#BritMumsLive

Last year when I booked my #BritMumsLive ticket I had no idea where I would be in a years time or what to expect. I was quite frankly one of the new kids, and couldn’t imagine that would change in a year. Thanks to the support of some good blogging friends, who saw me through times good and bad, I had no choice but to attend.

britmumslive setting off

On the Friday I set off after dropping the boy off at school, and headed off to the big city with only my suitcase and the knowledge that I was meeting Mary from Over 40 and a Mum to one at the station. I had read that safety in numbers was a good idea at  #BritMumsLive and as we set off to the hotel which we were sharing with some other great bloggers, I knew I wasn’t going to be alone.

I was impressed with the set up at #BritMumsLive, with some great speakers, plenty of workshops covering lots of interesting, varied topics and even the odd slice of cake. I had a great time, learnt lots about all sorts of things, and even met and chatted to some new and interesting brands. Everyone seemed so friendly so getting to meet a few new people was a great experience, although something that doesn’t normally come naturally to me.brit mums live fun

I was told it was best to travel light but wish I had decided to bring my camera as my phone photos don’t do the event justice. I was pleased so that Weird Fish had generously offered me my outfits for the weekend, so I certainly didn’t feel out-of-place. I had seen plenty of other bloggers talking about what they would wear and as a SAHM, I’m not used to spending money on clothes for me, but instead am used to buying uniform, and fencing supplies. My first outfit the lovely Phoebe dress, that I was sent to review last month and you can read the full review here. I am still not quite brave enough to bear my lily white legs to the world, so wore this dress with my jeans, it was lovely and cool in the heat of London, and showed very little creasing despite sitting in for the lectures and walking round the hub.

For BritMums Saturday I wore a lovely new outfit from Weird Fish The Traveller Outfit, consisting of chinos, Nia 3/4 linen summer top, Briony waterfall cardigan in peach blossom, and a coordinating Gincko scarf. The chinos are a lovely soft cotton, in a steel-gray and not only compliment the light cream colour of the linen top. The contrast of the peach blossom colour of the waterfall cardigan, made this outfit look both cool and effortless. I loved the outfit and was concerned that I would be too hot, but the lightweight of the waterfall Briony cardigan made a lovely change to what I would usually choose and looked good for the whole day.

I had a great weekend, and have been inspired to have a good look at both what I do in the world of blogging, and how I do it. As the time went by my confidence grew and I was able to introduce myself to some new blogging friends, even in the lunch queue. I learnt about topics like SEO, that only just over a year ago I had no idea about, I was inspired by some great films from Greg Brand from Travizeo. Beautiful photography from Julia Boggio, designs from Lucy Heath, and even listened to a travel favourite in Simon Calder. I caught a quick picture as he unfolded he tiny bike and headed off into the city.

#britmumslive simon calder

Finally on the Saturday afternoon it was time for the Keynote bloggers. These emotional and moving pieces written and read out beautifully were enough to move everyone to tears. I think everyone in the room could connect with the stories in one way or another. The performance from the new musical the good enough Mums club was amazing, funny, sad and inspirational all in one. I was proud to finish my weekend in London with the chant of “I’m Good Enough”

brit mums live

I have to say if anyone out there is reading this and thinks that they don’t know whether to go to #BritMumsLive 2015 then I wold say do it! Find a friend, don’t go alone, and enjoy having some great times with friends, it’s not all work. Then there is also the goody bag to look forward to at the end, with lots of exciting goodies.

It helps to have a great clothing range to choose from, to make you feel extra special so a big thank you goes to Weird Fish. They have a great and affordable choice, and I know that I will get lots of wear out of my outfits, not least while on our holiday in 113 days time. So now just the small matter of getting my #BritMumsLive ticket for 2015, and the planning starts all over again.

Disclaimer, I was give this outfit for the purpose of review and to wear to #BritMumsLive 2014 the opinions remain my own and have not been altered.

Half Term Fun

Over the half term I had a break from blogging and it made a nice change, we had Dad M at home for the week and had a few days out planned.

