Mummy and daughter time at Crafty Vintage

When I have a weekend with just my girls I sometimes worry if I’ll manage, if they’ll get bored or if they’ll just play up for me the whole weekend and I’ll be weeping into a glass of wine come bedtime. You never can tell quite what the days will bring! Single parents I apologise for this, as if I were you I know I’d probably be rolling your eyes at my dramatic stance but as someone not used to solo parenting at the weekend it can be both exciting and rather daunting! For this particular weekend I was pleased to note that one of our favourite events was on, something that my girls love going to, so having that up my sleeve definitely helped. Early on Sunday morning we got dressed had breakfast and at ten headed out the door to the Crafty Vintage Fair at Brockholes Nature Reserve.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We’ve been coming to this for years and know how massively popular it has become. I figured that Sunday morning would be the quietest time and would hopefully get us a parking space. The last couple of times we’ve had to abandon the idea of coming because its been too full to get in. In other words avoid going in the early-mid afternoon!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s a variety of food trucks and pop ups as well as vintage stalls and locally made crafts. I particularly love going to the one before Christmas as it feels really festive and is a great place to pick up Christmas presents.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chris Harrison and Judith Harrison -info@gardendesigner.com

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We fell in love with these gorgeous handmade felt characters from PepperPot Crafts, with the mermaid being a particular hit with the youngest.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

crafty vintage

Ida and Rudy – Handmade Organic Children’s Clothing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ida and Rudy – Handmade Organic Children’s Clothing – Facebook, Instagram

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Unlike a lot of craft and vintage events there’s lots to keep the kids happy too, with facepainting and a craft corner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hands down, my youngest girl’s most favourite thing about this event is the ‘Magic Man’. Both my girls have watched this magician countless times and they adore him. He does the same magic tricks that I saw as a child and they mesmerise my two as they did me when I was little. In such a digital age where children are constantly being bombarded with the latest tech for entertainment, it warms my heart that simple tricks that have pantomime ‘it’s behind you’ elements still get kids excited and involved.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Of course we can’t come to Brockholes and not have a walk and play in the play parks!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

20161204_130335402_ios

20161204_130338705_ios

We had such a lovely trip and I’m so pleased that we managed to get there before it got too busy. The Crafty Vintage fair was the perfect mummy-daughters trip and we’ll definitely be going again.

PS I survived the whole weekend.. and so did the children 😉

morganaMummy and daughter time at Crafty Vintage
read more

Gilmore Girls viewing party – 10 things you have to have!

OK, hands up, who’s stupidly excited about the return of Rory and Lorelai? If you’ve no idea what I’m on about then you might want to read a different post, maybe this one? For all you die hard GG fans, keep reading as I’m going to share the ten things you need to host the ultimate Gilmore Girls viewing party.

Have you seen the trailer? Of course you have! But you’re going to watch it again, aren’t you? I can tell 😉

Right, so here we go, are you ready

1.Your best GG fan girls

You cannot have a Gilmore Girls viewing party without your fellow GG lovers. Set a date for your viewing party and if it’s for the new ones A Year In The Life then make it on the actual night it’s released of make a pact to wait and all watch them together at a later date. For the latter you all must love each other a whole lot to wait!

2. PIZZA

pizza

Self explanatory. Any GG party has to involved food and pizza is right up there with coffee when it comes to what is synonymous to Rory and Lorelai.

3. Bingo cards

Add even more fun to you night and play Gilmore Girls Bingo. Check out these downloadable bingo cards or you can even turn it into a drinking game though that could get a little messy.

5-gilmore-girls-blog-printable-1

Gilmore Girls Bingo Printables – Jane.com

gilmore-girls-bingo-4

Gilmore Girls Bingo -Playpartyplan.com

4. Pop Tarts

So you can buy them, which let’s be honest that is exactly what Lorelai would do, but if you’re feeling particularly creative you can make your own, like these beauties.

pop-tarts-2

These awesome homemade Pop Tarts are by Hello Glow,  I’m wondering whether to try and make mini pop tart pops, OR I might just buy Pop Tarts and a load of sweets instead 😉

 

5. The Rory

Remember when Emily threw a birthday party for Rory and even named a cocktail after her? Well, you too can drink a Rory, check out how here.

