A Special Bond With my Boys

When I found out that my first born was going to be a boy I was slightly unnerved and a little freaked out. What did I know about raising a child? Let alone a Boy! What did I know about boys? Would I be able to understand him and guide him in the right direction to manhood?

I had heard about the sayings that little girls had special bonds with their daddies and little boys bonded well with their Mummies. I was hoping that this would be true, But I just couldn’t foresee it.

I’m not really a girly girl but am so far away from being in touch with my male side; I don’t know a thing about football, I couldn’t talk politics and wasn’t really an outdoor person. Give me an evening with a bowl of ice-cream and a chick flick and I would be happy.

But I had nothing to worry about. The moment I held my first born, I felt that instant connection – as I did with my other two boys.

A Mother’s love.

I can not compare the relationship that I have with my boys to what I could have with a daughter, Perhaps it would be the same. But, I do know that people have commented on how close my boys are to me and that they have a different relationship with their Father.

All three of my boys have different personalities but they all share the deepest and most sweetest love for me, of which they will show affectionately in public.

When my middle boy was younger he used to say that he was going to marry me and that he would always live with his Mummy. How sweet is that? I tease him now that he is older with what he used to say and he just smiles and says that it’s true – he will never leave Mummy.

I am so in love with all three of my boys. Each one of them with their special qualities and each one of them makes my heart beat faster. I never thought that it could be possible to love someone as much as I love them.

I take my youngest to football practice and matches every week, but I don’t understand a thing about the sport. Yet, he will talk to me for hours about the tricks that he did whilst out on the pitch or the goal that he got in ‘Top Bins’ (BTW I have no idea what that means). He will place his head on my shoulders at the end of the day, his fingers twiddling with my hair, and tell me how much that he loves me.

My middle boy is the most caring of them all and wears his heart on his sleeve. He is a very sensitive boy. Out of all three of the boys he is the one that is closer to his Dad. At 12 years old, nearly a teenager, he is growing up to be a respectful young man. He enjoys running, cycling and climbing. All things that I can not relate to, as I am not a sporty person. He starts every day giving me huge hug in the kitchen and finishes it with hugging me before bedtime. Out of the three of them, he is the one that yearns the need for love a little bit more. I think it’s hard being a middle child, he had so much to prove to his siblings, parents and to himself. He wants to make me proud and is always asking me if I am proud of him. He doesn’t see that that he doesn’t need to be top of the class in school or be the best at running to make me proud. I am proud of the young man that he is becoming. His smile warms my heart. He is always telling me how pretty I am and how good I look in new outfits. He is very good at giving compliments and when I am not feeling very well he will always be the one that holds my hand or rub my back after a hard day at work.

My eldest is the quietest of them all and will often spend all day in his bedroom working hard on achieving his high grades for school. My sweet little boy who had to sleep by his Mum’s side every night is now turning into a sweet young man. He never leaves the house without giving me a kiss and even if he is just going round the corner to the shop he will call out bye to me. My son enjoys running and every race he has been in he will always come to me once he’s finished and give me the biggest hug, It almost feels like he is racing for me.

We have moments of madness in the kitchen where we will all dance to music, laughing and giggling. Their father often looking at us and wondering what we are doing. The boys will bake cakes or offer to cook dinner with me, just so that they are spending time with me. We skip down the road and hold hands. They protect me from coming from any harm.

I am not a confident swimmer and every year when we are on holiday they will be by my side in the ocean swimming alongside me giving me encouragement. To see this just makes my love grow even deeper for them.

The bond I have with my boys is simply special. We do not share the same interests or hobbies but they are my best friends. I am their advisor and protector.

The moment I became a Mother to my boys I became the richest person alive.

As they grow older I know I will hold a special place in their hearts, as they do In mine. I am hoping that I have taught them how to Love unconditionally, selflessly and free.

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Spooktacular Crafts for Halloween with Viking-Direct

#AD

As my boys are growing up it takes a little bit more encouragement for them to get crafty. I really enjoy making things and try my best to encourage the boys to do so too. They have a set of art drawers in their bedroom that is full of arts and crafts, the boys would often rummage through them and create little masterpieces. And when they do get crafty they do produce some lovely art pieces, my youngest has just finished an art project (set by school) to create a Halloween scene in a box – he loved doing it, but just needs that extra little encouragement to do so.

