14 April 2014

Living Arrows - Choo! Choo!

As it's the Easter holiday we took my niece and Luca out for the day (post to coming soon). They adore spending time together and loved their little ride on the miniature railway. 

living arrows

12 April 2014

The Dogs Balls, and other toys!

Everyone in our family get presents at Christmas and, as I've mentioned previously, because Lilah is part of our family she is no exception. Lilah was well and truly spoilt this year thanks to Swell Pets.  She got a Mikki Dummy, Sharples 'N' Grant Smart'y'Ball & a Kong Fetch Stick. 

Mikki Dummy

10 April 2014

Yorkshire Wildlife Park

For my birthday we went to visit Yorkshire Wildlife Park for the second time. We went on a Thursday during term time so apart from a few school trips it was pretty quite and after 3 we were pretty much the only people there. 

If your an animal lover and you've never been to YWP then you simply must.  Located just outside of Doncaster, it is a really friendly place with lots of rangers around to answer any questions you may have. They have scheduled talks throughout the day too, when they feed the animals and you can see them even closer.  They have 3 enclosures that you can walk around with the animals roaming around you.  There is Lemur Woods, South American Viva and Wallaby Walkabout.  The Wallaby Walkabout is definitely my absolute favourite as you can get really up close and personal with the Wallabies and they even let you stroke them.  This time of year is even more awesome though as they have their little babies poking their heads out of the pouches.  Luca absolutely loved this part, he even managed to sneak a little stroke of a joey when I wasn't looking! I was only a little jealous! 

He also managed a very close encounter with a squirrel monkey in the South American Viva Enclosure when one of the adolescent monkeys took a liking to his little fingers and grabbed him for a bite of one (which Ant managed to catch on camera). Luckily Luca pulled away pretty quickly and no damage was done but he keeps telling everyone about it.  So if your going with little people keep them in your arms and be a vigilant of the cheeky monkeys and their finger fetish.  There are also Mara, Capybara, Agouti and Rhea wandering around this enclosure.

 We then wandered back to the Monkey Play House & Cafe for a spot of lunch and a little play in the indoor play area which in comparison to some indoor soft play type places is epic! It's huge and over looks the baboon enclosure which is a nice little touch, there isn't much food to choose from in the cafe but what they do sell is delicious and not cheap tasting at all.  There are plenty of other food outlets around the park though

We then spent the remainder of our day wandering round the rest of the park, seeing the camels with their new baby, the cheeky zebra chasing the poor Lechwe, the tigers, giraffes and leopard plus lots of other animals before another quick visit for one last stroke of the Wallabies.  We also stumbled upon a beautiful hollowed tree, which I thought would make a great picture.  When I asked Luca to stand in there for a photo he wouldn't.  Ant asked him what was wrong and he told him "Gruffalo get you". Once Ant had shown him the Gruffalo wasn't home he was happy to stand and pose. 

Just as we were heading towards the exit we heard the amazing noise of the lions calling for their tea. It wasn't a roar but I can't quite describe what it was, the noise was astounding and so chuffing loud, it gave me goose bumps all over.  We had another quick visit to them to see them eating as it's on the way to the exit before jumping in the car and heading home after, as I'm sure you can tell by our happy faces below, an amazing day. 

The Yorkshire Wildlife Park is currently having some work done, making it bigger and better so we were given an 25% discount voucher as an apology for any inconvenience caused. We will definitely be making use of it again soon. 

Linking up with Honest Mums brilliant blog posts & Country Kids from Coombe Mill. 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

8 April 2014

A birthday week!

It was my birthday last week and we took the week off work and spent it as a family. The 9 days we spent together were awesome.  We don't get to spend that much time together as a family as Ant works such long hours so when we get more than a day together we try pack it full of fun.  So here is our fun filled family week. 

Our week was kicked off in style with Mothers Day, it was a really lovely day full of being spoilt by my boy and spoiling our Mums, Grandma's and Aunt too.  

5 small bunches of flowers from our local florist/ Uncle Frazer showing Luca how to play a game on his phone/ A private Mummy and Luca moment during all the madness/ Cheeky drinks to kick off our holiday week. 

I was naughty and opened all my birthday cards that I'd already got and went shopping with Ant with the money inside.  We stopped and had a spot of breakfast in a riverside cafe and I truly spoilt myself for the first time in absolutely ages. I ended up with 3 pairs of shoes, some trousers, jeans, 2 cardigans, 3 tops, a t-shirt, new LBD, and some Liz Earle moisturiser, eye cream and shampoo & conditioner.  When we got home we picked Luca up from the childminder and went for a walk and to play in the gardens opposite our flat. We also treated ourselves to ice creams from the ice cream van!
Ice cream from the ice cream man/ My birthday shopping haul

7 April 2014

Living Arrows - Car Napping

This was taken on our way home from swimming last week. We'd gone with Daddy rather than to his usual lesson and spent a whole hour splashing and having fun. He was absolutely exhausted and slept for an hour and a half before waking up for his lunch.  What is it about sleeping children, they are just so perfect!?

living arrows

2 April 2014

Me & Mine March

March has seen the beginning of Spring, the weather has turned fairer and we've managed to pack quite a few days out in the sun into this month.  

