Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Review: Premier Inn, County Hall, South Bank, London

Entrance to the Premier Inn, County Hall
Image Credit: Premier Inn
We love Premier Inn
I’ve been a Premier Inn fan for a very long time. We stay in their hotels at least four or five times a year, Sometimes many more. I really like the fact that I know exactly what I’m getting with a Premier Inn and they can sleep four to a room, which is good. Of course as a mum of three it would be perfect if they slept five of us in one room, but alas we’re still to find an affordable hotel that can do that. If all five of us are travelling together, I’ll book for two rooms and I find that as long as I’m booking around 3-6 months in advance I can get a great price - anywhere between about £24.50 - £39.50 per room.

Of course I haven’t actually found the London County Hall Premier Inn that cheap, as it is situated right on the South Bank by the London Eye, Shreks Adventure and the Sealife Aquarium. It’s also just a few minutes walk from Waterloo and Charing Cross mainline stations and Embankment and Westminster tube stops. I stayed at this hotel for two Friday nights in March, I paid £59 for one of the nights and £69 for the other.

It was only two of us staying on both occasions, but the price would have been the same if it was four, and the bedrooms I had were a really generous size with two king size beds. So as twins, they feel really luxurious, as space is normally limited in London hotels, unless you are staying in a decent five star, I’ve found in the past. It appears that most of the bedrooms have a view onto the rear street, rather than onto the Thames, but the last time I stayed I had a side view, it was very nice to be able to glimpse the London Eye right from my bedroom.


View of the South Bank from Premier Inn
Side view of the Thames from my room

6 Signs Your Marriage May Need Help

Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash
{Collaborative post}

Although it's devastating to admit, sometimes a marriage doesn't always last. A divorce is one of the hardest things you may have to go through but for the sake of you and your family, it's important that you do what you feel is the right thing. If you're sitting there wondering if your marriage is coming to an end and you're just not sure, here are six things to look out for -

1.  You No Longer Have Anything in Common
If you now find that you no longer have anything in common and your personalities have changed since you first fell in love, it may be that you're no longer a perfect match like you used to be. Whilst having the same hobbies and interests isn't essential in a marriage, for some it can be the glue that holds them together. The best thing to do is sit down and discuss how you move forward from here. Have a think about how you can compromise and get involved in each other’s interests.

2.  You Feel as Though You Can Do No Right
 Another common reason for a lot of marriages coming to an end is that either one or both of you feel as though you can do no right. Sometimes a marriage can get to a point where neither of you is making the other happy and no matter what you do, you feel as though everything you're doing is making it worse. Whilst this is a horrible stage to get to, it's important you've recognising it. For a guide to identifying if something is fundamentally wrong in your marriage, you can visit this site here.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

More Quickfire Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC



Due to popular demand Reasons to be Cheerful is changing to be a Saturday linky. Well, let's be honest there are only a handful of us who join in nowadays so we can do what we like and suit ourselves, and it turns out the weekend is better for most people.

Continuing on from last week. I'm sticking with my super long list of things that are making me cheery. Counting the small blessings really does make a difference -
  1. We all had an amazing week at Spring Harvest and I can't wait to go back again next year, in fact I saw a p/t job vacancy local to my home with the company who put on the event, so if I'm really lucky I might even be working the event next year!
  2. JJ had a fab time with my parents and they seemed to enjoy having him too
  3. I'm so pleased we had a week at home after the holiday to have some fun together
  4. I have loved being back in my big bed with super comfy duvet and pillow, you can't underestimate great sleep
  5. The new washing machine has done a fabulous job and I'm all up to date with the washing, drying and ironing
  6. I'm reading a great book at the moment, about making your dreams come true and I've been able to grab time each day to read a bit
  7. Miss M has been doing an Easter raffle this week to raise money for our local hospice, she is always really kind and community minded with things like this
  8. The cat had definitely missed us, so we've been enjoying some cuddles and even got his yearly jab done at the vets
  9. We love the McDonalds Monopoly game and I've covered my NOW TV subscriptions for the year in ins!
  10. On the same note, we enjoyed a free McDonalds breakfast with wins from their Monopoly game before the vets
  11. The kids uniforms are all washed and ready for back to school on Tuesday. The girls also have new shoes (which cost far too much money)
  12. I went back to Slimming World after a couple of weeks off and yes, I'd put on 2.5lb but I'm feeling fully motivated and have been good ever since
  13. I'm loving not having any of the kids evening clubs, I've been able to stay in, watch some good TV, read and get work done
  14. The girls had an ace time at Knockhatch, taking part in a Meerkat experience, enjoying waffles, experiencing the death drop slides, playing crazy golf and so much more
  15. I'm enjoying having home cooked meals again with plenty of vegetables and salad
  16. We went to visit my aunt and had a nice few hours with her and she sent me home with gorgeous white roses
  17. Great Good Friday service at the church in my garden (yes literally, it is a few hundred yards behind my house)
  18. The ironing is all done...... for now!




