Lenco USB Direct Recording Turntable review. Or, that’s Christmas sorted then

record-players

As a child of the eighties, my musical background lies in vinyl.
And that vinyl now sits in a cupboard, gathering dust and quietly whispering to me to stop ignoring it and pandering to the ‘modern’ outrage that is downloads.

Now I have a teenager of my own, the majority of the music I listen to is his music. It comes via a radio station I feel way too old to listen to or understand and various downloads sites I daren’t ask about.

But my heart lies in vinyl. Those days of saving up my pocket money to go into town, to the big HMV and buy the latest chart single. 12 inch if I’d saved up enough.
My first album was Human League’s Dare and I felt SO COOL coming home with that in my plastic bag.

I have my old record player still, which I treated with kid gloves and gave The Look to anyone who dared mistreat the needle. But it too is now gathering dust because, to be honest, it’s such a faff to set up with the whole pre-amplifier thing.

Then I had an email asking if I’d like to try this Lenco USB turntable. Would I like to bring my vinyl back to life, they were asking? Hell YES I would.
And here is said record player straight out of the box.

lenco-record-player-review

It literally requires you to plug it into any speakers (we’ve plugged ours into the TV surround speakers so it’s right there front and centre in the living room, ready for a Christmas par-tay).

It looks the absolute business, has all the features of my ‘old’ record player – eject button, 33/45 RPM button, lever to lift the arm, auto return, centre replacement disc for vinyl without a centre to fit. I absolutely love it.

record-player-review

lenco-record-player

Since receiving it, I’ve embarrassed the kids by playing Duran Duran full blast and dancing a la Baptist Church Disco circa 1985.
I’ve done the ‘oh my lordy, do you remember THIS one?’ as I rifle through my alphabetically-ordered collection, to anyone who will listen. Finally, finally my vinyl collection is getting a new lease of life.

vinyl

The technical bit

The Lenco L-85 comes in a choice of 6 colours and costs £119.99.
Direct MP3 encoding means you can record your vinyl collection to a digital format via the USB and the built-in pre-amplifier means you simply connect to any speakers, plug in and go.
Many, many thanks to Lenco for sending me this; it’s an absolutely perfect early Christmas present.

Posted in Reviews, Tech Review | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Stocking fillers for an 11 year old girl

Yesterday I wrote about stocking fillers for teenage boys and the hair-pulling nightmare that is pleasing a hormonal son.

Today it’s a slightly easier pre-teen girl I’m shopping for.
To be honest, my daughter’s idea of heaven is one giant Christmas stocking instead of any one big item. She loves ‘stuff’!
So here are a few ideas if you’re hunting too.

Stocking fillers for an 11 year old girl

stocking-fillers-for-an-11-year-old-girl

  1. Make up bag
    Mia uses make up bags for everything from pencil cases to an ‘essentials’ pouch to take on sleepovers. I love this alphabet make up bag from Next – you have to be quick though as the popular letters sell out. I’ve also seen something similar in Matalan.
  2. Key ring
    Girls opt for everything from pompoms to glittery hearts and favourite band members on their keyring. But  you can’t beat a Lego Key Ring with the hidden message that’s your girl is totally ‘wonderful’.
  3. Book
    The Wreck This Journal might seem like a strange choice for a book lover, but let me tell you, they are awesome. If you have a creative girl who likes to try ‘out there’ arts and crafts this is a must.
  4. Unicorn shower cap
    Just because.
  5. Christmas tree ornament
    Every year Santa brings my kids a tree ornament which means our Christmas tree is filled with memories. It does get harder to pick something suitable as they get older but it’s totally worth it. This tree ornament from Marks & Spencer is perfect for my dog-mad girl.
  6. Beanie hat
    Apparently they’re a thing at the moment. Who knew? Primark is your goto shop!
  7. Bath bomb
    Much like the traditional satsuma in the bottom of your stocking, a bath bomb has become our modern equivalent! This Body Shop bath fizzes brings a touch of Berry Bliss apparently.
  8. Slipper socks
    My kids just won’t wear slippers, but as we have wooden and tiled floors throughout downstairs in the house I hate to see them either in bare feet at this time of year, or cleaning the floor with their white school socks. Mouse slipper socks are the way to go.
  9. Sleep mask
    Because every girl needs to feel like a glamorous diva.
  10. Hottie
    She may be elbowing the teenage years but one 11 year old still has one foot in the little girl camp. She’s had one of these for years (you pop it in the microwave to heat up the wheat beads inside and use as a hot water bottle) and always turns to it for comfort. Buying her next Hottie from Top Shop make it seem just that little bit more grown up and cool!
  11. Lip balm
    For kissing mum and dad and thanking them for selling Santa about all the awesome presents he needs to buy for her stocking. Maybeline Baby Lips gets a big thumbs up from me.

