30 August 2017

A Spa Break At Wyboston Lakes

Oli and I recently spent twenty four blissful hours recharging our batteries at Wyboston Lakes. As parents, in between looking after the children and working we have very little time for ourselves or each other. I have come to realise over the years that time out from parenting is really important and exercising a little self care benefits the whole family, whether it's a meal out, a spa trip or just a full nights sleep, being able to be us for just a short time feels like such a treat. The Stopover Spa package at Wyboston Lakes is amazing offering all that and more. From just £119 per person you can enjoy lunch, spa access with a treatment, dinner and an overnight stay which is just incredible value.

The hotel is brilliantly located just of the A1 in Bedfordshire about 10 minutes from St Neots making it really easy to get to. We arrived just before lunch and checked in to our room. All the rooms have recently been refurbished to an incredibly high standard and the hotel has been awarded an AA 4 star rating. Our room was lovely, complete with a complementary mini bar and Molton Brown toiletries. We felt immediately relaxed and enjoyed a quiet, hot cup of tea before wandering down to the restaurant for a buffet lunch.

Relaxing at Wyboston Lakes
A quiet cup of tea in our lovely room

There was so much choice at lunch including several hot meal options, jacket potatoes and a salad bar as well as plenty of delicious desserts. It was really lovely sitting looking out across the lake and having a chat without having to get up and down getting drinks for the little ones or mopping up spillages. We were really impressed with the food, it was so tasty and fresh with lots of variety. After lunch we had a little wander around the hotel and grounds, it was great to just be able to please ourselves. 

Unwinding in Y Spa
Unwinding in Y Spa
We headed down to the spa at 3pm and spent several hours relaxing in the steam rooms, saunas and outdoor hydrotherapy pool. Y spa is such a wonderful place to be and so well thought out in its design. It's super modern and stylish inside with plenty of areas to chill out. We loved sitting outside by the pool in the deckchairs in our robes. We treated ourselves to a glass of prosecco as it really felt like a special occasion.

Poolside prosecco at Y Spa Wyboston Lakes
Poolside Prosecco

Time out at Y Spa Wyboston Lakes
Much needed time together

Our favourite area was the relaxation zone complete with warm water beds to lounge in, a sleep room with peaceful music and low light for a welcomed afternoon snooze and the egg chairs where we sat and read a magazine, I can't even remember the last time we did that!

The first time we've read a magazine in years!

Elegies products at Y Spa
Our Elemis treatments were wonderful

The Spa Stopover package also includes a 30 minute treatment each. I opted or the Y Spa Fresh Face Facial and Oli chose the Y Spa Soothing Scalp. By this point it was impossible not to feel totally and utterly relaxed. The treatments were excellent using Elemis products and the therapists were extremely professional and knowledgeable. I almost fell asleep during my facial and my skin felt amazing afterwards.

We walked back to our room in our robes and slippers and were able to take our time getting ready for dinner already feeling totally and utterly spoilt. Dinner is served in the waterfront restaurant from a set menu with several choices for starter, main and dessert. Again the food was excellent, beautifully presented and really yummy. The staff were so attentive without being intrusive and the restaurant itself had a great atmosphere and buzz.

Dinner at Wyboston Lakes Waterfront Restaurant
Dinner in the Waterfront Restaurant

We shared a bottle of bubbles over dinner and then took it with us to the lounge area to end what was a lovely day. We talked for hours and felt fully recharged and that was before we had the much needed full nights sleep!

Bottega Prosecco at Wyboston Lakes
A little treat... some Bottega Bubbles

We woke around 8am which is a lie in for us when the girls normally treat us to a 6am wake up call! It was bliss to wake up naturally, to take our time getting ready and then have breakfast together before making our way home after checking out mid morning. Although we had only been away 24 hours it felt like so much longer. It was the perfect amount of time for us as we did miss our babies and were ready to get back to them feeling fresh and ready to parent again.

