Reviews and Sponsored

Review: Spar Wines

December 21, 2016

Spar Wines kindly sent us some bottles from their award winning wines to review. It was a great selection, full of some of our favourites and we have enjoyed tasting them over the past couple of weeks at various times.

For a Night in with friends.

Prosseco Speciale RRP £9.00

Spar Prosecco 11:07

They say: This off-dry sparkling wine offers real quality, a fine mousse that is bursting with zesty flavours and aromatic peach.

Our verdict: The words ‘Extra Dry’ in big bold lettering on the label almost put me off before I started on this one. To me dry = acidic and dry wines rarely agree with me. Not in this case however, I took this to a friend’s house to drink and it was light and delicious. One that I would definitely like to drink again.

 

For a meal with that special someone.

Chablis RRP £11.00

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They say: Dry and elegant, this Chablis emanates crisp citrus and subtle fruit aromas. The wine pairs perfectly with light fish dishes such as sea bass with fresh salad.

Our verdict: I asked Mr C to help me write about this one and I won’t tell you what he said, but it was most unhelpful. Which just goes to show that you can choose good wine, but not always choose good company. I am not usually a drinker of white wine but in the past I have made an exception for a Chablis. It isn’t the time of year for salad, and white wine usually means summer to me, so although this wouldn’t be my first choice at Christmas this would definitely be a great wine for summer.

 

For a family get together.

Chateauneuf du Pape RRP £13.50

chateuneuf-du-pape-les-trois-couronnes-bottle

They say: An intensely perfumed nose is followed by a classic, structured palate with black cherry and blackberry fruit and elegant spicing from the oak.

Our verdict: We are big lovers of Chateauneuf du Pape and this bottle did not disappoint. Red wine is my go to drink in the winter months and this was perfect with a nice Sunday dinner. I would be happy to drink this with my Christmas dinner for sure and it would make me feel like it was a special wine for a special meal.

Disclosure: We were provided with three bottles of wine to taste and write about. All opinions written above are my own, from my non trained palate!

 

 

Write

Solitude with Good Company

December 6, 2016

Hello.

Remember me?

I know. It has been a while.

Along the way something has changed. I have lost the will to blog. After being a blogger for so long, this feels weird. Writing about myself and my life has been so much a part of this life for so long that there is a part of me that wants to think that this is just a lull. As my fingers fly across the keys it feels so perfect and familiar. And yet something has changed. I even gave my blog a new header and a facelift and….meh.

Perhaps it is Instagram and how I love sharing our lives in a visual way that stops me blogging. I am partial to a long rambling caption. I think that they call that micro blogging. I call it all I have time for. I still have things to say, but I don’t have the time or the inclination to craft a post about a subject, giving it a beginning, middle and end. I have passing thoughts that I forget to write down and when it comes to it I have forgotten what I actually wanted to say on the subject. Or I am a month out of date. I just end up feeling cross and frustrated.

I have been pondering on this subject and had decided that perhaps smaller is better. And then suddenly I came across Tiny Letter.

And this quote that I love popped into my mind.

solitude-with-good-company

So, after eleven years and five months I am going to try something new. I still have a few posts to share on A Place Of My Own, but as of next week  (or you know, when someone subscribes) I will be sharing my life via an electronic letter to my friends – my readers. So, if you follow this blog, like my posts, or follow me on IG or Twitter and want to know more then you can subscribe. I cannot promise I will write every week and I don’t even know what I will write but I would expect to see a peek at what I have been making, the goings on at our house and things that have made me smile recently. A letter from me to you.

I love the idea of sitting down once in a while, just me on my own talking to you all, writing you a letter. I hope you like the idea too.

Subscribe to Solitude with Good Company

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Kelly

 

Reviews and Sponsored

Breakfast with Father Christmas

December 4, 2016

My kids have always loved our local Wyevale (it’s the combination of cake and a soft play area). When Kate was small she called it the “Centre Garden” and the name has always stuck with our family. We always see the adverts for the Father Christmas experience – a chance to either eat breakfast or tea in the cafe, meet the big man himself, and the kids get to decorate a biscuit and get a present from Father Christmas, but we never made it there before. Last year however we had a terrible experience elsewhere where we booked tickets but it was over booked and we waited three hours outside in the cold and we never even got to see Father Christmas. So when I was offered the chance to take the family along to review Breakfast or Tea with Father Christmas I jumped at the chance – food included, indoors and guaranteed time with our red suited friend.

