Smile :-)

Lots to smile about at the moment as we have just moved to a lovely new house, which we are having fun making our home.

This morning we had a break from unpacking and had a walk into the woods across the road to look for smile stones.

I only recently heard of these after seeing the #smilestones hash tag on social media. People are hiding decorated stones to find and rehide (after posting a photo on Facebook or Instagram).

It was lots of fun even though we only found 3 today!

Sunday Sevens #6

Sunday Sevens is the weekly blog series created by Natalie over on Threads and Bobbins

My 6th week of Sunday Sevens. Having missed out 3 Sundays because of holiday I really couldn’t make up my mind whether I should do full posts or a catch up and decided to do a catch up combined with this week’s post.

#1 Breaking point

So I’d finished all my university assignments/exams (and passed!), I’d got through the stress of the job interview  (and got the job!), I was all packed and ready to go on holiday. I was stressed but things were looking good! It was Friday afternoon and I had a call to day the littlest boy was being taken to A&E!! Urgh! Broken wrist in 2 places….thanks to the fab A&E team though we were out within an hour plastered arm and fit to fly certificate!

#2 Kefalonia

Despite the broken wrist we had an absolutely fab holiday in Kefalonia! Kefalonia is an absolutely beautiful place we stayed in an amazing villa and got to see the turtles swimming in Argostoli bay. Seems like so long ago now though!

#3 Birthday Cake

I was asked to make littlest a marvel and dc superhero cake for his birthday and after many hours of pinterest research I came up with this! I hate icing and making this at 6am when it was hot and the icing was melting nearly finished me off, but seeing his face when he saw it made it all worthwhile!

#4 Swapping salads for soup

I’ve spent months having salads for lunch at work and was getting bored so I decided to make some homemade soups, this one is carrot and courgette and is really nice!

#5 Berries or no berries

I made an apple and blackberry crumble with apples and blackberries from the garden but only after confirmed parental permission to eat berries off a bush! I must have taken the ‘some berries are poisonous’ lesson very seriously as a child as I don’t trust any berries at all! Haha! Tastes amazing though!

#6 Cuttlebug back out!

Lots of card making this weekend, no cards finished yet though as I’m waiting for a sentiment die set which I ordered to arrive, hope it arrives soon as I have lots to finish.

#7 Family day

A few months ago we joined The National Trust and English Heritage, I have to say I was enjoying National Trust days out the most so far, until today! We want to Stokesay Castle and it was so lovely, it’s a really cute little castle in Craven Arms Shropshire. Lovely gardens where we had tea and cake and watched all the birds and the boys tried out bows and arrows and different games.


Looking at the drizzle and grey clouds outside this morning you would have never guessed what a beautiful sunny day we had on Thursday walking the dogs and an unexpected trip to Wales!

Nikki and Woody had a walk around the park a rarity as it is full of tiny dogs off leads which when they run up to Woody and bark at him and run off proves to much, it’s like being in the traps again and he gets most excited! Therefore when we are likely to meet little furry friends off their lead he always wears his muzzle. It makes us sad at people’s attitudes if while on his lead wearing his muzzle he barks at their unmuzzled of the lead dog…as he becomes the problem dog? Having spoken to other greyhound owners this is a common greyhound problem. 

Anyway we had fun and played beat the street, collecting points for the boys school. Double points and lots of people out and about.


In the afternoon we had an unexpected drive to Wales for another walk with Nikki and Woody and some amazing fish and chips! Nikki and the boys loved the rabbits in the field, Woody wasn’t as excited by rabbits as little dogs but he enjoyed a second sunny walk.


Out and About: Scavenger Hunt

I think I have mentioned before I have a huge addition to Pinterest and whenever I have five minutes spare I can be found on the Pinterest app, pinning like made to my pinterest boards, I do like it when I actually get to use something I have pinned and this scavenger hunt is one of those things!

We had planned a nice family walk for last Sunday, however I had got the day of my upcoming exam confused and it was infact on the Monday, whereas I had been convinced it was on the Tuesday (therefore giving me the Monday to practice my presentation!) – yes if only I could ‘pin’ my academic work and be so organised as I am with everything else! So, this meant I couldn’t go out for the day 😦

I decided I still wanted to contribute to the boys day and remembered seeing THIS Scavenger hunt which I had pinned for an activity to do sometime with the boys.

As I was short on time I wrote the list out of index cards (which I was using for my presentation notes!) in each of the boys favourite colours:


I then placed each card in a small bah and folded it over and then taped it on to a bag big enough to collect their goodies in:



The boys and Nikki then headed off to Cannock Chase with their Dad in search of everything off their list! It kept them amused and out of the house all afternoon and gave me time to get on with my work.

I missed going out for the day with them, but it was great when they came back all excited with a bag full of exciting things to show me 😀



I have a huge update to do on Nikki as she has settled down with us so well! I shall be posting it as soon as I have got all of these assignments out of the way and I have a little bit of freedom back!

Nikki News: Days two and three and a big day out!


