Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Kissing goodbye to the summer....

Can you believe that as the clock strikes midnight tonight we shall be kissing goodbye to August and saying "hello" to our friend September once again.

Don't get me wrong, I've loved this summer. We have had some awesome adventures, met new friends, and spent some well overdue quality time together as a family which was so very needed but as I reflect on happy times I look forward to heading into a new month which will hail a new chapter in this years annual.

September for me is a fantastic month. In years gone by the weather has been kinder to us than the summer months and as the leaves slowly start to turn and the evenings take on a slight chill we head into yet another school year and of course autumn.

Next Monday Charlie starts in Reception and as I look at the piles of school uniform that need labeling, blazers that need to be dry cleaned and school shoes that need to be polished I just can't quite seem to get my head around the fact that my little boy is starting school for real.

I look back at my school days with such adoration and now with such pride as Charlie attends the same school that I did, and when I look at Charlie smile it mirrors the same smile I had on my face as he skips down the same path that I skipped down at that very same age. Madness really.

So, as I prepare to kiss goodbye to summer for another year here's a little round up of our amazing summer....

Thanks summer for some amazing memories! We've loved every minute!

September - WE ARE READY FOR YOU!!

Nathalie x

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Are the school holidays over yet?

So, it's 3pm and I'm hiding in my office tucked away at home, hoping desperately that the children won't find me - well for five minutes ideally.

We are in week 6 of an 8 week summer holiday and I'm starting to question, scrap that, I am questioning how my mum made it through all those holidays being a full time stay at home mum?

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my kids with all my heart but today as we attempt our first "let's stay at home all day" I'm contemplating putting them on Ebay. No refunds.

My children are most definitely spoilt. I will deny it to the hills but I know that there is no denying it. They have too many toys, watch too much tv and are used to going out to eat at great places and hanging out at all the super cool hangout places that kids of four years of age like to hang out it.

I'm creating monsters. Please say I am not alone?

Growing up in the same area that I am raising the boys in is very different today compared to how it was in the late 80's early 90's when I was little. Really? Yes really and really for a few reasons:

1. Soft play did not exist - the nearest you got to "soft play" 90's stylee was what is now Leatherhead Fun In The Foam which was reserved purely for birthday parties where as soon as one received the invitation my mum would sigh "oh not the place that smells of cheesy feet". Yes that place.

2. Merlin passes? Er no. I remember the days when Chessington World of Adventures was a real treat that your parents would psych themselves up for months before attempting to take you, whereas now you're almost a social leper without one of those laminated bad boys hanging around you neck and boasting that "we only nip for a couple of hours". Of course you nip, hell if I've paid near on £100 to take the kids we are queuing at 10am and staying till the bitter end, whereas when nowadays you can pick up family passes for under £300 for three gazillion attractions why wouldn't you not just nip for a couple of hours? NOTE TO SELF - MUST BUY MERLIN PASSES FOR NEXT SUMMER!!!

3. Memberships did not exist. We have memberships for National TrustHobbledownHampton Court Palace (yes that place that you pay for to send your children on an educational school trip we have a membership for that too) basically we have enough family memberships to shake a stick at. Whilst this is all well and good I think it's taken the fun and excitement out of visiting these places, if I'm being honest I've taken Charlie and Hector to more of these places this summer than I have to Sainsburys or the big Tesco and that is a sad state of affairs.  Staying at home is just plain boring for them.

4. We made our own fun. We played in the garden. We made mates we never knew existed by knocking on our neighbours doors asking if they had any kids. I made friends through that method that are still friends of mine to this day. We hung out till dusk and we walked to the nearest shops on our own, ok maybe not at the age of 4 but parenting 90's style was certainly more free range and care free than today. The likes of weirdos and kiddy snatchers  from years gone by have put the end to that and replaced those free range years with years filled full of fear of letting the little ones out of our sight and that saddens me.

 Heck I even found myself justifying the benefits of Pokemon Go to Tom the other day where he was telling me that it's got to a sad state of affairs when in order to tempt kids out of their bedrooms and into the fresh air had to be used in conjunction with a video game - you know what he was right.

Places like Chessington World of AdventuresLegolandGuildford Spectrum these places growing up were reserved for real treats and ones you would really look forward to and the problem is now with all these places being so cost effective with various offers and 2 for 1's on every sodding day I find myself asking the question - what exactly do our children have to look forward to these days?

I want my children to realise that these days out should be seen as a treat but how do I reverse what has sadly become the norm for them? How do I get them to realise that we simply cannot do something every single day?

Sod it. They've found me, my five minutes of reflection time is over, but first, please don't judge me, I am not trying to brag about how many times we take our kids to all these places as I am very aware that I am lucky enough to be in a situation to be able to take them to all these places but from here on what I am going to do is to make far more of an effort starting now to entertain the kids at home and to enjoy what we have here.

