Month: July 2016

Mother and Daughter Date

Since my son was born in February this year I’ve always had a slight guilty feeling for my daughter. Even though she’s only two and doesn’t really understand the ways of the world, it must be so hard for her having had my undivided attention 24/7 for two years and then all of a sudden one day find that she has to share me. That was a big reason for me putting her into nursery for two mornings per week, so she then had those few hours to be able to play with other children and not have to watch me with her baby brother all of the time. So yesterday, as G had decided to work from home, I thought I’d take the opportunity to take my little Violet on a date just me and her.


Having checked the weather forecast and found that it was going to rain most of the day I had a look at our local cinema to see what was on. Our local cinema is a Cineworld which have ‘Movies for Juniors’ showings early in the morning, especially for kids at discount prices. They were showing Zootropolis and it cost just £3.60 to book up for both of us- I was pretty over the moon with that plus I’d been looking forward to seeing the film for ages! I was a bit worried about how Violet would sit and whether she would watch the film because the last time we took her to the cinema she had just turned two and was still in nappies so we didn’t have to worry about the numerous toilet breaks. As usual I didn’t have much to worry about though.


We headed straight for the snacks after collecting our tickets and I was really impressed to find that a Kids Snack Box containing popcorn, a Capri Sun and some Milkyway Magic Stars was only £2.50. By the time we walked into the screen the lights had gone down and the trailers had started- cue the startled scream from the shocked toddler pleading to go home. My poor girl got such a fright as one of the trailers burst onto the screen as we were making our way to our seats so I spent the rest of the trailers cuddling her in on my knee. Once the film had started and I explained the first few characters and that there was nothing to be afraid of she perked up no bother and laughed at the film the rest of the way through whilst scoffing her snacks. Massive sigh of relief from me because I really didn’t want to have to ring G to come straight back to get us! And I wanted to see the film- obviously. It was brilliant. Such a good story line which had us laughing all of the way through, I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet.


When the film had finished it was lunch time and even though Violet had scoffed her way through her snack box she was asking for some dinner. It was absolutely chucking it down so we literally ran over the road to the cover of Frankie & Benny’s where I literally had no idea what to expect as I haven’t been since I was a teenager! I was totally impressed with our whole visit. It was quite quiet and we were seated and brought drinks really quickly. Violet went for her usual cheeseburger and chips and I opted for a pizza wrapped hotdog and fries off the lunch menu. Whilst we were waiting for these to arrive we spent some time taking silly selfies, dancing to the music, giggling like mad and colouring in the children’s activity book we had been given.
The food was amazing. I’ve never seen Violet eat so much of a kids meal and this was definitely one of the biggest portion sizes she’d had. My pizza-hotdog didn’t look like much when it arrived but the hotdog inside was huge, was packed with flavour and it really was incredible. I was absolutely stuffed once we’d finished but thought as it was our treat day we totally had to have a dessert so I ordered Violet a kids ‘Ice Cream Candy Shop’ and Brownies and Ice Cream for me 🙂 Mine was gorgeous but Violet’s was totally unreal! Two scoops of ice cream in a bowl, a pot of marshmallows, a mini jug of chocolate sauce, three bottles of different sweets, a pack of popping candy and a little paper bag to put the extra sweets in to take home- I kind of wish I’d got one for myself! The whole meal, our two mains, two desserts and three soft drinks came to £18- yet again I was really impressed with this.



Once we’d finished our lunch we were both full and Violet was shattered so I asked G to come and collect us and we headed home. Our date in total cost just under £25 which I was really happy with considering what we had for our money. It really was perfect being able to spend that few hours quality time with my daughter and I think she loved it too, she’s been my little shadow and best friend every second since and I’m usually the naughty Mammy (I never know why…) so I think I earned some serious brownie points! Our date totally made me realise how important it is to make sure I take time out to have quality time alone with each of my children. Whilst they get on so well and have an incredible bond already I really do think it’s important for them to have a few hours of my undivided attention every couple of weeks and I’m already thinking of ideas for our next date 🙂

Mother Hermit xx

 

 

Sparkles & Stretchmarks Sunday Best

Flower Pressing in a Microwave… In a Nappy!

