Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Sibling clothes shopping with Courage & Kind

When I first started sharing Courage & Kind clothes I knew they would be a brand loved by many. When it comes to shopping with them, they also make my life pretty easy. I know what I am getting; the style, the quality, the kind of print imagery, I love them all, they are a great children's brand. That said, their newest collection for girls really surprised me! It is really nice to know what to expect from some brands but their most recent Alice In Wonderland girls' collection threw a big curve ball, or so I first thought. 

On opening the package I was truly surprised at the bright colours compared to the softness from their other collections, but as soon as I got Etta in them the fantastic print of the leggings and pop of colour from the cardigan put them up their as some of my favourite pieces from the brand. Beautifully colourful, this collection really captured the heart of me and my little girl. 

I have said it about Courage & Kind before but their talent in capturing childhood magic in clothes is incomparable. Not only is this Alice collection perfectly girly and child directed, their new boys Jungle Book collection is an absolute gem in homaging the original Disney film. 
I must say, I think one of may favourite pieces ever is this Shirt Jacket with the Elephant March print on it! Every time I see it I just start singing "Hup, two, three, four, keep it up, two, three, four." from the film. It really captures the Colonel's march song in its simplistic design and it is just perfect!

Wearing it alongside his Jungle V.I.P tee, this boys collection sure gets you singing a merry tune as you get the kids dressed on a morning!

Styling both these poppets in Courage & Kind is an easy thing to do. They so suit the styles and this time round they both are enjoying the prints and characters more than ever before!


*Post in collaboration with Courage & Kind.

Storage for little ones: GLTC Testing Team

Another lovely product, another piece to share; that is what it is like when we get something through the post from GLTC. I mean, everything that comes through the door from them is like Christmas, and more for ME than the kids especially with this newest piece of furniture. 
For me, storage is key to a happy home. Luckily that is also one of the main selling points for GLTC; creating a happy space, an organised space and a fun space for children to really grow and develop. 
As we slowly, and I mean very slowly, begin to prepare for putting in a wood burning stove, it means that some things will become displaced, mainly the kids' toy boxes, which will need to be re-homed. Now I hate the thought of just filling the edges of the room with boxes and baskets and have quite specific requirements as to how we are re-organising the space and not making the room look full. In swoop GLTC with their remarkably stylish toy storage to help with the situation. Their Abberville storage bench with Stone cushion and storage baskets is like the most perfect match for our house. As fab as GLTC are at offering great coloured products for playrooms and kids bedrooms, I wanted something more muted that would fit in with the decor of our open living downstairs space. And big on my list of specifications was more neutral tones what would go with wood and white. And this combination is perfect. A beautiful addition to our home not only being practical but beautiful.

Now I must say since we got it, I have tried storing a range of the kids' stuff in it but we find for us it best suits toys, so at the moment it has Duplo and the Brio train in it. It is easy for the kids to access and they pull out (and never put back) the baskets with ease and carry them off to where they are playing.

This bench, I have found is a great addition to our home but, I must say, I find all GLTC products are. And I am not the only one; once again they have been crowned Best Children's Retailer of 2016 which is now their 5th year in a row, concluding that GLTC really know how to make a happy home!

As far as our Testing Team role goes, this is easy to assemble, yes, no classic flat pack arguments were had between Rob and I and it ticks the right boxes for good roomy storage which is good looking and neat. The children can access it easily like I have said, but once again it is probably me who they impressed the most by making furniture for children which also suits my adult tastes.

Well done GLTC once again!


*This post is in collaboration with GLTC as part of our Testing Team role.

The Fake Birthday!

Sometimes, just sometimes, you have to lie. It happens to us all. We say what needs to be heard to protect someone or ourselves. This year Raph's 5th birthday fell on the day of one of my oldest friend's wedding. We had to make a choice, celebrate with Raph in the morning then ship him off to his grandparents allowing us to attend the wedding or simply move his birthday to Saturday allowing him to just have a full day with us celebrating. The latter won. Rob and I knew Raph would not be bothered about spending a day being spoilt rotten by his grandparents; we had the issue. The thought of having to say goodbye was too upsetting for us so some weeks ago we prepped our family to keep saying it was on Saturday rather than using a date to define his birthday. It is safe to say the plan worked perfectly and Raph had no idea. It was heart breaking though. On Friday morning I came downstairs and Raph greeted me with "It's my birthday tomorrow mummy", needless to say I quickly exited to the kitchen and had a little cry with Rob. I wasn't sad that we were 'missing' it, I think it was more that the plan had fully worked and he had no idea that his actually birthday was that day. And maybe that we actually had a five year old who had just finished his first year at school made me also feel rather emotional. It was the right thing to do though.
Friday was a fab day celebrating the wedding and seeing all the flowers that I had prepared for my friend Jenny. We got home a bit earlier than planned but started then prepping the downstairs for the birthday celebrations on Saturday and for Raph's walk downstairs to a fully decorated room.

What was then lovely about Saturday was the amount of love we could shower on Raph. We had booked a bouncy castle for the whole weekend so when that arrived at 7.50am our day really started! This is probably why I am so shattered now! From the moment we got up we were partying. Playing all day with new toys, water to keep us cool from the scorching heat and bouncing, the kids were really embracing the imitation birthday!!

What was also lovely about the Saturday was that all our family came over and shared a bounce, play and fish and chip supper with us!
Through the day many ice lollies were eaten and water was paddled in, hosed on or simply thrown in your face to keep cool and enjoy the sunshine!

