time flies when you're being a mum

Time to Love

It’s easy with little ones to forget about your partner so this category is all about lurve and keeping your relationship alive!


It's Valentine Competition Time!

27 Jan, 2016

Back in December I was invited by the All in One Company to design onesies for all the family. I can now confirm that I have spent most/all of January, hiding away from the cold and the rain in my onesie.

All in One company - my onesie design

My Onesie Design

Competition Time

Because I think everyone should have a onesie, I’m happy to say that I have a Valentines Competition to win £100 to spend at the All-in-One company!

You can either give the gift of comfort to your loved one and design them a special valentines present… or keep all the pleasures for yourself (I would not blame you!). Scroll to the bottom for more info on the competition! (more…)

07 Feb, 2015

It’s nearly Valentines!! Or if you’re moving next week, like us, you might have already had it. We’re moving on Tuesday (TUESDAY!! As in 4 days time. Argh!!) so I decided to bring Valentines forward a week or so.

It's Valentines! How to make a 12 Date Valentines Gift Booklet - click here for great photos and a really simple tutorial: http://www.mumsdays.com/valentines-12-date-gift/

This year I wanted to give Mike a decent present. He always gives me such lovely, thoughtful gifts, so I made him something. A 12 Date Gift Booklet!

It's Valentines! How to make a 12 Date Valentines Gift Booklet - click here for great photos and a really simple tutorial: http://www.mumsdays.com/valentines-12-date-gift/

{The process brought back so many memories of teenage years, being all crafty. It was fun and I think the process on its own was quite therapeutic!}

I have to say I’m quite proud of this! And I love the personalised paper from wrap.me – so easy but really special. All you have to do is select some of your favourite photos and wrap.me make up a whole roll of awesome wrapping paper with it!

It's Valentines! How to make a 12 Date Valentines Gift Booklet - click here for great photos and a really simple tutorial: http://www.mumsdays.com/valentines-12-date-gift/

I used the wrap.me paper to wrap the box and also to make him this little book of 12 dates for us to do over the next 12 months. One for each month.

It's Valentines! How to make a 12 Date Valentines Gift Booklet - click here for great photos and a really simple tutorial: http://www.mumsdays.com/valentines-12-date-gift/

Valentines Vlog – How to make a 12 Date Gift Book

Should you fancy doing something similar for your loved one, I have done a video tutorial! It turns out those Blue Peter presenters make it look a LOT easier than it is to film a tutorial!! But here you go – feel free to fire over any questions if you don’t understand how to do something.

It really is so simple and I can see myself doing this again for other people as a sweet little (thrifty!) gift.

It's Valentines! How to make a 12 Date Valentines Gift Booklet - click here for great photos and a really simple tutorial: http://www.mumsdays.com/valentines-12-date-gift/

The kind of dates I’ve given Mike include:

  • a meal out
  • an overnight stay in March at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel (might just happen to be the day after my birthday!)
  • an at home movie night
  • a cookery course
  • a 5 day holiday!!

So if you fancy giving your other half something like this, it certainly doesn’t need to be pricey but if you can get a babysitter I would recommend it!

It's Valentines! How to make a 12 Date Valentines Gift Booklet - click here for great photos and a really simple tutorial: http://www.mumsdays.com/valentines-12-date-gift/

For those who can’t get a babysitter, don’t panic, here are 11 ideas for at home date nights. The main thing is that you’ve spent some time thinking about your loved one and planning one to one time together. Having kids (particularly ones with a penchant for the early morning) can be tiring and the weeks fly by. Before you know it it’s Easter and you haven’t spent any quality time together.

It's Valentines! How to make a 12 Date Valentines Gift Booklet - click here for great photos and a really simple tutorial: http://www.mumsdays.com/valentines-12-date-gift/

I took Mike out for a lunch date to Jesmond Dene House – ideal as it meant we didn’t need a babysitter – and gave him the gift there over a glass of bubbly.

