I love this photo from half term. It’s whooshed past so quickly. I can’t quite believe it’s gone already. The 6 week countdown to the Easter Holidays has begun.

We always fill our weeks with lots of things to do, it just means they zoom by. The kids go from one #activity to the next. They have after school clubs, boxing, football, swimming, drama and cubs after school. Friday is the only day they do not have anything booked in. It’s so manic.

Before I know it Saturday is here again and I’ve not done anything significant. I guess I’ll have to make my Saturdays full of significant things 😂. Who else thinks the week go by too quickly at the moment?

#mummyphotoaday

I love this photo from...

We had a lovely day today. No plans whatsoever when we woke up. Which felt marvellous. I stayed in my PJs until 11am 😱. Sunday is the only day that’s possible, so I like to make the most of it. Not sure why, but it feels like you’re winning when you have extra hours in bed clothes!

We then arranged an impromptu dog walk with Nanny & Grandad. Which was lovely as the kiddies have missed them. The weeks are flying by at the moment and we’ve not seen them for 5 of them! It’s terrible as the kids saw them twice a week, every week up until a year ago. It must be hard for them all not having that regular routine.

Isla often cries her heart out for Nanny & Grandad. On Thursday evening, after a long day she was so emotional and cried for them. It breaks my heart, as at 8pm I can’t really do anything about it.

When I was growing up I stayed at my grandmas once a week. It was slightly different as I lived in the same town, which helped with school and my normal routine. But I had that closeness with my grandparents that never goes away. It’s my safe place.

I really want the same for my kiddies too! I guess it was a kick up the bum to make sure I plan that time in and not let the weeks get on top of me! #familytime is just perfect. 
We had a nice walk in the mud. Everything was thick and gooey. The kids, of course, loved it. I asked them not to get muddy: do you think they listened? Nope! Covered!!
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Hope everyone has had a lovely Sunday 🤩
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I’m off to watch @callthemidwife.official finale now 😫😭 I hate it when it gets to the final episode. 
#mummyphotoaday

We had a lovely day...

It’s been a day of fun and #games today. Noah had a football match this morning, Daddy said it was a good game and very close. Whilst Noah was slide tackling everyone, Isla and I took some soups to Grandmas. Hubby made some carrot and coriander soups for her this week as fresh ingredient soup is just the best!

Isla then went climbing with Daddy. They love going to Big Rock in MK. Isla is so brave. She climbs right up to the top of the really tall walls. It amazes me.

We then snuggled to watch the final Harry Potter. We’ve now watched them all. We have waited 5 years for this moment and we all loved it. I got a little confused with Snape’s memories but I think I’m back on track. I must finish the books now 🤣

Has anyone else had a busy Saturday? #mummyphotoaday

It’s been a day of...

When it comes to a #horizon, I couldn’t not share this. Back from our trip to the Peak District. It was meant to be Summer. It felt like this week: windy, raining and unpredictable.

The views went on for miles at the top of his peak; Mam Tor wedged in between Castleton and Edale.

It was a beautiful area, picturesque and a treat for your eyes. I love places like that. It’s a shame we didn’t get to stop & enjoy the local beer gardens and cafes due to the weather.

We go on lots of adventures throughout the year: weekend trips camping, staycations and holidays abroad. Our next adventure is pretty epic too and every time I think about it I get butterflies! 🥰

We are off to Dubai soon! 😱😱😱 it must be real I’ve said it out loud. I’m so excited I might explode and I’m pretty sure the views will be nothing like this Peak District. Because the views we will have will be extraordinary. It’s our biggest adventure yet as a family. Biggest as in flight time, cost, special and unplanned. We’ve booked our flights and we’re super lucky to be staying with friends. Other than that we have no idea! What are we going to do in Dubai? Anyone been? Any ideas?

#mummyphotoaday

When it comes to a...

Ah it’s #loveyourpetday - what a great way to see each others furbabies. Well these are mine:

Photo 1 = Rambo the Jack Russell & Snoopy the Cockerspaniel. As many of you know, Snoopy is blind and partially deaf which is challenging. However, he is such a happy pooch and loves a snuggle. I think Rambo has lost a little hearing too as he’s getting old. He will be 13 on April 3rd! It’s gone by so quickly.

