Norfolk-Mini Series: Norfolk Lavender

Where has the summer gone?  Already it feels like the beginning of autumn, temperature has definitely dropped, though I’m hoping it’s only temporary.  I’m thinking of the lovely days we spent in Norfolk, allow me to reminisce…

I always used to envy photos of lavender farms on Instagram.  We don’t have one nearby you see, so when we first thought of visiting Norfolk, the first thing I did was go online and see if I could find one near our base in Hunstanton.  Imagine my surprise and delight when there was actually one called just beside sunny Hunny.

We arrived in Norfolk Lavender around midday.  There were already lots of tourists and visitors milling around the rows of beautiful lavender taking photos of course and I don’t blame them.  They are beautiful and deserve a thousand photos …

Little T had fun walking through the rows upon rows of the beautiful and fragrant flowers.

Her dad taught her how to touch the flowers gently and to smell the fragrance they left in her little fingertips.

If I had a garden big enough, I’d plant rows and rows of lavender too.  They are my favourite!

The place though isn’t all about lavender.  They also have a garden where you can enjoy walking around and looking at different kinds of flowers as well.  They have lovely benches and manicured lawns perfect for a picnic, or a fun day out.

This lovely bloom, really caught my attention.  T said the colours were like a candy-cane and I so agree with her.  I forget though what it’s called.

This orange flower also stood out among all the greenery in the garden.

I have a close friend who knows a lot about flowers, especially wild ones. Every time she visits us, we go for long walks and she likes to point them out to me and ask “Do you remember what it’s called?”  I smile at her sheepishly and she laughs as if to say “Oh Dean, you never remember things!”  And she’s right, I never do!

I look at these photos now and I am filled with nostalgia and longing to go back!  It’s a lovely place really. They of course have a shop, a garden centre, a cafe and even a little play area for children (although you have to pay to get in), but the rest you can roam around freely.

If you’re in the area, do drop by.  You won’t regret it.  Click here to know the exact location.

Where to next?

Wait to find out 😉

Saving for our Daughter’s Future

*This is a sponsored post.

“I have a letter mum” T proudly held a white envelope up to us.  And she was right, it was addressed to her.  It was a summary of her ISA savings account which we started when she was barely a month old.

“How much have I saved?”  She excitedly asked.  Note the “I” and not the “we” as if it was her who deposited monthly in her account.  Ah bless.

We read the amount to her.  She gasped.  “I’m rich!”  Till we explained that this account was for her University fees.  My husband and I both actually sighed, with this rate, we’ll be nowhere near the £37,000+ it takes for a degree here in the UK according to this article.  To think, that’s only the cost of the Uni fees, they haven’t even included accommodation, food and clothing allowance.  Good grief.  And of course, by the time she’s old enough to go, it will probably be double that amount.  Thank goodness  T is only six, we still have time.  Do we really have time though to scrape and save enough to ensure that our daughter can go to Uni without a massive student debt to burden her?  And how are we doing this?

Scrape and Save

By scraping and saving of course.  I’m lucky I’m married to someone who is ever so careful with our finances.   We both are. We actually have an emergency fund we can dip into goodness knows, something unforeseen happens (knocks on wood, hopefully that will never happen).  It may not be a huge amount, but at least we have something to cushion us even for just a bit.

Have No Credit

My husband and I don’t own credit cards, no loans, no mortgage to think about.  Whatever we need goes out of our current account.  I don’t judge anyone and perfectly understand how for some people credit cards are a safety net just in case the numbers don’t add up at the end of the month.  And I know it can easily happen to anyone.

Buy only What You Need

Thank goodness my husband and I are both simply folks.  We don’t buy expensive stuff.  I don’t own signature brands and shun away from most things expensive.  If I see something I like, I wait till it goes on sale and if I find the price reasonable enough, that’s the only time I buy it.  We do like to splurge on each other during special occasions mostly on books though, especially Folio books.  As for other necessities, I usually wait for the sales before buying anything.

Small Joys and Simple Pleasures

Lastly, my husband and I are both homebodies.  We like the simple pleasures in life like a good home-cooked meal instead of eating out or watching movies at home instead of going to the cinema.  We both like to potter around in the house during the weekends.  We’re members of the National Trust and English Heritage which means, we don’t spend much most of our days out especially if we bring a picnic with us.

All these may just be little things, but when added up together can amount to something and surely we’re doing the right thing right?

What about you?

