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!

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.

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Setting Myself Some 30th Birthday Challenge

Setting Myself Some 30th Birthday Challenge

I’ve just turned 30 and apart from getting married and popping out 4 kids in quick succession, I’ve never really done much that’s terribly exciting in my life.

I’m a complete daredevil and very rarely get to challenge that side of me. I’ve always spoken about doing a bungee jump or a skydive but speaking about it is usually as far as it goes.

Today that stops. I’m setting myself 2 challenges for my 30th birthday year.

My first one should be relatively easy to achieve. We have a gliding club over the road from us and I really want to give it a go. They usually have a open day in September where they do trial flights and this year I am going to bite the bullet and go.

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Ever since my Grandad used to take me to airshows as a child I’ve wanted to get my pilots licence. It’s one of my ‘things to do before you die’ items but it’s stupidly expensive! Trying out gliding would be a step in the right direction.

My second challenge requires a huge amount of hard work before I even qualify to do it. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but it has a very strict weight limit so signing myself up to do it would be my reward for reaching my goal weight.

I want to do a wing walk. Yes, you did read that right! I want to stand on top of an aeroplane while it flies through the sky!

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This has always appealed to me and my inner daredevil for some strange reason.

I need to lost 21lbs first though. I’m hoping having this as a reward for reaching my target weight will spur me on to lose it.

I will keep my blog updated with my progress on both my challenges. I’m hoping to have completed them both before my 31st birthday in April.

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The Slim Fast Challenge – Final Weigh In

The Slim Fast Challenge – Final Weigh In

Well 14 days of the #slimfastchallenge are up and Monday morning was the final weigh in. I have held off weighing myself all week so this week’s weight was a surprise.

I jumped on the scales and was really disappointed. I’ve lost 4lbs in 2 weeks. Normally I wouldn’t moan about losing 4lbs but I’m disappointed as I weighed myself on day 5 and had lost 3lbs. For an additional 9 days of dieting I was expecting more than a 1lb loss.

I’ve followed the diet to the letter and even tried harder with my exercise for the past 2 weeks. I was expecting to lose more than 4lbs on such a low calorie diet.

I will reserve judgement for another week though as I suffer terribly with water retention and bloating once a month. The perils of being a woman mean that most months I can put on several pounds which disappear a few days later.

I haven’t minded doing Slim Fast as I’m so busy during the day that grabbing a bar or shake is easier than fixing a meal. I’ve not really felt hungry and I’ve enjoyed creating evening meals for under 600 cals.

But, I did feel like I was consuming quite a lot of sugar. The shakes and the snack bars had very high sugar content and I was permanently left with that strange taste in my mouth that you get when you’ve eaten too many chocolates!

Maybe because of the disappointing weight loss I’m feeling that Slim Fast wasn’t great for a quick fix diet. I’ve done both Weight Watchers and Slimming World in the past and have lost more in the first 2 weeks of being on those plans. I also feel they promote better eating habits and sustainable weight loss. I fear my 4lbs lost is going straight back on again!

Thank you to Slim Fast for giving me the opportunity to try out the #slimfastchallenge.

The Slim Fast Challenge – Introduction

The Slim Fast Challenge – Introduction

I have lost an awful lot of weight in the 10 months since my twins arrived. I weighed myself on the morning of my c-section and to date have lost 6 stone 7lbs. Some of that was baby weight but most was there before I fell pregnant.

While pregnant I had gestational diabetes so had to modify my diet significantly. I have kept up with this healthier eating since having the babies and also added in exercise at least 3 times a week.

In the last few months though, my weight loss has stalled and as the pounds have stopped coming off, my motivation has faltered.

When offered to opportunity to give the Slim Fast Challenge a go, I jumped at it. I’m hoping it will give me the kick start I need to get back on track. I’m also due back at work next month as would love to walk back into the office looking a million dollars and making them think I’m excelling at parenting 4 small people plus looking after myself!

The Slim Fast 3-2-1 plan sounds perfect for me. The 3 snacks, 2 meal replacement bars or shakes plus 1 meal of 600 kcal should suit my busy days where I sometimes struggle to sit down to eat. It also still allows me to have an evening meal with the Mr and secretly put him on an evening meal diet too!

I will be starting Monday morning and I’m quite looking forward to trying all the different flavours of shake and the snacks. Some of them sound really yummy and still allow me to have a hit of chocolate!

If I can get down into the next stone bracket, a place I don’t think I’ve been since I was about 5 years old, I’ll feel that Slim Fast has been a success.

A Sunny Afternoon – Van Hage, Amwell

A Sunny Afternoon – Van Hage, Amwell

Our boys are having a mini holiday at their Grandparents while we go away to celebrate my 30th birthday. This meant we had to take the kids to the in-laws to deliver them safely into their care.

Usually, we get to their house and don’t really do too much but, as the weather was so lovely, we decided to head off to the local garden centre. Van Hages is not your average garden centre (although they do sell some really amazing stuff). They have a fantastic pets corner and a miniature railway.

