Saturday, 31 May 2014

Personalised Map Frame

My Husband and I celebrated our 1st Wedding Anniversary at the beginning of April and I wanted to mark our first year together as Mr & Mrs with something a little special. I wanted it to be handmade and personal, something that only we would 'get' without explanation.

I found a nice frame and began putting together two personalised map hearts. I printed off two sections of map; the first was where we had our first date and became a couple and the second was where we got married. Using a cookie cutter as a guide I cut them into hearts and mounted them onto blue card. To make the hearts stand out from the frame I used sticky foam pads (available from any craft shop) and placed them carefully onto the picture.

To finish our personalised gift I added the beginning line of the chorus from our 1st dance song using double sided tape. I was rather pleased with the result, and I think my Husband was too. It has pride of place opposite our bed in our room and is one of the first things I see each morning...excluding the Pre-Schooler's that sneak in that is!

Have you made a handmade gift for someone recently? I'd love to see it!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Word of the Week - 01

We've all been under the weather this week. It started last Thursday with coughs and colds all round and seems to have gotten worse as the week has gone on. My eldest had a nasty cold and horrible earache along with a temperature that disturbed a few night's of sleep. Thankfully she's feeling much better and seems completely fine again now.

My Husband has skipped the cough and cold but has had a runny nose and a touch of sinusitis for most of the week and I, as always, seem to have been wiped out by it. I'm not sure if my immune system needs a bit of a boost or if I'm just having a run of bad luck but I seem to be catching every bug and cold going lately. I'm still struggling with sinusitis, a sore throat and a cough but it does seem to be passing. Hopefully I feel better soon!

My youngest pretty much skipped the cold. He had a snuffly nose for a day or two and that was the end of it which was VERY unusual for him. He usually catches every cold and cough going which quickly turn into chest infections or croup. His GP is pretty certain it's related to how early he arrived and he also suffers from mild asthma (undiagnosed as he's too young but told to use my Husband's inhaler when he's struggling by multiple GP's). He struggles quite a bit with it so I was surprised when it skipped past him.

I was even more surprised when an explosion of little blistery spots appeared all over his body a few days later. He has chicken pox! A slightly raised temperature is making him a little grouchy but other than that he seems fine with it. The spots are causing him a bit of bother when they're itchy but on the whole they aren't giving him too much hassle and he hasn't been scratching much at all. He seems to have a reasonably mild case, especially compared to when our eldest had chicken pox at 7 months old and was very ill with it, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it passes quickly for him.

This half-term has been a bit of a wash-out for us. The weather has been rather dismal and we've all been feeling rubbish, thankfully I didn't have much planned! Pre-School starts again for the last half of the Summer term on Monday and they are both excited to go and see their friends. My eldest will be fine to go but I think I'm going to have to keep our youngest off until his spots have disappeared; we'll see how he feels about that on Monday! :/

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC - 10

We've had one heck of a week filled with bad news and sickness. It started with coughs, colds and sinusitis all round and is ending with chicken pox for my youngest terror. I noticed a handful of spots on him a couple of days ago and after a quick check today they seem to have sprung up everywhere. Fingers crossed it passes quickly for him! Despite the sickness there have been a couple of things that have brought smiles to our face this week...

Aaron's youngest Sister and the children's Auntie Rosie moved away from our home town about 6 months or so ago. She doesn't get to visit as regularly as we'd all like as she now lives a 90 minute drive down the motorway but she was back this weekend to see the family and the kids loved having her around. It was great to see her and we got to stop in and see her house, and chickens, duck and turtle, when we drove her home later - something the kids really enjoyed.

It's been raining almost constantly since the kids broke up for the half-term holiday. We've tried not to let it stop us from having fun and we've been out in our welly-boots and coats for a couple of puddle-stomps as well as enjoying some time at home. Yesterday afternoon we set up a 'washing line' in the kitchen and the kids had lots of fun pegging up their doll's cloths and creating fun games to play with it.

Rainy Day Activity Idea : Laundry on the Line!

After all the lovely weather we've had lately things seem to have taken a bit of a nose-dive and it's been raining continually for the most part of the the half-term week. There's no sign that it's thinking of giving up any time soon either and while we've had a few fun trips out in welly-boots, coats and umbrellas for a puddle-stomp, we've been stuck inside of the house most of the time.

