Yesterday I escaped the ever increasing stacks of boxes and “stuff” that filled my lounge, and headed with the kids on the bus into Leeds, for a little last minute adventure and some fun to see “The Scarecrow’s Wedding” at West Yorkshire Playhouse. 

The Scarecrow’s wedding is possibly the only Julia Donaldson book I failed to read to my kids whilst they have been young (mum fail), and yet whilst we were pretty clueless as to the plot beforehand, it didn’t phase us. A trip to the theatre was the perfect half term adventure, and in true Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler style, it was fun, witty and joyful. And we thoroughly enjoyed the production of it.

Straight from London’s West End, it tells of the story of two scarecrows “Betty O’Barley” and “Harry O’Hay” who love each other, and so of course decide to get married! Harry then sets off to search for their wedding day essentials including a dress of feathers, a bunch of flowers and a necklace made from shells, and meets all kinds of characters along the way.

Meanwhile, back home, when the farmer notices he is missing a scarecrow, he replaces Harry with the devilishly smooth but dangerous “Reginald Rake”. Dashing, daring and ever so cool, you begin to wonder if Harry will make it back on time or if Reginald will put a spanner in the works?!

Oozing with incredible talents, laughter and jokes galore, this play is engaging for all ages and actually really funny. There were so many laugh out loud moments, captivating tunes, and imaginative props and costumes. The kids loved every minute, and Megan could not sit still – (a) because she’s Megan, and (b) because she was THAT excited to be there!  But it didn’t matter, as this is the perfect place to capture kids imaginations and love for the arts, all whilst embracing their wriggly ways!

Megan was definitely the most enthusiastic of my kids, whilst E played it a little more cool. She laughed, shouted along at certain points and got very involved… she danced in her seat, laughed some more, and bursted with joy. Then, as soon as the lights when up, she lent in and told me “that was THE best thing EVER and everyone just needs to see it”!!! I was delighted it was so good and that both her and Ethan had sat and enjoyed it.


I found the Actor who plays several of the characters (including the farmer) absolutely hilarious and generally incredible with every role he took on! They all have great chemistry on stage and it worked well with just the 3 actors.

Overall we thought that it was cleverly created, with a great set (something Ethan especially loved) and country style music you can’t help but toe tap along to.

We all had a wonderful day out and both Ethan (6) and Megan (almost 5) absolutely loved it. Alice too loved watching the action and bounced along to the beats of the quirky tunes.

I am loving my kids keen interest in theatre and that we had such a lovely day out yesterday to see another wonderful production at West Yorkshire playhouse, they really are the hub of great shows!

Following the fun, laughs and adventures at the Playhouse, we enjoyed a wander around the City, market and had a cheeky subway lunch. It was a lovely day and one I am glad to have braved with 3 kids in tow solo.

Why not end half term with the sound of wedding bells and a crazy farmer, and pop along for this “down on the farm” adventure. You will not be disappointed!

The Scarecrow’s Wedding is on at West Yorkshire playhouse until Sunday, and tickets are just £12.50 each. It is recommended for ages 3+ and is the perfect length once again for wriggly bum kids at just 55mins, with engaging performance throughout.

*Thank you to West Yorkshire Playhouse for inviting us to see this in return for our thoughts on the blog! 

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As we say goodbye to May, we say goodbye to life in Leeds too. We end the month in a bare house and a lounge piled high with boxes and all of our life’s possessions, in anticipation for the big move from Leeds tomorrow and Friday. I can hardly believe this day is here!

Our family in May has been showered in love and appreciation by our friends here in Leeds and it’s been a lovely last few days – we feel so very grateful for each of them and I am really going to miss all of the lovely people at school, the kids friends, as well as some friends from church too. Ethan and Megs had lovely cards and treats presented in school last week and our family shared in a yummy cake and summery spritzer at church on Sunday, followed by a dramatic park play yesterday with some school friends where we all hugged and said goodbye and I received a lovely gift from the mums I worked with on the PTA. Finally tonight I am going for a cheeky curry out with some old time friends and that will be it! Tomorrow after a lot of graft and waiting, we begin writing a new chapter of life in East Yorkshire!

May certainly has been exciting for us with this impending move, stressful at times, but certainly exciting and dreamy! It has also been super busy too as a result and we are pretty shattered with packing, moving, clearing and going back and forth to solicitors, Estate agents and the tip! We have had lot’s of weekends hanging at home and making the most of our last few weeks in Leeds and it has all worked out well. We also saw chicken pox, more awards at school, and a great leap in Ethan’s reading skills!

