Bing Live Show – a review

Round the corner, not far away, Bing is coming to your local theatre to play.

We are complete Bingster’s in our house. The CBeebies loveable Bunny Bing is a regular on our screens and I have even been known  to take some parenting tips from Flop. Bing actually came to Cbeebies screens the year George was born 2014 making it feel special to us in some way.

The Television show is actually based on books written by Ted Dewan. I found a fab interview with him here, which explains more about his vision for the show and what it should become.

I contacted the press team who were kind enough to not only send tickets to myself, hubs and George for the Bing Live Show but also a fab goody bag. Checkout what was in the goody bag over on our IGTV .

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Details about the show.

Currently touring theatres across the UK, the show is 80 minutes long, including the 15 minute interval. The Bing Live show is touring 60 venues around the UK until April 2019. Tickets prices vary from theatre to theatre.

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Credit Johan Persson – Images Courtesy of Bright Media

Our experience of Bing Live.

The Bing Live show was engaging, exciting and really well produced. I’ve been to a few theatre shows aimed at toddlers now and they can only be described as hilarious carnage! If you have read my previous post “What will my child become?“, you will know that George is the epitome of sensible. He’s able to sit still and watch shows from beginning to end without fidgeting, fussing or complaining he wants to do something else. I’m not bragging, but I forget that this isn’t “the standard norm” (whatever that is) for toddlers.

So whenever we attend a show where the bulk of the audience are toddlers, I’m often in hysterics at how funny it is to be in a room with 100+ toddlers all trying to be kept ship-shape and quiet. Hence the description “hilarious carnage”. With Bing Live , it is anticipated, hell, expected even, that the little ones will roam around, shout, clap, scream. It’s embraced. I think this helps to take the pressure off the adults from trying to maintain the decorum expected of a visit to the theatre.

Bing

As I was saying, at previous theatre shows aimed at this age, the carnage has sometimes been a little distracting and over ridden the show itself. I didn’t find this with the Bing Live show. The volume was somehow magically loud enough to always be able to hear it despite the excitable audience. But it wasn’t excessively loud that it unnerved or upset any of the little ones. I don’t know how they did it but it was really clever.

The narrator gave us a typical countdown to the show starting so our little audience could get excited. George is pretty reserved so it was so lovely to see him anticipating the show starting. He was so excited bless him. As the curtain rose and Bing and Flop entered the stage, we got out first look at how the show was present.

We had already watched the trailer video on Facebook, so we knew the characters were all puppets. The thinking behind this was that the characters could be a relatable size for the children. Not too large they are scary, but not too small you can’t see their expressions. I loved reading more about the Magic Behind the Puppets on the Bing Live site.

Each character was cleverly manoeuvred around the stage using rods attached to the puppeteer’s feet and body. Whilst the puppeteer voiced the characters.

They all sounded more or less the same as the characters on the show, although Bing himself was a little more shrill and not as husky as he is on the show. He was voiced by a female. They all did a fabulous job. I would love to know if their voices are naturally that tone and pitch or if they were enhanced at all.

The live show is literally like watching toddler play and imagine and explore. The characters were as excited to see us as we were them. They then played out before us, their own make-believe theatre. Imagining and dressing up and exploring through singing and dancing.  There were moments the audience were encouraged to participate in the singing and dancing and this was lots of fun. It was also really helpful that the lights went up for these parts of the show.

I don’t want to give away much more except that it’s a great show that appears to be written by people who understand young children and parenthood. Little touches like announcing the interval with Bing declaring he needs a wee and everyone getting all aboard the toilet train. Cue a room full of grown ups asking their child if they need the toilet train, instead of the usual battle to get them to try for a wee. We loved it!

Bing

George’s verdict:

He absolutely loved the show and took his Bing and Sula teddies along to share it with him. When the crowd were asked to join in the singing and dancing, we did this with his teddies instead. He is quite shy to sing or dance out of the comfort of his own home with just us watching so this was the perfect way for him to still take part and enjoy it. Our seats were perfect and he had a great view. His feet were tapping and he couldn’t sit still from excitement. When I asked what his favourite part was, he replied “All of it”

Our local show was held at The Cliffs Pavilion Theatre in Southend-On-Sea, Essex.  It’s not the first time hubs and I visited the Cliffs, but it was the first time we have visited with George and fully explored the theatre grounds. It’s modern, comfortable with air conditioning inside the theatre. There’s plenty of seating inside and outside to relax and enjoy a drink or a snack before the show. Upstairs is a pretty cool and comfortable selection of seating booths. Decorated in a funky seaside print. it’s the perfect place to sit and enjoy the stunning sea views. After the show we took a walk down the steps to the seafront and as the tide had just gone out, we watched lots of tiny crabs making their way back to the water’s edge.

Bing

If you do attend the show, be sure to have a piccie in front of the photo wall. Share it on social media with the hashtag #Bingstar.

Bing

**Disclosure – we were provided with tickets to the show and a goody bag in return for our own review. All opinions are our own and do not affect the integrity of this post **

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Why I became a blogger – By Gorgeous George’s Mama

You probably have never wondered why I became a blogger, but I’m going to tell you anyway. So back in August 2015 I was a first time mum to a 10 month old. The first 10 months had plenty of those famous “magic moments”. But it was literally the hardest 10 months of mine and hubs relationship.

This is despite myself undergoing major spinal surgery in and learning to walk again in the first year of our relationship in our teens! But becoming parents was even harder. So here I was feeling pretty angry at the world for not being more honest with me.

Blogger

I only knew the basics of pregnancy and motherhood. I knew you got fatter, you might throw up and you could get stretch marks during pregnancy. Oh my word was there a lot you ladies in my life failed to divulge. Read my thoughts on The truth about pregnancy here.

Then there was new motherhood. I knew I would have less sleep and less freedom (whatever that meant) but other than comments like “enjoy it whilst it lasts”, there was no way I was prepared for new motherhood. Could anyone have prepared me? I actually don’t know. Maybe they tried?

I know I used to live life thinking “that’s them and this is me and I’ll be different”. But overall every new Mum (maybe even new dad?) pretty much experiences the same feelings and emotions just to differing degrees.

