Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Me & Mine Project {September 2014}

This month we have loved:-

* Visiting family for the weekend.
* Mummy getting to see Wicked! after years and years of waiting.
* Getting some structure back into our days after the chaos of the summer holidays.
* Eli being at preschool and Mummy getting to work in her new study.
* Daddy getting a new job and getting to work in his beloved home city of Liverpool.

This has been a month of big adjustments as our stage of life has changed and moved on.  I feel like I spend most of my time driving backwards and forwards to school and nursery and then back for pick up and then out again for after school clubs.  It has certainly meant I've needed to be a lot more organised!

The extra demands on us all mean that everyone has been tired and as usual with going back to school everyone has been full of cold which means we've mostly spent the month of September being grumpy.

We have managed to garner some precious time together though as a family, and have really been trying to make the most of our weekends now that both children are out of the house for the majority of the week.

It has made me realise how lucky I have been to have time at home with both Meg and Eli as I know not every parent gets that opportunity.  I also have a great appreciation for the time that we can spend together as a family and want to make sure that we use it wisely to have fun and enjoy each other's company (in other words...less time doing housework and other, boring things!) 

Me & Mine is a family photo project hosted by Dear Beautiful and other wonderful bloggers.

dear beautiful

Monday, 29 September 2014

Our Day As Tourists

One of the things we are really guilty of is not making the most of the area around us for days out.  It seems strange but we are much more likely to travel further afield to visit an 'attraction' than to make use of what is right on our doorstep.

When we moved to the North West we were so excited at the thought of being able to visit the seaside whenever we wanted and being able to take the kids to the amusements and the fair every summer, and whilst we do go to the beach an awful lot, despite numerous promises to the contrary we haven't once been to the amusements and we've only walked along the pier at Southport once, in January when we first arrived!

As it was the last weekend before everything closes up for the season I was determined that we were going to join the crowds and act like tourists; taking in everything that Southport has to offer.

The thing about visiting Funland, really, is that it doesn't take much to please kids.  A tub full of 2 pence coins and they were happily occupied for ages.  Unfortunately Meg didn't have much luck with the 2p machines but Eli hit the jackpot quite a few times.

Meg and Eli really enjoyed themselves and were more focused on how many tickets they could collect with the money they were given.  They were very determined to win themselves some ice cream bubbles.

After we had exhausted the delights of the amusements we walked along the pier and bought ourselves some doughnuts to enjoy.  The sun had come out by this point and it was just lovely to walk along at our own pace and take in the view.

Eli was desperate to catch the tram, as it's something we see often when we are driving past the sea front so we caught the tram back up the pier, which he loved.  

I think in total, the entire day cost us about £10 which is nothing when measured against the excitement of Meg and Eli.  I really need to try and remember that simple days out can be just as effective as costly ones!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Book Review: A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir

A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir
Two women separated by time are linked by the most famous murder mystery in history, the Princes in the Tower.

Although I am a huge fan of historical fiction, Alison Weir is not an author I am all that familiar with.  I read 'The Lady Elizabeth' a number of years ago but haven't picked anything by Weir up since.

I was drawn in by the premise of this book however; the story of two women, Kate Plantagenet and Katherine Grey whose stories take place 70 years or so apart but who are both drawn to the mystery of what happened to the young princes in the tower during the reign of King Richard III.

Kate Plantagenet is the illegitimate daughter of King Richard III and we pick up her story as her father takes over the English crown.  It was interesting having this perspective, as Kate saw King Richard as a loving father and is horrified when rumours begin circulating about all the horrible things he has done in order to secure himself the throne.  Weir has largely based her story of Kate Plantagenet on supposition as little documentation survives which tells of her life.  

Eighty years later, Lady Katherine Grey discovers some papers which belonged to Kate Plantagenet and is inspired to begin her own investigation into what really happened to the princes, amongst the backdrop of her own life as sister to the 'traitor' Lady Jane Grey, then during the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth.

I found Weir to be a rather long-winded writer although I don't know if this is just because there are no chapters, just one section relating to Katherine Grey followed by a section relating to Kate Plantagenet and so on.  That said, I found the stories of the two Katherine's completely fascinating and I wish that Weir had focussed more on their stories rather than the mystery of the princes.  A lot of Kate Plantagenet's dialogue is solely about her quest to clear her father's name and we don't learn a lot about her, although Weir didn't have much to go on and this is probably why.

Likewise, however, I think Lady Katherine Grey's story is actually incredibly sad, but I was unable to feel much sympathy for her in the end as I felt like we never got to know her fully.