6. MORE food – take out

Yes, I know I’ve mentioned food already BUT this is the Gilmore Girls we’re talking about, there can never be enough food. Whether it’s take out, tacos, or just loads of sugary sweets, you need to annoy Luke and get loads of junk food for your party.

Check out these awesome take out boxes by PaperConfete! You can download them and make your own.

gilmore girls viewing party

 

7. Fan girl t-shirts

Whether you make your own or buy them here are a few of my favourites..

 

 

 

 

8. Coffee or at least coffee cake!

You can’t channel you’re inner Lorelai without lots of coffee, whether it’s hot coffee, iced or even coffee cake, there has to be a nod to the good stuff at your party.

Check out this awesome coffee cart by A Beautiful Mess!

coffee-cart

 

9. Whose team are you? 

This is a big deal and something every GG fan will have an opinion on, which guy should Rory end up with (you have to choose between Dean, Logan and Jess, you can’t opt out and be wishy washy saying that maybe it’s someone she hasn’t met yet.

Whether you have t-shirts, badges, or cups with your team on, make it something fun. Of course we all know which Team is the right Team, don’t we… 😉

jess-enamel-pin-480px-512px

Team Jess pin – Greenwich Letterpress

10. Decor!

Make sure your living room looks the part. There are so many cool GG printables out there, like these from Jane.com 

blog-pink-invite

blog-tableHere’s a

Here’s a direct download link

You can even do a GG photo booth with these cool props available from GenuineDesignCo’s Etsy Store, digital download versions are available here.

Gilmore Girl Photo Booth Props - GenuineDesignCo

Gilmore Girl Photo Booth Props – GenuineDesignCo

I’m throwing a GG viewing party with some fellow GG fangirls so keep an eye out for my post about it in the coming weeks. Let me know if you throw one, I’d love to hear about it.

For more ideas check out our Gilmore Girls Pinterest board

 

morganaGilmore Girls viewing party – 10 things you have to have!
read more

Planet Hollywood, Disneyland Paris

We recently visited Disneyland Paris in October Half Term and as you can imagine we had a fantastic time. While we were there we had the opportunity to go to Planet Hollywood, one of the restaurants at the Disney Village.

planet hollywood, disneyland paris

This Planet Hollywood is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, while the Park itself will be celebrating 25 year next year so it’s been a part of Disneyland Paris from very early on. Outside there are hand prints from various stars though not many names were recognisable to my two children. It just shows how fast the showbiz industry moves!

The staff were so friendly and helpful and my girls loved the atmosphere being surrounded by big screens and movie memorabilia. I must admit the decor could do with a bit of updating as it did feel a little tired, not that my children noticed this!

We had the classic food, sharing nachos and burgers. While my youngest girl choose pasta (typical! She ordered this in every place we ate out!) and the eldest had a hot dog and chips.

planet hollywood, disneyland paris

The nachos portion was huge and really fresh, I ate so much I worried that I wouldn’t have space for my burger!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

planet hollywood, disneyland paris
planet hollywood, disneyland paris

planet hollywood, disneyland paris

The prices were similar to most of the restaurants in the park, if you are half board at one of the Disney hotels you can use your vouchers to put towards paying for your meal. We found it was a great place to go for lunch away from the hustle and bustle of the main park and really felt like we were being looked after by the staff. You might say that it was because we were reviewing it but a quick look around showed me that everyone was getting the same treatment.

planet hollywood, disneyland paris

We were given complimentary lunch for this purpose of this review, all views are our own.

morganaPlanet Hollywood, Disneyland Paris
read more

Disneyland Paris at October Half Term

Seeing Disneyland Paris on the television as a child, or Euro Disney as it was known back then, always captivated me. The place just seemed so magical and everyone so happy. It was like nothing bad could happen there. I didn’t get to go as a child but I knew that if I had children some day I would love to take them there and see if the magic was real. 

Since having my girls I’ve been desperate to take them, but my much more sensible husband wanted us to wait until they were older, to be the ‘right’ age so they could get the most out of it. Earlier I finally convinced him that with the girls being five and eight that time had surely come, so we booked our break for at Disneyland Paris for October half term. Unfortunately my girls don’t miss a trick and they soon caught wind of it so we weren’t able to do that magical surprise reveal, but they were wonderfully excited nonetheless, and gleefully counted down the days.

