Camber Sands


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Camber Sands is situated to the east of the ancient town of Rye and was the location for our very first staycation as a family.  This wide, sandy beach is five miles long and is the perfect spot in which to breathe in the fresh sea air, make sandcastles and of course memories. Rye has quaint cobbled streets with antique shops, bric a brac shops and fashionable boutiques. We booked a mid-week stay at the fabulous 19th century Point Farm B&B and it was absolutely perfect for our needs.  We stayed in the Yard room which had an equestrian decor. I loved the wooden furniture in the room and it was cosy. I love cosy!

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I still brought everything but the kitchen sink with us as I really can’t do light I’m afraid.  This place is just wonderful especially for children and the welcome after a relatively long drive was just what we needed warm and relaxed. Nothing was too much trouble and we were looked after so well by Ruby. Jay giggled with excitement around the lovely  collie dogs Nala and Kiara who were so good with him and he would lure them into our room many times! there were chickens, ponies, geese, and ducks to grab the attention of our little human who loves animals and the outdoors. I was a little nervous about how I would manage his routine but it worked out fine. Sometimes I realise you need to just let things go a little and enjoy the moment as you can always get back into routine. I was inspired to stay in Camber Sands by my wonderful Blogger friend Binny who reviewed a hotel in the area. Thank you Binny!

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One of the best things about a B&B is of course the breakfasts and these did not disappoint! The eggs were fresh with bright orange yolks and I ate perhaps a bit more than I would but that’s what being on holiday is about, indulgence when you can.  We talked about starting a family tradition and heading to Camber each year. The sunny warm days went at a slow pace and for me one of the highlights was seeing Jay and his daddy interact, their father son bond is one of my favourite things. For me this time together was so special and seeing our son happy definitely made it all worthwhile.

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The B&B was a 10 mins walk to the sand dunes. The climb up the dunes was ridiculously hard. I was over taken by some young fast kids which was a bit embarrassing but I had a lot to carry including a yellow digger as you do. Once we were over the hard bit it became easier going down hill. At first Jay was averse to sand on his feet but he slowly got used it and then when it didn’t bother him he didn’t want to leave the beach. He loved dipping his little toes in the sea.

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One morning I drove the boys to a lovely town called Bodium and let me tell you it was a pretty drive past  lots of  tree-lined lanes dotted with beautiful houses. The winding lanes had branches over hang creating green tunnels. Jay visited his first ever moated castle which was in pretty good nick seeing as it was built in 1385. We couldn’t really hang about for the talks that were being given as my active side kick had other plans and wanted to go off exploring on his own.  Mr M and I talked about how much we would love to become National Trust members one day but will probably wait until Jay is older to fully appreciate membership.

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On one of the evening’s we tucked into fish and chips from the local chippy Pelican Fish Bar which tasted great.   I don’t know if it’s the placebo effect of being in a place like this which makes the food taste even better. Jay didn’t touch the fish or the chips so I made his favourite chicken in gravy and brown rice. We ate by romantic table lamp light once Jay had gone to bed.

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We loved our staycation and I hope it will be the start of many. Last December we were on Manhattan Beach in California a totally different landscape but just as memorable. I do have a case of the holiday blues as I type this.  As a little girl my parents would take my brother and I to the coast each summer and we stayed in B&Bs. I remember those times with a fond heart. I totally forgot that this type of  soft golden sand existed on the south coast.  It is a great location for everyone and the beach never felt crowded. You are able to hire deck chairs and wind breaks all for a small charge.  I would love to hear from you if you’ve also been to Camber Sands or are thinking of going.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
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Wherever you head off to this summer I hope you have a really lovely time.

Bella

~X~

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HydrateM8 The Game Changer


IMG_1714Every now and then I come across products that make a huge impact in my life and I’m so happy that this simple motivational water bottle HydrateM8 has done just that improving my general well being. With the big 40 life begins and all that jazz birthday next month, I’ve been trying to get into the best shape that I can possibly be. It’s been a little hard to exercise to be honest as life is busy when you have an active toddler but I try to fit in a workout here and there. I am however a huge fan of water so I’ve been drinking what feels like an ocean these past few months and I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my skin looking brighter the crows feet are still there though.

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I drink approximately 3.5 litres on a good day and make sure I drink a glass of water before I go to bed at night sadly this sometimes means I need the use of the lavatorium in the middle of the night but I can’t complain as I’m used to waking up due to my sleep raider son.  Other non water beverages (wink wink) have been consumed mainly at weekends but with the pace of every day life sometimes it’s hard to keep a track of whether you’re actually drinking enough. The popular HydrateM8 is simply a bottle of a 900ml capacity with time line markings to keep a track of how much water you should be drinking but this concept will help anyone young and old.

