24 July 2017

Siblings Project - July 2017

This months siblings photos were taken at Hitchin Lavender on a gorgeous summer day. I've wanted to visit the lavender fields for ages and they did not disappoint, the colour, the scent and snapping my little ladies in a sea of purple made me ridiculously happy. I am officially a blogger cliche, but I don't care!

I've decided to approach the Siblings Project a little differently this month, so along with a picture of my trio I've included some individual shots of them as I feel like I want to capture their little personalities one by one. They are all such strong little characters at the moment and the differences in their personalities amaze me every day. I often wonder what makes us who we are and whether personality is pre-determined, due to birth order, shaped by experience, or a combination of the three, I suspect the latter, as whilst peas in a pod, the girls are also very much individuals which I think the photos I took of them this month really capture.

siblings project
Sisters
This month I made the decision to share the girls actual names on the blog, you can read more about that here. Ellie is our eldest, aged five and a half and has just finished her last year in reception. As I have mentioned before she is such a wonderful big sister, often gathering up her sisters like a little mother hen and showing them the way. She seems really grown up lately, really inquisitive and so keen to learn. She really enjoys independent time so we have taken to reading 'chapter books' at bedtime, just her and I, a chapter each night on her bed and she loves it. Ellie loves dancing and singing and can often be found twirling round in the living room. Last weekend she took part in a ballet show. Helping out back stage I was amazed at her confidence as she skipped onto the stage in her little bumblebee costume with a big smile on her face. She's really changed after a year a school and is so conscientious. I am really looking forward to spending lots of time with her over the summer holidays and I know here little sisters will be pleased to have her around too.

Siblings Project
Ellie Boo
Phoebe is our little firecracker, always full of beans, little and fierce. She is 3 and a half but will tell anyone who will listen that she will be '4 in January'. Phoebe is such a free spirit and really knows her own mind. She has the BEST giggle that is seriously contagious which is why I love the photo of her below as I hear it when I look at it even though it's a littlest of focus - photographing this little whirlwind is tricky! She loves anything sparkly, headbands, pretty dresses, jewellery but super brave and the first to jump in a muddy puddle. She collects things all the time in pockets, little bags and tins, stones, sticks, shells and coins are firm favourites - she really is our little magpie. She's just started showing an interest in writing her name and can draw a person now which is so cute. She's so much fun to be around and no one feels that more than her little sister Lottie at the moment... my goodness they are a force!

Siblings Project
Phoebe - our little Miss Tibs
Little Lottie, almost two, who can now rather angelically say ' I little sister', seems to really love being the baby of the family. Lottie and Phoebe can often be found playing 'mummy's and darlings', Lottie is more often than not 'the darling' which involves her following her big sister around with a baby in a pushchair and being bossed around! She's at that really cute stage, even her big sisters think she's cute, which means she gets away with far more than she should. While she's happy to be the baby of the family in some circumstances she makes it very clear when she wants to be like everyone else - when we have ice creams for example meaning that recently she had a whole chocolate magnum to herself! Not ideal... but I was not going to take it off her and the others certainly weren't rushing to draw straws either! She has perfected the best grumpy face, a serious pout and exaggerated frown which makes her feelings very clear but never fails to make her big sisters giggle and us smile. She's little miss independent but then a complete mummy's or daddy's girl, often running with her arms outstretched shouting 'cuddle'. 

Siblings Project
Lottie - our little Dot
So there they are, my girls in July, I hope you've enjoyed this month's update.

Me x

14 July 2017

The Question Jury

I'm really fascinated by people, how complex they are, how different they are and how they deal with different circumstances. When Netmums invited me to find out more about a reality quiz show with a difference involving seven strangers having to work together in a 'jury style' set up I was really intrigued. You may have caught the first series of The Question Jury last year, if you didn't, the show is back for it's second series starting on Monday 17th July on Channel 4 at 3pm and promises to be really gripping.