Prepare yourself now for a whole lot of Disney, I’m going to share with you our favourite things about our trip to Disneyland Paris at October Half Term.

We flew into Paris which was very exciting as it was the first time my youngest had been on an aeroplane and as my eldest girl was just a toddler on her last plan trip it all felt new and exciting to her too. 

Disneyland Paris October Half term

N’s new Jurni case was packed with her clothes, shoes, ipad and colouring books for the flight. She was so pleased to be responsible for her own things and thanks to the fact that it’s perfect hand luggage size she had it with her all the time. E’s Trunki on the other hand was full of toys and princess dresses, essential items, obviously! Don’t worry, all her clothes were safely packed in our main case. Having cases that the kids could sit on and in E’s case be pulled along on really helped with all the waiting around and queuing, especially when there was no where to sit in the departure lounge on the way home.

After a flight where the youngest girl squealed with excitement while the eldest held on for dear life, we arrived in Paris and made our way to Disneyland. We were staying at the Newport Bay Hotel, which is one of the onsite Disney hotels, and it was beautiful. We didn’t have tickets for the Halloween party which was happening in the park that evening so we headed out to a very busy Disney Village for dinner while feeling very tired.

newport bay hotel

Disneyland Paris, October half term

In choosing October Half Term I was worried about the weather being bad, but we were so fortunate with the sun coming on all but our last day. Visiting during the Halloween period meant that much of the park was decorated with pumpkins and the ‘baddie’ characters came out to play. My two were so excited by this as it meant they got to meet Maleficent. As the week went on it transitioned to Christmas at the park and it was so exciting to see the little changes each day. Honestly the attention to detail at Disney is astounding.

disneyland paris october half term

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that my two girls are very different, the youngest loves bright colours, glitter, princesses and general silliness, while the eldest is a massive Star Wars fan, loves fast rides and thought she’d grown out of princesses and Disney characters, though if you saw her face during the parades you’d never have guessed that. I was keen to see how this would play out during the week, would there be enough for us to do as a family or would we spend most of the day split in half.

For those that haven’t been before the main park is split into different lands, each with a theme Fantastyland, Discoveryland, Frontierland and Adventureland. While we were there most of Frontierland was closed for redevelopment and half of Discoveryland was the same – this is where Star Tours is. Of course my Star Wars mad eldest was disappointed that the Star Wars part was closed off but she still got to be a Jedi – more on that later! Here are our favourite bits from each land.

Fantasyland

This was by far my youngest’s favourite, from the iconic castle, to meeting her favourite Princess, not to mention the teacups and Small World ride. She enthusiastically queued for nearly two hours at the Princess Pavillion to meet her very favourite princess, Ariel. I can’t say I was quite as happy about the long wait as she was but seeing her face when she talked to Ariel and hugged her kind of made it all worthwhile.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

disneyland paris october half term

This is the face of a very happy five year old

Discoveryland

The highlights of this were the Buzz Lightyear ride, Space Mountain and Jedi Training Academy. We were really happy to find out that the Jedi Training Academy was still on despite the rest of the Star Wars attraction being closed. I must admit that it wasn’t really well organised or promoted. We relied heavily on other people in the queue that had done it before to explain the process. Basically you queue in the morning to book a time slot for the training and also for the show that follows. It’s also worth noting that your child must be between the ages of 7 and 12 for this activity. We queued and despite the confusion we booked our place for later that day.

The children get to ‘train’ as a Jedi and then come out to do a show for people to watch afterwards. Now we had no idea what to expect and were all shocked when the Storm Troupers and Darth Vader himself arrived. Each child got to put their Jedi skills to the test and fight Darth Vader! Honestly you should have seen their faces when that was revealed – they had no idea. I apologise for the blurry photos but I hadn’t got my camera settings right in time to capture the brief time N was centre stage.

jedi training academy, disneyland paris

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

jedi training academy, disneyland paris

Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy show

I’m sure you’ll agree that some special memories were made that day! If you have a Star Wars mad child then I really recommend you get them onto this.

