August Review

Wow this month sure has gone quick, it doesn’t seem two minutes since we were saying goodbye to my little boy’s nursery staff and now we are getting ready to meet his new Reception teachers!

August tends to be a mixed month around here as we have school holidays (which are both a blessing and a curse), my eldest’s birthday and usually very unpredictable weather.

Anyway, here’s a roundup of what I’ve been up to during my first month of blogging and what you can expect over the coming months

Enjoying: The school holidays and spending time with the kids, friends and family.

Looking Forward To: Getting back into a proper routine once school starts again next week.

Planning: My blog content so watch out for lots of new posts about my GTD set up, autumn capsule wardrobe and much more!

Making: Dinosaur crayons out of all the broken crayons we have around the house.

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Buying: Planners, planner accessories and new school uniform

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Watching: Suicide Squad (see midweek date night) and Constanine on Amazon Prime

Listening to: My iTunes library on shuffle. I’ve also been making use of the Genesis playlists

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Reading: The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes; Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington, Alice by Christina Henry (check out my review here) and Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.

Loving: The Stationery Geekette‘s new bookclub subscription box (check out my review here) I currently counting down the days until the launch of the September box on the first.

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Hoping: That the weather stays fine for the rest of this week so we can make the most of the last week of the school holidays.

Working on: Improving my scheduling when it comes to my blog posts, decluttering my home (more to come on this next month, so stay tuned)

Following: Here are a few of the blogs I have been following and loving this month

Just Saying Mum

Ugly Bug Does Life

Lola Peroni

Eating: Far too much junk food and chocolate

Drinking: A bit too much Diet Coke and just a few cocktails 🙂

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Pinning: Capsule wardrobe inspiration ready for updating my clothes ready for Autumn/Winter

Celebrating: My eldest daughter’s 19th birthday as well as her getting a place at University

Well that’s a brief run down of what I’ve been up to this month. What about you guys, what have you been doing this month? What are you looking forward to next month?

The Rainbow Factory: Indoor play for kids with a difference

I had a lovely family day out on Sunday with my OH and the kids at The Rainbow Factory. Having been a couple of times previously I knew roughly what to expect, however we have never been on a weekend so this was a whole new experience and it was fabulous.

The Rainbow Factory is situated in a small industrial estate on the outskirts of Leeds and is easily accessible from Leeds, Bradford and Harrogate. It promotes itself as ‘bringing children’s stories to life through theatre, music & craft’ and I must say it lives up to the expectations.

The Rainbow Factory is a unique storytelling wonderland which is suitable for children up to the age of around 10 (although some reviews I have read disagree with this, however as my children are only 4 and 2 I can’t say for definite).

The venue is situated in a small industrial unit and from the outside isn’t much to look at and without the signage you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d come the wrong place. However, once you get inside it’s like a little mini adventure, the space consists of a yellow brick road which leads through a series of book themed displays which currently include Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Little Red Riding Hood, The BFG and Jack and the Beanstalk.

At the end of the road you enter into the main room which is split into several areas. There is Goldilocks’ Kitchen which is where all the arts and crafts take place, the Gingerbread Café and seating area, the stage area, a small dressing up corner and the Rainbow Room which houses additional seating and a small play area with toys for the smaller children/babies, although my 2-year-old did find plenty to keep her busy in between the other activities.

We arrived a little before 11am and after paying we were taken straight through to where the activities were taking place. The theme at the minute is Heroes and Villains and this theme runs until at least the middle of October I believe.

We had just missed a craft activity which included making a treasure map and also missed out on talking through all the things we might see on a treasure hunt; however, we were just in time to listen to the first story of the day which was Supertato. The story was read by one of the staff, Jorden, who was really animated and engaged the children whenever possible throughout the book.

Once the story was finished everyone embarked on a treasure hunt around the Rainbow Factory led by Rachel and Jorden. We began looking around for the first clue which was hidden on the stage. The clue was read out and off we all set for the next clue which was hidden on the giant.

After clue 2 we took a short break to play a game in which the children had to throw a pea (think small plastic ball) into the giant’s mouth. If you missed, you had to go into his cage and wait until the next person successfully released you by getting the pea in the giant’s mouth.

As there were only around 6 children there they all had two goes before we moved on the next clue. We slowly made our way around the book themed displays deciding whether the characters were heroes or villains and searching for clues. Once we had solved the final clue we had to find our ‘prize’ which was another book to read. This time is was Supertato: Veggies Assemble. We headed back to the stage area and Rachel read the book to everyone with the same enthusiasm.

After the story we had a bit of time to explore on our own before the next activity began – the children chose to do some crafts in Goldilock’s kitchen and my OH and I took this opportunity to refuel with a hot drink – hot chocolate with cream and marshmallow for him, a latte for me.