May has also been an emotional one with the passing of my Granddad last week, the news of the Manchester bomb, and saying good bye to a place that holds so many wonderful memories for our family. We have exciting things ahead but with all of that combined we are ending the month in a sad place, exhausted and in many ways, on a bit of a downer.

Our pictures this month were taken last weekend on the beach when we made the most of the sunshine and the beautiful views of the Yorkshire coast. It was our first official “plunge into the sea” of the year, and I chickened out!!! The kids were super excited to get their wet suits out and Nath too welcomed the refreshing feel of the north sea! Of course getting out the summer stuff it is a great indication of how much growing they have done since last summer, and I couldn’t believe it!

Despite my lack of enthusiasm with the sea, it was lovely to see my cousins, and exciting to think about how close we will soon be to all of this for long summer days at the beach with my family!

In May we are grateful for

*A moving date
*Kind friends
*A great family / Cousins
*Memories and stories of Granddad
*Lots of sunny day’s
*Ice creams and picnics at the park
The Me and Mine Project
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With the wonderful taste of Summer we had last week, we found that going out was both easy and very exciting too. Now Alice is 10 months old, she eats almost anything and has a reliable schedule for her 3 meals a day. She also loves to snack like no other and often that part of life catches me out!

Whilst going out and making the most of the weather has been a wonderful thing, I have been caught out on far too many occasions with lack of snacks for her. I just forget with the mad dash of school runs and my fried brain, and I never thought I would say this, but I really do miss the days when we could go anywhere at anytime because my milk was all we needed.  Nowadays it is a mass of clothes, snacks and “stuff” and I am still getting used to needing to be a little more organised!

To make life a little simpler however, here are some things I have a discovered to ensure life is made somewhat easier when on-the-go with a baby this Summer!

A Spoon

I always make sure I have a spoon in my bag. It may seem a bit random but it has saved me on many occasions from a baby melt down, and has been super useful for the times when I have forgotten to pre pack meals or snacks. It is also helpful if we stay out longer than planned and need to grab a pouch or jar of baby food for dinner. I use the one from Oxo tots that I previously reviewed, as it is sturdy, easy to keep clean and Alice seems to love it the best. It stays in my bag and I feel way more relaxed knowing we have it!

Pots of snacks/Fruit Pouches

I used to just shove the pack of rice cakes or whatever into my bag, but realised my other kids were dipping in and by the next day the bag was split and they were a soggy mess all over the bottom of my bag! (Not fun and very gross!).

I was recently sent some snack pots from Oxo Tots that have become my new fave, and baby essential when out and about from day to day. Having them in my bag has made life so much easier and feeding Alice on-the-go more convenient. Firstly are the flip top snack pots… I love them in the Raspberry colour as they are easy to see and just look lovely. I also love that you can easily see what’s inside thanks to the clear sides. They are robust for a baby that likes to chuck stuff, and the tops are secure, yet easy to open when wrestling with said baby. I also like that if they aren’t eaten on that day, the pot keeps them fresh for the next.

We also have the Small and Large bowl set which has been great to transfer left overs to and from the fridge to going out. They are easy to store and clean, and I find the small one is great to make finger food lunches and the larger one main meals. The lids are secure and are easy to pop in the microwave and heat up too. I love that they are nifty little bowls instead of the random Tupperware I used to use and I really enjoy using them day to day. I usually dish up a portion of dinner into one of these for the next day.

Then we have the snacks…the market is huge with an array of snacks for on-the-go and we have tried many different brands over the years. We recently discovered “Heavenly Organic Superfoods” which combine wonderful flavours for tasty and healthy baby snacks. I really love the array of foods they produce, from fruit pouches to mini bread sticks and little “halo bites”. Their snacks are small enough to fit in pots and big enough for babies to grab and hold independently. Alice especially enjoyed the carrot and cumin waffles, the wafers and “Coconut Squishies” (fruit pouches made with coconut milk – yum). Their Rosemary bread sticks also came in very useful when I was out with my sister and her toddler twins the other week too, and went down an absolute treat!

Alice also loves the Apple & Sultana muffins from local company “Little Fingers” who also have tasty savoury snacks made from carrots and lentils, and courgettes. Again these are really convenient for quick on-the-go feeding solutions (if you remember to pre cook some of them in advance).

Nappies and Wipes

So I am very aware that this super obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of times I have reached for the wipes and they either aren’t there, or its a trick and the pack is empty. Cleaning poo from a weaned baby in public with toilet roll and soap and water is pretty awkward and so embarrassing! Now not only do I keep nappies and wipes in a pouch in my main bag, but we also keep them in this handy wipes dispenser and nappy pouch from OXO tots that we were recently sent for review. I find it useful for the car, but honestly don’t feel it is something I would naturally buy myself and don’t use it day to day.