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I first came across this product line on Instagram and loved it so much that I ordered two one for me and mine and it arrived quickly in good packaging.  Available in 7 colours, 2 childrens bottles and 2 fruit infusers, the adult bottles are £13.99 although there is a current offer on the ‘summer mode’ bottle 2 for £22.  It is perhaps pricey for an empty bottle you could say but I know I will use it daily and I haven’t regretted making the purchase at all.

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Staying hydrated is oh so important yet many of us just don’t drink enough in the day. I know when I’m dehydrated as I get headaches especially in the recent warm weather. My body also slows down and every action seems a struggle. The body will perform well if it is consistently hydrated bit by  bit and it doesn’t have to be water. Eating fruits and vegetables which contain high water will definitely help. I’m not a fan of cucumbers but love cucumber flavoured water how odd is that! I love how I can infuse the HydrateM8 with a couple of cucumber slices thrown in. I have yet to try lemon and lime for a boost of Vitamin C or why not chuck in some berries and anything else you fancy as long as it’s good for you!.

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I also make sure Jay has his toddler bottle of water near him always.  As a parent I want to make sure he drinks enough water in the day as he can forget when playing and having fun. Talking about toddlers, I was thinking how good a gift this would make for a pregnant friend!  The other lovely thing about this range is the quirky motivational quotes to keep you hydrated. If I hadn’t gone for the ‘Summer Mode’ bottle I would have selected ‘Carpe Diem’ (a Latin aphorism ‘Seize the day’ ) one of my favourite sayings of all time.

WORK HARD DREAM BIG

SUMMER MODE

HARDER BETTER FASTER STRONGER

NOTHING WORTH HAVING COMES EASY

CARPE DIEM

I don’t think I can say any more as you get the idea but do check out the website and it’s great to see that the company have been working with the British Charity Pump Aid helping communities with basic needs, safe water and sanitation. We do take water for granted here and it really is so very valuable we should use it wisely and drink wise.

Thanks for reading

Go and grab a glass of water or better still, a HydrateM8, Mate.

Bella

~X~

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Purple Fields of Mayfield

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Lavandula angustifoli 

I have been trying to make the most of the past few weeks with my precious boy before he starts Pre-school in September. I still like my firsts with him, like baking which we recently attempted although he showed no interest and then we visited a family run organic lavender farm in the lovely North Surrey Hills while the sun came out to play. Now this was absolutely stunning and even Jay was impressed and enjoyed running through the aromatic rows of lavender.

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I don’t particularly have an interest in this flower but my goodness what a visual treat purple hues and blues and the smell around you is subtle and yet intoxicating with the gentle hum of bees…yes bees so bear that in mind when deciding what to wear before a visit! Lavender has long been valued not only for its fresh, sweet smell, but also for its wide and varied therapeutic benefits. Its history goes back at least as far as the Roman Empire where dried lavender was used to freshen the wash water and the lavender oil was used to treat battle wounds. In modern times dried lavender and its oil has many uses both medicinally and for the home. It is both medicinal and soothing, working as a natural sleep aid something I could do with using more of I think.

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As we drove up to the entrance I could see why the location is a photographer’s dream. You don’t get much for £1 these days but that was the entry fee which included parking. This place deserves many more visits and it’s perfect for a private party because you can hire the area for celebrations too and a spot of afternoon tea. It’s my kind of celebratory venue (hint for Mr M if he’s reading this).
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Whilst this is a place for all old and young I can see the appeal for the romantic types walking hand in hand with your love and enjoying a drink and snack in the cafe in beautiful surroundings. There’s even a British red (can’t miss it) telephone box for added contrast.
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 My first attempt to get my son to have a photo taken with me.
A calming but colourful place I can see us returning again when the lavender is in full bloom.
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My second attempt to get my son to have a photo with me!

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Third time lucky!!

Jay fell asleep in the car as we drive home, possibly the lavender effects or just from all the excitable running away from his mummy. If you are thinking of heading to Mayfield do check out their website. I’ve also done a little vlog of our visit which will be up on my YouTube Channel soon.

Mayfield thank you for a wonderful morning of visionary delights.

