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.


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


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} 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


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?


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.


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



September 9, 2016

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


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.


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.



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.

Create, Live

Film: Walking in the woods

September 7, 2016

This first film was shot on a day out with my sister and neice and nephew on holiday in Cornwall. Kate had a massive tantrum half way round but it was still a nice day. I didn’t include that bit though (it’s hard to shoot film with a child slung over your shoulder). I love Kate casting spells on me and the things in the tree.

Walking in the Woods from Kelly-Marie Cheesley on Vimeo.

Yours Truly

Back to School

September 6, 2016

Well, what a summer. Overall it was a lovely time, and we have all had a proper break. I haven’t worked for six weeks and the kids had a great holiday. At one point I sprained my foot and had to mostly sit and rest for a week. It has been a long time since I have done that.

And now the kids have gone back to school and it is time for me to get back to work!

Hopefully that will mean that I have time to get back to blogging again. I really want to start writing again, we have had some real trials at times this summer and I know that sharing helps me get through. Instagram has been great for that, but nothing really compares with tapping it all out onto a page and just letting it all go. It really is one of the best things I can do for myself.

I know a lot of people feel the same as me, that September is a great time for a new start. I never really make resolutions in January. But this time of year I feel like I am starting a fresh page, that this is the start of the next year. This year that is completely reinforced by going back to college and starting my second year of my City and Guilds. I have done a bit of work over the summer but I still have a fair amount to complete and I am looking forward to having the time to get stuck in.

This week I will share some of the things that I have done over the summer – I have been taking part in Xanthe Berkeley’s Make Films course so will show you what I have made.

I have been guest posting so I will share that with you too.

And I have been drawing all summer so I will also write a post about my Sketchbooks.

When I haven’t blogged for so long I often wonder if people are still reading. I hope that they are, and even if they are not this is a great place to collect everything about my life and it does me good to keep doing that. I just have to make the time.

Back to school 2016