Tuesday, 27 October 2015

(Inexpensive) Things To Do This Autumn Half Term

As much as I love Autumn, half term can be a struggle financially with the run up to Christmas to find things to do that don't cost the earth. I was challenged by Personal Capital to do just that, so here are some ideas of fall activities that won't break the bank.

1. Host a movie night - With the temperature dropping during the evening I'm less inclined to want to go out. For family movie nights, how about these Disney inspired snacks? Whichever you choose some cosy blankets and cushions / pillows will really make the night and a roaring log fire is a bonus!Hosting a movie night is also a perfect autumn / winter adult night; you get to socialise while being in the warmth of your own home! You provide the movie and invite your friends, asking each person to bring a snack and drink. Pinterest has some great ideas for adult themed movie nights.

2. Pick your own fruit - This isn't just a summertime activity. Autumn is perfect for collecting your own apples pears and blackberries. Although pumpkin patches are not as common in the UK, they are around and would make the perfect day out. You can search for 'pick your own' farms in the UK by clicking on this link. We bought our pumpkins from a local farm shop and will enjoy carving them for Halloween later in the week, decorating the house with bats and ghosts and enjoying the delicious pumpkin pie and roasted seeds that we've scooped out in the process!

3. Take a walk or a hike. This time of year is one of the most beautiful and nothing beats wrapping up warm and getting out for a walk around the park or countryside. We'll be out with the dogs, most probably collecting leaves to make an autumn collage. Keeping fit and preparing for a free activity at the same time!

4. Visit a museum - Most museums now hold workshops or activity sessions during half term that are free or very low in price. If you are in the Cardiff area The Cardiff Story Museum is holding a free mural workshop on Friday 30th October and The National Museum, Cardiff is holding numerous free family events throughout the week.

5. Getting ahead with Christmas preparations - I know Halloween isn't over yet but today we will be making a few batches of mince pies and stuffing to freeze ready for December. The children enjoy making them (with our favourite film Elf of in the background) and when Christmas arrives all I need to do is take a few out of the freezer and pop them in the oven. We will probably enjoy a few with some ice cream tonight while pinning some more crafts and activities onto our Christmas Board.
Do you have plans for the rest of the week? Please let me know if you know of any gems!
Readers in the US may find the Personal Capital website useful if looking for ways to manage finances.
Linking up with IBOT

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Recipe // Follow me over to The Diary Of A Jewellery Lover...



You can find me over at The Diary of a Jewellery Lover today while the lovely Mel is on holiday, where I'm sharing my favourite meat free meal; Cream Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes with Mixed Leaves.
I like to use the freshest of ingredients, whether that be from the indoor market in Cardiff or from the abundance of organic farm shops in Somerset and our three girls enjoy learning how to cook clean, healthy alternatives to their favourite meals. 
To read more and for the recipe head over to Mel's blog here!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Autumn Chills

So it's happened; although my nails suggest that summer is still here, the autumn coughs and colds have arrived, we're all feeling a bit under the weather this morning and 2/3 girls are home sick. This obviously means cosy knits, duvets on the sofa, candles lit, hot drinks in abundance and a day at home cleaning for me! I guess it's also an opportunity to get some of my October goals ticked off by doing some online Christmas shopping. Hopefully everyone will be right as rain by the weekend as we've booked to go to Airhop and have some fun. Normal service will hopefully resume tomorrow!


Monday, 12 October 2015

When Legends Step Up


Those of you who have been here for a while will know that my little niece has been fighting Stage 4 cancer for the past few months. When a relative is diagnosed with cancer it affects and devastates the whole family, children in particular find it confusing and difficult. Throughout Olivia's battle her older brothers have been just as strong; loving, protecting and comforting her every step of the way. At just eleven and six, these boys have been inspirational and so brave even though they have themselves been at times confused, upset and angry.


It has been so important to my sister and her husband that they keep as much normality as possible to their daily routines, as difficult as this is with operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy taking up so much of the week. The boys live and breathe rugby, they are dedicated to their team and Owen in particular spends most of his free time training, studying his heroes and perfecting his kicking. For them, rugby has been their 'norm', their 'constant' throughout their sisters battle and we couldn't be more proud of everything that they have and continue to achieve through the toughest of times.

We could never have imagined the support that the local, regional and international rugby community has given to the family, it has been completely overwhelming and not 'normal' at all. Just after diagnosis she received hundreds of messages from around the world, a card from her beloved future husband George North, aswell as club players, Welsh Internationals, the England team and many, many more. All three were invited to the Millennium Stadium to meet the players and spend the day watching them train, Livvs got to meet George and give him a picture she drew of him (no kisses though Georgey, Daddy said!) and they were given tickets to World Cup matches to enjoy as a family.
This weekend though the boys were given something just for them, that they will be able to cherish forever. Welsh rugby legend Shane Williams posted a video on his Facebook and Twitter just for them. I was lying in bed and a friend tweeted me with a link to the video and just after my phone started to go crazy! As I watched it tears started rolling down my cheeks. I'm so so proud of my two boys and they truly deserve the recognition they received from their hero, both for their rugby achievements and the loving brothers that they are. They were ecstatic and it has given them such a boost. Just a minute of his time has made a massive impact and will be treasured for years to come. 
A quick message for Logan and Owen who both play for Beddau RFC.
Posted by Shane Williams MBE on Friday, 9 October 2015
I can't end this post without a mention to our local rugby club who have been absolutely remarkable, they raised thousands for Latch, the children's cancer charity in Wales, with sponsored head shaves, bike rides and even the minis climbed Pen Y Fan just weeks after a massive £20,000 for another cancer charity, the support has been phenomenal. It has taken me so long to write this post and I still can't find the words to sum up or do justice to what has been achieved - Thank you will never be enough. I'm so proud of where I come from and no matter where I am in the world, no matter what results our team get, I will always wear the red jersey with pride.
linking up with IBOT

