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How To Survive The Heat With Preschoolers

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These last few weeks here in the south of England (or most of the UK, really) we have seen one insane heat wave. The last few days as I write this have reached mid-thirties (Celsius)! Mid-Thirties! That just doesn’t happen in the country.

One of our most famous stereotypes, after all, is constant rain and gray clouds!

So it can be difficult for most Brits to really get into the flow in these sorts of conditions. It can be inconvenient, uncomfortable and even, dare I say it, unpleasant for an adult when caught out in extreme temperature conditions, despite our love of the sun and rare time with it! However, if you’re a parent getting caught out can be so much worse. View Full Post

Family Holidays: Creating Traditions

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I recently posted about the importance of a family holiday.

Well, our holiday at Center Parcs was a well needed, well-deserved break. It was a rare family holiday for just us, making memories that would likely shape what we looked for in our family holidays for years to come.

Because when it comes down to it, traditions start life as a simple family activity but stay alive because they become the memories that stick. The thoughts and feelings that your children carry with them from the experience.

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I knew immediately when we told Gray about this holiday that we had already created a holiday tradition.

When I was still pregnant with Rhyd, Gray had just turned 3 and we had gone for a weekend break with my mum, brother, and niece. One thing we did as it was a winter holiday was buy marshmallows and toast them on the fire.

Almost the first thing Gray asked when I told him about this holiday was if we could toast marshmallows again!

Well, I thought, this is obviously a positive memory that has stuck with him, so hell yes, we will buy marshmallows! I am happy to embrace such a tasty tradition!

By the end of the week, it was clear to me what sorts of family holiday traditions we liked and wanted to try and continue each year. View Full Post

Our Worries Are Our Own Creation.

The day I started writing this I was worried. Stressed. Panicked even.

I had been sent to a meeting in London for work. Usually, this would be the General Managers responsibility, but as my GM had resigned and would be gone at the end of the week, they wanted me there instead.

Somehow, in six years as Assistant Manager, I had never been called upon to attend one before.

All of this, combined with the new rules, regulations, targets, and budgets (being strictly enforced,) made me nervous about being the face of our store for the higher-ups.

I spent almost a week feeling stressed and scared about what might happen at this meeting. About being put on the spot, humiliated or berated in front of the other managers. I had even dressed up just a little and applied makeup that morning, something I don’t usually bother with but I felt I needed a little extra ‘armour’ to boost my confidence.

After discovering I was in fact at the wrong location and desperately making my way to the right place, (not the only one to have made this mistake, at least!) I stumbled in, late, shaking and convinced this would be the worst day of my life.

I was freaking out internally more than a little as I smiled and introduced myself. But, the meeting continued without missing a beat and as my heart rate slowed I calmed, a little.

During a break I apologised and explained. The person in charge was understanding if firm.

The day continued. The world didn’t end.

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Productivity Triggers – How location can change everything.

It’s amazing how a simple thing can affect your productivity and motivation.

I wrote this post at 8 am, in a café in London.

I had a cup of tea to sip and an almond croissant to nibble on, nervously awaiting the work meeting I’d have to attend at 10 am. (So nervous I arrived two hours early to make sure I wasn’t late!)

I know getting anywhere in London with a time limit ups my stress levels so I decided, I may as well head in super early (thanks, body clock!) and do some writing on my trusty laptop.

I used to go at least once a week to a local coffee shop to do this, while the eldest was at nursery and youngest home with Daddy. But returning to work and changing routines nixed that, unfortunately.

Realizing that once the kids start school and nursery in September I may be able to start doing this again is a huge deal. It really does make me happy, because to me, writing in this kind of environment is something special.

I would say I can’t put my finger on why, but I think I can.

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Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Beef Recipe

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We have been trying lately to broaden our usual menu, as sometimes you feel like you fall into a rut, right? What shall we have for dinner? Oh, Spaghetti Bolognese again? …ugh… again?