We can't recommend Wyboston Lakes and Y Spa enough and will definitely be returning soon, if not for just a day trip to the spa as it left us feeling so refreshed. There are packages to suit all time frames and budgets, whether it's a a visit in-between the school run or something a little longer, simply pop over their website HERE.

Me x

*This is a collaborative post. 
All thoughts and opinions are my own*

23 August 2017

Lottie is two!

To our little Lottie,

How apt it is that I am writing this as you are falling asleep on my chest on the eve of your second birthday? Not far off this time two years ago you were in my arms having just entered the world and you have hardly left them since. You just love a cuddle, you are like a little koala! Tonight as you called me from your cot you stretched out your arms to me when I walked in the room and said "cuddle mama" and I am more than happy to lie in the darkness holding you as you drift off to sleep knowing it won't be forever. Whilst you are turning two I feel our cuddles will continue for a some time yet and I'm super grateful that you are so cuddly being my last baby and thank you for indulging me! 

Second birthday, Lottie is two!
Lottie is two!
You are more than happy to be the baby of the family and embrace being the littlest. Your two big sisters adore you and you adore them right back. You and Phoebe play 'mummies and darlings' often pushing your dolls around together and Ellie has started reading to you. No one else can make you laugh like they do and vice-versa. You love to make people laugh with a funny dance or by shouting 'bankon bankon' - we have absolutely no idea what it means but it makes your sisters collapse in giggles without fail.

You have lots of words and are forming sentences, my favourites are: 

"I little sister"
"I too little mama" ( mostly in relation to your sisters vitamins which you can't have until you are 3)
" my turn on my pad" 

Talking of the "my pad" (Apple are missing a trick there) You love to watch Bing and most recently have developed a bit of a fascination with the gruffalo who you keep telling me "feels sad"... You love the park and going high on a swing, you love books, particularly each peach pear plum and the tiger who came to tea. You can almost sing twinkle twinkle little star and baa baa black sheep and love to choose the animals when we sing Old McDonald's Farm. Jerome giraffe is your pride and joy and you laugh as you tell me he's a "bit stinky." You're right and as soon as I can prise him off you for long enough he's going in the wash. You still love shoes, whenever we visit the shoe shop you pick a pair up of the shelf and put them on and you've taken to clip clopping around in my shoes. 

You have such a lovely nature and are super cute to the point that you get away with far more than you probably should! You have such a wonderful grin and light up a room with your big, bright eyes and if I could just bottle that cheeky giggle... You are lots of fun to be around and caring too, always showing concern if someone is sad and are super affectionate. You are quite cautious but will try new things with encouragement from your sisters as you like to be the same as them... including eating a whole  chocolate magnum ice cream on a sunny day ... a mini milk just won't cut it and I am greeted with your signature frown and pout combo and a very firm no! 

You're starting playgroup in September and I know you'll settle in beautifully, especially as your little partner in crime Phoebe will be there to show you the way. I never know if it's a third child thing or just your personality, but you just take everything in your stride partly because you have kind of had to but mostly because you want to be just like your big sisters and join in with all their fun.

We are spending your birthday as a family and off for an adventure in London. Completely unnecessary as all you would like for your birthday when asked is "a candle" and "a card" which makes me want to 'happy cry' as it's known in our house. But birthdays are for celebrating and today we celebrate you Lottie and everything that we love about our little dot. It feels like the last two years have flown by, but at the same time we can't remember not having you as part of our team. We love you so much.

Happy two little lady. 

Love Mummy x

21 August 2017

Get ready for school with Marks and Spencer

If your little one is starting school, or you're getting ready to send the children back to school after the summer break, then you'll probably be heading to the shops any day now to purchase their school uniform. A few weeks before Ellie started school last year we made the trip to Marks and Spencers knowing that they would deliver on all counts - quality, style and price and we were certainly not disappointed. This year there was no questioning where to get her uniform from and we are delighted to be sharing some of the pieces from the Marks and Spencer's School Uniform shop with you:

Last year, Ellie's Marks and Spencers uniform lasted the entire year with plenty of growing room and survived countless washes which included school dinner spills, paint splodges, break time in the play ground and general wear and tear from a school day. Although Ellie has now grown out of her uniform everything still looks good as new and will be happily handed down to her little sister when she starts school next year, which is testimony to the exceptional quality which we know and love from M&S.