 

Posted in Christmas, Lists | Leave a comment

Stocking fillers for teenage boys

When your children are little you can think of a million and one things to put in their Christmas stocking. As they get older it gets more and more difficult. Until one day you find that buying stocking fillers for teenage boys is Mission Impossible and you have ALL the stress. Or is that just me?

The trouble is with most stocking filler suggestions is that they are ‘fun’ or some naff item that they will laugh at on Christmas day and never ever look at again.
So I went on a stocking hunt so you don’t have to!

Here are some ideas for stocking fillers for teenage boys.

stocking-fillers-for-teenage-boys

  1. Face wash
    I’ve found two excellent products for sorting out that problem teenage skin. Liz Earle Men’s Face & Body Wash is great for every day use and Biore Charcoal Pore Minimiser is just the ticket for those ‘sweated for two days and didn’t wash and now regretting it’ days.
  2. Key ring
    You never ever grow out of Lego. Fact. I love this Lego The Flash keyring so much it might not make it to his stocking . . .
  3. Books
    The trouble with the teenage years is that they’re so busy reading everything on Facebook they rarely have time for proper books any more, which makes me very sad. However this Tim Peake picture-led book of images from outer space might just be the book to bridge that gap!
  4. Toy
    I don’t care how old they are, boys like toys. My husband is in his 40s and I swear if you put Lego in his Christmas present pile he would be a happy bunny.
    This Moonball isn’t just a bouncy ball, it’s a ball with “gravity defying bounce”. I can hear the ornaments being broken from here.
  5. Cereal bowl
    My teenager probably eats his own body weight in cereal so it’s only fitting he gets his own personal bowl. Depending on their taste there are plenty to choose from but I love this Harry Potter house captain bowl.
  6. Tree decoration
    It’s a tradition in our house that every year Santa brings a decoration for each of the children to hand on the tree. Finding a suitable one for a teenage boy is very very tough. But I love this silver-dipped antler tree decoration from Marks & Spencer. It’s perfect.
  7. Bed socks
    I am fed up of having to try to wash the soles of white socks that my boy wears around the house as slippers. “GET. THEM. OFF” I yell to no avail. I think he hears “they make excellent slipper replacements don’t they?” Obviously they have to be cool though; these Fat Face bed socks fit the bill.
  8. Funky gum shield case
    For sport boys. And mums who are grossed out every time they fish around in a tracksuit trouser pocket and come upon a wet, icky gum shield.
  9. Something personalised
    If your boy has a hobby I love the idea of buying something personalised. These personalised drumsticks are perfect.
  10. Shower gel/deodorant
    Because teenage boys smell, so better their room reeks of Lynx or something similar than two-day old boy sweat. Trust me on this.
  11. Anything with facts in
    Boys turn into men and the love of facts starts young! So any book relating to their hobby/passion with cold, hard facts in will get those teenage heads back into the pages of a book again. For us it’s going to be the World Rugby Records. 

I hope these help!
Many thanks to Rachel Lucas, Tattooed Mummy, Seismic Shed and Michelle over on Twitter for their input on this when I was bemoaning the fact that I didn’t know what to put in my teenager’s stocking last night!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

On celebrating the ordinary

styling-dfs-sofa

I was having a conversation with a friend at work recently, who has a two-year-old son.
We were talking about making memories with your children and how when they’re little you fill their spare time with extraordinary things; visiting wondrous places, experiencing fabulous things, inspiring them, hopefully making them go ‘wow’ every once in a while.

