Monday, 31 August 2015

Family Fun at Alton Towers


Alton Towers is one of those iconic places that practically everyone in the UK has heard of. Being a born and bread Southerner it is not somewhere that I have visited much, in fact I've only been there just once about twenty years ago when I was the bravest I have ever been and I rode Nemesis and for someone who hates thrill rides, it was a big deal!

The memory of my husbands and my day out at Alton Towers in the 1990's was a positive one so when we realised we would be holidaying in the Midlands Alton Towers was one of the first places I contacted to see if our family could review the theme park. I often work with Legoland and have also worked with Thorpe Park, Shrek's Adventure and other Merlin attractions so I know they are a company that provides amazing days out and I can I trust them to provide a great experience.

I was shocked to see how much Alton Towers has grown in the last twenty years, of course there is still the world-renowned theme park but there are now also two hotels, a water splashlands, spa, extraordinary golf, treetop adventure and and enchanted village with lodges and luxurious treehouses to stay in. Our visit was to be just to the theme park which includes CBeebies Land.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Drayton Manor Theme Park - Fabulous even in the Belting Rain!


As this publishes it been just over a week since we were at Drayton Manor and what a great time we had despite the fact it pelted with rain for a couple of hours in the afternoon. As the rain came down, our smiles went on as we realised this would be enough to scare a load of people off home and the park would be our oyster to explore!

We had a lot of fun at Drayton Manor and it is somewhere my family would happily visit again. Whilst it has loads of rides and attractions, it still feels like a manageable theme park and had more of a family feel to it than the very big glossy ones. Both in the customers on site and also with the staff working there. it is easy to see why Drayton Manor has become the UK's favourite family them park over the last 65 years.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Sometimes I dislike my kids...

I absolutely love this photo

I'm not sure you are supposed to be up-front and say that out loud but it is true and I'm always keen to be honest. You know - Mummy from the Heart and all that....

The first time I realised I didn't always like one of my kids I remember panicking and thinking perhaps there was something wrong with me. Maybe I was always supposed to feel complete love and adoration for them, maybe I should find their quirky ways endearing and not rage-inducing? But no, talking to other Mums I found out I was pretty normal. There will be days and times when you could happily give your kids away.

After spending four weeks of near 24 hour a day contact with all my kids I can readily tell you that there have been times I have been driven a little crazy. Three kids in a family is a difficult number I've come to realise, as there is often one of them feeling left out and that means the dreaded bickering. That, along with the following are a few of the times when I sadly dislike my kids -

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

How To Help Your Teen Get On The Road

Driving Test from Shutterstock

Driving is a rite of passage for most teenagers and a key life skill to learn. It can be fraught if not handled properly and, of course, there’s a price tag attached. Each stage needs negotiating carefully and there are plenty of ways that a parent can guide a teen in the right direction. Heres how you can help:

Learning to drive
This usually takes the form of lessons from a reputable driving instructor interspersed with further sessions - perhaps with yourself supervising your offspring as they practise what they’ve been taught.

Finding a suitable driving instructor is important, so research carefully. Ask around for recommendations – feedback from others can be invaluable.

If you can, provide a good foundation before lessons begin. It’s possible to run through the basic operations of a car with your child before they begin with an instructor. Having this basic knowledge in the bag can save time when it comes to paid-for sessions and help them hit the ground running.

If you think you’d find it difficult to stay calm while your teenager wrestles with clutch control and roundabouts, then you’d be doing them no favours. It may be better to ask a responsible friend or relative to help out. A clam, experienced granddad can be worth his weight in gold.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Review: Blists Hill Victorian Town #CountryKids


Last week we had a family week away in Shropshire and this most unlikely destination became the base for an amazing family break. As this is an area of the country that we do not know at all I put a shout-out on Facebook to ask friends were they would recommend we should visit. The response was varied but one place kept coming up again and again. 'Go to Ironbridge Gorge' people kept suggesting and specifically Blists Hill Victorian Town which was described as 'amazing, the best museum ever and fabulous for kids'.

So with those recommendations ringing in our ears we headed there Sunday lunchtime for an afternoon of fun. Ironbridge Gorge is a collection of ten varied museums all set close together by the original Ironbridge. You can buy an annual pass which allows you/ the family to access all the museums as much as you like (for a year) and had we lived closer we would definitely have taken up this option as £68 for a family of 5 is great value.



Sunday, 23 August 2015

As a Christian what do I stand for?

