Tag Archives: blogger

National Trust: a mini series

Throughout this series, I thought I would she some light on various National Trust sites. I’m going to grade them on 4 categories and then an overall:


Family Friendly

Vegan Options



I thought it would helpful for those of you that are unsure whether it is suitable to take the kids in the holidays, to take the older generation for a wander round.

Of course I’ll post some pictures (all taken on an iPhone 6S camera) and some general ‘helpful hints’.


If there is somewhere you want to go but not sure, just let me know and I’ll visit 🙂

Over and out



Mum Guilt – Does it ever fade?

What is “Mum Guilt”? You know, it’s that overwhelming feeling of doing something wrong by your child, for example, going to work, going out for the evening, first day of school. Have you ever had that peculiar wave of emotion come over you when you leave your 6 month old at Nursery for the first session so that you can go back to work, or to the gym? That’s “Mum Guilt”. Now just because this has been titled “Mum Guilt”, doesn’t mean that its a female emotion, I know of some Dad’s that feel this too.

As a single parent, aged 21, I experienced “Mum Guilt” on a daily basis. Sometimes it was my own fault and sometimes others made me feel bad. Older women who state that I should have waited to have a child if I couldn’t cope. Coupled up Mums who state that their other halves supported them through this. Yes Thanks. So helpful! Parenting is tough, we shouldn’t be making each other guilty when our own conscious does enough damage.

My first “Mum Guilt” struggle was in May of 2012…Lily’s first session at Nursery at 6 months old. Now we had done 3 settling in sessions but this was the first official “see-you-later” time. It only lasted 5 hours but felt like it was ages. Walking away from her little face (who hadn’t noticed I had gone) gave me this overwhelming sense that I was doing something wrong.

I wasn’t.

I was doing what any other mum does, allowing her daughter to socialise and learn. I wasn’t due to start work until August, however wanted to give Lily the time to settle in, and in case it all went tits up, enough time if she needed to be moved. I went back 4 hours and 45 minutes later to reports that she was perfect and seemed to really enjoy herself, well as much as a 6 month old can. I told myself that “Mum Guilt” was unnecessary. The key workers at nursery were fab and Lily stayed there until she was almost 5.

Another guilty day was the first trial day at Primary School in June 2016. People forget that when the children go to school, they are only 4  (sometimes 5). They have only been on the planet 4 years, and yes Lily had been to Nursery but this didn’t make this new stage any easier on me. We arrived not knowing anyone (Nursery was in one county, school in another), Lily was quiet and could probably sense my high-running emotions. We walked into the Hall to introduce her to her teacher with her hand getting tighter around mine. Yes the guilt was starting to rise…who are these teachers? They don’t know Lily and what she is like. They don’t know me or our situation. I was trying harder and harder to make it seem exciting for my slightly anxious 4 year old. The announcement came that all parents were to leave and the children would be taken into their classrooms. I popped a sweet in my mouth (was once told that sucking sweets reduces the chance of tearing up due to the same muscles being used) and tried to get Lily to go with this teacher.

After 10 minutes of my best persuading and this teacher eventually grabbing her hand and leading her away. “Mummy” being shouted down the corridor whilst I walked away and tried not to look back. Yes the tears came, and it still makes me choke even now and she has almost finished her first year there.

“Mum Guilt”

I did the whole convincing myself speech on the walk back home. She has to go to school. They know what they are doing. They do it all the time. I’m sure they are lovely. She will have fun. She won’t have even missed me.  And true to that, she had a great time.

So after these two, and many other, experiences, how do I cope? Well I started with distraction techniques, going shopping, watching a movie, going out for tea. This was fine until I had two minutes to myself, usually on the loo, and the tears would appear again. I then tried spending time with family who have been through this. But when I thought about it, I actually found that my “Mum Guilt” was worse in the build up to an event rather than while the event was happening.

So I did what any normal person would do…try not to think about it. Does that ever even work?

I found that I needed to do my research. Ask the questions I needed to ahead of the event and that it was the “unknown” that was making me feel this way. What was my child going to be doing? How can I prepare her for this? As her mother, what can I say?

My advice to you is to talk about it. Talk to other mums about how you are feeling, talk to your child about how you are feeling. Yes they are younger and less mature but you will feel better talking it through with them.

You aren’t doing anything wrong. You parent the way you believe is best, and you are doing your best! Don’t let anyone or anything make you feel that you aren’t. Like I said, parenting is tough…but let’s support each other through it.

