Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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A No Passport Resort

A No Passport Resort

So we have been stressfully waiting for the kids first passports to arrive. To keep it short and not go into too many distressing details. We called. They lied. We thought we would have them. Now we don't. But.... After a call today we will have them soon!
To take our mind of this stress and our lack of attending a family holiday in France, we took ourselves off to the beach yesterday. We went to Sutton on Sea which is quite a small beach town along the Lincolnshire coast. Some family friends had a beach hut and were going over and so was my mum so we joined them. The beach itself was unnoticeably heaving, just nicely filled with children on summer holidays.  The lovely thing about Sutton is that it has a pool area just off the beach itself which is full of children enjoying the clear water. Our kids loved splashing around in it even if it was freezing! There was also a lovely little park and around all that was sports court facilities that you could use and play on. It was beautiful in the sun and we stayed for most of the day. I think Raph had fallen asleep as soon as we clipped his seat buckle! He played all afternoon in the sand, which was a first for him really. He has been to the beach before but has not been of an age to appreciate playing in the sand!


As our passports were not remotly close to us this morning we decided to come to Woodhall Spa's beautiful Jubilee Park. This is where we came last week for Raphs birthday! It is gloriously hot and as Etta sleeps and Raph and Rob are in the water, I am sat writting this blog. Today it is busy, we had to que to get in and they have ended up having a one in one out system in operation. You wouldn't know though. The pool is obviously full of screaming kids but on our picnic blankets, it is a distant sound of summer holiday fun being made and children being children. It is so beautiful here, I feel so relaxed. And the fact that as we pulled up we had a phone call from the passport office saying they will be ready soon, we are in a much happier mental place. 

So here in the sun, we could easily be in France, but its nice that a delay in holiday has resulted in some beautiful family time together really enjoying the British summer time and been thankful that we live in an area where holiday doesn't mean you need a passport.

Post by Emily


Last Week's Catwalk

Last Week's Catwalk

This week has been beautifully warm so I have found Etta has started off in outfits then usually ended up in just a vest.
The little cutie was wearing hand me down pink shorts with a Next stripy tee. A beautiful Mini Boden chicken dress and Mini Boden leggings. I love these and they wash so beautifully. A white vest was enough clothing to be wearing one day but I did put one of her homemade skirts to match. Her Primark tee matched her blue spotty Next trousers perfectly. On one of the super hot days she wore just a Mini Boden vest which came from a pack of of beautiful pattered vests. And finally, to match her beautiful new red shoes, she wore jeans and a striped top all from Next.

Raphael wore some nice clothes this week. His blue panthers tee is a new season Zara one which he wore with berry skinny joggers from Next. His beautiful 3 tee is by Bob and Blossom and I got it from Amazon by a shop call Gemini Joe. He wore it with Primark skinny jeans and his new birthday Vans. His bear tee is a Nutmeg one worn with Next chinos. His Harlem tee and dark wash jeans are both new season Zara. His striped top is H&M with his Next coral shorts. His hat was a birthday present from a friend which he wore quite a bit. Finally his panthers hoodie is another Zara one worn with his Zara jeans.

I started off with a Zara tee, ASOS black twill trousers and my Birkenstock black sandals. Then I had some white ASOS twill trousers, a next spotty top and Zara Jacket from their sale. My fluorescent orange top is from BOOHOO which I wore with River Island jeans. The red shirt is a Primark one which I wore with some more River Island jeans and Next wedges. The leopard print dress was a great find in Zara and in the sale, I wore that with some Next heeled sandals. Finally my yellow top was from Asda and my pattered trousers are very old Primark!

Rob wore his beloved coral Primark shorts with a Ralph Lauren tee and Lacoste flip flops. A white shirt from somewhere?!? And some H&M dark jeans. A Next check shirt with Primark chinos. And finally another Next check shirt with old H&M shorts and Lacoste boat shoes. 

Post by Emily

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Importance of sport, games & making your own fun!

Importance of sport, games & making your own fun!

Sport has always been a very big part of my life. All of my Dad's side of the family are cricket mad. My Granddad Roger & his brothers grew up in colonial sri lanka. He & one of his brothers, Clive, both played the game to a very high standard; My great uncle Clive played for Sri Lanka & Leicestershire & actually held the Guinness world record for many years for the fastest 50. He made it in 8 minutes!
My Dad & his brothers, Paul & Jate, always played pretty much any sport & Paul played in Australia for a
bout 10 years for New south Wales reserves with some great professionals. We have always played sport together as a family. My Dad would always play any game with us & there was never a need for specialist equipment. Our family saying is ''You can make a game out of anything''. Sometimes it can just be throwing a piece of rolled up paper into a glass at the table after dinner & a family favourite is 'Ball in the bucket'!

Any activity you partake in can be fun. I love playing cricket & football & really enjoy most sports really. Raphael loves kicking a football & hitting a ball with his bat or racket. It's great way to spend time together & doesn't ever feel like a chore.