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So I’ve ALWAYS loved writing. Poems, short stories. I had a lull after leaving school but I maintained the poetry and was even asked to write a special birthday poem for a friend’s relative. I wanted to share THE TRUTH with women everywhere. To my knowledge the truth wasn’t out there. I certainly hadn’t found it.

So I looked into starting a blog and I saw that this was something you could actually make a career out of. Little did I know it’s not as easy as it appears on face value. So after much deliberation and discussion with hubs, I decided on the name Gorgeous George’s Mama. I had my very own George as my muse and he was often referred to as the Georgeous.

It was also still in the days when Prince William and Kate had only one child, Prince George. My simple, it’s-so-easy-to-crack-this-internet-business brain decided that people would be searching for “Gorgeous George” all the time. This owing to the fact Prince George had been born before our very own Georgeous.

By the way, our George is named after my Grandad and was always going to be George or Georgie regardless or gender for years prior to the royal baby.

Blogger

Anyway, my plan for my page to be popping up in peoples supposed daily searches wasn’t what I had naively hoped and here I am, along with now millions of other parenting bloggers, all trying to be heard. The trend to speak “THE TRUTH” about motherhood and parenting has grown massively since 2015. Did I jump on a bandwagon? If I did it was completely obliviously, as I was new to this thing.

So since the original “plan” I’ve come a long way. I’ve fallen in and out of love with blogging. I’ve learnt tonnes and it’s an area where you never stop learning. It’s also exhaustive and you can literally never stop if you aren’t careful. You have to draw a line when it comes to promotion and interacting with people supporting you via social media.

So when I’ve been asked to clarify what I hope to achieve with my blog I’ve always though it was to share “THE TRUTH”. I’ve now moved onto the fact that this is only MY truth and there are so many other truths out there. Not only that but I’ve discovered some fab fellow parent and lifestyle bloggers and ladies that run hilarious and insightful Facebook pages.

To be honest there are a lot of women who do “THE TRUTH” one hundred times better than me and I love them for it. They are funnier, have a better way with words and I support them and share them with others.

So then I’m left wondering why on Earth I’m doing this thing they call blogging when I’m not and never will be “the best”, hell if I even want to be!? And then it hit me. Yes I want to always be truthful as long as it’s helpful. There’s no point telling people a truth just to be hurtful. It has to have a potential benefit to their lives. Having worked in the NHS (national health service to anyone not UK based) for 11 years prior to motherhood, I love to help people. And that’s what I want this blog to be.

I want to help them find fun places to go or fun activities to do. From big days out to sharing little games and activities me and George think up. I want to recommend baby and toddler classes, places to go out with friends when you need to feel like you again or for anyone who isn’t a parent. To share truths about life and encourage people to improve their lives by getting essential tests and check ups. My blog goals are to be encouraging, enlightening and overall enjoyable to read. I want people to laugh along with me about the crap I go brooch in life, because if you can’t laugh about it then you’re gonna cry your way through life. So if you want to read something like that, then you have come to the right place.

My tagline?

  • A woman who’s always learning, sharing her fascinations with you through a mama’s eyes

  • Poetically analysing motherhood and life.

  • Crazy cat lady turned gorgeous George’s Mama. Poetically mastering motherhood and life.

Or something along those lines. Feel free to help me out on this. Thanks for dropping by.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Christmas in July – Tomy Toys UK

I recently attended the Tomy Christmas in July Event and it was a really informative and fun day, albeit bizarre when it’s 32 degrees celsius outside. George had great fun testing out all the latest toys. These have either recently been released or shall be available to buy in time for Christmas 2018.

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I’m sure most of you have heard of TOMY Toys but how much do your really know about them?

I was lucky enough on the day to listen to a talk from Marketing Lead for Tomy, Tom Ueshima who had travelled over from Japan. He explained how Tomy originated as a Japanese toy manufacturer. After making toys for over 90 years, the company originally manufactured toy aeroplanes.

Whilst Tomy UK was established in 1982, an extension of Takara Tomy in Japan. Tomy is actually ONE of the top FIVE toy companies in the world! I honestly didn’t realise just how much of the market Tomy dominates.

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Fundamentally children and the Good Toy Guide

I was also fortunate to meet Amanda from Fundamentally children who have partnered with Tomy. Fundamentally children endorse products listed in The Good Toy Guide.

The guide can help you choose the right toy, app or product for a child based on age, type or skill they will develop. I’m a big believer in children learning through play. I’ve witnessed it with George. I wasn’t aware of this guide. I heard of it but I didn’t understand how valuable it is.

Fundamentally Children is an organisation dedicated to helping children develop skills through play. 

Their vision is;

To help create a world where children are able to fulfil their potential and develop the skills they need to thrive throughout their lives. whilst enjoying a safe, happy and playful childhood.

Tomy is one of the first brands who have committed to submitting every item in their range to the fundamentally children independent evaluation. The good toy guide are selective about who they work with so this is a big tick for Tomy.

In order to be approved for the guide, a toy has to have 9 out of the 15 marks. The toys are tested by children, observed by play workers. By making this commitment Tomy are opening themselves up to scrutiny.

Some of the things the guide look for are what happens the first 5 minutes after a child receives a toy. Following on, the next half an hour do they get bored? Do they share it with their friends? Do they develop a new skill or learn something new. Fundamentally children also organise in Store play days in toy store Smyths and they also attended this years 3ft festival in Chelmsford, Essex (my local).

Fab toys to look out for.

As we were shown around the games room, we recognised a familiar face from our visit to Kidtropolis back in October last year. George instantly remembered the ladies face and sat down to play one of the new must haves for Christmas 2018, Run-Around-hamster. This is available from Smyths for ages 5+ at the RRP £22.99.

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Who needs subbuteo when you have robotic football in the form of Soccerborg! After this years World Cup excitement, we are definitely more hyped than usual for footie games. One controller can control up to 4 robots. Each set comes with 2 robots 2 controllers 2 balls, 2 goals.  Age 6+. Available from Asda and Amazon at the RRP £59.99.

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Some of the favs that caught the boys eyes were Stinkbomz . You open the capsule to reveal one of 8 Stinkbomz. Each with their own smell and sounds. None of them were as offensively smelling to me as the name suggests, thankfully. RRP £9.99.

