Wednesday, 19 December 2018

My Rainbow Christmas Tree!

My love for all things rainbow has really gotten out of control if you ask my husband!  You know what though, rainbows just make me so happy!  The bright colours really do cheer me up, I'm so drawn to them, so yes, it has become a bit of an obsession but I don't care and I think he gets it really.  He does love our tree (despite his concerns it might look a bit "shopping centre"), he loves how it turned out almost as much as I do!  And the twins?  Their response was "Wow" when they saw it after a weekend in London with Daddy seeing their cousin while I stayed home to work and prep the house for Christmas!  :D

Before I found some more yellow ones on eBay!

Monday, 17 December 2018

Advent Adventures

Last year I made a half hearted attempt at a homemade advent calendar of activities and treats but never got past day 6!  I found a beautiful branch, wrapped it with fairy lights and hung a few snowflakes and notes off it so this year I've converted that to just have lots of snowflakes hanging in the window.

This year I bought a cute little house advent to decorate from Hobbycraft.  I had great fun painting the little numbers and snowflakes in (you guessed it) rainbow colours!  I got all the bits from Hobbycraft and used my acrylic paints for nice bright colours.  I also put a little Grimm's rainbow on the chimney.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Christmas at Wilderness Wood

Right at the very start of our Advent Adventures (post to follow!), we headed to Wilderness Wood for the first of our activities behind door one...  Buy a Christmas tree!

I knew they had festivities planned so we went there in the evening to choose this year's Nordmann Fir and check out the outdoor kitchen in action.  What I didn't realise was that when you buy your tree you get a free wood-fired pizza included - bonus!  Tonight's the last night they're doing it so make sure you head there if you still need a tree and enjoy your super fresh pizza too!

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Our first Pantomime! Cinderella at Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne - review

As part of our advent fun this year, we wanted to finally see a pantomime!  Can you believe I've never been!?  Anyway, it worked out perfectly when we were invited to review Cinderella at Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne, we weren't able to go to their press viewing last year but this year even Nik managed to get the afternoon off so we could all go as a family, yay!

Monday, 10 December 2018

My rainbow wardrobe!

So yeh, I love rainbows, I love rainbow clothes.  They make me feel happy and lift my mood on even the dullest of days.  Here are my latest favourite buys!
(May contain affiliate links, if I can be bothered searching for them!  Haha.)

Of course, Christmas wouldn't be complete without a Little Bird spree and I was delighted when they made an adult version of their Christmas jumper again, with a rainbow tree no less!  It's maternity but you can't tell, I love it and the twins have their matching ones too of course!

Christmas Jumper - Little Bird at Mothercare

Monday, 3 December 2018

All things RAINBOW!

I started writing a new blog post about all my new rainbow clothes and then remembered this one which I started months ago (apparently before my office moved in from the garage!)  I'll carry on writing my new post with all of my own rainbow clothes but for now, here are some of the kids clothes I bought before their birthday.

If you follow my blog there's no way you will have missed my shift from loving everything green to everything rainbow!  I mean, I still love olive green but I love the whole light spectrum together more nowadays!  I wish I could somehow work rainbows into my grown up bedroom - maybe one day - for now I'm settling with rainbow bits in my "office" (desk in garage) and the twins rooms of course!

However, I am finding it's getting easier to get rainbow into our wardrobes, it seems to be a bit of a trend at the moment!  Here are a few of my latest rainbow finds for the twins' wardrobe (K's is still harder, Little Bird stuff is always a winner), I'll share some of mine and my office bits soon too.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Danny The Idiot - Balloon show party - review

When I had the idea of booking a balloon modeller for the twins' party, I'm so glad I went to Gemma.  She doesn't do balloons but recommended Danny who I immediately booked after hearing what he offers, a whole show of magic, hilarity, balloons and fun.  Perfect!  His show is an hour but he came early to get changed and set up.  We timed the party around it with guests arriving at 10:30 to get the initial excitement over with before his show started at 11, then afternoon tea at 12 followed by general play and the pinata and cake to be finished by 13:30.  It all worked beautifully on the day, helped I think by having just six kids, definitely the way forward people, I really enjoyed it this year as I was able to be so much more organised for a smaller do.

Anyway, Danny started off with some scarf juggling followed by real juggling and was constantly surprising the kids and making them laugh.

Rainbow birthday pinata fun!

