Sunday, 31 July 2011

How to survive the Summer Holidays!

So far, so good.  What am I talking about??  Well the first week of the summer holidays of course!!

We have had a lovely week and it hasn't cost a lot of money which of course is an added bonus.  On Monday ie the first day we met up with friends and spent  10 hours playing outside which was a lovely, lovely day and had I taken a picnic instead of buying pizzas would have cost us nothing!  We also went Fruit Picking and had a Teddy Bears Picnic which you can also do via Netmums.

I am not naive (stupid?!) enough to realise that the remainder of the holidays is going to be quite so lovely, but I do find it very sad when I see people berating the fact that they can't wait to get the kids back to school!!  Enjoy people, Embrace the little darlings, because once you do that, you'll have a whole heap of fun.

So here are my top 10 tips to surviving the Summer Holidays:

1) Don't plan organised activity after organised activity.  I only realised last year (after 2 years of planning tennis, football, summer camp) that  the kids need to actually chill and relax.  Otherwise they go from rushing out the door at 0830am  organised, structure at school, to rushing out the door at 0830am, organised structure at whatever activity I had planned.  Yes, activities are GREAT but let's save that for when we are a few weeks in.  The first rule of the holidays should be:

PJs on until 9am all round and let the kids sleep in!!

Have a leisurely breakfast - al fresco if possible and just enjoy a chilled time with no clock watching!

2) My next tip for surviving the summer holidays is throw out the clock watching.  I am the "queen of routine" usually but it's not going to hurt if the kids stay up late (although mine still wake up early I don't adhere so strictly to this) Last week they had 2 late nights but 2 out of 3 slept the next day to catch up on the Zzzzzz's)

3)Try to get out of the house EVERY DAY.  This is for your own sanity as well as the kids.  If you have boys, you need to embrace the fact that they are like dogs - they need lots of exercise and plenty of food (see my next point!)

4) Like a good girl guide - Be prepared.  Prepared to be eaten out of house and home.  I don't get how during term time they survive on a hearty breakfast, a hot school dinner with fruit snacks and then dinner with a yogurt.  Mine are eating non stop (well that's what it feels like) cereal, fruit, yogurts, crisps, ice pops and that's in between proper lunches and dinner!  Greedy guts reign.

5) Explore the local area - you will find so many lovely things to do for free or very little money - find a decent park with a decent cafe,  arrange to have a mini sports day with friends where everyone brings something for the picnic and a sporting challenge - could be who can hit the tennis ball the furthest or even 3 legged races. 

6) Embrace the games of old - yes that means climbing trees, playing British bulldog and hide and seek.  Forget health and safety, children need to take risks in order to not be mamby pambied adults.  I can never forget the feeling of freedom I got from climbing a tree (whilst at the same time being scared but assessing the risk).  Important life skill!  Yes that really is BoBo at 2 years old on a pony...we assessed the risk vs enjoyment factor - he was fine and LOVED it.

7) Make a den in the garden - we do this with our tent and paddling pool which then turns into a house with a pool.  The kids spend hours and hours playing at "house" and splashing in their pool.

8) Get cooking - bake cakes, make lemonade (will post my homemade recipe soon, it is LUSH) or even use your spoils from fruit picking to make a crumble.  Just enjoy being with the kids and spending quality time together.
9) Have a back up plan - by 3 weeks in the kids will be showing signs of boredom,  if you are not lucky enough to go away this will be the time to book one or 2 activity sessions a week.  We have a great resource where we live and for £10 each the boys can go off to Football Camp from 9-1pm.   Research your area, you will have the same.  Museums are free but VERY busy.  I always arrive about 4pm giving us 2 hours (which in our case is plenty long enough).   I can highly recommend the Science Museum, The Natural History and War Museums.  The Tate Modern is also worth a visit.

10) Have a sense of humour - you will need this for when it all goes tits up (which of course it will at some stage) and a decent supply of gin/wine/chocolate.  By the time the little brats are tucked up in bed, you'll be ready for that drink! 

