Our Favourite Five – July 2016

There just seems to be so much negativity all over social media at the moment. So here’s Our Favourite Five for July to try and redress the balance!

1. Dyson Cordless Vacuum

We love Dyson in our house. We’ve never owned any other brand of vacuum in 18 years of adulting together! Despite our last purchase (an Dyson Animal D23 we bought in 2010) still going strong, our lives have changed significantly in the 6 years since we got it. We’ve gone from a professional couple in a one floor apartment to a young family in a three story period cottage. Think steep stairs. Lots of ’em. Anyway I’ve been lusting after a cordless Dyson for a few years now. They just made so much sense to me. However Ben wasn’t convinced they’d be good enough for cleaning a whole house, or to be fair, that the whopping price tag was worth it, especially when we already had a machine that worked well enough. However, things they are a changing round Casa del Savage at the moment. With Oscar starting school in September I decided that a cleaner was no longer going to be a weekly expense I could justify, meaning I was going to have to go back to cleaning myself. Meaning I needed a decent machine, fit for purpose. And not one I was afraid would fall on my head every time I vacuumed the stairs.

Ben finally capitulated in July and we got a Dyson Cordless Absolute V8. And it’s already changed the way we clean the house. It’s just so easy to grab at the end of every day when we put Oscar’s toys away and give the tiny downstairs a once over before we sit down to our evening. Or should Oscar (or myself to be honest) make a mess in the day, it’s just so quick to grab and sort out. The battery is fabulous and I’ve done the entire three floor house on one charge (the battery only drains while you pull the trigger, so in between rooms it’s saving all the energy it can – clever!) It makes me sad that we didn’t have something like this sooner. It would have been a boon when Oscar was weaning!

And Ben is also completely sold. He’s just as happy to grab it and spend  the two minutes it takes to clean the downstairs as I am. Thank you Dyson for giving all your cleaners the look and feel of military hardware (at least in my husbands eyes!)

The Dyson V8 Absolute is kept in its charging bay in the conservatory. Always ready to tackle any job!

The Dyson V8 Absolute is kept in its charging bay in the conservatory. Always ready to tackle any job!

Dyson cordless vacuum

The new love of my life

2.Thaikhun

You may have read my previous post about the Thai Street Food restaurant Thaikhun earlier this week. I took Oscar and you can read about my thoughts on the eatery from a parent’s perspective in my review. However at the end of July, I decided to do a really nice thing for some of my mummy blogger friends who have helped and supported me recently. So I arranged an End of Term celebration at Thaikhun Guildford for us all. I wanted us to breathe a sigh of relief that we’d made it to the end of term and take a steeling breath to prepare us for the holidays! And what better way to do that than get the ladies together and have cocktails and wonderful food in a really fun location? Thaikhun were kind enough to host and we can’t thank them enough!

We started the evening with spicy crackers and cocktails! Elfa from Californian Mum in London and I began with a Thai Takeaway – not dinner but a cocktail in a box! Then the non drivers among us moved on to drinks in a bag! Seriously, a bag!

Woman drinking cocktail

A Thai Takeaway. A cocktail in a box? Yes please!

A 'Street Sipper' literally came in a plastic bag!

A ‘Street Sipper’ literally came in a plastic bag!

I wasn't so sure. I mean it's not the most elegant of drinking vessels. But it was actually delicious!

I wasn’t so sure. I mean it’s not the most elegant of drinking vessels. But it was actually delicious!

The four of us then had starters. Maria from Suburban Mum won that round with the most gorgeous looking Tempura Prawns! And I would have to say I won the mains round with my beloved Moo Prik King – Pork Belly in Red Curry Sauce, but then I am a bit biased! We talked and laughed and talked some more. When I told the girls about the worms they’d given Oscar and I, Elfa insisted we get our own to try! We had such a great night and we would like to thank Thaikhun Guildford for being such wonderful and accommodating hosts. I’d also like to say thank you to the girls for coming from all over Surrey to join me and especially to Alice from Three Men, a Little Lady and Me for giving me a lift. Thaikhun is the best kind of place for a girlie night out with your chums, we had a super night!