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

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Review: The Royal Mint Experience, Cardiff

Outside the Royal Mint Experience

Miss E has been avidly collecting 50p and £2 coins for nearly a year now. This is the kind of collection that I am right behind, as basically I see it as a great way to save money. Where other kids might collect rubbers, Beanie Boo teddies or football cards, Miss E’s collection isn’t really costing her anything, as all the time the coins remain legal tender, they are still worth the same.

For her the excitement is finding the coins and getting others to look out for them too. Of course you can buy coins to complete your collection but she isn’t interested in doing that as it is about the thrill of the hunt. Due to her collection she has developed an interest in coins in general and as we were heading to Minehead for our yearly Spring Harvest holiday I said to my hubby we could, perhaps, do a little detour on the way to stop off at the Royal Mint experience, just outside of Cardiff.

Coin covered Grommit

Royal Mint Experience
Newport Premier Inn was only £24.50 for the four of us for a Sunday night, so you can’t go wrong with that and it’s only about 15 miles away from Bristol, were we normally break our journey and stay. This was around a 30 minute journey along the M4 down past the outskirts of Cardiff and stopping at Llantrisant, Pontyclun for the Royal Mint Experience. It was an easy drive and there is plenty of free parking at the venue.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

An Attitude of Gratitude #R2BC

Minehead Prom

Good morning and happy Thursday friends. This post was put together in a hurry as I'm away at Butlins in Minehead on holiday and I had totally lost track of what day it is! I'd got all organised and had the skeleton post ready but its a bit hard to schedule what you're feeling thankful for, when the days haven't even happened yet.

So what am I feeling thankful for? Gosh I can hardly even come up with the answer to that, as I'm in a bit of a negative mind frame right now and that is why #R2BC is so perfect, as it is making me think about what is good in life. So I'm going for a quickfire, as many reasons as I can think of kind of post, to remind me that life is good!

  1. Our journeys down to Somerset have all been good, we haven't ended up in any nasty traffic and that really is a massive reason to be cheerful
  2. We stayed two nights at Premier Inns and had yummy full breakfasts at both. One night was pretty bad as it was so hot but they have refunded me the money, which is good
  3. We visited the Royal Mint Experience in Cardiff on Monday and as Miss E is a coin collector, she was super happy
  4. I'm away on holiday at Spring Harvest (the big Christian holiday we go on each year) with dh and my girls
  5. My lovely parents are looking after JJ and he tells me he is having a good time
  6. The girls have stopped bickering as they are super happy to be here, enjoying the youth sessions, funfair, arcade and swimming pool
  7. Dh seems really carefree and happy, it's so nice to see him like this
  8. I'm sat all alone right now, enjoying some peace watching a repeat of this mornings bible teaching
  9. I had a fabulous breakfast muffin this morning, and they gave me a free coffee to go with it
  10. There were a couple of small issues with our room and Butlins got them sorted quickly and even reimbursed me for the food their fridge spoilt
  11. I got Miss M a fab top when we were in Minehead, it was £2.49, you can't go wrong with that!
  12. Dh and I went to a Gospel choir performance last night and it was excellent, we were up singing and dancing away
  13. I'm looking forward to worshipping with around 3000 other Christians tonight 
  14. I've got an extra duvet to keep me warm and snug tonight
  15. Although the sun has come out and we have a blue sky now! yay
  16. We have another three days here before we head home
  17. Even then, there is still a week before the kids go back to school
  18. and, and, and, I am so pleased. I have a new washing machine. Mine broke about 6 weeks ago and I've been waiting (patiently) and it got replaced under warranty last Friday, so this means when I get home from holiday I can get all the washing done easily.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

‘Hunt the Double Yolker’ in limited-edition packs of HARIBO Starmix to Win a Holiday


This post has been commissioned by HARIBO

Have you heard about the new limited edition packs of HARIBO Starmix that are out in time for Easter?