Photo 2 = Rocky. He’s my Tom cat fluffbag and I like to call him Rockstar! He was my engagement present from Hubby. He’s the best cat. He snuggles with me every night, under the covers, he’s very set in a routine.

It’s funny how furbabies get their own little #pattern to make it through the day. All the pets sit by the bed at night for a treat. And I think Rambo is very cat like and Rocky is very dog like too. They definitely have those characteristics.

Rambo is 12, Rocky is 11 and Snoopy is 10. Noah is 9... then we broke the pattern as Isla is 7 🤣 (it wasn’t intentional). #mummyphotoaday #dogsofinstagram #catsofinstagram

Ah it’s #loveyourpetday - what...

Sometimes I like to have fun with images. I don’t do it very often but it is amazing what you can do with a photo using filters.

The first image is the edited version, I’ve added a #bokeh filter on it. I’ve used @pixlr for this. It adds an orangey colouring to the photo and enhances the sun rays.

The original, swipe left, is still good and has its own bokeh and sun rays shining on it. But is less orangey and doesn’t seem as bright. It’s still a good photo though.

I took this with my iPhone. Sometimes when I need a quiet moment, one where I can play with the filters and change the feel of a photo it helps me to unwind. Gives my brain 5 minutes to regain itself and then I’m ready to crack on with whatever it was!

Which one do you prefer? Just out of curiosity - there’s no right or wrong answer! 🤣

#mummyphotoaday

Sometimes I like to have...

I had a busy Sunday painting the dining room with @frenchicpaint. I think it’s fair to say I’m obsessed. I painted the radiator and skirting boards with Dazzle Me. It’s super bright white. I painted the door with City Slicker. It looks so much better than the dark wood it was before.

If you swipe left you can see the before photos. The radiator was a beige colour before. It’s amazing how much brighter the room looks, it’s easy to #transform a room with an hour or 2 of painting.

I styled up the dining room with this beautiful bouquet of Spring flowers (a very kind gift from a friend) and these items from @pricescandlesuk. They eliminate pet odours which is great as sometimes I worry my house smells “dog”. After an impromptu afternoon off work, looking after Isla who hurt her neck at dance club, I cleaned and cleaned. The house smells nice and clean now. The household candle and reed diffuser have added a nice citrus and thyme scent to the room.

It’s amazing what you can do to change the feel of a room with simple steps!

#mummyphotoaday

I had a busy Sunday...

#Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We aren’t all the same. Wouldn’t the world be a boring place if that was the case. Everyone has a viewpoint. Everyone has their own opinion.

However, I am a firm believer in “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. I think it’s really important to spread happiness, build confidence and support each other. Now my big cheesey smile isn’t like this everyday, sometimes I’m worn out and sometimes I’m feeling sad. But I’ve learnt how to offload, unwind and bring that smile back. It’s so important to be able to hit that reset button once in a while.

So, this week, try and do one of these things:
🤍 Make someone laugh, a big belly laugh
🤍 Tell someone they look amazing
🤍 Tell someone you love you are grateful for them

See how it makes you feel. To make someone else’s day. It’s euphoric. I will never forget the moment one of the Mums from the school run told me I completely picked them up out of a dark spot - just by telling them they looked amazing today as I walked past.

Take the time to appreciate. Honestly it’s THE best hobby!

On a little diverted note; I’m appreciating this coat and boots right now. So warm and comfy. Check out the details on my blog >>> #linkinbio

#mummyphotoaday

#ad Coat & Boots from @idealworld.tv and they are @joebrowns 🙌🏻

#Beauty is in the eye...

Our family cruise holiday onboard Carnival Vista

As you may have seen on my Instagram over the past 8 days, we have been sunning ourselves across the Mediterranean sea onboard the Carnival Vista ship. It was our first cruise and we have been completely blown away – I am not sure a “normal” hotel will cut it anymore. This post is all about the cruise as a whole from the family perspective, so if you are thinking about booking one it might be a good read.

