Tuesday, 15 October 2013

A Week in the Woods

Last week we escaped reality for a bit and spent a few days in a log cabin in the woods.  We'd booked the time away with the children so we could relax, enjoy some fresh air and take some time away from the hustle and bustle of real life.  We managed this more than we had planned, thanks to the poor (i.e. none at all) phone signal in the cabin itself!  So no Facebook, Twitter, phone calls, emails, texts.... just us, the kids, and some peace and quiet!

We had a really good time.  The swimming pool and spa on-site meant we could take the children to the pool every day - and Molly enjoyed her first time in the swimming pool!  She loved the water, and was mesmerised by everything going on around her.  I think she would have been happy to have stayed in longer but I was worried about her getting cold, so we had a shower (which she loved too) before getting dressed and watching the others enjoy the rest of their swim.

I'd thought there would have been more on offer at the site such as nature trails, woodland walks etc - otherwise known as "free fun" - but there was only a small playpark for children and no walks to speak of.  The kids made the most of the sunshine and ran themselves ragged around the park regardless.

We went a bit further afield one day to a park I'd spotted en route to the site.  It was huge, with loads to see and do, and I'd imagine on a lovely, warm day it would be fantastic to go there with a picnic and spend the whole day wandering around.  There was a lot of equipment for different ages and it was really clean and tidy - the kids were warm enough because they were running around but oh, it was cold for the adults sitting watching!!  Definitely time to dig out the gloves and scarves!!

The girls managed to fit in some time taking it easy, watching CBBC.  As you do!

And Lizzie made a start on a sewing project she got for her birthday.

I even managed to fit in some time for this cross stitch I've been working on since last summer.... which admittedly is the first time I've even picked it up in 2013!  It's a long way from finished but I enjoyed having the luxury of time to sit and do it!

We had a nice time and enjoyed the break.  Now we're back home and back to fast-paced reality!

Best wishes

Review: Pinkabella Books

Parragon Publishing got in touch with me to offer Lizzie a selection of their Pinkabella books to try.  As we were heading off on holiday to a log cabin for a week, I was pleased to accept these - and Lizzie was delighted to receive them!

The first book, Pinkabella Dress Up, was a huge success.  Lizzie has always loved sticker books and even now, age 8, she will still happily sit for hours at a time completing sticker books - in particular she enjoys the ones that have fashion themes like this, where you get to dress the characters.

Lizzie enjoyed following Pinkabella's exploits throughout the book and had fun selecting the most appropriate outfits for Pinkabella and her friends.  She dipped in and out of the book during our holiday and it kept her amused for many hours.  She completed the book cover to cover and brought it back home with her to keep.  I was pleased with the quality of the stickers - they stayed stuck to the pages!  So many books I've bought over the years have ended up a disappointment when the stickers curl up and refuse to stay stuck down in the correct places - much to Lizzie's frustration!

My only issue with this book (and every other sticker book I've ever bought) is that the pages with the stickers are fixed into the centre of the book.  This means constantly flicking pages to find the stickers you want and then sticking them on the correct page.  In the end I ripped the sticker pages out so Lizzie could have these to one side whilst completing the book - it would be so much easier if these sticker pages were perforated so they could be removed if desired!!

The second book, Pinkabella Colours In, was a colouring book and although Lizzie spent some time on it, she didn't enjoy it nearly as much - the flaw being that the crayons supplied with the book were awkward to hold and didn't colour in very effectively.  The crayons looked cute in the butterfly shape they made when put together but they weren't very practical.  Perhaps they are designed that way for littler hands to hold - but Lizzie, being 8, is quite particular about getting her colouring in the lines and this wasn't easy with these odd-shaped crayons.   Unfortunately we didn't have any other colouring instruments with us, so the book was packed away again to be completed at home.  I'm sure she will come back to this book with her own colouring-in things in due course - she enjoyed the story and liked all the different characters in the book!

Best wishes

Friday, 11 October 2013

One night in Belfast

Last weekend Dougie and I escaped reality for 24 hours and jetted off to Belfast for a catch-up with friends.  How indulgent!  We flew from Edinburgh airport into Belfast City airport, spending the night at a Premier Inn.

After a freshen up and a change into something more suitable for a Saturday night on the town, we met up with a large group of friends at a restaurant called Made in Belfast - we'd checked ahead and they'd advised that catering for my gluten-free requirements wouldn't be a problem.  I chose the risotto for my main course and it was delicious - creamy, tasty and very filling!  The rest of my meal was topped up with gin!

Then we spent the remainder of our evening in a newly opened bar in Belfast called The National - we sat outside under the patio heaters and enjoyed what was a clear and crisp evening washed down with a drink or two and plenty of laughs!

One of our friends advised that Belfast didn't wake up until 1pm on a Sunday - how true indeed this was, when we emerged from our hotel the following lunchtime to find that not a single shop was open!  We managed to find a Starbucks that had opened it's doors and a lonely gluten-free tuna nicoise roll served as my breakfast!

It was just what Dougie and I needed - a break away, just the two of us, to spend some quality time together as a couple and not just "Mum and Dad".  And of course the girls were thoroughly spoiled, spending the evening at Granny's house!

We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  There's so much to see and do in Belfast - I can't wait to go back!

Best wishes