The B&W Photography Project Week 10 #bwphotoproject

My The B&W Photography Project Week 10 with PODCast and I make no apology for even more nostalgia. Vintage cars, steam trains and last Sunday saw us visiting Hollycombe Steam in the Country.  I think I could actually do my whole review post in black and white!  But for now I’ll settle on just one photo.

The B&W Photography Project Week 10

This photograph really says Industrial Revolution to me.  Metal, components, movement, heat,…

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Project 365 - Week 37

Project #365 - Week 37

Joining in with TheBoyAndMe and her linky 365 Project  A Photo A Day, Every Day, For A Year!  Project 365 – Week 37 Days 250-256. I am beginning to understand the issue with photos and a grumpy school boy!  So bear with us whilst Monkey gets used to being at school full time.

Sunday 7th September – Day 250

Project 365 - Week 37

We’d been invited to Hollycombe Steam in the Country for the day.  Monkey was in his…

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I spent the majority of my childhood growing up in Surrey.  I probably have rose-tinted memories of life there, but it’s certainly a time when I felt happy.  Before teenage meltdowns, before we moved to Oxfordshire.  I was so excited when we revisited a childhood haunt in the summer.  I’d seem a post from Charly at PODCast and knew I had to return to Frensham Ponds.  So this week’s summer of fun post takes me back to memories of pond dipping and paddling over 30 plus years ago.

Frensham Great Pond and Frensham Little Pond are fairly close together on either side of Frensham Common.  We’d been out for the day in Surrey and I decided we’d make a detour on our way home.  We started at Frensham Great Pond; it has a large car park and is free on Sundays.  As the name suggests it’s the larger of the two ponds.  There is an Information Hut and toilets and a large area for paddling, relaxing and even at 4 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon in August, it was busy.

Monkey was amazed to find a beach.  Mummy look!

Frensham Ponds

Sadly, we were ill prepared for making sand castles as this was a last minute addition to our day.  But Monkey soon found a stick and he was happy with that.

Frensham Ponds

He loved digging around in the sand. For Daddy P and Monkey it was rather bizarre to be on a beach in the middle of Surrey.  For me, all the years just rolled away, all the memories came flooding back.

Frensham Ponds

I went for a wander whilst the men tried to dig through to Australia!

Frensham Ponds

They were having a wonderful time and it wasn’t long before Monkey caught the attention of a rather inquisitive swan!

I do love swans but I’m also a little wary, especially when they get as close as this one. Every time we retreated, the swan came too.  Monkey thought it was great fun, I wasn’t so sure.  In the end the swam discovered an abandoned sun hat which was clearly more interesting than a boy with a stick!

Time was cracking on and I really wanted to visit Frensham Little Pond before we needed to head home.  Frensham Little Pond is run by the National Trust, and is where we spent most of our visits as children.  It’s quieter, a nature reserve and the perfect place for Guru Gramps the bug hunter and my brother and I when we were kids.

We parked up on the outskirts of the heathland surrounding Frensham Little Pond and set out in search of the water.

Frensham Ponds

Walking through the heathland was such a trip down memory lane for me.  I spent the vast majority of my childhood running around in the heather, chasing butterflies and dragonflies.  I miss this landscape, the landscape of my youth.

Frensham Ponds Frensham Ponds

Mummy water!  Yes this is what I really remember, searching for dragonflies in the tall grasses at the edge of the pond.  Happy memories.

Frensham Ponds

Monkey loved having the freedom to roam, whilst remembering to keep away from the edge of the water.  I told him stories of my childhood, time spent with Guru Gramps.  I don’t think Monkey can fully compute that once Mummy was little too!

Frensham Ponds Frensham Ponds

Frensham Ponds Frensham Ponds

Frensham Little Pond is definitely my favourite of the two ponds, it’s more about the scenery, the nature and tranquility.  Well, it was peaceful until Monkey arrived.  He loves dragonflies, but is at that age where it is far more fun to chase them, than to be quiet and let Mummy photograph them!  These male Black-lined Darter dragonflies were everywhere, and with Monkey around I was lucky to grab a shot at all.

Frensham Ponds

It was soon time to head off to Farnham for dinner before the drive back to Oxfordshire.

We’d spent a lovely few hours running around, having fun, reliving my childhood.  We’ll be back to properly explore both ponds again.

Frensham Ponds

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Frensham Ponds - a summer of fun #CountryKids I spent the majority of my childhood growing up in Surrey.  I probably have rose-tinted memories of life there, but it’s certainly a time when I felt happy.  