Luca seems to have grown up so much these last few weeks and is definitely not a baby anymore, we are well and truly into toddler territory and he is making it known we are only a few months away from the terrible twos. I love this age though, I love the mischief and cheeky streak he is showing and he is getting funnier and funnier.

This picture was taken at Temple Newsam right at the beginning of March.  It was a beautiful day spent looking at all the newborn lambs in the farm and admiring all the flowers that had raised their pretty little heads.
  We had a few photos taken but as usual only a few were usable, this one however, is my absolute favourite despite not being able to see us face on it shows us at our best, having fun and laughing together. 

dear beautiful

1 April 2014

Mothers Day 2014

Mothers Day in our household, as I hope it is in most households, is celebrated with gusto.  We are quite a matriarchal family so Mothers Day means a lot to us.  We celebrate and show our appreciation for our Mothers, Grandmothers and even my Aunt, showering them with gifts and cards and generally showing them our love.  
When you are married with children finding time to visit all 7 ladies (not including finding time for my men to spoil me) is tough.  So this year, myself and my fabulous Mum, decided the best way to solve this problem would be to have a family get together, inviting both sides of the family.  

We arranged the party at my mums but as it was quite a last minute decision, some people couldn't make it. There were a fair few of us who did make it though, and we chatted, ate and drank all afternoon.  Luca showered myself, his Grandma's, Great Grandma and Great Aunt with presents and little bunches of flowers (which were greeted with plenty of awww's and ahhh's) and we generally just had a good time together.  I definitely think we will do this again next year but plan it a little better so we can have all grandparents present.  All in all we had a fabulous time and it took the stress of having to visit everyone that weekend away.  

31 March 2014

Living Arrows - Mothers Day

Yesterday was my second Mothers Day and was an amazing day spent celebrating with all the wonderful Mothers that are a part of our huge family. As there was a family party going on all afternoon it was pretty chaotic and After the initial showing off and lapping up of everyone's attention Luca got a bit fed up with it all. He went a found a pile of books and took me into a corner to read with him. I love the power and magic of books and we were soon in our own little world oblivious of what was going on around us.  When I saw this picture that Ant caught of us, it reminded me that childhood is about these moments, moments of escapism, moments of togetherness, affection and needing nobody but your mummy. 

living arrows

27 March 2014

The Mummy Tag

I love finding out a little more about the bloggers who I follow so when Rachel from Three Years & Home posted her Mummy Tag and in turn tagged me I thought why the hell not? So here you have a little bit more about me! Enjoy! 

1. Are you a stay at home mum or a working mum?
I am a working mum. I work 3 days a week in a GP's surgery and also a Saturday morning, self employed as an Applied Behaviour Analysis tutor for children with autism. 
2. Would you have it any other way?
I went back to work when Luca was 9 months old.  I think it would have been lovely to be a stay at home mum, more time to enjoy my boy in those precious early years and less tiring but it wasn't an option for me. I think if I had of been a SAHM I would have always gone back to work at some point or another. I absolutely love my job as an ABA tutor and I need to work to be able to get my doctorate eventually. 
3. Do you co-sleep?
We don't purposefully co-sleep, Luca has always had his own sleeping space and always been put down for the night in his cot or bed.  However, there have been times when we have slept with Luca in our bed. Accidentally when he was tiny and we would fall asleep together when I was feeding him and now when he is teething or poorly he sleeps with us. Everyone needs a mummy cuddle when they are poorly right? 

