Living Arrows Week Four

Another week has passed with a poorly child and an even more poorly mummy.  We are seriously hoping that the virus has now moved on and we can pick ourselves up and get on with 2015.  As a result, it has been a week focussing on snuggles and there hasn’t been much time spent out and about.  The children have suddenly discovered a collective love of LEGO and it was lovely watching the three younger ones all playing together.

playing with LEGO

playing with LEGO

playing with LEGO

playing with LEGO

playing with LEGO

Living Arrows

A Mothers Day treat from Debenhams Flowers

Mother's Day Ideas from Debenhams Flowers

 

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and nothing says thank you mum like a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  If you want to make it even more special, why not pay for a flower delivery which will be a wonderful surprise.
I was surprised to discover that Debenhams offer a flower delivery service and have a wide range of flowers for every occasion.  Debenhams Flowers  asked me if I would like to review one of their bouquets and I jumped at the chance to order a bouquet for my mum as she has had a tough few months and I know how much she loves flowers.
There is a wonderful range of Mothers Day flowers and after a lot of time looking at the different bouquets, I chose the Moonlit Meadow bouquet which with its creams, lilacs and purples, looked perfect to cheer up my mum.
Debenhams Flowers
The bouquet is beautiful and smells gorgeous too.  Delivery is at a date convenient with you and next day is available.  You can also choose to add a gift or to order  a larger sized bouquet at an additional charge.  This bouquet comes with a 65gram box of Guylian chocolates.
Debenhams Flowers
The bouquet was delivered in a box and the flowers were freshly cut.  Once in the vase, they came into full bloom around three days after delivery and ten days on, they are still looking stunning.
Debenhams Flowers
My mum absolutely loves them and keeps telling me how wonderful they look and smell.
Debenhams Flowers
At £39.99 the flowers are on the expensive side but it is worth it to treat someone special or to surprise your mum on Mother’s Day.
Debenhams Flowers have kindly offered all readers a 25% discount off a bouquet of flowers (excluding the Flowers by Post range) Please use the code; DFBLOG25 when you check out to claim your discount.
I was sent the bouquet from Debenhams Flowers for the purpose of this review.  All options are my own.  

Living Arrows Week Three

Just one photo of one of my children this week.  It has been a week of illness in this house so not many opportunities to take photos. This little madam has avoided all bugs so far and has been bouncing around happily.  In this photo, she asked to play peek-a-boo with the towel after her bath and I managed to get this smiley photo which I was pleased with.

bathtime

Living Arrows

The First Britmums Carnival of 2015

Britmums Carnival

I am happy to be hosting the first Britmums carnival of 2015 *shakes maracas and throws confetti*.  There is no theme for this carnival but I have a feast of lovely  and varied blog posts for you to read and enjoy.

My favourite blogs

First up are a selection of brilliant blogs that are on my go-to list and if you don’t already read them, you really should be.  Sarah from Mum of Three World blogs about family life and I love reading her blog as I can relate to so many of her posts.  In 2014 – the year that was, she talks about her amazing year that has seen many highs for both her and her family.  Another favourite blogger of mine is Sonya from The Ramblings of a Formerly Rock and Roll Mum.  In her post And When He Sleeps He Dreams of Stars, Sonya has taken a beautiful photo of her son sleeping and had a painting commissioned from the photo with some money left to her after the death of her much-loved granddad.  Such a wonderful idea and both the photo and the painting are well worth a look.

Not my year off is another favourite of mine and I love hearing about Little Z and his antics and seeing the fabulous photos that mum Tas takes on their travels.  In this post; Things I’d Love To Do in 2015, she has put together a great bucket list for the year ahead and I am looking forward to hearing all about it; especially how she will manage to not going mental over play doh going everywhere.

If you long for child free days where you can be whoever and whatever you want, you must read this post about ‘growing old disgracefully’ from The World According to Izzie Anderton.  She did make me smile and it is good to know that there is still lots of life after the kids have grown up.  Another post that made me smile was this post from Helen at Actually Mummy.  What are the chances of one of the children losing a tooth on Christmas Eve?  Well it happened in Helen’s house and she has written a brilliant post about how she imagined a meeting between Santa and the tooth fairy might work out.