Do you also prepare for the future?

 

Back to School with Start-rite

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with start-rite.

I think this is the shortest summer holiday little T has ever had and I can’t believe that she’ll be back in school next month.  I’m panicking a bit because there are still some activities I want to do with her.  We haven’t even gone camping yet, or learned how to ride the bike without stabilizers, or learned the “You are my sunshine” song in the ukulele yet.

And yes, I do know the summer holiday will end soon.  In fact, in spite the panic, we’re actually ready for it.  She already has new uniforms in time for next month and also has a pair of  new school shoes courtesy of Start-rite.  We got little T’s first ever pair of shoes from them.  My husband was very particular about this. He didn’t want to just buy just any pair of shoe from the shops.  He wanted her properly fitted and booted.  Yes, T and has a history with this particular shoe brand and we trust it.

For this year, T chose a classic Mary Janes style for her school-shoes.  If you’ve been following our little blog for some time now, you will know that my daughter is very sporty and just like any other six, going seven-year-old, she loves to skip and run around like a loony.

What we liked about the shoes:

  • The velcro.  Admittedly, T still hasn’t mastered tying her shoelace yet so a velcro strap is a big help for her.
  • We like the style and the leather.  As mentioned, we’ve been happy with Start-rite from the beginning and know that we are getting good quality shoes.
  • At £42.99 we think that the price is just right.  Might be pricier than other school shoes, but at least we know that we’re getting our money’s worth and know that it will last her long.

When it comes to school shoes my husband and I don’t really mind spending more for better quality shoes and as I’ve mentioned, T and start-rite have a good history together, we know that this will last her till at least next year.  I won’t be surprised if it even lasts longer than that.

As parents of young and active kids, it’s always best to spend a little bit more for good quality school shoes, isn’t it, especially if we know that it will last longer than most of the other brands.

What about you?

Are you a Start-rite parent too?

We are!

Norfolk Mini-Series: By the Seaside in Sunny Hunny

It all began in Sunny Hunny.  Apparently, it isn’t always sunny in Hunstanton but we were lucky enough to be blessed with glorious weather the few days we were there.  We used the lovely seaside town Hunstanton as base for our trip.  For those who don’t know, “Hunny” as some fondly call the place, is a lovely seaside town in West Norfolk.  It’s one of the few places in the West Coast where the sun can be seen setting over the sea.

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon.  After some tea and cake, we decided to take a walk by the pier.  Was really impressed with the lovely flowers by the promenade.

We knew there was a seaside carnival, not surprisingly T wanted to head for there as soon as she could see it from afar but first my husband tried to convince me to try out the jellied eel.

I took one look and politely declined (did have a taste though) and instead enjoyed a small pot of mixed-seafood.

Not to be left-out, T all ready for the seaside fair asked for some cotton candy.

And then she was all set for some serious fun in the fair.

Sadly, T wasn’t tall enough for some of the rides.  To cheer her up, we said yes to a temporary tattoo.

Her first choice was a sugar skull (she loves them), but then decided on the grim reaper.  Yes, my daughter is a bit “dark” that way.

The woman doing the temporary tattoos tried to convince her to add some colour and perhaps even some glitter.  But T knew what she wanted and politely said no.  I don’t blame her.  I don’t think the the grim reaper will be pleased to be dusted with glitter and colour.

And here’s my little goth girl, proudly showing off her tattoo.  The woman said it will last a week and she was right!

We enjoyed the lovely picturesque scenes on our way to the flat.

It was a beautiful end to our first day in Sunny Hunny.

Where are we off to tomorrow, mum?  T asked.

Off to the Norfolk Lavender Farm.

Wait for it!

A Wedding and a Short Holiday

After being away for about two weeks, we are back!

We actually came back late last Friday, but the following days were all a bit of a blur.  T attended a party last Saturday, hung out in a friend’s house after, Sunday was spent resting (or trying to).  Went out food shopping Monday, Tuesday T had a playdate with two friends and today she’s having another one, plus a sleep-over!  Yes, our little house is still in a bit of a frenzy this week I’m afraid, so while we’ve been back, I haven’t really been online much lately.

This is really just a quick note to say the wedding was a blast.  T enjoyed her first time ever role as bridesmaid/flower girl.  She absolutely loved twirling in her white dress and pink shoes, matching with her cousin of course.  They both loved it.

