This month we have loved:-

*Finally saying goodbye to the chicken pox.
*Spotting the different signs of spring whilst we’ve been out and about.  Eli in particular loves showing off his knowledge of spring flowers.
*Fun family days out enjoying the ever so slightly warmer weather.
*The start of the Easter holidays, for Meg at least!

I honestly cannot believe that we are heading into April.  This year just feels as though it is whizzing away from us.  This month I will find out whether Eli got a place at our first choice school which has seemed so far away for so long and now it is finally here, eek!

It also marks the beginning of a crazy birthday season for us, starting with James’ on the 25th.  We have something very exciting planned for that, of course and for Meg and Eli whose birthdays swiftly follow.

Then we are almost in summer and the promise of the long, beautiful stretch of the six weeks holiday.  We are going away to the South of France and honestly, that cannot come soon enough.  I’m hoping we might be able to squeeze in a trip away before that if the weather is nice enough but we shall see.

For now, I’d be quite content to just see some warmer days rather than the mish-mash we are having at the moment.  As I write this there is hail slamming against the windows…hail, at this time of year, what’s that about?!

dear beautiful

If you are anything like me, over the last few weeks you will have been scouring the internet looking for ways to occupy the kids during the Easter Holidays.

We have got some great family days lined up but as Meg and Eli are currently under different Council’s their holidays don’t match so I have a three week period to cover – eek!  

Luckily, one of the activities we will be enjoying together (on the one week off they share this Easter) is CBeebies Live! Justin & Friends: Mr Tumble’s Circus.

We are looking forward to seeing some of our favourite CBeebies characters such as Swashbuckler presenter Gem, Andy Day, Robert the Robot and, of course, Justin!  We haven’t been to this kind of thing before with both the kids so we are really excited about it, and are hoping it’s going to be lots of fun.  If you’ve ever seen a recording of Justin’s House then you’ll know the kind of thing we are expecting to see.

The show is taking place all over the UK throughout the Easter period and tickets start from around £13.50, you can check out your closest venue here.

If you’ve got any tips for us on how to keep the children from bouncing out of their seats in excitement then let me know.  Meg has been to the pantomime a couple of times with school but this will be the first time Eli has seen a show like this.  I’m hoping he will be so transfixed by what is taking place that he won’t think about escaping and trying to join in…we shall see!

We’ll be going next Thursday so keep your eye out for our pictures and selfies and don’t forget to check out whether it is coming to an arena near you.  I’m sure it will make a fabulous family day out.


If you are looking for something fun to do in the Easter holidays then why not check out one of the fantastic Cadbury’s Eggsplorers Easter Egg Trails?

Over a quarter of a million Cadbury Eggheads have been delivered to 300 National Trust properties ahead of the annual trails which will take place between the 3rd and the 6th of April.

This means 21.5 tonnes of chocolate, thousands of eggs and lots of creativity needed from staff to ensure they are well hidden!  Temporary locations include inside grandfather clocks, pianos, vases and bookcases.

If you want to unleash your inner explorer and take part in one of the trails then you can discover which trail is nearest to you here:

The Cadbury’s Eggsplorers Easter Egg Trails are now in their 8th year and are proving as popular as ever.  Last year over 680,000 people got involved and the National Trust is hopeful for the same number of people again, if not more!

We are going to be heading to our local trail and I’ll update you with how we got on later.  Be sure to have a look and see where your nearest trail is!


Did you know that in the UK alone we create 4.2 million tonnes of food waste each year?  How immense is that!  

We are quite keen meal planners but I have to admit that sometimes, even despite our best intentions we are guilty of contributing to that amount.  When I was asked to take part in a blog challenge relating to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign I was more than happy to get involved and see how I could improve on our eating habits to ensure that we aren’t needlessly throwing food away.

If you want to see more of how I got on then you can in the video below.  It contains some interesting facts, and some ideas for how to make a meal go further:-

The whole purpose of Love Food Hate Waste is to raise awareness of the need to reduce food waste and help us take action.  It shows that by doing some easy, practical everyday things in the home we can all waste less food, which will ultimately benefit our purses and the environment too.  Visit the website to see more.  In essence, the campaign is made up of 5 elements:-

Meal Planning
Taking a little extra time before you go to the supermarket to plan your meals can be a huge help and can ensure that you don’t get home and realise that your trolley full of food actually equates to very little meals.  There are loads of food planners online you can print out and use, and there’s a great one here at Love Food, Hate Waste.

Savvy Storage
Make sure your food doesn’t go bad well before it should by understanding and utilising proper storage.  This means things like keeping your vegetables in the fridge, freezing meat and other food products if you know that you won’t use them before their use by date (watch the vlog for my insider tip!)