Additionally, Weir tries to connect the two women by introducing some 'paranormal' activity, such as when Katherine Grey finds a pendant which belonged to Kate and is overcome with feelings of inexplicable horror when she tries to put it on.  I found this a little strange but was happy to roll with it initially although it never really went anywhere.  Katherine Grey's interest in Kate seems to wane a lot towards the end and there is no real resolution which was disappointing.

I wasn't aware of this at the time of starting the book but Alison Weir has written a number of non-fiction pieces about what may have happened to the young princes and although the discovery of this afterwards may be colouring my review I can't help but feel now that this story was just another platform from which to suggest her theories.  As I said above, I think the two women's stories could have stood alone without the need for the mystery of the princes to overshadow them.

It was an enjoyable book but I think that Weir overmilked the mystery of the Princes a little bit and it would have been a much more enjoyable read to just learn about the two women.  That said, if you are a fan of historical fiction then it is a good book, and very interesting to boot, especially if you have been reading any of Philippa Gregory's recent work as this is the other side of the 'White Queen' and 'Red Queen' stories which covers the story from the perspective of the Wydevilles.


Monday, 22 September 2014

All Grown Up #PowerofSoft

I shared last week about Eli starting preschool, and marking the next major milestone in his journey towards starting school.  It has been a rocky transition, for both me and him, with lots of unexpected tears at drop off time.

I don't remember being this upset when Meg started school but I think this may have something to do with having Eli still at home.  The thing that really strikes me is the silence.  There is no little person chattering away, even if I was sitting and doing something else, I would still know that Eli was there, or that Meg was there by the background noise their presence provided.  There is none of that now and I have found that incredibly tough!

Of course, I can't keep Eli at home forever (much as I would like to) and I know that this is an important step for him, and me, because when he starts at school I will be completely child-free between the hours of 9am and 3pm.

Not only that but over the last month or two he has really grown up.  There is nothing babyish about him now, he is a real, rough and ready to rumble, little boy, always with a grubby face, always ready to run and explore.  He gets the freedom he needs at preschool and I know already of two friends he has made, which makes me feel very proud.

The best part of all of this, of course, is when we are reunited at the end of the day.  Meg (in all her Year One grown-up-ness) has entered the phase where she will only tolerate a kiss from me in the morning but not a cuddle, and there is certainly no excitable greeting at the end of the day.  To be honest I'm lucky if I get a word out of her until we get home!

Eli isn't like that yet and the minute he sees my face through the preschool window he is up and running towards me with his arms thrown wide for a great big squashy cuddle.  Which is just lovely.

Of course, for both Meg and Eli, in the comfort of our own home there are cuddles aplenty to be had.  For me, for Daddy and towards each other when they are feeling generous, so we are taking the advice of Fairy and really trying to make the most of these precious times.

I can remember laughing at my Dad when he used to come over all whimsical and start commenting on how we had grown up in the blink of an eye but I have to admit that now I'm a parent I really see what he means.  I can recall with perfect clarity the day we brought Meg home from the hospital; just this tiny, wrinkly, squawking baby, and I was positive for about two weeks that someone was going to knock on the door and tell me there had been some mistake, that actually, I wasn't able to have this baby after all because she was much too perfect and now she's in her second year at school and going on 15 some days...

Fairy have made a short video which is all about making the most of the precious soft cuddles we can have with our children.  Be warned, it might make you well up a bit!  It makes my heart squeeze to think that maybe one day Meg and Eli will be too grown up for them.  I hope not.

If you have a child who has started in preschool or BIG school this year, then I hope that they have settled in well.  It's a huge step and I'm right there with any parents who are finding it hard...trust me!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Review: Beados Quick Dry Design Studio

We were recently sent the Beados Quick Dry Design Studio from Flair to review.  It is a fun way to make beaded pictures using only the magic of water and the design studio is a starter set.

Included in the box is:-

* 500 x Beads
* 1 x Quick Dry Design Studio
* 1 x Tweezer pen
* 2 x Design trays
* 1 x Water sprayer
* 6 x Design templates
* 2 x Suction cups
* 1 x Display stand
* 1 x Connector bead
* 1 x Bead storage tray
* 1 x Instructions booklet

I thought this would be right up Meg's street as we have had similar products in the past which she has enjoyed.  It is aimed at children aged 4+ although Eli was equally as keen to have a go.

There are three double-sided design templates and you slide these under the design trays to assist with the creation of your picture.  The trays are semi-transparent so you can easily see the picture underneath.  Meg used the tweezer pen provided to place the coloured bead over the relevant place on the tray.

