Tag Archives: Chorlton

Giving back this Christmas – Our Reverse Advent Box

This December we have been taking part in Reverse Advent and it’s been a wonderfully heartwarming family task. If you’ve not heard of Reverse Advent before, it’s where you take a box and each day you add something to it with the intention of giving the box away to someone in need.

I chose to donate our box to our local foodbank – Chorlton and Didsbury Foodbank. The foodbank opened in 2014 and last year gave over 1000 people and families three-day emergency food supplies. 

Although we’ve never been at the point where we’ve needed to get a referral to a foodbank, there have been times when the cupboards have been bare and I’ve not had the money to buy food. There have been times where I’ve skipped meals to make sure the boys get food in their belly and I’ve wondered how I’ll feed them their next meal. As frugal as I am, sometimes the money just doesn’t always stretch as far as I’d like. 

In late November the Co-op sent me a big blue box and some ideas for my Reverse Advent. Every time I popped to the shops I’d put a few extra tins, jars, or packets of dried food in my basket and when I got home I put them in my box.

Giving back this Christmas - Our Reverse Advent box

I knew my local foodbank would appreciate the box of food supplies before Christmas, so I did cheat a little and over the weekend I filled my box, packed it up and it’s ready to be delivered to the foodbank.

As a blogger we get sent a lot of things over the year, some of which we use, some of which we give away to friends and family. I’d saved a big bag of children’s books and lots of craft kits (the kind where everything you need is included, so you don’t need extra glue or paint, or things people may not have). So I’ve donated those to the foodbank too. They’ll be given to the children attending their Christmas party and I can’t think of a better home for them.

Putting the Reverse Advent box has been really easy. Buying a couple of items each time I popped to the shops was a doddle and didn’t make a huge dent in our budget. When you first get your box it can be hard to think of what you could fill it with. So I’ve put together a suggested shopping list (below) if you need some ideas to get you started…

Giving back this Christmas - Our Reverse Advent box

The Reverse Advent box is definitely something our family will be embracing as a family tradition. We know how fortunate we are to have food in the cupboards and a warm house to live in. It’s only right that we give a bit of what we can, when we can.

For more information about the Reverse Advent campaign with The Co-op read their blog. To find your nearest foodbank and to find out more about their work, or how to access their services, visit the Trussell Trust website.

Merry Christmas xx

Now We Are Six: We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

Over the weekend the small boy (who is not so small these days) turned six. This year his birthday fell on a Saturday, so we decided to throw him a party on his actual birthday, and I’m so glad we did.

Over the years we’ve had a couple of Rhythm & Rhyme parties, a couple of soft play parties and a brilliant party on a Steam Train. We like to try and do things a bit differently if we can, so we defied his instructions and booked him a “We Are Adventurers Pirate Party”. This outdoor party in a forest school was a bit of a gamble for a boy with a November birthday, but it massively paid off.

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

For the uninitiated, We Are Adventurers is a forest school, they have them dotted about in various locations, but there’s one a few miles from our house. The basic premise is a birthday party (we had 20 kids) would spend a few hours with a couple of leaders in the woods, building a camp fire, going on a treasure hunt, running, screaming and chasing each other through the woods and then building a pirate ship out of sticks they collected from around the camp.

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

Parents didn’t have to be there, but a few stuck around and we all watched in awe as our kids had the time of their lives. It was brilliant. At the end of the party all the kids sat around the fire eating the picnic lunches I’d made for them, and they toasted marshmallows around the fire. There were lots of children being reluctantly dragged from the woods afterwards, and most of them were top to toe covered in mud, with the biggest smiles on their faces.

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

It was fantastic. Before we’d even got home, the not so small anymore boy was asking for the same kind of party again next year. I think that’s a birthday wish we can grant him!

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

We Are Adventurers have a number of different party options including Pirates & Princesses, Bear Hunt, Elves & Fairies, Robin Hood, Creepy Crawlies and Superhero Adventure. They also run holiday clubs and a range of other activities.

Prices for a We Are Adventurers party start from £12 per head and you can pay extra for picnic bags and goody bags (we did our own catering but they did the goody bags). For more information visit their website.

 

We Are Adventurers Birthday Party

We paid for our party in full and have not been compensated for this post. We just had the best time, so I thought I’d share how brilliant it was.

Well-Being: Experiencing an AromaTouch Massage

Earlier this year my local holistic health centre, Healthyspirit in South Manchester added a new massage treatment to their already impressive list – AromaTouch. I was keen to find out more, and when a friend tried it and recommended it I knew I had to get myself booked in.

