Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Gallery - Kitchen

To be honest I don't particularly like my kitchen...its really small and has nasty blue units that I cant stand. I have a 'thing' for Kitchenalia and all things retro so Ive tried to make the best of what we have by mixing the old in with the new. It works for now until we change the units.

Papa does most of the cooking in our house. Its not that I cant cook, I can its just I find it quite a chore and Papa enjoys it so its just a role he has slipped into. I love the kitchen though for creating Christmas treats and during the summer when organising BBQ's. I like to bake cakes, cookies and pickle and spice over the Christmas period...Its such an exciting time and the aroma of Christmas is simply divine.

And I love the kitchen for baking with the kids. They get so much from being in the kitchen and they love to bake me lovely things...Yummy!

So what do you love about your kitchen?

Linking up to The Gallery

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Ellos Review

When asked if I'd like to pick something from their website I was really pleased because I have been looking out for a new winter outfit and have been surfing various websites for a smart/casual dress to wear with leggings.

As I am now a plus size I struggle to find clothes that are comfy and that cover me completely, not showing my lumps and bumps. So I spent about half an hour looking through the ELLOS website and spotted a few dresses I liked the look of. I clicked on the dress pictured below, instantly liking it I ordered it. 

When it arrived I was really happy to discover that it is just as nice as it looks online. You know sometimes when you order clothing online it arrives and it's a bit of a disappointment, well not with this dress.The quality is very good and it can be worn for both smart or casual. I wore it a few times while I was on my holiday last week and it was perfect for both an evening out and for the coffee shop. I like it because it feels so feminine what with its floatiness and lace.

I also ordered some leggings and I instantly fell in love when I spotted the patterned ones pictured below. They just scream Scandinavian Christmas to me. They are equally as fab in quality and go really well together with the dress.

ELLOS Floaty dress is £39 and available in Black, Grey and Plum sizes 16 - 30
ELLOS Leggings are £17

Paintballing in Center Parcs

Center Parcs is a place to chill but its also a place to thrill! The boys (and our Teenage daughter) were keen to have a bash at paintballing, although to be honest after spending the night before in the Leisure bowl bar the boys took a bit of persuading to get their butts out of bed and make their way over to the Outdoor Activity centre for our 11am booking. However, by the end of the activity they were all really glad they did it.

On arrival the staff took everyone's names and showed them where to keep their stuff. The centre has vending machines for hot/cold drinks and snacks. There are also WC's.

They were then kitted out in a jumpsuit, issued with protective equipment and given target practice at the firing range. 

Before being let loose on the firing range they were all taken into the briefing room and given instruction.

There were approx 30 other paintballers booked in for the same session and they were split into two teams. Red and blue teams were supplied with 200 paintballs each sent down opposite ends of the paintball area in the woods where they basically shot at each other.

I was safely tucked away behind the public viewing screen although to be honest a few years ago I would have been taking part. I'm just not fit enough at the moment, it is a very physical activity and they did finish up dripping in sweat but they were all totally exhilarated afterwards as the chatted happily about their paintball session.

Paintballing at Center Parcs is £20 each for an hour and a half session and participants must be aged 14+. Each person is issued with 200 paintballs, more paintballs are available at an extra cost of £7.50 per 100. Our group made their 200 last them for the whole session, they tell me this isn't that difficult to do if you don't get too trigger happy.

I asked them if the paintballs hurt when they got hit? They all said yes and were left with a bruise the next morning but would they do it again? Definitely!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Gallery - Something I am Proud of.

This weeks Gallery theme is something I am proud of... 

Any easy one...

My four Babies
My Family

And now my eldest baby has his own baby... 

Our Granddaughter

They are all so similar in lots of ways
and also quite different.

My Babies, I Love them with all my heart.

Linking up to The Gallery

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Center Parcs An Outing with Owls

Meet Kieth mutton, Phoenix Bird Control falconer, he performs birds of prey demonstrations at Center Parcs, Elveden. We spent a fantastic morning with him during our recent stay getting up close & personal with a variety of owls and special guests (falcons).

Keith trains these magnificent creatures to work for the Royal Airforce as part of their bird aircraft strike hazard program. I didn't realize that regular birds pose a threat to local aircraft when they strike them at high speeds causing damage to aircraft, engines and people. So Keith's birds of prey are trained to ward off the birds by chasing them away from the airfield.

When intruding birds spot Keith's Owls, Falcons and Hawks they flee for the safety and cover of trees away from the flat areas of the airfield. The aim is not to kill the intruders but to simply frighten them away.