Yesterday afternoon, after a quick dash around the house to collect some supplies, I tied a piece of string from one dining chair to another and created a miniature indoor washing line! My youngest had spotted the peg basket on the shelf a few minutes before and been begging me to get them down for him to play with so I provided both eager looking Pre-Schooler's with a basket of pegs and a laundry basket (an old shoe box) of dolls clothes. Creative play started instantly with my eldest declaring that the doll's clothes were wet and had to be hung up on the washing line to dry.

They had fun pegging them up (and practising their fine motor skills!) and then set about getting them dry. They pretended to be the wind by blowing at the clothes on the line until they moved and my eldest coloured in an old toilet roll tube that was waiting to be recycled which quickly became the sun and was held over the washing to help it dry a bit quicker. When they were satisfied that all the clothes were dry they unpegged them from the line and placed them back into the washing basket.

They carried on in the same manner for most of the afternoon and it filled up quite a few hours with some simple but fun and imaginative play. The next step is to get them hanging up my washing once the weather improves ;)

Has it been raining where you are too? What fun things have you been doing to fill up the days and keep the little ones entertained? I'd love to see your links!

Brilliant blog posts on

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

C is for...

I found some giant coloured chalks for the bargain price of £1 in The Range about a month back and my two have made good use of them over the last 30 days or so. They love practising writing their numbers and letters on the patio, making a hopscotch to play with, drawing pictures of things they find in the garden and colouring all manner of things in with them. Nothing is safe! The patio is their main target, along with the walls of the house, the fence-panels, their playhouse and even the garden furniture. Thankfully it all washes off easily! Although I've left their masterpiece along the walls, it makes the garden so much more colourful as they keep adding to it, brick by gaudy brick :)

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Cif Express Direct to Floor Review

With two messy Pre-Schooler's, one of which is still getting the hang of toilet-training, I seem to spend a lot of time cleaning the floors lately. Our home is mainly laminate and ceramic tiles (except for the stairs and hallways) and while that makes cleaning up spills and mess so much easier it can take what feels like forever to wash them all down.

Needless to say, when Mumsnet got in touch and asked if I would like to review the new Cif Express Direct to Floor cleaner I jumped at the chance! Suitable for tiled, laminate and washable/varnished wood floors, Cif Express is applied straight to the floor without having to work out measurements and dilute the product in warm water. You won't need a bucket either, just a damp mop or cloth and there's no need to rinse afterwards making cleaning floors much quicker and easier.

Cif Express Direct to Floor is available in Antibacterial, Lemon & Apple Flowers and Wild Orchid & Velvet flowers and retails at £2.00 for a 750ml bottle. I was sent a bottle of the Lemon & Apple Flowers Cif Express cleaner to review.

I first used Cif Express Direct to Floor in our Kitchen-Diner where we have a large amount of ceramic floor tiles. As the product doesn't dilute my first impressions were that I would need to use a lot to cover the large area and that I wouldn't be left with very much after a couple of uses. That was been proven wrong as I used the product and there is still a lot left in the bottle after cleaning the kitchen-diner and the laminate flooring in the living room.

The cleaner came out of the bottle a little too easily and it seemed to drip out everywhere. I would have preferred a squeezable spray nozzle as I think it would've been easier to apply. I did like how easy it was to use though; it is applied straight to the floor (after a good sweep) with no need to dilute and then washed off with a damp mop or cloth. There's no need to rinse after use either and it dries very quickly. I was impressed that the majority of the floor had dried just 10 minutes after being applied and by 15 minutes the entire floor was dry which is much quicker than my usual product. It also makes it easier with the children! Hae you ever tried keeping a Pre-Schooler or two out of a room for anything more than a few minutes?!

The product had a pleasant smell and although I couldn't pick up the lemon and apple scent very well it did smell clean, fresh and hygeinic. My floors looked much cleaner after use and my ceramic tiles were shiny. It didn't have quite the same effect on the laminate but it did leave the floor looking clean and smelling fresh.

Overall, I liked Cif Express Direct to Floor. It made cleaning my floors a much quicker and easier task, especially with the little terrors around, and I'd say it saved me around 20 minutes of cleaning across the two rooms and lots of drying time. I appreciated not having to rinse the floors after they'd been cleaned and although I wasn't overly keen on the nozzle of the bottle I found a small amount of the product covered a large area well.