I would love to know how you guys are all entertaining the kids at home during the summer holidays?

Big love,



Sunday, 14 August 2016

Smelling lavender and eating Thai food...

It's mad to think that we've only got a couple of weeks until we kiss goodbye to the summer holidays and welcome in what is always a mad time in our house, the return of the school term and a particularly busy one the autumn term.

The weather has had its glorious moments this week and with the weather set to continue into the early part of next week it feels like summer is getting its second wind.

So, we've had a lovely week getting out and about in Surrey and I thought I would share with you two little gems we discovered this week.

Last weekend we ventured as a family for an anniversary photo shoot to Mayfield Lavender in Banstead. We had heard lots about this place but as yet had not had a chance to experience it for ourselves so as we saw in our 5th anniversary it was an opportunity to take the kids and grab some photos to show just how far we had come in five years.

The lavender is in full bloom from June - August so there is still a couple of weeks to pop down and get some fab photos - it's definitely something we will do each year now.
Five years ago on our honeymoon we travelled to Thailand where we fell in love with a country, people, food and culture and five years later we found ourselves sitting in a restaurant surrounded by decorations and authentic surroundings that we would have believed them if someone had told us we had woken up in Bangkok. We had discovered Thaikhun, a super cool Thai restaurant situated in a bustling street in Guildford.
We were invited down to try out the new kids menu that has recently launched with aim to get parents and kids eating the food that they love together. We took my mum and dad and feasted on Pad Thai, the most delicate beef strips and mouth watering ribs and not forgetting the massaman, whilst the kids tucked into the new kids menu - superbly priced at £5.95 for three courses.  Hector being baby led weaned from six months took to the delicate fragrances and spicy palate like a fish to water devouring his Pad Thai along with quite a few of our dishes, Charlie (a notoriously picky eater) was happy with plain noodles and chicken and enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere of his surroundings.

We all agreed that this was some of the best Thai food that we had eaten in the UK and having told my colleagues at work we are going back in a couple of weeks time for a staff night out - it would be wrong not to sample the cocktail buckets right?? Thanks to the guys at the Guildford restaurant for having us - we had a ball!
This week is a relatively quiet one for us all as we prepare for our first family visit to Wales to visit our friends who we met on our recent holiday to Greece - we are hoping for a full Welsh experience! But before that, Tom is taking Charlie camping! Well, I say camping, what I really mean is that Tom will be taking our tent out of it's bag (the first time we have used it since we were given it as a wedding present from his parents), erecting it in the garden and where he will spend one of the warm evenings with Charlie and my cousin Hugo toasting marshmallows whilst I stay inside looking after Hector! That's my kinda camping!!
Hope you guys enjoy the warm weather this week!
Big love,
Nathalie x


Sunday, 7 August 2016

This Surrey Mummy goes to the Natwest T20 Blast!

So, you might have seen on my Facebook recently page that I travelled to my first ever cricket match.

My blog would take me, Charlie, Tom, my nephews, niece, brother in law and sister in law, to the Kia Oval for Surrey vs Kent Natwest T20 Blast.

For cricket novices like myself I found myself googling exactly what T20 cricket was as I'm not sure I would have had the patience to sit through a lengthy test series. 

Well, luckily I found that T20 is typically a shorter match which usually lasts under 3 hours and is usually accompanied by fun filled intervals and music and is a guaranteed great family night out  - I was sold. 

When I told friends I was going to the T20 I was amazed to hear how many people were going too, apparently it's quite the family event! 

We ventured to the rather sparkly Kia Oval, only half an hour on the train from us, where it had an almost festival vibe, lots of quirky food stands and drinks being drunk out of plastic glasses adorned with pictures of what I assume were well known cricket players. 

My sister in law is a keen T20 fan and being a Kent supporter she filled me in briefly with the rules and a rough outline of what the game involved. Pimms in hand (yes it's quite sophisticated) and Charlie brandishing a blow up cricket bat, it was game on!

The game was fast paced and there wasn't even a chance for even a first timer like me to get bored as before we knew it it was "how's that" and all over with Surrey stoking victory over their Kentish competitors! 

It really was a really fun filled family night out!

Thanks to Surrey Cricket, Natwest and Kia  for having us we would love to come again! 

Huge photo credits and thanks also to my brother in law, James from James Heming Photography for being my official blog photographer for the evening! 

If you fancy a bit of T20 yourself why not head to the Kia Oval for Family Day (tickets available here), a day which is sure to give you an excellent introduction to cricket and also great fun for all ages! 

Nathalie X 
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