Me and Mine (January 2018)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I have always loved looking at bloggers Me and Mine posts and thought it was a lovely idea. I just kept putting off doing it because I hate being in photographs but I thought it is the perfect time to start right now. We have a fresh start this year and have so many exciting things planned and it will be really nice to have a monthly family photo to look back on at the end of the year where we can reminisce and remember what we were doing in each picture.

This month has been quite up and down. The kids have gone back to school after a lovely few weeks together over Christmas and Sam is working long hours at work so that we have some extra money when we move house very soon! On the plus side the house hunting is going extremely well so far and we are sure we will find the perfect house soon. Sam now has weekends off work which has meant we get more family time. We had a sleepover at the in-laws with all 4 kids earlier in the month. Took the kids to see the new Star Wars movie, where they all dressed up as their favourite characters. 

Me and Sam managed to get out without the kids too to go and watch Hollywood Undead. We love going to gigs together and it was a great first gig for 2018. We haven't got outdoors much this year besides school runs with all the ice and snow but this weekend we popped out to Coombe Abbey Country Park where we climbed trees, yes the grown ups did too! We played in the park and made a den. It was lovely to get out and it has made me really excited for more outdoor adventures this year.

January has been a good start and I am looking forward to seeing what February has to offer.

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful

Iceland Day 4: Sam's Birthday, Shopping and Blue Lagoon

Friday, January 26, 2018

The fourth and final day of our Iceland adventure also happened to be Sam's 25th Birthday and despite the fact he didn't want to celebrate, I wanted it to be special. I had spotted what looked like a nice cake shop a few days earlier so we got up and walked into Reykjavik city centre to the cake shop where we sat and had a cake breakfast because everyone needs cake on their birthday. 


Review: Arokah Discover The Mystery

Monday, January 22, 2018

January's Blogger Board Game Club selection is something very different to anything we have tried already. Arokah is a new and unique multi puzzle. It is based on a naturally occurring phenomenon discovered by Steve C Brazier. The game comes as a wooden board with a number of wooden pieces and 6 double-sided paper inserts with different puzzles. Each puzzle offers a unique challenge. To complete a puzzle you must entirely cover the playing surface by combining various pieces together ensuring there are no gaps left and the outer boundary limits of the puzzle are not crossed. 

Both Me and Sam have tried this out and equally found it intriguing and frustrating at the same time. You can think you have got it and get to the last little space that needs covering to find that the only piece that shape is already being used elsewhere on the puzzle! No two pieces are the same and some are much easier shapes to use than others. It is a very fascinating concept and when it is going well I really enjoy playing. It really makes me feel like I am exercising my brain which is a great feeling. It is very difficult though. I was shocked to discover it is suitable from 6+ because I don't think Gracie could tackle it and she is 7.

Between us we have managed to complete Levels 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 but I haven't mastered the ultimate  Master challenges yet and need to retry both level 5 puzzles as I am determined that I will complete all the challenges! I think this is a really clever game and is ideal for any puzzle or mathematical lovers. It is a real challenge and would make a great gift. I would never have picked it up for myself but have really enjoyed trying it out and attempting to master it.

Maintaining A Healthy Diet With A Dairy Allergy #ad

Friday, January 19, 2018

Having two children who suffer from dairy allergies, I have always been concerned about their vitamin intake. There are a lot of foods that as a family we substitute for dairy free alternatives. We mainly use coconut milk (Koko Dairy Free is my personal favourite) for things like cereals or baking which contains the same amount of calcium as semi-skimmed milk. We use sunflower spread (Vitalite) instead of butter which is also used in all of our baking, this is rich in Vitamin E which is good for skin and eyes and strengthens the immune system. We are lucky that there are so many alternatives for dairy free diets now and I would say that it has improved a lot in the 5 years since Zach was first diagnosed.

Dairy products provide protein, Vitamin B12, B2 and Vitamin D and minerals such as potassium, calcium and phosphorous. Many of which can be carefully replaced with certain foods. There are many fruits and vegetables rich in potassium including sweet potatoes, tomatoes, bananas and avocado. All of which are quite easy to work with, Zach and Elsie both love sweet potato and bananas. 

As everyone knows the best source of vitamin D is sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for the normal growth and development of bones in children, plus maintains normal teeth. We may be lacking sunlight at this time of the year but it is still important to get outside when you can. Food sources include oily fish, egg yolks, liver and mushrooms. This is where I struggle as my kids hate all of those foods. Luckily many milk alternatives also contain vitamin D which is where the dairy free milks, butters, yoghurts etc. all become important as they are usually fortified with vitamin D. The same can be said for Vitamin B12, milk and yoghurt alternatives are usually rich in this very important vitamin which is naturally found in meat, fish, vegetables and grains.