They have hidden 20 hand-crafted double yolker sweets in with the traditional Starmix shapes of heart, cola bottle, egg, ring and bear, so make sure you check any eggs before they get eaten!

Anyone lucky enough to find one of those double yolker sweets will win a fabulous family holiday with Forest Holidays. ‘Hunt the Double Yolker’ runs until 21st April 2019 and shoppers have until 31st May 2019 to claim their prize, so get hunting!


Friday, 5 April 2019

Review & Giveaway | Gorgeous Faux Fur Beanbag from Beanbag Bazaar

As the kids get bigger it feels as if my sofas are shrinking. There was a time when all five us of could happily sit on the one 3 seater sofa and watch a movie. Now we struggle to accommodate just four of us (the teen mostly likes to disappear to his bedroom, when his sisters are about) on two sofas.

We don't have the biggest lounge and we're quite restricted on where our TV can go due to a large fireplace, door and double aspect windows, so there is no easy solution by buying a complementary chair.

Thankfully the answer has come in the form of am ICON large faux fur beanbag; big enough and comfy enough to seat even the biggest adult. The beanbag is 70cm height, 84cm width and 84cm depth. The super soft faux fur feels gorgeous to the touch and I think it looks very luxurious. The outer fur fabric is a modacrylic, acrylic, polyester mix and the base is 100% polyester. Of course it meets all the relevant fire safety standards.


The inner is filled with EPS polystyrene balls and I was pleased to see that by opening the outer zip, you're not going to send balls everywhere, there is an inner zip too before you access them and this is fabulous child proofing. Talking of kids, due to the nature or the faux fur fabric it does warn there can be some shedding, but we've had it a week now and been using it every day and I've not seen any evidence of that.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Feeling Cheery for the Future #R2BC


Hello friends. Happy Thursday. How is it possibly April already?  I had a bit of a shock when I realised today I was hosting #R2BC for this month.  I think we say it every year but it does feel as if time is whizzing by!

I've titled this post feeling cheery for the future, as I'm focusing on what will come to pass and I'm feeling very happy about it. I had an amazing walk with this wonderful lady who I chat to about everything and anything last week, and I poured my heart out, tears and all. It was very freeing and cathartic. We meet again this Friday, which will be a great follow up too. She is an amazing coach and challenges my thinking.

Then on Saturday last week I attended the Premier Woman to Woman conference with my friend Annie and it was fabulous. We had four amazing speakers and a great worship leader and I came away feeling inspired to change, to grow and to be who God created me to be.

I've been reading a book recently called Dream Culture and it has been about unlocking all the dreams that reside within me, it's been a great step forward. I realised I had stopped dreaming and was just sitting waiting to see how God wants to use me. I now realise He has already planted the passion in me for what I'm supposed to do and I just have to unlock it, equip myself and be brave enough to walk into it.

One of the speakers (Terri Savelle Foy) at the conference spoke on fulfilling your dreams too and that felt very pertinent. I've just purchased her book "Make Your Dreams Bigger Than Your Memories: Don't Let Your Past Keep You From Your Future" and I'm looking forward to taking that on holiday with me Sunday.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Review: Toby Carvery, Not Just for Sundays!



Everyone in my family is a big fan of Toby Carvery. I visited my first one with my husband when we were just 21 years old, so that's 24 years ago and we've been going regularly ever since. We love their format and truly think they are the best carvery chain out there. You get served the meat but the potatoes, yorkshire puds, vegetables, stuffing, crackling, gravy and condiments are all help yourself and that makes them perfect for a family who have a big apetitite and love their veg!

Our local Toby Carvery is in Eastbourne and we probably go there at least once a month. A short while back it was refurbished and today was our third visit since it has re-opened. I have to say that I feel as if they have really upped their game along with the new decor. We've always had pleasant staff serving us there but it's as if they all have an extra smile and are enjoying their job more since the place has had a makeover, and their sunny personalities are matching the new smart interior.