Eli couldn't get to grips with the tweezer pen at all and I have to admit that I found it to be quite fiddly and preferred to use my fingers.  Although he is a year younger than the recommended age, he grasped the concept very easily and only struggled with keeping the beads on his tray - they are very quick to move!

Once you have completed the picture, you use the water sprayer to spritz a light layer of water over the beads, and then place them underneath the drying unit for 15 minutes.  NB: The unit requires 2 x AA batteries which are not included.  

I could see that Meg was really dubious about how a bit of water would stick her beads together and she sat the whole 15 minutes just watching the fan and the picture, waiting to see what would happen.  I loved how amazed she was when I slid the completed picture off the tray for her.

Once your designs are complete, you can use the stands or the suction cups to display them.

It does mention in the instruction booklet that the bead pictures work better if you spray them on both sides and leave them to set properly overnight and I would recommend doing this.  Because the kids were so keen to see their creations, we only set one side and Eli had broken his within a few minutes by being too rough.  I think they might have fared better given more chance to set.

Both Meg and Eli really enjoyed making their creations and Meg in particular was keen to use up the beads and design her own.  

My only criticism of the set is that it doesn't come with any permanent storage solution so if you don't use all the beads up, you need to have an alternative place to put them afterwards as they come in small plastic bags in the box and they are very small so it's not ideal to leave them in the tray provided in case they get knocked over.  Good luck if that happens!  You can buy a starter pack for £9.99 which includes some storage pods and these are designed to sit in the spaces on the drying unit but I think it would have been nice for these to be included in this set, otherwise you are looking at an outlay of nearly £30 just to have a way of drying the beads, and then storing them afterwards.

Overall though we would give this product the thumbs up.  It is a great way of allowing children to be creative, the colours are bright and enticing and Meg in particular has enjoyed the opportunity to come up with her own designs using the beads.

Disclaimer: We were sent the Beados set for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Family Fever

Friday, 19 September 2014

Book Review: Sycamore Row by John Grisham

Sycamore Row by John Grisham
He will make them pay...

This book came as part of my anniversary extravaganza of new books from James but, to be honest, I wasn't sure about it.  The last Grisham book I read left me feeling cold and I didn't want this to be a repeat.

That said, I was excited as I really enjoyed A Time To Kill and as this is the sequel, I was intrigued to see where Grisham would take the story next.  As it happens this is not really related to the first book, other than it featuring the same lawyer, Jake Brigance, and having a fair few references to the trial.

The story begins a few years after the success of the murder trial in A Time To Kill and we discover that Jake is down on his luck.  During A Time To Kill, the Klan burn down Jake's home, forcing his family to flee and when this story begins, they are still living in rented accommodation, fighting with the insurance company for the money they need to rebuild their house.  Work has almost all but dried up for Jake as well and as idealistic as ever he is simply counting the hours and waiting for his next 'big break'.

Then one day a local, old, rich, white man called Seth Hubbard, hangs himself.  The day before he commits suicide, Seth rewrites his will, cutting out his ex-wives and children and leaving the vast majority of his fortune (which measures in the millions) to his black housekeeper, Lettie.

Jake has never met Seth but receives a copy of the will in the post, with instructions from Seth to fight to defend the new will and see that his wishes are followed.  

Therein follows a battle between Seth's children, who bring in the big city lawyers, against Jake who must prove that Seth wasn't out of his mind or pressurised into changing his will by Lettie.

It's the typical David and Goliath style story which Grisham favours and is full of his usual tricks and turns.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and found that I had no idea where Grisham was going to take the story.  The courtroom scenes are as grand as ever and I loved Judge Atlee; he was just perfect as the no-nonsense judge from the Deep South. 

Criticisms would be that in places Grisham waded through a lot of unnecessary peripheral stuff, such as the over the top reminders that Jake and his wife don't keep alcohol in the house, even to the point where they reprimand a guest who brings them a bottle of wine...in fact, weirdly, Grisham referred to alcohol pretty much all the way through the story which I found to be a nuisance at the end, 'okay we get it, they like a drink!' and I had a few eyes glazed over moments but it didn't take away from the story too much and overall this was much more typical of a good Grisham book than some of his other recent work has been.

Overall, I would recommend this to any Grisham fan.  It gets top marks from me.


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Dreaded P's of Being A School Parent

I have been the mother of a child going to school now for a whole year and I am hoping that I'm not alone with the feelings of trepidation which took over the first week that Meg went back.

