Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Cuckoo Trail - the ultimate bike ride

I'd never been to The Cuckoo Trail before so was really excited when we had a lovely sunny day in February and my friend suggested we meet there with the kids and bikes for the afternoon.  For those of you who don't know (hi Mum!), it's a path than runs for miles starting in Heathfield and going all the way to Eastbourne.  We obviously didn't go that far with our 4-year-olds but still had a jolly good ride along the sheltered fairly flat  path, having parked for free in the car park opposite Waitrose.  We found a small park part-way along too during one of the road crossings and stopped there for a little while on our way back to let the kids get a run about too.  Of course, it was finished off perfectly with ice-cream in the Waitrose cafe when we got back with 4 tuckered out little ones and two tiddly ones!

Carafe Cafe, Lewes - review

I'd been past this cafe a few times but never been in, it seemed like a good idea to check it out when we fancied going somewhere for lunch after a visit to Raystede one weekend.

Carafe is an independent coffee shop with a Turkish twist.  They serve the usual cafe fare but also have some Turkish delicacies and Turkish coffee.  Nik and I loved their Turkish pastries and breads (and the kids enjoyed their massive sausage rolls!)  The sweet treats were good too, Nik and the twins all had cookies and I had a lovely sticky chocolate orange cake which was too irresistible to photograph (I forgot before I wolfed it down!)  The staff were so friendly, the cafe was light and airy with cool photos of coffee on the walls and the food was beautifully laid out.  We'll definitely be back!

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Sunday Roast at The Guildford Arms, Greenwich - review

There are roasts and then there are ROASTS!  This was the best Sunday roast I've had in a long time.  Seriously amazing.

The twins and I joined my in-laws for lunch one weekend Nik was on a course in London, at the Guildford Arms in Greenwich.  It's a modern pub with big bright windows and rustic furniture and a lovely daily menu.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Chef's Table & Sunday Roast at Malmaison Brighton - review

We had a Sunday roast at Malmaison Brighton recently and enjoyed their Chef's Table as our starter.  It's an epic array of yummy things you can visit as many times as you like!  Nik found a voucher on Living Social which got us a discount but it's usually £19.95 for 2 courses (the chef's table and a main course) and dessert is an extra £3.50.  Kid's meals are £9.95 and also include the chef's table, much to Priya's delight as they had all her favourite things!

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Uck FM Feb

Well there I was, planning to hibernate for most of January but we've been busy again, although admittedly did have a couple of play-dates hibernating in my warm house with cake and hiding under blankets!  

This month the twins and I had a lovely trip to Scotney Castle with friends, making the most of our National Trust membership, I had a very fun weekend with fellow photographers at a convention in London, there was a lot of great stuff to see at the trade show and a lot of silliness from us as we travelled to and from the venue.  I also enjoyed a spa day with some friends in Hastings which was amazing (although I haven't blogged about that as I have no photos) and I have a few fun photography related projects and competitions to share with you this month, I'm so excited about everything that's happening in February!  

As a family we've been to Oast Farm wassail (Nik and the twins also went to Bignose & Beardy's wassail while I was in London) and a Sunday Roast in Brighton followed by fun in Hempstead park. 

Oh and I'm sharing some bright and happy rainbow wardrobe finds from me and the kids as I had no space last month!

We had an awesome time at Scotney Castle.  The play area is brilliant with something a bit different with ball runs, a log cabin and tree swing.  The food in the cafe was lovely, the baked potatoes were huge and the kids all ate really well, always a plus on a day out!  After our friends went home after lunch (with napping babies), the twins and I explored some more of the grounds, climbing trees and running around the castle with me pretending to be a witch, counting ducks and admiring the views.  It was such a lovely day out.

I met up with some photographer friends I met on a workshop last year.  There was an SWPP convention in London and we all got tickets to go to the trade show to explore all the amazing books, albums and frames on offer (I've got some gorgeous samples coming soon to show my clients) and we had lunch together before some of them headed to a podcast recording and we met up afterwards for dinner and drinks in Pergola Olympia before heading for various trains home (I crashed on Kirsty's sofa before heading home the next day).  

So much fun!  It's great to just spend time with fellow creatives, being silly, inspiring each other and just having so much in common.  Good for the soul!

