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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Supermarine Woolston

Last Thursday, I visited Supermarine Woolston for the first time with the Southampton Bloggers for an evening of chat, Cosmos and, of course, pizza.
Let me tell you all about it...

The Interiors & History
Wooden panelling in the darkest, richest blue (Hague Blue?) illuminated by tripod lights and industrial looking hardware throughout. Ginormous pasta processors stand sentinel beside blue patterned tiles

Supermarine takes its name from one of Woolston's biggest employers in the mid 1900's: a seaplane development and production company that went on to develop the Supermarine Spitfire.
I appreciated the huge aerial prints of the area and dedications to military personnel which can be found on the walls. 

A decorative mosaic woodfire stove takes the centrepiece within the kitchen of Supermarine

Pots of fresh basil and fresh flowers decorated the marble look tables.

Channelling hygge with candlelight and a Cosmopolitan

The Food
 One of the starters included the creamiest torn mozzarella with fresh sliced tomato, basil leaves and a balsamic glaze.

Supermarine's new menu features woodfired pizza which creates an incredible aroma. No 360 degree round pizzas to be found here. 

It was a first for me to have a pizza with fresh avocado on top and it was delicious!

The chocolate pizza was to die for. I will definitely be replicating this for my own family using a dairy free chocolate spread and tonnes of strawberries as my daughter Lily can't get enough!

I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening at Supermarine with the Southampton Bloggers, thank you to Supermarine for having us and to Alice Spake for organising the evening. I would absolutely recommend a visit to Supermarine, it won't disappoint.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Golden Hour Photography

Collaborative Post
Despite what my laptop memory and external hard drive memory say, I definitely want to take more photographs this year. With so many settings, custom and auto, often I only just have the opportunity to point and shoot, with little time to twiddle dials and figure out aperture.

I have been thinking about the 'Golden Hour' lately and this year I plan on getting some wonderful shots of my three children in the late afternoon/early evening Summer sunshine. We have a while to go yet. Currently it is Winter and we have limited daylight hours and even then the light may be dulled by heavy cloud. Thank goodness for light rings. Although they have their uses, they just aren't as good as natural light. photography, the golden hour is the period of time just after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky... Wikipedia

 Panasonic have released a new compact camera which is ideal for shooting in low-light environments. The video below was captured using the Lumix GH5S by filmmaker Ali Kubba and shows off the intensity of the fire and sparks resulting from the steel wool spinning. If I didn't know that the footage was shot on a compact system camera, I would have assumed it to be a complete set up of professional cameras. Given that it is targeted towards videographers, it does make me want to press 'record' on my camera more often.

Below is one of my photos taken from golden hour last summer. As you can see from the shadows of the nearby tables and chairs the Sun was getting lower and lower and my friend and I couldn't resist getting our cameras out. The Paradise Punch cocktail was lit up by the light shining through the orange juice and the grenadine. I loved that cocktail as it reminded me of a sunset, but sadly the drink has been discontinued which is a great shame!

Fingers crossed I will be able to show you some golden hour photography later on in the year. That is if I can read the complete camera instruction manual!

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Self-care Tips | #YouMonday

Everyone needs a little TLC once a while and although we are only midway through the first month of 2018, I think self-care is very important.

Today, if you aren't already aware is January 15th, AKA 'Blue Monday'. Why is that?
Off the top of my head it could be due to a variety of factors:
  • the weather -  Seasonal Affective Disorder and lack of sunshine, waking up when is dark and commuting when it is dark, gloomy, cloudy days, rainy, cold...definitely a prophetic fallacy
  • the festivities of Christmas and New Year is over for another year but finances may be feeling the strain
  • resolutions and goals for the year may already be showing signs of weakness, particularly if you are on a health kick. Have you seen that Easter eggs are available already?
  • motivation may be dwindling
For many of us, it isn't as simple as dropping everything and jetting off for some winter sun, or having a personal chef and fitness trainer keep you on the straight and narrow. Sometimes you just need to get yourself out of the funk yourself, one step at a time.

Self-care this 2018:

Take the time to look after yourself.
This could be 30 minutes a week if you find yourself super busy. Run a relaxing bath, burn a candle, paint your nails or apply a face mask. Pamper yourself.
Gemporia kindly sent a 'Revive' bathing ritual set in order to give me a well-deserved boost this Blue Monday. In fact, scrap that. It is #YouMonday now.  The rose quartz is the gemstone which has lent it's qualities and inspiration for this particular set, which body lotion, shimmer wash and candle smell of rosewater, naturally. For your mind, body and soul, taking time out shouldn't be a luxury, but an essential part of our wellness.

