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Free Family-Friendly Forest of Fairies

Why visit Rushmere Country Park? Fantastic views, fairies, free entry and freedom.

We had planned a day out to the Natural History Museum in Tring today, however, since it was Bank Holiday the trains were not running as normal so we decided to do something more local, and since it was a beautiful day we decided to go to the park. The last time I went to Rushmere Park I was actually pregnant with my little man, I told this to Nate and he said:

“I remember mummy, but I couldn’t see”!

Well what a difference 3 years makes, they have certainly invested in Rushmere in Leighton Buzzard (aka Stockgrove Park) and it is a major improvement and is definitely more family friendly.

It costs £2 for parking (on exit) and is a beautiful forest, with the most magnificent views, so is more than worth it.

beautiful views of milton keynes

It now has a children’s park and sandpit, Nate really enjoyed the digger.

toddler playing with digger

Plus, for the first time, he went into the park by himself and made some friends, they asked him what his name was and pointed at his Turtles T-shirt, then they all played “Turtles” and played with the digger together, it was so sweet to watch.

It has a visitors centre and a new Tree Tops Cafe, overlooking the beautiful views.

Throughout the forest they have added some special little features such as Fairy/Goblin doors in the trees. Nate enjoyed finding the doors throughout the forest and knocking to see if any Goblins were home.

toddler knocking on tree doors

A Giant’s chair, which Nate flat-out refused to sit on, hubby loved it though!

rushmere park

Nate really loves “going exploring” as he calls it, he ran around, picked up sticks, looked for animals and bugs. It is so lovely to watch Nate interact with nature, to enjoy the sunshine and say things like “Mummy look at the blue sky, its so pretty”. He loved playing hide and seek, but still thinks that if he closes his eyes, you cannot see him!

toddler hiding in the woods

I have to admit, I am not very good at impromptu/unplanned days out, I am Mrs Organised, but my husband is the opposite, he is very go with the flow, and sometimes I am really glad that I give in to it and just see where the day takes us. We all had the most lovely day out, it costed us far less then the two trips I had planned, it was right on our door-step, and it was nature at its very best. I hope that I can relax and allow some of my days to be as beautifully unplanned as this one.

2

This week I’m…

Watching…House of Cards season one – my husband recently got me hooked on this weird politically show, starring Kevin Spacey. Every time I watch an episode though, I keep thinking, those two are freaks! Frank and Claire Underwood – they are so weird.

Reading…an actual book: Six Little Miracles by Janet Walton – I’m really enjoying this story about the first lady to have sextuplets. I know how hard it is just having one child, so having six, and then having six all at once – amazing! Audiobook: I am listening to A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, I am revisiting thie beloved book. I love Bill Bryson, he is so funny, I love his dry humour and sarcasm. Nate is reading lots of books, but our current fave is The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson.

daisies and tulips

Trying…I bought myself a Bento-style lunch box and will be trying to indulge in healthier snacks at work such as granola, yoghurt, nuts and fruit. I love the little sections and pots in this fab little box, it even comes with mini cutlery!

Cooking…tonight we had a pasta dish that I invented myself – Garlic chicken in pasta, onions and chicken soup. Tomorrow we will be having bangers and mash with roasted apples and onions (Jamie Oliver I think), plus a whole host of other veg and we will be serving it family style and letting Nate help himself. This idea came from Mummy McD, who also has a fussy 3 year old. I am hoping he will try a few new foods, but without me pressuring him.

Planning…our 10 year wedding anniversary is coming up, so I am planning something fun for me and the hubster. Obviously I won’t be going into detail as he often reads my blogs *waves at hubby*.

Going…this weekend we are going to try to go to the Natural History Museum in Tring, we also need to go to the Library to get some new books. Nate wants some more Julia Donaldson books, as we have read most of hers.

What will you be doing this week?

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10

15 Things only a Toddler can get away with

Nate ran into nursery the other day and showed everyone his new underpants (TMNT ones) and it got me thinking, only babies/toddlers can get away with showing other people their pants…what else can they do and it’s not considered weird?

