July 2015

1. Schools out! Of course number one from the last week, just has to be my son finishing school for the summer! Woohoo! We’ve got lots of fun things planned and I’ve got 3 weeks off work in a couple of weeks to enjoy the summer break with him.

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2. Booking our family holiday.  Weve booked to go away camping for one week with our friends and their children. My son is soooo excited! We’ve never been camping for a whole week before, so this will be a new experience for us.  I just hope the weather is kind to us!

3. Enjoying the carnival and fair.  During the first week of the summer holidays, the fair came to town and on the saturday there was a summer carnival.  We met my sister in law and children and took them on some of the fair rides and watched the carnival. My son loved thr aeroplane ride and watching the carnival, especially when the fire engine passed!

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4. Baking with the kids. Baking features regularly in my weekly happy lists. This week I made a new recipe ‘chocolate chip muffins with Galaxy frosting’ and they were absolutely amazing! You can find the recipe on my blog.

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5. Enjoying a break in the weather.  We’ve had a few awful days of miserable rain this last week. It actually felt like wet autumn! But we have managed to get out inbetween the rain when the sun has appeared.  This included the kids enjoying an impromptu picnic outside which was fun.

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1. My career became less important.

For as long as I can remember pre kids, life was all about my job and career. I was so eager to climb the ladder as quickly as possible and nothing else really mattered.  Until I had kids.  I remember putting off having a family, as I was scared my career would be over and I wasn’t a naturally maternal person. God I sound awful! Then overnight I changed, I suddenly wanted to try for a baby and once that decision was made, my life and priorities changed forever.  I still have to work, but I definitely work to live!

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2. I became very maternal, broody and emotional.

I was never that bothered about having a family, until I turned 30 and then everything changed. As soon as I got pregnant with my son when I was 30 everything changed, I changed. I’m so mumsy now it’s unbelievable. Since having my son I’ve become more and more mumsy and broody. I’ll coo over any baby now, whereas before babies never bothered me. Im just constantly broody now! I’m so sensitive and emotional now too.  I was quite hard faced before kids and now I’ll shed a tear at the slightest thing.  Becoming a mum has changed me completely, for the better.

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3. My house is cleaner.

I never really bothered about the house, until I had kids.  Suddenly I became house proud and wanted everything tidy and clean! Now I’m the other extreme, scrubbing the floor at all hours, hoovering after the kids have gone to bed, etc. I’m a bit OCD at times!  I like things to be in their place and have everything just so.  In fact, I get really stressed out if the house isn’t organised how I like it and I know where to find things.  My poor hubby!

4. My money is spent on the kids.

We must have been well off before kids! More or less everything goes on them now. Gone are the frequent nights out and annual holidays abroad just lying by the pool.  Now, it’s school shoes, nappies, zoo passes, etc. and if I do get to spend some on myself, I only feel guilty for doing so!  Kids are very expensive too, there’s always something they need, it seems.  I’ve got a feeling it’s only going to get more expensive as they get older too!

5. Time at home is more important.

My favourite times are when we’re all home together.  They don’t happen that often, but when they do its special.  You can’t beat just pottering around at home with the kids.  Home is where the heart is, is so true. We go out a lot at the weekends, but it’s so nice returning to our cosy home and settling in all together.

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6. I feel guilty all the time.

Im sure this is common, but I do feel guilty all the time! And I’m very unforgiving of myself too. The very fact that my son goes to after school club makes me feel guilty, my daughter going to nursery makes me fell guilty, if I don’t cook a home cooked meal, guilty, etc…I’m just guilty of everything, all the time!

7. I worry all the time.

Im sure every parent feels the same, but I’ve never worried as much as I do now.  I seriously worry 24/7. I’ve forgotten what it’s like not to worry! It’s especially bad if I’m not with the kids, I’m constantly thinking about what they are doing and what might happen to them. I’m happiest when they’re safe at home with me, so I know where they are and what they’re doing! Too much?! Just imagine what I’m going to be like when their teenagers!

I also worry that I’m not doing a good enough job as a mummy.

