A Mothers Ramblings: April 2012

Saturday, 28 April 2012

What We Are Eating (W/C 28/04)

Dinners last week were a little bit of a problem when I prepared Tuesdays meal before picking Top Ender up from School forgetting that Top Ender had a friend coming round for tea! Still with a bit of swapping around we  managed to eat our dinners in a different order and everything was good. This week we have two birthdays to look forward to (My Mums on Tuesday and mine on Wednesday) so dinner is going to be exciting!

Saturday 29th April

We are going to have The A Mothers Ramblings Sticky Apple Bacon and Sausage Roast tonight because we can and we love it. I'm going shopping with my Mum in the late afternoon and as this doesn't take long (half an hour roughly) it is a perfect miserable weather comfort food!

Sticky Apple Bacon and Sausage Roast


Sunday 29th April

We are having a Roast Chicken (again!) for dinner. Last week I did it with Lemon, Rosemary and Garlic and it was lush, although the gravy wasn't too good. This week I'm thinking that I will do it with a honey glaze as I am having a really big sweet craving since giving up Fizzy drinks and chocolate in my bid to lose weight. By the way the weight loss is working. Slowly, but still working.

Monday 30th April

It's the last night of April, so lets end it on a high with Jacket Potatoes and Tuna or Beans depending on who you are. I can't wait as I love a good jacket potato and I'm going to do these Jacket Potatoes in the slow cooker so they will be really lovely!

Tuesday 1st May

We are off to my Sisters for dinner tonight to celebrate my Mum's birthday. I'm not sure what my sister is making other than it is gluten free so that Daddy can join in and that I'm making the pudding. The problem is that out of the twelve of us eating three of us are on official diets, one of us is on a diet but they don't know it, one of us is a diabetic and so can't eat anything too sugary and six of us are children. Jelly and Ice-Cream anyone?

Wednesday 2nd May

We have been as a family to Frankie and Benny's before and when we were asked if we could do a review again as they have a new menu, we decided to go out together as a family for my birthday! We are telling the staff that we are also celebrating Big Boys birthday as his birthday is in a couple of weeks and we don't want him to miss out on the fun too. I'm not sure what I will eat because despite having gone over the menu at least twenty times I can't narrow it down...

Frankie & Benny's Milton Keynes

Thursday 3rd May

I'm off to the theatre with my Mum for our birthday, so dinner will be quite early for me! I will probably just have a sandwich before picking up my Mum. Daddy and the children are going to eat together and the children are hoping to have some of the Gregg slices that Iceland sell now and Daddy is having one of his Gluten Free ones which are blooming lovely. I have no idea what they will team it with, as if I plan potatoes they will have chips so I'll let them sort it out themselves.

Friday 4th May

It's Pizza night! It's a celebration week so why not? Daddy will make his (or rather whoever is cooking will) and I've cheated and brought Pizza's for the rest of us to share. The children are very much in to Hawaiian so that is probably what I will end up sharing too.

Friday, 27 April 2012

A Day Out In London With Big Boy

One of the reasons why I need a new handbag is because when we go for a fun day out with the family my current handbag is normally stuffed with spare clothes, notebooks, drinks and treats. It's a regular Tardis! All this extra weight has taken its toll with ink stains on the front pocket, zips losing their pull and holes where bags shouldn't have holes. Anyway it's still my trusty Tardis like bag and so when Big Boy and I went to London earlier in the month for the Warner Brothers Bloggers Day, I took my trusty bag and Big Boy took his. His bag was more fun than mine as it contained Top Enders DS, his ipod and a map of bus routes near our home. I'm not sure why BB thought he needed the bus map but with us it went.

