Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Top 10 | Family Friendly Halloween Movies

Halloween is just around the corner and this year I will be in Amsterdam over Halloween weekend, so no party for us second year on the run! I didn't do one last year because I was pregnant with Henry and the thought of having people round was just too exhausting. When I was a kid, I was never a big fan of Halloween, still to this day I don't like masks (seriously though, what's the deal?) I guess it wasn't really a big thing back then but it's definitely a holiday that has grown on me. I love horror films and dressing up now, it's like I'm trying to relive my youth or something. George won't be missing out this year though as he is going to his cousin's for a little party and he got to choose his costume this year and I'm a bit upset I'm missing it to be honest! 

Anyway if you're not a big fan of Halloween why not stay in and watch a movie with the kids? All you need is your tv, big blankets, some toffee apples and treats and you're set! Here is a list of my top 10 family friendly Halloween movies: 

10. Monster House
When my little brothers were younger they were obsessed with this film, they used to watch it on repeat. It's about some kids who discover their neighbour's house is actually a monster. Clue is in the name right? 

9. Haunted Mansion
It's a Disney film and it has Eddie Murphy in it, need I say more? The spider scene scarred me for life - you've been warned. 

8. Beetlejuice
I freakin' love Beetlejuice! Such a classic. Just don't say his name three times! 

7. The Addam's Family
What list would be complete with The Addam's Family right? Wednesday Addams is my spirit animal.

6. Casper
Fun fact - this was the first film I saw in the cinema at the ripe old age of 5. My mum cried.

5. Coraline
Okay Coraline is super creepy but I love it anyway! Maybe not suitable for pre-schoolers! 

4. Paranorman
I actually really enjoyed this film, a rewatch is needed. I wish I was as cool as Norman to be honest. 

3. Corpse Bride
I went to see this in the cinema twice. What emo kid wasn't excited when this came out? I even donned a Corpse Bride tshirt back in the day. 

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Is it a christmas film is it a Halloween film? WHO CARES?! It is great. I can recite Jack's Lament as well. 

1. Hocus Pocus
Of course this took the number 1 spot. I adore this film, everything about it is fantastic. I used to fancy Max so much when I was a kid as well. 

What will you be watching this Halloween?

Rachael xo

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Days Out | Jedi School at Spaceport

jedi school at spaceport
Photo by Spaceport
[Gifted] Pete really likes Star Wars and honestly I don't see the big deal with it but that's because I've never watched it! It's kind of like that episode of How I Met Your Mother when Ted shows Stella the movie and it's really important she watches it and likes it before they get married blah blah, so I reckon that's why we're not married yet (ha!). So when we were invited to join the Jedi School down at Spaceport this half term I jumped at the chance, I thought this will get me extra cool girlfriend points amirite? 

jedi school at space port
Photo by Spaceport

We went into the planetarium where the Jedi School took place and I was really unsure as to how George would be when we got in there as it was full of older kids and he lacks concentration at the best of  times. As it happens George was more interested in the babies behind us which he kept getting up to tickle every five seconds. I always get dead paranoid when George touches other kids because some parents might be a bit funny about it but they seemed okay anyway.

Luke Skywalker and Padawan asked the audience questions and made everybody get up and do Jedi moves so I got up with George and he kept running away to look at the babies and I was basically dancing about on my own because Pete was just sitting on his reclining planetarium chair all comfy like. Two members of the audience were then invited up to perform their new Jedi mind tricks and knock the Jedis over which was really good. There was this one kid who loved Star Wars so much he was practically jumping out of his seat to be involved. It was really cute because he was just so into it and so excited.

jedi school at space port
Photo by Spaceport
George got a little bit scared when the Jedis went out to fight Darth Vader and to be fair it was pretty tense. I was a bit disappointed because the fighting action was all on screen although given the size of the room it would have been difficult to do inside. When the Jedis came back in we thought they had defeated the evil Sith lord but how wrong we were. Cue scary music and Darth Vader walked in through the back door. We all had to use the force to defeat him but it wasn't powerful enough despite there being 20 of us against one little Sith so he must be strong or something! Anyway we all booed the evil man out of the room and faith was restored. Hurrah!