We had one more surprise at the end of the party, the pinata.  I had to buy the rainbow pinata by Sunnylife (one of my favourite brands for rainbow stuff) from Paperchase (another favourite shop for bright colours and rainbows)!  I hung it from our banister on landing above the stairs so it could swing and still be secure and not damage anything.

Food tour in Lisbon - review of Treasures of Lisboa

While in Lisbon, we booked a couple of last minute tours, one of which was a food tour with Treasures of Lisboa.  If you're in Lisbon for a short break (or a longer one) we would highly recommend this tour near the start to get a real taste of Lisbon and find out some amazing places to eat for the rest of your trip.

When Ruthy turned up at the meeting point, we knew this would be fun.  She's so vivacious and immediately put us at ease as we hovered in the rain, explaining the area we were about to explore and guiding us first to a view point overlooking Alfama.

Twins rainbow afternoon tea birthday party

I organised a rainbow afternoon tea party for the twins' 4th birthday and loved it so much! 

I was especially proud of my rainbow jelly!  I managed to find all the colours except blue in Tesco and ordered Jello from amazon to complete the stripes.  I filled some wine glasses and my Tiki Head glass with the extra layers which added more decoration and colour to the table setting.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Bing Live - review

We were invited along to see Bing Live in Eastbourne this evening and we had a wonderful time!  I was prepared with extra snacks for the twins this time after our first theatre outing to see The Snark and it worked for the most part.  Priya was pretty good but Kalyan was a bit restless as usual, I was glad to have my friend Alisha with me to help control things.  Regardless, we all loved the show, joining in with the dancing, cheering and clapping.  It started at 4, we had an interval at half past and it was finished around 5:15pm which was ideal and we went straight around the corner for dinner afterwards.

I was allowed to take photos of the show this time so these are all my own photos of the evening.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Trampoline party at Fun Abounds

I'm ashamed to say this was our first visit to Fun Abounds in Uckfield!  I have always fancied taking the kids but their special toddler sessions always landed on the wrong day/time for us and so we just never went.  Luckily we were invited along there for a birthday party recently and had an awesome time celebrating the twins' friend and having lots of bouncy fun!

Tulley's Farm Spook Fest 2018 - review

A Halloween festival, hell yes!  I was so excited to visit Tulley's Farm for their annual Spook Fest (the family friendly daytime version, not to be confused with the terrifying looking Shocktober Fest which is on in the evenings for older kids and adults).   I'd never been before but had heard it was good and was excited to spend a Halloweeny day with the twins since Nik and I were away for Halloween itself.  You know how much I love Halloween and when my friend Steph asked us to join her family there for the day I was even more excited, Priya adores her eldest daughter Bella and they are all so cute together, holding hands and generally being cute!

Lisbon - A grown up getaway!

I'm just writing a quick summary for now as I have so much to say about this trip but I'm struggling to keep up with everything as usual at this time of year!  Basically, Lisbon was awesome!  I would highly recommend a short trip away to any parents, especially if you've hardly seen each other all year!  Nik and I are so grateful to his parents for coming to look after the twins so we could have some quality time alone exploring Lisbon.

We had cocktails, found so many beautiful tiles, ate fancy food and drank fancy cocktails, ate simple food and beer, wine and/or Ginja!  We walked and walked, rode on lots of trams and busses, took so many photos and tasted so many things.  We had a pamper session on a rainy day in our hotel, chilled out in the bar, had lots of lay-ins and ate as many Pasteis as we could!!  We managed to fit a fair bit into our 5 days away :)

The city is so colourful, between street art and so many different tiles and with beautiful paving and so much character.  I would definitely recommend it for a city break in Europe but be prepared for steps!  :D

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Cafe Coho Brighton - brunch review

I went along to Cafe Coho for brunch with Diana and Laura before our day at Photography Farm conference in Brighton and absolutely loved it!  They have two in Brighton, one up by the train station and one in Ship Street down in the Lanes.  We went to the one in Ship Street and sat outside as it was a bit too warm inside.

The whole menu sounds amazing, I honestly struggled to choose what to have!  I need to go back so I can sample more of their food.  In the end I chose the brioche french toast with blueberries, banana and bacon - a great combo, especially with mascarpone cream (this was just a drizzle which was a little disappointing, I would have liked a good dollop).  It was amazing - so soft, fresh and tasty.  Diana had one of the other things I was eyeing up, the tarragon mushrooms on sourdough - she let me have a taste and it was awesome too so I might get that next time!

