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Articles tagged with: Family

Me and Mine: A Family Portrait Project 2015- March.

on Tuesday, 31 March 2015.

We have had a couple of lovely opportunties this month to take our family photos.  Firstly we went to The Grove for the night to celebrate my birthday and then secondly the weekend just gone we went to Bristol.  Both would have been perfect occasions, except when we were at The Grove I forgot my tripod and when we went to Bristol it literally rained non stop all weekend.  Therefore some how it got to yesterday and I realised that we hadn't taken a photo. 

Therefore this month really is a rush job.  We snapped these photos in the girls new bedroom just before they were going to go to sleep.  We are all in our PJ's, having just got home from Bristol and put them on so we could be snuggly and cosy.  To be fair I do like these photos, I have no makeup on and greasy hair, but we all look happy and the girls loved cuddling up and taking these.  And actually a rush job is perfect for this month, as really it's been the theme of March for us.  The month has whizzed by as usual and we have just been so incredibly busy.

We have spent the majority of the month redecorating the girls bedroom and office space, so have been living amongst havoc and mess, while the rest of the month has been spent plotting and planning.  On Friday Mr E had his last day at work so from today onwards we are both going to be working together from home.  It's exciting, nerve wracking and slightly daunting, but we are looking forward to this new challenge.   Work is just ridiculously busy- I have taken on a couple of new roles, of which I am thrilled and pleased, but it's going to take a bit of time to get on top of things.

As such as I write this I am typing furiously ten to the dozen to get it written.  We have fish and chips cooking in the oven, not particularly healthy but needs must when you are in a hurry.  Then after dinner it will be non stop work until bedtime, before it all continues again tomorrow.  Anyone who works from home, or indeed writes a blog will sympathise with me- life is hectic and fast paced, but we do it because we love it, and of course because it enables me to be at home with my babies most of the time.  

So there we have it.  April is upon us.  The first half of the month hopefully will be about settling into the new routine, while the latter end of the month brings a couple of trips away.  Whatever happens, I am sure it will be hectic, fun, sometimes stressful and full of memories and adventures as usual.

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This month I am sending you over to have a look at my lovely friend Lucy's blog - she has also written about life being hectic recently- there must be something in the blogging water, or more the fact that it's the arrival of Spring! :) 

 

 

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #13 'The Best People In The World.'

on Sunday, 29 March 2015.

Saying someone is the best person in the world is a pretty bold statement.  But I am pretty sure that my Grandparents are up there with the best.  I've written about both sets of my Grandparents a few times on my blog, but my Mum's parents really are truly special.  

We are very lucky that they only live about half an hour away from us, so we try and pop up there every other week for some dinner or for Sunday lunch.  They were farmers before they retired and they live on a big old farm which is so much fun in the Summer time- I have such fond memories of racing around the farm on quad bikes with my Uncle, or climbing to the top of the piles of wheat that had been harvested.  I used to love going there to play and that's why it is so special for me to see my girls so excited to do the same, they love going to Great Grandma and Grandpas house, especially as they know that they get lots of different ice cream for pudding!

They are so proud of me for whatever I do, just as Grandparent's should be.  They love to sit and listen to our tales of what we have been up to, especially my Grandpa who constantly asks if we have 'any exciting news to tell him'.  They love to hear about my blog, with my Grandpa even buying an iPad especially for when he went on holiday so he could show people it when he was reading it by the pool!  The thought of him showing some fellow holiday maker my blog and talking about his Granddaughter makes me cringe a little (or a lot), but his heart is in the right place and he finds the internet incredibly baffling and exciting.  (If you are reading this hi Grandpa- we love you!)

I definitely get my travel bug from them, they travel the world on a regular basis, with them constantly jetting off to India, or Malaysia, or Australia for a few weeks at a time throughout my whole childhood.  In fact I remember the best story of my Grandma making an Indian national newspaper for nearly falling off an elephant- there were photos of her looking panicked all over the paper and she has a couple of copies as a keep sake!  They don't show any sign of slowing down yet- even in their 80's they just recently went to Thailand for almost a month and next week they are off to Italy.

They make me a 'red cross parcel' each time we see them which they have done since I left home for university- it's always been full of things like toilet roll, washing up liquid, biscuits and ketchup, but since Mads was born nappies and wipes are always in it too- in fact I can honestly say that my Grandma has funded 80% of our nappies since the girls were born- that's quite crazy really, and of course has saved us a fortune.  They have been there to buy their first shoes, just as they did with me, and every couple of months my Grandma takes us all out shopping and treats us.

They really are the most wonderful people and I feel lucky every day that my children get the chance to know them- I will treasure these memories that we are making forever.  They really are the most ordinary of moments, I have seen them every few weeks since I was a baby, bar when I was at university or when they or I were travelling, but even the most ordinary of moments are worth treasuring, especially as the years pass by so quickly.  

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Our Stay At The Grove: A Luxury Family Friendly Hotel, Hertfordshire.

on Tuesday, 17 March 2015.