As well as the hearty meal, another reason we regularly visit Toby Carvery is because you can often get great discount vouchers to be used on weekdays. Take today for instance, I'm using a 50% off main courses voucher and often I can find 33% or 40% off. Sign up to the Toby Carvery mailing list (or download the app) and you'll be sent great deals.

My dinner (the meat is hiding under the veggies) and bottomless soft drink

Sunday is of course the most popular day for people to traditionally enjoy a roast dinner and for this reason we always avoid Sundays, as we like the restaurant to be a bit quieter when we go there. My recommendation would be to go early evening on a weekday, around 5.30/6pm or late afternoon on a Saturday, around 3/4pm as you'll then find the restaurant quieter but thankfully, we never have any problem with dry meat or old vegetables like you might in some restaurants for the non-peak times.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Deliciously Light Wines from Black Tower (Slimming World Friendly)


{This post has been commissioned by Black Tower}

As a woman in my 40's I rarely drink alcohol nowadays. I don't like to feel out of control, I live in the middle of nowhere and it means I can't drive, I'd rather eat the calories than drink them and I want to wake feeling fresh and ready to take on the day, rather than headachy and sluggish.

I do miss it sometimes though; when I go round a friends for a BBQ and they are all drinking lovely long coolers or a glass of wine, I sometimes pine for the days of old, before children when I could drink and not worry about the effect it has on me. For this reason, I was very excited to learn that Black Tower have launched a new range called Deliciously Light. It has the same great taste as the full alcohol versions but there is only 29 calories per 125ml glass and it only had 0.5% ABV, so it's a winner.

You see that big glass I'm holding in the picture above that was 125ml of Black Tower Deliciously Light white wine mixed with soda water, so that's just 29 calories, or for me as someone who is currently doing Slimming World, it is 1.5 syns. How great is that?


The new Deliciously Light range offers red, white, rosé and sparkling varietals, so something to suit every taste, and of course for someone like me who is following the Slimming World plan at the moment, they are very welcome low calorie drinks.

The range is available from Ocado and costs between £3.50 - £4.00 per bottle, so they are super affordable too.

Black Tower holds many fond memories for me as it is one of the first wines that I discovered I really liked. I can remember being in my late teens and always ordering a bottle of Black Tower when we had a meal out. French wine was all the rage back then, but I always preferred German and the Black Tower Reisling was my favourite of the time.  After the meal I'd always take the iconic black bottle home and place a candle in it; we had loads of those in our student home for a number of years.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Jobs that are Ideal for Stay-at-Home Mums

Image Credit
{Collaborative Post}

There are many jobs that stay-at-home mums can do, but sometimes it is easy to forget that many of the skills we have can be useful to other people. We’ve been so wrapped up in caring for our children for many years that we’ve forgotten we are capable of much more.  It can be great for stay-at-home mums to be able to run a business that fits in with caring for the family, and there are many opportunities for us to do this. Here’s a few ideas -

Seamstress
Being good with a needle and thread is a skill that many women envy. If you are good at making or altering clothes there will always be a demand for your services. You can do the jobs while the children are at school or in bed and the only thing you may have to watch is that you do not take on more work than you can cope with alongside your family duties. It only takes a few friends to pass the word around, and you will wonder where all the sewing suddenly appears from.

Pilates Instructor
Pilates is more popular than it has ever been and the number of people who want to attend classes is increasing all the time. More people wanting to take part means more instructors are needed and with classes held while the kids are in school, this could be a great way to earn some extra cash.

If you want to become a Pilates instructor you will need to get a level 2 fitness qualification. This may seem like a barrier initially, but it is worth the time and money investment as you can then work at the local gym or set up private classes of your own.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

All Pregnant Women Deserve Good Care #DifferentPathChallenge


When you're pregnant and expecting a baby, the one thing that every woman wants is for that baby to be born healthy, in a safe envirnoment.  We all share in this basic right, every woman being the same. Where you live shouldn't be a factor as to whether that child lives or dies, or in fact, whether you live or die.

In Togo, West Africa, 1 in every 20 babies (1) will die before their first birthday. This is the equivalent of you going to your local toddler group and knowing that one or two of those babies won't be here in the next year. Just think how shocking that would be, thankfully in the UK, it isn't every week we hear of a baby dying.

