July 2016 | Modern Mummy

Monday, 25 July 2016

A Trip to London for an Advanced Screening of #SwallowsAndAmazons

Arthur Ransome was one of my favourite authors growing up. In actual fact I think he probably still is. Swallows and Amazons was undoubtedly my favourite of all his books and when I heard about a new film coming out earlier this year I was really, really excited. Then on Saturday the girls and I were lucky enough to be invited to an advanced screening ahead of it's cinema release on 19th August!

We made our way up to Picturehouse Central on Shaftesbury Avenue for some fun in the foyer before the film started. The girls had their photo taken and did some arts and crafts - and I even held a parrot!

Then, once we were all sat in the auditorium, we had the pleasure of a short but very inspiring talk from the director, Philippa Lowthorpe, before being introduced to the cast!

The film was absolutely incredible; a truly wonderful adaptation of the book. The costumes and sets were perfect, and the scenery breathtaking. Both girls loved it. I was a little worried about Evie sitting through the whole film but I needn't have been - she was mesmerised and really did take everything in as she talked about it non-stop all the way home. Daisy and I both agreed it is our absolute favourite film of all time and we are going to go and watch it again when it's officially released later in the summer. We've also been inspired to visit the Lake District before going back to school in September! But first I'm going to buy her her own copy of the book and we are all going to read it together.

Swallows and Amazons is out in cinemas on 19th August, and we couldn't recommend it enough. Have a look at the trailer to decide for yourself!


Saturday, 23 July 2016

School's Out! Celebrating the end of term at Thaikhun, Guildford

The girls and I always like to kick off the holidays in style and yesterday was no different. We waved goodbye to one school year and celebrated the start of six weeks (and three days.... but who's counting!) all at home together by visiting a brand new restaurant in Guildford called Thaikhun with a couple of friends. It's directly opposite YO! Sushi on Friary Street (and you all know how often we visit YO!) so we've been watching it's development over the past couple of months and were really, really keen to try it out.

We booked our table for 5pm, which is a little later than I normally like to eat with the kiddos, but we had some last minute Camp Bestival shopping to crack on with beforehand which we thought would work up a healthy appetite ;) When we arrived the first thing I noticed was the A-MAZING decor. Distressed wood, peeling paint, exposed brickwork, industrial pipes and lights, neon accessories, lots and lots of knick-knacks squeezed into every available space on every available surface, a bar in an old train carriage (as you do)..... I could not have loved it more.

The restaurant is also HUGE, with a bright and airy space when you first enter, a slightly darker and cosier central part and then a big, bustling area at the back that overlooks the kitchen. I really liked this, and thought that each area would be perfect for different occasions, or at different times of day.

We were greeted by a lovely waitress who took us to our table (in the bright and airy entrance as I'd requested so that I could take photos), gave us our menus and kids colouring bits and nipped off with our drinks order straight away.

The whole feel of the restaurant was very relaxed and informal; the staff were friendly and genuine and really chatty and the smells coming from the kitchen were amazing so we couldn't wait to start eating!

We were there to try the new kids menu which launched this month. Thaikhun wanted to break the mould of standard boring and 'beige' kids food and so have introduced a mix and match concept to their menu so that children can experiment with new flavours (all served separately so as not to ruin their meal!).

They have also teamed up with National Geographic Kids Magazine, so little diners get to take away a mini magazine filled with activities and fun facts about Thailand - and can have an educational as well as delicious dining experience!

The kids food was great - three courses plus a complimentary drink costs just £5.95 which is the best priced meal out there - and dishes ranged from plain meat and rice to more adventurous, slightly-spicy curries, plus the kitchen were more than happy to serve things in a particular way for fuss pots! The girls had crunchy vegetable sticks to start (the only option) and then Daisy had rice and breaded chicken, Evie had noodles and grilled chicken with Thai green curry sauce on the side and their friend had the pad thai with a side of fried tofu from the adults menu.

Moving on, let's talk about the grown up's food - which was IMMENSE.

