VLOGMAS – Week 1

VLOGMAS

If you follow me on social media (which I obviously hope you do . . if you don’t the links are on the right . . .) then you will most likely have seen much talk of VLOGMAS.  For the uninitiated this is basically a bit of a Youtube based challenge to vlog (or at least upload) every day in December, or more likely until Christmas Eve.  My Youtube focus has increased considerably over the last year and I thought it would be fun to join in and capture snapshots of our lives!

I’m uploading to Youtube everyday, with the videos usually going live first thing in the morning, but I thought it would be nice to do a little round up over here for you guys too in case you wanted to see what we’ve been getting up to over through the festive period!

VLOGMAS Day 1 

The one where I introduce VLOGMAS and our plans for the festive period . . .

 

VLOGMAS Day 2

We went to see Disney on Ice presents Frozen in Liverpool and I vlogged it – Chloe’s face is just pure magic!

VLOGMAS Day 3

This first DITL (Day in the Life) video of the season – this one covers the 1st & 2nd of the month:

VLOGMAS Day 4

The one where we went to Stockeld Park to see Father Christmas.  This is always my favourite festive adventure and I love this video – days out are my most favourite thing to vlog just because I love to watch them back later!

VLOGMAS Day 5

We wrote letters to Father Christmas.  Amy asks for a pushchair and a car seat for her doll, Chloe requests a Barbie and Ben admits to being “mostly” good before asking for some LEGO and a bionicle!

VLOGMAS Day 6

It’s a DITL video – Mondays are #MummyandBo days.  School runs, swimming and snoozes were key this week!

VLOGMAS Day 7

We survived our first full week of filming . . . this is another DITL with grumpy kids and mummy working from home!

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed watching our VLOGMAS so far – don’t forget to like the videos and subscribe to my channel and I’ll love you forever obvs.  I’ll do another round up this time next week – when there should be tree decorating, nativities, 12 Christmas questions and more DITL vlogs!

VLOGMAS

Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week 48 – 2016)

How is December treating you so far?  I must admit I’m having a bit of a panic about the amount of stuff I’ve got to pack into the next couple of weeks!

Welcome to another week of #TriedTested! Of course we wouldn’t be able to say that without you lovely lot returning each and every week to link up your favourite reviews and taking time to read and comment on others. We have always been really proud of the fact that the bloggers joining in with #TriedTested are keen commenters; let’s face it there’s no point in linking up if you’re not going to get lots of lovely people reading your post is there – so gold stars all round. You’re ace, keep it up!

Please have a quick read through the points below to make sure you know how things are working:

* Tried & Tested is open on Tuesday – from 8am to midnight on the same day

* We’d love to share your post on Twitter – please tweet us your link (@Lollinski & @FamilyFever) along with the #TriedTested hashtag and we’ll retweet that for you

* If you’d like Colette to tweet you a reminder each week when the linky is open then please drop her a tweet (@Lollinski) and she’ll add you to the list

* Each week we feature our two favourite reviews from the past week and we have a super special “featured blogger” badge! If you are this week’s featured blogger we will send you over the code which we would love you to add to you blog post or sidebar!

So if this is your first time here then welcome along, where have you been? You can find out more about #TriedTested and how to join in here. If you’re a regular then welcome to you too, it’s lovely to have you back! Crack on, link up and share some commenty love – let’s face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

This week we have loved:

Tried Tested featured blogger - hodge podge days

Jane at Hodge Podge Days has been trying out the rather fancy sounding Fractional Mesotherapy and I’m pretty sure my face would benefit from some of that right about now!

Tried & Tested Featured blogger - babyled blog

The babyledblog Xmas Gift Guide is packed full of gorgeous suggestions for little ones and I’ve already added a few bits to my wish list!

We don’t have lots of rules for #TriedTested however the ones we do have are really important:
* Please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment on the posts we have each linked up
* Try to comment on a couple of other posts as well if you can – we know that people really appreciate the feedback!
* We do ask that you link a maximum of 2 posts each week to keep things fair for everyone – if you choose to link up an extra post please make sure you visit extra posts in the linky to balance it out. (Additional or irrelevant posts will be deleted out of fairness.)
We're going on an adventure



Winter Bucket List 2016

Kids and Christmas tree

Goodness, it’s already the 5th of December and I’ve not got my Winter Bucket List up yet! What’s going on there?! Time seems to be slipping away from me at an incredible rate – I’m sure I only published my Autumn Bucket List update yesterday!