The experience was aimed for children aged 6+ so George was a bit young for it to be honest and he's yet to see Star Wars (I'm sure it won't be long before Pete brainwashes him) but he might have recognised some of the characters from daddy's pyjamas. I enjoyed it considering I'm not really a fan of Star Wars so I wouldn't even say you had to be massively into it to go, especially if you have kids or even a fella who likes it. 

There was also a meet and greet at the end of the show where Luke and Darth Maul came out but George was a bit scared of Darth Maul (he is creepy with that red and black mask though to be fair). I felt like a bit of a div when he came out because George asked me who he was and I couldn't remember his name, luckily Luke came to the rescue though - thanks mate. 

jedi school at space port
I was totally unprepared for a photo after my 8am driving lesson, and trek to Rhythym Time but Pete refused to get in the picture
The Jedi School is at Spaceport for the whole of half term week (23rd Oct - 27th Oct) and you can book tickets here. Upstairs they have a huge collection of Star Wars memorabilia at the Sci-Fi Icons exhibition. While you're there you can look at all the exhibits in the Spaceport and there's also a couple of rides for the kids as well. Obviously with a baby and toddler in tow we didn't get the opportunity to check these out - at one point George actually ran through the ride exit and pressed some buttons for the ride! No lie. Toddlers just have no cares in the world do they? 

What are you up to this half term?

Rachael xo

Mum Steez | Amsterdam

my mama style
This mama is off to Amsterdam this week for a friend's hen do and my god I am so excited! Things haven't been too great this past month or two for me which you can read about here so this break is longer overdue! I love Amsterdam, I went there for the first time in July this year for my best friend's hen so I'm really looking forward to going back. 

It's never been somewhere I fancied going, I just assumed it'd all be sex and weed but it's the complete opposite (I mean it's there you've just got to go looking for it and it was really good) but it is so pretty and there's loads more to do there. Highly recommended.

I thought I'd put together a little fashion post because I love them and haven't done one in aages! Outfit planning just makes me so happy (is that really sad?) I'm always the first one to ask what everyone is wearing and the girls all laugh at me but it relaxes me and helps with my anxiety. 

I bought some vinyl jeans a few weeks ago from Primark and am yet to wear them, is anyone else loving this trend at the moment? I've not really had an excuse to wear them, I mean can you imagine me rocking up to mums and tots in a pair of stripper pants? I reckon I'm going to wear them every day in Amsterdam paired with my Dr Martens flatforms. These are going to be so versatile and they can be dressed up or down, I could easily swap the shoes for a pair of heels, remove the beanie and voila day to night in less than a minute. 

What are your thoughts on the vinyl trend?

Rachael xo

Monday, 23 October 2017

Life | Attending an Event After a Terrorist Attack

Attending an Event After a Terrorist Attack

On 22nd May 2017, the UK was subjected to one of the most horrendous acts of terrorism since 2005. A suicide bomber detonated a device at an Ariana Grande concert killing 22 innocent lives and hurting many more. I remember the day it happened, my best friend was there with her sister and thankfully they were safe but still, I grieved and I cried for all those who weren't. I know there are acts of terrorism everywhere, I'm aware this kind of stuff still happens in the UK albeit not on this scale, but this was the one that affected me the most. I've been to the MEN more times than I can count, concerts are a safe place, I spent many of my teen years at gigs, watching bands and I met some amazing people through this. It was too close to home, more so because I knew people there. We can be sad for other people anywhere but this time it was different. 

It was so different in fact because I was due to attend an LGBT event in Manchester that week and I was in two minds whether to go or not. It was only when I spoke to Pete that I made the decision to go, he said to me "don't be so stupid, now is the safest time to go" and he was right. I went, although my anxiety was through the roof driving down Mancunian Way. But I went and I had the best time ever, we were safe, there was an emotional tribute to the victims and I was glad I did it. No terrorist was going to scare me into missing out on something I loved so much. 

My nan on the other hand had a different point of view. Like me, the attack at the arena had scared her. She had bought my cousin and I tickets to see Little Mix in the Echo Arena for October, but she had told us both we weren't going. I told her I was still going because I wasn't giving in to fear and again, it was the safest time to go. Besides she was going to see Neil Diamond in Manchester in October so why shouldn't I still go to see Little Mix? Months on, she calmed down and agreed we could go, and Hollie (aged 11) was again excited to go, she planned for us to go wearing fluroscent dots on our faces and have matching tshirts.