The Lego Movie DVD - a review

The Lego Movie DVD - a #review

When we were asked if we’d like to review The Lego Movie DVD for price tracking website Suppose!com I thought it would go down well with Monkey.

The Lego Movie DVD

Monkey is just starting on his Lego journey and I was interested to see how the Lego would translate into a movie!

The Lego Movie DVD

I was told before watching The Lego Movie DVD that we’d soon found out that ‘everything is awesome’.  It didn’t take long to grasp that…

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With Monkey having started school last week I’ve spent a lot of time recently reminiscing. Reminding myself of all the cuddles we’ve had since he was born in December 2009. From baby to school boy we have started and ended each day with a cuddle, and an ‘I love you’. These are treasured moments.

As regular readers know, Monkey didn’t have the easiest of arrivals into this world and I didn’t get my first proper cuddle with him until the day after he was born.

From baby to school boy

I’d waiting from 4pm on Thursday until the following morning to have the first proper cuddle with my son, the first of the many cuddles we would have from baby to school boy. Here he was, my little boy, in my arms, where he belonged.  I will never forget that first cuddle.

After Monkey had been allowed home we visited his Auntie and Uncle and had our first family photo together – our first recorded family cuddle.

From baby to school boy

We all look a bit shell-shocked in this photo, we may not have been getting much sleep, but we were getting lots of cuddles.  A precious son to make us a family.  A moment to treasure.

There have been so many celebrations from baby to school boy – so many cuddles along the way.  From a Christening ……

From baby to school boy

to a first birthday …..

From baby to school boy

I’ve introduced Monkey to motor racing and we’ve shared cuddles at Silverstone too.

From baby to school boy

I can’t imagine life without Monkey cuddles; from baby to school boy.

Monkey might have started school last week, but I hope we have many more cuddles to come.

Fairy Non Bio has been with us through every cuddle moment we’ve had.  It’s been my washing powder of choice since Monkey was born.

From baby to School boy

Fairy Non Bio is proud to have seen millions of parents through every babygro, every toddler’s favourite party dress and then, all too soon, that first school uniform. So we understand how quickly this time passes and therefore the value of every precious cuddle.

Fairy Non Bio recently asked Mums of school children what they missed most about the time before their children started school 25% said it was those super soft kisses and cuddles.  I can totally relate to that right now, I start to come to terms with the fact Monkey is at school full time.  I told one of my friends this week to make the most of every cuddle with her soon to be 1-year-old son.  Before you know it he will have changed from baby to school boy.

Fairy Non Bio have created their The Softest They’ll Ever Be video; it shows how quickly our babies grow up and away from us.  Enjoy your cuddle time is my advice today.

 disclaimer:  this is a sponsored post, but the words are my own honest opinions.


From baby to school boy #PowerOfSoft With Monkey having started school last week I’ve spent a lot of time recently reminiscing. Reminding myself of all the cuddles we’ve had since he was born in December 2009.

The Little Crackers Drinks Co - review and giveaway

The Little Crackers Drinks Co - #review and #giveaway

You may remember that some time ago we reviewed some drinks from The Little Crackers Drinks Co. The juice drinks were a big hit with Monkey.  Little Crackers have recently added two more flavours to the range and asked if Monkey would like to conduct a taste test :)

The Little Crackers Drinks Co

Monkey loves the Pear & Vanilla and Blackcurrant & Cherry juice drinks.  What would he make of the new additions – Orange & Lemon…

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I’ve always tried to introduce Monkey to a wide range of cuisines since he was a baby. I love all sorts of food myself and will happily try anything new.  As as I child I had limited awareness of anything other than meat and two veg and I’ve been determined that history would not be repeated.  When I heard of Easy Indian SuperMeals by Zainab Jagot Ahmed, I was eager to see a copy for myself.

Easy Indian SuperMeals

Easy Indian SuperMeals reminds me very much of the Annabel Karmel books I’ve used over the last 5 years; but with a real Indian twist.  There are recipes suitable for children at each stage from 7 months right up to 5 years and beyond.

Easy Indian SuperMeals for babies, toddlers and the family’ is the first of its kind – an Asian-influenced cookbook that supports parents on the journey from weaning to toddler meals and snacks, and post-school quick fixes, through to meals for the whole family to enjoy together.

So whether you want a Veggie Korma for a child aged 7 months plus or a Baked Bean Curry for a 3-5 year old, there is something for everyone.  The recipes are very easy to follow, offer advice and show you where to add things for a more spicy adult version.