4. What is your one must-have item for your baby?
When Luca was really little his swing definitely made my life easier as I could put him in it for a while whilst I showered and got dressed or washed up for example.  Apart from that I can't think of anything else that we couldn't have lived without bar the obvious things such as steriliser and baby monitors.
5. How many kids do you plan on having?
I always imagine us as a family of five but I think we will take each moment as it comes and see what happens. I know for certain we want at least one more and then after that addition we will decide if we have room for more until we feel our nest is full. 
6. Date nights. How many do you have per month?
Your kidding right!? We've only just really started to put time aside for just us. We managed one date night in January, well a double date with friends and we have another double date this month too. It's on my To Do List for 2014 to make more time for us. 
7. Your child’s favourite show?
Luca doesn't really have a favourite show but he adores Pixar films.  His favourites at the moment are Cars, Cars 2, Rio and all the Shrek films. These have replaced his swing and I stick one on to entertain him for a while whilst I shower. 
8. Name one thing you bought before the baby but never ended up using?
We were pretty restrained when buying for Luca before he was born. Apart from essentials we didn't buy anything else and went with the flow buying what we needed as we needed. This meant that we didn't waste money on anything we didn't really use.
9. Your child’s favourite food?
Luca loves sweetclems (little oranges), crumpets and ice lollies at the moment. 
10. How many cars does your family have?
We have three. Ant has a Fiat Bravo and I have a Mazda 2. I also have a Ford Capri that is currently off the road waiting to be restored. I adore old cars and hope to own more eventually. 
11. Weight gain – before pregnancy, during, after and now?
Genuinely no idea. I know I was a size 10 before I fell pregnant and a size 14 immediately after Luca's birth.  I quickly dropped to a 12 and stayed there for a while but when Luca learnt to walk I lost a lot more weight and am back to my pre-baby body now at a size 10.  
12. Dream holiday with your kids?
My absolute dream is to take my child(ren) to Lapland to meet Father Christmas, ride in a reindeer led sleigh and see the Northern Lights.  I have lots of other dream holidays but I think this would be the most amazing thing to do as a family. 
13. Dream holiday without your kids?
I can't imagine a holiday without Luca now that we have him but if I had to pick it would probably be a romantic getaway to somewhere like Rome or Venice or maybe even a trip to Cuba. Although I'd still love to take Luca those places too, I really want to show him the joys of the world and travelling. 
14. How has your life changed since having kids?
My life has changed completely but in the most wonderful way. I never have anytime to myself anymore, I'm sleep deprived and exhausted a lot of the time. Nights out are a rarity and nowhere near as wild as they used to be.  My life is also more full, I'm happier than I've ever been, more confident since becoming a mother and I wouldn't change any of it for a second. 
15. Finish the sentence, ‘it makes my heart melt when …’.
I hear Ant reading bedtime stories to Luca. When Luca laughs uncontrollably. When he kisses Dibble and whispers I love you in his ear. When he snuggles into me and asks for a cuddle. When he says sorry. When he smiles. 
16. Where do you shop for your kids?
Most of Luca's clothes are Primark, Next, Matalan or supermarket buys. I refuse to pay extortionate amounts of money for clothes he outgrows so quickly or now ruins in the blink of an eye. 
 17. Favourite make up and skincare products?
I am absolutely in love with Liz Earle Skincare products. Makeup wise I use lots of different brands but tend to stick to Soap & Glory mascara and liquid eyeliner pen and Clinique concealer and foundation. 
18. Huggies or Pampers?
19. Have you always wanted kids?
Yes, I cannot imagine not having my own branch of the family tree. I love children and am a very maternal person. 
20. Best part of being a mum?
As cheesy as it sounds I'm not sure I can pick one thing. I love every aspect of motherhood bar the sleep deprivation.  I didn't imagine for a second it would make me more confident though. Being a mum is one of the only things I think I'm good at so maybe that's one of the best parts. 

So there you have it, a little bit about me. Anything that surprised you? 

I know I'm massively late to the party but I tag - 
Hannah from Make Do and Push
Vicki from Honest Mum
Katie from Pouting in Heels
Sorry if you've already done it ladies! 

25 March 2014

Kids Baking: Easy Peasy Banana Bread

Luca loves baking which is awesome as I like an excuse to make delicious treats.  My mum recently bought the I Can Cook (of Cbeebies fame) cookbook and we have already put it to good use.  The recipe we chose to begin with was the recipe for Banana Bread.  It is super simple to make and little ones can do it pretty much all by themselves. Luca needed a little help as he is only 20 months old but older children would be able to do it unaided.  

You will need

3 ripe bananas
6 dessert spoons of sunflower or vegetable oil, plus a little for greasing (we used corn oil and olive oil on our two attempts, both worked fine).
100g golden caster sugar (granulated works as well)
220g plain flour
2 level teaspoons of baking powder
2 eggs
6 rounded dessert spoons raisins
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

(These quantities make a whole loaf, if you want a kiddy sized one half the ingredients)

Dessert spoon
Pastry brush
2 mixing bowls
Loaf tin
Baking tray
Oven gloves

Here's what you do....

1:  Brush the inside of the loaf it with the oil and put it on the baking tray .

2: Peel the bananas and put in one of the mixing bowls. Use a fork to mash the banana up, then add the oil and mix.  This is the wet bowl.

3: Put the sugar, flour and baking powder in the other mixing bowl and stir together. This is the dry bowl.

4: Break the egg in the cup and beat with the fork, then add it to the wet bowl.

Add the raisins and vanilla extract to the wet bowl and stir all the wet ingredients together.  Tip the wet bowl into the dry bowl and give it all a good stir. 

5: Pour the mixture into the loaf tin.  ADULT BIT - Place in a preheated oven, 180oC fan, 200oC, Gas Mark 6 for 40-50 minutes or until completely cooked through. 


Linking up to Honest Mum's Tasty Tuesday. 

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com