He’s everyone’s favourite sweet treat and this week Percy Pig celebrated his 25th Birthday. I can’t quite believe he’s been around for twenty five years but it’s true! The deliciously, juicy little pig has been delighting kids and adults alike for a quarter of a century. A milestone that deserved a big party!

Now I’ve been blogging for over three years and in that time I’ve had some amazing opportunities and been lucky enough to be invited to some pretty awesome events but I must admit when I received this invite by Marks and Spencer I was super excited – and as you can imagine my two big girls were very jealous.

I’m not able to go to many events on a school night as we don’t have any backup childcare, so I really have to pick and choose my events carefully but I knew this was one not to miss.

It was a beautiful and fun night, that had a big emphasis on gorgeous food and wine from the past 25 years – with no pork in sight!

Here are some pictures from the event to give you a flavour of the evening…

This last snap was saved from my Insta Stories so please forgive the low quality.

On the night we were served ‘Percy on the Beach’ cocktails, made from Percy infused vodka. Here’s how you can recreate this deliciously fruity and refreshing cocktail at home…

Thank you so much Percy and Marks and Spencer for a gorgeous evening full of fun, flowers, food and lots of yummy sweets!

I feel like I’ve been watching ‘In The Night Garden’ for the last six years. First with Lili, then Poppy and now Iris is getting into the colourful world of Upsy Daisy, Igglepiggle and the rest of the gang. It’s been their stepping stone into the wonderful word of learning through television. I can’t say I completely understand every episode or every character but the girls have all been captivated by the vivid colours and lively music.

Last week we were invited to the RHS Gardens at Wisley to celebrate the 10th birthday of ‘In The Night Garden’. I accepted the invitation for two reasons, firstly I knew it would be exciting for Iris who is only starting her journey into the night garden. Secondly, Wisley is a place I’ve wanted to visit for years. It’s a special place for my husband, who used to visit regularly as a boy with his mother. Over the years (we’ve been together almost 18 years) I’ve heard so many stories about the gardens and how she loved walking around the beautiful areas and enjoyed the cakes at the cafe. Sadly, she passed away over ten years ago, so as you can imagine it really is a special place for him.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the gardens but I can tell you that my expectations were high. Very high!

We started our day at the In The Night Garden party, where the big girls met the characters and got their face pained. They also got to decorate plant pots and listen to some stories, then it was time to explore the grounds. I have no words to describe the beauty of Wisley. It has so many different aspects, one minute we were walking around a rose garden, then a meadow, then a rock garden, then an oriental gazebo, then a tropical greenhouse, the list of different areas goes on and on. We followed the Night Garden trail to find the characters who were dotted around the grounds. The girls loved running around hunting out their favourite characters.

You can join Igglepiggle and friends on your own magical adventure trail at any of the four RHS Gardens in the UK. Simply pick up a free trail at the garden entrance or download the Gamar app before you arrive to bring the In The Night Garden friends to life.  The trail is an imaginative play trail, ideal for children aged 1 to 5 years old and is available until the end of June 2017.

We recently dipped our toe into the festival scene for the first time. Before having children my husband and I used to love going to music concerts but we never made it to a festival – and since having children, I thought that they were just something I’d never get round to experiencing. Leaving me wondering, ‘did I miss out?’ There’s always been that small regret that I should have ‘done’ Glastonbury or maybe V Festival in my younger years. Although, I’ve never really been keen on camping, which probably explains why I never went to a festival.

However, with the recent rise of family friendly festivals, maybe we can still experience a festival with the kids in tow? Over the last bank holiday weekend we attended Elderflower Fields Family Festival in East Sussex. We don’t own camping equipment and if I’m honest I’m still not sold on the idea of camping (especially with three kids), so we decided to go for the day, giving us the opportunity to experience a festival without the challenges and cost of camping.

Elderflower Fields Family Festival is a three-day festival designed for families with young children. It’s a wild weekend of adventure, music, sports, nature and crafts – set in the heart of Sussex.

This small, perfectly formed festival was established in 2012. The organisers initially wanted to create a party for a few hundred friends and family but their plans snowballed and before they knew it, they’d sold over a thousand tickets. I love the thought of a party getting so out of hand that it ended up creating a new family business.