Viking – an online stationary and office supplies company – invited us to take part in a Halloween Craft Campaign, which I thought would be a lovely idea for the boys to get involved in some spooky arts and crafts.

In the box

We were sent a box of goodies to use our imaginations with and creative to produce some spooky crafts and to share with you all what we come up with.

Our kit included:

  • A selection of coloured paper and card
  • A pack of felt tip pens
  • A set of Halloween based stencils
  • A gold and silver metallic craft pen
  • A ball of string
  • Glitter
  • A pumpkin carving kit
  • Elastic string for masks
what's in the viking craft box

What we created

I love getting crafty with the boys, they have great imaginations and i just enjoy spending the time together sitting at the table. It is far better than watching them playing games on their phones or tablets

Frankenstein’s Monster Mask

We cheated paper, card, felts, metallic pens, scissors, glue and the elastic to create a Frankenstein’s Monster mask for my son to wear on Halloween. He really enjoyed this craft and we are pretty smug about how it turned out. We used black card for the base and stuck the green paper on top, my son then went on to add in the details with the felts.

drawing the scar on the mask

Halloween Card

A Westham halloween card
Happy ‘Hammers’ Halloween

As my son plays football and trains once a week at the WestHam Development centre, he really wanted to make a Halloween Card to give to them. He used the coloured paper, the stencil and felts to create a spooky picture. The broom and the sword are creating the famous ‘Hammers’

String cobweb

Next up we made a cobweb using the ball of string and 3 twigs that we had collected from outdoors.

Cobweb made from string and twigs
String cobweb

Here is how we made it:

  • Secure three, same size, twigs together with some of the string in the middle to make a star like shape.
  • With the rest of the string start to wind the string around the twigs, moving from one to another.
  • keep on going around the twigs, wounding the string around and around.
  • We wrapped the string around the twigs once before moving on the next twigs as this helps to secure the string in place.
  • When you get to the end of the twigs, tie a knot in the string.

Pretty cool eh! And very effective when you leave them hanging around the trees in your garden.

We also created a tiny spider from the black card and placed it in the cobweb

String and twigs spiderweb hanging in the tree

Pumpkin sweet treat holder

Halloween isn’t just about dressing up into the scariest outfit you can find but, for children, it is also about knocking on the neighbours doors ‘trick or treating’. These cute little Pumpkin sweet favours are not only sweets but also double up as a little gift that you can give to the children.

Pumpkin favours

You will need some orange tissue paper, string and green paper.

  • Cut out a circle from the tissue paper – big enough to hold some sweets in
  • Place the sweets in the middle and then bring the ends up into the middle
  • Secure the middle with some of the string
  • Place some green paper over string to create a green stem
  • Draw on a scary face or leave plain
  • They are now ready to give out to children as gifts

Pumpkin Carving

The last part of our Hallowe’en crafts was the best bit, the bit where we got messy. Pumpkin carving is always the best part, in my opinion, of celebrating Hallowe’en.

We used the pumpkin carving kit that was provided to us in the box. Once we had decided on what design we was going to put onto our pumpkin we was ready to get going.

First we cut off the top of the pumpkin and then using the scoop we scooped out of the middle of the pumpkin. Once it was empty of all of the flesh and the seeds we drew on our design and then following the lines we cut it out.

Pumpkin carved put as harry potter
Harry Potter Pumpkin

The boys like to do something a little different with their pumpkins and this year they wanted a Harry Potter Pumpkin. What do you think?

We were enjoyed getting crafty with our little box of stationary that Viking gifted to us

Happy Hallowe'en
#spooktacular Hallowe’en

Why not take a look at what Viking-Direct has to offer for your next arts and crafts projects here

We were gifted with some craft items for the purpose of this post

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Beat That! – The Bonkers battle of Wacky Challenges – Review

Beat That! The World’s Wackiest Party Game

Limber up and prepare to bounce, flip, stack, hop, roll, blow, balance and catapult your way to victory. Beat That! is a new family party game aimed children aged 11+, where you pick one of the 160 bonkers challenges and bet on your ability to successfully complete it using an assortment of random objects. All players attempt the same challenge. The game encourages motor skills, coordination, dexterity and self-confidence. It is also, a very fast and competitive game – an ultimate battle of abilities.

