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My weekly round up with My Little Loves 12/08/17

weekly round up bracelets

My weekly round up

Well I have to apologise… it’s more like my two weekly round up (possibly verging on three!). Since the school holidays hit I’ve literally been on auto pilot and my feet have barely touched the floor. I’m exhausted to say the least. I’ve been juggling days out, working, the gym, volunteering, parenting, party planning and the odd bit of housework! So with all that going on I have to confess. Blogging has taken a bit of a back seat for the last couple of weeks.

So it’s been jam packed so far. We’ve had my husbands family come to stay for the first week. They travelled down from Scotland hoping for some sunshine sadly, all they got was rain! We soldiered on and went on plenty of days out braving the truly rubbish British weather! We still had a fantastic time.

Week 1

During the first week we visited the Fairies and Elves festival at Audley End Miniature Railway… it was a truly magical day. A ride on the train through the woods followed by lots of fun with the fairies, you can read about it here.

weekly round up audley end fairy and elf festival

We also got some more use from our Merlin Annual Passes and visited Chessington World of Adventures. The rain meant few queues so was great news for us! Read our review on the Merlin Annual pass here.

weekly round up eden at chessington

We were lucky enough to be invited to the Barbican Centre to meet ‘Buttons’ the animatronic Cadbury Cow. We had a life drawing class with illustrator Rose Blake and stuffed our faces full of chocolate! My kind of day! It was part of Cadbury’s ‘Adopt a Cow’ campaign. You can read more about it here.

weekly round up cadbury adopt a cow Buttons

I’ve also recently been invited to try out our local David Lloyd club, so have been making the most of it. It’s been brilliant taking Eden along to the kids club classes and I’ve been able to train with my husband in the gym. It’s really taken the pressure off childcare during the school holidays. We even tried out the squash courts and I managed to hit myself with the racquet! The bruise is still going strong after a week. ha ha. Read more about it here.

weekly round up david lloyd gymweekly round up david lloyd squash courtweekly round up david lloyd selfie collage

Read

Well I’ve recently been enjoying reading a new blog ‘whinge whinge wine’. Fran has been making me laugh out loud this week and choke on my coffee. Not forgetting her amusing Facebook posts… the Ta Ta towels were quite an eyeful! I love looking out for Fran’s posts!

Watched

I am volunteer befriender for Age UK and regularly visit a wonderful elderly lady called Beryl. She is 90 years young, just celebrated her birthday this week. We have a lovely bond and natter away for hours each visit putting the world to rights. During the school holidays I’ve taken Eden with me to meet her. Initially I was nervous that Eden might get bored or play up but she has made me very proud. It was so warming to watch the two of them together. Reading books, laughing, joking, colouring in and having a cuddle on the sofa. It was simply magical. Eden told me as we left ‘she is a very nice lady isn’t she mummy’ and I tend to agree with her!

Heard

About million questions every day from my almost 5 year old. My brain needs a rest! Enough said!

Wore

Well I think this adorable outfit with matching headband from Next has to be my ‘wore’ choice this week. I just loved Eden in this outfit with lemon leggings and matching cardi. I think she look so adorable. Doug my husband passed comment that she looked like a little washer woman! What does he know?!

weekly round up eden in next dressweekly round up eden in next dress and headband

Made

Eden made me the prettiest little friendship bracelet. She also made herself a matching one too. She used up all the heart charms on my one so didn’t have enough for her own! I love it, Eden can be so thoughtful, I will treasure it forever.

We also went on a Scrapbook Safari at Hylands House, set in the Park. Unfortunately it was in the rain so wasn’t a great time to see the grounds! But after getting soaking wet outside we got to go into Hylands House. Eden got to make scrapbook pages about the trail, this weeks theme was ‘under the sea’ and we made a cardboard fish. The least waterproof type of fish!

weekly round up Our friendship bracelets
weekly round up eden at hylands house nature trailweekly round up cardboard fish and scrapbook

Ate

We returned to one of my favourite afternoon tea spots, Camelia Hotel in Southend. We were thoroughly spoilt with the warmest, freshest scones straight out of the oven! Served with a huge cup of clotted cream, just as they should be! Read more about my favourite afternoon tea spots here.