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8. I take lots of photos.

I took lots of photos before, but I seriously take a lot of photos now! I’m always the one behind the camera, capturing every moment of my children’s lives. My iPhone and iPad are my best friends, always close to hand, ready for any moment!

9. I’m closer to my mum, brother and sister.

As soon as my mum became a nanny, my brother became an uncle and my sister became an auntie, we all became much closer.  We’d had quite separate lives before, but having a child brought our family closer together. It’s amazing how a baby can do that.  My sister had her first child six months after my first, so they are super close as they’ve grown up together.  Our recent additions are only 10 days apart so are very close in age.  It’s lovely having them close together and I hope they stay good friends.  We quite often descend on my mums and brothers house with all the kids and it’s lovely.

10. I know what Love really is.

I’m so in love with my children, I had no idea how strong love could feel until having my babies in my life. I feel overwhelmingly protective over my children and to me they are the most beautiful beings on earth. I have no idea what my purpose was before I became a mummy.  It’s the most privileged and rewarding job in the world.

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A Cornish Mum
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We’ve been baking again! It was an utterly miserable day today, I’ve not seen rain like it for a while.  Where’s the summer gone?! Not a great start to the school holidays! But a great excuse to do some more baking.

I hardly ever make chocolate cakes as I’ve had some major fails in the past which put me off! However my boy really fancied some chocolate cake today (and if I’m honest, I did too!), so we made these lovelies!  I know I say it every time, but these were super simple to make!

Preperation Time: 5 mins

Baking time: 15 mins (approx)

This recipe makes about 10 individual muffins.

What I used:

3oz self raising flour

1oz drinking chocolate (it’s all I had in the cupboard!)

4oz caster sugar

4oz butter (as always I used Stork)

2 x eggs

1 x bag of chocolate chips (milk chocolate)

Some individual muffin cases

For the Frosting I used:

Approx 8 cubes of Galaxy chocolate

A tablespoon of butter

A splash of milk

4 x tablespoons of icing sugar

Tescos piping kit

What I did:

Pre heated the oven to 180c.

For the cake mix I literally put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mixed together!

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Then I carefully spooned the mixture in to the muffin cases.

 

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These took about 15 minutes to bake. I then set them aside to cool before icing.

 

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For the frosting/icing:

I melted the Galaxy chocolate over some simmering water in a Pyrex bowl.

As it started to melt, I added the milk and butter to make it really smooth.

I took the bowl off the heat and in the same bowl I added the icing sugar and mixed together until smooth.

 

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I pipped the icing on to the individual muffins – I used my Tesco’s pipping kit which is great.

The muffins were left to cool so the icing set a bit – and then they are perfect and ready to enjoy!

 

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Cuddle Fairy
Gym Bunny Mummy
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1. My health spa trip! As you may already know from my blog, I was lucky enough to go away to Cedar Falls Health Spa in Taunton at the weekend with a few girl friends. It was a special treat that I had saved hard for.  Cedar Falls is an amazing place, completely peaceful and relaxing.  You can read more about my trip and review of Cedar a Falls in my post about it.

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2. Kisses from my daughter. My daughter has been super cute giving out kisses this week.  She can properly pucker and make a kiss noise now! My son gets way more kisses from her than the hubby and I, it’s so cute!

3. My son telling me I’m beautiful. My son comes out with some super sweet things and tells me often that he loves me.  When I spoke to him on the phone to say goodnight when I was away, he said to me ‘your so beautiful mummy, I love you so much’. Heart melted.

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4. Catching up with my best friends. It was fab spending some overdue quality time with two of my best friends over the weekend (and over some wine!).  We did not stop talking the whole trip. A bunch of true chatter boxes. I miss them so much.  We don’t live that near to each other so we don’t get together as often as I would like. It was so special being all together for a short time.

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5. My son having some extra time off school. I realise to some parents it would be an utter nightmare, but having the school closed unexpectedly for two days last week, was a joy.  I am lucky enough to take paid leave for emergency childcare so was able to take the day off to be with my son and I had the second day off anyway.  Extra time with my boy is always a bonus!