I was also embarrassingly excited to see the Thomas and Friends Big Loader set still being made. I remember playing with this when I was younger with my younger nephew or cousin.  This is available for RRP £34.99 in Smyths, Amazon and Toymaster.

Hubs and George (pictured below), had a blast racing remote control Tractors. Whilst I listened to some of the informative talks on throughout the event, George was really engrossed in playing with the hugely realistic Britains farming toys. The detail and quality was spectacular as the vehicles are a 1:32 scale of the originals. Ranging from £21.99-29.99 they really are a worthy investment for any agricultural enthusiasts.

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Before attending the Christmas in July event, I hadn’t realised that Tomy have many sub brands including AquaDoodle and Lamaze. We totally need to upgrade our Aquadoodle that we purchased for George’s 1st birthday.

The new Super Rainbow Deluxe reveals a scene underneath and retails at £24.99 in Smyths, Amazon and Argos. George goes crazy for the Aquadoodle Designer Dress advert when it’s on tele.

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Another sub brand of Tomy, Kii-Pix, have developed a smartphone picture printer you can use on the go. It’s the perfect pressie for the tween/teen in your life.

They come in pink, blue and black and work without any batteries, wifi or the need to install an app. I could make great use of one of these. See the Christmas tree montage they created below. Along with the fab sushi art to promote the brand.

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Moving on to the baby range. If and when our dreams of having another baby happen I am without a doubt getting some of the more modern products from the Boon range. For George we have our eye on the Frog Pod available from Amazon RRP £21.99.

The Lamaze Spin and Explore garden gym adds a new perspective to tummy time. The centre Ladybird, slowly spins round giving your baby their own little fairground in your front room. RRP £38.99 from Argos.

The Lamaze 4-in-1 play gym evolves into a fun teepee for toddlers if you have children of varying ages. It retails at £69.99 from Debenhams.

I hope you have enjoyed reading all about our day and I hope I will be bringing to you more posts in collaboration with Tomy.

Do you have any of these products? Are there any that catch your eye?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Meditating to distraction

Meditating seemed like a good idea at the end of an intense day. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately with a lot of changes life changing decisions being made at home. I’ve never meditated before, nor do I know how.

But briefly I figured that imagining myself on a desert island, toes in the sand, crystal clear water lapping around me was the perfect start. Eyes shut and lying back on my bed, I could see it. I have a pretty vivid imagination anyway but I could see how blue the water was. I could almost feel the warmth of the sand. The sun on my bare back. With my wind chime gently clinking in the back garden, the scene was set!

And then suddenly…a wood pigeon, yeah that’s right, the cooing of a wood pigeon. Then a bloody man rides past on a bicycle. Focus, focus. You are losing your way here. But I can’t get that orange fence out the corner of my eye. Just in the middle of my perfect beach scene. And then a neighbour pops their head over the fence, BBQ tongues in hand, and asks if I want a hotdog?

The to do list starts to creep back into my head and…fuck it! I’m back on the bed!

Next time I might try it with earplugs. I can see why a lot of Mamas opt for wine instead.

Please note, pinch of salt not provided with this post.

Until next time…

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

*Review – Finding Their Way Home By Nicky Copeland

**Disclosure – We were gifted a copy of “Finding Their Way Home ” A wonderful tale of two rescue cats. Written by Nicky Copeland and Illustrated by Little Wing Design. In return we are providing our honest review of the book, all opinions are our own. **

I was recently asked if I would be interested in reviewing a copy of “Finding Their Way Home” written by Nicky Copeland and illustrated by Little Wing Design. Anyone that knows me will tag me in anything cat related. We are massive cat lovers in this house.

Our copy of “Finding their way home” by Nicky Copeland arrived and before I could get it, our soppy cat Bubbles plonked his pooey arse on the envelope. He has some intestinal issues and is occasionally does this. I’m forever shampooing things or chasing him around wiping his backside with a wet wipe, bless him. It’s all fun in this house huh.

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Our cat Bubbles

Anyway back to the book It’s a story about two cats, Cleo and Baloo who were both rescued by the author Nicky and her boyfriend.

What’s unusually great about this book is not only is it a cute children’s tale it’s also informative about how to introduce new cats to one another in the home.

I will always support and encourage the adoption of rescue cats over breeding. There are so many unwanted cats and dogs out there. All three of ours have been rescued or taken in from either the cats protection or our own family after their residency didn’t work out.

The story, “Finding their way home” tells the tale of a stray cat called Cleo. She is adopted by a lovely lady and her partner. We follow Cleo’s journey as she explores her new home and starts to feel loved again. Then one day she is introduced to some new toys and a blanket.  She’s told they are to help her adjust.

Soon it’s clear what she’s adjusting to when her new brother Baloo arrives. They are introduced over the course of several days. Sometimes they chase, sometimes they hug, sometimes they sit and watch the world go by. And the rest I will leave you to find out.

At the end of the book, the author Nicky has written a brief guide. The page long guide explains how to introduce your cats to one another. It’s really useful and is accurate to the guides and books I read when introducing my cats when they each arrived. If you rush their introduction is can have stressful consequences for both you and your cat. Myself and hubs were so eager to see our cats together that we once tried to skip parts of the gradual introduction. It backfired and we ended up separating them and going back to stage one.

If you are ever thinking of getting a cat as a pet I would totally recommend this book. It may be helpful for making a child understand how things will be when the cat arrives. Especially if you already have a cat at home.

Here’s my verdict:-

I’m called a crazy cat lady by my friends and pretty much love all things cat. This book is right up my street. I love that it’s not just a typical cat story. It’s true to life and it’s factual and informative. 

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George reading the book to Sockies.

George’s verdict:-

George is three years old and used to reading books about cats.

What did you think of the story? I liked all of it.

What was your favourite part? All of it.

Did you like the cats? Yes I just loved that one and that one. Points to both pictures of Cleo and Baloo in the illustrations.  And I just liked that one and all of that and that one (goes through the book pointing out all the pictures.)

I’m getting a sense he loved the illustrations

And was the story good? It was just a bit short. (He loves stories to be longer so he can enjoy them for longer).

