Festival on the Farm – a glorious day

On Saturday we enjoyed a glorious day of sunshine at Festival on the Farm, Gressenhall, Norfolk.

If you’ve not been to Gressenhall and you’re a Norfolk or nearby native then you’re missing a trick. A wonderful museum set in 50 acres which brings to life country living  with a workhouse, school and farm with rare breed aninals.

On our visit the grounds had been opened to a miriade of fabulous stalls, animals, people and music. We were greeted by the guys from the Goodies stall telling tales of Jack and the Beanstalk while the childen sat on straw bales and listened intently – they even managed to weave some carrot and veg action into the mix – a fabulous story followed by a healthy message – result!


We headed around the corner to be greeted by a tiny and rather beautiful pony who happily stood while little hands patted his nose and stroked his back . Behind him was a wonderful old car brought back to perfect condition – Arthur was rather taken with that – I think it’s because he’s just fallen in love with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Arthur and his little friends even managed to touch snakes and stroke gigantic stick insects – which I admit made me feel a little squiffy! There was den building, bug hunting and loads to keep little adventurers happy and it all had a wonderful feel of simple outdoor fun.




We bought lunch from the cafe and sat outside on the grass and listened to some of the great local musicians playing live. Arthur and his friends took to the dancefloor for some outstanding toddler moves and the sun continued to shine.

In the chapel was a lovely art and crafts fair with local producers and artists displaying some of the best Norfolk has to offer.We even managed to spot the Gruffalo stalking the grounds – we were too late for tickets to make a Gruffalo lunch but the children were quite happy to simply follow him around for a while.

We moved down to the farm where the children learnt what it was like to milk a cow and we watched a cute little shadow puppet production in the cow shed, by Nutmeg Theatre. After a little more running around in hot sunshine we cooled off with a quick head duck under the water pump – this turned into a mini water fight and it wasn’t just the small people getting in on the action.


We jumped on the farm truck for a ride around the fields and then headed back up to finish our day with a final run around – I loved that the children didn’t need fancy rides or expensive games – they picked up sticks, ran free and generally had a wonderful time.

There was loads to do and see, some of which we just didn’t have time for. But it was a magical day and even the practial things such as parking was easy. It didn’t feel crowded, there were loads of easily identifiable staff on hand to help and I have to say, Festival on the Farm was the perfect way to spend a sunny family day out.


The Vax Air3 Reach Upright review

A couple of months ago my vacuum blew up. I can only assume the poor thing died under the weight of cat hair it relentlessly sucked up on a daily basis.

It was a good friend, but my loyalty didn’t last long when I was lucky enough to review the Vax Air3 Reach Upright..


The suction on this beast is amazing – and I was amazed (and slightly ashamed)to see my carpets a shade lighter after a proper clean with the new machine!  The Air3 Reach is lightweight and easily glides over the carpet and into corners and one of the best features is the extra long flexi-hose.  It means when you do stairs you don’t have to hoof it up with you. It stays at the bottom and you can travel.

In all seriousness I will take better care with the whizzy brushes at the bottom of this one as I think it was the huge amount of hair caught up in these which burnt the motor out on my last one.

It’s very easy to empty and the filter can be popped in the washing machine – they recommend every three months, which, I think, means it will last longer. I also get a perverse sense of satisfaction when I can see the dust and dirt spinning around inside then tip it out – how do three people create that! It’s the cats, I blame the cats for everything.

All in all, this is a great, relatively light weight vacuum which makes easy work of everyday vacuuming. Plus you can reach ceiling and stairs with ease and the flexi pipes click easily together so you’re not left trying to work out how things fit together.


Watch out cats…here I come.


*Throughout July this model includes a Spray & Vac Cordless Handheld Window Vacuum – FREE with orders over £100! worth £59.99 absolutely free!

Tick tock – watch the clock

I am sitting at work. It’s 3.57pm and each second feels like it’s driving up hill in a very slow car.
My curser is blinking back with a rather smug dance – I’m trying to time the flashes with the seconds ticking on the large, white corporate clock on the wall. I can’t, so I’ve begun a list of holiday essentials using one of the post-its on which I wrote something terribly important.

It was terribly important yesterday and today it’s a shorts, suncream and pull-up pants list. I guess important is in the eye of the beholder.

Oh god I’m bored – so bored of the relentless act of being ‘corporate’. All around me colleagues are talking very earnestly about ‘getting comms out’, ‘collaborating’ and ‘objectives’. Words and phrases that often leave me close to spontaneous vomiting.
It’s my own bloody fault.

