Friday, 24 October 2014

Congleton Park in the Autumn

On Wednesday, S was bouncing off the walls, so I decided we needed to get out the house, especially as it was dry. The park with a bike was the goal.
Im hoping that one day we will be an active family on bike rides etc, but as the girls still are unable to ride a bike, that is our first obstacle. I got out the bikes that used to be J's and resized them all for S. The pedal bike seemed to hard to grasp for her, so I decided to try the balance bike. Hooray she is now tall enough to use it on the lowest setting, and managed a few scuttles across the driveway, however, she was reluctant to take it to the park, but at least she has now been on it! Yeay... one step closer.

Once we arrived at the park, and had a battle of wills over the bike, I eventually gave up, and took it back to the car, and decided to just enjoy the park through S's eyes. She made a beeline for the water fountain, and had great delight in discovering about the helicopter seeds that can be thrown up, and they spiral down, after discovering some hidden inside the fountain.

Then it was on to chase squirrels, through the landscaped gardens....

...before doing the obligatory sit and pose on the statue steps.... (this has been done every time we have been here so far!)

We finally made it to the play park....

They have put some new little areas in since we last came, including a little bridge for the young ones to climb on and over, S kept saying bridge with a proper purr on the Brrrr... so I had to capture it for years to come... so cute...

S freaked out on the swing as it went slightly too high for her, so the swings were short lived, until she saw the larger one which I could go on with too, and finally she was giggling again.

It then started to drizzle, and as S has a thing against hoods at the moment, we decided to head for cover under the trees rather then continuing the fun of the park.  We came across some huge leaves, and began to collect some for painting later... im thinking flowers... peacocks...tree's and sunshine's....

And as the floor is like a carpet with the leaves after the really strong wins the day before, it was hard not to get a posed photo... well as posed as you can with a 2.5 year old who has spotted some more squirrels chasing each other....

On returning home, we laid the leaves out to dry out from the rain, and the cats where straight there sniffing at them before we could even take our coats off....

Unfortunately the leaves didn't last long enough to paint as S decided to carry them all over the house letting the cats chase her, so some got crumpled, some went too dry and crisp, and then there wasn't enough to paint... oh well... means we have to go back again.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Photo magnets with Pic Stick

I had the opportunity to capture some of our memories onto magnets. As you know, I am a keen photographer at capturing precious moments with the girlies growing up, as they do grow up so quickly. So when the chance came up to review a sheet of 9 magnets that can be personalised, I snatched it up.
The magnets were with pic stick. To be honest, I had never heard of the company before this opportunity. But, wow, are they slick. Once I put my order in, they were with me within 3 days. I order a lot of photo products as gifts, and none have returned this quick before.
The entire process was simple. Quick registration of name and email address, then you are presented with this screen...
so as you can see a sheet of magnets consist of 9, and you can grid it however you like. The photos can be uploaded through Facebook, and drop box, as well as uploaded from your computer or phone.
Once a picture has been selected, you can crop it....
again, really simple tools to not over complicate it. Once completed all 9 slots, you are ready to check out. The sheet of 9 magnets is £9.50 and includes free delivery WORLDWIDE. How good is that? Less than £1.15 per magnet??
The quality... well they do stick to the fridge, and its not just paper stuck on, it is like a proper photo magnet, its slightly bendy and glossy. ...
we chose to capture some moments with grandparents to pop into Christmas cards as a little extra something from 2014. The picture quality is the same as other photo gifts from other suppliers, not 100% but then again its not a standard photo. I would happily show them off on my fridge. They are child friendly too, as we all know children love playing with magnets.
I would personally recommend them, but then again, I am a fan of photographic gifts. Ideal for stocking fillers. Or just for your fridge even.
I was provided this product, free of charge, for the purpose of a review. All words and opinions are my own.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Blog Camp with Tots100 2014