He got excited about about the business thank you card inside the book too, bless him. The introduction also explains that Nicky and her cats live in Essex which is where we live so that was exciting for George. The introduction explains how Cleo and Baloo came to be rescued and adopted. I intertwined reading this with explaining to George this is how we came to adopt one of our cats Amber.

“>
3″ src=”http://www.gorgeousgeorgesmama.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/IMG_10241-1024×768.jpg” alt=”cats” width=”474″ height=”356″ /> Our own rescue cat Amber[/caption]Checkout

Checkout www.cleoandbaloo.com to purchase your digital or paperback copy and learn more about Cleo and Baloo’s journey. You can also follow them on Instagram for gorgeous real life piccies of the adorable kitties themselves. https://www.instagram.com/nickycauthor

Have you read this book? Do you have any recommendations for cat themed children’s books? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below. If your little one likes discovering new books, take at look at this fab post by Pickle and Poppet .

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

My Life, The Comedy Sketch Show – No Use Crying Over Spiders And Spilt Paint

My life often feels like a comedy sketch show.

“Who wants to read about your life!” I hear you cry.

Well, you for starters otherwise how did you find yourself here eh (winks slyly whilst dodging a virtual slap). So I’ve always had a knack for making my seemingly normal and pretty average life seem a little more entertaining. I don’t know if it’s my ability to see the positive in everything that allows me to give my everyday situation a lighthearted edge. But nonetheless I often feel like if I was starring in my own episode of “Friends”, in that I may get a few titters if anyone was watching in.

So it’s been a few crazy weeks. Ain’t it always!

The other day something which at first seemed initially terrifying, soon became absolutely hilarious. I was in hysterics. After the shock subsided and my heart rate went down of course.

I literally try my damnedest to make sure George doesn’t develop arachnophobia., or any phobia for that matter! I had it myself up until a few years ago when we accidentally cured it with hypnotherapy. It was bad.

Every Time I was in an enclosed space with one I would scream or cry or both. Enclosed being a room in my own house! I love gardening but hubs would often find me doing some weird strip dance in the garden where I convinced myself one had crawled in my clothes. I used to even get colleagues to catch them in the corridor at work. Just in case it made its way into our department.

So arachnophobia majorly tamed, I’m pretty brave and even catch the buggers now! So this is how a pretty ordinary Friday went down.

I was washing up in the kitchen, seriously I feel like I live at the kitchen sink! We were due to go out and I knew my mum would be turning up whilst we was out. She always walks straight in and does the washing up if I haven’t. So in an effort to show her at 34 I’m a responsible adult and I have actually washed up the breakfast stuff by mid afternoon here I was.

George was merrily eating a kinder egg and watching Zootropolis of all things in the lounge next door. Suddenly he started screaming. The I’m-being-kidnapped-by -a-maniac-that’s-climbed-In-The-Window kind of scream. I ran in and as my eyes scanned the area, I saw a daddy long legs climbing up his bare thigh!

I’m usually all like “oh hi mr skinny legs, how can we help you today” when we see a spider. But the poor kid was just sitting there clutching his kinder egg and screaming, tears rolling down his cheeks. I smacked the spider with a nearby cushion then grabbed George and whisked him off the settee to the floor. As I gave him a hug to calm him, I showed him the defeated spider laying stunned on the settee.

He had a kinder egg so to be fair the situation calmed pretty quick. I told him I wasn’t scared I was just shocked by his screaming. As I wiped his tears and removed the spider I began laughing hysterically (although I also do this when I’m nervous). George smirked as I explained why it was actually quite funny. So fingers crossed that’s turned that into a happy memory and not a future phobia.

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I don’t know about you but I’m a huge advocate for women being self sufficient. Despite having been in a long term relationship for 20 years, I don’t believe in man jobs and woman’s jobs. You may often see me use the hashtag jokingly embracing my inner pussycat doll with #Idontneedamantomakeithappen. I grew up watching my mum take her hand to everything and was encouraged to do the same. Not always successfully. Read all about the time I used an aerosol to hammer in a nail here.

So in our house I’m Jackie of all trades. Cooking, cleaning, DIY, decorating, gardening, changing a car battery, you name it, I can do it, or I’ll give it a go. So here I was painting our bedroom. We stupidly painted 3 of the walls brown when we moved in ten years ago. A vision of chocolate and duck egg blue was achieved but it was time to neutralise it as we are looking to sell up.

So here’s me on day two of white washing the walls with a magnolia emulsion. Day one went great. I painted the whole room in the last hour before preschool pick up. Then gave it a second coat after picking George up. Don’t ever let it be said that you can’t get shit done with a toddler around. All you need is an iPad and a pack of Haribos.

So day two and it needs a final coat. I’ve just about enough of my lush satin paint to finish the three walls. Let me set you a scene. The furniture is all pushed to the middle of the room. The tele is covered with a dust sheet in case there’s any splash back. I pick up the tub of paint, place it on the windowsill (yeah you see where this is going) proceed to prise the lid off. It’s a little stuff after using it the day before.

It pops off quite forcefully, the tub flips….the end of the divan, the bed sheets, the laminate flooring covered! Thick oozing paint. Thankfully hubs was due to go out in ten minutes but was still around because at that moment I really did need a man to make it happen! I needed him to lift the bed whilst I got the paint off the leg and stopped it being smeared across the floor. Lots of kitchen roll and wet wipes later (yet another use for wet wipes) and everything was clean. We lost the bed sheets but they were looking tired anyways.

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Image Courtesy of Pexels.com

The bastard paint was now over half gone, Luckily I managed to mix some other paint in to make it go further and the bedroom is now looking lush, it virtually glows in the dark! Moral of the story? Open paint on the bloody floor with the dust sheet down already you twat!

I literally couldn’t wait to tell my mum and sisters as it took us all right back to our childhood. My step dad John was up a ladder, paint on the top of her ladder, carpet down…you guessed it. The poor watering can got kicked all the way down the garden as me and step sis were sent to McDonalds to get a large milkshake to cheer him up.

I’d like to point out that no watering cans were harmed in the writing of this post, none made after the year 1995 anyway 😜

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Predicting The Future – What Will My Child Become?