The Question Jury, a reality quiz show with a difference on channel 4
The Question Jury is a reality quiz show with a difference. Catch it on Channel 4!

The quiz is set in a Jury Room with hidden cameras and a 'virtual judge' which the contestants hear from and speak to via an intercom system and who leads the game. The seven jurors must work together to build up their prize fund to try and win up to £10,000. There are seven questions each episode, 3 of which are quick fire rounds and each juror gets the chance to be the foreman to lead the debate and together they much reach a unanimous answer to win the money. At the end the jury have to choose one member to walk away with the prize fund! Sounds simple doesn't it.... I visited the Jury Room to give it a go with six women I had never met before - believe it's much harder than it sounds!

Team Netmums giving the Question Jury a go
'Team Netmums'

The questions are designed to promote discussion and debate and to bring out people's personality traits. They are questions with answers that aren't straight forward and where you could be easily influenced by another member of the Jury. As we were there with Netmums they gave us some family based questions to answer and they were really tricky. Everyone had different ideas and we really had to work together, listen to each other and support each other. For example if I was to ask you and a group of friends what the second highest ingredient in terms of content of tomato ketchup was I am sure you would come up with several options... we certainly did and debated between vinegar and water for some time, eventually putting it to a vote... I'll solve any arguments and tell you that it's vinegar before you go rushing off to the fridge! We actually got it wrong and gave water as our answer for this... Another of our questions was how many people can call the Queen Grandma/Great Grandma? In true mum style we went round the table and counted on our fingers and got this one right!

The Question Jury, example questions
Some question examples - how many do you know the answer to?
One of the most interesting parts for me was that there was a a psychologist watching how we interacted as a group and analysing who was a strong personality, who was easily swayed, who was quieter, who was able to influence others and how we reached our answers. The lovely thing was that when we sat down with her afterwards she said that 'Team Netmums' was made up of women supporting each other, championing each other and willing each other to win, we shared the lows and the disappointments together and celebrated when our nominated juror claimed her prize (a bottle of fizz in this instance)... maybe it would have been different if £10,000 had been at stake, who knows! It was a really fun experience and i'm looking forward to watching how it pans out as the series unfolds next week and the chosen jurors play for real.

Me x

Don't forget you can catch 'The Question Jury' on Channel 4, Monday - Friday at 3pm, starting on Monday 17th July

*This is a collaborative post, all thoughts and opinions are my own*

13 July 2017

Introducing Ellie, Phoebe and Lottie


I've recently made a decision about how I use my children's names on my blog. If you've been here a while you'll know that I started this blog using nicknames for the little ladies - Miss Boo, Miss Tibs and Miss Dot as that was what I felt most comfortable with at the time and also what I thought I should do. 

Their nicknames were something we called them regularly at home but as time has gone on I am finding we use them less and less as they get older. I'm also finding it less natural to incorporate their nicknames into my writing and it's really tricky when we create video content not to say their names or for them not to call out to each other and I feel like it's getting a bit confusing for them, for me and for my readers.  

Also any concerns I had about using their names have disappeared as I've learnt more about blogging and grown in confidence. My children are aware of the blog and I write it knowing that one day they might read it, as after all that is why I set it up in the first place, as a little diary for them. In terms of their online footprint and privacy I feel like as their mother I am able to judge what is and isn't appropriate until they are old enough to express any preferences. They are growing up in a digital world and this is part of normal life for them. They really appreciate all of the wonderful opportunities that this blog brings us and are keen to be involved. As we have made the decision to share some of our family life here on the blog it just makes sense to use their actual names going forward.

So I'd like to introduce you properly to Ellie (5 ), Phoebe (3) and Lottie (1) 


I hope you'll enjoy continuing to read about the girl's adventures!

