Tuesday, 26 April 2016

From Oxshott to Neverland courtesy of Dazzle and Fizz Magical Bespoke Children's Parties...

Well, that was one hell of an afternoon!

Let me fill you in, we've just been to Neverland and back. Ok, maybe not the REAL Neverland but to my four year old he would never have known otherwise. 

This afternoon we were lucky enough to be invited by our friends at Dazzle and Fizz Magical Bespoke Children's Parties to one of their infamous London parties, yes THE Dazzle and Fizz who featured on BBC Two's The Millionaire's Gift Guide!

We were lucky enough to have had a Dazzle and Fizz party for the boys at the weekend and if that was anything to go by this was bound to be a cracker!

Ready to rub shoulders with some of Kensington's most yummiest mummies, Cate from A Surrey Hill's Mummy's Musings and I packed up the SMax and headed up west. 

Our destination The Bulgari Hotel, Knightsbridge. 

We arrived in good time and were met by the hotel staff and escorted to the ballroom. 

It is here where our journey to Neverland began. 

Cue glittery and general pirates fantasy type music and a young(ish) boy called John who asked us to fly to Neverland to find his sister, Wendy. 

Charlie was transfixed. Through the curtain we were hurled into a land of green and make believe and as a thirty one year old mummy of two, they had me. They had me hook (get it!) line and sinker. 

Bubbles and milk bottles filled with freshly squeezed orange juice were sipped as the boys were whisked away from under our feet to explore the land before them. 

Lost boys banged on drums whilst Hook grabbed the boys imaginations and toyed with their minds as if they were characters from the book. They loved every single second of it. 

Hector managed to commando crawl himself around Neverland only stopping to mingle with Hook and to give the mermaid some of his best chat up lines. Mum, just in case you are reading which I know you will be, sorry about the general state of Hector - he looked half decent when we arrived - and yes I did forget a bib!

I managed to catch up with Charlotte from Dazzle and Fizz for a few moments and it was clear to see she was immersed with love for the event, and it showed in every single detail even down to toadstool cake pops.

Too tired. Must. Lie. Down.

We had the most amazing afternoon sipping on bubbles and non alcoholic cocktails and nibbled the most delicate canap├ęs whilst the boys and babies feasted on mini burgers, fish and chips and finger sandwiches and not to mention THAT sweetie table!

Thanks to Charlotte and the team at Dazzle and Fizz our favourite children's party planners for an amazing time! 

We now have four very exhausted children on our hands on our trip back to Oxshott from Neverland but we loved every single minute!

That's it love you just have a little lie down in the window of the Bulgari.

Nathalie X 

P.S Neverland to Oxshott in rush hour only took just over an hour! 


Friday, 22 April 2016

I'm having a love affair....and it's with my High Street...

I love shopping and since becoming a parent I love shopping even more for them than I do for me. I can always find an excuse to nip out and about to do a spot of retail therapy.

I have always had a love affair with the High Street, my local one in particular. There is a real buzz of community on the high street, relationships made with residents and locals and new vistors from far and wide and it's with my local one, Cobham, that I have to thank for where I am today.

Quidco High Street carried out a survey and 74% of the people questioned visited their High Street at least 1-2 times a week. The top 5 reasons that the people asked in Surrey go to their local high street for are to do other non-food shopping (50%), to browse (44%), to do their food shopping (41%), to get a tea or coffee (35%) and to meet their friends (28%).

Cobham High Street, early 1900's

Cobham High Street, early 1900's

Cobham - 1980's - courtesy of Boyce Thornton Estate Agents, Mr. Worsfold

Farrants, my local paper shop - courtesy of Boyce Thornton Estate Agents, Mr Worsfold

Farrants has just had a major refurbishment and is still taking centre stage all these number of years later.

My first job was in a small independent school uniform shop back in 2000 and it's still there today and it's one that I now have to visit to get Charlie's school uniform. From there a year later I went to work in an independent sports shop and had five of the best working years of my life. It was a fantastic sports shop, one right in the center of the village and one that stocked everything sporty from tennis racquets to skis, goggles to spikes and I'm pretty sure that if the sport of Quiditch ever took off they no doubt would have stocked equipment there too.

It was at that very shop that I learnt the basis for what my career now is based around. Customer service. The day to day dealings with different people and giving them the treatment that I as a customer would want to receive if I was a paying customer. I learnt to work under pressure when the Christmas rush was on or the inevitable carnage of what was more dauntingly known as "football and rugby boot season" when stressed out mums would visit us with their broods to get them kitted out for the school term ahead.

Working on the High Street teaches you many things and also gives you great skills to go forward in to many avenues of different careers, for me I picked estate agency and now 16 years on I still work on the same High Street where I had my first job except now I'm selling houses and not school ties or football boots.

