Modern Mummy

Friday, 10 November 2017

CHRISTMAS // Pickering's Gin Baubles from 31DOVER.com

I know it's still November but now that the girls have both had their birthdays I am well and truly ready to embrace all things festive!

I'm not one to put the tree up before December 1st but when my friends at 31DOVER.com sent me a little early Christmas present to say thanks for working with them this year, I couldn't resist getting them out straight away (and of course that meant I had to get our festive garland and a few twinkly lights out too).


Yes, I am the proud owner of a set of the famous Pickering's gin baubles, which I desperately tried to get my mitts on last year but missed out on (they flew off the shelves after going viral on social media). The best bit is the they are available online RIGHT NOW at 31DOVER.com!

Each set contains six different coloured, hand made baubles containing 50ml of Pickering's gin (so make sure they are kept out of the reach of little people and pets!) and decorated with a festive red Pickering's ribbon. They are just gorgeous and I think make the perfect ornaments to decorate my booze shelf ready for Christmas party season!


So YES! They are available from 31DOVER.com for £29.95 here, now! If you're hoping to get some make sure you order yours quickly so you don't miss out!

ps Now that these decorations are up, I'm totally leaving them up.
pps I think Flat Eric needs a Christmas hat ;)

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Tuesday, 7 November 2017

TRAVEL // 6 Essential Tips to prepare for a Road Trip with Children


While a family road trip can be a BRILLIANT experience, if you have small children you should be prepared for the odd challenge or three. Most kids hate sitting still for long periods of time with nothing to do but stare out of the window.

Whether you’re travelling in your own car or rent a car for the duration of your holiday, calls of ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ from the back seat will soon signal the beginning of boredom in the junior ranks. To stop your holiday from becoming memorable for all the wrong reasons, you need a few strategies to nip any undesirable behaviour in the bud.

Take plenty of snacks and treats 
There are few things worse to endure than a ‘hangry’ child in a small enclosed space. The combination of bad mood, boredom and hunger is never a good one, so it pays to be prepared. Take a cool bag with healthy, nutritious snacks and treats and hand them out whenever needed.

Finger foods is the name of the game. Tiny sandwiches, pieces of fruit and veg, cheese sticks, cold meats, cookies and the odd sweet treat are all bound to be hugely appreciated when deployed at just the right time. Anything really that can be held in little hands without disintegrating. Don’t forget to carry small bottles of water or juice too. Whoever is in the passenger seat should be chief dispenser while you’re on the road.

Better still, have regular pit stops with a leg stretch and a picnic to break up the long journey. Many motorways now have a children’s play area where the little ones can let off some energy before you continue on your journey.

Make activity backpacks 
Pre-empt boredom by thinking smart. Get a small backpack for each child and fill it with travel games, colouring books and crayons, puzzles and playing cards, perhaps a cuddly toy and other toys that the child will appreciate. Make sure you personalise each backpack to the child’s age and interests, so it’s special and meaningful to them.

Either hand out your ‘travel presents’ at the beginning of the journey, or at the first sign of boredom. For each ‘successful’ back pack, you may well have bought yourself several blissful hours of peace and quiet while the little ones occupy themselves as the miles go by.

Encourage reading books 
Long car journeys are perfect for getting lost in a good book. If you have older children, invest in some new reading material or bring along a few old favourites. Whether you go for real books or eBooks on a Kindle or tablet is up to you. Younger children will love to look at picture books, especially if they are the interactive lift-the-flap kind.

Audiobooks on CD or in digital formats for tablets and phones are a great alternative and particularly useful if the whole family wants to listen to the same story. They are also a good way to get around the perennial problem of motion sickness which can be exacerbated by reading in a moving car.

Embrace media entertainment 
If you have portable devices such as tablets, iPods or in-car DVD players, now is the time to make good use of them. Rather than having to pay for expensive data streaming, why not preload a selection of suitable playlists, films, TV shows or videos onto your device before you hit the road?

Make sure the material is new to the children for maximum engagement and boredom busting effect. Don’t forget to have all the right chargers and cables to hand, and unless you want everyone to listen to Igglepiggle Goes Visiting, double check that everyone has a pair of headphones.

Play ‘old school’ games together 
Do you remember the travel games you used to play as a child? Who’s to say that the current generation of youngsters won’t appreciate I Spy or the Number Plate Game, Punch Buggy or the Yellow Car Game? Make up your own game and count a certain type of road sign or make of vehicle. The whole family can join in with these traditional fun ways to pass the time.

For best results, mix up periods of quiet activity with family interaction while on the road, and take periodic breaks from driving to give everyone a chance to stretch their legs, have a toilet break and move around.

Have an emergency bag to hand, just in case 
As parents of babies and toddlers know only too well, you can never taken anything for granted. Pack a bag with essentials such as a change of clothes (and nappies where necessary) just in case a drink gets spilt, a chocolate biscuit gets smeared or an accident of a different type should occur.

For general emergency and cleaning purpose, pack cleaning cloths and detergent, baby wipes, towels, spare carrier bags for anything soiled and for general rubbish, and a few sick bags for good measure. Now sit back and enjoy the journey.


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Monday, 6 November 2017

GOOD FOOD // Dairy Free Smoothies with Vita Coco


Three and a half years ago I underwent a cholecystectomy which meant I had to make a few changes to my diet. When you don't have a gallbladder you're supposed to give up high fat meats and processed foods but as these didn't form part of my diet beforehand (and after taking advice from a nutritionist) I decided to cut my dairy intake instead. For the first year post-surgery I gave dairy up altogether and felt amazing. As a result I know for sure that dairy doesn't agree with me, although I've allowed myself small quantities on special occasions since then - what's Christmas Day without the traditional Earley cheeseboard after all! I've also juiced regularly for the past five years but after my surgery I started to grow my repertoire of juice and smoothie recipes (dairy free, of course).

Juices and smoothies are different things (the indigestible fibre is removed from a juice) and I enjoy them at different times. Generally I prefer juices but there's definitely a time and a place for a smoothie! They're much more filling and work well as meal replacements for me - or as a post work out snack. I've experimented by adding different dairy alternatives to my recipes, and think I might have found my new favourite!

I'm not going to lie to you - I'm not usually a massive fan of coconut milk. Coconut water - yes. Yes yes yes yes YES! But I often find coconut milk has an odd texture, plus the canned stuff that I've used to cook with before is very high in calories. But Vita Coco coconut milk is fresh and, although thinner and I've yet to try it when cooking, is a fraction of the calories and also rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. It's also lactose free and naturally sweet - so the perfect ingredient for a filling breakfast or post-school smoothie.

During half term, I was sent some samples and I whizzed up some super simple and delicious summer fruit smoothies for myself and the girls. We used fresh berries but frozen would have worked just as well, and they were absolutely delicious - just ask Evie if you don't believe me!


The best bit about making smoothies is that they are always a massive hit with the kids - and I think they make the perfect post school snack. They're filling, but still leave plenty of room for dinner, plus they're an easy way to sneak a couple of their five a day into their diet. I love introducing the girls to new foods like Vita Coco, especially when they're super healthy!


DISCLAIMER: Vita Coco sent me samples of their coconut milk but I was under no obligation to write this post.


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