The boys loved looking at the animals and trying to convince Daddy that we need a pet. I need no convincing (as if 4 children isn’t enough!).

They have a huge array of animals including goats, sheep, rabbits, birds and some strange exotic named creatures!

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After a visit to the animals we headed over to the miniature railway. Run by the East Herts Miniature Railway, this ride on train goes on a journey around a small section of the garden centre. A ride is £1 for anybody over 2 years old which I thought was really good value for money.

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The boys had a ride with their Grumps who didn’t complain when we suggested he take the kids on! The boys were so excited about their train ride.

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We were only there just over an hour but could quite easily have spent much longer. It’s definitely a great place to go to pass a few hours without spending huge amounts of money.

Weaning Decisions – Meat Or No Meat?

Weaning Decisions – Meat Or No Meat?

I’m a vegetarian (or ‘pain in the arse’ as my husband lovingly refers to me). I have been since I saw a horrific video about how food gets on to our plates at school aged 10. Possibly not the best video to show a bunch of impressionable 10 year olds but, that’s not the point of this post!

G is a true cave man and would eat just meat and only meat all day long! He’s only made happier by being able to cook his mountain of meat on the barbecue which doesn’t happen very often due to the great British weather!

Whether our children eat meat is something we are quite often asked and probably something G was worried about when I started weaning our eldest.

Everyone seems really shocked that our children all eat meat. It wasn’t even a conversation that G and myself had as it got closer to weaning time. Our children will be meat eaters until they are old enough to make their own informed choice.

It’s not up to me to push my beliefs onto my children. Eventually they will be old enough to decide what they want to do and we will both support their decision (although Daddy has threatened to have any vegetarian children banished!).

It also doesn’t make me a half-baked vegetarian as I am so often accused! I eat rabbit food to save the animals but I am not a pushy animal rights activist who thinks meat eaters are evil. I can still be a vegetarian but live amongst meat eaters.

I’m sure everybody thought it was a fad when I gave up meat and, as awful as this sounds, that is probably what I will think if any of mine go vegetarian. I will support them none the less and, they can join me with my bean casserole for dinner but, I bet they miss bacon within a week!

5 Great Things About My May

5 Great Things About My May

So, April had its highs and lows. The girls had a lovely christening day, I turned 30 and realised it wasn’t the end of the world and B got his first choice school place. But, Easter and our trip to Thomas Land was completely wiped out by chickenpox.

We’re hoping to get out more this month and enjoy ourselves after last months washout!

1. Double Bank Holidays
Daddy at home for a 3 day weekend twice in one month is fantastic. The boys really miss seeing their Daddy so love it when he’s at home for an extra day.

2. The One Year Holiday Countdown
One year to go until our first family holiday to Mexico. We’re going to a family wedding but I’m excited about spending 2 weeks of quality time with my hubby and babies. I’m dreading the flight but currently there’s 22 family members on the same flight so lots of pairs if helping hands.

3. Trip To Dublin
My husband Great Aunt is poorly and couldn’t make it to the twins Christening so we have decided to drive over to Ireland with all the children for a few days to see her.

4. My 30th Birthday Present
Hubby is taking me to Alton Towers for a couple of days minus the small people. I’m a rollercoaster junkie and last time we went was only 5 weeks after my c-section so couldn’t go on any. I’m secretly looking forward to some quality time with hubby too.

5. B Starting His Introduction To School
His nursery have a day planned for activities to get them ready for school. He’s so excited about going to school and is really looking forward to this day at nursery. I’m not sure what activities they have planned to prepare them for school but I’m sure he’ll have fun all the same!

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5 Great Things About My April

5 Great Things About My April

1. The girls Christening

We unfortunately had to postpone this in January due to a death in the family but the girls will finally get their Christening day this month. This month has worked out slightly better in a way as they are now being Christened by the same vicar that married us and Christened the boys.

2. Finding out which school B is going to

I have been stressing about this for months. We moved house at the end of 2013 to get into the catchment area of a great village school. It is always oversubscribed but I’m fairly confident we should get a place. I cannot wait for B to go to school. As a September baby, he is more than ready for school and I know he’ll love it.

3. Easter

The kids don’t tend to eat too many sweets and we only finished eating last year’s eggs in February! No doubt the same relatives who didn’t listen last year will fill the house with chocolate again! I will have that dreadful task of helping to eat the eggs. It’s always such a hardship!

4. My birthday

I am the big 3-0! Of course, when people ask my age, I will still respond with 21! I’m not looking forward to this birthday but who does! I wonder if hubby will remember! I’ve been dropping plenty of hints about what I want to do for my birthday. I went all out for his last year with a weekend away. He better remember that!

5. Thomas Land at Drayton Manor

I am going to brave it and take both boys to Thomas Land on my own. I thought I would give their parent and toddler days a try as neither of the boys are at school yet. Really looking forward to trying out Thomas Land and so are the boys. I wonder how I’ll get on taking them both on my own though!

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