When we got to London we had a great time with the gang at Warner Brothers. Big Boy loved playing with some of the team with the new Superhero Lego and it has led to a little bit of a Batman revival in our house. I never knew I knew so many Batman characters! I was given a lot of information about other ways to watch movies at home, including how to use those UltraViolet Digital copies that you find in the Warner Brothers Blu-ray Triple play packs and also managed to make a couple of the team very jealous of our 3D projector setup! I'm pretty certain I should hire Daddy out to create a similar setup in others peoples homes. The best part of the day for me though had to be when Big Boy saw a HUGE Eric from Happy Feet and decided to wrestle with him. Even Big Boy realised that a six foot penguin was going to overpower him and posed for this picture;

Big Boy wrestling with Eric from Happy Feet

On the way home we popped into M&S to get some lunch to eat on the train ride home, but Big Boy soon decided that he didn't want to eat his lunch (he wanted to eat it at home with Top Ender as an after school picnic, which was sweet but annoying he needed to eat his lunch!) and so he had a quick look through my bag to see if he could find anything and he found a few Mr Kipling Cake slices. Mr Kipling were quite generous and sent a few cake slices along with some other bits for a Family Day Out (which we will be going on soon) and Big Boy approves wholeheartedly!

Big Boy eating a Mr Kipling Cake Slice

Spending the day with Big Boy was great fun and I'm sure that before he goes to School this September we will have plenty more.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Who's That Girl - Big Boy Giggles

With Top Ender having gone back to School, Big Boy and I are slowly getting back into our daily routine. We were having a morning snack and catching up on some TV when Big Boy noticed that one of the people in the TV show has the same name as Top Ender.

"That's the same name as the girl that lives in our house!" said an excited Big Boy
"Who? Me?" I asked being Devils advocate
"No, you know! The girl that lives in our house with us!" said Big Boy
"Do you mean your sister Big Boy?" I asked
"Yeah! Her!"

I do love the fact that Tops just lives in our house with us.

Big Boy on the Stairs

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Gluten Free Doughnuts - Wordless Wednesday

Gluten Free Doughnuts

Okay so including a recipe technically doesn't make this Wordless, but I think we can all agree that if you have a doughnut maker (or access to one!) and you are Gluten Free that this is a recipe that you are going to want to try!

Ingredients

225g gluten-free plain flour (we use Doves Farm Plain Flour)
100g caster sugar (plus extra for dusting)
1 1/2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
125g butter, melted
120mls milk
1 lightly beaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
lemon juice (optional)

Method

1. Preheat the Doughnut machine. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the centre of the mixture and whisk in the butter, milk, vanilla and egg until the mixture forms a smooth batter.

2. Pour the batter into preheated doughnut rings and cook for 6 minutes or until doughnuts are golden and cooked! 

3. Take the doughnuts out of the machine and dip them in lemon juice, before dipping in the sugar to coat and Serve!

And if you are like Top Ender, then the addition of a squeeze of ice cream sauce (Strawberry and toffee pictured below) makes a very tasty saucy treat!

Sauce Filled Gluten Free Doughnuts

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Cardboard Box Cars

We had worked our family budget to include a weekly take away treat for the family. After looking at our budget again, Daddy and I realised that this is going to be a monthly treat, but we still want to have this special Saturday family time each week. I was thinking about it and came up with an idea of how we could make our own take away meal at home a little more special. The first part of my plan was to convince Daddy that my plan was a good idea. Luckily, Daddy loves having fun just like me and so he was eager to join in with the plan. We decided to keep it a secret until the last moment from the children but still set off as a family to Tesco to get a few cardboard boxes.
A Cardboard Box - A Mummy Goldmine!

We asked the Children to decorate the boxes like cars and they eagerly started decorating with the assortment of pens, crayons, pencils and stamps that we own with their own theme in mind (Top Ender went for fairies and Big Boy chose Dinosaurs).

Decorating the Cardboard Box Cars

I cut out circles of card to make steering wheels and then set about making my own car (I'm just a big kid at heart!) whilst Top Ender and Big Boy started playing with the cars they had made. They had great fun pretending to get their cars stuck in mud, pushing the cars up and down the living room and then parking the in the car park. They still weren't sure what was going on, but the freshly made doughnuts that Daddy was supplying them with and the chance to be creative kept them happy. When they saw my car they decided to make a few more additions to their own cars, mainly adding number plates and headlights just like mine!
Mummy's Cardboard Box Car

When they were finally sure that they had coloured their boxes to perfection we asked them to climb in and drive to town to run a few chores for us. They both sat eagerly in their cars waiting to find out their task, and then Daddy told them they were to go to McDonalds to collect their lunch. I covered my hand with my mouth and talking like the muffled drive through tannoy asked to take their order, before advising them to move to window one and then on to window two to collect their food.

