationwide search which assessed over 175 million reviews, Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club have been voted to have the best Breakfast in the North West by Hotel search website trivago.co.uk. This weekend we were invited down to taste the award wining breakfast.

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Weekend time is precious time in our home. We like to make the most of our time together. During the week with the rush of work, school and nursery we barely get any time to spend together where we can truly relax. So we were all very much looking forward to a weekend breakfast not far from home.

The Worsley Marriott Hotel & Country Club is set in beautiful grounds and as we arrived on Saturday we were greeted by the stunning sight of the sun rising above the frost covered grounds.

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We followed the signs to our destination – The Grill in the Park at the Worsley Park Marriott.

Worsley park Marriott

Worsley park Marriott

Grill in the Park

Bring in the Grill in the Park is like being in a log cabin, the decor is lovely and the soft wood theme and striped carpets make for a calm and quiet atmosphere. Breakfast at the Grill in the Park is a self service and contains a wide selection of cooked as well as cold options. Priced at £16 per person for the buffet or £12 for continental option. Just £10 if residents add breakfast with a  room at check in.

We were shown to our table and offered a hot drink which was brought out to us. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know we are coffee lovers so there was only one choice for us!

Worsley park Marriott

The boys were set on getting cereal to start their breakfast, as a special treat they chose coco pops.

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Worsley park Marriott

Worsley park Marriott

Even at this point Thomas was giving it the two thumbs up.

I went for a walk around all the choices to make sure I knew what was available. I noticed that there was a lovely selection for those people who need to have Gluten free. You don’t often see this at breakfasts so I thought it was a really great plus for the Worsley Park Marriott.

Worsley park Marriott

Breakfast Choices

I had a small bowl of steaming hot porridge with some fruit to start. I love having oats in the morning. Followed by some smoked salmon and scrambled egg. The eggs were some of the best I have ever tasted and highly recommended. There was yogurts and fresh fruit as well as sliced ham and cheese. With three choices of fruit juice alongside white and brown bread to toast.

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Hubby went straight for the recommended option of an omelette cooked to order by the chef at the hot breakfast selection. You can choose your own fillings and it’s cooked right in front of you. He chose Bury black pudding and blue cheese another recommendation.

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He said it was really nice. I’m not a fan of black pudding but I did taste the cheese with the omelette and it was very tasty. I did consider having one made with just the cheese but as I was already full I thought I’d save it for next time!

Finishing Breakfast

Whilst at the omelette station he noticed that there was a waffle iron too. Mentioning this to Thomas was a mistake as then he wanted one. He was already on his second course, local back bacon and sausage with a hash brown and scrambled egg. That boy can eat!

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We agreed that if he finished his food we would get a waffle to share. I can’t say I was disappointed or surprised when he finished, I wanted to try the waffle too!

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We shared it between the four of us (with syrup on) it was tasty!

With full tummies having enjoyed a tasty start to the day we were finished. It really was delicious and I have to say the lovely serene atmosphere was an added extra. The Worsley Park Marriott is a beautiful hotel set in stunning surroundings. I can understand why it has been voted the best breakfast in the North West. It is by far the best breakfast we’ve had out as a family for a long time and we have already said we’ll return.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and there’s no better way to start it than with a fabulous breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club, we can’t wait to go back!

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Christmas Memories

Dear beautiful boys,

It’s been quite some time since I wrote a proper letter to you. So I thought I’d start 2017 with a letter about our Christmas memories of 2016. I know that you will each remember in your own special way but at just 5 and 2 year old memories will become hazy and fade with time. So here’s a letter all about our celebrations.

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The Countdown Begins

December started off as I always like it to start, a letter to Father Christmas ( I prefer to call him that, I know ‘Santa’ rolls of the tongue but to me he’s Father Christmas)

Christmas Memories

We walked together to the post box to post your carefully written letters. Well Thomas wrote one and Felix just scrawled a mark and I wrote some things for him.

Christmas memories

Then on the morning of December 1st you came down to find the advent gifts and the elf door.

