Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Saying Thank You

I read a quote recently which was something along the lines of  'A thank you given promptly, thanks twice.' It spoke to me straight away and stirred just a few pangs of guilt as I know that I'm not always the quickest to send a 'thanks'.

The truth is a like to do thank you's the proper way, writing them down on a note that can go snail mail. There seems to be fewer and fewer reasons to send post these days so anything I can do to put pen to paper makes me happy. I've learned though that it can often take me a while (understatement) to get round to my written thank you's and an immediate text is a much better (and polite!) course of action.
Having said that I'm quite determined to instill a habit of gratitude in my kids and, belatedly or not, like them to help with sending thank you cards after their birthdays. It's just over two weeks since mine and Wilf's birthday and I'm pleased to report that we've made good headway with our cards so far, some have even been delivered!
I thought I'd share just a few tips picked up along the way:
  • Make a list! I find it MUCH easier to write a list of gifts that have been given that I can refer to when writing cards, and who doesn't love a list just for an excuse to tick things off ?! I used the above free printable from Fraser & Parsley, which you can find here. It was so useful to have when Wilf was ripping presents open at his party and I could quickly jot down who they were from, before the card/tag was taken from the parcel.
  • Have a set of cards at the ready. As with my good intentions to write thank you's, my downfall in getting them out promptly in the past has been down to my intention to MAKE them too! Well, this time round I admitted defeat before I even started and made sure I had a good supply of lovely notecards to hand. I bought some cards which would double up for both Wilf and I, two in one cards saves on postage! I also used a lovely set of elephant notes from Fraser & Parsley which matched the invitations I sent out and went to those who came to his party. They have such a lovely range of party stationery, I actually couldn't wait to write in these and wrote them the evening of his birthday (leaving space for his handwritten name of course!)
  • Keep a stash of stamps. Another downfall in my letter writing escapades is that however quick I am to write a note, putting it in the postbox is entirely different matter! Having a set of stamps ready so that the card is good to go next time you're passing a box, gives you much better odds to actually send it promptly too.
I'd love to know how you say thank you and whether you have any tricks up your sleeve to help you stay organised. Do drop me a comment below, I love hearing from you.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Fathers Day Gift Guide (for the last minute types!)

If you're anything like me then you might just have woken today, realising that time is running out to buy the special Papa in your life that special gift!
AND if you're a Mum of little ones you also might be realising that there's not one but TWO gifts to get sorted! So, I thought I'd give you a helping hand and show you a few things I've got up my sleeve. I've left you links to everything but get your skates on ladies if you want to avoid 'next day delivery charges!'
First up is this excellent set from Gruff Beard, a great company I met at the Ppodd Market I went to yesterday. They specialise in products especially for beards, great for any hairy fellas but lovely and soothing for stubbly faces too. They've got a 15% discount code on giftsets, closing today, which you can find on their site here.
Next up is The Jamie, a trio of succulents courtesy of the masters of letterbox flowers Bloom & Wild. I received this box last week and failed dismally at keeping it a secret from Sam (of course I wanted to take photos!) but he was chuffed to bits with his new greenery. Neatly tucked into a bed of Reindeer Moss, the trio comes in a tray and with a mist spray to help look after them. They've made a great addition to our hall shelf already!

Something else that has been a massive hit with Sam recently is his new Fitbit. A clever watch like gadget which has him keeping an eye on his steps, heart rate and 'stairs climbed' all day long. His average steps is a whopping 18,000 a day! The recent flurry of golf days has definitely helped but he genuinely doesnt stop, he puts my meager attempts to smash 10,000 to shame (yes we're husband, wife and 'fitbit friends'!)
Our good friend John (Lewis) are stockists and can you find them here.
I could hardly write this post without mentioning Papa Bags. It's such a pleasure stocking this range, including the ever popular Mamas Bags, from The Gray Store. They're a brilliant size for holding all manner of manly items, from iPad to wallet, keys and phone. Or why not fill it with luxury smells (Molton Brown Black Pepper is a hit here) or even a Gruff Beard set.
Order yours via the little maldod shop, here, by 12pm tomorrow (Tuesday) and it'll be in the post first class for you the very same day!

So there, some gifts guaranteed to delight those special Papa, Fathers and Dads in your life. Whatever your plans to celebrate them this Fathers Day I hope you all have a wonderful time. 

Friday, 10 June 2016

A Super Hero Party

This year, turning 4, Wilf's birthday celebrations centered around super heroes. Yes, Spiderman and his merry band of marvel friends have well and truly infiltrated our house. I'm going with it, embracing all things super and, being the party theme Monica Gellar that I am, made sure that wherever possible his party this year had certain 'kapow' to it.

