Drusillas Zoo and the Rainforest Carousel

Our first visit to Drusillas zoo was in 2017. It was quickly decided that it is, hands down, our favourite family day out.

You can imagine, as a large family with children ranging from under two to twelve years old, finding somewhere that offers something for everyone is hard and this is exactly why we love Drusillas.

When an email popped into my Inbox inviting us to a press day to celebrate the opening of their new ride – The Rainforest Carousel, we were absolutely thrilled.

Drusillas Zoo is still as wonderful today as it was when we first visited two years ago. Apart from the animals and a new ride, not a huge amount has changed. So for my comprehensive review of Drusillas please read my 2017 post here.
Drusillas is a small zoo situated near Alfristen in East Sussex. It is about twenty minutes from Eastbourne and about and hour and a half from London. Luckily for us, it is a forty five minute journey through the beautiful Ashdown Forest.

When I said Drusillas is a small zoo, that is their description, but personally I think that is an understatement. They have over one hundred species and the enclosures and exhibits are extremley well designed and looked after.
Mikey and Charlie are huge fans of reptiles. Since Rango the Bearded Dragon and Victoria the Horsefield Tortoise joined our family last year.

Now they spend their days on YouTube, watching various reptile experts. They teach them conservation and how to care for everything from Alligators to The Monitor (I know, I had never heard of one either…google it, I am not a fan!)
So they were in their element as they walked through the snakes, iguanas and lizards, reading new facts about their favourite animals and teaching the rest of us what they already knew.
Arthur and George, the youngest of our family were fascinated by every animal at Drusillas.

All the enclosures and exhibits have been designed in such a way that small children can see freely without having to be lifted up to view the animals.
The monkeys were their favourite, watching them play and tumble with each other was not unlike a Saturday morning in our house!

After walking through the Lemur enclosure, stepping over them as they jumped right in our path, we headed to Lory Landing, the Rainbow Lorikeet enclosure.
We purchased our £1 pot of nector and fed these beautiful, exotic birds.
They were landing on our heads, arms and shoulders. They took a particular liking to Charlie who spent over half an hour bonding with them.

Just when you think you may have seen everything, you enter the kids park.
It is a playground that childrens dreams are made of.

It includes a water zone, zip wires, climbing frames, trampolines and most importantly, a cafe that serves coffee!

Once you leave the playground, you pass the picnic area which is surrounded by amusments, inflatable games and the park train.
…….you are still not finished though!
Hello Kitty Secret Garden and Go Wild are where your youngest children can have a taste of a theme park, with rides suitable for young children (Arthur, aged 22 months loved it).

The Rainforest Carousel is a beautiful addition to park. Situated at the exit, it is the perfect way to finish your day at the zoo.

Pick your animal, a cheetah? A dolphin Butterfly? Lizard? Tortoise? Climb on and enjoy a relaxing ride around The Rainforest.
After a wonderful five hours spent at Drusillas, we were ready to head home. When you look in your rear view mirror and see all six children fast asleep, not even ten minutes into our journey home, you know everyone has had a great day.

We were gifted entry tickets to Drusillas in return for a this post.
More days out in South East include:
Day out at Thorpe Park
Day out at Godstone Farm
Day Out at Leeds Castle
Day out at The Imperial War Museum

Lalo Hair and Make Up

It was drummed into me as a teenager that I should never colour or cut my hair.
‘People pay a fortune for your hair colour, you should never dye it’
As I got older I began to appriciate my red hair and it is a huge part of my identity so I never really want to change it.
That being said, I got bored of it very easily! Especially when your friends are mixing it up from blonde to dark to short to long, pink and grey!

I used to always ask for similar styles, layers, bouncy blow dry and maybe a few highlight through my hair.
It never looked much different, but to be fair, every hairdresser knew I didn’t really want a big change.
I was stuck in a ‘hair rut’, not happy with the style of my hair but too scared to hand the reigns to a hairdresser to make a big change.
Three years ago, I was celebrating my brothers in Laws 40th Birthday at a local Pub.
Across the dancefloor I saw one of the most beautiful redheads I had ever seen!
As I complemented her hair over a re application of lippy in the ladies loo, she informed me she was a hairdresser.
After that declaration, I was never letting her out of my life!

Laura is a bubbly, ball of energy that oozes style and confidence.
She is effortlessly boho chic and always looks fabulous, even when she isn’t feeling it!
It is this persona that made me feel confident enough, for the first time ever, to say….’do whatever you want to my hair.’

If her aura isn’t enough to make you beg her to play with your locks, her credentials are.
She managed one of Surreys top salons for years before leaving to work freelance.
Since then she has worked everywhere. From London Fashion Week to exclusive weddings, she has styled so many celebrities from Madonna to to Binky Felstead and the Victoria Secret Models.

She has been flown by private jet to luxury yachts plotted up in the Mediterranean to style A Class celebrities and assist in shoots.

