Friday, 29 May 2015

Dandelion Duvet Covers to Dream Under...

Dandelion Clock make a Wish

Regular readers know how much we love dandelions, especially when they have matured into dandelion clocks and we can blow the fairy seeds off them while making a wish...

I enjoy bringing the outdoors into my home decor and have always favoured flower prints.  This Spring I have updated our bedroom by swapping my chintzy rose print duvet for an updated dandelion print.  I'm also hoping to make a lovely dandelion wishes print for our bedroom wall, as I have so many photos to choose from.  

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Moomins on the Riviera Free Activity Sheets and a Goody Bag Giveaway

Moomins on the Riviera Competition Goodybag

To celebrate the release of Moomins on the Riviera, we have free activity sheets for all our readers and we are also offering one lucky reader the chance to win a marvellous Moomin Goody Bag (more details below).

Moomins on the Riviera Competition Goodybag

Join the Moomins and friends old and new as they leave Moominvalley behind and head south in MOOMINS ON THE RIVIERA, which opens in cinemas nationwide through Vertigo on 22 May. In search of adventures, the Moomins, Snorkmaiden and Little My set sail for the French Riviera. After a perilous journey, they reach their dream destination where Snorkmaiden is dazzled by the attentions of a playboy leaving Moomin consumed by jealousy. When Moominpappa befriends an aristocrat and adopts the name ‘de Moomin’, an exasperated Moominmamma retreats to the calm of their trusty old boat, to wait for her family to come to their senses and to remember their motto: “Live in peace, plant potatoes and dream.” Directed by Xavier Picard and produced by Hanna Hemilä, MOOMINS ON THE RIVIERA was created in a unique handdrawn animation technique inspired by and based on Tove Jansson’s original comic strips. The feature celebrates the beloved characters in their original context and reflects their cross-generational and universal appeal, even 100 years after the birth of their creator, Jansson. In this the UK version, Moomin is voiced by Russell Tovey (The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Being Human, Him and Her). Nathaniel Parker (Merlin, Stardust, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) and Tracy Ann Oberman (Toast of London, Friday Night Dinner, Dr Who) play Moominpappa and Moominmamma respectively. Stephanie Winiecki plays Snorkmaiden and Little My is played by Ruth Gibson. The film is produced by Handle Productions Oy in Finland and Pictak Cie in France. Sophia Jansson, niece of Tove and daughter of Lars, who drew the later comic strips, is on board as associate producer.

MOOMINS ON THE RIVIERA opened in cinemas across the UK on 22 May.

Free Activity Sheets

These activity sheets are perfect to keep any  fans of the Moomins  entertained- especially during the half term holidays.

Win a Moomins Goody Bag

To have a chance to win this Moomins Goodybag please enter the Rafflecopter below.

Goodybag Contents (I really want a Moomins Plush Toy myself!)

1 x Moomin Plush Toy (either Moominmamma, Moominpappa, Little My or Snorkmaiden)
1x   1 x Cinema poster
2x   2 x t-shirts (small + either medium or adult)
1x   1 x Pudsey DVD
1x   1 x Allstars DVD
1x   1 x Unbeatable DVD

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please read the Terms and Conditions and contact me if you have any questions.  Good luck!

Julie's Notebook #WinningWeekends

Competitions UK at

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SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

21 Uses For 21

It's official- I am a number geek.  My love for numbers and pattern began when I was young and continued during my maths degree and mathematical teaching career at both Primary and GCSE Level.

Maths is not meant to be hard and boring, it should be fun and exciting.  Although, I work more with words than numbers nowadays, my fascination remains.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

A Wonderful Walk at Monk Haven, Pembrokeshire, #Countrykids

Monk Haven Beach Church Woods Walk

As I mentioned in our last This Week post, we spent Bank Holiday Monday in Monk Haven.  It's a day out that we do a few times a year and one of my favourites.  

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Quorn and Mushroom Stew in the JML Go Chef 8 in 1 Cooker

JML Go Chef 8 in 1 Cooker Review

When we were first sent the JML Go Chef 8 in 1 Cooker to review, my first thought was where would it fit?  We don't have a lot of surface space in our kitchen and the box it arrived in seemed huge.  