Ed Morton's Stag do footy & egg chasing

Playing Cricket on the train in the channel tunnel.

Penguin sliding at Watergate bay

Above: Chased by uncle Phil with a Raph sized bag
Below: Chased by uncle Phil with a car wheel

Fun hiding!

Above: Bouncing at Daisy made
Below: Diggers at Daisy made 

Raph's 1st birthday

Raph playing with my Bat. Most sundays he has it out as I'm about to leave for cricket.


Easy spicy potato wedges

Easy spicy potato wedges, salad & sour cream

This is great if you've got lots of potatoes in the cupboard & very little else.

Get the oven on. Cut potatoes in half length ways, then in half again. Drizzle some oil in a large roasting tray & add the potatoes. Then get a good sweet chilli sauce & drizzle it over the top & mix them all about. Sweet chilli sauces are available everywhere, but Lidl has a good one for very cheap. Put them in a hot oven for about 30-40 mins.

A really great sour cream can be made easily with 3:1 ratio of natural yogurt & mayonnaise. This is great on jacket potatoes too. 

We just had it with some fresh salad leaves & Briannas honey mustard dressing, which is delicious. 



Time with friends

Time with friends

It's easy to forget that you did actually do other things before you have a family of your own. For a long time it is your friends you spend most of your time with. No matter how much I love being with Emily & the kids, it's really important to spend time with your friends. This weekend I went to see my brother Rick in london with 2 other mates, Case & Martin. We were all really excited as we hadn't seen each other for a while & were all determined to make the most of it!

The weekend started at 10am on Saturday with an extremely long drive down due to a Palestinian protest march near Hyde Park. I love London's diversion signs. When we got to Rick's out after a long drive, went to the park & had a game of cricket & table tennis with some nice randoms, some appetisers at a turkish restaurant, then went back to Rick's where his girlfriend Fern made us some delicious jerk chicken & rice.
Sunday - Mcdonald's breakfast, train to brighton, great chilled day out on the beach (with a nice brass band playing) & pier. Then in the evening went to see some music (Andrew WK - craziest concert I've ever been to)
Monday - Lord's Cricket ground for last day of 2nd test with India. lost, but Brilliant day out.

An amazing weekend of seeing people I love spending time with. Like with all really good friends or family you haven't seen in a while, it's like you've never been apart.

Too Busy For Words

Too Busy For Words

Goodness me, our life has been so busy the last two weeks.
Weekends away separately, birthdays, anniversaries, days out, celebrations, holiday prepping and work. I cannot tell just how tricky it has been to get to the computer and have a proper blogging session. Rob has fortunately done a couple which I just need to get on and post so I am sure you will enjoy them.
Next week at some point we should be getting away to France, but I am unsure when due to the kids getting their passports delayed! That has been a completely different stress! So I am afraid we won't be posting as much as we enjoy a family break together! 
This weather has also been amazing, part of me is not stressing about the passports as it is so beautiful here, if we don't get away we will be doing a lot of day trips!
With the mix of Raph's Birthday, our anniversary, Rob's Dad's birthday and his parents anniversary, the end of July is always a busy time for us. My Sister also had an engagement party last night and today with lots of errands to run and a big house clean to do (including bedding wash), I am already looking forward to bed!
Enjoy your time in the sunshine!

Post by Emily

Friday, 25 July 2014

The Best Photo Of The Week

The Best Photo Of The Week

Or possibly one of the worst taken! This was the moment that Raphael got downstairs and burst into the living room faster than I have ever seen him move before! He crashed past the balloons and into a room filled with decoration to celebrate his birthday. He was so impressed! 

Post by Emily

Making an Easy Apron

Making an easy apron

This is the simplest way to make an apron.

You will need a piece of fabric measuring 20in by 28 in and some binding/ canvas ribbon or something to make the band out of.

First iron over a small hem around the rectangle and pin for sewing. I folded over the edge then folded again.

Then sew the hem around every side of the rectangle, this will make the fabric stop fraying.

After that measure how long you want your waist band to be, mine was 2 mtrs.

Place the ribbon on top of the apron making sure it runs across the middle and that both sides have equal amounts on for the tie.

Sew this straight across the top sandwiching the band and fabric together. Then go along the bottom sewing together making it nice and sturdy.

On each end of the band, make a small turn up and hem to stop fraying.

Then get it on and enjoy a bit of cooking or cleaning in style!! 

Post by Emily 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Raphael's Birthday

Raphael's Birthday

Sometimes the days go so fast that I can't even keep my feet on the ground. I think a lot of this is due to the children. Raphael has just turned three and we have had such a lovely day.
After spending a couple of hours decorating the house, Rob and I headed off to bed rather excited for the day that was going to follow. It is funny though as Raph's birthday was the first time he had slept in until nearly 7am in forever! I mean really, Etta was up before him and I was desperate for him to wake up!
Once awake our day seemed to go at 100 mph!! It started really nicely with Raph being thoroughly impressed with all the balloons and decorations. He then noticed his cake so a few smarties were picked off the top, and to his surprise, the pile of presents were all for him! He was just so cute, he kept saying "for me?"

