Wednesday 25 August 2010

New Beginings....

Hello, hope you are all enjoying the sun, well if you are, lucky you, because I haven't seen any for a looong time ;0) Actually I am in sunnyish Wales and the sun I think, could be joining me for the day, she is there, just wish she would shine a little brighter, I am always in a better mood when the sun is out :0)

Well, the time is getting nearer for my baby, my little boy, my 3lb at birth bundle of joy to be starting big school. All the stress I spoke about here about me being a little late getting his forms in, and then the possibility of us having to appeal for a place at his school. A, within catchment and B, that his big sister already goes to, was, I have say, a little stressy. As it happened, I believe our local MP got involved as there were others in a similar situation and a further 5 places were allocated, normally there are only 20 places available at our village school. Your comments and support on that post were invaluable and got me through a very tricky time.
Thank you.

Here is my little man, a couple of days old, after being born 11 weeks early and having a little extra oxygen....

So we had his school place, and time ticked on as it invariably does and now here we are only a couple of weeks away from him starting, and guess what, I DON'T WANT HIM TO :0(
Well, yes of course he should, and shall be going. But he still has little naps ( with mummy sometimes) with my floral scarf as his little comforter, he also has a heart condition ( Pulmonary Stenosis) and although he had a successful cardiac ballooning at three months old, and you would never know there was /is anything wrong with him, he is as fit and healthy as the other boys his age, though is always there on my mind. Think it is a mummy thing, shall never stop worrying.

But go forth he must, I know he shall be alright, especially with his lovely, beautiful, special and proud sister looking after him, she shall keep her beady eye on her special little brother....

But believe me, all the tissues in the world won't fix my tears on his big day. I have been putting off the inevitable, venturing into the shops for the big boy uniform. I think I managed a little pair of shorts for my little bundle of joy, but that made me blub, so I quickly paid for them and ran home ;0) So, talking of lovely bundles of joy, imagine my delight and surprise when this lovely hamper of bundles of uniform arrived from the people over at Tesco I have to say as a mummy I sometimes struggle on ocassion to find suitable, appropiate clothes in Miss.P's age range. ( Anyone else think the young girls clothes range in many stores are sometimes not appropiate )  I don't want my 8 year old to dress like a four year old, though neither do I want her to look like a teenager quite yet. For me, the young girl's clothing range at Tesco have come up trumps this summer, and I have found some lovely, pretty numbers that both Miss. P and I both love. Anyway back to the lovely hamper I received....

Not only uniform for Master P, but also for his big sister too, who loves her trendy uniform from Tesco. The uniforms are lovely, many from their Signature range, which is very stylish. Miss.Poppins especially likes her cardigan and skirt.

Thank you very much  to the lovely people at Tesco, if they hadn't sent me some lovely uniforms  maybe, just maybe, the little man in my life would have gone to school in only those little shorts I bought him ;0) Anyone else have these *my baby to ickle to start big school feelings* Master P is only a week or so over the age of four. Though I shall do my best to be the proud Mummy that he deserves and when I dress him ( see, I even dress him still ) in his smart new Tesco uniform, I shall shed a tear of happiness too of how very far he has come.

Well, I have been very kindly given the opportunity from Tesco to offer one of you, one of my lovely friends the chance to receive a lovely uniform hamper filled with delights for your child/children too. I would so dearly have loved Tesco to send each and everyone of you with school age children one, and had to think hard about who I think would like to receive this wonderful  uniform hamper.

Yes, I thought, she would love one....

My lovely friend Lesley who I met through blogging when we both started up about 2 years ago. We realised we lived not too far from each other, and have had some lovely meet ups, our children have a lovely friendship, even sleepovers have taken place, and these lovely friendships, perhaps, would not have been formed, had we both not entered the world, that is blogging. So Lesley, I would love you to receive some  uniform treats for your children, and enjoy. Thank you for a being a good friend.