weekly round up camelia hotel afternoon tea

And lastly

We have partied hard over the last few weeks. Many of Eden’s friends are turning 5 so we’ve been busy attending all the parties. Best is yet to come though as Eden’s will be next week! I cannot believe that my little pickle will be 5! That went by in the blink of an eye!
So next week I will be busy making the cake, balloon towers, card and a Playdoh surprise egg (oh god help me!). The last one took me about 4 hours… you can see Eden open her last one here! What am I thinking doing it again, I must be mad?! I’ll blog about it and let you know!

weekly round up eden and balloons

weekly round up party table and cakes

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Family Life, Lifestyle

Getting some Mum Me Time with David Lloyd Clubs

Mum me time with David Lloyd

I had two main concerns when approaching the school summer holidays:
1. How will I get a ‘break’ during the school holidays?
And
2. How am I going to get to the gym regularly?

My usual gym routine consists of dropping Eden at school and heading straight to the gym for my workout. This works perfectly for me and I’ve worried about what I’m going to do during the summer holidays. My current gym doesn’t offer kids clubs that would allow me to train 4-5 times a week.

I think as a mum it’s really important to not only have family time together but actually schedule in some ‘me time’. I think I need it for my sanity. Constantly juggling working, parenting and home life takes its toll. Sometimes my brain feels like it can’t switch off so I think it’s so important to give yourself a break from it. For me, the gym is my ‘mum me time’ so it’s vital that I fit it in.

I was invited to go along to my local David Lloyd Club for some Mum Me Time so I jumped at the chance. It also meant that I got to take Eden along and take advantage of the kids club. Eden was super excited about this, going off making new friends and trying out new activities.

David Lloyd Club

On arrival at our local David Lloyd Club I was immediately impressed, such a friendly family environment. In the cafe and lounge area, there is a soft play area for kids to use along with computers and tablets. Allowing the kids to play within sight and the adults to relax. I could already imagine chilling in a comfy chair with a coffee whilst Eden played in the soft play area.
Mum me time with David Lloyd CafeMum me time with David Lloyd Soft play

I handed over a super excited Eden to kids club and went on a tour of the club. The facilities are amazing, a lovely gym split into clearly defined areas for training with brand new equipment. Large studios for classes, spin studio, indoor pool with children’s pool, heated outdoor pool, badminton, squash and tennis courts. Another nice touch is the not just male and female changing rooms but a family changing room too! Makes the awkward changing situation so much easier as a family.

I took part in a Synergy HIIT workout which was brilliant, really pushed my limits and followed it with a relaxing ‘Wellbeing’ stretch class. The instructors were both friendly and really knew their stuff. I can often feel self conscious in gyms and especially in classes but I felt totally comfortable and at ease at the David Lloyd.
Mum me time with David Lloyd gym

Mum me time with David Lloyd GymMum me time with David Lloyd Synrgy circuitMum me time with David Lloyd Studio

Mum me time with David Lloyd tennis courts
Mum me time with David Lloyd Me after workout

Lunch

Feeling refreshed after my workout I collected a very happy Eden from kids club. She excitedly told me about her morning playing football, doing crafts and colouring. We had a lovely lunch together, the food was of a really high standard with brilliant healthy food choices on the menu. Eden finished before me and got to enjoy the soft play whilst I finished my lunch in peace!
Mum me time with David Lloyd Food

After lunch we got changed and I took Eden for a swim in both the indoor and outdoor pools, we spent hours happily splashing around. Eden had a whale of a time and I’m looking forward to increasing her confidence during the summer months. Although she loves the water she will not put her face in the water without having a melt down so this is something I’m going to try to improve over the next couple of months.

Mum me time with David Lloyd Eden swimmingMum me time with David Lloyd outdoor pool

The months ahead

I can’t tell you how excited I am about making the most of the facilities at our local David Lloyd Club over the next few months. The facilities and schedule of kids clubs is brilliant. There is something for all ages at a range of times, meaning I can train all summer whilst Eden is being entertained. Even better the kids clubs are included in the membership, you can’t ask for better than that.

