Saturday, 30 April 2011

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Royal Wedding

Prince William and Kate Middleton were pronounced Man and Wife at Westminster Abbey as they made their vows in front of nearly 2000 guests yesterday and watched by 24 million people on TV in the UK, 2 billion globally.

Wasn't it a day to remember...the Royal couple official now named The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge did Blighty proud as they tied the knot. I enjoyed every bit of it as I tucked in to my cupcakes and trifle. So what were my favourite bits of The Royal Wedding?

Well, I'm not ashamed to admit I shed a tear or two as William entered Westminster Abbey with his little brother Harry and I gasped as I saw Kate's beautiful dress. Designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen the dress was stunningly simple with a 50's Grace Kelly twist.

Equally as glamorous were The Queen, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Mother of the bride Carole Middleton. The Queen added a ray of sunshine to the day by wearing a primrose two piece suit designed by Angela Kelly. Camilla's champagne and duck egg blue outfit was designed by Anna Valentine and carole wore a gorgeous sky blue creation by one of Princess Diana's favourites Catherine Walker.

The ceremony was fab and I let out a little "Awwwww!" as Prince William turned to Kate and said "You look beautiful...You are beautiful"

As they made their way to Buckingham Palace via an open topped horse drawn carriage they looked happy and relaxed as they smiled and waved to the crowds. Prince William let out a little "Phew!" as he arrived at Buckingham Palace as if to say "Thank God that's all over!" Bless him, it must have been a very stressful build up for them both.

When the newly weds walked out on to the balcony of Buckingham Palace Kate gasped "WOW!" as she saw the huge crowd of people waiting to see the couple and wish them well.

Then there was THE KISS.

I love the little cheeky surprise we were all treated to as the couple speed away from Buckingham Palace in the Aston Martin convertible Prince William borrowed from his Dad. Such a fantastic little touch that reminded us that they are just a normal couple on their wedding day as balloons and ribbons swayed in the breeze from the back of the car.

So what about the cake I hear you ask?

It was created by cake maker Fiona Cairns and it took five exhausting weeks to complete.

The masterpiece was eight tiered and covered in 900 sugar paste flowers.

Prince William also requested a chocolate cake made from a favourite royal recipe by McVities.

So then for the evening reception Kate changed into another creation by Sarah Burton that was just as stunning as the day dress. Rumour has it that guests partied the night away until 3am.

A Right Royal Knees up then!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Flashback Friday - My First Born Turns 21

Today is the much anticipated Royal Wedding that I am soooooo excited about however this weekend we also celebrate our first Born's 21st birthday, so I thought I'd put together a post of him throughout the years for this weeks Flashback Friday over at Cafe Bebe.

When I found out we were expecting First Born I decided I wanted a home water birth. Mum was going to hire me a birthing pool and I planned on giving birth at home surrounded by my family. However it wasn't to be as I was told I needed to have an elective C-section and that I would always need one in the future due to a small pelvis.

I was devastated but quickly realised that as long as baby gets here safely then who the hell cares which mode of transport he uses.
My Baby Boy did arrive safely and because I choose to be put under anesthetic for my first C-Section I didn't get to hold him first...Papa and My Mum did.

This first photo is my Mum holding her first Grandchild.

First Born first begins to sit up on his own

He gets his first teeth

His first paddling pool

His First Birthday

His first encounter with chickens

And goats, everyday we would visit our local city farm in London

His first time as a wedding guest with his little Brother, our second born

One of his many bouncy castle birthday parties in our back garden, seen here in the middle with his brother and one of his best friends each side. First and second born's birthdays are a month apart and being on 13 month age gap they shared the same friends so every year they had a joint birthday party. I'd entertain at least 25 - 30 kids at these parties and they were great fun.

As he starts secondary school

And becomes a teenager

Now he is a young man and a Dad himself but he will always be my Baby Boy Happy 21st to our first baby.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Spring into my neighbourhood

I Love where I live. I have lived in lots of very different places across the UK from one of the roughest estates in East London to a cottage in North Devon that backed on to the sea but where I am now is where I am happiest. People often say I must have gypsy blood the amount of times I move house but this place is for keeps. 