Image Source

I had an amazing time at church this morning; I was really in need of a good dose of worship, Christian fellowship and sound bible teaching and I didn't leave disappointed. One of our Pastors has been on a sabbatical for the last 11 weeks and this morning he came back and started to share with us what God has been speaking to him about during his time away.

You could tell just by looking at him that he was glowing and had had an awesome time; he was literally bubbling over full of the Holy Spirit and it was infectious. I'm sure most of us went away feeling renewed and refreshed by his teaching about Christ being in each of us and that being our hope of glory.

There is no other answer, Christ is it. He is enough.
"...The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple.."" Colossians 1:27 (Message)

Friday, 21 August 2015

Enjoy a Leisurely Meal at the Treacle Mine, Polegate, East Sussex



It was my birthday on Saturday and seeing as we were heading off on holiday at 6am I wasn't quite sure what we would end up doing that day or if we would have the energy to celebrate, so Friday night we headed out as a family to the newly refurbished Treacle Mine Whitbread Inn at Polegate, about half hour from our East Sussex Home.

Now let me tell you straight off in case you are tight for time or can't be bothered to read on.  If you are local then go and visit. It was busy and it didn't matter one bit, we had a fabulous meal and didn't feel rushed or crowded.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Summer holidays are made of these...

I love days at home in the summer holidays and especially when friends come to visit. What a nice day we had to chill when Anya and her boys came over to see us last week.

We really didn't get up to much. Anya and I got treated to a song, dance and acrobatic show in my front room where we got told off for chatting too much and were threatened with being chucked out!

We enjoyed what my kids call a pick and mix lunch, where we helped ourselves to pizza and salad and then we took a scroll round some of the grounds and showed off the amazing place where we live.

My kids were keen to show their friends the low-ropes course, so they all had an hours fun down there, practising their balance, laughing (and moaning) at each other and sadly having a tumble or two as well. Anya was superb at helping the kids and she got stuck right as in as the photos show.


Friday, 14 August 2015

Visiting National Trust Corfe Castle #CountryKids


I posted last week about our trip out on the Swanage Railway and one of the stops we made was for Corfe Castle as they have a station right in the heart of the village. As members of the National Trust there was no cost to us to visit the castle ruins but if you are visiting without membership it will cost you £20.45 for a family with two adults and up to three children at peak times. So it is no-where near as expensive as some attractions but to be honest you are probably only going to spend a couple of hours there. 

JJ and Miss M were busy trying out some new GORE-TEX® Legero Tanaro shoes whilst we was at Corfe Castle. JJ's are a suede and Miss M's are leather. They both love their new shoes and are finding them super comfortable to wear, especially after they had worn them in a bit. One of the big bonuses is that they are light and of course thanks to the GORE-TEX® membrane they are also waterproof and keep their feet dry. 


I can confirm that their shoes were sturdy enough to wear across the rough ground on parts of the castle ruins without becoming uncomfortable but light enough that you can hardly feel you are wearing them. I know this as JJ and I have the same size feet and I have smuggled his shoes away fro an evenings wear. Who cares if they are the men's style, they looked great on me!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Review and Giveaway - Chatty Feet BadAss Sock Collection

Last year I received some Chatty Feet socks to review and I love them.  In fact everyone I meet and who sees them loves them. I lost two pairs of mine to my Mum, I bought a load for Christmas gifts to give to people and my son JJ wears nothing else.  He has four pairs and they go in and out of the wash. I can happily tell you that JJ's socks are still in great condition and at this stage I might have expected some holes to be appearing or parts to be wearing thin but nothing after eight months of constant wear, so this brand definitely gets my thumbs up. You can check out my full review by clicking here.

I had to smile when I received my Chatty Feet newsletter recently and saw they have launched a new four pair gift box set, called the BadAss sock collection.  Now I'm not so sure about the name, I probably shouldn't be encouraging anyone I know to be a badass but I just had to get these..


The set contains four pairs of socks, each with their own take on the main character from a well known action film - we have the Sockfather, Mambo, Toeminator and Karate Feet. The set is £30, which is more than I would normally pay for socks but given that I know how well they last I'm actually OK with paying this amount and it includes standard delivery cost.

I'm keeping these socks hidden away, either for JJ's birthday or maybe even Christmas but I got my husband to model Mambo for me and he had great fun curling his toes and making him look more mean. As you can see the character is on the bottom and top of the sock and they can much amusement. The set is available in shoe size 4 - 8 or otherwise 9-12, so these socks are aimed at adults.