With a family membership it also means I can train with my husband. We are currently members at different gyms which means we never get to train together. I’m really excited about this, we will actually get some time together and they do say after all that ‘Couples that train together, stay together!’. I’m looking forward to going to the gym as a family, getting my ‘mum me time’, training with my husband and Eden having lots of fun.

Check out your local David Lloyd Club, they have over 100 clubs up and down the country.

mum me time with david lloyd

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Written in collaboration with David Lloyd Clubs but all opinions and views are my own.

Lifestyle, Unusual

Eden meets Buttons – Cadbury’s Adopt a Cow Campaign!

Cadbury’s Adopt a Cow Campaign

We were invited along to take part in a life drawing class with Illustrator Rose Blake and ‘Buttons’ the 8 foot animatronic Cadbury cow for Cadbury’s Adopt a Cow campaign.

The journey

Eden was super excited, she couldn’t remember the last time she went on a train as she was still small and in her buggy. We had taken her for a sightseeing tour around London to see all the sights. Even managing to get into Downing Street to stand outside number 10 that day! I think Eden slept through and missed most of it!

The journey was simple, we went straight into Liverpool Street. Followed by a short 15 minute walk to the Barbican Centre. I’ve never been there before and thought it was an amazing place. With exhibitions, a shop and cinema.

We stopped for a quick bite to eat in The Barbican Kitchen where kids eat free with an adult meal! Always a bonus! Then headed up to our life drawing class with Rose Blake.

cadbury's adopt a cow At the stationCadbury's Adopt a Cow On train

Meeting Buttons

So Buttons the animatronic cow was created to mark Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons Adopt a Cow campaign. It was revealed that many city children had never seen a cow before and many children had no idea of their size or what they looked like. Buttons The Cadbury cow is giving city children an opportunity to get up close and see what they are like.

When we first walked into the room, at first glance you would think it was the real thing. Controlled by animatronics and puppeteers, Buttons stood 8 foot tall and was extremely impressive. Lifelike and mooing just like a regular cow.

Eden wasn’t intimidated and went straight in for a hug. She wasn’t quite so brave when it came to touching his tongue but she did it and then made a run for it!

Cadbury's Adopt a Cow Eden hugs Buttons

Cadbury's Adopt a Cow Buttons the cow

The drawing class

The room was set up perfectly. Several easels spread around the room, each with its own equipment. All centred around for a great view of Buttons. Rose Blake had kindly prepared booklets giving easy step by step instructions on how to sketch your cow. Eden of course went free hand and drew a rainbow cow with multicoloured spots! My husband couldn’t resist having a go too, even I got in on the action.

The session was super relaxed, Rose Blake was very friendly and came and chatted to each of us about our pictures. Once finished the children got to show their pictures to Buttons. Eden was thrilled that Buttons liked her picture!

Cadbury's Adopt a Cow Eden and daddy drawing

Cadbury's Adopt a CowCadbury's Adopt a Cow Drawing the cowCadbury's Adopt a Cow colouring the cow

Cadbury's Adopt a Cow Rose Blake

Cadbury's Adopt a Cow Showing Buttons her pic

At the end of the class, Eden received a cow balloon and a Cadbury gift bag which of course included some Cadbury Buttons. She was so pleased! Especially with the balloon and chocolate buttons.

The Cadbury’s Adopt a Cow campaign gives families the opportunity to adopt a cow via an on-pack promotion and 20 lucky families the chance to win an overnight trip to meet their cow at its farm.

Special promotion packs can be found in stores now with the competition closing on 31st August 2017. For more information about the Cadbury’s Adopt a Cow campaign go to https://adoptacow.cadbury.co.uk/.

I think Eden will be talking about meeting Buttons for a very long time! What a great day out!

Cadbury's Adopt a Cow CampaignCadbury's Adopt a Cow Eden and daddy

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Lifestyle, Shows, Unusual

Rapunzel & Beauty & the Beast Shows

At the theatre

Eden absolutely loves live shows and theatre productions. Even from an early age she would happily sit through a film at the cinema but I wasn’t sure whether she would sit through a full length theatre production. I always worried it could work out quite expensive especially if you can’t be too sure if your child is going to sit through it all. An expensive gamble to make.