To be fair these people are doing a great job and they enjoy it. More fool me that I haven’t currently got the courage of my own convictions. I could stay for years listening to the ticking clock, punctuating my angst with moments of corporate clarity. Or I could get off my comfortably large arse, change jobs, start writing more and make some kick-ass life-changing decisions.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the ease of it all. The pensions, the mat leave, the pay and benefits. It’s so very hard to admit you’re shit scared of jumping ship and taking a leap of faith. It’s even harder when your mortgage depends on it. I was even contemplating becoming a team first aider because it meant a day out of the office! Now, apart from the fact I hate anything gory and could not, under any circumstances, clear up sick, it’s just a ridiculous idea.

A fluorescent jacket and access to the plaster drawer is not going to quell my discontent – though to be fair it may be handy. No, I need to dig deep, decide what it is I actually want to do. Then either, make a baby, get a new job or shut up and put up – no one likes a moaner.

I’ve started on the ginger nuts now, left over from our last ‘away day’. I’m not sure I’ll make that decision today for so many reasons. But I know I will.

Seven summer wardrobe essentials

7 Summer Wardrobe Essentials

 If you’re planning a getaway this summer, check out this list of fashion essential must haves.  Whether you’re off to Somerset for the weekend or on a coastal tour of Cornwall, you’ll need to carry your wardrobe essentials for your summer break.

1.       Valentino Roma Silk Slip Camisole

The pretty silk slip camisole is perfect whether you want to dress up or dress down. When the sun goes in you can partner it with a cardigan or even a blazer.

2. Ferre Handbag

Perfect for your travel essentials. Being a neutral colour it will team up with practically any outfit.


3.       See By Chloe Beige High Waisted Short



Perfect for a proper summer day, these cool shorts can be combined with a sea foam green top or even a bright cerulean blouse to give them that much needed pop of colour.


4.       Love Moschino Striped Beige Dress

This classic designer dress from Love Moschino is perfect for an evening date for dinner. Contrasting stripes adds personality to this beautiful dress.

5.       Valentino Roma Beige Trousers

Take a look at the fashion magazines and you’ll see that wide legged trousers is where it’s at. These beige trousers make a wonderful addition to any summer wardrobe collection. Try them with a crop top and you’ll see that they work very well no matter what your height.

6.       Moschino Casual Beige Jacket

This jacket is perfect for layering and covering over a cropped top. Team it with your wide legged trousers for a great look that you can enjoy all through summer. 

7.       Floral Pattern Trousers  by Moschino


These are on the top of our list. Floral pattern is the in thing this summer and we can see why. Perfect to dress up or dress down. You might want to pair these with some pointed toe shoes and a blazer. Or team with a t shirt and sandals for a bit of cool evening wear.

Check out fashionista-outlet.com to grab your summer essentials now.


*This post contains sponsored content


Pets really do benefit our health in later life

I grew up with pets. Cats, dogs, several rabbits and the odd hamster along the way. They were part of the joy of my childhood and taught me responsibility. I wanted Arthur to have them too and we have two cats who he chases around and strokes enthusiastically.

Their influence on my life means I’m not in the least bit surprised they have such a positive influence for older people living in care.

Sunrise Senior Living is a huge advocate of the positive impacts of animals on cognitive and physical health of their residents. All their homes are pet friendly and have a resident cat or dog. Here are some of the amazing benefits a pet can have in later life:


How lovely that this is being recognised as important in later life. They form part of our lives, often the first thing we have responsibility for, our first friends. It makes sense that this companionship should continue is a positive way. If it improves physical health too then surely this should be something we should be taking seriously. It will impact the cost of healthcare, mental healthcare and allow people to live a life filled with a sense of purpose and companionship.

Great stuff Sunrise and I hope, if I find myself in residential care in later life, that pets form an integral part of the care plan on offer.


*this post contains sponsored content

Missing my holiday – and not just the sunshine.

I’ve not blogged for a while and it feels a little strange dipping back in. Like coming back from the school holidays when your bag used to feel a little alien and you had butterflies walking through the gates.

But oh what a summer hols I’ve had. We’ve been in the South of France on a fabulous family holiday with my boys plus my parents. It was great in so many ways; firstly my parents have a house out there so it was cheap. Secondly we had a ratio of four adults to one child – something I will dream about for months to come.


