A Strong Coffee

Friday, 24 June 2016

Through The Eyes Of A Four Year Old.

boy holding a feather


A friend with a newborn once asked me "what is the nicest age?"

I replied it was when they go to school. I didn't mean it in a flippant way. There is a turning point between the age of 4 and 5 where things become easier. You realise that in a blink of an eye your baby is growing up. Faster than you would like. They are becoming their own little person. Someone that you can talk to rather than at. Yes babies are cute, but you can't have a conversation with them. For me, the nicest age is just before they start school where they are inquisitive and innocent.

Little man is four and a half. He starts school this September. Gone are the tantrums of the terrible twos and the threenager behavior has ebbed recently. He is taking in the world with every step (or skip) he makes and his positivity puts me to shame. I know I can be a bit of an Eeyore. My glass is usually half empty and it really is something I want to change. Little man's glass is over flowing and the excitement that brings is contagious.

There I am on the school run, complaining it is raining. Again.

"But Mummy it is good. It will help all the flowers grow." All I can do is smile and agree as he skips along.

He sees a feather on the floor and picks it up. Before I have chance to tell him to drop it as it's dirty, he starts telling me how he could use it as a quill to write a poem. My heart just wants to explode. My head wants to see if he is any good at poetry.

He soaked himself watering the flowers and I asked him if he wanted to get changed as he was so wet. No because it will dry was his reply.

Whilst it is easy to mourn that my baby is getting bigger, in true little man style I will embrace positivity and look forward to watching him grow and become more independent. There will be lots of smiles on the way. He brightens up my day. Especially when my husband texts to say he asked little man what he would like to do.

His answer?

Eat, sleep, rave, repeat.


What is your favourite age? Do you mourn the past or embrace the future?


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Enjoy More Water With Robinsons

Robinsons Squash'd

Summer is all about water. Playing in the garden with the boys in the paddling pool and waterslide.

playing with water in the garden

On holiday at the beach.

bodyboard in swansea


Fun times at the swimming pool.

waterslide in Menorca

The boys enjoy having fun in the water. But what about drinking it? Robinsons have challenged bloggers to share their tips at staying well hydrated this summer. My husband often jokes I am a camel as I don't drink enough water either so it has been a great challenge to get me drinking more water too. Luckily the Robinsons Squash'd all taste great and have no added sugar.  Here are my top 5 tips:


One thing we are trying to do as a family at the moment in order to keep the boys active is a family run. At the moment this means a short run up the road and back. We need to build up our strength and stamina (well I do!) Here is our first post family run photo!

family run photo

Our hope is to work our way up to a family fun run. And how do we celebrate after our run? Well a drink of squash'd of course! And if it is a really hot day then a lolly is even better. We made these using the new Robinsons Orange and Peach Squash'd and added in some tinned orange and peaches.

making own ice lollies

How do you make sure your children are staying hydrated and enjoying more water?



This post is an entry for BritMums #EnjoyMoreWater Challenge, sponsored by Robinsons

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Simple Onion And Goats Cheese Tarts

onion and goats cheese tarts

For a quick and simple lunch or dinner, you can't really go wrong with this simple onion and goats cheese tarts. As my boys are a bit fussy, I make them little puff pastry pizzas instead.

All you need is:

Ready rolled puff pastry
Onion chutney
Goats cheese

Egg (optional)

Cut the pastry into the size, Spread onion chutney in the middle and crumble goats cheese on top. Was egg around the edges and bake at 180C for around 20 mins.

making onion and goats cheese tarts


What are your easy recipes that make a great lunch or dinner?

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Friday, 17 June 2016

Malteaser and Chrunchie Tiffin

Malteaser and chrunchie tiffin

This Malteaser and Chrunchie Tiffin is quite frankly amazing. With the weather being less than summery this week, little man was keen to make something in the kitchen. The idea was it would be a treat for Father's Day as Daddy likes Tiffin. It hasn't made it. It was too yummy, but Daddy did get some.

You will need:

200g chocolate
100g butter
2tbsp golden syrup

Malteasters
Chrunchie
8 digestives

Start by melting the chocolate in a a bowl over boiling water. Melt the butter and mix this in along with the golden syrup.

Put 8 digestives, a Chrunchie and a handful of Malteasers into a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin.

Mix this into the melted chocolate mixture and pour into a lined loaf tin.

Top with Malteasers and leave on the fridge for a couple of hours.

Cut into pieces and enjoy!




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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Decorating Your House With Scandinavian Prints

Giving your house a fresh look with some Scandinavian prints does not need to be expensive. When Desenio asked me if I would like to review some posters in their range, a number of things popped into my head. Firstly I really liked their posters. They are simple and stylish. Secondly, they are great value. Prices start from as little as £2.29 for a small print. Tastes change, so I don't want to spend hundreds on a piece of art that I will go off in a few years. Lastly, I have a lot of photos of my children. Don't get me wrong, I love having photos of the boys, but it had got to a stage where we had large canvases of them as babies. They are out of date. They are growing up and it is time to say goodbye to some of those pictures and replace with some fresh new designs.

