Our lovely British weather is all over the place as usual. I’m never sure whether to wear a coat or not, whether it will rain or not and will I be warm or not. Even in June. When I was given the chance to review something from Ryedale Clothing, I went for their lightweight rain jacket because it fitted everything I didn’t have in a coat and it’s a really nice, bright, yellow.
Ryedale Clothing are based in North Yorkshire. I’m a North Yorkshire lass so know the names of the places that a lot of the items of clothing are named after. The North Yorkshire Moors are my favourite place in the whole of the UK. This immediately made me keen to see what Rydale Clothing offers.
I opted for the Cayton II Toggle Jacket (currently on sale for £35) as it ticked a lot of boxes for me. The main one is being long – I’m tall. I want a waterproof coat that looks good and covers my bum. Even better if I can sit down on it while out and about. I sit between a 16-18 depending on the clothes, so went with a size 16 which is just right.
I didn’t take it to our Brownie camp at PGL as I saw we were due several warm days – the jacket is great for showery days – but did have it for our trip to Littlehampton straight afterwards. It was perfect for the weather – sunny spells and showers; paddling in the sea or wandering around.
My jacket is warm when it needs to be, cool when the weather warmed up. When it got really warm it was easy enough to tuck it into a bag without it using up too much space.
The pockets are just the right size; I won’t be putting keys in there as they’re a fabric lining and I’m sure the keys would rip it.
The length is perfect for me – I’ve worn the jacket on many different occasions now.
Also, the colour; yellow is a departure from my usual sensible choices, but it’s a good one. I’ve had several people ask “ooh is it from Seasalt?” to which I’ve been able to point them in Ryedale Clothing’s direction. I love the lining which has little sailboats dotted all over. I’m not picking up any extra mucky stains on there which is good too.
In fact, I’ve had so many lovely positive comments about my coat that I’ve felt really happy wearing it. You can too – it’s over here.
I was sent the Ryedale Clothing jacket for review, all opinions are my own.
It is now the fifth year of the Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley, and we’ve been to all five. Things have changed, though it is still a fun, affordable day out.
The Women’s FA Cup Final 2019 was on Saturday 4th May 2019. We travelled to Wembley to soak in the atmosphere. Having gone all the other times we knew there would be lots of things to do outside, maybe a chance to meet a player or two and maybe some things to have a look at, just like the previous years.
The Women’s FA Cup Final 2019 was between Manchester City and West Ham United – both Women’s Super League clubs. It was West Ham’s first time in the final, but Man City were always the favourites.
So it was a bit heartbreaking to arrive at Wembley and find it currently resembles a building site. The pre-match entertainment was at a minimum too, the SSE Wildcats Funzone had three things to do. In the past I would have said allow a couple of hours to hang around Wembley. Could it be that those days are over? We got through the entertainment in a very short time.
There was no mention of the upcoming Women’s World Cup, other than advertisements for the game in Brighton next month. This would have been the perfect time to tie it in with something.
It felt like it was more about overpriced food and drink, unfortunately. Wembley publicised an event at Wembley Boxpark. That seemed to be a giant pub with a stage. I asked if anything was happening and was told “we’re showing the game” (umm…. we’re at the game?!) so we didn’t stick around.
Outside Wembley you need to allow more time now as well. There is a bag restriction; so nothing larger than A4 sized (so don’t bother shopping in the Wembley Outlet beforehand; although they have a Haribo shop). Then there are the queues. We were eventually routed from the main Club Wembley entrance to the Bobby Moore entrance, and got to our block. We had great views and lovely comfy padded seats too.
As neutrals (as usual), we watched the game cheering for football. This year’s attendance wasn’t as high as last year, but it still felt like there were more people there. Having said that, behind the goal nearest to us there were a lot of empty seats; lesser so the Man City end.
The elusive goal happened in the second half, and there was relief on our side – it was a good game, and it was great to see the players, but if things had gone into extra time it could have ended up being a long night. As it was, I commented to Shaun that I was sure the last couple of games ended up being won by a single goal – and Man City took that (I’m sure) as some kind of psychic command to score another couple! The game ended 3-0, Man City were presented with the FA Cup, and everyone left easily. Especially the West Ham Supporters who left pretty quickly, no longer blowing bubbles.
