I grew up in Northern California during a drought. This means that it rarely rained. In fact, I don't recall even wearing/owning a raincoat. California in the 1980s is a long way from today in the UK. I have been living in London for 14 years now. It rains quite often. Like a lot. A lot a lot. Before I had children, I didn't have to worry too much about a water-resistant rain jacket. I would carry around an umbrella in case it rained. Then I had to push around a buggy, and didn't have any free hands to hold a brolly. And I ended up getting drenched on many outings. And the rain became my nemesis.
I have tried many so-called waterproof rain jackets in the past few years. But I would always get soaked through. Then in April I decided to take a chance on this yellow beauty from Joules. The jacket is fully lined in soft, stripey jersey. The hood is big enough so that it covers one's head (and keeps long hair dry). There are two secure pockets where you can keep keys and a mobile phone covered and dry. There are a further two pockets where you can keep your little hands cosy. This really impressed me. I also managed to get the jacket with an online discount code (lowering it from £79.95 to 59.95), which really made my day.
I have always loved aquariums, even before having children. And I have enjoyed them even more since having Moozles and Dubz. I remember Husband and I taking Moozles to the Sea Life London Aquarium for her first birthday. It was such a special day and we have been to the aquarium several times in the past few years. So we were thrilled to visit today to see the new Penguin Point which had just opened yesterday.
Sea Life London's new penguin enclosure is bigger and better than before. The best part of the enclosure is that visitors can get really close to the penguins. There is an icy bit where you can see the Gentoo penguins waddling around. We also saw them getting fed. There is also another bit where you can see the penguins jumping into the water and swimming around. This was our favourite part. Moozles and especially Dubz were mesmerized by the underwater swimming.
If you are planning a visit to Sea Life London, you can buy tickets online for as little as £19.50 per adult (children under the age of three enter for free). If you travel by train, there are often two-for-one deals. Or you can save money by purchasing a combination ticket (for example, you could get tickets for Sea Life London, Shrek's Adventure and the London Eye - all which are located next to one another).
Long-time readers might remember that I ran a monthly selfie linky for about a year. It began when I noticed that I was rarely in any of the family photos. Regular readers will know that Husband is renowned for his terrible photography skills, so if he ever takes a photo of me and the kids, the photo is normally fuzzy or else no one is actually looking at the camera. The linky helped me, and others, remember to take regular selfies of ourselves with our children. Since the linky finished last year, I have gotten lax about taking selfies with the kids. But I have been trying to improve on this during the past couple of months.
So I thought I would share some selfies that I took of Dubz and me on Friday. It was an Inset Day at Moozles' school, and Dubz doesn't attend pre-school on Fridays, so Husband took the day off and we went to Chessington World of Adventures. Moozles is a roller-coaster fiend, so she spent half of the day with her daddy going on the scariest rides. This meant that I got a lot of alone time with my best boy (who is a scaredy-cat like his mummy). He is so much easier on outings than he used to be, and he is lovely company. We had fun, and managed to take a few silly selfies.
That's the kind of title that catches the eye of many mums who are struggling to lose that baby weight. I would like to lose my 'mum tum', and losing it in one week would be even better. But let's face it, it's not going to happen. It isn't physically possible, and certainly not done in a healthy way. We live in an age where we have a huge access to information. If we want to know about something, we Google it. As someone who has been struggling with weight issues for years, I cannot tell you how many times I have browsed the internet for queries on dieting. I say dieting, but I mean healthy living. I don't want to diet in the traditional sense. I want to eat healthy, unprocessed foods. I want to be fit and active. At the same time, I want to eat ALL the cake.
I have been searching the internet to find a way to lose weight whilst eating cake. No luck yet. But I could cut down on the cake and find some ways to rid myself of this baby weight. And I'm not the only one looking for help. According to research from Intel Security, over half of people in the UK, between 21-54, have admitted to clicking on a link for a diet program/product. People are mostly clicking on links about 'losing belly fat' and 'clean eating'. And 18% do so after having a baby. So many of us are trying to get healthy, and there are so many sources offering help. Some sites are safe, and some are not.
When I heard that London's biggest trampoline park was opening in south west London, I was thrilled. No more schlepping all the way to Guildford, Surrey for trampolining fun. Woohoo. My family and I were lucky to be invited for the opening weekend a couple of weeks ago, so we drove to Earlsfield ready for some bouncing fun.
About five minutes from Southside Shopping Centre, tucked up in an industrial estate, you will find Flip Out Wandsworth. When you first check-in (try and arrive 10 minutes before your allotted time, and pre-book at the weekend because it gets busy), you watch a little video that explains the rules of trampolining. Things like don't jump on people or do triple-quadruple back flips. Then you go in, wearing your special grippy socks (you can buy a pair there for £2.00), and start bouncing. Moozles, who is eight, loves trampolining. She jumped around and around, and even managed a few cartwheels. She also played some bouncy basketball and swung about.
Dubz, who is four, was a bit nervous when we entered Flip Out. It is a bit dark in there, and he was not sure what to expect. But we took him to the junior section and he had a great time bouncing around, exploring a black taxi cab and jumping in the blocks. The junior section is wonderful for younger children as you don't have to worry about them being knocked over by the big kids.
