The Weekly Daly Roundup #6

High

Day out to Bolton Abbey.  This is a place I remember vividly visiting as a child.  My memory of it is of sunshine, a river, open green space.  So went along with the kids this week.. and its as I remember.  The kids played in the river all afternoon – how simply wonderful it was to watch (I did get about a third of the way across the stepping stones before turning back, not quite brave enough to join them for anymore.. the water was freezing!!)

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Low

Laptop died a death, so had to invest in a new one.  What a chore as I have no interest in technology, so having to choose one (yawn), then figure out how to use new operating system (more yawning), get all my stuff transferred (cue heightened anxiety levels as I panic that all my itunes library and playlists are lost!)  But its all up and running now.

Good

Final week of Mini Mess completed – means that I am on the final countdown to a full week off work (almost never heard of).

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Bad

Camera on phone (which is my only means of taking photo’s) is not working properly.  All pictures are blurry round the edges.  Phone has to be returned to manufacturers – a task I am putting off as the chore of transferring everything to a new handset in the meantime is more than I can bear.  So for the time being I am putting up with naff photo’s

Enjoyed

Some much needed family time.  We don’t get much of it, so treasure what we do get.  A couple of hours out on Sunday did the trick to a local play park with sand, bouncy pillow, zip wire etc

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Didn’t enjoy

Having to console the children after being let down by their dad.  His weekend to have them, something they look forward to so so much.  Collected them as usual, all good.  45 mins later a text to say he was brining them back as they were bickering and arguing.  10 mins later, 2 very distraught little girls on the doorstep.  It can be so hard to hide the frustration and anger sometimes.  Trying to explain to and 8 yr old and 6yr old the reasoning of his actions when I don’t really understand them myself.

Mundane

Shopping at 7am on a Saturday morning.  The insomnia still hasn’t improved.  So thought I’d utilise the time and get the shopping done.  The downside being that because I had loads of time, because the aisles were empty of people I spent time browsing (what that actually means is putting loads more stuff in the trolley than I usually would) and spending double what I would do normally – I took a big gulp when it got totalled at the checkout!

Out of the Ordinary

Losing my enthusiasm for being organised.  I am usually sooo organised, have a list for everything.  Life is timetabled to maximise use of time and daylight lol.  I don’t know whether I’m finally getting in to the swing of the holidays – but just can’t motivate myself to organise my life.  This is both good and bad, means that life has a bit more of a relaxed pace than usual – even culminating in a Pyjama day – literally the kids spend the whole day in the their PJ’s watching TV, whilst I figured out the new lap top/  They thought it was an amazing day and out of all the fun stuff we’ve been doing over the holidays its what they’ve gone on about the most!. But it also means that I am double booking stuff, getting behind on things – and this doesn’t help my insomnia and anxiety levels.  No doubt, normal organisation will resume shortly – but for the time being I’m just looking the other way!

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{Ordinary Moments} #7 Family Time

Family time – for most families is something that occurs pretty much everyday at some point, whether that be sitting down for a meal together, watching some TV, bath and bedtime stories etc

Not so in our blended household.  For until the time that Ron and I live together, the Ordinary Moments of family time that most people enjoy, are probably more extra ordinary moments for us.

So because of this, the few hours snatched here and there each week that we have together as a family are precious, and to be made the most of.

Generally, every other weekend the girls go off to there dads – as much as I miss them, its also has its upside that Ron and I get to have couple time on a regular basis.  This weekend the girls were meant to be at there dads, so we were looking forward to having some time together, not planning much, playing things by ear.  However, for one reason and another, at the last minute, plans changed and the girls ended up being with us.  Our ‘no plans, lazy weekend’ suddenly became a distant memory, so we got stuck in to ‘family time’

I love family time – we don’t have to be doing anything major, costly or exciting, just being together for longer that a hour at a time is a luxury to be enjoyed.  I love watching Ron with the girls, and the girls love being with him – I think because of his childishness childlike ability to have fun on their level.  He will happily play games with them, climb, swing, hide and scooter

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ron scooter

Favourite family time activities are usually the simple ones –  a walk in the woods, wandering round local beauty spots, a trip to the park, rock scrambling etc

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rock scrambling

As ordinary as these moments are, its the things that I hope our children look back on and treasure.  A price can not be placed on the time and attention we give to kids – it has meaning to them beyond value (especially if icecream at some point is involved!)