Much like my friend, our memories consisted of family walks to beautiful places. We encouraged them to climb trees, to go on nature treasure hunts, to experience the wonders of Mother Nature for themselves.
But, I told my friend, BUT here’s the thing, they don’t remember. They really don’t!
My son is elbowing 14 and often I’ll reminisce about things we’ve done and he’ll say I really don’t remember that! How bloody sad!
And there was me thinking I was creating a magical childhood!

Well, as it turns out, rather thankfully, I’m wrong.
For while they don’t remember specifics, our family traditions are well and truly ingrained.
They have a great love of the outdoors, they love adventure and they are inquisitive and active.
And best of all, they have adopted our most favourite post-day out habits of curling up on the sofa together and watching TV.

The sofa is the heart of our home.

Everyone has ‘their’ seat – which we all squabble over – their favourite cushions and a cosy blanket or two.
I absolutely LOVE this habit we have.

dfs-sofa-sophia And now winter is on our doorstep we intend to do it even more. Movies, boxsets of Modern Family or The Flash and a hot chocolate or two.
So when an email arrived in my inbox asking if we’d like to try out a DFS sofa for winter snuggling I snapped their hand right off! It’s a campaign with us written all over it!

We’re in the process of remodelling our home to make an open-plan kitchen, dining, living space and have been casually browsing new furniture to fill the space, so this was perfect timing.
We visited our local DFS store, which turns out is just 15 minutes up the road, and argued for a good half an hour about which sofa would suit.
Sometimes you can have too much choice! I wanted the French Connection stylish number in petrol blue that was utterly gorgeous but wouldn’t go with anything we currently own so we’d have to buy everything else new to go with it.
I was totally up for that *ahem*.
Then we went home and remeasured (which wasn’t easy because we’re measuring off architect plans and imagining how it ‘might’ look when the work is all finished).

dfs-sofa-cosy dfs-sofa-collage dfs-sofa-review So here’s the one we opted for – it’s a House Beautiful Sophia in Stone. We’ve always opted for leather sofas in the past (feral kids, a dog, mucky pint-spilling husband) so we were delighted to have a cuddly fabric sofa this time.
The day before it was due to be delivered I also spotted this dog cushion at Marks & Spencer and fell in love; it’s a perfect fit for the sofa AND it looks just like my lovely boy (although if he ever tries to sit on said sofa he will no longer be my lovely boy!)

dfs-sofa-for-families It’s even more fabulous than I imagined and perfect for this family.
Now I just need to decide which is ‘my’ seat and stake my claim . . .

Note: As we’re not entirely ready for our new sofa because the house renovation hasn’t started, we’ve had to move our current sofa into the conservatory for safe keeping #dontjudgeme

img_4172

Posted in Other Review, Reviews | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Supremely easy Crunchie fudge

crunchie-fudge

I have never had so many ‘PLEASE make these again!’ comments after these showed up under the hood of our glass cake dome!
They are seriously good. Or should I say Seriously Good.

I made them for our rugby club’s bonfire party – fudge and honeycomb seem so autumnal – and they sold like, well, hot cakes.
So I made them for my work colleagues and again, went like hot cakes.
All the while my teenager is lamenting “can you JUST make a batch for us and not give them away”. Sorry Dan 🙂

chocolate-fudge-recipe

So here you go; Crunchie Fudge. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Wrap it in greaseproof paper, put it in a nice tin or a presentation jar and give it as a gift. Just be warned; it looks glorious for the first couple of days but then the honeycomb gets absorbed into the fudge and it’s not so pretty, but it still tastes fabulous.

Ingredients
397g can of condensed milk
400g milk chocolate, broken into squares
25g butter
1tsp vanilla essence
125g icing sugar, sifted
300g Crunchie bars, chopped

making-fudge-with-crunchie-bars

Method
Line a 9X9 tin or similar with greaseproof paper.

