The Challenge Of Catching Up With Friends

November 17th, 2014 — 10:20pm

I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy, it’s a given. Meeting up is suggested, you intend to check diaries but you’re busy, bouncing from one immediate need to the next. Amongst the chaos dates are pencilled in, then there’s a thing, a sick child, a last minute change of plans, a forgotten thing that was in a diary and not the calendar, something whatever it may be comes up, you’re back where you started and the days, weeks, months, years can pass. Then there are other times, rare times, impromptu times, times when a meet up is suggested and it works. The date, time and place is set, everyone said yes, you’re all busy, everyone just turns up and it’s great.

At the end of half term I headed to London for the Guinness World Records 60th Birthday Party we were going to be in London for just half a day and then heading out to Buckinghamshire. Could I manage to see a couple of pals in the two hours between the event finishing and catching the train? Not if I didn’t ask. So I asked. We’re all working mums with children under 7 years old but we all made it to tea at Frankie and Benny’s.
(Disclaimer: Voucher supplied towards the cost of our meal)

5pm London traffic in a black cab meant me, Lil H and Diva G were fashionably late to arrive, our bad, the fun was in full flow by the time we landed. In fact the junior members of the party were assisting the team with taking orders and overseeing various aspects of the Frankie & Benny’s restaurant at Victoria Place shopping centre. Their first work experience if you will, it made them feel very special indeed and allowed the grown ups the opportunity to sample the wine list (apart from she who won’t be named who was taking “Sober October” far too seriously!) place the dinner orders and embark on a speedy “how are you, what do you know, did you hear, what about x” high speed catch up.

We had a pizza theme around the table followed by ice creams, brownies and pancakes for dessert amongst the juniors and more wine for the mummy’s. As it was half term and almost Halloween the team were in lots of fabulous fancy dress and when all the eating was done we all embarked on the #FrankiesFangs challenge – spooktacular fun – not the best, granted but we enjoyed it!

Frankie & Benny's

The welcome was warm, the restaurant couldn’t have been more family friendly, the service was great, the food was delicious and brilliant value for money. The kids were happy, the mums were happy, it was all good. That’s how I managed to see my cousin the day after she returned from three weeks working in Thailand and my two friends of 20 years to catch up over a glass of wine. Thank you Frankie & Benny’s, a fab time was had by all. We’ll be back soon and will join in with #FBFestive.

make time for your friends

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Guinness World Records 60th Birthday Party

November 7th, 2014 — 1:47pm

The highlight of our October half term was a trip to London to join lots of lovely bloggers at the Guinness World Records HQ. It was great to meet some new people and always a pleasure to have a hug with some of my favourite girls who blog – looking at you Tara, Sian, Nickie, Nova and Ruth.

How things have changed since 1955 when the book of records began, starting with one of my favourite things – wine. Did you know that in 1955 the most expensive bottle of wine was £8? Yes I know just £8, the price today of an emergency corner shop bottle! Today the most expensive bottle is £75,000, I’m pretty sure I’d probably prefer the corner shop vino more so I won’t be investing.

The Professor introduced us to some genuine record breakers. The guy who built a lego robot which can solve the rubiks cube in under 5 seconds, a talented bike rider who holds the record for the most bunny hops on a bicycle demonstrated by hopping over the Professor.

Guinness World Record Bike Hoppingjpg

But it was Paul Hunn who made Lil H, Diva G and the rest of the room laugh hysterically as Paul holds the world record for the loudest burps!

As well as learning lots of fantastic facts about world records I learned how competitive bloggers are as we had a go at becoming record-breakers ourselves. In a team of six we burst balloons with bottoms, yep mummy blogger bums are perfect for this one. We also attempted to move the most jelly with a teaspoon in 30 seconds.

Guinness World Record Balloon Popping

My personal favourite was quickest gift-wrapping of a record book, fully wrapped with a ribbon tied in a bow on the front. Who knew I had what it takes? First go and I went straight to the top of the leader board and stayed there. Can’t lie I was chuffed to have set the bar high at a speedy 21 seconds. Boom! The world record is at 19.71 seconds so give me Christmas to practice and I could be a contender!

Guinness World Record Gift Warpping

guinness world records 2015The Guinness World Records book is a Christmas classic. As traditional as the tangerine in the Christmas stocking and now it’s even sparklier and I don’t just mean the cover. The Guinness World Records 2015 book has amazing augmented reality 3D technology, download the app and hold your mobile device over specific pages and you’ll have spiders, dinosaurs, dogs and more literally jumping out of the book. That is why The Guinness World Records 2015 book is at the top of Lil H’s Christmas wish list.

Huge thanks to the team at Guinness World Records for inviting us along to an amazing event we had a fantastic time.

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Things to make and bake in October and November

November 3rd, 2014 — 9:59pm

This half term we received a fantastic hamper from Love Brands filled with lots of goodies including Nestle Milky Bar, Smarties, Yorkie, Hartley’s Jelly, Shredded Wheat and Lyon’s Golden Syrup lots to inspire some tasty delights for Halloween and Bonfire night.