What was most lovely about the weekend was that we did it all again on Sunday with a very small collective of friends who go to Raph's school but who we actually see outside of school. I am glad in a way we didn't do a huge party. For starters I would simply have not had anytime to organise one, this was not an easy week but also I was conscious that once we had put a bouncy castle in the garden which took up most of it  we quickly ran out of room. So we said to a few friends about just bringing the kids over for a bounce and it meant that Raph had a few playmates.

It was great! Lots of water was sprayed and pizza breads eaten!

Even though the the whole weekend was exhausting we had the most brilliant time. The weather was perfect the kids' behaviour was also spot on and as parents it was relatively stress free. 
What a way to celebrate a birthday, it may have been a day late but one little boy had a blast and that is all that matters.


Monday, 25 July 2016

An Impromtu Week Off!

I never plan to take holiday from blogging but sometimes life just throws a curve ball and other things come first. As blogging is still a wonderful hobby for me, rather than full time work at the moment, I don't have dedicated days of work. It is really lovely actually as its popularity is making it edge towards full time work, which I love. It really bothers me though when I have no time to get to a computer and share my thoughts. Last week was a total write off but for all the right reasons. One thing I don't mind is not being active on the blog due to holidays or important time with family and friends. This past week was pretty much dedicated to my friend Jenny and to Raph. Jenny kindly asked me to do her wedding flowers but that is not a one day event. The whole lead up to the flowers made me busy most days; last prepping and making and then attending the wedding. By the time I walked through the door I had no head space to think about writing as it was also Raph's birthday last week and evenings were taken up with present wrapping, baking and house cleaning. Raph also finished school for summer last week so everything culminated on the latter few days of the week leaving me totally dedicated to the ones I love! As if that wasn't enough, Rob and I also celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary!
It was 100% full to the brim of love, laughter and a bit of stress but to be honest it was so enjoyable and I am starting this week thoroughly exhausted but smiling thinking about all the precious moments I partook in!

Here is to getting on this week and sharing some fantastic things with you guys!


Friday, 15 July 2016

Fish Supper Friday; Holy Crab!

When I said to Rob that I really wanted to get the kids to have some crab, we both agreed that it would be a nice meal to have with them. Perfect for this time of year when it's warm and you are thinking about beach holidays. In my mind, we needed to go to a fishmongers and there would be a ready prepared crab, like you would get at the coast, meat already sorted and placed back in the shell for presentation. You have all seen it like that right? No fuss, just a case of enjoying it on some brown bread straight out the shell. Well, obviously Lincoln not being so close to the coast, this was a difficult thing to get, or maybe, my easy meal plan was actually not that easy. We ended up buying two frozen crabs from the fishmongers at Tesco which we would have to prepare ourselves. 
I just want to say, Rob and I were naive! Haha! Hilariously we had confidence that in the end was truly tested!! 
The plan was for Rob to cook up some of his homemade sweet potato and just potato chips. These are delicious and are actually part boiled before they are deep fried. We don't have a deep fat fryer but just do small batches in a wok. Sweet potato is really delicious; if you haven't had it, it is worth a go! 
I was given crab duties. Which was fine but in the end it was very much a team method. Now this is something I would NEVER deal with. Firstly the thought of fish and body bits, makes my skin crawl but I seriously pepped myself up for it and even just holding it out of the packaging was a real achievement for me! This whole process really took its toll but by the end I was so proud of myself for sorting it!
We bought the crab on the day we wanted to prepare it, usually you should defrost a crab in a fridge overnight, but you can and place them in a sink full of cold water it takes an hour for a quick defrost.
We had two crabs, the first we went at it like we knew what we were doing. It quickly transpired we had no idea! It was YouTube that saved us, there are so many videos showing what to do, all the same method so we just went with them. 
I think out biggest fear was the fact that we just didn't know what was good and what was bad. The white meat (which is the luxury part) is quite clearly white meat so once we figured that out, we were able to get all the good stuff. That was slightly fiddly but possible to do. What is classed as the brown meat (which you can eat) was not so clear, we weren't sure so we didn't really do anything with it. 
But we had the white meat and that was all we needed to give us a taste, to say we had crab and to hopefully have enough for dinner!

With fresh salad, the chips and a bit of bread and butter we had our fish meal.
The kids, were not too keen. It was a shame, I thought they might enjoy the idea of crab but maybe it put them off. They tried it though and to me, that is all that matters, everything needs to be tried. 
I liked it. It was hard to enjoy though as there was a worry of, what if we haven't prepared it properly in the back of my mind. But, that said, it was tasty and everything about it looked, smelled and tasted fine. We ate it all which must have been a good sign.

I really wanted to share this with you to encourage eating and cooking out of your comfort zone. It is really important to try as much as possible and there are so many ways you can find help and advice Youtube is great for that and even talking to good fishmongers will give information on what you to do.


Thursday, 14 July 2016

Brownie Doughnuts!

I suppose the reality of this post is just confirming my new love for brownies. It's not that it is a new love really, just a revived one! Now please don't think I am some kind of domestic goddess, no, no, no, but if opening a pack of Betty Crocker's Chewy Brownie mix makes you one then hand me the badge. Because that is where all my brownie making starts. I know, I know, what a big fat cheat, but it is so quick and easy, in 10 mins the brownies are already in the oven and cooking! 

These doughnuts specifically are very easy to make but it do rely on you having a doughnut tray or mini bundt tins to make them happen. I have 4 mini bundt tins which I just picked up cheap from the supermarket. It was a case of mixing the mix, popping in a piping back and squeezing a ring into each greased tin. 
It was that easy, bake for around 15 mins on 180 and there you have it. Allow to cool and cover in icing and sprinkles. For a relatively simple method the results are really great.

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