Adventureland and Frontierland

The Pirates of the Caribbean ride is really the only bit worth noting here for Adventureland. The Blue Lagoon restaurant is situated about halfway round it, it’s like you’re in a cavern, and the hanging lights make it so atmospheric. We ate there on our second night and loved it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With much of Frontierland closed we didn’t spend much time there but we did get to meet Jessie from Toy Story, another of my youngest’s favourites. This time it was a much more manageable 20 minute wait!

We saw two parades while we were there and they are definitely worth trying to get a front row spot for. Our best view was at the start of the parade in Fantasyland. We managed to be right at the front and had a great view. Even our eldest girl, who’s ‘too old for princesses’ got swept up in the magic and excitedly waved at everyone!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We made so many magical memories during our five days at Disney and all will admit that it lived up to our huge expectations. Keep an eye out for more posts on our Disney trip over the next couple of weeks, including our top tips for making the most of it as well as some restaurant reviews and our favourite bits of Disneyland Studios.

 20161101_183122607_ios

Pin this post for later 😉

disneyland-paris-at-october-half-term

What do you think of our trip?

Have you been to Disneyland Paris before? I’d love to know what your favourite bits were if you have.

 

This post is written in association with Jurni who provided my eldest girl with one of their brand new cases for teens.  Don’t tell my daughter but I’m totally borrowing it for my next trip away! 😉 For more information find them on social media here – Twitter, Facebook. All views are our own, as ever.

morganaDisneyland Paris at October Half Term
read more

What I read in October #CoffeeWorkRead

The astute among you might have noticed that I didn’t publish one of these round up posts in September. To be honest I was so busy that month I had very little time for reading and when the end of the month came round I had little to share. Rather than stressing out over it I decided to skip September and start afresh with this month. Reading wise October has been much more successful and I’ve managed to finish three books! Here they are, along with what I thought of them.

Present Over Perfect

present over perfect review

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

This book could not have been more timely. It was such a breathe of fresh air to read and had me underlining like an English student. I’m no perfectionist, I had that knocked out of me years ago, but I do get very stressed when things do go as I planned. When I have something in my mind and the reality doesn’t measure up I get really discouraged and I’m actually no fun to be around. At times like Christmas I can get consumed with how I imagined a moment, or a room looking and when my family aren’t on board or things go wrong I get huffy. As a result I’m missing out on so much. I’m not being present in that moment, I’m too busy thinking of what it should be rather than just embracing what it actually is. Shauna shares her heart with us, and while this book isn’t for everyone it was perfect for me, it’s so easy to get swept up in the ‘hustle’ of running businesses and adding more and more to each to do list that you forget to enjoy it, to be present in the moment. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s still lots of this book that I want to go back to and really process so expect a full blog post on it and my reaction in the coming weeks.

The Couple Next Door

the couple next door reviewThe Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

A fellow year one mum gave this book to me on the school run earlier in the month. We’ve got similar taste in books so she was pretty sure I’d enjoy it and I did! It kept me guessing until the end and was full of just the right amount of plot twists and turns. It’s in the same vein as books like The Girl On A Train, Disclaimer, I See You, etc. It’s the debut novel of Shari Lapena and tells the story of Anne and Marco Conti and their missing baby. The premise is simple, they attend a dinner party at their next door neighbour’s house but leave their baby daughter asleep in their home and check on her every half an hour as well as having the baby monitor with them. When they go home, however, the baby has gone. It’s every parents nightmare and as the reader you are sucked into the nightmare. You get the chance to read from many of the main characters perspectives and are constantly left guessing about what actually happened that night and in the days and weeks that follow.

Love Warrior

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

I’ve been a fan of Glennon for years now, in fact I don’t even know how I came across her in the first place, but I’m glad I did. She is one of those people that draws you in, she’s so disarming and well, real. She shares her whole heart with you, the good the bad and the ugly. This particular book is her most recent offering and is a memoir. We get to know Glennon as a child all the way into adulthood and we see how her experiences shaped both her internal dialogue and the way she presented herself to the whole. The desire to fit in when you feel so very much like you don’t fit in at all. Although the focus of this book is primarily of her marriage and the aftermath of her husband’s infidelity it really is so much more than that and you find yourself observing someone getting to grips with who they really are. This book isn’t just navel gazing or a self help book dressed up as a memoir it’s got some important truths of the richness of life. I found it hugely inspiring and also reassuring, it’s ok to still be figuring it all out, and at risk of over using a cliche, we are all on a journey.

