Life update

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything and I haven’t been able to start my blog in the way I had hoped.  However, I’m back and not going to give up at the first hurdle.

Quick update on what I’ve been up to.  Work, work, work!!  That’s it really.  As a secondary school teacher, January to April is our craziest term as it is full of deadlines, prelims and assignments.  I have been the busiest I have ever been this year and to be honest I’m struggling.  Work has been taking over recently and I have to start getting a bit more balance in my life as I’m finding it difficult to unwind and relax.  Now that I’m on my Easter break, I want to use this time to think about how I can improve my work life balance.  I also need to look for ways in which I can relax and de-stress as instructed by my dentist (I’ve been grinding my teeth badly – more on that another time!).

My goals are to:

  1.  Make a bigger effort with the girls eating habits.  They are grazers and the littlest has become much more fussy with her food.  As I’ve been so busy lately, dinner time has become a bit lazy and it’s often only been the weekend that I’ve had time to make a bigger effort with ensuring they are both eating, nutritious, healthy dinners.  I enjoy cooking so much but it drives me crazy when they turn their nose up at the food I’ve prepared.  It’s certainly more successful when they’ve been involved in the preparation process but this can be time consuming.
  2. Make more time to exercise.  I enjoy exercising and I feel great when I regularly attend classes.  This is definitely something that has taken a back seat recently and I need to look at ways in which it can fit around work and the girls.  We often try to do some things together, although their attention span is a little short.  We do ‘Zumba’ routines in the living room and kids yoga workouts which is good fun.
  3. Spend more time on my appearance (sounds super vain I know!).  I haven’t had my hair cut since October!!!  I used to get my hair cut and coloured every couple of months but now it’s a different story.  I also can’t remember the last time I had a manicure, facial etc.  For my own wellbeing, it would be nice to allow myself an hour or two every so often to get a little pampered.

Age is only a number

April is my birthday month and it’s a big one this year – forty!!  I’m not going to dwell on the “number” I just want to enjoy it.  I have a few things planned that I’m looking forward to.  This weekend my husband is taking me away for two nights, just the two of us.  I don’t know where we are going yet but I know it’s somewhere in the UK as I didn’t want to travel abroad without the girls.  I’m so lucky that my Mum and Dad have agreed to look after them and I know they’ll be in good hands.



National Museum of Flight

mof 2I’m a bit late in posting this but I thought I’d let you know about our day out at the National Museum of Flight.

My husband purchased a deal from ‘Itison‘ in which he also had a birthday discount which brought the total cost to £20.70.  That was for two adults and one child ticket.  Our three year old daughter was free.

The museum is located in East Fortune Airfield in East Lothian.  It took us about an hour and a half to get there from where we live near Glasgow.  We travelled in pretty bad weather (remember storm Ophelia when the sky was dark and it looked like the end of the world??).  I was worried that we were travelling a fair distance and wouldn’t want to stay long because of the weather.  Luckily it cleared up with only light rain showers appearing throughout the day.

mof bad weather

Initially, I wasn’t sure if my girls would like a museum about aircrafts as they haven’t really shown much of an interest in aviation apart from my three year old likes to watch Superwings.  However, there was a cafe and a gift shop so I knew all would be okay.

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I didn’t know anything about the museum before I arrived and I enjoyed learning about the history of the East Fortune Airfield.  The stories about the training school were fascinating.

My husband and I really, really wanted to see the Concorde.  It was difficult to explain to the girls ‘what is concorde?’ but they were just thrilled to see inside the aircraft.  It was certainly different to what I had imagined.


We spent lots of time exploring the different hangars and looking for the little lego people which would lead the girls to a reward at the end.  They were really engaged and didn’t complain about being bored at all, which is unusual for them!  There was plenty of interactive things to do which kept them entertained.

We brought a picnic with us which we ate in the car due to the weather.  However, there are picnic tables available and a cafe which we visited for drinks before we left.

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The girls also enjoyed some ‘flight’ themed stories told by the talented storytellers that were available, probably because it was a school holiday.

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Overall, we had a great day and would certainly visit again.  It was worth the travel time as we arrived at 11am and didn’t leave until about 3.30pm, so we managed a good full day out.  I would definitely recommend here as an enjoyable and interesting, family day out.



Center Parcs – Part 2

I pre-booked plenty of activities for us to do beforehand which you are strongly encouraged to do.  On the day of our arrival, the only booking I made was for dinner at the Lakeside Inn.  After we unpacked, we had a good look about and a then a drink at the Village Centre.  It wasn’t long before we had to make our dinner reservations.  We enjoyed a carvery dinner and the girls exhausted themselves at the soft play area.