However, once I actually took the time to clear a space in the kitchen it didn't take up as much room as I thought, so that was a relief.  I also liked the red design.   I gave the bowl and accessories a wash, rinse and dry.  Next I needed to decide what recipe to try first in it.

We're Head over Heels about Gymnastics

Head over heels gymnastics

All our kids love Gymnastics.  Danny goes to Gym Club and regularly takes part in competitions.  The older girls also went to classes, which initially they loved and progressed well but these got too popular and overcrowded so we decided to leave until more classes become available. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Why Everyone Needs a Teddy Bear: Great British Teddy Bears

Teddy Bear

My late Dad's teddy bear, sits on a shelf in my mum's bedroom.  We all love and treasure it as it brings back so many memories to us.  My dad had the teddy when he was born, so it is now over 60 years old.  I think everyone needs a special teddy bear to go through life with them and to be passed onto others as a memorial keepsake.

Monkey Teddy Bear

Danny has a teddy monkey, that he was smaller than when he was born.  It has been to every hospital visit with him, through every operation and recovery, monkey has even been bandaged up himselfwhen poorly and has been on every Beavers, Cubs and now Scouts camps that Danny camps on.

Great British Teddy Bear

If you're looking for a special keepsake teddy for a loved one, then take a look at British Teddies.   The Great British Teddy Bear Company is a British owned family run business.  They have a teddy bear for every person and occasion, all at affordable prices.

I have picked up a Guardsman bear as a souvenir for the kids when visiting London.  You can even buy your very own Queen bear if you so wish.  

My current favourite bears are the Historical Teddy Bears.  My kids love learning about history and it would be great to have these bear characters too.  We love reading stories about St George and Robin Hood so the teddies would be great to accompany the books.  Being the patron saint of scouting, St George would make a great Scout pack holiday teddy too.  Florence Nightingale would be a great gift for any modern day nurses, Sherlock Holmes for all detective story lovers  and Shakespeare Bear to sit on your desk or cuddle up to whilst reading the bards very own works.

There are also some Bears I would like to see in the future, such as a Saint Davids Teddy Bear and a British Rock Teddy Bear.

Do you have a treasured teddy bear?  Which is your favourite Great British Teddy Bear?  Is there a British Teddy Bear you would like to see in the future?

Collaborative Post

Just How Safe Are We Online?

Online Safety

I spend a lot of time online and as my kids get older I'm aware that they will too.  Internet Safety is important to me as I'm sure it is to you.  Please read this guest post to make sure you're aware of the dangers and most importantly, how to keep safe:

Just how safe are we online? 

People are going online for everything these days, from booking holidays to sorting finances or merely chatting to friends. This reliance on the internet can be dangerous if you are not careful, and there are plenty of unscrupulous people out there who can easily take advantage of your trust and cause you to unwittingly give up personal information and passwords.  

 Here are some of the top hazards you should look out for: 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

This Week / Life Lately / 2nd May 2015

This Week Life Lately 2nd May 2015

Oh dear, I'm finding it so hard to fit in blogging at the moment, but the good news is it's because I'm busy and happy in life.  I'm sure normal blog business will resume soon!

The Weekend

This Week Life Lately 2nd May 2015

I'm really glad I'm writing these posts as a way of keeping track of life as it's already hard to remember what we actually did last weekend!  It was the Bank Holiday Weekend, so on  Sunday we went to Llys Y Fran with Mum and Jo.  We had a look at the Dam and took a walk around the memorial garden for lost children.  The park was sadly closed for repair work.  Hopefully I'll get my Country Kids post up about that soon.  I always hug my children tighter after visiting there.

The Week That Was

This Week Life Lately 2nd May 2015

Then on Bank Holiday Monday we walked (quite far actually!) to one of my favourite places Monk Haven.  I can't wait to write that post.  We played in the park, saw tadpoles, walked country lanes, past the pretty church, picked wild garlic, climbed the rocks, paddled, played on the rope swings and in the old ruin and then walked home.  I loved how the kids sang songs to each other to keep them motivated.  It was such a lovely day and everyone did so well to walk so far.

