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

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Dinosaur Zoo, The Fairfield Halls - Review

On Saturday we went to see Dinosaur Zoo at The Fairfield Halls in Croydon. We decided to skip football and gymnastics classes for it as we love seeing shows and Noah is Dino mad at the moment. Every bedtime includes either a fictional dinosaur story - Dinosaurs Love Underpants is a big favourite or a factual book where I have to try and pronounce ALL the dinosaur names!

We arrived at the theatre and starting at the same time was a Frozen Singalong! All the little Elsa and Anna's were running around and looking very excited about the prospect of singing their hearts out to Let It Go (and the mums too I would imagine!). We went to a Frozen Singalong before Christmas and it was brilliant!

Anyway, back to Dinosaur Zoo. The show is really interactive with the kids, which is great - with each introduction of a new dinosaur a child in the audience gets invited up to take part. The whole show is about dinosaurs that lived in Australia, so that meant that we didn't see T-Rex but we did see his Australian equivalent, the Australovenator - he was fierce! Noah reassured himself that it was just a puppet when he told me that he could see the legs of the person inside! Aside from the fierce carnivore there were also some baby dinosaurs, some huge dragonfly type creatures that 'flew' round the audience and a really huge gentle herbivore dinosaur.

The presenter of the show gave the audience loads of factual information about dinosaurs throughout which was great for adults and kids and he was also really good with the children, poking gentle fun out of them to raise a laugh from the audience and with the little ones it felt like they believed the dinosaurs were real which was magic.

After the show the kids were able to meet and greet the dinosaurs, Isla touched the the Australovenator's nose and then got to stroke one of the baby dinosaurs. This was a nice touch as she is ever the child who wants to get up on stage, and this time she didn't so meeting the puppets more than made up for it.  

For more information about the show go to:

The Fairfield Halls always has a great selection of shows and screenings for all ages. This half term The Fairfield Halls are showing family films for only £2! For anyone who’s not seen Big Hero 6, then I thoroughly recommend it and it’s not long been released. Personally I think we’ll be going to see the Shaun the Sheep Movie, Isla is a big fan of the TV series and I hope to take the kids on the Shaun in The City Trail too. Going to the cinema can be such an expensive family outing, sometimes costing over £30 for a family of 4 but at these prices you could afford to go a couple of times in the holidays – particularly if we get typical school holiday wet weather! Details of cinema showings can be found on the Fairfield Halls website

Thanks to the Fairfield Halls for inviting us along to see the show, we look forward to visiting again soon!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Peter Rabbit's Post Office #CountryKids

Today we made our way to Limpsfield Common, a National Trust area, to see some very special little dwellings! I'd first seen them when a friend commented on a photo on Facebook and as they're only a 20 minute drive from us we had to go and see for ourselves! What am I talking about? Well some lovely volunteers have been creating some very sweet little homes on the Common, amongst them Peter Rabbit's Post Office, the Owl House and Fox Villa. 

The car park gave no clue as to where to go to see these treasures so we set off on a walk and I took some photos of what we found. The kids loved it and found it really exciting coming across each residence. When you find Peter Rabbit's Post Office you can open the door and there's a box you can leave notes or keepsakes. Isla left a little picture she quickly drew. It really was a lovely way to spend an hour or so of our time and we know we'll definitely be back when it's warmer for a picnic and it also looks like in a few weeks time there will be a multitude of bluebells. 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Siblings: March 2015

This month it was World Book Day. I'd decided that I'd keep the conversation about this limited with the kids as the school had given us a grand total of 3 days to prepare for it, getting the letter on Monday morning about needing costumes for that Thursday didn't give me cause to swear and curse under my breath at all....

In the end I wished I'd actually asked for their input because it turned out that the mermaid costume I'd bought for Isla to be The Singing Mermaid was surplus to requirements and on seeing that Noah was going to be Peter Pan she just wanted to be Wendy, which required nothing more than sending her to school in her nightie! Gah! There was me thinking that it would complicate matters having a discussion about who they would be and in fact Isla's idea was so much better than mine and I loved that they were characters from the same story. In future we'll definitely be working it out together.

With them dressed up it also gave me the opportunity to play around with my new camera and get some practice in following the Photography for Parents course I'd taken. Practice is definitely needed I think although I'm fairly happy with these ones I took.

dear beautiful

Friday, 13 March 2015

When I Grow Up I Want to Be....

.....A Twitcher.