We love this Gingham Summer Dress which comes in three colours
teamed with little white ankle socks.

I love that there is so much choice in their collection which will see your child through the seasons over the course of the school year. Their sizing is generous meaning it gets loads of wear and the attention to detail is so thought through and really lovely. From little lace detail on sleeves and pockets to tiny butterflies, scallop edging and hearts on their school socks, it's a uniform Ellie really wants to wear which I can imagine as she gets older will become even more important. 

Ellie's favourite is this Skater Skirt
which we have paired with black knee high heart filet socks

Their uniform is excellent value with two of the pretty polo shirts above for just £9. I love the little puffed sleeves, scalloped collar and pin tucking detail. They are made from a stretch cotton making them super comfy which is really important when they are wearing it all day everyday while they learn. Ellie's favourite item from the collection is the Skater Skirt which passes her all important spin test and with stain, weatherproof and crease technology it gets a big thumbs up from me too. The waist is also adjustable which is a really handy feature as I sometimes struggle with getting skirts to fit my girls as they are quite petite. A great fit means it's not only comfortable but also looks really smart. It comes in grey, black and navy meaning it will match with whatever your schools colour scheme is.

Ellie wears one of a pack of two pleated skirts and matching grey knee high socks

I also really like a traditional pleated skirt which is great as we transition to Autumn teamed with a pair of matching knee high socks. The permanent pleat technology means that the pleats stay put wash after wash looking smart with every wear. It's stylish and also really practical and comes in a pack of two.

Ellie wears one of a pack of two pleated skirts and matching grey knee high socks

Ellie picked out this super cute Rain Cloud Backpack which cheers up her school uniform and adds a bit of personality bringing a bit of sunshine to school even on the greyest of days. It fits her perfectly with adjustable straps and two pockets, great for taking anything extra to school such a drink and snack, or for forest school and school trips. Being able to carry her own things gives her extra independence and means there is less for me to carry in the morning!

This might be the cutest school back pack I have ever seen...

For Winter you can't beat a pinafore and tights. Marks and Spencers school socks and tights are all super soft and feature Freshfeet technology cleverly keeping feet fresh by combating the bacteria that cause odours. Their tights also have Body Sensor technology which is designed to keep your child warm when it's cool and cool when it's warm, perfect for the changeable British weather. I love that there is permanent sizing in the waistband to help easily identify each siblings tights when sorting the washing, a feature that will be super handy when all three little ladies are at school in years to come.

Ellie wears a button pleated pinafore and grey tights

This pinafore ,which comes in both grey and navy, also features permanent pleat technology. It is easy to put on and button up which important when your little ones have to get themselves dressed after changing for PE. The crease and stain resistant fabric is just fantastic and last year I got away with not having to iron it on the odd Monday morning rush when I hadn't been organised enough to get everything ready the night before after a busy weekend.

This pinafore is so easy to wear and looks fab!

We really love the Marks and Spencers school collection and Ellie is now ready for another year of learning ahead. The fact that her uniform is comfortable, durable and great value is a huge win for me, particularly because it won't be long before Phoebe and Lottie follow in her footsteps so i'll know exactly where to shop for it. 

Ready for another year at school - thank you M&S!

The range is available in store but you can also view and order the whole collection online HERE, they are lots of options for school children of all ages and for both girls and boys so do pop over and take a look.

Wishing you and your little ones happy uniform shopping and a great start to the new school year!

