Monday, 28 August 2017

Book reviews by Amy

I know, I know, I promised more house updates but you know when you’re just itching to talk about something? Well, as is often the case with me, it’s a book. Specifically it’s The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North. 

Image result for sudden appearance of hope

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Jousting at England's Medieval Festival

We're having an amazing time at England's Medieval Festival although I have to admit that wasn't my  best night's sleep in the tent 😉⛺️

Anyway I only have phone photos to share so far and you may have seen some on Instagram but I wanted to share this video here as I had trouble uploading to Instagram.

It was so exhilarating to watch, I had actual goosebumps when they came cantering into the arena!

I'll be sharing photos soon once we're back home in the land of wifi and my laptop!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben - Book Review by Bex

It's been months since I read a book!  Life's been so hectic lately I just haven't had the time or inclination to sit down to read but when I saw a new book by Harlan Coben (one of my favourite authors) come up on NetGalley, I decided I had to make time for Don't Let Go and was immediately sucked in as is usual with Harlan's books! 

There are twists and turns, tension and likeable characters which just made me want to keep reading. The kind of book that makes you want to go to bed early to read! I was constantly trying to think of conspiracies and work out who did what, I was suspicious of various characters, it's a great fast-paced read.
  It's out in Hardback and on Kindle on 26th September.

The floodgates have opened and I'm loving reading again so watch out for some more book reviews coming up, Amy has a few recommendations for you next week too!  AND, even more exciting news, she's sharing her kitchen transformation tomorrow!!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Rainbow Dress from Honest Miracle - Toddler Fashion

I absolutely adore Priya's new rainbow dress!  You may have already seen me raving about it on Instagram, it's from Honest Miracle, an ethical family company with organic and environmentally friendly products.  The long-sleeved rainbow dress is made from 100% organic cotton which is lovely and soft and just £14.97, we love the bright colours.  If you like it as much as we do, the lovely Kim has given Olive Dragonfly readers a discount code for 20% off so keep reading...

Friday, 18 August 2017

Eastbourne's Hot Air Balloon Festival - review

Sadly due to continued high winds, we didn't actually see any hot air balloons at the Air Balloon Festival on the Sunday but there was still plenty of entertainment.  They had a fun fair and a few stalls, pony rides, dog show, live music, a Harvey's bar with their beautiful and ever popular Dray horses and The Brighton Kite Flyers were there displaying some of their epic kites (at least they were glad of the wind).

Wakehurst's Kew Science Festival - day two review

I already wrote about our first impressions of Kew Science Festival at Wakehurst but we also went back the following day for more educational fun.

On the Sunday, Kalyan's first thought was for the duck in the puddle we'd seen on our way out the day before.  He was so excited to see it and luckily the same duck was in the same puddle again!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Ringmer Steam & Country Show - review

A couple of weeks ago we planned to go to Eastbourne's Hot Air Balloon Festival but we'd heard due to high winds the balloons probably wouldn't be flying so we decided to check out the Ringmer Steam & Country Show instead.  We thought Kalyan would enjoy seeing all the steam engines and tractors and we weren't wrong!  There were loads of engines to see and the kids loved watching them all moving and chugging, especially the big steam rollers driving around every so often.  Kalyan found a row of tractors and made sure to touch every one and the vintage big red bus was super exciting, they ran right across the field for that one!

Beachy Head

After Eastbourne's Hot Air Balloon Festival a couple of weeks ago, we decided to try a local place for a Sunday Roast.  A friend recommended The Ship Inn in Meads and our review will be featuring soon as the first in my Sunday Lunch review series.  When we got to Meads we noticed signs for Beachy Head very close by so after lunch we drove up there for a walk.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Thai Terre Uckfield - review

Uckfield is buzzing with news of a Thai restaurant opening in the High Street.  Thai Terre already has a restaurant in Eastbourne but we heard they were coming to Uckfield in the recently closed down Pepper Dining.  People have been waiting for weeks for news of its opening and we were excited at the thought of more variety in Uckfield's food scene too.  Tonight was opening night and we booked a table, it was perfect timing since the twins are enjoying a rare sleepover at their grandparents!

As soon as we arrived at 7:45pm, we noticed the place was busy but there were still tables free.  We went along with open minds, expecting there may be a few teething problems on the first night and we may have a wait for food so we were relieved it wasn't completely full and hoped all would go well.  It did, we loved the food and the staff were very friendly.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Firle Vintage Fair - Review

We went along to explore Firle Vintage Fair at Firle Place today.  It was a flying visit as we're now in London for a family get together but we had a great time and I wanted to share a few photos this evening in case anyone is thinking about whether to go along tomorrow.

The venue is stunning with the big manor house and epic grounds providing the backdrop to so many stands selling beautiful and varied vintage or vintage style goods.

Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare review - Adventures with Toddlers

On Thursday we met up with friends for a play date at Raystede near Halland.  If you don't know it, Raystede is an animal rescue centre with animals ranging from bunnies to horses and it's a lovely place to visit with the kids.  Entry is free but you can make a donation or become a sponsor to give continued help to one specific animal section if you wish or become a Friend of Raystede for just £3/month and as well as helping the animals you also get perks like Friends Only events and discounts.  It's good to have some free activities available in the holidays as it all adds up with various trips out but even if you can't afford to make a big donation, I'm sure everything helps and if you visit the cafe, you're also helping to support the centre.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Toothy Tips - Brushing Toddlers' Teeth

One of the requests thrown in by a reader in my feedback survey was regarding teeth.  This astute reader who remained anonymous had picked up on my occasional alludings to my profession and commented "Would love a feature on children and teeth - tips, funny stuff, how to tell you're at a good dentist (my experience has been dreadful with my little one), what you should do, products to use - I think you work in dentistry?! ??"

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Survey results - a personal post ;)

Thank you SO much to everyone who's taken my survey so far!  I wasn't sure how many people would actually take the time to do it but I have found it so interesting and definitely helpful, I'm so grateful.  (It's still open so if you fancy adding your tuppence worth, here's the link!)

The information I've received so far has been along the lines I expected but there have been some surprising and lovely comments.  There's only been one slight negative so far and that was something I had expected might be an issue anyway (hence including it in the ticky boxes to make it easy for people to confirm any thoughts), the fact I use too many photos and some posts are too long as a result.  Something I've been trying to work on as I'm my own worst editor!  Clare has helped me with that along with my general photography skills which I've also been working on recently over at Bexphoto.  I'm hoping it will make the blog look even better too as I think I am taking better photos now and thinking more about what I choose to include.  Downloading BlogStomp has certainly helped in being more strict on which photos to use and presenting them better but I will continue to try being stricter and keep more photos for albums on the Olive Dragonfly Facebook Page instead.  So if you are a fan of lots of photos, I suggest liking the page ;)

Before and after coffee faces (it was hot milk not coffee don't worry!)

My Sunday Photo

A super quick Sunday Photo link-up with Photalife today as I'm busy analysing the responses to my survey (please take it here) but I wanted to share a few of my favourite photos of Granny & Grampy's recent visit.  I'll be sharing the full photo sessions soon over on my currently neglected Bexphoto blog.


Saturday, 5 August 2017

England's Medieval Festival Winner Announced!

I'm delighted to announce the winner of our giveaway with England's Medieval Festival!  It's less than 3 weeks now until the festival and I can't wait!  So who will also be going along to join in?

Entry no.96, Amy M from Brighton!  Congratulations!!

England's Medieval Festival ticket giveaway with Olive Dragonfly Blog

Please get in touch with Sarah at England's Medieval Festival to claim your family day ticket and I hope you have a fantastic day out!

If you missed out, you can still get discounted advance tickets via the England's Medieval Festival website.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Feedback Survey

You may have noticed I've been back to blogging more regularly lately and I'm working on improving the blog.  I've been wondering about lots of things and have a few ideas for features and further ways to improve the blog overall.  It would be massively helpful if you could please fill in this short survey I've made, I'm hoping it will give me a bit of insight into what people like about Olive Dragonfly and how you came to be readers.

I love this blog, being able to write about everything I love, share my photos and connect with people.  I hope it inspires you, be it through using my recipes, visiting somewhere I've recommended or just enjoying my photos.  Blogging has led to me making friends, trying new experiences and some wonderful opportunities along the way and I've made a few tweaks here and there as I learn more.  I'm hoping to keep tweaking and working on it to make it even better, hopefully with your help!

Image Source - Amy Tangerine's gorgeous watercolour quote, via Pinterest

So tell me, what do/don't you like, what would you like to see more/less of...?  There are just 10 simple questions, mostly multiple choice and you can remain anonymous so please be honest.  I'd love to know what you think.

Click here to take the survey.


It's come a long way already...

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Sneak Peek of Into Mills - Home Wares

Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking photos and helping to style products for a new website launching soon.  Sally Ashen runs a home wares business, INto Mills, from her home in Lewes and after we met at Joy Festival in June, she asked me to take some photos of her beautiful products.

Sally has such great taste and this is one kind of photography I wanted to gain more experience in so I gladly accepted.  As well as the benefits of gaining experience and building a more commercial style portfolio, Sally also agreed to a collaboration on the blog too so we will be running a little giveaway promotion when she is ready to launch her new website so watch this space!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Bear & Boo Photography - Family Photo Shoot

A few weeks ago we had a family photo shoot with Bear & Boo Photography, the new family photography business of wedding photographer Eliza Claire.  Eliza asked for families via Instagram to help build her portfolio so we of course volunteered and were lucky enough to be selected as one of the first entries (thanks for the heads up Lucy Stendall)!

We had a fun morning with Eliza down at Rottingdean, we had intended to investigate the rock pools that Laura had recommended to me ages ago but we'd never managed to get a weekend with the right tide times.  This weekend had seemed like a good bet with the time we were due to meet being close to the tide being out but it turned out not close enough with the tide already being much further in than I anticipated!

Love this one of us in front of the white cliffs with the vast blue sky.

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