You can do this!!

Good Luck!

Over and Out


Vegan Beauty

the-vegan-societys-vegan-trademarkNow by no means am I a Beauty Guru, nor any good at applying it. However, I am becoming a fanatic. I already own more than one type of foundation, a collection of Real Technique brushes and various shaped Beauty Blenders.

One of my biggest issues when going Vegan was the non-food element of the lifestyle. This has been a much more gradual change for me as I have a hyper-sensitive immune system and any sudden change can result in me looking like a puffa fish…queue the laughter.

I have done a lot of research and when I go to buy new products, I always try and find the small print. I found this article very useful for affordable make up, Buzz-feed Vegan Beauty Brands. Not only does it show which drugsotre brands are cruelty free but also the ones that are Vegan, some of which will surprise you. I then use High End Make up Brands to help out when I want a something a little bit pricier.

Some of my favourite brands are Real Techniques, Batiste and Makeup Revolution (TAM Beauty). All 3 are very vocal about  being cruelty free and vegan, with Batiste even having the logo on their cans.


If only all brands made it this easy!!







So I ask you to not only pay attention to what you are eating but also what you are putting on your body. Veganism isn’t just a diet, it’s a lifestyle…let’s embrace it and help these animals!

Over and Out




Christmas at Kew

Yes the title reads “Christmas at Kew” however we actually went on New Year’s Eve. We were in the rare situation where all 3 of us were off…yay…family trip!

The pictures of the Christmas trail were beautiful, see more on the website – Christmas at Kew

I’ll tell you a little about it and then tell you my thoughts.

The trail opened between 5pm and 10pm, with last entry being 8.35pm. You could book tickets online, or pick up at the gate, but knowing how popular the event was last year, I chose to book online. So tickets were £18 per adult and £10 for a child (4-16) for peak times. This allowed entry into the trail but didn’t include any rides. It also doesn’t include entry into Kew but with it being dark you couldn’t see much anyway. Parking was also extra, £7 and is only from the North gate, Brentford. However, we are closer to the South gate, Victoria so didn’t book parking.

I booked us into the 7pm time slot knowing that there was no parking and hoped less children would be there during this time, even though I was taking my own…i’ll explain later.

We gave ourselves plenty of time as we knew there was an unknown regarding parking. We drove to Victoria Gate and found a street where there was parking spaces, about a 3 minute walk from the gate. We got to the Entrance at 6.44pm and they were letting people in…phew…didn’t want to wait in the cold.

Now the trail is about a mile long, and it’s quite easy to follow. There are platforms to stop and take pictures at so that you don’t get in the way of others who wanted to stroll through. There were also Mulled Wine/Cyder and Roasted Nut stands along the way. We dutifully followed the trail ooo-ing and ahh-ing at the incredible displays and the obvious time and effort that had been put in.

All in All we were there about an hour and a half which got us home in time to watch Harry Potter 🙂

My Opinion – please bear this in mind this is my own opinion and not meant to cause offence.

I felt for the time spent, that £46, that it was a waste of time. Yes the lights were pretty and yes Kew is an expensive place but for 3 people…

I also had an issue with some of the people there…Kew is a respected and well-loved place…Do Not Let Your Children Abuse it. There were children running all over the gardens, not paying attention to littering or to the paths. This frustrates me. I would, in now way, allow my child to be this disrespectful. (Rant Over).

My final words…go and visit but I won’t worry about going again.

Hope you all had a Good New Year and here’s to a fabby 2017.

Over and Out




The Best of Christmas TV (UK only)

I am not alone when I say Christmas is the BEST time of year for TV. You have everything from Christmas special programs, Christmas films, re-runs and my ultimate favourite…

Like any normal human being, I picked up my copy of Radio Times at the beginning of December and dutifully *starred* all of my interests. If you haven’t managed to get one, use this link to the actual website to organise your evening entertainment – Radio Times Christmas TV.  This post is anticipating all of the excitement of the TV for the first week, 19th to 24th, then I’ll do a separate one for 26th to 30th…

So what I am looking forward to? Here I list two shows a night for you to tune into (freeview):

Monday 19th December

Jamie’s Ultimate Christmas – 8pm, Channel 4

Everyone loves a bit of this Essex Chef. His ideas and food are all amazing and look yummy (even though I’m Vegan). He also shows ways to make the standard meal slightly more exciting, both visually and in flavours.