Gone are the days when I can wear cheap, uncomfortable shoes. I am 40. I like to be comfortable. I do not like my feet to hurt. All whilst liking my shoes to be pretty or cool. Tough order, I know. And it doesn't help that I fell down the stairs almost three years ago and broke a toe (the toe has never fully recovered and I now have to wear shoes that securely hold my feet in - that means no more flip flops or ballet shoes, *sniff, sniff*). Last year I bought some party shoes for my birthday from Hotter Shoes. They have a small heel, are comfortable yet are very pretty. I have received loads of compliments on them, so I was thrilled when Hotter invited me to their Kingston shop recently to get myself a new pair of summer shoes.
I tried on lots of shoes and sandals before deciding on some super cute black sandals that I can wear every day. My new sandals have been worn loads over the past couple of weeks, and there has not been one blister. They will be comfortable on the school run, but I won't look frumpy. I can also dress them up as needed. I live in dresses and leggings, and my new sandals look fab. Have a look below at one of the many ways I have styled them.
If you've never been to Hotter Shoes, there are some things you need to know. First of all, you will be overwhelmed by all the cute shoes available. But don't let that deter you. Go in, try on shoes. Lots of shoes. All the shoes I tried on were comfy, the final decision was made on style rather than comfort. The shoes are cushioned and light (you won't be clomping about in heavy shoes).
Moozles has been going to Gardening Club for the past two terms. She goes on Wednesdays after school until 4.30pm. Not only does it mean that I don't have to battle the other parents for a parking spot at 3.30pm, but Moozles gets to have a lot of fun. This week they picked lettuce. It took me ages to clean the lettuce, there was so much dirt on it plus a slug. I don't like dirt, and I certainly don't like slugs. I'm glad that Moozles likes dirt. She was so proud and couldn't wait to eat her lettuce. I am not a gardener, not in the slightest, so it is actually quite nice that my girl is so interested in it.
This week I was invited to the launch party for Kit & Coco. Kit & Coco is a nit and lice-prevention and removal kit. I was obviously intrigued since my children are at that age where nits always seem to be going around. And since the launch included manicures and hair styling at the Duck & Dry salon in Chelsea, I was even more excited. But, as happens with children - something came up. Or rather down. Moozles fell down at school, (about 15 minutes after I arrived at the salon). I managed a quick mani, and then went home. But that's the life as a parent.
Now, I don't normally write about products before I have reviewed them. But Kit & Coco is such a cool idea. The products are totally natural and plant-based. There are no nasty chemicals, or even any alcohol. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had a fresh, clean smell. Regular readers will know that Dubz suffers from eczema so this is the kind of product that won't have him breaking out in a rash. The treatment is also supposed to be very conditioning and leave the hair soft and shiny. And just because it's natural, doesn't mean it won't work well. The products have been proven to be 100% effective.
It's tough being the baby of the family. When it was my daughter's birthday, I think I dedicated several blog posts to her. And then my son's birthday seemed to go by without any mention. Oops. But here we go, almost two weeks late. Dubz is four! My baby boy is not such a baby anymore (though he will always be my baby).
These four years have flown by. I remember the moment Dubz was pulled from my belly. He came out screaming his head off (a stark contrast to his sister who was so quiet when she was pulled out that we didn't realise she had been born). He was hungry, and was fine after finding my breast. Not much has changed. Dubz is quiet and lovely until he gets hungry, and then he turns. Thankfully now he turns his attentions to pizza and leaves my boobs alone.
Dubz is sweet and caring. He is silly and funny, he solves problems and sometimes causes problems. He plays with Lego, Star Wars and superheroes. He loves ties, capes and flashy accessories. He fills my heart with so much love. I have loved every day of these four years (even the days I am tired and covered in snot/sick). And although there is a sadness as Dubz moves further away from his baby days, I look forward to fewer tantrums. 😉
First of all, let me make it clear that I am a big fan of the Harry Potter books and films. So when I was invited to visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour and see The Making of Harry Potter, I was jumping for joy. I have been wanting to visit the studio for ages, but I have been waiting for my youngest to be at an age where he would
not destroy everything be able to enjoy the sets and props. But since the event was held at 6.30pm-10pm on a school night, it was the perfect excuse to go without the children. I was able to take one of my nieces and one of my mummy friends so we could properly geek out on Harry Potter.
When you first start the tour of the studio, you are transported to the gates of Hogwarts. Then you walk into The Great Hall and can imagine all the feasts and assemblies that Harry and his pals enjoyed. The sets are wonderful. I could easily have spent hours looking at everything, but we had to get to the Backlot Café for drinks, canapés and Butterbeer ice cream.
And when I thought we couldn't have more fun, then Mrs Durseley herself (played by the lovely Fiona Shaw) cut the ribbon for the opening of Privet Drive. Although the house has been on display, we finally get to go inside and see all of the letters that Professor Dumbledore sent to Harry when he was accepted into Hogwarts. Amazing! Have a look at my vlog below to see how cool that flying letters look on camera.