I got to sample the tod man khao pod and ka nom jeeb to start (that's sweetcorn cakes and veggie dumplings to you and me) and then for the main course I had pad kee mao (spicy seafood noodles with king prawns, mussels and squid, which was so so so so so good) and my friend had sukiyaki noodles (a veggie option made with red bean curd).

The kids got mini milks for pudding as part of their three course menu but luckily for them their grown ups were so stuffed from dinner that they were willing to share ;)

The banana fritters and Thai bounty (chocolate fondant) went down a treat with everyone!

And I'll tell you what else went down well..... the beer! At the end of a busy week, after a long old half term, the two ice cold Singha beers I had were very well received indeed.*

*Evie did not drink any beer, despite appearances!

We had an absolutely incredible meal and I think we've actually found our new favourite restaurant in Guildford. I literally CAN'T WAIT to go back and try some more dishes!

Our food and drinks were complimentary in exchange for this honest review. All words and images are my own.


Thursday, 21 July 2016

One Year Divorced + Channelling my inner Land Girl with The Imperial War Museum

This time last year, my Decree Absolute had just landed on my doormat - so to celebrate my first anniversary of getting divorced I came over all GIRL POWER while getting dressed this morning and decided to embrace my inner Land Girl.

I actually got these accessories with Goodwood Revival in mind but as I've never worn a headscarf before I couldn't resist giving it a practice run. There was no chance of me saving the sunnies til September either; these are my absolute current faves (of many, many pairs - I have a sunglasses problem) and I've worn them pretty much constantly since their first outing to Secret Cinema's screening of Dirty Dancing on Sunday, where I dressed up as a prim early 60s holiday maker at Kellermans ;)

But yes, today was all about those vintage Land Girl vibes, and this is what I wore....

Breton tee // Dungarees both bought in the Fat Face sale and now out of stock 
Vintage tortoiseshell glasses, £10 // Polka dot fabric head scarf, £8 both c/o The Imperial War Museums Shop

If you're looking for fashion and home accessories with a vintage feel, or quirky retro gifts for someone special, the Imperial War Museum shop is BRILLIANT. I'm totally in love with this lace hat, and just look at this Duxford Eagles enamel mug and this travel sewing kit! The best bit is that they're online too, so you don't need to go out of your way to visit one of the museums if there isn't one close by and they are constantly adding new items so it's worth checking back regularly to see what's on offer. Happy shopping! xo

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

When the Tooth Fairy forgets to visit

Last night I committed the WORST.PARENT.FAIL.EVER. I forgot to carry out tooth fairy duties.

Daisy came stumbling in to my room this morning looking devastated, with the baby tooth that had fallen out yesterday in her hand. 'She didn't come!' she cried. (And I mean she actually cried).

'HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE?!' I thought, as I realised the seriousness of the situation. A look of sheer panic must have spread across my face as my little angel child said 'Nevermind, Mummy, maybe she'll come tonight' with the saddest expression you've ever seen.

I was going to hell.

I knew I shouldn't have stayed up binge watching Gilmore Girls last night. Or had that third glass of wine.

I had to think fast.

I told Daisy to go and get into my bed while I put the tooth back into the pocket of her tooth fairy pillow. In actual fact I put a shiny £2 coin in (£2!!!!! ...... guilt money), put the pillow back in her room and kept the tooth myself.

And then I did something I've not done since I used to work in wealth management in the West End, pre-children. I told five lies before 7am.

Lie no.1:
But it's still NIGHT TIME! She can't have got to us yet!

Lie no.2:
It's summertime, it's stays light late at night and get light early in the morning - HONESTLY! It's still NIGHT TIME!

Lie no.3:
She'll still be doing her rounds, I bet we're last on the list - this is your seventh tooth to fall out after all, she probably does all the first teeth first.

Lie no.4:
Oh no no no, it's not really 6.45am - that clock is broken!

Lie no.5:
[Told after Daisy lay down in my bed for about two and a half minutes with her eyes closed] WAKE UP! It's MORNING! You've been asleep for ages!

Somehow I got away with it. But bloody hell that was close!