It's Valentines! How to make a 12 Date Valentines Gift Booklet - click here for great photos and a really simple tutorial: http://www.mumsdays.com/valentines-12-date-gift/

It's Valentines! How to make a 12 Date Valentines Gift Booklet - click here for great photos and a really simple tutorial: http://www.mumsdays.com/valentines-12-date-gift/

It's Valentines! How to make a 12 Date Valentines Gift Booklet - click here for great photos and a really simple tutorial: http://www.mumsdays.com/valentines-12-date-gift/

His reaction was so much better than I thought it would be. I thought he would laugh at me for making this goofy present but far from it. He was delighted that I spent time on planning things to do, things to look forward to, and he absolutely loved the wrap.me paper. Good job as I’ve got loads left! Cheers!

It's Valentines! How to make a 12 Date Valentines Gift Booklet - click here for great photos and a really simple tutorial: http://www.mumsdays.com/valentines-12-date-gift/

What have you got planned for a Valentines Gift?

I’d love to hear what you’ve got up your sleeves for your loved ones!

Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with wrap.me but all the thoughts, sweat and tears (just watch the video if you don’t know what I mean!) are my own!

19 Jan, 2015

Don’t you find that New Year makes you very introspective? All my resolutions revolve around me and what I’d like to achieve, my goals, my happiness, etc. But who says the season of good will needs to end on 25th December?! This is why I LOVE this idea from Spa Seekers, My Spa Nomination, to nominate a friend to win a luxury spa break for two at the award winning K-West Hotel & Spa!!!!

Calling all Bloggers! Come and join in with My Spa Nomination with Spa Seekers - nominate your friends and family to win a luxury spa break for two! Click here for details on how to enter: http://www.mumsdays.com/spa-nomination/

It’s forced me to come out of my bubble and think about my loved ones. And think hard too as I’ve only got one nomination…

Spa Seekers – My Spa Nomination

I think I’ve chosen really well though, as I am nominating my blogging bestie and co-host of The List, Aby from You Baby Me Mummy.

I think Aby deserves to win because, as a full-time stay at home mum, she’s definitely the hardest working blogger in town and has achieved amazing things with her blog in a short space of time. She’s also incredibly generous with her time and knowledge, and always puts everyone else first.

I think she’d like to go to a spa because a) who wouldn’t?! And b) she is so busy 24/7 with a baby and her other baby, the blog, (she told me that up until Christmas she’d literally not had a night off all year) she has very little “me time”.

Fingers crossed for you Aby!! If you do win, you’ll get a night (and I mean a whole night, without a baby waking you up at the crack of dawn – can I come?!) in the award winning K-West Hotel, formerly the BBC recording studios! Then following a gorgeous breakfast, you’ll get full access to the world-renowned spa, complete with two half hour indulgent treatments of your choice. Ahhhhhhh!

Who would you nominate?

If you are a blogger or vlogger and you know someone who deserves to win this prize, all you have to do is create a post, which states:

  1. The name of your chosen nominee
  2. Why you think your nominee deserves to win
  3. Why you think your nominee would like to go to a spa

Then… tweet your posts to @SpaSeekers with the hashtag #MySpaNomination. If you tweet me (@mumsdays), I’ll retweet it too!

Let’s keep the season of good will going!

Disclaimer: This post is in association with Spa Seekers

Mums' Days Review

16 Dec, 2014

Last Sunday evening Mike and I were invited to review a brand new “Inn”, a sister Bar/Gastropub/B&B to Jesmond Dene House, called St Mary’s Inn. It is based in rural Northumberland, around 15 to 20 minutes North of Newcastle, just before the A1 becomes a single carriageway – yes, my friends of the South, shocking as this is (and it IS shocking!!), this actually happens at a couple of points between Morpeth and Edinburgh!

I digress…so for a special date night, Mike and I were able to try out all that St Mary’s Inn has to offer in the shape of dinner, bed and breakfast. Complete with a much needed lie in!

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

Main Entrance to St Mary’s Inn

St Mary’s Inn – Arrival

Mike and I arrived at St Mary’s Inn at around 5:30pm. We were warmly welcomed (both in temperature and greeting) with drinks at the bar while we checked in. Surely that has to be the best way to check in?? Mike quickly ensconced himself in the paper while he enjoyed one of the local ales and I made use of the free wifi – some date night!

