Hello 2018

It’s the start of a fresh new year, 2017 was a year of mixed emotions for me. I had a tough year at my day job, it consumed my life and changed me as a person, I was striped of confidence and it made me question so very much about what I was doing with my life. However 2017 was also a happy time and gave us some wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.

2017 saw our children turn 8 and 4, they are growing up to be wonderful little people, filling our life’s with so much joy. Even though often they are challenging we wouldn’t be without them. They make us proud every single day.

2017 also showed me what true friendships are, my closet friend has suffered greatly this year and although it’s been hard she has come through one of the toughest years of her life stronger and we had become closer than ever. Something that I never knew that would even have been possible. I love her so much, her strength, her friendship and her children I cherish every day.

2017 also made me an Aunty for the first time, my sister and her partner welcomed a little girl into the world back in August and I can honestly say I cried when I was given the first opportunity to meet her. She was less then 24 hours old and I was the first family member to visit. I was so proud of my sister bringing this gorgeous bundle of joy into our life’s. At 4 months old sharing Christmas Day with their little family was magical, another little one to enjoy the festivities and share our life’s with.

2017 also took us on the most magical holiday to Lapland. It was truly the most wonderful thing we have ever done. We spent the week playing in the snow, meeting the reindeer, huskies, snowmobiling across the frozen lakes and staying in a log cabin. Not forgetting meeting Santa.

2017 took us to Crete for a week on our first family holiday abroad. We had a couple of trips to London. We also went to Legoland and stayed in the hotel for the night which was brilliant. So many fabulous days out with friend and family.

2017 has been a challenging year but we have made wonderful memories and cannot wait to see what 2018 holds for us.

Happy New Year my lovelies, may 2018 be wonderful for you all.

Over night stay at the Clayton Hotel at Manchester Airport with Holiday Extras

Before heading to Lapland we stayed the night in the Clayton Hotel at Manchester airport. Holiday Extra’s were kind enough to give us the room and the car parking to help make our trip as memorable as possible.

We traveled up to Manchester on the Saturday afternoon, nice and easily with 2 very excited children off to see Santa in Lapland. When we arrived at the airport, finding the entrance to the hotel wasn’t exactly easy. It took us about 30 minutes of driving around, we could see the hotel but with all of the road works going on it was a nightmare to find out how to actually get to the hotel.

When we arrived, we parked up and loaded our things. We made our way to the reception desk where were greet by very friendly and helpful staff. They quickly explained how the car parking worked, we had to take the car around to the back of the hotel where it would be collected and sorted in the off site car park as we were gone for more then 7 nights. Filling in the form about milage and and damage on the car, we handed it over along with the keys.

We then arranged for the transport to collect us at 5am. The Clayton is less than 5 minutes away from terminal 1 and they offer a free shutter bus transfer.

We stayed in room 261 that was made up for the family, a large double bed and then a double sofa bed where ready for us. A warm and welcoming room. Nothing to worry about, with a large flat screen TV and free wifi. What more could you want?

We wondered down stairs to the bar area for dinner and found the bar offered an very limited menu. Luckily there was space for us to eat in the restaurant. They had a great selection of food, the children had plenty to choose from, as it was so close to Christmas there was also the Christmas menu. Both the Hubby and I chose a 2 course Christmas meal, I opted for the parsnip soup and the steak, the Hubby for the pâté and the steak. It was delicious, with crispy onion pieces running through the dish….. yummy! The children went for the burgers, no major surprise there.

Back up in our room, we showered and changed into our pjs. Although it took quite a while to get the children to sleep because they were so excited, we did manage to get a few hours of good sleep in the comfy beds before the 03:45 alarm call.

Waking up 2 very sleepy children is not easy, however we got up and dresses before heading down stairs to get the transport to the airport.

We only had to wait a couple of minutes when we got down to reception for our transport to arrive. Hopping on the mini bus we headed to the airport ready for our trip to see Santa.

Arrival back at Manchester

Well our flight home was 3 hours late leaving Finland, yes 3 hours. Which when you have a 4 and 8 year old to entertain in a very small and very busy airport isn’t always fun. Anyway when we finally arrived back in England we called the number from the blue phones at the airport to arrange for our car to be taken to back to the hotel and for the mini bus to come and collect us. We only waited for about 5 minutes before the Clayton mini bus arrived to collect us, we were even taken straight to our car and able to leave straight away. So easy.