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Thank you ladies. Photo courtesy of Californian Mum in London

3.Trains

Oscar’s been a die hard fan of Thomas the Tank Engine for a long time now, but has only just recently started to look at modern trains with an understanding that they are also trains. Until recently we’d avoided taking him on a train ride as A) we weren’t sure he’d enjoy it or B) that he’d be able to sit for any length of time. However, he’s recently become much better at following instructions and using public transport without the buggy (we’ve been walking and getting the bus for preschool every day in July). So a couple of weeks ago we finally decided to give it a go. And he LOVES it. I mean LOVES it. From buying the ticket, to the waiting on the platform to riding on the actual train, he gets so much out of it. It’s also opened up doors for days out that we just didn’t have before.

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We also love the one of the ticket staff in Haslemere Station. She very kindly made Oscar his own special ticket, when she saw how excited he was at going on a rail journey. She didn’t need to do that and it really touched me! Thank you South West Trains ticket lady!

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4.Pick Your Own

I love berries and there really is no better or fresher way of getting them than picking your own. We’ve not gone for a few years, as Oscar has struggled to cope with new places and not running off, however this year we thought it was time to try again. So a few weeks ago we took him to Secretts Pick Your Own in Milford. And what can I say; he amazed us! Awesome at picking the best looking strawberries, he enjoyed it so much we ended up with an enormous bucket full! Although no need to worry, Strawberries are Oscar’s favourite and they all got eaten! We came back with Raspberries and Strawberries and Rhubarb and even Sunflowers. Such a fun day out and such good value too! No way could you buy as many berries for the price of pick your own in the supermarkets. And the taste? I swear it’ll catapult you back to childhood.

Strawberries

All of the Strawberries!

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It was so relaxing picking this many raspberries, especially when I found some canes away from where the noisy family (not mine) were

Sunflowers

How gorgeous are these Sunflowers? I just love them against the brickwork of our fireplace!

5.Marwell Zoo

We’ve been to Marwell Zoo a few times now. Oscar likes it there, but for the most part I haven’t enjoyed our trips. I think its primarily because I have found it so hard to deal with the fact that Oscar is accessing the park in a completely different way to how one would expect a child to access a Zoo. He hasn’t ever really showed much interest in the animals and has always just run from one thing to the next. It’s been exhausting and also made me feel like we could be anywhere, a park near the house would be giving him as much as a Zoo an hour away. However, this time we went I was more prepared to let him go where he wanted and do what he found interesting. And yes much of that was the play parks around the Zoo, but he also LOVED the train that went round the park and he did actually start to pay attention to the animals (He loved the giraffes). The best bit was that this was the first visit where we didn’t leave with him in mid melt down!

 the Marwell Zoo train

He loved the Marwell Zoo train, Well it was a train afterall!

Boy and giraffe at Marwell Zoo

He was fascinated by the giraffe. Who wouldn’t be?

It wont always be a great day out, I get that, but this time really was. And I think that was largely down to me managing my expectations and coming to terms with who he is.

PLyground at Marwell Zoo

His favourite was still the playground. Ahh well!

What were your favourites last month I’d love to know!

 

I would like to thank Thaikhun for their hospitality and hosting our Mummy Bloggers End of Term Celebration.

I paid for my Dyson myself. Well Ben did. But you know what I mean! As always all opinions are my own.

Our Favourite Five – January 2016

January has been and gone. That’s right 2016 is 1/12th done! And it’s actually been a much better month than I expected. Here’s some things we’ve been enjoying over at Casa Savage this month.

Woody and Florence

Woody and Florence is a mama run Etsy company I found on Instagram (anyone else love looking at independent traders on IG?). She makes various gorgeous things, but her bead bracelets really caught my eye. One of her best selling is one that spells out MAMA, which I loved and planned to get. Then one day I decided this wasn’t enough. I guess I’d spent quite a lot of last year grieving the loss of my chance to experience “typical” motherhood. I’m having no more children. I will only ever be an Autism Mama. I wanted to acknowledge that, whilst I was a mother, my motherhood was different. So I contacted Chloe and asked for a custom bracelet. It didn’t cost much more and I haven’t taken it off since it arrived!

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It’s a way of acknowledging who I am to myself, but also to others. I am an Autism Mama. May others of my tribe find me.

I have also recently bought a copper bead bracelet to go with it. Isn’t it gorgeous? I have a thing for copper at the moment. But truth be told, it’s my AutismMama one I love the most.