Have you read any of these books?

What did you think of them? 

 

(This post contains affiliate links)

morganaWhat I read in October #CoffeeWorkRead
read more

Carve a Heart with World Vision

We’ve been supporters of World Vision UK for a long time now and last year I even got to go down to London for a visit and hear all about the work they are doing around the world, you can read about my trip and the impact it had on me here. Every Halloween World Vision UK invite everyone to Carve a Heart in their pumpkins and remind us of the children that live in fear all over the world. We took part last year and there was such an overwhelmingly positive response from so many of you. There was no question as to whether we’d be taking part this year, even the girls have been talking about it and gleefully chose their pumpkins to carve.

carve-a-heart

Here’s a bit more information about the Carve a Heart campaign.

As children across the UK prepare to head out for a night of ‘fun’ fear on 31st October, over 2.3 million children in South Sudan live in real fear every night of the year. World Vision’s annual Carve a Heart campaign aims to help children living in the world’s poorest countries, and this year, the charity has pledged to help the children of South Sudan. Internal conflict in the country has left 400,000 children out of school, facing violence, kidnap and malnutrition. 

Children like Mary, 11, a refugee now living in Uganda, who was asleep at her home in South Sudan when rebels ransacked her village killing everyone in sight. That night Mary saw violence that no child should ever see.

Mary is now living in a refugee camp, where she wants to forget about the war. World Vision is on the ground helping children do just that, by building Child Friendly Spaces to help war stricken children feel safe, learn, play and enable them to just be children.

You can support children like Mary by texting HEART to 70060 to donate £3 to World Vision, as well as spreading the word by taking part in Carve a Heart.

The girls and I had loads of fun doing ours at the weekend, here’s how we did it.

How to Carve Your Pumpkin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  1. Cut around the stalk

Choose a large pumpkin and use a sharp serrated knife to cut off the crown. Measure a circle about two inches (5cm) radius from the stem, and angle your knife to the centre of the stem when cutting to make sure your lid doesn’t drop into the centre once you’ve hollowed it out.

  1. Remove the contents

Scoop out the filling and scrape the sides as clean as you can so that as much light will shine through it as possible. Set aside your filling.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  1. Carve the heart

Using a marker pen, draw the outline of your heart onto the pumpkin. Then use a small sharp serrated knife to cut out your heart (always cut away from you in case the knife slips).

  1. Finishing touches

Finally, pop a tea light inside the pumpkin and light it. Share a picture on social media, and don’t forget to tag @WorldVisionUK #carveaheart. Then place your pumpkin in your window to share this night of hope with your family, friends and neighbours.

20161022_180831827_ios

This year World Vision UK are also holding a contest alongside their campaign for the most creative heart, so in addition to pumpkins they’d also be delighted with any photos with hearts – heart-shaped glasses, heart-shaped cakes, tattoos?!… Actress Amanda Redman has drawn a lipstick heart on a theatre make-up mirror while Game of Thrones’ Liam Cunningham has made heart-shaped shapes with refugee children in Jordan. If pumpkin carving isn’t your thing then maybe this is the one for you!

Join in by sharing your most creative heart on Twitter or Instagram anytime between 17-31 October using #carveaheart. There’s cakes, sheep and magical wands so have a brainstorm and give it your best shot!

Here’s an example..

share your heart

‘I’ve shown my heart, now share yours! #carveaheart with @worldvisionuk to support children living in fear every day, not just Halloween’

You can also scroll through others entries at www.worldvision.org.uk/carveaheart/contest for inspiration and to vote for your favourites. The best hearts will win a host of prizes including a family day on the slopes at Chill Factore and a dinner for four at Pizza Express. For content rules and more information, please visit the website.

I’d love to know if you join in by carving a heart in a pumpkin or sharing your heart another way, leave a comment below of tag me on social media.