The Bar and restaurant seemed huge but as it was divided into lots of little areas, most of which had a wood burning stove, none of the intimacy was lost, and from where we were sat we got caught up in people (and dog!) watching, and eavesdropping on country life, Christmas chatter and people catching up with each other (everything Mike basically wants from life in the future…perhaps we should be moving North instead of West!), for a place that has only been open a matter of weeks, it seems to have been quickly embraced by the locals. A sure sign of early success.

St Mary’s Inn – Bedroom

A glass of wine down and I was ready to check in to our “bedroom” (a little indication of the hospitality of St Mary’s Inn – they want you to feel welcome and at home), which was named Catcleugh, after the Northumberland Reservoir.  In fact each room is named after a similar Northumbrian landmark and even the artwork up the stairs very firmly nods to the vast and incredibly beautiful Northumberland landscape.

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

Bedroom Corridor and Northumberland Inspired Artwork

The bedroom itself was exactly as described on the website: “Light and airy, with big windows and soft carpets, they’re uncluttered and comfortable.”

Simple but lovely to be in. I could imagine reading by the window for hours and being really happy! Or more likely working/writing/tweeting at the table – but still being happy!

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

The Catcleugh Bedroom – St Mary’s Inn

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

The bed is HIGH! Reuben would need a step ladder to get up there! It has the same sumptuous bed linen as Jesmond Dene House, making for an extremely comfortable sleep. There is unique artwork, including a huge aztec-style feature above the bed, and lovely reclaimed vintage furniture to compliment the room whilst keeping to the minimalist style.

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

The bathroom is clean and fresh and simple, again with the same luxury towels and toiletries that you would find at Jesmond Dene House.

St Mary’s Inn – Dinner

Once I had got myself acquainted with the room and freshened up a wee bit, it was time for our dinner date!

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

This was the first time I realised what a warren St Mary’s Inn is! Walking past the main entrance and bar, there were numerous nooks and crannies to get comfy by a fire, plus a number of larger dinning areas.

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

We were lead down a fetching corridor (it really is tastefully decorated, both in terms of artwork and furniture, with an attention to detail in every aspect of this large space) to one of these dinning areas and was seated by a wood burning stove. Despite, or perhaps because of, so much space they have been able to create intimate dinning for both large and smaller groups.

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

Happily in-situ, we settled in for our 3-course meal, and being a Sunday, that meant Sunday Roast was on the cards.

You’ll see if you go to the St Mary’s Inn website that food is a huge part of the personality of the place – generous portions with an emphasis on Northumbrian flavours. They buy locally and even grow some of their own!

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

Starters

For starters Mike had Northumberland game terrine and toasted sourdough and I had the Smoked mackerel pate, pickles and rye crackers. Traditional, simple and really rather delicious!

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

Mains

After that we both chose a roast; I had the Roast Pork Belly and Mike chose the Braised Lamb Shoulder. They both came with a roast potatoes, mashed neeps, buttered greens, honey roast carrots and parsnips, yorkshire pudding and gravy. There was so much food on this one plate I really didn’t need the other two courses! But we really enjoyed it, the Belly Pork was juicy with (mostly) great crackling and the Lamb was melt in your mouth but I’d say the over all star of the show was the roast potatoes. Blinking delicious and it pained me to not manage them all!!

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

Dessert

Finally, despite the fact we were full to burst we went for desserts! Mike had his favourite, sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream and I went for the Christmas pudding and Brandy sauce. It felt wrong not to. It was so rich! But a lovely way to finish off our meal.

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

Then we rolled on up to bed for a FULL nights sleep with no interruptions from Reuben (he’s been favouring coming up to our room anytime from 3am for the last month. Bit of a killer!).

St Mary’s Inn – Breakfast

The next day we woke up when we fancied, checked on the kids – Reuben had slept from 7 until 7, of course – then mozied on down for a leisurely breakfast. And the fire was already lit.

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

You could have a continental breakfast, which looked really great…

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

…but Mike and I both went for cooked – well, we were starving! Obviously not the case but with Eggs Benedict and Poached Egg on Avocado and toast, we couldn’t resist!

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

St Mary's Inn, Morpeth, Northumberland - Mums' Days review of dinner, bed and breakfast

Then we were homeward and office bound – but what a great way to start the week.

