Monday 29 April 2019

Spending Time with my Girl at Arlington Bluebell Walk, East Sussex

Tween girl in bluebell woods

A couple of years ago we visited Arlington bluebell walk as it a family. It was mid-May and the bluebell season was coming to an end but we loved our visit and I've been meaning to go back ever since. This year I was ahead of the game and we visited on 20th April just as the bluebells were really coming into their own, but there was still evidence of the beautiful white wood anemones. So it made for some interesting pictures with both the white and blue flowers.

Bluebells and wood anemones

This year the bluebell walk and farm trail is open from 11th April to 19th May (10am - 5pm each day). I'd definitely recommend a visit, and it is so much more than just pretty woods with lots of bluebells.  You can choose from five walks of differing lengths, and each has a unique view and some pass through local working farms so you may see horses, cows, sheep and chickens. The walks are really varied with lake views, fields, rivers, woodland and farms.

Saturday 27 April 2019

Reasons to be Cheerful - Bluebells, Dog Walking and Easter

What is it with procrastination? Why do I do it? It's not very often thankfully, but here I am at just gone midnight and I am so tired and I haven't written my R2BC post as yet and it is due to go live in 7 hours! I know you'd say leave it, do it tomorrow but I have a feeling if I left it, it would be the afternoon before I even got round to it!

It's been an eventful week, good in the main but also with an incident that I can't really go into, but could prove to cause some issues, so I have to see how that pans out. There has been lots of good in the week, so here are some snippets of what has made me super grateful this week -

1.   Getting to spend one on one time with Miss M when we went for a bluebell walk together last weekend.

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.