The next day we headed to the ‘subtropical swimming paradise’ which you don’t have to book or pay extra for.  I absolutely loathe swimming pools when they are busy but this was so big and spread out that it didn’t seem too busy.  It was also lovely and warm which is just made it so much more pleasant.  We all had a great time in the pool and would have stayed longer but we had more activities booked so we had to go.  Next time I will make sure we have more time to spend at the pool.

I booked the girls into a Chocolate Chef Academy at the Activity Den.  It was an activity that suited both their ages (6 & 3) and did not require a parent or guardian to stay with them.  Bonus!  The activity lasted three hours which meant the adults could enjoy activities of our own (table tennis at the Sports Plaza).  The Chocolate Chef Academy was quite expensive but it was worth it.  It was three hours of childcare and I felt confident that my kids were being well looked after as it was extremely well organised.  As well as all the chocolate treats they made to take away, they got a Chef’s hat and apron to keep.  The staff found out it was my daughter’s birthday and gave her a card and balloon and sang happy birthday, she was as pleased as punch.

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The girls did a similar activity on the Sunday, a Princess and Pirates Party in which they were able to dress up.  Again, it was three hours of childcare so hubby and I headed to the tennis courts.  We had a good laugh and the girls had a great time at the party.  Win, win!

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The final activity we booked was the mini tree trek.  My eldest was perhaps on the old side for this activity but she is not the most confident child when it comes to heights so she really enjoyed that she could do this by herself and wasn’t scared.  If your six year olds are confident and adventurous, then this might be too easy for them.  My girls loved it and the staff member who assisted was great.

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We were all sad to leave on the Monday but have since booked again for next September weekend.

Things I’ll do differently next year:

  • Have dinner in the lodge. Meals out were pretty expensive.  Restaurants were good but I’d rather eat out at lunchtime and relax in the lodge in the evening.
  • Spend more time at the pool.  By not making dinner reservations, we’ll probably take the opportunity to swim later in the afternoon/early evening.
  • Reserve a lodge closer to the village centre.  You have to pay extra for this but my mum struggled a bit with the walking so for us it will be worth it.  If it were just me, I wouldn’t bother as I enjoyed the walk.
  • Go to the spa.  It looks amazing!


September Weekend at Center Parcs – Part One

As a family, we headed to Center Parcs, Whinfell Forest for the long weekend at the end of September.  My Mum and Dad also came along which was lovely for the girls.  This was the first time any of us had been and we were all excited.  I was put off Centre Parcs previously as it is pretty expensive as well as the fact that you to prebook everything including restaurants.  I usually like to go with the flow and see how I feel at the time.  How am I supposed to know what I want for dinner and at what time months before?  However, I do see the benefits of planning a short break in order that you make the most of the weekend away.  Center Parcs is a well oiled machine and works because everything is booked in advance.

Centeer Parcs sign

We paid extra for the early check in at 2pm which I would do again.  We arrived just after 2pm and it was a smooth process.  We were able to go straight to our lodge and unload.  After 3pm there was a big influx of cars and I was glad we were already settling into our lodge.


Ours was a three bedroom, executive lodge.  I can’t complain about the accommodation at all.  It was spacious, clean and modern.  Perfect for the six of us.  It had a physiotherm room which is kind of like a sauna.  Hubby and I tried it on the Saturday evening but we were disappointed.  It took a while to heat up and I barely broke into a sweat which I think is the point but it was just boring.  I wouldn’t bother paying extra for a lodge just for this physiotherm room.

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Our lodge was in ‘Meadow View’ which seemed to be the furtherest away you could possibly be.  Not that it took that long to get to where the action was and I enjoyed the walk.  You can pay extra to choose an address which I think lots of people must do to get the same area every year.

Center Parcs is, of course, known for being safe to cycle.  We didn’t bring any bikes nor did we hire any.  My Mum and Dad didn’t want to cycle (Mum has already broken her hip once, she does not need to do it again!) and our two aren’t that proficient on their bikes yet so we decided to leave them at home.  I was worried we would be the only ones ‘walking’ but it wasn’t the case.  Plenty of families cycling and plenty walking.  walkingwalking 2

I’ll tell you more about what we got up to in Part 2.

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This week

I thought I might run through what I’ve been up to this week.