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The Weekly Daly Roundup #5

Our week that was… been a tough week in all honesty, tiredness really taking its toll, anxiety levels a little elevated, general grumpy demeanour this week..

High

Fun day out at York Maze with the kids

Its been about 4 years since we last went, and wow, there have been some great additions the the venue. This truly is a place to visit if you can and I feel excellent value for money.  Went with friends and their kids, weather was good, loads to do, list is a long one, so thought the pictures may give a better view of everything on offer.

A few of the mazes to explore

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Adventure playground

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Amazing sandpit and waterplay

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Bouncy Pillow

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Pig racing, crazy maze golf, snake slides & water wars

Other activities 1 collageMotor boat driving, graffiti wall, Crowmania ride, House of Confusion

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The gang! Icecreams! Medals won! – what fab day

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Low

Spending a night at A&E.  Natalie went over on her ankle at York Maze – being a bit enthusiastic on the bouncy pillow.  We had a few tears at the time, but a quick inspection of the foot, wiggling of toes and rotating of the ankle, I thought she’d survive.  She solidered on for the rest of the afternoon with a bit of a limp but without complaint (my kids are used to not complaining.. I’m not the most patient when it comes to potential injuries, unless its dropping off, then stick a plaster on it and get on with it).  That evening, getting them ready for bed, socks pulled off – minutes later her ankle had ballooned! .. despite the lateness in the evening, figured it should be checked out and bundled kids to the car and took them to the local minor injuries unit. Arrived there at 9.02pm (by their clock on the wall), to be turned away as their X-ray dept shut at 9.00pm.  (Disgruntled would be an understatement!) So made the journey to a main Hospital A&E – 5hrs, one X-ray, and 2 very tired and fed up children later we were told it was a sprain, treat with a bag of frozen peas and keep it moving.  Arrived home at 3am!

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Good

Made it through Soap & Suds week at Mini Mess without any accidents, injuries or mishaps.  This is the week that I fear the most.  Regardless of the risk assessments I complete on the activity, despite the health and safety precautions and warnings I make, its always a worry that given the nature of soap (slippy, slidey), that something might happen… but phew..it didn’t.

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Bad

No let up with the insomnia – it really is starting to grind me down.

Enjoyed

A bit of a get together with friends and an impromptu pamper time with them and the kids.  Footspas, mini pedicure, painting of nails along with a natter and catch up.

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Didn’t Enjoy

My grumpiness this week.  Its been a tough week.. maybe as we are in to week 4 of the holidays and having to constantly juggle work and home, keep the kids entertained, keep some sort of eye on the budget, all whilst having very little sleep is taking its tole.  More than usual I’ve found my current living arrangements with hubby a strain.  Trying hard not resent being in a marriage, but for all intents and purposes still a single parent very hard.  The whole trip to A&E on my own with two kids a prime example.  Normal married couples would’ve had a partner there to help – hmm.. but not me.  I know it will all come ok eventually, its just this week ‘eventually’ seems an awful long way away.

The mundane

Ramping up the marketing activity for resuming classes in September.  I reduce my work load considerably over the summer to allow myself more time with the kids whilst they are off school.  But being more than half way through the holidays now, thinking has had to return to business.  This has meant starting to put together, plan and start some activity to promote classes in September.