Nathan on the other hand LOVES it and uses it regularly. He prefers it to a big changing bag or back pack when taking the kids out solo, and finds the grey a little more manly! From a dad’s perspective it is the perfect baby accessory to hang on the pram, ensuring minimum “stuff” and super easy to access…it is now his thing and he thinks its great for on-the-go!

Water

Now the weather is mostly hotting warming up, it is so important to make sure baby stays hydrated. I am surprised how much water baby Alice goes through each day, but I am usually always good at making sure I have her a cup of water in my bag so she can enjoy little sips throughout the day.

A Hat

All my kids have been quite fair as babies and so whilst we love to be out and about enjoying the weather, we have to be aware of the dangers too. Remembering sun cream is often a downfall at this stage of the year, because everything is so unpredictable. Remembering a hat however seems easier (?!) And Alice is just about getting used to her little sun hat, which was only £1 in a local charity shop. I keep it in the bag and pop it on when the sun show’s its face!

Overall having a baby in any season and going anywhere is a lot of work with a heck of a lot of stuff to remember. I always think as long as I have food and water and a nappy and wipes we can make do and have a lovely day out -whether it is spontaneous or something planned. A hungry/grumpy baby certainly puts a damper on things and causes a lot of unnecessary stress, but snacks like those from Heavenly Organics and the pots from Oxo Tots, have certainly made it super easy to keep in my bag and know I’ll be okay!

*Thank you to OXO TOTS and Heavenly Foods for sending these products for review. All thoughts and pictures are my own. 

 

 

Family Fever
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I have avoided my blog this week as I have just felt utterly exhausted. It is a feeling that is all too familiar, and a tiredness that comes as a result of my heart being sad and my head trying to accept the news of loss. You see on Tuesday my dear Granddad passed away – he went home, and I’ve felt pretty numb and melancholy ever since.

I do not cope well with loss, I mean who does? But for me it resurfaces the pain and emotions I work hard to suppress and keep a lid on day in day out. I find that grief for new people takes me back to places I do not want to go and I end up having a mess of the sadness of them mixed in with the sadness of losing my baby and others. Therefore other than a sentiment on my social media, I have avoided talking about it with few people aside from my Mum, Dad, Nath, Sisters and Cousins, and have done well not be too emotional though I do feel so inside!

I now find it rather odd to now be writing about all of this under the heading of an “Ordinary Moment”. Everything about my granddad is far from ordinary; he was unique and one in a million, and his passing is far from an ordinary event or moment in life, but has been the main event of my life this week. To lose someone that was such a mighty presence in our family stands alone as a moment that is both incredibly sad and heartbreaking both in our family, and news that radiates to be sad to many that knew him.

I find that life is made up of moments that on the surface may be seemingly ordinary to others and yet are huge to us. We are a close family, he was a great example to us…a strength, friend and teacher to us all and this week has been full of moments that have been made better by my family, as we all share in the same love and appreciation for who he was in each of our lives. He was funny, and one of the greatest men we have been blessed to know. My sister summed it up perfectly when she said “To know granddad was to love him…our loss is heavens gain” – how very true!

I have felt sad but have enjoyed a week of laughing with my sisters, cousins and family all the same as we have shared our treasured memories and stories of this great man we were blessed to call “Granddad”. Reminiscing is good for the soul, as is being with the great family that have come as a result of 2 people falling in love (possibly around) sixty something years ago (?!).

I love my cousins; they are some of my closest friends and I have felt blessed that that relationship has meant we can lean on one another through messages, chats and long afternoons sat on the beach! Apparently I am not the only one that finds solace and comfort in the beach when my heart is aching as yesterday some of us gathered to the coast where we have fond childhood memories with family and grandparents and we had a beach day. Some went in the sea whilst others just sat with snacks and the kids looking out to sea and chatting and laughing about all sorts. We then ate dinner together and laughed some more.

How grateful I am for cousins, sisters, aunts, uncles, beaches and of course parents that can share in these memories of someone so special to us all. How grateful I am for great teachers and examples in my life in the form of Grandparents.

With loss on my mind and in my heart it is hard to find meaningful things to talk about on my blog right now, I have a few reviews I need to process this week and we are moving Thursday and Friday so it will be a really odd and busy week. But I will tell you that my Granddad was such a mighty presence in our family, and thus will be a great absence, and that is very sad news to accept. And whilst it has been a week of not sleeping properly and feeling out of sorts with this news, and knowing I must grieve at some point soon, thus resurfacing sadness already present, it has been a week of feeling incredibly grateful for the gift of such great grandparents, and friends in my sisters and cousins all of whom have given greatness to my life and are an example of the roots we share!

 

 

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