Yeah, you read that right, in a nappy! Last weekend I was looking into pressing some flowers which are really special to me and I wanted to find a way to keep them forever in a memory book. I wanted to find a quick way to do it as the last time I tried it years ago I tried the book method, only to find that when I went back to check on them weeks later I hadn’t put enough paper towel in to absorb the moisture and not only was the book ruined, the flowers were rotten and had to be thrown away 🙁


After some serious googling on the subject I came across some tutorials on flower pressing in a microwave. It looked and sounded pretty simple; Lay the flowers in absorbent kitchen roll, place it inside some paper and then put into the microwave with a heavy (non metallic!) dish on top. I gave it a go but because of the flowers I was attempting to press (mainly Roses) no matter how much paper towel I put around the flowers, it just wasn’t enough to soak up the moisture.

In an angry rage I started rummaging through every cupboard trying to find anything which would absorb the moisture more effectively. This is when I spotted my toddlers pull up nappies for bed times. Bang. That was it! I threw the flowers inside the nappy, put it back into the microwave and put the ceramic dish on top and started again. Amazingly it worked!


It takes a bit of patience and you have to mess around with a few flowers and timings to get the perfect one- I ended up overcooking a Rose which ended up burning and smelling like a jacket potato! I resisted tasting it though. I found the best way to do it was to start by putting them in the microwave for 1 minute and then keep putting them back in for 30 seconds at a time and checking them at the end of every burst. You may need to flip the nappy over once or twice too so the moisture is soaked evenly within the nappy.


I’m totally amazed at how well it worked and i’ll definitely be doing it more often, maybe to craft some handmade cards! Have a go and let me know what you think 🙂

Mother Hermit xx

One Night In A WigWam

Camping. I absolutely love camping. I remember in Summertime when I was little my Dad used to help me and my little sister put a two-man tent up in the back garden and we would spend the whole day in it. We would cosy up with our duvet, playing all sorts of games for hours and even eat all of our meals inside the tent. When we were a bit older, on summer nights we would sleep in it in the back garden too but my parents never actually took us anywhere to camp properly- I think it was my Mam’s worst nightmare holiday!

When I was in secondary school I ended up signing up to the Duke of Edinburgh Award, purely for the walking, hiking and camping and my first proper holiday with G was a week in the Lake District in a tent! Since we’ve had kids though we’ve never been and our tent and camping gear has been wrapped up in their bags and shoved in the loft, but recently I’ve seen a lot of blog posts about ‘camping with young children’ and have been tempted by the idea of taking our two. Whilst doing a bit of camping research online though I came across ‘Glamping’ and noticed a lot of WigWams as an alternative to a tent. So I decided to see if I could find one not too far from home for us to try for a night as a kind of ‘trial run’ to see how the kids liked it. This is when I came across Springhill Farm, a caravan, camping and wigwam site on a working farm in Seahouses, Northumberland.


Once Little V had finished nursery on Monday we packed up the car and headed up to Springhill Farm, an hours drive from where we live. The car was pretty full for just the one night but having two kids under three, plus the fact that you need to take all of your own bedding, we were pretty happy we managed to fit everything in! We’d already received an email which confirmed that there would be a sign in the reception window to tell us which WigWam we would be staying in and that the key would be in the door of the accommodation for us to just let ourselves in anytime after 2pm. Sure enough our name was shown, matched up with number 6, and the key was in the door. Unfortunately as soon as we got there the heavens opened so we quickly unpacked the car and made ourselves comfortable inside the WigWam.


I couldn’t believe how much room we had inside! It’s amazing how the WigWams have been designed to fit so much in. We had a fridge and kettle, plenty storage shelves and room under the sofa’s/beds to store more, a huge seating area and table which also converted into the bed and a heater- massive bonus with having the two kids but we didn’t actually use it after the first 10 minutes as it’s so well insulated, there was nowhere for the heat to escape! (Unless we opened the door and windows obviously…)

After spending some time settling in we decided to head out for a little walk around the site since the rain seemed to have let up a bit. We managed to head over to the reception, grab some milk from the small shop and use the toilet before the rain got heavier again but we’d promised Violet we’d find the park so decided to brave it a little longer. It wasn’t hard to find and her face totally lit up when she seen it but obviously it was soaked. That didn’t put her off though, she climbed straight up to the top of the slide but at the top she seemed to have a quiet moment of contemplation- ‘do I go down and get a wet bum or go back down the ladder?!’ Hmmm… decisions of a two year old! obviously she flew down it and started screaming in panic that she had a wet bum so we headed straight back to the wigwam to get dry.

