Friday, 31 August 2012

Review - Cocoa Boutique luxury chocolates

As a mum and having precious little time to myself, it is the simple pleasures that can mean so much.  Like an indulgent, luxurious bubble bath once the children are in bed.  Or sharing a box of chocolates with my husband (if he deserves it!).

So when I was offered the opportunity to put a new chocolate company through its paces, how could I possibly turn it down??!!

The company in question is called Cocoa Boutique and it prides itself on the quality (and pedigree) of its chocolates.  Their website names Barry Colenso as their British Master Chocolatier (he was part of the team who made the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding cake) as well as other Artisan and Master Chocolatiers (including from Belgium) and the tag-line on their home-page reads, "Forget Willy Wonka...This is your golden ticket to chocolate heaven."  A bold claim indeed.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Dexter's christening and a font full of water

Last Sunday, was a special day.  Not just because it was a bank holiday.  Nor was it because of the news that a lion of all things might just be on the prowl in the English countryside (something tells me it was a slow news day).  No, what made Sunday a special day was the fact that it was Dexter’s christening.

That’s right, my cheeky little boy was being baptised.  It was a big occasion; people came from far and wide to celebrate the day with us, some travelling for hours to make it.  But come they did, and my husband and I were so delighted to see so many friends and family members that had made the journey.

Friday, 24 August 2012

A working mother's guilt

Guilt.  It's an unwelcome emotion that has the ability to charge through your body, ripping your heart out and stomping all over it, leaving a bloody mess in the kitchen that you not only have to mop up the best you can, you have to do your best to stop your children slipping in too.

It can take you to you dark places.  Places that you’d never choose to go.  Places that you desperately want to keep your children from.  It can sneak up on you, pouncing when you least expect it.  It did to me this week.

I’ve been a working mother of two for nearly seven months now.  I’ve written before about how tough I've found it and certainly much harder than when I was a working mother of one for some strange, inexplicable reason.  I thought I had found an ‘autopilot’ of sorts to steer me through the working week.  But, no matter how good your ‘autopilot’ is, it seems there are always bumps in the road that can take you off course.

Image credit

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Review - Peppa Pig Sports Day App

As a nation, we've been gripped with sporting fever of late what with the spectacle of the London 2012 Olympics and now the Paralympics set to begin in one week.  It appears to have re-awakened an interest in sports for many - local cycling clubs are reporting a swell in membership, for instance - and we're not the only ones getting into the sporting spirit. 

Yes, Peppa Pig's putting on her running shoes, hopping on board her bicycle and going for gold in her very own Peppa Pig Sports Day app.

Now, while I much prefer my children to get outside and engage with sport directly to get - and keep - active and fit, I figured an app like this might be useful in the evenings to help them wind down after a busy day while also giving me the opportunity to talk to them about basic sports.  So, I downloaded the Peppa Pig Sports Day app to my iPad to try it out.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Surviving toddler tantrums

Dexter is nearly 17-months-old now.  He's a lovely, funny, chatty, relaxed (most of the time) little boy...with the most amazing ability to throw the most dramatic tantrums ever.


The term, "terrible two's" is misleading.  It lulls you into a false sense of security that these toddler tantrums won't begin until your child actually turns two-years-old.  But, as any parent to a child older than this will tell you, that is categorically not true.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Our London 2012 Olympic Adventure

It was exactly three weeks ago that the best thing in years to happen to London - heck, this country - began. 

I am, of course, talking about the London 2012 Olympics - what else could I possibly be referring to??!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Review - Diet Chef

A couple of months ago now I was contacted by a company called Diet Chef, who were hoping for a review of their weight loss programme (the premise is that you pay for chef-prepared ready meals and snacks to be delivered to your door therefore controlling your calorie intake).  Now, I'm pretty happy with my weight, not ecstatically over the moon about it, but happy enough.  My husband, on the other hand, has put on a few pounds over the years and is always talking about shedding them.  So, when I told him about the Diet Chef opportunity, he offered his services.

We were sent a menu and my husband picked a day's worth of food to try.  All the food sounded yummy in my opinion and my hubby eventually plumped for treacle and pecan granola (breakfast), spicy tomato and beef soup (lunch), mild chicken tikka masala (dinner) and an apricot and orange bar (snack).  If I'm honest, that sounds like more food than I currently eat so I was pleased that my husband was trying this out instead of me!

When the food arrived I thought it was well packaged but I won't start giving my review as I wasn't the one doing the taste test.  Here's what my husband thought...


Sunday, 12 August 2012

A Lightning Bolt

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Green fingers and a race against hunger

One thing that I love about having children is seeing how they grow and develop their own personalities.  They have an uncanny ability to surprise you with new traits; passions; opinions.  This is true of my daughter at the moment.  She has surprised me with a real interest in gardening and is getting to be quite green fingered.

It's not something she's inherited from me or my husband.  However, both sets of grandparents grow their own vegetables and she regularly spends time with her more local Grandad helping to water his plants and watching Peter the Potato, Percy the Pea, Clive the Cucumber (and so on) grow big and strong.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Why I love River Island

I heart River Island.  I frigging love them.  To be precise, I love their PR team.  They are my new best friends (okay, that last one might be a slight over-exaggeration but you get my drift).  Yes, I think River Island is the nads.  I have come to this conclusion because of the way they treat, respect and value bloggers.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Music: "Show Real" video challenge

A lot's been going on since my last "Show Real" video challenge; I didn't win the video award in the Brilliance in Blogging (BiB) awards *sob*; I've become one year older *double sob*; and we're having a mega summer of sport (all together now - yay!).

If I'd been better prepared I would have set a sporting theme for the video challenge this time round.  But I wasn't and I didn't.  Major fail on my part, I would've loved to have seen people filming themselves trying to do the long jump / 100m sprint / hammer throw etc.

No, the theme I've chosen instead

Sunday, 5 August 2012

And relax...

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Hi-de-hi, ho-de-ho, off to Butlins we will go!

What do you think of when you hear the word 'Butlins'?  Amazing holiday venue?  Red coats / blue coats / green coats / technicolour dream coats?  Wet T-shirt competitions and the like?

I've never been to Butlins myself but I've always had an idea that it's just like the fictional holiday camp portrayed in the 1980s sitcom, Hi-de-Hi.  However, I've been hearing rumours that this may not be the case...Maybe it never was.  So, I've decided to go undercover and bring you the truth about Butlins.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Olympic balls and the worst day of my husband's life

Many moons ago, my husband and I entered the ballot for tickets to the 2012 London Olympic Games (yes, LOCOG I'm daring to use this phrase but you can't throw me in jail because it's part of an editorial article. I have read your branding guidelines - ha!).  Lo and behold, we were lucky enough to acquire a handful.

I thought at the time that it would be wonderful to take the children and involve them in this very special event taking place in our country which would only happen once in our lifetime.  So, my husband dutifully booked tickets for the children to one or two events.  Our tickets came and, looking amongst them, it turned out we were to have a full day of Olympic action on 31st July (yep, that's the Tuesday just gone).

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