GIVEAWAY

I have a BadAss collection set of 4 pairs of socks to giveaway to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me which BadAss character would you be and what you would fight for. Please use the Rafflecopter widget so I know how I can contact you if you are the lucky winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and make sure you check out the T&C's for the giveaway.

Thanks a lot, Mich x
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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

My Best Friend is Awesome

The peace in this picture is how I feel when I spend time with my best friend

My best friend is awesome!

My best friend never tries of me. He sticks by me even when I am getting it wrong again and again.

My best friend is a constant support to me. I can talk to Him any time of the day or night and He always listens to me.

My best friend makes sure I never feel lonely. Even when I've not seen anyone else all day I can just spend time with Him and I know I am loved.

My best friend accepts me. Warts and all. He is happy to know me as I am and nothing makes Him happier than when I choose to spend time with Him.

My best friend challenges me. Whilst He accepts me, every day He makes me think about how I can grow and be the better me.

My best friend knows how to calm me. When my heart is racing and life feels as if it is out of control, there is only one person who can help me to feel peaceful and that is my best friend. He is the Prince of Peace.

My best friend provides for me. In the times when it is tough, He provides all I need, be it something material, answers to a problem or a shoulder to cry on.

My best friend has plans for me, plans to use me for good. He knows best and His solution will often not be mine and at the time it might actually feel pretty awful and hard to stomach but as time goes on I see why and how it happened then I can understand. Even, sometimes when I don't understand then I can trust that it was for His glory.

Sometimes when it is just me and my best friend together, I get lost in the moment and I feel his arms around me as he waltzes me off to another place and then the cool breeze comes over me as He fills me again.

My best friend is for everyone. He is the most amazing friend, He will make you feel like you are the most important person in the world and you will know it is special and it is just you and Him in that moment. But what is so clever is that my best friend is doing that for millions of people across the world all at the same time. My best friend is omnipresent, he is the most amazing, powerful, loving and awesome God.

Thank you best friend for being you. Thank you for choosing me as your friend and thanks for all you do and give me.

You best friend are awesome!
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OVER TO YOU -
I know lots of people reading this won't be Christian and don't share the same views as me but many people ask me what it means to be a Christian and how if affects the way I live. So I'm going to be doing a series of posts to try and give more insight to what being a Christian means to me. I'd love to hear your thoughts, lively (but polite) debate is always encouraged.
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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

Monday, 10 August 2015

Mich Recommends 5 Great Parenting Books

Open Book from Shutterstock
It's no secret that I love to read and I always tend to have a non-fiction and a fiction book on the go at the same time. In years gone by I could easily have had four or five books on the go but I've finally learn the value of cutting back.

Here are five parenting books that I have read and enjoyed -

1. Planet Parent - Mark Woods
I was recently sent this book by Mark to read and review and it is fabulous. Such an easy read and quite different in style to many parenting manuals. It gives great advise from a wide spectrum but there is no one formula suggested for bringing up the perfect child - this I like a lot! Some of it I have lightly skimmed through as my youngest children are now eight years old and I felt the early parts of the book on fertility, pregnancy and looking after a baby where not really required. Having looked through them they are still interesting though and I may well go back to them as the premise of the book is looking at all things parenting related from a world perspective, so it certainly was an eye-opener to read how the Chinese potty train their young babies.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Review: Cloggs Back to School Shoes from Kickers

As part of my getting ready for back to school early scheme I ordered a couple of pairs of school shoes from the online retailer Cloggs and boy was I impressed with their service. I'd not heard of Cloggs before but then in general I'm not a massive online shopper so its not surprising. I will from now onwards be very happy to shop with them though.

Placing my order was very simple and the shoes arrived quickly and in pristine condition. The mail package even had a handle like a shopping bag so I could carry it easily, which was a bonus.



The shoes I ordered were The Kickers Kick T Brogue shoe in infant size for Miss E and these retail at £49.99, which is a little more than I might pay for her regular school shoes from Clarks or such but these beauties are made to last and Miss E feels so very special in them. She has been putting them on all summer and dancing round in them!

Friday, 7 August 2015

Family Fun on the Swanage Steam Railway


Last week we were away on holiday in Poole. We visit every year and absolutely love the area, there is so much to see and do in Dorset and despite the fact that I have taken probably in excess of 30 holidays and lived there for four years I have never yet grown tired of it. I've now visited most of the main attractons of the area and some call you back time and time again and others are a once only visit.