Where do I start? I suppose a good place is what my expectations were before the cruise: short and sweet. I thought it would be an “OK” holiday, I didn’t think there would be much to do and I was worried that we would get bored of eating in the same place all week. This post will expand on my expectations and how Carnival Vista met them, and of course, totally blew them out of the water! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

What do you do on a cruise ship all week? 

There is so much to do, we never once spent time in our cabin to pass the time. We were up at 8ish each day and we were busy from the get go. We would get up, check the views for that morning and then go and get breakfast. Every morning after breakfast we would spend a few hours in the pools and splash park area. It’s amazing how quickly the time passed – it flies when you are having fun. We would go from the two main pools, to the splash park and back to the rear pool (as it had the jacuzzi’s either side). 

Some days it was really hot, but the option of Camp Ocean meant that we could make sure the kids were safe and out of the sunshine whilst we either sunbathed or explored the ports. Just that break for a few hours after lunch was perfect for both the grownups and children to recharge their batteries. Camp Ocean was open from 7am to 10pm everyday and you can literally just turn up with your children and leave them for how ever long is necessary. Next to Camp Ocean there was also a Dr Seuss library where you could sit and read the Dr Seuss books and sit on the cool, oversized chairs. 

Some afternoons we all went off the ship and had a little adventure, one afternoon Daddy and I went on an excursion and had a horse ride on the beach and a couple of afternoons the children went to Camp Ocean. Late afternoons it was back in the pool again, the children loved being in the pools and splash park. Or zooming down the slides. It was great seeing how excitable they were, all of the time. Also, the grown ups too, there was SkyRide (the bike ride in the sky that tours the upper decks) and the SkyCourse where you can walk through obstacles on suspended ropes. There is also the Clubhouse that has arcade games for the younger ones, including ping pong and games. Then there is the Casino for the grownups. 

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There are some adult areas on the ship too, that we managed to enjoy (thanks for Camp Ocean) the Spa and the Serenity area. No children. Comfortable seats. A Jacuzzi or two and a bar. What more can you ask for when you want to unwind? 

In the evenings, whilst getting ready for dinner, is the only time we actually spent in the cabin and the children made the most out of the On Demand movies on the TV. We would shower, watch a movie, get dressed and go for dinner. 

After dinner, there was so much to do too. We saw a magic show, we went to a karaoke show, we went to see Finding Dory at the iMax cinema one evening too. One night we went to the sweet shop, Cherry on Top, which was an eventful evening and then we went to meet some other families in the Red Frog pub. The open air cinema was fun too, it was right by our room and every night we got little snippets of the movies as we walked through. It was always popular with everyone sprawled on the comfy sofas. We went to the Comedy club one night and that was rather funny, we laughed a lot at Steve Martin who had flown in from the USA. There was no expense spared at making the holiday a nice one for everyone. 

A couple of evenings Isla fell asleep at the dining table, which is understandable after a long day of exploring and the heat. Mummy enjoyed those evenings as I got to sit and watch the Map Channel on the TV in the cabin. The Map Channel was my favourite, it showed you everything from where you were on the map, how far you had gone and what the sea depth was. I became slightly obsessed with how deep the sea was. The deepest the sea showed (that I saw) was 2560 metres and the shallowest was just 20 metres. I am not sure how deep the hull of the ship is but I am guessing it is not far off 20 metres – so a close shave. The total distance of the cruise was 1937 nautical miles, which are just a little longer than an on land mile. So we did well over 2000 miles. Amazing. 

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The days are broken up and this makes the time go so quickly. There is always something to do and the Fun Times leaflet that you get in the cabin each night (for the next day) it breaks down everything you could possibly need to know about what is going on in the ship: entertainment, restaurant opening times, shopping times and even the weather for the port you are going to be at. Another useful section was about what time the ship will be leaving that port. We never needed to ask any questions as the Fun Times was just so useful. 

The sheer size of the ship is indescribable, until you have seen a cruise ship up close and been on one you will never understand. Even the photo below of Vista does not do it justice. The building on the right hand side of it is a large terminal at the port, so imagine a big train station or the front a football stadium, and the ship is still higher. The ship is 14 floors high. Some people may argue that it is 15, but if you look closely at the lifts there is no floor 13. I can only imagine that is because no one wants to stay on floor 13. Well, thats the only reason I can think of. 

