Summertime Memories

I have been a busy bee! After getting my holidays finalised,I  booked flights with Canadian Affair , to Toronto! I’m going home for 3 weeks with my daughter and I couldn’t be more excited. I have been pretty homesick of late and although we were all supposed to go home for a holiday as a family, the flights increased and well, we just couldnt afford it so my husband will be staying back with my two year old.
 
I haven’t been home to experience a proper Canadian summer in years and I cannot wait until my daughter is able to do this with me. I have many fond memories of my summers growing up and to be able to show my daughter some of those things, is in my mind a blessing.  From the usual smells of freshly cut grass, the fireflies with their glowing bellies , campfires with their usual smoky odours and sitting by the beach with a cup of coffee in hand the excitement is almost too much and I feel like a kid again myself, about to burst. … I just really can’t wait to experience all that my home town and neighbouring towns, have to offer but this time with my own child who will be making her own memories.
 
I have known most of the people that I will be visiting, for practically all my life and now its their kids and mine who will be forging strong bonds and relationships whilst us adults reminice by the fire.Also, one of the lovliest things is that M will be spending time with her aunty, uncle,grannie and her cousins!  We will be doing things like taking the kids Camping,going to Canada’s Wonderland  , Niagra Falls to visit Great Wolf Lodge and various water parks, going for Ice Cream at Lorna Doons which I used to go to and spending quality time enjoying everyones company.
 
There is talk about going to Algonquin Park with a canoe and doing a trek, paddling through the water looking for the local wildlife, hoping not to encounter any bears at a close distance, but catching sight of them if possible a long with moose etc. I don’t know what we will see but whatever we do, chances are it will be a first for my daughter.  We haven’t had these types of “firsts” since she was a brand new baby just brought home.
 
I’m hoping that before we go, I can purchase a new camera to catch these moments, which I will blog and maybe even vlog about because the trip will be jam packed and I want her to be able to have something to look back on in print and pictures.
 
Are you going anywhere this summer? Have you ever taken your kids back home to experience what you did as a child?

Sykes Cottages: The Townhouse,Kircudbright

This weekend it was my birthday and I wanted to do something different, go away somewhere nice that I hadn’t been to before… Somewhere that I could relax and put my feet up and big enough for the kids to run about in and play. It was ideal when Sykes Cottages arranged for us to go to “The Townhouse”, in the lovely,  inviting and historic town of Kirkcudbright.

When we approached Union Street and saw all of the beautifully colored houses , we were excited to see what awaited us inside. We weren’t disappointed. The house was absolutely amazing, warm and we felt right at home immediately. The location which is around the corner from the town center, was very convenient for any of those last-minute items we all generally forget to pack when in a rush.

When we walked into the house, we saw an amazing sitting room which was very cosy, with two very comfortable couches, a TV, books, some board games and DVD’s. We really had everything that we needed for a weekend with the kids. The one thing that the house didn’t have, was WiFi but we didn’t see this as a negative at all because we went away to relax and escape the usual hum drum that we have on a regular basis. If we needed to find out any information, it was already at our finger tips because there was a lot of information on what to see and do, a phone book (remember those?), and a very handy booklet located on the table in the hall. If you’re absolutely desperate though, we found free wi-fi in the various little coffee shops and you can pay for it via BT but why waste a perfectly wonderful weekend surfing the net?

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Continuing on our tour of the house, we went to the middle floor where the kids made their own discovery. In the room which we nicknamed ourselves as the “seaside” room due to the lovely bunting, vibrant and fresh colors of blue and white, there sat a lovely bear called “Sam”. He had his own little bag which contained his clothing and various outfits, the children were captivated and played with him all weekend. He went everywhere with them when we were in the house and they wanted to take him with them when we left. He was a fantastic addition  and a really great idea. It made the experience  even more family friendly and added character to such a wonderful and old house

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Next there was a single room and then a bigger room which we chose to be ours for the weekend due to its brightness, color scheme, and view of the street. The floors were beautiful wood and there was an old fireplace inside which added to the rooms character. I wanted to further investigate the history of this house because when you are inside, you can almost imagine being transported hundreds of years back in time, The owners have done a wonderful job of restoring the house and keeping many original features such as wallpaper  samples which have been put into frames and old photographs from the 1800’s.

On the top floor of the house, there is a bedroom with an en suite, which is the master and normally we would have opted to stay in there but with the children being with us, they always want to be close by. The room at the top was nicknamed the “Rose” room by my eldest due to the decor and there was a hint of a red rose smell in the room as well. It’s a beautifully decorated room and very large too, but I think that the one we chose was our favorite by far.

The attention to detail in this holiday home is probably by far the best that I have ever seen and we go away quite a lot. I like style but I favor comfort and a family friendly atmosphere which is what we got when we stayed in the Townhouse and we are looking to book again in the next couple of weeks, It’s not far, has loads of things to see and do as well as a lot of history for those (like me), who are interested in architecture and of times past. Go, stay and relax because I guarantee that you will come back feeling refreshed but with a longing to go back.

 

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*Thank you to Sykes Cottages for the opportunity to stay at this lovely cottage.

 

 

Sealed The Deal.. With B&Q

Today I got an exciting email from B&Q which I had been hoping to receive for some time and jumped each time one came through in hope that it was from the lovely Alice, coming back with an answer to an idea that I’d had a few weeks ago.

I was sitting at home whilst N was sleeping and M was outside with her friends enjoying the last few days of summer when it occurred to me that this was the year that I had said that I wanted to do something together as a family getting us all involved and outside but hadn’t yet thought of what to do. It then came to me… We all need a place to go to where we can escape the house and enjoy our hobbies on our own or a place where we can be all together as a family which is different from these 4 walls that we see day in and day out. We can’t afford one of the log cabin/summer houses that I always look at on line so we thought, with the inspiration of Pinterest , our individual personalities and the materials so kindly provided by B&Q, that we would BUILD it as a family project.