Beat That Game Box

What’s in the box?

  • 160 Challenge Cards
  • 80 Betting Tokens ( Yellow worth 5 points, Orange worth 3 and Blue worth 1)
  • 10 playing Cups
  • 5 Plastic Balls
  • 4 Dice
  • 2 Chopsticks
  • Memo Pad
  • Tape Measure
  • Sand Timer
  • Rule Sheet

How To Play

You will need lots of space to play the game and I would recommend a clear table top. Each player starts with 10 betting tokens – 5 blue, 3 orange and 2 yellow. All players roll the dice to go first – the highest number picks up a challenge card from the pile and reads the category and challenge out loud.

Each player must then bet one of their tokens based on how confident they are in their own ability to complete the challenge.

Once all bets have been placed, all players take it in turns to attempt the challenge.

Players who successfully complete the challenge gets to bank the token that they betted with. Players who fail places there token back into the box. You start with 10 tokens so means that you have rounds of challenges.

Continue until all 10 rounds have been completed.

The player with the most points at the end of the 10 challenges is the winner.

Challenge Categories

The 160 challenges are split into four categories:

  • Solo – Attempt the challenge alone
  • Battle Royale – All players compete against each other
  • Buddy Up – Work alongside another player
  • Duel – Compete against another player
Category challenge cards

Each and every one of the challenges have been given wacky names like Bounce it home, Wimbledon and Feelin’ lucky, punk?

Each card has a description of the challenge and an illustration of how it is done.

What we thought of the game

Although the game is aimed at players above the age of 11, we played as a family and our youngest child is 8. He managed to do all of the challenges that we pulled from the pile bar one; his head was too small to balance a cup on.

The game can get very frustrating at times and is quite competitive. It definitely helps with hand eye coordination and encourages concentration.

It is a fast paced game which I can see being played with a group of adults being very fun.

Beat That is simple to play and lots of fun. My youngest loves a challenge and is always taking out a card and challenging me. I must say, he is far better at the ball games than I am.

The challenges are simple and easy to understand. Each challenge doesn’t last that long and fun to partake in. The game is quite addictive, especially if you are competitive and need to win.

There are balancing games, flipping cup games, word games, ball and cup tricks, dice games and games that involve using chopsticks. There is something that everyone can do (as long as you have patience).

Beat That! Key Info:

  • Brand new for this Christmas. Launched September 2019. £24.99.
  • Family Party Game. Age 11+, 2 – 8 players. 
  • Available on Amazon and John Lewis
  • 160 dexterity based challenges in total.
  • Fun for both kids and adults.
  • Encourages motor skills, coordination, dexterity and self-confidence. 
  • Company website: www.gutter-games.com

We was provided Beat That for the purpose of this review.

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Discovering the Back-Streets around London Bridge

Secrets of Southwark

This iconic area of London with its cobbled streets, winding alleyways and array of exciting bars and restaurants is one of London’s most popular areas. Step away from the tourist track and be amazed with the hidden gems and bustling back-streets.

Within walking distance from London Bridge Hotel you will find all of the top tourist attractions such as The Shard, The Golden Hinde, The Globe Theatre, Tower of London and The River Thames. Take a step back from all of these areas and discover what this area really has got to offer

Gelateria 3BIS- Borough Market – Park St

For a welcome and friendly Italian experience head on over to 3BIS gelateria where you can grab home made gelato, frozen yoghurt, crepes, waffles and much more. Within walking distance from London Bridge station, it’s the ideal place to stop off for a sweet treat after a busy day shopping or sight seeing. They offer a broad selection of flavours that you can enjoy inside or out.

3Bis gelateria borough market
3BIS Gelato

We opted for a Mango and Rasberry sorbet in a cone, but you can also choose to have it in cup, and some chocolate filled cannoli’s. A new product that are selling is the chocoshot cup – a flavoured cone cup filled with your favourite gelato flavours.

3BIS also supply to events, such as weddings and parties. You can hire a gelato cart to turn your event into a special and unique one.