Things are insanely busy for us over the next couple of weeks in the run up to Christmas, with lots of complex organising to get everyone in the right place at the right time, never mind thinking about shopping and keeping up with my work commitments.

As is often the case, the bulk of our Winter Bucket List does tend to focus on December and the festive celebrations, I really should make sure there’s some bits and bobs in there to keep us busy through January and February!  Our Winter Bucket Lists often feature so many things year after year as they are part of our Christmas traditions – I have in fact copied and edited last year’s list, I do love a good tradition!

Winter Bucket List - Kids and Christmas tree

So without further ado, let’s crack on with our 2016 Winter Bucket List . . .
1. Snow related fun – I say this every year and every year the weather man fails me.  I just good couple of days of proper snow.  However, should that fail we’re planning a trip to Chill Factore in the new year so there will be some snow action!
2. See Father Christmas – Our annual trip to Stockeld Park (we’ve actually already done this, it will be written up this week)
3. Write letters to Father Christmas – again we’ve already done this and you can watch our video here
4. Festive up our house!
5. Buy new Christmas decorations
6. Watch nativities for all three children – it’s Amy’s first one this year!
7. Read Christmas stories
9. Ice skating – reinstating a Butler / Burgess family tradition
10. A nighttime adventure to see the Christmas lights and markets in Manchester
11. Write Christmas cards
12. Pantomime fun!
13. Enjoy a Christmas back in York
14. Christmas films
15. Our annual New Year walk in Heaton Park
What have I missed?! I’m sure there should be more on our list this year!

Disney on Ice presents Frozen – Review

Disney on Ice - Elsa & Anna

You all know how much we love a good adventure, even more so if I can keep it a surprise!  Last night I picked Ben and Chloe up straight from school and whisked them off to Liverpool to see Disney on Ice presents Frozen!  They knew we were going somewhere exciting but had no idea what we were actually doing right up until we walked into the ECHO Arena and Ben suddenly recognised it from last time we saw Disney on Ice back in March.  With Amy having been so poorly recently we decided that the super late night really wasn’t wise for her so we used her ticket to take Ben’s girlfriend Ferne & her mum with us instead.

After a bit of stress over traffic, parking and an emergency toilet stop we arrived at the VIP meet & greet just in time to queue up and have our photo taken with Elsa and Anna!

Disney on Ice - meet and greet

When the time came to take our seats we couldn’t believe our luck – we had rink side seats, literally the second row from the side of rink.

Disney on Ice - rink side seats

The show began with a brief introduction from Micky & Minnie about love stories and introducing all the Disney “couples” – Snow White and Ariel were particular favourites for us.  (Props to Ariel who actually took quite a tumble during the opening sequence but was back up and on her feet so quickly that I’m quite sure it will have gone completely unnoticed by many)

Disney on Ice - Snow White

I think it’s a fair assumption that Frozen and Disney on Ice would be a match made in heaven.  But my word did it exceed all our expectations.  From the incredible costumes to the generous use of snow canons, this was just epic.  Helen described it as like “being inside the film” and she was right.  Disney on Ice presents Frozen is literally like watching the entire film played out in front of you on the ice.  It was pure magic.

Disney on Ice - Elsa

Disney on Ice - Elsa & Anna

Disney on Ice - Elsa dancing in the snow

I was torn between concentrating on the incredible show on the ice in front of me and just watching Chloe’s face – she was completely entranced by the fact her favourite film had come to life before her eyes.  She’s often a little shy at shows or pantomimes but not so this time – she loved singing along to all her favourite songs (as did I . . . it was basically a full on Frozen karaoke session!)  It’s such a shame we weren’t able to take Amy in the end as she’s fairly Frozen obsessed at the moment and I know she’d have adored every magnificent second of it.   I had worried that Ben might not be that bothered by the show as he’s not really a massive fan of Frozen but he loved it just as much as the girls and was even dancing in the aisles by the end of the show.  He told me his favourite thing about the performance was the songs except for “Let it go” which he listened to with his hands over his ears.  The cheek.