The Women’s FA Cup Final has become part of our annual routine, and so much of that was the build up. Maybe they couldn’t do as much because Wembley is a building site, and will soon disappear behind tower blocks. It’s a shame, I always enjoyed getting face paints, even the cardboard clapping things from last year were a nice touch. There were feeble attempts in the crowd at mexican waves, but the heart there this year.
We’ll still go – at only £7.50 for adults and kids going free it’s a great reasonable day out. I say reasonable as once you’re inside you’re paying Wembley prices. How much food or drink can you fit into an A4 bag? (answer: packs of Haribo and a bread roll, pretty much). The 2019 Women’s FA Cup Final cost us the grand total of £15 for the three of us so we can’t complain.
We had an added bonus of being sat by the boxes which Phil Neville (England Women’s Manager) and Kelly Smith (ex Arsenal Ladies) were sat, so H got a couple more autographs. Within the SSE Wildcats Funzone there was the chance to have photobooth photos taken, and the chance to score a goal and measure the speed. They also had a small unattended stand where you could make a small paper banner.
The 2019 Women’s FA Cup Final game itself was great, don’t get me wrong. That’s why we’ll always go back. It was great seeing West Ham there rather than the usual teams – and maybe one year Tottenham Women will get their chance too. That’s the beauty of the FA Cup. You never know who it will be from year to year, so there are always surprises along the way.
Things have changed so much in women’s football over the last year. Was it really this time last year H was doing Wildcats football sessions every week? Those stopped. You only get funding from SSE for a certain amount of time, so our popular sessions were pulled and moved further away; so we stopped because it was too far.
Fortunately sessions with our same coach started up the road at Whyteleafe, and a few of us parents who stayed in touch came back. When you’re looking for a session and don’t necessarily want to be too competitive, it isn’t easy. There isn’t a huge amount here, but there are groups.
Then, before you know it, it’s that time of year again – the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final. This year we have Manchester City vs West Ham. Now, obviously were this the men’s team I’d have a problem cheering for either team, but this is the women and so we’ll go along, enjoy a game of football and cheer everyone. Football is funny like that. (it also doesn’t help that West Ham beat Tottenham yesterday)
We have our tickets and we’re going in a group from our Saturday football group which is brilliant. It’s something I’ve always wanted. I like doing things in a group and being with friends; we haven’t really had a group of our regular friends who enjoy going to games. I’m hoping that they’ll have special events on like last year, when H got to meet Lionesses Fara Williams and Mary Earp.
It’s the fifth year at Wembley, and we’ve been to all of them. It’s a fantastic day, kids go free and adults are at the ridiculously low price of £15. I did a group booking and got tickets at £7.50 each.
I’m hoping the weather holds up now!
Then there’s Tottenham Women – rebranded this week from Spurs Ladies (hurrah! about time too) who are on the verge of gaining promotion to the Women’s Super League. We’ve had a great season across both Tottenham teams; I can only hope that the women get to play at the new White Hart Lane stadium sometime soon.
If Tottenham do go up then we’ll be able to watch them more often. We have Chelsea and Brighton within a drive-able distance. We’ve seen them play a few times now, H got to meet the players when they played against Crystal Palace.
I’m still unsure if the money aspect of it all is too soon. Clubs like Yeovil Town who have a strong women’s team are struggling and can’t rely on support from the men’s club. Whereas teams like Manchester United bought their way back into the Women’s league because of theirs. It doesn’t seem right, though encouragingly there aren’t relegations happening this season to expand the leagues.
Crikey, I haven’t posted for two months. There’s a lot to say, just no time to say it. I’m not going anywhere any time soon, just slowing down with life because there’s too much to fit in.
I’ve renewed the Mum Friendly domain for another three years. Not going anywhere – okay?
I have things lined up to be reviewed – books, clothes and more.
I took out an Art Pass subscription this year to replace our Historic Houses Association one which lapsed, so we’ve already visited places I want to share.