We started the holidays with our planned trip to Shropshire and the British Fencing Youth Championships. Something the boy had been excited about for weeks. We went fossil hunting in Much Wenlock’s disused quarry, and found some amazing fossilised shells. We treated ourselves to an extra day in Shropshire exploring the Ironbridge gorge and the iron museum.  With some fun dressing up, and a cream tea with strawberry milkshake before our long drive home.

half term

After a wet drive home the rest of the week was spent catching up on shopping for uniform, clearing the boys bedroom and cleaning some of the toys out. The boy is so pleased with his new desk to do his homework at. He looks so grown up now when he is sitting doing his maths books with his headphones on singing at the top of his voice! We had a photo shoot with all of us, something we haven’t done for a while and the photos are lovely, now we have to wait for our order. We went for shoe fittings and bought school trousers, treated ourselves to lunch out, and even a big box of donuts. The boy finished off his roman shield which I think he is pretty proud of, thanks to Duck tape! We even sorted out the wooden train track and boxed some of it up, for when the boy has his family to play with it.

half term fun

Finally at the weekend we went and did another B&Q workshop, and made a trinket box. Made Pom Poms at Hobby Craft and entered some into Kirsty Allsops world record attempt which is taking place in September. Visited the dinosaurs at Marwell Zoo, and spent some time in the garden. We went roller skating which we do as a family each week, and I even managed to catch the boy in action.

half term week

With an inset day on Monday it was time for Dad M to go back to work and for us to finish off a few projects at home. We made paper planes from Parragon books, and flew them from the bedroom window. Bingo Granny popped in for tea, and watched the boys planes fly, we even had time for a Drumond Park Game.

half term at home

Now that half term is over we are looking forward to the summer holidays and 8 weeks of family fun days…

D is for…

This week D is for …Dinosaurs

We had a great half term holiday from shopping, photo shoots and days out. One of our favourite places to go is the Zoo, you cant beat watching animals, or should that be being watched by animals? Local, Marwell Zoo is a great fun day out and we set off with our picnic to see what has changed since our last visit.

We were surprised and delighted by the addition of a whole new host of animals including Dinosaurs, and there you thought they were extinct! Well Marwell have whole families so I guess there are a few left. The Rise of the Dinosaurs is the latest addition to the park ,a great mix of animated dinosaurs has captured visitors imaginations including ours.

Here are our favourite Dinosaur friends…

D is for...

These animated creatures with sound effects are pretty realistic, not just in size but the movements are pretty cool. There is a show daily, which we didn’t stop to watch but sounded good. There is a dinosaur dig, find the dinosaur trail and our favourite the cheesy dinosaur jokes.

dinosaurs

Have a look on the Marwell website for more information on the Rise of the Dinosaurs, and if you have the chance to visit we can recommend the Sunset Party which take place on this year on 13th June and 5th July.

 

Here are my Alphabet pictures so far:

B is for… Box

C is for… Cats

The Fencer Returns

Ok, so now that we are back from soggy Shropshire, and we have had the chance to sleep, I am still smiling at the boys Fencing performance. He had high expectations of the event, and managing them as we drew closer to the big day was getting more difficult. I think he though the other fencers might let him win? I think Dad and I knew better.

Firstly the British Youth Championships is the sort of competition that only a committed fencer is going to take part in. The age group is for under 10’s which means that some of the boys there were at least a year older. In fencing terms this means a whole lot more experience, strength and stamina.

Poule One: It wasn’t going to be the walk in the park the boy expected. This all became apparent when the boy lost the first match 0-5. The face said it all, with 4 more matches to fight, the scores got slightly less painful at 0-5, 0-4, 0-5 giving him an overall competition ranking of 55 out of 56 competitors. I don’t know what we would have done without the the support of his two friends who had driven up to take part. They along with the parents managed to win him back round that not all was lost.

Fencing Poule One

Poule Two: And with new-found strength, the boy set about trying his hardest to get a point. this time 5 opponents stood in his way. The first match ended 0-5 and our hopes for a happy boy were fading fast. Next match and the boy fought back, it took him about 30 seconds into the two-minute match but he scored a point. Dad and I shouted in unison, and the boy was grinning from ear to ear. We were so proud of him, and I apologised to the other Mum for being loud. We quietened down, as the boy went 1-1. It didn’t matter as he had scored a point, and this could be made into a positive. Then 1-2, then 2-2. You could cut the air in our corner with a knife! end of time, priority was called in the boys favour. This was good, if the other boy didn’t attack in the next one minute, our boy would be declared the winner. We didn’t need to worry as the boy scored, taking the win 2-3! Dad and I both had tears in our eyes, and we are so proud that he had found the strength  from somewhere to win.

fencing poule two

The boy went on to lose the next 1-5, followed by a 4-0 victory and a 1-4 loss. But it didn’t matter, winning that one match was just amazing to watch. The other parents watching were lovely too, and one of the mum’s told me how good she thought he was. How well he did against her son who is a leftie (and more difficult to fight) and that she thought he would go on to do well next year.

