O5rcB_NXbIeHbJV7JFNcdfqL-vY Mummy From The Heart...

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

I love my home #GreatBritishHome


When I saw BritMums asking what your home says about you, I started to wonder. Last summer we moved into a beautiful grade 2 listed house (yep, that one in the photo above). It is a former stable block of a country house and sits in 220 acres of amazing grounds. I adore my house and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to live here. It is not about the glamour for me, it is about the comfort and practicality of our family living here whilst feeling relaxed and content.

BritMums have teamed up with Victoria Plumb, the quality bathroom retailer to ask what the Great British Home looks like and of course the answer is different for everyone, but after a good ponder and walk around my house, I have come to the conclusion that for me the Great British Home is about -

Basically at the crux of it, my home is all about ensuring that my family are happy and able to relax and kick off the pressures of the world. I aim to make it a sanctuary, a place where people want to spend time.

As I said before, homes are a really unique thing, so now I'm wondering what does home say to you? How have you managed to turn your house into a home and make it somewhere you want to spend time?

Victoria Plumb have created a fun quiz to see if they can plot your Great British Home style and apparently my style is 'Quirky Cool' just like Jess or Nick from New Girl.  I think the fact that I have no idea what New Girl is will let the cat out the bag that I'm not quirky or cool I'm afraid. More like conformist and old but still they might get it right for you, so why don't you take the quiz and in doing so enter the competition to win £250 of John Lewis vouchers, that is a nice little sweetener!



This post is an entry for the #GreatBritishHome Challenge sponsored by Victoria Plumb, a source of quality bathrooms for every type of home. Take its “What’s Your Celebrity Home Style?” quiz to discover what your home says about you.

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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Positive team work - 5 Chances


I introduced a new system of discipline in our house last week and it seems to be working really well. I can see the makings of something that could stick around for quite some time. The Easter holidays have been fabulous but three children all together for that amount of time leads to quite some bickering and honestly, who wants to listen to that?  I certainly don't!

So last week on our way out to meet friends I told the kids to all be quiet and listen good. They could tell I had my serious voice on and all listened attentively as I asked them if I had been grumpy that morning and moaning at them all a lot? Yes, they agreed I did seem in a bad mood. I went on to explain that their constant bickering, one-upmanship and rudeness/ disrespect to each other was what was making me sad and therefore quick to tell them off and frankly I was not going to put up with it anymore.

I went on to explain that we were introducing a new system of discipline and it involved team work, respect, good manners and loving each other with kindness and patience. The car went very quiet as they digested this bit of news and I was asked if I was going to make some new sticker charts.  No, I explained they were beyond that and I didn't want them to work individually towards good behaviour, what I really wanted was for them to show love and respect towards each other and that involved them working together and working things out as a team.

The new discipline is called 5 chances as that is what the collective family get in a day (yes Daddy and I are involved too). Any one of the five of us can blow one or even all five of the chances and once the five are gone the next day is all about boredom. If they cannot get their behaviour in check and manage to not lose all the chances then the next day there will be nothing that they enjoy - it will literally be a day of having to make their fun together and learning to play nicely and like each other. I have said they will lose TV, computer, iPad, Lego, make-believe schools, arts, crafts, bikes, scooters, fashion and treats/ pudding. Basically all the things the three of them hold dear and love to enjoy.

It felt a bit risky at first to be putting in place a system that just one of them could blow in a day and then all of us would suffer the nest day. It sort of reminded me of when I was in school and teachers use to say they would put everyone in detention if no-one owned up to doing the naught thing. I hated it then but I sort of knew this kind of peer pressure might just work between them.

On our first day last week, we had 10 chances, so they could figure out how the system would work and to allow them a little leeway. I was super pleased that they only lost 6 chances that day and the most they have lost since is 3 chances. So far there has not been a boredom day where they have lost all beloved things. Thank goodness for me, as can you imagine the pain I'll go through with them whining about being bored?

There has been some really positive outcomes so far from the 5 chances system, like hearing them reminding each other 'do you want to lose a chance?' if one of them starts to be brash or quick-tempered with another. I've also told them they have to talk to each other and work something out if there is an issue and they have done this. I was very proud to watch one of my 6 year olds tell her 10 year old brother why he was upsetting her and how he could change.

Then generally I've seen some much better behaviour modelled from JJ to his sisters as he sets the example of how we should all act and particularly towards each other and being grateful for what we have. There will still be unacceptable behaviour, we are human and they are kids, so it will happen but if it happens less and they are more aware to be kind to each other then I'll be a happy mum.

There are so many behaviour and discipline theories and schools of thought out there and my stance is that you should pick what suits you and your family and leave the rest. I'm not telling you my way is the best way, I'm just saying that for us at the moment this is working. Go with your gut and do what feels right for your family, each is different.