Saturday was my first ever blogger event. I have been to events in the past as a blogger, but this was the first, just for bloggers, and lots of big names in the blogging world! To say I was nervous was an understatement. Although I've been blogging 6 months now, im still a small fish in the sea, with lots to learn. I was going to attend with a blogger friend, but she had to pull out in the final week, so I was either going solo, or pulling out too. I decided to go solo.
Saturday arrived, and I was out the door at 7am, thankfully Grandma and Grandad M slept over after having dinner with us Friday, so were ready to hand at the crack of dawn to take over as Daddy was already at work... HUGE THANKYOU to them. :-) I decided to get the train as the camp was right near the Birmingham train station. All went to plan, but I arrived early. I was lucky enough that they were already there, and I helped myself to a welcoming coffee and a Danish... yum! (Diet is off!)
As more bloggers arrived I got speaking to Nayna from Citrus Spice and simply food. She made me feel welcome at such a big event, and really made an effort to get talking to me, those that know me, I am very shy when I am in new situations and especially when I know NO-ONE nor confident on the subject. So again, Thank you Nayna for our little talk.
The talks soon got underway, and we got told that we were extremely lucky that Showroom and Cow and Gate growing up milk sponsored the event so we didn't have to pay. So again, another THANKYOU.
After the introductions, we got told the itinerary. There were a few classes I wanted to go, but some were running at the same time, so I decided to attend the photography workshops as that is my main hobby, rather then trying to push into the you tube world... that will be saved when im more confident in this side of blogging. :-)
The first workshop was with Tom and Becky, and all about food photography. So to start we had to create a piece of food to photograph... normally the girlies o this part for me, so I got creative with some fruit, and then sprinkles. Only 3 of us turned up for this workshop, which was really nice, as we got lots of tips for our own specific cameras... I finally got off auto focus... yeay, and got to explore different backgrounds, lights, and textures as well as angles... all the same piece of work, but all look different...
Out of those 3, I prefer the ingredients in the background, and love the natural light coming in. But then I got told about the seamless look using a piece of A3 card, wow, im blown away... I actually took those photos... ME.... I am proud, im not sure which one I prefer as unique, the angles are so different as well as the lighting. It looks pro... wow! I will be off to Staples for my card next time the girlies bake. And an LED light, of course.
It was then time for another coffee break... Mmmm... more fresh coffee. This is when I got speaking to Cow and Gate PR team, they have given me some samples to try with S, which I am keen to start due to the Vitamin D benefits, perfect for this time of year.
After the coffee break, we had another talk with some professional bloggers that get paid to do what I enjoy, and are successful enough they now do it full time. Honest mum, Vicky, has listed her top 10 tips here, and they are very useful to know. I really need to work on number 1. Behind my computer, in my home comforts I am extremely confident, but out in the real world, on my own, I really lack it. EEk.
Then it was lunch time.... again, WOW! Food was divine. I demolished it too quick to snap it, but consisted of large meatballs, lentil bake, fresh salads, hummus and breads, and Eton mess for dessert... and this was all free for us. Thank you Tots100. I sat with some other bloggers that again made me feel at ease, so another thank you to Louise from little hearts, big love, and Helen from Kiddy Charts.
After lunch was another photography course. This one was based around portraits and selfies. Teaching us all about light, angles, movement, props, and fun. We were paired up for various stations, and moved to different pairs for different stations so we were with different bloggers. Here are my 3 favourite pictures from the various stations.
capturing movement, props and capturing fun.
On the selfie part of the work stations, I took a few shots....
none of them were "right" the first was too high, so too much forehead, but I liked the smiling side of it. 2nd was too much going on in the back ground, and I don't like the angle. 3rd was too bright and again too much in the back ground, and 4 I tried natural light, but didn't quite get it. I have tried again at home, and come up with a better one, in my opinion, to update my About me photo, now that I have gained a few Ibs and that I am now a full time glasses wearer due to my contact lens disaster earlier this year.
...the lighting isn't great as its spot light 'orange' light rather then daylight light, but I like it. I hope you do too.
After that course there was more coffee, and biscuits.... I am being spoilt.
Then it was a talk about brands, this talk is where I learnt about having a contact me page, and this has since been made, so please pop along and find me on the other channels and say hello. Along with Mummy M's Memories facebook page.  This is all new to me, and I am learning as I go along. Any other tips and hints would be great from more experienced bloggers.
After the brand talk, it was then time for a dash to the train station, and time to let it all sink it. Would I go along again to a blogger event, well.... that all depends. I learnt and gained ALOT, but I did feel uncomfortable at times as I had gone solo, I was sat on my own at times whilst larger groups giggled and laughed around me, but why shouldn't they? They all have met many times at various events. I did not feel comfortable approaching larger groups mid conversation, on subjects I knew nothing about. So if I become more successful, more confident, and don't go solo, yes I probably would go to another blogger event again.
Thank you Tots100 for organising a lovely event.
Snapshot taken during Toms photography workshop