The massage sounded blissful, “a light relaxing massage technique of applying therapeutic grade essential oils to produce a profound whole-body experience. The many benefits of this massage include stress management, immune support, and support of your body’s autonomic balance. AromaTouch enhances essential oils activity and stimulates known body meridians and energy zones, while balancing body systems and function.”

I was shown up to the Crystal Room, a cosy and comfortable therapy room at Healthyspirit. The therapist, Helen Scott sat down and talked me through the treatment and asked me some questions about my physical and emotional health. I explained about my spinal injury and Helen reassured me that it was very gentle and the massage wouldn’t hurt me. We talked about how I was feeling at the moment and the reasons why I was feeling stressed and under pressure. Helen then left the room while I got ready for the massage and made myself comfortable on the massage table.

AromaTouch

As Helen would be touching my back, ears and feet, I lay on my front covered in a warm towel. I had taken my jewellery, clothes and socks off, but she let me keep my leggings on as I was comfortable wearing them.

Helen began by getting me to breathe deeply several times to relax me, and as soothing music played in the background she gently and rhythmically massaged a series of essential oils into my back. Her hands felt like warm waves moving from my spine to my side, very gentle, but with each application of oil I could feel some of my stresses being stroked out of me. 

Several different essential oils were used on me in a specific sequence, after each one was applied Helen would massage the oils into my back in that same wave like motion. It was blissful and I was incredibly comfortable, almost dosing off at one point. 

Helen then moved onto my feet, applying peppermint and orange essential oils to them, she massaged them using a gentle rhythmic motion and I felt incredibly relaxed, I didn’t want it to stop. I have eczema on my feet which wasn’t a problem and Helen double checked if I was happy for essential oils to be applied before she started, which I was.

The AromaTouch massage was incredible. Afterwards I felt a bit woozy so I sat for a while and sipped some water. I often feel this way after a particularly relaxing treatment. Helen suggested I have a bath the following day so that the oils could stay on my skin for as long as possible, so I went home and snuggled under a blanket for a few hours whilst I enjoyed feeling blissfully relaxed. 

The AromaTouch massage is currently £35 for an hour long massage. It’s very gentle and soothing, but I’ve rarely felt so deeply relaxed. The effects lasted for quite a few days and it was gentle enough that my rickety spine felt no ill effects afterwards. AromaTouch is so pampering and blissful, if you need some time out from life for an hour, a serious stress release or a pamper I can very much recommend this treatment.

The AromaTouch massage is available from Healthyspirit in South Manchester. For more information and to book, visit their website.

Breakfast Week: Our Mystery Day Out with Nestlé Cereals

Rather excitingly Sunday marked the start of Breakfast Week 2016 (24th-30th January) and I am finally able to spill the beans (or in this case, Cheerios) about what we’ve been up to with Nestlé Cereals. 

Last weekend we were told to be up and raring to go by 9am, a courier would arrive with a box and some instructions and we just needed to go with the flow. We were all excited and a little nervous about what Nestlé had planned for us, I’m not very good with secrets so this was a little out of my comfort zone, but if you’d like to see what we got up to please watch our vlog below…
 

As you can see from the vlog we had a fantastic time at Pottery Corner in Chorlton. We loved the surprise and we all enjoyed painting our new breakfast bowls and getting our handprints done. It was nice to sit down with a cuppa and chat amongst ourselves. We’ve never been to Pottery Corner before and it was so warm and welcoming, we’ll definitely be back to complete our dinner set.

breakfast week

breakfast week

nestle 1

breakfast week

And then we had our family hand-prints done as a lovely reminder of the day.

breakfast week

nestle 2

During Breakfast Week Nestlé Cereals are inviting everyone to Shake Up Your Wake Up and try something new. Cereals are a great way to start your day, fortified with vitamins and minerals, and each bowl contains one of your recommended 3-5 portions of whole grain a day. I know that sending my son off to school having had a good breakfast means he will start the day the right way.

There are so many different Nestlé Cereals to choose from; from much-loved favourites such as Shredded Wheat and Shreddies, kids favourites like Cheerios and modern classics like Oats & More, Cookie Crisp, the delicious Curiously Cinnamon as well as Nestlé Gluten Free Cornflakes. During the next week I’ll be giving my boys a new breakfast every day, so please follow me on Instagram to keep tabs on what the boys are breakfasting on this week!

Will you be doing things differently this breakfast week?

= In collaboration with Nestlé Cereals =