2. Put the condensed milk, chocolate, vanilla and butter into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt on a low heat, stirring often until all combined. Stir constantly so nothing sticks to the bottom, until smooth and well mixed. Take off the heat.

3. Add the icing sugar (I sifted mine right into the saucepan). Beat really well until all the sugar is combined and it makes a nice, stiff chocolatey mixture.

4. Leave to cool in the pan slightly and then stir in two thirds of the Crunchie until well combined. If you add it too early when the mixture is still hot, it will make the Crunchie melt, so be patient and wait until it’s cooler.

how-to-make-crunchie-fudge

5. Tip the mixture quickly into the prepared tin and spread it out evenly.

6. Sprinkle the remaining Crunchie over the top – the ‘crumbs’ look like gold dust when you add them at the end which gives a lovely finish! Make sure you push it into the top of the fudge with the back of a spoon so it doesn’t all fall out once it’s set and you’re slicing it up.

cruchie-fudge-recipe1

7. Put in the fridge for at lease 3 hours.

8. Remove from the tin and cut into squares – the size depends on you!

img_4114

Let me know what you think.

Posted in Food | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

HelloFresh meal box review

hellofresh-box

I was asked once if I could choose one household helper free of charge which would it be: a housekeeper, a nanny, a gardener or a chef.
I would choose a chef every and any day of the week.
It’s the one thing I really struggle with; working full-time and with two kids who are out and about all the time, I constantly worry that we’re not eating properly.

We regularly run out of fresh fruit and veg because I can’t get to the supermarket every other day, my son eats like it’s going out of fashion so we run out of everything ALL the time and quite frankly I don’t have the time to sit down and think about what we’re going to eat for the coming week because it depends on so many differing factors.
We never sit down at the same time and by the time homework is sorted, kit is washed and I’ve gathered my thoughts I need to cook something FAST.

Also there’s that whole stuck in a rut thing. Cooking the same ole things over and over. I like to try new things, discover new tastes, broaden our palettes.

So, this is all my way of saying I love the idea of meal boxes.
I don’t care if it makes me sound lazy (just order online. Just go to the supermarket. Just plan). If it were that easy I’d do it. It’s not. I don’t.

So, we took delivery of two HelloFresh family boxes to review. Both came on a Thursday. Both made me a bit giddy with excitement.
So what did we think?

FAVOURITE MEALS

Out of the eight meals we received I’d say we’d definitely make four of them on a regular basis now. We ended up trying dishes we would never have bothered with before and – like the pork dish – we make it regularly now.
Our meals were:
Teriyaki Beef

hellofresh-teriyaki-beef

Pan-Fried Sea Bream

hello-fresh-sea-bream-with-sweet-cherry-tomatoe-sauce

Creamy Leek and Mustard Chicken

hello-fresh-creamy-leek-and-mustard-chicken

Jamie’s Sizzling Steak Stir-Fry

hello-fresh-jamies-steak-stir-fry

Sweet and Sour Pork

hello-fresh-sweet-and-sour-pork

Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

hello-fresh-sticky-chicken-drumsticks

Courgette, Broad Bean and Feta Orzotto with Pork Meatballs

Saucy Mascarpone and Bacon Gnocchi
(Sorry forgot to take a photo of these two!)

So what is HelloFresh and how does it work?

Basically it’s a fresh food box which is delivered to your door with everything you need to make a set number of meals. The recipe cards are super easy to follow and you literally just take out the ingredients you need for the meal you’re making and it’s all there ready for you to prepare. There’s a spot of peeling and crushing and chopping, but other than that the preparation is quite minimal.
Each recipe card also tells you how long it will take to cook, so you can decide if you have enough time for each meal which I loved.

You can choose from a classic box, a veggie box and a family box. We tried out the family box which was £64 per box and included four meals for a family of four.
You can view upcoming recipes; oh and Jamie Oliver is in on the scene too creating recipes for the boxes.
The meat was all excellent quality, as was the fresh produce. It came well packaged and was very easy to follow and create the meals.
You can also swap recipes if you’re really not keen on one which is due to be in your box. However this is only available for the Classic 3 meal box (Meat & Fish). Hello Fresh say they are hoping to make it available to other recipe boxes very soon.