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Heck Sausages

I first came across Heck Foods when someone at my Slimming World group told us about their Chicken Italia sausages, which at the time were listed as 1/2 syn per packet! When Slimming World reviewed their syn values last year they changed these delicious delights to 1/2 syn each, but even so! Gorgeous, low fat and gluten free, what more could you ask for in a sausage? Anyway I can’t get their full range locally (and Ocado don’t stock them) so this month I decided to treat myself to a selection direct from the producer. I got 10 packets for £25 inc delivery and bought a real mixture. The 97% ones are for Oscar (although at 3 syns each not outside the realms of possibility for me either), the Chicken Italia ones are 1/2 syn each and the Paprika Chicken and Zesty Chicken 1/2 a syn for 2! And they’re all delicious. I’ve already made a jambalaya and a casserole with the paprika ones. And it’s so nice having some low syn yumminess in the freezer, ready to take out when the mood takes me.

And who doesn’t love receiving a huge box of sausages in the mail ?

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Slimming World

I’ve already written about my reasons for rejoining Slimming World here if you’re interested. But I couldn’t not include it here. I followed Slimming World for 2.5 years until mid way through last year when, for one reason and another, I stopped. Anyway, I went back at the beginning of the month and it has been soooooo good for me. Having something to focus on other than just mummy stuff was just what I needed. I’ve lost 6.5lb in January. Not bad huh? I’m also approaching it a little differently this time, being kinder to myself and never, ever putting any weight loss down. Half a pound is half a pound I no longer have to lug up the hill on the preschool run. Why wouldn’t I celebrate that?

If you’re interested I’d love for you to read my updates for Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3.

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The X-Files

I am just the right age to have been a fan of The X-Files the first time around (it started in 1993). While I occasionally watched it and knew what it was all about, I never really got that into it and stopped following after a few series. Ben on the other hand was a huge fan as a teen (which was in no way linked to Gillian Anderson, her red hair and her ability to kick ass, no sir!?)

Anyway Amazon Prime recently added the entire X-Files back catalogue to their collection, and we’ve been reminiscing. Apart from the dreadful hair styles they made poor Scully adopt (which we have come to the conclusion were to make Gillian Anderson look older than she actually was) and the glorious pant suits, it’s aged pretty well. We’ve watched the entire first series and are starting on the second now.

I’d like to watch all the old episodes before starting on the new episodes that are coming out (and that friends are so excited about), so no spoilers please!

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Bedroom furniture

In the summer of 2014, we gutted our bedroom and redid the lot. Rendering and plastering the walls, painting, taking up the carpet and staining the original floor boards. We also removed the ridiculously large radiator, had shutters fitted to the windows and pulled down the badly made and ugly fitted wardrobes, with the plan to have some more built in their place. Only we then realised we couldn’t afford what we wanted. We tried to save, but it took a long time and in the meantime we were living with piles of clothes on the floor. For 18 months! Anywho, this month we finally had enough money and started to think about getting the wardrobes. Then I had a brainwave, to buy ready made. One wardrobe and one chest of drawers instead of two built in wardrobes. And all of a sudden we were kicking ourselves of not thinking of that sooner (that’s what migraines do to me, they send my mind into a really creative space, weird huh?) So anyway, we bought some gorgeous pieces from John Lewis. But, when they arrived they couldn’t get the bloody things up our tiny cottage stairs!!! Suddenly it was obvious why the previous owners had gone for built it! But I was not going to be beaten, no siree! I found some actually really lovely flat pack on the IKEA website and convinced Ben to drive to Southampton to get them (less said about that visit the better I guess, but hey we got what we went for and no one died!). Ben spent all day putting them up and they fitted the alcoves in our room perfectly. Like more than perfectly. Someone even asked me if IKEA now did customised furniture!

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A perfect fit. And I’ve even been able to get my sheepskin rug out. For a touch of fancy!

It’s just amazingly nice to have somewhere to put our clothes. That isn’t the floor. The room finally feels almost finished. And I know it’s definitely taken a weight off Ben’s mind. It’s the peaceful space we’ve needed for so long. Who knew wardrobes and drawers could have such an effect?

What have you and your family loved this month? I’d love to know.

 

xxx

 

I was not paid to endorse any of these brands. I paid all my favourites myself. I just like sharing the things I love.

Our Favourite Five – September

September? How the dickens can September be over already? This month has just shot by and I think in part it’s been down to the lovely stuff we’ve done. Also I don’t know about you, but for me the year always speeds up in the Autumn. Maybe it’s because of the darker nights, maybe it’s because of the many festivities to come. As they say, time always flies when you’re having fun!