Keith gives an interesting and informative demonstration

And encourages everyone to take part

Leaving us all totally awe struck by these beautiful birds.

Would we recommend this activity at Center Parcs?
Hell yeah!

Its an experience you will never forget!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Center Parcs new style woodland lodges & Winter Wonderland

The Syders have been visiting these Parcs since 1988 and to say we love it is an understatement, so this post is for anyone who is thinking of going and would like a guided tour around the new style woodland lodges. Over the next week I'll be writing about some of the activities available too.

My Mum introduced us to these holidays back in the late eighties, as she found their parcs the perfect getaway for our large family of six kids, all ranging in age from 17 (me) down to my baby brother who was only a few months old the first time we visited (Center Parcs is very family orientated). What she liked about it was that we all loved our holidays there, even with the big age gaps, there was something for everyone of us, all six kids were happy. The same can be said of today and the past twenty one years we have been bringing our four kids here and now our Granddaughter.  

One of the things that make Center Parcs so great is the accommodation. In our experience the villa's are always exceptionally clean, modern and well equipped. The only fault we can ever recall in the past twenty odd years is one of the bedroom door handles being broken.

The villa's are very sympathetically situated amongst the natural surroundings of the forest and the large windows make perfect viewing points for wildlife. Waking up to the stunning woodland scenery and wildlife is just such a pleasure. Anyone who has been on holiday here knows exactly what I'm talking about.

Our recent stay was in the new style woodland lodges at Elevden for our 22nd wedding anniversary and they are basically modernised comfort villas. When we first arrived it was like arriving at Center Parcs for the first time ever, and throughout our stay I kept repeating "Ohhhh I love what they have done with these villas." The new interior design is by Tara Bernerd, and the villa's were great before but the modernisation is such a fab improvement.

We spent our stay in a four bedroom lodge so we had two toilets, a bathroom with bath and overhead shower and a shower room. Both bathrooms have heated towel rails which is very convenient for not just drying your towels but for hanging wet swimming gear on too. 

There is a large cleaning cupboard with boiler, ironing board, iron, cot and high chair. There is also a hoover, broom, mop and bucket if you should need it. We were also provided with towels which we found a real bonus and saved us lugging loads of towels on holiday with us

The bedrooms are really well designed and we all agree that the pillows and bedding are really comfy, infact I want to know if I can purchase their bedding as the quality of the duvet covers is really lovely. All rooms have a hairdyer, plenty of wardrobe space and the main bedroom had a TV, which we found very handy, although to be honest we didn't watch that much telly while we were away (I even missed my soaps all week...shock, horror!)

The open plan living area is just as before but the new furniture is much more comfy and I love the new decor.

In the lounge are we had comfy sofa's, open fire, TV with DVD and Cd player

The kitchen is fully equipped with everything you need to cook a meal... Oven, microwave, pots, pans etc and even includes a dish washer...Result!

We also love the giant chalk board, such a great idea and I want one at home now...more work for Papa!

Center Parcs is a great family holiday and I love the new Winter Wonderland theme that runs from 11th November through to 23rd December. There was lovely Christmas lights all around the village square, Real reindeers for the kids to pet, santa in his grotto, a fabulous fireworks display where santa made an appearance on a speedboat and a relaxing Horse & carriage ride through the woods.

It definately got us in the mood for Christmas!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

I'm a Celebrity get me out of here blogger fun

 I've been tagged by the lovely Liska over at New Mum Online. The meme was originally created by Kate on Thin Ice and is just a bit of fun. I'm a fan of the TV show but the meme is suitable for those who aren't too.

The Mission:
1) Answer the 10 questions and consider the mission.
2) Tag a blogger or two or more to do the same
3) Come back to my original blog post and tell me you have done the questions and answers.
The questions are OK for those who watch the television programme and those that don’t.

1. What one thing about being a parent makes you scream “Get me out of here!”
Answer: Sick, puke, vomit - Whatever you want to call it, just a whiff of it and I gag...Yuk!

2. What skills, if any, do you have that would be useful in the jungle?
Answer: I'm quite resourceful and have a knack of being able to stretch a dinner to fill ten bellies rather than just four if I need to.

3. How are you likely to annoy people in your were stuck with them for 3 weeks?
Answer: By talking non stop about Papa, the kids and my five Brothers.