I found ‘The Princess and the Party’ company offered a Rapunzel show at Orsett Village Hall in Essex last summer. As this is one of Eden’s favourite films I booked up tickets. They seemed super popular and sold out very quickly.

Rapunzel & Beauty & the Beast Shows

Rapunzel

Initially I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought it would be someone dressed up as Rapunzel who sang a few songs on stage and the kids got to dance around and have some fun! How wrong I was! They had gone to so much effort, the stage design was brilliant, the characters all looked the part and they acted out the whole show from start to finish. What really blew me away was the quality of the singing and acting. I really wasn’t expecting it to be so good. They sang all the old favourites and all the children really seemed to enjoy it. Honestly it was so amazing. Mother Gothel sounded just like the real thing and Rapunzel was absolutely charming!

It was really nice because the show was super relaxed so perfect for the little ones. All the children could sit on the floor at the front if they wanted and parents could sit on the chairs behind. It was very interactive so the children were encouraged to get up and dance and join in the fun! At the end of the show, all the children had the opportunity for a photo with the cast. Eden was so pleased to meet them all!

Tickets were £10 a head and in my opinion such good value, worth every penny. All the children were dressed up in their Rapunzel themed costumes and all had the best time.

We loved it so much we booked up to see their second show Beauty & the beast as soon as tickets were released.

Rapunzel and Beauty and the Beast shows Eden rapunzel dressRapunzel and Beauty and the Beast shows rapunzel stageRapunzel and Beauty and the Beast shows

Rapunzel and Beauty and the Beast shows Cast

Beauty & The Beast

This was another amazing show with more characters and another great stage design. It was really very clever how they pulled it all together and made the film come to life.

Belle was wonderful of course and Gaston had us all laughing our heads off. Quite a few of the children heckled him and he responded so brilliantly in character. Again this show did not disappoint with such good quality singing and acting. The kids had lots of fun, they loved getting all dressed up and dancing along to the songs. I think they felt every bit the princess! I even went the extra mile and made Eden’s Belle dress! I’ll be doing a blogpost soon with instructions on how to make your own princess tutu dress.

Rapunzel and Beauty and the Beast shows Eden and IRapunzel and Beauty and the Beast shows Belle dressRapunzel and Beauty and the Beast shows Belle and gastonRapunzel and Beauty and the Beast shows cast on stageRapunzel and Beauty and the Beast showsRapunzel and Beauty and the Beast shows

Songbird Theatre Company

Since then ‘The Princess and the Party’ have now become The Songbird Theatre Company focussing on producing shows rather than Princess parties. This is great news, especially as they will be repeating the Rapunzel performance again this summer in a bigger and better venue. This can only make it even better than it already was. Still at just £10 a ticket, it is brilliant value! I’d really recommend this for a fun afternoon with the kids or adults!!! Perfect for a child’s first theatre performance or simply to feel like a princess for the day!

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Rapunzel and Beauty and the Beast shows

Crafts, Fashion, Food, Lifestyle, My weekly round up

My Weekly Round Up with Little Loves

My weekly round up

So this is my first Weekly Round up. Wow what a week it has been. I feel like my feet haven’t touched the floor and my brain hasn’t switched off. At the start of the week was Eden’s last day in Reception before they moved up to Year 1 for the last two weeks of school. It was an emotional good bye to her wonderful teachers and teaching assistants. They have really made her first year a special one. I must confess I did cry, I knew I would but I feel so sad my little one has finished her first year at school! Where did that year go? I feel like it was just yesterday I was standing at the gate taking her first day of school pics.

The rest of the week has flown by in a blur of school runs, shopping, the gym and lots of working from home. We’ve been making so many teacher gifts this week at at The Candy Bag Shop.

Read

Well Eden has been reading to me lots this week, her reading is really surprising me every day! She seems to be really picking it up and remembering more words without having to sound them out. I love that this is opening up a whole new world for Eden, she has been a book worm since she was just a baby! Even now one of her favourite days out is our local library. It’s so exciting that soon she will be able to read all these books!

