Sunday 25 January 2015

Silent Sunday: The West Pier


Tuesday 20 January 2015

Family day out at Stanmer Park

Stanmer House

Last week we went for a day out to Stanmer Park. It was a beautifully sunny day for once (it’s been cold or raining ever since) so we decided to take advantage of the nice weather. Just outside Brighton, the park consists of Stanmer House, a lovely grade I listed mansion surrounded by a church, little village, cafe, apple orchard and acres of woods and rolling hills in the South Downs. 

I love living by the sea in Brighton but it can feel a little too urban sometimes and I begin to crave the countryside. Luckily for us, Brighton is surrounded by miles of stunning countryside with so many possibilities for day trips! Plus toddler just wants to run at the moment so anywhere with space is a good thing!

We took the train to Falmer station (three stops from Brighton) and the entrance to the park is just around the corner. From there it’s another 10-15 minute walk to the house. As the sun was out we took the opportunity to walk around the village, apple orchard, spot the horses in the barns, walk past the pond and stare into the distance at the rolling hills. It was a lovely crisp winter's day. Toddler got some good running time around the park before he fell asleep!

Hot smoked salmon open lasagne at Stanmer House

We went to Stanmer House for lunch and were seated in one for the more formal rooms for lunch, one I had never been in, overlooking the garden. I didn’t know there was a garden with tables outside, which must be gorgeous in the summer. We ordered lunch and soon toddler woke up, probably from the smell of food no doubt! I had the hot smoked salmon open lasagne with spinach, wild mushroom and toasted pine nuts which sounded very interesting. The other half had the steak and kidney puff pastry pie and toddler had one of the children's selections, sausages and mash!


The food did take a while to come, but was worth the wait. It was all absolutely delicious and the portions so generous! I don’t usually eat so much at lunch time so was utterly full, I didn’t even have room for dessert, which is very unlike me! The desserts on the next table did look yummy though. The service was great, everyone was very friendly and attentive and as always toddler got a lot of attention from the waiters and other customers!

Children's meal at Stanmer House

What would have made the experience a tad better would have been some more food options for baby. A lot of the children's meals I see these days consist of fish & chips, chicken & chips etc with a lack of any vegetables or healthier options which I am usually disappointed to see. I get impressed with the restaurants that provide something unique and healthy for kids. One place near us does an amazing children's meal with carrot sticks, small cheese squares, rice, yogurt, sweetcorn, fruit and for us it’s these simple things which make a huge difference to healthy eating. So, it would have been good to have vegetables with the sausage & mash meal or fruit as the dessert. I’m sure the staff would have been happy to provide this as an alternative but in an ideal world it would be great to see it incorporated onto the menu. Toddler sure wasn’t complaining though and ate all of this food up! Afterwards, we chilled on one of the many sofas in the lounge area next to one of the open fires.

As we left the winds & rains came and we headed back to the station. It was a lovely day at the house and grounds. I’m already looking forward to our next trip. There are so many food options and upcoming events at Stanmer House we might try the afternoon tea or even a Sunday roast next time :)

Many thanks to Stanmer House (Whiting & Hammond) for providing meals for the purpose of the review. 
All views and opinions are my own. 

Have you had a nice day out recently? Please share your thoughts with me.

You Baby Me Mummy
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Sunday 18 January 2015

Silent Sunday: Apple Orchard


Tuesday 13 January 2015

A letter to my 18 month old

Dear Cheeky Monkey,

You are 18 months now. I wrote your last letter at 16 months and that feels like months and months ago. You have grown so much since then in so many ways. I can’t believe you are one year and a half. In just six months you’ll be two!!! In the last letter I called you a baby. You are so big now, I can’t get away with calling you baby anymore. You are definitely a toddler and a very cheeky one at that!!

Your speech has suddenly advanced. You can say so much. Your favourite words are ‘Ma’ (mummy), ‘Dadoo’ (daddy), Mooo moo (cow), ‘yes’ (said very enthusiastically), ‘no’ (shakes head at same time), Baa baa (sheep), star (pronounced very excitedly), moo (moon), bus, car, woof woof (dog), duck, birrrr..(bird), Mmmm (diamond), mole, mow (mouse) and also a whole load of “conversations”. I knew this would all come and you are now so vocal. I ask you a lot of questions and if they’re relating to food, going to the park, playing with lego or reading a book you say ‘yeah, yeah!’ or ‘yeahhhhh’ straight away. It’s great, I can now have a conversation with you, kind of!

This last month your temper tantrums have hit the roof!!!  I was not prepared for this, no-one told me this would happen so soon. Of course, I had heard about the terrible twos, but no-one mentions the terrible one and a halves! They have been occurring everywhere and usually at the worst places possibly including playgroup, the supermarket and once in the middle of the road as we crossed because you wanted to touch a stone on the pavement! They happen because you want something you can’t have so you do your ‘moody face’, which you have perfected so well, and shake you’re whole body like you’re a fish out of water, flapping your arms and usually whacking me in the face in the process! They are not that bad and I’m thankful that you just have to be distracted or given something else and they are over! Phew.

You are very funny at the moment and so, so cheeky. You want everyone to chase after you and when someone does you are in fits of laughter! Even when I come up the stairs after you, you think I’m following you and you burst into laughter too. When you see your baby friends you somehow trick them into chasing you too and you absolutely love it. It’s funny to watch. You can laugh and laugh and laugh. I’ve never heard anyone laugh as much as you do. You have sooooo much energy at the moment. You love running everywhere.