She has been creative director for an exclusive Beauty Agency in London and also is an incredible Make Up Artist.
Her passion is bridal hair and it really shows in her work. She also adores her private clients (especially me).

In typical hair stylist fashions, she is a great listener. I often find myself moaning, ranting or laughing throught my appointment.
I genuinely look forward to seeing her, not just because I know i will come out feeling like a million dollars, but because she is great company.

As a mum, it is great for me that Laura comes to my home aswell and is so patient when the kids are around.
She has completly changed my attitude towards my hair and it has given me so much confidence.

I asked Laura a couple of questions about her work.
What is your favourite thing about being a hair stylist?
My clients! I have a great relationship with all of them. I love seeing them and we love a good catch up. It’s important to me that my clients trust me and feel comfortable with me in their homes. It’s like a new friendship group.
What has been your most memorable moment whilst working?
I have lots of amazing memories, I am very fortunate to have travelled a lot for jobs so I always remember the amazing yacht trips and lovely warm evenings after work. Client wise, probably styling the Victoria Secrets models for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in Monaco.

What is your top hair tip?
Be brave! If your bored, change it. But use someone you trust. I like to make people feel better about themselves so will always offer up advice to make them feel a bit different. A change is better than a rest!
If you could style anyone’s hair, who would it be?
Well, she isn’t my typical ‘style’ of work but The Queen! Love her! Otherwise I think Marilyn Monroe would have been fun.

For more of Laura’s styles and work take a look at her stunning photos on Instagram Lalo Hair

Laura is based in Surrey but can travel depending on locations. For more information contact Lalo Hair and Make Up and mention Modern Mum
What do you think of her results?

Five Reasons Why Everyone Loves a Leavers Hoodie

One of the most momentous moments of Year 6 for Mikey and Harrison was receiving their 2018 Leavers hoodies.
This wasn’t a tradition when I was at school but how I wish it was, I am sure they will last longer that my size 11-12 white shirt with pals names scribbled all over them.
What a lovely way to remember some of the most special years of your life. I even seen friends who are in their 20’s wearing their High School Leaver Hoodies with pride.
Robert Joyce, the managing director of personalised clothing company Yazzoo, has wrote a wonderful guest post for Modern Mum about this growing tradition and why it has become such a large part of our children’s school life.

5 Reasons Everyone Loves a Leavers Hoodie
A symbol of school spirit and a wearable memento of one of the most formative times in our lives, the humble leavers hoodie is a fashion hero. Bringing together comfort and nostalgia into one cosy, comfy and snuggly wearable item, it’s a rite of passage for students all over the country.
As students across the UK brace themselves for the coming exams and prepare to leave their schools, we take a look at the enduring appeal of the leavers hoodie. Here are our top five reasons why your child will love their leavers hoodie.
1. For the Tradition
Did you know that hoodies have been a fashion staple for over 100 years? Its origins are unclear, but one popular story is that way back in 1919, an American company called Champion Products was looking to boost its standard sweatshirts, so it added a hood to shield wearers from the cold. The rest, as they say, is history. Schools across the US rushed to buy hoodies for their sports teams and societies. In the 1980s, the rise of fabric screen printing technology led to customised school clothing growing in popularity, and the leavers hoodie was born.
But arguably, the long history of the leavers hoodie is part of something much more innate in all of us — the need to scrawl our names on things as a means of memorialising them and making our mark on the world. From the cave drawings of ancient man to etching our names in trees, desks and bathroom doors, it’s a trademark of humankind.
Graduating from the unintelligible scrawlings on signed primary school t-shirts, the leavers hoodie is a more elegant and effortless extension of this same impulse to immortalise our place in time.
2. For the Sentimentality
Do you ever think back to the simplicity of your school days when you’re having a bad day, or reminisce about your school day escapades during long commutes to the office? Our memories are far more than just meaningless thoughts — they make us who we are and help us get us through difficult times in our lives. No time is more important and formative than our school days.
A leavers hoodie makes memories tangible; they’re a wearable item that keeps those memories alive. Your child has no doubt formed thousands of priceless memories during their school years — school trips, new friends, playground larks and, of course, interesting facts, books and skills. School life is full of trials and tribulations and successes and discoveries that all play an integral role in our personal development. It’s those memories that stay with us for the rest of our lives.
3. For the Sense of Belonging
Leaving school can be overwhelming and many students experience a deep sense of anxiety as the big day approaches. Although there are many reasons why students feel unsettled by leaving school, one of the most common reasons is the prospect of no longer belonging to their own, comfortable community. When once they were surrounded by their friends and like-minded people within a secure bubble, now they’re facing the daunting prospect of adulthood and the many things life throws at them.
Emblazoned with their school logo and proudly displaying their school colours, a leavers hoodie is an informal uniform that binds all school leavers together. Whether your child will miss the camaraderie of the classroom, running around at break time or simply the routine of the school day, a hoodie is a perfect way to instil their group identity and help them navigate those first few months in a new and unfamiliar environment.
4. For the Comfort
No list about the leavers hoodie will be complete without a mention of its sheer comfort and wearability. Perfect for slouching on the sofa, wrapping up after the gym or nipping down to the shops, a leavers hoodie is a go-to wearable comfort blanket.
Not only that, but each time your little one (or perhaps not-so-little one!) returns for a weekend break at the family home or is feeling overwhelmed at university or in their job, their leavers hoodie will be a comforting trip back in time to a more carefree time of their life.
5. For the School
What better way to pay homage to the place that made you than by promoting it in the clothes you wear? Happy students are the best advert for a good school, so if your child loved their school experience, why not give its publicity a boost in an effortless and fashionable way?
Leavers Hoodies are a rite of passage for all students. Why not get one for your child from a personalised clothing company? It’s the perfect nostalgia trip.
Author bio: Robert Joyce is the managing director of Personalised clothing company Yazzoo, which delivers high-quality screen printing and embroidery services at economy prices.
*this post was sponsored by Yazzoo*
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Life with an eleven year old 'gamer'