Disney on Ice - Chloe was entranced

Helen and I were just completely wowed by the incredible set design and the special effects – I guess as adults we are able to appreciate just how clever it all is.  By far our favourite costume of the night was Sven – Ben made me laugh as he felt the need to point out to me that there were indeed two people inside that particular costume but he was impressed by how hard it must be for the back person to skate!

Disney On Ice - Sven & sleigh

Disney on Ice - Trolls

Disney on Ice - Olaf

Although it’s a bit of a late night for a school night it’s absolutely worth it for the memories made and I can only apologise to Ben, Ferne and Chloe’s teachers this morning for the very tired children deposited in their classrooms this morning . . .

Disney on Ice will be at Echo Arena, Liverpool till Sunday 4th December and there are still tickets available if you want to make your own magical Disney memories this Christmas.

*Keep an eye on our VLOGMAS playlist for some cheeky video clips of last night’s show!
*We received complimentary tickets for Disney on Ice presents Frozen for the purposes of review.  All thoughts and opinions remain our own*

Another Autumn Bucket List done and dusted!

Team Custard in Birmingham

Usually I have at least a morning a week whilst Amy is at nursery or even the odd day when I’m not teaching where I’m home alone and can crack on with getting stuff done around the house or work on blog related tasks.  Dave has gone back to work today after breaking his elbow five weeks ago, so I’m on my own in the house for the first time in ages.  It’s especially quiet without our our pup, Thomas.  Because our house is so busy, it’s often easy to forget he’s not there.  But today, in the house on my own, his snuffling and snoring is conspicuous by it’s absence.  Dave and I have both said we miss him being there when we come in through the front door (even though I was usually irritated by him being in the way while I was trying to get the kids in the house) and if we are first to come downstairs in the morning we miss his greeting and whacky tail!  Because we got Thomas in November, my Facebook Memories has been awash with pictures of a tiny T Dog which has felt like especially cruel timing  (much like the John Lewis ad!) but time rolls on.  It has been almost four weeks since we lost Thomas and Christmas is almost upon us.

Chloe and Thomas

Today sees the last day of November and the end of our Autumn Bucket List for another year!  It feels like Autumn was a bit slow to start, the weather stayed dry and warm for longer than we would normally expect but when it hit, it hit hard and now I feel like I’m constantly freezing!  I definitely need a new coat for the school run, something suitably cosy and waterproof.

When I wrote my last Autumn Bucket List update we’d made pretty good headway and only had a few things left to tick off:

8. A grown up weekend away 

You may have seen on social media that Dave & I spent the last weekend in Birmingham with Kirst (more commonly known on my blog as Aunty Custard) and Chris.  The first time we all went away for a weekend together was back in June when we went to Alton Towers for the weekend and had a right old laugh.  In the summer we decided that we should have  grown up weekend away together, one where we could just eat, drink and relax in each other’s company.  We so rarely get to spend child-free time together now and certainly never as a foursome.  The decision was made that we’d go to Birmingham as it’s not too far away for any of us and it also meant that we could factor in an opportunity to catch up with friends who live there.  (Watch our slightly drunken and over excited vlog of the weekend )

Autumn Bucket List - Team Custard in Birmingham

11. Make an apple crumble

Despite my best intentions, I totally failed.  I don’t think I’ve even eaten apple crumble this season.  Whoops.

12. Blow “dragon breath” in the cold air

After what felt like a really mild start to autumn this year, there has most definitely been plenty of opportunity for blowing dragon breath, especially on mornings where everyone is in childcare and leave the house a good hour earlier.  Yay for dragon breath, boo to scraping ice and frost off the car!

