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Monday, 11 March 2013

My Mother's day 2013







Hello ♥



Yesterday was Mother's day as you all will know. I had a really lovely day, which was all planned at short notice but very successful in my opinion. I was treated to some beautiful daffodils from my sons (above) and my hubby brought me the nicest Thornton's chocolates. How cute is the box! 




Being the most forgetful couple ever, we completely forgot to send off our mother's day cards to my mother in law. We felt awful so decided at last minute to travel to the Isle of Wight to surprise her.





We took the very early morning ferry from Southampton with tired eyes and dreams of being back in our warm beds but it was going to be a fabulous day so that got us through. On our arrival, we hid from the house ready to shout surprise only to find our mum had gone to church. We were slightly too early. All was OK though, my husband's sister was home to greet us and help us prepare her gifts on the dining room table. When she did get home, her face was a picture. She was so happy to see us and to the give the boys lots of cuddles. I wish i took more pictures from this time to show you guys but it completely slipped my mind. After lots of chats, cakes, and a cuppa we decided to visit the local Owl and Monkey sanctuary as the boys have been bugging us to go for a while now. As always, it always turns into children's day rather than Mother's day. However, i am a huge monkey lover so was secretly excited about going there. 

The Owl and Monkey haven were offering free entry for Mums on Mother's day which was a lovely bonus. Especially when there were six of us all together and visiting these places isn't cheap. The sanctuary was lovely though, smaller than i expected but we had a nice time. Below our a few of my snaps from the day so you can kind of get the idea of what we saw and got up to. 













Sporting my new boots from Boo hoo. 



We only stayed at the Monkey haven for an hour as it was so cold. I can't believe this wintry weather we have having at the moment. I guess the whole of Britain is wishing for summer to hurry up right now. We decided for our afternoon entertainment to pop to Morrison's for cakes, sandwiches and scones to create a nice high tea followed by a film. Again, i forgot to take photos of this, so sorry about that.







Overall,  my mother in law and I had a lovely Mother's day. So many memories were made and cakes consumed. How did you spend your Mother's days?



Gem xx

Monday, 4 March 2013

What we did today. Saturday 2nd march 2013.

Today we visited a little farm near our home in Hampshire and thought I would share some of our family photos from our freezing but lovely day out with you guys.








Hello

Today we had a lovely day out at Millers ark farm which is just on the outskirts of Basingstoke. Although the weather is still absolutely freezing we really wanted to get out for some Saturday fresh air. We have visited Millers ark before during the last spring lambing season and we really enjoyed cuddling the new babies. As it's lambing season again we were really excited to return again this year.
As you can see from our family pictures, the farm allows a lot of interaction with the animals. Every pen had a staff member ushering you in to stroke, hold and brush the animals. This has to be our favourite part as most farms don't allow you to do this. This constant interaction makes the animals extremely friendly and tame, preventing those tears when animals have a little nip.
After all the excitement and a thorougher hand scrub, we visited the lovely heated barn they had for a sausage bap and cake. The food was so welcome as our hands were slightly frozen by this point but overall we had a really lovely day. Definitely recommend a visit if you are ever around the area.


I have entered this post in a blog hop found on a fellow family blogger: Mummy from the heart. It is part of her reasons to be cheerful feature and i would really recommend joining in. xx

Friday, 15 February 2013

What we did today: Friday 15th February 2013

A trip to the theatre to see 'The Gruffalo's Child' 



Hello ☆

Today was a very welcome Teachers training day for the boys and for me. With my husband still having to go to work we decided to try and have a fun day. I saw on the Internet this morning that 'The Gruffalo's Child' was showing at our local theatre, Basingstoke's Haymarket, and decided straight away to take them for their first theatrical experience. I am crazy about theatre, especially musicals and i want the boys to love it to.








The Gruffalo’s Child is the sequel to the hugely popular Gruffalo which saw a mouse outwit a big hairy monster. The Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s Child are repeatedly requested at bedtime in our house and we know the words off by heart. When i told the boys we were going, their faces were beaming with excitement. 

The show at Basingstoke Haymarket theatre was really very good, exactly as children’s storytelling should be, and they even get the kids to interact in-between scenes which in my opinion is essential to prevent the kids from getting bored and causing mayhem. There were a few little ones though that screamed the whole way through and repeatedly escaping from the theatre. Hats off to the actors for not being distracted by this. 

The script sticks fairly close to the original story but to duplicate it would make it considerably shorter than an hour (I can whip through a bedtime story in about four minutes), so there’s additional dialogue and songs. The cast of three were excellent, the boys favourite being the mouse, who bounds around the stage like a hyperactive excitable little girl, getting the laughs, and starting the show running up and down the aisles, begging for cheese.

The Gruffalo’s Child is certainly worth seeing. It’s a loving re-creation of the book and the song and dance routines are going to be rein-acted around our house for the next few weeks. 






Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Happy Pancake day/ Shrove tuesday!

Hello

Today is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day. The family love this time of the year even though we tend to indulge in pancakes at least one a week. They have to be the best breakfast or dessert available and so easy to make!



In the past month, I have started to take my two boys to church every Sunday. We enjoy the community side of it and the boys are really enjoying learning all the stories in the bible. Before this, i admittedly didn't really know anything about the meaning behind shove Tuesday but we are now well informed. Shove Tuesday is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of lent. It is traditionally the day we feast on richer, fatty foods before the ritual of fasting the day after. In the Uk we traditionally feast on pancakes, where as other countries will be seen taking part in Mardi Gras, the french term for Fat Tuesday. 