I wrote a post back in 2014 about the door which can be found here.

Advent

The elf door has returned year after year since then. This year it turned up right beside the fire place.


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You each had a chocolate advent calendar as well as an additional toy advent calendar. Thomas you got the Lego City one and Felix you had the Vtech toot toot one. As well as the calendars the Christmas Dvd’s arrived and a couple of books too. I don’t like to keep the Christmas Dvd’s out all year round or they don’t feel special.img_2044

Late Night Shopping

With the countdown to Christmas on I promised to take you late night shopping Thomas. As a child this was one of my favourite memories of Christmas. Unlike today there was no local huge shopping centre that was open all hours. Late night shopping meant a special trip to the local town (usually a Thursday night) when all the shops would be open late. In my childhood the coffee shop culture wasn’t the thing it is now either so there would be no coffee stop. Something which probably seems the norm to you two boys.

For me late night shopping at Christmas would mean dressing up warm and for a special treat getting the bus to the town and going in and out of the shops to look for Christmas presents. These days most of my things are bought online so even the actual ac of “shopping” seems like a treat even to me! So I took you shopping Thomas, but instead of a town we went to the Trafford Centre. I had a few bits to get so it seemed logical. It was a late night for you, way past your bedtime but you seemed to enjoy it non the less. I treated you to your first ever McFlurry too and I had a coffee. Of course being an ice cream fan you were impressed!

Christmas memories

I took you to chose a birthday and Christmas present for daddy. You chose some pyjamas and some socks. Typical Daddy presents!

Christmas School Play

On the 13th and 14th of December it was time for your school Christmas play Thomas. Although you are in year 1 now and this was your second year in school it was the first play you had done. In reception you were at a different school and they just did a songs show. I felt a bit swizzled, I only got to see you stand in an all black outfit and sing. Although it was lovely it just wasn’t the same as a ‘Christmas show’. So this year I sat (and stood as I was at the back) though your show. It was beautiful. You were a star this year and I could see that you did your very best to perform. I know you’d been practising at school for weeks so when the night finally came I was excited to watch it.

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I was so proud of you. Always remember that I love you so very much beautiful boy. My heart swelled with pride as you copied the dance moves and sung your heart out. Knowing all the words.

Well done little man and to all key stage 1, it was a fabulous show and a credit to you all.

Rotary Club Father Christmas

A few nights later the rotary club Father Christmas was due to visit our area. I think we peaked a little too soon and got a bit excited about this! We seemed to have to wait for what seemed like ages! I heard the music from the float about an hour before he got to our street, and sadly that night it was raining. But we were desperate not to miss him so ended up in and out of the house for about an hour to just keep looking! Finally it was our turn, and you both were very excited by his visit. You put your money in the collection box. Thats what I love about you Thomas you are very generous even when you don’t have much to give. Then you had photos and we went to bed. Late again but with happy hearts.

Christmas memories

I’m not sure you were to pleased to get too close Felix but you were excited by the lights and music!

Then it was time for mummies night out with work. The Saturday of my Christmas do had come and I am thankful that my lovely husband was there to look after you both whilst mummy got to go out and have some Christmas food and drinks with work friends. I loved it and felt great now that I’d lost 2 stone with Slimming World last year.

Christmas Memories

By now it was almost Christmas, not long until the big day but we still had school and work to get through!

On the 18th of December you and I Thomas made this gingerbread house together, well I say together. We were supposed to make it together but you were somewhat distracted by a film at the time. So I ploughed on through and this was the result. I was pretty proud of it considering it was the first time I’d put one together. Ok it was a kit but still, it stood up! And it looked pretty nice on the coffee station over the Christmas period too.

Christmas memories

Your school Thomas didn’t break up until the 22nd December so the countdown was short once school was out! Felix you were in nursery until the 23rd.