The judges were all great two supporting the kids, and helping to patch up more than a few bruised egos. The boy went on to fight a DE match which is knockout, and unfortunately met up with a kid who had beaten him in the first pool. This didn’t matter as he showed great courage in going against him, and made him work hard for every point scored.

fencing may 2014

I know that I will always be biased when it comes to my boy, but that is how it should be. I was however most impressed by the support that each of the three boys gave one another. When the boy didn’t want to talk to me, he went and talked to them. They knew how each other felt, and were all amazing. The other two boys did well, and all forged their own little achievements. Mr R scored points on a boy who is ranked 5 in the country. Mr B who has only been fencing for one term managed to win lots of his fights and at one point ranked 27!

I am now the proud Mum to a British ranked fencer, and yes he comes up on Google!  with a very credible 45. When is the next competition,? Well it turns out in just over two weeks, and yes he wants to go and try again. So lets see what happens, but he is still young, and its all about learning, and having some fun at the same time.

Didrikson, getting outside whatever the weather

Didrikson are a Swedish company who have been around since 1913 and have a full range of both adult and children’s waterproof outerwear. The boy was asked to test out a coat and trouser set from the new and innovative adjustable  range. With a few Cub hikes in the coming months I thought the boy would benefit from the chance to see if the Didrikson Nera Set would keep him warm and dry.

As I would expect with a clothing company from Sweden the Nera set of coat and trousers is extremely well made, with an outer water-repellent shell, breathable coating and lining. There are too many details to list on this set but include loops for attaching gloves, and soft lined cuffs, and not forgetting the reflective safety strips. The boy was instructed to put the Nera set through its paces. At first he was not all that impressed, “Yuck! its clothes” as you can see here, but after a bit of persuasion he tried them on.

Didrikson Nera Set

The Didrikson Nera coat is a lovely shade of blue with a pattern called Pool waves, which at first I thought the boy might find too childish. He hasn’t said anything and actually the pattern is very neutral, so would suit girls or boys. The trousers are a dark navy with the addition of reinforced knees with a rubber textured material. These are a dungarees style and even though they looked huge, once the boy had adjusted the elastic braces fitted very well. I like the details of this set with adjustable under foot straps, high wasted and contrast elastic. The coat is zipped and poppered with a removable hood with a drip guard.

Having only ever purchased high street coats for the boy in the past, I know these are not always waterproof, or even windproof, but with the boy growing so quickly investing in full waterproof has not been an option till now. Didrikson have come up with the idea of extending the use of your coat and trouser sets with their hidden seam system.The arms and legs of this set each have a hidden tacked seam, in a contrast cotton it is easy to find and when the set starts to look a little shorter you can extend your use by releasing these seams. Children grow so fast, and this is a winning idea with me as I would want a coat to last at least one year, if not a little longer.

nera waterproof trousers

We had a long discussion about how to test the water-proofing of the Didrikson Nera coat set, and decided squirting the boy with a hose was not the best option. Some ideas included water rides, but it was decided a cub hike would possibly be more enjoyable. The boy set off all zipped up on a sunny spring evening, complete with hard-boiled egg. The experiment for the evening was going to be who could roll their egg down the hill without breaking the shell. Ok the boy didn’t manage to keep his egg undamaged but he did manage to get the award for the furthest rolled! The prize we got to bring the aptly named ‘smeg egg’ home. Nice!

the winning egg

The Didrikson Nera set fared well, the boy was dry, and kept warm as the evening had turned chilly. The trousers have shown signs of muddy puddles, but this easily brushed off. The coat is still looking new, and the boy has been wearing it everyday in the hope that it might rain. He even offered to wear the set to bed to test it out! I’m not sure this was needed so we have stuck to daytime wear.

I have been very impressed with both the quality and wearability of the Didrikson Nera set, and would consider investing the RRP £80 when the boy finally grows out of this one. But we will keep you updated as to how we get on when we extend the legs and arms later on in the year!

To find your local Didrikson stockist, or purchase online follow the link to the Didrikson website, they also have a Facebook page where you can find out more about the story behind the firm.

