Rate the Date – Mr A’s take on Direct Line Icy Roads

A few weeks ago I was invited to take on the skid pan in Kettering with Direct Line. As it was a night away from the kids and the sort of thing Mr A would love I asked if I could bring him too, Direct Line kindly said yes and that he could probably get a quick lap of the skid pan. On the day another blogger dropped out so Mr A was lucky enough to get the full experience.

The end of the clip says it all really, don’t you think?

My account is over on my other blog parentshaped.co.uk, but I’m handing over A residence to Mr A today: Continue reading

Carnival Cruise Lines Funnest Family episode one..the one where we sailaway!

DSC_0588Last year we were selected to go on two cruises with Carnival Cruise Lines, and be their funnest family. We had so much fun on board Carnival Sunshine in October, enjoying the ship, the destinations and working with the film crew, and there are now five short films about cruising as a family, featuring us. Here’s the one where we tell the kids, pack and see Carnival Sunshine for the first time….

There’s a behind the scenes post of the day the film crew appeared. I’ve answered all the questions I was asked about cruises as a family here. Read more about our adventures in Venice and the sailaway party or have a look through our photo album.

More films coming out over the next 3 weeks…Film Two here, Film Three, Film Four and Film Five.

I’m feeling so nostalgic looking back, it really was the trip of a lifetime, but not long until we sail on the incredible Carnival Breeze in the Caribbean.

On buying my daughter a mirror – what I see when I look in the mirror


Shortly after completing the Story of Mum project I was invited to take part in the What I see Project.  I love all these online celebrations of women, it is so empowering to see, hear and observe all these stories being told.

Go see my video on the site here, among lots of others. I love the mix of voices and amazing range of responses to that one question ‘What do you see when you look in the mirror‘. Continue reading

Party – Harry Potter style!

Check out the video above, in which I learnt how to cast a spell like Harry Potter at Britmums Conference back in June, a useful party trick to have up your sleeve for a Harry Potter themed party. There are lots more ideas for a Harry Potter style party in this guest post: Continue reading

We’re so excited!

Excitement is really mounting, rather like this 10 second snippet of L’s happy dance at last year’s Camp Bestival. Only a few sleeps to go and we’ve been lying on her bed tonight talking about all the things we want to do together while we are there.

I am now especially excited about the sing along Jungle Book screening and the paper plane world record breaking launch to celebrate Disney’s Planes. The prospect of sneaking some cocktails with some fellow bloggers in the Bollywood Bar is also very appealing. I can’t wait to see Ash and The Levellers. And that’s just me… Continue reading

My boys met Mike the Knight at Warwick Castle and all I got was…

… tales of how much fun they had as guests of Mike the Knight…to stay at home and nurse a hangover…to be covered in make up by my daughter while I felt sorry for myself on the sofa…to watch her ride a pony in a hot stinky shed. Okay, actually we loved our girls’ day, especially the make up and pony riding, but the boys did rave about Warwick Castle.

Mr A did a good job of capturing it. Helped, I might add, by the child who refuses to stand still for a photograph being too entranced to do a runner. Continue reading

Nottingham Playhouse – backstage video tour

We were really excited to be invited to take a backstage tour of Nottingham Playhouse. Having studied Drama I was excited to see the set up, but for L and G and all many of the other children there, it was their very first glimpse back stage. I did wonder if going backstage would spoil the magic, but quite the opposite, I think it added to the buzz we all felt that evening!

The Playhouse is celebrating its 50th year this year, it is a producing house, meaning that it makes lots of it’s own theatre rather than just taking touring shows. It was fascinating to go backstage and see where it all happens, stage, props, set and costumes. We even managed to say a quick hello to some of the cast and crew involved in Grandpa in my Pocket.

I took my video camera so you can sneak a look too….

Grandpa in My Pocket is at Nottingham Playhouse until 31st May 2013, then touring the UK via Swindon,  Crewe, Wolverhampton, Croydon, Cardiff, Cornwall, Hastings, Bradford,
Dartford, Exeter, Oxford, Wycombe, Rhyl, Richmond, Brighton!

For more tour info check here.

This is a really bright, sunny adaptation, guaranteed to lift your mood in a wet half term. It has a very strong cast, beautiful set, bold lighting, colourful costume, moving and magical puppetry and a playful approach to storytelling. It also had a pirate theme which always goes down well in our house.


Grandpa in my Pocket, Nottingham Playhouse.

Grandpa in My Pocket was produced here in Nottingham and tours the UK. So what did the audience make of it?

Grandpa in My Pocket is at Nottingham Playhouse until 31st May 2013, then touring the UK via Swindon,  Crewe, Wolverhampton, Croydon, Cardiff, Cornwall, Hastings, Bradford,
Dartford, Exeter, Oxford, Wycombe, Rhyl, Richmond, Brighton!

For more tour info check here

5 timesaving combination oven recipes

Oh yeah, I am smug, not more standing over a hot stove for me.

Panasonic gave me a Combination oven to try out over Christmas. A few months in and it is really making a difference to how we cook. It can combine oven, grill and microwave to make cooking quickly taste just as good as the conventional routes. Panasonic microwaves use different technology, so no blind spots, shrivelled vegetables or need to rotate your food on a plate.

My favourite shortcuts and recipes so far are:
Continue reading