The Prince Harry Documentary  –  9pm, ITV

Prince Harry…the people’s royal. Ignoring everything going on around his personal life, Harry is dutifully finishing what his mother started. This program follows his work in Sentebale (his charity). Watch this to see how important Charity is to the Prince.

Tuesday 20th December

Mary Berry’s Absolute Christmas Favourites (1/2) – 7pm, BBC2

Yes, she is getting old. Yes, some of her recipes are questionable. But we all love Bezza. Here she is showing us some traditional seasonal recipes…and some new ones. Part two airs on Wednesday 21st.

Inside the Christmas Factory – 9pm BBC2

I love programs like this, where they show us the ins and outs of Business’. Gregg Wallace is the lucky duck that gets to spend a whole day with a Cake factory finding out how hard it is to produce over 2,000 mince pies..and Cherry Healey spends time with a factory who produces over 400million meters of wrapping paper!

Wednesday 21st December

Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas (3/3)- 8pm, Channel 4

I have watched the other two episodes and this is the last one this year. This time she’s in London where she visits the night marked in Hoxton. I love Kirstie’s passion for everything hand crafted and local.

24 Hours in A&E – 9pm, Channel 4

Can’t really say what’s going to happen in this, as it’s different every week. It is an incredible insight into what the NHS Doctors, Nurses, Porters and other staff members go through to save our lives. Not only do they sacrifice their own time, they go above and beyond to do everything they can for us. (Yes I wholeheartedly support the NHS)

Thursday 22nd December

Grand Designs – 7.55pm, More4

Yes it’s old…Yes it’s a repeat but I still love this program. Kevin’s love for architecture is contagious. Plus this one is local to me on the River Thames. The house is spectacular and has a really ingenious way to combat flooding.

The World’s Most Expensive Toys – 9pm, Channel 4

How Much? I will yell this at the TV at least 10 times during this program..much to the annoyance of my other half.

Friday 23rd December

Saving Mr Banks – 8.30pm, BBC2

When this movie first came out, I refused to watch it. I love Mary Poppins and this Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is one of the most amazing words ever! But once I watched this, I loved it. The idea that Walt Disney isn’t as shiny and melodic as the Disney franchise is today.

Casino Royale – 9pm, ITV2

Bond. Enough Said.

Saturday 24th December aka CHRISTMAS EVE!!

Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show – 7.25pm, BBC1

The funniest man on the planet as a Christmas Show. Two of my favourite things. It is the last of his series that has been showing on a Saturday night. The best part is his “Send to All” texting skit. Completely taking control of the chosen celebrity’s phone and sending a generally embarrassing text to all of the contact list. Love it!

8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown – 9pm, Channel 4

I much prefer this to the original 8 out of 10 Cats. Jon Richardson is a odd crush of mine…the way he solves the maths questions without even writing out the method; Genius.

So there you have it…my top two shows for every evening from Today until Christmas Eve. Hope you enjoy…I’ll let you know my verdict in the New Year.

Over and Out




Why I went Vegan?

Veganism seems like a really hot topic right now so thought it was only fair I added my view and gave you my reasons for choosing this plant-based diet. (I stayed pretty simple with this, but if you want a more complex and realistic answer…then just let me know :-))

I have been um-ing and ah-ing for the last 3 or 4 months as to whether to go Vegetarian or not. It’s not that I dislike meat or fish, but more whether I agreed with how my meat was killed and how my fish was caught. I have always been brought up in a carnivorous family and we used to laugh at Veggies and Vegans…

My decision was simple. I don’t want to eat Roast Chicken where the chicken has been bred with hundreds of others in small pens, shit-filled conditions, and fighting to stay alive. I didn’t want to be eating steak from a cow that hadn’t really lived yet. And to go one step further, I didn’t want to eat eggs that were a Mother Hen’s baby. The last reason really shook me. As a mother myself, I couldn’t imagine my child being taken away for someone else’s meal.

Now I know this sounds extreme…human’s aren’t eaten or put in cake recipes. But in my head the logic still stood. I talk to my dog as if she was my best friend, she’s sad when I leave and elated when I come home…just like my child. Animal’s are smarter than we give them credit for and have emotions themselves.

Therefore, I became Vegetarian and dairy-free aka Vegan.

Now I’m only Vegan in my diet. I have super-sensitive skin so have to be careful what products I put on but I am very aware of cruelty-free brands, especially within the Beauty industry, and am trying to eliminate these from my daily routine.

I will keep you posted on this “new” way of life…

Over and Out