Me x

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

15 August 2017

Siblings Project - August 2017

This has been one of my favourite months of the year so far. A whole month with all three of my little ladies together and I think they have loved it too. With all three at home there is always a willing playmate, someone to snuggle, or someone to be cheeky with. My little set of siblings are more than just that, they are the best of friends and I never get tired of watching them together.

This month we bought the 'Trolls' soundtrack for the car... (Bear with me on this, there is a point to it!) Needless to say it's been on non stop, for every journey we have made and now the entire family, even grandparents, know the words to every song. Despite driving me slightly mad it really makes me smile as they dance in their car seats, singing along in a little row in the back. Something as simple as a song really unites them and brings such joy. I can't help but smile as I drive, listening in to their fun on the periphery.

They've also taken to holding hands in the car and when we're out and about which is quite frankly adorable, although not without it's problems when Ellie and Phoebe both want to hold Lottie's hand and she decides she is having none of it! She more often than not obliges allowing her big sisters to show her the way and look after her.

Siblings Project, Sisters, Castle Ashby
My three little ladies 
We had a wonderful day out at Castle Ashby this month, running around in the gardens, eating ice cream and watching the fish in the stunning Orangery and it's where I took this month's Siblings Project photos. I love them because they really sum up their relationship this month and how I feel about being a mother to them. Standing back and watching and listening to them is so satisfying and I feel so proud. I think with motherhood it's easy to get so wrapped up in the day to day and it can be hard to take a step back and enjoy all of the hard work you put in. There are tough days but there are also utterly wonderful days and this was one of them that I just wanted to capture forever. I am pretty sure I have written this before but I look at them from a distance and just can't believe they are mine and how very lucky that makes me and how lucky they are to have each other. Seeing them together this month has reminded me of my own childhood with my own siblings and to treasure them always, because siblings are very special indeed.

Siblings project, watching the fish together at castle ashby
Watching the fish together at Castle Ashby
We're looking forward to the last few weeks of the summer holidays with slow mornings, plenty of fresh air and an adventure or two thrown in for good measure. Whatever we do, I don't think the girls will mind as long as they are together. Without the pressure of work or school routines I'm going to try and just live in the moment a bit more, take a step back and drink in every smile, giggle and magical moment - of which I am sure there will be plenty.

Me x

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

3 August 2017

Be Wild With The National Trust This Summer

We absolutely love our National Trust membership, in fact i'd go as far to say it's some of the best money we spend all year. There is nothing better than exploring one of their amazing sites which are brilliantly geared up for a great family day out. The girls love being outside in the fresh air, with space to roam and 'be wild' with things to discover around every corner. To me, adventuring outdoors is childhood epitomised and it's magical to watch my girls explore the world around them with wonder, whether they are building dens, climbing fences or picking up pine cones.

Den Building
Ellie Den Building

However, the National Trust has recently run some interesting research about childhood today which highlighted some stark differences when compared to the childhood's of parents and grandparents:

  • Children today spend 57% less time exploring outdoors than their parents and grandparents did – on average just 1 hour 20 mins a day, vs. 2 hours 40 mins (parents) and 3 and a half hours a day (grandparents). I was really shocked at this but with busy schedules and technology I can see how it might have happened.
  • 87% of parents and grandparents said they enjoy seeing their offspring running wild and carefree, with 80% taking pleasure from seeing them playing outdoors away from a technology device. It is the most lovely feeling and I honestly love nothing more than watching my children enjoying being outdoors and 'free range'.
  • In addition, 95% of parents and grandparents agree that it is important for children to connect with nature so that they can build a relationship with the great outdoors and help future generations care for and protect it. This is so important and something I definitely want to instill in our little ladies.

They also found that nearly half (49%) of grandparents take on the role of childminding more than twice a week to support parents, with this increasing during the school holidays by almost two-thirds of grandparents (61%). A whopping 9 in 10 (92%) said that when they do spend time with their grandchildren, they are keen to actively encourage them to take part in explorative outdoor play rather coop up indoors.  