It is absolutely possible to still keep a child healthy and thriving with a dairy free diet by carefully using the right food substitutes but even still it is a great idea to give them daily multivitamins.

Haliborange is the UK's number one children's supplement brand*. They are so proud of their softies range that they are sure your children will love the taste, and if they don't, they'll give you your money back (T&Cs apply-see website).  The range features a whole of host of different combinations of essential vitamins and minerals to help support children’s health and wellbeing at every stage – from age one month to their teenage years.

*This post is in association with Haliborange. 
Vitamin A: helps support normal vision, Vitamin C: helps support the immune system, Vitamin D: essential for the normal growth and development of bones in children, Vitamin B12: contributes to normal energy release.

Vitamin supplements are not a replacement for a balanced diet or healthy lifestyle.

Iceland Day 3: Golden Circle Tour and Fontana Wellness Spa

Friday, January 19, 2018

On our third day in Iceland, we went on the famous Golden Circle tour with an added visit to Fontana Wellness Spa. We were picked up from our hotel early in the morning by Reykjavik Excursions. We were taken on the trip by coach and were going to visit Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Center then Gulfoss Waterfall.

Siblings (January 2018)

Monday, January 15, 2018

This year I have decided to join in with some lovely monthly link ups within the blogging community and to write more about personal things and so one of the lovely monthly linkies I have found to join in with is 'The Sibling Project'. Each month I will be writing about how the kids are doing, what they have enjoyed doing together etc. I am really looking forward to it and love that I have an excuse to take even more lovely pictures of the kids together.

This month has seen Gracie, Zach and Elsie spending a lot more time together than usual they had over 2 weeks off school over Christmas and got to share the excitement and build up. They had three christmas celebrations altogether as we had one at Sam's parents house the weekend before Christmas, then they spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Me and Sam before going to their Dad's Christmas Day night and Boxing Day for even more fun and presents. They were so spoilt and got so many lovely presents and they were just so well behaved over Christmas. They enjoyed playing together nicely and sharing their toys and activities. 

Gracie had a birthday. I can't believe she is now 7! She decided all she wanted to do for her birthday was to go for a carvery, just the five of us and pick up a chocolate birthday cake and watch Wonder Woman. It is so lovely how she is so happy to spend so much time with her brother and sister. 

They had the first week of January off school so they spent lots of time playing games. They really love Ticket to Ride which they played together last week on their last day at home. So last Tuesday was back to school and they have really missed each other. They spent their evenings colouring in pictures and reading together. Then this weekend they got to spend the weekend with their soon to be stepbrother who they absolutely love. They always love having him around and they all get on so well together. 

It has been a great month for them and I am looking forward to seeing what the next month brings for them.
The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

Iceland Day 2: Northern Lights Proposal

Friday, January 12, 2018

Back in November, Me and Sam went to Iceland on our first child-free weekend away together. Iceland is somewhere we had both wanted to visit and there were so many things we wanted to see and do so planned to make the most of every moment that we had there. 

On our second day we took a walk into Reykjavik to do some exploring. The first thing we did was have a look inside the beautiful big church we had passed the evening before. It is called Hallgrimskirkja and it is the largest church in Iceland. We discovered some beautiful snowy mountains overlooking beautiful open water close to the harbour. We then walked around the city looking for different historic sites on a map that we found, including an old cathedral and the Parliament house. We visited the Saga Museum which tells you all about the Viking settlements in Iceland. I love Vikings so found the stories so interesting. We then headed for some food before going back to the hotel to prepare for our late night trip to see the Northern Lights.


Competition: Recipe Book

Thursday, January 11, 2018

With the new year we all have big plans to eat healthier and make more adventurous meals. I have a lovely competition today just to say thank you for reading and hopefully this prize will come in handy for those of you who love to cook and create, or it could be a great gift if you know someone else who loves to do that!

I am definitely going to try and learn to experiment with food a bit more this year and encourage me and the children to try lots of new meals and foods. I don't enjoy cooking as I have no confidence in my ability but I figured that if I then write down what I use and the method whenever I get it right, then I can build myself a nice big book of recipes that I love. 

So today, I have this lovely Rosie's pantry Recipe Book full of blank pages for you to create your own book of recipe's. All you need to do is follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below. 

Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Open to UK only. The competition will end 28/01/2018 at 12am. All entrants must complete the mandatory entry on the rafflecopter form. Those who don't will have all entries removed. All winning entries will be verified to ensure the entry has been completed correctly. The blog owner will choose the winner through the rafflecopter form (which uses The winner will be notified by email and displayed on the widget. one winner will receive a Rosie's Pantry recipe book. No alternative prize will be offered.  Allow up to 28 days for delivery.