What are your tips on surviving the holidays?? Please share them below.

Have fun and stay safe!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xxx

Silent Sunday

Friday, 29 July 2011

Cheap Summer Holiday Activity

School Holidays can be expensive what with the endless activities and the *constant* wails of "mum, mummy I'm hungry".  Seriously, what is that all about?  During term time the brats (my term of endearment for my little lovelies) have breakfast, followed by a hot school dinner with fruit snacks then a hot dinner at home with a pudding.    During the holidays, they turn into human for example they had toast followed by cereal and yogurt then 2 bananas and rice cakes about an hour later..followed by jacket pots with tuna and sweetcorn (and they were HUGE spuds) then more fruit and then homemade salad burgers with chips....and still they want more...Gannets....

Anyway, on Tuesday I decided to take them to the pick your own farm so they could work for their keep!!

There are more and more Pick your own farms than every before and we are very lucky to have Garsons Farm on our doorstep.  The great thing about PYO is that you spend a lovely few hours in the fresh air with no distractions apart from what you are going to pick next!

Garsons has been going for 29 years and is massive.  It takes us a good few hours to pick what we want and it operates a one way car system so that you can navigate the 100 acres safely.   They have an abundance of fruit and vegetables and it is obviously all seasonal.  Beansy loved digging for carrots and potatoes, here he is with his giant spud - very impressive!

It's the first time I have taken Pixie and she was in her element - really looking at the map and saying "want strawberries please".  She couldn't believe her eyes at all the raspberries and strawberries and it is a great way to get children interested in fruit and vegetables and to discover how they grow.

The great thing about PYO is that the kids are allowed to sample the produce as you go around, in fact, it is one of the perks!  My lovely mum loves to reminisce about the time I was strawberry picking as a 4 year old and when the farmer asked me "have you eaten any strawberries Miss?" to which I replied "no" as I stood there with berry stains and juices all down my dress and around my mouth!   

However, I was shocked to see whole families gorging on the produce - quite literally setting up picnic blankets in amongst the orchards (despite there being a picnic area) and helping themselves to a lunch.

We picked strawberries, raspberries, french beans, runner beans and apples and dug up carrots, potatoes and a red onion.  The best thing about PYO?  Our little haul only cost us £12.40p!  What an excellent value for money Summer Holiday Activity that turned out to be!

Do you have a PYO farm?  Do you use it??

Peace and Love

S.A.M xx

7 words....

I absolutely adore the simplicity of Doing it all for Aleyna meme.  She is incredibly eloquent with her words and you just have to see the beauty of what she has said this week.

My 7 word summary for this week is:

Summer Holidays: so far, so utterly amazing.

It would be lovely if you could all link up.  The simplicity of this meme is just lovely.

Peace and Love

S.A.M xx

A letter to Blondie....

Dear Blondie,

1978-1981 (ish) You were one of my childhood heroes - with your eclectic mix of rap, pop, reggae and disco you were oh so cool and I wanted to be you when I grew up.......

Last night I had the opportunity to see you live thanks to HAW's job we had a table for 14 at Epsom Downs racecourse for some evening racing and then you were playing at 9pm.    I was VERY nervous but excited about going, what if you didn't meet my expectations?!  What if you floundered on stage and gave a rubbish performance??  Would all my happy childhood memories of dancing in front of the mirror to "hanging on the telephone" be tarnished by this live performance??

Here are some of my favourite Blondie songs:

My all time favourite:

Here you are performing last night:

You were ATOMIC!  I still can't believe you are 66 years young and I loved the blue tutu that was then whipped of to reveal a pair of hot pants...

photo by aces artwork

Finally, I have to say, I *still* want to be you when I grow up!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xx

PS: If you live in London or in the surrounding counties, I can highly recommend Epsom Live!  Every year they have some great bands which have included JLS (kids LOVED that one) Madness, Texas, The Wanted and the Beach Boys.  On the 21st August they have the Rat Pack Show which I am going to take the whole family to including the grandparents.   It's a great evening with lots of atmosphere and  you may even win a few quid on the horses!!!!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Kiddy Car Seats - It's a family affair!

