A perfect autumn day

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

What sums up autumn for you? For me, as long as there's pumpkin cake, chilly walks on the beach, candles and evenings in front of the fire, I'm happy.

One of our favourite places to visit at this time of year is a local fruit picking farm, which fully embraces the Halloween season with pumpkin picking and carving, broomstick making and a maize maze. We go every year and it's a great way to get into the spirit.

This year we went to choose our pumpkins and spend the day playing outside on the hay bales and in the maze. We also managed to squeeze in a early morning walk on the beach with the dog. 

Days like that are the ones I remember. Nothing too complicated, just time with my lovely family. 

A very Jurassic birthday

Friday, 23 October 2015

I find birthdays so emotional. Every year I can hardly believe that my little ones are the age they are. 

Dylan has just turned nine. Nine! That's one year from ten. Double figures. I can't cope.

Needless to say, the days of hiring a local hall and bringing in a puppet show are well and truly over for Dylan. This year he wanted a sleepover. Sigh.

Despite myself, I went ahead and arranged said sleepover. It all went surprisingly well. There were no arguments, everyone had a great time and nothing was broken. Except my sleep.

Dylan is just a little enamoured with Jurassic World, so we had a dino-themed tea party for the birthday boy, before settling down to a movie (which they hardly watched anything of, preferring to chase each other around the house pretending to be Indominus Rex).

The kids all loved the dinosaur theme, accessorised by some of Dylan's birthday gifts and a homemade dinosaur fossil cake. The dinosaur party pack was a godsend. As well as looking great, it meant I didn't have to wash any plates and cups. There was definitely enough going on without washing up after six kids too! 

Once the dust had settled on the sleepover, Dylan and I sat down for a birthday interview. Each year I ask each of my children the same set of questions - I like the idea of looking back on their answers in years to come to see how they've changed.

So here's Dylan's 9th birthday interview:

How old are you? I'm nine. Hooray!
What is your favourite colour? Blue. 
What is your favourite animal? A fox, because they're stealthy and quiet. Like me. (eh!?)
What is your favourite book? All the Tom Gates books.
What is your favourite TV show? Planet Dinosaur.
What is your favourite movie? Jurassic World.
What is your favourite song? the Five Nights at Freddy's theme tune.
What is your favourite food? Pizza.
What is your favourite drink? Coca Cola.
What is your favourite breakfast food? Nesquik cereal.
What is your favourite snack? Cookies and milkshake.
What is your favourite outfit? My new Five Nights at Freddy's t-shirt.
What is your favourite game? Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare.
What is your favourite toy? Peashooter plush.
Who is your best friend? Jonah and Olivia.
What is your favourite thing to do? Draw, play video games and play with my toys.
What was your favourite holiday? Disneyland Paris.
What do you take to bed with you at night? Peashooter.
What is your favourite restaurant? Bill's, for ribs.
What makes you happy? Being with my friends and family.
What makes you sad? Being left out of games.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A palaeontologist. 
What did you do on your birthday? I had a sleepover party with all my best friends. We watched a movie, ate pizza and sweets and played. Then we went to the cinema to see Hotel Transylvania 2. Best birthday ever!

So there you have it. Nine years old and just as wonderful as ever. Happy birthday Dylan ♡

*We were kindly sent the Jurassic World party kit from Party Bags and Supplies to review.

Easy Oreo Mummy Pops

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Looking for the perfect Halloween treat to make with the kids? I've got just the thing. These Oreo Mummy Pops are so simple, no baking involved and look great with minimal effort.

As much as I enjoy baking with the kids, I must admit it takes a lot to suppress my inner control freak (!) when it comes to decorating things 'neatly'. The great thing with these mummy pops is that you don't have to be very neat at all. In fact, the more untidy the better. Kind of.

My three children loved making them. Especially eating the candy eyeballs when I wasn't looking.

To see how we made them, check out our video for Channel Mum (below) and stay tuned for some serious cuteness in the last 20 seconds (I know, I'm biased!) ♡

A sandy playground | The Ordinary Moments

Monday, 19 October 2015

Even though we have a whole year until this little one starts pre-school part time, it's days like this that I'm so aware of the time whizzing by.

There are days when I have a list of things to do as long as my arm and all Ayden wants to do is grab my hand and take me to different rooms of the house to play. Lego in Dylan's room, stories in Meryn's room, colouring in the kitchen. I'm learning to remind myself that, usually, 'things' can wait and Ayden won't always want to play with me in this way.

Then there are days the list doesn't exist and we just enjoy our time together.

This particular day was perfect. My very favourite kind of day. An autumn chill, but not cold enough to need a coat, bright sunshine and clear blue skies. After a morning at playgroup we headed to the beach. Just for an hour. But the most lovely hour.

We had brand new wellies to test drive in the rock pools and, with the tide right out, a huge sandy playground to explore.

These are the little moments I will always remember.

New adventures

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

When I started this blog a couple of years ago, I had no idea how long I'd write it for, who would read it (if anyone!), or even if I'd still enjoy doing it a few months down the line.

I didn't really tell anyone about it. I just enjoyed typing away and taking photos, documenting my family and our everyday lives. Fast forward a year or so and blogging has become a really important part of my life. It's a hobby that I enjoy and has opened up a few doors that I never imagined it could.

Last week my first video for Channel Mum went live. And I still can't quite get over it. 

Channel Mum is the UK's first YouTube network for mums. I've followed the ladies over at Channel Mum for a while now and absolutely loved the videos. So to be a part of the channel myself is beyond exciting!