Understanding Dates
Know the difference between ‘sell by’ and ‘use by’.  ‘Sell by’ only applies to the supermarkets, the one you need to keep an eye out for is ‘use by’.  Again, as above, if you know that you won’t use something by the date then freeze it.  Most food products now come with a handy symbol which shows whether they can be frozen or not.

Portion Sizes
Are you guilty of making too much pasta or rice?  I know I am, I do it all the time and then I have to feed it to James to make myself feel better!  Recently I bought a measuring device for spaghetti which has been really useful but there are also guides online which demonstrate how you can work out the different portion sizes with handy measuring tips.

Got some leftover veg?  Throw it into a casserole.  
Got leftover meat? Make a pie.
Got leftover sauce? Freeze it and use it to flavour a pasta dish.

There are loads of ways you can use up leftover food, as I said above, I cover one in my video blog if you are interested to see.  Have a look online and you’ll find tons of information of crafty and clever ways to make food go further and to use up anything leftover at the end of cooking a meal for your family.  This has to be one of the worst ways in which we waste food and I am definitely feeling the challenge to be better!

Disclosure: I was provided with vouchers to purchase the food used in the video above.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.


March has been a good month for reading; I think my new determination to get some sleep by getting early nights, away from the television/my phone/the ipad has done wonders for my book reading.

I know it’s not quite the end of the month yet but I have just started a mammoth book by Ken Follett so I know there won’t be any others to share with you until the end of April {seriously, how is it almost April?!}

Here’s what I’ve read in March:-

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare – this was recommended to me by a fellow blogger when we realised we had similar taste in books.  It is the first in a rather long series and is a dystopian/fantasy novel which is rather hard to sum up in just a short paragraph.  Think warlocks, vampires, faeries and all sorts of fantastical beings living alongside humans, and Shadowhunters, a group of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons.  I’ve seen this book taking some flack on review sites but I found it to be fast-paced, interesting and quite gripping.  Okay, it’s not necessarily an original idea but I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it and have bought the next few in the series.  I should also add that if you have seen the film, don’t let that put you off reading the books.  They were nothing alike.
Star rating: ****

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I should have known before I ever started this book that it would leave me in tears.  I don’t think I’ve read a Jojo Moyes book which hasn’t made me cry yet!  Lou Clark has lived in the village all her life; she knows how many steps there are between the bus stop and home, she loves her job working in the local tea shop and her life is just the way she wants it to be.  That is, until the tea shop closes down and she is forced to reassess where she’s going in life.  She ends up taking a job as an ‘aide’ for Will Traynor, a successful, adventurous businessman who was injured in a motorcycle accident, completely throwing his world upside down.  He has completely lost his desire to live so when Lou bursts into his life, the results are completely unexpected.  For both of them.  I’ll admit that I didn’t particularly like the ending of this story but I thought it was extremely well written, moving and a challenging subject.
Star rating: ***

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – This was my chosen D book for A to Z authors after reading the review on Claire’s blog.  It’s probably not a book I would have picked up otherwise but I’m glad I did as it’s quite different from the usual stuff I read.  The story begins in Monte Carlo, with a young girl being swept up in a whirlwind romance by Maxim de Winter.  She accepts his sudden marriage proposal, walking away from everything she knows and stepping into the strange and different world of life at Manderley.  This is a classic tale of mystery and intrigue, coming of age and romance.  The only reason I marked it down to 3 stars was because I guessed the big twist at the end, which sort of spoiled the surprise.
Star rating: ***

The Chosen Queen by Joanna Courtney – I was lucky enough to be sent a proof copy of this book which will be published in early May.  It is the story of the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and is a beautifully woven tale with likeable and believable characters.  I honestly found myself wishing for some creative licence on Joanna Courtney’s behalf as I loved King Harold and actually found myself in tears at the end of the book, even though I knew what was coming!  I would highly recommend buying this book in May when it is released and will hopefully have some more information closer to the time to share with you on this.  Absolutely a 5 star read, without a doubt.
Star rating: *****

A Place For Us by Harriet Evans – I picked this book as I was struggling for an E in my A to Z Authors challenge and I only finished it at the end of last week.  It’s kind of left me not sure how I feel about it, I can’t decide whether I liked it or not!  Martha Winter decides to blow her family apart on her 80th birthday by revealing a secret which has long been kept hidden.  She has spent the last 50 years building an idyllic family life with her husband David and their 3 children at their home of Winterfold.  As the story unfolds, we discover that each member of their family is harbouring their own secrets, must face up to their pasts and come together in order to heal and move forwards.  I thought the story was well written, with believable characters but my issue is that there were so many threads I felt like you only ever got half the story for each person.  I was left wanting to know more, whilst at the same time not wanting to as so much of what they were hiding was dark.
Star rating: ***

Have you read any good books this month?  I always love to hear recommendations.

Linking up with A-Z Authors and Read With Me.