Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Tried & Tested Tuesday

Welcome to Tried & Tested Tuesday! It’s so lovely to see so many familiar faces and new ones linking up each week – we really enjoy seeing the range of products you have been trying out. We do our best to visit you all each week, but do bear with us – we are both busy mums!

 If you’re new to this linky then welcome along! You can find out more about it and how to join in here. If you’re a regular then welcome to you too! Crack on, link up and share some commenty love – lets face it, that’s what makes linkys work. Each week, as you know, we like to feature two of our favourite reviews from the previous week.

This week we have loved:
  #TriedTested featured blogger

Babymule changing bag review from The DADventurer - a really thorough review, and a great changing bag that works in multiple ways for mums and dads.
  #TriedTested featured blogger

Love Boo Mummy skincare review from Oh So Amelia - it looks such a gorgeous, luxurious range that would be a real treat for any mum or mum to be.

 If you link up please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment as well as a couple of others if you can - I know that people really, 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 posts will be deleted out of fairness). We do our best to visit each post and leave a comment, as well as tweeting from @FamilyFever and @Lollinski. We would love it if you grabbed our badge and popped it on your post too!
We're going on an adventure

Monday, 22 September 2014

That night I had dinner with Dr Ranj / The MAD Blog Awards

Friday morning had been a long time coming, but in the same breath seemed to have arrived out of nowhere. 
Several months of planning and preparation was about to come to fruition and I set off to meet Danni at Manchester Picadilly Station.  We picked ourselves up a bit of a train picnic and a hot drink before getting ourselves settled onto a busy Euston bound train.  The journey seemed to fly by in a flurry of social media, blog chat, giggles and nerves (not least because the travel time was actually half an hour less than we first thought which was a bonus!) 

On arriving at Euston Station we met up with a very giddy Kerrie and made our way down on to the Underground (cue me singing The Jam in my head all weekend).  Being three Northern mums who are less than used to navigating the London travel system we were all a bit flustered trying to make sure we got ourselves on the right tube but managed to find it thoroughly entertaining at the same time - at one point I thought the girls had got on a tube without me, then they nearly forgot to get off at the right stop, Danni almost fell down an escalator trying to stop herself from flashing her knickers in the breeze . . . all good fun! It was somewhat of a relief when we found ourselves safely at Gloucester Road and just a short walk away from the Citadines Apart'hotel (I'll be writing about this separately).  

Boden Ottoman Shift
Loved my Boden dress!
We dropped our bags at the hotel before making our way down to The Royal Garden Hotel for secret preparations.  A couple of hours, a lot of laughter and some very inappropriate jokes later we were heading back to base to start getting ready for the main event.  It's not often I get time to really enjoy getting ready to go out so it was lovely to be able to spend some time doing my hair and make up without having to rush. 

I felt absolutely fabulous in my gorgeous Boden dress (and may now have a dangerously long wishlist now that I can start to wear proper clothes again).  The simple lines of my dress really didn't need much in the way of accessories - it was shorter than I'm used to but I think I pulled it off! I wore my favourite brogues from Clarks - mainly because I love them but also because I knew I'd struggle in heels all night (much as I do love a good heel, I'm completley out of practice and there's nothing worse than seeing someone hobbling around in shoes they can't walk properly in is there!!)

I hadn't had chance to get my fringe cut so it had to be pinned up out of the way.  I wore some rather enormous false eyelashes, which at first made me feel like RuPaul but once I'd got used them they were fine!  (Not that I wasn't glad to take them off at the end of the night!) 

We arrived at the venue, excited for the night ahead.  Everyone looked fabulous.  My main priority for the start of the evening was to take the obligatory photo with our host for the evening, Dr Ranj - Ben and Chloe hadn't quite been able to believe that Mummy was going to see "the real Dr Ranj" so of course I needed photographic evidence!  

Dr Ranj
Thanks to Step from Steph's Two Girls for this photo!

The dinner itself was amazing - the service was immense, if a little scary!  The staff sort of circled and swooped around the table, reminding me a little of Dementors, before placing our dinners down in unison - I've never experienced anything like it.  Clearly I'm not posh enough!  The food was spectacular - piping hot and just delicious.  I was sat on a table with Kirsty & Clara, Sally, Karen, Chris, Jane and Dr Ranj - an awesome combination of people with whom I felt very privileged to share a meal! (I also love that I can now say that I have shared a candle lit meal with Dr Ranj . . . ) 

By the time we were eating our dessert its safe to say nerves were starting to kick in; sweaty palms, butterflies in my tummy . . . the time was nigh . . .

(I will add a link to the video as soon as it's available)

Many hours of intense rehearsals in random locations (including over the internet), aching limbs and . . . had led to this moment.  Myself and around 15 other bloggers took to the stage to perform a Flash Mob! 

I never, ever want to hear that song again! I was glad when it was over.  I sat back in my seat with a dry mouth and shaking from the adrenaline - the relief that it was finally done was immense and I was able to sit back and enjoy the rest of the evening! 