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Midweek Treats

When you're having a stressful week and there's a couple of bottles of Prosecco on chill and birthday chocolates patiently waiting in a Hotel Chocolat bag, a midweek treat is definitely in order. We are trying to eat clean throughout the week but having been unwell and unable to open a bottle or a box from my birthday, a treat was irresistible! After a hearty casserole, an hour in the hot tub with a couple of glasses of bubbly and chocolates in bed watching the last Nashville of the series, was the perfect midweek pick me up. A coffee at the farm shop with a new friend and getting my nails done this morning has left me ready to face the rest of the week.  Sometimes the rules just have to go out of the window!
I'd love to hear what gets you through the midweek slump?

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Lifestyle // Goal Setting - October

October Goals:
Omg a friend of mine posted yesterday morning that it's only 11 weeks until Christmas! Seriously, how is this happening? Cue major panic as we have so much to accomplish in that time. I was so unwell last Christmas that everything was a rush and it was difficult to enjoy, I actually slept all of Christmas morning.  This year I planned to be way ahead of the game starting early to make sure if I was wiped out in December Tim wouldn't be rushing around buying presents on his own and worrying over Christmas dinner. With a living room to redecorate beforehand Christmas is far too close for my liking so today I have to  my October goals to include some realistic Christmas prep expectations.
1. Stick to one work goal per week. I've been placing too much pressure on myself to achieve three separate goals per week in relation to work. My memory is still not good and it is taking so much longer to get things done yet, I've still been expecting to get as much done and feeling frustrated when I haven't.

White + texture:

2. Finish sorting our bedroom. I still have clothes with  nowhere to go and now the girls things are also creeping into our space. We need to be able to relax at night therefore I'll be organising and freshening up our room ready for winter.
Cherries dipped in white chocolate https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/931296_575317592508826_2112626826_n.jpg:

 3. Christmas prep - buy at least two presents per week and prepare stuffing and mince pies to be frozen during half term. Order chocolate moulds and supplies to make presents for the children's teachers and family members. Finalise menus and write shopping list.
Jack-o'-Lantern Flower Vase        Ditch the standard candle and brighten up your jack-o'-lantern with an arrangement of bold-hue harvest flowers. Cut the stems, arrange in a small vase, and set inside a carved pumpkin. A white Lumina pumpkin carved with a skeletal face makes this arrangement extra spooky.:

4. Decorate the house and prepare costumes for Halloween. I always decorate the house for Halloween and take Megan out with my niece, nephews and neighbours. This year will be different as we won't be with them but I'm planning on baking and decorating to my hearts content for our three! I'm definitely going to look for a pumpkin patch around here, the girls would absolutely love it.
5. Stick to a blogging schedule. For the same reason as number 1 I've been finding this difficult, but I have quite a few draft posts or ideas to get out here. Hopefully this will get my brain back into gear and everything else will follow!
Do you have goals for October? Have you started to prepare for Christmas yet or re you burying your head in the sand like many I know!!


linking up with IBOT 


Friday, 2 October 2015

The Friday Five

Ah October, it's now officially ok to enjoy pumpkin spiced drinks, wear tartan prints and cosy jumpers. I'm making the most of the summer like days, but winter is definitely on its way and I'm enjoying the cooler nights and crisp mornings. On this mornings dog walk, I definitely felt the chill in the air, my hands and ears were telling me that it will soon be time for a hat and gloves. A couple of hours later though and the fog has cleared and the sun is shining. I'm sticking with the tartan shirt I'm wearing though, I've been waiting until it was time to get it out of storage!
So this week has been incredibly busy. It was my birthday over the weekend and I was so spoilt, it quite possibly tops the 'best birthday ever' list! I've not written about it yet but we enjoyed a lovely day with my family coming over to visit and all of the children playing in the hot tub for the afternoon. My Mulberry gluten free birthday cake is the first of my Friday Five, I loved it and it was a big surprise.
I've spent a fair bit on new make up and brushes over the summer. A few weeks ago I picked up a few L'Oreal lipsticks as I wanted to re-vamp my autumn look. I love a red lip but have not always been  confident wearing it, however Red Passion (shade 297) is perfect and left me feeling much more feisty and able to kick a bad days a*s last week and was also featured on L'Oreal's social media channels.  A big thumbs up to brighter make up!
My UV gel nails from Glam Nails, Cardiff are probably the best nails I've ever had. No exaggeration, I've had them for three weeks now and with three children, copious amounts of washing and soaking in the hot tub almost every day, they've not chipped, lifted or felt false for the entire time. Apart from being in need of in fills next week they look as good as new and have generated lots of compliments. Most people seem to think Cardiff is too far to go to get their nails done, but it's the perfect excuse every three weeks to catch up with my bestie!
The Rugby World Cup hitting England and Cardiff. I'm Welsh - need I say more!

Looking up at the stars at night, whilst the kids are in bed and we're lying in the hot tub. We could be anywhere looking up at the night sky. I missed the blood moon but seeing the super moon just a few hours before was the perfect end to my birthday. Did any of you get any decent pictures of it? I'd completely forgotten to charge my camera so my iPhone had to do. Major fail!
So this weekend is going to be quite quiet I think. A bottle of bubbly in the garden tonight, some things to get done around the house before the wet weather gets here and a family day back in Wales Sunday for my dads retirement and before they head off to America. What plans do you have? Catch you all Monday!