Love the little things - Wilf learnt to swim!

Indulge me in this post as its definitely one to mark down as proud mum moments but after all this blog is and was always meant to be a record of our lives.
I'm so proud of both kids for so many different reasons but I really wanted to write about this memory and not forget how much it meant to me at this time.

If you follow me over on Instagram you'll know that since Wilf starting swimming lessons at the local pool around 6 weeks ago he has been having a pretty awful time of it. He was apprehensive anyway but when we spoke about how fun it would be to be able to swim (especially on holidays or water parks) he told me 'I was a bit nervous but you made it sound so fun I'm excited!'.

Imagine how guilty I felt after his first lesson which resulted in, the swimming assistant turning around and leaving him mid-length to sink into the water and come up gasping for air and sobbing. The rest of the next five weeks (we kept returning and he kept trying his best with no complaint just a sort of foreboding what was in store) full on knocking knees, tears, bad dreams..

A few people had told me about a swim school that ran in the holidays in a different part of town and after also seeing the flyer at our school we gave them a call and booked him in for the half term holiday. The idea is they have a 30 min lesson daily for 5 days with a small class, Wilf was in the very beginner class and they made sure to ask how confident he was etc before starting.

I feel teary writing this but he started the week with full body shakes and ended it laughing, smiling and completing his 5-meter badge! The instructor Mike was honestly the kindest and most patient man ever (despite Wilf clinging to him so tightly he pulled out a few of his chest hairs!) If you are local then defo check out Clifton Swim School (who I have no affiliate with!) as I honestly couldn't fault them and am so grateful for. I'm also of course immensely proud of Wilf who battled his fears and overcame them.

We have decided to end his weekly lessons now as he did one more and really didn't get much from them (different teacher each week and only about 5 minutes spent on each child). Although I'm not knocking them entirely as Mabli joined the pre school class and is loving it so it just goes to show 'different strokes for different folks'! 


Take the tofu challenge! AD Wagamama

Earlier in the week, we were treated to dinner in one of our favourite restaurants. In fact, I’d go so far to say it is Wilf’s favourite restaurant (the place he always chooses for celebratory meals and occasional take out) which definitely was a welcome outing in the middle of the half term break. We were invited by Wagamama to check out their new vegan options and in particular their vegan kids’ menu.

As a veggie family, I think our kids are pretty open to plant-based meals and we are trying to be more vegan at home when we can. That being said, I also think our kids are as fussy as the next and any parent will know that if they don’t want to eat or try something there is no convincing them! I was interested then to see that wagamama created a '30 things to try before you are 12’ challenge (or “Pad Try” as they are calling it ;)) and also to see if they would be adventurous to take the ‘tofu challenge’
Their vegan list has been carefully created working with Specialist Paediatric Dietitian Bahee Van de Bor. They aim to encourage children to go outside their food comfort zone. It has been carefully selected based on natural, unprocessed foods, with a focus on ingredients that are nutritionally beneficial for children on a plant-based diet . Wilf was thrilled to see his ‘usual’  mini yasai katsu curry and Mabli ordered the mini yasai cha han but before they came out our lovely waiter came along with the tofu!

I have to be honest neither kids were massive fans haha but at least they gave it a good try, and that’s the point, right? I always think if they are open to trying things then it doesn’t really matter if they love it or not, it’s just opening up options to broaden their pallets a bit. I remember being little and hating avocado, but every so often my parents would ask me to try it again and now I can’t get enough of it. Their actual meals were gobbled enough in no time at all and Tom ended up eating Mabli’s tofu (and so got a sticker ;))
One of the things that really makes a great dining experience for us (as well as great food obviously) is how child-friendly it is. I’ve got to admit both kids were in a kind of ‘spirited’ mood that day and having waiters that understand and are able to chat to kids and make everyone feel welcome is so appreciated.   Onto our food, I went for my usual (like mother like son, me and Wilf are stuck in our ways when it comes to our favourite dish) and had the vegan katsu curry. They also have this option with seitan which is equally as yummy as the butternut squash. Tom went for the 'Avant-garde Vegan' dish which came with a 'fake egg' made from miso-infused coconut and Sriracha Mayo. We also had the steamed buns because they are amazing and the 'bang-bang cauliflower' as sides. 
See what I mean by 'spirited'?
(this was Tom's mango + matcha layer cake)

Thanks so much to wagamama for the invite to try their brilliant new vegan kids menu. I think it's such an exciting time for anyone looking to become more 'plant-based'. Growing up as veggie in the 80's there wasn't any such thing as a veggie option let alone a vegan one so I'm thrilled that wagamama are really leading the way in this respect.

I'd defo recommend popping into your local branch to see what's on offer. What’s great is that there really is something for everyone, be it if you are veggie, vegan or just interested in trying something different. If you do get your kids to try the 'tofu challenge' let me know how they get on!

This post is in partnership with wagamama Photography by Lauren Jayne Hall


Refreshing my work office with Philips LED bulbs (AD)

Anyone who has kids know it's always a juggle. Whether you are a working mum, a stay-at-home mum or a working-stay-at-home mum it often feels like you are being pulled in all directions and always on the go.

I started working from home when Wilf was about 18 months old. From working on my dressing table in our bedroom of the old house to moving to the kitchen table and now my own desk in the living room. I'm working with Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) in this post to show you how their Philips LED SceneSwitch range has transformed the way I work at home and spend time with my family.

We decided to move our kitchen table through to this living space a few weeks back, even though the kitchen had lots of natural light, we felt like it was the best use of the space in our middle room. The only downside was that with no windows it did feel very dark at times. My job involves shooting pictures and a lot of this depends on getting good lighting, it also meant we were not able to read/work/school projects as it was just a bit too dark!

Signify sent us their Philips LED SceneSwitch bulbs, which have three brightness settings without having to install a dimmer switch. To change to a different setting, you just turn the light off and on again at the wall. I was amazed first off at how easy these were to install, thinking that something like this would need an electrician when actually, they are just really simple to screw in bulbs!

--> You can see the difference in each light setting on the collage above. The three settings change from full brightness to 40% less and then 10% less of that. The colours go from white light (perfect for shooting pictures) to warm light (brilliant in the evening having a family meal together). In the winter I think we would use the highest setting more and then less as the seasons go on.

Another example of the different settings below, going from full to mid brightness. I also added a single bulb to the lamp above my desk - meaning we can have the rest of the room on low light whilst I used the brighter setting for work.

Not only are the bulbs brilliant for all the different functions we need to use them for as a family they also use 80% less energy which means you are saving money and thinking of the environment too.

I feel like Spring is the perfect time for little home improvements like this and adding these bulbs to our living room has made a big difference in how we are able to use the space.

You can buy the Philips LED SceneSwitch bulbs from John Lewis
and Amazon 
and there are other filament style bulbs in the range to give off a more vintage feel also! What do you think? Would you add them to your home?

This post is in partnership with Signify. 

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