Have you ever tried disciplining your kids in a team manner  where the actions of just one could end up impacting all of them?  I'd love to hear how it works for you.

Have a great week, Mich x
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Saturday, 19 April 2014

A year in photos - week 16 (Home with my babies)

Happy Easter everyone. It is a joyous time and I'm so pleased to have the kids off school and enjoying it with me. We have spent a lot of time around home this week and it has been fab.

I've captured some lovely photos (if I say so myself) this week whilst I've been wandering around the grounds at home here.




There has also been a fab day at Legoland -


and a day trip to the park when we all acted like kids -


It's been another good week, I'll be sad to see them go back to school next week. Never did I think I'd ever type that!!! How life changes....

Love All Blogs Better Photos Project
TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

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Blown away by Netflix This Easter

Well you know, not literally. I am still sat here in one piece thankfully but I am absolutely in-love with Netflix and our Apple TV that we can stream it on. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to be a #StreamTeam blogger with Netflix and I thought why on earth not?

No buffering
My brother has mentioned Netflix to me before and I didn't take too much notice, we have had subscriptions to LoveFilm before and I thought it would be just the same. As we live out in the middle of nowhere our internet is not that great and we suffer with slow speeds (about 3.2mb for downloads) and buffering when we try to stream from BBC iPlayer, Youtube, LoveFilm etc but I kid you not when I say we have not had one buffering issue with Netflix and we have been using it over a week now. I don't know if the Apple TV box or Netflixs itself works in a different way but it is making my Easter holiday with the kids so much easier.

Such great variety
When we moved to East Sussex last summer we gained so much but one of the things we lost (and our girls have still not forgiven us) is the Nickelodeon TV channels, well by having Netflix they have been able to get their fix of programs such as iCarly and Austin & Aly and that is making them very happy (and well behaved too, thank the Lord!).

JJ has also been happy as he is finding lots of new movies to be able to play on his laptop whilst he plays Lego in his bedroom. Films such as Cody Banks, All Stars, Big Fat Liar and Cop and a Half. Paying £5.99 for all of us to watch as much as we like sure beats me going to the charity shop each week and picking up a couple of new Kids DVD's for a couple of pound each and dh and I watching the same old rubbish.

I suppose I should also admit that dh and I have barely watched regular TV since we have had Netflix. In fact I'm wondering why we are paying a TV licence when no-one is actually watching live TV nowadays, I'll have to see how that goes! Freeview does offer quite a variety of channels nowadays but without cable TV we have been in a rut of watching CSI after CSI and at least now we are able to start exploring some of the TV series available like Suits, Breaking Bad and House of Cards.

Programs at times to suit you (not a schedule)
We have also switched off our laptops and iPads and just sat and watched a good movie together. It makes such a difference to be able to start a program when you want to and not to be tied to the TV schedule. Then the Apple TV is brilliant with its little remote control as you can pause if the phone rings or in my case if one of the girls have a very urgent task they have to disappear for.

Parental control
The remote control is easy to use and even my less confident twin has figured out how to use it and is happy navigating her way round Netflix now. I do like that I have been able to set different profiles for the kids as well and this means they can only access content deemed appropriate for under 12 year olds. Of course there is no password on netflix (or not that I've found) so it does work on trust that they do not just use my profile but I suppose the check there would be that I can see all programs recently watched and they know this.

I was surprised when I came in the lounge the other day to find JJ using his IPad as a remote control, there is an app you can download for free and now he is the master controller! Well, so he tells me, lol!

Smart suggestions
I like that Netflix is clever and trying to get to know me, when I set it up it asked me to pick 5 films from a selection so it could learn a little about me and then once I was online I was able to personalise my profile and choose the genres that appeal to me most and rate films I have watched and as I watch and rate more it becomes more accustomed to my tastes and can make better educated suggestions. It is all good, I may never run out of viewing material again!

As part of my #StreamTeam responsibilities I'll be updating you each month on what Netflix has to offer. For this month I'll leave you with some picks for great Easter movies to watch together as a family -



Disclosure: I have received a years free membership to Netflix and a free device to become part of the #Streamteam. They have not instructed me what to write and I remain honest, as always. 
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Friday, 18 April 2014

Making Easter memories with your children

As Christian's Easter is a really important time for us. So much fuss and preparation is made about Christmas and really it has gotten a bit out of sync. As whilst it is incredibly important that we mark the birth of Jesus, it is even more important (in my opinion) that we remember what He did for us. God allowed his only son to be crucified and suffer this horrendous death so that all our sins may be forgiven.  It is massive stuff and yes I realise it is hard to understand or to believe if this is not your faith. But for us as Christians it is awe inspiring and one of the cornerstones of our faith.