Gemporia Revive Bathing Ritual Set inspired by uplifting rose quartz crystal

"I allow myself to feel renewed and my energies lifted"  Gemporia Revive  
Enjoy your hobbies, or begin a new one.
If you used to be an avid reader, but now seem to be on your phone more often than not during the evenings, ensure that you swap to a paperback at least one evening a week.
Get out and about by joining a local walking club; get your fill of some bracing fresh air and sea air is even better in my opinion.

Get enough sleep.
No screens for at least an hour before you go to bed and swap your usual caffeinated drink for a cup of soothing chamomile tea. I particularly like this blend by Clipper.

You don't need to spend money, just spend time in each other's company. Don't forget to laugh and smile to get those good endorphins flowing.

What do my fellow bloggers do as part of their self-care routine?

The Growing Mum enjoys lying on the sofa whilst watching a good comedy show, whilst Twinderelmo enjoys painting her fingers and toes in really bright colours. She isn't the only one, Emma Reed also loves a bubble bath and face mask, plus a hot chocolate in front of a chick flick.

Gemporia Revive Bath Essence and Candle with crystals
(L) Gemporia Revive Rose Quartz Bath Essence (R) Lavender filled cushion, rose quartz crystal and soy candle
The Pram Shed also enjoys a nice relaxing bubble bath and reading a good book, and in addition to a delicious takeaway, Documenting the Drews enjoys watching a good old film to cry to (The Notebook). Pride and Prejudice, a pack of chocolate biscuits and a big cup of tea sorts Yorkshire Wonders out, and Pink Pear Bear likes to indulge in cake of chocolate following a virtuous run or dog walk in the fresh air.

There are some great tried and tested ideas here. What do you try to do for yourself?

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

The Children's Meditations | In My Heart Review

On Sunday, around 6 pm, I managed to read a few pages from 'The Children's Meditations In My Heart' by Gitte Winter Graugaard which Lily and I have been sent in return for a review.

In my Heart meditation reading with lily review
Published by Room for Reflection

What with general school and work life, plus the recent Christmas performances and afterschool clubs, life is hectic enough so getting a spare moment with just Lily can be difficult. Sunday seemed ideal as we were relaxed, plus Alexander was asleep on the sofa, suffering from a cold. With Rob occupying the baby, Lily and I disappeared upstairs to meditate on my bed.

The Children's Meditations In my Heart is intended to help children and families enter another plane of love. With the vast amount of stimuli we and our children are exposed to on a daily basis, it is important to ground ourselves using love which, as the book describes, is a super power.

"They say that a modern person gets as many stimuli in one day as our grandparents got in an entire year. We cannot stop stimuli around our children, but we can teach them how to navigate between them and how to find peace, balance and most importantly, joy in life."
 Introduction by Gitte Winter Graugaard.

Heart meditation can provide a pause within a busy day, promote calm and stillness but also it can help you and your child feel the warmth and nurturing feelings of love, especially if the meditation is read at bedtime. The Children's Meditations In My Heart features guided visualisations which can be discussed at a later date, and heart symbols indicate when to take a natural pause before continuing. Keen for my children to not always travel with us to "Brainland", I am confident that continued mediation can help lead us all to "Heartland".

How we got on

I didn't disturb the lighting of my bedroom; it was already dimly illuminated by the landing light and the street lamps outside. Lily chose to get into bed and rest her head on my pillow. 
Lily is almost 6 and quite good at cooperating, so I began to explain what we were going to do in a soft voice. I think if I had chosen any other moment such as after a busy school day, with her brother bouncing around and the baby crying for attention, she could have been easily in fits of giggles unable to keep her eyes closed.
When I reached the pauses indicated by three heart symbols, I simply took a break of 3 seconds. If I had left the pause any longer I reckon Lily would enquire what was going on.

Sample text and suggested pause
I continued in my softly spoken voice, drawing on my hypnonatal tracks which I used through out the labour and delivery of two of my three children. However, I reached a point in 'I Fill My Heart with Love" where I had to adjust my voice to a whisper as I became too emotional with happy tears and didn't want to interrupt the tranquillity.

Lily looked really relaxed by the end of the meditation piece 'I Fill My Heart with Love'. She had turned onto her side and looked ready to sleep. I could tell when I ended the guided visualisation that she looked drowsy and she even asked me whether it was morning! Later that evening, at bedtime, I repeated the meditation to both Lily and Alexander and selected the bedtime ending.

reading Lily In My Heart meditation

The second children's meditations in the series 'From my heart, I send Love', focuses on sending and receiving love to the people we love, even when we cannot be together. We return to the mountain in which the heart resides behind a gate surrounded by a pretty white fence, all the while utilising the visualisations we learnt in 'I Fill My Heart with Love". Love is transferred from holding your hand over the heart of your loved one. I particularly like the idea that the author mentions:

"If you know that your child is doing something special during the day that might be difficult, you can tell her that you will send love and help at precisely the moment the challenge is taking place. If my oldest daughter is upset at school, she puts her hand on her heart and extracts some of that love she knows that I am sending her, and finds comfort."
 This reminds me of the heart drawn on the palm of the hand idea which circulated Facebook a while a go.