The out of the ordinary

A random act of romance from Hubby.  We eat out fairly often.. we are a couple that like our food! But generally its just a quick decision, lets go out to eat tonight.  However, this week, with us taking on the competition challenge of seeing how many random acts of romance we can do for each other for the remainder of the month, Ron took it upon himself to make an advance reservation, not only that but at my fav restaurant ( and one that is not particularly his I might add).  He didn’t tell me where we were going, drove a totally different way to keep me guessing, and I have to say, was a total surprise when we rocked up outside.  What was the most touching, was not only had he gone to the trouble to book a table, keep it a secret, but had taken me out to a place I love, for my absolute favourite food, despite the fact that in all honesty, its the type of food he can take or leave.  To top if off, on the way home he made a detour past Passion Gelato to pick up deserts we could eat later at home ( alot later I might add.. we were stuffed).  BIG score for him on the romance front.

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Grateful for

The NHS.  For as disgruntled as I was at being turned away from Minor Injuries, and for as much as I had totally lost the will to live after 5hrs at A&E – at least I was able to get my daughter seen, treated and cared for – more than many many families and children get.. and for this, I am very very grateful.

Here’s to next week.. bring it on!

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The Weekly Daly Roundup #4

Half way through the holidays – where is the summer going. I’m so concious that the weeks are slipping away I am trying to get so much in.

A quick round up of the week

High

An early morning brekkie treat with Ron at the local Harvesters followed by a lovely walk around Oakwell Hall to work it off. Was a perfect start to the day. Breakfast was amazing, not only in amount and quality, but cost too – at only £4.99 for unlimited continental option and then full English – can’t go wrong and it may turn in to a bit of a regular weekend outing.

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Low

Seeing everywhere and buying back to school stuff – very depressing

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Good

Birthday – uneventful which is the way I like them.

Bad

Birthday – 42yrs old – I’ve never really been able to come to terms with getting older.  I remember turning 10, and being devastated that I would never be single figures again.  Turning 30 was a nightmare, I was traumatised for days!  40 was more manageable, helped by a weekend away with Ron (we were newly dating at that time), Now I’m just doing my best to ignore them.

Enjoyed

Lots of great home activities with the kids.  From tie dying t-shirts , to a sports day & water slide with friends, to paint wars in the garden – its been a blast

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Didn’t enjoy

Girls being at their dads.  Its a bit of a double edged sword.  Having a break is great.  Having couple only time with Ron is fantastic and not to be taken for granted EVER – but I really really miss them when they’re not here.

Mundane

Got all the practical jobs done on Saturday afternoon – lawn mowed, survived supermarket shop.  Actually gave Aldi a try this week – everyone saying how much they save gave me a bit of a push.  I wasn’t disappointed, must admit, spent less than I usually would. Washing done (and the makings of Mount Everest aka the ironing pile has started again), – might be mundane but still get a sense of satisfaction when its all done.

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Out of the Ordinary

Attended the last of the summer weddings – congratulations to Nicola & Zak – finally tying the knot after 10 years together.  Her dress was stunning, and Nicola’s three kiddies were adorable.

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Natalie danced non stop at the evening do – she’s her mothers daughter afterall, she certainly has all my moves and more!

Grateful for

All the wonderful local beauty spots we have around here.  We are so lucky to have so many amazing places on our doorstep where we can enjoy green open spaces, woodland walks, wildflower meadows.  Great to enjoy as a couple and explore as a family.

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{Ordinary Moments} #5 Creative Kids

I am not a naturally creative person.  Doing crafting, baking, and the general making stuff activities with the kids for me takes a lot of effort.  But they love it, so I do make the effort despite my OCD tendencies to take over what ever it is they are doing .. I find myself getting overly involved wanting to ‘help a little’ (ok.. a lot!) if they are not doing it quite right, or exactly how I think it should be done.  I would probably be better off tying my hands behind my back during these type of activities to stop myself interfering and let them just get on with it.

I’ve really been noticing this week that whilst I am not particularly creative, actually my children are.  One of the activities on their Summer Bored Board click here see prev blog post to read more about the Bored Board– (SERIOUSLY – introducing the Bored Board these holidays is one of the best things I’ve ever done!) is to ‘write a story’ – Jess has been loving this.  She talks through the concept of the story first, writes a title and introduction before beginning her narrative.  Pictures always accompany the story and she never forgets to credit herself on the cover as the Story Author and Illustrator! She finds so much to spark her imagination, creating delightful characters going on different adventures.