Whenever a post from Sophie at Franglaise Mummy pops into my inbox, I always know it is a post that I will want to read as she writes about interesting topics and always writes with an intelligent insight.  Having spent many years living in France, she is worried about the current situation in France and the horrors of recent events.  In her latest post; Why France is on the Brink of Civil War, she talks in very simple terms about the history of France and the political situation and gives a real insight into immigration, racism and politics of the country that she loves but how she fears for the future there.

Amanda from the Ana Mum Diary was one of the first bloggers that I met and I have enjoyed watching her blog grow and develop into the fantastic blog that it has now become.  At the end of 2014, she ended an amazing year with a trip to Tanzania with Coca-Cola as part of a group of world-wide bloggers and journalists, she was invited to visit some of the social initiatives put in place by Coca-Cola to help people around the world.  In this post; Tanzania: Coca-Cola and Ekocenter, she was at the opening of a new Ekocenter.  An Ekocenter is a modular community market that is run by a local woman entrepreneur and also provides safe water, solar power and Internet access. Amanda was able to see first hand  how amazing these projects are to the communities. You can also find links in the post to the other projects she visited during her time in Tanzania and as always with Amanda, there are some beautiful photos too.

Stacey Corrin is well placed to blog about blogging and her blog has become a place I have regularly visited both for her wise words about all things blogging and social media and also for her brilliant writing.  This latest post from her; 6 Reasons Why Blogging Promotes Fearless Self Discovery doesn’t disappoint and will get you nodding in agreement as you read it.  If you are someone who has a love hate relationship with blogging, read this post as it will make you realise that you are not alone and that so many positive things can come from blogging.

New Year Inspiration

Many posts at this time of year are reflecting back on the year just gone and focussing on goals and resolutions for the year ahead and one post that resonated with me is this post; Why you won’t get a word from me, from Merry at Merrily Me.  Merry is unsure about the goal setting and word choosing that happens at this time of year and reflects on this and how she has to make plans to fit in with family life.

Lisa at Hollybobs is someone who has chosen a word to help her focus her plans and goals for the year and in her post; Welcome to 2015, she looks back at the previous year and how well she did in achieving her goals and what she will take from 2014 to move forward in the year ahead.  The new year has also given Steph from Steph’s Two Girls a chance to reflect on her life and her blog and like a few bloggers, she is wondering about her blog and where she is going with it in her post which is simply entitled; New.   I’m glad to say that she plans to continue blogging and I look froward to the random posts that she writes as for me that is what blogging is all about.

This inspiring post from Aby at You Baby Me Mummy, shows the positive power of blogging and the blogging community.  Aby is taking an emotional look back over the last twelve months and how much her life has changed as a result of blogging.

If you are planning to change the way you blog in the coming year, why not take some inspiration from Penny over at Parentshaped who is introducing sixty-second video updates to capture her family life in quick, easy to watch videos.  I am always in awe of Penny’s amazing vlogging skills and I love this idea.  Take a look at My #60 Second Update Video and see for yourself and find out how you can get involved in the amazing Team Honk danceathon for Comic Relief in March at the same time.

Another common theme for the beginning of a new year is a new year and a new me with lots of bloggers focusing on happier, healthier lives; whether starting a new exercise regime or a diet.  Vanessa at A Healthy Happy Mummy decided that having some new Helly Hanson cycling kit was a great excuse to take to two wheels with her daughter and she discovered that it was a wonderful way to get some mother and daughter time whilst getting out and doing some exercise at the same time.  Find out how she got on in her post; Back in the Saddle with Helly Hansen.  Another blogger getting back into shape is Sandy from Baby Baby who lost an incredible amount of weight last year and is enjoying getting back to a healthier lifestyle ready for the Team Honk Danceathon in March.

If you are on a weight loss journey of your own why not join in with Sim’s Life’s new linky Weight Loss Wednesday.  This is a place to find inspiration and motivation along with other weight losing bloggers and of course you can link up with your own posts about how you are losing weight and how it is going.

