Monday, 21 August 2017

Take a Safari Experience in Kent with Port Lympne Reserve


My word, I have no idea how I missed this gem for such a long time. We've lived in East Sussex for just over four years now and a couple of friends had mentioned Port Lympne but just in passing. It's around 40 miles from me and I had (mistakenly) thought it was a small animal conservation centre, so I hadn't made any effort to take the family over there.

Then I sat down in June to plan our Summer holiday days out and was looking around the web for places to visit as a family. It is always fun to see somewhere new and my husband is a real bird and animal lover, so I was checking out zoos, farms and the like for him to be able to practise his photography. I came across the Port Lympne Reserve website and realised what we have been missing out on for the last four years!

Will we go back there, now we know?  An absolute yes, it is the most amazing day out and because so many of the animals are roaming free I bet it never feels like the same experience twice. Who knew there was a UK based safari experience? And don't think I am exaggerating, as we drove around in the safari truck we saw Giraffes, Water Buffalo, Antelopes, Rhinos, Eland, Greater Kudo, Ostrich, Zebras, Deer and Wildebeest and all of these were roaming free as we passed through their home. There are dozens more types of animals too but I'll mention more about those later.

Friday, 18 August 2017

A Family Day Visit to Seaford, East Sussex #CountryKids


A few weeks back we had a spare Sunday with nothing planned and the kids suggested a trip to the beach. Since moving to East Sussex we've been to Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings so many times and they are all great but I thought it would be nice to visit somewhere new. So we got ourselves together and headed over to Seaford, I had no idea what to expect as it is more of a local residential town rather than a tourist one.

As we visited on a Sunday there was plenty of free parking around the town and that's always a bonus. We didn't really walk around the town, preferring to head straight for the seafront as it was a lovely day. It wasn't massively busy on the seafront and the kids could easily have bought their skates, scooters or bikes with them as it is a lovely long, smooth promenade.



Wednesday, 16 August 2017

It's my Birthday - Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC

Happy Thursday friends. Reasons to be Cheerful is over with Becky at Lakes Single Mum for August and will be back with me in September.

I'm away in Norfolk with my family at the moment staying in a lovely little cottage in Little Snoring. We booked via AirBnB and it was our first time but certainly won't be our last as it has been wonderful.


The owner has chicken, ducks, cats, sheep and Shetland Ponies in her grounds and my kids have been able to feed them, pet them and we have enjoyed fresh hen eggs too. Miss M has been in her absolute element, being around animals is her idea of heaven and I admit it has been magical. We head home today and I'm expecting some tears.


Dressing my Man with Jacamo - 23 Years On

Our family back in early 2004 when JJ was being christened

My husband and I will have been together for 23 years this Christmas, we were just young 21 year olds when we met working at a hotel in Eastbourne all those years ago. It always makes me smile to think how much I was dreading being sent to work in the hotel over the Christmas period. I was based up at the London Head Office at the time but as a new Graduate Trainee Manager I wasn't allowed to have Christmas off when everyone else on the programme was working so Eastbourne it was to be!

I had visions of a run-down hotel full of grannies where bingo was the highlight of their stay. I thought all the staff would be old and stuck in their ways and the town would have shut down for the Winter period. Of course in some ways I was right, the hotel was full of elderly people and bingo was a definite attraction, as was Jean on the Piano and Malcolm on the Organ but what I hadn't banked on was that the Assistant Manager would become my husband and that most of the staff were young and there was a great many nightclubs in town all catering for our age group.

When I first met dh I wasn't too impressed if I'm honest, I thought he was a bit camp and he tried to give me a staff room with a door that wouldn't lock. I did of course notice how good he looked wearing a suit and tie and it is funny but my overriding early memories of him were that he had great hair and nails. It was almost as if I was assessing him for future pedigree!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Thirty Years on and I'm still dreaming of a Mercedes-Benz

I have to laugh when I think back to my younger years and the ambitions I had. Growing up I had a very strong sense of what I wanted from life and there wasn't any way of steering me away from it. I knew I would be a manager in a large, quality hotel after I completed university and I would work my way up to being the General Manager so I had ultimate control and was earning a good amount of money.

As a teenager I remember having the ambition of earning forty thousand pounds a year. If I earned this I thought I would be set for life, of course that was thirty years ago and it seemed a mega amount of money. Nowadays it wouldn't be buying me so much with a large family.

