Thursday, 24 April 2014

{Best Interests, Part Deux}

I've been informed that I misquoted in my last post so I thought I should correct myself. Apparently the kids dad never said those words and to say he'd never introduce a girlfriend to the kids is 'ludicrous'. Which is exactly what I thought at the time when he said it... I knew he'd never stick to that & thought it was insane that he'd make such a strong statement as I was certain he'd change his mind when he met the right person. What I've now been told is that he said he'd never introduce someone to them unless it was in their best interests.

Anyway, looks like I'll be going to the littlest's birthday gathering without R. The ex is still saying that it's not appropriate and basically it's all about me wanting to 'make a statement about my relationship'. Which is not the case but I'm just going to leave it at that. I've said my piece & he's said his. My sister is allowed to join us, but R is not welcome. Not really sure what the logic is for this, but the main priority is the littlest & I know she'll have a great time.

What I have found through Twitter responses to my post are a number of useful resources for separated parents in similar situations to me, such as, (where you can create a Parenting Plan online) and Tonnes of articles, videos etc with advice on parenting/relationship issues. 

My dad & his wife and my sister are going to be staying with us at various points over my weekend (that's me off work until Monday, part-timer that I am!) so we have a couple of days of family meals, playing in the garden (fingers crossed the sun comes back out!) & movie nights etc to look forward to. I've also scheduled in a few play dates. Lots on to keep us entertained! Roll on the weekend :)

A little birthday gift I got for my girl...a princess necklace for her to keep for when she's a bit older, bought from Cloudy Blue in Aberdeen. And it will hopefully be beautiful teamed with the jointed silver teddy bear necklace I bought her for her first birthday.

Monday, 21 April 2014

{Matters to You, with John Lewis}

If you haven't already seen the campaign, then take a look at the new John Lewis 'Matters to You' Home Insurance advert... highlighting the emotional side of insuring the things that matter to you.

John Lewis adverts are always so clever aren't they! (I adored the Christmas one last year - massive tear jerker!).

As part of the campaign, John Lewis have launched a children's drawing competition. 

All you have to do is choose your child's masterpiece on the theme 'favourite things / what matters most', photograph it, and write a little bit about what it means to your child, you and how it makes you feel. Would be a great activity for the Easter holidays :-)

To enter head on over to the John Lewis competition site to upload your picture and details. You can find the terms and conditions here

There will be four winners, and each winners artwork will be worked up by professional illustrator Emily Woodard which will then be framed with the original into a piece of art to treasure forever.

Here's Emily at work:

The competition closes on 24th April at 10am - so not much time left to enter!

Here's one of my favourite masterpieces that the eldest drew... what matters most to us is our friends and family. We're a sociable family and the kids are confident talking to lots of different people during our daily routines. In this picture, you'll see my two kiddies with the joiner and electrician (we had just moved into our new house and were getting lots of things fixed!!) and that's me as a fairy up in the sky! The eldest's favourite part is their 'jelly hair'!!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

{Ikea Glasgow & the new Metod kitchens}

The other week the kids & I were invited along to check out the new Ikea Metod kitchen range.

Boy was I impressed. I love Ikea, and have always found the staff to be helpful (especially in the cafe) and the morning was just brilliant. We were welcomed by the team, including the store manager, and they all were just so enthusiastic about their new products & the company itself. It was a delight to see & hear.

The new Metod kitchen's are beautiful. They're well thought out (the design process was considerable as the company started from scratch to redesign the basic building blocks of kitchens & took on board many of their customers feedback over the six years of development) & as well as being extremely functional and flexible (like the cupboards that will fit under stairs - see below!), they are also aesthetically pleasing & lovely to look at. 

There's something for everyone... From the more traditional shaker style to the sleek gloss units that are on trend right now. In terms of colours, there are muted creams and beiges through to darker greys and browns then for the wild ones there are bright reds and mustards! There are literally loads and loads of options for doors, drawer/cupboard combinations, handles, appliances etc and the store is laid out really well with everything on show for the customer to see & touch. 

The new kitchen design space at the Glasgow Ikea is cosy & welcoming. The ceilings have been lowered in this part of the store to reduce noise, there are coffee machines & even the desk height for the computers can be adjusted at the touch of a button, for example to allow the kids to get involved or for wheelchair users. Ikea have thought of everything it would seem.

I love the mustard doors!