Friday, 17 October 2014

The best of both worlds... Formby beach

Last weekend the weather was glorious, and Daddy was off work, and he had enough energy to go out with the girls. We don't often get out and about now J is at school, and with the commitments of dancing and swimming lessons, so took advantage of the free Saturday afternoon. We headed off to one of my favourite National trust places, Formby beach. Its the best of both worlds, the forest and the beach.... my favourite two places to go with the girlies for fresh air.
We started in the woods, and soon found some HUGE leaves, unfortunately we didn't have out leaf bucket with us to collect, but we still had fun playing around and hiding behind them.

and S attempted to carry it around, it did get dropped shortly after though...
We also found a big 'den' that we went to explore, there were lots of wasp looking flies so we didn't stay for too long....
The next corner we walked around, we stumbled across a natural playground....
...the girls enjoyed looking for a stick to make music...

..and found a magnified glass... S especially like this, and soon called J over to explore it too...

 J wanted to go around the tree obstacle course, but with it being wet, it was slippery, and she was hesitant as she wanted to hold on to us, with some encouragement she, did have a go, and she made it all around....
...and was so proud when she completed it....
...after the play area corner, we found some puddles, as the girls were equipped with wellies they were allowed to splash.
 ...but S managed to splash so big, she splashed onto her tights, which she didn't like... we were leaving the woods, J realised just how high the trees are, we didn't see any red squirrels on our walk today, but we did keep our eyes open.

After the woods, we headed down to the beach, and grabbed an ice cream enroute... 
...this was a challenge for S, as we had to climb the sand hill first to reach the beach... we reached the top of the hill, we saw a big rain cloud coming across the sea, and the rain falling, we decided to watch it come closer, whilst we finished our ice creams, but due to the rain, we didn't hang around for long....

...J was thrilled that we were on the beach...
...and happily posed with her sister, you can see the rain falling behind them...

..there is something soothing about a beach with stormy weather approaching.... S had got bored with eating her ice cream, and knew we were limited on time, she dived into the sandcastle building equipment, and had fun building a few.... unfortunately my camera battery died around this point, so we couldn't capture the final result...
We made it back to the car just as it started to rain, and the rain followed us all the way home for the 90 minute drive. The rain and the sun was happy to provide many rainbows to entertain the girls throughout the journey.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Healthier me.... my journey so far... 4 weeks in.

I last posted my update on my attempt to become healthier about 3 weeks ago. Which you can read here. I was struggling with m food, but could see a little change, and then decided to keep it simple.