Me x

10 July 2017

Disney's Beauty and The Beast - Digital Download & Keep

Disney's Beauty and the Beast was my favourite film growing up so when they announced the release of the new live action version I was so excited to take the girls to see it at the cinema. Needless to say we absolutely loved it and are really pleased to share details of the digital download of the movie with you so you can experience the magic at home or on the go.

Press play below to see how quick and easy it is to download the film, why we loved the experience so much and for a review of our favourite bits:



Beauty and the Beast is available to download and keep now (a week before the DVD release) via iTunes, Sky Store, Amazon Video and Google Play. Find out more HERE.

What are you waiting for?

Me x

*This is a collaborative post. All opinions are our own*

6 July 2017

Super Easy Store Cupboard Brownies

Brownies are probably my favourite thing to bake. This is a super easy, quick recipe with ingredients we always have in the store cupboard meaning we can whip some up whenever we fancy a chocolate fix. They are great as a dessert with ice cream or with a mid morning cuppa. However you like to eat your brownies I promise these are pretty fail safe and extremely yummy!



The other reason I love baking brownies is that they are really easy to do with the children. My girls absolutely love making brownies for when their friends come to play as a treat or for taking to family get togethers. We always have lots of fun making them!


The Recipe

Ingredients

- 110g Butter (Melted)
- 200g Caster Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 60g Self-Raising Flour
- 30g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Method

- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C

- Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper

- Beat the butter and sugar together (we use a mixer)

- Add in the eggs and mix well

- Combine the flour, cocoa and salt and stir into the mixture

-Mix in the vanilla extract

- Spread evenly in the tin and bake for 25 - 30 mins (we like ours gooey and chewy so take them out around 25 mins and pop in the fridge, baking a little longer will give them a more cake consistency)  

- Once cooled enjoy or deliver to neighbours/friends wrapped in a bit of baking paper and raffia, they make the best gift. These also travel well if you want to send them in the post in a tuppawear tub to someone who needs a little pick me up.


Me x

Why not pin this recipe for later?




3 July 2017

Siblings Project - June 2017

Everytime I take or look at photos of my three little ladies together I honestly can't believe they are all mine. Since making the decision that we won't be having anymore children I see them more than ever as a trio, a little set and the gap I once saw for a possible fourth baby seems to have disappeared. There is a symmetry to them, a completeness and I can't believe how lucky I am to have them and how lucky they are to have each other.

Enjoying chocolate lollies and sheltering from the rain
The three of them really look out for each other, are such a team and are unbeliavably close. The tough bits about having three children so very close together seem to be getting a bit easier as they help each other and gain independence. Wherever we go they have a playmate to adventure with and their close age gap means that they all enjoy the same thing. Miss Boo will more often than not take the lead and her little sisters keenly follow. Miss Tibs looks up to her big sister so much and proudly takes on the same role to Miss Dot, who has the two of them to look out for her and show her the way.

Playing their version of 'piggy in the middle'
I love this Month's set of photos because they capture their very special relationship in a candid way as we explored the grounds of Tyntesfield on the way back from our Treehouse Adventure. They invented their own game which they called 'piggy in the middle' in a sundial, where one of them sat in the middle and the others jumped round the stones, when someone stepped on a 'crack' they had to sit in the middle. It was so lovely watching them play like this.

Picking daisies
They picked daisies together and proudly brought them over to us in little posies and ran around together knocking on doors that they probably shouldn't have, chatting to each other about who might live inside.

Little ladies on the doorstep
Although a little dark as the rain clouds drew in, this last one is one of my favourites because it makes my heart sing seeing the three of them sat together knowing that they will always have one another. It also makes me realise how very little they still are against the backdrop of the huge house behind them but how fierce they are together. 

Though they be little they are fierce
These photos are ones I hope the girls will love looking at and reading about when they are older and capturing them and these memories in this way is the very reason I started my blog. The Siblings Project posts are always my favourite to write because I feel like they are written just for the girls, my 3 little ladies who totally and utterly complete me and who I couldn't be prouder of.

Me x