Thursday, 29 March 2012

All the small things

I've posted recently about Seren's birthday, I always have the dilemma of not wanting to assume people will give her presents, and over compensating, and then I get overwhelmed because people do think of her, and she gets spoilt.

We also do this bargain spotting thing, where we buy things on sale, and then feel the need to spend the equivalent of what we would have spent rather than accepting that we had a bargain.

For Seren's birthday, I knew my parents were planing to give her a dolls house they had managed to get at half price. Trying to factor in this alongside all the gifts Seren had received at Christmas, I decided we would get Seren a bookcase (I had fallen in love with), we also managed to get her furniture for the dolls house (at half price, and using vouchers we forgot we had) and then of course I remembered I had been hoarding things I had been 'bargain buying' - books and duplo.

Whilst I was busy planning all of this, and weighing up whether my child was being spoilt... I should have started by asking her.

"Seren, what would you like for your birthday?"

For the weeks leading up to her birthday, we had a conclusive answer:

"A penguin please."

The week before her birthday:

"I'd like a crocodile please."

Seren's conviction was astounding.

Thanks to Roald Dahl's "The Enormous Crocodile" and "Happy Feet 2" we were able to ensure Seren received the gifts she most wanted:

And Paulton's Park also did their bit:

At the end of this I am left wondering what we are creating by feeling the need to meet our  (my) own expectations, and really a penguin,  crocodile and contributing to creating the birthday cake was all Seren needed to make her day complete.

And the crocodile got a day out too:

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Seren does Peppa Pig World @PaultonsPark

After the excitement of the boys 1st birthday party we decided to do something a little bit special for Seren's 3rd birthday which didn't involve the chaos and mayhem.

Having read fantastic things about Peppa Pig World we decided we would treat Seren to this, and to ask my parents to look after the boys so we could ensure the time was just about her. We were lucky enough to book when there was an offer of 2 days for 1, which meant we could take time travelling down and get a whole day over two days rather than cutting time short.

We woke on Sunday morning and Seren was so excited, this was the first time she had appreciated her birthday, and had been waiting for it, well basically since Christmas.
After a birthday breakfast with my parents, we jumped into the car and headed off. As Seren had been up so early she quickly fell asleep, and although she usually wakes up slightly groggy and sometimes in a bad mood, when we pulled up along the entrance sign to wake her up, her eyes literally sparkled and the classic line "Are we here?!" was uttered.

We headed straight for Peppa Pig World, and Seren didn't know where to start. She really was in awe. Unfortunately for me she kept on asking where Peppa and George were, I felt I was going to be letting her down as the statues didn't seem to be meeting her expectation. However, whilst we were playing in "George's Spaceship Playground" (Yes, in spite of the rides, Seren decided on soft play) we noticed Peppa and George- trying to get Seren out of the play area was a different matter, but when we did... oh, the child has no fear when it comes to her idols:

From meeting Peppa and George, Seren really relaxed into it and enjoyed all the rides in Peppa Pig World, whilst the weather was a little overcast on the Sunday, the Park was not too busy, and this meant little queueing for rides and we managed to get on everything, and even rode Grandad Pig's Little Train all on our own (before we realised it was time for us to go home, and the Park to shut).

We stayed about five minutes away at the Holiday Inn Express, and the team there couldn't have been more helpful. It was evident at breakfast a lot of families were using this as their base.
We had our evening meal near the Park, in a chain pub, again, given it was Mothering Sunday and we hadn't booked we found the place really accommodating and they even sang 'Happy Birthday' which I'd like to say made Seren's day, but I think they'd have to settle with it being the cherry on the top!

After managing to take full advantage of the rides and play at Peppa Pig World on the Sunday, we thought we'd start on the Monday by exploring the rest of the Park. I was really surprised by the amount of great rides it had (I admit I had only heard of Paulton's Park because of Peppa Pig World). It was a time where Seren's height was a bonus, hitting her 3rd birthday she is 98cm, this means (bonus) we didn't have to pay for her as she's not 1m but she could go on the majority of rides as the restrictions are mainly 90cm or 95cm.

The great thing about the Monday was that whilst Peppa Pig World was quite busy with families with toddlers, the rest of the Park was quite empty. Seren especially loved the Raging River Ride Log Flume, the Wave Runner, the Rollercoasters and the tea cups. The great part was because there were no queues we were able to stay on rides, or alternate parents. I think before the day was out Seren had been on the log flume eight times, and the wave runner at least four.