We all want our child to become something amazing…don’t we? An astronaut, the next intellectual mastermind, a doctor, olympic gold medalist. We enrol them in piano lessons, footie trials, phonics classes, making them count every step so they can be ahead of their peers.

When he was still in my womb, I was adamant George was going to be a genius. He wasn’t going to get it from me, even his Dad isn’t of genius status. But was Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking’s parents of a high IQ level? I honestly don’t know, but I really thought it was something I could nurture George to be. It’s becoming evident that he wasn’t born a genius. Some of his peers are already ahead of him and amaze me so much with their knowledge and abilities. I’m pretty sure if you have a genius on your hands you would know by the time they are 2 years old.

So genius status out of the window I’m thinking rock legend, footie player, olympic snowboarder or maybe an architect? I’m totally not one of these pushy parents. Whilst we try to include learning in our everyday play, I’m all for enjoying the world around us. I totally believe in the notion that children learn best through play. With George I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

Right now, in his three long years, I can’t pinpoint any one particular skill that he has. Anything that seems extraordinary for a child of his age. Except one thing.

Health and safety.

Since he was a dot he has been meticulous about health and safety. Constantly risk assessing everything. Whilst he learnt to walk at 11 months, it wasn’t without some blatant risk assessing going on. He was too scared to sit himself back down again when he learned to stand by himself. He would stand himself up then cry until someone helped him sit back on the ground again. Bumping on to his bottom was not an option. And so it’s continued.

He once spent 20 full minutes at the top of a baby slide at the soft play, assessing whether it was safe to go down. I was directing the other children to go round him until eventually he decided to climb back down the steps and abandon all notion of it. You can’t force him to do things he deems risky either or he will cry for a lot longer than just the task in hand.

As time as gone on though I have noticed that this behaviour isn’t fear. He isn’t scared of climbing or jumping or running. He’s more than content to lean over the edge when we are at the top of a really high castle wall. He loves going fast on his bike and scooter and whizzing them up ramps.

It appears he is actually scared of anything which makes him feel out of control. Swings, slides,roundabouts, fair rides…if he can’t be in complete control of what happens he won’t enter into it.

So that’s his niche. His forté. He likes to be in charge, in control, getting his own way. I often liken him to a mini communist dictator. What three-year old doesn’t like getting their own way though! Only we have noticed a pattern lately when hubs pointed out this is very much Mummy’s forté.

I am master of getting my own way and not in a diva dance but just skilfully and tactfully willing people round to my idea. Failing that I’m so laid back sometimes I often go with the flow, I do like a surprise.

So what of my control freak child. What future will this trait lead him to? I’m so excited to find out. Of course there’s absolutely no pressure on him to be anything fabulous. Someone at George’s school recently shared a quote on the group page which really struck with me;

‘Don’t become preoccupied with your child’s academic ability. Instead, teach them to sit with those sitting alone. Teach them to be kind. Teach them to offer their help. Teach them to be a friend of the lonely. Teach them to encourage others. This is how they’ll change the world.'”

Author unknown. 

I think this says it all.

George is amazing. You can literally see him analysing and processing tasks during play. He is master of building and creating things. His imagination is much like my own and he loves nothing more than to watch the world go by.

He has a passion for living creatures and making sure they are safe. We once spent 10 minutes in the street, waiting to ensure a snail had safely crossed the pavement. I offered to assist, I wasn’t allowed. Maybe he will become the future David Attenborough?

In all honesty as long as he is happy and enjoys what he does and it sustains his way of life then I’m happy for my future son, whatever he may become.

What hopes and dreams do you have for your child(ren)?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

My life, The Comedy Sketch Show -Two Weddings, A Missing Diamond, And What’s That Clicking Noise!

My life often feels like a comedy sketch show.

“Who wants to read about your life!” I hear you cry.

Well, you for starters otherwise how did you find yourself here eh (winks slyly whilst dodging a virtual slap). So I’ve always had a knack for making my seemingly normal and pretty average life seem a little more entertaining. I don’t know if it’s my ability to see the positive in everything that allows me to give my everyday situation a lighthearted edge. But nonetheless I often feel like if I was starring in my own episode of “Friends”, in that I may get a few titters if anyone was watching in.

These past couple of weeks have been hectic, crazy, fabulous, stressful madness. We have attended two wedding weekenders, got some amazing shots in the New Forest, a week in the Isle of Wight, One airshow, visited several family members,and the rest of life in between.

Our trip began to Southampton to watch one of hubs maternal cousins get married. It was a beautiful day and anyone that knows me, knows how much I love weddings. I have recently written about my own wedding here .

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We managed to sneak away in between the wedding breakfast and evening ceremony to get George to nap. Hubs took us on one of our favourite and awe-inspiring drives, The New Forest. We first discovered The New Forest last year on a staycation at Sandy Balls (yes that really is the resort name). This time around and with me looking a bit better than my standard mum life get up, we captured some beautiful shots with the horses. This is one of my faves.

summer loving

As we headed back for the evening reception hubs programmed his satnav and off we went. It felt like we had been driving forever when I knew we had only gone 20 minutes down the road getting there. Suddenly hubs stopped.

Hubs: “Oh shit, Mum asked me during breakfast how far away the ferry terminal was for tomorrow. I programmed it into the nav to show her”

Me: “What does that mean?”

Hubs “It means we are just coming into the ferry terminal! We’re half an hour away from the wedding venue now”

Well you can imagine my face. We were using my valuable vodka drinking time after all.

The first of our beautiful wedding weekenders over, we headed on with the in-laws, straight to catch the ferry for a week in the Isle of Wight. This shall be known as the holiday were many “fucks” were uttered.

After our first day at our holiday home, I called my Mum. I was speaking to her when I looked down and realised my engagement ring, which belonged to my Nan and is over 75 years old had lost the diamond! The only diamond! Gone! “Fuck” My Mum told me not to panic and whilst everything in me told me I should be distraught and crying…I wasn’t. I’m so precious of my ring. It’s not worth much monetary wise, but sentimentally it means the absolute world to me.

Cue me and hubs crawling round on our hands and knees in a 4 storey townhouse with thick beige carpets! It was a dead-end before we started. It was never found. I suspect it’s now floating through the sewers of the Isle of wight. My Mum has since paid for it to be replaced and reset. It’s such a good feeling to have it back on my finger, looking its beautiful self. I hope my Nan loves it as much as I do.