The bell rang signalling the start of the next activity which was another hero themed story read by Jorden. I must point out at this stage that you don’t have to join in with the activities if you don’t want, although our two seemed to want to be involved in everything. After the story, we stopped to have lunch in the Gingerbread Café.

The food selection is fairly basic and averagely priced. It’s mainly sandwiches, crisps and cakes and the selection and overall quality is good. I had a sandwich and my OH had a panini, while the kids had a kids’ meal each, which consisted of a sandwich, juice box, small yogurt and two snacks from a selection, they opted for crisps and biscuits which ended up being saved for later as they filled up with everything else and wanted to get back to playing, but not before mum and dad sampled the cakes, which were really nice.

The afternoon continued in the same vein with coordinated activities including crafts, interactive performances of Robin Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk and story time as well as free play. The kids had such an amazing time we just followed their lead and before we knew it they were getting ready to close up meaning we had spent around 5 hours there! At no point did we feel like we had seen and done everything and all the time we were there we found something to do, from arts and crafts, to dressing up to joining in the activities and games set up by the staff.

We had a fab day and it was well worth the £20 entry fee (£4 each for my and OH; £4 for my 2 year old and £8 for my 4 year old), we also spent around £20 spent on food, drinks and some gifts on the way out. It was a lot quieter than previous visits but that to me was a bonus as my little boy doesn’t really like overly crowded environments and it meant that he came out of his shell a little more than he normally does, especially since the staff (who are absolutely amazing) had a bit more time to spend interacting with the children in between activities.

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Some of the things we made while we were there

You can find out more information about The Rainbow Factory by checking out their website or liking their Facebook page.

Book Review: Alice by Christina Henry

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Alice by Christina Henry

Since getting my kindle it’s not often that I have an actual book in my hand and I’m not sure whether that was part of the reason I managed to easily devour this book in a little over 24 hours.  Needless to say since starting reading yesterday I’ve spent every waking moment trying to sneak in another chapter or two, or even three.

Although it’s not my preferred genre (I’m more of a crime/thriller girl) but I must admit I really enjoyed it and will be searching out other books with a similar theme. However, I must point out that the story may not be everyone’s cup of tea due to some of the more disturbing themes in the book such as rape, people trafficking, prostitution and torture, but as they aren’t overly detailed it worked just fine for me.

The main protagonists, Alice and Hatch, begin the take in a mental asylum where they have been for the last 10 or so years until one day a fire breaks out and they escape. The story follows them as they try to find their way around the Old City regaining their lost memories in order to defeat the darkness that escaped with them.

I loved the dark twist on the classic Alice in Wonderland novel and I loved how Christina Henry has taken characters from the original – the Caterpillar, Cheshire Cat, Walrus, White Rabbit, all of whom are portrayed in human form, and reworked them into her tale, my favourite being Cheshire.

Don’t get me wrong, there are parts that I wasn’t a huge fan of, such as the fact that all the women in the book, Alice included at the beginning, seemed to be dependent on the men, owned by men or ultimately saved by men.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, such much so that I have already ordered the second book in the series Red Queen and will be looking forward to starting that as soon as it arrives.

If you’ve read the book, what did you think? I’d love to know.

Review: The Stationery Geekette Bookclub Box

*Disclaimer: This is a totally unbiased review of a product I purchased myself. I am in no way affiliated with Emma-Louise Smith or The Stationery Geekette

I first crossed paths with Emma-Louise aka The Stationery Geekette in a planner group we are both members of on Facebook and I began following her blog shortly afterwards as she shared similar interests to me.  In July she posted about her new business venture, a monthly book club subscription box, and I was intrigued.

The teasers that had been released in the run up for this months theme of fantasy had really sparked my interest and so I patiently eagerly awaited the pre-order date of 1 August, making sure to set my alarm clock so I didn’t miss the launch at 7am and miss out on one of the limited boxes available. Obviously I secured one of the boxes otherwise there would be no point to this post 🙂

Then came the wait for the box to arrive.  The original posting date was set for 27 August but on 19 August I received the dispatch notice from Etsy. Emma-Louise had managed to get all the boxes ready and packaged a week early – talk about efficient.  I made sure that I had just about cleared my calendar for the following few days just in case the box arrived when I wasn’t in because believe me, even if I had to answer the door in my underwear and rollers I would be getting my package, that’s how excited I was about it’s arrival.

Although our postman is used to being stalked when he comes to our house, it’s not usually by me in my rollers as my kids have gotten wise to the fact he brings parcels and to them that means stuff to open (I have to arrange for Christmas presents to be delivered to my OH at work for this reason).  Luckily for me today, the kids were out with their grandparents so that were no little monsters to get between me and my goodies.

