Sunday, 31 May 2015

McDonald's Football Mum of the Year Awards!

A few weeks ago we were invited to a football training session to launch the McDonald's Football Mum of the Year Awards. The kids were so excited but unfortunately Noah came down with Scarlet Fever and that was that we couldn't go! It was a real shame as Noah has recently started showing an interest in football (Isla likes a kick about too, but her focus is on gymnastics lately) and we've bought him a kit and he's been to a few training classes. I was disappointed as I really wanted to go and take away some training exercises to do in the garden and who could be a better teacher than Casey Stoney, England and Arsenal Ladies player.

The McDonald’s Football Mum of the Year Award will recognise mums who put in countless unpaid hours of hard work, so that their children and their friends can enjoy playing football. Coleen Rooney, mum to two football-mad sons and wife of one of England’s most prolific strikers, is calling for people across the UK to nominate a deserving ‘football mum’ in their lives who goes beyond the call of duty so that children can experience the joy of playing football, week-in week-out. 

I'm already beginning to experience 'child taxi syndrome' on a Saturday, when I take Noah to football training, then Isla on to gymnastics. They're only 3 and 5 years old at the moment, so I know that as they get older all their activities will take up a lot of man hours and energy, so the idea that parents can have their efforts recognised is really appealing! 

From time consuming tasks such as running kids to training and matches that can be hours away and managing their team kits, to helping run their child’s local team, or even starting a local team simply so their children and their friends can play; the awards are an opportunity to acknowledge their selflessness.

McDonald’s Football Mum of the Year ambassador, Coleen Rooney, said: “I’m so excited about this award. I live in a football-mad house and know how much goes into just getting the kids to training and making the time to watch them play every week, so I can only imagine the amazing nominations we’re going to receive for this. Dads tend to get the credit a lot of the time for coaching teams or teaching their kids how to play, so this award will give people a chance to shout about the hard work mums do on and off the pitch.”

England and Arsenal Ladies player and mum-of-twins, Casey Stoney, is also supporting the awards and will sit on the judging panel alongside representatives from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

McDonald’s Head of Women and Girls Football, Casey Stoney, said: “I started my career at the grassroots of football, and as a new mum I can already see how important this award is from both sides of the fence. There are so many mums who help to run their child’s club or volunteer at the clubhouse to help raise funds so the kids can play. It’s so important to recognise them when you consider that they’re also often juggling childcare and work on top. I cannot wait to have a kick about with the twins in a few years!”

Coleen Rooney will present the Football Mum of the Year Award to the winner at a special ceremony at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, 2nd August.

Nominations for the McDonald’s Football Mum of the Year Award are now open and will close on 19th June 2015. To nominate a mum you know go to: 

McDonalds Football Mum of the Year Awards

To follow on twitter: @BetterPlayUK

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure - Review

Noah is a big Octonauts fan and it’s actually something that took me by surprise because with Isla being the older sister she really does dominate what channels are watched in our house and I thought we’d lost CBeebies forever! But somehow he managed to reclaim the channel and he is now permitted by her ladyship to watch Peter Rabbit and The Octonauts. He loves it, sings the theme tune and has already asked for an Octonauts birthday cake (birthday in 2 months time). When I told him that we were going to see the live show, he was so excited and actually Isla loves the theatre and the fact that it wasn’t one of her choice didn’t matter.

We went to see Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure at the New Wimbledon Theatre, which is fairly close to us, we’ve been there a few times, seeing Dora and Ben and Holly there previously. We took our seats, gave out the obligatory sweets and waited for the show to start and when it did it was clear that Noah was going to love it, having human sized versions of his favourite characters right in front him gave him such a thrill. He knows all the characters which was useful for me because there were some that I hadn’t noticed before in the TV show.

In Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure the entire crew of the Octonauts, led by intrepid explorer Captain Barnacles, Lieutenant Kwazii and Medic Peso, embark on an exciting new underwater quest and visit amazing underwater worlds full of adventure, with surprises around every corner. I won't go into anymore detail as I wouldn't want to spoil it but it has a real sense of drama in line with the age group it caters for.