So, I have the uniform, all I need now is the courage to drop him off and wave goodbye....


Monday 23 August 2010

Nuts About Nutella....

Hands up who likes, no, loves Nutella....

Me, me me, me!  When I am in the shopping isles, I often pop a jar or two of the hazelnut spread in the trolly. I happily give it to my children (in moderation and who are happy, healthy, alert and not over weight )and was fortunate enough to get an invite to go along to a delicious Nutella Breakfast, with a chance to talk to top experts on how to encourage our children to eat in the morning, and get a good start to the day. Also the Television chef Alan Coxon would be there amongst others to show us how to create some delicious recipes, and my lovely children were invited too, and whilst I would be learning new and exciting things about nutella, they would be entertained with a mix of magic, juggling, animal balloon making, entertaining and fun nutella activities and much more besides. All this to be taken place at the fun adventure land, that is known as Legoland. Hmm let me check my diary....

How could I say no, so I kindly accepted the invitation and very much looked forward to the exciting event. The day before the nutella breakfast, which also happened to be my birthday, a lovely and pretty looking hamper arrived, Ohooo what lovely has the husband got me I thought. Well imagine my delight when the PR company that were organising the event sent me this mouth watering hamper from Hobbs House Bakery

I love posh, healthy, tasty bread, I love nutella, could a birthday girl be any happier....

A true feast for my eyes....

The breads were delicious, extra tasty with the nutella on top ;0)  As we were staying with a lovely friend that night who doesn't live far from legoland, we piled some of the breads and nutella in the car to entertain our stomachs should they get hungry on the way.

I thought you may like a little peek at my sleepover room in my friends beautiful home....

After a lovely birthday evening and sleepover, we made our way to Legoland early in the morning. The traffic queues were quite something heading into legoland, so I was a couple of minutes late, dropped the children ( and husband) off with the wonderful entertainers and made my way upstairs, walked in, looking a little sparkly and with everyone already there. My eyes were drawn to pile of yummy looking breakfast delights in the middle of the table. Introductions were being made and I sat down, next to the very charming Mauro De Felip who is the U.K.'s marketing director for Ferrero, ( loved his trendy orange swatch) and had not long got my breath when everyone turned to me for me to say my hello's, and a little about myself. It always makes me chuckle a little when I introduce myself as Mary Poppins, it was a blogging event and was lovely to meet some more lovely bloggers. I explained that I am a lover of Nutella, infact we all are as a family, maybe too much, but being the ickle size I am can get away with eating more than I probably should, but that I would love to learn a little more about it, the nutritional aspect, and how to conjure up some super recipes, that had more ingredients, other that one jar of nutella and one silver spoon ;0)  

We were than introduced to a very knowledgeable and in my opinion stylish lady, Professor Karen Pine who shared with us some very informative facts about the psychology of food, and how children's behaviours/habits around food can often have us, as mother's and father's, pulling our hair out, but that these issues can be resolved. One of her theories is around the letters, and word E  A and T 

Here are Karen’s ideas:

E is for example.... always set a good example and have good eating habits ( having a sweet tooth, this is one of my hardest ) How can I refuse my children a bag of sweeties when they see me scoffing them by the bucket load

A is for attention – do your best to try not to focus on your children's eating habits, or food related  behaviours ( my son was recently referred to speech therapy for a slight stammer, as soon as I and the family stopped focusing on it, it went, and I think that says something in itself )

T is for try - try, try again, and then try some more with introducing good healthy habits and food related behaviors.( My two are generally good eaters but my 8 year old has become a little of a fussy eater, and introducing new tastes is sometimes a battle, but I now know to keep at it and keep on trying....)