It just so happened recently we had a nice big beef joint. Which I was hesitant to cook because, well, it’s a huge, expensive piece of meat, what on earth do I do with it??

I took to google for a little inspiration, which led me down the slow cooker route, but I didn’t just want to end up with a roast dinner, I wanted something different! Then a BBQ recipe caught my eye. Husband and the boys all love BBQ sauce, so I figured It would be a hit, I was right! View Full Post

Never Underestimate the Importance of a Family Holiday.

In exactly 18 days, we are taking a family holiday.

It is our only family holiday this year. We actually take about four weeks of ‘holiday’ throughout the year, but usually, three of those are spent visiting my family in Wales. Which is, of course, a lovely time but not really a holiday in the same way. That time is spent enjoying the company of family members we don’t get to see often enough and visiting as many of them as possible. The boys love it, but we don’t get a moment of alone time as a family.

Which is why I am counting down the days until our humble, four-night adventure at Center Parcs. Husband and I have been to the Elveden parc several times before we had kids. We spent our hours idly cycling, swimming and chilling out in the spa. They were possibly the most relaxed, calm and content holidays I’ve ever had.

We booked this one on a whim because we realized, with much dismay, this may be our last chance to take the boys there, at least for a long time.

The problem is Gray is starting school in September. View Full Post

Why i’m done with the old me.

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When I started working at my most recent employer, I had to adjust my sleeping patterns a fair bit. My shifts either started at 6 am and finished mid-afternoon, or started lunch time and finished anywhere from 9.30-11.30. You weren’t supposed to be put on a late finish to an early start the next day, but occasionally it happened.

I loathed getting out of bed pre-dawn but once I’d finished my early shifts, I always felt great. I’d spend the rest of the day being super productive and getting things done!

Late shifts, however, I’d be lucky to drag myself out of bed before 10 am and even when I did, I was convinced I didn’t have time to do anything before work. I’d literally sit around for a couple of hours watching TV and having an early lunch and finally getting dressed and dragging myself out the door. Nothing would get done. View Full Post

Easy Homemade Coconut Ice Recipe!

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Mothers day is a tough one, for my own Mum I have no trouble thinking up gifts but my Mother in law is another matter.

She is awesome don’t get me wrong and has some easy to buy for interests. However, this means that every gift giving holiday she usually gets the same themes. Cats, flowers… gardening…..

There comes a point when you realise you’ve exhausted your options!

We wanted to do something nice for her this year that wasn’t tired and repetitive. So I thought of something Gray and I could make together, Nanny’s favourite sweet treat!

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She loves Coconut Ice. You might think that something like that must be complicated, but it really couldn’t be simpler! View Full Post

Why We Need To Apologise To Our Children

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The other day I was browsing Pinterest (as usual) and came across a pin that appealed to me. It seemed to be advertising a post written on a parenting blog about raising kids that were happy, disciplined and well-rounded. Who doesn’t want that, right?

But upon visiting the site and actually reading more, I was disappointed. So much so I actually made a point of *gasp* unpinning it! (Pinterest lovers, clutch your pearls!)

The problem was the advice was simply at odds with what I believed as a parent. Do I believe that children should behave in public? Yes. Do I believe children should have a routine and chores around the house? I do. Do I believe that children should listen to their parents? Of course!

The advice I found, though, put me more in mind of a military boot camp than a loving home.

There was one thing that struck a chord; that was about showing authority and sticking to your guns, no matter what. Of course, this can be a very useful, even necessary tool for disciplining and teaching your kids, but I feel there is one big flaw here. View Full Post

How to make a sprinkle cake!

Time is flying! Gray turned four back in November and Rhyd turned one this January. EEP!

They both had something in common, and that was an epic sprinkly birthday cake!

I have seen Sprinkle cakes around, on Pinterest and the like (the awesome Winnettes also featured one here.) but I’ve always balked at the idea of making one because they’ve got to be a pretty intensive undertaking, right?

Wrong! Oh my gosh, they are sooooo easy! I am going to share a quick, simple and fun tutorial with you!

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