Anyway whether I can believe it or not, the month is coming to an end and therefore it’s time for Our Favourite Five, linking up as ever with the lovely Suburban Mum. So here we go:

1.Ragdale Hall

At the beginning of the month you may have seen myself and my chum Bethany swanned, yes there really is no other word for it, swanned off to the health spa Ragdale Hall for a long weekend. We left our children with their fathers on the Friday morning, took three trains to Melton Mowbry in Leicestershire and had the most amazing weekend of relaxing, pampering and laughing. I’m planning to write a full post about our time there, but I couldn’t not include Ragdale in my favourite five for September. In fact it’s probably in my favourite five for the year!

Escaping from the children!

Bethany and I escaping from the children!

Spa happy!

Spa happy!

Cheeky

Cheeky!

2. Baths

I’ve been a big fan of baths for a long time. I love a good soak and I love my Lush bath bombs. Recently, I’ve not been having them so often (too tired, no time, insert rubbish excuse here), but last Saturday morning I just decided instead of a shower I really wanted a bath and I really wanted one with my Lush Butterball Bath Bomb. So I got the bath ready and was just getting in when Oscar and Daddy came bounding in. But instead of getting annoyed, I just decided to go with it and when Oscar asked to get in with me, I just couldn’t refuse. We never had baths together when he was a baby. I’m not really sure why. I think I was too scared. All the medical staff told me I shouldn’t (just as they told me not to do loads of other things I now realise were actually my choice to make) and as a new mother I just did what they said. Ahh well. Any how back to our bath. We dropped the bath bomb in together and had so much fun watching it fizz and melt. Then we spent a good hour just playing together and chatting to Ben who sat on the floor next to us. Oscar was just so relaxed. It was a great bonding experience. Rather than feel sad that we didn’t do it sooner, I’ve ordered some more bath bombs from Lush and am hoping to make our family baths a more regular occurrence.

For our next bath I've ordered The Experimenter from Lush!

For our next bath I’ve ordered The Experimenter from Lush!

3. Lunch

We’ve been all about packed lunches this month. Firstly we got Oscar’s gorgeous, personalised Dabbawalla lunch-bag from a friend in America, then I got to meet Grace from Eats Amazing at the Capri-Sun #PackedLunchLove workshop. Ever since, I’ve been using my cutters to make all sorts of exciting things, such a cheese and carrot coins and moulded eggs. Oscar has started staying for lunch at preschool one day a week and it’s been great to see him eating the bits I put up for him, but also to hear that his teacher loves what I’m doing (she really liked the coins 🙂 ) Nice to know that the effort is not going unnoticed, so thanks for the inspiration Grace!

 

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Carrot & Cheese coins

Star eggs

Star eggs

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First ever preschool packed lunch. Not overly ambitious but one step at a time!

4. Boden

The boy had something of a growth spurt over the summer. I knew that and had bought him some new clothes recently. Only, it never occurred to me that his coats were now also too small, until it chucked it down with rain and we had to walk to preschool as week. Suddenly his raincoat was more like a jacket! It was time to upgrade – and fast! I looked about and saw nothing that I liked. Everything seemed a bit, well, boring and he’s got a lifetime to wear dull navy, grey or green. So when I found this coat from Boden I fell in love with it and with a 20% off & free delivery voucher I got through the post, I knew it was the one for us. It came super quickly (thankfully) and the boy loved it as soon as he saw it. So much so that he wanted it on straight away despite having nothing but a tshirt underneath! I got it in a size 4-5 and while it’s a little bit big, I’m hoping it’ll last. He does look so very handsome in it!

Boden Boys Fleece Lined Anorak.

Boden Boys Fleece Lined Anorak.

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All coat and no knickers 😉

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Bundled up for preschool – nice a toasty

5. Top Knots

I’ve got pretty long hair. Sometimes I like to wear it down, swept over one shoulder. But some days I just can’t be doing with it all round my face, so I just scrape it all back. I’ve got pony tails down pat but boy can they get boring after a while. So this month I took it upon my self to learn how to do a messy top knot. They seem to be all the rage, but I just couldn’t figure out how to get that volume and look. Enter the trusty Pinterest, who told me to do a whole load of back combing and invest in some bobby pins/kirby grips. And to actually knot the hair. I always thought the knot bit was a figure of speech, that it was just a bun by another name, but no! You actually knot the hair. Some days the grips stay in all day, other days they’ve fallen out within the first hour! But I’m getting there. I like it as a look and it goes really well with knitwear. A great combo for Autumn!

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Messy top nots a go go!

 

 

I do love looking back at the month like this. It reminds me just how much fun we’ve had. What in September has made you and your family happy?