In 2014 Elderflower Fields moved to a bigger venue, Pippingford Park, where the festival now returns each year. It’s a beautiful, wild, hilly spot that’s perfect for the magical, fairyland feels of Elderflower Fields.

The organisers say that they intentionally keep Elderflower Fields small…

“…it’s part of what makes Elderflower Fields such a safe and special weekend for families. But we also try to increase the quantity and quality of the activities and performances every year, so that there’s always something new and exciting for our guests.”

So what did we think of our first venture into a family festival?

When I think back over our day at Elderflower Fields, three things come to mind. Firstly, it was absolutely magical. The whole site was decorated beautifully, with rustic charm and gorgeous detail. There was colour everywhere you looked, trees were decorated with large ornaments and lights, there were colourful buntings everywhere and everything had a shabby homemade vibe, which I loved. The festival also had a fairyland vibe with fairy tours and storytelling adding to the magical feel of the place.

The second thing that comes to mind is the food! The quality and the choice of food available was just astonishing – it almost felt like a mini food festival, with all the different independent food vendors. We wanted to try everything on offer but ended up opting for wood fire pizzas, homemade ice creams and sorbets (I had the strawberry and champagne sorbet, which was out of this world), and as we were leaving we picked up some chocolate covered waffles on a stick.

The third and last thing that I’d say about Elderflower Fields is how it’s perfectly catered for children. All the activities were fun, well considered and ideal to get kids involved. The variety of activities on offer was brilliant; we made giant bubbles, created science experiments, found fairy doors, listen to stories, danced to music, played in hammocks, rode down hill on skateboards and even made mud pies in the play kitchen. It really was a fun filled day that we’ll remember forever.

The festival also had three main stages dotted around the site for music and storytelling performances. The schedule was full and varied, ensuring that there was always something to see, do or listen to.

We enjoyed our day so much we’re already thinking about going back next year, who knows we may even camp!

We live 12 miles outside of London, which is close enough for us to be able to pop in at a moments notice – but far enough out to feel like we don’t live in the city.

A couple of weeks ago I organised for us to enjoy a family day in London, pretending to be ‘tourists’ in the city that’s literally on our doorstep. We did two things we’d never done before, and these two things (I’m guessing) would be high up on a normal tourist’s hit list. First of all we went on the London Duck Tours. The Duck Tours are a fun and informative way to learn about the city of London. Once on board the “bus that turns into a boat” (as the girls called it), we got to see some of London’s most famous sights, learn some interesting facts about the city from the commentator and finished off with a thrilling splashdown onto the river!

This is actually something I’ve been wanting to do for years. I’ve seen the yellow ‘ducks’ driving around the city and thought “we should do that one day”. Do you do that? Put things off, for no reason? Well, I can now tick this off my bucket list. And do you know what? It was fantastic! I learnt so much about our capital city, silly but interesting little facts that I didn’t know before. The commentator was great and kept things fun and light hearted for the kids, while making sure we didn’t miss a thing as we went round the tour.

Of course the best part for the kids was the end, when the bus did actually turn into a boat and took us up and down a stretch of the river Thames.  Apparently these duck themed buses were originally used in the Second World War, but have now been completely rebuilt and modified to meet the safety regulations of today.

After having lunch on the Southbank we headed to the Sea Life Aquarium for our second activity of the day. The Sea Life London Aquarium is situated on the South Bank, near the London Eye and is spread over three floors of aquatic wonder.

The aquarium has over 500 species of global aquatic sea animals, there’s literally something to grab your attention around every corner. A major new feature at the Sea Life London is the Shark Reef, which allows you to view the sharks from a glass tunnel walkway. Lili and Poppy were both so excited by this thrilling feature, it literally felt like you were fully immersed in the huge shark filled tank.

They also loved the new Gentoo Penguin Colony at the aquarium’s Ice Adventure, which is a frozen antarctic landscape where you can view penguins as they play together. If I’m honest, the aquarium is visually stunning and full of interesting information about the amazing underwater world but a word of warning – it does get very busy at weekends. We went on a Sunday afternoon and the place was packed, which made it difficult to get a good view of some of the tanks. It also meant we missed out on the full experience, which is a shame.