A couple of weekends ago we headed an hour down the M1 to a beautiful country hotel just outside of Watford in Hertfordshire.  It's pretty famous as hotels go, hosting all number of celebrities, sports stars, important public figures and even royalty over the years, so it doesn't need a huge introduction, but in case you haven't heard of it I am talking about The Grove Hotel.  

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On arrival you head down the longest, most rambling drive way I have ever seen, with golfers on one side of you (The Grove is famous for golf) and wildlife on the other.  Every car you pass makes you look twice- we spotted Ferrari's, Rolls Royce's and the odd Fiesta thrown in for good measure!

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When you first catch sight of The Grove in the distance it really does take your breath away- a beautiful country house set up on the hill.  You can just imagine being on the set of Downton Abbey if you pause for long enough to think.

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But when you get inside the hotel has done perfectly in mixing the traditional with modern touches.  This is the reception area you are greeted to when the concierge holds the door open for you.

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We headed off to our rooms and were greeted with beautiful views of the gardens- The Grove is set in 300 acres of sprawling English countryside.  And what a treat- interconnecting rooms.   This was the girls room. 

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And this was ours.  The bed was big, sumptiously soft and was just begging to be jumped on. (which we did if you watch this video!)

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Any hotel that greets you with macaroons is a winner in my eyes.  Although we had to share with the girls which I wasn't too impressed with.

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Especially when their room had some cookies waiting for them.

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The room was so bright and let in the most gorgeous light.

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I loved this bedside table and of course you can't beat a good coffee table book.

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We loved the roll top bath in both the rooms- once the girls were in bed we cracked open a bottle of prosecco to toast to my birthday the next day and relaxed in the bubbles.

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I loved the way the hotel was funished- if I could have picked this sofa up and put it in my handbag, I definitely would have tried.  I love the mustard yellow and retro vibe.

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Mini bar heaven.

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And you definitely can't beat a bit of indoor foliage.

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While Mr E and LL went off in search of a local shop to get forgotten supplies, Mads took the opportunity to walk hand in hand around the gardens.  She loved these little rabbits, each holding a different bit of sporting apparatus, including a cricket bat, golf club and tennis racket. 

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But our favourite was the secret walled garden that you could only get in to with your room keycard.  We told Mads it was magic and would only open with the words 'Open Sesame.'

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The secret garden was beautiful, with a vegetable patch, a gorgeous outdoor pool and a man made beach.  These daffodils made me feel very Spring like.

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Playing on the beach.  I can only imagine how gorgeous The Grove is in the summer when you can sit outside in your own bit of Miami style heaven in the English countryside.  Although that said I bet it is stunning in every season.  I want to visit at Christmas too!

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We played sandcastles in woolly hats while the sun began to set.

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Before heading home to freshen up for dinner.

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We had a meal booked at The Stables, which was supposed to be the most family friendly of the restaurants, although we were promised all would be happy for our little people to dine.  Over three restaurants, The Grove employs 70 chefs who are passionate about creating the most delicious food.   There is also Colettes, a more fine dining experience and The Glasshouse, where chef's prepare the food in the background while you watch on.

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We were really impressed with the childrens menu, there was lots of choice for our little people, plus as soon we sat down they bought crayons and pictures for them.

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I had the wild rocket and parmesan salad with balsamic-basil dressing to start- it was simple yet delicious.

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While Mr E had the Stilton fritters, green apple, celery, watercress and sour honey.  I may have had a few nibbles of his- just to report back of course!  

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 My main was the sugar baked ham hock, served with pickled red cabbage, creamed potatoes and charcuterie sauce- it was soft, tender, practically melted in your mouth and was one of the most delicious things I have eaten in ages.

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While Mr E had his usual staple- a good old burger.  (So predictable!)  The girls were busy devouring their pizzas too quite happily- they didn't pause for long enough for me to be able to get a photo of them.

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Even though I was so full I had to sample a pudding, I had the dark and stormy creme brulee with ginger snap biscuits, I could have eaten it twice.  Mr E had the hot chocolate fondant with salted caramel sauce, but it was gone before I could manage to take photographic evidence.  Our meal was perfect and it was made even better by the fact that our girls were so well behaved throughout the whole meal (as any parent knows eating out can go one of two ways!)  I asked for our waitresses name at the end because she was incredible and so friendly and lovely with the girls, but I have forgotten it.  She really went the extra mile and I even made sure I wrote that in the feedback form provided.

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Feeling full and fat we wandered back to our rooms to find a sweet surprise for LL- there were some friends joining her in her cot.

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And the turn down service had been.  Our two ladies fell fast asleep and we relaxed next door- no sitting in the bathroom all evening, it was a luxury having a room to ourselves. 

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We woke the next day feeling refreshed after a long sleep, although with slightly fuzzy heads.  I was also a year older.  We headed off to The Glasshouse for a birthday breakfast.  Of course it being my birthday I had to have a cooked breakfast.