PROS

  • The box arrives with everything you need to make four family meals. The ingredients are excellent quality and very well packaged. The meat and fish come in a well insulated pack inside the box. They were in the box for a good few hours before I got home to unpack them, but everything was still chilled.
  • The meat and fish is locally sourced and organically produced and much better than similar cuts at the supermarket. I’m very fussy about the meat and dairy produce we eat and I was really pleased with the quality.
  • The recipes were a mixture of old favourites and some we’d never tried before. We turned our noses up at the sweet and sour pork as we’re not really fans, but this version was a whole different way of making it and it’s now a firm favourite.
  • Everything is measured out for you. This sounds like the laziest thing ever, but when you’re pressed for time it meant I actually enjoyed cooking a hell of a lot more. It also means less food wastage. It means you don’t have to buy a whole jar of saffron or fish sauce for one dish and it then sit in your cupboard unused for a year.
  • You also know you’re getting a really healthy, balanced meal which is a big win.
  • There is also plenty of food for decent-sized, not large portions. I have one child who eats everything and anything in his path so I think we’re on the verge of the family box no longer being suitable, for for smaller tummies it’s fine!

hellofresh-recipe-cards

CONS

  • I’m not sure if this is a ‘con’, but you have to cook the meals pretty much every day after receiving the box. The ingredients don’t last – probably because they aren’t full of chemicals to increase their shelf life – but it does mean you need to be prepared to make four meals on the trot. So no cheeky takeaways in-between. No eating out and skipping a meal. We did actually struggle with this sometimes because we’re so busy and because the box was delivered on a Thursday, which meant meals had to be cooked over the weekend.
  • It’s expensive. There’s no getting away from it, it is a lot of money. However you do get your money’s worth – the ingredients are excellent and the bumf tells you each meal costs around £4. Yes you could  probably make it cheaper, but you’re paying for the convenience here and the quality of the ingredients.
  • A couple of the meals just weren’t kid friendly. Not your average kid anyway. My kids aren’t foodies, they like good simple fare like bolognese, chilli, stir fries, roast dinners.
    A couple of the meals I just couldn’t get them to invest in!

VERDICT

I love the idea of these boxes. Love it. However, practically they do  present issues of their own.
As I said, you have to cook the meals pretty much every day. Maybe if it were delivered on a Monday would be better as actually the weekends are the times I DO have have to think and spend a bit of time in the kitchen.
Yes if you look at the cost per box it is expensive, but having experienced the quality and the convenience I don’t think that would put me off now.

I think our overriding verdict though, would be that we really liked the boxes; how to took the stress out of cooking, how the kids could join in without me stressing that we wouldn’t get to eat until 9pm at this rate and how it opened up a whole new raft of recipes for me without me having to sit and sift through recipe books finding ones which would suit.

Have you tried subscription boxes? If so, let me know what you think?
I also reviewed three other meal boxes recently; see what I thought.

hello-fresh

Just a note to the wise; you should also note, this is an auto-renewing subscription service. You can pause or cancel a delivery before midnight on the Wednesday prior to the week of your next scheduled delivery so MAKE A NOTE or a box will arrive on your doorstep.

Posted in Food, Other Review, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Apple Crumble Cake

Apple Crumble Cake

Every year we pick a bumper crop of apples from the tree at the bottom of our garden.
It’s a fruit tree my beloved grandpa bought for our new home when we moved in.
Now he’s gone, every year when we pick that bumper crop I make sure we celebrate with some apple-baked goodness to remember him by. He’d love that.

It’s usually a pie or an autumnal crumble, but this year I wanted to make something which I could take into work and share with my work colleagues.
A pie or crumble just wouldn’t cut it.

So I opted for an Apple Crumble Cake. Or an Apple Crumble traybake.
It was a bit of a new one for me, but boy oh boy it’s a winner; AND I’ve never had so many requests to share a recipe!

