A day out to the Riverhall Himalayan Gardens, Sevenoaks

A day out to the Riverhall Himalayan Gardens, Sevenoaks

When you have two children under two you’d think that finding different places to spend the day would be easy (oh how I was wrong) but without venturing up to the big smoke things can be really tricky. Also for my own sanity if I have to keep visiting the local park anymore than twice a week I think I’ll end up having some kind of mental breakdown. There are only so many times you can make small chat with fellow mums and take boomerang videos (you know the ones plastered all over everyone’s Instagram of your toddler going down the slide. We all do it, you know it, I know it. I’m guilty).

As a rule I’m not a very tolerable person. If employees are rude i’m not likely to rush back to spend my pennies (mamas on a budget of course!). I live in Kent (broken applause) and sometimes I forget what a beautiful area it is. So with the kids Nan and I took them to visit the Riverhall Himalayan Gardens which is located in Sevonoaks. I usually reserve judgement of new places but blow me down I actually had a laugh. And we only had 1 tantrum from Delilah (small victories count when you have a drama lama for a daughter).

We ventured around the den building area where Delilah explored and created her own little space whilst Nan and I enjoyed a nice walk pushing Indie in the buggy, up by the bluebells it was very hilly and bumpy so make sure you have your mountain style buggies with you. (I admit I forgot my bungee cords and campfire building set but luckily all it took was some sturdy pairs of wheels.) It was so lovely to get Indie out and let him enjoy the fresh air and it allowed Delilah to burn off that forever lasting energy (where the hell does it come from?!). Also if you keep your eyes peeled in the summer holidays and weekends (around 2-4pm) you might even spot the Yeti! Let’s all be honest though, that poor bloke or woman cavorting around in that costume just after midday is definitely not being paid enough. We salute you Yeti-thing.

The adventure playground was in another league in comparison to the local swings and to see Delilah’s little face light up in excitement was unreal. Even I got a little bit excited seeing some of it, and I’m not ashamed to admit how many kids I ran past aiming for the HUGE slide myself. We felt safe for Delilah to run free in the play area and just go crazy! There was also plenty of benches for you to have a pit stop and scroll through Instagram and pretend that you aren’t completely counting down the very last minutes until bed time so you can catch up on Hollyoaks. JUDGE ME SEE IF I GIVE A FFFFF.

We took a stop around the Himalayan hedge maze (mainly for me and my obsession of mazes). I was hoping to “accidentally” lose the kids in the maze just for like, a minute, to get a break. No chance. Delilah was this crazy ninja blur, only occasionally stopping to scream “MUM” in my face before tearing off down some other twists and turns. One can dream. (disclaimer I love my children, i’m just honest).

Entry was really affordable at £8.25 for an adult ticket and under fours free (loud applause) it was a bargain! They also offer season tickets which I recommend if you loved it as much as we did. Dogs are welcome also and I recommend wearing sensible shoes but if you forget they have a delightful selection of wellies that other people have worn you can borrow for free. I’m now lost in my own mind imagining an entire family inside the ticket area going “OH NO. OUR SHOES! WE HAVE FORGOTTEN THEM!”, laughing at each other’s socks. That’s when the wellies are produced and we all get the same sinking feeling whenever we visited a bowling alley as youngsters. Errrrrm….no thanks. I’ll go barefoot. Be one with nature and all that.

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At the moment they are running a bluebell walk which is absolutely stunning. Bluebells are really special to me because I used to go for walks with my granddad behind their house and pick bunches of them and bring them home for my Nan. Since he died I’ve always felt a special connection to them and it reminds me of a happy memory. We met up with photographer and good pal Emily Brown took who some snaps of me and the kids. It created a beautiful backdrop for the pictures which went STRAIGHT on my Instagram (thank you!). Emily took my lovely maternity shot and was and still is fabulous to work with. She is so good at getting the children to engage with her and enjoy it as well, nothings a chore for her not even a stroppy Delilah! I truly recommend her for nice natural photos especially if you are like me and dislike the whole cringe matching denim tops posed family portraits. She actually takes a decent picture of you and your little monsters looking, well, not like monsters.

By the end of shoot the kids had had enough and weren’t playing ball because lunch time was approaching. Delilah was rubbing her belly yelling “I HUNGRY MUMMA!”. She is indeed her mother’s daughter. We took a break in the Riverhall Cafe where mine and Nan’s eyes lit up once we saw the selection of home made cakes and scones. My diet briefly went out the door at this point and we snacked on cake and coffee whilst the kids munched down. Silence lasted an entire ten minutes and it was GOLDEN. But if you want to bring your own picnic spread there are tons of picnic benches and good spots to bring a blanket with you.