14. Get some more jobs done on the house – perhaps even move into a new room or two! 

This has been a really big one for us this autumn.  Dad and Dave have worked their socks off and our extension is now finally finished.  We have moved into the last couple of rooms (a new shower room upstairs, utility and downstairs toilet) – everything is fully functioning and even decorated!  I just need to add some finishing touches now but I can’t tell you how exciting it is to have everything done.  (That’s not to say there aren’t a few big jobs to be done in the original part of the house of course. . . )  I will do a full house update soon and show off our new rooms – when I say soon, don’t expect it till the New Year now!

So that’s it – another autumn bucket list done and dusted.  There was no conkers or apple crumble but otherwise the list was a win!  Best start thinking about our Winter one  . . .

  1. Collect conkers – something which we pretty much fail to do every year but we’ll have another go!
  2. Get wrapped up and go to a bonfire – we haven’t done this for a few years but I think everyone is big enough now to enjoy it!
  3. Kick leaves
  4. MAD Blog Awards – this is my third year of attending and my second as an actual flipping finalist!
  5. Blog On – the first Winter Blog On and this time I’m actually going to be speaking!
  6. A family ski lesson
  7. Blackpool illuminations
  8. A grown up weekend away
  9. South Lakes Wild Animal Park (this is left over from our summer list)
  10. Splash in puddles
  11. Make an apple crumble
  12. Blow “dragon breath” in the cold air – this is always a sure sign of Autumn for me and something the kids find really exciting!
  13. See Ben settle into his new Juniors routine
  14. Get some more jobs done on the house – perhaps even move into a new room or two!
  15. Lots of birthday celebrations

Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week 47 – 2016)

Morning! Can you believe it is less than a month until Christmas? How are you getting on with your shopping?

Welcome to another week of #TriedTested! Of course we wouldn’t be able to say that without you lovely lot returning each and every week to link up your favourite reviews and taking time to read and comment on others. We have always been really proud of the fact that the bloggers joining in with #TriedTested are keen commenters; let’s face it there’s no point in linking up if you’re not going to get lots of lovely people reading your post is there – so gold stars all round. You’re ace, keep it up!

Please have a quick read through the points below to make sure you know how things are working:

* Tried & Tested is open on Tuesday – from 8am to midnight on the same day

* We’d love to share your post on Twitter – please tweet us your link (@Lollinski & @FamilyFever) along with the #TriedTested hashtag and we’ll retweet that for you

* If you’d like Colette to tweet you a reminder each week when the linky is open then please drop her a tweet (@Lollinski) and she’ll add you to the list

* Each week we feature our two favourite reviews from the past week and we have a super special “featured blogger” badge! If you are this week’s featured blogger we will send you over the code which we would love you to add to you blog post or sidebar!

So if this is your first time here then welcome along, where have you been? You can find out more about #TriedTested and how to join in here. If you’re a regular then welcome to you too, it’s lovely to have you back! Crack on, link up and share some commenty love – let’s face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

This week we have loved:

#TriedTested featured blogger

Top 10 festive days out from Life as our little family. It’s the time of year where we love to find seasonal things to do with our families, so this has been a great read.

#TriedTested featured blogger

Mini Micro Scooters review from Belle du Brighton. This shows a great comparison between 2 popular models – perfect for anyone who is still undecided which to go for!

We don’t have lots of rules for #TriedTested however the ones we do have are really important:
* Please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment on the posts we have each linked up
* Try to comment on a couple of other posts as well if you can – we know that people really appreciate the feedback!
* We do ask that you link a maximum of 2 posts each week to keep things fair for everyone – if you choose to link up an extra post please make sure you visit extra posts in the linky to balance it out. (Additional or irrelevant posts will be deleted out of fairness.)
We're going on an adventure



Twenty Questions to Ask Your Kids! #ShepherdsTwenty

At the start of this year I interviewed Ben, Chloe and Amy for my youtube channel with the intention of doing an updated version every year or so – I just think it’s a really lovely thing to look back on and see how their answers had changed.  At the time I remember finding it quite hard to come up with a good balance of questions that they would all be able to answer but which were open ended enough to be interesting.

Kids in the garden

Over recent weeks Facebook has been awash with ask your child, partner, dog these questions and share your answers type memes.  Of course asking kids a set of questions like this can be something of a lose canon and the results are often entertaining.