About 90 minutes South West of Berlin in the heart of Bavaria, lies the quaint town of Hof.  It's a town that is very unassuming but you would be mistaken for thinking that this is a sleepy backwater.  Hof is the HQ for Kiddy Car Seats . Kiddy is a family run business with more than 30 years experience of creating safety in cars seats in accordance with the latest global standards. 

At the helm of the business is Bettina and Jan-Stefan Wurstl who are by their own admission the heart (Bettina) and the Brains (Jan-Stefan) behind Germany's number one car seat manufacturer.  They inject passion and personality into the company but safety is always paramount and their number 1 priority.

the lovely charismatic Bettina
Kiddy are different from every other car seat manufacturer as they are the pioneers behind the "impact shield" a totally innovative system that is not based on the 5 point harness seat belt that we are used to in the UK.

It took me a while to get my head around the concept of NOT using a 5 point harness system, but like all new things, once I had seen the proof (ie crash test videos and serious amounts of research) I was converted. 

The Impact Shield is made of special shock absorbing materials that offer the ultimate protection in head on collision.  The risk of dangerous neck injuries is reduced by the simple fact that the impact forces are directed into the shield and thus preventing the child's head from being thrown backwards or forwards as would happen with a conventional 5 point harness.  Further research and modification to the original design has resulted in an extra energy absorbing layer being integrated into the shield surface of the which means that the original shield absorbed 60% of the impact from a crash and the resulting layer now takes on the remaining 40%.

The passion and dedication of the team at Kiddy has to be applauded.  They are all experts in their field, from the designers, to the crash test technicians and everyone has the same philosophy - to make the safest car seats on the market.  They are constantly evolving and innovating and as consumers we need to applaud that.

  Kiddy UK launched into the UK in January 2009 and is growing from strength to strength.  In December 2010 it picked up a Which? Best Buy award and the Kiddy Guardian Pro was awarded the highest accolade in the "Stiftung Warentest" which is the European Equivalent to Which? magazine for safety in tests.

The Guardian Pro 2 is a group 1,2,3 car seat and will grow with your child from the age of 9 months to 12 years.  You quite literally, won't need to buy any other seat after your child has outgrown their stage 0 one and I love the flexibility that this offers.  Perhaps the most amazing thing about this and in fact all other Kiddy Seats is that it is so to fit and so light to lift.  This is great if you car share with your partner or grandparents as there is no faffing around whatsoever - this is a massive USP for me!

The Cruisefix Pro is a group 2, 3 seat and is suitable from age 4-12 years old.  It uses the traditional seat belt mechanism but has a unique safety component in the Kiddy Shock Absorber which absorbs energy in the event of a crash.  It has an absolute mechanical masterpiece as it uses a simple mechanism that grows with your child.   It expands upwards and outwards ensuring a safe and exact fitting every time.  This is great for me as it means I can move the kids around the car without having to move the seats.  It also comes with Isofix fittings which are very easy to use (I tested this for you).

Overall, Kiddy are a very impressive company who have safety and comfort at the forefront of everything they do.  They are launching new products into the UK this year and having been privvy to their buggy range, all I can say, is watch this space!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xx

If you want to find out more then please follow Kiddy on Twitter or head over to their Facebook Page where once they have 1,000 fans they will randomly select someone to choose something from their range.  Please leave a comment below with what you would like to win and also do the same on their facebook page.  Good Luck!!!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Pass on the Love with a Teddy Bears picnic

Just before each child's birthday and of course Christmas, we sort through the toy boxes and get rid of toys that haven't been played with, they don't like or that are broken or that are no longer loved.  We sort this out into various piles - the charity shop, the bin or "saved" for another time.   It is ALWAYS a bittersweet thing to do as so many things can evoke memories of a different time and it is particularly hard for Beansy who like HAW is a hoarder. 