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And a sweet treat.  Oops.  I can never resist the waffles or pancakes.  Breakfast was great, and as a family it's our favourite meal to out for, so we chatted about our plans for the day while people watching as well.  We spotted a few famous faces over the pastry table.

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There is a kids club at the hotel called Anoushka's and we decided to put the girls in there for an hour, just so we could have a chance to check out some of the other parts of the hotel.  The check in process was great and they put our girls at ease.  It cost us £8 per child per hour, which is pretty reasonable if you wanted to go and check out the spa for a few hours or go for a peaceful lunch.  As we only wanted to put them in for an hour, we decided to just go for a little wander around.  There are loads of little nooks and crannies where you can have afternoon tea or a quiet drink.  I loved this little library area.

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We walked hand in hand around the grounds, relishing just being the two of us for a few minutes.  The grounds are so beautiful and if we had time we would have hired bikes (free of charge) and gone on a family bike ride.

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We headed to the Sequoia spa to have a look- it looked absolutely amazing and we only wish we had time to visit.  The black mosaic tile pool looked blissful as did the quiet relaxation rooms.

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We did have time to chill out and have a quick juice and smoothie from the spa's juice bar though, which were both delicious.

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Before it was time to pick up two excited little girls who came running to greet us with some balloons.  We headed back to The Stables for a spot of lunch.  While we were there Mads burst her balloon and one of the members of staff headed all the way back to the Kids Club (a 20 minute walk there and back) to get her another balloon- the staff were so great with our girls.

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After lunch we went for a quick dip in the kiddies pool- it's completely separate from the spa pool, and we practically had it to ourselves which was lovely.  Young children aren't allowed in the spa pool understandably.

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Before it was time for one last walk around the grounds and a quick ride on a golf buggy from a kind member of staff (the girls so badly wanted to go on one!)  Then it was time to head home, feeling happy, relaxed and full of fond memories of our stay at The Grove.

Overall we couldn't fault our stay.  As a family who loves to travel, we don't want to leave the children at home, of course that's nice every now and again, but we want to make memories and enjoy these adventures with our girls.  We were so impressed with The Grove's family friendly policies- even though the hotel is definitely high end and luxury, we never once felt uncomfortable having Mads and LL there.  The staff really do go the extra mile to accomodate children and all the little touches for them definitely made our stay.

We loved our stay at The Grove and will definitely need to go back to try it in all the seasons- I bet it is beautiful in Summer and at Christmas time.  Oh and in Autumn too!

 

 

 

NB: Thanks to The Grove for inviting us to stay at their wonderful property- we are so grateful and had such a lovely time.  All words and opinions are completely my own.

 

My Sisters in March 2015.....

on Sunday, 15 March 2015.

It's been another whirlwind month, with some ridiculously busy and hectic times, mixed with some quiet and normal routine times too.  At the moment as I type this it's Saturday evening and I am just so tired- part and parcel of one of the aformentioned hectic weeks, and I just want to switch off the laptop and snuggle up on the sofa- I love all the Saturday night trash TV like Saturday Night Takeaway and The Voice.  But of course I couldn't miss out on chatting about my sisters in the month of March.

The biggest milestone to happen this month for Mads and LL is that they are about to go into a new joint room together.  I am excited and nervous about this in equal measure.  I hope that they will love it, that it will bring them even closer, and that it will the the start of a new adventure for them, but yet I am nervous of the potential sleep implications them sharing a room will bring.  As we were sorting their room out yesterday they got into bed to have a 'sleepover' like they always do, and they snuggled together on the bed for ages giggling and cuddling each other- I sat back for a minute and observed them and thought that we were definitely making the right decision in having them share a room.  Fingers crossed it all runs seamlessly.

Our photos this month were taken after nap time one weekday early evening.  The girls love going to the park just by our house, but more often than not they go with Daddy, as he often takes them if I am doing a bit of work on a weekend afternoon.  However the sun was shining and so we headed out to blow away the cobwebs after a afternoon snooze.  My Mum got them these little colourful rain macs, and they are their new favourite things to wear, I absolutely love them too because I love them in colourful clothes.  When they walk together at the moment you would almost be mistaken in thinking they are closer in age than they actually are- but then when you watch them for longer you will realise that there is a bigger gap- LL is still not talking much at all, although she is getting better every single day.  On Friday she said 'Bye Bye Mads' for the first time, Mads was so excited she has finally learnt to say her name, but she won't say it if you ask her too!  Typical stubborn, feisty lady.

I do love these photos- I am a sucker for bright colours and a sucker for that golden light, and of course I am a sucker for my two little ladies, so all in all these are some of my favourites I have taken in ages- although I say that every time!

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This month on our lovely Siblings Project, I am shouting all about Amber who blogs over at Goblin Child.  I haven't mentioned her on her before, but her blog is fast becoming one of my favourites to look at for stunning images.  She blogs all about life with her partner Kirsty and their gorgeous, gorgeous twin boys.  Oh and their dog Josephine. (What an amazing name for a dog- if I had a dog I would call it Brian in case you wanted to know)  Be sure to check it out!  

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