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Pizza Express + Ice Age Collide This Summer!

Yesterday the girls and I kick started the week by paying our local Pizza Express a visit after school with some friends. The occasion? To celebrate the arrival of the new film Ice Age Collision Course in cinemas next week!

This month, Sid and his Ice Age friends have taken over the Piccolo menu and all kiddos get a fun packed Ice Age Collision Course activity sheet when they order their food. There's also a chance to win a trip to Hollywood by drawing a picture of your favourite character from the film with their favourite Pizza Express pizza!

We arrived at the Haslemere restaurant a little before 5, which is our favourite time to dine. The restaurant is always a little quieter then, and it means that we'll usually have eaten by about 6 and can still get home for the usual bedtime routine, although on this occasion the girls were having so much fun that we completely lost track of time and it was almost 7.30 when we eventually left. It goes to show that when you're in a family friendly restaurant like Pizza Express, you really can relax and enjoy yourself - plus those brand spanking new activity sheets were extra entertaining!

As always the girls and their friend ordered from the piccolo menu; doughballs and veggies to start, and pizzas for all as their main. I went for the classic Italian antipasto as my starter and my friend chose the bruschetta, and then we both had padana pizzas for our main, although my friend was good and went for the leggera version, while I had the full pizza on a huge romana base!

Ahhhh dessert! My favourite course. Us grown ups were kind to the kiddos and let them order from the grown ups menu, while we ate their little piccolo brownies. Daisy went for the honeycomb cream slice, Evie the new passionate mess, and their friend the chocolate fudge cake. Turns out we were rewarded for our selflessness as they couldn't manage the huge portions and we got to sample them all!

We had a truly lovely meal; Pizza Express really does tick all the boxes for me when it comes to dining out with children. The activity sheets are brilliant for keeping them entertained while they are waiting for their food and these new Ice Age themed ones were a real hit! I also think the Piccolo menu is also great value for money. At just £6.50 for three delicious courses and a bambinoccino (or one course for £3.95 if they only have a little appetite - or want to save room for a grown up size portion of dessert), you really can't go wrong.

Visit the Pizza Express website here to find out more about the partnership with Ice Age and for further details on the chance to win that trip to Hollywood. Ice Age Collision Course is out in cinemas on 15th July - we can't wait to see it!

Our food and drinks were complimentary in exchange for this honest review. All words and photographs are my own.


Monday, 4 July 2016

Daily Outfit ♥ Dungaree Doll

Oh dungarees, I do love you. Comfy, tummy hiding, easy to style, I love to team them either with flat sandals and a summery vest top, or heels and a plaid shirt. My only rule is that they always, always have to be turned up!

I had a bit of a result with this pair...... the weekend before last weekend I tried them on in Fat Face but had left my bank card at home so couldn't buy them. Then the next day I had an email to say the summer sale had started and there they were - half price! - so I ordered them straight away.

Some things were meant to be ♥

Sunglasses, Marc Jacobs
Vintage blue dungarees, £25 (sale), Fat Face (sold out online but still available in some stores, or available in pale wash online here)
Vest top, Whistles (similar here)
Dreamcatcher necklace, £68 c/o Muru London
Sandals, Clarks

And here's a little Eddie Fisher tune from 1956 that I've been singing to myself all week, and which just so happens to be a rather fitting accompaniment to this Daily Outfit post ;) xo

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Making Child Maintenance Arrangements with help from PayPlan

It goes without saying that getting divorced, or splitting from a long term partner, is not a pleasant experience. No matter what the reasons are behind your separation, or who it was that wanted and instigated it, emotions still run wild - and at the same time you have to put your sensible hat on and decide who's going to look after the children and work out how you're going to pay for their upbringing.

Kids are expensive little buggers.  You have to house them, feed them, clothe them and entertain them.... Then there's school trips and after school clubs, birthday presents to buy for their friends pretty much every weekend, and all the petrol that goes in the car to ferry them around from said clubs and parties and play dates. It's a good job mine are cute I tell you ;)

When my ex-husband and I separated, my solicitor advised on the financial settlement, which cost an arm and a leg. But expensive legal advice is not always necessary! PayPlan have created a brand new hub to help navigate single parents through the process of arranging child maintenance payments. It is a really fantastic resource, jam packed full of information on procedures and the different payment options available to them.