I can guarantee that he will sob and sob and cling onto everything and say "but it's my favourite match attax/teddy/broken plastic arm of action man" he really struggles, although at nearly 8 years old he understands the process of donating to charity shops and raising money for those less fortunate than him.

Persil have launched a new washing product that combines the cleaning power of persil with the softness of comfort - unsurprisingly, it is called Persil 2 in 1 with Comfort and they have teamed up with Netmums and Camp Bestival and are offering you the chance to host a "Pass on the Love - Teddy Bears Picnic" in order to swap or donate your unwanted Teddies to Oxfam. 

We were sent our picnic kit which consisted of a picnic blanket, some cups, napkins and 2 lovely soft bunnies as well as a bottle of the new Persil 2 in 1 with comfort.   We spent the morning sorting out the teddies into various piles - as well as Beansy wanting to keep them all, it seems that BeauBo has the same hoarding gene as he was worrying about their "feelings" at being binned - I blame Toy Story for that one!!  Pixie on the other hand has her mother's throw away gene and was very happy to recycle the love!  We washed the teddies in the Persil 2 in 1 and as a massive fan of the small and mighty and of comfort softener products anyway, I was keen to see what the results would be.  I have to say the results were exactly the same as using them individually - so a very happy me!

We had a splendid time in the garden and some old traditions were honoured - we had triangular white bread sandwiches (always on a picnic, don't ask me why) and lashings of ginger ale (very Enid Blyton).  I also got out my old china Peter Rabbit Tea Set - which went down a treat and we gave all of our old teddies a very majestic send off!

It was a lovely way to say goodbye some old friends, we talked about growing older and how we move on and grow out of certain things, it actually turned into a very lovely conversation as we discussed how the process of sending off our teddies could help Oxfam to raise money for children not as lucky as us.    As for the tears at the final "goodbye" which I thought would be inevitable, I have to say that with a huge hug and a kiss from each child, all of our teddies went into the bag without a whimper or a howl.  It was a truly magical day and one I will be doing again!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xx

I am a member of the Netmums Parent Bloggers Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team from our database to review products and brands on their behalf. I am paid an expenses fee to cover my time (and childcare if the fee is big enough!) but Netmums have no editorial control whatsoever about what I blog about. Being a member of the Netmums Blogging Network means that I get to try out products and brands and get my expenses covered but that I retain full editorial integrity.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Boots Smooth Skin Ipulse Plus - Review and Update

Back in May I was sent the Boots Smooth Skin Plus to review and over the last 3 months I have really given it a thorough testing.  You can read my original blog post about it here but I wanted to come back after the treatment course to give you the full low down with photographic proof as I know it is a big investment and one that you want to know works before investing in!

Firstly, to recap, the Boots Smooth Skin Plus uses uses IPL (intense pulsed light) technology which offers clinically proven, permanent hair reduction.  This has been around for about 30 years and works by using flashes of light which target the pigment in the hair which them disables the hair follicles and stops new growth.  

It's recommended that you use this between 6 and 12 times (once a week) and after that hair growth should be minimal with the occasional top up session every couple of months to keep the stray hairs at bay!  Regrowth becomes less over time and eventually you'll have minimal growth - so, I hear you ask, does it work??
The answer to that is a massive YES.  Have a look here at the photographic proof of my armpits at the beginning, midway and at the end of treatment:
 Week1 - Prior to treatment

Week 6 - Prior to treatment

Week 12 - No treatment needed!

As you can see from the above photographs, the hair regrowth was a lot finer and far less after 6 weeks of treatment.  At the end of the course - I had NO hair growth whatsoever.  It's now a few weeks on and I still have no regrowth.

How fantastic is that!

I also treated my bikini, facial and leg area and have seen the same results.

Now, for a few pointers:

1) Make sure you have a back up of the cooling gel activator.  Mine ran out midway through treatment and it took me a while to find a boots that had a replacement.  This definitely hindered my course so please preempt before you run into the same problem I did. 