Watched

I watched The Labyrinth with Eden, tucked up and cosy on the sofa together. I’m so pleased she seemed to like it as much as I do. Labyrinth was one of my favourite films growing up. It was originally released in 1986 so I wouldn’t have been far off Eden’s age when I first watched this. I love the film so much I even bought myself this little gem this week! The Sarah & the worm Pop Vinyl figure. The little worm was one of my favourite characters in the film, he is too adorable, ‘Allo’!

My little loves Sarah and the worm labyrinthMy little loves the labyrinth movie

Heard

This week I heard some lovely words from Eden, she melted my heart! I saw her coming out of class carrying a big cardboard box. Initially my heart sunk, yet another ‘creation’ brought home from school. I thought to myself ‘WTF is that and where the am I going to put it?’.

As she came out of class beaming with pride at her new creation, aka ‘the glitter box’. I was wondering how long I’d have to keep it before it could find its way into the recycling bin! And then she hit me with it….

‘Mummy, I’ve made this for you as I want to say thank you for all the lovely things you do for me’. Well I melted, what a kind and thoughtful little girl she is growing into! Boy, did I feel guilty about plotting the ‘end’ of ‘the Glitter Box’!!!

However when we got home I was allowed to open the box. It contained a half coloured picture and a million pieces of sparkly bits of paper and sequins. She then proceeded to tip them all out onto the lounge carpet!

Sorry to say the box is no more!!!!!

My little loves Eden's glitter box

Made

This week I was kept super busy with teacher gifts both with my work and for Eden’s teacher gifts. I made personalised cotton tote bags with glitter vinyl, these cute little retro sweet filled milk bottles and packaged it all up in these pretty little hampers. I had to watch videos on YouTube to learn how to make the hamper bows but didn’t quite like them so just ended up making up my own. Not perfect but I think they didn’t turn out too bad.

The Candy Bag Shop teacher gifts

The Candy Bag Shop teacher milk bottle

Wore

This week I wore a gorgeously bright yellow frill top from Next. It got lots of comments which was nice, so it brightened my day in more ways than one!

My weekly round up next yellow frill top

Ate

Well I eat low carb and one of my favourite low carb places for breakfast is Creme in Leigh. I often go here with my dad for a coffee and a catch up. I always choose their ‘Low Carb’ brekkie, the steak is always cooked to perfection!

Also love to go there on on a cheat day as their cakes and shakes are out of this world!!

My little loves Creme low carb breakfastMy little loves cream leigh
And lastly

I’ve realised that I’m absolutely rubbish at hairstyles for Eden and I need to maybe think about getting myself booked onto some sort of course to learn braiding!

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Indoor Play, Lifestyle, Toys

Eden’s Good Report Treat – Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van

Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van

Eden’s First School Report

Well Eden has almost completed her first year at school. The Reception Year has absolutely flown by! I can’t quite believe she will be going up to Year 1 in September. Coming to the end of the school year meant Eden had her first school report. Both her dad and I were so pleased with how well she has got on this year. We are both super proud of her and decided to reward her for such a good school report with a Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van!

Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van Box

As a child I can remember wanting Sylvanian Families, they have certainly stood the test of time. Unfortunately I didn’t have them myself as a child but I can remember visiting friends and playing with their Sylvanian Families collection. I’m sure I must of pestered my mum non stop for my own! Meany Mum, ha ha!

As soon as Eden was old enough I couldn’t wait to start building her very own Sylvanian Families collection. First off we bought her the cosy starter home and have added extra Families and sets along the way. The great thing about it is the huge range available. It’s easy to ask family members to add to the collection for birthdays and Christmas to build the collection. It’s a toy that last for years and Eden really enjoys with all the ‘tiny’ pieces that comes in them. We store all the little bits in plastic boxes so not to lose any.

The surprise

Eden had no idea what her treat would be for her good school report. It’s safe to see she was blown away when she saw the Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van. Eden especially likes play sets that contain food so this set was perfect for her.

Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van Eden's surprise

Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van Eden's surprised face
The Set up

It was super easy to set up (unlike some toys we’ve opened recently), the van comes ready assembled with just the sign to add on the top. There were a few stickers to stick on and some paper napkins and boxes to make up but nothing too taxing. Eden was playing with it in just a few minutes.