Phoebe enjoying nature's playground

The National Trust wants to encourage children to explore the world around them as their parents and grandparents did, exchanging screens for scenes. This is something I'm a huge advocate of and we have many outdoor adventures planned this Summer to keep us busy throughout the holidays. 

Lottie loves collecting sticks and pine cones

I really love this video from the Trust which shows how the whole family can enjoy a day out at a National Trust Site and 'go wild' in the true sense of the word:

The Trust have also compiled a list of '50 things to do before you're 11 3/4' to provide a bit of inspiration and their sites up and down the country are the perfect places to tick some of them off. The list is super handy if you're looking for ideas to keep the children busy over the holidays and the perfect way to spend some time as a family in a really affordable way. It also gives parents and grandparents the chance to share a bit of their childhood with the next generation:

1. Climb a tree
2. Roll down a really big hill
3. Camp out in the wild
4. Build a den
5. Skim a stone
6. Run around in the rain
7. Fly a kite
8. Catch a fish with a net
9. Eat an apple straight from a tree
10. Play conkers
11. Go on a really long bike ride
12. Make a trail with sticks
13. Make a mud pie
14. Dam a stream
15. Play in the snow
16. Make a daisy chain
17. Set up a snail race
18. Create some wild art
19. Play pooh sticks
20. Jump over waves
21. Pick blackberries growing in the wild
22. Explore inside a tree
23. Visit a farm
24. Go on a walk barefoot
25. Make a grass trumpet
26. Hunt for fossils and bones
27. Go star gazing
28. Climb a huge hill
29. Explore a cave
30. Hold a scary beast
31. Hunt for bugs
32. Find some frogspawn
33. Catch a falling leaf
34. Track wild animals
35. Discover what’s in a pond
36. Make a home for a wild animal
37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool
38. Bring up a butterfly
39. Catch a crab
40. Go on a nature walk at night
41. Plant it, grow it, eat it
42. Go swimming in the sea
43. Build a raft
44. Go bird watching
45. Find your way with a map and compass
46. Try rock climbing
47. Cook on a campfire
48. Learn to ride a horse
49. Find a geocache
50. Canoe down a river

You can find out more about becoming a member of the National Trust HERE, in the meantime why not enter my competition to win a Family Day Pass to enjoy at a National Trust location of your choosing (terms and conditions below):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wishing you lots of 'wild' adventures with your littles this summer and good luck!

Me x
Terms & Conditions
- One winner will receive a Family Day Pass to a National Trust location of their choosing
- The prize cannot be exchanged or transferred and there is no cash alternative
- UK entries only
- Entrants must be 18 or over
- Entrants must log in via the Rafflecopter widget and enter either by leaving a blog post comment, visiting 3 little ladies and me on Facebook, Following 3 little ladies and me on Twitter, ortweeting a message. 
- Entrants may select as many options of entry as they like within the rafflecopter widget, the number of entries into the giveaway is dependent on which options are selected. These are clearly stated next to each option on the Rafflecopter widget with the opportunity of a total of 20 entries per person.
- All entries will be checked and verified 
- The giveaway will close on Friday 11th August 2017 at Midnight GMT
- The winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter from all correct entries
- The winner will be contacted by email within 24 hours of the giveaway ending and will have 48 hours to claim their prize
- In the event that the winner does not claim their prize the giveaway will be redrawn
- The winner's name will be announced on Facebook & Twitter upon accepting the prize
- The winner's contact details will be passed to The National Trust who will send out the prize directly to the winner.
- Winner's name available on request
- This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability
- By entering this giveaway you confirm you have agreed to the terms and conditions listed above.

1 August 2017

Crooked Mansion Playhouse Review

We have been looking for a playhouse for the girls for such a long time. At five, three and almost two they're at the perfect age to really enjoy all that a playhouse brings. I wanted something that was high quality, built to last, that would grow with them and look great in our garden. The Crooked Mansion Playhouse from Big Game Hunters ticked all those boxes and more. We absolutely love being outside as a family and think of our garden very much as an extension of our home. It's a space for the children to play in, for our rabbit to hop about in, to cook barbecues in and to enjoy the sunshine as a family.