They also provided free water for everyone (including dogs!) and next to the cafe they had a wendy house with activities and toys for kids which was so ideal. They had a little shop as well of really cool little things where I had to physically restrain myself from grabbing armloads of cutesy shop-junk and haul it over to the till.

Overall, 10/10 day. Spot on. What matters really is my kids had fun, and I had fun. Sometimes you forget as a parent what it means to “have fun”. You have to sit back, take the piss a bit and enjoy the little things. Like stank wellies, and beautiful bluebells.

Love Sophie, Delilah and Indiana x

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Edited by Ellie Jones- contact us for any editing needs. 

This post is for Riverhall Himalayan Gardens and Emily Brown photography and the opinions in the post are all of my own.

A day out at Kent Life

A day out at Kent Life

Hello everyone!
So I’m terrible at starting posts, how do I start?! “Hello”?!
“Soooo…”?!
“Hey it’s Nicole” (if you’ve seen these videos you’ll know)

Anyway, I actually wrote out a whole post about things I was stressed about. Then when I went to check it over and get it edited I realised how horrendously boring it was to read about me bitching and whining. When really we have each other’s backs as friends, mothers, sisters… in hind sight aren’t THAT bad.

So to cheer us up and after missing my Nan soooo much when she was away we spent the day out at Kent Life in Maidstone!

When we got there we had some lunch at Dotties cafe which can only be described as the cutest tea room ever! They did gluten free bread so Indie was sorted.

We petted and fed the animals…

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We went on a tractor ride!

We ate ice cream!

We played in the outdoor play area, climbed, ran, jumped and had a great adventure.

For one day I didn’t think of anything stressful, I didn’t feel depressed… I just enjoyed my children. Got to take pictures of them, play with them, feed the animals. I had a good day.

It was such a good day that the fact Delilah threw so many tantrums it was unreal! And she also found a dummy and I couldn’t prize the fucking thing off of her for love nor money so upside smiley emojis all the way.

If you can take one good day then the rest don’t really matter. We are in this together mummas. Stay strong.

Love Sophie, Delilah and Indiana x

Delilahs outfit is from Gap America (last years) and her socks & ribbon were purchased at Dagenham Market.

Indianas outfit is for Little Bird and Mothercare (this seasons).

The buggy is my spare car buggy and it’s a Mothercare Nanu. Which I have to say is a great stroller and good value for money.

Editing Ellie Jones- contact us for any AWESOME, WELL-PUNCTUATED, HARD GRAMMATICALLY-CORRECTED EDITS👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻💯💯💯💯

Mum guilt poorliness

Mum guilt poorliness

To all male friends and family. Stop
Reading now. NOW!
Being poorly is never fun but it’s not until you have children whilst being poorly that you long for a day off work tucked up in bed watching Netflix, having naps and not getting out your PJs like the ‘good ol days’. It’s more of a put the kids in front of Ben and Hollys little kingdom and hope they don’t moan whilst you die on the sofa counting down the minutes until your partner gets home.

If anyone didn’t know I have PCOS. It’s not fun and comes with some shitty side affects. But after having the kids I’ve not really suffered much until just after Indiana where I didn’t have a period until March. I did a pregnancy test and prayed for them couple of minutes that I wasn’t pregnant again…. negative, Hmmm? So where’s this period? In that time I went to the doctors 4 times and I barely got anything and got the conclusion that I was stressed and overweight. (This was a main reason for my diet). And then in March my period returned, very angrily. *pre warning this is going to get to the nitty gritty* it was soooo heavy with lots of clots. But in true Mum style fashion I just had to get on with it.

Four weeks passed and there was not much letting up and it was starting to make me very dizzy and queasy. I went to the gym on Thursday for spinning and I came home and fainted, I was also violently sick and went to bed very early. Things weren’t getting much better but then on Sunday I couldn’t stand up without loosing a ton of blood. It was horrendous. I was wearing a tampon and towel and it was still going to my ankles. I was getting freaked out so I called my mum who said to go to bed and sleep it off.