We went back to Peppa Pig World to revisit some of Seren's favourite rides, but by that time we had unleashed 'Seren the fearless' and she was ready for the Pirate Ships before we knew it!

It has to be acknowledged that everyone we met who works at the Park was friendly and welcoming, making sure everyone was accommodated. It really does make it that little bit better when people aren't having a bad day (says she of the many bad days).

We left around three so we could miss as much traffic as possible. Seren was asleep before we reached the dual carriageway.

Every day since she has asked when she is going to see Peppa again.

We paid just over £100 for this 'break', we are all agreed this was more than worth it. We have roped my parents in to take all three children back when the boys are old (tall) enough.

This is not a sponsored post, we just had such an amazing time I wanted to write about it!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Hello Kitty and activity time

For anyone who knows me and my little girl you'll know how much we both love books.
When we were asked by Harper Collins to review two Hello Kitty books I'm not sure who was most excited when they arrived- admittedly the chance to review books had left me in disbelief!
Harper Collins have published two new Hello Kitty books: "My first cookbook" and "Best friends activity book".

I must admit to shying away from the cookbook (this won't surprise friends) and we had lots of fun with the activity book. The great thing about the book is that is stimulates discussion and it is so good to watch Seren's face as her mind concocts all sorts of answers. Some of the activities did seem too old for her (she has just turned three) but it is a book she loves so I imagine it will grow with her, and has the benefit of allowing thoughts on friendship and sharing (a big thing with two brothers) to be presented to her in a way she better relates to.

The big surprise for me is how much we have loved the Hello Kitty My First Cookbook. At first I was exasperated by Seren constantly choosing the book as one of her two at bedtime- how on earth do you make a cookbook into a bedtime story?! But Seren won. We talk about what foods are presented on each page, what those foods taste like and what they can make.

The book is nicely split into breakfast, lunch, dinner and treats. This in itself is helping Seren to gain a better concept as to what falls into each category- namely that pasta isn't for breakfast and coco-pops aren't for tea.

So far the book has accompanied us on at least three trips to the shops as we find the ingredients and go home to make the recipe.

I am not sure who this book is aimed at, my logical side would say it is definitely aimed at 3 to 5 year olds, my suspicious side would say it is aimed at parents who have no confidence in the kitchen.
Since picking up this book at bedtime we have not only progressed to following the recipes but also to cooking more things from scratch.

Seren loves it, I love it, and daddy and the boys reap the rewards!

Seren and daddy testing the pancake recipe. Seren recreated the scene with a smaller pan and cut-out pancake!
And, our first time making a cake from scratch!:

I have loved having this cookbook in our collection and would definitely recommend it for toddlers and nervous chefs-to-be alike!

For the purposes of this review we received two Hello Kitty books, the views presented are entirely our own.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

"You've got your hands full"

We did plan our pregnancy, maybe we didn't plan to get pregnant so quickly but there you go. As the boys were also a month early our 22 month age gap was "planned but not intentional".

When people comment on us having our hands full I do still wonder how many parents with two singletons receive the same comment, constantly.

I have discovered it's an eye contact thing though, head down or eyes focused forward generally ensures we get done quicker, but I'm a sucker for older people, who generally seem more heartfelt in their conversation.

So, in terms of the things which have helped get us through the past year, here goes:

The Out 'n' About nipper: we looked at a lot of buggies and prams, but having decided we weren't going to opt for a triple we needed one which could have a buggy board. We decided on the Nipper because it seemed the most economical, it was light enough to allow three to be on board, especially as they all grow up.

What we discovered about the Nipper was that Seren at 22mths didn't like the buggyboard, and although it is not advertised as such, the foot board on the front has served well as a resting place for Seren when her feet can take no more.

In the early days the most difficult thing was to keep Seren entertained when the babies were a constant stream of feeds, nappies and naps. Our approach was to take the mornings as easily as we could, Seren loved baths so she would have a long bath in the morning and either the babies would go in one at a time or I would see to them so we were all ready to go downstairs... by about noon!
The most important thing was to be prepared, not only for the babies but also with their feeds taking close to an hour make sure Seren would have enough to keep her entertained- books, colouring in, snacks, tv was the general order of the time.