Then we were off to Norfolk for a few days.  Our base was Hunstanton and it was lovely there.  Will do a little short series on Norfolk and all the lovely tourist places we visited.  I think they are all worth a mention here, so please bear with me as I slowly sift through the dozens of photos I took, hopefully they’ll all end up here.

Now excuse me while I make lunch for two excited little girls …

The End of Another Term and A Bit of A Break

Today is little T’s last day of the term.  We thought it was on Wednesday, it turns out that it’s an inset day which is a good thing, because we drive up to Beds on that day for my sister-in-law’s wedding, at least, my daughter doesn’t have to miss her last day in school.

It was the children’s end-of-term school play last week.  Last year, T played little Alice in Alice in Wonderland.  This year, it was the Jungle Book. In their school, the Year 6 kids (the ones leaving primary school) are chosen for the big roles, so this time she was one of the jungle dancers and she also played the cello along with her friends during the school play.

As I’ve mentioned on past posts, little T goes to a very small village school.  There are only about 60+ kids in the entire school which is lovely.  Most of the kids here have known each other since they were toddlers.  It’s a lovely school with very caring and helpful teachers and this becomes obvious during their school play.  Everyone does really well and plays it with gusto.  We are reminded about how lucky we are with the school, everyone seems to really like each other, from the students to the teachers and this all becomes obvious during the end of the term.

I can’t believe she’ll be in Year 3 come September.  How time flies.  If only it would just slow down a bit, I want to enjoy little T more.  Does that sound selfish?

And last Saturday was also T’s last ballet class for the term.  Parents were invited to watch them dance.  It wasn’t really a performance, but it was still lovely to watch nonetheless.  T and another girl kept yawning the whole time, but still they danced their best.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, we’re driving up country to be with family.  Will be away for more than a week.  I’m taking a break from blogging and social-media.  When one is tuned in too much, it’s also best to unplug as much as you can.  Too much online buzz I think is bad for the soul.

Hope you all have a good start of the summer break.  I know we will.

Canesten Campaign Winner

We’ve picked our winner for the Intimate Conversations with Canesten.  I love what Jenny wrote:

My parents gave me a book about boys and girls/men and women and puberty when I was smaller.  I think I read more about the book instead of sitting and talking with my mum.  I wish when I was younger I had asked more about  the changes my body was going through, although my mum tried her best I think sometimes after the “talk” has been and gone, parents can forget to “check-in” with their kids… I think the “talk needs to be “talks” spread out over months, even years… not everything can be covered in one talk, and the importance of communication is key

She is so right.  It shouldn’t just be one talk, one sitting-down-moment with T.  It should be a series of talks over the years.  I hope I remember this.  Thank you Jenny!

Back-to-School School Supplies with Smiggle

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Smiggle

I know what you’re thinking, school hasn’t even ended yet.  But hey, what can I say?  My daughter is exactly like me who loves anything to do with stationary, coloured pens, and beautiful sparkly journals.  Personally, I prefer my journals not to be sparkly, but when you’re a six-year-old, I guess they prefer, one that glimmers.

I’m familiar with the brand Smiggle.  Who isn’t?  Go to any city centre and you’ll find a Smiggle shop filled with the brightest pens and everything your little one will need for school, or even just for their collection.  When the lovely people behind the brand got in touch and asked if T would like to sample some, I said yes of course.  And boy was she pleased when she opened the package which was addressed to her, she especially loves this very sparkly journal:

She spent hours just playing with the sequins alone.  By brushing across it with your fingers, you can actually change the design.  She quickly wrote her first entry down and I’m not kidding when I say that she actually slept with it.  That was how much she was pleased with this very sparkly journal from Smiggle.

She also had fun with this DIY pencil-case that has everything a child would need for school.  It has coloured felt-tip pens, a rubber, a ruler, a sharpener and scissors.

There was also a small little badge journal which smelt like candy.  T loves it! And of course, not to mention a letter T keychain which she quickly put on her backpack.  I was kinda hoping she’d save it for September, but did she listen to me?  Of course she didn’t.  When a child is that excited, you wouldn’t want to burst their bubble now would you?

Thank you Smiggle for making little T a happy bunny.

What about you?

Are you and your child crazy about stationary/school supplies too?

Summer = Paddling Pools

The word summer equals to paddling pools, especially when you have a little one.  I can’t even begin to count how many little T has had since she was a toddler.