Class from The Diary of a Frugal Family has savings on her mind and having looked at a weekly savings plan that increases each week, she has devised her own saving plan which she hope will help people to save a little each week.  This is a great idea and the money would certainly come in handy in December when there seems to be endless things to buy.  Take a look at her post; An affordable weekly savings challenge, to find out more.

On a completely different topic, most of you know that 2015 is the year of the next general election and so there will be a lot of talk of politics over the coming months.  Penny at Being Mrs C has got the ball rolling already and in her interesting post; Election 2015 Round 1, she is talking about her concerns that at a local level there seems to be a lack of regard for communities on the part of local councillors and politicians in general and it seems that personal political gain is more important than people building up the trust and representing the needs of their own local communities.

Parenting

I read a lot of posts about parenting and in particular motherhood and this post from Kelly at Domestic Goddesque is one of the most beautiful that I have read in a while.  She talks openly about her disappointment at not feeling that instant overwhelming feeling of love when her daughters were born but how that has happened over time.  You really have to read this post as it is amazing.

A lot of parents worry about children spending too much time using technology and I know from my own experience, it is something that I have thought about a lot recently.  Having been interviewed for a national newspaper about the role of technology in her children’s lives, Tami from Mummy of Two is keen to point out that technology has a positive role in their lives and that it is certainly not the main focus of their play time.  Tami makes some good points about the positives of technology and I am sure that many parents will agree with the points she raises in her post.

Lauren at Belle Du Brighton will be sharing her breastfeeding experiences with the birth of her new baby and in her post; Preparing to breastfeed a second baby, she has already reflected on her experience with her first baby and has a plan of action to help with the second.

In his post; Let the games begin, Dad Creek Without a Paddle reflects on life as a father of two and how they are growing up too quickly.  It is easy to feel as though you are missing out but he has decided to embrace the positive by posting videos showing how wonderful his children are.  The video in this post is very cute and hopefully the first of many.

Children often ask questions that are difficult to answer and in this post from Twin Mummy and Daddy a question about a photo prompted this very moving post.  Having sadly lost her own mother before she had children herself, she reflects on how much she didn’t know about her mother as a result and how she fears for her own children if anything happened to her.  A lovely post and well worth a read.  Another moving post about talking to children about death comes from Sarah at Polka Dot Family.  She had to explain to her daughter that her best friend’s grandfather had sadly died and her daughter’s reaction is so lovely, it brought a tear to my eye.

This is a great post from Emma at Emma and Three.  As a busy mum of three, she knows how hectic life can be and she has come up with some great life hacks to make family life that little bit easier.  Check out her post; Mum of three life hacks, to find out more.

Gillian from A Baby On Board is tackling the subject of being a new mum in her post; New Motherhood: The Things No-one Ever Tells You.  She has a few home truths for parents to be that reminded me of those early weeks that seem such a long time ago now for me and she is certainly right when she says that life will never be the same.

Travel

The television is full of adverts for holidays now that the festive season is over and if like many, you are making plans for your next holiday, there are a few blog posts that might inspire you.  In Family Travels Times, I was very impressed with nine-year old Robert’s fantastic review of Super Siam Park in Tenerife and it definitely sounds like somewhere my children would love to go.

If you are fans of Harry Potter, you may well have already heard about the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in the UK which is a tour based on the sets and props from the Harry Potter films.  If you are willing to travel further afield there is also the Harry Potter rides at the Universal Studios in Florida.  If you are considering a visit to either, Joanne Mallon has been to both and has put together a post to compare the two.

As a former languages teacher, this post from Gretta from Mums Do Travel is a brilliant idea.  In Top 10 useful things to say in Spanish, she has produced a child-friendly printable sheet of ten basic phrases that would really help if you were in a Spanish-speaking family.  This is the first in a series and I think that these sheets are a fantastic idea as they contain the words, an English translation and how to pronounce them, all in a colourful way that kids will find easy to follow and use.  Encouraging children to learn and use another language is so important, especially if you are travelling abroad with them and the younger you start, the better.