Pat took the kids on an egg hunt and sent me to bed to rest, I tried but then I had another bad show. At this point my home was looking like a scene from Saw and I couldn’t carry on. I called 111 who got me an ambulance and was blue lighted to hospital. I had a drip and was in a bed lined with a lot of towels! After blood tests and six hours wait for the doctor I was given medication to stop the bleeding and it was concluding I wasn’t having a miscarriage but one of the consequences of having PCOS.

I have to rest up for five days to get over it and (hopefully) stop the bleeding. If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that you have to put yourself first sometimes, they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before anyone else’s on a plane for a reason. Being a Mum isn’t an excuse to neglect yourself and especially your health, last night everyone who I saw kept saying “why didn’t you seek medical attention sooner?!” When in honesty I didn’t want to be poorly, I didn’t have the time or people around me to deal with it.

It’s made us really driven to move closer to family and friends. But I’m very thankful to Pat for taking care of the kids and holding down the fort, also for the horrendous cleaning and washing jobs he had to do. Soz about that.

Also Delilah asked “where mummy gone?” And Pat had to tell her that I’d gone to the shops *cries everywhere*
Will hopefully be better soon!

Love Sophie, Delilah and Indiana x

20 things about me

20 things about me

After a few tags I thought I’d do my 20 things about myself! So here goes…

One– WHERE TO BEGIN? I’m a trained hairdresser, I cut my days at school to focus on learning more about hairdressing. I adore doing hair. All my friends get free haircuts too.
Two– my favourite flowers are peonies. But I also love orchids. I went to an art exhibition on orchids being compared to vaginas which was.. Interesting?
Three– I’m addicted to crap telly. Teen mum, made in Chelsea, TOWIE. The list is endless.
Four– I have an allergy to cosmetics and mosquitos. I can only wear and use hypoallergenic products. People still buy me products I’m allergic too and it makes me really angry.
Five– My vision is horrendous. I wear contact lenses. But my sisters blind in one eye, has no depth perception and is long sighted in her “good eye” so I got off lightly.

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Six– I once streaked in the snow. I used to be fun, cool, outgoing. Now most nights I’m in bed by 9pm.
Seven– I’m crazy over murder and crime documentaries. The gorier the better. I’m pretty certain I’ve plotted Paddys murder down to the minor details. Every time he leaves dirty pants around I add more sinister stuff (I’m joking Pat, I love ya).
Eight– I’ve had 4 tattoos done. My first a ying yang in a flower on my arm, I got it because it was pretty, no meaning. I have Delilahs name on my other arm. The woman who did it was a rude bitch and I will get it re done because of the bad job she did. I then got Paddys name tattooed on my leg, went on a break so I got it tattooed over with a huge deer in a mirror and roses, A really good tattoo artist did it and I’m so glad he did it. A girl in Germany loved it so much she copied it. It was a really bad copy and makes me so angry.

Nine– whilst I was pregnant with both kids I had severe nightmares. They were sooooo bad and I even got sleep paralysis.
Ten– I’ve been a bridesmaid three times. And for my own wedding I will have 5 and 2 flower girls.
Eleven– Both children have name sakes to one of my friends. Delilahs full name is Delilah-Eleanor after my friend Ellie. Indiana after Indiana Jones, Jones being her last name.


Twelve– I’ve been to loads of parts of the world including Miami and Thailand. My dream holiday would be either Las Vegas or India to see the Holi festival.
Thirteen– BUT I am afraid of flying due to horrendous turbulence when hitting a storm on the way to a family holiday.
Forteen– I’m far better at DIY than Paddy, all furniture is put together by me, picture frames put up? Me, fixing things? Me. When we first moved in he tried to put a stall together and cut his hand open.
Fifteen– I’ve had 9 piercings in total. I only wear 3 now though.

Sixteen– My biological dad has been married six times and not to my mum. I also have three half sister and a half brother.

Seventeen– I have one foot bigger than the other.
Eighteen– My drinks of choice are gin and tonic, prosecco or Malibu and coke. Depending on how I’m feeling.

Nineteen– My takeaway of choice is fish and chips.
Twenty– My all time favourite movie is Pretty Woman. Whenever I was off school poorly Nan and I would watch it.

Aaaaaand there you go!

