Friday, 17 April 2015

Caravaning With Cake

Last week we were lucky enough to be able to take a trip up to the Lakes for Easter Half Term. Just before we left we received a fabulous parcel courtesy of BritMums and Mr Kipling...


....3 delicious boxes of cakes! We packed them in to the car and headed North to Haven Lakeside to our home for the weekend - a 3 bedroomed caravan of dreams. The children knew immediatedly that the weekend would definitely be #BetterWithCake! So we cracked open the Cherry Bakewells to boost energy levels and help us unpack. 



They obviously went down a treat! After a very wet and windy night (yes Im talking about the weather) and after thinking the whole caravan was going to tip over from the gales we decided to gave a games day until the weather died down. We played chess, draughts and even made up a new card game before stopping for lunch and cake. Next on the list of delights was my all time favourite...



French Fancies!! My grandma used to treat me to these all the time when I was growing up and these brought back some fantastic memories and lots of lovely stories to tell the children.

They absolutely loved them as you can see....


 but luckily their favourites are the chocolate fancies and I love the pink! RESULT


A couple of days in, the weather improved and after a lovely day exploring the coast we headed back for even more delights... Viennese Whirls!! Nom nom nom - they got a huge thumbs of from Mister A and Little E.

We had a fabulous time away and it was certainly made #BetterWithCake! Thank you to Mr K for the lovely samples (and th momeories too!)


This post is an entry for #BetterWithCake Linky Challenge, sponsored by Mr Kipling. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/mrkiplingcakes.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Christmas Gifting Dilemmas

Oh no... It's that time of year again. Don't get me wrong, I do love Christmas and I love giving gifts to the ones I love... BUT.. I hate the shopping, the spending, the worrying if I've got it right.

The children have written their letters to Santa. Mister A has a list as long as the Bayeux Tapestry - Lego Minecraft, XBox games and the likes. Little E has a list of toys from across 4 consecutive pages of the Argos catalogue - she got bored so Mister A just made a complete list of everything across the Frozen and Doc McStuffin pages for her. I'm sure they'll get lots of goodies from Santa - where we'll store them is a worry though! The house is already brimming with millions of toys that 'we still use' 'you cant throw those away!' - there's a never ending sea of unloved toys. Even so I've just doubled up my Clubcard vouchers to £80 and bought a load of new toys top add to the collection.

 The biggest issue for me is the hubster. It was his 40th birthday in October so I took him on a surprise trip to Monza to see the F1.



It was amazing but I feel like Christmas will be a total let down for him now. Last year I got him one of those coffee makers from Tesco Direct - you know the ones with the pods. I think he managed two cups of coffee before I broke a piece off it by accident and it's never worked since. I was thinking about a watch but it's a bit 'meh' that isn't it - I mean I cant afford an expensive designer watch and I'm sure he wont want to wear an 80s style Casio digital. So what do I get him? More clothes? The cupboards are full! An over priced experience day? Grrrr I just don't know!!

Then there's my mum and dad - they have everything already! So I'll end up buying my Dad some CDs and my mum a new make up bag full of here favourite bits.... BORING!! There's nothing original out there these days - I'm well and truly stuck!!

I'm not sure I'm creative enough to go home-made but I'm lost for inspiration! Can anyone help?! Link to any helpful posts in the comments!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Cathy xx

This is post is dedicated to my beautiful sister in law who we sadly lost last month. She was too young to be taken from us. RIP Cathy. We miss you everyday xxx







Goodnight, God Bless xxx

Monday, 20 October 2014

Halloween Best Buys - A Review

Morphsuits from £16.99


Ive only ever really seen stag parties wearing Morphsuits but I think they are hilarious. When I was looking for Halloween outfits for the children, I was pleasantly surprised to see they also stocked a children's range too! Little E and Mister A had wanted matching outfits - which is easier said than done when you have a very opinionated boy and girl! We ordered these glow in the dark alien suits in small and medium and they are fantastic!! The children love them and despite them covering their heads and face they really enjoy wearing them!