Don’t forget.. Be there for children living in fear. Text HEART to 70060 to donate £3 to World Vision. Help us spread the word and turn a night of fear into a night of lasting hope. 

morganaCarve a Heart with World Vision
read more

9th birthday gift ideas – my nearly 9 year old’s wish list

I’m finding it hard to believe that the little baby that made me a mummy is about to turn nine. I definitely don’t feel old enough or grown up enough to have a nine year old! As always she’s very vocal about her 9th birthday gift ideas, and her birthday in general. You’ll notice that this year there’s a lot of Harry Potter and Star Wars in her birthday wishlist, maybe that’s a theme for other kids her age?

This is a mix of her ideas and mine, obviously like all the wish list and gift guide posts I put on here, she won’t be getting all these things, it is a ‘wish’ list after all.

9th birthday gift ideas

 

9th birthday gift ideas9th birthday gift ideas

 

Square acrylic display shelf pink, £22, Dinky and Dandy 

My girls love collecting things and I’m always on the look out for creative ways to display their Shopkins, ponies and Funko figures. This shelf from Dinky and Dandy will be perfect for her growing Harry Potter Funko collection.

Scribblicious Fine Line Coloured Pens, £2.99, Amazon 

3 Pug print sweater, £12.99, New Look 

4 Luna Lovegood Funko, £8.96, Amazon 

5 Ron Weasley Funko, £9.99, Amazon 

6 Mini cloud collectibles, £6, Dinky and Dandy 

7 Dobby Funko, £11.49, Amazon 

8 Rainbow Shooting Star tattoos, £2.50, Little and Fierce

9 Adrienne Attoms doll, £19.99, Amazon

You’ll know if you’re a regular reader of this blog that my eldest girl is a big Project Mc2 fan, and Adrienne Attoms is her favourite character. She’s collecting the dolls and only needs this one and one other to complete her collection.

10 Speed School Stacking Cups Game, £12.50, The Entertainer

She’s been watching YouTube videos of this and desperately wants to give it a try herself.

11 Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Adventure Colouring Book, £6.00, Amazon

12 Top Model Make Up Colouring Book, £6.34, Amazon

13 Unicorn Stickers, £4.50, Little and Fierce

14 Star Wars Rey Costume, £16.75, Amazon

We’re off to Disneyland Paris for half term and I’ve heard that dressing up is a must, with N being a massive Star Wars fan I think a Rey costume is in order for sure.

15 Velvety Dungarees, £44.50, Boden

I love Boden for my girls, the quality is fantastic and the clothes really do last. I love these dungarees,they are perfect for this time of year and can be dressed up or down.

16 Game of Life, £16.50, The Entertainer

17 Star Wars The Force Awakens blu-ray, £15.00, Amazon

18 Little Star Necklace, £7.00, Little and Fierce

************

As you can see we’ve got plenty of ideas here, and with her birthday being at the end of this month I’m glad it won’t take me long to get organised, that’s the beauty of online shopping. There’s plenty to choose from for Christmas present ideas too.

Maybe you’re on the look out for gifts for this age group, especially with Christmas coming up. I hope this gives you some ideas, let me know what you think.

 

 

(All prices were correct at the time of publishing. This post contains affiliate links)

morgana9th birthday gift ideas – my nearly 9 year old’s wish list
read more

Simple Lentil Soup for Autumn with the Pressure King Pro

Recently we were sent a Pressure King Pro pressure cooker to try out with some of our favourite Autumn recipes, like this simple lentil soup. When it comes to cooking anything that saves me time is a winner, and the fact that I didn’t need to be prepared first thing in the morning like I do with a slow cooker does appeal to me.

Like I said I often use my slow cooker this time of year, but there’s nothing more annoying than running out of time to prep something to go in in the morning or coming home and remembering that you were supposed to have a slow cooker meal and you’ve forgotten to do it. This is where the Pressure King Pro comes in and saves the day. It’s kind of the opposite of a slow cooker in that it cooks things quickly but the premise of it being easy and time saving still applies. I decided to test it out with this recipe, one of my mum’s in fact, Lentil Soup

 