It is a small riverside town in the middle of nowhere an hour outside London. It is a real old fashioned and quintessentially English town where folk are friendly and chilled out. I am surrounded by water and farm fields and it is gorgeous this time of year so let me take you on a little walk.

We are lucky enough to have a great kids playground on my door step and the local authority have just done it all up. Not that I thought it needed doing in the first place as it was already lovely before. I have lived in some areas that don't even have any kids parks at all so I feel really happy that we have a nice, clean park so local to us.

A five minute walk from my house are miles upon miles of lush farm fields. We often walk over there as pass ponies and llama's.

Everywhere we look at this time of year the fields are a mass of blazing bright yellow from the rapeseed crops. They really are stunning to see and the aroma from the fields is an incredibly strong musky fragrance that I love.

The kids love walking through them as they play hide and seek amongst the tall maze like plants

There are also still a lot of ladybirds around, not quite as many as last month but enough for the kids to pick up and study these intriguing little characters as they let them crawl all over their hands.

As we leave my house one direction we find the farmers fields and in the other we reach the river.

We have been very lucky over the Easter break to have been blessed with lots of very warm sunshine which gives us an excuse to paddle our toes in the rivers water. There is a little spot we like to sit that is really quiet, no-one goes there apart from the odd walker. It is a fab place to listen to the waves and watch the many passing boats.

I Love this time of year in my neighbourhood and feel very lucky to live here


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Dogs DooDah's Personalised Card Review

We are a household who just love to play pranks on people and Papa plays the biggest and best. I would go as far as saying He is a Master of 'Gotcha's' so when the lovely people over at The Dog's Doodah's asked me if I would like to try out their personalised card and gift website I jumped at the chance. On their website I spotted a spoof Royal Wedding invite and just couldn't resist ordering one.

As you all know I'm crazy for the Royal couple, think they are a gorgeous pair and am sooooo excited for the wedding on Friday. Papa does not sure my enthusiasm for the Royals but as he has just shared his birthday with the Queen I thought a Royal wedding invite would be such a fun prank to play on him. I didn't realise just how much fun though.

I clicked on The Royal wedding Spoof invite on their website and began personalising my card. It was really quick and easy to do and you can go back at any time and change it if you want to.

This morning the card arrived addressed to Mr and Mrs Syder. Papa opened it and suddenly yelled "We have only been invited to the bloody Royal wedding!" Struggling to keep a straight face I said "No way, You are pulling my leg!" "I swear I'm not!" he replied "Here, read for yourself!" as he thrust the card in my face.

I opened the card and read ...

Mr and Mrs Syder

As you share your birthday with Prince Williams Grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen you are formally invited to join us for the Royal Wedding.

William and Kate

It took Papa at least 15 minutes for the penny to drop that it was actually a prank. I laughed so hard that My neighbours came rushing in asking what all the commotion was.
Oh what fun that card was!

Available from The Dog's Doodah's priced at £3.50 plus P&P. Check out their website because they have tons of other fun cards and gifts that you can personalise. Great products and I will be shopping there in the future so friends and family...beware, hehehe!

*This product was sent to me free of any charge. I have received no financial reward for writing this review and as a family we always give an honest opinion.

The Gallery - Green

For this weeks Gallery over at Sticky Fingers I thought I'd use a photo of our Bouncy Boxer Dog, Luna as we are approaching her 9th birthday.

We have know Luna since the day she was born, her Mum Flower belonged to a friend of ours. I had been telling the kids for years "NO DOGS!" then when I saw Luna's cute little face I melted, my defences were down and the kids took full advantage.

Luna came home with us and has been like a 5th child ever since. To be honest she is a miserable ole bag and moans at everyone new who comes to the house, warning them that she is the boss in our home so don't step out of line, lol.
People are often a little wary of her at first but once they get to know her they often fall head over heels in love with her.