Lego Mixels £3 each

The children absolutely love Halloween but I'm always concerned about the amount of sweet treats that they receive. Instead of buying sweets - these Lego Mixels are a perfect little treat to keep the kids entertained. These 3 are part of the Wiztastic Tribe and can be combined together to make one epic Mixel creature. I can highly recommend these - Lego really gets the imagine flowing and Mister A and Little E really enjoyed helping each other to build the tribe.

Halloween Creepy Crackers £4


These Crackers from Sainsburys went down well with the kids - they love crackers at Christmas so it was nice for them to enjoy them a little earlier this year. They contain the usual plastic mini toys and at £4 for 8 I'd say great to get in if you having a party.




Zombie Juggling Balls RRP £9.99



These got a lot of giggles in our house. These juggling balls groan as you catch them...or drop them as we found to be much more realistic. We've discovered we're all pretty rubbish jugglers so we've been plying hot potato with them instead as a fun Halloween game




Flashing Ghost

Little E loves this little ghost. It's not too scary and unlike some flashing toys it isn't so bright that it gives you a headache. She has been playing catch with this while Mister A has been practising his zombie juggling!

Serving Bowl £2 - Sainsburys



If you're having a little party then you're going to need a serving bowl for your ghoulish treats. It's large enough to cater for a party and cheap enough to be able to buy a couple that will last years!





Light Up Pumpkin £2 - Sainsburys


Perfect for the little ones! A safe mini pumpkin that's not too scary. Little E has been playing with this all week in her play kitchen. We've been to buy more to decorate the house.





Thursday, 16 October 2014

Add Some Spice to Your Autumn





Freezing cold winds and endless, fine rain, all topped off with an eternally grey, overcast sky. There’s no wonder why so many people bemoan the season of autumn; after all, summer is such a lovely, fun loving time- who in their right mind would want to swap sun bleached frolicking for hundreds of layers and a resolutely high heating bill? Though autumn can be a very depressing time for even the most chipper among us, there are ways you can add a little excitement and happiness into your days, brightening up the dull months.

Delicious Hot Drinks


Having a lovely, warming cup of tea or coffee during a cold day is a luxury many of us like to enjoy, but buying endless litres of that sweet, somewhat tedious creation, the pumpkin spice latte, is an act that can really put a dent in the bank account, right at the moment we’re feeling a little low. Save money, feel happy and simultaneously cease to be a slave of Starbucks by making your own! Surprisingly, there’s actually no pumpkin in the fall fad, the taste coming from sugar, cinnamon, allspice, clove and nutmeg. No need to ever run to the coffee shop again! If you’re not a fan of the sweet latte but still love a coffee, try popping your coffee grounds into the freezer; they’ll stay fresh for weeks longer than if they were in the cupboard!


Cosy-fy Your Bedroom


The bedroom is our sanctuary, a place where we can escape, calm down and have some time to ourselves. Such is true; if not more true; in the autumnal months, but with summer trends likely still taking up space in the bedroom, hardly looking inviting, making your bedroom warm and cosy is a must. When it comes to beds, warm red, orange, burgundy- even patchwork- covers will make your room look great, and if you’re in need of a new bed, dark woods will make your bedroom all the more inviting; there’s lots of beds available at discounted online sites like bedstar, and you don’t need to fork out that much money for a great look. Candles and fairy lights are also must haves!


Warm Winter Cooking


With all that time you’ll be spending indoors out of the reach of the weather, autumn is a great time to indulge in a little cooking. Just today I have made a delicious, in season,  Butternut Squash and Ricotta lasagne (recipe to follow)...



Pumpkin or sweet potato soup is also a great choice for lunches, served with crusty bread, and a spiced apple cake will go down well with all members of the family. Autumn is a great time to cook hearty, warming dishes such as chilli con carne, beef stew, and that quintessential warmer, the roast dinner!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Ice Cream Dream

A good few weeks ago we were contacted by Waitrose and asked to take part in their Ice Cream Dreams challenge.

They sent us a link to their Amazing Ice Cream Recipes for inspiration and asked us to come up with some ideas with the children to create our own unique dream ice cream!