This was our second wassail at Oast Farm.  We love the tradition and fun involved with chanting, singing, fire, noise and merriment.  The apple cake is always good too!  The twins had a great time again, watching Spirimawgus the Morris dancers and shopping in the farm shop afterwards.

So excited to have his own basket in the shop!

Rainbow clothes

They make me so happy!  Bright colourful clothing really does boost my mood.

Rainbow Kids clothes

Of course the kids needed some new clothes too and although I've always dressed them in rainbow colours, I'm finding even more rainbow clothes for them at the moment as it seems to be so popular now.  I have actually always found loads of bright colours in Next and have listed a few other recent finds on the blog if you want to see what else is available for kids at the moment.

One of my best friends had twins at the end of last year and I of course went to meet them armed with my camera.  I finally managed to edit their photos and love them so much!  It was amazing just hanging out taking photos as we caught up.  It was mainly documentary as Gemma just got on with looking after her babies and toddler but I did get a few family portraits in there too, despite a reluctant dad ;)

One of the projects I've taken on this year is a fun and colourful one - the Color Chase Challenge (it started in America).  Each month is assigned a colour and we hunt for images based on the colour to try to end up with a collage of beautiful, similarly tones images.  January's colour was white which I had a bit of difficulty doing actually, especially as our minute snowfall didn't come until February!

In the end I bought some fancy eggs in Waitrose, some white flowers and some skooshie cream!  ;)

February's colour is pink!

Last year was my first time entering the Shoot & Share contest and it was so much fun and SO addictive.  Anyone can vote but fair warning, you might get sucked in for hours!  Voting is open now until 22nd Feb and is totally random, you get shown four images and choose your favourite, then the next four...  You can't vote for anyone specific unless you recognise their image of course if it comes up.

I was chuffed to get two images in the final round last year, including this image of my twins which came in 165th out of 19,300 in the Lifestyle/Family Documentary category.  I'm hoping to get in the top 100 this year so fingers crossed!

We booked a meal out in Brighton Malmaison with a voucher giving us a discount on the Chef's Table and Sunday Roast.  It's a pretty epic meal with an all you can eat buffet of delicious meats, salads, fish and cheese as well as a soup of the day and fresh bread.

After that you have a choice of Sunday roast, brunch dish or main course (such as a burger).  All of the above is usually £19.95 (£9.95 for the kids) and for an extra £3.50 you can have dessert too.

We all had the roast, everyone choosing the beef except me as I fancied the pork belly.  I know this is a fatty cut which doesn't bother me but unfortunately the 3 slices I received were excessively fatty with tiny slivers of meat throughout.  I tried a bit but couldn't eat it so asked to swap to the beef.  Thankfully this wasn't an issue as I hate being a fussy diner but the beef was so much better, served pink and very tender.  The rest of the roast was nice but we weren't keen on the gravy.  Nik and I both loved the Chef's table and puddings and would return but would choose another option as the main course.  I'd like to try the waffles next time I think.

Priya's 3 favourite foods - smoked salmon, salami and blue cheese!

You can read the rest of my review and see more photos of the food over on Olive Dragonfly.

I am SO excited about this project.  Since launching it on Sunday evening I have already managed to sign up a few local businesses and have £115 in the pot so far!

I'm taking portraits for local businesses (big and small) in return for a suggested donation to the charity Young Minds.  They support young people (and their parents) with mental health issues which is a cause close to my heart having experienced how hard it is to cope with depression myself.

Any business that would like to raise their online profile with a new head-shot or even a group photo, please get in touch - you just have to donate (it all goes to the charity), include something yellow (the charity colour) and mention the project when using the image to help raise awareness.  You also get the added bonus of a link on my own website in the list of amazing supportive businesses taking part and your image will be added to the gallery which I will be sharing often!

If you'd like to donate and/or take part, please see the fundraising link here:

Next month:

We'll be reviewing a day out at Drusilla's during the colder months and the Picture House Restaurant film quiz and dinner on Oscar's night!

Monday, 21 January 2019

Oast Farm Wassail 2019

So much fun, our second year at the Oast Farm Wassail, this time it was sunny!  We loved the morris dancers again and the torchlit procession up to the orchard, the chanting, singing and draping the tree with cider soaked bread.  And of course, the apple cake and hot apple juice afterwards followed by some shopping in the farm shop.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Uck FM Jan

Happy New Year!