So only toddlers/young children can get away with…

1. Wearing a Captain America costume to the supermarket

toddler dressed as captain america
2. Weeing in public
3. Eating the same food every single day for months
4. Jumping on the furniture

sofa jumping

5. Shouting out inappropriately in public

6. Falling asleep in the middle of someone’s conversation

toddler sleep

7. Talking incessantly and not letting anyone else speak

8. Crying and pouting because you can’t get your own way

9. Cross-dressing: A boy can dress up as a princess and a girl can dress up as Bob the Builder.

10. Eating sweets all day long without feeling sick or feeling guilty

11. Believing in Santa and the Easter Bunny

12. Not paying taxes

13. Reading the same book over and over and over

14. Making up their own rules to every game

15. Where being good is the only work they have to do!

What do you wish you could get away with?

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You Baby Me Mummy
4

Liebster Award

Thank u Mumma McD for nominating me,  it is very much appreciated! Like most before me, I had never heard of the award but felt so happy to be chosen. So I am returning the blog-love by nominating others for the award.

Each nominee has to follow 6 simple rules:
Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the Liebster Award on your blog.
Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you.
Give 11 random facts about yourself.
Nominate 11 blogs that you think are deserving of the award, that have less than 200 followers (I went off the number of Facebook and/or Bloglovin followers if I couldn’t tell from the blog).
Let those bloggers know you’ve nominated them.
Give them 11 questions to answer.

liebster-award

And the 11 questions for those bloggers:
How did you choose the name of your blog?

When I first started blogging, just as a diary, when Nate was a baby, I called my blog “Muslin Times”, with the tag line: it is the muslin time of my life. But the name looked like a religious newspaper and caused some confusion, so as Nate got a bit bigger and the focus was not so much on sleep deprivation and survival but became, days out, trips, play centres, parks etc and I simply loved to organise anything fun for us to do as a family. So it became Mum for Fun.

How much time per week do you spend on your blog?

Much more lately, but it is tricky because I work a full-time job out of the house and therefore have very little free time. I would say I spend about 12-15 hours a week on blog related activities.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Many things, but the two prominent ones were a teacher and a writer. If I wasn’t playing “Teacher” with my little brother I had a notebook in my hand.

Last piece of clothing you purchased?

Batman underpants – for Nate obviously! He is potty training right now so we have had to buy a bunch of new underpants.

Where in the world do you live?

I live in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England and I love it here, it is a beautiful green town, full of history and always growing.

Favourite television show at the moment?

Keeping up with the Kardashians is still my guilty pleasure, but I don’t tell many people that, so shhhhh keep it to yourself. The fave that I am not embarrassed to tell anyone about is Call the Midwife and House of Cards, watching them both on Netflix.

Favourite actor/actress?

It’s tricky, I tend to love a particular actor or actress because they are in one of my favourite movies, but then it keeps changing. I don’t think I could choose one, but I do like the following: Liam Neeson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Emily Blunt, Morgan Freeman, Bill Nighy.

How do you relax?

Dinner and a movie are my favourite activities, hubby and I get to do that when my parents take Nate for the night. Lying in bed and watching TV or reading helps me relax before I go to sleep.

Do you have a nickname? Or did you have one as a child?

Embarassingly my dad used to call me Gloria because I always (and still do) walk around the house singing. My friends and my brother all call me Kat, in fact my colleagues at work call me that too, but not my mum, she always calls me by my full name Katrina.

How do you take your coffee?

I don’t like coffee, however I take my tea white, no sugar. For christmas hubby and I bought each other a tea pot and real tea-leaves – its lush – am quite addicted to real tea now!

How many hours sleep do you get each night?

8.5 to 9 hours, depending on how tired I am. I need a lot of sleep!

Now for my 11 random facts:

  1. My nan gave birth to 14 children.
  2. I was once on the Timmy Mallet show as a child.
  3. I met Cheryl Cole (and the rest of Girls Aloud) on an airplane, they were sat behind us.
  4. On my honeymoon, I had a headache and stormed back to my room bumping into someone on my way, I did not look back, but husband was gobsmacked to see me bump into Don King on his way to a big boxing match at the MGM Grand.
  5. I almost died when I was 10 when I got chewing gum stuck in my throat and couldn’t breathe.
  6. During labour I shouted out answers to the women either side of me who were screaming such as “you can do it” and “don’t give up” etc whilst I was in the middle of my terrible labour pain, I don’t remember that though!
  7. After Nate’s birth, due to extreme sleep deprivation I hallucinated that someone was breaking onto the post-natal ward and dialed 999 from my mobile to tell the police.
  8. My favourite UK band is Muse, my favourite US bands are quite obscure: 112 and Danity Kane.
  9. I don’t put butter in sandwiches.
  10. I have kept a diary (and still do) since I was 10 years old.
  11. Singing is my most favourite thing to do.