The subtleties of family dynamics were in full swing with my dad taking the role of ( very cuddly) Sargent major, my mum cooking and washing my pyjamas when we arrived because she said they looked grey… The independent working mum in me should have been frustrated and wholly outraged at this descent into teenager. But the truth is it was bloody lovely!

When ever do you get to relinquish all control, to know everyone will be looked after and no one, really no one is actually relying in you for anything. I even managed to finish a book in record speed.


It was like being wrapped in a big ole, hot sunny blanket. I did cook once and it was met with the kind of praise dished out to royalty when they shuffle a pan or use a spade during an official engagement.

Arthur had an amazing time but my only slight worry was today, when we were on the way to the park he said: ” mummy I hope there will be no other children on this park except granny and papa.” I guess there is a down side to the four adults one child ration, but he’ll get over it. Not sure I will.

Playing my poker face

Poker – the game of intrigue, and the stone-faced bluff.
It’s always fascinated me and one of my girl crushes is Victoria Coren – She made history by becoming the first two-time winner of one of poker’s most prestigious tournaments the European Poker Tour.

I love the idea of a game based on wit, intellect and a whole load of balls, metaphorically speaking of course. It’s often viewed as a man’s game – set in dark, smoke-filled bars and spilling from day to night.

But it really can be for anyone, Victoria is testament to that.
After her epic win she said: “It’s an incredibly inclusive game, for men and women, for old or young. I’ve played with the blind and people in wheelchairs, we can all do it. I want women to feel encouraged and not be put off but the bigger thing is everyone should feel very welcome.”

If you want a little inspiration, or just want to see some edge of the seat poker playing take a look at the 2014 Canada Cup final live coverage below. This film captures the best of a poker game which saw the eventual winner come back from behind and walk away with hundreds if thousands of pounds. I just love the face the game is not limited by strength or physical fitness. It’s all about mental agility.

The final hand of this tournament is likely to be one that will be talked about for years. Play was four-handed and eventual winner, Notkin had the chip lead, but after a four-way all-in, he knocked out the three other players and ended the tournament in a single blow.

Notkin, a satellite qualifier, earned $366,660 for the win – not bad for a card game!

*This post is sponsored by Spreaditfast.

Self tan – it’s no job for an amateur…

So last night I decided to tan myself. I had never attempted a full body tan – I was crazy with excitment, wild with anticipation.

In my head this process meant a lesuirely bath, scrub, followed by a smoothing of glorious golden liquid apon my pins. Off to bed and ta taa! In the morning I would be golden, my thread veins a distant memory and the magic lotion will have left me lithe and ready for summer (I bought one with firming stuff in too).

Oh how wrong I was.

After my bath I was hot and red – I couldn’t tell if I was sweating because my bath had been too hot or my head was still wet from the water.  After rasping a blunt razor across my legs they were less smooth and more, undulating with sweeps of stubble and bald bits. To be fair I didn’t have the best canvas to work with but like any enthusiastic amateur I was heady with enthusiasm and hope.

It took ages to get dry and I was getting hotter and more annoyed. Then I opened  the cream that would transform me into someone with much longer thinner legs – perhaps I was expecting too much. Oh god, how much do I use? Where do I start? I decided to start on my legs but misjusdged how much I needed. I spent ages rubbing it in but had no idea whether it was rubbed in.

Dear god, after I’d rubbed it in all the places I could reach and washed my hands it would have been quicker to take a two-week holiday in Spain. Do you do your toes? What about your sides, do your sides even get a tan or does it just stop. Is it ok to do 2D tanning?

I walked like someone trying to unstick themseves from a carpet without touching anything, through to the bedroom. Where I spent, what seemed like hours, sitting on the edge of a towel fearful of resting any body parts anywhere.

I slept with the fear of orange palms punctuating my every breath.

8am and I was up, a flutter of excitment as I hauled myself from my self-imposed turin shroud. Jonathan looked at the bed as if I’d actually pooed myself – ‘eeuugh, that’s disgusting’, he added supportingly.

It soon became clear my dreams of a golden tan had been shattered. One orange knee was all it took. Followed closely by another and a dodgy looking side hand which turned orange to white across my palm. There was also a distinctly sweet biscuity smell following me around.

I showered, and this revealed even more horror – very orange boobs and another streak across my calf. Plus the thread veins seem to have blosomed under the orange glow – standing out laughing at me. Oh and to add to the overall effect my nails had the orange tone of a 60-a-day smoker.

Overall I looked ridiculous and so I have vowed never to attempt to paint myself orange again. Next week I will rock the pale and interesting look – with the odd stubborn streak still mocking me.