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Our lovely little holiday home may have had 4 floors but they packed in enough furniture that tripping over things was easy. On the first day, pre diamond disaster, I walked into a chair leg and spent the night sleeping with my little toe throbbing. Our room was in the loft and it was so hot and stuffy even with the windows wide open.

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That night I woke up to a weird noise. It was a loud horn. I wondered if it was some sort of thing only Islanders knew about. Did we have to evacuate. Hubs was still awake so I asked him. It was a fog horn. No need to evacuate. Where the fuck we would evacuate to I don’t know. I hadn’t thought that bit through. The fog horn continued most nights on and off for the duration of our stay and I soon realised why the houses are so cheap there!

But my beautiful town house woes did not end there. We were on a budget due to the wedding hotel blocking some of our money accidentally. Hubs was eager to try the nachos when we went out for lunch but decided it would be cheaper if I made some that evening. Mine is better anyways. I picked up a nacho kit (which I never use!) and set about making us an evening snack. I found a cheese grater and the cheese grater found me.

It turns out this was the mo-fo of cheese graters. I’m used to a flat grater and this was round…. it wasn’t long before I lost something else….one of my knuckles! Fuck!

summer loving

This pic is the day after. It really fucking hurt! My Nan in law was threatening to try and flap the skin back over whilst hubs was asking if I needed stitches. It was comedic stupidity at its finest. Vom!

Just to top it all off, hubs and I have been trying for another baby but to no avail. No violin needed. My body is in such a state at the moment. So we kind of had the choice to stop made for us as I’m under a consultant for severe hip pain. I’ve had it the last 2 years or more but the last few weeks it’s got really life limiting and it’s not improving. So adding baby weight to my body wouldn’t have been sensible.

The doctor gave me some strong anti-inflammatories to help me deal with the pain. I read the stupid leaflet, which you should never do, because someone has always reported something horrific. And there it was;

…may affect your chances of falling pregnant as ovulation can be affected. Should you fall pregnant whilst taking these tablets, please tell your doctor immediately as they can cause mutations to the unborn child…

All sounding fabulous so far! So I decided I’ll take them to get me through the next month of events and hope everything goes back to normal, I’d already ovulated that month as I was due on my period the day of the wedding (what joy!).

Cue mid holiday madness in the house of horrors as I realise my period is 7 days late! For Fudge sake! Not now! Off to the shop I go, standard pregnancy test I always get (I’ve done a lot of these things ya know). Nothing! No literally I mean nothing! It’s a bloody void test! What are the actual chances? I’ve never had a void test. Back to the shop, I pick up 2 this time just in case…negative. Thank God. Although its weird feeling when only a month ago I was using all my eyelash wishes for the opposite. Do people still wish on their eyelashes?

One trip home from the Isle of Why Me! And another beautifully glorious wedding, whereby hubs tested the theory of whether you can sing church hymns whilst impersonating Johnny Cash…you can. And we are back home.

Whilst I love a staycation, I feel I’m ready to venture further into the big wide world for our future holidays. I feel I owe it to George. I’ve found some fab tips on How To Plan The Perfect Family Holiday .

summer loving

But wait… listen closely…yep that’s me. Everytime I stop my engine there is a weird clicking noise. Now it’s not the typical engine cooling down clicking noise, and we have actually discovered the clicking noise happens even if you just turn the key to ignite the battery and not the engine so who the hell knows.

What I do know is, I took it to the garage and approached them with the query;

“At the risk of sounding like a complete woman…there is a strange clicking noise coming from my engine”

I absolutely hate it when garages treat me like a “silly” woman. Like we can be fobbed of and spoken to like an idiot because it’s a car and cars are for men or some such shit like that. Ooh I wonder if I’ve just noticed a gap in the market for all female mechanics? You can get women only gyms and taxis so why not.

summer loving
Image courtesy of www.pexels.com

So the guy is none the wiser. Guesses at the throttle flap and says they will call me with a quote. They don’t. I also inform him that I’ve recently made a discovery via the wonders of Youtube that if your electronic car window is stuck you can close it with this snazzy trick.

Slam the door hard, whilst holding your finger on the window up button. It works! Something about jolting the connection.

So one week and no phone call later, hubs and I, ok hubs gets the credit for this. He discovers that the clicking happens without actually starting the engine. He takes it back to the garage and tells me they’ve booked it in for next Tuesday and will charge me £35 to “take a look”!

“Huh! They looked at it for nothing when I took it!” I say “what the heck did you do!”

The next morning I called the garage, and explained. The receptionist repeatedly asked me if I realised where they were and if had the right place. I was getting rather exasperated because I knew exactly who and where they were. They didn’t have any record of my husband booking the car in.

It’s now we find out the REAL reason my car was looked at for free! Whilst relaying the story to hubs when he got home from work, he pipes up that he had actually taken the car to a different garage. The garage that I shouted out “…and don’t take it to xxx garage because we had a bad experience!” That explains the fee! My garage doesn’t charge! Doh! The next morning I returned to MY garage with my tail between my legs to offer an apology for my idiot husband.

My car is now fixed, thankfully, and the clicking noise has stopped. Halejuah!

It’s all fun and games eh! I’d totally love to read about some of your recent crazy life tales in the comments below.

Review – In The Night Garden Live Show

** Disclosure- In return for this review, I myself have been provided with tickets to the In The Night Garden showdome tour. All opinions are still honest and my own**

Wow, what can I say! We have just been to see the In The Night Garden Live on their magical showdome tour. Originally we were booked to see the Ninky
Nonk show at 12pm in the special Showdome.

However, the traffic was worse travelling from Essex to Richmond than we had anticipated. We arrived 25 minutes after the 45 minute show had started. Stress!

Luckily I had called the customer service number whilst en route, The automated help line advised that should we be running late, to continue our journey. The help line stated that a member of the team would transfer our tickets to a later show on arrival.