The Hug Button Louise Mallett The Motherload
Louise Mallett/ The Motherload

There are two further meditations in this book; 'My Cloud is Full of Love' and 'With the Universe, I share my Love'.

'My Cloud is full of Love' provides the opportunity to express how often you think about your child and how much love you send to your child with these thoughts each and every day; a love that your child can pick up in the cloud and fill their heart with when needed.
'With the Universe, I share my Love' helps your child learn how to share their love with others around them who do not experience the same love and provides three general purposes.

"The first one is training your child's ability to feel empathy and gratefulness. The second one is feeling of being able to make a difference in the world by opening up one's heart. The third purpose is creating a feeling of connectedness with the universe in your child."

I am yet to explore these meditations, but the author encourages you to mix and match and use them in a way that fits into your family's life. Once I have experienced these meditations with my children I will be sure to provide an update. But for now, here are Lily's thoughts:

"I feel happy and relaxed. With a feeling of more love in my heart."


In my heart choose your own ending to the meditation


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Christmas Traditions | New and Old

Christmas traditions new and old title image

Now it is acceptable to talk about the 'Big C', I can tell you just how much I am already getting into the festive spirit. And I am not talking about back in April when my son requested to watch 'The Snowman and the Snowdog'. On repeat. In April. Did I mention that? I became seasonally confused.
Since it is November I have no qualms about turning that short film on, even if I can't bear that first the dog dies and then the snowman melts.

Christmas songs have been playing in shops for a while now. And have you heard that Sia has a Christmas album!? Every day is Christmas!

Plus, I am pretty sure that Christmas food appeared by September and certainly before any of the Halloween bits and bobs...
I have enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies and dancing around the kitchen. The nights have well and truly drawn in and the blinds are pulled closed by 5pm whilst the children enjoy sitting on the sofa, snuggled in cosy blankets.

I have been reflecting on our Christmas traditions and wondering whether I can adapt any or add some completely new ones. I don't think it is too late, but I will need to get my planning hat on.

Christmas Jumpers

Cringe or cute? Worn for one week, if not more. I'm all for them, whether they be bejewelled with sequin penguins and snowflakes or showcasing complete woolly fir trees with baubles. Matching Christmas jumpers are even better, in my opinion. This year will be the first Christmas where I can dress all three of my kids in the same jumper which I am really looking forward too, plus all of the photograph opportunities. They are only little once after all. This year I will be sporting a Fair Isle Miffy jumper. As you can see, I am quite pleased!

Miffy Christmas Jumper knitted

Christmas Pyjamas

Along the same line of the jumpers, I also tend to buy my children festive pyjamas. We don't give them on Christmas Eve within a 'Christmas Eve Box', but rather at the beginning of the month so they can actually get some use beforehand. I just have to make sure that they are all clean and ready to be worn on Christmas Eve so they are all matching for the Big Day. Sure they will get chocolate coins all over themselves but nevermind.

Christmas Eve Breakfast

We started a new tradition last year; Lily dressed up and we made Nutella Christmas trees for our breakfast. Delicious with a hot cup of coffee, or hot chocolate for the kids.

Christmas jumpers and Lily making Nutella christmas trees with puff pastry

Christmas Eve walk

Last year we had a lovely walk at Victoria Country Park in Netley and the kids let off some steam. It was good to get some fresh air and we also bumped into many familiar faces so it was a good opportunity to chat and wish them a Happy Christmas. I was very pregnant on that particular walk, but I had a go on the zip-wire (carefully) anyway. It may have helped, as I had our second daughter later that night! I'd like to go again this year, but with the baby. Perhaps I will take her on the zip-wire to reminisce.

Lily at Netley and hot chocolate

Christmas Eve Meal

We've enjoyed roast duck for the past couple of Christmas Eve's, but as the day now also marks Freyja's birthday, the menu will no doubt adapt to her liking. And include birthday cake, of course.

Preparing for Father Christmas

Lily and Alexander adore the magical time of the evening, when after they have got into their festive pyjamas, they choose a plate and a glass and arrange a mini-feast for Father Christmas and his reindeer. It seems he enjoys whatever drink is available, the mince pie goes down well, but his reindeer always make a bit of a mess once they have gobbled up the carrot and oats. The children discover a trail of oats on Christmas morning which makes them giggle.

Do you have any special festive traditions?