After opening his presents and getting rid of the packaging on his new diggers he set off to watching his new Tinkerbell film (he loves these, and they are such gentle stories) and playing with his new toys.
Rob had made him an amazing racing ramp for his cars (there will be an additional blog about this) which he loved and sent new cars racing down!

Once we had had some breakfast I packed up a small picnic and gathered some swimming stuff as we were heading to Woodhall Spa to visit Jubilee Park where there is a beautiful outdoor public swimming pool.

The weather was beautiful and the pool was nice and quiet. It is probably best to attend here out of school holidays as it isn't huge but it is a decent size that even if it is busy, you still can have your own bit of space.
Jubilee park is described as Woodhall Spa's "best kept secret". It is a caravan park but it also is there for public use. It is an immaculately kept park which offers cricket, tennis, croquet, bowls, swimming, a playground and a games hut with more activities which is available to all.

The thing that I love about here is just how pretty it is. There is a large pool and a small kids pool which Etta and Raph adored. Both pools have a graduating depth but the children's one doesn't go so deep, Raph can happily stand and more through the water. I love that as an adult you can sit in it properly. It's a great way to stay cool and be with the kids. There is a lovely little food hut in the pool area serving great snacks and delicious ice cream.

We stayed in here most of the day before leaving to go into the playground.
After a good play we had quite an exhausted little boy! Luckily Etta had a good snooze in her pushchair while I sunbathed and the boys splashed. So we headed home to meet family at ours to carry on the party.

Once home, it wasn't long before the visitors started arriving for the evening celebrations. We had decided to have a fish and chip supper as I didn't want to have to rush back to start preparing tea for 17 (that is not even all of our immediate family!!) we went along to Bentley's Fish and Chips shop which is a local one to us and picked up a box packed full of golden age portions, (the perfect size in our opinion). We then had everyone sat throughout the house, some at the dining table, some on the picnic table and some on a blanket on the grass. It was really nice being together for a celebration. Raphael loves his family, so having them here was all we needed to do. He was just so happy to be able to show off his new toys and play with them with his uncles, aunts and grandparents.

Once we had done birthday cakes and had a bit more playing, we took a very tired little boy off to bed. He was so exhausted but once settled he carried on playing with his new teenage mutant ninja turtles characters and eventually went to sleep after I had threatened to take them back downstairs!!

Then the clear up began, luckily my mum had stood and washed the pots, which made my life so much easier and it didn't take long before Rob and I were sat on the sofa falling asleep ourselves!!

We are so lucky, I can't even put into words how fast these few years have gone and how much Raph has changed from a baby with so many needs to this beautiful boy. We are truly blessed.

Post by Emily

Monday, 21 July 2014

Party Details

Party Details

I have absolutely loved setting the house up for Raphael's birthday. 3 already........wow!! 
I used The Last Detail online for my decorations. I came across it when I was trying to compare prices between a few different online sellers. These guys were a few pounds cheeper in each product so I went with them! 
They have a lovely selection of decorative bits for all kinds of parties. I loved scrolling through all of their pages of items and just couldn't stop getting ideas for things. 
I went with a Chevron pattern and lovely pale summer colours. I knew that if I was spending the money I wanted it to suit both children so I felt that what I went for was quite unisex. 
I bought some thick card bunting that was 3 metres long. I got three of these as I knew I wanted two running through the room and that they would be just a bit short, so I have cut the third to lengthen them. 

I also got some of the paper pompoms to cluster together. I got two different sets, honey comb and tissue pompoms. Mixing the colours all looks really effective, and again, quite unisex. 

I don't think any birthday is ever complete without a few balloons! I went for colours that mixed in 
with the bunting and pompoms. I got these from Party Planet in town.

Raph's cake was inspired by Roald Dahl's "Matilda". The part where Bruce Bogtrotter gets given that huge chocolate cake by Miss Trunchball to eat all by himself. I actually cheated with this cake as it is a packet cake! I know, I know, it's not hard to measure out the same ingredients but it never tastes the same!! Betty Crocker's Devil's Mix is just perfect with her chocolate Fudge topping. I then piled on smarties making it more chocolatey as Raph loves them! 

I posted the other day about my ribbon garland, so that is still up and just brings another nice colourful element to the decorated room.

I waited until the kids had gone to bed and have decorated since then. Rob has sat and wrapped his presents and we are now ready for the morning. I am pretty convinced Raph has no idea it is his birthday as I have made sure not to mention it at all! Can't wait for the surprised look on his face! Tomorrow mornings early get up will be a lot more exciting than usual! 

Post by Emily
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