Our stay with Holiday Extra was easy, being able to have the night in the hotel before we came away and have parking ready for us just made life so much easier. Next time we fly from Manchester we will do the same again, I highly recommend it to anyway who has an early flight or wants a relaxing evening before their holiday.

*Thank you Holiday Extras for gifting us the over night stay and the Clayton and car parking. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Shiply the courier people

I love to find bargains, especially gorgeous vintage pieces of furniture. A few months ago I found a gorgeous writing bureau on Gumtree, it was really local so I was able to collect it. However during my search for it I had found some stunning ones all over the country but I had no way of getting them without spending hours I driving to collect it.

Over the last few years I have been collecting quite a range of vintage furniture items, however I have still kept all of our other furniture and I really need to look at selling some of it. But how do you sell large items on the selling sites and be able to offer delivery.

We also have numerous items that could do with being replaced with vintage pieces that I love so much. I would love a gorgeous dressing table to replace my pine one and a lovely book-case. Regularly I have a look on eBay and gumtree to find something perfect and although I haven’t found quite what I am looking for just yet I am I will do and then I will worry about how to get it home.

Shiply

I recently discovered it is actually much easier to sell large items and offer delivery than I thought it would be. Shiply offers online courier quotes. It’s a really simple process, you just fill in the online form giving details about the items you want to have sent. The address for collection and delivery, also the dates you would like it collected. You will then receive quotations from the reliable companies that are approved by Shiply and you choose which one best meets your needs and costs. Simple. Millions of people are now using Shiply to help them courier items all over the country. When I get round to selling the items of furniture that we just don’t need anymore then I shall be using the service that Shiply offers.

Not only do they offer services for large items, but house removals, vehicle movements, boats, international and European shipping.

Have you ever needed to arrange for a courier to collect large items? Did you find it easy? I would love to hear how you got on sending large items.

 

*This post has been made in collaboration with Shiply. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

My Christmas Menu

So it’s nearly Christmas and after all of the fun to choosing the perfect gifts for people, my thoughts turn to Christmas dinner. For the last 3 years we have had people over to us for Christmas dinner. It’s just easier to enjoy the morning at home drinking bucks fizz while the children open their presents, it then means we don’t have to drag them away from all of their new toys to visit the rest of the family.

This year we are catering for 5 adults and 2 children. We will have my sister, her partner and little one coming around later in the day for tea, plus I guess we might have my brother in law and his partner who will just turn up if they haven’t had to much to drink during the day.

I always cook a big turkey crown. It’s become tradition that I do a massive turkey curry on the 27th so I make sure that we have enough for that and also a few turkey sandwiches, which I love.

Growing up we always had 3 courses for Christmas dinner, normally avocado and prawns for starter followed by the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings and then a pudding of some kind. A couple of years ago we decided not to do a starter mainly because we just do not have the space for all of the roast dinner and the puddings.

I thought I would share with you my menu for this years Christmas dinner.

Main course

Roast turkey crown topped with bacon and a roast beef joint.

Roast Potatoes cooked in goose fat. Roasted carrots, onions, parsnips and garlic.

Brussel sprouts and bacon. Broccoli, leaks, cauliflower cheese and red cabbage in a port sauce.

Pigs in blankets, stuffing and Yorkshire puddings.

Mash potatoes, are being added this year although I don’t normally do them, I really fancied adding them to the menu.

On the table will be, gravy, bread sauce, horseradish for the beef and cranberry sauce.

Puddings

As I love a chocolate pudding there is always something chocolatey, something fruity and then of course the Christmas pudding which I to be honest don’t like but my Hubby loves it.

Cream and brandy sauce to go with it all.

Drinks

I love a glass of champagne so we have a couple of bottles chilled for the table, along with white wine, red wine for my Dad then then children will have sparkling fruit juice or pop (as a treat). As the day carries on my Hubby will generally drink beer before getting the whiskey out in the evening.

As a child my Mum always used to prep all of the food on Christmas eve, we used to help peel the vegetables and leave it out for the reindeers when they stop by with Santa. I now do the same with my children. For the last few years my sister has been on hand to help me on christmas eve, this year however she is a Mummy for the first time and will be spending Christmas Eve making their own family traditions. So my sous chief will be my best friend who is going to help me drink a couple of bottles of prosecco as we prep the veg.

What do you eat for Christmas dinner? Do you have the traditional turkey like me or go for something else?

Whatever you are doing for Christmas I hope you have a wonderful time, make amazing memories and enjoy your self.

*This post was made in collaboration with Real Foods Online. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*