So here you go; a most excellent autumnal treat. Eat it warm from the pan, or keep it in the fridge for a slice. You should note it’s best only kept for a couple of days, however it may not be a problem you need to worry about as it doesn’t tend to last long!

Apple Crumble Cake recipe

Apple Crumble Cake

Ingredients
Base
100g butter, at room temperature
110g caster sugar
1 egg
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp milk

Filling
5 large apples, peeled and chopped into bitesize pieces
1 nob of butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar

Topping
185g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
125g butter, from the fridge
165g caster sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (320 F) and grease and base line a 20×30 cm pan.
  2. Add the apple, butter, cinnamon and sugar to a saucepan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until the apple is softened but still retains some bite. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
  3. Make the base mixture by creaming together the butter and sugar, then add the egg and beat well.
  4. Fold in the flour and baking powder and stir in the milk.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared tin.
  6. Make the topping by mixing the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a bowl. Add the butter in small chunks and then rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  7. Drain the liquid from the apples and add them evenly on top of the base mixture.
  8. Spoon over the crumble mixture evenly. For a little extra crunch you can sprinkle over some rolled oats or some chopped nuts.
  9. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-50 minutes or until the top is golden.
  10. Leave to cool in the tin and then cut into slices.

apple crumble traybake

Posted in Food, Recipes | Tagged , | 4 Comments

First day of school. The senior school edition

school-homework

His legs are long and lanky now, not the sturdy legs of a four year old when he first pulled his grey trousers on to go to school.
He wears a tie and a blazer and looks like a grown up. His school shoes no longer have ‘bumpers’ or velcro straps. They’re men shoes.
I lament the loss of my little boy but marvel at the young man in front of me.
He started senior school this week. Year 9.

Sunday night, I hover around his room wanting to get involved. He doesn’t need me but I’m feeling the need to be needed.
I fold a piece of kit here and there. Pretend I’m directing the proceedings but I’m just a hanger on really.

On Sunday he puts his uniform on for a test run. We have to pop into school for the afternoon with all the other boys in the year and the parents.
He looks amazing. I feel an overwhelming sense of emotion and pretend to go downstairs to fetch something, because honestly, this feels worse than that day in reception when he looked too small to spend the day in a classroom.
Now he’s too big. He’s growing up so fast. Where has that little boy in Reception gone?
I feel the past eight years of his school life rush at me; the disappointments, the tears, the joys, the Big Decisions.

Dan is now a senior school pupil. The next phase in his schooling starts now. The GCSE years. Everything gets serious from this moment forward.
And I feel as emotional now watching him disappear through the school gates with a huge rucksack on his back as I did eight years ago when he left my side to go to Reception.

 

Posted in Dan & Mia, School | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Adventures with a Citroën C4 Cactus

Citroen C4 cactus campingBefore we took delivery of our funky green Citroën C4 Cactus to review on a family camping trip to the Lake District I rolled my eyes and I moaned.

Seriously? HOW are we supposed to fit everything into that car? I looked it up online, I mentally tried to imagine my leggy teenager and preteen sitting in the back and bickering all the way up the M6 because ‘he’s in my personal space’ etc etc.

I imagined us playing car boot Jenga and failing miserably.
I imagined family rows and having to sit on sleeping bags and hating the whole experience.
I was the worst sort of moany, whingeing blogger.

“It will be fine” the PR soothed. “We’ve checked with Citroën and they assure us it’s fine for your trip and there’s a roof box on there too”.
Our trip was four days in a Hobbit Hole in the Lake District which we were all super excited about.
I mean, come on, a Hobbit Hole!
We had just returned from a fabulous family trip to Dubai, and we were loving the idea of a Hobbit Hole in the hillside!
But the car. Would this Citroën C4 Cactus fit all our bags in (it’s like travelling with four adults these days) and our sleeping bags, our pillows, our camping cooking gear? Hell we had a gas bottle for our camping stove. And we even packed a gazebo it turned out we didn’t even need in the end.