We have books and clothes to review and we’re still working with the lovely Stamptastic. I’ll be doing a review on their blog; seven years in and I finally had to buy a new ink pad (but I made sure H’s school was signed up in their PTA deal).
Then there’s Brexit. We went to the Put it to the People march, I’ve written about it and posted it retrospectively today. That seems to be my pattern so far this year, writing but not posting.
There’s also all the extra activities we do every night. Brownies, obviously. As H heads into her last term at Brownies, she earned her Gold badge; the highest Brownie award you can get. She was the first girl in our Division to do so – she was really proud, as was I. She already attends a Guide unit locally (which I help at, of course) where she’s a mini-Guide until she moves up in September. Oh, and I gained my Brownie Leader Qualification too.
We’re still going to football on a Saturday at Whyteleafe FC. Crystal Palace pulled our local girls Wildcats group. They opened a new one but it was too far; navigating the A23 on a Saturday morning is never fun so we gave up. Whyteleafe is only ten minutes up the road, not far from where our old Caterham sessions were. It goes without saying we’ve bought tickets for the Women’s FA Cup Final for the fifth year running; this time in a group with parents from our football group.
So yes, still here. Still doing everything in the few hours we have to do stuff. Just checking in.
On 23rd March 2019 we marched in Central London for the People’s Vote.
The People’s Vote is a campaign behind getting the Government to break themselves out of the deadlock they find themselves in (read : stubborn Prime Minister who doesn’t seem to listen to anyone), and put the final vote about Brexit back to the people.
The area we live in voted for Remain by a fairly large margin. We’re represented by a backbench Conservative MP who votes with the Government. Already politics is not speaking to or representing me. In turn, this means he’s not representing H either.
So we marched. Well, we walked at a slow, steady pace from Green Park to Downing Street.
We ended up right outside Downing Street in time to hear Sandi Toksvig introduce Anna Soubry (who we couldn’t hear). We were in time to hear David Lammy, Nicola Sturgeon, Jess Phillips and so many others. So many great speakers. The politician who resonated the most with H was Jo Swinson (with her baby) who thanked all the children for being there. Because it’s their future and they can’t do anything about it.
It was a good, safe place for a nine year old to be and to be a part of something. It might all come to nothing, but it might make a difference. Already the Prime Minister has made remarks about the march which are putting it down, saying it doesn’t matter. Two million people would disagree, Theresa.
Everyone was so friendly. So many older folks saying they were marching “for her” (H) because they know it’s her future too.
So we did something. We were a part of something, we saw brilliant placards, we heard brilliant speeches, we were there.
If it doesn’t make a difference we tried our best. But if it does make a difference we were a part of it.
I voted to remain, I didn’t vote for the mess this country is currently in. It seems to me this is more about holding a political party I could never vote for together, than the interests of the people living in the country. The EU isn’t perfect, but changes come from within – not outside.
I have a selection of vegetarian cook books sent to me by The Book People. I’ve been vegetarian since 1983 and of late I’ve been stuck in a rut with my food choices. Anything which gives me a cookery-style kick up the backside is a good thing, so I happily took delivery of a selection of books.
There are a wide selection of Vegetarian Cook books from The Book People, with lots of choice. I chose books based on things which I’d like to try out in the hope it broadens my cooking repertoire, but I still need to be able to make it in less than half an hour.
With veganuary in full swing I was hoping to broaden my limited vegan recipes, or at least make my vegetarian options a bit more interesting. I found that all of these books are helpful, read my summary at the end for my final thoughts.
Our first stop was the Deliciously Ella cookbook. I have to admit, I haven’t really followed Ella’s blog though I was aware of it and knew her recipes were plant based and vegan.
We started with a pea, broad bean and basil dip. It also has avocado, one of H’s pet hates. However, having the three main ingredients meant she really enjoyed it, and she pretty much scoffed the lot. The dip worked really well with some lime crisps too. We might have gone through two packs in the one session…
The only downside of the Deliciously Ella cookbook was that most recipes substitute with a nut of some kind, and when you’re baking a vegan cake for outside of the house (for example, bake sales), they have to be nut-free. Some recipes or alternatives that don’t use nuts would be good – what we’ve made we’ve enjoyed, and have just had to eat it all ourselves rather than share!