2) It's advised that you mark out the areas of treatment using a white eye pencil - I never bothered with this and to be honest, I did miss a few areas on my legs but just treated these the following weeks.  I am sure you would get greater accuracy if you did this but I have to be honest and say it took me more than an hour every week to treat all areas

3) Be prepared for a wee bit of pain!  Some areas more so than others.  It wasn't ever painful but it was uncomfortable, especially on the bikini area.

4) Now, if you are treating your bikini area, I would advise you to get some help.  I wouldn't dream of asking HAW to do this, but it would have been infinitely better had I had someone to zap for me, I did laugh at myself on several occasions as I contortioned myself in front of the mirror.

5) Always put the activator gel in the fridge - it's far more soothing I guarantee.

6) If you are treating the facial hair area, it will feel VERY strange to shave prior to treatment.  I was so, so nervous about doing this as I only have the odd hair but I used the strimmer on HAW's electric shaver.  Initially, I plucked but it didn't work.  You do need to shave all areas prior to treatment.  I promise you it's worth it.

At the moment the Boots Smooth Skin Plus is on offer and you can save £50 meaning that you will only pay £349.99 for the unit.   It works out far cheaper than salon treatments and the beauty is that you get to keep the unit so will be able to keep on top of any stray hairs that dare to appear.

If you are serious about permanent hair removal then I can highly recommend the Smooth Skin Plus.

If you have any questions, please do ask me on the comments below and I will be more than happy to help.

Peace and Love

S.A.M xx

Monday, 25 July 2011

A Perfect Day!

Today has been everything the Summer Holidays should be.

I think we all look back nostalgically and reminisce about the long summer holidays where we were out from morning until night with only a bottle of pop and a bag of chips to keep us going whilst we biked our way around the neighbourhood.  We bemoan the fact our kids don't have it as good as we did that times have changed yadda yadda.

Well today my lovelies we had the perfect day.  We left the house at 9am and got back at 8pm.  The best bit is, it cost us NOTHING.

We are lucky to have an amazing park nearby that also happens to be exactly half way between our house and that of a good NCT friend so it makes sense to meet there.

The park is perfect - in the centre you have a children's play area that is based around a huge wooden pirate ship, this in turn is surrounded by sand and water fountains that provide hours of fun as children build tunnels and towns and re-direct water and make dams.  Once they have had enough of that there are zip wires, tunnels and climbing walls.  It truly caters for all ages and once the play area is exhausted, there is tennis, football, rounders and a skate park.

Despite being the perfect park, it doesn't get to busy and you can quite literally, let the kids run wild.

We arrived at 11am and had a wonderful time, breaking about 1pm for Margarita pizzas eaten straight out of the box, piping hot with cheese dripping down the kids chins.  We had a break for ice creams and then my oldest school friend who happens to live close by was also in the park and invited us back to tea so we ended up playing cricket in her garden until 7pm.

On the way back we stopped at the farm shop to buy some duck eggs for breakfast and all 3 kids had a bath to get rid of the sun and fell into their beds - tired, happy and loving life!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xx

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Saturday Song - dedicated to Chocorange xx

Earth Friendly Kids - lovely bubbly!

One of my favourite brands when the kids were babies was Earth Friendly Baby which I discovered after BoBo had eczema.  Like most new mums I first started using Johnson and Johnson products which have a very strong heritage in the UK and I have to say, I adored the "fresh baby" smell.  Whilst J+J baby range was perfect for Beansy, BoBo on the other hand, had skin of a far more delicate nature and so I started to look into the ingredients and the process that actually go into baby skin care products.

I was already using reuseable nappies (how I miss the sight of those billowing on the washing line!) and biodegradable wipes and so now I started to look closer at the eco credentials of baby skincare ranges.

I came across Earth Friendly baby in Waitrose and was very impressed with the entire range - everything was natural from the responsibly sourced organic lavander to the fact that no artificial colours or synthetic fragrances are present.  Perhaps just as importantly, they do not use parabens or sodium lauryl.   Perfect if you have a little one that suffers from a skin condition.