Tinyfootsteps
You Baby Me Mummy
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This was about my fourth visit to Cedar Falls, I try to visit once a year as s real treat and it really is a treat.  I’ve been with my mum a couple of times and last year went with one of my best friends when I was pregnant with my daughter.  Last year my friend and I stayed for one night and both said we would do two nights this year as one night wasn’t enough! But we only managed the one night again as it’s not cheap and it’s hard to justify spending so much just on you! I miss my kids like crazy anyhow, so one nights just about bearable! This year I visited with four friends and one of the bonuses of a stay away like this, is that we could all have a good old proper girly catch up!

Cedar Falls is a Hotel with a health Spa and Golf course, just outside of Taunton in Devon.  From my house it’s about a one and a half hour trip in the car.  You could also get the train to Taunton and taxi it.  I would say it’s about 15-20 mins from Taunton Train station.   The house it’s self is situated just off the road up a lovely private drive surrounded by lawn and trees.  As you come up the drive the house stands proud.  It looks absolutely stunning in summer.  It’s grand but not too large, there’s only 40 rooms.  As soon as you get there you feel a million miles from anywhere.  Perfect.

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My friend picked me up at 10am and we arrived at Cedar Falls at about 11.30am.  When we checked in we collected our robe and towel, treatment schedule and made it straight to the pool area. I couldn’t wait to get in my swimming costume and robe! We filled in our health questionnaires for our treatments, settled down on our loungers and ordered a prosecco!  As soon as I arrived I felt relaxed.  It was literally an instant feeling of calm and relaxation. It’s a bit serreal, like a different world. A far cry away from my usual days balancing work and the kids.  It’s difficult not to feel too guilty, but I really believe it’s important to treat yourself and do something for yourself, when you can and I only do this once a year so it really is a treat. But it feels weird.

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I had pre-booked my treatment which had been scheduled for 4.45pm so I had plenty of time to relax.  We booked a table for lunch for 1pm, so I started reading the book I had brought with me ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn.  It only took me a few pages in and I was hooked.  I never get a chance to read books at home, by the time I’m in bed I’m too tired to pick up a book.  I’m always starting books and nit finishing them, let’s hope I get to finish this one! At 1pm we went up to the restaurant for lunch, in our robes. Yes, I know, it’s pretty weird dining in a bath robe, but it’s the done thing there! In fact, you look even stranger in clothes! Lunch started with a broccoli soup and crusty roll, which was delicious, then we helped ourselves to the salad buffet, which had lots of different dishes to choose from and felt very healthy.  For pudding we had a pistachio ice cream, which I’ve not tried before and was really yummy.

After lunch we went back down to the pool area and lay on our loungers with our books.  After a while we went for a swim and a juccuzi. I love sitting in the juccuzi! And we just chatted and laughed for ages.

At 4.45pm I went for my treatment.  I had ‘The taste of Clarins’ treatment.  This was a one hour treatment consisting of a back, shoulder and neck massage and mini facial, using the Clarins products. My therapist was lovely, welcoming and friendly.  She made me feel relaxed and she tailored the massage to my needs.  This included concentrating on my lower back area, which I suffer with as a result of lugging a 15 month around! Generally on my hip! The massage was lovely, but I think the facial was amazing.  My skin felt so rejuvenated and fresh, my face felt amazing!

After my treatment I returned to my lounger for some more reading (I was addicted to my book by this point!) and we enjoyed a pre dinner prosecco by the pool.  We booked our dinner table for 8pm so I went up to my room at 7pm for a soak in the bath. It was almost too quiet in my room all by myself.  I actually get lonely when I’m not with my family!

My room was tucked away at the back of the hotel. I didn’t have a view of the garden, which was a shame (my friend had the most amazing garden view from her room) but I was really pleased with it and the decor was lovely and modern, but cosy too.  Here’s some pictures of my room.