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Its been really inspiring to watch how she puts her stories together, the pride she takes in her pictures and how much she wants to read her stories to pretty much anyone that will listen (thank goodness for the patience of grandma!)

i know its important to encourage creativity where you can, but I’ll be honest I find it hard work – I’m all for the self entertainment sort of stuff (writing their own stories, drawing pictures etc), the larger projects – painting, model making, baking – any really messy stuff I’m not so keen on.  Setting it all up, covering everything that is in danger of being glued, painted on or covered in gunk for what seems a very short amount of playtime before I find myself deserted as they’ve gone off to do something else and I’m up to my elbows is mess!

But this week, I decided to grasp the nettle so to speak.  One of their ‘Bucket List’ activities was to do some tie dying of t-shirts.  A definite outside activity, and with Monday being a dry, occasionally sunny day it was the perfect opportunity.  A quick google on instructions – came across parents.com (click here), a dash to Wilkinsons for the dye, salt and cheap washing up bowls,   Dug out their P.E t-shirts from the last term of school and off we went.

It was such a pleasure to watch them coming up with their designs, deciding on colours and how they wanted them to look. They showed patience in waiting for the dye to work and were so excited when it was time to take them out and see how their designs had turned out. They even offered a critique on the patterns, and decided what they would do differently with the next t-shirt.

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They enjoyed it so much I ended up opening up the new t-shirts for the next term of school and letting them dye those as well.  Safe to say, we have enough tie dyed t-shirts to get them through the whole of the summer!

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The aftermath and clean up wasn’t too bad either, and seeing their creativity, personal style, originality and imagination really come through was well worth it.

After such a successful and relatively stress free activity,  later in the week we really decided to push the boat out on the messy play front – and went the whole hog with ‘Paint Wars’ .  This amounted pretty much to covering the front garden in lining paper, squirting a load of paint all over it, and letting the kids (ok.. and me too) slip, slide, run through, roll in and get throughly covered in paint.  Of course, it descended in to not only squirting the paper with paint, but then each other!

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A quick clear away of the paper, and it was out with the garden hose.  There was no way anyone was entering the house until at least the majority had been washed away.

The water hose brought a whole other dimension to our play time, being chased round the garden by my 8yr old squeeling (the squeeling was me, not her!) jumping through the spray and their total awe when they made rainbows appear through the mist was pretty magical.

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It was such a sense of freedom, play without limits, so much laughter, the biggest smiles ever, cheekiest of giggles, screams of excitement.

Truly what sunny, summer days should be made of.

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Introducing – Back to School Traditions

Half way through the summer holidays already!  I remember as a child the signal that we were midway in to the holiday was the sudden appearance of all things ‘Back to School’ in the shops.  Uniforms, school bags, lunch boxes, stationary etc. As a kid I hated seeing it all as it meant that all too soon it would be back to early mornings, homework, and dark, cold evenings.

Nowadays though, ‘Back to School’ stuff appears in the shops pretty much immediately!  In fact the new uniforms were in the entrance to Asda before schools had even broken up for the holidays!

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Really, the only tradition we have done each year is around the purchase of new stuff for the new term – and thats just because its an essential activity, rather than a tradition as such.

Historically I’ve done this the the last week of the summer holidays – but I found last year that I’d gone to do the whole back to school shop and there was almost nothing left.  Getting jumpers in the right colour was a nightmare, the choice of pinafores and skirts non existent and the queues at Clarkes for new shoes was interminable.

To not get caught out this year – we are starting early.  However, I absolutely, categorically refuse to start any earlier that week 4 of the holidays.  It just doesn’t seem right or fair to be thinking and focussing on the end of the holidays when it feels they’ve not long begun.