Disclaimer : I recieved a 750ml bottle of Cif Express Direct to Floor cleaner to review via Mumsnet. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. If you would like to see what others thought of Cif Express click here.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Chorizo and Sweetcorn Fritters

My Husband has always enjoyed cooking but with his working hours increasing I seem to have taken the main responsibility for food and meals in our home. Over the May bank holiday weekend's he's had a bit more of a chance to join in and has made us some tasty meals, including these delicious chorizo and sweetcorn fritters. They were really tasty and perfect for a light lunch when served with lightly spiced wedges and salad. All four of us enjoyed them!

  • Spanish chorizo sausage, diced
  • 1 x Tin of sweetcorn, drained
  • Golden breadcrumbs
  • Instant mashed potato mix
  • Mild chilli powder
  • Plain flour
  • 1 x Egg

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c (fan 160°c, gas 4) and prepare the instant mashed potato mixture, following the instructions on the packet. 
  2. Cut the Spanish chorizo sausage into small chunks and fry them in a pan until crispy.
  3. Stir the chorizo, along with the drained tin of sweetcorn and 1tsp of mild chilli powder, into the instant mash mix.
  4. Shape the potato mix into evenly sized patties, coating each one in plain flour. Dip them into a beaten egg and then roll in the golden breadcrumbs (or your own, made by whizzing 3 or 4 slices of bread in the blender).
  5. Heat some oil in a large frying pan and fry the fritters until golden top and bottom. Place them on a baking tray and bake in the oven for around 10 minutes until they are warm all the way through.
  6. Serve with lightly spiced potato wedges and salad and tuck in!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Outdoor Activity Idea : Water Painting!

My two terrors love the garden. At this time of year when the flowers are starting to bloom and the sun is starting to show it's face a bit more regularly they begin to spend the majority of their time outside, playing and exploring and sometimes getting creative.

After searching through my 'big box of crafty bits' I found a serious lack of paint. But with two Pre-Schooler's looking up at me with anticipation after I'd produced some paint brushes I had to think on my feet and filled a mug with water for them to use instead. We took the water and the brushes outside and they began looking for things that they could paint.

They started with some of the slate that lines our flowerbeds and enjoyed watching it change colour as they covered each piece with water using their brushes. It was a very hot and sunny day so the slate dried pretty quickly and they seemed to find it interesting how the water would 'disappear.'

After painting as much slate as they could they moved onto all sorts of other things they found around the garden, ranging from the play-house to leaves, but it inevitably ended, as everyone who has or has ever had a Pre-Schooler will know, with them painting themselves ;)

Have you taken getting arty outside? I'd love to see what you got up to!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Me & You in May

My Husband is my best friend. We were friends at School and began dating back in 2006 when we were 17 & 18. We moved out in 2008, had our children in 2009 and 2010 and finally married, after an almost 6 year engagement, in 2013! He is my rock, our rock. Always there for our family providing the best he can and giving us all he has.

I do miss him since we've had children. I think we both underestimated just how little time would be left for us after we became a family but we try to make time for each other in the evenings with movie nights in and the occasional night out. Every now and then he takes a day off work while the children are at Pre-School and we get the most part of a day together to fill however we want, which is fantastic.

I still miss him though. It's very easy to fall into a routine of work, children and home when you have a family and I think we've fallen into that trap a little. The guilt I experience of leaving my children with other people doesn't help and I know I need to start creating some more time for us to be a couple. My Husband surprised me with the prospect of a day and a night away next month for the two of us and I'm planning a trip to the cinema sometime soon too. I can't wait!

dear beautiful

Reasons To Be Cheerful #R2BC - 09

This week started off brilliant but has trailed off a bit towards the end when the kids and I fell under the weather with nasty colds and sinusitis. Fingers crossed it all clears up a bit before tomorrow as my local Town is hosting a 'Kite Festival' that I was hoping to take them along to.

I was excited to have been nominated for a Liebster Award by Beautwins and It's a Mummy's World. It's an award that is given to celebrate and promote new bloggers and/or bloggers with less than 3,000 followers and I was incredibly grateful that my little blog and I were thought of :)

The good weather continued for us for the majority of the week but the last few days have brought along some much needed rain (it was getting far too humid) and some great thunderstorms! I wasn't sure how my two would react to the storms, but they seemed to have rather enjoyed them. We had fun sitting at the doors in the kitchen watching out for the lightening and then counting down to the thunder.