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It was quite strange having a bath in complete peace and quiet with no interruptions! I’d brought a dress with me for dinner and I was glad I’d chosen a loose summery style, as it was very warm in the hotel.  My skin was still feeling amazing from my facial so I just popped a bit of mascara on for dinner.  Dinner was a very civilised affair but dress was casual and the atmosphere was relaxed. There was a three course set meal, with a choice of three dishes per course.  I had the salmon mouse for starter, which I think was just smoked salmon mixed with cream cheese.  For main, I had chicken wrapped in bacon with new potatoes and green beans. For pudding I chose a shortbread stack with red berries and cream.  The portions were just right, not too large, so I felt satisfied and not too full. After dinner we had some post dinner wine in the lounge area (just realised it sounds like we drank a lot of wine!).

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The next morning I dressed straight in to my swimming costume and robe and went down to the pool area to get a lounger.  My friend was already down there lying on her lounger reading her book.  I was glad to see she had already reserved some loungers. There’s not enough loungers for everyone staying to have one and it does get very busy at the weekends, especially Saturday’s with day trippers.  We were lucky with the weather when we stayed however, so lots of people sat outside in the sun.

Breakfast was a buffet of cereals, yogurt, fruit and pastries.  Coffee and toast was brought to the table. My friend and I had been looking forward to a cooked breakfast as we had one at our last visit, but for some reason they weren’t offering a cooked breakfast this time.  It didn’t really matter though as I was quite satisfied with my chocolate croissant and coffee!

After breakfast it was time for some more lounging around, reading my book (it really was a hard life). We had a swim in the pool, sat in the steam room (they have a sauna too) and a long soak in the juccuzi. Instead of lunch we had already decided to have a cream tea instead (and couldn’t justify both). We had looked with envy at all the cream teas the day before, but had already had lunch.  Because it was such a lovely sunny, warm day, we had our cream tea outside.  Also, we had been told we couldn’t have cream teas poolside, even though the day before people had had them down by the pool. I thought this was s bit strange, but we didn’t mind as it was such a gorgeous day.

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I hadn’t been outside since our arrival the previous day, so it was lovely being outside in the sun and Cedar Falls has a really beautiful outside seating area in its grounds.  Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to walk around the lovely vast grounds (all good intentions and that).  I’d even brought my trainers and gym gear but hadn’t quite managed to make it to the gym or exercise class! There’s a small but well equipped gym in the therapy area if your feeling energetic enough! A short induction is required first, so I think you need to be there longer than 24 hours to really make it worth while.  Relaxation was the most important part of my visit, so I made sure I was still and quiet for most of it!

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Our stay was short but sweet. I can’t believe how quickly the time went by, despite not doing much, apart from relaxing! We left at 3pm on the Sunday and it came around a bit too quick, but I had missed my kids like crazy and couldn’t wait to see them.

The cost of our stay was £119 for bed, dinner and breakfast, for one night, including use of the facilities. When we booked we paid a £75 deposit. On top of this if you have lunch it is an extra £15 and the hire of a robe is £10. Drinks are not included, so I budgeted for this and you pay for any treatments on top. My Clarins treatment was £50, which I thought was good value for a massage and facial combined.  A massage and facial treatment separately would be more expensive.  You can obviously have as many treatments as you want, but this all adds up and can make a one night stay extremely expensive.  I was satisfied with just the one treatment and I had plenty of time to relax and enjoy all the facilities. My friend had the Clarins scalp massage which she highly recommended too. If you had a Clarins treatment, you got some nice little free Clarins samples too which was a bonus!

Cedars Falls is a perfect (not too expensive) health spa hotel, for anyone wanting complete relaxation in a peaceful atmosphere, in a reasonably small hotel setting. There’s a pool and gym if you want to be more active and lovely vast grounds (including a golf course if that’s your cup of tea) to walk around (or run!). Although those staying were predominantly female, there were a few men there too as part of a couple. I actually think my hubby would love it, so I’m thinking of taking him there for our anniversary next year.  I felt completely and utterly chilled for my whole trip, it was just what I needed and I’ll definitely be going back!