But also this year, I thought we’d start a couple of new traditions.  As much as the summer holidays are great, its awful that the last couple of weeks of them, and certainly the few days are plagued with that feeling of dread (for both me and the kids to be honest) that the holidays are ending and the return to school is looming.

I want this year, and the years that follow to bring some positivity to the prospect of the new term starting for all of us.  A few things that will ease the pain so to speak, and that form family traditions over the coming years.  After checking out Pintrest, blogs and the like I decided not to go overboard, but choose 3 – keep it simple ideas

1.A super shopping date – aka purchasing of new uniform etc

Ok, so not original, but something that has to be one each year.  However rather than it just being me that does a mad dash to the shops, grabs an armful of clothes and shoves it in drawers and wardrobes on my return home.  This year I’m going to take the kids with me on the shopping trip – make a bit of a treat out of it.  Let them choose their own (oh heavens!), make it a bit more special with lunch out etc

2. Last Supper of Summer – a themed meal

Something that I read on a blog The Larson Lingo that one of their traditions was to have a theme for their school year – things like ‘Grow’,  ‘Love’, ‘Be Brave’.  It was the Be Brave one that caught me.  This is going to be a big year for Jess and Nat.  The move of house, new school, new friends, new routines.  All major changes.  They really are going to have to be brave, show courage and determination.

So, we are going to take on the tradition of an annual theme and introduce it through a Last Supper of Summer. A special dinner on the last day of the holidays. Theme – we deffo have to go with ‘Be Brave’  – I’m working through ideas, will include them, and update on a future blog.

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3. Knowing you – knowing me

One of their concerns each year of returning to school is having a new teacher.  They have spent a whole year getting to know the last one.  They have built a bond with their teacher, they know what they expect, how they will react, and will rightly so miss them a great deal. Then all of a sudden they’ve to start all over again.  For both the children its something they have talked about regularly and I feel that its what causes them the most anxiety when thinking about starting the new school term.  Yet another good idea on The Larson Lingo blog which I’m going to adopt and adapt was ‘My favourite things’ questionnaire.  A list of simple questions they give to their teacher to answer along with a gift to help them get to know her.

I think this is a wonderful idea.  A little gift for the teacher at the end of their first week to show a bit of appreciation (I do admire teachers, and I can imagine that the first week back for them is a total nightmare).  And what a great way for the kids to get to know their teacher, feel more comfortable around them and start a strong teacher pupil relationship.  I’m adapting it a bit as I’m going to get the girls to fill our their own questionnaire to give to their teacher with the small gift so the teacher can know some things about them and one for the teacher to then complete and return back to the girls.

questionnaire

An example of one from Pintrest – check it out for lots of fab ideas on teacher questionnaires

So, 3 new Back to School traditions in our ‘Daly Life’ – can’t wait!

I’d love to know other family traditions people have – back to school ones or others

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The Weekly Daly Roundup #3 .. 2/8/15

Week 2 of the holidays and a bit of a jam packed week.  Many more highs than lows, many more goods than bads – so I’d say a pretty productive, fun, family week.

A roundup of our week:

High – successfully managing to bake a cake!  With much help from the girls, a never fail recipe supplied from a friend, more buttercream than you’ve ever seen before – ta dah!  An edible, half decent looking birthday cake for my mums 70th.

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Low – Spending £25 on ingredients, cake tin etc for said cake when could’ve bought one from a supermarket for less that a tenner!  Ah,but it wouldn’t have had the same love, care and attention (and slightly sunken middle or wonkey edges!)

Good – successfully got through the first week of Mini Mess without any mishaps – my summer kids programme.  Week 1 can be a bit manic, and I’m never quite sure how its going to go –  but thoroughly enjoyed myself as I think did everyone else.  Just 3 weeks left to go

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Bad – Currently in mid-bout of insomnia – leading to finding the milk in a a cupboard rather than the fridge, searching for and eventually finding my car keys in the shoebox, leaving house in slippers (twice!), leaving house without kids..