Fast forward to a week before the gig and my nan told me Hollie was unsure on whether to go or not and I knew straight away she was scared, I asked her why she didn't want to go, got it out of her that she was afraid and when trying to convince her I left her to it. There was no way I was going to force her to go, there was no way I could change her mind. My nan then had another little word with her but she had made up her mind, she wasn't going.

I was gutted for her. I was sad for the fact that she was too scared to do something she had been looking forward to for 10 months. Sad for the fact she was missing out. Sad for the fact her friends were going. There was nothing on this earth anyone could have said to make her change her mind. And this is what terrorism does and how it wins. I'm sure in a few years she will overcome this fear but for now she is going to miss out and that makes me angry.

The tickets didn't go to waste, my mum came with me and boy did we feel like frauds! We were the only ones there without kids but we did have a ball! Upon entry to the venue we were body scanned in by security with metal detectors, something I've never ever seen before. My mum told me she felt more nervous at this concert because it was kids and there could be a repeat of the tragedy in May and I must admit it was at the back of my mind too. However, when we left the arena there was a big police presence, four by four vehicles and even armed police so they weren't taking any chances at all.

I guess there will be many concerned parents and guardians out there in light of what happened earlier in this year and I don't doubt many children missed out on Monday but I'm hoping by reading this post it changes your mind.

We are safer now than we have ever been! 

Rachael xo

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Family | Is Twinning Really Winning?

Is Twinning Really Winning?
When I was pregnant with Henry I remember going shopping and picking both boys up a matching pair of shorts and tshirts and in my excitement I sent a photo to my Coven (that's my group Whatsapp for me and the girls) and I got comments like "you're not going to match them are you?!" And I was like "HELL TO THE YES!" I didn't want my boys to be in matching things all the time, but the odd thing is okay right? 

The boys often wear different clothes due to the age difference between them at the moment so it can be quite hard to find matching outfits but at the most I do like them quite co-ordinated because it looks really sweet. Here they both have red on but Henry has the same coat as George but in yellow, they have matching winter coats and hats and I think they look adorable. I also think on days out it will be easier to identify them if they're wearing the same thing - when they get older of course as Henry is still in his pram. 

I took to Facebook to get some other views from other mamas and I found that most of them agreed with me!
Is Twinning Really Winning?
I dont "twin" my kids being different sexes but sometimes they like to dress to a theme! - Star

Is Twinning Really Winning?
I like to have my boys matching but not the same sometimes. They like it too, for now (they’re 2 and 4) - Sarah

Is Twinning Really Winning?
I absolutely love it! There's 15 months between my girls and they "twin" every single day. If I try and dress them differently they cry and ask to be the same. Not sure that will last forever but for now, I'm a huge fan! - Laura
Is Twinning Really Winning?
I was that person who saw photos of me twinning with my sisters and was certain I wouldn't do it myself.. whoops! - Amy

Is Twinning Really Winning?
I love twinning with my daughter. It’s a bit of fun and she loves it! I intend to make the most of it before she gets embarrassed by me!- Leanne
For as many people who loved twinning, there were many who thought the opposite and hated it! Jacqui from Mummys Little Monkey shares her views:

'I still remember the year Mum dressed me and my sister up in identical dresses for Christmas - mine was blue, and hers was red and we had matching bags in the same floral material. I must only have been about seven years old, but to this day I can still recall dying with embarrassment because we were dressed alike. 

Maybe it was because my sister and I didn't really get on that brilliantly when we were kids, or maybe it was more the fact I wasn't really a floral dress kinda girl (give me jeans and a t-shirt any day). Whatever it was, I swore I'd never subject my children to matching outfits. 

And to be fair it's been easy to keep my promise, as the girls are poles apart with their dress sense. Big Sis loves funky styles - dungarees, sweatshirts, denim jackets - while Lil Sis favours anything frilly, floral or flouncy - dresses, skirts, pretty tops. They both totally suit their individual styles - to the point where, if I dressed them the same, one of them just wouldn't look right. 

They're great friends and get on amazingly well, but they enjoy having distinctly different styles, and I like encouraging their individuality.'

I agree with her for some part, I think when the boys have complete different personalities I will probably be likely to change it up and let them choose their own clothes or buy clothes that suit them as individuals.