I would try and make the afternoon as focused on Seren as possible, in the early days this involved trips to the local Childrens Centre for activities, I did find this difficult as they were scheduled and it anything went awry we would miss the opportunity, so we started using the local park, play centres and Eureka! when this seemed too much we would do things around the house, messy play in the kitchen, craft kits from Tesco were a real hit, and when the weather was good the paddling pool came out.

When it comes to toys and playtime I have felt guilty of late that Seren doesn't have so much of her own, she had lots of Happyland things before the boys arrived, and since she has had a kitchen and more recently a dolls house. I think this is plenty. As we have not done the 'two of everything' toy wise we have so many toys. My logic here is that they argue over toys whether they are the same of different, the rule seems to be "if you have it, I want it", so we just have lots of different distractions. Seren is more attached now to the toys she had as a baby than she ever was as a baby.
The one thing we do here is rotate, we have a couple of baskets in the lounge that get swapped with those in the playroom so their attention is focused on playtime as much as it can be.
In the evenings Seren would go to her Nanna's whilst Tony went to squash. This gave me the time and focus to get the boys sorted for bed, and to begin the routine of getting everything sorted- sterilising bottles, preparing clothes and the changing bag for the following days.

We also discovered the benefit of meal planning at this stage, Tony would make our meal when getting home from work so to make sure we were getting enough variety but also do be able to keep meals back the meal planner become a feature of the fridge, it also helped with budgeting on statutory maternity pay.

The one thing which we did with the boys which made life easier then, and continues to now, if from about 4 weeks we put them in their cot every night at 7 and they did not come out of their cot until 9am. With Seren I could not have imagined attempting this, I can't imagine I would have had the will power. With the boys it was a mix of appreciating the necessity and acknowledging that they soothed each other. They have gone to bed at 7pm every night since, it is one of the few things I consider an achievement, and it is the thing that has made our lives a tiny bit easier. They do have disturbed nights but generally are good sleepers, we get them up at 8 now as Seren has pre-school most mornings, but I do think our determination on this has served us well.
(This is a definite boast, but Seren was a 10 till 10 girl, we gave into her every whim, she slept in my bed for weeks on end whilst she was teething, it took us 2 1/2 years to get her to go to sleep without needing company).

By the twins going down at 7 every night it meant we could dedicate time to Seren, fortunately for me Seren's first choice is reading books.

Reminiscing about the boys early months makes me think how easy it was, this is made up of rose tinted spectacles.

Life is different now, and maybe live with twins, a three year old, and a stay-at-home dad is a post for another day!...

This post has been written for the Multiples and Mayhem Carnival which is being hosted Here Come the Girls.

Picture 11

In the blink of an eye

My little girl turned three last Sunday.
Wow! How did that happen?

When you are living it you tend to feel every minute, those first six weeks, the sleeplessness, the growth spurts, the teething, the weaning, crawling, cruising, walking.

And yet, I am still not sure where the last three years have gone.

I cannot believe the strength my daughter has, her personality, her confidence, her opinion.
She has the strength of belief at this tiny age that I hope will serve her well throughout her life.

During her few years she breezed through life, she has just taken it in her stride. Getting to know a family so many miles away, the drive down to Cardiff every month; having mummy full time, then daddy, then mummy, then daddy; moving house, moving pre-schools; gaining two little brothers. These things would be a challenge to most, and yet Seren has just got on with it.

Seren is, to us, the most rounded child, she is a loving, playful sister, good company to adults, kind and considerate. Seren has the benefit of the support of my parents, my mum takes her out every Monday, first for coffee with the ladies and then onto soft play, or crafts at home. Seren has learnt how to socialise so well, making sure every one is catered for before settling down herself; she is so sure of her opinions and what she wants to do, days with her are a pleasure.

Of course she can still be a pain in the derriere, anyone with her backbone is a difficult negotiator. We have always had to wait for her to be ready for things rather than being able to 'train' her. After the event it never seems as traumatic, but when you are in it- the feeding, weaning, sleep patterns- it can seem the most never ending.

But at the end of every day, we have this little girl, who brings the best laughs, the most love.

Happy Birthday Seren Poppy!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Project #366 #10

Sunday: trip to Barry Island
Monday: Tom attempting finger foods
Tuesday: Seren and the best bit of baking cakes

Wednesday: MMS from OH, "fallen asleep on sofa for 5mins, Seren found felt tip... and Tom"
Thursday: MMS from OH, "can't stay away from the beach"
Friday: at Paddington, ready for home.