4. What is the worst thing you have ever eaten?
Answer:  Jellied eels - I come from an Eastend family and back in the day at weddings they would serve jellied eels, at one of these weddings my Great Aunt Pink persuaded me to eat some and was highly offended that I didn't enjoy them, bless her. I've never touched them since.

5. What luxury item would you take into the jungle with you?
Answer: Coffee - I'm a nightmare in the morning before I've had my coffee.

6. What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
Answer: I did lots of semi daring things in my younger days abseiled, slept in a cold cave all night, built river rafts, climbed mountains, caving, walked 20 odd miles from Romford to Southend and lots more outdoor pursuits stuff but I'd say the most daring for me was standing on the glass panel at the top of the CN tower in Toronto - I'm terrified of heights so this was a biggy for me. Also I slept in a haunted church all night and I swear blind I heard footsteps on the balcony. It still gives me the heeby jeebys now when I think about it.

7. Who would you miss most if you went into the jungle with a bunch of strangers?
Answer: Papa and the kids.

8. What celebrity alive or dead would you like to have with you in the jungle?
Answer: Without a doubt it would be Bear Grylls.

9. What would scare you about being in the jungle?
Answer: Rats

10. After leaving the jungle, you go to a luxury hotel. What would be the first thing you did on reaching your hotel?
Answer:  Hot bath, a roast dinner and Champagne.

11th mission should you choose to accept it is to tell us why the person who tagged you is a star. (For the uninitiated, stars play a big party in the television programme) 
Answer: Liska has a lovely blog, I enjoy her style of writing and she always has lots of fab photo's. I love that she uses a sling and she looks like a really happy Mum.

Silent Sunday

Inspired by Silent Sunday

Saturday, 19 November 2011

New Sudocrem Facebook Competition - Name that Moose!

Sudocrem have just launched Twitter & Facebook pages for a new, mystery product launching in spring 2012 and in the lead up are running a competition to name the mascot of their new product the Sudocrem Moose. The winning applicant will receive £500 worth of Toys R Us vouchers and a personalised Santa sack worth £150.
Instructions on how to enter:
It’s simple all you have to do is ‘Like’ the new Facebook page and then enter your suggested mascot’s name. One lucky winner will be picked on the 21st December 2011 and receive their prizes shortly afterwards.
Competition Start Date – 18th November 2011
Competition Finish Date – 17th December 2011
Competition winners announced – 20th December 2011
The Prize: £500 worth of Toys R Us vouchers and a personalised, handmade Santa sack worth £150.

I've just been over and entered, why not give it a go too after all it only takes five minutes and if you win the prize will arrive just in time for Christmas. Papa and I had a giggle coming up with names like Lucy Moosey and Chris Moose, if you look on the page you can view everyone Else's entries. Good Luck x

Listography - Top 5 gadgets

1) My Camera - oh my gosh I would feel sooooo lost without my camera. It follows me everywhere. I capture every moment of our lives and I love how creative I can be with the images. It is my favourite gadget.

2) My Laptop - I'm pretty sure this is on most of our lists. Without it I couldn't blog, tweet, facebook or gain inspiration for my craft projects. Another gadget I'd be lost without.

3) My sewing Machine - I've been using a sewing machine since I was about twelve. My nan Grace was a very talented seamstress and my Mum also made lots of stuff on her sewing machine. I worked as a machinist when I left school and have made loads and loads of stuff over the years. Then I went a few years without a machine until my Aunt gave me her old one.

4) Crochet hook - Is this classed as a gadget? I think so, its a gadget I use to create lots of cosy knits like blankets, scarves and decorations. I've been doing it since I was eleven and a very patient, kind lovely ex girlfriend of my Dad's called Wendy sat for hours and taught me the basics of crochet. I then taught myself how to read patterns. I will always be grateful to her for taking the time to teach me such a useful craft. Wish I could Thank her in person but I have no idea where she is now.

 5)  TV - I know, I know please don't judge me but I'd be lost without my soaps. I'm a right ole Corrie & Eastenders addict. We don't eat out or go to pubs so we spend our social pennies on a decent telly. We are movie buffs too and love spending duvet days curled up in front of a roaring fire watching DVDs...Bliss.

Linking up to Kate's Listography

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Lite Sprites Review

Have you seen the advert on TV for Lite Brights? Its one of those ad's that is really magical and leaves you wandering if the toy really is as good as it looks on TV. Sometimes you buy stuff because it looks so cool on the advert only to get it home and its a real disappointment. We have all done it at some point haven't we and it can end up costing us a small fortune. However, with the Lite Brights you wont be wasting your money, in fact it is so good that Papa and I actually think its the best girls toy we have seen in a long time.