The good weather over the last few weeks has definitely helped our seeds along and we have lots of seedlings appearing in our miniature marigold and sunflower trays. The phlox seeds are just starting to sprout and the garlic is doing so well it will need re-potting at the weekend. The assorted peppers are getting very big too and a few are almost ready to come out of the green-house and into a big pot in the garden. We have a couple of tomato plants waiting to do the same that are currently living in my Mum's green-house.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

I've Been Nominated for a Liebster Award!

I'd like to say a massive "thank you" to Beautwins and It's a Mummy's World who both nominated me for a Liebster Award. I'm delighted and honoured that you thought of me and my little blog :)

The Liebster Award is a bit like a meme that is awarded to new bloggers or bloggers with less than 3,000 followers. The idea is to discover and promote new blogs whilst recognising their contribution to the blogging community as a whole.

There are various guidelines for the award but the ones I am following are;

  • Thank and link back to the blogger(s) that nominated you for the award
  • Display the badge on your blog post or on your blog
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the nominating blogger
  • Nominate 5-11 bloggers, with less than 3,000 followers, for the award
  • Create a list of 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer
  • Let the bloggers you nominated know and 'pass on' the award

As both Beautwins and It's a Mummy's World nominated me I'm going to mix up the questions that were asked to me and answer a few from both.

1. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be and why?
While I wouldn't want to change being a SAHM, if I could do absolutely anything I think I would be a Legal Adviser. I studied Law at A-Level and began a Law Degree at University. Due a difficult time in my life I had to leave after only a few months and I would love to be able to go back into that field and find a career there. It's something that still really interests me.

2. If you were a Superhero what powers would you have?
I'd be able to teleport! It would definitely make the school run (currently a 60-90 minute round trip) much quicker. I think it would be great to teleport my family and I around the World too, visiting lots of amazing places within an afternoon.

3. What made you start blogging?
I've always kept a diary of some sort but it was falling pregnant with my eldest that kick started my blogging. I've only been blogging a little more seriously at two-tiny-terrors for the last few months.

4. If you could be an object what would you be and why?
I'd be a camera! Just think of all the fantastic places, events and things I'd get to see and share with everyone.

5. If you won the lottery what would be the first thing on your to do list?
I'd buy a house; not anything over the top but a lovely 4 bedroom family home with a garage and a nice sized garden. We rent privately and have done for the last 6-7 years and the lack of security is something that plays on both mine and my Husband's mind a lot.

6. You've been given a free pass for the day. What do you do?
Has my Husband got a free pass too? I'd spend the day with him, just us. We'd maybe visit the Harry Potter experience down in London (somewhere I've wanted to go for a while), get some lunch together and generally spend a bit of time being a couple again. Having children is amazing and fantastic but I know I misunderestimated just how little time there would be left for us to be a Husband and Wife after they arrived. It would be nice to have a day just for us.

7. What's your favourite saying?
"Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be."

8. What is your favourite type of sweet?
Chocolate. All chocolate (unless it has chewy caramel in). I am a self-confessed chocaholic ;)

9. Would you rather be rescued by Batman in his batmobile, fly through the sky with Superman or swing from a giant web with Spiderman?
Batman, definitely. The other two involve being high up in the air which just isn't going to work for me I'm afraid. I'd much rather a ride in the batmobile.

10. If you had a warning label, what would it say?
"Warning! Will become volatile if a regular input of chocolate is not received!"

11. Have you made a "bucket list?" If so, what's on your top 5? If not, what would you say was your number 1 goal to achieve before you die?
I haven't made a bucket list but my number one goal is to run a marathon! I've been running since just after my youngest was born but I've had to take a long break due to ill health and injury. I'm only just returning to running and hoping to complete a couple of 5km & 10km races over this year and the next. I'd love to complete a full marathon one day...although I'm not sure that I could do it?!

There are some fantastic bloggers around and for my nominees I've chosen the following brilliant blogs. Make sure you hop over and say hello to them :)

My 11 questions to my nominees are;
1. How long have you been blogging and what made you start?
2. What three words would your friends use to describe you?
3. You have a magic oven that can prepare any food you want in an instant...what do you choose to eat?
4. If you could star in any film or TV programme what would it be?
5. What does your blog name mean?
6. What is your most prized possession?
7. If you could attend a concert of any musican/band (dead or alive) who would you go and watch?
8. What's your favourite item of clothing from your wardrobe?
9. What 3 things do you never leave the house without?
10. Do you have any phobias?
11. What is your favourite quote or saying?