I think for parents this is such a forgiving and helpful service. We all know how unpredictable children can be. A lady in front of me was even rescheduling her tickets for another day as her little one was unwell. It was no trouble for the staff and no extra fee.

showdome
On arrival, a member of staff greeted us at the entrance and gave us several options. We chose to attend the next available show, The Pinky Ponk show. Both shows have all your little ones favourite characters but they just tell a different story.

The show that we saw was ‘Makka Pakka Washes Faces’. This is of course until his sponge gets stuck in Upsy Daisy’s Megaphone (ahhh so many innuendos I’m struggling to contain myself).

showdome

The price of the show ticket also included a show guide worth £7. Inside the guide you will find lyrics to all the In The Night Garden favourites. As well as a story and puzzles for your little one to enjoy. The doors to the Showdome open half an hour prior to the show beginning so this guide is great for entertaining your little one whilst you wait for the show to begin.
showdome
Once inside, the narrator voice from the show gives you a regular countdown of 15 minutes, 3 minutes etcetera until the show starts. This builds the excitement levels even further for little ones as he parents all simultaneously say “ooooh”.
showdome
The show itself is a mix of life-size characters and puppets. As the show starts, it isn’t long before Makka Pakka appears on stage. He was full size and I was wondering how big Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy would be when they appeared as obviously they are much larger than Makka Pakka in the television show.

My perfectionist ponderings were soon answered when Makka Pakka left the stage and Iggle Piggle appeared. Makka Pakka then reappeared as a smaller puppet controlled by 3 people using sticks. It was all very clever.

The rest of the show proceeded to follow Makka Pakka wandering round the Night Garden, ensuring he had washed every characters face with his “dirty sponge” as I like to call it. The crew cleverly incorporated bubbles into the washing routine too which got the little ones excited.
showdome
The Showdome itself adds to the wonderment of the show. With projections around the ceiling above the stage. These include falling flowers, stars and a moving Pinky Ponk. Sadly this is the last year the showdome will be touring. Whilst the show is fab and it will be greatly received in a traditional theatre setting, the showdome made it for me.
showdome
The Showdome contains staggered bench style seating so that everyone has a clear view. We have visited other shows such as Paw Patrol live, where the seating was all on one level on the ground and it was very hard if not impossible to see the stage once a tall Dad came along. I love the show dome set up. It feels like you are entering a magical grotto and a doorway to the night garden itself.

It would be such a shame to miss this experience if your little ones are fans of In The Night Garden. I can 100% recommend it. I literally can’t fault it. The show offered snacks and drinks for sale and these were also a lot more reasonable than other shows we attended. A bottle of Coca Cola was £1.50.

You can also get involved in a “Meet the Character” experience for an added cost. There is merchandise and balloons available to purchase. Whilst you wait for the character experience after the show, there are tables with colouring for the children. And a television showing episodes of In The Night Garden. There’s also buggy parking and a microwave to heat up milk or baby food.

For anyone whose child is feeling overwhelmed during the show, you can step away from the seating area. Just behind the seating area,down the steps you and little one can watch the live show on a TV screen until such time they feel settled enough to return.

To be honest though the live show was as chilled as the television show and George took his shoes off and made himself comfy. We usually watch the TV show as part of our bedtime routine and he definitely felt the relaxing vibes despite it being live.
showdome
Last little mention which is probably totally random but I’ve always been a toilet connoisseur. The toilets are unisex which felt strange but it was lovely. Lovely because every cubicle had a little portable loo seat available as well as steps for hand-washing at every sink.

It’s little touches like this that make you feel valued. It feels like the In The Night Garden Live team understand the struggles parents have each day.

There’s plenty of cubicles and no one has to queue because everyone can go in. Often you find the ladies full with a long queue whilst the men’s is not child friendly and empty. There are also adequate baby changing facilities from what I saw at a quick glance. Baby change is in a separate trailer.

George’s verdict: He won’t actually comment but I know he absolutely loved it. Previous shows we’ve attended he’s been reserved, quiet and a little dubious. The In The Night Garden Live show he was constantly smiling, excited, singing! I think in this case, actions speak louder than words.

My verdict:- I felt like the show was made with parents and children in mind. They understand that sometimes we don’t run on time with kids. It’s not a problem. They understand that sometimes there isn’t always a Mummy and a Daddy around for toilet visits. It’s not a problem.

The organisers seem to understand that younger children potentially get overwhelmed easily. This was reflected in the volume of the show not being too loud. The show was well thought out and evolved quickly to ensure the children didn’t get bored. Yes there was some fidgeting but that’s to be expected of any child that’s asked to sit still for 45 minutes. The showdome set up meant it wasn’t a problem. There was room to have a little wander. I literally cannot fault it.

Go see it. The Showdome is touring and currently in Richmond, London until July 1st 2018. It will then be moving onto Birmingham, before ending the tour in Manchester on 19th August 2018.

Book your tickets via the website In The Night Garden Live

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

How to ensure your wedding is talked about for years to come.

** Disclosure – This post is a collaborative post  however, aside from recommending you checkout this company’s fab website, this post is all my own and comes from the heart, no integrity lost”

This post is totally my opinion, we could go as far as to say my advice, on how to make sure your wedding is THE wedding. The wedding your friends and family talk about for years to come. How to make it special for you and your partner, whilst making it feel special for your guests.

To quote the fabulous and renowned children’s author Julia Donaldson  from The Scarecrows Wedding   “Let’s have a wedding, the best wedding yet, the wedding that no one will ever forget” Said Harry O Hay to Betty O Barley – The Scarecrows’ wedding By Julia Donaldson.

My own wedding was a blissful 9 years ago. I’d love to relieve it every day, although minus the expense of course. It was everything we hoped and dreamed it would be. Hubs and I spent 18 months planning our wedding together. We hoped we had set the scene for the ultimate day of happiness. Was it perfect? No. Did it matter? Not at all. It gave us stories to tell, and hurdles to overcome. Much like everyday married life.

I think there are many choices for the types of wedding you have in the 21st century. We were one of the first of our family and friends to break from tradition and to have a civil ceremony. Our day was held in one location which house a small chapel style building for the ceremony with some picturesque grounds for photos. Followed by the rest of the day in a converted barn. There was also a house on site for us and our immediate family to stay overnight in. Checkout The Reid Rooms who hosted our wedding.

wedding

On the whole, the majority of weddings I have been very fortunate to have attended have all followed a similar suit. On the most part they are civil ceremonies conducted in a converted barn or large house. The days events continue on location. Sometimes they are a church service with the rest of the days proceedings continued in a similar location experienced in hosting wedding receptions.