Review: Ticket To Ride First Journey

Monday, January 08, 2018

As part of the Blogger Board Game Club we have tried lots of different games we may not have tried otherwise. After a few games aimed more at adults, we requested a game for all of the family this time and were sent Ticket To Ride First Journey. 

The board is a map of Europe with different coloured tracks all over the board. The game is suitable for 2-4 players and there are four different coloured trains, each player chooses their colour train, is given two journey tickets and a few colour cards. The colour cards correspond with the coloured tracks all over the board so if you have a blue coloured card you would put your train on a blue track and so on. The instructions do sound a little complicated but once you jump in and start playing it is easy to get the hang of. By the end of our first game, Gracie (7) knew exactly what to do and Zach (5) enjoyed playing but needed a lot of support in knowing what to do each turn. The game is aimed at children 6+ as it can get complicated but I think with supervision it can be played with younger children too.

It can get frustrating when someone blocks your planned route whilst trying to achieve their own but it was a game that had us all talking and laughing together and I really enjoyed playing it as a family. The first person to win 6 tickets by completing 6 routes is the winner of the game but we carried on to see who would come in second and third place etc. 

When asking the kids their thoughts on the game, they both said it was great and that they loved playing which was nice as I wasn't sure if they would be frustrated at needing help. I think if we play a few more times together then they will be able to do a lot more for themselves. I am so glad we got to review this game, we will definitely be playing again and again.

Iceland Day 1: Travelling, Hotel Reykjavik Natura

Friday, January 05, 2018

Back in November we went on our first child free holiday to Iceland. It was a bucket list destination for both of us and we had planned to make the most of every moment whilst we were there. We booked direct through Icelandair, Iceland's main airline, and put together a package holiday with flights and hotel being provided by Icelandair and our excursions were provided by Reykjavik Excursions. 

We flew from Birmingham airport with Icelandair to Keflavic airport in Iceland. We were really pleased with the service from Icelandair. The staff were friendly, the amenities on the plane were great. Soft drinks were free, we had a large choice of in-flight movies and I enjoyed reading the in-flight magazine which had lots of interesting information about Iceland. We payed for Flybus tickets to take us to our hotel and pick us up to take us back to the airport on our last day so as soon as we arrived at the airport we picked up our tickets and jumped on the first Flybus. 

My Goals For 2018

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

2017 was a very mixed year but I would definitely say that the positives outweighed the negatives and somehow it became the best year so far for me. So I am going into 2018 with a positive mindset and am looking forward to all of the things we have planned so far for the year ahead. 

My goals for 2018 are:

Attend more festivals and gigs
I attended my first music festival last year (Slam Dunk Festival) and followed it with camping at V Festival in the Summer. Both were amazing experiences and I am already planning on returning to Slam Dunk Festival for definite. I have also attended so many gigs last year. I love music but I stopped watching live music once I had kids and so have loved having someone to go and enjoy watching so many bands with. I have seen bands that I have loved since my teens and discovered new bands I had never heard of and can't wait to see more this year. I even get to take Gracie to her first gig this year as we bought her tickets for her 7th Birthday last week.

Make time for friends
I really enjoyed spending more time with friends last year. Whether it was going out shopping, having a cuppa and a natter after the morning school run or going out for drinks, we even managed a weekend away towards the end of the year. I have so many amazing friends and I want to make sure I carry on spending as much time as I can with them. I think having good friends is like a miracle cure for your sanity.

Write more personal blog posts and enjoy writing again
This is going to be my biggest struggle. A lot of things that happened in my life last year have had to be kept to myself and I am an over-sharer so that was difficult. I found that because I was keeping so much of myself from my blog that I lost a lot of the joy that comes with writing and it became home to only work pieces and lost a little of me. This year I am aiming to write a lot more for myself and limit the amount of work I take on so I can get back to enjoying what I do and increase the quality. 

Find the perfect home
My first big job of the year is to find us our perfect home. We can't wait to have our own home to start fresh and when we find it we can leave all of the stress of this house and everything that comes with it. Me, Sam and the kids are excited for this huge next step which will then lead on to the next one....

Start wedding planning
Once we have found our house, we can start saving again and we can start planning our wedding! I am so eager to get started already but I need to take things one step at a time. I can't wait to start a wedding organiser diary and spend my nights scouring Pinterest for cutesy ideas and don't get me started on the honeymoon planning. Where to go, where to go?!

What are your goals for 2018?