The set includes a retro style hot dog van, an outfit for a Sylvanian character (it doesn’t include the character) , several hotdogs and food items, tongs, menu, drinks and condiments. The set is really well made and the hot dog van is nice and sturdy.  There is so much attention to detail that makes this set so sweet. Some of the hot dogs even come out of their buns!

Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van straight out of the box
Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van stickers
Hours of fun

Eden has not stopped playing with this set since she received it, it’s official she ‘loves it’. Every day after school she has got it all out with her other Sylvanian Families collection and played happily. Eden particularly likes the tiny mini hotdog so she can make her own up, pretending to add her own ketchup and mustard. She really enjoys serving all her Sylvanian customers. This is a really lovely set and I can really recommend it.

Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van The Van
Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van close up
Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van eden playing
Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van Eden with the set

Sylvanian Families Hot Dog Van

You can see Eden’s reaction to her new toy in our short video we made of her opening it. I’d love to know what you think, please leave us a comment below.

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Eden's Good Report Treat - Sylvanian Hot Dog Van ReviewThis post was in collaboration with Sylvanian Families, all views are my own.

Family Life, Lifestyle

Top tips for starting school -the reception year!

When you’re little one is starting school its a daunting stage. Here are some of my top tips for starting school – the reception year:

Top tips for starting school

Uniform

Try not to leave buying school uniform too late, by mid August you may struggle to find uniform in your little ones size. Supermarkets are perfect for picking up school uniform. They are super reasonably priced. I also wouldn’t go mad on buying lots of items with a logo. They are really expensive, so I’d just a buy a couple of bits and the rest plain. You can always add extras later if need be. Oh and look out for the ‘easy iron’ uniform, after all every little helps!

School shoes

Try avoiding buying their school shoes too early. You don’t want your little one growing out of them by the time they are due to start.

I would recommend making sure you let your little one wear their shoes in before sending them into school for a full day. Bad mum alert, I didn’t do this! Poor Eden was limping after her first day in school and had blisters on both feet. I felt truly awful, she spent the next two days in her plimsolls!! Oops!

Label clothing

Name all clothing even the socks! I’m not one for ironing on labels or worse… sewing them on! I don’t have time for that! What mum does? I used Petit Fernand when Eden started school. You can stick their labels directly onto the clothing labels, into shoes, on pack lunch boxes, all sorts! They are such a time saver! I’ve got loads left over for her dance uniform too!

I also bought a ‘clothing name stamp’ from eBay, it was brilliant for stamping Eden’s name on her socks and on fabric wash labels. It washed well and remained after several washes, plus it was super quick.

Top tips for starting school -the reception year. Labelling clothing
Reading with your child

If you don’t already, starting reception is a great time to start regularly reading with your child. I know everyone is busy but if you can build 5 minutes into their bedtime routine it will do them the world of good. You’ll quickly notice that after just weeks at school your little one will start to read. I actually couldn’t believe how quickly Eden started reading. I expected it to take most of her first school year but in just weeks she was taking her first steps into reading!

Try not to compare

Try not to worry about how fast your child is picking things up. It’s not a competition and every child learns at their own pace. It can be quite intimidating when ‘Jonny’ already knows all his phonics and is moving on to new things, but as long as your child is progressing then that’s fine. They will all learn at their own speed.

School Emails

Remember to sign up to receive your school letters by email (if your school offers this service). You’ll be kept up to date with all the school appointments and won’t have to worry too much about searching through the book bag on the hunt for lost letters.

Practise being independent

Practice being independent with your little one. I know it’s often easier and quicker to cut up their sausages for them or do up their buttons but they really need to be practising these things as much as possible before starting school.

Practice getting dressed and undressed for PE, zipping up their own coats, cutting up their food and going to the toilet and washing their hands by themselves. These will all really help your little one once they start school.