Lentil Soup
Serves 6
A super simple lentil and carrot soup for the colder months
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
205 calories
21 g
20 g
9 g
12 g
5 g
299 g
352 g
3 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
299g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 205
Calories from Fat 80
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 5g
24%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 20mg
7%
Sodium 352mg
15%
Total Carbohydrates 21g
7%
Dietary Fiber 4g
17%
Sugars 3g
Protein 12g
Vitamin A
144%
Vitamin C
7%
Calcium
4%
Iron
12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 250g of carrots
  2. 50g of butter
  3. 150g red lentils
  4. 1.25 litres of stock (ham, chicken or vegetable)
  5. 1 onion
  6. 1 bay leaf
Instructions
  1. Peel and grate the carrots
  2. Chop the onion
  3. Heat the butter in a heavy based saucepan and fry onion until transparent
  4. Add carrot and lentils and fry gently for five minutes
  5. Stir in the stock
  6. Add in bay leaf
  7. Bring to the boil
  8. Cover and simmer for 1 hour
  9. Remove bay leaf, season to taste
  10. Serve with hot crusty bread
beta
calories
205
fat
9g
protein
12g
carbs
21g
more
Coffee, Work, Sleep, Repeat http://coffeeworksleeprepeat.com/

Pin this recipe for later

simple-lentil-soup

As you can see although it’s a simple recipe it normally takes me well over an hour to make, and looking up the settings for the Pressure King Pro it could only take as little 20 minutes, including prep time!

This is what the Pressure King Pro looks like..

8273b943839d9dc71809e71416bd7dd6

I felt a little overwhelmed when I first looked at it and started to read the instructions, but like most things, when you get your head around it it’s actually pretty simple to use. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen me sharing all this on my Instagram Stories this week.

For the soup I pressed STEW and then added the butter, once melted I added in the chopped onion. When the onion was translucent I added in the grated carrot and rinsed lentils. After giving them a good stir for a few minutes I added in the stock and bay leaves. You then need to press cancel before pressing SOUP. I placed on the lid and clicked it into place, then made sure the valve was set to closed. I adjusted the time to 15 minutes and that was it.

When the 15 minutes was up I had to carefully open the valve, using oven gloves, this releases the steam and pressure so the lid can be safely opened. It took around a minute then I could test and serve the soup. Amazingly it was completely ready! I can’t believe how much time it saved me.

pressure-king-pro-collage

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ll definitely be putting it to the test with some other more complex recipes, especially those I normally use with my slow cooker. 

Have you use a pressure cooker like this one?

Will you be giving our simple lentil soup a try?

 

We were kindly sent a Pressure King Pro by Debenhams to review, as always all views are our own

morganaSimple Lentil Soup for Autumn with the Pressure King Pro
read more

Project Mc2 toys review – the coolest girls in STEAM

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know how much we love the Netflix series Project Mc2. A programme that centres around a group of highschool girls that are also secret spies that use their talents in tech, science and art to solve mysteries. Recently we were sent some of the latest Project Mc2 toys to review that accompany the series, the Ultimate Spy Bag and the experiment doll of new character Devon, complete with Puffy Paint Experiment. 

I would say that these are more than just fashion toys, they are stealthily bringing science and tech into the mainstream. They may not be for everyone, but for a girl, like my eldest, that loves fashion and dolls as well as science experiments and computers it’s a pretty perfect combination. She doesn’t have to choose or feel looked down on for still enjoying style and fashion while nurturing her interests in science and tech. This is where the tag ‘the coolest girls in STEAM’ comes in. Now you might be wondering what the whole ‘coolest girls in STEAM’ thing is all about. Well, STEAM stands for Science, Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics and recently there has been calls for more of a push towards incorporating these subjects into education more, and especially encouraging girls to pursue them. 

 

The Ultimate Spy Bag

Adrienne Attoms from Project Mc2 is a big deal in our house, you’ll know that from when we interviewed the actress Victoria Vida who plays Adrienne in the series. After this interview the love for the character (and actress!) has grown and my nearly nine year old daughter is obsessed so this Ultimate Spy Bag that belongs to the character is a must have for her. 

Project Mc2 Toys review

Project MC2 Toys review

It is full of forensics inspired science experiment ideas and the importantly disguised essentials for solving mysteries. It comes with 15 pieces of kit, such as nail varnish that’s really a torch, a fingerprinting kit which includes dusting powder that can also be used as shimmer makeup powder, an air blower that looks like a perfume bottle and cards to collect fingerprints, there’s even a magnifier hidden in the makeup compact.