As we were only staying for the one night we hadn’t bothered to pack anything for our evening meal so we could eat out but with the weather being miserable all we wanted was to share a takeaway, so we headed into Seahouses to pick up a pizza and chips- and it was delicious! On site there is a communal kitchen for the use of wigwam occupants only so we decided to eat our dinner in there. What a fantastic area it is too! With ovens, kettles, fridge freezer, all the pots, pans, crockery you could need, condiments, plenty of tables, highchairs and even a television on the wall, we were sorted. There’s also a BBQ area outside in between the WigWams which you can hire, it’s all undercover and looks really pretty when it’s dark as it’s covered in lights. If we’d have stayed another night we definitely would have booked in to use it for dinner.

Once the takeaway was demolished (we don’t mess around with food in this family!) we headed back to the WigWam to get into our pj’s. We didn’t get to use the fire pit which was outside of the wigwam as the rain was getting heavier and heavier and clearly wasn’t going to stop so I crafted some marshmallow sandwiches in chocolate biscuits for Violet. It was so easy to make the bed up and again we were so surprised at how big it was, no chance of being squashed at all! With the kids tucked in, a few cans of cider were shared between me & G and by about 11pm we were so tired we crawled into bed.

What an amazing sleep we had too. All the fresh air of being in the countryside and the comfiness of the bed meant we all woke up early totally refreshed and the kids were both in a good mood- tells you how well they slept! We had to check out of the WigWam by 10am so we jumped up, headed to the bathrooms for a wash and then packed up the car to go strawberry picking!

So our stay in a WigWam with the kids was an absolute success- apart from the bad weather obviously but no camping trip is complete without rain! We can’t wait to go back and hopefully have some nice weather so we can explore a bit more and I think we’ll stay for 2 or 3 nights next time now that we know the kids were okay. Being away from technology was amazing too, it’s nice to have a break every now and again (Wifi is available on site at an extra charge if you really need it). Although I’m glad we took Violet’s tablet and charger because of the rain we needed something to entertain her and she’s not quite at the card playing or board games age yet.

If you’re like me and you’ve been contemplating the ‘camping with kids’ holiday, I totally recommend you try a WigWam and if you’re visiting the North East I totally recommend you book up at Springhill Farm- although it’s fully booked through the school holidays and I’m constantly checking the website for cancellations ha!

Take a look at Springhill Farm here or if you’d like to find something closer to you take a look at the Glamping UK- WigWam Holidays website here!

Have you tried a wigwam before? What did you think?

Mother Hermit xx

 

 

 

Thaikhun Menu Review

I’ve been looking forward to today for weeks, since I was asked by the guys at Thaikhun in the Metrocentre if I’d like to visit with my family to try out their new menu, specifically the new children’s menu. Obviously that was an easy yes, especially as the kids were invited too- although Billy at 5.5 months is a good eater, he’s not quite at the point where he’s interested too much in finger food but Violet has an amazing appetite and I knew she’d be perfect to give the new menu a go!


When we arrived we were shown straight to our booth and Violet was given crayons, a colouring page and a pot of vegetable sticks (cucumber, carrot and peppers) all within about 30 seconds- perfect start! The lovely lady then took our drinks order, gave us a menu each and explained the new children’s menu to us. She also informed us that each kids meal comes with a pot of creepy crawlies and asked if we wanted some for Violet! Obviously she was nodding her head and saying yes please before we’d even realised what the lady had said! Creepy crawlies? Like- to eat?! Yep. Pretty quickly our drinks were brought over along with a basket of prawn crackers and a sweet chilli dip and we were given a pot of the said crawlies which Violet wasn’t phased by in the slightest and as soon as I opened the pot she looked at me so innocently and said “Mama I eat them?”. She then went on to shovel them into her mouth and even started dipping her vegetable sticks into them- I was amazed at how adventurous my little madam was and I totally loved it! I had one too and they weren’t bad at all- but i’ll eat anything and have the nickname of ‘dustbin’ so don’t take my word for it.


