Monday, 11 December 2017

La Petite Soirée - The Most Amazing Family Show

La Petite Soirée was everything I hoped it would be and more. This extraordinary cabaret show deserves every award and glowing review it has ever received.

Upon arriving at the beautifully refurbished Aldwych theatre in central London my family's expectations were a mixed bag. I'd done some research so I sort of knew what we were heading in to see but my family had no real idea apart from the little I'd told them and you really can't do it justice until you've seen the spectacular for yourself. The girls were up for the ‘posh circus’ as they'd named it and I could see that my husband and 14 year old son were reserving judgement.

We headed in to collect our tickets, not knowing what the PR agency had booked for us and were pleased to find we had ringside seats. These are general admission seats so we were given a wristband and able to take a seat wherever we fancied within the ringside area. Our arrival at 2.40pm (20 minutes before the show started) gave us a good pick of the seats but the closest we could get was 4 rows from the front. I'd imagine you’d need to be at the theatre about another 20 minutes earlier to get front row seats but of course you also need to be prepared to join in and be a good sport if you sit in the front row!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Completing the One4all Challenge - What will we Do?

Recently I wrote about how the people at One4all Gift Card had challenged me to treat one of my kids to a truly memorable Christmas activity.

After checking out the One4all website I discovered that we had hundreds upon hundreds of options open to us for great things to buy or do. I didn't want to use the money on the card to just buy things that might be used once and then forgotten so I decided that the bulk of the money would be spent on a night away for the two of us. When I had asked Miss E what she wanted for Christmas this year she had said 'time with you mummy' and this seems the perfect way to fulfil that wish.

Hotel Stay over
I discovered that I could book hotels via the Superbreak site using my One4all card, so after a good look round the site, I decided to book the Macdonald Frimley Hall Hotel and Spa in Surrey. My husband and I have stayed at this 4* hotel before and had a wonderful time and it is only about 30 minutes drive from my parents. This is perfect as Miss E had said she'd love her Nanny to be involved in her treat too, so this will be an extra nice surprise for her. The one night stay for the both of us booked via Superbreak is £110.

Images thanks to Macdonald Frimley Hall Hotel

Monday, 4 December 2017

12 Ways to get your Teen off their Tech this Christmas Break

Teen with Mobile Image courtesy of Shutterstock

In 2017 I think most parents of teenagers are suffering from the same thing. Deaf ears. My son doesn't hear a word I say when he has his headphones on and is in the virtual world of game play with his mates online. Manage to get him offline and he'll wander downstairs grunt a hello and grab his phone from his pocket and be at it again. Sound familiar? Yes, I thought so but fear not as I have some great ideas for you to help get your teen off their devices for at least part of the Christmas holiday.

I wouldn't recommend a full tech-free fortnight though as I think we need to be realistic as parents and nowadays our teens very much live in the digital world. Some online time is fine, that's how many of them stay connected to their friends when there isn't any school but we know that a full-day online is too much and they will just end up withdrawing even more than usual. A good balance is what we're after.

You might find it a little hard to implement changes if you've never restricted your teens tech access before but perseverance and open conversations go a very long way. Make sure you share your concerns about excess screen time with your child so they know why you are doing this and be willing to limit your own time online too, so you are setting a good example.

Try to give your teen the choice of what tasks they want to do instead of dictating to them as they will buy in to it more if they feel they have choices. I always find that once my son gets in to other tasks and puts his tech down he actually ends up enjoying them and starts self-regulating himself on his tech anyway.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Making Simple but Beautiful Christmas Tree Mini Wreaths

Tutorial for making Christmas wreath decorations that are a fantastic gift, they are simple enough for a child to make but are cheap and look really effective.

Miss E and I have been making some Christmas wreath decorations to gift to her teachers and Godparents this year. I'm really pleased with how they have come out and think they are a fab gift. The best thing is that these were made by a 10 year old and are really simple and cheap to make.

Here's what you need -
  • Curtain rings (wood ones as they ave the metal hoop at the top) We used ones compatible with a 28mm pole and picked these up in Homebase for £1.29 for 6
  • Wool in any colour you fancy, green if you want them to look like traditional wreaths (£1 in Poundland)
  • Multi-size gems - I bought 2 packs of different size ones for 99p each from Hobbycraft
  • 3mm ribbon in a colour of you choice (40p per metre)
  • Hot glue gun (or another firm glue)
  • A pair of scissors
Tutorial for making Christmas wreath decorations that are a fantastic gift, they are simple enough for a child to make but are cheap and look really effective.

How to make the Christmas Wreath Decorations

1.  Cut a long length of wool. Tie it on to the curtain hoop close to the metal ring. Take care to wrap the wool around the hoop, pushing it close to itself every so often and ensuring you keep a tight hold. If you run out of string, you can tie another piece on and the knot will sit at the back so it won't show, Once you have finished the full hoop tie off the string around the metal hoop and make sure it is secure.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Staying Focused on Gratitude #R2BC

It's not a good start when you try to write a gratitude post and hit a blank, is it? I think it might just be because I'm feeling tried and wiped out. It's that time of the month again and I feel as if all the energy has left my body. Last night I literally got about 3 hours sleep broken into about 45 minute chunks and my operation in January can't come soon enough. I pray this will sort out my issues.