Now for my 11 questions for my fellow bloggers that I nominated below:

  1. What do you do for a living, your career, either in our out of the home?
  2. What is your current worry for each of your children?
  3. What is the last movie you watched at home? At the cinema?
  4. What is your best blogging tip for newbie bloggers?
  5. Which is your favourite social media platform? Which brings you the most traffic?
  6. What one food could you eat every day for the rest of your life?
  7. What is your favourite activity to do with your child(ren)?
  8. Is child-rearing shared between you and your partner? If yes, how do you split up the cooking, cleaning, playing, changing, bathing, putting to bed, getting dressed etc of your children?
  9. What is your favourite perfume?
  10. Where was your best holiday as a couple? And where was your best family holiday?
  11. A cute or funny thing your child(ren) recently said?

Now for my top 11 newbie bloggers (newbie status according to amount of followers):

  1. Fit2Thrive
  2. Mummyscribbles
  3. The Family Patch
  4. The Dadaventurer
  5. Adventures of a novice mum
  6. Baby baby
  7. Hills and Daffodils
  8. Mama vs Teacher
  9. Mummy on a Budget
  10. Diary of a Midlife mummy
  11. Betty and the Bumps

 

6

Easter Fun Alternatives – How to Play

easter activities

It’s Good Friday tomorrow, a lovely long weekend ahead for those of us who work (outside of retail), and with typical British weather I was trying to think of some indoor activities to do with my son, and not just Easter related activities. We will hide eggs over the house and do some Easter crafts and baking, but 4 days is a lot of time to fill, so I was particularly inspired by a book I recently read called “The Happiness Project”, in which the author, in trying to come up with fun things to do she thinks back to her own childhood and what she used to find fun. She used to make a version of scrap-books – which actually sounds fun, although she called it a blank book – and I might give that a go – you just need blank paper, glue scissors, and a bunch of magazines, comics, catalogues, photos etc. stick in it the things that inspire you, which is sort of what we do with our blogs.

So I decided to have a little think about what I used to enjoy doing when I was a child, here is my list:

1. Writing stories and quizzes and I kept a diary – I always had a notebook in my hand as a child, my mum was forever groaning after the incessant questions I would ask them during my quiz sessions, and when we went to toy shops I would often just buy a notepad and pens – yeah weird I know!

2. I made paper airplanes – with a twist! My brother liked making paper airplanes, which was a bit boring for me, but to join in I made them too, but, in addition, I would cut out windows into the plane, and then cut out little people and animals and insert them into the windows so that the plane had passengers!

3. Building a den outside, or a home as I used to call it, we would collect all sorts of things from the area to make a home, used empty boxes, old pillows, sticks, flowers, old tires etc.

4. Playing board games – I loved and still love playing board games, sometimes my brother and I would play monopoly and then leave it overnight in my room and play the next day and keep going on and on with the same game for like a week, I think we must have made up our own rules for it to go on that long!

5. Radio stations – I had a tape recorder and would record myself having my own radio station, I would interview my brother and parents, I would sing the songs in between instead of playing real songs (I love singing) and would do all the talking about my day like a DJ does and it was all recorded onto tape. (It’s a little embarrassing to be sharing this with the world, but I was 7)!

Some of my activities are a bit old for my 3 year old, but I think he would love to make paper airplanes and maybe even add a twist to them like I did. I have never encouraged him to build a den before, but I am sure he would love it and we already play board games so that’s covered.

So my plan to incorporate into my Easter plans is Den Building and paper airplane making. What are yours? Do you remember any activities you loved to do as a child? Please share them!

The List

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0

Oh… another Disney Movie – HOME Review

On Mothers’ day, I selflessly (along with many other mothers) watched a movie that I knew my toddler would enjoy. It was the new Disney movie called “Home”.

The main character is called “Oh” he is a colour-changing alien from another planet who invades earth with all the other Boov (alien race). I so love how he got his name, check out the trailer below:

Oh is on the run and bumps into a remaining human (all the others are whisked off to Australia), a 10 year old girl called Gratuity Tucci, or Tip. (Seriously who comes up with these names?!) Both on the run, they work together to find Tip’s mother. I was pleasantly surprised that Rihanna played the voice of Tip, as she is one of my favourite singers, and she played a tween very well, it sounded believable. Tip is pretty realistic, unlike many Disney movies which are usually full of beautiful princesses.

home oh and tip image

It was pretty enjoyable with some laugh out loud moments, my 3 year old sat through the whole movie so he must have enjoyed it. I found it funny enough – mostly because the Alien couldn’t talk properly so that was pretty funny, the strange phrases he would come out with e.g “Can I come into the out now”. It does have some important messages that older children should pick up such as ‘it’s ok to be different and to make mistakes’ and home is not a place but the people you care about.