Today was the big day. We had kept it a secret from the children and only let them know when they were refusing to get dressed – sometimes you just need a ‘carrot’ to get them moving. We arrived at the cafe and were seated at a table. The staff were great, really friendly and polite and brilliant at chatting with the children. It was a really nice atmosphere. There were crackers for pulling and the kids had  a biscuit to decorate and activity place mats to keep them entertained. We were were provided with tea and coffee, and drinks for the children and then the breakfast was bought out. We really enjoyed the food (parents had a choice of a full English breakfast or pastries and hot drinks – we had the breakfast and it was great).

After the food, and some shouting of his name Father Christmas appeared. He walked around and spoke to everyone on each table, having his picture taken with them. Kate was a little shy but Piran was happy to chat a little. Once he had been round to see everyone he sat in his chair and the each table was invited up to see him again and get their present and have more photos taken.

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We had a lovely time and the kids definitely agreed that it had been brilliant. The gifts were good for this sort of thing and age appropriate. My only complaint would be that it would have been nice if the children had got a little more time to actually chat with Father Christmas – just the usual what do you want for Christmas and have you been good this year etc (I hate the word ‘good’ but you know what I mean. It’s tradition.) It was quite quick and more ‘ have you photo taken and off you go’ than I would have liked. That said I think that the whole experience was great fun, brilliantly organised (seamless in fact), the staff were dressed up and in the spirit and it was good value for money.

Disclaimer: I was invited along with my family to come and experience Breakfast or Tea with Father Christmas at Wyevale Garden Centres in exchange for this post. What follows is my honest account of our visit.

Yours Truly

#worldmentalhealthday2016

October 11, 2016

I posted this on Instagram and Facebook yesterday but I wanted to put it here too, in the hope that some days I will remember my own advice!

Smiling

{Smiling} I often joke that I’m the happiest depressed person I know. Smiling on the outside doesn’t mean happiness on the inside all the time. But that’s okay. It’s not a front though, it’s just who I am. I get through with a smile and some choice swear words. As always, this too shall pass.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t worry about what others are thinking of you. Because most of us are so inside our own heads worrying about the same damn stuff.

It’s okay to say ‘I’m afraid’. Sharing how you feel is never a weakness, its a strength. And I have always found that when I am open and honest I not only help myself but also those other people who say “oh thank fuck I thought it was just me”.

If we all talk about Mental Health people might not feel so alone.

#worldmentalhealthday2016 #iamwhole

Create, Live

Adventures

September 16, 2016

I am slowly getting back into the swing of things now that the kids are back at school. I still feel a bit adrift, when busy time becomes ‘free’ time again I always forget that not only do I need time but I also need will power to get stuff done and stay on track. As usual though I just feel so tired due to bedtime shenanigans that it can be hard to be motivated. It has been so hot too, which I struggle with a bit and my productivity crashes when it is too warm for me.

I need to sit down and write a massive brain dump list. I need to walk around the house and make a list of all the things that we want and need to do. All of this still feels completely overwhelming though.

At this time of year I feel like I have been given a fresh start and it is so easy to slip back into the old habits of telling myself that this is the week that I will stop drinking, eat better, drink more water, get some exercise, lose some weight. But it is completely unrealistic and too much.

So I am going to try something a little different. Instead of having a list of projects that I want to work on, or a list of ‘resolutions’ I am starting smaller, picking one thing that I really want to do, or really want to learn and not picking anything else of the list until I have done it. I will call these my adventures.

My first was to go swimming in the sea, which I did twice in the last part of the summer holiday. Oh, it was so nice. Cold, but amazing when you were in and just made me feel brilliant.

That's me!

That’s me! Photo by Piran.

Next was something that has been on my list on intentions (something I vaguely write at the beginning of each year) for a number of years. Make a saffron cake. It is my favourite cake ever and one that I cannot get where I live and can only stuff my face with it when I am home in Cornwall. It took all day Wednesday to make, starting with infusing the milk with saffron and leaving to prove twice. Although it is called a cake it is really a bread recipe with extras! It was baked at tea time and cooled enough by the evening to enjoy with some tea before bed. It wasn’t perfect but I was so proud of myself for finally having a go and making it.

A little burnt but yummy!

A little burnt but yummy!

And so, with those two things completed I now have to pick something else. These projects should be fun, and should be something for me personally I think.

In the time that it has taken me to write this post I have decided that my next adventure will be to go on the London Eye. I have wanted to do it for years and as everyone else in my family is either very unkeen or afraid of heights it is something that I can do by myself. We even have our Merlin passes this year so it will be free!

