For those of you about to embark on a kitchen remodel, I am sure you feel equally terrified and elated. You have probably been designing and planning a perfect kitchen for a long time. And once the builders arrive, your dream will soon be realised. But before then, you will need to survive the remodel. So I thought I would share some tips that I utilised when we had a new kitchen installed five years ago. And yes, my kitchen did actually look like that – not enough cabinets so everything on the counter, and a big space where an oven should’ve been, red walls and wood cladding (which is why there wasn’t an oven).
Last term, in Year One, Dubz learned about space. And he loved every moment. Every day he talked to me about planets and stars and Neil Armstrong. So when we decided to visit Center Parcs in the beginning of August, we chose the Sherwood Forest location so that we could stop in Leicester to visit the National Space Centre. And we were not disappointed.
We visited the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida about six years ago. We really enjoyed it and found to be quite impressive. But our daughter found it to be a bit boring. The National Space Centre is definitely not boring. It seems to have been designed to enthuse children about our solar system and the steps we have made to explore it.
Regular readers will know that my son got his first passport last year, when he turned five. And since then he has begged me to visit lots of different countries. But since we spent a fortune going to Disneyworld at Christmas, we had to watch our pennies this year when it came to family holidays. When looking into European destinations for our May half-term holiday, we decided to visit The Netherlands. And when we discovered Roompot Beach Resort, we knew we had to book it through Eurocamp.
You may remember that we had our first Eurocamp holiday last year and absolutely loved it. And Eurocamp offers guests a 5% discount on the following year’s booking (every bit of savings helps!), so we were keen to book. One thing that attracted me to visit southern Holland is its proximity to Calais. We took the ferry over, and the drive to Roompot took just under three hours. That’s actually quicker than driving to many places in France.
Living in London, we are surrounded by so many cool places to visit. And Spitalfields Market is one of those cool venues. It is a unique and vibrant hub of activity where you’ll find art, music, fashion and more. And this September, there is definitely more. There is a new photography exhibit, FACES of Spitalfields, from photographer Manos Fotiou.
Launching on 20th September, the FACES of Spitalfields exhibit can be viewed as you walk around the market enjoying the various stalls, shops and restaurants. The photos are of the traders, porters, management and security with each photo having a lovely bio so that you can get a better feel for the people who work at Spitalfields.
Every April I get new raincoats for the kids, and sometimes for Husband anid me. It rains so much in the UK that it’s essential to have light and waterproof rain gear. Unless you stay home every time it rains. But I don’t think that’s feasible. And it’s certainly a very boring way to live.
We all have Regatta winter coats (and love them), so we were eager to try out their lighter gear. The only issue is that since we received our jackets in April, there has been a record low of rain. And no rain means no need for a raincoat. We wore our jackets four or five times this spring, but only on the school run. So we were actually a bit relieved this weekend to get some rain and wear our new coats on an outing. So off to Kew Gardens we went (and ate our picnic as we walked around).
My family and I eat out at least once at the weekend. We just love restaurants. And we love trying out new places. The kids are now 10 and six, so we are no longer limited to pizzas and burgers. A couple of months ago, we tried out Maison Du Mezze in Kingston upon Thames. It’s a new-ish restaurant in the area and we were keen to expose the kids to Lebanese cuisine. And they loved it, which is always a relief when you try new food. So when Maison Du Mezze invited us to return a few weeks ago, we jumped at the chance.
Maison Du Mezze Kingston are offering an amazing deal this summer – kids eat free! For every main meal purchased, you get one free dish from the children’s menu. This is such a bargain, especially in the summer holidays when it feels like you are just throwing money around. But besides saving money, the food is utterly delicious.
It’s a true sign of summer when my family and I head to Mayfield Lavender Farm. It provides a lovely backdrop for informal family photos. And of course the smell is unreal. But we almost did not go this year. But two weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, the power on our road went out. So we decided that a trip to the lavender farm and brunch at a cafe would ease the pain of not having any electricity.
And ease the pain it did. Mayfield Lavender is a 25 minute drive away, so we were able to enjoy some air-conditioning. At the lavender farm, we only spent 10 minutes taking photos, and then went to brunch at Fego in Banstead. We came home at 1pm hoping for electricity, but annoyingly it did not return til after 6.30pm. Still, at least we had a lovely morning, and some sweet photos to remember the day.
Last week I attended the NFL Flag Football Summer Bowl, presented by Subway®, in Chiswick. It was a great day watching kids play football and meeting some super cool NFL players. Growing up in the USA, I spent Friday nights attending high school football games and cheering for my team. Us Americans love our football, and now it’s in the UK. Hooray!
American football is the fastest growing sport in the UK. And not only are Brits watching the games, but they’ve started playing as well. Did you know that over 10,000 children in the UK have taken part in the NFL Flag programme presented by Subway®? And it’s not just boys. Flag is a mixed-gender sport, and it’s wonderful having a sport where boys and girls can play together.
Last month I did something pretty unusual. I said goodbye to Husband and the kids, and I went off to Italy for three days. I hadn’t traveled on my own for almost 20 years. I was a bit anxious beforehand, but it felt quite liberating to do something on my own. It was like ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ with just the eating. And it turns out that Catania is a great city if you love food.
If you’ve never heard of Catania, it is located in Sicily by the sea. This means that you will find the most amazing fish and seafood. And with the growing popularity of wine being grown near Mt Etna, your meal will be complemented by some terrific wines. And because it is Italy, it is beautiful and the people are absolutely lovely.
Do you ever get a new pair of shoes that fill you with utter happiness? Well, this happened last week when my new leopard sandals arrived. I had been eyeing them up on the Hotter website for over a month. Umming and ahhing. Do I really need new sandals? It turns out that I really did. After all, my wardrobe was severely lacking in leopard ones (meaning I had none).
I almost never wear heels, so I try and find flat shoes that look stylish and not frumpy. And for summer, these leopard sandals are ideal. They ooze elegance but never make you feel like a nana (sorry nana). But it’s true, I love being comfortable and refuse to suffer for style. Yes, I would love to wear some three-inch heels, but I know it would kill my back and give me a leg ache.