 Top Ender in her Cardboard Box Car in the Drive Through Queue

The Children loved it and quite happily sat in their cars to eat their lunch (Daddy and I decided the sofa was more our style) before returning to their private McDonalds for a McFlurry. It was a great morning activity that had us all giggling, trying to out do each other (I still say my car was the best) and was very budget friendly!

Big Boy in his Cardboard Box Car having his Drive Through Lunch

The cars are currently living under our dining table, ready to be pulled out for another trip this week. We have a whole series of events planned but we could do with some more ideas of where we could "take" our cars, so please give us suggestions in the comments.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

What We Are Eating This Week (WC 21/04)

Here are the plans for dinners this week. I will get my butt into gear and start blogging lunches again as Top Ender and I have some great plans for Friday lunches and I've come up with some fairly decent "adult" versions too! The meals this week are mainly relying on things that we already have, although Daddy went out last night to get a few bits and pieces (Cat Food, Washing Powder, Milk, Salad, Ham, Bread, Fruit etc) and we are planning on making some sweet and savoury treats over the weekend to last us for the week.

Saturday
We are really tight in our budget this month and so we are planning on not having a takeaway for lunch. We just need to convince the children that their weekly treat isn't a good idea too. We have some Gluten Free Burgers and Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets in the freezer and we have chips too so we could serve them home made take away and combine it with making some cars for a personal drive through. I'm actually really excited about this now!

Sunday
It's been a while but we are going to have a proper Roast today! We have a Chicken, potatoes which we will roast in goose fat, a nice selection of vegetables and because we are gluten free I will make some lovely gravy too. I love making gravy from scratch now that I know how to do it and it tastes divine! I'm going to do something special with the Chicken although I'm not sure what just yet. We have lemon and rosemary and I think they go with Chicken... It's funny I'm getting "adventurous" and I think it's partly to do with letting everyone read the weekly menu and partly because I'm trying new things because I've realised how easy they are!

Roast Chicken

Monday
It's St George's day so I was planning on making something English and decided that Shepherds Pie would be the best option. Daddy loves Shepherd Pie, but he has asked me not to include peas in it this week. Well you know what I say don't you? If you don't want peas, make it yourself and as I'm making it, there will be peas!

Daddy's Shepherds Pie

Tuesday
It's Jacket Potato night so we are going to have Tuna Melt Jacket Potatoes. As far as I can remember it's basically jacket potatoes with some tuna and cheese and that makes it all gooey and sticky and yummy. At least I think it does.

Wednesday
Top Ender has a friend coming round for tea again tonight so the Children are going to have Fish Fingers as that is what they have decided on. I was going to make Fish Finger Pie or possibly my Mum's Fish Finger Surprise, but only my Sister and I like that so we'll just stick with plain fish fingers, beans and some form of potato. I bet they want chips. Daddy and I will have a curry... if I have curry powder. If not then we will have leftovers!

Thursday
As Daddy is working late and Big Boy, Top Ender and I make sure to eat something that he can't we are going to have something containing huge quantities of egg. I'm thinking a Frittata or a Quiche. If it is a quiche then I'll serve it with potatoes and sweetcorn and if it is a Frittata then it will have potatoes and sweetcorn in it!

A Home Made Quiche

Friday
I had a dream last week and in it I made Creamy Pasta with Sausages. I cut the sausages up into bite size pieces and quickly fried them off with a little garlic and some chopped onion. I then added some Chicken stock, cream, mustard and some herbs that were in the cupboard. At the same time I was cooking some pasta and then I served it all mixed up together. It was a good Friday night dinner when served with some home made garlic bread so that is what it will be. I just hope it will be or my dreams have a lot to answer for!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Average Eight Year Old - Wordless Wednesday

When we were at Chessington World of Adventures we came upon a sign giving the average wing span of an Andean Condor compared to the average Eight Year Old. Seeing as we had an eight year old with us we measured her up against the board. Turns out she is the size of an average eight year old in arm span. Height wise she's a lot taller!

Top Ender being the average Eight Year Old

Big Boy of course wanted to have a measure up too. At nearly four though, he isn't quite the average eight year old!