Love Sophie, Delilah and Indiana x

NOT EDITED BY ELLIE BECAUSE SHE’S ON HOLIDAY THE LUCKY COW

Tis’ the season for party treats, nibbles and prosecco

Tis’ the season for party treats, nibbles and prosecco

It’s that wonderful festive season where you drink all the gin in sight (or whatever your tipple is) but it can make you rather peckish or in my case a little stuck what food to put out for people. I absolutely HATE cold meat and mash, it’s old fashioned and really unpleasant. Equally so is the cheap pound bags of nibbles from Iceland. I know they are easy before any critism but they lack flavour! Food is meant to taste nice! So I have put together a few alternative options that are easy to rustle up.

Cheese and chorizo potato skins (or sweet potato)

You will need:

  • Small potatoes (the small ones you don’t use for the Christmas dinner) or sweet potatoes
  • Sour cream
  • A little olive oil (I buy the spray kind, its low in calories and super easy to use – good-bye oil spilt all over the frying pan and there’s too much of it and you can’t pour it down the drain and MORE OIL STRESS)
  • Grated cheese
  • Chorizo
  • A baking tin and a few utensils
  • Salt and mixed herbs (optional – I used Schwartz Mixed Herbs, but you can pick and choose your own)

To make:

  • Pre heat oven to 180 degrees
  • Pierce potato skins with a fork (imagine your exes cold, dead heart) and drizzle with oil
  • Bake for 45mins
  • Carefully take out oven and cut in half
  • Scoop the inside of the potato out and into a bowl
  • Mash with a dollop of sour cream and a little pinch of salt and herbs
  • Place back onto tray then top with chorizo and grated cheese
  • Put tray under the grill until cheese is toasty and golden!

Grilled halloumi and pepper scewers

you will need:

  • Halloumi cheese (cut into cubes)
  • Peppers (cut into square shapes)
  • Skewer sticks
  • A skillet pan
  • Oil for frying

to make:

  • Put your skittet pan on the hob with a little oil and warm it up
  • Thread the peppers and cheese onto the sticks
  • Fry each side until brown! (will only take a few minutes)

Olive bread toast with avacado and sweet chilli sauce

You will need:

  • Loaf of olive bread (sliced)
  • An avacado
  • Sweet chilli sauce

To make:

  • Slice the avocado (cut round and twist until into two parts, pop inside out and take out the stone, then slice)
  • Toast bread and place sliced avocado on top
  • Then drizzle the sauce on top.

This one is literally the easiest thing ever and it definitely feels a bit more special mixing it up with new foods.

Mozzarella and sun-dried tomato sticks

You will need:

  • Mozzarella balls (the teeny ones)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Cocktail sticks (or party sticks, whichever term you prefer)

To make:

  • A take on the old classic cheese and pineapple, simply place them on party sticks. Yes, it is that easy. Easier than toast. Anything easier than toast is welcomed into my kitchen.

Mini toad in the holes

You will need:

  • Party sausages
  • Mini yorkshire puddings
  • Gravy
  • Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Mixed Herbs

To make:

  • Peel potatoes and boil them for half an hour
  • Whilst they are being boiled, cook sausages according to packet timing
  • Cook the yorkshire puddings (should only take a few minutes)
  • Drain the potatoes and mash with butter
  • Once yorkshire puddings are golden brown place a teaspoon of mash into the yorkshire and top with sausage.
  • Serve with gravy!

Halloumi stars and dip

You will need:

  • Halloumi cheese (or cheddar is preferred)
  • Oil
  • Star-shaped cutter (any other cutter can be used – go wild)
  • Bread crumbs
  • Flour
  • One large egg
  • Two tablespoons of milk
  • Deep sauce pan

To make:

  • Pre heat the pan with oil
  • Slice thick pieces of cheese and cut with star cutter
  • Crack the egg and milk into a bowl and whisk.
  • In a separate bowl pour flour and then another handful of bread crumbs
  • Dip the cheese star into the flour and cover with the egg wash, then with breadcrumbs
  • Repeat until all over covered
  • Deep fry until golden brown
  • Serve with salsa, guacamole or sour cream! NOT healthy but Christmas calories don’t count remember. Makes roughly six.

Toasted pitta bread slice with roasted red pepper dip– also great for BLW (baby led weaning) tots!

You will need:

  • A red pepper
  • A large tomato
  • A sweet potato
  • A carrot
  • Oil
  • Lemon juices
  • Mixed herbs for seasoning
  • Brown pitta
  • Baking tray

To make:

  • Peel potato and slice it and the tomato, pepper and carrot and put on a baking tray drizzled with oil
  • Roast for half an hour
  • Then take out of the oven and place items into a bowl, add a squeeze of lemon juice and mash until a nice chunky dip is formed
  • Toast pitta then slice
  • Serve up!