First we tackled “Squeamish Squares” which isn’t just for Halloween, it’s a yummy version of Rocky Road so I’ve renamed it “Yorkie Road”. Here’s what you’ll need:

Yorkie Road Ingredients

▪ 75g Shredded Wheat
▪ 3 Yorkie bars
▪ 25g white marshmallows
▪ 100g golden syrup
▪ 1 pack strawberry laces
▪ 1 pack jelly tots
▪ 1 bag Milky bar buttons

Melt the chocolate and the golden syrup in a bowl over boiling water, mix in the shredded wheat, chopped up marshmallows, strawberry laces and jelly tots. Allow to cool in the fridge and chop into square bites. Decorate with dribbles of melted Milky bar buttons if you can wait, or just eat!

Yorkie Road

Next we got crafty with one of our favourite sweeties creating these spooky eight legged creatures out of Smartie tubes and pipecleaners, hanging them in the porch to scare all who dare to knock.

Smartie Spiders

We celebrated Halloween and the end of October half term with friends in Bucks, the joys that await with having older children were never more evident than when 12 year old Daisy knocked up this rather delicious Banoffee Pie whilst creating a rather fab video at the same time. What’s not to love about someone who makes you pie and video content? Mucho love to you Daisy! xx

Next on our to make list to go with the rockets and fireworks are these Carnation toffee apples with bonfire night just two sleeps away.

carnation toffee apples

 What Autumnal treats have you been making and baking at your place? For more inspiration and ideas swing by the Love Brands Facebook page.

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Gift Guide: My 5 Year Old Girl

October 10th, 2014 — 9:34pm

October is already here, which means Diva G’s birthday is right around the corner and next week she will be celebrating her 5th birthday. This year there is no big, most wished for present but there is a very big Disney Frozen theme. Here’s a sneak preview of what my little princess will be opening next week. Take a look:

5 Year Old Girl Birthday Gift Guide

  1. Disney Frozen Elsa Dress
  2. Disney Frozen Anna Dress, Anna wig and Anna boots
  3. Soft Toy Elsa Doll and Soft Toy Anna Doll
  4. Leopard Print SpiritHood
  5. Snow Fairy Door
  6. Play Doh – Meal Makin’ Kitchen
  7. Tickets to Disney On Ice 
  8. Autumn Leaves Lottie Doll

With Christmas just around the corner do let me know what your little girl likes that should be on Diva G’s Christmas gift list. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think.

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A Million Miracles #SeeTheMiracle

October 1st, 2014 — 10:56pm

“There is beauty in the most common things to those who have eyes to see” – unknown

This October I am looking forward to seeing:

  • The leaves change colour & fall from the trees.
  • My daughter discovering and opening her fifth birthday presents.
  • The clear blue skies of autumn.
  • My daughter blowing out the five candles on her birthday cake.
  • Sunday lunch round at my parents with brother.
  • Inspirational pins of things for Halloween, Christmas and New Year.
  • My son getting dressed up and heading out for Halloween.
  • Lots of lovely coverage at work for my clients.
  • The gaps in my sons smile closing as his teeth grow in.
  • Friends for supper at quiz night.
  • The bonfire & fireworks at a friends party.
  • My best friends photos on Facebook.
  • My school mum pals on the school run, in the park, at parties, in the pub!
  • Catching up with friends hundreds and thousands of miles away on Skype.
  • Great posts from my blogging buddies.
  • The photographic entries over at The Gallery and Silent Sunday.

I can’t imagine what my life would be like without my sight. When you just stop to think how many millions of things you see everyday it is reminder of how sight is an unconscious privilege for the majority who can see. For those who live without sight, whether born blind or lose sight later, day to day life is more challenging than I can ever begin to imagine. If my eyesight or that of my children’s or parent’s was compromised we are very fortunate to have access to great healthcare locally via the NHS. However blindness especially in a developing country can be devastating; you’re often isolated and excluded, unable to get an education or work to support your family so you’re completely reliant on those around you. It’s hardly surprising then that people often tell us it feels like a miracle when they get their sight back. Which is why Sightsavers are launching A Million Miracles.

The aim of A Million Miracles is to raise £30 million to fund sight-restoring procedures by 2017. It is a huge target amount but the difference it would make is life changing for each and every patient. The actual cost of cataract surgery is only £30 for an adult and £50 for a child (adults can be done under a local anaesthetic but little ones require a general). The number of people who’s lives can be revolutionised by this campaign with each and every pound towards the £30 million.

You, me and everyone we know are all invited to be part of the first miracle via live stream.

A Million Miracles, Sightsavers, Malawi

Here’s Mr Winesi and the dates for your diary:

  • 1:30pm GMT on 8th October as one of the few cataract surgeons in Malawi delivers the 5 minute life-changing operation. Hosted by UK YouTuber star Doug Armstong you’ll meet the Mr Winesi, and all the health worker heros delivering this vital work
  • 1:30pm GMT on 9th October as the team remove the bandages and Mr Winesi can see for the very first time. He will be able to see his wonderful wife again, and hold and see his grandson Luca for the very first time.

I am proud to be involved in the Million Miracles campaign, please help me to help spread the word.

What Can You Do To Help?
- Please share this post far and wide to bring as many people as possible see this groundbreaking project unfold.
- Put the 8th and 9th October in your diary & watch the live broadcasts.
- Follow Sightsavers campaign and DONATE here.
- Follow Sightsavers on Twitter and Facebook to stay keep up to date.
- Follow Chris @thinlyspread and #SeeTheMiracle as the campaign conversation gains momentum across the UK!

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