Laura had one of the avocado on toast options which also looked amazing.  I had a Bloody Mary as I really fancied one but it was WAY too spicy for me so as much as I hate to, I went back in and asked for another, less spicy one.  They were fine about it and made a fresh one which still had a good kick but was drinkable, I couldn't cope with more than a sip of the first one.

They have a great ethos, using "specialist dairy, meat and vegetable suppliers to put together some amazing dishes."

"We constantly look for great producers who share our passion for quality. Along with a delicious and varied all day breakfast/brunch menu you will find a counter packed with homemade cakes, artisan sandwiches, freshly made juices and any time treats. Many of our dishes are vegan and gluten free."

I also couldn't resist their salted caramel chocolate brownies so I went back later in the day to buy some to take home, they were a hit with Nik too!

Baking with Hemina - Cheese & mustard scones recipe

As I mentioned in my Fuego Lounge review, my friend Hemina kept us occupied one weekend when I was feeling very down.  On the Saturday she came over to bake with me and the kids, Priya especially had a blast and the scones were so easy to make and tasted amazing!  We had them hot for lunch with some truffle salami from Aldi (highly recommended by the way).

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Fuego Lounge brunch review

A few weeks ago I was having a really tough time and my lovely friend Hemina seemed to instinctively know what I needed and came round to bake with me and the kids on Saturday and invited us all out for brunch on Sunday.  It was lovely and really took my mind off everything!

Nik's breakfast complete with homemade sausage patty.

Bridge Cottage Emerging Artists Exhibition

I was delighted to be invited to take part in my first joint exhibition this month at Bridge Cottage.  Myself and five other artists, mostly photographers, each had a space to make our own with our work and I loved filling mine with a collection of some of my favourite landscape images as well as my family work to demonstrate what I do as Bexphoto.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

PYO Pumpkins at Tulley's Farm, Sussex - review

I've been thrilled that more and more Halloween trends have been making their way across the pond in the last few years!  I love that Americans go all out at Halloween, I've always loved it (and been super jealous of the Halloween section in Pottery Barn) and with the new (as far as I'm aware, or maybe its just a recent Insta-trend) pumpkin patches popping up everywhere, there is even more seasonal fun to be had over here.

This is the first time we've actually made it to one and it was after a full day of Halloweening!  We went along to review Tulley's Farm Spook Fest (the family friendly daytime version of their super scary Halloween Festival) and had to stop at their pumpkin patch on our way home to grab some gourds.

Luckily as it was the end of a sunny day, we were lucky with the light too and I, of course, took a fair few photos of our fun and frolics as the twins and their friend had a whale of a time!

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Halloween Makeup with My Beloved Makeup - review

If you are after a really good make-up artist to do an awesome job of making up your kids (or indeed yourself) for Halloween, I can highly recommend Emese Csoma who runs My Beloved Makeup in Uckfield.  She'll come to your home with her supplies and work her magic to create some amazing designs.  I worked with her recently on a collaboration as I love her designs and she wanted some new photos of her work so she came to paint the twins with Mexican sugar skulls to go with the Day of the Dead outfits I bought last year which were too big!

Due to them still being somewhat un-cooperative at times (ha) and us wanting to aim for early morning light (we were hoping for another foggy morning but at least we got sunshine), she kept it simple with plain white designs which we knew would stand out really well against their Indian toned skin and would be quicker to apply before they got fed up and/or the sun got too high.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Party planning for the twin's 4th birthday - Rainbow Tea Party with balloons!

We had planned to take the twins away for their birthday this year, we were thinking Disneyland Paris and thought we'd go early to see it all done up for Halloween!  We were just going to have a small party on their birthday when we came back.  We've never been before but I can't wait to take the twins.  My only visit to Disney was as a 14 year old in Florida which was amazing so I can't wait to take K&P!  We booked that week off but after the stress and then relief of Nik's exams which are now finally over, Nik suggested we ask his parents to babysit for a few days and we just go away on our own this time (not to Disney, we'll wait for the kids to come to that one).  We're just going for 4 nights as I have my first exhibition at the end of that week to prepare for which is exciting too!

So, the twins's 4th birthday party plans...

