29 May 2014

A New Look

So this week my blog got a new look, I wanted to tell you a little about the fabulous designer who made my new header and social media icons  and ask you to pop on over and like her Facebook page in case you don’t already and maybe have a look at her wonderful little online store.
 
Bethany at Loving Dot is 16 years old, now I don’t know about you but  at 16 I certainly wasn’t this talented or strong minded, certainly not to set up a business and use my skills in the way in which Bethany has.
 
I already had a few items from Loving Dot and when I saw she was doing logo design I knew straight away that I wanted her to redesign my blog header.

 
She was patient and put together something I absolutely love and adore, if every youngster coming out of school and college has as much get up and go as Bethany then I see a bright future for us all. She is an absolute inspiration and I wish her all the best in the future and hope you will too. 

Supporting small businesses is what I am all about, it is a tough world out there but hopefully determination and talent can conquer!
 
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28 May 2014

Prettiness in the Park

I have been working hard on my photography lately, finding beauty with the macro option.

I don't own an SLR so am making do with a Panasonic Lumix compact digital camera, it takes good pictures and until I can afford an SLR or similar it will have to do.

On a trip to the park at the weekend, whilst the children were playing in the sensory garden I stopped and used the time to take some close up snaps of the flowers and bees visiting them.






The colours and shapes of these flowers always manage to amaze me, nature is so talented and beautiful.



I am yet to find all the functions on my camera and would love to learn more, what is your favourite function on your camera and what do you love to take pictures of?

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27 May 2014

Living Arrows 21/52


My daughter loves dressing up, and I loved nothing more than following her into the garden dressed in her fairy wings. Beautiful!
living arrows
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26 May 2014

Snibston Discovery Museum

Yesterday we visited Snibston Discovery centre, a long standing museum that I remember visiting when I was younger. (Please note that sadly Snibston Discovery is now closed due to the council stopping their funding)


Located on the site of the former Snibston Colliery created by famous railway pioneer George Stephenson, it is an important piece of history.
We took a picnic which we sat and ate in a 1980's Finnish train carriage, now used as an indoor picnic area. The children enjoyed this as they both love trains.
Then we moved to the outside adventure play area, where there were lots of water activities. We got to learn about how we get water and use it to power things. They both enjoyed playing with the archimedes screw and pumps and then making the water wheels work.

The adventure playground is always a hit with my husband and son, this one had large and small activities, so there was something for most ages to enjoy. Next to this, there was a composting area where we got to see different ways of composting food, in various wormeries and compost machines.



There were lots of musical instruments to try and then these brilliant dishes, you speak into one end and you can hear the person very clearly at the other end, these were there when I went some 21 years ago and were still as intriguing now for my son.



Moving inside to the engineering and extractive industries galleries, we got to see many different machines from past to present, from the first bikes and busses to electric cars. Exhibits also showed how they used steam engines to power tools and machinery in the victorian era. Then we moved into the fashion gallery, which houses the largest collection of fashion outside of London. There are hands on exhibits for the children placed quite regularly around the entire museum, including in the fashion gallery, where we tried our hands at weaving.



Moving on to the science and technology areas, we all enjoyed learning about everything from wind power to tornadoes, magnets to vacuums. It was educational but fun and for a 6 year old and 3 year old this is key.


The 'how to make fire' exhibit was also a favourite, you first have to turn a stick, to make energy, then use bellows to add oxygen, then a real flames leap up in the centre of the exhibit! We also learned about reflection, how our body works and got to play with a large plasma ball.


Overall we spent nearly 5 hours at Snibston, including the picnic and two goes on the adventure playground, it offers all weather fun and is reasonably priced at just under £25 for a family of four.
There was something for everyone to engage with and enjoy. We all had a wonderful day out, learning about the world around us both past and present.

Linking up to Country Kids on Coombe Mill and Magic Moments on The Olivers Madhouse.


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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24 May 2014

Axo'Plage - The Perfect French Beach Holiday

Last year we visited the Aisne area of France, we found the gite we stayed in on Gites de France, a french website that means you find traditional properties at a very reasonable price.


Although you book through the French website, they do speak English and then you are put in contact with the French owner. The website offers a wealth of information on the properties and what is included, as well as if the owner speaks French if you are worried about the language barrier.

Anyway, onto Axo'Plage, this is an inland beach next to a lake, but it's not just a beach it is a huge country park with plenty to do, places to relax, have BBQs and picnics.

The beach has lifeguards, changing rooms and toilets as well as places to have food but we usually took a picnic, you can hire umbrellas and there is plenty of space.

There is a roped off area of water which splits off the swimming area with the rest of the lake, it is also possible to hire pedalos so you can take a trip further afield.

Best of all it is clean, no dogs are allowed (so no poo) and the overall location is idyllic, we had mostly warm days if not at least the afternoon.


This is the view of the beach from a viewing platform high above the nature reserve...


Lot's of space and grassland to kick a ball, setup a picnic or simply relax if you have and enough of the sand.



Being further inland the gite is a bit cheaper than being at the coast, but with Axo'Plage you get the same beach experience. If you have younger children or those not experienced in the water it is not tidal and you are safe in the knowledge there are lifeguards.

There is a fee to get in but for the quality of the beach and surrounding areas it's worth it. If you intend to spend the whole week there you can buy multiple tickets too.

We loved it here, there is plenty of space to park and even when it got really busy (on a French bank holiday) we didn't feel like we were cramped in. There is a campsite next door and a few gites locally.