Day two of Nikki becoming a family dog started very well, as I mentioned in my last update, not accidents overnight and we didn’t hear anything from Nikki all night 😀 We came downstairs at 6.30am (not our usual wake up time on a Sunday but we were too exited to sleep in!) and Nikki was like a different dog. As the boys were still asleep it was just the two of us and she really seemed to come out of her shell, we sat out in the garden and Nikki ran up and down chasing her new toys for an hour. When the boys woke up we went inside and Nikki had her breakfast and then a snooze in her bed whilst we ate and got ready.

Mid-morning we set of to see Dylan dog. When we arrived Nikki did really well, new house, new people, another small person and another dog and she took it all in her stride! We had a cup of tea whilst the boys played in the garden and the dogs had a sniff of each other then we set of for a walk around Warley Woods. It was not somewhere we have been before, but it is a lovely place to walk dogs and very big! Nikki walked really well on the lead and seemed much happy in a park setting rather than the pavement walk the night before. Dylan and Nikki got on really well and Nikki didn’t seem to show any interest in the other dogs we went past (there were lots!). Our walk was cut a bit short as some people came up to us and said there was a dog loose ahead who seemed quite nasty and had apparently attacked another dog, we didn’t see or hear it but made a quick exit from the woods as that was definitely not an experience I wanted Nikki to have! After our walk Nikki was quite happy to lie on the floor by our feet while we sat and chatted with Dylan’s Mummy and Daddy. We were very proud of her doing so well with so many new things going on in one day. Unfortunately my camera battery went flat and I have no pictures of Nikki and Dylan together!

In the evening Nikki was exhausted and nothing in the world was going to get her off her bed to go out for a walk so we let her rest in preparation for Day three!


Monday was Bank Holiday and we decided to make use of our National Trust Membership and find somewhere to visit where we could walk the dog. Brockhampton Estate is a huge estate just outside Worcester and looked like a good place to visit. It was a little bit drizzly and not that warm when we arrived to we got Nikki all snuggled up in her coat with her bandana on 😀 The car park was quite full of people and the cars did make her very nervous and jumpy, but once we got out into the fields she was happy again and leading the way for us! There were a choice of different length walks and we chose the red one which I think was about 3 or 4 miles, but felt longer as there was lots of mud and A being the smallest kept getting stuck in the mud!


As we had lots of fields to cross Nikki soon got to discover sheep!!! Again, she was not in the slightest bit bothered by then, although they were quick to run off from us.


After the fields the track led us into woods with a variety of different sculptures along the way which kept the boys entertained.


In the middle of the woods we found a den which the boys played in for a while while we sat on a log and watched them, Nikki seemed fascinated by them playing and I think if she hadn’t have been so shy she would have been in there with the boys!


After our walk we were all worn out so we returned to the car and ate our picnic while Nikki had a little nap in the boot! After we had eaten we drove the mile down the drive to Little Brockhampton which is a lovely manor house surrounded by a moat. Obviously we couldn’t take Nikki in the house but we went into the grounds, first the boys played cricket and football by the moat.


Then we went into a lovely little courtyard where the tearoom is and we had a cup of tea and sat with Nikki whilst the boys played with the outdoor games which were set out; chess, skittles, hula hoops and archery.


There were some ruins of a chapel which we had a look around and then it was time to head off home! I was surprised at how much there was to see and do there despite us having Nikki and not being able to go in the house it was still a full day out, definitely somewhere I would recommend to visit.

Days out: Bwlch Nant y Arian and Aberystwyth

We usually do a family trip or day out for the boys birthdays, last year it was Legoland Manchester and Sea Life centre. However A decided for his 4th birthday he wanted to go to the seaside! We were dogsitting at the time so it worked out quite well as the dog could have a day out as well.

We decided to go to Wales as it is the closest to us, after talking to a neighbour we decided to go to Aberystwyth as she recommended a nice place to stop and walk the dog on the way.

Bwlch Nant Yr Arian Visitor Centre is about 10 miles from Aberystwyth on the A44, it was the perfect place for us to stop, walk the dog and feed the boys as they were all getting a little bit restless. There is a visitor centre with some information on Red Kites, lovely clean toilets, a cafe and they even have Dog bags (for the poo!) and plenty of bins 😀

The boys picked up a leaflet with an ‘Animal Puzzle Trail’  on and had lots of fun answering the riddles and then finding the hidden animals as we walked around the forest walk.


The scenery was amazing and it was a beautiful walk around the lake. The Red Kites are fed there each day at 2pm, as we were visiting in the morning we didn’t expect to see any of the Red Kites, however we did! There were quite a few circling above us in the trees and I managed to get a picture of one of them, I was amazed how big they are!


After the boys had worn themselves out on the two playgrounds and the dog had, had a decent length walk, we carried on with our journey to Aberystwyth.


We were surprised how quiet it was for a sunny day in the middle of the school holidays! We were all very hungry so first thing was to get lunch, it was fish and chips all round and they were the nicest fish and chips I have had in a long time from the Central Fish Restaurant . After lunch we went down to the beach, all the houses are painted different colours which I think looked very pretty and brightened up the seafront, I would have to paint my house lilac if I lived there!


We found a nice spot at the end of the beach where dogs where allowed on and had it all to ourselves! the beach was very fine stones so not sandy to make sandcastles, but the boys still had a fantastic time and found a couple of rock pools to explore in. The dog had a fantastic time running up and down with his frisby and ball and we had a fantastic afternoon!