There are four key tools; a downloadable guide about the Child Maintenance Process, a Child Maintenance Calculator, an interactive slider highlighting the cost of raising a child, and an additional document, the Child Maintenance Research Report, which contains the full research findings from PayPlan's latest survey.

This research found that a shocking one fifth of single parents are not receiving child maintenance support at all, despite qualifying for it, with over 60% of them finding the current system complicated and hard to understand. And that's exactly why PayPlan created this resource hub; to help simplify it and ensure that single parents are getting the help they are entitled to.

For information and help calculating your entitlements, take a look at the PayPlan Child Maintenance Resource Hub here.


Friday, 1 July 2016

Keep Playing #LikeAGirl

I'm not going to lie to you - and you've probably worked this out for yourself already! - but I've never been a particularly sporty person. Aside from a brief period in my mid-twenties, when glamorous and expensive gym memberships were all the rage, shopping has been the only vaguely energetic activity that I've managed to keep up. Now that I'm a bit older I'm conscious of attempting to keep fit and healthy, so I do go for the odd jog when I get a bit of time to myself, but back at school I was one of those people who avoided all extra-curricuclar sports clubs like the plague and I mastered the art of forging my mum's signature on fake sick notes to get me out of P.E. lessons at an early age. 

With a track record like that, I'm not entirely sure where Daisy gets her sporting abilities from! She absolutely loves gymnastics and swimming and ballet, has won gold and silver medals in the long jump at school, got a certificate for the most keepy-uppies in football and was selected to run on behalf of KS1 in the inter-school sports day which, I'm told, is quite an achievement for a six year old! I'm so, so, so proud of her, and I really hope she wants to keep it up as she gets older. 

In 2014, Always launched the #LikeAGirl campaign, which was inspired by the insight that starting puberty and getting your first period is often the lowest moment in confidence for girls. The famous video changed perception of the phrase "like a girl" which, previously, had been a pretty negative one, particularly in sports. (How many times have we heard it used in the context "you run LIKE A GIRL" before we all watched that video?) It led to Always continuing with their research and launching the Unstoppabble #LikeAGirl campaign in 2015 and now, ahead of the Rio games, they have teamed up with double Olympic Gold Medalist Laura Trott to continue to inspire girls to stay active and playing sports into adulthood in their Keep Playing #LikeAGirl campaign for 2016. Take a look at this brilliant video to find out more.

The research conducted by Always revealed that by the time girls have finished puberty (16-17years old), 64% of them will have quit sport altogether. 80% felt as if they did not belong in sport, with only one in three feeling as if it was actively encouraged by society. These findings are pretty shocking in this day and age, even for an unsporty person like me!

And that's exactly why Laura was so keen to be on board with this campaign, to be a positive role model and encourage girls to not give up. She says: “Puberty can be such challenging time for girls, you suddenly feel really self-conscious about lots of things and start thinking you can’t or shouldn’t do certain activities. I remember kids making fun of me for cycling and wearing a helmet and that would really knock my confidence. But playing sport taught me that by believing in myself, and never quitting, you can achieve great things.That’s why I am proud to be supporting the Always #LikeAGirl mission to help stop the drop in confidence girls experience at puberty. Sport really is one of the strongest confidence building activities and as a female athlete competing in the Olympic Games I want to encourage and inspire girls everywhere to keep playing #LikeAGirl and never quit.

The Olympics is a time when female sports participation is in the public eye, so it's the perfect opportunity for Always to launch this campaign to help build girls' confidence and inspire a world where every girl feels that she can, and wants to, Keep Playing #LikeAGirl. You can help rewrite the rules by pledging that you'll Keep Playing #LikeAGirl too - just upload a picture or video on social media using the hashtag to show your support and inspire young girls everywhere.

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