Oh Christmas tree tortilla chips

You will need:

  • A few tortillas (brown is best)
  • A Christmas tree cutter
  • Oil for frying
  • Dips
  • Salt and seasoning
  • Kitchen roll

To make:

  • Pre heat pan with oil
  • Cut tortillas with cutters to make tree shape
  • Put into oil to fry whilst adding herbs, salt and a little pepper
  • Fry until golden brown (keep turning and moving to avoid sticking to pan)
  • Place onto kitchen roll to drain oil
  • Serve with dip once cooled

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, drink lots of prosecco (unless pregnant), eat your body weight in yummy food and enjoy time with family and friends!

Love Sophie, Delilah and Indiana x

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Editor- Eleanor Jones. Contact us if you require edits on any writing

 

 

Gingerbread men (women, children, dogs, cats etc etc)

Gingerbread men (women, children, dogs, cats etc etc)

As Christmas is fast approaching I wanted to do some baking to make my home smell all lovely and festive (disguise the smell of shitty nappies more like). With my sister, dad and two best friends being lovely red heads it inspired me to get my apron on and whip up a lovely batch of ginger bread cookies. Also Delilah loves baking with me. From mixing the ingredients together, counting the spoonfuls out (good practice for when your child decides out of nowhere to count to five and in the midst of your sleep deprivation you find yourself sobbing uncontrollably) and stamping out the shapes with cutters to decorating with hundreds of sprinkles, icing, chocolate chips and marshmellows. It occupies her and lets her get her messy outbursts out and done with in a good way!

You will need for 24 (one for every day of advent fa la la lahhhhh) biscuits:

  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 tsp ginger, ground
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g butter
  • 175g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • Add lemon juice for a pregnancy morning sickness relief, works a charm (oh my god it was a blessing I swear) or replace the ginger with cinnamon if you aren’t a fan of ginger
  • Baking tray
  • Baking sheet
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Rolling pin
  • Cutters, I got mine from a pound shop and lets be honest it’s not exactly Nigella but it works!
  • A little helper (optional)
  • Decoration (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven 190’C/Gas mark 5
  2. Put the flour, ginger and soda into a bowl (mines a lovely mason cash, 100% recommend) and rub in the butter
  3. Add the sugar and stir in the golden syrup and egg to make a firm dough
  4. Roll out to about 5mm thick and cut out your gingerbread men or any other shape you fancy. If you fancy baking anything inappropriate bring it on!
  5. Pop in the fridge for 15 minutes to ensure they keep their shape
  6. Put a sheet of baking paper on a tray and evenly space out the biscuits, bake for until golden brown (about 10-15 minutes). Keep your eye on them whilst your little one licks the spoon because after an excited Delilah starting creating wall art work the first batch didn’t turn out so great. You can also keep left over dough in a lockerzip bag and freeze for up to a month (defrosted and follow next steps)
  1. Leave to firm up for a couple of minutes before placing on a wire rack to cook
  2. Once cool decorate with icing, sprinkles, marshmallow and any other decorations you wish!
  3. Leave washing up and mess for your partner to deal with whilst you drink the largest glass of wine you can find.
    Happy baking!

Love Sophie, Delilah and Indiana x

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Editor- Eleanor Jones. Contact us if you require edits on any writing

Delilahs dinners- Pitta pizzas

Delilahs dinners- Pitta pizzas

Gone are the days of a takeaway after a night out. I used to love chips in pitta! One particular month in my pregnancy with Indy I craved pitta like mad and would buy tons of packets every time I did the food shop so then birthed the idea of pitta pizzas.

You will need;

  • Brown pitta
  • tomato passata
  • toppings of your choice

Once your baby grows up to a toddler (or if you have a toddler or child already) it is fun to get messy and cook!

First toast your brown pitta bread then, get your little ones to spread tomato passata onto them then get them to sprinkle their chose of toppings they wish to add! Cheese, chopped tomatoes, chopped peppers, ham, mushrooms, pepperoni! Then pop it under the grill until it looks done! Slice up and enjoy! It’s really simple, easy to do and low cost meal. Sometimes when you spend way way too much time making a meal your kids have a sixth sense and push their plates away. You win some you lose some! *rolls eyes*.

Love Sophie, Delilah and Indiana x

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Editor- Eleanor Jones. Contact us if you require edits on any writing