If you could pick one adventure, something that you would love to do just for yourself what would it be?

Create

Tutorial: Patchwork Table Cover

September 12, 2016

Over the summer I popped in to guest post at Made By Mrs M. I shared a post showing you how to make this lovely patchwork table cover. It is quick and simple and easy to make. I loved using Kate’s fabrics, I have been an admirer from afar for a while and they didn’t disappoint.

patchwork-table-cover-closeup

Pop over and have a look at her beautiful blog and shop and make one for yourself!

Live

2596

September 9, 2016

Anyone that has been reading my blog for a while might remember this post.

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If you don’t I would suggest that you read it if you have the time.

I would like to report that there have been 2,596 bedtimes since I became a parent and NOTHING HAS BLOODY CHANGED.

Actually, that is a lie. It has changed, it has got worse.

Bedtime now consists of a great routine and then the children go to their rooms. They then listen to audiobooks and play and when they have had enough they come back down. The reasons include, being scared of their room, being scared of being alone, not wanting to be apart from us, they are hungry, they just cannot get to sleep, they have a mark on them, they need a medicine of some kind, they are itchy, they want a plaster, they don’t like the water I have given them, they want juice, they are too hot / too cold / don’t like what they are wearing, they want me to fix a toy, they want me to help them find something, they want to get something from downstairs.

Honestly I could go on all day.

Just like they do, when they might finally go to sleep around 9.30pm. Or not, and insist on staying up until we go to bed, which then means one of us at least is sleeping in a bed that is not our own.

Last week there was a point where the kids were asleep in our double bed and we slept separately in their rooms. Once they are asleep the thought of possibly waking them by moving them is just too much.

I am at my wit’s end, and I have the most patience in this house by far. I am worn thin by days and days in their company from the moment that I wake until the moment that I go to sleep. Summer holidays are really hard work for me and then add a lack of space to the evenings and I am slowly falling apart.

We have tried all of the things over the past seven years and every time we make progress something happens to fuck it up. We were making real progress with Piran and he was staying in his room and putting himself to bed when tired for weeks and weeks and then suddenly he is afraid of his room again and we are back to square one. I would happily spend 15 minutes in his room to help him drop off to sleep but that takes him over an hour. It is the way he has always been.

The addition of a child’s meditation / relaxation CD got us ONE WONDERFUL BEDTIME last week but it was a fluke.

I want to remove everything from their bedrooms and just make them stay in there so they are bored and just go to sleep. Except we cannot sell this house and move to the bigger one we had fallen in love with so we are just back to all being cramped in here. I could sell all their toys but that might be a step too far.

One day this will all just seem like a dream to us, when they are grown but right now we are living in a Nightmare.

sleeping

Piran once asked me why I take pictures of them when they are asleep. I told him it was so I know it wasn’t just a happy dream I had.

I know I promised nice catch up posts this week but sometimes you have just got to let it all out.

 

Create

Film: Pebbles in a Jar

September 8, 2016

This was the first time I have ever attempted a stop motion with the camera set up on a tripod. It was quite hard and I can see where I went wrong but it was loads of fun to make.

This was the caption I shared with it on Instagram

{Pebbles} For my #stopmotion film for @xantheb’s #makefilmscourse I decided to just use something lying around the house. I had a rough idea of what I was going to do but then I saw the pebbles in the jar and that decided it for me. Music: Luke Brindley A Little Gift
// Pebbles in my jar has been a metaphor of mine for a number of years. I keep the actual jar of pebbles on the side in our home to remind myself that I am that jar, and every time I do something for others the pebbles go down. And I need to make the time to refill the jar by doing things that ‘fill me up’ and make me happy. That way I will always have more to give // It was the perfect reminder as the holidays continue on and my energy and patience levels are running low. Making the film, and taking part in Xanthe’s course are things that make me happy, so this was a win win situation. \\ A little wobbly and not perfect I still think it’s a bloody good try for my first time with the camera set up like this. I also ended up cropping it for IG too. #sgiew #sgiew_sandandsea

Pebbles in a jar from Kelly-Marie Cheesley on Vimeo.

Create, Live

Film: This and That

September 8, 2016

This film was one I made of different parts of our holiday this summer. We went to Cornwall, Yorkshire and I spent a couple days in Birmingham at the NEC at the end. We were away for three weeks. This has a mix of shots that I had been practicing for my Make Films course.

This and that from Kelly-Marie Cheesley on Vimeo.