On this holiday my family and I travelled on the Swanage Railway, which was a first for us and I can honestly say it won't be a last. What a nice addition to any family holiday, it is like a little trip back to the past. I chuckled as my kids looked horrified when they realised that the train door could be opened as the carriage moved (of course we didn't and you wouldn't) but it got me talking about my college days and jumping on moving trains - ekk!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

New Honey Girls at Build A Bear


My kids have been Build A Bear crazy for a few years now. They made their first ones in late December 2010 and then we visited again in 2011 for a review and since there then has been an abundance of teddies, clothes and accessories bought.

So when my 8 year old twin girls were given the chance of making a new Honey Girls bear each they were a little bit (read extremely) excited. The Honey Girls are brand new and are aimed at a slightly older audience than the classic Build A Bear teddies, although personally I think both span all ages.

In case you are not familiar with the Build A Bear experience, let me show you the stages the child gets to enjoy when they create their own bear. All the little steps really are part of the fun and you can easily spend an hour in the shop, so it is not just a purchase, it is a full-on experience.

1.  We were greeted as we entered the store by Xowie and she took the girls over to meet the Honey Girls and to tell them all about this new range. So first they choose their bear each. Miss M choose Risa (the pink bunny), who is the guitarist of the Honey Girls band. Her tag said 'This imaginative girl always finds the perfect harmony! Shes all about music and being creative' and as Miss M loves to sing and make music this appealed to her.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Making a Commitment, Prophetic Art and Praying for Healing = Proud Mum

A proud Mummy moment last year when JJ openly prayed for someone else at their Baptism

Oh my word, I am absolutely exhausted. Not because I have physically done too much or got up too early but because the kids are wearing me out. I forgot how full-on it can be being with three kids full-time.

I find myself repeating a dozen times a day 'It's too much' or 'be quiet' as all three of them seem to want to talk to me at once. Some days I can handle it and others I just want to run away and hide. I know parents across the country can relate, it is summer holiday fever and as much as I have been looking forward to this, there are always days when it just feels as if you will fall over the edge.

It's my own fault today, I attempted to work for three hours this morning whilst the kids were at a kids group and I hadn't quite finished by the time they were out so that last 5 minutes of work felt like it took an eternity.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Back to School - Speeding up your Morning with M&S

I don't expect that I need to tell you (yet again) that I love M&S, it is my shop of choice. If I need something to wear and want it to be stylish and good quality then M&S is were I go to. Yes I may pay a few more pounds for a similar item to what I might get at the supermarket but the cut, the sewing and the quality of the fabric is just in a different league and the same is true for school uniform as well

For quite a few years my Mum worked as a shop assistant in M&S and this has left her with a wonderful legacy - the discount card! So each year around July before school breaks up my mum gets in touch and asks me what the kids need for the year ahead and then she goes and buys it and yes I do realise she is a complete angel.

There are certain items that I only buy from M&S as they are just so much better than other shops. Girls pleated skirts are one of these things. I can't stand cheap skirts that when you wash them, they lose their pleats and you have to spend time ironing them in, it takes forever and never looks as good as when you bought them. So M&S permanent pleat skirts are just perfect and my girls look really smart in them and they last so well that I can pass them on to a friends child as well. This one Miss E is modelling here is her newest buy and it cost just £9 in her size (age 9-10 years), it has an adjustable waist, uses crease resistant technology to stay smart all day long and has Triple Action Stormwear™, which is a technology that repels water, oil and releases stubborn stains keeping you dry in rain showers and helping to repel mud and release ground-in stains.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Stuck in the Snow with a Newborn - Why I Love Novotel


I have a bit of a soft spot for Novotel. It is not that I have stayed in lots of their hotels or even in just one of them but many times, it was the circumstance I found myself in when I stayed at the Novotel, Stevenage back in early 2004 that means the brand still tugs at my heart strings.

I had my first child JJ in October 2003 and he was a good little baby, he fitted straight into our lives and we continued to do all the things we loved. So one day when dh was off from work I asked if he fancied going to the Harvester in Stevenage for lunch. We love the salad and spit roast chicken so it is a fairly healthy meal out we can enjoy. As it was a weekday daytime we knew there should be room for our 3 month old JJ to sleep in his car seat whilst we ate.

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