The party followed the usual pattern for kids parties at our house - manic present opening (me trying to quickly scribble down what was given and from who), garden fun and food, pass the parcel, musical statues and chocolate cake. You just can't beat a tried and tested party formula at this age!

With thanks to some fabulous decorations and partywear from Meri Meri, we managed to turn our house around in an hour. I kid you not, we arrived home with two tired children after a birthday swim at 3pm, Sam went straight out for provisions and I got to it with the decorating. Obviously we took short cuts, I simply DIDN'T have time to bake a big cake (Colin the Caterpillar to the rescue) and squash in a jug and cheese and pineapple sticks was about as fancy as things got. However, come 4 pm, Wilf and his guests didn't bat man (nearly!) an eyelid and had a great time.

It was great to have such eye catching decorations that transformed our breakfast table into a mini banquet, fit for Superman himself. I love how just a few key pieces from a collection can pull a theme together and it definitely made things a LOT easier for me when I was running around. Meri Meri's collection (here) has plenty of choice and they have a great range of themes that I look forward to trying next time, here's hoping Anwen's into 'Rainbows and Unicorns' by the time she turns 3!
Our fancy dress basket was strategically placed to invite some 'custom' made costumes, should guests which to have a delve. I made the party hats two years ago for Wilf's second birthday and they're still going strong. Getting them out for every party is a tradition I'm so glad to have started.
The masks went down well and, as you can see, Sam fully embraced the theme too. The less said about my attempts at face painting the better (note to self, buy a full pallet and brushes next time.) Just look how seriously they're judging the final of musical statues!

I'm pleased to say that I did manage to redeem myself on the baking front (just) when Wilf had a second little gathering and we all enjoyed chocolate icing cupcakes - the perfect fuel for little heroes, busy being super.
With thanks to Meri Meri who kindly gifted items from their Super Hero Range.
Please note that all opinions expressed in this post are my own and it was written of my own accord. 

Friday, 3 June 2016

Pizza On The Plot {An Allotment Update}

Things are growing at a ridiculous pace on the allotment at the moment, so here's a little update on what we've been up to (before it turns into a fruit and veg jungle!)
I last posted an update on here mid March. At the time we were still preparing the ground, digging in manure and getting the beds ready (you can find the post here).

We've now got plenty in the ground, our spuds went in on Anwen's birthday (mid March), the onions are in and doing well, and the broad beans and climbers are coming on nicely too. I've even managed to negotiate a small patch for some cut flowers, although it took quite some determined convincing! So there's some sweet peas climbing up a branch like frame which I can't wait to pick.
One of my highlights down there recently was a coffee and cake morning we hosted last month. I'd planned to let all the other plot holders know with plenty of notice but, naturally, I left it to a last minute email the day before! We invited anyone who fancied joining us down there for tea/coffee and cake (which ended up being Sam's legendry salted caramel milionaire shortbread!)
Despite the short notice, so many plot holders showed up (more than we've ever seen all at once) joined us and we even had an impromptu seed and plant swap. Lots of people commented on how much they enjoyed and I've got a good feeling about planning something else over the summer. I'm sure weeding and wine or a mid summer bbq will go down well!
The kids love each and every visit down there. They've discovered a little sandy patch on a neighbour's plot where they take themselves off to most trips.
They help out with the watering too. Although I'm quite thankful we've relocated this butt for now as Anwen has been quite over enthusiastic about giving EVERYTHING a good soak.
We've also enjoyed a few pizza nights down there (one being last night while the kids are still at my parent's). Sitting on buckets eating pizza next to the strawberry patch is my new favourite thing!
Our strawberrys have gone wild this year. We bought 6 small plants from Aldi last year and planted the runners we had from them. These two photos were taken just a few weeks apart and it looks like we're going to have a great crop. I might even get a jar of jam out of them.
The raspberries (and whole fruit cage) are getting going too. The gooseberry bush has some fruit on it already and I'm looking forward to trying some new recipes out. We're harvesting rhubarb like there's no tomorrow and thoroughly enjoying scoffing it as compost on our cereal. You can read my post with a rhubarb cordial recipe here.
Hopefully it won't be too long before we're harvesting even more and I'm sure things will change very quickly from here on. 

I'll be back next month with another update. If you've got any tips or recipe suggestions I'd love to hear them! 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Time and Wishes

Citris yellow rapeseed fields, clear blue skies and a frozen moment where time is told and wishes are made.

Amid a gallery of beautiful breaktime moments shared this May, this most certainly stands out as a favourite. Congratulations Sarah (@peonyandpraxis.) If you don't already follow Sarah then pop over to Instagram and take a look at her inspiring gallery, you'll be glad you took a peek.

We're in Pembrokeshire at the moment but heading home today (kids staying on here for a mini break), so house jobs this afternoon followed by a pub/allotment/pub evening later. That's how I'll be spending #mythursdaybreaktime, how about you?