This Week Life Lately 2nd May 2015

After a Bank holiday, Tuesday feels like the "Manic Monday" of the week, doesn't it?  Caitlyn had a football event with school, which she enjoyed.  I had a surprisingly inspring Tuesday at  a Springboard Event.  I was looking forward to attending as I knew we were finding out about a stained glass window project that I am going to take part in and I also I hoped that  I would get the chance to see the author Jackie Morris again (me and the kids love her books and illustrations).   Sadly, she didn't make it, but the day was amazing all the same.  We learnt all about the National Library of Wales, in Aberystwyth, and the more I heard about this fascinating place the more I wondered why I haven't visited before.  When I went home to tell Dave I wanted to visit there he said that if we do we can see his music, which is archived there.   Of course, I also want to see the smallest book and oldest manuscript and important things like that too.  At the event, we were told of  an inspiring lady, whose legacy was to leave the money for this project.  How lovely that her love of craft is being passed on in this way.  I hope to write a post about her one day too.

That afternoon, I went into school with Rebecca and we painted some pottery.  I wanted to do some Dandelion "Make a wish" designs but Rebecca chose a ladybird on a leaf design so we went with that.  We'll be painting more every Tuesday.

This Week Life Lately 2nd May 2015

After a usual school and work day on Wednesday, I had a fun choir practice.  It was our last one before our first performance.  I'm going on my own at the moment but hoping to encourage Rebecca to join again and Caitlyn has now expressed an interest too.  

After choir, I went for a run with Rebecca.  We only did just over nearly 3 miles around the block as I'm trying to ease in gently.  I had to stop to walk on times but really enjoyed it.  

This Week Life Lately 2nd May 2015

On Thursday morning Dave, Izzy and I went to vote of course!

Then, in the afternoon I went to family singing with Rebecca at school.  I was so impressed that some parents offered to sing solos straight away.  It really encouraged the children and made me wonder what's stopping me doing the same.  Other people inspire me every day in this life of mine.

After school, as there was no Rainbows due to voting, we went bowling with Mum, Jo and Cerys.  This was fun and good for older ones.  Izzy lost interest and just wanted to run around.  Dave met us there after work, I felt so happy and grateful to see him when he turned up.  Then Danny went to gymnastics club, so it was a busy night for him.

I stayed up most of Thursday night with the rest of the country watching the count results.

This Week Life Lately 2nd May 2015

I felt shocked at the results we awoke to on Friday morning.  Lots of people felt the same so I feel encoursaged that we can still make a positive change.  I met a few friends during the afternoon for a drink while the kids were in school.  If it was sunny, we were going to sit on the balcony and enjoy the view but it was so cold, wet and windy we had to stay indoors.

Friday night, I went for a run with Caitlyn.  I had planned to run further but as it was my first time running with Caitlyn I re-ran the 3 miler instead.  I ran more and completed it a bit faster though.  I really need a training watch or app to record my progress more accurately.

On this day, I also signed up for the Cardiff half marathon, a run that I have been planning to take part in for years.  I also entered the London Marathon Ballot, but of course have to wait until October to find out if I have a place or not.  I now need to enter a 5k coming up soon and a 10k in a month or two.

Other things...

This Week Life Lately 2nd May 2015

We are now part of the Netflix Stream Team.  I can't wait to share with you what we've all been watching!

This Week Life Lately 2nd May 2015

I also treated myself to the Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide book.  I have been a fan of Gabrielle's blog for many years so have been really looking forward to this!  I've also bought a new candle.  Yes, I know- I need to start making my own again instead of buying them!

This weekend we have our first performance with choir and a lot more running planned...have a good week everyone!


NSPCC Really Big Board Game Day

NSPCC The Really Big Board Game Day

This Friday, you can have a fun games night with the family and raise money for a very worthy cause, the NSPCC, by taking part in the Really Big Board Game Day.

We were very excited to hear about this event as we love playing board games and never seem to have the time to play them as much as we'd like so this was a great excuse.

All the old classic board games immediately remind me of my happy childhood and as I'm trying to build up our own collection in our home family home, I was very grateful that we were sent a copy of Cluedo to play too.  

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