And my favourite, Saturday, daddy pops out for 5, boys take advantage:

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Friday, 9 March 2012

Family Frolics- Fun at the beach

It always cheers me up when I can join in with Multiple Mummy's linky, it means we've managed to take some time out as a family.

As we drove home from running some errands last Sunday, we decided to stop off at the beach. As the weather wasn't too great we opted for the one we thought would be more sheltered, and headed to Barry Island.

As we arrived there was a bit of a downpour, but that was it; aside from the odd blast of wind.

As we walked along the promenade we had a sign, a sign that we really have made this our home- Tony bumped into somebody he knew! May sound daft, but this is my man from Yorkshire. Someone Tony plays squash with was covering his parents shop for the weekend, and in a random act of kindness gifted Seren with a bucket and spade. This boosted Seren from being excited to be at the beach to very, very excited at the prospect of making sandcastles.

Seren has been to the beach before but this was the first time she really led on the sandcastle building.

And as we went to bed that night she surprised me by telling me how much she loved Thomas. I assumed she meant her brother, but we always call him Tom. Until she continued "and my pink spade", she was of course referring to her new bucket!

It's a good job the beach is so near, I predict we'll be spending a lot of time there!

Pop along and join in with your family frolics:

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The head tilt

I hope this is my first and last post to do with others sympathy toward me.

I am not alone I know, I am after all... and breathe, confession on the cards... a mum of multiples.

I met up with a friend to take a walk.
I had my three children with me.
My three under-threes.

After we had walked for a while, my friend said "Do you mind the head tilt?"
I was, admiteddly, caught of guard, had my style of pushing my buggy damaged my posture? Had my way of talking to Seren left me with a tilt?
I looked at my friend curiously.

"You know," she continued, "The way people look at Seren and smile, then catch sight of the boys, and look at you and, you know, tilt their head to one side."

It did bring a smile to my face, as I realised what I have seen for the last year but could not put my finger on.

As we carried on walking we laughed out loud at the majority as the 'tick' was identified in so many.

It of course does not stop here. I have people who "couldn't do what you do", "have nothing to complain about compared with you", and the best of course "couldn't have had twins".

The last is the easiest to address, I didn't know having twins was optional, it must have been a form I overlooked completing, and I was never aware I had an option.

The others are a bit more assuming. You see, it is difficult some days, but my memories of Seren in her first year were equally challenging. I will not ever have three children at different ages, I actually imagine it is just as difficult (or even more so) having three children across different years- but I don't know! And knowing how I parented Seren I imagine I would have found it more difficult with another singleton- but I don't know!

I do know that I pick up each twin less than I picked up Seren- I have not doubled the hours in the day or the number of arms I have, so this is a simple fact. The boys have had to cry more, because I cannot soothe them at the same time, and I think they soothe each other more as a result. The number of times the boys have slept in my bed can be counted on one hand, whereas by this age Seren was going through periods of sleeping in my bed (teething!).

My life as a parent to my three children is no easier and no more diffcult than other parents. Sometimes I could do with a bit of help, usually at soft play when I need to see to Seren and the boys but they are in two different places, but I'm ok at asking for help, and I'm even ok with giving help to other parents when they need it.

I don't need sympathy where my children are concerned, because they are fine, amazing even (this is, of course, their mum talking). I can't imagine my life any other way, I feel a little bit smug I only had two pregnancies and 'got' three children.

Life is full of swings and roundabouts.

I really don't need the head tilt assessment, in the words of Forrest Gump:

Monday, 5 March 2012

Product Review: Boomerein

Of all items to help with children we've come across, especially since having twins, this has to be the one with the really big tick next to it.

The opportunity to review the Boomerein was something I was really excited about. I have a very independent, head strong two year old, who cannot understand why she needs to be on a rein.

Seren is 22 months older than the boys, and we went through all the pros and cons of investing in a triple pushchair, to decide we would settle with a buggy board on an Out 'n' About Nipper. As it turned out the bugy board didn't suit us to begin with, the changing bag has to go somewhere and Seren didn't like having her arms above her head for long periods.

In addition, as Seren started walking at 15 months, we had already been testing reins. To date, we have invested in wrist reins, a traditional rein from Sunshine Kids and a Littlelife Ladybird rein. These have all had temporary success. 