Disclaimer, we were sent this set to review the opinions remain our own and have not been altered.

Family Fever

Fishbourne Roman Palace

This week the boy had an extra day off school due to his teacher being on strike so we decided that we would make use of a quiet day to visit Fishbourne Roman Palace. This seemed fitting as the boys upcoming topic will be Romans. So on a slightly cloudy morning we set off with our notebooks to find out all we could about the ancient Roman civilisation.

Roman Gods

It has been a long time since my school days, and I wasn’t sure how interested the boy would be in this history lesson so with the plan to just go with the flow, we arrived at the entrance. Being a weekday it was super quiet and only 2 coaches of school children meant we had the whole place to ourselves for the first hour.

Welcome to the largest roman home in Britain. Imagine the luxury that would once have surrounded the proud owner of this lavish Roman residence. This palace was certainly fit for a king. Stroll around the recreated Roman gardens – the earliest gardens found anywhere in the country – and enjoy the largest collection of mosaics in situ in the UK.

We started our visit in the Museum as the lady told us it was the warmest part of the building. The entrance contains the history of how the site was initially found by workmen in the 1960 while digging a water main for the area. There are plenty of hands on exhibits as well as the static ones you might expect. We built a Roman road, and looked at Roman Gods.

roman road

Because there were schools on site there was also a lady dressed in roman costume who happily told us all about the Romans and their love of keeping clean. This was great as it was a one to one and the boy enjoyed having the time to ask lots of questions.

roman weaving

After a lovely Mum, Son lunch in the Café and a chance to have a little sketch of some stones he had in his pocket, we continues through the main building to see the mosaics. The scale of the site is amazing, and  thinking how old these little pieces of history are is very humbling.

roman baths

The boy enjoyed playing a game of mosaic bingo, which you can get for free from the entrance and it was more difficult than it looked. I am sure I must have been here on a school trip at some point, but I don’t remember seeing the mosaics or remembering how beautiful and big they are.

mosaics

There is plenty to look at in this part of the building with more interactive exhibits in the lower part of the museum. We built our own mosaic and looked at Roman armour. After another quick pit stop for tea and cake in the café we crossed the site to see what was in the collections and discovery centre. We had the whole of this building to ourselves and after looking at some of the windows full of artefacts we discovered some draws of examples of finds from the site and the local area. The boy and I decided to sketch these so that we can put together some information for him to take back to school after Easter.

roman pottery

I love the detail in the boys sketch and he worked hard to include all the different patterns on the piece of samian pottery. It was incredible to see these items up close all be it in a glass draw. Before we knew it, it was time to head off for the boys fencing lesson. The time had gone quickly and I am sure that the boy has learnt a lot. I know that I have enjoyed spending time with just the two of us and doing the things we love most chatting and learning!

Below are the opening times for 2014, and admissions, we are English Heritage members and received a 50% discount on the costs which made our day out very affordable even with the costs of our lunch and tea included.

January open Saturdays & Sundays only: 10am – 4pm                                        February open every day: 10am – 4pm                                                                     March – October open every day: 10am – 5pm                                                     November – 15 Dec open every day: 10am – 4pm                                                      From 16th -31st December open Saturdays and Sundays only: 10am – 4pm

  • Adult £8.70
  • child £4.30
  • concessions £7.70
  • family (2+2 or 1+4) £22.00
  • Admission price for groups of 15+: Adults/students/seniors £7.00, children £3.50.

Keep up to date with everything that is going on at Fishbourne Roman Palace by joining their Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can also find details of the events and workshops going on over the Easter and Summer Holidays.

Disclaimer we visited Fishbourne Roman Palace as a day out and the opinions remain ours and have not been altered.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

English Heritage Unlimited entry to over 400 historic sites

English Heritage give you unlimited entry to over 400 historic sites across the UK. We enjoyed several visits last year with Netmums and English heritage, this year we are looking forward to a few more. Battle Abby was our favourite, with the castles of Berry Pomeroy and Dartmouth a close second. We found the sites great for the boy who loves the hand-held commentary and exploring the dungeons!

With an Adult membership costing £48, and up to 6 children FREE this can be great value for money. If you use code EH10PDW at the checkout up till 28th of February and you will get an extra £10 off.

So if you like the outdoors and exploring the history of Britain, we think this might be the chance for you to take advantage of this offer and get out and explore.