Keep relaxed

If you are nervous on the day try not to show it, some kids will go in without a backward glance and others more apprehensive. I actually wore sunglasses on Eden’s first day so she couldn’t see me cry. I know that if she did it would have unsettled her! Seeing you relaxed will definitely put your little one more at ease. Try to keep the goodbye short and sweet, let them know you’ll be back to pick them up later. Maybe avoid telling them you’ll miss them as could be upsetting for them.

Top tips for starting school -the reception year eden in the playground

Top tips for starting school -the reception year In the playground
After school

Try not to ask too many questions after they come out of school. I initially asked Eden lots of questions. I was dying to know how school was, did she make friends, how was lunch, what did she do! I never got anything back from her. I soon realised she was wasn’t mentally exhausted  from the day. The drive home was down time for her. I found leaving her alone worked much better. Once ready she would quite often open up to me about her day at school. Telling me things she was enjoying or even things that had worries her that day. For us I found giving her some space, meant once Eden had relaxed I heard more about her day!

After school snack

I found Eden was ravenous coming out of school so I took a snack with me for when I collected her. I wouldn’t dare turn up without one now! It’s definitely part of our routine. Some days she even asks for a second. I have to keep spares in my bag now just incase!

The big day

You’re all ready! Don’t forget the camera and the tissues for that first day! Afterwards rather than worry about it, go off and treat yourself! I rewarded myself to a coffee and a spot of childless shopping on Eden’s first day! Heaven!

Top tips for starting school -the reception year Edens first day
Top tips for starting school -the reception year cards
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Top tips for starting school

Food, My Sunday Photo

My Sunday Photo – Tiptree Gin

For my Sunday Photo this week has to be one taken on National Cream Tea Day! It was a lovely surprise when we arrived at our local Tiptree Restaurant!

We ate scones while raising money for charity! I love scones with clotted cream and jam piled high! This time we tried Lavender scones! They were quite Floral tasting but it wasn’t too overpowering, the same can’t be said for the Lavender Tea though!

This shot was of the lovely gin’s they sell at Tiptree! The raspberry or strawberry ones are fabulous poured into a glass of Prosecco! A real treat!

My Sunday Photo Tiptree Gin
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Eating Out, Food

Celebrating National Cream Tea Day

National Cream Tea Day

So this year my mum shared a very special day with her birthday… ‘National Cream Tea Day’. I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t even know there was a ‘National Cream Tea Day’! Now you’ve only got to read my ‘My Favourite Afternoon Tea’s in Essex‘ blogpost to know how much I love a scone. It is safe to say, this is going to be a day that I definitely celebrate every year!

The Cream Tea Society in association with Rodda’s and Tiptree announced that 30th June 2017 would be the 3rd year of ‘National Cream Tea Day’. They help support charitable causes, fundraising projects up and down the country.

National cream tea day Tiptree restaurant

National cream tea day Tiptree restaurant

National cream tea day Tiptree restaurant

National cream tea day Scones

National cream tea day Tiptree gin

Tiptree Restaurant

Our local Tiptree restaurant at Barleylands Village was supporting ‘Mind for better mental health’ charity. They had games to take part in, donating £1 to charity per go, guess the amount of jar lids, guess the unusual jam flavours and guess the weight of the super sized scone… sadly we couldn’t eat that one! I reckon given enough clotted cream, I could of given it a fair go! You’d probably have to roll me out of the restaurant though!

National cream tea day super sized scone

National cream tea day Charity games
So as it was ‘National Cream Tea Day’, the Tiptree restaurant had 4 scone ‘specials’ available, each one served with a drink to suit! There options were Lavender, Cherry, Chocolate or Cheese scones.

Scones

I let my sister Donna choose our scones to share, she choose the Voluptuous Violet Cream Tea. The Lavender scones arrived with clotted cream, wild blueberry preserve and a Lavender tea. I do tend to stick to strawberry jam with my scones usually but the blueberry preserve was delicious. The Lavender scones tasted lightly floral but not too over powering. The Lavender tea however tasted like something I should wear as perfume rather than drink! It smelt amazing though such a relaxing scent, reminded me of my dear nanny Dolly.