I was first up Now I LOVE raspberry ripple and I LOVE biscuits so I wanted to create something perfect for me. I poured some delicious Rowse Raspberry Coulis on to a plate as a base and using Waitrose Cornish Ice Cream as a base I used cookie cutters to serve two heart shaped ice creams on to the plate.
To finish I crushed some digestive biscuits and sprinkled them over the top.

It was absolutely delicious and would make a nice simple dessert after a romantic dinner.


Little E's loves animals so she decided to create a frog using grapes and chocolate chips. This is a great way of getting fruit in to fussy little ones as it involves them in making the dessert and they often try new things.


Chris went for a Winter inspired desert making a snowflake Vanilla and Chocolate Crumble ice cream with warm chocolate and gold fondant. He used Waitrose Gold Sparkle Dust mixed with melted chocolate which tasted amazing. He did steal my crushed biscuit idea though!


Finally Mister A got involved, although he was more interested in getting back to Minecraft so he just plonked a dollop of ice cream in to his bowl with some raspberry sauce. When I asked if he was going to decorate it he shook some gold dust on to it and ran off. It's spectacular isn't it!!



Why don't you head over to Waitrose and get some inspiration of your own. I think we'll be trying out Heston's Ice Cream Sandwich with fresh raspberry dipping sauce next!

We'd love you to share your ice cream dreams with us!




Disclosure: We were given Waitrose vouchers to buy the products used in this feature.









Monday, 29 September 2014

Kylie Kiss Me Once Tour (with Full Setlist)

On Wednesday night me and the hubster took a trip to the Echo Arena in Liverpool to see the amazing Kylie. I have been a fan since way back in the late 80's when I bought the Kylie album on tape - my first ever album.

Kylie did not disappoint!! Here's a few pics from the concert and the set list too...















SETLIST


Les Sex 
In My Arms 
Timebomb 
Sexy Love 
Wow 

Step Back in Time
Spinning Around
Your Disco Needs You
On a Night Like This
Slow 


Hand on Your Heart / Never Too Late / Got to Be Certain / I Should Be So Lucky

Need You Tonight (INXS cover)
Sexercize

Can't Get You Out of My Head
Kids (unfortunately Robbie did not make an appearance)
Beautiful
Kiss Me Once

Get Outta My Way
Love at First Sight
Especially for You
All the Lovers

Encore: Into the Blue

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

*WIN* Tickets to see Disney On Ice at the Phones 4U Arena

Disney On Ice is returning to Manchester in October with the spectacular production of 100 Years Of Magic. It promises to be the celebration of the century, bringing to life Disney’s most remarkable characters from across the decades including Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse, joined by friends from the much loved Disney favourites such as Beauty & the Beast, Toy Story, The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Peter Pan and many more!




Join the celebration as more than 60 of Disney’s unforgettable characters from 18 beloved stories come to life in Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years Of Magic! You’ll be captivated by the one and only Mickey Mouse, the irresistible Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio and many Disney Princesses. Be thrilled by exciting moments from The Lion King; Mulan; and Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Toy Story films; in a skating spectacular filled with magical Disney moments you’ll remember forever as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years Of Magic comes to Manchester!





Second Time Mummy has teamed up with Disney On Ice to offer one lucky person the chance to win a family ticket* (*admits 4 people), to see the show at Phones 4u Arena Manchester on Thursday 16th October.

To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is answer the following question as a blog comment...

What is the name of Buzz and Woody’s cowgirl friend?

.... and confirm your entry on rafflecopter form. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years Of Magic is at Phones 4u Arena Manchester 15th – 19th October 2014 Tickets are priced between £14 - £39 For further ticket information telephone 0844 847 8000 or visit www.phones4uarena.co.uk or www.disneyonice.co.uk

The prize is a family ticket (admitting 4 people) to go and see the Manchester showing of Disney On Ice - 100 Years of Magic at the Phones 4 U Arena on Thursday 16th October 2014. Travel and accomodation are not included.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Growing Up Too Fast #PowerOfSoft *sp*

Last week my youngest, my baby girl, started school. Last week my oldest, my baby boy, started junior school. Words can not describe the heart wrenching feeling that comes with waving goodbye to your little ones on their first day. My heart was broken... they are growing up too fast.