However, as the kids grew up, and BoBo outgrew his eczema (or perhaps it was caused by the use of other products) I gradually stopped buying Earth Friendly Baby and instead moved onto pastures anew.  

I always wondered why they hadn't expanded the range to accommodate older kids and so when I was asked to review  Earth Friendly Kids I was thrilled.

We were sent Shampoo and Body wash, hand soap and body lotion all in the Minty Lavander range which ranges in price from £2.49-£4.99 making this a very affordable organic, natural range.

The packaging has been cleverly executed and we have 4 superheros on board - Leo, Sophie, Cosmo, Daya and Spiro the dog who all have different eco credentials.  The boys LOVED the packaging and enjoyed reading about the heros on the back, especially as they have friends with 3 out of the 4 names.

The products were fine - they all did what they are supposed to do and a special mention must go to the body lotion which was incredibly luxurious and worked wonders on my cracked heels (naughty mummy).

However, by far and away the most amazing thing about this range is the smell - Minty shouldn't work but my goodness it does.  We all adore it and not only is it fresh and quite unique it is also long lasting.

Super Amazing Says:

Packaging: 10/10 - the boys loved the design and use of superheros, I loved the ease of use
Price: 7/10 This is an affordable range of organic skincare products
Does it work: 9/10 The kids have lovely soft, sweet smelling skin

Overall this is a great range and one that we as a family are happy to see on the shelves as an older range.

Peace and Love

S.A.M xx

Disney meets the Athenaeum Hotel

The family run Athenaeum Hotel stands majestically on Piccadilly with splendid views over Green Park.   According to the Hollywood Reporter, there have been more Movie Stars seen here than at the Polo Lounge at the Beverley Hills Hotel.  It is steeped in history and glamour and has recently been crowned as the "Best UK Family Hotel in the 2011" Junior Magazine Design Awards.  Great accolade indeed!

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am particularly fussy when it comes to Holiday Requests HAW and I don't work hard to then not be able to kick back and relax so I was very intrigued to see what the Athenaeum could come up with.  Our perfect break includes excellent food, spa treatments, relaxation and plenty of family time so would the Athenaeum meet our exacting standards?

Firstly, they are the only UK hotel to team up with Disney - this is a fantastic coup for them and one I feel that could offer so much more.  Let me explain.

The Athenaum has created a Winnie the Pooh playroom which is packed with a plethora of Winne the Pooh toys and activities, it is seriously a toddlers idea of Nirvana - Pixie was enchanted and entertained and could quite happily have spent all day in the playroom.  The Athenaum also has a hotel nanny to keep a watchful eye over the children or to read them a story.  She was lovely I have to say, a real life "Mary Poppins" in disguise.

However the boys who are 7 and 5 were decidedly underwhelmed.  Beansey who is 7 commented "it's such a shame it is a baby room, I am too old for this".  This was the general consensus from the majority of children over the age of 3 and this is where I feel things could be massively improved - the concept is perfect, you know your children will be well looked after whilst you have a spa treatment or go to the theatre but it needs to be age appropriate.

By teaming up with Disney, the Athenaeum could have provided entertainment for a wider age range of children.  Whilst Winnie the Pooh is perfect for the under 3's it would have been great to have have seen "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" or "Little Einsteins" or even the "Wizards of Waverly Place" for the older children (very on trend now thanks to the Beckhams naming their little girl Harper after a character).  

The Athenaeum also offers family apartments that feel as if you are living in the heart of Mayfair. For our family this is the perfect solution as it offers you Independence and flexibility to come and go as you please but with the added benefit of a 5 star hotel service.  However, there is nothing "hotely" about these and  I can't recommend the apartments highly - spacious, luxurious and incredibly well appointed the boys were thrilled that a Wii and games were provided.   Here is my Super Amazing vlog about it:

The Athenaeum are passionate about providing families with a unique and relaxing experience from the complimentary Kids menu and drinks, fresh fruit and snacks to the fact they have a dedicated Kids concierge.  The playroom as a concept is brilliant - but I feel it is more suitable to the under 3's.  I know my boys wouldn't want to stay in the playroom as it currently stands.  

