L bakes Homemade Dog Treats

Homemade Dog Biscuits

Our wonderful dog sitter gave us this recipe over the summer and the kids thought it would make a perfect Christmas present for Max. We adopted Max this time last year when he retired from racing, via the Lincolnshire Greyhound Trust. He has adapted brilliantly to family life and I can’t recommend greyhounds enough as loyal, chilled out, easy going and gentle pets.

These dog biscuits are meat free and very easy, so a great way to get kids involved in caring for their pet. In typical greyhound fashion Max followed the food preparation very eagerly.

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My Trip to Whittlebury Hall Hotel Spa with Space In Your Case

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When you find yourself repeating the word overwhelmed a lot, when your head refuses to take on any more information, and your body feels like all it is doing is encasing a whirring brain about to explode.  Know that feeling?

Whittlebury Hall Hotel and Spa invited me, and the Space In Your Case team, to try out their 2 day spa package. Sadly we only made it one night as we all had lots of commitments in the run up to Christmas, but with hindsight I can see how incredibly amazing two nights would be and I really would go back, perhaps with Mr A, to do that. However, I was looking forward to seeing what magic they could work in a day… Continue reading

Our Christmas Baker Ross Fun

Now is the perfect time to stock up to keep the kids busy in the few days between school finishing and Father Christmas arriving. It seems like no time to me, but to a 6 and an 8yo those few days feel like a lifetime. My nephew is two and a half and I have the delightful honour of stocking up his craft box this Christmas and my 9 year old niece loves to create, so straight to Baker Ross to sort all these craft dilemmas. Continue reading

Flat Stanley Review At Nottingham Lakeside Arts

We started with tea and cake in the cafe which was decked out with holly and feeling really festive. The scones and cakes were looking amazing and there were lots of lovely old school Christmassy treats for kids, like Candy Canes and paper bags of marshmallows, (so much nicer than a grab bag of Maltesters).

As always a highlight is playing in the interative exhibition ahead of the show, L enjoyed writing her own letter to Stanley… Continue reading

Stick Man Review Leicester Square Theatre

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NS HeadshotStick Man review Leicester Square Theatre

by Natalie Shepherd, Drama Teacher and Parent.

It was with high expectations and high spirits that we bravely set out to face the busy weekend London crowds to watch “Stick Man” at the Leicester Square Theatre.

The charming book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler rates up in the top five all time favourites of both my children (Phoenix, 3, Zion, 6) and myself (age not to be disclosed!), so there was much to prove and live up to.

 

I can firmly confirm with affirment that the stage adaptation DID NOT DISAPPOINT!

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Peter Pan at Polka Theatre Review

Peter Pan at Polka Theatre

A brilliant review of Peter Pan at Polka Theatre by Kerry Bratt, Drama teacher, mum and good friend from my teaching days.

Polka Theatre’s Christmas show is a tradition for many South London Families.  Polka does theatre, Polka does not do glam and glitz, steer clear if you want Panto and celebrities.  Polka does good old fashioned story telling created specifically for children; who get their first appetite for live imagined worlds within the walls of this magical building.  Life long passion for live theatre starts here for many little faces and continues to grow within many big faces. Continue reading

My Wedding Rings

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After the excitement of getting engaged, after the buzz of a wedding, once babies are safely delivered, if that’s the path you follow, then there are anniversaries to look forward to, of course. But I know as the years go by we have become less fixated on making a fuss of these and just happy to reflect on how far we have come. Small children have that effect on you.

I received a lookbook from Vashi.com’s new range of zodiac inspired engagement rings and quickly got distracted by their shiny things. I stumbled upon on a perfect eternity ring, something we have been pondering and I will show you it, but first some back story on my wedding rings.
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5 WILD Presents for kids who have too many toys

My Dad was over this week, and we got talking about how much stuff kids have these days. So I came up with some WILD presents for kids that don’t clutter the house, are educational, mind blowing and keep on giving long after Christmas. Plus some little gifts to go with, so they have something to open – because that’s only fair right?