If you’re planning a visit to London sometime soon, I’d definitely put these two attractions on to your list. Although, I’d advise you to visit the Sea Life Aquarium during the week or first thing in the morning at weekends.

Disclaimer: We were invited to try these attractions but all opinions are my own and true.

 

A few weeks ago I was sat on the sofa sifting through my emails, Dom was sat next to me watching TV, when I came across a very exciting invitation. This special email was from Joules inviting me (plus one) to be their guest at this year’s Badminton Horse Trials in Gloucestershire. I literally gasped, then started reading the invite aloud, as I continued to read I realised the invite also included an overnight stay at the Bath Spa Hotel. Dom obviously realised that I was pretty excited and instantly said “wow, that sounds amazing, you should go”. This came as a surprise as he works full time and we don’t have any family nearby or childcare on hand. He went on to say “don’t worry, we’ll sort something out, you deserve this after the past few weeks”. Basically, we’ve had three lots of chickenpox (literally one girl after the other),  which has been pretty hideous. I’ve had five full weeks in quarantine, with three very bored and irritated little girls. Cabin fever doesn’t even begin to describe how we’ve been feeling.

Anyway, I called in a few favours with ‘the mum squad’ (my school mum friends) and excitedly RSVP’d to say I’d love to come along.

Joules have long been one of my favourite brands, I absolutely love their clothes – and to be honest their whole ethos is perfectly alined to us as a family. We all (literally all five of us) wear Joules coats on a daily basis and we also have a number of items from their current spring/ summer collection. However, I now have a new level of respect for this very wonderful, very British brand.

Having emailed my RSVP (and invited my good friend Bonnie from MamasVIB as my plus one), Joules emailed me back and asked me to pick a coat, a top and a pair of wellies (from their website) to wear on the day! I picked this beautiful red raincoat, this gorgeous off the shoulder summer top and these stunning premium wellies. Unfortunately, it was a little cold on the day so I decided to wear my winter Joules coat (I told you I was a big fan of the brand! I’ve now got a few of their coats). Now although I wasn’t able to use any of my three chosen items on the day, I know I’ll make lots of use out of them in the future. In fact, I’ve already worn the red raincoat a few times on the school run.

Why take us to Badminton?

Joules have had a stand at the Badminton Horse Trials for over 27 years – and now they also manufacture the official Badminton merchandise, which is worn and sold at the event. However, this was the first year they’ve invited guests and held an event.

On the day Bonnie and I were picked up at 7am and taken to the Bath Spa Hotel, where we met all the other bloggers and influencers who’d been invited. Once we’d all gathered at the hotel and dropped our luggage, a coach arrived to take us to Badminton. We arrived at around 11.30am and were given some free time to roam the grounds and watch some of the dressage competition. At 1pm we all gathered back at the Joules stand and were then guided out to a private picnic area, where they had set up the most amazing buffet lunch. The spread included; poached salmon, coronation chicken, cold cooked meats, all sorts of different salads and fresh breads, as well as beautiful strawberries, mini cakes and (the best) brownies for pudding. Not forgetting the bottles (and bottles) of champaign! We all felt very spoilt!

As you can see from the pictures, everything was perfectly organised and looked stunning. However, the best part was being able to spend time with some of my favourite blogging friends including; Caro from The Twikle Diaries, Lucy from Captured by Lucy and of course Bonnie from MamasVIB. It was also lovely to get to know some of the other bloggers, including; Molly from Mother’s Always Right, Lauren from Hunters & Heels, Antonia from Tinker Tailor Online and Ella from Coco’s Tea Party.

These next two pictures were taken by the very talented Lucy from Captured by Lucy. If only she could always be my photographer!!

How gorgeous is this caravan?! Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures inside (I was obviously too busy enjoying myself) but it was beautifully decked out with Joules interiors and looked just as beautiful as it does on the outside.

It has now been a full week since this dreamy day at Badminton but as I sit here writing this post and going through my pictures, I’m transported back to this beautiful spot looking out over Badminton House. I can’t help but smile and feel very lucky that this is my job and I (every now and again) get to go to these very special events. Thank you Joules xx