We had a wonderful time here at our gite and visiting the local attractions and especially Axo'Plage.
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20 May 2014

The Great Outdoors

I saw this great blogger challenge with Centre Parks on the Tots 100 website and decided to give it a go, after all we love getting outside. Especially now the weather is warmer, it means we can take a picnic with some of our favourite foods and spot the wildlife too.

Lot's of baby geese and lots, and I do mean lots of dandelion clocks, if you follow my blog you'll know this is currently the obsession of my 3 year old daughter.

Scooting past the boats...


Walking through the woods...


 Sitting by the lake, talking about the ducks and giving each other a hug...


Finally getting to feed the geese...


The obsessed over dandelion clocks...


My son having a turn at blowing the dandelion clocks, it wasn't until I looked at this picture afterwards that I realised how funny it actually was :)


We drew our inspiration for these pictures from the following tip 'take some springtime selfies of you and your family enjoying yourselves on a walk in your local park'.
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19 May 2014

Living Arrows 20/52


We live so far away from the beach this is as close as it gets, but it is still fun non the less :)

living arrows
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15 May 2014

Super Green Smoothie

Over on Instagram I have found the fabulous Simple Green Smoothie's feed and it has been an insight into the wonderful world of smoothie making.

Since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and now a Vitamin D deficiency I have been desperate to boost my intake of fruit and veg and this has been a great way of doing it.

Tasty (although I admit it looks a bit gruesome) it is a super easy way of getting a vitamin hit as well as some slow release energy to keep me going and fill me up.

I have adapted this recipe as it is just for me but you can find this one and more on their website or instagram feed.

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Almond Milk
1 Tablespoon of Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon of Cacao (I used Willie's Cacao finely grated)
1 Banana
1 Cup of Spinach

Put all of the ingredients in a blender, I use my Hinari Genie, it's seen better day's but does the job and blends quickly, it's easy to put together and wash afterwards. And blend until everything is liquid.


Poor into a glass and serve...


I have been taking these to work too in a Bonne Maman jar, these are the perfect way to give me an afternoon energy boost.


I have also been adding some strawberries and blueberries if I have them, if you don't have cacao then you can use cocoa but you don't need as much as it is quite strong and bitter and you may need a little honey.

Next up I am going to be trying the Alpro coconut milk, it sounds amazingly tasty and apparently makes things tasty like bounty!
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13 May 2014

Dinner at Rocket at Saltwater

This weekend was mine and my husbands 7th wedding anniversary, we decided to head out for a meal and a drink afterwards with a few friends.

We've been to a few places around Nottingham and wanted to try somewhere new, having tasted some of food from Rocket at a food show a few years back we decided to give it a go.

The menu looked great and we were able to book online the day before, it also happened to be where we had our first date when it was just Saltwater.


We started off with a cocktail, we both opted for a Stormy Mojito, very tasty we also ordered a bottle of Argentinian Malbec at the recommendation of the waiter.


We decided to skip a starter, I am more of a pudding person anyway and I didn't want to fill up before the main. I chose the belly pork on a bed of cabbage with bacon and a creamy cider sauce, and mashed potato. It was absolutely beautiful, the meat was cooked to perfection and the accompanying mash and cabbage was delicious.


My husband had the steak and chips, and on discussing with the waiter he decided to have the sirloin as he likes it rare. Unfortunately it didn't arrive rare but we mentioned it to the staff and they offered to replace. He declined as he didn't want to wait and it was medium so still tasted lovely, they were really great though and offered us something in return for the inconvenience.

Pudding was delicious I had the vanilla and raspberry marscapone cheesecake, it was really light and just what I needed. I do love a good pud, my husband chose the cheese, it was a huge plate which he didn't quite manage to finish.


We finished the meal off with some espresso martinis, if you haven't tried these before they are delicious and these were probably one of the best I have ever tasted.

Overall the meal was lovely, the waiter Ben was very attentive and made the meal a total success. Nothing ruins a meal more than a waiter who doesn't care.

I think we will definitely be going back for food, probably in the day to take the kids. The good thing about Saltwater it is a great venue day or night and with views over Nottingham it is stunning too.

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12 May 2014

Ayup Me Duck - Living Arrows 19/52

"Ayup Me Duck - Midlands Dialect Meaning, Hello There" 

Meeting some rather friendly ducks at the park, not quite willing to be stroked though.
living arrows
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9 May 2014

Little Miss Hug

Yesterday saw the launch of a brilliant new Little Miss book, Little Miss Hug is a cheeky, pink character known for her hugs.



This new book is the 35th book in the popular Little Miss series, and what a fantastic book it is.  Little Miss Hug is an expert hugger who knows how to give the perfect hug to all of her Mr Men and Little Miss friends in times of need and for fun, because you don’t need a reason to share a hug with your friends.


We love hugs in this family so this book went down a treat, so much so we read it two times last night.  I don't want to spoil the story but it is a truly wonderful and heart warming story with some of the most famous Mr Men characters making an appearance.

My daughter loves it so much and has been looking at the pictures, telling me about them. The pictures are bright and colourful and typical of this classic series.




This book fits in perfect with the whole Mr Men and Little Miss series and carries on the wonderful world that Roger Hargreaves created.




In addition to the new book is a free AR (Augmented Reality) App that is available to download on both Android and IOS, it is absolutely wonderful and works with the book as well as pages in the Mr Men and Little Miss magazine. 

Pointing the device at the book brings Little Miss Hug to life and from there you can play a game or even get her to give you a hug.


I love that the book is moving with the times and can be enjoyed in so many ways, we will always love reading the books most though :)

NB We were sent the book to review, all opinions and picture are my own.
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