We've decided this year we wanted needed to organise a much smaller do than last year.  I was exhausted after all the Halloween efforts for their 3rd birthday and this year has been intense already with various hurdles and knackering month after month so we're having a small tea party at home.  I decided the best way to invite guests would be to ask the twins who they want to come.  It's their perfect guest list as they obviously just listed all the friends they see often and consider their best friends so we are inviting 6 friends who will hopefully be able to make it, perfect to fit round the table without too much chaos as we already have 8 chairs.

Even though it will be small, I'm still excited to plan it and will of course be having a rainbow theme!  Rainbow fits so well for twins who are like chalk and cheese with very different favourite things, they do both love bright colours and it's gender neutral which makes me happy anyway.  They do both love balloons too so for this year's entertainment we have hired a balloon twister who does a whole show with balloon magic tricks and models and makes it all fun so I'm pretty sure they will LOVE that!

I've already got paper plates and matching napkins, etc. from Sainsbury's with a gorgeous rainbow balloon design which is perfect!  I also have the bunting and wrapping paper (I even framed a gift bag I love it so much)!

I can't remember if I already bought the above invitations but these ones below were on sale in Paperchase so I got a pack of six, I love the pop-up design.

As for food ideas, again, plenty of inspiration on Pinterest and I'm aiming for simple but tasty and pretty!  I love the healthier ideas of veggie pizzas and coloured popcorn but of course some sweet treats too like rainbow cupcakes and jelly but I'll use a mould and do one big one rather than use more disposable plastic.

I will definitely be doing rainbow fruits again too like I did for their Naming Ceremony in 2015 although probably not a full on rainbow cake again - I prefer to aim for taste and that cake wasn't the best to eat despite looking awesome!

Capture from Anna's lovely video of the Naming Day.

And for a bit more fun, I've bought a rainbow pinata and I like the idea of a homemade DIY to give as party favours like this dyed pasta jewellery making idea or a rainbow wand maybe.  I also bought these pretty crackers from Paperchase which come with stickers inside which I know the kids will love, why should crackers just be for Christmas?  ;)

I can't wait, I think they're going to love it!

Monday, 15 October 2018

Halloween Party Food Ideas

The food for the twins' party last year was so fun!  I got loads of ideas from Pinterest and some were easier than others!  The banana ghosts were the easiest, just chop them in half, draw some spooky faces on and stand them up on a plate.  Job done.  Same with the hard boiled eggs - boil them, draw on faces and they're ready to serve. 

The witches broomsticks were tricky - Nik made these out of cheese strings (NOT my first choice of cheese but this was style over substance clearly), shredded to make the broom ends and straight pretzels inserted in, tied with a chive.  The pretzels were hard to find, good old M&S came up trumps there and the cheese kept splitting where he pushed them in but he did such a great job!  I made the witches fingers out of cocktail sausages with flaked almonds stuck on with tomato chutney to make bloody fingernails.  The vomiting watermelon was easy, just chop off the top, scoop out the melon and turn it upside down, carve a mouth and place the watermelon bits and other fruits coming out of the mouth on a big plate.

I've already written about the epic saga of the cakes - they looked pretty awesome though and took me ages so I'm sharing them again!

The overall Banquet of the Dead looked fab on the spooky tablecloths over two long tables with my big black candelabra and Halloween bunting and various skulls and Halloween crockery to set it all off.

Nik's Mum made the eyeballs for us, simply Babybel cheeses with black sliced olives for the centre and red food colouring painted on for the bloodshot effect.

I had cheese balls in a big bowl with a scary ladle, Twiglets in a skull goblet and I cut pumpkin shapes out of raw carrot which was really easy too, just cut the shape out of one side before you slice them.  I ran out of time to carve the big pumpkins though!

Oh and we also had a "poison" bar for the kids and grown ups.  Coloured orange juice for kids and green dyed gin or blue vodka for the adults!  The red one is some Christmas liqueur I made long ago!

I just love coming up with spooky ideas for Halloween!  Tell me if you have any great ideas to share, I'd love to see photos if you try any of these too!

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Halloween Party Ideas

For the twins' 3rd birthday I wanted to have a Halloween party for them.  I'm a big fan of Halloween and love all of the decorations, games, fancy dress and food ideas so I did loads of research in advance, mainly on Pinterest, and came up with a few favourites I wanted to do.  I hired a local village hall in Maresfield to keep the inevitable mess out of my home and had a great time making and baking for the big day.