On Friday the 23rd I was still at work and so was daddy but you were off Thomas. Daddy was working from home but had a very important call to make in the morning so for the first time you came with me to work for just a couple of hours. You were so good and sat in the office whilst I got on with the job. Everyone loved seeing you and said how good you were. For you it was a treat to be in work with mummy and you took the responsibility of being the recycling bin manager very carefully. People in our office were having a nice Christmas tidy up and were giving you paper waste to put into the slot in the bin which you loved.

Christmas memories

Daddy picked you up by 11 and I was able to finish the day off and get the job done. Making sure everything was ok before I left for Christmas. I am so lucky that I didn’t have to work over the Christmas period so got 4 days off before I had to go back.

We were also lucky that Christmas fell on a Sunday so Christmas eve was a Saturday. Lots of time to get festive and prepare for the big day to come.

Christmas Eve

Christmas eve morning another tradition. The arrival of the Christmas eve box and the disappearance of the elf.

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Theres always new pjs, a film, some chocolate, some fun things to do and the reindeer food.

During the day we spent most of the time just hanging around, playing and preparing. Daddy and I did as much as we could to get the meal prepared ahead of time so that we could spend Christmas morning with you both and not in the kitchen. I laid the table and prepared the conservatory for the big day. This year we had moved the table to the conservatory to make room for more play in the house.

Christmas memories

It works well because we are lucky enough to have a table in the kitchen to eat on for everyday meals. By 4pm we all went to church for the crib service.

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Christmas Eve – The Evening

On our return we had our traditional Christmas eve buffet. Just the four of us. We watched Muppets Christmas carol and drank hot chocolate. I have always watched muppets Christmas carol on Christmas eve for as long as I can remember. Since my mum bought the VHS (you’ll have to google that boys to find out what it is!) we have always watched it on Christmas eve, something I will continue with you boys too. Of course now we have it on streaming so no actual physical disk or video required! Despite that I still only get the dvd out on christmas eve.

Bedtime

So with new pjs on and hearts full of excitement it was time to scatter the reindeer food and go up to bed!

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Mince pie, milk and carrot left out and up you went!

You probably have realised boys how much I love Christmas. My heart is aching just writing this, sad that it’s all over for another year. I already miss the excitement and the anticipation.

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Christmas Day

The day, this was it, the much anticipated day was here!!

We woke up before you as you’d both been having late nights and had got into a later morning routine which was nice.

Thomas you were up first to discover the stocking on your door. You raced into us to wake us up (we were already awake!). The Felix you were up not long after. We all got quickly dressed (also a tradition, which is weird as any other weekend we’d be downstairs in pjs!) and went down for breakfast. On the way down you discover the Father Christmas had wrapped the living room door too as a surprise! How funny!

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Breakfast

Christmas breakfast is always a treat. Usually its smoked salmon but this year we were going to have pancake stacks. Trying to relive our american trip I think! I had also bought pop tarts for you two. I know they are incredibly bad for you and so full of rubbish but it was a special day!

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We sat at the table and unwrapped the stockings, you both loved it. I had (and still do) have a heart full of happiness. I love seeing the magic in your faces.

The Morning

After a lovely breakfast it was time for the main event, the presents! Now I didn’t take lots of picture at this point because we were just enjoying being together and opening some gifts. You both loved the what you had received. Thomas your main present was Lego Dimensions, which you were so happy with. And Felix your main gift was the Vtech Toot toot friends house. You love playing with people and houses so that was a hit!

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One of the other presents that you loved Thomas was the Usborne Maze Book. I can’t recommend this enough for children who love to do mazes. It’s  full of different kinds of finger mazes to do, which kept him occupied for ages and still does!

Not long after we done most of the presents my parents arrived, they were coming for dinner. We all opened some more presents and then hubby and I got on with cooking some dinner (well mainly he cooked and I helped a bit!)

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Christmas Dinner

I opened some lovely Prosecco for dinner, theres on me who drinks in our house. my dad had a glass too but my mum was driving so didn’t have any.img_2715

Even here as we start dinner you can see the maze book is still bing intently studied!

Dinner was lovely, cooked mainly by daddy the chef. Everyone enjoyed it and it was a reall family time.