Last weekend we were off work/school/nursery on the Friday and Monday.  We travelled down to Centre Parcs in Whinfell Forest on the Friday and came back on Monday.  We all had a great but exhausting time and I’ll put up another post telling you all about it soon.

mini tree trek

The weekend has really caught up with me and I’ve been tired and out of sorts all week.  I didn’t manage to do any planning of meals or a big shop like I usually do so, we’ve been dashing to the shops every night to pick up things for tea and it’s been a bit hectic.  I always have a much better week when I have time to get organised at the weekend.

I’ve made a couple of meals this week with the few items I’ve had in the kitchen.  One in particular was so tasty yet very simple to make.  You can find the recipe in the Alona eats section.

Sweet Potato Tex Mex

Friday night I had book group.  It sounds a bit nerdy but really it’s just a bunch of friends who meet every six weeks or so and drink, eat and catch up.  We sometimes get around to discussing the book we chose.  The book we had been reading was 99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter.  You can find a quick review on the Alona reads section.

The weekend has flown by as it’s been busy but pretty productive at the same time.  Saturday morning hubby was working so I took the girls to the beach play area at Craigend Nursery which is not far from where we live.  We were there early and stayed for about two hours.  Most of the time we had the place to ourselves.  I love the concept of the beach.  It’s not a huge place but I can sit and have a coffee while the girls play with the toys in the sand.  The eldest likes to draw and write on the blackboard.  I much prefer it to soft play.

Craigend beach

After some beach fun, we headed to the local library then home for some lunch.  When I got the usual domestic chores out of the way, I made a lovely curry and settled in for the evening with a glass or two of prosecco and some Strictly on the telly (party animal).

Sunday has been another busy morning which we started off by swimming.  We often travel out to the Mariner Centre in Camelon, Falkirk, as the girls love the slides and the waves.  The pool was cold and busy today so I didn’t last very long before I was bribing the girls with a Starbucks cake to get out.  We headed over to the Falkirk retail park where the intention was to get new bins to help us with separating our waste.  Very dull I know.  I honestly can’t believe how long it took us to decide on bins.  I think we spent more time deciding on the bins than we did about any fixture or fitting we have in our house!

Looking forward to another busy week and the plan is to start my Christmas shopping.  Am I the only one who hasn’t bought a single thing yet?

Feel free to comment or get in touch.

Holiday weekend

So it’s the September weekend which means I’m off work until Tuesday. I can’t remember the last time I went away for this holiday so I’m really excited to be heading off tomorrow with my girls, hubby and Mum and Dad. One of my New Years resolutions every year is to spend more time with family and get out there and do things. I hate to just let weekends and holidays pass by without doing something. There have been times where I’ve spent holidays like this cleaning the house and catching up with work instead of doing the things I really want to. I’m beginning to realise more and more that, life is short and we should live in the present, not wait until tomorrow.

I’ve been a bit stressed at work this week as I’ve a presentation to do on my first day back next week as well as a few other bits and pieces. I knew that I would have to be prepared so that it wasn’t going to be hanging over my head all weekend and have lots of work to do on Monday evening when I get back. I’m glad to say I’ve pretty much done everything I have to do so I can truly relax and forget about work for a few days. Usually I end up doing work over the holiday weekend or leave it to the last minute and panic about it the day before. Going away has forced me to clear my desk and I’m so happy and relieved. Now I’ll need to begin planning for the October break.

Hello world

Well this is me having a go at blogging.  I really enjoy reading blogs and they give me lots of inspiration whether it’s fashion, fitness or family.  I’m not sure if I’m going to inspire anyone but I’ll give it a go.  That being said, I’m a teacher (of about 13 years) so it’s my job to motivate teenagers, at the very least.

My goals for this blog is mainly to motivate myself and my family life.  I love food and cooking but sometimes I feel in a rut buying the same products week in week out.  I plan to share some of my recipes here and hopefully this will help me to be a bit more creative in the kitchen.

I also like working out and feeling and looking fit.  However, I can also be a bit up and down with my fitness regime and I want to be more consistent.  I want this blog to help me stay on track and document my progress.

Finally, I want to take more photographs, better photographs as a family.  After our first daughter was born, my husband and I bought a not so cheap SLR camera which was used often in the beginning but then we got tired of lugging it about and now it’s quick shots with the phone.  I often see beautiful family shots on blogs and instagram and feel a bit guilty that I haven’t captured my girls in they ways.

Anyway, thanks for reading and I’ll be posting a recipe in the Alona eats section very soon.