Author: Madabouttheboys

Farmer Butcher Chef – organic, sustainable food at its very best

Farmer Butcher Chef is a new restaurant, located next to the Goodwood Hotel, just outside Chichester.  Mr P and I were lucky enough to have a rare night away childfree last weekend, we ate, drank and were blown away by the taste sensations presented to us throughout the evening. I have never been to Goodwood before.  Friends have been to revival, others to the races, all of which look like good fun but have seemed out of reach to me with three kids in tow. It turns out that I was wrong.  Goodwood have a playground next to the race track, kids are welcome at revival and love dressing up in their outfits and the festival of speed motor racing is a day out for all ages. There are junior golf camps in the Summer, a family race day and many more activities on offer. This is the first trip of many to Goodwood, next time we will go as a family. The farmer Tim Hassell, butcher John Hearn and chef Darron Bunn all work very …

The best construction kit for kids

The boys have been picking up tools from an early age. Mr P is a carpenter, we often visit him on jobs and they have been picking up tools from the minute they could walk. We were offered the opportunity to test the Real Construction deluxe workshop and starter set from Jakks and I knew that the boys would like them. What I didn’t realise was exactly what a huge hit it would be and for all their ages (2,5,6). The wood-like material cuts just like real wood but feels like firm foam. When you screw the nails in, you can remove them (with the back of the hammer) and it barely leaves a mark, meaning that you can use it again and again. Both sets have everything you need to get building, including a small hammer, saw, lots of nails and the wood-like material. There are instructions with ideas for builds, from a boat to a bird house and in the deluxe workshop (for a slightly older age range) more difficult builds, such as …

Christmas gift guide 2016

Our Christmas gift guide has been put together mainly with toys that the boys have tested and played with over the last six months, clothes that I have bought and books that we read.  Doing it this way, meant putting together a guide that demonstrates what the kids really loved aged 2, 4 and 6. There is hopefully something here for everyone but the toys I picked here were played with  and enjoyed by all three boys in different ways. Amazon came up trumps with these tegu magnetic wooden blocks (my sister has bought some of these for one of their birthdays in December) and the STEM programmable robot mouse (my two year old mainly pressed the buttons and followed it round the house, but that is the beginning of STEM for him). The Amazon fire tablet has been a hit. I try to keep the boys off screens when I can but there is a place and use for them and we have used this on car journeys to watch films, for homework (reading …

Just keep breathing

I found a short film clip of my father on my computer recently.  In the film, I asked him, “what’s the best advice you could give me for my life?”  He replied, with a smile on his face,”just keep breathing.” Nothing more and nothing less. Now, I know that his number one family value was health, without that we can’t do much else, so it made sense watching him back that in all its simplicity, breathing is the most important thing. Last month, I spent an amazing weekend away at 42 Acres Retreat in Somerset.  The weekend was hosted by Jess, Aimee and Rebecca from Inspiration Space and combined yoga, relaxation and transformational breathing. For those not familiar with transformational breathing, here is a short description for you taken from the Inspiration Space website. Transformational Breath®, is a self-healing technique that helps people to access the full potential of their breathing system for better physical, emotional and mental well-being. The connected pattern of conscious breathing is a natural, safe and easy –to-learn technique, which has proven to …

How to be a more mindful Mama

I bought my first iPhone the day before my eldest was born, six years ago.  I loved the fact that I could take photos of my newborn the following day and thousands more over the next few years. The phone became my companion, during those dark long evenings breastfeeding and being up at night with the baby (and then babies).  I would text and email my fellow baby friends to compare notes on sleep deprivation. Slowly, slowly, the phone became more prominent in my life. I used Facebook, I’d search on Google for things wherever I was, rather than waiting until later to find out the answer.  The phone has become my navigation system, my camera, my personal shopping portal and my daily news provider. In my career as a social media manager, I couldn’t do my job without it, BUT… how much have I missed over the last six years? Those moments, I’ve been reading a text, laughing about a funny photo. Were the boys smiling up at me? “Mummy, watch this.” “In a …

How to find work that works.