A four bedroom detached house with a U-shaped gravel drive was next on my must-have list. I never really had any vision of what the inside of the house would look like but I knew it would have the drive for parking my Mercedes on. I had my heart set on a sports model, a SL500 convertible in red. Mercedes-Benz has always been the premium brand that I'd love to own, even now I'd happily have one if I could find the money.

Image: Thanks to The Sandown Group

A lack of money doesn't stop me from dreaming though, I've recently been perusing the Sandown Group website to see what Mercedes-Benz I might one day own. Of course if I was to buy one now Id need something big to be able to comfortably seat all five of my family. Since having the twins ten years ago we’ve opted for a seven seater car and we could do that again and get a V class. It certainly looks awesome in comparison to our much smaller car. Oh what a joy it would be to have enough boot space for all our luggage and to take the three kids without them arguing about who is nudging who and how that bag is in their area! Also with a seven seater we can continue to share the school lifts and take our neighbours kids too, which means I get some days school journey free.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Fabulous Twin Fun - Micro Scooter Sprites - Unboxing at the Beach


As part of my girls being involved with the Start-rite back-to-school shoes campaign they were sent new Micro Scooter Sprites in the teal owl design. Start-rite want the girls to put their shoes through vigorous testing and to make sure they really can stand up to the beating that a normal 10 year old gives them. How better than by regularly scooting in their shoes and lets be honest, kids don't always use the brake on a scooter, they often do it with the sole of their shoe!

Both girls have had Micro Scooters before, they started with the Mini Micros when they were just toddlers and then moved up to the Maxi Micros when they were around 5 years and to be honest they have been moaning at me for the last couple of years that they wanted a grown up 2-wheel scooter. Well now they are super happy and their wish has come true!

The Micro Scooter Sprite scooters start from £89.95 for the silver, £94.95 for the coloured and £99.95 for the patterned ones. They are available in a variety of colours. My girls were sent the Teal Owl with a bell and flower accessory included in the box. I noticed it was on special offer last weekend so it is definitely worth keeping an eye on the Micro Scooters website and signing up for their newsletter, which will keep you informed of their current deals.

Have a watch of our video and see the girls unbox and set up their scooters themselves. I love it when a product is so easy that a 10 year old can take it out the box and do everything they need to make it ready to ride. Even putting their bell on the Sprite scooter is child's play.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Keeping Yourself Safe at Work - In The Office

Work Safety Image from Shutterstock

Do you know how to keep yourself safe when you are at work?

It might seem a strange question if you work in an office as you're wondering what can possibly go wrong but having worked the last ten years before moving to East Sussex in a very busy HR department of a large University I can honestly tell you how important it is to ensure your work space is safe and efficient.

We were very lucky at the University as we had an Occupational Health Department and Health and Safety department so when you started a new job with the Uni, you were met at your desk by a trainer assessor to review your work space and ensure it worked for you. These two departments worked really closely with us in HR to ensure if any ill health or accidents did come about in the workplace we could be immediately responsive.

Of course this is a luxury and doesn't happen in most offices, especially small ones like I'm currently working in. We have six of us all along a window in a fairly small space and we have to be quite careful not to be tripping over each other and our equipment.

Given the amount of people who are working in offices without the support of specialist trained staff I thought it would be useful to share some tips for keeping yourself safe at work in your office environment -

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Choosing the Right Swim Wear as a Plus Size Woman

I don't think there has been a time in my life when I haven't been classed as plus size. Even at my slimmest I was a size 14, which I have to say looks really good on me but for at least the last couple of decades I've been a 20, 22 or 24. I've had a turbulent relationship with my weight and the way my body looks and whilst I have no desire to be a tiny size 10, I do want to be healthier and to have far less of a tummy.

For now, I am still a size 22 and in years gone by choosing a swimsuit that flatters my shape has been my least favourite thing to do but not any longer as Simply Be have the most amazing collection of swim wear available in all sizes to suit women of every shape. In my current size they have 217 swimwear items available, that is pretty awesome, right?

I've had a good look though and thought I'd share my top picks for various body shapes -

Apple shape - wide waist 
You'll want to create the illusion of more of a waist if you have a rounded middle shape. Swimsuits with two colours in panels can really help create this silhouette. Look at the Beach to Basics swimsuit in black and white on the left, it retails for just £32.00 at Simple Be and I think it would be perfect. Or take the Magisculpt swimsuit (£45.00) on the right, it has level 3 tummy control in the swimsuit and a beautiful blouson top over it to glide over the tummy area.