Little E was four years old just 3 weeks ago and now she's already a week in to the school year. It feels like only yesterday I was holding her and Mister A in my arms, cuddling them for the first time, staring in to their eyes as I fed them. But it feels like a lifetime ago...



Seven and a half years have passed since Mister A was born. No one could have prepared me for the intense love that a mother feels. I am so, so proud of my children and everything they do. There is no better feeling than snuggling up with them to talk about their day or watch a film on TV. They'll never be too old for cuddles!

So many children these days grow up too fast for the wrong reasons... because they're watching things they shouldn't on TV or playing 18 rated video games. In our house we have a motto....

Some people might think that this makes my children naive but I think it just makes my children, children.

The time really does go so fast when you have little ones so make the most of every single minute. Dance with them, sing with them and make memories that will last a lifetime.

My top tip for any new parents out there would be to blog if you can or keep a memory book or diary for you to look back on in future years when they are flying the nest... because before you know it you'll be waving them off to uni or travelling and memories of those little people you once knew will be the only thing you have.

I'll leave you with this video that will have you in tears!




Disclosure: I received some Fairy Non Bio products and payment in return for my memories.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

A Weekend in Wales - Attractions of Snowdonia Review

Living in West Lancashire we are lucky enough to be able to visit North Wales regularly. This year we have already made a couple of trips over the border to Prestatyn and Anglesey so when we were contacted by Attractions of Snowdonia and asked if we would like to spend the weekend visiting some of the local attractions we jumped at the chance. Soon after signing up,  Deri the roaming Dragon (the new Attractions of Snowdonia mascot) arrived to accompany us on our trip...


Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway


We set off on Saturday morning (after some unexpected car troubles) and headed to Porthmadog - the home of the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways. Parking at the station is limited so we headed to a larger public car park - near Wilko's - not far from the station.  After collecting our tickets we jumped on board the steam train and set off from Porthmadog on the 13.35. The journey took us up through the hills through Minfford and Tan y Bwlch finally arriving at Blaenau Ffestiniog at 14.45.

The train has a number of carriages including a couple of first class cabins if you fancy a little luxury on your trip.

TOP TIP: There are 2 and 4 seat tables so try and board as early as possible to get some extra space.

We started the trip on 2 small 2 seater tables but as quite a few passengers left the train at Tan y Bwlch we were able to sit as a family eventually.

The time absolutely flew by and if I'm honest I was surprised how the sights along the journey managed to keep the children entertained for so long. We spotted sheep, waving walkers and please look out for the beautiful waterfall just before you reach Tan y Bwlch - it's stunning!



We took a picnic to save on pennies but a refreshment service is available on the train where you can order soft drinks, tea or coffee and even a selection of licenced drinks from spirits through to Welsh cider. After a short stop and a stretch of the legs at Ffestiniog, we boarded the train again ready for the 13½-mile journey back to the harbour of Porthmadog.We all really enjoyed our trip up to the mountains and we would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to take in the sights of Snowdonia in a truly relaxing way.

A guidebook is available to purchase on board for £5 where you can find out more about the Ffestiniog Railway. In it you can read about how Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways is the oldest independent railway company in the world - founded by an Act of Parliament in 1832 believe it or not. In fact, the company introduced the world's first narrow gauge steam locomotives in 1863 and four of the original locos still remain!

Once back at Porthmadog we took a quick trip to the harbour before heading to the hotel for the evening.




The Celtic Royal


We spent the night in the beautiful Celtic Royal Hotel in Caernarfon, around a 30 minute hour drive from Porthmadog.

We were booked in to a family room, consisting of a double and 2 single beds. After unpacking we called down to reception to reserve a table for our evening meal.We were really disappointed not to have been able to get a later table in the restaurant (we wanted an 8 o'clock setting but we were forced to take 7.15 as the restaurant was fully booked -  rather annoyingly though it wasn't full at all even when we left at 9pm and we could only watch what looked to have been a beautiful sunset from the window rather than over at the quay.)