I hope you've all had a wonderfully festive Christmas holiday and haven't succumbed to the January blues yet!  It's only day 3 after all.

Hopefully tales of my colourful Christmas will cheer you up in this dull, cold weather.

Advent Calendar

The lead up to Christmas is one of my favourite times of year and we had so much fun with our Advent Adventures!  We saw Panto in Eastbourne (see more below), went ice-skating, painted decorations and snowmen pictures, bought our tree and decorated it, ate pizza outdoors by the fire at Wilderness Wood, donated to Book Trust and our local food bank and had some more simple days too with some Christmas films and cosy days in with Christmas jigsaws and hot chocolate, building dens, decorating a gingerbread house and wearing Christmas jumpers.

Christmas Eve Box tradition

I love Christmas Eve, the anticipation and the fun as work is over and we get to open our Christmas Eve box.  (We actually did it a night early this year but it was amazing!)  I bought us all new matching pyjamas with christmas lights on.  The kids' were from Gap but they didn't do them in adult sizes (gutted) but then I found these very similar ones from Chelsea Peers via ASOS.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Birthday Cocktails at home

Christmas Day 2018

As you can imagine there was MUCH excitement on Christmas morning when the kids woke to find Santa had been!  They immediately brought their stockings through to us in bed and climbed up to start opening presents.

Work Christmas Parties, Southbank, London and Proud Cabaret, Brighton

Birthday Sunday Lunch at The Peacock Inn, Piltdown - review

For my birthday this year I had a couple of things planned, one was a cocktail night in with some friends and the other was a roast at a good local pub since it landed on a Sunday.  I chose The Peacock Inn as I'd never been before but had heard good things.  We invited another family to join us, one of my lovely friends whose daughter happens to be Priya's favourite person!  We get requests for Bella every day in this house and they're so cute when they get together!

Anyway, for lunch we went to The Peacock Inn at Piltdown and their Sunday roast didn't disappoint...

Wilderness Wood with new friends on NYE

You might be getting bored of seeing Wilderness Wood on my blog but I never will, I love it there and we went back again on New Year's Eve with new friends we met at a school visit so hopefully the kids will be starting the same school together in September and the twins are managing to expand their friend circle already as am I.

Of course I took lots of photos again and loved seeing Kalyan hit it off with William as he's been left out of the fun a little when Priya gets together with Bella.  They're mutual friends with each other too so that's great for future play dates too :)  Since Christina's husband was also working on NYE, we met up for some company outdoors to tire the kids out, it worked perfectly and I had a lovely morning!

Craft Courses review - Paper Scissors Rock paper cutting in Kent

The other craft course I booked with my birthday gift voucher was paper cutting with Paper Scissors Rock in Kent.  Sam is an excellent teacher with loads of samples for inspiration as well as templates for us to use during the class and extra ones we could buy for £3 if we wanted to carry on at home.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Ice Skating at Calverly Grounds in Tunbridge Wells - review

We booked a session on 22nd December for the ice skating at Calverly Grounds in Tunbridge Wells and had a fab time!

Boxing Day in The Garrison, London

We went on a day trip to London on Boxing day for a meal at The Garrison pub with family.  As we weren't able to be together on Christmas as planned this year we arranged to meet up for a meal that was relaxed but delicious and The Garrison was an ideal venue within easy access of London Bridge station.  The kids had a blast with their cousin and we all had a cuddle with the newest member who's looking cute as a button as always!

It was lovely to get a family photo but of course with so many kids, at least one was bound to not be up for it.  Priya was getting a bit tired by this point...

Craft Courses - Beaded Snowflakes in Worthing - review

Last year for my birthday a group of friends pitched together to get me a gift voucher for  It was such a great gift as I had hundreds of courses to choose from and enjoyed browsing through the options.  Initially I thought I'd try a pottery day course and add the extra cash myself but with such a busy year, I struggled to have many spare days to myself and truth be told, forgot all about the voucher.

Luckily I remembered after Nik's exams were all over and used it before it expired!  As I had £40 to spend and with fewer choices before the end of the year, I decided on two shorter courses - snowflake beading for £18 and papercutting for £20.  After some initial issues splitting my voucher (there was a minimum value of £25 for splitting them) the lovely team at Craft Courses managed to sort it out for me and have changed their system so this doesn't happen again.

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