Big Boy is The Average Four Year Old

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Indecent Exposure - Big Boy Giggles

We don't care that much about gender specific toys here and so when Big Boy brought down Top Enders Barbie dolls to play with we didn't really care. Daddy and I were watching the Boat Race and Big Boy was playing with the dolls at our feet and it was when Daddy tapped me to look at what Big Boy was doing that I started playing attention.

Big Boy was taking all the clothes off the dolls before sitting them into the car and driving them around the living room.

"Why are you taking the clothes off the dolls Big Boy?" I asked
"They want to get arrested." Said Big Boy
"...What?"
"They are fed up of living here."
"So they are taking their clothes off?"
"Yes. They will get arrested and go to jail and live there!"

Big Boy playing with Barbies

I think I might try the school run naked . I need a holiday.

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Influence Of Social Media - Top Ender Giggles

It's been a while since we had a Top Ender Giggles, because Tops hasn't been funny. No, not really! Top Ender is always funny, there has just been a lot that I couldn't share!

So Daddy, Top Ender, Big Boy and I had gone for a walk at the local shopping centre (okay so really I had gone to look at the bag I'd like for my birthday which you can read about over on Pippa World and if you want you can go and buy for me) and we were having a great time chatting together, trying to lose each other behind different displays and generally having fun!

Daddy started to tell me a story about work when Top Ender started repeating everything he had just said. We looked at Top Ender and asked her to stop repeating her Daddy. She stopped and looked at us and said;

I'm not repeating Daddy I'm retweeting him.

Top Ender at Milton Keynes Tree Cathedral

Sunday, 15 April 2012

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 15/04)

I have a little but of a problem with regards to the meal plan this week. I couldn't get on to the PC when I was making the shopping list and so I used the back of an envelope to make a note of what we were eating and when based on what we were doing this week. And now I can't find the envelope and I can't remember what I planned on making past today...

Sunday

We choose the BBC Chicken and Bacon Cacciatore recipe and decided to accompany it with Roast Potatoes for our Sunday Family meal. We've actually eaten it already and it was fantastic! We added a stick of celery and a handful of chopped mushrooms to increase the vegetable count and we didn't add as much chicken stock as it suggested (400ml as 500ml would have taken it over the top of my casserole dish!) and to finish it all off we put it in the oven rather than letting it do in a pot on the hob as I don't have any Le Creuset dishes. I should have added that to my birthday list!

Monday

It's Top Enders first day back at School today so we are going to celebrate by having jacket potatoes with BBQ Beans, cheese and very finely chopped spring onions. I'm actually just going to have a plain potato with salad, but I doubt anyone else will join me! I'm going through my I hate baked beans phase and through my lets all eat salad phase!

Tuesday

I going to be out in the morning with BB (we are going to be in London for the Warner Brothers Bloggers Day and we are going to go and see some Dinosaurs too!) so we figured that today would be a good day for Meatballs and Spaghetti! We love meatballs and Big Boy told me that I should be a good mummy and give him food that he likes more often so I planned a meal I know he would like!

Wednesday

I can't remember what I was going to make. It was some kind of Turkey and Beans casserole and I had a great plan for what it would be, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was going to be! I think I will do braised turkey and beans with some mushrooms, onions, garlic and some of the herbs hiding in the kitchen added in. If we have some cream I might add some of that towards the end of cooking, but I'm not sure! I think this would be best served with rice so I might just add the mushrooms to the rice along with some peas.

Thursday

On Tuesday, I should have a delivery of fish and fishcakes delivered as part of my participation in the Fish Is The Dish campaign and as normally the fishcakes are made with batter or breadcrumbs that aren't gluten free Daddy can't eat them so the children and I will eat them whilst Daddy is at work. I know the children will want chips and beans, which I'm quite happy for them to have, but I'll serve mine with New Potatoes and Green Beans.

Friday

It's a Friday so I think we should have something special. I'm planning on doing Honey Mustard Pork Loins with Mashed Potato, green beans and Sauteed Mushrooms. I'm really looking forward to this one!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Lego Duplo Creative Sorter

We love Lego Duplo here at A Mothers Ramblings. I love that Big Boy can take the bricks and build whatever his mind creates. His imagination is amazing and with the number of drawings he has been creating of Boss Men for the end of levels in computer games, I shouldn't have been surprised when Big Boy started using a combination of Lego and Duplo to create 3D versions of his Boss Men Creations!