It would be all too easy to allow Easter to pass as just another bank holiday and especially this year as dh is working much of it but I was determined that the children stay connected to our faith and yesterday we had a day of making Easter memories. Claire at Clarina's contemplations reminded me recently with her delightful post that I love the little traditions that families repeat year after year and last year we made Easter (or resurrection) gardens for the first time and when I mentioned to the girls about making some they were up for it.

We had a lot of fun yesterday as we walked round the lake to collect all we needed to make our little gardens (dirt, sticks, moss, wild flowers, stones) and then we headed over to the gardeners stores to borrow a couple of seed trays and plastic post and finally back home to put them together. As we went we talked through the Easter story and the girls recounted what they knew and I filled in the gaps. It is really important for us reflect on the importance of Easter and remember what happened.


We also then made hot cross buns from scratch, not something I've done before but it was OK and the kids managed to do two batches argument free, which was fabulous. It was then nice to be able to butter them while they were still warm and take them up to the main house and offer my husband and a few of his staff one.

We used the BBC good food easy hot cross bun recipe here.


The girls also painted some cheap pottery bunnies I picked up in Hobbycraft and we painted faces too, it was a day of togetherness and for me it finished perfectly when I went to a Maundy Thursday service in the evening and had some adult time to pray and reflect.

From our family to yours we wish you a very happy Easter.

Be blessed, Mich xxx
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Thursday, 17 April 2014

What's new at Legoland, Windsor for 2014?


I think it's pretty well documented on both my blogs how much my family enjoys a day out to Legoland, Windsor. It really is the ultimate theme park experience for those with primary school aged kids, I don't have mega thrill seekers and this makes Legoland just perfect for our children - near 7 year old twin girls and our boy aged 10.5 years.

We always have a fun day when we visit and there is so much there that we are kept busy from the moment we arrive to when we leave. In fact there is so much to do that you can easily spend a couple of days in a row there. We have not had the pleasure of staying at the Legoland Hotel yet but that is the next thing on my hit list as the inside pool looks amazing and you often get two days entry to the park as part of your deal.


Legoland enjoys a beautiful position set into the hillside in Berkshire and the views of Windsor Castle are superb, the park is really green and well maintained and a pleasure to spend time in. As it is set in a hill there is a fair amount of walking and climbing to do but they have made ramps, wide walkways, tram trains and slides for the kids to enjoy the decline into all the different lands.

One of the things I love best about Legoland is that they do not rest on their laurels, each year something is updated, modernised or added and this means that the park always feels fresh when you arrive. I think the only area that now needs a freshen up is the original Miniland with all the Lego buildings, some of those are starting to look a bit worn now, although if you don't look closely the overall effect is still pretty spectacular, just look -


I think one of the things our family really likes about Legoland is the mix of entertainment. Yes there are some spectacular rides which make you scream with excitement and of course these come with queues during the busy periods (you can purchase a q-bot to help you skip the queues if that is your thing) but there are also excellent no-queue activities such as the Brickville play park, Duplo Drench Towers area, Puppet theatre and Pirates of Skeleton Bay stunt show. The imagination centre is also pretty amazing if you have Lego fans as they can explore Lego related science activities and make Lego kits until their heart is content, followed by a visit to the 4D imagination theatre.

Pirate Shores
This year Legoland have also given one of the areas a new identity for 2014 and Pirate Shores has opened. The pinnacle of this will be Castaway Camp which is a opening in May 2014, it will be a fabulous play area with high rope-walks, play nets, slides, a forgotten fortress and battleships to play on. We will definitely be heading back there when we next visit again. As well as the Castaway Camp Pirate Shores includes Pirate Falls, a steep drop log flume ride surrounded by some fabulous new Lego models, the Jolly Rocker, which is a 'too scary for me' boat ride and a refurbished Burger Kitchen restaurant as well as a couple of smaller attractions.


The Burger kitchen
Two of the existing eateries have been refurbished and the menu upgraded this year and we were very impressed with the offering in the Burger Kitchen, despite what you might think the food was very tasty and the price was as we would expect at a large theme park. We paid £6.50 for a premium chicken burger meal, £6.35 for a hamburger meal and £4.95 for a kids meal.


I have to be honest and say some of the kids best fun of our day there last week came from the Legoland badge that comes free with the kids meal. Little did we know that you can ask staff if they have spares and if not you can swap your badges for theirs and build up a nice little collection. This became a great source of competition between my three and they were all searching for the elusive golden badge.


Thank you very much Legoland for such an amazing day with you trying out your new facilities for 2014. We had a wonderful day and I'm happy to recommend you to anyone who asks.

I can't resist, I'll leave you with a few more taster photos of the fun you can have if you visit Legoland, Windsor.