The family apartments are quite simply, the perfect solution for families wanting to stay in London and if the partnership between the Athenaeum and Disney is expanded to cater for the 3-10 year olds (which given Disney's huge range is entirely possible) then this will be a magical partnership suitable for the discerning family traveller.

Sadly, as Londoners we won't be staying here as it is so close to home, but if one was to open further afield, we would definately be checking in!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xx

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Gel Nails - a revelation!!

One thing I LOVE and that makes me VERY happy is painted finger and toenails.  Despite sometimes looking as if I have been dragged through a hedge backwards (that's naturally curly hair for you!) I do think you can look extremely polished with nicely painted nails. 

I have been known on occasion to paint only the toes that can be seen peeping out of summer sandals (yes, you do that as well, great welcome to my club) but there is nothing I like more than a good manicure or pedicure.  My trouble is, they always chip after a few days and so end up costing me about £5 a day for the pleasure of being groomed.

A few weeks ago my nail technician (what a ridiculous job title) told me that they were using a new gel based polish that lasted for 3-4 weeks without chipping.  It was a little bit more than my regular manicure and so I went for it.

Ladies, let me tell you - BRING ON THE REVOLUTION! 

It was amazing, it lasted for 3 weeks and 2 days before I got my first chip.  Sadly, I am now sporting very chipped nails as unlike normal nail polish you need to make a return trip to the salon to get the polish soaked off - I just haven't had the time to do this but if you have a special occasion or are going on holiday then I can highly recommend this process.   My next question is how long until the likes of Chanel develop these formulas so we can self mani?!!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xx

Ghost the Musical - A Review

One of my favourite films of the early 90s is Ghost.  I was taken to see this by my first proper boyfriend and we innocently held hands throughout.  It was a great film that has one of the most iconic film moments (well from the 90s at least along with Meg Ryan and "that" scene) when Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze have a loving cliche over a potters wheel whilst we are treated to the aural delights of "unchained melody" by the righteous brothers. 

Here's a quick reminder of "that" scene:


For those of you who have been living under a rock or who are too young to remember the original film, the story centres on Sam and Molly who have a perfect Manhattan Life, that is until Sam is shot dead by a mugger.  Sam then realises he is caught in the "in between life" and realises that Molly's life is in danger as his so called "friend" is doing all he can to launder money.  Sam then does all he can to warn Molly that her life is in danger.  The film has plenty of twists and visually brilliant scenes and so when I was asked to preview the West End production of Ghost - The Musical  I was excited but also sceptical - how would one of my favourite films translate to the West End Stage? 

I took Super Amazing Gran (my lovely mum) with me as she was also a massive fan of the original film.

Let me start by saying that the set was outstanding - the visuals were breathtaking and there was always something going on which was relevant to the story - scenes from NY, video screens and moving walls - the subway scene was cleverly executed and a highlight of the show, really spectacular, take your breath away amazing!

Whoppi Goldberg won an Oscar for her original performance of Oda Mae Brown and so the Holby City actress Sharon D Clarke had a very hard act to follow.  Sharon was outstanding - she completely pulled this of with humour and gusto and her voice was incredibly powerful.  She was superb. 
 The Canadian actress C
aissie Levy’s took on the role of Molly and she gave a truly emotional performance throughout - her voice was breathtaking and gave Super Amazing Gran goosebumps and I welled up on more than one occasion.

Richard Fleeshman’s portrayal of Sam was brilliant, he has a good voice, although on occasions, it was difficult to understand his words.  He and Caissie worked very well together and there were several poignant moments that struck a cord with the audience.

My only criticism is that the "potters wheel" scene isn't long enough, for me that was one of the most defining moments of the film and so I would have liked to have seen more action!! 

S.A.G said "this is one of the best productions I have ever seen; I would definitely recommend it to my family and friends and would give it a BIG 5 OUT OF 5"

I have to say, I agree with my mum, it was a great adaption that was visually effective and had lots of tear jerking moments - it was quite simply, beautifully executed with great acting, great songs and a fabulous set. 