In the UK our figures are quite different, with only 1 in 250 babies (1) not surviving their first birthday. So what's the difference, why are those babies in Togo not surviving? The quick answer is poverty, most families can not afford to access good healthcare or buy enough food. This means birth complications, infections and malnutrition are responsible for claiming far too many little lives.

I don't want to linger on these sad facts for too long though, as us being sad doesn't actually help anyone. What does help, is us using what we have to donate to programmes that make a difference to these mothers. Compassion (a charity I have been supporting on a monthly basis for around 15 years) has 1520 Child Survival projects worldwide, with 52 of these being in Togo.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Girls Time in London - Remembering to be Thankful! #R2BC


Despite the promise of strong winds, rain and pretty horrible weather all round, as well as a landslide closing my regular train line and thus having to take a much longer route, I headed up to London last Friday to meet my Mum.

It's become a tradition that we meet just before Mothers Day and enjoy some time just the two of us. We were booked in to the Premier Inn at County Hall on the South Bank and had plans to go to the Shard on Saturday morning but the rest of the time was free of plans.

We love to see a show together, so were hoping for a musical but due to my train problems I didn't arrive into London until much later than normal. I hadn't managed to bag any deals in advance even though I'd played the theatre lotteries and tried to get rush tickets via TodayTix and I figured we were a bit late for the Leicester Square half price ticket office so I went for tickets for a play instead. I'd read rave reviews for The Curious Incident but sadly it didn't turn out to be a play we enjoyed. It was certainly clever and an excellent insight to what it must be like to live with Aspergers but we ended up leaving half way through.

This one hic-cup didn't spoil our time though, here's some of the things I was super grateful for -

*  Finishing up series 2 of Designated Survivor on the train. I love that you can download Netflix programmes,

*  Great bedroom at the Premier Inn, County Hall. The position is amazing, you get two king size beds in a twin room and we even got a free breakfast as we were woken by noisy door slamming by the staff.


Monday, 18 March 2019

Five Great Places to Visit in North Norfolk With Tweens/ Teens

Cromer beach header
Cromer Beach

For the last two August's we've headed over to North Norfolk for a break for a few days. It wasn't an area we'd explored before but straight from the off we were hooked. The gorgeous coastline spans miles and there are so many quaint traditional seaside towns to explore. Of course, if you're looking for the bright lights and glamour of a big city then this area isn't going to be for you, but if you like the countryside right by the coast then it could be perfect.

During our stays, we had some great days out and they don't have to break the bank, so they're a winner on all fronts. Let me share -

Father and daughter on a boat

1.  Visit the Seals at Blakeney Point by Boat
We travelled with Beans Boat Trips but there are a few companies who do the trips and from what I saw they were all much of a likeness. You park at Morston Quay National Trust site to catch your boat and the trip takes between 60 - 90 minutes, depending on the time of year. Either before or after your boat trip you can walk the nature reserve at Morston Quay, which is maintained by the National Trust too.

The cost of the boat trip is £12 per adult and £6 per child, and you'll also need to pay £4.50 for a days parking at Morston Quay. You could easily spend a half-day in the area if you like to walk, explore, fly a kite, bird spot or pond dip.

Beans boat trips

2.  Play the Penny Machines in Hunstanton
My kids love the penny arcades and I have to admit, it does transport me back to being a child. That moment when your parent hands over a couple of quid or a bag of 2p's and you see how long you can make them last.

Nowadays when you do the 2p penny push machines you can win prizes and my husband is the worst culprit for heading home with a bag full of tiny tat! Quite often JJ and I will disappear for a coffee, whilst the other three continue to play, long after our interest has wilted. In Hunstanton the penny arcades are next to the Sea Life Centre so we headed in there for a Costa and then we all took a nice walk around the little town and enjoyed seeing the multi-coloured Hunstanton Cliffs.

3.  Eat fish and chips in Wells-next-the-Sea
Wells-next-the-Sea is well known as a destination  for excellent fish and chips. French's seems to be the restaurant that most people rate and the queues can take hours, but I'm told the food is outstanding. Each time we've been we've chosen to eat in Plattens, which is also on the quay front but never has quite the same extent of queues. We've found the food to be superb, service very good and we always manage to get a table inside too.

Whilst you're in Wells there are good ice cream shops and the Albatros boat restaurant that serves good Dutch pancakes for dessert too. There's also a fabulous play park, super walkways and a sandy beach all easily accessible too.