I've spoken about my YouTube addiction before. I could lose hours... days!... watching my favourite channels. Although I've thought about making regular videos before, I've never taken the plunge. Then I spotted the opportunity to apply to vlog for Channel Mum and decided to go for it. I had nothing to lose.

I'm so happy I did.

Vlogging is a new thing for me. And, just like blogging, I'm learning so much already and really enjoying the process of filming and editing.

If you'd like to watch my first video for Channel Mum, please click here. It would mean the absolute world if you'd check it out and let me know what you think :)

p.s. if you subscribe to Channel Mum this month, they're giving away £250 every Wednesday!

♡ Little bits #31 ♡

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Does anyone else think that time is being sped up? It's like someone is sneakily winding the clocks forward by a day or two while I'm asleep. It's bloody ridiculous. It was only Christmas a few weeks ago surely!

This sneaky time winding behaviour means I haven't posted one of these updates for a while. Not that we've been up to much really. I'm still reeling from the whole 'back to school' horror.

Anyway here's a few photos of the last few weeks in our lives.

1. This little lady could spend hours collecting pebbles and looking for 'crystals' at the beach.
2. Loving Matcha green tea right now. Tastes like leaf, but has so many amazing benefits, I'm willing to overlook it ;)
3. I've managed to break at least half of my back to school resolutions so far. Best laid intentions and all that...
4. This little man makes me so happy.

5. Check me out. I made peanut butter fudgsicles!
6. That smile! 
7. Currently trying to convince my husband that we need to go to DisneyWorld next year. Wish me luck!
8. Opting for slump-free snacking at the moment. Well, I'm trying to at least. I notice such a difference when I ditch the junk.

9. A view like this makes a morning run that little bit more enjoyable.
10. To, me. Love, me x.
11. Mix and match trail mix. Perfect for easy after-school snacking.
12. Photobomb!

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5 apps my kids love

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

It's fair to say the iPad is pretty popular in this house. Of course I try to keep the usage to a minimum, but there's no denying it's a pretty useful tool to whip out when you just need to get things done.

Between the three of my children, we have quite the collection of apps to appeal to their varying interests. But I'd say these five are the most universally loved of them all. All of my children have enjoyed playing these at one time or another.

✚  Pou. Remember those little tamagotchi pets that everyone went nuts for in the 90s? Well, this is the iPad generation's version of that. It's a baby poo. Yes, a poo. Bear with me... He's a cute, kawaii-esque poo, that makes little squeaking noises and wears a bow tie. Still not convinced? You may have to try it for yourself to get the full effect; but all three of my kids love him!
✚  Bluebear food games. It never ceases to amaze me how entertained my children are by these games. I think my daughter has downloaded the majority of the range (they're free, but full of ads so make sure those in-app purchases are disabled!). From ice-creams and cupcakes, to corn dogs and pizza, you basically 'make' the food, decorate it and then tap to eat it. Personally, I find it a tad depressing to spend all that time making and decorating a sandwich and not being able to actually eat it... but who am I to judge?
✚  Clumsy Ninja. I totally get this app. It's adorable. A bit tamagotchi-esque again, but this time you get to train and play games with a little ninja. Simple, cute and so much fun.
✚  Toca Boca Pet Doctor. This is our latest Toca Boca download and it's a big hit. Ayden adores it. You work your way through a Pet Doctor's waiting room, helping all the little creatures with their various ailments. I was amazed at how quickly Ayden could solve some of the puzzles and he was so pleased with himself each time he completed one. I would recommend any of the Toca Boca apps. We've downloaded most of them over the years and my seven year old daughter still plays with them.
✚  YouTube. An obvious one, yes, but hands down the most used app we have. Even Ayden can navigate through it to find his favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Playdoh egg video (I still don't get the appeal with those). All three of my children would happily watch YouTube videos from their favourite channels for hours if I'd let them. My daughter and I have a weekly tradition of watching the latest Nerdy Nummies videos together in her bed on a Sunday evening. We both really look forward to it. In fact, keep your eyes peeled for a round up of our favourite family YouTube channels on the blog next week.

Are any of these apps popular in your house? What are your family's favourites? I'd love to know :)

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Easy after-school snacking | trail mix recipe

Friday, 2 October 2015

Browsing through my numerous YouTube subscriptions last week, I came across a real gem. This video from What's Up Moms with three trail mix recipes. Turns out, it's the perfect after-school snack for my hungry little monkeys.

I'd heard of trail mix before, but was never sure what it actually was. I thought it probably involved dried fruit and nuts, but hadn't thought of adding things like dry cereal and chocolate chips into the mix.

My kids are always ravenous after school. So to keep them quiet until tea time, I've started giving them a small bowl of this (decanted from a large pre-mixed jar) and it definitely does the trick.

It only takes a few minutes to throw together and if you make it in a large quantity then store in an airtight jar, it'll last ages. Unless, like me, you discover a new favourite snack for yourself.... then you may need to make a double batch.

There are five basic ingredient groups - cereal, nuts, dried fruit, seeds and something sweet. The beauty of this is you can mix and match to suit your family's taste. Just stick to the basic groups and it'll turn out fine. Also, you want to add more of the cereal, followed by equal parts nuts and fruit (you could always leave out the nuts, if you prefer), a scattering of seeds and a small amount of sweet stuff. Here's what I used.

✚ Cheerios and Wheetos
✚ Blanched hazelnuts and pistachios
✚ Raisins, cranberries and banana chips
✚ Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
✚ Milk chocolate chips

I also found some peanut butter stuffed pretzels in one of my cupboards so added a handful of these. You know me and peanut butter. This was a good move!

Let me know if you've tried trail mix and what combination you've enjoyed the most.