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Is there many places to eat on a cruise ship? 

In a word, yes. There is also food available 24 hours a day. So you will never miss out on a meal. Breakfast was served in various places and some restaurants served breakfast until midday. Again, all times laid out in the Fun Times leaflet. Lunch was available in various restaurants and there are little areas on the ship where you can get some amazing food too: Guy’s Burger bar, Seafood Shack, Pizza Pirate pizzeria just to name a few. 

Meal times were amazing. We have never eaten so well as we did on that ship. I miss the food already and it’s been only 24 hours. You could eat in Reflections, the restaurant where your table is booked at a specific time. This means you always have a table at the time that you want it. Great if you can guarantee that you will be ready and hungry for a certain time. Or you can eat in Horizons, which is anytime dining. This is for people like us, that are all over the place and never ready at a specific time. We ate at times from 7pm through to 9:30pm. I think Horizons is the best restaurant on the ship too, it was at the back of the boat with views out on to the ocean. It looked really grand too. We had dinner in there every night but two. Those two nights we ate at the Steakhouse restaurant and the Italian restaurant. I cannot explain enough how well the food was presented, how amazing it tasted and how friendly the staff were in the restaurants. Everyone went out of their way to make sure you had a good meal and that the children were happy too. Which is an important element of eating out with the children, if they are not satisfied then neither are the grown ups. 

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How would you rate the cruise overall? 

If there was something that I could say, that could capture how I felt about the cruise then I would say it. I just cannot find the words to do it justice. I feel so relaxed. I feel like I have explored different Countries in such a short space of time. I feel like the children have had fun. I feel like I have eaten like a Queen and I am sure I have grown a rather large food baby. I have laughed, cried and had so much fun. It’s been incredible. We have some memories that will remain with us as a family forever and that is what a holiday is all about. 

There was no feeling of having to rush, or loosing out. Excursions always got you back to the ship on time and departure was only delayed one evening. There was always something to do. There was never, at any point, a cramped part of the ship or did we feel that there was too many people. Despite their being 3900 guests on board, over half of that children too, you would not have known. The swimming pools were never full, there was always a bed, there was never a large queue for food and the only time you did have to queue was for the slide – but that’s because it was super fun! 

There was always someone to talk to. We made friends with another couple on the ship and it was so nice to have grown up conversations with different people. I enjoyed talking about how both couples met and what has happened along the journeys of our lives. I found it to be a lot more social than staying in a holiday resort on land, but not in your face. You could make of it what you wanted. It’s like everyone was in the same mindset as you. 

It’s great to have such happy feelings about a holiday. I really want to go back on the ship and I miss the guys that looked after our cabin – we want another towel monkey pretty please. 

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There will be a number of posts coming up over the next week with different elements of our family cruise so watch out for those. I will go into more detail about the restaurants, the entertainment and the excursions. 

If you have any questions or anything you would like to know please put a comment below. If I can answer them, I will. 

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3 Comments
  • JuggleMum, Nadine Hill
    September 2, 2016

    Ah – the 24-7 food! The towel animals! The size of the ship! It really was a holiday to remember and we loved every minute. Great write up Sonia, it was such a fun vaycay!

    • MummyConstant
      September 2, 2016

      hehe… I miss the holiday so much. i REALLY MISS THE ROUTINE, IT WAS NICE NOT TO HAVE ANY WORRIES ABOUT WHAT TIME YOU GET UP AND WHERE YOU GO FOR DINNER OR WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR DAY.

      i MISS THE FRIENDLY STAFF AND MOST DEFINITELY THE TOWELS. i WILL LEARN TO MAKE ONE 🙂

      iT WAS GOOD TO SPEND TIME WITH YOU ON HOLIDAY mRS AND YOUR LOVELY FAMILY… X

      • Joan
        December 16, 2016

        It was dark when I woke. This is a ray of suihnnse.

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Friday 26 August 2016
Our family cruise holiday onboard Carnival Vista

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