Luna drives me absolutely crazy as she constantly gets under my feet, drinks water from the loo and farts her backside off but I do love her to bits and will really miss her when she is no longer around. I took this photo a couple of weeks back on a hot sunny day over the farm fields where she rolled and played in the long Green Grass. Our Lovely Loopy Luna.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Countdown to the Royal Wedding - Crispy cakes and bunting

So the countdown has began...only three more sleeps until the Royal Wedding. Whether you are excited or dreading it, unless you are planning on leaving the country or totally hibernating away somewhere in the middle of nowhere then there is no getting away from it. If you have kids it is a great time for making memories for them on which will be a day in History they will never forget.

We have now decided against jumping on the tube into London to watch it as the weather forecast doesn't look promising and crowded events like this in London are no fun with kids if its pouring with rain. All you will actually get to watch is a sea of umbrella's. So what will we be doing instead as you all know I am majorly excited about the wedding?

Well,we have decided to get a load of BBQ food in and buffet stuff. If the sun does show its gorgeous face then we will light the barbie and if it rains we will have a real British tea party. So we had a bit of a practise run with this morning with food for the party. The girls asked if they could make some crispy cakes so I dug out my union jack and red polka dot cup cake cases that The Teenager bought me for Mothers day.

I was soooo tempted to dip my fingers in the bowl of chocolate as it melted...

But No, I restrained from doing something so naughty and let the girls get on with it. How cute the crispy cakes looked in my red, white and blue cases.

So what else could you make this week in preparation for The Big Day? How about some Union Jack bunting? I have  posted a tutorial here if you fancy giving it a go.

Listography - Things I'd Change About My wedding Day

This weeks listography over at Kate Takes 5 is Five Things I would change about My Wedding Day. There isn't anything major that I would change about my wedding day. I feel I was very lucky to have had a white wedding in a church as Papa and I were only teenagers and pregnant with no money, so My lovely Mummy stepped in and organised everything for us. We married in November 1989, the weather had been awful for weeks before then on my wedding day the sun shone all day long, everyone was saying it was a good omen.

Just before Mum died we were talking about my wedding day and I was telling her how grateful I was to have had such a lovely wedding when she suddenly revealed to me that my wedding anniversary was actually the birthday and death of a baby she had lost 35 years ago, back in the 70's when I was a little girl. Mum explained that she had always found my wedding anniversary a bit of struggle and that on my actual wedding day she had a secret cry in the church toilets as she remembered her baby that wasn't with us to celebrate.

I was gobsmacked and asked why she had never told me "I didnt want you to ever associate your wedding day with a death." was her response "No Mum" I answered "Now we know why the sun shone that day...It was my little brother smiling down on us" Mum smiled and said "Thats a nice way to look at it, I'd never thought of it like that before"

So my list for this week goes a little something like this...

1) DO NOT make a fool of myself and ask my Dad to give me away. I went to his house so excited to tell him I was getting married. I was beaming with pride as I walked into his house. My future hubby by my side I turned to my Dad, giddy with excitement and said "Hope you don't mind wearing top hat and tails Dad when you walk me down the aisle" His reply " Sorry, I wont be going...I wont step foot in a Mormon church" What a Tosser, with a capital T! I felt devastated and so humiliated, tears streamed down my young face as I walked home to my Mum's house. I spent years and years thinking he must really of disliked me to do that to me but have come to realize he probably just didn't want to help my Mum out with the cost of the wedding...Not that she wanted him to. Tosser!

2) Make sure I leave out some suitable socks for Hubby to wear. He said he couldn't find any matching black socks on the morning and turned up in a bright red, yellow and green pair. When we sat down at the head table during the wedding dinner his trousers rose and all everyone looked at was his hilarious socks. I wasn't impressed.

3) Make sure Hubby DOES NOT go to McDonald's the morning of the wedding in his Top Hat and Tails for a quick burger as his nerves really took over when he approached the church and he up-chucked that yummy burger at the Church doors...Nice.

4) Announce to everyone during the speeches that We were NOT marrying simply because I was up the duff. Hubbies sister overheard some guests saying that hubby was only marrying me because I was pregnant...erm 22 years later, I don't think so... He may of only been 18 but he did actually love me and want to get married.