It’s not the best Disney movie I have seen, but if you have a spare few hours and get a good price, go for it.

0

Still Alice Film Review

Julianne Moore finally won an Oscar, and it was definitely worthy for her role as Alice. This movie is sad but very watchable, I’ve seen it twice and would be happy to see it a third time. Trailer:

Review without spoilers

Alice Howland is a 50 year old Professor of Linguistics at Columbia University, she has a loving, and equally busy, husband, played by Alec Baldwin as well as three grown-up children, one is lawyer, one is a doctor and the youngest is a struggling actress (played by Kristen Stewart or better known as Bella from Twilight). Just after her 50th birthday, she starts noticing that she is forgetting certain words, and one day after getting lost she goes to see a neurologist. He diagnoses her with early on-set Alzheimers Disease.

Review with Spoilers (Don’t read if you intend to watch the movie)

At the beginning of the film you are shown Alice giving a lecture at UCLA – she is so articulate and poised, it really contrasts to what happens to her by the end of the movie. I like how her relationship is portrayed with Lydia her youngest (Kristen Stewart), they seem really natural together and have good chemistry. I don’t really feel the same way with her older children, they feel very stiff and cookie-cutter, however that does not detract from the movie, and I probably only noticed that the second time I saw it. Julianne Moore gives a superb performance, but I am sure that goes without saying as she has an Oscar to prove that. The way she depicts the struggles, isolation and fight is amazing.

I thought the way she handled her neurology appointments, leading up to her diagnosis and afterwards seemed very in-keeping to the personality of Alice. Alice is a high-flying college professor, constantly on the go, very cerebral, playing word games on her iPhone etc. The way she was trying to test herself, using her iPhone, testing herself with questions, making a video for herself it seemed reminiscent of what I would expect from a person like that, it was well-written.

When she had to tell her children that not only was she about to get very sick, but that they could develop the disease too (what a horrible thing to have to say to your children) that really pulled at my heart strings, she blamed herself even though it’s not her fault, no one can control their genes.

It’s very sad how young she was and how quickly she deteriorated. It seemed like she went from seemingly normal, able to hold conversations and even work, to not being able to dress herself, speak properly or take care of herself in months, although the time frame isn’t completely clear. It is very sad when she says that she would rather have cancer because people go on walks for you and wear a ribbon (less of a stigma), but in fact the Alzheimers Society do “Memory Walks”.

alzheimers disease still alice

My favourite part of the movie was the speech that she gave to the Alzheimers Society, which was directly in contrast to the lecture she gave at the beginning. This time it took her 3 days to write, she had to use a highlighter so that she knew what words she has already said or ‘yellow thingy’ as she called it, she drops her notes and fumbles over words, but wow! She actually made me cry, not that its hard to do that, but it was very moving.

My least favourite part of the movie was when she asked her husband to take a sabbatical, to spend time with her while she still knew who she was. He refused and then later takes a job in Minnesota and moves away, leaving the youngest daughter (Lydia) to look after her mother, who at this point required constant care. He says to Lydia: “You’re a better man that I” and I would have to agree with that. I know it’s harsh, I can’t even imagine how people get through these things, but I really don’t like that he put his job first – even though she probably would have done the same. I did love the irony though of the fact that the older two children were very critical of Lydia, said how flighty she was, never reliable or around for important occasions and yet she was the one out of them all that stepped up to take care of their mother.

I would have liked the movie to have been slightly longer to show more of the later disease, as you only really see a glimpse, I believe in the book she moves into a nursing home/assisted living, it would be interesting to see that transition, though terribly sad I am sure.

The release date of this movie was actually in December, but it is back in Cinemas, no doubt due to the Academy Award.

Lisa Genova is the author of Still Alice, which was based on her grandmother. She is about to release a new book called “Inside the O’Briens” which is about a cop who develops Huntington’s Disease. After watching the movie I will have to read both of these books.