For most, this is THE DREAM, especially for the bride who. She has meticulously chosen the most expensive dress she will ever buy. All hopes are pinned on seeing the grooms face whilst she wants to feel like Beyoncé for one day. All eyes on them, the happy couple.

wedding

If you hadn’t guessed by now, I LOVE weddings! I jokingly call myself a wedding connoisseur. I’m yet to start gate crashing, but it has been known for me to offer to pay to attend as a guest. I genuinely love the fairytale. Every time I see a bride turn that corner the tears well in my eyes. I can literally feel everything she is going through. The nerves, the excitement, the love.

When planning your wedding it is important to consider what will make you as a couple happy. But ultimately I believe you need to focus on what will make your guests have a day to remember. I personally wouldn’t have enjoyed my day if my guests were not content. For us, we gave the comfort and requirements of our friends and family a LOT of consideration.

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Research, research, research. I used to spend every lunch hour browsing the internet and bridal forums. Having masses of wedding info collated on a website such as Confetti, is a great starting point if you don’t know where to begin. I can totally recommend you attend wedding showers in the area you intend to marry. I believe this is why many still say it was one of the more ‘memorable’ and ‘brilliant’ weddings they have attended.

Little things like ensuring there was a quiet place in the evening for older and very young guests to sit and talk away from the dancing and loud music. Making sure the venue were able to provide cups of tea throughout the day, not just in the evening and after the meal. We had grandparents with no interest in drinking alcohol. Having a simple cup of tea was all they needed to feel relaxed and comfortable.

Often when you attend weddings you can find yourself presented with food that you wouldn’t usually eat. Wedding days can be a long day for all involved. Nobody wants to feel hungry because they didn’t like the pea soup or lamb cutlets. Plus you yourself are spending an awful lot of money, you want it to be money well spent. We chose to have classic bangers (sausage) and mash with gravy with a chocolate fudge cake for after. We had a second option but it was all received well.

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Whilst we had waitress service for the starter and desert and table clearing, the main course was a served buffet. Guests were encouraged to go up for seconds to avoid waste. And we used our nectar points to buy our own wine for the tables.

We tried to save money by doing a lot of things ourselves. I made the invites, buttonholes, gift card box and table plan myself, along with a photo montage of myself and hubs through the years for our guests to have a giggle at.

We found a company who allowed us to custom design our own wedding rings, and it was cheaper than many of the rings we had seen in the shops. I had also found a lot of the modern wedding rings quite bulky and they looked out-of-place against my Nan’s vintage wedding ring.

wedding

During the wedding breakfast we made a CD to be played to fill any awkward silences. The CD consisted of songs that were “the song” for our parents, siblings and other people close to us or songs that meant something to us. Each person or couple received a copy of this CD with our image on as a wedding favour. With the idea when they listened back to the CD they would always think of our day.

As my parents are divorced I didn’t want to tread on any toes so I decided to have my nephew who I’m very close to, walk me down the aisle. One of my younger nephews at the time was the adorable ring bearer. My nephew who walked me down the aisle to “give me away” was only 12 at the time but he stood up at the wedding breakfast and did a speech. He was such a cutie and we will always have a close bond.

Hubs has 2 brothers and asked them both to share the role of best man. A job they did rather comically when it came to the speech and entertaining the evening guests with their lack of dancing skills.

Breaking tradition I also gave a speech along with my mum. Hubs got so emotional I ended up reading most of his speech, until I got to the part about how wonderful I was and he was able to compose himself to continue. He’s always been teetotal pretty much. But that day he was knocking back the champers in order to get through his speech. I joked that he’d only been married 5 minutes and already I had turned him to drink.

wedding

A few other ways we tried to break with tradition… Instead of a wedding cake we had a 9 tier stand covered with 150 individual cupcakes. Hubs drove himself and I arrived in a minibus driven by my mum containing other family members. As we were staying on site there wasn’t going to be anyone to witness our arrival and it was an added expense we didn’t need. I did my own makeup and I had planned to do my own hair with my Mums help. After a failed trial run resulting in me burning my arm, we managed to persuade our usual hairdressers to do a simple up do with only 3 days notice. Everyone in the salon thought it was hilarious I had intended to do my own wedding hair. I’m so glad I didn’t.

The first dance can feel a little nerve-wracking for many. I insisted hubs and I made up a brief routine in our kitchen a week prior to the event. Making it our own and avoiding an awkward shuffle round the middle of the dance floor. If you look very closely on the DVD you can see me saying “we are doing it, we’re doing it” and him saying “No,no,no,no”. But it was great fun and added to the romanticism of dancing away at home to OUR song, Stand by Me by Ben E King.

wedding

Which brings me to my next piece of advice. Videographers. Technology has come a long way in the last 9 years. People are now using drones to get amazing 360 shots from the sky at weddings. My cousins’ wedding had a card on the table with a special hashtag for sharing any piccies you took on Instagram. Photo booths are now available for hire with props. Some companies upload the images to Facebook so you no longer have to wait for processing. All these advancements I think are a welcome addition to your day.

I totally think the day flies by in such a cheek aching blur, that to have it captured on film to watch over and over or share with the grandkids is invaluable. I would love to have my Nan and Grandad’s wedding on DVD. Who doesn’t want to remember their wedding day!

My final thought on how to make your day a memorable one that is talked about for years is this:-

 Don’t feel pressured to do what you think people expect. Make your wedding as big or as small as you would like and can afford. Get friends and family involved. Don’t forget to thank and appreciate your guests. I recently heard on the radio that on average guest spend just over £1000 attending a wedding. Share the love.

If you are thinking of planning your wedding, why not start by visiting Confetti.co.uk. Their website has so many useful links to help you choose a venue, dress and so, so much more.
I’d love to hear about your wedding day.

Our photographs were taken by Scott at The Edge Photography. Some of the images have been altered by myself for the sake of this post.

Poetically analysing motherhood and life