Big Boy and the Lego Duplo Creative Sorter

Big Boy was sent the new Creative Sorter. We were lucky enough to get a sneak preview of this last September and weren't allowed to talk about it! It was horrid not talking about the prototypes we had seen and I was so relieved when and there are some truly great products in the pipeline that we were told about that I can't wait to see when they are in production!

Big Boy and the Lego Duplo Creative Sorter Animals

Big Boy loves the sorter and will make the animals over and over using the sorter as a guide. When he first saw the guide he followed the "map" to create the animals which pleased the Lego Duplo Experts no end as that is exactly what they are designed to do! Having Big Boy follow instructions independently is great because this sort of play teaches Big Boy to be independent and to follow instructions just like he will be expected to at School!

Big Boy was sent the Lego Duplo Creative Sorter as part of the Lego Duplo Blogger programme!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Save The Last Dance For Me

I love taking Top Ender to the Theatre, she is so interested in fashion that I have encouraged her to look at every trip to the theatre as research for future lines. Top Ender has decided this is a great idea and loves to accompany me to any show she can, so I think if she doesn't make it as a fashion designer she might be interested in being a costume designer. As both Daddy and I love going to the theatre we are hoping that this will develop into a love of the theatre too and this week I was able to take Top Ender to see Save The Last Dance For Me which is set in the 60's in Luton (just up the road!) and Lowestoft and we loved it!

Cast Members of Save The Last Dance For Me

It wasn't just the costumes that Top Ender loved, but the tunes too! It's not often when I go to the theatre that the cast actively encourage you to sing along if you know the words. I normally do sing along, but have to do so quite quietly for fear of Top Ender poking me in the ribs (like she did when we went to see Joseph last week) but I was quite happy singing along with the cast with the verses of the songs that I did know as they performed.

Top Ender watching Save The Last Dance For Me

The story is about two sisters who take their first holiday without parents, together at Lowestoft where they soon find themselves invited to hear Elvis at an American Airbase. As we all know those Americans are pretty smooth with their pick up lines and Elvis is a drummer not "The" Elvis, but the girls end up having fun drinking Coke and eating real American Hot Dogs. There were a lot of jokes that Top Ender didn't get (thank goodness as I wasn't really ready to have a detailed Birds and the Bees conversation with her!) but with her having watched Hairspray before she understood the problem the main characters would have with having an interracial relationship.

We received free tickets to see the show at Milton Keynes Theatre.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 7/04)

It always makes me laugh when people tell me how wonderfully behaved my children are and for the most part they are, but as I have alluded to getting them to eat a wider variety of meals isn't always easy. I remember reading once that you have to offer a food ten to fifteen times to a child before they stop seeing that food as new and accept it as something that they eat. As far as I can tell that's a lie because my children try things time and time again and still refuse them one day and eat them the next! Oh well, maybe by the time they move out they might eat my cooking without complaining and if I'm really lucky it might be this week.

Saturday

On Saturdays we have a take away, normally it is something like a McDonalds or a Burger King but with it being the end of Lent I'm hoping that I can persuade Daddy that I deserve a Chinese! Seeing as we won't have another Take Away this month I think we can afford it. I don't think that the children will want to give up their McDonalds for a Chinese and so we'll eat after they go to bed... maybe.

Sunday

It's becoming a tradition that on Easter Sunday my Mum comes over to share lunch with us. It's also a tradition that we have Roast Lamb because of the price of Lamb being what it is and because my Mum loves to gnaw on the Lamb bone! This year I am going to stud the leg with rosemary and garlic and I've never done it this way before so I'm quite excited! Of course it will be served with my famous Roast Potatoes, various vegetables and other optional extras. I make a good roast and with a starter (Prawns) and pudding (Crumble maybe) too, I doubt we'll need to eat for the rest of the day.

A Roasted Leg of Lamb

Monday

Following the hopefully wonderful meal we had yesterday I think we'll need something lighter and simple for dinner and so I've planned for a Veggie Spaghetti. I'm going to use red onion, pepper, onion, mushrooms, courgettes, tomatoes and some of the leftover lamb if it hasn't already been eaten in sandwiches and general picking every time we go in the fridge!