5) Please Do not wear one of those cap veil thingies. It drove me Nuts all day long as it kept slipping to the side of my head...argh!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Magpie Monday - Easter Charity shop Finds

I am really pleased with what I found at the charity shop this week and thrilled to share my finds on Magpie Monday over at Me and my Shadow. First thing I spotted was a lovely new bag in a vintage style fabric. I was instantly drawn to it. It is a New Look bag and I got it for £1.

Perfect for the summer months and I like this shape bag. I have another one very similar that I love but it is in a navy fabric so more of a winter bag really so I was over the moon to spot this nice summery one.

I have been on the look out for some vintage tumblers for ages. I often spot them in pairs or singly but rarely in fours, so when I saw these four I rushed over to the shelf and took them to the till as fast as I could.

It was love at first sight and they instantly took me back to my childhood as Mum had a set just like these ones. I paid 50p each and couldn't pay quick enough...The retro 1970's cut glass is so Gorgeous and perfect for summer BBQ's.

Pop over to Me and My Shadow for some more Bargain Finds.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Nougat London Hand Cream Review

When I received a packaged in the post from Nougat London, I eagerly unwrapped the parcel and was thrilled to find some of their Nurturing Hand Cream, Very much a welcome product after all the hard digging I have been doing out in the garden and over the allotment recently.

If you haven't heard of Nougat London before they started out as a fashion label in the West End of London in 1990. Their clothing is easily recognisable as being contemporary and extremely feminine. In 2000 they launched a bath and body range, a few years on their sophisticated and luxurious products have gone from strength to strength selling in department stores such as Harrods and John Lewis through to many independent gift boutiques throughout the UK.

Only the finest ingredients are used in their products and they are never, ever tested on animals...big thumbs up from me on that. I opened up my jar of hand cream and had a good sniff, as you do. I was instantly taken back by the very strong but gorgeous fragrance, I rubbed a dollop onto my dry, flaky hands. My hands began to feel soft, really silky and were enjoying the pampering they were receiving as the cream was easily absorbed into my skin without leaving any greasy residue. I kept putting my hands up to my nose to take in the rich aroma of the Tuberose & Jasmine, it really is a lovely fragrance and I am planning on purchasing the same scent in the Eau de Toilette.

The Nurturing hand cream has been specially formulated to help soften and protect hands as well as strengthen nails. It contains the smoothing properties of cocoa butter and hydrating almond & macadamia oils. Also it contains comfrey and vitamin E known to soothe and heal. 

Before I started using the cream on my hands I had a really ugly blister on my finger from digging over the allotment and after a few days of using the cream the hard skin of the blister has completely softened and disappeared.

I really love this product and will be buying it again. Being a gardener my hands really suffer and deserve some luxury pampering each day so I will be buying this product in the future. My teenage Daughter has also been using it and loves it as much as I do, so Nougat London Nurturing hand cream gets two thumbs up from The Syders.

Available in Tuberose & Jasmine, Fig & Pink Cedar and their new fragrance Cherry Blossom. A 200ml glass jar is £15, A 50ml glass jar is £7.

*This product was sent to me free of any charge. I have received no financial reward for writing this review and as a family we always give an honest opinion.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Flashback Friday - Centre Parcs 1993

For this weeks Flashback Friday over at Cafe Bebe I'm sharing a photo of us in Centre Parcs in 1993. In the photo is Me and Papa on the bikes with our two eldest kids sat in the seats behind us and two of my brothers on their own bikes. The photo sums up why we love centre Parcs so much...The forest, The freedom and the tranquility. Oh and by the way Papa hasn't got a hunchback he has his backpack on under his jacket, lol.

The first time we visited Center Parcs was for a weekend back in 1988 Sherwood Forest, Nottingham and then that same year Mum was booking up the main family holiday and asked us if we wanted either one week on the Canary Islands or two weeks in Center Parcs in France. We thought about it briefly but not for long as we really loved center being teenagers the indoor swimming dome really appealed to us and we wanted two weeks holiday rather than one...Happy Days!