If you fancy visiting Cedar Falls, visit their website for more info www.cedarfalls.com

 

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One of the first rooms we redecorated when we brought our house 7 years ago was the bathroom.  It had one of those peachy pink 70’s style bathroom suites.  Sorry, no pictures as this was way before I blogged or owned an iPhone ! But it looked a bit like this…

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Lush, huh? Not! I hated it and couldn’t wait to rip it all out and start again.

From the outset I wanted a plain white bathroom suite.  Clean, simple and fresh.  When we went looking for tiles for the walls and floor I immediately fell in love with some black tiles for the floor and grey for the walls.  Completely not pre planned, just what I liked and looked fab against the White.  So that was our colour scheme sorted, white, black and grey. We do have some flashes of bright too.  For example my turquoise bath mat – you can see the corner of it in the tile picture below.

I remember being so inpatient, as soon as work started I wanted it finished, like yesterday! My poor hubby put up with a lot of nagging! But it seemed to take forever and I couldn’t wait for my new bathroom to be finished! It was so exciting buying our first home and doing it up (despite the strict budget!).

Heres some photos of the bathroom now.

This is our shower curtain that matches perfectly with our colour scheme, such a fab find, thank you Tescos!

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This is one of our storage baskets, where I keep my makeup, shampoo, etc. really handy to neatly store things away in between usage and pretty too. We’ve got two of these, matching in different sizes and got them from The Range. They were super value for money too.

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These are my lovely bathroom tiles, the black are the floor tiles and they grey are the wall tiles. Both were brought from Trago Mills. I love the grey and black together with the marble effect too, for a slightly softer look.

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This is a photo of my bathroom sink/basin and my wonderful built in storage. I couldn’t live without my built in storage units! We have a tiny bathroom so we had to be clever about storage solutions and these were the only real option.  It’s amazing what you can fit in them too!

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One of my favourite pieces in our bathroom is this vase surrounded by beach pebbles. The vase was from Rhodes when we went there on holiday years and years ago. The pebbles are from the beach just 10 minutes from us, collected by us. The colours of the vase and pebbles go perfectly with our bathroom colour scheme so I arranged them together on the bathroom window sill.

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Hope you enjoyed my pictures from my bathroom! I’m obviously completely biased but I love my bathroom!

What’s your bathroom like? What do you love about it and what would you change?

Jess xxx

Home Etc
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1. Watching my son sing and dance at the school fete. I hadn’t realised the school had been rehearsing a song to perform at the fete, so it was a real surprise. My son stood in the front row and as soon as the music started he wiggled his hips from side to side.  He over emphasised all the actions and got so in to the music.  I was so happy I was there to watch him and was so proud of him. I shed a little tear of happiness.

2. Eating Al Fresco. We’ve taken the opportunity this week to eat outside as much as possible whilst the weathers been good.  There’s something extra special about eating outside, like your on holiday or something.

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3. Spending extra time at home. I worked a day from home this week, which meant I was around to do the school runs and breakfast. It’s so nice being around for the kids more, even if I have to work.  I get so much pleasure from making them breakfast and getting dressed, it’s such a treat getting to do that an extra day.

4. Going to the cinema. It was miserable on Sunday, so I decided to take my son to see The Minions.  We left daddy at home with the little lady and had some quality mummy and son time.  He’s been wanting to see The Minions since it came out, so he was chuffed to bits.  It’s always nice to do something with just the two of us.

5. Going for tea & teacakes. To kill some time before my sons hair appointment we nipped in to a cafe for a bite to eat.  The kids were so well behaved, happily eating their teacakes and playing in the cafes toy corner. I even managed to drink a cup of tea without any complaints or having to rush! Wish it was like that every time!

6. Haircuts. My kids were truly model children in the hairdressers.  My son was so good sitting still whilst he had his hair cut. He looked such a grown up boy afterwards! My daughter had been watching the whole time so the hairdresser suggested we gave get a go in the chair.  She’s always had really thick hair and a heavy long fringe and when we’ve tried to trim her fringe at home she always had a paddy and screamed the house down! However, she was so happy to sit in the hairdressers chair, the hairdresser was able to give her fringe a little trim! And she was all smiles throughout!

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