Family at Blickling Hall

4.  Spend a Day at the National Trust Blickling Estate
This estate is immense, it even has its own pub in the grounds. We've been to dozens of NT sites but this one still remains one of our firm favourites. There are 950 acres of gardens and woodlands to explore and the multi-use tracks are suitable for bikes, scooters, pushchairs and the like.

The house is in excellent condition, with loads of rooms open for you to explore, we all very much enjoyed taking photos there, with the kitchens and servants quarters being a real highlight.

As with most NT sites there are lots of events going on, especially trails for the children and the chance to get outside and complete many of the activities on the things to do before you're 11 3/4 initiative. A family ticket is currently £37.00, but considering you can easily spend the whole day here exploring, I think that's good value and of course if you're NT members then it is already taken care of.

mother and twin tween daughters

5.  Picnic on the Beach at Sherringham
We liked Sherringham, as we were able to find free street parking, there was a fabulous play park above the promenade, the beach is super sandy when the tide is out and there were lots of good cafes, delis and take-aways.

We went in the Town Deli and bought ourselves some pasties, sandwiches, cakes and pop and enjoyed a nice picnic on the beach. The kids were able run around, play in the sand and jump the waves and even in August, it wasn't too busy at all.

There is also the North Norfolk steam railway in Sherringham, which we didn't visit but if you have a train fan, it has a great reputation and is surely worth checking out.

Sherringham beach
Sherringham Beach

Other Places to Visit
There are so many other places to visit that either my kids are too old for or we just haven't found the time yet. In the future we have plans to visit Pensthorpe Natural Park, Holkham Hall and Amazona Zoo.

Sarah at Boo, Roo and Tigger Too shares five places she likes t visit and I think these are all great for families with younger children too.


Why not pin this post for later?

north norfolk places to visit pin


I'm linking this post up with Louise for CountryKids.

Country Kids linky

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Visiting The Llama Park, Forest Row, Sussex

Tween feeding a llama

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I took our twin girls over to The Llama Park, it's about an hours journey from us, but it is a pretty easy one. We had a pleasant few hours there, taking a walk, feeding the animals and enjoying a snack.

The regular price for a family of 2 adults and 2 children is £25 and I think this is a bit steep for what there is. We got a deal on Wowcher, which was £6 for an adult and a child, so we paid £12 entry for the four of us and that felt about the right price.

2 llamas

What Animals are There?
At the park there are llamas, alpacas, sheep, horses, goats, donkeys, pigs, a reindeer and many different types of ducks, geese etc. All the animals are in fairly close proximity and you could easily cover them all in half an hour, if you didn't linger. If you do want to be there longer you can utilise the woodland walks and explore more of the 33 acre site.

We all really enjoyed feeding the animals and you can buy a small bag of feed for £1. We ended up spending £5 on the food, so you need to build that into the cost for the day. I was impressed that there was a couple of hand washing stations with soap and disposable towels to ensure that you don't pick anything up from the animals. Although that shouldn't happen anyway as we saw signs telling us the animals were regularly tested and they all looked happy and well kept.

animals at The Llama Park

Thursday, 7 March 2019

I love My Bed: It's the Heart of Our Home

Our current bedroom

We love to sleep in this house and I am so grateful that I now have children who can (and will) sleep the night through, and even better they lie in sometimes too. It's taken a while to get here but the value of a really good bed contributing to a great nights sleep can't be underestimated.

In those early days when I was trying to feed baby twins in the middle of the night and deal with a toddler having night terrors or maybe a little accident, I wasn't getting much sleep and therefore the small amount I did, really had to count.

I've always been an advocate of investing in a super comfortable bed and great bedding, and our fabric bed is a really good example. I choose to view buying a bed as an investment that is going to last us around ten years and as such I don't mind spending a good amount of money on it.

I think I've passed my love of my bed on to all my kids though, and this isn't necessarily a good thing as they are always on it, or in it! It really has become the heart of our home. I was thinking back to how it became this way and to my horror, I realised I created it. When JJ was a pre-schooler I used to encourage him to go to our bed on a Saturday night with my husband and watch Doctor Who with him. Inevitably he'd fall asleep and we'd lift him out later.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Category: Mummy's Boy // And the Winner is....