Love

Bella & Jay

~X~

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Scooping and Pouring Stations Activities

It’s the simple things in life that seem to bring lots of smiles and laughter to our mummy and son days together. From spending approximately 18 years of my life in office jobs to now nearly 40 years old being a kid again so to speak playing with my active toddler I can honestly say it feels like the best time of my life as a stay at home working mumma.  Of course  I accept my exhausted parent status happily because it’s worth seeing my little human giddy with laughter and I know there will come a day he won’t want to hang out with me anymore.

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I try to make my days with Jay as enjoyable as possible. It’s not always easy as sometimes you have to drum up the energy and hope for the best.  Yes it’s mandatory that we go to the park daily and sit on the same swings and slide down the same slide but we also do different activities. I don’t know if he will remember so I’m writing this as a record so that Jay when you read this when you’re old enough to understand you will know that I tried to make your days fun.

POURING STATION 

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Setting up activities for my son is my nirvana. I love seeing his face as I bring out something new or lay tables with materials whether it be for an arts and crafts project or baking for instance.  Recently I decided to arrange a water pouring station for my boy.  It took little time to be honest, I grabbed a few containers funnels, jugs, measuring cups, plastic cups and filled the large container which we use for his toys with water from the garden tap.  I didn’t have any food colouring so I added a few drops of his washable paint to the water. The colander was a winner.

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I sort of wish we could do this daily and I think the garden is a great place for this. This particular afternoon we basked in warm sunshine which seemed to add to the excitement. I tried to get my non compliant toddler to wear his summer hat but he wasn’t having any of it however he did agree to let me SPF 50 him!

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 SCOOPING STATION (with no ice-cream in sight)

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I figured if he was having so much fun with water why not try dry matter. This however caused a dilemma as Mr M rightly pointed out there is some food waste which is generally a no no.  I would say to perhaps use ingredients in small quantities to lessen the guilt.  We used pasta, rice, flour, cornflakes, kernels, mini shreddies but I guess the list is endless it’s whatever you have but always keep a watchful eye if you are using ingredients that may cause choking. Jay’s never been one to put objects into his mouth but I am there when he is scooping just to be sure.  Once all the containers are prepared the same process applies… let them at it!

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It’s a great activity for their motor skills. Pouring and scooping is about discovery and exploration of gravity, weight, muscle control, cause and effect, and self-awareness. The downside is all that clearing up after but it’s something I am happy to run with as like I’ve said it is these moments that I will remember and treasure.

What activities do you enjoy with your little humans?

Thanks for reading

Bella

~X~

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Meeting Antonio Carluccio (CIRIO)

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Variety is the spice of life and although my stay at home mummy days can sometimes seem a bit like the film ground-hog day going round in a loop in real time, lately my diary has been busy with lots of events. One of the lovely perks of working with Channel Mum is the exciting invites popping into my inbox and this was one of them.

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I attended Cirio Tomatoes 160th anniversary party where Commendatore Antonio Carluccio OBE, OMRI gave a live cooking demonstration.  The Godfather of Italian food Antonio is a favourite chef of mine and a much loved and respected  Italian cookery writer.  I am a fan of the BBC series Two Greedy Italians where Antonio and his friend Gennaro Contaldo return to Italy together to remember their own pasts and discover how mealtimes and attitudes to cooking are changing.

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It was nice to hear about Antonio’s experiences growing up and his love for this particular brand Cirio  which he genuinely endorses as well as the herb basil! I enjoy cooking for my family and I genuinely love tomatoes.  Despite technically being a fruit the tomato is generally categorised as a vegetable.  They’re the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.  They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K so I can go on drinking bloody mary’s which is great news.

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As Italian food is my favourite cuisine I have frequented Carluccio’s in London Waterloo many times. It’s always nice meeting people you see on TV and he was exactly as I imagined he would be. Such a lovely funny gentleman who has a genuine passion for cooking good food believing in Mof Mof  ‘minimum of fuss, maximum of flavour’. A Tuscan soup consisting of bread Pappa al Pomodoro was on the menu as well as Mussels in a Cirio  based sauce both were flavoursome and incredibly easy dishes.

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My evening at the Good House Keeping Institute in London was also thoroughly enjoyable because of these blogger beauties Pip, (The Simming Foodie) Binny (Binny’s Kitchen) and Hayley (A Lovely Planet)  and it was great to chat to them while we sipped on bubbles!.

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If you’re looking for a new recipe book Antonio’s latest labour of love will be published this October called Vegetables showcasing his love for cooking with vegetables and placing them at the heart of the meal. I am definitely making use of the goodie bag which we were all kindly given and loving the recipes.

I won’t be opening a restaurant of my own though any time soon.

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I did a little vlog to capture the evening.

Thank you

Bella

~X~