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Enjoyed –  Loads of fun with the kids this week – from baking the cake, swimming followed by the obligatory cheesy chips in the cafe. A day out at Sundown Adventureland with friends.

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We managed a lazy Friday morning before heading off to a kids ‘Breeze’ event in the park for FREE put on by the local council.  Great afternoon making masks, bouncy castles, dress up, icecreams, roly polys down the hill and especially loved watching the kids put on Sumo suits and try to wrestle – hilarious!


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Didn’t enjoy – Spending over 2 hours on the drive back from Sundown – traffic was a nightmare to say the least.  With 4 kids in the car it was endless rounds of hold your breath under the next bridge, spot the green & yellow cars.  In all honesty, they were great, no bickering or falling out, and only a couple of ‘how long till we’re back now’ comments

Mundane – finally finished climbing Mount Everest – otherwise known as the ironing pile!  Something I’d put off everyday for almost 2 weeks, so you can imagine the size of it.  The kids are going through clothes like there’s no tomorrow – they don’t seem to able to keep even just one item clean enough to wear for a second day.

Out of the Ordinary – A couple of things this week.  Went to see Texas in Millenium Square with a friend.  Last time I saw them was 1998 in Sheffield (WHAT!  how long ago!) They didn’t disappoint, fab music, amazing energy.  There is so much to be said for an open air venue, warm summer evening, live music and being out with your bezzie mate acting a bit daft! Makes for a brilliant atmosphere and the ability to remember what it was like to be young and carefree again

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We also attended the lovely wedding of friends – John and Sarah, and they did the Christening of their youngest daughter Isabelle at the same time.  Loved the reception.  The tables all decorated in a shabby chic style, hession table runners, jam jars with fresh flowers and vintage style tea-cups and paper plates.  Food was picnic boxes filled with delights of pork pies (best I’ve ever had), fresh bread, cheese, pickles, crackers, coleslaw and salads.  Desert was a table filled with homemade cakes – coffee & walnut, strawberry and cream, bannofee pie, scones, chocolate cake – it was a help yourself kind of deal.. so would’ve been rude not to try a bit of a few!

Sarah and johns weddingWas such a wonderful, social and relaxed way to have a wedding reception.  Loads of kids entertainment, bouncy castle, soft play, picnic blankets out for them – fabulous. And the sun even made a re-appearance early evening. It was a beautiful wedding. It was also really great to attend as a family and the girls were the best behaved little angels for the full day.  They were polite, they self entertained (with the help of a couple of activity books I’d taken along to get them through the ceremony), no arguing, happy to talk and answer grownups with their simple child endearing conversation when required – lots of fuzzy’s awarded for their chart at the end of the day.

Grateful for – having children that can be (when they want to be) so delightful, so charming and adorable it makes my heart swell with pride and brings tears to my eyes with joy

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{Ordinary Moments} #4 Let us eat cake

My mum has a bit of a landmark birthday this week – the big 70.  Normally for birthdays I get cakes made, I have a fab friend who has a real talent and does it as a hobby (although I think she should make it her career) or I use Paula at The Perfect Cake Company – who I have to say is the most amazing cake decorator.  She has done numerous cakes for me over the years for my girls birthdays and I’ve loved each and everyone of them.

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But, I’d left it a bit late to order one, and given its the holidays I decided to try my hand at a cake myself.. or rather, do one with the girls.  Whilst I cook often, and think I’m ok at it (kids eat most of what I put in front of the, Ron eats everything I put in front of him, but he hates waste, so will eat it whether he likes it or not!), I rarely bake.  I’m a bit of a throw it all together type of cook so generally limit myself to baking flapjack or scones.  I think to bake successfully (cakes etc) you have to be precise or it all goes terribly wrong in my experience, and I’m not too good at precision!

But I thought, hey, no matter how it turns out, I’ll just say the girls did it and everyone will think its wonderful.