Felix your choice of food didn’t surprise anyone…

 Just 6 pigs in blankets for you! You love your sausages! I love that you nearly lined them up too. Although you are speaking loads Felix you still call them ‘dosages’ which is just so cute!

After dinner we had some coffee and a play with all the new toys. All too soon it was time for your Grandparents to leave. With full tummies and tired but happy we all headed to bed. That was it Christmas day over for another year. It had been an amazing day and w are so lucky to have such lovely people and things in our lives.

Today is the first day of a new year. A new year always bring such promise. Such amazing new beginnings. Each year I like billions of other make new years resolutions. Resolutions that start out so meaningful. Resolutions that often get broken within a month or two. So of course I couldn’t really break my traditions of making new resolutions. I just figure I’ll write them down so I’m more accountable to someone, if only myself!

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My 2017 Resolutions

  1. Lose weight – I know everyone probably has this on their list. Last year I attended slimming world and managed to lose 2 stone. It was 2 stone of baby weight that really needed to go. Flixster was turning 2 and it was time. I drifted away from slimming world after we came back from Florida and that was my mistake. I know I’ve gained a little weight back. Thankfully no where near all of it but I have decided to go back this year and rejoin. The food optimising plan really suits me so I’m going to rejoin. I’d love to get back to what I weighed when I got married but I’ve got a long way to go. I haven’t decided if I’m going to blog about it yet as weight bothers me so I’m not sure.
  2. Have more fun – This one involves finding more time. Or more accurately trying to make better use of my time. I want to be able to have more fun with the children. I want to be able to just play with them when they ask me too. Just being able to put down what I’m doing and play. Be like a child again. Be there for them.
  3. Pay off the debts. We don’t have a lot of debt but with husband being out of work for a while and moving house things have started to mount up a little. At the moment they are manageable but I just want to be debt free. So for this I need to work hard and focus on where our money is going and direct it to the right place.
  4. Be more organised – This includes all areas of my life. I need to be more organised with food and meal planning for the family. I need to be more organised at work and be more prepared for things happening. I’d like to write more, so I need to schedule in the time properly for that.
  5. Do more exercise – Yes another one on most peoples lists. I have learned from previous years that I need to start small with this one. If I go in all guns blazing and make promises I can’t keep I fail. So for this one I’m just going to aim for at least one serious exercise session a week, but more would be great.

Being accountable

So I’ve kept it simple with 5 resolutions. Lets hope that 2017 brings me the motivation and time to stick to them. At least they are written down now! I need to regularly revisit them and make sure my motivations are still in place.

 

 

Well it might only be a few weeks to Christmas now but we are already looking forward to next years Geronimo festival!

Geronimo festival 2017 is set to be the best one yet! It’s at an all new venue too!

In 2017 Geronimo is moving to the wonderful Arley Hall venue, not only that Geronimo is now offering clamping and camping options too.  It’s going to truest be the Glastonbury for kids!

With a whole new day added, so now its running for 3 days instead of 2.

The event remains focussed on quality family time together and encourages families to play learn and have fun!

We can’t wait to go, you can read about last years adventures here.

The tickets are available now at a reduced rate and you can get yours here. It would make an ideal Christmas gift for families with children!

We can not wait for Geronimo 2017, it really is going to be the even of the summer not to be missed!

 

 

Tonight it’s Halloween and to some children this only means one thing -Trick or Treat!

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When I was a child we weren’t allowed to go knocking on doors for Halloween to ‘Trick or Treat’. There was one year when I was very young (around 5) that my mum held a Halloween party for my brother and I and some of our friends (and parents). I remember that one year we were allowed to go to the neighbours on each side to say ‘Trick or Treat’ as my mum had already given them sweets to give to us. All other years though it was a no.