When we moved into our new house last year, my husband bought T a big pool especially since we finally have the space for it.  Sadly, we kept the said pool in a small outbuilding in the bottom of our garden.  Even though I packed it securely (or so I thought), the mice still had a go at it.  I found this out during the “heat wave” about a month ago when T invited a friend over for some paddling pool fun.

Imagine my annoyance when I found out after cleaning the paddling pool, blowing it up only to find out that there were holes in it. I panicked and thankfully, my husband willingly (minus the grumbling) drove me to the nearest shop and bought the biggest paddling pool we could find.  Sadly, it wasn’t as big as her previous one, but once blown up, it wasn’t that bad at all.

This was T’s paddling pool last year.  The three of us could fit in it comfortably with enough space for other kids as well.

This is the new one, not as big, but it didn’t seem to bother the girls at all.

These two girls are really sporty.  They enjoyed running towards the pool and just jumping into it and having lots of giggles.

It was one of those perfect long summer days, lovely and warm.  The kids having fun in the garden, while mum can have a read in the hammock and maybe a cheeky g&t.  And the husband in the study…… Ah bliss.

And this being England of course, everything went downhill from there.  The next day, it ended with a mist.  The temperature dropped and then it rained for days.  Story of our life eh?  Here’s hoping the warm paddling pools will come back.

What about you?

Did you enjoy the heat-wave too?

Or was it just too much?

Intimate Conversations with Canesten: Plus a Chance to Win a £50 Voucher from Amazon

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Canesten

I’ve always wanted a daughter.  I guess it’s also because I’m close to my own mother and want to replicate the kind of relationship I have with her, and what I have with little T is even better.  She’s my little shadow. When she’s not in school, she’s always with me.  She likes to cuddle and gives kisses freely.  And we talk, we talk a lot.  We talk about everything.  I dread the day when she won’t do as much anymore or even want to be with her old mum as much as she used to, hopefully that day will never come.

Little T is a perfect combination of a little girl who loves ballet, playing her cello, gymnastics, but at the same time won’t hesitate to play rough with her best friend who happens to be a boy, or win a race on sports day.  She’s both “girly” and “boyish” though I don’t really like using labels, but she’s definitely both.

My darling daughter is turning seven in August.  How did that happen?  Where did my chubby little baby go?  I can see traces of her on her little six-year-old face, but soon, even that will be gone.  I’m not ready for T to grow another year older.  I know that sounds selfish, but time is just happening way too fast.

I’m not really looking forward to those intimate albeit awkward conversations with T, especially The Talk.    I’m imagining there will be lots of giggles, or maybe she’ll be too grossed to even want to listen to me.

What I want to say to her is this, it’s all part of being a girl, part of being female, part of being a woman.

Already she has questions about when will she have breasts, although at this age, she still refers to them as “boobies” and always said with a little giggle.  I really don’t mind talking about the changes in a girl’s body as they turn into puberty, especially once she starts having her period.  She knows what it is, when she was younger she used to call it “pyramid” and much to my embarrassment used to announce “Mummy has her pyramid today”.

And of course along with that comes the changes in a girl’s body together with the discussion of  proper care of our intimate health and common intimate conditions such as thrush, cystitis, and BV.  Some may think, isn’t it a bit too early to discuss this with your daughter?  I’m not saying I’m going to discuss all of this with her in one go.

I think it’s important to prepare them early.  And to discuss it in a manner where it comes out naturally.  If she gets used to talking about it at an early age, she won’t hesitate to come to me for more questions, at least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

I didn’t have this you see, when I was growing-up.  I never even knew what Thrush was or what the symptoms were.  I had to find them all out on my own.  As parents, we try to give our children as much life skills as we can.  I believe that this includes having these intimate conversations with them, especially for daughters, no matter how trying these conversations may be.  And to reiterate that no matter how embarrassing or difficult the question are, they can always discuss it with us.  What about you?  If you have daughters, have you had this discussion with them?

And for those who want to win a £50 Amazon voucher, all you need to do is answer the question in the comments below. The best answer will win the voucher.

What I wish I knew about intimate health when I was younger.

Terms and Conditions:
1. There is 1 prize of one £50 Amazon vouchers. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered
2. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over.
3. Closing date for entries is 17 of July 2017.
4. Entrants must leave a comment below.
5. The winner with the best answer will be chosen.
6. The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 
days or a new winner will be chosen.
7. The winner’s name will be available on request.
8. The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address.
9. This is a joint promotion between Little Steps and Canesten®
10. Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions 


Good Luck!