My girls certainly have their priorities right .. In their own true style they decided on at the outset was who was going to get to lick the spoon and who was going to get to scrape out the bowl!  I know its the best bit, and boy did they make the most of it.

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My friend had given me a Mary Berry Victoria Sponge recipe that she said had never failed her and was the easiest out there. We set about weighing, measuring, cracking eggs in to the mixer

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It wasn’t long before the kitchen looked like a flour bomb had gone off in it, but the cake was in the oven, and the kids were glued to the oven door waiting for it to rise (I stood there with my fingers crossed that it would actually rise!)

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Decorations were in order – I had in my mind to make lovely pretty roses, and cut outs of flowers and butterflies – all looked so simple in the pictures.  In reality.. not quite as easy as I thought, but we gave it a go and overall, did a reasonable job.  The girls loved using the cutters and we had enough to decorate 3 cakes never mind one.

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I actually had a try at covering the cake in icing, not the most professional job, but given it was my first time I was pretty pleased with myself.

We sat around the cake together, deciding on placement of roses, butterflies and flowers, stood back and admired our handy work.  Ok, so entry in to the Great British Bake off is not going to happen anytime soon – but I think Grandma loved her birthday cake so much more than anything professional I could have had made for her.  There’s nothing quite like something thats home made, slightly wonky, but done with much love and effort.

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As soon as we’d finished, the next words spoken – ‘can we eat the cake now mummy?’

The finished article, made with love (and lots of buttercream) and presented with a rather charming if quite loud rendition of Happy Birthday To You from the girls!

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The Weekly Daly Roundup #2 .. 26/07/15

Been a busy week being the first week of the holidays.  Trying to juggle time with the family and fitting in work.  Attempting to make the kids the priority but still fulfilling commitments. Phew..

A roundup of my week:

High – Clothes shopping with Jessica – first real mum and daughter girlie shopping trip.  Choosing and trying on clothes followed by treats of Millies Cookies

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Low – struggles with arranging childcare over the holidays, having to ask favours of friends to help out here and there.  The real low being getting a response from a close friend that really upset me.  The old saying of you find out who your friends are when you need them is oh so true!

Good – Visiting prospective new schools in preparation for the move, and finding one that I’m really happy with – Decision made!

Bad –  A rather disturbing knocking noise on the car that I am currently ignoring

Enjoyed – our family adventures this week to the Room on the Broom Trail in Wakefield, a Cinema trip & time at Kirstall Abbey – loving the holidays (check out my work blog lifewithminime.com for reviews)

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Not enjoyed – The weather!  Why is it on my days off  with the kids the weather has to be pants.  The days I am working, or they are off at their dads its glorious sunshine – frustrating to say the least!

Mundane – I really want to say that I’ve got up to date with the ironing – but it would be a lie.  The washing did however get done – although looking in the washing basket you’d never know it

Out of the ordinary – A Saturday morning walk round a local beauty spot with just me and hubby.  No loading the car with kids scooters, packing snacks and drinks, hearing the phrase ‘are we there yet’.  And to boot, we actually got some sunshine!  Not only that we treated ourselves (rather than the kids) to ice-cream too!

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Grateful for – being my own boss.  A lot of the time its hard and stressful, but the advantage being that come holiday time it gives me the flexibility to work less, be at home more and enjoy the time with the family.

TWTWC
Linking up with #TWTWC

An Easy Oasy Day (and a bit of a foody post)

Easy Oasy days are what I call days where I don’t really plan anything.  Not on purpose, but usually because I’ve just not had chance to give it any thought.

Saturday was one of those.  The girls were at their dads for the weekend, I had a bit of work to do in doing a 4yr olds birthday party, but other than a few errands to run that was it.  Some times days like these are a welcome respite what is usually a busy jam packed schedule, other times I feel at a bit of a loose end, that I’m wasting a day and precious time being unproductive.

Saturday was the former though.  I was more than happy to just mosey along through the day.  Hubby and I took advantage in the morning of having no children and went for a wander round a local beauty spot, and as a bonus it was actually sunny!