Our five (nearly six) year old Granddaughter absolutely loves it and even wants us to add to the collection for Christmas, she has not stopped playing with it since we gave it to her.

So after the initial unpacking of the tree of lite, Lite sprite dolls and Lite wand (which is a little time consuming and needed Daddy's help) we were set up and ready to go. As everything began to light up and  magical sounds began to emerge there were lots of ohhh's and ahhhh's and lots of smiley faces. 

So what's it all about? Well basically the Tree of Lite shares colour with the Lite sprites and other play sets and also receives colour from the Lite sprites and Lite wand.

Packaged with the Lite wand you get a Lite Sprite called Prisma and she is the leader of the Sprite Sisterhood, there are four other Lite sprites to collect Astra, Meadow, Brooke and lastly a naughty one called Bleak who steals colour from the other Sprites.  The Lite wand enables your child to share colourful light with all their sprites and their world. 

On the tree of lite there is a working elevator, spinning treetop that will play magical music , share colourful patterns and the Lite sprites  can be hooked on to by their forest pods.
Other accessories to collect are Lite pets, a windmill, waterfall, swing and flower. The whole collection is a little pricey but both Papa and I agree its worth every penny.

A beautiful new collection of interactive dolls which use and share colour and light to create a wonderful and magical playtime (from £14.99 rrp)
Prisma comes with working Lite Wand that casts coloured light, picks up new colours to share and play games (£29.99 rrp)
Tree of Lite Playset - hang the Sprites in the canopy and spin for colourful lit-up display and sound; includes night light feature (£39.99 rrp)
Suitable for children from around 4 to 8 years old

*This product was sent to me free of charge for the purpose of this review.  My opinion is entirely my own.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Listography - Top Five Randoms

 So this weeks Listography is our top five random things we like, nice and easy...

1) Rolling around, all over newly laid carpet and sniffing it...Don't ya just love new carpet and it smells so damn good!

2) Touching stuff...I always have to touch everything I see. Not people but objects, fabrics and plants. The only thing I wont touch is anything on the London underground, I actually start to get palpitations if my hand has to touch a hand rail...freaky, I know.

3) Drinking my tea from bone china. No, I'm not a snob and my china cups come from the charity shop. I just prefer the feel of fine china.

4) Popping the coffee seal on a new jar of coffee and smelling the mouth watering aroma as I empty the jar into my coffee pot, bliss.

5) Listening to the rain. I love it when its hammering down as I get into bed, the sound sends me off to sleep, even better when I'm in a caravan. I love standing under a brolly and watching the rain, in fact sometimes I'll just stand in my back garden and watch as it falls.

So what are your five randoms? Pop over to Kate's place and check out everyone Else's fab lists.

Silent Sunday

Friday, 11 November 2011

Christmas Gift ideas for kids...

I love Russian dolls and one of my Brothers gave me a set as a gift from Prague. I treasure them and the kids love them too. They always get them down from their little spot on my shelf and play with them so when I was asked if I'd like to review a paint your own Russian dolls set I was more than happy to give them a try.

My eleven year old spotted the box sitting on the table when she arrived home from school and her face lit up.
"Oh Mum, Are these for me?" She didn't even change out of her uniform as she opened the box and began painting.

My eleven year old really liked this craft set although she did complain that the brush is a little too thick for the smaller dolls but if you have an old lip brush this is perfect for the finer detailing.

The Russian dolls are very reasonably priced at £13.49 (although are currently on special offer for £12.99) so would make an ideal Christmas gift for any child who likes painting and crafts.

Its worth having a look at the  website as they have a great range of gifts perfect for Christmas and they also have good regular special offers. A few suggestions I have are:
Deep Space Home Planetarium - £ 29.99 - Great if you know a kid who loves science, space, planets and stars. 
Metal Detector Robot - £17.99 - This is the sort of kit my boys would have loved when they were a bit younger, although I think girls would like it too.
National Trust Natural Paints Kit - £16.49 - Great idea if you have any nature lovers who love art that you want to buy for. Good for boys or girls.
Make Your Own Perfume Kit - £15.49 - I love perfume making kits mainly because they take me back to my childhood and the days when I'd fill up empty lemonade bottles with rose petal and water. Things have advanced a little nowadays.

*The Russian Dolls were sent to me free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have received no financial reward and as a family we always give our honest opinion.*


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