I really enjoyed my one to one chat with Karen afterwards (photograph above courtesy of Karen Pine) and learnt some very interesting things, especially about shopping, my favourite past time, more about that on another post.
Then it was Sian, who is a nutritionist's turn to talk, and who taught me some very interesting nutritional advice, and then it was a question and answer session where we all had lots of questions, refusal of milk, picky eaters, times to eat, choices of breakfast foods being many of them. Sian explained how breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, which I knew and agree with. She also told us that one portion of Nutella, which is 2 teaspoons ( 2 teaspoons is never enough for me)  but has less fat and sugar than jam, another of our family loves. A 15g portion of nutella combined with other breakfast components such as a slice of wholegrain toast, a bowl of unsweetened cereal with milk, a glass of fruit juice can be a good option at breakfast time (375 calories, 19% GDA) You many not know that nutella is a hazelnut spread and releases its energy slowly. It is a low glycaemic index (GI) food. In fact, every 15g portion contains 2 whole hazelnuts, some skimmed milk and a dash of cocoa. When using nutella the hazelnut spread there is no need to use butter or an alternative fat spread, and low glycaemic index (GI) breakfasts (because they release energy slowly) can help maintain energy levels and reduce the need for snacking later on. So after our nutella breakfast it was then over to Television chef Alan Coxon to entertain us with some exciting recipes, and boy did he do just that.

We had fun donning our aprons, of course took me 10 minutes to get my bow just right ;0)

 Alan demonstrated some inspiring recipes using Nutella and I especially liked the idea of using a spoonful of it in smoothies, and the banana and nutella wraps looked delicious. Then it was our turn to have a go and we were put in little teams and it was then I really needed the toilet, and when a lady has to go, a lady has to go, so my team got on with making up something lovely and original, we only had 7 minutes and the toilet was good 2 minute walk, so I knew I had to be quick. Quick I was, and got back to see my team had come up with some lovely ideas, and had enough time to make up my recipe idea for the group, a wonderful strawberry, blueberry and nutella skewer.

 Isn't the presentation wonderful ;0) We were given some super recipe ideas to come away with and shall definately be having a go at them, please do share with me any lovely things you have made with my favourite hazelnut based spread. Also the  Nutella Website is re launching on the 30th August, so keep your eyes peeled for some wonderful and new ideas nutella shall be bringing us.

So after all that fun and frivolity, we were treated to a fun day at legoland, and along with the q-bot, definitely helped on our queuing time, and a super day was had by all.

Please Note: I have not been offered Nutella for life for all the lovely mentions of Nutella in this post, ( I do genuinely love it ) but a girl has got to give it a go, so if you are reading  Mr/Mrs.Nutella, you know where I am ;0)


Saturday 21 August 2010

My Lovely New Pretty....

Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my last post and for the birthday wishes.

You may remember my post here where I had a very kind offer to choose a gift from  CSN Stores to have a little play with it, and see what I thought. Well of course the simple task of what item to choose, got me all giddy and I took a little while deciding. As we are doing up the kitchen diner I thought something pretty for that would be a good choice. Also as I am hoping to deck the kitchen out in lots of pretty candy and cream coloured accessories, I thought this would be perfect. We were given some Le Creuset cookware for a wedding present 10 years ago and it has been wonderful, and has years and years left in it, so I knew I was choosing something not only practical, but in a pretty Almond colour too.

I think the cast iron is an extremely high quality material and very durable, so hopefully I have something that should last and last and last. The size of the Le Creuset Cast Iron Round Casserole dish is 16cms, so a real cutie and a perfect little size. I was very excited when I first opened the lovely orange box.

The quality of Le Creuset really jumps out at you. Isn't she a sweetie.

She is a dream to cook with, we have made many dishes, including, vegetable ratatouille, carrot soup, aubergine bake and even homemade rice pudding. and after all that cooking,  and washing up, do you think i put her away in a drawer. Gosh no, she stays out on display, looking lovely :0)

Thank you to CSN Stores for a super item, excellent customer care service and quick dispatch of an excellent item that hopefully shall be in my possession for years to come. Please feel free to check out what other super cookware and many other items CSN has to offer.

Right, off to cook something in my lovely new casserole dish for lunch.