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It was nice not to be loading scooters and bikes, checking we’d got snacks and drinks on hand and hearing 5 mins after we’d set off the usual ‘how long before we get there mum’.  We just strolled around the lake, nodding hello’s to passers by, bit of a chit chat about nothing in particular.  We even got ourselves icecreams – 99’s of course – a rarity as its a treat usually only bought for the kids.

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The birthday party went without a hitch, kids had a good time, parents were happy.. job done

After a completing a couple for errands we stopped by a local pub to grab a bite to eat.  I apologise in advance as this is going to turn in to a bit of a foody post.  I enjoy my food – I say that unashamedly simply because I do.  There pretty much isn’t a food out there that I wouldn’t give a try, and I can only think of one food that despite me trying again and again that I don’t like – and that is beetroot (and I still try on occasion to see if I can learn to like it.. so far.. I can’t)

I think that one of hubbys minor bug bears about me (at least i think its a minor one!), is that when ever we eat out I can on occasion find something to be a bit critical about.  I am by no means a food snob, I love fish & chips just as much as fancy restaurant food.  But i like food to taste good, I like it to be reasonably well presented, and I like to get good service.  I don’t think thats too much to ask when you’re paying for the pleasure.

Hubby would say that he likes good value, I say he’s tight!  So when he saw that there were a selection of meals on a 2 for £8.95 offer at the Pheasant in Birstall it was a done deal.  Pubs generally don’t have much of a vegetarian selection (especially on their ‘offers’ menu) and to be honest this was no exception – 2 choices but both sounded reasonable – a butternut squash cannelloni or a cauliflower creamy cheese tart.  We both went with the latter.  I’m not a veggie, but am more than happy to go with veggie options when we eat out (except on the occasions when only a medium rare steak will do!)

Drinks ordered – my standard Lime & Soda – believe it or not, its easy to get a lime and soda wrong.  Too much lime, not enough ice, flat soda are just a few of the downfalls – but this one was perfect, light on the lime so it wasn’t sickly, lots of bubbles still in the soda, spot on with the ice – totally refreshing, could’ve done with a wedge of fresh lime.. but then I’m just being picky.

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The food arrived quickly, very quickly, hmm.. microwaved??  It was presented well, decent meal size too.  To my surprise the quality was spot on.  It most definitely hadn’t seen the inside of a microwave.  The pastry was crumbly, the filling was hot, with creamy sauce,cauliflower and cheese…totally tummy pleasing comfort food.  There were a small mountain of new potatoes and a side salad.

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Side salads –  usually a source of disappointment.  I generally find that they are made up of a bit of shredded iceberg lettuce, a few slices of cucumber and perhaps a couple of cherry tomatoes if you’re lucky. However, what was served surpassed the usual expectations.  A mix of salad leaves, together with the usual tomatoes and cucumber, but also red onion and some tiny red things that brought the side dish to life – delicious. Mental note made to check out what these little red things were, had a taste of peppers but with added zing.

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The meal would have benefitted from a few minor tweaks, the potato’s were served dry, perhaps tossing them first a bit of butter, and maybe a bit of dressing on the salad would’ve finished it off.  But overall, a very delightful, extremely filling and satisfying meal.  Beyond my expectations and a total bargain at less than a fiver each (and I love a bargain just as much as hubby loves a cheap deal).

The service was great, were happy and quick to supply butter for the potatoes when asked, checked midway through the meal if we were happy and even asked if we wanted more drinks.  On asking the server when they were clearing away if he could ask the cook what the little red things on he salad were – he knew straight away – Roquito Peppers – I was impressed.

In the main, you get what you pay for with pub food, but I have to say, we were happily surprised and will deffo return again.

Excellent value, excellent quality & excellent service = happy diners and no room for pudding!  Well, until a bit later that evening when we cracked open the Happy Shopper branded pretend Haagen-Daz style icecream – like I said.. hubby is tight and I love a bargain!