The Awards started off on a high for me when my good friend Danni from It started with a Squish won the very first award of the evening - "Best Pregnancy Blog" - cheers and tears all round of course!  As the Awards rolled on I was thrilled to see lots of my favourite blogs picking up the awards in their categories - particularly Capture By Lucy (who I was able to have a brief geeky DSLR based chat with later in the evening) and Tigerlilly Quinn (who I completely embarrassed by telling her how much I loved her blog).  Dr Ranj was utterly hilarious; veering somewhat off script at points, giving Sally heart failure and the rest of us a of lot of laughs!

1. Karen with an empty glass!
2. Sally breathing a sigh of relief
3. A less than flattering but fully comedy photo of me and Dr Ranj
4. Best Pregnancy Blog award winner - It started with a Squish

Towards the end of the evening I had a lovely chat with fellow Northerner and double award winner, Tom from The Future's Rosie & his wife - Tom took home the awards for Best Writer and Blog of the Year - I hadn't come across his blog before so I'm looking forward to reading that over the coming week.  

At the end of the evening, goody bags in hand, we took a leisurely stroll back to our Apart'hotel laughing and chatting about our night.  We finally got ourselves to bed at around 2am - but still continued chatting and laughing like school girls.  I think it was around 2.30am by the time we got ourselves to sleep. 

1. My roomies for the night
2. Boden girls
3. Selfie
4. Some of my favourite North West bloggers (with a few notable absences)

We got up around 8am and left the Apart'hotel around 9.30am.  We had decided we were better getting ourselves to Euston in plenty of time and having some breakfast there rather than eating in Kensington and ending up rushing through the Underground with hangovers!  The journey back to Euston was relatively calm and easy - aside from Danni almost getting off at the wrong stop!  We picked up some breakfast from Burger King, where it has to be said the service was shocking and the attitudes of the staff decidedly lacking, and sat ourselves outside to eat while we waited for our trains.  

Despite being at Euston Station for the best part of two hours we somehow managed to still end up running to get on our train!  This was in part due the fact that it was a very long train and our reserved seats were quite near the front so we were running down the platform to avoid shuffling down all the carriages! The effects of sleep deprivation were kicking in (and there might have been a bit of a hangover for one of us) and the journey home, punctuated with a fizzy drink fail, half finished sentences and nausea, seemed to take forever.  I was immensely grateful to Dave for rescuing me from the station and saving me from a painful last leg of the journey! 

It was an exhausting, somewhat mental, surreal but utterly fabulous 24 hours or so and I'm still recovering now!

Can I come again next year Sally? 

You can check out a full list of the very deserving winners here: MAD blog award winners 2014

*Disclaimer - Thanks to Boden for gifting me my dress for the evening, Citadines Apart'hotel for providing us with somewhere lovely to stay free of charge*

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Extension - Update Number 2 (Digging out the footings)

It's now a few months since work started on our extension and I've been promising an update for about two of them - as it's mainly going to be in pictures I'm going to do this across a few posts . . . 
So here is part two . . . 
In the middle of June, when the weather was baking, Dad, Dave & Uncle Will did a whole world of digging and within a week we had some very large concrete filled holes in the ground.  I'm sure you can imagine just how exciting it was for Ben to come home from school each day, see Grandad and check out each day's progress.
Digging out the footings


You can see the first update here:
The Extension - Update Number 1 (Goodbye Leaky Garage)

Giving up that afternoon snooze

Chloe thinks she doesn't need her afternoon sleep any more . . . 

Mummy knows she does.

Not every day, she can certainly manage if we're out and about but ideally she could do with an afternoon nap every other day or so. 

Up until the Summer holidays she was having a couple of hours most afternoons and would usually need to be woken, grumpy as anything, and hurried along on the school run to collect Ben.  Of course as we were home more during the holidays she wasn't quite so tired so the afternoon sleep often fell by the wayside - which meant it was even harder to convince her to go.  When Ben was the same age we re-branded his afternoon sleep as "a quiet play" - he would happily go upstairs for "a quiet play" and then either entertain himself for a bit or, more often than not, go to sleep.  Chloe it would seem is not going ot fall for that one!  I sent her for a sleep one afternoon last week and she spent the whole time shouting "I've had a rest Mummy, I come downstairs now" - not quite what I was aiming for. 

As a result of her trying to cut this sleep out before she's really ready there has been a whole lot of this going on: 

21st August 2014

Sunday 31st August 2014

She fell asleep moments before the school run - 17th September 2014

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Extension - Update number 1 (Goodbye leaky garage)

It's now a few months since work started on our extension and I've been promising an update for about two of them - as it's mainly going to be in pictures I'm going to do this across a few posts . . . 
So here is part one . . . 
Right back at the start of June Dave spent a weekend taking down our grotty old garage ..
Goodbye leaky old garage

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