Why do we eat pancakes? Lent is a time of abstinence, of giving things up. So Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself, and to use up the foods that aren't allowed in lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which are forbidden during lent. 

Here is the recipe we use to make our pancakes: 

American breakfast pancakes:
(From Nigella Lawson's cook book)

This recipe is extremely popular in my household because they are so thick and spongy. They go really well with syrup or just simple lemon and sugar. For breakfast, try adding some bacon, mushrooms and scrambled egg. For desert, we let the children cover their pancakes in icing sugar and their favourite sweets.

Ingredients: 


  • 225 gram(s) plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon(s) baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon(s) white sugar
  • 2 large egg(s) (beaten)
  • 30 gram(s) butter (melted and cooled)
  • 300 ml milk


Method

  1. The easiest way to make these is to put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz. But if you do mix up the batter by hand in a bowl, make a well in the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, beat in the eggs, melted butter and milk, and transfer to a jug: it's much easier to pour the batter into the pan than to spoon it.
  2. Heat a smooth griddle or pan on the stove.
  3. When you cook the pancakes, all you need to remember is that when the upper side of the pancake is blistering and bubbling it's time to cook the second side, and this needs only about 1 minute, if that.
  4. I get about 16 silver-dollar-sized pancakes out of this.

The finished result:


We managed to make about 12 thick pancakes altogether and covered them all in lots of syrup. 







Hope you all have a lovely day.

Gemma, Alfie, Tom. x

Monday, 11 February 2013

Ideas on how to entertain the children over half term.

Hello ★

Half term is coming and if you are like me, completely broke, then you are probably panicking over how you are going to keep your children entertained for a whole week. I have done a similar post to this before (see here) but wanted to do a more up to date list of ideas. 

As you know, I have two boys aged four and five. They are extremely hyper active so need lots of simulation and entertainment. With the snow and rain we have been having lately, i doubt very much that we are going to have a sunny half term. So, i need to write up a plan of mainly budget indoor activities but I will write a few outdoor ones just in case the sun does decided to show itself. 

First up indoor activities: 

  1. Play dates. Invite their friends over for tea parties or game afternoons while you relax and catch up with other mums and dads over a cuppa.
  2. Keep hold of your recycling and use them for craft projects. Cola bottles, toilet roll tubes and cereal boxes make great robots, rockets, or animals. 
  3. Pick out their favourite books and get them to act out the story. Making your own props is also a brilliant way to fill the hours. 
  4. Baking. Get out your cook books and choose some yummy cakes to make. Some of my fondest memories from my own childhood has to be my mum teaching me how to make butterfly cakes and i hope my boys remember this in years to come also. Children love to learn and they will definitely gain a sense of achievement when they tuck into their baking. 
  5. Family game day. I think having a few hours with your phone off, the t.v off etc is really important to remain a close family. Put everything away and get out a board game you all can play. This is so much fun to do. 
  6. Duvets and films. Work through those D.V.D's you been meaning to watch together. Make up some popcorn and cuddle under a blanket. 


Budget days out:

  1. Walk to the local village instead of driving. Make a map before you leave as this is a great way to get the kids interested in walking. 
  2. Go to your local field or park with a check list of things to find. i.e types of insects, types of birds, types of flowers, or types of woodland animals. This is both educational and exciting for children to do and will definitely give them a sense of achievement when they complete their list. 
  3. Go to your local field or park with some games to play. Family football or cricket is a great way to bond together and keeps everyone fit and healthy at the same time. 
  4. Use your local library. Its free and provides hours of entertainment. 
  5. If the sun is out, visit the coast. The children will love exploring rock pools and caves for sea life and shells as well as chasing the waves. Also save up your 2 pence pieces for the arcades, so much fun to be had in these places. 
  6. Go fly a kite. Use a windy day to your advantage. You could even get them to make their own using card, straws and some string. 
  7. Take them to an indoor play centre to tire them out while you sip on a coffee over a newspaper. 
  8. Get them gardening. Planting and watching them grow is exciting for children. If you don't have a garden or if it is too wet outside, you could use window boxes or small pots. My boys personally enjoy making little men by planting cress in the foots of a ball of old tights. 


There are so many more ideas to entertain the children this half term but these are my favourite ones. Which ones, if any, are you going to try. Let me know. 

Gemma, Alfie and Tom. x







Tuesday, 5 February 2013

2013 MAD blog awards.




I have just been informed of a wonderful award taking place called M.A.D or Mums and Dads award. As this blog is barely a year old this is my first time i have ever heard of this award. Recently i have very gratefully received some emails from readers saying they have nominated my two blogs, Gemma the family girl for best blog and gemmasthoughtsandloves.com for the beauty and fashion award. I am so grateful for this. As my blogs are babies i think it is highly unlikely that i will be placed in the finals let alone win but  a girl can dream and just the fact my readers have nominated me makes me extremely happy. Thank you again girls.


MAD Blog AwardsIf you wish to vote for me visit the-mads.com or click the button to your right, then you will need to copy and paste my url: http://gemmathefamilygirl.blogspot.co.uk into the categories you would like to nominate me for. 

Also if can you copy and paste my fashion blog link: http://www.gemmasthoughtsandloves.com into the fashion and beauty blog category you will honestly make me the happiest mummy in the world. 

Thank you for taking the time to do this for me.

Hope you are all having a great day.
Gem x