Other Legoland posts I have written that you might enjoy -

Fathers Day at Legoland, Windsor 2013

Lego Duplo Valley, 2013

Extensive review of Legoland, Windsor, 2012


Disclosure: We received entry to Legoland, fast passes and some Lego loot to use during our day out as part of their press day. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.
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If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

How does your garden grow - April 2014

Last week I had the most joyous walk around the grounds here. JJ and dh had gone to the beach for a bike ride and the girls were away at their grandparents and I had time to myself, lots of time. It was bliss and I took full advantage of it by watching the sun go down over one of our lakes and taking a prayerful walk.

I thought I'd share what I saw -

I sneaked into the gardeners greenhouse, I love to see all the work that has gone on in here. The tiny seedlings are now becoming proper plants and they are getting ready for planting and sale.

Azaleas have to be my flower of the moment, we have them in all shades of pink and they are divine. I love all those little coloured spots inside making them so much more interesting tan you first think.

I can't help but love fungi as well, there is not so much of it about at the moment, it was rife last summer and early autumn but this is the first good picture I have got of it this year, growing on a stack of firewood

I'd not been in the walled garden for a couple of weeks and all this wonderful blossom on the pear trees shows just how quick things change. The apple orchard is just starting to blossom too, I'll capture that next.

I know it is not the garden but I love the lakes and isn't that green reflection is the meadow just wonderful?

And yes another good reflection that tickled my fancy.

Yet again I reflect on just what a privilege it is to live here and be amongst all this beauty.

Wishing you a fabulous week, Mich x

Thanks for hosting Annie, I'm happy to link up with How does your garden grow?


Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?
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If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Blog your heart out



I have to be honest and say I'm not a big fan of meme's. I don't get tagged in them much any more, probably because most people have figured out I'm an old grump and forget to do them. They mostly seem to be in the same vein, wanting to know what food I could eat for a month or what's in my handbag and with only a limited amount of time and so many posts I want to publish I often just think, no thanks or intend to write them and never get round to it.

When I got tagged by Claire at Clarinas contemplations I had a realisation, that although I have typed all the answers to these kind of questions before perhaps my current readership have never read it. I can't expect every new readers to go through my back catalogue of over 1400 posts, can I? So here I am being a good girls and joining in and but I'm also being a bit naughty as I'm afraid I won't be tagging anyone as I know there are a lot of bloggers out there like me who are not fussed to be tagged in memes.

Who/ what encouraged you to start blogging?
I'd never even heard of a blog until a friend at my bible study group showed me hers in 2008. She kept it for family as a way to remember all the changes her children were going through. I thought this sounded fabulous and as my parents were not too local I knew they would like to see and read more, so my blog was born in February 2008. It soon went into hibernation when I realised that 7 month old twins and a four year old were hard work.

How did you choose what topics to blog about?
Once my blog came back to life in early 2009 I found it easy to write and a regular pattern of posting emerged. The topics just flowed and I used my blog as if I was having a conversation with someone, sometimes myself and sometimes my mum. It all focused around my life - the kids, being a Christian, trying to develop a more positive and grateful stance on life and also my journey of being a compulsive overeater.

For the first year or so my blog was closed and only read by about five people and then in January 2010 I got brave and opened it up and became part of the parenting blogger community.In the last four and a bit years my writing has taken some twists and turns but I can honestly say I have always been true to myself and my Christian values.

What is something most people don't know about you?
I struggled with this questions at first as I'm pretty much an open book. I have blogged about most things that have happened in my life as a way of working through issues and reaching out to others and the things I have not blogged about, let's be honest I'm not going to reveal them now.

Probably the thing that comes to mind is that most people who know me through blogging or don't know me very well might not realise I'm not half as confident as I first come across as. I over think things, I worry (although this is much improved), I stress, I assume and I doubt. These are the reasons for so many positive posts on here as it is the best way I know to change.

What three words describe your style?
I assume this is in regards to my blog, so I'll go for - positive, honest and  encouraging.

What do you love to do when you are not blogging?
What, you mean there is a life outside of blogging? This can get very addictive and I've struggled at times over the years but I think now I have a good balance and I'm happy to let the blog sit for a few days if need be. As I just work freelance nowadays and volunteer I have more time to do more things and I think my life is very rich now with all the different activities I can enjoy. Since September last year I've been taking sewing classes at night school and I'm really enjoying that. I also love getting out and exploring the countryside with my family and taking photos, that will be my next evening class, to improve my skills.

Reading always features highly on any to-do list and I'll normally have two or three books on the go as well as my daily bible and devotionals. I'm loving making some new friends here in East Sussex and it is fun and scary all at once to be leading church services, youth groups and volunteer training on occasions.

And there ends the meme, I've waffled a bit about me and who I am.  If you want to join in with this meme then consider yourself tagged and just go for it.

Have a great week, Mich x



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