Things we loved about it were all the audience participation – from being told to help steer the Octopod to being encouraged to call out to Captain Barnacle, it was great and it really helped to make the kids feel that they were part of the whole adventure. There were also some really lovely songs throughout (from BAFTA-award winning composer Mani Svavarsson no less!), songs aren’t usually a feature of the TV show but they were great and catchy too. I personally loved the bit when the stage was blacked out the UV underwater creatures came out – this was also something that happened in Peppa Pig's Treasure Hunt and it was really effective in that show too.

All in all it had a good plot and was easy for the kids to follow. Both of them loved it, Noah in particular felt like this was a big treat for him and seemed to believe that these were the real Octonauts. The show is around 90 minutes in length and there is a short interval in the middle, which allows for the inevitable kids need for the toilet!

If you would like to see Octonauts Live, go to and check out  and see if they are near you.

We were given tickets free of charge to see the show. All opinions are our own.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Win a Family Ticket to Octonauts Live!



UK TOUR 2014 2015

In a couple of weeks we're off to see Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure at Wimbledon Theatre. This is great news for Noah as he is a big fan, already saying that for his birthday in July he wants an Octonauts party, so a suitably themed cake has been ordered! 

If the Octonauts has passed you by then let me fill you in:

The Octonauts are a dynamic eight-member team of quirky and courageous adventure heroes who dive into action whenever there is trouble under the sea.

Equipped with a fleet of aquatic vehicles, they rescue amazing sea creatures, explore incredible new underwater worlds, and often save the day before returning safely to their home base, the octopod.

Based on the original books by Meomi, Octonauts is animated by Brown Bag Films and continues to go from strength to strength as a unique and exciting global pre-school brand.

Details about the show:

Top-selling childrens stage show producers Fiery Light will tour a brand new full-length theatre adventure for children, Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure. 

In Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure the entire crew of the Octonauts, led by intrepid explorer Captain Barnacles, Lieutenant Kwazii and Medic Peso, embark on an exciting new underwater quest and visit amazing underwater worlds full of adventure, with surprises around every corner. This action-packed interactive show features new music (from BAFTA-award winning composer Mani Svavarsson) and all the Octonauts live on stage for the very first time.

Richard Lewis adapts and directs this new production for the stage. He also adapted and directed the hugely popular three Peppa Pig stage shows and last yearBen & Hollys Little Kingdom tour. Matt Lewis is lyricist, Simon Scullion is designer, Matt Haskins is lighting designer and Ian Horrocks Taylor is sound designer.

For tour information please go to:
And Facebook:

***You can also join in with the Octonauts fun as I have a family ticket to give away! The winner can choose their venue and performance, tickets subject to availability. To find out where your nearest show is and dates visit the show website: ***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions

A family ticket is for four people, minimum one adult. The tickets are non-transferable. 
There are no cash alternatives. 
Accommodation or travel are not included in this prize.
Entry is via Rafflecopter.
The competition closes on Wednesday 6th May.
One winner will be chosen from the entries after the closing date.
If prize winner does not respond within a week of being contacted then a new winner will be drawn.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

An Afternoon at Big Fish Little Fish Family Rave

We’ve been meaning to go along to Big Fish Little Fish for a while and finally this weekend we went! We’d had a little taste of how fabulous it was going to be when we went along to the free Big Fish Little Fish event they held at The Southbank Centre as part of the Imagine Festival. We loved it and I knew that I wanted to go to one of the monthly events at The Bedford in Balham and I did a little dance around the room when Natasha invited us to come along as a family and see what it’s all about!

The event runs from 2 – 4.30pm on a Sunday afternoon and is only a 5 minute walk from the train station, and the journey from our house is half an hour – perfect – no driving required. We went along with our best friends and their kids, who had also come to the Southbank before and loved it. We already knew that the event was a sell out but rather wonderfully that didn’t mean that it was filled up to capacity – there was still plenty of space to move around, on the dance floor and in the upstairs craft room and chill out rooms.

On arrival the kids were given a glow stick each and then they hit the craft room, the theme was Mad Hatter's Party and Captain Cookie, the resident craft person had all the materials a kid would need to make a Mad hatter hat. It was genius! And it was all laid out so that the kids could adorn their hats with any extras, like playing cards and streamers. Isla got stuck in and I couldn’t resist being involved too.  There was also a fabulous Alice in Wonderland mural for the kids to all colour in and add to, you could even buy a copy of it to take away to use at a party of your own – such a great idea! Also in the room was face painting and temporary tattoos, all included in the ticket price, which is something I really appreciate as so many places you go, you have to pay for a ticket then everything else is extra. There were some great little biscuits and cake you could buy that were in keeping with the Alice theme.