Twins' 3rd birthday cakes - recipes and decoration - Pin it do it

I thought I'd finished writing this last year but apparently not!  I've just added the photos so here it is in time for this year's Halloween if you're after a spooky cake idea.  Sadly I don't really have any "during" photos as it was a bit frantic the evening before their party!!

For weeks before the big day, carrot cake was requested by the twins for their birthday cakes this year.  There was a last minute change from one of them suddenly wanting chocolate cake and so the two cakes this year were decided.  I had already chosen a design to go with their Halloween party theme and hoped to make two monster cakes much like the one I saw on Pinterest but as separate cakes.  I asked them which colour monsters they'd like and orange and green were the final choices.  (Perfect Halloween colours too!)

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Buxted Inn Sunday Roast review

You may have heard that The Buxted Inn is under new management.  They have a brand new menu which I'm dying to try but this weekend we went along to sample their Sunday Roast to see if we still love it there!

I'm happy to say we did, we had a lovely afternoon eating together (back as a family of four again) followed by a walk in Buxted Park hunting for acorns and conkers for Show and Tell at pre-school.

The roasts are as good quality as ever with delicious meat and generous portions.  Nik and I opted for the beef and the twins shared a children's roast pork.

The roast pork

The beef was served medium and was so tender and juicy.  The potatoes were lovely too, properly crispy without being tough or dry.  The Yorkshires were huge and crispy on top with yummy soft bottoms and there was plenty of gravy although I'm not convinced it was homemade but I could be wrong.  We were served veg on the side which consisted of green beans, chantarelle carrots and cauliflower cheese - yum!  We only had one bit of cauliflower each so I nearly ordered more as a side but we planned to have pudding anyway so I resisted.

Pudding was a bit disappointing for me, I ordered the cheesecake but it had a very strange texture, almost like Semolina and tasted similar too and the base was soggy.  The roasted apricots that came with it were nice but I definitely wish I ordered something else instead or had a starter.  Nik's was a bit odd too but his was tasty.  A dark chocolate concoction with a strange sticky, chewy coating and a lovely puddle of toasted marshmallow next to it.  He enjoyed his and the twins loved their Downs View Farm ice-cream as always.

The bill was very reasonable, I think it came to £53 for two main roasts, one kids' roast, a glass of Malbec, a ginger ale, two milks, two ice-cream scoops, two desserts and a latte.

Service was friendly and efficient as always, they found us some dominoes to keep the kids entertained while waiting for pudding (which did take a long time) as the usual games and toys they used to have in the bar area are gone.

Overall we had a lovely meal, I just chose poorly for dessert.  I think we'll be back to try the usual menu soon and we noticed they do a lunchtime deal Mon-Sat for a tenner which is great value.

The twins' first cinema experience at The Picture House Uckfield - review

We found out one Saturday that there was a sing-along showing of The Little Mermaid at our local independent cinema, The Picture House.  Turns out, the Saturday morning film is a regular thing and they often have sing-along versions for the kids (and grown ups) to join in.  Nik's Mum and I took the twins along as we thought they'd love it and I do love The Little Mermaid, such a classic.

K chose his own outfit (tights and top) and asked for a ponytail like Priya's
It's on at 10:30am every Saturday, the following week was Moana sing-a-long although they're not always sing-a-long versions.  This weekend it's Incredibles 2.

It started off really well, the kids were delighted with their own popcorn and loved sitting in the big seats.  When the film started they were initially mesmerised and Kalyan was dancing in the aisles!  Unfortunately it turned out they were still a little bit young for the cinema as it was quite loud in parts and K was very upset, covering his ears and asking to leave.  Once the popcorn was gone too, they became much more restless but we did make it until the end.  Kalyan has asked never to go back to the loud place though which is a shame, maybe next year when they're almost 5.

We also tried to go for lunch in the Picture House Restuarant after but their behaviour got worse and became uncontrollable so I had to take them home just as the food arrived!  Gutted.  Luckily Ma and Dadaji brought it home for us to eat when they were finished.  I didn't see the point in us all having to leave although it did leave my friend, who met us there, having lunch with my in-laws!

The next day was more successful as we went to our favourite place - Wilderness Wood.  Always a hit and this time we managed a nice walk around the woods too and not just in the play areas.  And lunch of course with some cake after our walk and more cookies as big as the kids' heads!

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