Don't forget to tweet me when you've answered the questions!

B is for...

The children and I have doing quite a bit to encourage the birds into our garden this year. There are lots of trees from neighbouring gardens that line the outside of our little patch of green and the length of a fence covered in ivy and large plants that the visiting sparrows seem to enjoy sitting in.

We've added some bird feeders filled with fatballs to our garden and have allowed some of the trees to grow a little more naturally to make space for birds to stop by and build their nests. We've added our own bird box and the children have been making their own bird feeders for our guests to enjoy. We've had quite a few birds stop by, from larger pigeons and doves down to smaller sparrows, starlings and tits and all seem to be enjoying our garden. The kids love it!

Monday, 19 May 2014

The Little Red Ladybird Tent

We bought this little red ladybird tent last Summer. The kids had lots of fun playing in it last year and, with a hot and sunny Summer hopefully ahead of us, I dug it out of the cupboard and it looks like they will be having lots of fun with it again this year.

There is a 'secret entrance' that the kids use (although there is a side panel that opens too). They lift up the ladybirds face and climb through the hidden tunnel into their tent. Somehow they managed to convince me to squeeze through it too! There is a surprising amount of space's a bit of a Tardis!

They've been having lots of imaginative and creative fun in their ladybird tent, role-playing lots of camping and hiding games with shrieks of "quick, into our secret hiding place" accompanied by giggles and smiles as wide as their faces. They even had time to fit in a 'secret snack' during their play.

Seeing them play together brings back so many childhood memories for me; I can remember all the fun my little Brother and I used to have playing in our tent. When we were a bit older we started to camp out in the garden in our smaller family tent that we took on short weekend breaks (our big tent that we took on our Summer holiday was bigger than the garden!!). We had our little lamp hanging from the frame of the tent, our airbeds and sleeping bags and an assorted of drinks, treats and games from the house. It was such fun!!

I can see my two terrors developing their love of the outdoors and their little red tent, just as my Brother and I did when we were younger, and it brings such a smile to my face. I can't wait to take them away for the weekend in a few years in a little tent somewhere nice. I remember my first camping trip when I was around 7 and it was pure magic!

Have you taken your little ones camping? Do they have a garden tent that they enjoy?

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 15 May 2014

A is for...

My eldest 'terror', aged 4 years, 7 months and a bit. She is a chatterbox and a friend to anyone and everyone. She loves to sing and dance and jump around but can also sit with her reading books for hours on end. She loves to draw and colour in and has a real love of learning and finding things out; she wants to know how everything works, what everything is, why things are as they are and what the world around her is like.

She is a lover of dinosaurs and nature and would happily spend all of her days outside in the garden. She is imaginative and creative, loving and caring and loves nothing more than making her little Brother giggle. She is a fast learner and a little helper, wanting to help out with the housework and do things for herself.

She is my beautiful, intelligent, talented, cheerful, artistic, dinosaur loving, garden playing, friendly and loving little girl. My 'pudding'.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Reasons To Be Cheerful #R2BC - 08

Reasons To Be Cheerful (#R2BC) is being hosted by the lovely Becky at Lakes Single Mum; make sure you pop over and say hello!

My Mum & I attended Grand Designs Live at the ExCeL London on Friday. It was a really good day with lots to see, try and buy. For us, it was a pretty long journey which involved us changing trains/tubes several times and it took us around 2½ hours each way. I am not a good traveller, I hate trains and often feel very ill but I was able to get all of the way there and back without a single panic attack and actually feeling quite relaxed at times...the complete opposite to my usual train journeys. It was a good day all round :)

The children brought a friend home from Pre-School with them on was Humpty! He is a soft toy that goes to stay with the children there for a few days, along with his book and a diary to fill in with all the things they and him have done together. The children, especially my eldest, really loved it and enjoyed reading through his diary and filling out our own entry for Humpty.

After a week of rubbish weather the kids have been enjoying the sunshine and have been back out in the garden for most of the day. Although they enjoy puddle stomping in the rain it's just not the same as a good run around in the sun. I've been enjoying sitting out with them, with a drink and some chocolate while they play and the endless loads of laundry dry.