This is Isla's latest desired career path at the age of 5. I have to add that she doesn't just want to be a bird watcher she has been quite clear that this will be her daytime occupation and then at night she will be a singer on TV (I think she's watched The Voice too much lately!). I love that she's thought of two polar opposite jobs, I also love the innocence of her declaration, I guess there is some similarity with birds also enjoying a good sing song! A job as a bird watcher would certainly be very lovely I'm sure, and if she wants to be on TV then perhaps she could be the next Michaela Strachan or Kate Humble on TV showing us the loveliness of Springtime or on Countryfile......?

Her interest in birds has really peaked lately, together we drew some pictures of birds and she made it in to a 'Guess the Bird' game which she tested Nanny and Grandpa on (they didn't get many right!). She also watched a Natural World programme: Super Powered Owls last week (if it's on the iPlayer still do watch it, it was fascinating) and paused it throughout, drawing and writing about the programme as it went on. She was amazed by the way they could turn their necks all the way round and kept saying 'Look Mummy, I can do it too', whilst spinning her whole body round. She was upset when at the end of the programme, one of the young owls called Luna, flew off and didn't stay with their handlers. I was so impressed that she watched this all the way through and her interest didn't wane and she got so attached to the owls and had even picked a favourite from Luna and Lily.

I found a great book at a local charity shop about owls and we've read this many times now. I feel like it's such a shame that we have such a small garden and we own a cat and there are about 5 other cats in the near vicinity, so we don't really get any birds in our garden apart from the brave wood pigeons, who are probably the same size as the cats!

When I told my sister about Isla's new found interest she reminded me that at my junior school, I used to be part of the RSPB Young Ornathologists club. I'd totally forgotten! It was easy for me to spot birds as we had a great garden when I was young that also backed onto allotments, I'd see plenty of jays, magpies, blue tits, robins and occasionally we'd even sight a heron in the neighbours garden, stealing from the pond!

I'm fully supportive of her love of nature. Long may it continue, but I'm sure there will be a multitude of jobs Isla wants to pursue in the future and I won't be too disappointed if she isn't the next Bill Oddie! What do your children say they want to be when they grow up? Any fellow twitchers for Isla to hang out with?

Owls by Isla, aged 5 and 3 quarters.

Mummy Alarm

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Dinosaur Zoo at The Fairfield Halls, Croydon

Fresh from its success at the Edinburgh Festival and following a UK and international Autumn tour, West End hit show DINOSAUR ZOO is back by popular demand this spring for its fourth major UK tour, stopping at Fairfield Halls, Croydon on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 March 2015.

Australian-based creators Erth use ingenious puppetry to bring dinosaurs to life in this interactive and imaginative live show. Suitable for all the family (ages 3+), DINOSAUR ZOO introduces audiences to a range of creatures from cute baby dinos to teeth-gnashing giants, including a carnivorous theropod known as the ‘Australovenator’ – Australia’s version of the American T-Rex.

Intrepid audience members who are brave enough to get up close and personal with the dinosaurs are invited up on stage to assist the Zoo Keepers in their daily tasks - but be warned - not all of these ravenous reptiles are as tame as they seem! Each performance concludes with a post-show ‘meat & greet’ session offering every audience member a chance to meet the dinosaurs in person.


We will be going along to the show when it's on, so pop back here for our review. Noah is a huge dinosaur fan at the moment, every library visit yeilds another 5 or 6 dinosaur books to read. He loves finding out their names, knowing most of them off by heart and he knows if I get them wrong!  

If you've also got a dino-mad child then go to Fairfield Halls for tickets.

Running time: 50 minutes + post-show ‘meat’ & greet


Say it With Candy Crush Soda Saga This Mother’s Day #SodaliciousCupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery

Say it With Candy Crush Soda Saga This Mother’s Day #SodaliciousCupcakes

King Digital Entertainment plc, a leading interactive entertainment company for the mobile world and creator of the sweetest game in town, Candy Crush Soda Saga, has teamed up with the delectable London based Hummingbird Bakery to give fans of the game the chance to treat their mums to something Sodalicious this Mother’s Day.

To celebrate and say 'thank you’ to all the wonderful mums out there, King and The Hummingbird Bakery are giving away free mouth-wateringly tasty Candy Crush Soda Saga themed cupcakes to players across London this Friday, 13th March
The free giveaway will be taking place at Hummingbird Bakery’s Soho and Spitalsfields branches starting from 12PM, and finishing at 4PM. All you have to do is show staff at the store that you’ve downloaded Candy Crush Soda Saga on your mobile device (available for free on iOS and Google Android) and you’re eligible for one exclusive free cupcake, while stocks last.

There will be a limited number of free cupcakes on the day at each store, so arrive early to avoid disappointment!!