Once the kids had finished getting their craft on, we went downstairs for a dance and it was so nice hearing music that I used to love and dance to when I was clubbing in the 90’s! I love new music as well but there is nothing like a trip down memory lane and a bit of nostalgia. It’s a nice reminder that there was life before kids and gave me the feeling that it’s possible to go and dance with your kids. Hearing Raze - 'Break for Love' and Groove Armada brought me so much happiness. The venue felt really safe for the kids, although I'm  not yet comfortable with the older ones (aged 6) going off on their own quite yet, even though it was a small enough place. Every now and then there would be bubbles and confetti bombs going off and towards the end of the event the parachute came out and everyone piled underneath it.

My favourite memories of Sunday afternoon were dancing with Isla to Neneh Cherry's Buffalo Stance. Such a classic song and a reminder that before kids I LOVED music and I need to start sharing the music I love with them more. And also lifting Noah up to pop the bubbles as they came down from above. 

At the end the kids were given a box of Bear Nibbles and a Happy Monkey Smoothie which was such a lovely touch and we went on our way, slightly sweaty and after being in a dimly lit pub for the past two hours, marvelling that it was daylight outside (something that if you went clubbing back in the day you would also marvel about at 6am outside Leisure Lounge or Ministry of Sound!).

Details of the next Big Fish Little Fish's event can be found here

I'm personally getting very excited about getting my Big Fish Little Fish fix at Camp Bestival in the summer and I'm considering a CB warm up at one of the three events BFLF are holding in the run up to the festival.

We were given free family entry to Big Fish Little Fish. 

Sunday, 5 April 2015

#MySundayPhoto - Springtime

This photo was taken at the end of a really brilliant day with my sister and our kids at Bocketts Farm. Who can resist the lure of holding a baby lamb? A symbol of springtime and new beginnings. It's not the best photo but I was so thrilled to be allowed to hold this beautiful baby. There were many lambs born on the farm that day and the pen full of expectant sheep in one of the barns gave me such an exciting feeling. New life happening right there. 

I love this time of year, it feels like there is real possibility in the air, fresh starts and my post about 'Change' at the beginning of the year is starting to come in to effect. A new job is only a month away, I've blogged a bit more than I did for the whole of last year, I've started some exercise, I've been working on photography, thanks to doing an online course and my eating and diet have seen some improvements. 2015 feels like a fresh start for me.


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

We ♥ H+M

I buy a lot of the kids clothes from H&M. I usually go in and do a big splurge getting all their essentials in one go, and most recently I've done a few shops online and I've found it an easy process. I find that their clothes are inexpensive, durable and also on trend. Noah lives in jogging bottoms in the winter/ spring months and they do such great joggers, in a range of colours and they are such good value. I love these bright orange ones. They also do brilliant logo and slogan T-shirts and when I saw this one I had to get it for him - he's a big Batman fan and it's raised a smile on most people's face when they've read it. 

T-shirt: £5.99
Joggers: £5.99 (these were on a 3 for 2 deal)

I got Isla a couple of really sweet bird print summer dresses at the same time, which fit in with her new found love of birds. I'll post those another time. 

Wednesday's Wardrobe

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Summer Swimsuits

Now it’s spring I can start to think about buying the kids some new bits for the warmer weather and I am thinking about HOLIDAYS! With that in mind here's Isla in her new Popupshop swimming costume that I absolutely love and she does too! 

It’s such a bold print and I feel like it matches her personality. It was a bit more than I would usually spend on a kids swimsuit at £22, but I’ve always been a swimwear fanatic.  I love checking out the new kids swimming costumes when they come in the stores, and I am a big fan of animal print. Isla rocked this Zebra print two piece that I’m sure came from Sainsbury's last year, and the price tag on that one was lower, so you don’t need to spend loads to have good style sense.

I got the tiger swimsuit online from Little Sunflowers and they were brilliant to deal with, I received the swimsuit the day after purchase. Now I’ve discovered Popupshop fashions, I’m coveting lots more things from there for the kids! 

Wednesday's Wardrobe