Wednesday, 17 July 2013

London Weekend with Mum.

For my birthday my boss gave me two tickets to see A Chorus Line in the theatre and said that someone could sleep at ours for the night. I asked my mum to come up and we had such a lovely weekend! It was made even better by this weather, it was glorious. She got into Victoria at about 9.30am and after going for a coffee we headed straight to Hyde Park to relax in the sunshine. When we got there we decided to get a picnic from a supermarket before we settled down so headed off on our mission. The main thing that drives me a bit crazy about London (and it's probably true of most big cities) is that unless you know where things are, you'll never find them. There have been so many instances when I needed to get to a supermarket for example, and have waked three miles to get to one only to find out that there was one five steps from my starting point. I think this was the case on Saturday. We walked around two miles in the sweltering heat to find a Marks and Spencers or a Waitrose, ANYTHING.

Finally we saw an M & S and chose our picnic. We were hot and hungry by then so all of the crisp salads and glistening fruit looked so inviting. Our eyes were a little too big for our bellies and we chose salads, sandwiches, fruit, olives, cous cous, crisps and Eton mess. It was so delicious. We also got some still lemonade with ginger which was so refreshing and thirst quenching, great in this heat.

Hyde park was so busy. My mum couldn't get over the amount of people but I suppose that less people have gardens up here and the park is kind of the Londoner's answer to the beach. We set up our blanket under a shady tree and relaxed for ages. We even had a little nap after lunch. It was nice to just spend time together talking and people watching. I always feel guilty about being in London and not 'doing' something but I had never been to Hyde Park before so that satisfied me enough!

We then went to the theatre to see A Chorus Line. I'll do a full review about it in a few days but I'll tell you now that it was superb. It's the best musical I've seen to date (War Horse counts as a play hehe).

After the theatre we made our way back to Waterloo to get on the train and got a burger for the way home. We got to the house, mum managed to maneuver the stair-gates okay and not wake the children which was a bonus, and it was soooooo hot in my room. We were both knackered so we pretty much brushed our teeth and went to bed, after opening all the windows.

We got up about 9am the next morning, I got a cup of tea in bed which is such a luxury. We went into Richmond and had breakfast in Carluccio's. We both had a latte and an almond croissant which were gorgeous, plenty of marzipan inside. Before, when we came up for my job interview we missed the coach home by about three minutes. Mum was knocking on the door as he was leaving the coach station but he wouldn't let us on. Because of this we are both a little nervous about arriving on time so we went to Victoria straight away just so we were already there and didn't have to stress about travelling across London. We sat outside Starbucks and chatted for hours. It always amazes me how we can still have things to talk about even though we had been talking for hours the day before. I am so proud to say that my mum is one of my best friends and we have such  good time together.

Once I had seen mum on the coach I headed home. The tube was ridiculously busy because everyone had gone out to enjoy the sunshine and it was boiling. I went straight to bed that night and didn't need any rocking.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Tesco Food Collection

I went to Tesco yesterday and I saw that they had set up a food collection. It was run nationally over the weekend (5th-6th July) in all Tesco stores. Basically people put an extra item of shopping into their basket then donate it to the collection on their way out. It is then distributed between around 900 charities and used to stock food banks which help people who just can't make ends meet. For the first time, Tesco will be setting up permanent food collection points in some of their stores and I think that's a great idea. How easy would it be to get into the habit of adding an extra item to your shopping trolley every week! I hope that this scheme is a hit and they place a collection point in each of their stores nationwide.

The need for these services is becoming more and more common in these financial times and its not just the food which helps these families, many people say that the emotional support they receive from the charity workers is just as important. Single parents who are struggling to get enough food on the table to feed their children, elderly people who are unable to afford enough food or cook hot meals. The people that this project helps are among the most vulnerable in our society and I am so happy to see that big corporations like Tesco are using their popularity and wealth to help people like this. They are not just taking donations from their customers, at the end of the weekend Tesco will donate a further 30% worth of food to the cause.