Wednesday 18 August 2010

Because Sometimes Memories Are All We Have....

This post is in memory of  my beautiful Joshua, born and taken into God's care 12th June 2005. He is a very, special, important and real memory. I am never going to forget him, ever. The memories I am making with my children and family, are very real, and beautiful of course and we have fun making new ones together every day.

Joshua's, feet and hand prints, special blankets, name tags, teeny tiny nappy, and special memories are all I have of him, and they are those memories that help me heal. It is my birthday today, and I have realised, you can have your flashy presents, your shiny cards, and helium birthday balloons. The greatest gift for me is the warm hug and kiss off your loved ones, your children, your family, the people that know and love you best. I was greeted with two very special cuddles from my children, and dearest darling husband, so the presents lay unwrapped. I want to spend my time with them, enjoying them. I would love Joshua's warm hug too, but the memories I have of him make me smile and so proud that he is a part of mine and my families life.

For Tara's  Memory Gallery


Monday 9 August 2010

Woody And A Winner....

Thank you all so much for taking the time to enter Dorset Cereals lovely giveaway competition to see how many homemade cupcakes the Poppins' clan had eaten in two weeks. Well I have to say many of you were very close, but one of you lucky readers was the closest with only one cupcake away with your answer of 51. We have infact easily greedily eaten 50 yummy cupcakes, and seeing as we celebrated Master Poppins' 4th birthday over the weekend, have probably had many more since ;0)

Here is master Poppins wearing one of his favourite birthday gifts saying well done to a very lovely and crafty lady Girl Industries Congratulations, if you can email me your details, I can forward them on to the lovely people at Dorset Cereals, and soon you shall be tucking into a delicious bowl of their cereal, whilst admiring the pretty packaging :0)

So well done from Woody


Friday 6 August 2010

How Would You Like To Win A Case Of....

Thank you so much for all the good luck for getting my cake mixer, we shall see ;0) Being a dreamer that is probably all it is, a dream....
Talking of cakes, I have been making more and more and more, think I may have a new hobby forming and thought you may like to have a little go at a fun competition to win a case of Dorset Cereals' very yummy Tasty Flakes

Here is a little peek at a selection of what you could soon be enjoying eating for your breakfast, or infact lunch, or tea also come to think of it.

Not only do Dorset Cereals taste great, but they look very pretty too, and we all know how much I love pretty packaging.

So, with the help of a lovely friend, thought a food related competion would be fun, especially if that food involved pretty cupcakes. So, if you would like to be in with a chance of winning some yum yum cereal all I would like to know is how many homemade cupcakes you think have been consumed by my family in the last two weeks, that is 2 grown up adults and 2 children. Simples. Leave a comment on this post with your answer of what you think, whoever is the nearest or is right shall win the lovely case of lots of pretty and tasty cereal, if there is more than one person that is right, names shall go in a hat and a winner chosen. I shall leave the competition open all weekend and a winner shall be picked on Monday evening.

It really is a lovely and generous prize offered by the friendly people over at Dorset Cereal's. You can buy their cereal's too in their online shop and they also have a fantastic competition of their own where you can win a very stylish mini cooper, you can enter here 

So good luck and hope you win :0)

EDIT: Thank you so much for entering, a winner has now been selected  

Tuesday 3 August 2010

I Have A Plan....

It is my birthday soon and I have a plan, a sneaky little plan up my sleeve.

I have been baking cupcakes all day, all night and we have all been enjoying them. Here is a little photograph of some I made last night.

But my poorly poorly wrist from all that mixing ;0) So fragile and sore and I don't know how much longer I can keep up the cupcake mixing, which would be so sad as we are all enjoying my cupcakes so very much.

Do you know darling husband what would wipe away my tears from my poorly wrist....

One of these pretty numbers....

Maybe, maybe I should keep the price to myself....

Norty, norty Mary Poppins, tis our secret remember....