The Accidental Vegetarian cookbook has a chocolate cake recipe called ‘More Chocolate Than is Good For You’ which immediately appeals to me. This is of course a fabulous idea, as we move away from vegan cooking and into vegetarian options. We haven’t made it yet – that’s to come, probably to celebrate the end of February. We have the baking tins ready… keep an eye on my Instagram.
The Accidental Vegetarian is by Simon Rimmer, and has recipes that have been developed over time. He’s a meat eater and owns a restaurant. These aren’t quick recipes but they’re ones I want to have a go at.
I’ve often wondered if I could be vegan, but I enjoy cheese too much plus the occasional egg. We’ve recently started using yeast flakes in cooking which is a great substitute for parmesan, but have never found a good vegan cheese. Shaun – who eats meat – has occasional issues with dairy, so we often have to opt for vegan options with food. I feel like these Vegetarian Cook Books from The Book People bring the best of both worlds.
Maria Elia’s The Modern Vegetarian has the kind of recipes that make me feel hungry just reading them. Everything inside sounds delicious, but don’t include my regular food cupboard supplies so I’d need to plan in advance to make sure I have the right food in. This is another one I intend to do so keep an eye on Instagram.
As a suggesion, Rosemary Popcorn is one that jumps out. We always have popcorn in our cupboard, but never rosemary. This will be put to rights and very soon. I’m also liking the Cardamom Flatbread. There are a good selection of recipes in here and some incredible sounding desserts too. Orange, Lavender and Almond Syrup Cake? Yes please! Although Shaun isn’t so keen on lavender in food.
When I first became vegetarian it was difficult. My only meat substitute was Sosmix, so I lived on that for several years. My biggest saviour in the world of not eating meat was when Linda McCartney started creating food in 1991. Oh my word, the world opened up when it came to not eating meat.
The Meat Free Monday campaign has a Cookbook to accompany it. The front of the book has an Independent quote saying ‘for meat eaters who can’t think how to cook without it, this will help and inspire’. I think they should probably add vegetarians who have forgotten how to branch out and cook different things; like me.
There are also vegan substitute suggestions – an excellent idea for someone like me.
The Meat Free Monday Cookbook breaks your year into seasons and plans your meals for every Monday. It’s great too – simple instructions though I haven’t followed any yet. It’s all basic cupboard ingredients too. The sort of book you can pick up and follow without buying anything you wouldn’t already have.
There are so many different types of cookbooks to choose from out there, these are just four. They cover so many different types of vegetarian food, and have recipes that inspire us. There is a great selection of Vegetarian Cook Books from The Book People – definitely check out their choice.
As for which book I’ll refer to the most, I think it will be a mixture of Deliciously Ella and the Meat Free Monday books – the other two are a bit more specialised and the kind of thing I would get out if we had friends over for dinner, for example. We’ve got lots of Deliciously Ella recipes bookmarked to make over the coming months.
I wish I had more photos of the dishes we’ve cooked, this means I need to make more!
We were sent these Vegetarian Cook Books from The Book People. The Vegetarian recipe books are here. All opinions are our own.
Choose Love – Help Refugees have a pop up store in London’s Carnaby Street this Christmas, and it’s the second year they’ve done this. I volunteered for a morning, and I thought it was worthy of a blog post because it’s such a brilliant Charity and cause.
Choose Love – Help Refugees grew from a group of people taking supplies to refugees to this; a worldwide organisation which provides essentials. With two pop up stores in London and New York, and a lot of celebrity endorsements, it’s difficult to miss the Choose Love logo on a t-shirt. But this is more than a logo, this is something really important and heartwarming.
Yesterday I volunteered at the Choose Love in Carnaby Street, turning up at 9.30am full of nerves. I’m not very good at going into places on my own unless I know there will be friendly faces there. Within seconds I was with the team for the morning, with my borrowed Choose Love sweatshirt, learning about each section of the shop. I immediately felt at ease and ready.