I loved the wrist rein, and so did Seren to begin with, she would even hold her hand out to put in on, and after the boys were born we added one to the buggy so to make it hers as well.
It was great, until she discovered how to adjust it and take it off.
Despite meeting Mr Bloom, Seren was still unhappy with her wrist rein!

I loved the LittleLife Ladybird Backpack Safety Rein, I think I bought it as soon as Seren started walking. I thought Seren would love 'being a ladybird'. And she does, as long as the safety rein isn't attached.Again, it started well, and it still does, but now after about ten minutes we go into negotiation as to who is holding the rein (and it's not allowed to be mummy!), and then Seren refuses to move as she attempts to undo the clasps on the rucksack.
Happy now the rein isn't attached.

We have the same problems with the Sunshine Kids reins as the LittleLife safety reins, although these reins have one more positive on their side which is they are a bit longer, so Seren can sit on the front of the Nipper and the reins can come over the top so I can still hold her.
Distraction is a wonderful thing

And herein lies the problem. None of this would be such a problem if it weren't for the little ones. I wouldn't mind any of this if I was only had to negotiate with Seren, but there are three children of equal importance in the safety stakes.
I cannot negotiate with Seren, she must wear reins, because we walk along streets and I can't think of the consequences of her taking a wrong footing.
And because if the twins need my attention I need to know Seren is safe.

So, having more or less opted to accept this existence the opportunity to review a new approach to toddler reins was welcomed with open arms.

Kool Kangeroos has introduced the Boomerein as "A retractable child safety rein that clips easily between you and your children around the waist using adjustable straps, allowing them to stick close to you, while you can carry on using both hands to get on with your day."

When the Boomerein arrived I was very eager to get out and try it. Our first attempt was a walk around a local lake. It was quite a substantive walk so we were able to really get a feel for it.
The easy freedom of being unclipped to take care of your little brothers

The safety of being attached to mummy as you make new friends.

The pros for us were that Seren and I had matching belts, the problem with the rein was, I think, the inequality, that Seren was being held or lead, the belts meant that we were together but no-one was in charge.
I loved the retractable lead, Seren could get far enough away for a bit of independence, but was never far enough to be remotely in danger.
I also loved the clip for the reins, so Seren was easily released to play in the park but just as easily back on her rein.

You do have to get used to the casing for the retractable rein, if your child is likely to run rings round you. This is the same for all reins, and in the case of the wrist rein one of our biggest issues was having to swop over when we crossed roads, this is eliminated with the Boomerein.

The only negative for us was that the retractable rein was not suitable for Seren sitting on the front of the buggy and me still being connected as I push. In fairness, as the front of the buggy isn't designed for sitting on I shouldn't really complain.

However this negative did lead us on to a big positive, Seren is now a more confident walker loves to help push the buggy. As a result of all the positives of using the Boomerein I decided to get the buggyboard back out to overcome the negative, and the Boomerein once again comes out tops. I am assured of Seren's safety on the buggyboard with the Boomerein on, knowing that she can come off to walk or ride on the buggyboard, and there is nothing for me to faff with, Seren and I remain connected by the rein, and I am do no thave reins in hand as well as pushing the buggy.

I have intentionally waited a few weeks before doing this review, I wanted to make sure it wasn't rose tinted spectacles, and to ensure Seren didn't easily tire of the Boomerein.

Because having used this for one child, the biggest plus is yet to come, the Boomerein is perfect for multiples, whether it be children of different ages, or twins, etc. As the adult you can add multiple retractable reins to your belt, so you have all children, but they each have their piece of independence.

Knowing what Seren is like for her determination, we have been nervous about the time arriving when two little boys want to their own thing, but the Boomerein offers a great solution... and it may even be that Seren is even happier to have her belt on if the boys have as well!

 The Boomerein is available from Kool Kangeroos for £15.95

 Disclosure: for the purposes of this review we recieved a Boomerein.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Project #366 #9

Sunday: Seren ready to go to Grandma's
Monday: A trip to the park
Tuesday: Peekaboo with Seb
Wednesday: Cooking with Seren- organge juice and milk
Friday: Seren reading bedtime stories
Saturday: Seb ready for his first swimming trip with daddy

and my favourite:
Thursday: St David's Day

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Friday, 2 March 2012

My mum's Saturday

Last Friday was my mum's birthday. My hubby and I had decided into the run up to it that my mum deserved spoiling. For the nine months we lived up North after the twins were born my mum travelled up every fortnight, when Tom went into hospital she stayed the week to look after Seren and Seb so Tony could work (we wouldn't have had any money coming in otherwise).