If you fancy seeing what all the fuss is about, then simply have a look at  Superbreak - Ghost the Musical and book your tickets now, I predict that this will be a sell-out.

Peace and Love

S.A.M xx

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

7 word meme

Here is a lovely meme from Doing it all for Aleyna  its beauty is in its simplicity.  You basically just describe how you are feeling now in 7 words.  That is it, nothing more, nothing less.

"Exhausted but happy as got chocolate buttons"

Peace and Love

S.A.M xx

Monday, 18 July 2011

Happy Birthday!

Dear Beau Bo,

This time 5 years ago, the weather was scorchio.  Really, really hot, not a cloud in sight and very sticky.  How do I remember this?  Because it was the day I was to give birth to my beautiful boy Beau Bo.

After a very traumatic 5 day labour from induction to a crash section, I was nervous to say the least.  I had an abject fear of having the same experience again and so pushed for an elective c-section.  It was very strange sitting down with the consultant and quite literally picking the day you were going to be born on.

However, it was the most wonderful experience and one that we will never forget.  We were relaxed, we were laughing and we were so excited to be meeting you.  The difference between an elective section and a crash was unbelievable.  It truly was a joyous moment and I remember everything.  You came out and didn't cry for a bit (my heart stopped as Beansey was screaming, some might say he hasn't stopped!) but then you let out a yowl and we knew you were going to be fine.

I am so proud to call you my son - you amaze me daily with your intelligence and wit.  Despite being the youngest in the class your report that we got last week said "He is a very intelligent little boy with maturity beyond his years who makes an excellent role model to all his peers".  You have loved your first year at school and I am delighted to see you coming out of your shell a bit as your confidence grows.  You are a loving boy with lots of friends and your brother and sister adore you. 

I feel honoured to watch your journey from a baby to a toddler to a child and feel privileged to watch you on your journey from boyhood to manhood.  It won't be an easy path at times but I want you to know that you are loved and have our support every step of the way.  When I asked you this morning what you wanted to be when you grown up, your answer was "a rock star".  Rock on Sonny!!!

Happy Birthday Cherub!

Love S.A.M xxx

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Saturday Song

Listography - Live Gigs....

I couldn't NOT participate in Kate Takes 5 listography this week, as I LOVE, LOVE music.  I am also *insanely* jealous that she is at Benicassim in Spain for 4 glorious days......

So, without further ado, here are five gigs that I would to attend/re-live:

1) Oasis at Glastonbury 1995 (actually, I was there, it was such an amazing set ans till one of the best live performances I have seen).  I totally respect the Gallagher brothers musically/lyrically and honestly think they are going to be a band that the next generation will listen to, rather like our generation listen to the Stones/Beatles. (note am NOT comparing by the way before any of you purists get on my case!)

2) The Rolling Stones - any gig from the 60s.  Their best songs in my opinion are from 1962-1968 so any gig during that time.  Here's a video link to my favourite ever Stones song taken from the 1969 Altamo gig where Hells Angels were security!

3) Live Aid 1985 - This was truly the first global gig.  It highlighted the plight of Africa and raised millions.  I was 10 at the time and watched the whole thing on a marathon session with my whole family.  Here is a clip of the late, great Freddie Mercury, a true showman.

4) Jonny Borrell Acoustic Set - June 2011 (this is my own personal video, I am a tad tipsy so the quality of my videoing leaves a lot to be desired!)  However, it was an AMAZING day/night at the Polo with all of our lovely friends (and my MIL you can spot just in front on JB with her arms in the air ;-)

5) Robbie Williams - Elysee Montmartre, his most intimate gig yet.  I saw him at what I think is the Roundhouse not long after he left Take That, about 500 people but when I google I can't find anything/ so think it was probably somewhere else and my memory is failing!!! (Fran, where was it??!!!)  It was about 1997, I do know that, he was great and it felt very intimate. 

Peace and Love

Love S.A.M xxxx