Bird & Blend – Borough Market – Park St

Bird & Blend is an award winning tea company who are on a mission to spread happiness and reimagine tea. The shop is light and airy and the staff are friendly and full of knowledge about all things tea. They offer a wide selection of tea blends and if you’re not sure on what to buy the staff are more than happy to make one up for you to try.

Not only at Bird & Blend can you get a perfectly brewed tea but you can also grab tea gifts, tools to make tea and even book onto one of their mixology tea blending and tea tasting experience workshops.

We are big fans of Matcha tea so was pleasantly surprised by the huge selection of flavoured tea to try. The member of staff that served us was brilliant and very friendly, offering us lots of advice on what delicious blend of tea to try. As it was a hot day we went with cold blend tea, which he mixed in front of us and even allowed the children to join in with making their own tea; they were shown how to use a bamboo whisk and how to add the special ingredient that made Unicorn Fizz drink change colour.

Bird & Blend shop front

We tried and Iced Black Matcha and Coconut, MojiTEA, Unicorn Fizz and an Iced Gingernut Matcha & Apple drink.

I couldn’t recommend this place enough, the staff were friendly and approachable, the quality and taste of the tea was perfect and reasonably priced.

Backstreets

One thing I noticed about the area around London Bridge was that no matter where you turn there is always something to catch your eye. The street art and buildings are amazing. Wander through the railway arches and follow the Low Line walk, which spans the length of the Old Victorian Rail viaducts from London Bridge to Bermondsey. The Low Line connects the neighbourhoods and communities, celebrating the heritage of the railway arches, unlocking places of interest along the way.

Drawing of swans in a railway archway
Art work under a viaduct on the Low Line walk
Malagonisa street art
Colourful wing street art at Cluedupcoffee

The buildings still show signs of the old days. Something I always tell my children when we are visiting a new area is to look up. When walking along we tend to just look straight forward but when you look up you will notice the infrastructure and architecture of old buildings. There is always an historical, strange or artistic inspirational find.

Flat Iron Square

Flat Iron Square is a new foodie hub in Bankside that is nestled in the heart of London Bridge. It offers a unique cultural and culinary experience with tantalising food vendors, restaurants, street food, bars and live music. It’s a great outdoor space that runs along the railway arches and hidden behind a grass wall. The garden is a welcome space to sit and enjoy time with family and friends in a casual and vibrant environment.

This is a nice little hidden secret within London, very vibrant and a great place for lunch. Head over here for a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere and a variety of food and drink options. Not only was there a DJ on when we was there but they had a big screen up showing a sporting event.

We opted for some light bites from the summer menu at the Lime Hut, which were zesty and rich in flavour, all freshly cooked on a huge pan in front of you.

The younger of of our group opted for a sugary treat from Waffle On. Yep, you guessed it, they sell freshly cooked waffles with a selection of toppings.

Crossbones Graveyard

Whilst walking around we came across a very interesting, but rather odd yard and was lucky that we managed to have a quick look just before it closed for the day. Crossbones Graveyard is the site of an old burial ground with an extraordinary background. Back in medieval times it was a graveyard for prostitutes, by the 18th century it became a burial ground for around 15,000 paupers and is now a sacred place and sanctuary in the heart of the City dedicated to the ‘Outcast Dead’.

Now a garden of remembrance, with shrines, open to the public and to celebrate life in all imperfection.

It was once the final resting place for the’ Winchester Geese’ which is a rather quaint term for medieval prostitutes who were licensed by the Bishop of Winchester to work in the brothels.

As you enter the yard you will walk under a wooden structure which is in fact carved out to be the wings of a Goose

crossbones graveyard geese wings wooden structure
Carved wings

Along the top it says

‘Here lay your hearts, your flowers, your book of hours

your fingers, your thumbs, your ‘miss you, Mums’.

Here hang your hopes, your dreams, your might have beens,

Your locks, your keys, your mysteries’

A very interesting place full of history, there are plenty of places to sit and contemplate and reflect on life. An incredible space that truly moves you, despite being in the City it has a peaceful silence.

An unusual find but one that we were glad that we had stumbled across. Possibly somewhere that we wouldn’t have normally visited but has definitely opened our eyes to exploring backstreets a little more.

This is a collaboration post. The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views and pictures are my own

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