Obviously with Monkey being 5 in December there are some recipes that are aimed at much younger children.  But actually a lot of them have given me inspiration for different things to try.

We’ve had the Mini Masala Omelette a few times over the last month, a great quick meal with a bit of spice for a change. Our favourite meal to date from Easy Indian SuperMeals has been the Masala Fish Curry.  This recipe is aimed at children aged 1-3 years plus and has optional extras for adult taste buds too.

Easy Indian SuperMeals

The recipe takes 40 minutes which includes 30 minutes to marinade the fish, making it ideal as a quick meal after a busy day at school.  Monkey likes fish generally so I thought this would be a winner.  I left out the red chilli powder in this instance but will introduce this as Monkey gets more familiar to this as a regular meal.

The meal was easy to prepare and I served the Masala Fish Curry with Pilau Rice and a Garlic and Coriander Naan bread.  What did Monkey think?  Empty plate, yummy Mummy!  It was a hit with him and Daddy P and I enjoyed it too.

I shall be trying Mum’s Chicken Karahi soon – it sounds delicious.  I’ve really enjoyed looking through the Indian themed recipes in Easy Indian SuperMeals and know I’ll be making good use of the recipes from now on.  The book has just been published and can be found on Amazon for £14.99 (see my affiliate link below), there is also a Kindle version available.

disclaimer:  we were sent this book in exchange for an honest review

Easy Indian SuperMeals - a book #review I’ve always tried to introduce Monkey to a wide range of cuisines since he was a baby.

The Alphabet Photography Project R is for Racing #alphabetphoto

Week 18 of PODcast‘s linky The Alphabet Photography Project. What on earth to pick for R?  I thought of Roar, Ronda, River, and then it hit me when I thought about Red. My The Alphabet Photography Project R is for Racing (and Red).

Being a Ferrari fan, yes sorry, I’m going to inflict you all again!  The last few months have been a blur and I’ve realised that I haven’t even written my Grand Prix…

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We were recently sent some rather scrummy mininibs snacks to try from nibnibs.  Lets just say that they haven’t lasted long in this house.

Nib Nibs

nibnibs are a Yorkshire base company producing a variety of cheese straw snacks.  We received the 65g mininibs to try – Exceptional Cheddar & Cheeky Onion Straws, Exceptional Cheddar Cheese Straws, Exceptional Cheddar & Spicy Chilli Straws along with the mininibs Roasted Salt & Pepper Jumbo Peanuts.  nibnibs also produce a range of longer sized cheese straws in 175g packs.

…. a stylish funky baked nibble range with provenance, quality snacks created using local suppliers and British ingredients. Beautifully packaged in premium boxes or handy resealable snack tubs, nibnibs is a stylish range of premium nibbles manufactured in their bakery in Ripon.

It has to be said that our delivery from nibnibs didn’t last long at all.  Daddy P had to be rationed or Monkey and I wouldn’t have had a look in.  I took one of the tubs out with us at the weekend as part of our picnic.  I’ve used some of the Exceptional Cheddar & Spicy Chilli Straws mininibs as croutons in my homemade veggie soup for a bit of zing.  We’ve all enjoyed these lovely snacks, they are full of flavour and have won some fans in this house.

I have to say that the Roasted Salt & Pepper Jumbo Peanuts took a little getting used to.  I couldn’t decide whether I liked the addition of pepper to one of my favourite snacks.  But by the time I’d reached the bottom of the tub, my opinion was certainly swayed.

nibnibs can be currently found in farm shops across the company, for more information on the range why not follow them on Facebook and Twitter.  Be warned though, I can guarantee if you stock up on nibnibs they won’t be around for long!

disclaimer:  we were sent the items mentioned in exchange for an honest review.


The team at nibnibs have generously offered one lucky reader the chance to try a range of nibnibs for themselves.  To be in with a chance to win a bundle of nibnibs products worth approximately £25.00 please complete the rafflecopter form below.  The winner will be contacted and supplied directly by nibnibs.  Selection may vary from the photograph shown.


Terms and conditions:

(Please note that all entries will be checked for validation).

This giveaway is for UK residents only.

The giveaway will close on 30th September 2014 midnight.


For full terms and conditions please click on the T&C field in the rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

nibnibs - a #review and #giveaway We were recently sent some rather scrummy mininibs snacks to try from nibnibs.  Lets just say that they haven’t lasted long in this house.