The food at Brasserie Draco more than made up for it though - was absolutely delicious -and my risotto was the best fish dish Ive had in years!


We retired for the night but being all in the same room meant that we were restricted in what time we could go to bed ourselves so we got an early night ready for tomorrow's adventures.

King Arthur's Labyrinth


We arrived at King Arthur's Labyrinth just before 1pm. We were booked on to the 1.30 trip so we took a wander round the centre. There are lots of little craft shops to explore - a chocolate shop where you can make your own bar, a wooden toy store and a candle shop where you can dip candles. If you book ahead you can even build a piece of rustic furniture! With little time to play with, the children immediately headed to the adventure playground and worked off some energy.



We arroved at King Arthur's Labyrinth store a little early so we were shown in to a video area while we waited. At 1.30 sharp, a lady came to take us in to a small seating area where we were told about the adventure ahead. After receiving our hard hats we took the short walk round to the entrance of the cavern.

TOP TIP: Wrap up warm and wear wellies if you can as it's very cold and damp inside the mountain.

We walked through to the dark passage to be greeted by a mysterious boatman who ushered us on board. We sailed along, through a waterfall (don't worry you won't get that wet!) and disembarked from our boat. We walked from cave to cave to see and hear the wonderful tales of King Arthur and his men including King Arthur’s final battle - the Battle of Camlan. It was really interesting and we loved walking through the tunnels.

There is lots more to do on the site including an another attraction -  Lost Legends of The Stone Circle where you can follow the snaking paths and navigate the maze to find mythical stories and The Stone Circle but we had to move quickly to reach our next destination so we ate our packed lunch and headed on.

Llechwedd Slate Caverns


The journey from the Labyrinth to Llechwedd took around 50 minutes. When we arrived on site there were 3 people flying overhead across the Quarry on the 'longest zip line course in the World' - it looked fantastic. The children are too young for that yet so Chris and I have talked about returning next Summer with Grandparents in tow so that we can have a go too! Anyway, I digress, we were there to visit the slate caverns.

After getting our tickets we walked to the mine area and, for the second time that day, donned our hard hats. We took a ride down to the mine on the steepest cable railway in Britain taking us hundreds of feet underground.


Our guide was fantastic, he told us about how the miners and their families lived during Victorian times. As you walk the half mile journey through the caverns you hear the voice of Sion Dolgarregddu - a young miner that went to work in the mine at just 12 years old. It was unbelievable to think how they must have worked the mines in such dark and dangerous conditions. The caverns were lit beautifully. Part of the tour sees you head down around 60 steps and as we moved through the lower caverns we came to a beautiful, natural underground lake - it was absolutely stunning. As we reached the end of the walk through, our guide gave us a demonstration of how the Victorian miners used their tools. We made our ascent up a further staircase and then back up top in the cable car. We finished the tour with a visit to the Mill where we were shown the ancient skill of slate splitting - Little E and Mister A were even given small pieces of slate to take away as a memento.

There is so much to do on site here from the zip wire and the mine tour to Bounce - the world’s first subterranean playground! Huge trampoline like nets are hung within two vast chambers at varying levels, linked together by walkways and slides, the biggest of which is a 60 foot slide! We would have loved to have a try but unfortunaley it was closed by the time we finished our tour. If all that wasnt enough then high up on 'Cribau', behind the historic headquarters of Llechwedd, there are four world beating downhill mountain bike tracks - not for the fainted hearted I would imagine but there are tracks for novices as well as more experienced riders. Finally on the way out we discovered a beatiful waterfall...


Seeing it was the perfect end to a fantastic weekend. Wales is such a beautiful country and we saw some breathtaking views on our 330 mile round trip. I'll leave you with some of the amazing Snowdonian scenery...


What's the Verdict?


We had the perfect weekend away and would highly recommend a visit to Snowdonia. To find out more about the huge amount of attractions that Snowdonia has to offer then visit www.attractionsofsnowdonia.com - go on - do it now!!

In exchange for this review we received a Deri cuddly toy, complimentary admission to the attractions reviewed and an overnight hotel stay.

Twitter