We originally thought about a tree house but the only thing is that our tree isn’t located at a good enough spot in the garden to handle the type of structure that we were thinking of. So we gathered a few ideas on line and took something from each of our ideas to come up with something which will cater to us all. For the kids, it will be somewhere to have sleep overs in during summer months ,gaze at the stars with our telescope, a place for me to read and blog from and a place for the husband to play his guitars in. Most importantly though, it will be getting us outside, off line and together. Its easy to get caught up in the usual stuff of life.. tv, electronics , etc and forget to spend time outside so this will be our “meeting place”, where we gather ourselves and talk without distraction.

As we start planning and building, I will be doing a series of blog posts on our progress but for now, here are some pics that we took inspiration from!  Have you built a tree house for your kids and family?

 

Below, we like the bridge from the tree and still using it as part of the structure , with a ladder.

BelVita:A Review

Once again, I was given a fabulous opportunity to link up with Britmums and various other wonderful bloggers, to try out the fantastic and delicious “belVita” morning biscuits and be part of the #MorningStories Linky challenge!

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I have to say that I was really looking forward to this because anything that would help my morning start off smoothly and with less hassle, was definitely welcome in our house. Every morning seems to be full of absolute chaos as I am sure it is in most peoples homes who have young children. We never seem to be able to agree on a suitable breakfast which is nutritional and  won’t take ages to make. I am forever talking to the 6 year old about the importance of nutrition but all she wants to have is cereal with lots of sugar in it. I even showed her a recent video which was doing the rounds about obesity in kids hoping that she would see where I was coming from. Part of her is starting to understand and this linky challenge came at the right time for us. Thankfully!

I started giving Thunderpants these biscuits a long with fruit and milk, and as they are seen to slowly release carbohydrates over 4 hours as part of a balanced diet and breakfast, I felt that this would be especially beneficial to her on the days when she has gym class.  There are quite a few varieties of biscuits available such as Yogurt crunch, Duo Crunch and New Crunch. Also as they sealed in individual packets, it means that Thunderpants can take them to school with her very easily, or I can include them in my mid morning snack when at work or pre gym workout. Shhh!

They really are ideal and I think Thunderpants and  I feel like we are having a treat despite it being packed with so much goodness. As everyone who reads my blog knows, I am trying to lose some weight and these are a really good way to help as they contain at least 5 wholegrains, are rich in cereals, are a source of fibre and contain a selection of vitamins. Can’t get much better than that!

My youngest and husband have also started snacking on these and for the husband especially, it has become a god send as he is one of those types of people who “don’t eat breakfast”… I will never understand them, it seems so silly. I mean, we all need fuel to start our bodies and carry on the day!

Thanks you to Britmums and belVita for a new lease on breakfast life! The Dickson Family are well and truly thankful for changing our mornings and for this mum to be a little less frazzled before her day starts! Please have a look at their Facebook page for info and prizes!

 

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Money Saving: Why I am Rethinking our Spending

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Last week, I was thinking about where my money went as pay-day is fast approaching and I have little left over from last month which is un nerving…. You see, I am slowly working my way through credit card debt and I am becoming more and more conscious about how I spend and what type of spender I am. For example, a take away this past weekend from Dominoes would cost approx £25 for our family.. For that I could get two weeks worth of meals if planning them, if not more. I also purchase a lot of magazines relating to health and fitness but I could easily get hits and tips by following people on twitter or searching for inspiration via the internet.

By saving money, I can also get the things done to the garden and house that are necessities rather than “just because”. In order to do this, I will be looking through the fantastic Money Saving Expert website for the inspiration as well as looking at different blogs and taking more inspiration from people on Pinterest. There are so many things that you can do and I am a huge believer in upcycling and have lots of materials here already that we can use with minimal use for spending. Music to my ears! As I mentioned before, I want to change our bathroom and with some tins of paint, a new blind and some DIY, we could certainly do this for approx £20.00 .

I am also enlisting in the help of a family member to help with our garden transformations.. I plan for a summer of fairy lights! We have loads left from christmas, and last summer too… I also have a lot of jars which I have frosted with glass frosting and have a ton of tea lights which will make for lovely lanterns. Another thing that is easy to do is using old cans , drilling holes in different patters and putting tea lights in them. Screwing them to the fence, makes for a beautiful lit up walk way.

Another things that we do in our home is Meal Planning. I can’t stress this enough if you want to save money in your food shopping. we also use places such as Aldi and Lidl where I have got some of the best steak for stew , which when put in the slow cooker, is so very moist and delish! I can get a whole week of food shop for approx £10-15, and we eat ver well and food is nutritious. We use a lot of pasta, lentils and rice and aim to have fish, and meat 2 times a week if not more. I will also be planting and hoping that we get some soil from our compost bin this year. if not, I think we may go diggiing in the field and putting some stuff into pots.

This week I will also be going through my bank statements and seeing how we can reduce outgoings from TV providers, to gym memberships which are luxuries and not necessities.. we also need to change phone providers but the thing with me is that I have parents who live in Canada and I call every week. I don’t know if I would be better to get a phone card or keep the package that I already have where I pay £5 and get unlimited calls to Canada… My parents aren’t technical and don’t use the internet otherwise I would have used Skype..

So these are a few things that we will look at, I’mhoping to possibly do a weekly or every few days, kind of post on what I have saved and I would love to hear your tips and hints too. I want to also do a debt diary and utilise the tips on MSE as well. I think if you do something like this so publicly, you feel accountable and make progress!

 

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