I was actually torn between tearing my hair out wishing the six week holidays would hurry up and end because I was fast running out of ways to entertain my two errant children and the knowledge that with the school year comes a whole heap of horror fun and games.

Please tell me I'm not alone in this?

I have to admit that I'm not the most organised when it comes to forms and things but seriously, are schools trying to kill off the trees single-handedly?  I cleverly signed up to receive the school's weekly newsletter by email and yet Meg still comes trotting out each Tuesday bearing the paper version in her hand.  It never gets read and usually ends up in a heap in the footwell of the car.  Of course, it's rather handy when I realise I've forgotten the date of something and can't find the original email.  I like to think of it as my own little filing system.

Add into that the little scraps of paper such as the 'Bug busting' form we get at least once a month (nits is a whole other issue!), the various clubs and gangs that are advertised as well as the lovely creative pictures my daughter draws on a daily basis and I could honestly start my own recycling factory.

Oh, and of course now that my darling daughter is in Year One we also have a homework folder which comes home once a week, complete with yet more paper!

What I would like to do to said pile of paper!

I hate the playground.  I really do.  I never know where to stand and I accidentally sat on the bench used by a faction of mothers of which I am not a part last week.  I still have the heat burns from their eyes to remind me of my error.

Why is it so cliquey?  I thought I had finished with all of that when I left school!  Clearly not.  Mummies of the world, learn to smile.  Seriously.

Well, not really, but you know what I mean.  Those bugs and germs which have previously been off infecting other people suddenly make their way back into your lives.  Eli has only attended his preschool for six days in total and he has already got a cold.


And don't even get me started on the issue of nits.  We have so far dodged this bullet but I do get the impression there is a large timer hanging over our heads.  It's only a matter of time.  I just know it.  Either that or I don't wash my kids hair enough.  I'll leave that for you to decide.

Evil germs be gone.

Packed Lunches
I was so so pleased when I realised that I didn't need to make Meg a packed lunch any more.   Thank you Government!  No more warring with the school over why I can't send my child in with a chocolate biscuit without her being ostracised by the dinner ladies.

Unfortunately, Eli still has to take a packed lunch so I have yet another year of worrying that the teachers are going to be assessing my parenting skills by the quality and quantity of food I send him in with.  When I get into a flap about having enough options squeezed into the lunch box my husband likes to point out that once upon a time, school packed lunches were about ham sandwiches (cut into squares!) and a packet of crisps.  Maybe a penguin bar if it was your lucky day.  He's so medieval.

I cannot be the only one who is afflicted by a fleeting moment of panic as I pull up to the school gates and wonder if there is something I have forgotten.  Look, there's a Grandparent accompanying that child into school...oh no!  Is it 'Bring Your Grandparent To School Day'?!

No...just me then?

When I was at school I would have been mortified if I had forgotten that it was 'such and such' day and turned up unequipped and that fear has clearly not gone away.  Now I worry about it on Meg's behalf.  Of course there was that day last year when she was the only child who turned up in school uniform and not her own clothes, so perhaps the fear is justified!

Do you have any back to school dreads?  I'd love to hear them!

All images courtesy of www.freeimages.com

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Glamping versus Camping With Children

We have now done both camping and glamping with our children and I can, hand on heart say, that whilst glamping is inevitably more expensive than a regular old camping trip, when it comes to going away with children, you can't beat it.

Here's why:

Glamping takes out the need to bring your tent/beds/bedding/cooking stove etc and all the other accoutrements you might need to pack in order to have a successful weekend away.  Why?  Because it's already there!  This is incredibly desirable when you have children and you have to pack everything and then some.

This year we went without our gigantic all terrain pushchair and the boot of our car was still full to the brim so I have no idea how we would have managed regular camping without taking a second car or purchasing a trailer.

This might just apply to my children but when we last went camping, we had to turn our tent into Fort Knox, buying padlocks which we could place on every zip compartment available.  This was to stop Eli deciding he wanted to get out of said tent and opening the nearest window and crawling out.  Unfortunately, we discovered this the hard way and had to make a mad dash to the nearest hardware shop.

This doesn't happen when you are glamping because there is only one way in and one way out of a bell tent.  As a parent you can man the entrance or set up suitable obstacles to ensure there are no little escapees when you aren't watching.

On this trip we also had to make creative use of windbreaks hammered right down into the ground, and the caravan next door to create an enclosure which stopped Eli from escaping...possibly not every child would be like this!