The two charities which Tesco is in partnership with are The Trussell Trust and Fare Share. The Trussell Trust gives families and individuals in crisis three days worth of food, they are referred to the service by doctors and social workers and once they are at the trust they are listened to and supported in finding other services which may be able to help them long term. Fare Share gives food to charities and organisations such as children's breakfast clubs and lunch clubs for elderly people. These events not only enable these people to have a proper meal each day but it also helps them to get out of the house, socialise and make friends.

This event really struck a chord with me because my mum didn't have much money when my brother and I were young and, although we never needed to use a food bank, I know how hard my mum had to work and budget just to give us three meals a day. Also, it is very easy for families to slip into the category of needing this help. All it takes is for one parent to become ill or have an accident and their savings can be depleted very quickly. No-one ever knows when they may need services like these and that's why I feel very strongly about supporting them.

The items which they asked people to donate were non-perishable goods such as UHT cartons of juice or milk, cereal, pasta, tins and jars.I bought two cartons of orange juice and a box of coco pops (I know I probably should have bought sugar-free cereal, bad nanny!) and they cost me around £2. I had spent about £50 on pizzas and alcohol for a party we were throwing so an extra £2 didn't really make any difference to me but it could make a massive difference to a child who normally goes to school with an empty stomach and cannot learn because they are so hungry. How many people would spend much more than £2 on a drink on a night out and think nothing of it? It didn't even need to be that much. A tin of value beans costs no more than 30p, I've seen people throw change from their pockets into the bin just because they couldn't be bothered to carry it around with them. I just thought that it was a brilliant idea and it has inspired me to look into charities local to me to see if they have any food bank schemes which I could volunteer at.

You can see the full details of the Tesco Food Collection here.

Did you see this scheme in any of your local Tesco over the weekend? Do you already support a similar charity? I'd love to hear any volunteering stories you may have.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013



I've been obsessed with Imagine Dragons for the last few weeks, I have listened to their album constantly so when Bastille was suggested as a similar artist on Spotify I definitely wanted to check them out. I made the right choice. I am absolutely loving them and their latest album 'Bad Blood' is so, so good!

The band's from London, I love British artists. And them being from the UK very much increases my chances of going to a gig of theirs. 
Also the lead singer, Dan Smith, is so gorgeous! There's something very irresistable about a man who can sing. He originally set up Bastille as a solo project but decided to form a band.

I'll leave you with my favorite song of theirs, Things We Lost in the Fire:


Monday, 8 July 2013

My Week

I know, I've been a terrible blogger! I haven't blogged in a fortnight and I actually quite missed it! The week before last was so hectic because both I and the children were going away for a week so I had to ensure that not only all of their ironing and packing was done but I had to pack mine too! I just packed for myself though. I do not iron more than is necessary!

Then, last week I was at home for a whole ten days. It was blissful. I caught up with loads of friends and family, did a few mundane things which I don't get to do up here and I sadly enjoy like spending hours cooking a meal and shopping in Tesco. The best thing of all though was that I got to spend lots of time with my mum and brother. My little bro (not that little, he's nineteen!) had the whole week off college so we had movie days and I just generally spoiled him. My mum also managed to have a few days off work, she runs her own garden centre so time off is pretty hard to come by.

I went home because it was my birthday on the third of July. On the actual day I took my mum out for lunch at a gorgeous local Spanish restaurant, check it out here, I'll post a full review of our meal later in the week. Then we just went home and drank tea and chatted. That's what I like most about being home, just relaxing and catching up properly with the family. I also had a bit of family get together on Friday. On Saturday we had a bit of a surprise birthday party with about seven of my brothers mates and my stepsister and her boyfriend. It was so much fun! The alcohol was flowing and we had a really good time.

So you can see why I haven't posted, these last couple of weeks have been crazy but I'm back now and my fingertips are itching to type.

I am loving tribal, Aztec and Indian prints at the moment. This is a picture of a selection of skirts and tops from New Look's Inspire range.

I haven't had a chance to read any blogs this week so I can't link you to any that I found interesting. I'll buck my ideas up for next week!