The hardest thing about choosing the posters was deciding which ones to go for as there are so many nice designs. I had a look at the children's prints as little man's room needs updating. I absolutely love the Batman poster, so chose this plus a few extras that would work well.

batman poster

I love the new posters for our dining room. It is amazing how a new print can totally transform the feel of a room.

ampersand poster


deer poster

Desenio have a lot of motivational quote posters. I loved this one and have placed it in my bedroom. It is something I need to do more.

do what makes you happy poster

Finally this pair of posters complement each other and will be hung in our new study.

world poster

The posters themselves were packaged in a tube and the frames well wrapped so they wouldn't get damaged. The frames have clips to secure that are easy to use.

I really do like the fresh new look they have given our home. The website also gives you some inspiration as to which prints work well together. If you are looking for a fresh new look for your house then Desenio offer a great selection of prints at good prices and I will certainly be looking at their site in the future.

Which is your favourite scandinavian print from Desenio?


Family Fever

Monday, 13 June 2016

Star Wars Mini Builds For Father's Day & Giveaway!

Star Wars Books

Stuck for Father's Day ideas? Yes me too. But luckily Egmont came to the rescue with these Star Wars activity books. Whilst I still haven't made it through a whole episode of Star Wars, the men in my house think it is fantastic. My husband was over the moon that he could take big man to the cinema to watch The Force Awakens earlier this year.

Daddy and big man have been bonding this weekend with the Star Wars: Smuggler's Starship: Activity Book and Model (Star Wars Construction Books) (Don't let on but he will be receiving the Star Wars: Battle Stations: Activity Book and Model (Star Wars Construction Books) where they can build a mini ATAT for Father's Day.)

As you can see, they took the the mini build very seriously. Big man popped out the foam shapes and then arranged them into similar sizes. Then they carefully read the instructions, both with the same look of  concentration.


reading instructions to make millennium falcon

The instructions were easy to follow and parts fitted well together.

building a millenium falcon

All of a sudden, however, disaster occurred. Piece "O" was missing. Cue a scrabble around the floor to find it.

looking for missing piece

As you can see, big man located the missing piece and was rather proud.


Daddy and son were very happy with the build.

finished star wars build

And close up....




looking at an activity book

In addition to the mini build, there is an activity book with a variety of puzzles including wordsearches, mazes and sequences. Luckily the answers are in the back too! If this sounds like something that your Star Wars fan (young or old) might enjoy then you can purchase these books from Amazon.

       

I am also delighted to be able to offer a copy of the Star Wars Smugglers Activity Book as a prize. Just complete the Gleam entry below. Good Luck!

Star Wars: Smuggler's Starship: Activity Book and Model


SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

ThePrizeFinder - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/star-wars-smugglers-starship-activity-book-and-model#sthash.rK8OkVz4.dpuf

This is a commissioned post.

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Friday, 10 June 2016

The Rollercoaster Restaurant Alton Towers

Rollercoaster restaurant

I am one for gimmicks, so when I saw that Alton Towers were opening a Rollecoaster Restaurant, I wanted to go. It seems I was not the only one, as they were already really booked up! We ended up choosing to have a late lunch on the first day that we visited the park. You need a park ticket to visit the Rollercoaster Restaurant in the day, however, if you book when the park is closed in the evening you don't.

inside rollercoaster restaurant

The Rollercoaster Restaurant is situated in the Forbidden Valley area of the part, next to Galatica and near Nemisis. We had our reservation for 4.00pm. Whilst the restaurant looked quite empty, they weren't allowing people in without a booking as they were preparing for the dinner shift.

We were seated and given an explanation as to how everything works. Each seat has a number. You order your food from an ipad and send it to the kitchen. We were told that it comes pretty quickly so we ordered our drinks first, to get an idea of what it is like.

It is really run watching your food come to you on a mini rollercoaster! All the plates, glasses and cutlery you will need are on a spinning disc in the middle.

food delivered by rollercoaster

There is a reasonable choice in the lunch menu. The kids menu is good and the boys were pleased with their meals. Big man had sausage and mash and the other two had macaroni cheese with garlic bread. I was disappointed that they were out of the chicken curry that I had been looking forward to. I instead opted for a chicken burger, which was nice enough.

kids sausage and mash


For dessert, we got the boys a sharing chocolate fondue. The chocolate did get a bit shaken on the ride!

fondue


There are big screens playing all the time, and remind you of the rollercoasters from days gone by which is really nice. My first experience of a rollercoaster was in the front row of the corkscrew at Alton Towers. I also have some happy memories of the Black Hole from my youth!

The Rollercoaster restaurant is on the pricey side. Mainly the drinks, as they are around £3 for a bottle of Coke. However, if you have a Merlin pass then you get a discount, bringing it to a much more reasonable price. Either way, it isn't somewhere you would go every day so I would recommend it. 

It was a shame that the restaurant wasn't busier when were were there as it is great fun watching other people get their food. We particularly liked the tables that had a coaster with a loop the loop. A Capri Sun seemed to have escaped earlier in the day!

loop the loop


Here is a little video so you can get the idea of what it is like.



Have you visited the Rollercoaster Restaurant yet? What did you think?