Is Twinning Really Winning?
No, no, no. My mum did this to me and my sister when were kids and it was a nightmare. I will not be making my own kids suffer like this. I was not a girl and the dresses were the worst. I have bought tiny polo shirts for my son to wear like me though. Also I'm making this face in all photos from that age (I'm the brunette).

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it! I loved seeing everyone's little ones all dressed up the same, how can you disgaree with twinning now when you see how cute everyone looks? 

What are your views on twinning? Yay or nay?

Rachael xo

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Days Out | Ferry Across the Mersey

Ferry Across the Mersey

On Sunday we were invited for an afternoon out on the Mersey Ferry. The trip was scheduled for the previous week, however, all boats were cancelled due to the weather but unaware of this we headed down to the Woodside Ferry Terminal and we were sent home rather disappointed. The team at Mersey Travel couldn't have been more apologetic about this and instead we avoided a tantrum by heading to soft play and rearranging our trip! The team were really fantastic about the mix up though and rebooking was really easy - plus when we arrived at the weekend all the staff members were really accommodating.

Ferry Across the Mersey
Add caption

Upon arrival at Woodside, we collected our tickets and the boys were given flags, stickers and a paper rocket to build which I thought was great. I used to love making paper boats as a kid so it was right up my street, shame George wasn't feeling it and just wanted to run away from me. I swear he must have ran away at least 17 times before we'd even got on the boat so I was pretty nervous about actually taking him on - especially as he likes to run and climb. I actually have  big fear of water (probably stems from the fact I can't swim - I know, terrible) but it was constantly in the back of my mind that there was a possibility my feral child would fall in the Mersey and I wouldn't be able to do anything about it.

We had half an hour to kill before the ferry was due in so we went into the U-Boat story which unfortunately I didn't get to enjoy due to George's behaviour (screaming and running away - I actually wish it was acceptable for me to do it. I'd definitely run away from the kids if I could). In the exhibition you get to view a real life German U-Boat, however this was closed due to refurbishment but you can see some of it from the outside. Due to the interactive exhibit, you get a real insight into life on board a U-Boat during war time. This is included in your ticket price to the ferry, you just need to obtain a voucher from reception but if the ferry isn't your thing you can also purchase a ticket for this separately. 

Ferry Across the Mersey

We were lucky to ride on the Dazzle Ship which is a colourful boat decorated by Sir Peter Blake to commemorate World War 1. This is actually the only dazzle ship in the UK. I kept asking Pete if it was called Razzle Dazzle and he laughed at me like I was some sort of idiot, well the laugh was on him because there was a sign saying "razzle dazzle" so I was made up. Cue me singing songs from Chicago for the rest of the day!

Ferry Across the Mersey

We got to eat scouse on the Mersey which is definitely the scousest thing I think I have ever done and the food was great as well. I love Liverpool which seems a bit biased of me to say since I practically live here (I'm a wool) but seriously, you won't find another city like it. You may hear some ridiculous stereotypes but the city is amazing, the people are even better and there is so much to do here. Plus, check out that skyline.

Ferry Across the Mersey

Our trip on the ferry was fairly successful given George just wanted to run about and us being stressed because family days out are never really that enjoyable when you have a baby and a toddler in tow, let's face it. Safe to say it was completely different to the last time I was on the ferry. Pete had hired the ferry for a Halloween club night, and as I was walking round the ferry I had vivid flashbacks of hanging up posters, my gobshite mates scaring me with horrible masks, dancing to emo music and feeling much drunker than I actually was due to the rocking of the boat.  Here we are in our prime, before we had kids and aged 10 years. I looked boss as a sugar skull and Pete was a really shit pirate.

Ferry Across the Mersey

If you're visiting Liverpool. I would highly recommend a trip on the ferry, the ride lasts for approximately an hour and you get to take in some pretty decent views. Try the scouse while you're there. You can book tickets here.

Have you visited Liverpool? What did you enjoy most?

Rachael xo

Monday, 9 October 2017

Health | Dealing with Hand Foot and Mouth

At the beginning of September, we packed up our car and headed across the country with two babies, the four hour journey to Skegness was a success and we arrived in Butlins. A fab week was had by all (more on that in another blog post) and was over in a flash. Typically, both boys were ill the week we were away, just a cold, but none the less it wasn't nice for either of them, but it didn't stop them having an amazing time. During the four hour journey home, we got stuck in traffic on the M62 (worst motorway ever) and had a very grizzly baby. I put it down to his cold and him teething, we had a quick pit stop at a service station, I got Henry out of the car for some fresh air, we had a bite to eat and continued on.