Eventually the box arrived and I’ve got to say, although understated I loved the little touches Emma-Louise had added such as using a paper doily instead of an address label and using washi tape to help secure the box.

Enough about the packaging, I’m sure you’re all dying to find out what was in the box, well wait no longer.

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I love it all, right down to the gorgeous wrapping

In addition to the book, which this month was Alice by Christina Henry, we received a Uniball Signo Sakura 0.38 (which I believe is Emma-Louise’s pen of choice and one I wholly agree with), some book related stickers from Michelle at UglyBugDoes, a gorgeous owl charm (which just happen to be one of my favourite things at the minute) from AlyMarinaCraft, a bookmark from QuirkyArtsHere  and Harry Potter inspired postcard (mine was of a HufflePuff badger) from SushiStudio.

There were also a couple of other decorative items including a cover letter complete with a lovely wax seal, a doily and cute little journal card which are already sidelined ready to decorate my book journal entry once I’ve read the book. Emma-Louise has also added a bit of fun to the book by separating each book box into ‘houses’ and has included a list of challenges (1 a day for 20 days). Every challenge has been allocated points and at the end of the challenge the points are tallied up and the winning ‘house’ will get a reward to be included in the next months box, exclusively to that house. Go Team Cassiopeia!!

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All in all for the price (£15 plus postage) I think Emma-Louise has done brilliantly with the selection of products included in the  box and I can’t wait for the sneak previews of next months box theme.

If you are interested in purchasing next month’s box then head on over the the TSG: Bookclub Box group over on Facebook. Alternatively, September’s box will be on sale from 1 September over at TSG Bookclub on Etsy, just make sure you leave one for me!!

Well that’s all for now, other than to say well done Emma-Louise, I think you might me onto a winner.

Right I’m off not as I need to go read my book 🙂

Thanks for stopping by

Debbie x

Midweek Date Night

Midweek dates are a rare occurrence in our house as the planning involved in organising a babysitter and getting both kids to bed before we leave is more like a military operation than a date but after finding out earlier in the year that another film in the DC franchise (Suicide Squad) was due to be released in August I pencilled in the date and lined up a babysitter plus a backup just in case.

I’m a big Will Smith fan and my OH is a bit of a DC nerd so this was one movie we didn’t want to miss, although to be honest we have been to the cinema slightly more than usual this year due to the fascination with all things DC/Marvel.  All I can say is thank goodness for Meerkat Movies 🙂

I must admit that after watching Batman v Superman I went along with mixed feelings about this movie. I was really hoping it would be better than Batman v Superman (which wouldn’t be too difficult) and I wasn’t disappointed.

The film moves pretty quickly whilst also providing you a bit of a backstory for each of the characters and I was hooked from pretty early on, although I would like to have seen a bit more of a plot/storyline.

My favourite character without doubt was Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie. Her interaction with Will Smith and the other Suicide Squad members made me laugh and her relationship with Jared Leto’s Joker was perfect (although for me the role Joker will always belong to Heath Ledger).

Have you seen it yet? If so I’d love to know what you thought.

Debbie x

The Scary First Post

Hi there!

I’m both nervous and excited to finally get my blog up and running as I’ve been considering it for ages but never actually got started for one reason or another.

I’m hoping that there might actually be someone out there reading this but if not, never mind.

I’m very new to all this so here’s a bit of an introduction. I’m Debbie, a wife, daughter and mum of 3 crazy kids.

I’m hoping my blog will be an outlet for all my interests (which can be a rather eclectic mix and totally depends on my mood) and if I’m lucky there may even be one or two people who actually read my posts and if I’m really lucky they might even find them interesting and come back for more.

When I find time I love reading and always have a stack of books to read as well as a huge collection on my Kindle. I tend to lean towards thrillers/crime fiction but am currently trying to broaden my horizon by reading other genres and am always open to recommendations.

I am also a massive stationery addict and have been for as long as I can remember. I love anything stationery related and nearly always have more than one pen and a notebook with me wherever I go. This obsession had led me to several planning and journalling communities and I can honestly say that I have finally found my tribe.

When I’m not running around after my family, reading or planning I love chilling with my OH and catching up on the days events or just working through the backlog of TV shows we have on Sky+. I’ve recently been dragged into the world of Batman (and anything DC related) thanks to my OH and I’m starting to turn into a bit of a geek about it all myself.

I’ve got more things I’d like to write about including, but not limited to,

  • Bullet Journalling
  • Planning and Organising
  • Making my House a Home
  • My 101 Goals in 1001 days
  • My Family
  • My Capsule Wardrobe
I’d love to hear from you if any of these sound of interest, so please sign up for notifications so you never miss a post.
Also, being new to all this I would love to connect so please leave your details in the comments below so I can pop over and learn more about you.
Thanks for reading and I hope you come back soon
Debbie x