Taking the children to the theatre is something I really should do more and I have read a lot of fantastic reviews over the last few months which have inspired me to sign up to all of my local theatres mailing list to find something suitable.  Globalmouse Travels have written a wonderful post about the very beautiful Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, where she took her children to see the Don Quixote ballet.  The photos are impressive and how wonderful to give children such a wonderful experience.

Whilst we are on the topic of travel, Jennifer over at Jenography asks what people think about parents flying in a different class cabin to their children.  After much deliberation, she tried it and find out what she thought in her post; Is it wrong to fly in a different cabin to your kids?

General

I love Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman.  The animation always makes me cry and I had no idea that there was a live performance until I read The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre London Review over at Mari’s World.  Told through mime and dance, this well-known story is brought to life on stage in a captivating way and having read Mari’s review, I know this is a production that I will look out for and I would love it more than the children.

Every year I wonder what to do with left over Christmas cards.  It seems such a shame to waste them and although I keep a few special ones, the remainder sit in a pile until I eventually throw them away.  Luckily Helen from Kiddy Charts has put together this wonderful post; 25+ Ideas for reusing Christmas cards which has lots of brilliant ideas and I can assure you that there is something for everyone.

In Emmy’s Mummy and Harry’s Too, I can understand why they are feeling angry after someone fly tipped a load of their post-Christmas rubbish outside their house.  Acts like this are incredibly selfish and I am glad that Clare had the good sense to report it as the culprits will hopefully be found and fined.

My brother; Living with Autism is a moving post from  a blog called Hello Archie.  This post was written in memory of the blogger’s autistic brother who dies five years ago and she talks about some of the funny things that her brother used to do.  Even though these things were part of his autism, she wants to be able to remember them so that she can show them to her on when he is older so that he can leant more about the uncle he will never know.

When she isn’t writing her family blog; Pink Oddy, Joy also writes a fascinating second blog called The Sensory Seeker where she talks a lot about Sensory Processing Disorder which her youngest son has and her blog is a good reference point for anyone who has a child with SPD.    In her latest post; Brushing Teeth & Sensory Processing Disorder, she explains why teeth brushing can be a problem and measures that can be taken to help make the process easier.

This post from Kimberley at Ruby + Lottie is really inspiring.  As she is turning 30 this year, Kimberley wants to come up with thirty challenges to complete during the year.  She already has some great suggestions and I love this idea even though my list would be somewhat larger.  Read the post and find out more and the amazing opportunity she has been given to fulfil one of her challenges later this month.

Cooking and Crafts

You can’t have a carnival without food and this recipe from ChinsKitchen sounds fantastic.  Along with the recipe, there are highlights from last year but the White Chocolate, Raspberry and Pistachio Tray Bake looks and sounds delicious.  This is definitely perfect for a carnival but if you are looking for something on a smaller scale then maybe a chocolate mug cake is just the thing.  This recipe from Cake Junki sounds simple and quick to make and you can even cook it in the microwave.  Perfect for a party, Maggy at Fun Crafts Kids has this brilliant quick, easy and healthy Dolphin Treats recipe which looks amazing and encourages children that healthy food can be fun too.

Finally, Maggy also has some fantastic craft ideas as always. First up are these super cute Paddington Bear craft ideas which children will love, especially if they have seen that film or been Paddington Bear spotting in London.  Alternatively, how about getting the children to make friendship bracelets.  If they follow the beginners tutorial, they will soon be making fantastic bracelets and this is a great activity for long car journeys too.

So that is the end of the Britmums carnival.  I hope you enjoyed the interesting mix of posts and maybe you have found some new blogs to enjoy along the way.

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Hello

Nikki Thomas

Nikki Thomas

Mother, wife, writer, teacher but not always in that order

I'm Nikki, a former French teacher who is a blogger and freelance writer with a sprinkling of social media on top. I blog pretty much about whatever comes into my head and is a mix of family life, parenting teens tweens and toddlers and general things that I find interesting. My life is full of children, blogging, cooking and learning to be a better photographer and one day I will definitely write that book.

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