Our High Street is such an important place and one that many people tend to over look. It's a place where people gather, the local greengrocers where people once met is now the local coffee shop but even though times move on it does not detract from the fact that every community in an ideal world needs a place to meet, and the High Street is that.

I'm working with Quidco in a bid to get shoppers off their PC or Macs and get back on that High Street with their High Street Cashback incentive which gives you up to 10% cashback at over 40 amazing retailers in over 5,300 locations nationwide.

All you need to do is register your card on the Quidco website, then when you shop at one of their retailers, Quidco tracks your purchase and pays you cashback! 

A few retailers that I love using where I get cashback are Early Learning Centre and MothercareJo Jo Maman Bebe and Argos to name but a few. I have been a member of Quidco now for nearly two years and in those two years have earnt over £200 cashback just shopping in shops that I would usually shop in!

It's Hector's birthday next month so I will naturally be hitting the High Street in search of some fantastic pressies as well as getting my cash back too!

Would love to hear your #HighStreetHappy stories!

Nathalie x

** This is a sponsored collaborative post with cashback site Quidco. **

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Memory Moment Of The Week - Dinner With A Four Year Old

It's time for my Sunday #Memorymomentoftheweek. 

When : Thursday 14th April 2016

This one comes from Thursday night. I'd come home from work and Tom was dashing out to rugby training. It was just Charlie and I for dinner. He was the perfect dinner date. Just him and I chatting about our day over meatballs and pasta. Simple but perfect. 

What's your #memorymomentoftheweek? Get involved on Instagram using the above hashtag. 

Nathalie X 

It's nearly party time.....

I love a good birthday party. I love planning a good birthday party. Since having children of my own I have looked at these events with most excitement and never dread.

Next weekend we are hosting Charlie's 4th birthday party with his best friend. Charlie was born at a particularly busy time of year and around April, May and June it's not unusual for there to be a birthday party of some sort every single weekend. We are hosting the party with his best friend, and given his mum Cate and I are really good friends we thought why not share a party, halve the cost and also cut down on one more party that we have to attend?

Both our boys are both LEGO mad. There was no better theme for the party, it had to be Lego themed.

We have always provided the entertainment for the parties with the exception of last year when I was only three weeks away from having Hector we decided to host the party at the local fun in the foam gym, the kids loved it.

For Charlie's 1st birthday we threw a fancy dress Disney theme - basically a big play date! Charlie went dressed as Rex from Toy Story, we filled the room with toys and my talented sister in law made the cake which was spectacular and tasted amazing!

For Charlie's 2nd birthday he was going through the obsessive Peppa Pig stage that most toddlers go through so naturally there was not any other theme that would have been suitable. We laid artificial grass that the toddlers picniced on and had toddler sized cut out Peppa characters that they could have their photos taken with whilst the projector played episodes of Peppa over...and over...and over again. The kids had a great time but I was all pigged out by the time we had cleared up.

So, this year as well as adopting the Lego theme we have also enlisted the help of local Chertsey based party experts Dazzle and Fizz who pride themselves on creating bespoke magical children's parties. We have booked one of their entertainers to entertain thirty of Charlie and his best friend's chums for two hours.

Both Cate and I love the little details of parties so we've naturally been trawling through Pinterest for appropriate decorations to give the party that added little something.

I will be making the kids birthday cake, and Cate will be making some of her fantastic cupcakes that will go down a storm!

Meanwhile, I am off to put what I learnt with the lovely Charlotte from Piped With Love when I did my flood iced biscuit course with her. Ones first attempt should probably be with like a circle or something simple? Noooo, I'm attempting Lego men. These may be awesome or they may not even make the party - wish me luck!!

I look forward to sharing some pictures with you after the big event!

Nathalie x


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Throw Back Thursday - Easter memories 2016....

So, as I have said before I love Easter - it's probably one of my most favoured celebrations of the whole calendar year. It's a time of year where it's a little less pressured than Christmas but enough of a big deal for everyone to make a real effort.

I love to go big for decorations and setting the Easter table so here are a few snaps and mementos from our special Easter weekend with family.

I am also very lucky to have an incredibly talented photographer and videographer in our family in the form of my brother in law James Heming who always manages to capture the moment just right. 

If you'd like to have a look at the gorgeous video that James kindly did for us to - it's certainly very special. 

In the meantime, I will leave you with one spring photo and I'm off to enjoy these beautiful light evenings.....

Nathalie x


My Birth Story - Four Years On....

I still can't believe it. I know they always say "cherish every moment, they will be all grown up before you know it" but I never really believed it until recently when I asked Charlie for a kiss. I got a cheek. A cheek! Where had my little boy gone who used to love to smother my face with kisses, the little boy who used to stroke my face as I fed him his bottle? He was still there just now more grown up. Four years grown up and I still can't quite believe how quickly those four years have gone.