St Mary’s Inn – Conclusion

So that, in a nutshell, was our visit to St Mary’s Inn. I did love it. It was everything I would expect from the people behind Jesmond Dene House and more. All the things I would expect, such as a warm welcome, and beautiful attention to detail in the furnishings and artwork, have been exported. But, rather than trying to recreate Jesmond Dene House in the countryside, this very much takes on the personality of the place – it isn’t a boutique hotel, not to say it isn’t luxurious in its own way, and it isn’t trying to be either. It is an Inn. With the emphasis on hospitality, fine local foods and country living. And I feel that the bedrooms resonate this message too. In the heart of beautiful countryside, I can see this place doing really well with both locals and tourists alike!

What do you think of St Mary’s Inn? Do you fancy a trip?!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this review: anything you loved or you’d like to know or you wished I had included, etc! Please do leave your feedback in the comments below. I love to receive them and do my best to respond to every one!

04 Oct, 2014

With kids, work, friends, Facebook (the list goes on) to maintain, the chances are your love life might be a bit like the plant in my dinning room, really, really thirsty and a bit wizened looking. We’ve all got busy lives, but if we can get our heads around a sensory box for our toddlers with 17 different ingredients, or spending our weekends driving a pre-teen from one social event to another, I really reckon we can scrub up a wee bit to er ‘water’ some life back into our relationships! So, you’ve managed to drag your potentially stuck in a rut butts out on a date night (or in, for this post extends to stay at home date nights too!), now what? How can you make sure you really rock it?

5 ways to rock a date night! 1. Plan 2. Make an Effort 3. Ditch the phone 4. Have sex FIRST 5. Do something thoughtful - click here for the full post and start rocking your date nights! http://mumsdays.com/how-to-rock-a-date-night

Don’t worry, I’ve put together my tip top tips that will quench even the thirstiest of relationships*!

*Caviate…I’m no expert!

5 ways to Rock a Date Night

1. Plan!

You’ll not hear me say the ‘p’ word very often but unless you get some dates in the diary, it ain’t never gunna happen! Also once you book some date nights in the calendar it means you can organise it properly; sort out baby sitters, book in a bikini wax, get the steak in, etc!

2. Make an effort

Get a bit glammed up; get your hair done if it needs it, sort the aforementioned bikini, shave your legs, nice clothes, perfume, etc. We get glammed up when we go out with the girls so doesn’t the fella you love deserve a bit of that?! Even if you’re staying in, how nice, how sexy does it feel to make that effort?

3. Ditch the phone

And anything else that might distract you. This is your opportunity to be present. You really don’t need to tweet a picture of your main course (and then check your messages)! If you’re watching  a film, watch it together. Using instagram at the same time doesn’t work. I’ve got the failed date night to prove it.

4. Have sex first!

I know this will mess up your hair and it will require the scheduling skills of a university secretary to achieve it, especially if you’ve got a baby sitter on the way…but let’s face it, the main goal of a date night is to reconnect and ultimately have sex! If you ‘do it’ first you’ve already reconnected on an emotional level, any weird barriers from little tifs or whatever else have been broken down, and you’re ready just to have a good time and properly chat. The other crucial thing about this is you have achieved your goal before you drink too much (because you never go out) and end up passing out in bed in your dress…(just me?)

5. Do something thoughtful

If your partner’s language of love isn’t physical, do something else thoughtful that they will really appreciate. A little meaningful present (doesn’t need to be expensive, I’m thinking something that reminds you of your honeymoon or a mixed tape from the year you met) OR, if they like a clutter free existence (I can’t imagine), have a good ol’ tidy up OR write them a love letter that they can find while you’re getting ready. Corny but doing something that shows you put in a bit of effort for your partner’s benefit will remind them of the old days, the pre-kid days and why they fell in love with you… Ahhhhhh!

Really, these are just a few of my thoughts, little notes to remind me to make the effort… It’s so easy to get caught up in family life, and how exhausting is that?! But you and your partner are the cornerstone of it all, and only you know what works for your partner, so don’t forget to water that relationship!

What are your secrets for rocking a date night?!

Do share your comments below, I’d love a few insider details! xxx

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