Your cheekiness extends to every area of living. You think the following activities are hilarious: throwing food on the floor from your high chair, going into strictly forbidden kitchen cupboards and removing the contents (saying ‘ah oh’ at the same time), putting any type of cream, usually stolen from mummy, on your finger and generally messing up the whole house. I gave up ages ago at trying to keep the house tidy and sometimes just laugh along with you. It must be fun to throw your food on the floor! 

As always, you’re very determined. You have mastered your shape puzzle which is for 2 years plus, the one where sometimes I can’t work out if it’s the octagon, hexagon or pentagon, but you somehow figure it out! I’m amazed by what you can do at such a young age. But now you’ve become too clever. You know where everything is & you can nearly understand everything we say. You’re learning so quickly and you sure do keep me on my toes! But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So little boy, at 18 months you’re so full of life and such an unique little character but, I guess you have been ever since you were born.

As always, I love you more than words can describe.

Mummy xxxx


Sunday 11 January 2015

Silent Sunday: Seaside Silhouette


Tuesday 6 January 2015

A new year, new hopes, new challenges

When a new year approaches we all have hopes, desires, goals and aspirations don’t we? We set ourselves high standards and write a list of our new resolutions. How many of us actually keep them? Or did we start something only for it to fizzle out a few days/weeks/months later? My usual list tends to include doing more exercise, eating more healthily, joining some kind of club and perhaps something along the lines of writing more or being more creative. I didn’t have a list last year. I can’t even remember setting any goals, I was probably too consumed in our bundle of joy. But it’s nice to look back on the year. 2014 has had its fair shares of ups and downs but here’s my three main achievements.

Biggest achievements of 2014: 

1. Being a stay at home mummy to our little boyI left my job, put my career on hold and have spent this additional time with him. It hasn't always been easy but I am so glad I have been with him up until now. We did so much in 2014 and he has grown and changed in so many ways, from a little baby to a 19 month old cheeky monkey who’s so affectionate and clever (I know all parents probably say this!)

2. Breastfeeding. My journey continues and I’m so glad for both of us that we’ve carried on. There have been plenty of challenges along the way (full-on biting was one of them, not good) but I’ve persisted, tried different things to make it work and I love this unique bond.

3. The start of blogging. I thought about this for years & am so happy to have finally started my blog in September! I love writing, love networking & enjoy being part of this wonderful community of bloggers and writers. Thanks to everyone who finds this blog in some way or those that return regularly :) It’s been so lovely getting to know you all.

Hopes for 2015:

In 2015 there are lots of things I want to do that I’ve spent too long procrastinating over. So this year I won’t write a long list of things I want to do as that can be a bit overwhelming. In general though, I want to focus a bit more on me this year. Being a stay at home mummy can mean I have little time for myself and some of my interests pre-baby have taken a back-seat so it will be nice to delve into these again and be a bit more motivated about doing so. They include simple things like reading books, taking the time to cook a lovely meal, going to a yoga class or even just getting to read the paper at the weekend! In terms of blogging I would love to write about so many things I haven’t posted yet and continue this wonderful journey. Blogging has already opened some doors and I’m excited about other opportunities that may come in 2015. So as well as good health and happiness for all of us, I hope 2015 is a year of positivity and action! Here's to a good year :)

What are your achievements of 2014? What do you hope 2015 brings?

Mums' Days
Mums' Days

Sunday 4 January 2015

Silent Sunday: Donkey


Saturday 3 January 2015

A night out at the Theatre at Brighton Dome

Timber at Brighton Dome

Last night I went to the Brighton Dome to the opening night of Timber, an amazing show performed by Cirque Alfonse. It was great. Not just the show, but getting out, doing something different and seeing a show so unique. I love the theatre but like so many things, hadn't been since toddler was born so it was a wonderful and lively way to start the new year.

A friend was babysitting which I was surprising nervous about as no-one has put ‘Toddles’ to bed, other than his daddy, since he was tiny. Family or friends look after him from time to time and he’s really good at falling asleep by himself but I was still nervous about everything! I guess that’s normal and of course, everything was absolutely fine in the end. He went to bed right on schedule so I could relax & enjoy the show.

Performed in the main concert hall, it was great to see a full house and a diverse audience, including a lot of older children. Cirque Alfonse consists of a family of performers from Quebec including a 66 year old grandfather and two year old Arthur, who's a real cutie! Timber is an unique mix of traditional folk music & singing, knife throwing, axe juggling, saw jumping, acrobats galore with a good dose of comedy thrown in. Plus a lot of timber!

Performing at Brighton Dome

I was surprised by the traditional music. I really enjoyed this and the set did an amazing job at creating a typical scene of lumberjacks in the forest, sitting around the stove, preparing food whilst performing acrobats. The acrobatics alone were amazing. The juggling of several axes and the series of complicated flips performed over a floating beam of timber as well as the men jumping through looped saws had my eyes transfixed! At the same time, I wanted to look away thinking they were going to drop an axe! If you’re a daredevil you’d probably love sitting in the front row! 

They were absolutely wonderful though, extremely precise and definitely showed the extent of their precision and strength even balancing one another on their heads! They also genuinely looked like they were having fun. I want to join them! And any ‘accidents’ were forgiven by comedy which there was plenty of. When the grandad was suspended up into the air I was in fits of giggles! Oh, I laughed a lot. 

If you want to catch this show it’s on tonight and tomorrow at Brighton Dome :) 

All words and opinions are my own


Thursday 1 January 2015

Happy New Year 2015!!!

Happy New Year everyone! New hopes, new challenges, new horizons ahead. 
Let's make it a good one :)

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