We decided to go for a starter and a main because we’ve never really had thai food apart from the occasional red or green curry so we wanted to try a few savoury dishes. It took us a while to choose because everything sounds so good but G settled on Gai Satay to start (Grilled Chicken Skewers) followed by Khao Moo Daeng Moo Grob (Barbequed Pork on Rice) and I chose the Goong Choop Pang Tord (Tempura Prawns) followed by the Ped Phad Prik Pao (Roast Duck with Chilli Paste). On the children’s menu you can either choose from Phad Thai, Fried Chicken with Jasmine Rice or you can make your own dish by choosing either Jasmine Rice or Noodles with Grilled Chicken, Pork or Mixed Vegetables and then a sauce of no nuts Satay, sweet BBQ or a slightly spicy Green Curry. We chose noodles, grilled chicken and BBQ sauce for Violet. They also get a drink and a mini milk ice lolly included and we were given the option of when we would like her meal to come and as she was already preoccupied with creepy crawlies, vegetables and colouring we chose to have hers brought with our mains.

The restaurant itself is absolutely fantastic and is exactly how I would imagine an authentic eatery in Bangkok to look like. Once we’d placed our order we found ourselves just staring around taking the whole place in and we loved the open kitchen! From where we were sitting we could see straight into the kitchen area and see the chefs at work and the aromas really do make your mouth water.


It wasn’t long before our starters arrived and they were oh so good! The Tempura Prawns were huge, really meaty (as meaty as seafood can be!), fresh and delicious and the batter had the perfect crisp to it. Violet pinched one off me and I have to admit I was pretty gutted as I wanted to eat them all, but again it was lovely to see her be so adventurous with her food. G’s Chicken Skewers were gorgeous too, obviously I pinched a cheeky bite- the best part though was the Satay sauce- it was sooo tasty and had so much flavour, when they came to clear the plates we asked if we could keep the bowl on the table for the rest of the meal.



Again we didn’t have to wait long for our mains which as expected all looked and smelled amazing. Violet’s meal came on a tray, like a school dinner tray, with everything in separate parts, which is perfect for her as she likes to have everything like that rather than it already mixed together. She dug in rather quickly and by the time we had finished our mains had put a good dent in it and finally gave up with an exclamation of “Oh I really enjoyed that!”- high praise indeed. Obviously she managed to eat her strawberry mini milk though. G’s didn’t last long either, it was inhaled rather quickly as was mine. Everything was cooked beautifully, made with really fresh ingredients and the flavours were like nothing we’ve had before.



We were so stuffed by the end of it we couldn’t even contemplate having a dessert but we’re already planning on going back and we’ll have to try one. I can’t fault anything about our experience at Thaikhun today, the staff were all very friendly and the food was amazing, Violet absolutely loved it and even took her leftover creepy crawlies home for supper! This is totally somewhere you need to try with the kids!

Thanks for having us guys!

Mother Hermit xx

We were very kindly invited for this complimentary meal in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

 

Strawberry Picking at Brockbushes

Strawberry picking. Something I’ve wanted to do for years, even before we had kids, but something we’ve never actually got around to doing. So a couple of weeks ago, after spending the night in Seahouses, as we were packing up the car getting ready to say farewell to our Wig Wam, the sun had finally decided to make an appearance, and we headed straight to Corbridge to go strawberry picking at Brockbushes Farm and Tea Room.

By the time we arrived Little V was on a mission to find the strawberries and couldn’t contain herself any longer, so we literally ran to the picking fields, paid our fee to enter, grabbed our basket and ran to our nominated area. 

We spent a good twenty minutes picking the biggest, juciest strawberries we could find through the rows of plants- basically until I realised how many we had in the basket because we couldn’t fit anymore in! Little V absolutely loved looking under all of the leaves to find the biggest stawberries and got so excited at the fact that she could pick them herself! 

By this point we were all a bit peckish so headed down to the tea room for some lunch. Can’t beat a latte and a cheese toastie break! We opted for a kids box meal for V which consisted of a sandwich, crisps, biscuits and juice- which was quickly inhaled- all that running through the fields gave her such an appetite.  

Unfortunately we didn’t get to try the famous cakes and scones as after a further twenty minute wait we were still without and couldn’t hang on any longer as the kids were restless and ready for home. Hopefully we’ll get to try them next time as we’re planning on going back for raspberry picking!
Our first family fruit picking experience was definitely a success and we had a great time. And what did we make with our harvest?! 

Strawberry Cake of course! 😁🍰


Have you been strawberry picking this year yet?