My mum does the things you can see, but she does the things you can't, she is always looking out for us, worrying about us, doing little things. The truth is, we have never bought nappies for the babies, she just keeps putting boxes in the cupboard under the stairs, and it remains an unspoken thing, she keeps buying washing liquid and fabric conditioner and no matter how many protests nothing can stop this woman. Even when you think she's done enough she'll turn up with a dress she's made for Seren or some jumpers she's made for the boys.

And in the last year, she's gone from one grand-daughter to five grandchildren, and she takes it all in her stride. As she invited us all over for Christmas this year, with no thought for where everyone would fit.

So, for my mum's birthday, my little brother and I plotted and came up with our plan.

My mum has a bucket list, on it was Afternoon Tea at the Celtic Manor. My brother and I got this wrong two years ago when knowing she was obsessed with the Celtic Manor we booked Mother's Day Lunch there, we didn't realise it was the Afternoon Tea that the place is renowned for.

We brought my dad in on the plot. He was of course, well, my dad, "No, I'm not planning on doing anything for your mum's birthday, we're going to see the Northern Lights for her birthday, is that not enough?"- Fair point I guess, and when I checked to see if it was ok for me to take her out on the Saturday- "Can you make sure it's all day, there's rugby on." Gotta love my dad.

My mum goes for coffee every Monday with 'the ladies'. Mum has Seren on a Monday and this is what they do. 'The ladies' are people my mum worked with over ten years ago, and this is their thing. So, with the help of my dad providing me a phone number, the ladies were brought in on the plan. My mum's best friend was so excited with the prospect that I didn't even get chance to ask for everyone elses number she went to work and within half an hour all were confirmed.

My brother and I carried on with a plan to spoil my mum and decided to book a personal shopper for her. My mum is one of these people who has her tastes, and buys to them, but when we go out together we'll look at different things and she'll like them and treat herself, but then reverts back. She then moans about how boring her wardrobe is....

So last Saturday, bright and early, I picked my mum up, we did a few errands around town, went for coffee, and then magically 'ended up' at the Personal Shopper counter at Debenhams. My mum knew we had surprises planned, but with the brief of "wear nice underwear" I don't think she had a clue.

The personal shopping experience started off quite intense, lots of questions, lots of personal questions, and lots of questions without an answer, "what's your budget?", I didn't have a clue, if I really like something I might be willing to pay for it, when I'd never think of spending that much is you told me before I'd seen it.

My mum spent an hour and a half trying lots of clothes on, and lots of clothes she'd never have thought of trying on looked terrible, but lots of clothes looked fab. My mum was even tempted into buying a jumpsuit- but the 'convenience' is an unresolved issue.

Admittedly, my brother and I spent more than we budgeted. But my mum did say the next day that she hadn't changed her mind about any of it, so in my world it was more than worth it.

My mum loved the experience, and I think if there comes a time when I reach my target weight I might book myself an appointment, I think my recommendation would definitely be to put the time aside, but to go in knowing your budget and how many outfits or whatever you're looking for, it is very easy to love everything.

As we spent so long in Debenhams we were in a bit of a rush to get to our next destination. My mum had not a clue, I told her all sorts along the way, asking if she'd be to random destinations, telling her about craft fairs, pretending I had taken the wrong turning, until we got to Afternoon Tea.

My mum was almost in tears before we got to the restaurant- "But I haven't brought my camera" was her response, as we followed the attendant to the right part of the hotel her friends were waiting. And love my mum, for putting the idea in her head that we were running late she strode straight past them... hmmmm! And then the shocked look really did take hold, it is quite good fun watching the thoughts running through a person's mind.

And what an afternoon tea, it was. For the reality check it's £32 for two people, and I had no idea whether this was a justified price, it was! I forced myself to eat everything, I hadn't eaten all day so thought I was starving, as usual I had saved the nicer things for last, and even pacing myself couldn't help how full I felt.

My mum and the ladies loved it, people watching, trying all the varieties of sandwiches and pastries.

It was the most fantastic day.

And as much as I shouldn't say this, we got back in time for the end of the rugby, and completed a perfect day.

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