I know that N has enjoyed dusting for finger prints and writing secret messages that can be hidden in the lipstick and even shot across the room with it. There’s so much scope for an imaginative child and it’s cleverly put together. They can really feel like a member of the NOV8 team with this kit.

It retails at £39.99

project mc2 toys

Devon D’Marco’s Doll with Puffy Paint Experiment

Devon is a new character that’s been introduced in Season 2, she’s a fun and creative character that loves expressing herself through art. So it fits that her experiment is Art related!

The Doll itself is beautiful and detailed. It’s not like a doll to be dressed and undressed and have her hair done, I would say it’s definitely more of a display fashion doll. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stand on it’s own and unlike the McKeyla Mcallister doll we’ve already got, it didn’t come with a stand, which I think is a shame.

We haven’t tried out the Puffy Paint Experiment yet, I still need to find some powdered drink mix for it (something that’s much more readily available in the US where these dolls originate from).

I know that N is keen to collect the each of the character’s dolls so she can display them and I think if you have a super fan on your hands they would look to do this too!

Devon doll Project mc2

The  Project Mc2 Dolls with Experiments, such as this one retail for £24.99

Of course we’ll be testing out the experiments and spy tips and tricks over the next few weeks so keep an eye on our social media where we’ll be sharing photos and videos of how N gets on with them.

Check out all our Project Mc2 posts, including the cast interviews

project-mc2-on-coffeeworksleeprepeat

 

We were sent these toys for the purpose of this Project Mc2 toys review all opinions are our own.

morganaProject Mc2 toys review – the coolest girls in STEAM
read more

How to deal with mean girls

You’d think that now we’ve all got boobs, ditched Mizz magazine and moved on from gossiping about who snogged who at the disco that we’d have all grown mature enough not to be mean girls anymore.

I did my fair share of bitching and back stabbing as a teen, something I’m not proud of. But do you know what, then I grew up. Now I’m a mum I thought the days of dealing with mean girls were long gone, yes, I know, how naive of me.

Unfortunately it seems to be something of an under current that plagues the blogging community. I have lost track of the number of incidents there’s been, particularly in the parent blogging community. And let me point out that I wasn’t even aware of half of what was going on when I was a ‘mummy blogger’, ignorance is bliss and all that. 

From ‘Just being honest’ or ‘telling it like it is’ to bitchy comments behind people’s backs in Facebook groups and Whatsapp, I don’t know about you but I feel it’s just so unnecessary. Do we really have so little going on in our lives that we need to resort to name calling people, people that we’ve probably never even met!

This kind of mean girl attitude just undermines everything that feminism is trying to achieve. We are shooting our selves in the foot when we back bite and tear each other down.  

When it comes to dealing with Mean Girls these are the things I try to do and it’s what I’ll be sharing with my two daughters.

How to deal with Mean Girls

  • Block and move on! Sounds easy enough but it can be hard to do as we all know. I find that confiding in friends often gives me the kick I need to hold my head up, block and move on.
  • Duck the drama – don’t get sucked into taking sides and digging dirt no matter how honourable you think you’re intentions are. Sure stick up for your friend or speak out when you see injustice but be so careful not to get dragged down to the levels of what you’re trying to come against.
  • Focus on the positive
  • Build each other up
  • When I come across negativity or mean girl attitudes I try and do something positive and helpful for someone else, it sounds silly but if we all took the time to help each other out eventually the mean girl behaviour would be drowned out with sisterhood!! 
  • In the spirit of this after you’ve finished this post think of a friend and give them some encouragement – not a fake, sugar sweet compliment for the sake of it but something meaningful. Liked a post someone wrote – tell them!  Found a tip helpful – tell them! Feel inspired by someone’s attitude? Tell them! Felt encouraged or helped practically by someone – tell them! Know a friend that’s going through a tough time – support them! Tweet them, tag them on Facebook or Instagram, send a text. Give them a hug and tell them face to face. However you want just do it, go on I dare you 😉

 

Let’s block out the mean girls and be grown up women that support each other not tear each other down.

 

morganaHow to deal with mean girls
read more