We had a fantastic time and from then on stayed at Center Parcs every year with our own kids. We used to go in big groups with our cousins and we always really looked forward to it. The last time we visited was nine months before we lost Mum five years ago and to be honest I wonder if it will ever feel the same going there now she isn't around. I do keep saying to Papa we really should go again and take our Granddaughter so she can love it as much as her Dad did when he was little.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Gallery - My Blog

This weeks Gallery theme over at Sticky Fingers is 'My Blog'. Picking just one photo that sums up my blog was just too difficult so I made a bit of a collage.

My Blog is where I go to store our precious memories as a family. It is where I go to chat to friends. It is where I go to get advice, go for inspiration, go to laugh and to cry. My Blog has been a massive part of my life for the past three years and I have blogged everything from our fun day trips to heart breaking grief, from gardening and keeping chickens to writing reviews and cooking and sewing.

My Blog represents Togetherness as a Family.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Ten things to do with the kids on a budget over Easter

Hope you are all enjoying the Easter school break. Kids driving you mad yet? If they are and you have run out of ideas then check my list out for a few more that you might not have thought of. The school holidays can get expensive so what can you do to entertain the kids if you are on a tight budget? Most things I like to do with the kids are getting out and about so hopefully they will feel totally exhausted at the end of the day and crash out nice and early...yay!

1) Geocaching - This is a free activity that uses GPS for a treasure hunt. Basically there are Geocaches all over the world where you look for various hidden treasure boxes with a GPS device. Once you find them you should find a treasure inside. You take a treasure with you and swap it for whatever is in the box. To find out more click here for their website.

2) Grow your own salad garden - All you need is a large pot, a small bag of compost and some mixed lettuce seeds. We have four different types of lettuce growing in different pots. Lettuce is so easy to grow and once the little seedlings start popping through the soil, simply thin out. They will grow quite quickly and the kids often eat it if they have grown it themselves.

3) Pond dipping - C'mon get your wellies on! Pond dipping is a messy business but so much fun and wellies are essential and take a spare pair of bottoms in case the kids slip on their bums. Equipment needed - a net bought very cheaply from places like Wilkinson's, fishing tackle shops, seaside shops etc, a jar or container and sun hats and block if it is sunny. Here is a beginners guide from The Ecological Society

4) Crabbing - If you live within easy reach of the coast then crabbing is a free activity that the kids always enjoy. All you need is a bucket, a crab line, a net and some bacon for bait. Drop your line in and wait for the crabs to bite, collect them in your bucket that you fill with water and let them all go at the end of the day making sure they make it back into the water safely.

5)Visit a Farm - Kids always enjoy a visit to the farm and they are usually very good value for money. They will often have lots of different farm animals for the kids to feed and pet as well as a park and a picnic area. Netmums have a map of  farms in your area here.

6) Build a Fairy or Elf Village - This can keep the kids occupied for hours and can really stretch their imaginations as they look to find things around the house and garden that they can use for the fairy folk.

7) Bug Hunting - Encourage the kids to get excited about nature by collecting bugs like ladybirds, ants or worms. Catching a butterfly or grasshopper is so thrilling for a kid and then later on in the day you could get them to draw what critters they had found that day.

8) Make some Easter nests from melted chocolate and broken up shredded wheat. Mix it all up and form into nest shapes, pop some mini eggs in the middle. So easy to make and the kids love them. Recipe here.

9) Bike Ride to the park - Get the kids bikes out and cycle to the park. If the weather is nice (like it has been here) then you can make a trip to your local park a way of keeping the kids out all day. Take a flask of tea, a bottle of juice and some sarnies. Relax while the kids tire themselves out.

10) Go for a really really long walk. - It doesn't matter where you live there are always places you can go walking and it really knocks the kids out. You don't have to live out in the countryside to enjoy a good walk, even if it means jumping on a bus or train. I buy a family and friends railcard every year and take full advantage of its savings. Before I buy I always look on Google for family railcard voucher codes. This years card cost me £19.50 instead of the usual £26. At the moment their website here is offering 10% off but google first for a may just find a bigger discount code.

Any other ideas then let us know...Would love to hear from you?


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