Dreading Halloween

Each year during my childhood I would dread Halloween, more specifically I’d dread anyone knocking on to our house to Trick or Treat because my dad would get in a bad mood . He hated it, he just doesn’t agree with it. My mum would try and make it nice for us by making a lovely dinner of witches brew (which was soup and bread) Consequently when I got my own home, hubby and I would always avoid Halloween by going out for dinner or to the cinema. I didn’t like the thought of horrible children knocking on to disturb us. Asking essentially for us to give them something. I couldn’t understand people who liked Halloween and who looked forward to Trick or Treat children to come round.

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Changing my View

Over the years as I have grown up Halloween has become much more of a thing. More people decorate their homes, and enjoy the night. Children seem more enthusiastic about it, and enjoy celebrating.For them it’s exciting. I’ve also been very lucky to celebrate Halloween in Walt Disney World a couple of times. Over in America, essentially Halloween is fun for most people. People make an effort to take part and enjoy the night itself.

Since having children things have changed. I’ve had to stay at home for Halloween. No late night trips to the cinema! Or staying out at the pub having  a relaxing meal with a glass of wine (I don’t think I’d done that in a long time!) I’ve discovered that it can be fun. When the doorbell goes the our boys go out to see who’s there, we have a bowl of sweets ready and waiting to offer the Trick or Treaters. We admire the costumes and offer out a treat to each person. Thankfully although I know it can happen we have never had a bad experience. Everyone who has ever knocked on the door has been pleasant and polite.

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Trick or Treat Rules

Last year and the year before we took the boys out ourselves to Trick or Treat but we ALWAYS stick to these rules:

  1. Only go to houses with Halloween decorations up. Either full decorations which can be seen or an indication they are taking part in Halloween i.e. a pumpkin. I never let the children go to houses with nothing out.
  2. Only knock or ring once, if no one answers then we move on.
  3. Be polite. We say Trick or Treat and see what happens, if offered a treat then the children must say Thank you. If the thank you’s stop then we go straight home!
  4. The children stay within sight of a grown up at all times. I let them go up a path whilst I wait at the bottom but they must always stay with me.
  5. Always respect other peoples property. We only use the paths to get to a door and never walk over a garden to get in or out.
  6. Go out dressed up in costumes not just a token effort, after all it is a tradition to dress up!

If everyone stuck to these rules then the night could be made fun for those who want to take part. For those who don’t or are scared then the night would no longer be a worry. Only going to decorated houses is the main rule for my boys. If a house has decorations up then I’d say they are taking part and are happy to have Trick or Treaters at the door.

Taking Part – Having Fun

I know this time of year can be worrying or frightening or annoying for many people and I want to let them know that we for one won’t be bothering them tonight by knocking on their doors. I hope this reassures them too that not all Trick or Treaters are a nuisance and the night can be fun for some people who want to take part.

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num noms

Homemade Burgers with the Num Noms

This weekend inspired by the new Num Noms series, we were sent the Brunch Bunch and the Diner set to inspire a little weekend cook up. Daddy didn’t need asking twice to get into the kitchen as he loves cooking and couldn’t wait to get started making home made burgers with the boy! It’s an easy thing to do yet tastes lovely and always a hit in our house. If you haven’t seen Num Noms before they are small food items made to play with that all come with their own smell. You can stack them up and create your own scents combining your favourites.

Ingredients

500g Quality minced beef

2 Garlic Cloves

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

Burger buns of your choosing (we like Brioche)

Salad for garnish – whatever you like, lettuce, tomato, pickles etc

Fried onions and mushrooms for topping

Sliced cheese to top the burger

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Method

Break up the mince in a large bowl and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Crush the garlic cloves and combine with the mince, making sure to stir it all round. With clean hands form the mince into rough burger shapes (we made 4) and then cook according to taste. Be sure to rewash hands after they are on the grill.

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We always use an electric grill for cooking meats as it’s the healthy choice because the fat can run off. So while they were cooking the boy helped with the toppings.

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Frying up the onions and mushroom topping

Once cooked add a slice of cheese to top the burger and leave on the grill for a further minute to melt. Then add your burger to a bun, top with the salad you like and enjoy! Easy peasy!

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The verdict?

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Yummy yummy! Or maybe we should say Nummy Nommy!