Only 300 Days until Disney

Only 300 days until we land in Disney, Disneyland Florida for our long-awaited holiday and return to the Halloween merriment! You may have guessed that I am starting to get a little excited, otherwise my mind would be completely on Christmas. I am sure that at some point it will be reminded that the holiday is getting nearer, it might be the smell of gingerbread, or even a hidden mickey!

I think the boy and Dad M get fed up with me as I know exactly how many days to go, I think it slightly ironic that it is exactly 300 on Christmas day as I remember when I booked the holiday, 150 something days ago it seemed impossible that it would ever get here. The boy will have a nice surprise from a friend as we have the hidden mickey book as a Christmas gift ready to read every page before we go, or is that just me?

I can’t wait for the sunshine, or for the boy to join me on all the rides as he will be tall enough this visit, even for my favourite Yeti ride! I am looking forward to the resort, and I wonder what tropical island we will be staying on. I’m looking forward to the late nights, fireworks and breakfast of mickey waffles and strawberries.

The more I type this the more I am looking forward to, like family pictures, Ghirardelli Ice cream, the Lego Shop. Even places we have yet to visit like the Kennedy Space Center, which I know the boy will love. I cant wait to try out the new Magic Kingdom Quest, as we loved the Kim Possible one at Epcot. The boy of course will want to spend hours on Big Thunder mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

And now I just need to win the lottery so that we can go and visit the dolphins again, it was not a good day for the boy as he doesn’t do cold, unfortunately that particular day Florida decided it was doing cold!

So while we all tuck in to our turkey with all the trimmings, there will be a small bit of me looking forward to that flight in just 300 days time!

 

A Light from Bethlehem

A light from Bethlehem will be arriving tonight to our local Church.

When I first read that in the note brought home from Cubs, I thought there must be some mistake, they wouldn’t possibly be bringing a light all that way. So I asked the pack leader, and sure enough the light has really come that far. They collected the lantern with the light from Dover last weekend and have kept it alight all week ready for the whole pack of cubs, scouts and explorers to hike back to the church this afternoon.

The pack will bring the light back from the neighbouring pack, where some of them camped overnight, back to their own hut, where there will be hot chocolate and mince pies. I couldn’t think of anything more magical to take part in this close to Christmas so was very proud that the boy wanted to join in. I have dropped him off for the 3 mile walk across fields, and will collect him in time for a nice warm bath.

I don’t have pictures to add to this post, there will no doubt be muddy wellies, and tales of talking to his friends, and next year I think I might offer to join them, as this is surely the true spirit of Christmas keeping a flame alight.

This is my post for this weeks country kids.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

A Pokémon day in London

Last week the boy and I set off to London Zoo to go and meet Pikachu and try out the new Pokémon X&Y games for Nintendo, as well as the Trading Card Game (TCG). We were both excited as we don’t often have days out just the two of us, but with Dad M in his plaster cast it would have been too difficult for him to get around so we left him tucked up at home.

I have never had such a good set of train connections, and before we knew it we had arrived. Now you will have to forgive me as I don’t know the names of the Pokémon but I am learning, and we were greeted with 3 models of some of the new X&Y characters. The boy tried out the new DS Pokémon X&Y and as much as he would love a DS of his own he has a different surprise waiting this Christmas.

The surprise for both of us was the Pokémon TCG, we were invited to play with a helpful professional, and soon the boy was hooked. We were shown simple rules, and I could liken the game to top trumps, with more powers. The boy soon picked it up and challenged his opponent to another match which he won. We ate cakes and visited the zoo, and were given the Pokémon TCG as a gift to take home. For the boy the best bit was beating me at Pokémon TCG all the way home, we lost count but I know I was beaten!

For the whole weekend the boy entertained his Dad with the game, while I finished the decorating and thanks to Pokémon who gave the boy an X&Y expansion pack he has started to customise his set of cards. This has proved tricky as Dad was soundly beaten but a little tweaking and you can soon even out the odds. The boy certainly has enjoyed learning the Pokémon Trading card game, and I am sure Santa might stop off and invest in a couple of the collectible packs which are a great pocket-money price and available in shops, as well as supermarkets. If you would like to find out more, or should I say if you kids are interested in more information you can visit the Trading Card Game website here.

 

Disclaimer we were asked to attend a day out with Pokémon, the opinions remain our own