The next day, Henry cried none stop all day and he clung to me, which, even though he is a mummy's boy, was completely out of the ordinary for him. I was in my mum's at the time so she sent me for a bath and I had half an hour of peace and quiet. Bliss. On the Sunday I went downstairs and was greeted with Pete telling me Henry had spots on his face. "So? He always gets spots on his face when he's teething" was my reply. Until he went on to tell me he had spots on his hands as well, I looked at Henry's face and his spots looked really aggrevated and sore. "Hand, foot and mouth" I thought rationally. Irrationally, I was googling symtpoms of Sepsis, you know just to be on the safe side. When I told my mum about his spots, she confirmed hand, foot and mouth. She also warned me it was highly contagious, it's viral and I just had to ride it out. Great, just what I need with George starting school.. was my initial reaction. Anyway, a quick trip to the out of hours confirmed it, we were sent away with a spray for his mouth to numb any pain so he could eat and drink, and unexpectedly some antibiotics (which I believe is to stop it turning into impetigo).

I knew Henry would be okay with his medicine and regulated ibuprofen and paracetemol two hourly, but my main fear was George catching it. I thought there was no way to stop it, I had so many people telling me horror stories about them catching it from their kids, nails falling off so I was expecting the worst. Henry was attached to me so I figured it was inevitible I too would be diseased, but I was going to do everything in my power to stop George catching it, sharing is caring and all but that was something I could do without.

I told George that Henry had germs and he couldn't share his dummy, luckily he actually listened (first and only time). I ensured that the boys had different coloured dummies to ensure there were no mix ups and I also washed every toy Henry went near/ slobbered all over. 

Within five days we were clear and nobody else caught it! It was a mircale. I guess you can call us lucky but boy am I glad! 

Has your little one had hand, foot and mouth?

Rachael xo

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Life | Life Lately

So it seems I have not so absent mindedly been MIA from my blog as of late, my Instagram has been neglected and my Facebook page left unattended. I guess life just gets in the way! We have been super busy, with me jetting off to Amsterdam, four days in Haven, a holiday in Butlins, George strarting pre-school, my maternity coming to an end and most importantly, Pete resigning from work to become self employed. This is the main reason I have been absent. 

In August this year, Pete left his job of eight years to work for himself, part of me was glad he did it and encouraged him to do it and we then discussed the option of me being able to go back to work part-time - bonus. See, before this, it was highly unlikely I would have been able to go back to work due to childcare. Beforehand, my parents and both sets of grandparents helped out with George and it was great, but with two children it would hardly have been fair to expect it of anyone. It was agreed that I would  go to work two days a week, Pete would work three and then the weekends he was needed. It seemed like a great idea, the boys were sorted for childcare and could spend time with both parents and I got to go back to work. 

I always knew Pete would need to work weekends and his new role would be taking him away to different cities - this part I was not best pleased with, but what type of fiance would I be if I didn't support him? Since he has started his new business, I've had to cancel three different sets of plans. Three. I can't rememember the last time I had a proper night out and I now don't want to make further plans because there's a good chance I will also have to back out of those too. 

Safe to say, I'm feeling pretty shitty about the whole situation at the moment, especially seeing him party round different cities (the perks of being a promoter hey?) while I put my plans on the back burner. I am not ashamed to say it, but I am bitter. Bitter and miserable. What makes it worse is people telling me "well that's his job now" and that I understand. This is our main source of income, him being flexible has allowed me to go back to work, and he could become very successful at it as he is extremely good at what he does. However, it doesn't mean I can't be unhappy, it doesn't mean can't angry or resentful towards him at the moment because that is exactly how I feel.

To top it off, he basically has the one laptop we have glued to his hand or attached to his hip so at the moment I feel at a loss. I can't write. I can't work on my blog. At the moment I feel like all I am doing is taking care of the kids and my only escape is work. Is that really a life? 

Yes, I chose to have children and they are my main priority but a girl just wants a break every now and then, I feel like I am losing my identity. I am no longer Rachael, just mum. 

Rachael xo