Mother Hermit xx

Out of Date Mates Review

Weaning. It only feels like five minutes ago we were here with Little V and we’ve recently started the weaning journey all over again with our second baby B. I’ve heard a lot of parents say they hate the weaning stage, mostly because of the mess and constant battle of attempting to actually get some of the weird smelling, bright orange mush into baby’s mouth and not all over the floor or up the walls! I have to admit though, I love it. Experimenting with different tastes and textures and watching how baby reacts to each one. The hilarious faces they pull and sheer excitement at the feel of the mushy substance between their fingers- and sometimes toes!

The thing that does bug me about weaning though  is the amount of opened jars, tubs and pots that end up in my fridge! That and the fact that I can never remember which one I opened when and end up throwing away probably perfectly fine puree’s, because I have no idea what’s in date and what’s not. That’s where Out of Date Mates come in…


One of my fellow bloggers had mentioned last week that Out of Date Mates had posted a tweet saying that they were looking for parents, who were looking to start or had recently started weaning their little one’s, to review their product. I’ll be honest, I tweeted them straight away offering to help out before I’d even looked into what the product was- anything to help with weaning is a must- right?! Well in this case- definitely!

Out of Date Mates are very handy magnets which help you keep track of which baby food you opened when, so then you know whether it can still be given to baby or if it needs throwing away. You get seven magnets, each labelled with a day of the week, and a dry wipe pen so you can write the exact time of day you opened the jar. You can then pop the magnet to the top of the jar and chuck it in the fridge- how brilliant is that?! I’ve been using mine a few days and I love them! The guys also sent me some stickers which you can use on your own pots or pouches.


They come in 3 colour choices, baby blue, baby pink or multi coloured and each set comes with a dry wipe pen which can be easily rubbed off with a damp cloth- or your finger! They cost just £9.99 for the set which I think is a bargain for the amount of times they’re going to be used and how much they’ll help me to stop wasting baby food!

You can find Out of Date Mates on their website here. They’re also on Twitter and Facebook.

Enjoy your weaning journey!

Mother Hermit xx

The guys at Out of Date Mates kindly sent me a magnet set with stickers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are that of my own.

 

Bobadeg Personalised Book Review

I came across Bobadeg one day on Twitter when I spotted a photo of a beautiful book with a child’s photo on the cover and thought I’d find out more. Little V is all things book these days so when the guys offered to send me a book to review there’s no way I could refuse!

Bobadeg
Image taken from Bobadeg Twitter page

Bobadeg books are personalised stories for little ones aged 5 and under and to order there are a few things you need to provide. These are the steps I took to create Little V’s book;

STEP 1: Pick a Book. Sounds easy right? Wrong! They’re all so fantastic it took me ages to just choose one!

You can choose from;

  • I Can Fight Dragons (Boy or Girl version)
  • The Fairy Garden
  • The Funny Fish
  • The Jiggly Juggly Journey
  • The Swirly Twirly Kite
  • That’s Poo!

STEP 2: Pick a Size. There are two different sizes to choose from.

STEP 3: Complete your Personalisation Details. This is where you complete the personalisation boxes to give them the child’s first name, the message you would like to appear inside the cover of the book and upload a photo of the child facing the camera.

So easy!

I chose to have Little V’s book personalised with a message from her baby brother so I thought the best book to get from him would be ‘That’s Poo!’. When the book arrived I have to admit, I hid it from her! It’s just so perfect and I was terrified she’d ruin it with an outrageous toddler tantrum or the usual juice spillage, but I was totally surprised to see how careful she was with it when I eventually handed it over.

Her face lit up and we had a squeal of ‘that’s me!’ as she noticed her photo on the cover of the book. I sat her down and read the book to her, pointing out every little detail. Little V was absolutely amazed seeing her name and photo throughout the book and thought the story was absolutely hilarious! She’s in the faze of watching cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants, so anything silly or anyway linked with burps or poop is absolutely hilarious!

When I explained to her that the book was from her baby brother she gave him a little kiss and after reading the story about ten million times, she asked me to keep it safe for her. How amazing that a two year old realises how special something is.

As you can probably tell, we absolutely love this book. Every detail is perfect and the personalisation of it makes the story come to life even more for the little one’s.

I think this will be Little V’s special bedtime story from now on.

Prices for the Bobadeg books start from just £9.99 and you can create your own at their website here. You can also find them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Mother Hermit xx

 

The guys at Bobadeg kindly sent me this personalised book for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.