I arranged for our main meals for a week to be based around roast dinners, potatoes and veg, and come day 5, was still on plan with the nutrition, I did not feel deprived, and enjoyed cooking without the stress of a new recipe every day. Come day 6 though, hubby didn't want any more roast dinners though, and his cravings were kicking back in, and I didn't want to waste a joint of meat on just me... so we caved in, and have since struggled to get back on track, which is going to change again now, I am going to make healthier meals, and will serve it up, so they can eat t or go hungry. :-) I need to start putting myself first.
But that's all I am going to say on the nutrition front, as what I am doing is not just about nutrition. I also do very hard, and I mean HARD exercise's 3 times a week. They come through to my email address, and are different each and every time. They started easier, but now consist of 20sec very intense exercises with 10 seconds rest, or various other timings, you think as its short bursts it wont be too tiring, but oh it really is.
We did a fitness test at the start of the 4 weeks, and then again at the 4 week stage, and I have noticed a HUGE difference already. Look at the difference just 4 weeks and 30minutes 3 times a week can do... as I cant say nutrition is perfect...YET!!

                                                               Week 1                               Week 4
                         Full squats                        25                                       38
                         Press ups                           17                                       31
                         Burpees                             8                                         13
                         Plank                                 20 secs                               43 secs
All the exercises are done in my front room, and require no equipment, what so ever, I normally do it from my laptop, whilst the girlies are watching one of their TV programmes, and sometimes they attempt to join in, J is obsessed with burpees, and I have no idea why, I hate them with a passion. But all the squats, lunges, press ups, planks, star jumps, jumping squats etc are all helping to mould me to a healthier me. And a smaller me... which I'm more then happy with, the programme I am following is loose 2 dress sizes in 8 weeks, I don't think I will achieve this, but I haven't been following the nutrition side, but once I have tweaked this side, im looking forward to the results as I will be joining the gym very shortly too so I can get some much needed ME time.
I love being a mum, but when that's all I am 24 hours a day, it does bring me down, im slowly loosing myself to the routines, and unable to return to work due to the expense of child care and hubby "I wont get a day off", I'm stuck at home, so hoping the odd 45minutes here and there will help me keep my sanity.
So here is to the next 4 weeks, with even more exercise thrown in, and bringing in the reins on nutrition....
Can you see a difference??

Friday, 10 October 2014

Little Moreton Hall

Today was a beautiful autumn day, with blue skies, and the chill in the air.... my favourite days!
S wanted to do painting, but I wanted to make the most of this dry weather. I managed to persuade S that we could go leaf collecting, ready for painting or collaging over the weekend. She was certainly up for this idea when I presented a pumpkin bucket for her and her wellies.
We are lucky where we live that we have a fair few national trust properties close by, so we headed to one where we have never been to, Little Moreton Hall.
S loved the quirkiness of the wonky beams. And the air was filled with quacks from the many ducks dotted around.

S adores any animals, so soon went to introduce herself to the ducks.... the ducks were NOT impressed.

The gardens here are small, but the knot gardens were beautiful, and S liked trying to climb over the miniature hedges which is hand trimmed, and takes over 80hours.... wow!!

 S was very pleased that for once she was allowed on the grass...yeay!
We then remembered we were here to collect leaves for our collage, we were hoping to have big leaves and very colourful ones, but it wasn't really that type of national trust place, but S still managed to find some.

and some puddles....
she has progressed from last year to walking through them, to actual splashing.

With the greenery as back ground, I decided to capture some of S many expressions, and she was happy to participate.

and enjoyed having one with mummy too without J pushing to the front as she was at school.
After finishing in the gardens, we decided to have a little wander into the hall to see what its all about. There was a guide all dressed in the olden day gear, and helped make our experience more then just a walk through, so THANK YOU!
S took a liking to her, and seemed to listen to what she had to say, she showed us a game from the Tudor times, where they had to get marble type stones/clay into arches and count up the score, along with a cloth type board game with a wooden dice, and even showed us the bed. S liked how comfy it was, but didn't like the idea of sleeping upright. I learnt a new fact, that back in the olden days to get the cloth so white, they used urine.... yuk!!!
And it was all finished off by S making a stained glass window.
The lady has mentioned some of the half term activities they have planned, like mask making of a face that is in the chapel onsite, and wolf masks, story telling and other activities, so think we shall be going down with J in tow too, to keep boredom at bay.
Another great little outing on the national trust membership! Thank you.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall