Days Out In Cambridgeshire

Days Out In Cambridgeshire

The summer holidays are upon us and with it, 6 long weeks of entertaining bored kids! Although I’m now back at work, I still have more than 50% of the week to find some way of avoiding boredom.

Cambridgeshire has so many amazing places to visit (some of which are free which is an added bonus) and this is how we are intending to spend our summer (providing the rain goes away!)

Here’s my list of local places that are great to visit with under 5’s.

1. Sacrewell Farm
With tractors to climb all over and have rides on, animals to feed and an amazing soft play area, this makes a great day out. It’s not too expensive and has indoor options should the heavens open. They also have additional activities on during school holidays.

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2. Hinchingbrooke Park
Apart from a small car parking charge, it’s free to visit. There are miles of lovely walks, plenty of open space for running around and lots of play equipment for children. Also, if the kids stay quiet enough, there’s lots of wildlife to be seen. They usually have additional activities such as pond dipping in the school holidays.

3. Johnsons Farm
This is about 5 minutes in the car from us a definitely a great way to kill a morning. The kids love visiting the animals. They have all sorts there but their favourites are always the alligators. Although it’s free to visit, I always get stung for the amazing food in their cafe and farm shop!

4. Anglesey Abbey
A beautiful National Trust house and gardens. Lots of outdoor space for the kids to run around and amazing for a game of hide and seek! We all learn something new here as well look at the array of flowers and find out what they are.

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5. Sedgwick Museum
There are plenty of museums in Cambridge to choose from but this is my favourite. I love all things earth science related and with dinosaurs involved the boys tolerate it too! Always plenty of activities going on to amuse all ages. There’s also a great geology trail that takes you on a walk around Cambridge centre after you’ve finished in the museum. Totally geeky but we love it!

House Of Fraser Cushion Competition

House Of Fraser Cushion Competition

It’s summer and what better way to celebrate than by brightening up your house. A quick and easy way to do this is by adding cushions. We love a good cushion on absolutely everything (it must be a woman thing)!

House Of Fraser currently have an amazing selection of cushions which are guaranteed to brighten up any room. There is pretty much something for everyone. You can check out their enormous range here.

We’re currently in love with the Roald Dahl range and this beautiful Matilda cushion. It looks great on my sofa and the kids love it. It’s the only thing in my house that they treat with care! I loved Roald Dahl books as a child and this gorgeous cushion brings back very happy memories.
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We’ve teamed up with the lovely people at House of Fraser to give away another beautiful Matilda cushion from their Roald Dahl range. This beautiful pink book cushion will look fab in any little girls bedroom or, if you’re like me and you’ve never grown up, in your living room!
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Enter our competition below to win. Please note that this competition is only open to residents of the UK and Ireland.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Thank you very much to Martha Mother for my nomination. I’m very honoured to be nominated for such a prestigious award!

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The Liebster Award is all about getting to know other bloggers so please pop over and check her blog out. It is a really fantastic blog and you’ll have a blast reading it.

Martha Mother has set me these questions:

1. Where is your favourite place in the world?
That’s a toughie. I have visited so many amazing places in the world but I’m stuck between Cuba and Bali as my favourite. Both beautiful countries with such wonderful, welcoming people. Both countries I would go back to tomorrow. Bali holds special memories for us though as it’s where we honeymooned.

2. How would you describe your blog in 5 words?
The madness of my family!

3. Is where you are now with your life, where you planned it to be 5 years ago?
I wanted my family complete before I turned 30 so in that aspect I’m where I planned but I hoped to have progressed a bit further with my career. Due to a crappy company plus an additional maternity leave that I hadn’t bargained on, I’m still in the same role I started in 9 years ago.

4. What is the best compliment you have ever received? 
This is a really tough question. My husband always tells me I’m useless at noticing and accepting compliments so that might be why I’m struggling to think of any.

5. What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?
Who is this breathing all over my face? My eldest had crept into bed next to me after hubby had left for work. As much as I love him, it was a bit early for that!

6. Do you have a favourite post of your own? If so what is it about and why?
I love this piece I wrote about my difficult decision on returning to work after maternity leave. It’s a massive decision that I need to make over the next few months and I’m so, so torn.

7. If you could be any age for a week, what age would that be?
I think I’d like to be 21 again and remake my career choice. I had a teacher training place and foolishly turned it down for a job. Really wishing I’d trained as a teacher now. I’d also love to be able to go out with hubby every night of the week without having to worry about babysitters and bills!

8. Where do you go to work on your computer? 
I mostly work on my lap in the front room either while supervising play time or while hubby is having a PlayStation session!
We bought a new house 18 months ago before we found out I was pregnant. I had the box room earmarked as a study. It now houses a child and all their associated mess instead of my laptop!

9. Do you have a favourite book or read much? Why or why not?
I love reading and before children used to easily demolish a book a week. I don’t have so much time for reading now unfortunately.
I love P.S I Love You by Cecelia Ahern and The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

10. What did you do for your last birthday?
My last birthday was a biggie. On the actual day I just went out for dinner with my family as it’s also my Dad’s birthday the same day. To celebrate my birthday properly hubby took me away for 2 days to Alton Towers and the Splash Landing waterpark. It was adults only and we had a fab time.

11. What do you feel most proud of?
Boring I know but, it’s my kids! I brought 4 amazing little people into this world and they are perfect. They make me so proud ever day as they learn and grow.

Now it’s my turn to nominate some other wonderful bloggers.
Reimer and Ruby
Tummy Mummy
Mummy Lala
This Mummy Lark
Mum of a Bean
All Past Midnight
New Mummy Kate
Sugar and Rhubarb

Apologies if you’ve already done it. I did have a nosey to see if you’d done it before!

Here are the rules for all those taking part:

1. Acknowledge and thank the person that nominated you.
2. Use an award image to add to the post.
3. Answer 11 questions given to you
4. Nominate up to 11 blogs
5. Don’t forget to let them know!
6. Give them 11 questions to answer.

My questions for you are:

1. What’s your blog all about?
2. If you could interview one famous person for your blog, who would it be?
3. What’s your greatest achievement?
4. How do you spend your weekends?
5. What’s your favourite day of the week and why?
6. Where’s your ultimate holiday destination?
7. Who would be your 3 perfect dinner party guests?
8. What’s your favourite song and why?
9. If you could have any superpower what would it be?
10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
11. Why did you start blogging?

Grandparents Are Superheroes

Grandparents Are Superheroes

No, they don’t wear lycra and fly through the sky (that I know about or want to know about anyway) but they do come to our rescue in times of need.

Our parents are the greatest! If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have been able to return to work after having the boys and we most definitely wouldn’t have been able to go away to celebrate our birthdays recently or have date nights!

We are really lucky that my parents are less than 5 minutes away and the in-laws are only an hour away. They are never intrusive but they have helped us out so much over the years since the children have been born and I’m not sure we could ever thank them enough.

They have come to our rescue when our eldest fractured his femur and required a blue light trip to the hospital. My Mum has never travelled the mile between our houses as quickly as she did that morning. She took amazing care of a very frightened 1 year old as his brother was wheeled off to the hospital.

They also helped out so much in the final weeks of my twin pregnancy when I was so poorly and getting up off the sofa required a crane and about 20 minutes! Days out and extended holidays definitely helped break the boredom of Mummy being a beached whale!

I know they say they enjoy it but looking after the grandchildren does take it out of them. They’re not in their 30s any more! But, at the same time, I think it’s keeping them younger. They get out more and run around which can’t be bad for their health.

It’s also giving our Dad’s an opportunity to get back what they missed out on when we were younger. I know my Dad worked incredibly long hours just so my Mum could stay at home with us. He missed out on a lot of the fun of having really little people and I think he’s making up for that now. He’ll quite often phone up and asks if he can take the boys out or come play with them.

With the rising cost of living, Mums are having to go back to work after maternity leave. This means more and more grandparents are helping out with childcare. It’s a good job really as childminders and nurseries don’t come cheap! Without my parents help, there would have been no point me returning to work. All of my wages every month would have been gobbled up by the long nursery hours the boys would have needed. I also love the way they are cared for by someone they know really well and trust completely. They still do a few hours a week at nursery so there’s not as much pressure on my parents and I like them mixing with other children.

But, does there come a time when grandparents doing large amounts of childcare has to stop?

Yes, for me I think there does. Our parents are still fairly young and in good health. I’m not sure I would impose on them so much if they were a lot older and heading towards their 70’s or their health was failing them. If my children started to cause them big problems such as stress or they became ill then we would reevaluate the situation immediately. I wouldn’t want them caring for our children to make them ill or prevent them getting better.

They say they enjoy it and I do think that’s genuine as they’ve really missed having the boys while I’ve been on maternity leave. If they are enjoying it and everybody is happy, then the arrangement works.

I’ll never be able to thank them enough for all the help they give us and will be forever grateful to them.

Mummascribbles
Mami 2 Five
The Gruffalo And A Day Out In London

The Gruffalo And A Day Out In London

Myself and my biggest boy had a little Mummy/son bonding time on Sunday. I love spending time with him on his own as it’s something we rarely do these days and with him heading off to school in September, it’s going to happen less often.

I saw The Gruffalo in the West End advertised on Groupon months back. B loves the theatre and he loves The Gruffalo so I knew I was onto a winner booking tickets.

I was a bit nervous about going it alone with him in London as he can be a bit of a handful especially when tired! But, we got Daddy to drop us at the station and headed into London from the in-laws which made the journey considerably shorter.

We arrived at Picadilly Circus nice and early. Our aim was to have a wander through the shops but I forgot the shops don’t open until 12 on a Sunday. It was lovely and quiet though so we had a wander around, watched some street acts and enjoyed the fact the streets were closed to traffic for a 10k race.

The Gruffalo is currently on at the Lyric Theatre on Shaftsbury Avenue until the end of the summer holidays. It’s currently sharing the theatre with Thriller and B was quite taken by the huge sparkly sign above the theatre!

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We arrived just as they were letting people into the theatre and it was packed! Although they recommend ages 3+, it was nice to see children of all ages there and even a few adults without children!

We loitered outside for as long as we could before we went inside to find our seats. The show is only an hour long but I thought B might start to get a bit fidgety.

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We had great seats, really close to the stage but with no tiered seats B found it difficult to see when a lady sat in front of him. We did swap seats but maybe I should have gone for circle seats instead.

The show is performed by a cast of 3 actors and they were fantastic. One actress played the mouse for the entire show while the other 2 actors played numerous roles between them.

B was so engrossed in the show that he was shouting along with the characters and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him stay still for that length of time! He loved it.

I don’t mind taking the kids to these shows as long as I’m entertained as well and The Gruffalo really did that. With fantastic story telling, brilliant songs that the audience could join in with and the most over the top and flamboyant snake you ever did see, we both had a great time. I don’t want to say too much so I don’t spoil it but, I highly recommend going to see this. I enjoyed it so much I’m considering going back and taking O with me.

After the show we headed off to M&M World in Leicester Square. I promised B we would pop in here afterwards so he could get some chocolate.

The smell of chocolate as you walk in the door is just overwhelming! It makes you so hungry. Obviously a fab marketing tool! We had a wander around and B wanted to have a go on the huge London bus in the entrance. We did buy a few M&Ms from the pick and mix machines which were pretty pricey but don’t tell Daddy!

We had lunch in Leicester Square. Bad Mummy alert but, we had a Burger King! It was absolutely ram packed so we headed outside to the grassed square area. They have pavement fountains and we were enjoying watching other children play in them while we ate.

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As soon as we finished though, B wanted in on the action. It was all going so well until he lost his timing and ended up standing on a fountain as it sprayed up. I could hear everyone gasp as he got his soaking.

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I had to walk around for the next hour with a child who looked like he’d wet himself! We both found it pretty funny though. If you can’t do things like this as a kid, when can you!

After lunch I asked B where he’d like to go and his response kind of surprised me. He wanted to go see the Queen. So, we headed off towards Trafalgar Square where I showed him Nelsons Column and more fountains (although we stayed well clear this time).

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We continued our walk towards The Mall. I lived on the outskirts of London for the first 21 years of my life and I have spent so much time in the capital. But, I have never once walked up The Mall!

The road closure was still in place so we took the opportunity to walk right up the centre of The Mall so he could see Buckingham Palace getting closer.

He was pretty impressed when we arrived that somebody actually lived in the ‘castle’. We sat on the fountain for a while (notice a theme yet!) watching the world go by before going over to the gates to watch the guards and wave at a few policemen!

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By now, B was starting to complain he was tired and his leg was hurting. He fractured his femur about 18 months ago and if we do a lot of walking he still complains about it so we started to head home. We had a stroll back through Green Park to the Tube station.

We sat on the train eating our chocolate then B curled up on my lap! I forget he’s only 4 years old at times and I think I broke him today!

”Twinkly
Time For A Redesign

Time For A Redesign

We bought a new build house around 18 months ago. New build houses suck for interior decoration unless you love magnolia everything so, we planned to work around the rooms redecorating one at a time.

Decorating quickly got put on hold when we realised new babies were arriving although we did manage to get the nursery done! That was one important room to decorate.

I’m ready to get decorating again now and thought I’d start with a relatively small project – the en-suite.

We have a problem with the en-suite – the window. We have a beautiful VELUX window in there which is great for admiring the scenery while you’re having a shower but I fear my neighbours can see in, particularly in the winter when the trees shed their leaves. We need a bit of privacy!

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The VELUX website has some amazing solutions for the window. I can’t decide if I want a pleated or venetian blind. Both options are relatively affordable which, now my maternity pay has run out, is a must.

A venetian blind would mean I could angle the blind and spare my neighbours eyes while still admiring the scenery. But, the pleated blinds come in some fantastic colours and could match my colour scheme.

I will be using their free swatch sample service over the next few weeks to see which option goes best with my colour scheme before deciding. With so many choices, it’s a tough decision.

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The rest of the room only needs a lick of paint as the actual suite is brand new. I love bright and vibrant colours and I love feature walls. I once painted a wall of our old kitchen blood red while hubby was at work. He was pretty furious but did eventually agree it looked good!

I like the nautical/marine look for bathrooms at the moment. I definitely want a blue feature wall and I saw this cyan paint on the Dulux website.

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To finish the room off I’ve found some matching accessories on the Dunelm website which will hopefully stand out nicely against the white of the suite.

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I’m really looking forward to my first decorating project and I’m hoping it will give me the bug to get the rest of the house done.

Home Etc
Posie Pixie And The Pancakes – Book Review

Posie Pixie And The Pancakes – Book Review

Posie Pixie And The Pancakes is the seventh book in The Whimsy Wood series by Sarah Hill. We’ve never read this series of books before but I had heard great things about them.

I told the boys the title of the story and asked if they wanted me to read it. As soon as they heard the word pancakes, they wanted in!

The first thing that struck me about this book is the amazing illustrations. Sarah Mauchline does a really beautiful job of bringing the book to life through her drawings. Just look at this beautiful party animal!

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The boys were really blown away with the pictures and spent a great deal of time just looking at them.

I wasn’t sure whether my 2 boys would enjoy the book as I thought it looked a bit long and grown up for them but, neither of them moved for the entire story! They’ve also asked for this story at bedtime several times since so they obviously enjoyed it.

The story is so descriptive and really builds a picture up in your head of what’s going on. It is wonderfully written for the children and really captivated the boys including the 2 year old who very rarely sits still for anything these days.

I personally did find the book quite difficult to read. I found the sentences, although descriptive, very long winded and often found myself running out of breath!

The book is great for raising awareness of some really important everyday issues such as healthy eating and the environment but, in a fun, ‘the kids will never notice it snuck in the story’ kind of way! It sparked some interesting discussions with my 4 year old about why we should pick up rubbish and why we can’t eat endless amounts of junk food!

I was really surprised by this book. Looking at the front cover I thought the story would be quite girlie but neither of my 2 complained while I was reading it. They enjoyed it so much that they have asked me to purchase the other books in the series so they can here all about Posie’s other adventures.

Three In The Bed

Three In The Bed

Last night we had an enormous storm! It was kind of inevitable given all the hot, humid weather we’ve had recently. It was the kind of storm that brewed silently with lots of lightning and built to almighty, house shaking thunder and lightning.

I saw it brewing about 1.30 am with almost constant lightning. It wasn’t long after, that a small face appeared at our bedroom door claiming he was frightened.

Normally, no child invades my bed during the night but a terrified 4 year old during a rare thunderstorm is an exception.

We tried to sleep but the lure of watching the storm was too great. We don’t get too many storms in The Fens as it’s a bit too flat and boring! So, we sat at the window watching for a while but the surrounding trees were blocking our view so we all piled back into bed and found a great website to watch the storm on instead.

This real time lightning map was great. We could see the flash of lightning and then it would appear on the map and show us the approximate track of the thunder. The boy was fascinated and it definitely took his mind off the fear of the storm. He was following the thunder ‘bubble’ to our village and was so impressed when he heard the thunder at the right time. Check this map out next time there’s a storm. It’s great fun!

The storm lasted nearly 2 hours and we were exhausted when we finally got the boy back to bed. Thankfully, none of the other children even stirred. Anymore than 3 in our bed is becoming a squeeze these days! How they sleep through storms like that I will never know!

Have you been disturbed by the Great British Summer storms this week? What do you do to pass the time with frightened children?