 

1. Camp Bestival Tickets. 30th July to the 2nd August, Lulworth Castle

I am so so so excited about the theme at Camp Bestival in 2015. We had an incredible year this year, our best yet – we were so absorbed in crafting, making, doing and experiencing and we brought back loads of fab ideas. L is now Science mad and has been making bath bombs and soap after trying them in the Science tent. G treasures the sword he carved himself. The festival has stayed with us and really inspired family life.

Project Wild Thing and the National Trust took over the Dingly Dell at Camp Bestival – a lovely woodland area of the site and it was so inspired. After hearing David Bond speak about his film and Project Wild Thing at Nymans with the National Trust last year, it was so great to see Camp Bestival embrace it so wholeheartedly in 2014. So I am so very pleased that theme continues into 2015… Camp Bestival Goes Wild! The Alexanders are WILD about this.

As well as entry to the wildest Camp Bestival yet, all tickets ordered before 19th December also get a super-festive and exclusive Camp Bestival Christmas card and a souvenir ticket. Numbers are limited so grab this Yuletide bargain while you can.

And speaking of Christmas, don’t forget to sign up for the incredible Camp Bestival Advent Calendar – quick, you have only missed 4 days!

Tickets for Camp Bestival 2015 (July 30th to Aug 2nd) are on sale now via: Ticketline / 0844 888 4410 Do check out the weekly payment plan too, an adult ticket can now be bought at a payment of just £5 per week over 34 consecutive weekly payments following an initial deposit payment. Book online via Ticketline only: select ‘Camp Bestival 2015 – Weekend Payment Plan’.

GIFTS to go with.. torch, glow sticks, new wellies or crocs, sun hat, sunglasses, rucksack, ear defenders, sleeping bag…

 

2. Books and Stories on CD

You can never have too many books and we love to read together, but with two ‘reluctant to read themselves’ readers, CDs are brilliant too. I bought G a new CD player and a Roald Dahl CD collection for his birthday. He absolutely loves it, as does his sister – she already had a collection, but not much Dahl, so they have been swapping CDs. G has been putting them away really carefully, which is amazing for a kid whose bedroom carpet is rarely visible. This morning I found both kids tucked up in L’s bed listening, just the loveliest thing ever.

 

3. Family National Trust Membership

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This would be a brilliant gift for a families it just gives so much all year round. We’ve had so many great times with the National Trust, on a family walk in Dovedale, Easter at Calke Abbey and toasting marshmallows at Nymans, and finding out what childhood was like for different generations at Sudbury Museum of childhood. Last night Mr A and I vowed to get outdoors even more in 2015, A National Trust membership seems like a great ticket to do that.

GIFTS to go with… – why not get them a gift from the National Trust shop to inspire their adventures?

 

4. Sponsor a child or an animal

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We’ve sponsored animals through the WWF and we sponsor a child in Pakistan through Action Aid Child Sponsorship programme. It is a wonderful way to add to your family and teach children about conservation and children’s lives in less affluent parts of the world.

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GIFTS to go with…The WWF send a toy and info thorough the year which means kids get a ‘real’ present too. With Action Aid expect letters from the child you adopt, so I would add a letter writing pack, colouring pencils and lots of stickers so kids can write to the new extended member of the family. My very talented relative Alexia Claire does fab stationary and kid’s personalised stationary sets.

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5. Theatre Tickets

Buy some fun for months to come, or a treat for the festive season. If you are near Wimbledon check out Polka, Kerry and Natalie reviewed Peter Pan and Grandad, Me and Teddy Too, both shows continue into next year, and I caught some great shows at Lakeside Arts Nottingham, including Flat Stanley the Christmas show, if you are nearby. Pantomines can be really expensive, and (please don’t call me Scrooge) a bit cheesy, but Nottingham Lakeside Arts and Wimbledon Polka Theatre will give you incredible quality and value for money.

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 GIFTS to go with...many children’s shows are book adaptations, why not read the book ahead of your visit? Or a puppet theatre or puppets to encourage a love of theatre.

These are my presents for kids who have too many toys, what would you add to the list?

How To Save Money When Building A New Home

Building a Dream Home

On the back of Monday’s post about thinking about moving house, I was eager to share this guest post, as this is something we have always dreamt of doing…

Money can slowly but surely become an issue when you are building your home, even if you think you have budgeted perfectly. While you should be prepared for things to not go your way, there are ways in which you can start off on the front foot. Continue reading