And again with the mustard because I love it so much!
One of the things that I was also impressed with was the commitment from Ikea for recycling. They had options to suit every kitchen, even a tiny one like mine! So many different shapes & sizes of recycling bins!

All the lighting options were equally amazing - such a huge range! And we heard about the LED bulbs & the energy savings to be had (I've also subsequently starting making the move to LED bulbs and so far have changed three over in my hallway. It's an expense upfront but the savings longer term will be worth it).

I'm literally bursting with ideas & inspiration... I'd love to re-do my kitchen to maximise the use of the space. Some day!! And when I do, I'll most definitely be paying Ikea a visit. 

In the meantime I've been kitting out the interiors of my kitchen cabinets with Ikea shelf inserts and the bamboo drawer inserts look beautiful. No doubt I'll be back next week to stock up on more stuff - I do love a good clear out session & an opportunity to get organised!! (Plus I could be done with some more tea lights!!!).

Ikea also gave us a few presents to take away - thank you :) They match my current kitchen perfectly!

Drawer inserts from the new range

Ceramic egg holder

Apple corer

Saturday, 19 April 2014

{Storybook Glen, Aberdeen}

I loved Storybook Glen when I was a wee girl.

I have very fond memories of days out there, and have always been keen to take my kids there for a visit.

If you haven't heard of it, Storybook Glen is a "magical world of make-believe" (their words, not mine) just outside Aberdeen with around 100 nursery rhyme and fairytale characters amidst its 28 acres of parklands.

Next door to Storybook Glen is 'The Den" which is an indoor soft play area and cafe. At the moment, visitors to "The Glen" get free access to "The Den" for a session (not sure if this is an ongoing offer or not). I'd advise that you go into "The Den" first if you're arriving at 10am for the park opening, as apparently the soft play soon gets busy (it's not that big compared to the Glasgow soft plays that I'm used to!).

We had a bite to eat at the cafe before we went into the park itself. (The food was alright, I've had better lunches as soft plays elsewhere and I thought it was a bit pricey. But it filled a hole and the kids seemed to enjoy it.). The facilities at the soft play and cafe were lovely... it's clearly new and everything was spacious and clean. My two absolutely loved the racing slides!!

Auntie Ali at the Cafe

I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed with the Storybook Glen itself though. A lot of the buildings were locked and the kids were unable to explore the houses, which I remember doing as a youngster. I think the park has loads of potential, but for me it just wasn't cutting the mustard (as a 32 year old grown up I appreciate that I'm not the target market, but I didn't enjoy the morning as much as I had thought I would). The kids however did love it (which was the point of our visit). 

My sister and I found the characters to be a bit more like drag queens than Cinderella princesses! I know, you'd think I was expecting Aberdeen's version of Disneyland... which I understand is totally unrealistic, but seriously I do think there is so much more potential to be had here. I'm assuming the lack of upgrades at the park is down to the admission prices, which I think are reasonable (given that entry to "The Den" was included) but I'd have happily paid a slightly higher entry fee for a more magical experience.

There was plenty of space for the kids to run around, and lots of chutes, swings etc for them to play on and our four hour visit at the soft play, cafe and Storybook Glen certainly tired them out! I'm not sure I was convinced with the safety of all of the climbing frames etc., so be sure to keep an eye on your little ones whilst they're playing. 

Admission Prices (correct at time of publishing):
Adult - £5.60
Child - £3.85
OAP - £4.30

If I was to go back to park, I think we'd go elsewhere for lunch (or take a picnic which is permitted on the grass area outside the park's front entrance) and I'd put together some kind of tick box scavenger hunt to make it more interactive for the little ones... maybe a prize of some sort if they can find all of the characters on my list!

Little Miss Muffet

The castle

Cinderella and her carriage

The leopard


Sitting on the fairy toadstools

The climbing frame

Humpty Dumpty!

Old MacDonald's Farm

Pirate Ship

Have you been to Storybook Glen before - what were your thoughts?


Friday, 18 April 2014

{Best Interests}

You might remember in the middle of December I had been wondering about R meeting the children. I had discussed it with their dad, and he was of the opinion that I was being selfish. He said that he would "never introduce a girlfriend to them as it isn't in their best interests".

Fast forward a few months and we're now heading towards the middle of April. The ex told me a few weeks ago that he's been dating someone and he is going to introduce her to the children.