This post has been commissioned by James Wellbeloved.

lady cuddling her labrador dog
Look at the soppy boy on holiday with Mum and my aunt in September last year

Eight years ago my mum lost her heart to a new male. His name is Archie and he's a Golden Labrador, or Mum often refers to his colouring as a red fox. We believe he is a pure breed, but she doesn't have pedigree papers for him and as such he'd never be able to enter Crufts (which by the way, is taking place from 7th - 10th March this year). Well, let's be honest, it won't be his lack of pedigree that prevents him from competing at Crufts, it will be the fact that Mum has turned him into a complete mummy's boy. Just look at him in the photos above... in his happy place, on her lap.

James Wellbeloved, the makers of natural dog, cat and ferret foods, and the sponsor of both Crufts and the crossbreed equivalent, Scruffts, challenged me to come up with a category that I just knew Archie would win. It was a toss up at first, would I go for 'scaredy cat' or should it be 'mummy's boy' and the latter won, because it's not Archie's fault that some nasty youths on a motorbike scared him as a puppy and he's been fearful ever since.

Archie really is a pampered pooch and a very much loved mummy's boy. The two of them are always found out walking together, enjoying the fresh air, running after a ball (that's Archie, not Mum) and meeting up with the other dogs and walkers in their little gang.

woman resting on a dog walk, with a labrador

Saturday, 2 March 2019

The Priviledge of Being the Default Parent

mother and tween daughter under umbrellas

I remember early last year coming across the term 'default parent', it was an article in the Huff Post from 2014 that for some reason was popping up in my Facebook feed. I must admit it wasn't a term I was familiar with, but a bit of googling led me to find it is pretty well used and often in a derogatory fashion.

M Blazoned, the writer of the Huff Post article suggests "the default parent is the one responsible for the emotional, physical and logistical needs of the children", and she points out that generally it will be the mother. 

Most articles I read were from mothers who were fed up and worn out of being the one that the children always come to. Often, they were juggling a paid job, childcare and taking care of the family home, and frankly they were burnt out and wondering why it all fell to them when they had a partner who could technically take half the load.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Quick Fire Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC


It's not quite Thursday yet and I'm trying to get ahead and get this sorted as I feel like I have a ton of things to do right now. I hate that heavy feeling, I have to get myself in check and remind myself that all is well. It really doesn't matter that the washing machine is not working, I got the clothes out and I have access to another washer, even if I do have to walk some way to use it. It's all good for the step count after all! Then, next Tuesday the engineer will come and I pray he'll fix it, as it is a £1K machine that I've only had for 2 years, so he better be able to, or that will be rubbish.

So this week, it is quickfire reasons to be cheerful. Counting all those big and small things that are making me smile -

  • Time with my Parents and brother at the end of last week
  • My Dads operation went well and he is recovering
  • Visit to the Llama Centre at the weekend with my hubby and the girls
  • Superb worship at Church on Sunday
  • Miss M stood on a plug and punctured her foot, which of course isn't a R2BC but I was so grateful the damage wasn't worse
  • Tuesday with my hubby; we got an appointment booked to get our finances in order, had a nice Toby carvery and bought a new car! ekk
  • The kids are back at school, which is good for both them and me
  • I secured a nice new piece of work
  • I only put on 1/2 lb in the two weeks over half term. I thought it might be more as I really wasn't focused. I'm pleased that some of the changes I've been making are just coming naturally and it is showing on the scales
  • School listened and acted on a complaint I had made before half-term
  • A snatched coffee with a lovely friend
  • I sorted out the plan on Miss M's pay as you go phone, it was something silly that had been hanging around to sort and now it's done!
  • I got an evening with just Miss E, as we hung around for a couple of hours whilst JJ was at Police Cadets
  • Our cat continues to enthral us all with his funny ways. He has certainly settled in well here


My excitement for today is that I am picking up our new car, wish me luck!


For the month of March Reasons to be Cheerful will be over with Becky at Lakes Single Mum, so if you fancy joining in, you'll need to link up there.

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

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Review - Our Day Out at Leeds Castle, Kent

Leeds castle view

If you live within, or about an hour from Leeds Castle, near Maidstone in Kent I’d say you’re worth a visit. It’s one of those attractions where your entry ticket will gain you admission for a whole year. So, on the basis that you can return again and again, it’s great value, but if you have further to travel and might only visit the once then it’s a costlier affair.

Entry Costs
The price of an adult ticket is £25 if you buy in advance online, or a pound more if you get it on the day. Children are free up to 4 years and a child ticket (4-15 years) is £16.50 in advance. I was pleased to see that customer feedback had been noted and acted on in the last year and there are now family tickets available for a cost of £70 (that’s either 2 adults and up to 4 children or 1 adult and up to 5 children). As mentioned, £70 is a great price if you return multiple times.

We visited Leeds Castle last Tuesday during the February school half-term and it was fairly busy with families with small children, but being a big site there was plenty of space for everyone. Inside the actual castle was quiet, as was the maze but the falconry display was fairly busy and the play park was heaving.

At 11am as we arrived there was plenty of parking, with friendly attendants directing us and we didn’t have far at all to walk to the entrance. I was super pleased to see massive (and clean) toilets by the entrance and it didn’t take us long to get in. You’re best to check opening hours on the website before you travel, as the times change from the low to high season. We could have arrived as early as 10am if had wished and last entry is at 3pm, with the park closing at 5pm in February.


Saturday, 23 February 2019

Join #TeamMum to Help Women gain Breastfeeding Support in Meru, Kenya


Any mother will know that breastfeeding isn't always an easy journey. Yes, I think we all understand that in most circumstances it really is the best thing, and of course when you're in a country that can't guarantee a good, clean water supply it becomes even more improtant, but it can still be super difficult.

I was lucky enough to attend breastfeeding classes run by the NHS, along with NCT antenatal classes when I was pregnant with JJ. I can honestly say that these classes made the world of difference to me. When I was in hospital after my C-section and I couldn't get JJ to latch on properly I remembered all I had learnt at the classes and had the confidence to persevere and seek out help. We then had a good few months of successful and enjoyable breastfeeding.

With girls the situation was different, as tandem breastfeeding is quite a skill and add a toddler in the mix and you are pretty busy and quite a demand on your time. But again, I had the help of the local breastfeding counsellor and my health visitors to help me, enocurage me and find the right way through for my family.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Half Term Reasons to be Cheerful - Feb 2019 #R2BC

Time for my weekly dose of joy and its always a bit strange writing this when I don't feel that joyous. I'm feeling quite flat and anxious as I write this and wondering why. I assume it's because my Dad had an operation on Tuesday and I haven't seen him yet. I'm also stressing about stupid stuff and because the kids are off school, I'm not getting the time to take myself off and just be with God, which is what I'd normally do when I'm out of sorts. But it is only a short while they are off and I need to embrace it and enjoy it. I can focus again next week!

So there has been some good times in the last week, many things to be thankful for -

Friday - my lovely friend Krisha came over for the day and we chatted loads, ate cake and had a great walk around the lake. I started that day feeling sad and ended it much happier.


Saturday - We all went out for lunch at the Toby Carvery and I helped the girls make some cupcakes for sale at church the next day. 

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Review of our Day Spa at Bannatynes, Hastings, East Sussex

Exterior of Bannatynes Hastings
Image Credit

I wanted to get my husband something different for Christmas, he’s the kind of guy who never wants anything and doesn’t appreciate people spending money for the sake of it. So I decided that I’d book for us to do something together and enjoy a day or a night out. We often go to the cinema, out for a meal or enjoy the theatre. I’d already bought us some comedy gig tickets with money from his Grandma, so I was racking my brains for something different.

As I was browsing a marketing email from Wowcher, I saw loads of great deals for spa days and I thought that might just be perfect. He works hard and his job can be stressful, so I figured a massage might be just the ticket. Without telling him why, I got him to take a day off in January and I booked for our local Bannatynes in Hastings, East Sussex.

I’d definitely recommend checking out both Wowcher and Groupon if you want to book a Bannatynes spa day for two as they have some great deals. There were a few different options I could have booked, starting from £69 for two people, but I wanted the option with the most treatment time, so I spent £95 for the two of us to have 4 mini treatments each (55 minutes of treatment time), and full use of the spa, leisure facilities, gym and classes.

To be honest we only spent a half day there, as we headed off to enjoy a late lunch elsewhere, but I’d definitely go back and would spend more time next time. I wanted to share my experience with you, so if you book, you’ll know what to expect.


Spa reception area, Bannatynes Hastings
Spa reception - Image credit