I thought that I would use this opportunity to tell you about my not so perfect birth that I had with Charlie four years ago although when I close my eyes it feels like yesterday. 

Charlie was what you could probably call a "honeymoon baby". He was a very much longed for baby and one that never in our wildest dreams thought would come to us so quickly. 

Since I was 15 I had suffered from severe endometriosis. Numerous surgeries and medication meant that it would have been a challenge for us to conceive naturally and we were fully prepared for a long wait to get our precious baby. As luck would have it, stupid amounts of Thai cocktails, curries, sun, sea, sand and uh hum you know what appeared to be all it took as I found out I was pregnant when I got back from our honeymoon.

I can't honestly say not I am a great pregnant woman. I gain too much weight. I whinge a lot. I'm never happy. I'm short tempered. I'm always tired. Oh and I cry a lot. That said the nine months passed relatively smoothly. 

My due date was May 30th 2012. At week 36 I went from my usual 36 week check up. My baby was breech and after a scan they tried to manually turn him. Toe curlingly painful and a complete waste of time this baby was head up and staying put, I was booked in for a C- section.

36 weeks - 4 weeks to go... or so I thought!

Well those daisy birthing classes and birthing yoga classes were a total waste of time and that special water birthing tankini was going straight back to JoJo Maman Bebe. Hey ho. I adjusted and got my head around to having a section. I booked in for my manicure and pregnancy massage for the day before my section and booked a table for mine and Tom's last supper just the two of us. 

Baby Webb had other plans.

On Easter Sunday as I sat at my parents in law I started to have niggles. Enough that I needed something for the pain. My sister in law tracked down some paracetamol from Di their next door neighbour and I continued with my day. 

Next morning still with the odd niggle we went about making preparations for the new addition which naturally as one does four weeks before baby comes, we ripped out the bathroom! 

At 5pm that evening I was starving and something inside said "eat your dinner now". We always ate together but tonight I ate earlier. 

At 9pm as Tom tucked into his dinner I made my way across the lounge and boom. My waters went. Ok. This is interesting. 

I called the delivery suite and told them what had happened and also the fact that I was unsure whether my waters had broken or I had just wet myself. Nice hey. They advised I come in. We dropped Buddy at my parents and I assured them it was a false alarm and off we trotted to Epsom Hospital. 

We went upstairs where we were met by a midwife. They popped a monitor on me and started to monitor my progress. I was in fact in early labour with regular contractions. The decision was made to bring my C-section forward to now. Like right now.

At 36 weeks and 3 days I was going to have a baby. My baby. I was petrified. The doctor came in and explained what would happen and that when baby was born they would give him an injection to help his lungs along and that it was likely he would be admitted into neonatal for monitoring. 

This wasn't happening. I didn't even have a hospital bag packed. After all that money I had spent and not needed on sodding birthing classes now I wasn't even going to be able to finish my NCT course!!!!!!!

All set to be a father in less than an hour...

I was led down to the theatre all gowned up. In less than an hour we would have our baby boy. Nothing can prepare you for that. 

The surgical staff asked what radio station I wanted on. I opted for my dad's radio station Radio Jackie and I laid forward to listen to my spinal block being administered along to the dolcet tones of Simply Red. 

As the spinal block started to work I laid down in anticipation unsure of what to think. I was scared I remember that for sure. 

The theatre was cold. The aneastistist then asked if I would like him to take some pictures of the birth. Are you kidding me, hell yes! I knew that I would never remember those first moments and I wanted to look back on them, hey if I could have been given the chance I would have filmed it! 

GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING!!!! Look away now if you are squeamish!!! 

These photos I have only shown a handful of people and these are probably my most precious photos I hold.

At 03:20am on Tuesday 10th April to the sounds of the Pet Shop Boys, West End Girls and weighing 6lbs 11oz - Charles Michael William Webb entered the world. He was whisked off and didn't cry for what felt like minutes but once his lungs had been cleared was only moments and greeted us with a great big cry. My longed for baby boy was here. And he was perfect.

After this I will be honest it all goes into a blur. The medication had kicked in and I was for all intensive purposes - high as a bloody kite.

Charlie (as he was to be known) was whisked away to neo-natel for half a day whilst he got over the shock of being whipped out of his comfort zone to adjust to his new surroundings.

To summarise. My birth was not the birth I wanted. It was far from the water birth I had dreamt and prepared so hard for. Nevertheless, in some ways it was perfect. A team of highly trained professionals made sure my baby's entrance into this world as safe as possible, and to be honest, I could not give two hoots as to whether a woman gave birth naturally, c-sectioned, in water, without pain relief or squatting by the side of the road, as long as their baby comes out healthy and safely why does anyone care how it happened?

So, as I type away reminiscing I came across an old youtube video I did when I only had one child and spare time on my hands and thought I would share with you. 

I hope you enjoy it.....

Nathalie x

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