This evening I printed off a “20 questions to ask your kids” worksheet to do with my little team – I had fully planned to just ask the questions myself and record them on the sheet but the big two were keen to have a go independently so I wasn’t about to argue.  I loved that the questions were worded as such that Amy was able to understand them and Chloe could even read them herself.

20 questions to ask your kids

So, without further ado, here’s the results of our #ShepherdsTwenty with Amy (age 3), Chloe (age 5) and Ben (age 7):

What’s your favourite colour?

Amy:  Purple

Chloe: Red

Ben: Light blue

Who is your best friend? 

Amy:  Gracie & Erin

Chloe: Violet H

Ben: Finley

What is your favourite TV programme?

Amy:  Topsy  & Tim and Bing

Chloe: Strictly Come Dancing

Ben: Strictly Come Dancing

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Amy:  A farmer (and you can come to feed the animals)

Chloe: Teacher

Ben: I have not decided yet

What car do you want to have when you grow up?

Amy:  A purple one

Chloe: Small

Ben: R8

If you could go anywhere in the world on holiday, where would you go?

Amy:  To the cinema

Chloe: France

Ben: France

Do you want to get married one day?

Amy:  Yes!

Chloe: Yes

Ben: Yes

How many children would you like to have?

Amy:  Loads!

Chloe: Two

Ben: Three

What age are you when you become an adult?

Amy:  8

Chloe: 20

Ben: 20

What are you good at?

Amy:  Being a farmer

Chloe: Dodge Ball

Ben: LEGO building and Dodge Ball

If you had a superpower what would it be?

Amy:  A lock

Chloe: Make people happy when they are sad

Ben: To go into a room, click my fingers and it was tidy

If you had one wish, what would that be?

Amy:  A crocodile or a ladybird

Chloe: Go to wherever I wanted to go

Ben: Teleport

What do I do as a job?

Amy:  Going on your computer

Chloe: Teacher

Ben: School teacher

What are you scared of?

Amy:  Crocodiles and lions

Chloe: Monsters

Ben: Nothing

What is your favourite song?

Amy:  My Mysterious Uncle

Chloe: My Mysterious Uncle

Ben: My Mysterious Uncle

What is your favourite class at school?

Amy:  Making a picture for you

Chloe: PE

Ben: ICT & Maths

What is something I always say to you?

Amy:  I’ve got some words for you

Chloe: Where are your shoes?

Ben: Tidy up your room

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?

Amy:  Being born

Chloe: Rollercoaster time

Ben: Nothing

What makes you happy?

Amy:  You!

Chloe: Spending time with my Mum & Dad

Ben: Ben Brown and Mum & Dad

What makes you sad? 

Amy:  Daddy cos he shouts at me!

Chloe: Not wearing dresses

Ben: Being told off

I love that the big two have written down their own answers, I think it makes it even more of a “snapshot in time” and certainly something I plan to keep.  Their answers made me smile – especially Amy’s response that “being born” was the hardest thing she’s ever done.  I’d love to know how your kids get on with the interview – don’t forget to share your favourite answers on social media with the hashtag #ShepherdsTwenty


*This post is in collaboration with Shepherds Friendly Society who offer a range of savings plans including a Junior Isa*

Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week 46 – 2016)

Morning!  It’s a real baton down the hatches week isn’t it, the weather is awful up in Manchester.  I hope you’re surviving!

Welcome to another week of #TriedTested! Of course we wouldn’t be able to say that without you lovely lot returning each and every week to link up your favourite reviews and taking time to read and comment on others. We have always been really proud of the fact that the bloggers joining in with #TriedTested are keen commenters; let’s face it there’s no point in linking up if you’re not going to get lots of lovely people reading your post is there – so gold stars all round. You’re ace, keep it up!

Please have a quick read through the points below to make sure you know how things are working:

* Tried & Tested is open on Tuesday – from 8am to midnight on the same day

* We’d love to share your post on Twitter – please tweet us your link (@Lollinski & @FamilyFever) along with the #TriedTested hashtag and we’ll retweet that for you

* If you’d like Colette to tweet you a reminder each week when the linky is open then please drop her a tweet (@Lollinski) and she’ll add you to the list

* Each week we feature our two favourite reviews from the past week and we have a super special “featured blogger” badge! If you are this week’s featured blogger we will send you over the code which we would love you to add to you blog post or sidebar!