Downstairs is the area where you buy a specific gift for someone in need. It is broken into three sections: Arrival – Which has basics like food, clothes and things to keep warm. The second section is Shelter. People can often spend years in camps, so this offers tents, sleeping bags, supplies like toiletries and nappies – it provides humanity. The final section is Future. Helping groups who help refugees so they can start again. From medical needs to schooling, it is all covered. When you see everything laid out as it was makes it feel so much more real. You see the pictures in the press, but most of us haven’t lived what these poor refugees have gone through so can only imagine it.
Upstairs has the Choose Love – Help Refugees t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, tote bags, posters and more. I can highly recommend the sweatshirt as being super warm too – so much that I bought one for myself.
The great thing about the Choose Love – Help Refugees store is that there’s something to suit every price range.
Prices range from £5 to £599 for the whole shop. You buy the whole shop, you’re buying essential supplies for everyone, you don’t walk out with everything. People were buying gifts for Secret Santa presents, people were coming in and spending Christmas present money and doubling it when they saw what was there.
I’ve never worked in a shop but know I can speak to strangers fairly easy once I know what I’m doing. It was quick and easy to get your head around. People wanted to know more, and everything on show explained it really well. By the door are gift cards so you’re able to mark up what you’ve bought for someone else.
It was heartwarming. A shop people come into and come away with nothing but a fuzzy sense of having helped someone else. It felt like the true spirit of Christmas, and one which so many people got behind.
Within the store is a Banksy sculpture, one from Dismaland. He has donated it to Choose Love – Help Refugees. If you wanted to try and win it you need to guess its weight. At £2 a time, you could end up with it before Christmas if you guess the weight correctly.
We had a busy day at the Choose Love – Help Refugees store in Carnaby Street. People coming to get their last minute Christmas shopping before it all gets too busy. We stood out in on Carnaby Street street calling out and holding up boards. I stayed on my feet the entire time – oh boy my back felt it by the time I got home! It was great, I had a lovely festive fuzzy feeling. I did something to help and helped make a difference. You can too – just pop over to their site.
Choose Love – Help Refugees Pop up Store is at 30-32 Fouberts Place, W1F 7PS, open until Christmas Eve. It is run entirely by volunteers and is open from 10am daily. Please check the website for exact opening hours.
A special mention for the most amazing falafels around the corner too (over the road from Liberty), at the Choose Love linked Imad’s Syrian Kitchen. The perfect place to stop after a busy morning – make sure you visit!
Fake News is everywhere, but do you know how to spot it? We visited a Madame Tussauds Fake News Workshop to find out what it’s all about.
The Madame Tussauds Fake News Workshop is an educational trip for KS2 & KS3 children. As the title suggests, it’s a workshop which goes through stories showing how to spot ‘fake news’.
Suitable for classes of up to 30 children, it is held within a room at Madame Tussauds which can also be used as a lunch space before or after the workshop. There are two workshops a day at 11.00 and 2.30.
Across the Merlin attractions, places like SeaLife or places like Chessington Zoo have obvious educational elements. So what does the Madame Tussauds Fake News Workshop involve?
You read a (fake) news article which you analyse and break down. Does the news have an official source quoting it? Is there an expert who has offered advice? What is the source of the story? As an adult I often have trouble knowing which articles are real and which are spoofs beyond the obvious ones. As we said on the night, the real headlines are starting to sound like spoof pages – how is someone H’s age (9) going to work it all out?
This workshop helps give you the tools to work it out. There are so many aspects of news – it isn’t just our newspapers these days. Everyone has a part to play if they’re active and have an opinion in some way that they want to share.
The second part of the workshop had several members of staff holding words which are relevant to places which share news. From blogging, vlogging and more, there was a lot to talk about. It was an eye opener for H, she’s asked a lot of questions about this blog since. I’ve been able to reassure her that I don’t break the news on here!
After that we had to think of our own fake news story in groups, with four or five different stories that we read out and discussed.