National cream tea day Lavender scones
The chocoholic cream tea arrived with two chocolate chip scones, clotted cream and Tiptree Chocolate Spread. They were served with a hot chocolate cream and flake! They were lovely, although maybe a tad sickly for my palate, perfect for my Mummy with her sweet tooth! It was really nice to try some new scones with different toppings. Definitely encouraged me to try something new next time!

National cream tea day chocolate chip scones
So my mum’s birthday turned out to be an extra special celebration! We look forward to celebrating ‘National Cream Tea Day’ again next year!

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Celebrating National Cream Tea Day Tiptree restaurant in Essex

Crafts, Family Life, Home, Lifestyle, Memories

How to – Scrapbooking for kids

scrapbooking for kids

Why Scrapbook?

I absolutely love taking photos of my daughter. I’m the first to admit that I do go a little mad taking hundreds of photos, I just don’t want to miss a thing. I want to capture every milestone, every trip, day out or funny moment. It’s surprising how much you do actually forget. This is why I want to talk about Scrapbooking for kids. It’s not only a great way to document your adventures but it is a brilliant way of getting your little ones involved too.

Photos

So once the photos have been taken, they are no good to anyone stuck on your phone or a portable hard drive! I actually want my daughter to see and look back on all those wonderful moments too. So each month I go through my photos and print a bunch of my favourites. I use two mobile apps that print your pics for free and you just pay for delivery. Each month you get a renewable allowance. I’m sure there are others on the market but these are the ones I use:

FreePrints – you get 45 free 6×4 free prints to use each month. Delivery is £3.99.

Snapfish –  you get 50 free 6×4 free prints each month. Delivery is £2.99.

Using your prints

So once you’ve got packets of photos arriving through the door, what next? I really wanted to involve my daughter so thought Scrapbooking would be perfect. Rather than display them in a boring photo album, I thought a scrapbook decorated by her own fair hand would be so much more personal.

Where to buy

I used to scrap book myself years ago and if there’s one thing I remember, it was super ‘expensive’! We didn’t really have many options to purchase decorations and supplies so it meant the majority of the products were from the USA making it an expensive hobby to have. The shops that stocked Scrapbooking products were also few and far between. Great news is, it’s now cheap as chips to scrapbook! We have an abundance of shops that stock really cheap craft items. Most supermarkets have a craft aisle now and pound shops have a great range of craft and Scrapbooking products. Every time I pop into a pound shop I buy a couple of packs of stickers or embellishments. That means I can add to our ‘stash’ without paying out huge amounts in one go.

Scrapbooking for kids stickers
What you need

Well, when you’re Scrapbooking for kids it’s best not to make it too complicated for the younger ones. We started Eden’s scrapbook when she was just two years old. We kept to using just stickers so she could stick them in by herself quite easily, rather than making a gluey mess!

First off you need a scrapbook album, anything between 8 to 12 inches is perfect. Thicker card pages are recommend rather than paper, but it’s your scrap book so your choice. The one we use was £1 from a pound shop and about 10 inches square. It also has a nice ribbon to tie the book close.

You’ll also need a pen to write what the page is about, a glue stick to glue in your photos and then some packs of stickers or embellishments to decorate the pages. I often save tickets and stickers from our days out and stick them in too.

Scrapbooking for kids what you need
Decorating your pages

Initially the control freak in me wanted to step in, takeover and make it ‘perfect’, especially when Eden was so small! I had to fight against my instincts and just let Eden be creative, in the end this is what makes them perfect. On each page, Eden selects which photos she wants to use, sticks them in and chooses her decorations. I normally just help out with writing the labels for her page, but I’m sure she will be doing this herself very soon.

Scrapbooking for kids Eden sticking

Scrapbooking for kids Eden creating page

Scrapbooking for kids

Scrapbooking for kids Eden with finished page

Some pages are of course more beautiful than others but each one is created with love. I treasure Eden’s scrapbooks and it’s something that Eden loves to do, she regularly asks ‘Mummy can we do some Scrapbooking today?’. I’m only too happy to oblige, I look forward to looking through them all in years to come and treasuring every captured moment together.

Here are some of Eden’s wonderful creations:

Scrapbooking for kids selection of pages
Scrapbooking for kids scrapbook page

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How to -Scrapbooking for kids
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