Have you seen Still Alice? What did you think?

6

When everything breaks…

This week has been particularly trying, so, to sum it up quickly: toddler had Diarrhea (on Mothers Day no less), our Fridge-Freezer broke, and the car needs the cambelt changed – very expensive. So when I was looking through my Bloglovin feed, I was particularly inspired by the Happy Days Linky over at What Katy Said. Her idea is to appreciate the small things and appreciate everyday. I think I really need that this week.

Fun at Home

On Mothers Day I was awoken by a crying little boy, which is unusual. When I rushed in, I could see why, the poor little man had Diahorrea and it was everywhere, all the way up to his neck, in his bed and soaked through his clothes. I think this was the universe’s way of saying – it may be mother’s day, but its not really about you. I think this is what “Oh” from the movie “Home” was referring to when he said – I need to do a number 3! Nate definitely did a number 3!

Husband and I both work full-time, so we both had to take time off this week to take care of the little man as he had to stay off nursery. We both had to use up our annual leave – that’s the nature of parenthood, but at least it is happening less now that he is getting older. When he first went to nursery he caught everything and we hardly had any annual leave left to take a family holiday.

Apart from the first day, he didn’t actually have it very bad, and he was in very good spirits all week, so it was a joy to be spending time with him.

On Friday morning, on our return from the library, Nate and I played superheroes, and at one point I had to stop playing to take some pictures of him because he was so happy, I wanted to capture those moments.

toddler playing with spiderman toyspiderman cycle toypre-schooler running like batman

Out and About

We managed to go to the library and get some new books, as well as a “TMNT – Turtles” DVD that Nate was very eager to watch. I took him to our local play centre and met up with some of my NCT friends, which was a real treat, because they all work part-time and I work full-time so I rarely get to see them mid-week. Nate is becoming more and more independent, and was quite happy to run off and play, leaving me some time to talk. Obviously mummy just had to go on the big slide with Nate (which is so fast it actually takes my breath away) and play in the construction zone.

Time for Me

On Mothers Day hubby encouraged me to go out while he took care of our sick little man. Obviously I felt terribly guilty, that’s what mothers do best right? But ultimately I relented and watched “Still Alice” at the cinema.

My happiest moment

Was when Nate came running off the slide, jumped down next to me and said “Mummy can I lie on your lap”, this appears to be his new favourite thing to do, and it makes me so happy. He put his head on my lap and I stroked his hair, it lasted for about 5 minutes before he ran off to play in the ball pit.

Next Week I would like to…

I would like to have a well little boy, that is more important than anything.

I would also like for the company that sold us the American Fridge-Freezer, to pay for it to be replaced. I have to tell you how stressed I was this week when, not only did I have a sick child, but our fridge-freezer just stopped working, with no warning. I came home from work to find everything in the freezer defrosted and a warm fridge – now, I’m no engineer but I am pretty certain they are supposed to do the opposite to that! We looked online, tried a couple of “fixes” but nothing worked. We had to throw almost all of our food away – and we had just done our monthly shop! Then later that night my sick little boy asked for a yoghurt and then his night time milk – I had to tell him no and he proceeded to cry – which broke my heart! I was so upset that he was being affected too. Do you know how hard it is to be without a fridge when you have a toddler? Everything he eats is from the fridge!

We only purchased this fridge freezer 18 months ago, so it was just out of warranty, the company said there is nothing they can do, even though we paid almost £600. I know it’s sad of me to admit this, but I have wanted an American Fridge Freezer with a water dispenser for my entire adult life! It took me years to convince the hubby to spend so much on one, when we had a perfectly fine fridge-freezer (that incidentally lasted us for 12 years), and then when I finally convinced him, did a lot of research and purchased what I thought was the perfect one, with good reviews, it breaks after only 18 months – that is a shockingly short period of time for something that is so expensive, plus everyone around me was telling me how long they should last for – “Yours broke? Oh no, wow ours lasted for 25 years” – thanks I feel so much better now!

What I’m Grateful For

The lovely lady at work (whom I had never met) that gave us her old fridge freezer, for free, when she heard about my predicament. I am also grateful to have an uncomplaining husband who loves spending time with his son and was more than happy to take time off to look after him for a few days. I am grateful to my best friend who reminded me that a fridge is just a possession. I am also proud of my boy who took himself to the toilet in the middle of the night, pulled off his nappy and did his business, for the first time.

What Katy Said

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