Tuesday

It's fish night in the A Mothers Ramblings house and so we are going to have a Rosti Fish Pie. It combines two of my favourite things, fish and Rosti. I'm out in the afternoon on Nick Coffers radio show on Three Counties Radio, so the Rosti Pie is something that is quick and easy to make when we all get home. I've never made it before but I know that the children love a Rosti and I'm hoping that this means they will eat the pie without complaint!

Wednesday

We are out for the day and we aren't sure when we will be back so I'm planning Jacket Potatoes as I can throw them in our microwave and then in the oven to crisp up if we need something to eat. If we have eaten out during the day then the potatoes can be used next week.

Thursday

Top Ender, Big Boy and I are loving our little family nights whilst Daddy is out at work and we are making the most of our ability to eat Gluten by eating the foods that we love but that Daddy can't share. Tonight we'll have some battered chicken, because I can't get used to making batter using the gluten free flour and my chicken goujons are fantastic!

Friday

We are off camping with David Bellamy. I know right? I can't wait! Anyway, whilst we are camping we are being fed and watered so I don't need to worry about food. I do know that there is a cream tea at one point and I'm hoping seeing as we are camping there is going to be some form of BBQ meat. It's almost as good as the tents that we might be sleeping in.

I'm going to link up with Mrs M again this week, so take a look at her meal plan and the others that link up too if you are lacking some dinner inspiration as there is plenty there to chose from!


Friday, 6 April 2012

Dear So and So - The Non Gambling Custard Eating Edition

Dear Man who tried to sell me Lottery Tickets at my front door,

When I say I don't gamble as it's against my religion you don't answer;
"Well I've sold tickets to other Christians and they are going to donate any winnings!"

Thanks for noticing my hair anyway.

The non gambling when it suits her lady, safely hidden back behind her front door.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

Twenty years ago I was lucky enough to be part of one of the Children's choirs that were part of the cast of the West End Production of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget and I know gave me a lot of confidence in myself. This week I was able to take Top Ender to see the touring production of Joseph staring Any Dream will Do runner up Keith Jack at The Milton Keynes Theatre. I was thrilled to be able to take her to see this musical as it was such a big part of my life and childhood and I wanted tops to see it for the magic I knew it held.

Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat Programme

Whilst it wasn't the production I remember, it was a great show, and as I sat in the audience I was transported back and received a couple of pokes to my ribs as Top Ender got fed up of me singing along, under my breath! There were a lot of children in the audience and they all seemed to be enjoying the show, if not singing along like the adults they were with, then they were clapping along or having a dance in their seats, especially in the megamix at the end.

It was at the end that we realised that Top Ender was wearing her own Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and so we sang the colours all the way home. I knew learning them twenty years ago would pay off in the future... you want me to sing it don't you? Okay here we go.

Top Ender at Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

It was red and yellow and green and brown 
And scarlet and black and ochre and peach
And ruby and olive and violet and fawn
And lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve
And cream and crimson and silver and rose
And azure and lemon and russet and grey
And purple and white and pink and orange
And red and yellow and green and brown 
And Scarlet and black and ochre and peach
And ruby and olive and violet and fawn
And lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve
And cream and crimson and silver and rose
And azure and lemon and russet and grey
And purple and white and pink and orange
And blue!

I think that there is something for everyone in this production and with the music being so familiar to most of the audience if this touring version comes to a theatre near you it would be a great family night out.

We received free tickets from Milton Keynes Theatre to see this production.

Milton Keynes Tree Cathedral

Whilst the weather was warmer Top Ender, Big Boy, Daddy and I made the most of it with several trips in and around Milton Keynes. Somewhere that we were pleased to be able to visit for the first time was the Milton Keynes Tree Cathedral and whilst in early Spring it wasn't as vibrant as I am sure it will be later in the year, we had a great time wandering round the different parts and trying to identify the different parts of the Cathedral without using the picture we had taken of the map. The tree cathedral was created by a landscape architect called Neil Higson in 1986 and he cleverly chose different trees to represent the different sections of the Cathedral. There are hornbeam and tall-growing lime for the Nave, evergreens to represent the central tower and spires and flowering cherry and apple as a focus in the chapels. I couldn't really identify all of the trees, but luckily the information posters around the Cathedral were very helpful!