I politely asked her name and how long they had been seeing each other, and left it at that. I could have reminded him of our previous conversation, but thought better of it. I knew at the time he'd change his mind once he'd met the right person.

I briefly mentioned the littlest's party which is happening in a few weeks for her 3rd birthday. It's a very small family affair, no friends - just the cousins.

I perhaps jumped the gun with my co-parenting post in February - I thought I had it all sussed - but it now seems that we may be unable to have joint birthday parties and the like.

You see the ex has said he doesn't want R to be there, it's not appropriate.

Which is fine, we can have separate celebrations.

However I'm happy to meet his girlfriend, and would like to seeing as she's going to be spending time with my children. I don't see what the problem is. Can't we just be grown ups? Yes I imagine it will be difficult to see him with his new girlfriend and it won't be easy for him to see me with R, but that's not the issue here is it. It's the children and it was him that was insistent it was so important we do stuff all together. R is a big part of my life now, and he's also a part of the kids life. Why wouldn't he be there at my daughter's party?

I sent the ex an email to clarify my thoughts on the situation (I'm much better at getting my point across when I write things down, at least I think I am) and have basically said that we'll either both be there or we won't be there at all, but I'm yet to get a response.

For the separated parents out there, do you have birthday parties for the kids where both mum & dad are there with their new partners? Any tips you can share?


Thursday, 17 April 2014

{A Long Weekend in Aberdeen with the Kinder}

Last weekend we headed to Aberdeen to stay with my sister, catch up with family and do a bit of sightseeing. For all intents, we were on 'holiday' and the kids had a blast. For me, who was feeling under the weather somewhat due to my Crohn's flare, it was an opportunity to have family on hand to cook for us and to run around after the little ones! R even managed to come and join us for the Saturday antics :-)

During the day I did my best to stick a smile on my face despite my discomfort and in the evenings I rested.

Anyway, here are some of the pics and details of what we got up to... we were rather lucky with the sunny weather!!


Ice Cream at Duthie Park with Grandad and Nanny Jo

Chocolate smiles all round!

Enjoying the big chutes!


Storybook Glen (full post on this later...)
Swimming @ the Beach Leisure Centre


Breakfast at Prego 
Codonas Amusement Arcade
Walk along the Beach

Let me take a #selfie!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

{Homes & Interiors}

Homes & interiors is my thing. I'd quite happily forgo clothes & make-up to enable purchases of house-related goodies! Possibly quite tragic, but I'm sure there are others out there like me?

I get excited about paint colours, fabric patterns & soft furnishings. I can't wait to decorate my new house & transform each room. All the furniture from the old house was efficiently placed into the appropriate rooms by the removal men, but it's only now...6 months down the line... that I'm starting to rearrange the rooms & figure out what works best where. 

You'll have seen from earlier posts that the kitchen and bathroom have already had mini-makeovers, using up paint from the old house and a few purchases of mirrors, shelving & storage accessories.

The 'playroom' or dining room has also had some changes recently. I was given some B&Q vouchers from my sister for my birthday with which I bought some more paint. My dad's wife had suggested a better layout of the furniture which I eventually did (thanks Jo!) & it all works much better! 

Next on the list is the living room. My new Marks and Spencer sofa arrived (purchased in the sale & put onto a credit card!) and it's glorious to have something comfortable to sit on. Pure bliss! I've started painting the walls (navy, inspired by my sisters house) and just need to put on the second coat. A wood burning stove & a plush carpet are on my wish list for this room, but funds won't allow it just yet. But I can dream for now & write out my (never ending!) list...

These stoves are beautiful!

Something I'll need sooner rather than later is a desk chair for my hallway landing office space - at the moment I don't have a chair & have to keep dragging a dining table chair upstairs - I'd love a Ghost chair in either clear or grey:

I've also been lusting after a new bedside lamp - I'd love something with a bit more impact & have been craving these ones for a while!

Carpet for my stairs & hallway are also on my list...the current carpet is blue, it's rather grubby and not to my taste at all. But I'm living with it obviously until I can afford something along the lines of these:

Finally (well for this post anyway!), a bench for the garden... I'd love a bit more in the way of seating so we can have more space to entertain. The warmer weather must surely be on its way and there have been a few sunny days in Glasgow lately!? I'm envisaging garden parties & lots of BBQs :)

For my tree, although I just need a half circle bench! {image source}

I'm also hoping to convert a low concrete wall into a bench, like this one here.

Watch this space for how I get on!