Crooked Mansion Playhouse

We were so excited when the playhouse arrived at the start of the summer holidays and we put it up one evening after the girls were in bed so it was a surprise for them the next day. Everything arrives carefully packaged, with each part of the playhouse cleverly numbered and with pre-drilled holes. The screws are clearly labelled and there are easy to follow instructions. There are lots of parts to put together but it was simple to do and the playhouse was up in a couple of hours and ready to play in. The quality of the Crooked Mansion is outstanding and it is extremely well designed. It's made from a premium Fir wood for natural strength and durability. Once built it is very sturdy and secure and the finish is great.

Crooked Mansion Playhouse

Unlike many other playhouses it is pre-painted with a hard wearing dark pink wood stain which was a huge plus for me. It saved us the job of painting it and meant the girls could play in it straight away without decorating interruptions.  Big Game Hunters also stock the Whacky Mansion Playhouse which is very similar but green and yellow if pink isn't your colour. When choosing the playhouse, I hadn't realised that it was also painted inside which gives it a really homely, cosy feel.

Crooked Mansion Playhouse

The bright vibrant colours look fantastic in the garden amongst the flowers and the girls absolutely love it. We ordered the Crooked Mansion floor as an extra and it really completes the playhouse providing a dry, clean space to play on and is something I'd recommend if you are thinking about purchasing this playhouse.

Crooked Mansion Playhouse

The thing that really set the Crooked Mansion apart for me is the attention to detail. The girls adore the two little windows that carefully open and close with magnetic catches and tiny handles allowing them to pop their heads out and look into the garden. The cute window boxes underneath are such a lovely touch and I can't wait to pop some real plants in them for the girls to tend to.

Crooked Mansion Playhouse

There is also a little porthole which along with the two windows means that the playhouse is light and airy. It's also a great vantage point to be able to keep an eye on them and for them to peep out through. The door is a great height meaning that the little ladies can walk in and out without having to duck. There is plenty of growing room with a 176cm ceiling apex meaning that it's suitable for a wide age range of children and they will be able to play in here for years to come.

Crooked Mansion Playhouse

This is another reason I loved the Crooked Mansion. It's large enough for all three of the girls to comfortably play together inside whether they are having a tea party or playing the 3 little pigs -  a game they have been playing often inspired by the chimney on the roof I think! I love that I can even get inside and play with them too, although am mostly designated the part of the wolf which means I am not allowed in!

Crooked Mansion Playhouse

The girl's already very active imaginations have run wild since the playhouse arrived and they very much see it as their own little house. I love that it's a space for them to make believe in, or a den to hide in, just for them to have fun in. The Crooked Mansion also comes with a chalkboard name plaque giving the opportunity to give the house a name. When I asked the girls what they would like me to write on it they said "Home Sweet Home because it's our own little house mummy." 

Crooked Mansion Playhouse

Their little house even comes with a letterbox for extra imaginative play. I'm going to surprise them every now and then by posting them little notes from the fairies in our fairy garden just to spark their imagination some more. I'm also planning on buying a few little bits and bobs for inside to make it feel even more like a little house such as a rug, some little chairs, pictures for the walls and some twinkly lights at the girls request!

Crooked Mansion Playhouse

The Crooked Mansion is the perfect addition to our garden and has made such a difference to the way the girls play outside. It is a really special playhouse that will grow with them and offers years of play value. They have already spent hours and hours in it and my only problem is getting them out of it when it's time to go indoors for tea! Here's a little video of them enjoying their new home:

Big Game Hunters have a brilliant range of high quality play houses in all shapes and sizes and to suit all budgets. You can see the range by visiting their website HERE.

Me x

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