The Cathedral of Trees Information Sign

Instead of stained glass windows the Cathedral has flowers to bring colour. The flowers were daffodils, as it was early Spring, and being on the ground they are supposed to represent the sun shining through the windows and leaving puddles of the light on the floor. We all thought it was very effective and we were quite impressed with the quantity of bulbs that must have been planted!

Daffodils at the Milton Keynes Tree Cathedral

Daddy thought it was sparse and I thought it a little eerie with there not being many leaves on the trees, but the Cathedral has a very serene atmosphere even being as close to a major grid road as it is. We loved wandering around on the paths and the children loved criss crossing from side to side and pretending that they were part of a wedding party.

Looking Down The Milton Keynes Tree Cathedral

The favourite area of the Cathedral was the Chapter House Mound where the children posed for a picture on the steps before taking off to sprint round the mound several times and passing through the hedges at the top. Daddy and I loved hearing them laughing as they hid from us and chased each other and we took in the view of Willen Lake.

Tops and Big Boy at the Chapter House Mound

We all had a good time at the Tree Cathedral and I'm keeping an eye out for the next service being held there as I think it would be nice to attend an outdoor service.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Show Me Your Easter Eggs! #ShowYourEasterEggs

Over on Facebook I decided today to change my cover photo to one from Easter last year.
Lots of Easter Eggs

My Sister (Hi Kitty) gave me a call to tell me she was going to post a picture of her eggs for me to see and we thought it would be a good bit of fun to start a little Meme about Easter Eggs big and small. So come and show me your eggs!

You can either write a blog post and link back to here and leave me a comment so I know, or use the Twitter Tag #ShowYourEasterEggs and mention me @PippaD so we can track them via Twitter and I'll do a round up for Easter Sunday.

So come on show me your Easter Eggs!

They Do Love Each Other! - Wordless Wednesday

Top Ender and Big Boy at the Nature Reserve

Monday, 2 April 2012

A Whole New Me. Maybe The Start Of A New Half Of Me.

It's no secret that I'm over weight or that I'm trying to lose weight. I am losing weight, slowly but steadily and I kind of feel that for me it isn't until I have lost all the weight I need to lose that I can start looking pretty. It's not that I don't like myself or see myself as pretty (I think I have nice eyes and I like it when I smile) it's just that it seems a waste to put effort into making myself look pretty when I'm so overweight.

Or so I thought.

A couple of weeks ago I headed down to London to have the team at Regis do something with my hair. I can't remember the last time I had my hair cut, or the last time it had anything remotely professional done to it and to be perfectly honest it showed; I guess that is why I always wear my hair back in a ponytail. Sitting in the Regis salon and talking to Chris Tilley (who is a member of the artistic team) and Guy Cammarano (the creative director) I found out more about my hair in five minutes than I think I have ever known in my life. Whilst they were honest they were also complimentary and Guy made me realise that my hair is an asset and it's hard to explain but he gave me confidence in myself even before it had been cut.

Guy and Pippa talking about haircuts

Guy and Chris left me in the capable hands of Rainey who showed me different colours that she thought would be best for me to have as highlights to add some texture and depth to my hair. It was funny because she had picked out two lighter colours, one that was a match for Top Ender's hair and one that was a match for Big Boy's hair. The colour was put on, my hair was cut and blow dried and I was amazed at seeing me in the mirror. I looked good. Sod that I thought that I looked Great!

Owly Image of Pippa and Rainey

Of course since coming home I haven't been able to recreate the sleekness of the hair from that day, but the length of cut is a lot kinder than what I had before and it really suits me, even when it is fluffy and bouncy instead of all sleek and swishy. I had a fantastic day along with my fellow winners (Motivating Mum who is fantastic fun, Curtains for the Window who laughed at all my jokes and Fashion Train who is absolutely adorable) and I am looking forward to the day in the near future when I can make my hair all sleek and swishy too!

I received a free haircut and colour and lunch and some brilliant products to use at home. I also got to meet Emma Willis which High Heels Mum was rather chuffed about!