If you are a regular on the camping scene then you will no doubt have been lucky enough to experience the 'let's all sit in the car and wait for Daddy to put the tent up' type of scenario.  I remember it from my own childhood and I certainly remember trying to entertain two young children in the limited confines of our car whilst the rain hammered down and James desperately tried to get the tent up in rapid time.  Had we not had the assistance of several other campers on that particular trip, I very much imagine we would have been heading for home the very same day!

With glamping there is none of this as you simply turn up and settle in to your already constructed tent.  Genius!  This is particularly helpful if you get delayed or end up arriving in the dark.  Not mentioning any names for that one...

Arrive in the dead of night if you so choose, it will be all ready and waiting.

Glamping really does take the effort out of camping and I think that although you may not get the full 'experience' that goes along with camping, it certainly takes many of the complications out, which can be vitally important when you have young children.  

It was refreshing to simply have to pack our clothing and some food and then turn up at the site.  I'm not all that enthusiastic about camping, but James is, so we got to have the best of both worlds.  I was in relative comfort (although it still gets cold and there is still a need to venture out into the pitch black if you need the toilet in the middle of the night etc...) but James got to have a little bit of camping fun with the kids, which they all really enjoyed.

Although some people would no doubt feel that it isn't really a camping trip unless you are roughing it, I would definitely recommend glamping for families with children, and those who like the idea of getting close to nature and the outdoors, but aren't necessarily ready to go the whole hog!

Have you been glamping before or would you prefer to go camping?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Precious Family Time

We had a crazy busy time visiting my family down in the East Midlands this weekend.  It was a difficult decision to choose to move away from family.  Although we were moving closer to my husband's parents, we were moving further away from mine.  Meg and Eli were used to seeing their Grammy and Grandad at least once a week and to suddenly have that change was something which took all of us a while to get used to.

Of course, they love that they get to see their Nana and Grandad more often; wouldn't it be an ideal world if everyone could just live within a few miles of each other?

This weekend however, we got to spend with my parents and my sister and we loved every minute of it.

I don't have much of a post to write as I'm sure you aren't interested in the minute details of how we spent our time, so I'll just share some of my favourite photos from the weekend.

How do you like to spend time with family when you get together?  Do you get to see family as often as you would like?

Friday, 12 September 2014

Book Review: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Was losing her memory the best thing that ever happened to her?

One Friday, Alice Love goes to the gym and has a fall.  She knocks herself out and when she comes to, she believes that she is 29 years old, recently married to her husband, Nick and 12 weeks pregnant with her first baby.  Unfortunately, Alice is actually 39 years old, recently separated from her husband and mother of three.

As she begins to piece her life back together, and parts of her memory begin to come back, Alice realises that somewhere along the way she lost herself, and that she doesn't really like the person she has become.  But is it too late to find her way back?

I really enjoyed this story.  I was a huge fan of The Husband's Secret so had real high hopes for this book and Liane Moriarty did not disappoint.  

Her characters are well-written and believable, which I love as you really feel like they are people you might bump into on the street, rather than exaggerated versions.  Liane Moriarty's writing style is also very easy to read, and I would find myself sitting for far longer than I meant to just totally absorbed in the book.

We follow not only the story of Alice, as she begins to recover her memory, but also the story of Alice's sister, Elisabeth who at the time of Alice's accident is actually estranged from her sister.  We discover Elisabeth's story in the form of a journal she is writing to her psychiatrist and whilst her thread of this novel is quite heartbreaking, it is also an interesting perspective to have added in.  I also, strangely, could identify a lot with Elisabeth and some parts had me roaring out loud.  But I won't give those away!

The part I enjoyed most about the story was that once again, it makes you ask yourself questions.  How did Alice's life get so far from where she expected?  Is that likely to happen to me?  Are we all just victims of the way our lives happen to pan out or can we be in control?   How has my life changed in the last 10 years?  Once again my poor husband was subjected to my incessant natterings on this topic.

Because I can't read a book without offering some critique, I would have liked to have had more parts of the story from Nick's perspective.  We do get some bits and pieces from him, but he's such an integral part of the story that I was interested to know more from his point of view.  But, you can't have everything!

Overall, I thought that Moriarty unfolded the story gradually, and beautifully and I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has read The Husband's Secret, and new readers alike.


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Siblings {September 2014}

It probably seems inevitable but towards the end of the summer holidays my two little siblings had started to rub each other up the wrong way; little jibes when they thought no-one was listening, pushes and prods when they thought no-one was watching...apparently even headlocks!