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

My Ultimate Baby Kit | By a Mum of 3

Now I have three children, I can reflect over the infant products we have accumulated over time and consider what I deem to be an 'essential'. I'm oh so aware about how the baby product market changes and each new product is 'a must-have', endorsed by celebrities or other parents. This is a round up of products that we have found to be useful and would recommend.

photo collage showing the products mentioned below: 1. the whisbear, 2. jumperoo, 3. lindam bed rail, 4. mamma pads, 5. tommee tippee electric steriliser, 6. theraline yinnie nursing pillow, 7, babein stretchy wrap and 8. phil and teds navigator 2 buggy

1. The Whisbear
Back in 2012 I wasn't aware of anything like this. As a first time parent, baby products and those from new companies weren't really on my radar. White noise is really soothing and this sweet little bear attaches to the cot or can be placed directly in the cot with the baby. It isn't a rainbow of colours so it doesn't overstimulate the baby, plus it looks lovely in any room.

2. Fisher-Price Jumperoo
For Lily and Alexander, the Jumperoo was in use a LOT. I can still hear the musical tunes in my head! They just loved bouncing, but Freyja doesn't so much. We have used it with her, but it didn't remain assembled for very long. It does take up floor space but if it works, it works. If only Freyja would allow me to put her down...somewhere!

3. Lindam Bed rail
We co-sleep and bedshare and have done so with all three children for varying amounts of time. We started with doubts but realised it worked for us. This bed rail provides us peace of mind, especially for the days that the baby isn't capable of moving around of course.

4. Theraline Mamma Pads
These almost invisible nursing pads have been useful now Freyja is approaching her first birthday, especially on the occasion that she feeds less at night. They adhere to skin without any adhesive but require a wash before reapplying so I didn't try them when I needed to use breastfeeding pads during the day due to convenience.

5. Tommee Tippee Electric Steriliser
Chemical-free cleaning of dummies and bottles (5 of them in one go). So quick and so much quicker than cold-water sterilising I used to do with breast pump accessories.

6. Theraline Yinnie Breastfeeding Pillow
With Lily I used a cumbersome V-shaped pillow which didn't confom to the shape of her body and didn't make the experience of feeding a premature baby any easier. The Yinnie's shape wraps around my waist, offering both of us comfort thanks to the microbeads inside. I certainly haven't felt like throwing this breastfeeding pillow out of the window!

7. Babein Stretchy Wrap
I didn't discover stretchy wraps until I did a lot of research during my second pregnancy. With Lily we used a Babasling, which is less than ideal due to the position of the baby within the carrier, plus I am useless at doing anything with a lot of weight on just one side of me. My first Lollipop stretchy wrap in petrol blue was a game-changer, once I learnt how to tie it! I practised using a cuddly toy rabbit first. Rob and I took turns with using the carrier and received many glances and kind compliments. Being hands free and soothing a baby or simply carrying around a sleeping baby is a life-saver. Freyja enjoyed being snuggled up in the Babein stretchy wrap which promoted lots of sleep and cuddles. I would definitely recommend a wrap to any new parent.

8. Phil & Teds Navigator II
This adaptable double in-line buggy has served us well. We bought it just after Lily turned two and then added the carrycot when Alexander arrived. Now our third child Freyja sits at the front, leaving the bottom seat free for school bags or Alexander if he gets tired from walking. As much as I am looking forward to just using a simple, lighter, single pushchair we absolutely appreciate the robustness of this buggy and its all-terrain tyres. It may not look like a high street-only pushchair, but it suits us down to the (New Forest) ground. I would recommend it to anyone who has more than one child, for its practicality, longevity and oodles of space to stuff snacks, nappies and toys.

It won't be long until these items are no longer used by us. but they will be passed on to friends and relatives and I will absolutely recommend them.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Living Arrows | Baking with Lily

Welcome back to Living Arrows, a post which celebrates childhood. I intend on creating as many of these weekly photos as possible because they are great to reflect on all together.

The project originally took its name from a poem by Kahlil Gibran ~
"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth"

After last posts' moan about never-ending lurgys I would love to say that we are all fine and healthy now, but now we are past the stomach bug we are on to having colds. Plus Freyja is teething (does it ever end?) so she has a runny nose, cold or no cold.
But it hasn't stopped us getting out and about and it certainly hasn't stopped Lily from helping me make a blackberry and apple crumble. We picked so many blackberries the last time we were at the PYO farm that I froze bags full of berries, ready for such baking.
Rather than getting her fingers mucky with flour and butter, Lily used the pastry cutter which the children got me for my recent birthday. I saw Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) using one and I though aside from using a food processer which I don't own, a pastry cutter could make crumbles even easier. No more rubbing fat into flour using your fingers. This could be a game-changer for me, since Freyja loves to interrupt me at the worst possible times!

Lily standing at the kitchen counter, using a metal pastry cutter to make a crumble topping using flour, oats, butter and sugar.

Thanks for stopping by!

Living Arrows
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