So if this is your first time here then welcome along, where have you been? You can find out more about #TriedTested and how to join in here. If you’re a regular then welcome to you too, it’s lovely to have you back! Crack on, link up and share some commenty love – let’s face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

This week we have loved:

Coombe Mill #TriedTested featured blogger

Mia So Soft Baby Annabel – Coombe Mill.  We loved the idea of a really soft and cuddly dolly for our little girls!

A Strong Coffee - #TriedTested featured blogger

River Cottage Festive Feast from A Strong Coffee.  We’re both super envious of this foodie adventure!

We don’t have lots of rules for #TriedTested however the ones we do have are really important:
* Please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment on the posts we have each linked up
* Try to comment on a couple of other posts as well if you can – we know that people really appreciate the feedback!
* We do ask that you link a maximum of 2 posts each week to keep things fair for everyone – if you choose to link up an extra post please make sure you visit extra posts in the linky to balance it out. (Additional or irrelevant posts will be deleted out of fairness.)

* Please don’t link up a linky or comment on other people’s posts asking them to join your linky too as it’s really not good etiquette!

We're going on an adventure



What does being a Godparent mean?

What does being a godparent mean?

In the most traditional sense it is defined as taking a role in contributing to the religious up bringing of a child.

Godparent definition

As a child myself I remember being told that my godparents were the people who would look after me if my parents died.

When it came to choosing godparents for our own children it was less so from a point of religion and more that of tradition.  We asked people who we wanted to play significant roles in our children’s lives, forever.  People we knew we could trust to be there for them if they were needed.  People who cared.

Amy's christening

Our children’s godparents are an extension of our family.  With Dave being an only child, our children only have one Aunty in my sister – and they couldn’t ask for a better one!  To us, their godparents are an extension of this.  We call them Aunty & Uncle as a measure of how significant they are and explain to the kids that they’re not real aunties & uncles like Aunty Nic but people who we have chosen because they are so special to us.

Should the worst happen, we’ve asked my sister to become their legal guardian – though nothing has ever been written down (unless this counts as being legally binding….) but I also know that in their godparents they’ve got an awesome back up plan!

Dave and I are godparents together to Erin (who regular readers will recognise as part of Team Butler) and today we have been at the christening of Uncle Will’s little boy, Cassisus, and I’m now proud godmother to him as well.  Whilst I stood today and made all the religious declarations that come with a traditional Christian baptism, what I was really promising today was to love that little boy, to be there for Cass, for Will & Lucy, whenever they need me.  Will is a flipping awesome godfather to our babies and they absolutely worship him, I just hope I do the same for Cassius.

Siblings – November 2016

This last couple of weeks has been one of illness in our house.  Both Amy and Ben were unwell at the start of half term, last weekend I think we were all poorly except for Dave (though he is off work at the moment due to his broken elbow!)  As I mentioned in my Autumn Bucket List catch up it does rather feel like we’ve just been getting through each day for a little while.  I think it’s something about this time of year – the days are shorter, the weather is miserable and it’s so much harder to get out.  The daily grind just takes over doesn’t it.  Thank goodness we have Christmas to look forward to.

I had fully planned to get some “proper” Siblings photos this month.  I wanted to go up to Heaton Park and take final photos with Thomas but he ended up being too tired on the day we had planned to go.  I wanted glorious sunny autumnal leaf fighting photos in my parents’ garden but Ben wasn’t in the mood.

So what I’ve actually got is not even the best of a bad lot, it’s all I’ve got.  Just three photos of my little gang together this month:

kids at the train station

Kids at Euston

Kids in the garden

and then this little beauty, taken on the spur of the moment by Dave on his phone, when completely unprompted Ben and Amy had snuggled up together in their pjs to watch tv on Saturday morning.  As my friend Jenny said, there is something so precious about watching your children love each other.  And she is so right.  For all the beautiful, “perfect” siblings photos I wanted to take and failed – actually this one nails it.

 

The Me and Mine Project