So the car came and everything fitted in fine. No one had to squish themselves in-between the car door and a gazillion bags.
In fact the nearly four-hour journey to the Lakes (the traffic was rubbish) was a breeze.
The husband and I looked at each other like we’d been fools. “I really like this car” he commented as we got to the pass the car sweets around stage. “I really like it”. He drove it the whole holiday. Some might say he hogged it. The husband works at a high-end car company and he criticises most cars.
The Cactus was winning us over, goddamit.

Citroen C4 Cactus dashboard

So we decided to reward her (for all cars are ‘hers’) with a little adventure!
We took her through Borrowdale and the stunning Honister Pass, which snakes through the Lake District and must be one of the most amazing roads to drive on.
We stopped and took arty photos and she stood out for being the ‘wrong’ green and we laughed because her side ‘air bumpers’ made her look perfect for the rocky terrain.

Citroen C4 Cactus review Citroen C4 Cactus lake district Citroen C4 Cactus family

Then we took her to Aira Force Waterfalls in Penrith where she had to sit and wait for us because it was quite a hike up the side of the falls and she was resting after her Honister Pass climb.

Citroen C4 Cactus review 3Finally we took her to the beach at Morecambe where she got to meet the famous statue of Eric Morecambe and she once again managed to stand out on a grey and rather overcast day.

Citroen Cactus at seasideSo what did we make of the Citroën C4 Cactus?

Well, we are really rather fond of her.
She’s funky, nippy and cheerful but roomy enough for a squabbling family and groovy enough to turn heads.
She was an easy, comfortable ride with loads of storage space
If we could change anything it would probably be the pop-out window in the back which the children found annoying and I found annoying having to listen to them being annoyed.  Also the digital touchscreen wasn’t always intuitive and pretty much all the controls were on there, so making minor changes was a bit of a faff, which isn’t great when you’re driving.

But these are minor complaints in a vehicle we really did grow rather attached to.
We grew to love the side bumpers too!

Citroen Cactus review 2

Posted in Other Review, Reviews | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Do you wish you could freeze time?

 

growing up so fast

Do you constantly wish your children would stop growing up so fast?
I do. All the time.
Hell, I write it all the time on this blog!
It feels like a blink and BAM, another slew of years slip on by and I’ve got a teenager whose voice is breaking and who wants to go on the train into town with his friends and doesn’t need me to do anything.

And I lament ‘oh where has my baby boy gone? Where are the days where he held my hand/sat on my lap/snuggled into my neck and fell asleep while watching back to back episodes of Ben 10?’

I miss chubby hands in mine, needy arms reaching up for attention. I miss little voices singing TV theme tunes for shows I’ve grown to dread because I’ve watched them over and over and over and over.

I saw a post on Instagram recently from Renata at thefelfis about her children growing up so fast.

Here’s what she said: “Most of the time I’m fine.. But sometimes and some days I have moments which I feel so sensitive and all I want is to cry. My reasons are usually related with the time passing by too fast. About the things that I have no control about. About my kids growing up, me getting older. I really try to do the best of my days each and every day but this anxiety just consumes me. I want badly the time to slowdown!!!”

Yes, I thought. Yes, yes yes!
But no. Wait a minute. When I thought about it I’m not that sad. Because actually the preteen/teen years are proving to be pretty awesome too. Challenging sure, but then so were the baby/toddler/first school years.

As your children get older you watch them become more independent and it’s a joy to see. Because you think to yourself I helped that happen. My parenting is working. I did that.

You never ever think the day will come when you’re OK with them leaving home. I could never imagine myself being OK with not actually knowing where they were, what they were doing, who they were with.
But it’s a slow build not a sudden overnight thing. My 13 year old now takes himself off on the train to our local town and the first time he did it I don’t mind telling you I CLENCHED the whole time he was away. But he did it and he loved it and he loved me for trusting him to do it. And that in turn made me feel great.

So anyway, the point of all this was to say that them getting older is a good thing; an exciting thing. Don’t lament the passing of time because watching them grow is a fabulous thing. The teenage years don’t have to all be bad and just like they are going through huge changes, so will you. And it’s all good 🙂

Posted in Dan & Mia, Family Life | Tagged , , | 5 Comments