The last time, I entered the stunning reception area of M&C Saatchi was nearly twenty years ago. I was being interviewed for my first position in advertising and was shaking like a leaf. The interview went well but I didn’t get the job and soon after landed my dream role at DDB London as an account manager. Advertising has to be one of the most fun industries for a twenty something in London. We had large expense accounts, weekly client entertainment was the norm, which involved meetings (long lunches) in some of the best restaurants across London and team building trips to Rome and Paris (dreamy). We also worked very hard, often when pitching for new business working through the night and then delivering the pitch the following morning. I thrived off the pace at which we worked. Occasionally, I would look around the agency and wonder where all the women went as they got older; there were very few over the age of forty, whereas the mix of men and women in their twenties when I …

The secret Isle of Wight

I began the Summer researching last-minute trips to a Greek Island.  The weather was rubbish and I was desperate for some sunshine.  Luckily, that changed, so we turned our thoughts to a few days away somewhere closer to home. We decided to head to The Isle of Wight.  The forecast for the week ahead was amazing (mid twenties) and we live just one hour from the ferry port, so it seemed like an easy trip. Despite the fact that I knew nothing about the Isle of Wight apart from the fact Bestival and Cowes week is held there each year, in my mind it was practically heading abroad, we were crossing water after all. Cornwall seems to get all the holiday fanfares, this Islands appears to be a secret but one that I want to share. I am normally a big researcher when it comes to holidays but we booked a hotel that had some stuff for the kids to do and just rocked up to the ferry. The boys were so excited to get on …

The importance of taking time out

This weekend I was child free for three whole days and nights. This is the first time in six years that I have been at home without the kids. I needed a break, some time to reconnect with the things that I love, time to remind myself about what makes me tick, other than being a mum and having a job. I deliberately made no plans, I spend my life planning, mealtimes, scheduling new blogs and social media posts for clients and organising the kids timetables, which as they are getting older, are getting longer. Before Mr P went, we dug out my bicycle from the garage.  I last used this before I had the kids.  He was taking the car and it would be my only way to get around. I have loved using my bike and had forgotten how much fun it was to ride.  So much so, that I bought a new one in the sales from my local bike shop. Cheaper than the gym, this is my new way to get …

Secret Mummies Wine Club at Camp Bestival

When you laugh until your stomach muscles are hurting, you know it’s been a good night. In the midst of all the family fun at Camp Bestival I snuck away for an hour on the Saturday night to the Secret Mummies Wine Club in the Literary Tent (leaving Mr P in the sandpit with the three boys). All that I knew about the night was that wine was involved care of Helen McGinn, an award-winning wine blogger (perfect), the Scummy Mummies would be there (ideal) and Sara Cox (one of the funniest people on the radio) was in town.  Dreamy right? The show started with a bang.  The Scummy Mummies came out onto the stage and the minute they started talking I understood why everyone loves them so much, their jokes are hilarious and they are both so likeable, dressed in their shiny catsuits (love this about them) and dancing their dances (yep they did a routine and sang). Wine guru, Helen McGinn is an ex supermarket wine buyer, who writes her own blog, Knackered Mums Wine Club, …

Camp Bestival – More than just a weekend

Where else could you wake up and do a family aerobics session with Mr Motivator (I need that man as my personal trainer), see your children in awe of one of their heroes; Mr Tumble, bounce on the world’s biggest bouncy castle, eat some of the best chicken rendang you’ve ever tasted, enjoy wine tasting with the hilarious Scummy Mummies, Knackered Mum and Sara Cox who make you laugh so much that your abs get a good workout whilst you drink?  Then dance non stop to Fatboy Slim with your 6 year old on your shoulders (and the other two in a double buggy asleep), finish the night in a giant sandpit bar, dancing bare footed whilst your kid builds sand castles beneath you? Camp Bestival totally blew me away, it has everything spot on for families, it’s like they designed it for me. Here’s a little summary of our festival experience as a family with three kids under seven. Camp Bestival was the best weekend that we have had in months.  In fact, maybe even …