See the photo for ours – a scurrilous rumour that Hugo Lloris had taken up flossing in goal recently, and that the craze was spreading amongst Premiership goalkeepers, particularly during penalties. That’ll be the Fortnite flossing, not the dental kind. Hashtag #goalkeepersflossing
We read our article and everyone had to spot how it was fake, and base it on what we learned. Reading it back, it was obviously fake and quite often it’s difficult to tell if the story is real or not – especially as the real world media seems to be turning into the Daily Mash every other day.
Information about Madame Tussauds Fake News Workshop can be found here.
Of course, you can’t visit Madame Tussauds without seeing some of the waxworks. As we were the only people there it was quite eerie at times; the waxworks looked so real!
Here’s a selection of the shots H went for. Being nine she didn’t know everyone, but said “ooooh! I want a selfie – who is this?” when spotting Kim and Kanye. Of course she got a Harry and Meghan shot too. The icing on the cake was when we found Henry VIII – her homework that weekend was to write a fact file. It was accompanied with a photo!
We attended the Madame Tussauds Fake News Workshop and got to wander around Madame Tussauds, all opinions are our own.
I found these two images of our old house. I didn’t realise how similar they are. The oldest of a young (old) family moving into a space which would become their home.
A baby H not quite crawling, nowhere near walking, but getting the hang of it. Having this huge space to move around in and working it all out. When we moved from our old place, she could reach to grab things. When we moved to the old place she had to work out how to move further.
It started as a happy place. We had ups and downs, but it was our home.
In the old house our floor seemed to be a shelving unit.. with piles of things left everywhere.
The keys are back with the letting agents. We’re waiting for our deposit to be returned.
The reason we’ve rented for so long was the lack of affordable houses near us. Our only option was Shared Ownership although there was nothing locally. Local developments which had houses earmarked as affordable seemed to switch to the riskier Help to Buy option. With only 21 years before we (potentially) retire, it isn’t an option for us.
With Shared Ownership there is no holding deposit. This house is ours. Nobody is going to sell it and force us out. Nobody is going to insist we keep everything neutral and to the landlady’s taste. It’s ours.
There’s one major difference in the two photos. The radiator. We had central heating installed after our carbon monoxide leak.
It’s now our responsibility to get our gas boiler checked every year – not someone else’s to forget about. Gas Safety Week 2018 is in a couple of weeks.
That chapter is closed now we’re out of the old house. The old, painful memories aren’t there every day any more.
Insurance for insurance, and more insurance for that insurance. Oh, and by the way, would you like to write your will? That’s what this last month has felt like.
Insurance is one of those things which is making me SO cross right now. There are so many things which need insuring; things we’ve never had to think about before.
The plus side is by buying a Shared Ownership property the housing association takes care of the buildings insurance. Though as I’ve found out, if a tile falls off your new build roof, you can spend anything up to two days wondering when someone is going to let you know what’s going on. It’s slightly better than renting.
The down side is the things you have to insure. We changed address on our contents insurance and were charged an additional £20 fee. I’d love to know how they can justify that charge – surely it’s just pressing a button?
Then again when we rented we’d be charged a £50 annual fee for paperwork. The letting agents occasionally remembered to send us a copy once we had signed it too.
We’ve got car insurance covered. Well, apart from the fact that our policy we had went up way too high, so we re-did it via Compare the Market and got a price similar to the one we originally did. There’s no logic there… at all.
We have life cover dating back to 2003 which was a jolly sensible thing to do. The majority of our cover costs us next to nothing each month, whereas to top it up to our mortgage amount costs us almost double the original amount. Because it’s through the same company we get a small monthly discount too which is handy.
I’m thinking ahead. While I feel like my job is safe, who knows what is going to happen after Brexit. So I need to make sure our mortgage payments are covered – so there’s another type of insurance that looks after that.
Our solicitor cheekily mentioned us making a will. I’ve seen that Macmillan are offering free wills for the month of August, so if we can get our act together quickly enough, hopefully we can do it, otherwise I’ll be on the lookout for the next time we can.
Can I have a month off all this grown up stuff please?