It reminds me so much of myself and my siblings when I hear the arguments start to brew.  There is no-one who can rub you up the wrong way like a brother or sister.  They just know the way you tick, know exactly which button to press and then...ka-boom!

Of course, the flip-side of that I think is that there is no-one who knows how to make you laugh in the same way, who understands the way your mind works and will play along with your silly games, just because.  Sometimes I have absolutely no idea what Meg and Eli are talking about but it will have them both in stitches of laughter.

This summer has really shown me a glimpse into how their relationship is going to look as they get older and I'm fairly confident that it is going to involve an awful lot of mischief!

They are such a tag team and not a day goes by when I don't see them, heads together, plotting and planning something.  I have no doubt that as they get older I will be the victim of many of these little schemes but for now, it fills me up with such joy to watch them create memories, to see them making each other laugh, and to walk into a room and discover that they have done something adorable, like hanging out together, just because.

dear beautiful

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

First Day of Preschool

Today is Eli's first full day of preschool.  We attended a short induction last week to get the lie of the land but unlike when he starts school there is no gradual intake...he just starts, 9.15am until 3.45pm.  Such a long day for such a little person.

He was full of excitement this morning, especially when he realised that he gets to take his own packed lunch.  Meanwhile I was swallowing down tears at the thought of a whole day without my little sidekick.

He even made me take his photo in the same way that I had taken Meg's, although I wasn't going to start the tradition until he went to reception.  His first idea was that he wanted to be a 'servant' (I think he means nurse but there you go...) and help Meg with the sick animals but after a few minutes he changed his mind and went for this.

In the car he chatted away nine to the dozen, all about the things he was going to do and there was only one small moment of doubt when he asked what I would be doing and I replied 'I'll be at home.'  The realisation that I wouldn't be there seemed to sink in and in a small voice he confessed that he didn't want to go, he wanted to stay with me.

The feeling didn't last long though as the minute we arrived he was writing his name in sand and bouncing through the door.  I barely got a kiss goodbye which I loved and hated in equal parts.  He was very keen to be back outside playing on the train which he had thoroughly enjoyed on our visit last week.

It's a strange feeling, Eli being at preschool.  It's not like he's never been apart from me before, we've been away for weekend trips and he has gone for sleepovers at his grandparents houses.  It's just that feeling of giving over your child to people you don't really know and entrusting that they will care for him, teach him and watch over him in the same way that you would.

This is the start of his journey towards school when he will be away from me more than he is with me.  With Meg I absolutely knew that she was ready for the whole experience but I'm just not sure about Eli...or perhaps that is me just wanting to hold onto my baby for that little bit longer?

Either way, it is the start of a new season for us as I can potter around the house and have my time as my own, for two and a half days a week anyway!  (Unless you are my husband, then you can read that I am doing lots and lots of writing).  It is certainly going to be an interesting transition period.

Now, I'm off to enjoy a nice, HOT cup of tea and read my book.  Work, I mean work.

I am linking this post up with Share with Me and Magic Moments.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Our Summer in Yoghurt with FAGE UK #YogArtist

We were recently invited to be part of the FAGE UK #YogArtist challenge; an opportunity for children to be creative with Total Greek Yoghurt and Fruyo.  We were sent an artist's pack to assist with our creations and after a lengthy family discussion we decided that we would recreate some of our favourite summer adventures.

Meg and Eli love being in the kitchen and, more than that, they love the opportunity to make a mess.  It is not an exaggeration when I say that the Greek yoghurt we used ended up everywhere.  What you don't see from the photos is that I was actually wearing the apron we got sent as part of the kit to protect myself as I took the pictures!

It was hard narrowing it down to just four of our favourite adventures this summer, but the kids really enjoyed being a part of the discussion process especially the part where we discussed which ingredients would work best.  Meg in particular was keen to volunteer her services as Chief Taste Tester.

But despite the mess (I can say that because washing up isn't my job!), they had an absolute whale of a time making the pictures out of the ingredients and I don't think the results are half bad.

Just in case you aren't a yoghurt art expert, I have included a little explanation of what each picture represents.

There were also some jamjars included with the set we were sent so we used the remaining ingredients and Greek yoghurt to create a layered effect.  It is quite difficult to see the fruit through the yoghurt but I assure you, it's there!

Overall, it was a really fun and exciting way to get the whole family into the kitchen and working together.  It was very easy and simple to do and all the ingredients were healthy too, bonus!

We were sent an artist's kit in order to take part in this challenge.  However, all thoughts, opinions and creations are our own.