I've just had a look through my diary and that's all it takes to remember how much I have to be thankful about -

  • Good session at the gym last week
  • I had an enjoyable evening with JJ at the church quiz last Friday
  • The girls and I went to see the local village panto and it was good fun (if a little long)
  • Sunday the kids and I visited my parents and it was ace to see them and go out for a yummy lunch
  • I started a new voluntary role on Monday and enjoyed getting to know the trustees of the charity
  • We had a good meeting to pray for the children that we coach for the charity TLG
  • I've bought my last Christmas present, so now onto the wrapping
  • The girls and I have made some fab Christmas decorations for their teachers and God parents
  • I got some long-due cleaning obs done - the windows, frames and banisters are all now gleaming!
  • A spot of colouring and bible reading over a good cuppa whilst I waited to pick the kids up from school

Life is good and I just have to remember to keep looking for the blessings when I feel tired and poorly.

Wishing you a good week, Mich xx

Come and Join In!

I'd love to read your Reasons to be Cheerful and it is as easy as 1, 2, 3 to join in -

1. Link up a post about something that is making you super happy/ grateful. It can be in this style or it can be anything you like - a recipe, a tutorial, a from the heart, a list - it's your blog, you choose

2. Add the #R2BC badge onto your post or blog so that people can easily find the linky and join in too if they fancy

3.  Share the love. This is the really important bit. Please don't just link and run, comment on at least a couple of posts and why not share with #R2BC too?

I'll stop by all linked up posts to comment and I'll share on twitter too

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Christmas is Coming - Lets Get Crafting! 40 Fab Ideas

There's not too long now, I am officially OK with the Christmas music being on the radio and walking in to shops and seeing the decorations everywhere. In fact, come next weekend and our house might even be decorated too and I've just started the wrapping. Yay!

Don't fear though there is still long enough if you want to get your craft on and here I share 40 wonderful craft ideas to give you loads of crafting inspiration.

First up - how about 7 craft ideas for older children over on Cats Yellow Days? Which is a guest post from the fab Maggy of Red Ted Art. Maggy is Miss E's favourite YouTuber so I know she will love these star origami bowls.

40 ideas of great Christmas craft activities that you can do with your kids. Great variety and no massive skills required
Image thanks to Red Ted Art

Becky at Baby Budgeting shares the simple formula for making magic reindeer dust/ food, which seems to be a new idea over the last decade but I think it adds a lovely bit of magic to Christmas Eve.

I'm never very good at biscuit baking but the kids and I are definitely going to have a try at these hand-made and decorated Christmas Tree biscuits. They make super gifts for teachers or Guide group leaders, it is nice to give something handmade.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Looking forward to La Petite Soiree at Aldwych Theatre, London

Our family love going to the theatre, especially when it is a show in the West End but to be honest it doesn't happen all that often nowadays as we live a couple of hours outside London and I can't deny it, London theatre can be expensive for a family of five.

But La Petite Soiree has tickets starting from as little as £15 and that is really affordable. Its not even just the Grand Circle that has seats at this great value price either, there is a child price (for age 15 and under) on the higher price seats too and that remains at £15 throughout (excepting what they call the posh seats), which I am very impressed with.

I suspect you might be wondering what La Petite Soiree is though, I certainly was when the press release first arrived in my in-box. This is what they publicise about the show -
"We love the fact that the powers that be have, for some unknown reason, allowed us into London’s Aldwych Theatre to cause some trouble and bring our own brand of mischief to the West End over the festive season. LA SOIRÉE is a show that has created a shorthand with worldwide audiences in understanding what makes a wild and unforgettable night out at the theatre… joyous, celebratory, hilarious, cheeky, irreverent and at times quite saucy. With LA PETITE SOIRÉE we will deliver all of the above, minus the sauce. The spirit of LA SOIRÉE will run deep through the veins of its afternoon offspring but we look forward to welcoming a new audience with a brand new show." Creative Producer, La Soirée

Saturday, 25 November 2017

The Bettybox Monthly Subscription for Tweens/ Teens

My twin girls are now ten, ten going on 15 that is. They really do seem to be growing up very fast and earlier in the year we had the big growing up talk. Miss M has the body of a 13 or 14 year old so it can't be long before she hits puberty and gets her periods. 

I of course want my girls to feel ready when their first period hits, so we've already chatted, read some literature together and they even tested out some sanitary products with water so they felt reassured by the absorbency of them. I'm sure that when the time comes they'll be able to come to me and let me know what has happened for them but I love the thought of them already having some sanitary products that they can easily reach for if they need to and it was just my husband here with them.

Those products arrived this week in the form of the Bettybox, this is a subscription box, especially packed with young ladies in mind. You can pick the delivery date that your box will arrive each month and you have the freedom to choose a box with just towels (like we received), just tampons or a mix of them both. The sanitary products that come as part of the delivery are quality brands that we know like Tampax, Lil-Lets, Bodyform and Always and you have the freedom to choose the absorbency or your products too. I love that these boxes are not one size fits all, they really are personalised to what your child needs.