I really didn’t expect to have to deal with my children being influenced from an outside source as young as eleven years old.
We haven’t even started high school. Yet, here I am, trying to tackle my son, who, up until five moths ago was a polite, calm, laid back kid who’s biggest problem was finding matching sock in the morning and throwing the odd strop bcause I hadn’t stockedthe cupboards up with enough chocolate biscuits.
Then, like an unwelcome guest who moved in and took over our lounge (and wifi)…. Fortnitearrived!
Before then he would take or leave the computer. He would play ten minutes here, half an hour there and then lose interest.
H originally ‘sold’ Fortnite to me as a free game that he can play with his school friends, I agreed that he could download it.
Since then, parenting my Fortnite obsessed son has turned me into an skilled negotiator, lowered my mental age to 11 to try to understand/sympathise with him and brought out my inner ‘Mrs Trunchball’.
I get it. I remember being obsessed with Mario Kart and Sonic the hedgehog when I was his age. My brother and I would play for hours and hours if we were allowed (which we weren’t).
The big difference is that I wasn’t accessible to anyone online and once the game was purchased, no further expenses were incurred.
Fortnite is ingenious, they have created a game with an online community which creates a constant link to friends (and strangers) as well as offering a so called ‘free’ game but that you have to constantly buy bolt ons for.
I have moaned about the game, I have had screaming matches with my son, I have tried to reason with him, it has been an exhausting few months and I know I am not alone.
H would get back from school and put his headphones straight on.
He sulked when I ask him to switch it off.
He threw tantrums if the internet was slow because it made the game ‘lag’.
His general attitude was shameful and I was not ready for this ‘Kevin’ stage, (certainly not until he is at least 13!
Apart from the change in his attitude, I was concerned about the dangers. My husband has friends that play this game! Without realising it H has been playing in online groups that adults have been in.
It was Piers Morgan of all people who I felt gave me the kick up the arse I needed.
There was a section on Good Morning Britain about Fortnite and it’s effects on children.
We heard about children who were wetting themselves rather than stopping the game (you can not pause Fortnite). They also announced that Fortnite is the first game that has resulted with a child being referred for counseling on the NHS.
So Piers, rather than just object to the game, put the blame firmly at the parents feet.
My first reaction was anger. This game has been expressly designed to hook and addict my child and I was trying my hardest to keep my preen in line.
The family counsellor who was a guest on the show said ‘Parents are trying to hard to be liked by their children, they are too scared to upset them’
That sounded so familiar and then I realised, I had become the mum I never thought I would be…..the mum that puts being her child’s friend in front of discipline, safety and respect.
I made H watch the segment. He saw for himself what the majority of parents were thinking.
All the children are telling their parents,
‘Jonnys mum lets him play when he wants’
‘Billys mum lets him play longer than you let me’
When actually, that’s all rubbish! We are trying to enforce rules and the kids are (embarrassingly) manipulating us.
I asked him what he thought was a reasonable amount of screen time each day. We agreed on 45 minutes on a week day (after chores and homework is done) and 1.5 hours at the weekends.
So far this has been working brilliantly.
We have also sat down together and watched the story of Breck Brednar, a school boy that lived near to us.
He was groomed for over a year by a lad in his gaming community. Despite his parents concerns and warnings, he was tragically murdered at 14 years old by the 17 year old boy.
Watching the documentary was a big turning point.
Listening to Brecks mum recall how she tried so hard to reason, explain, sanction Breck because she knew the dangers there could be online, was heart breaking. To then watch Breck ignore his parents concerns, just like H had been doing to us, and to seewhat tragedy has resulted was a wake up call for me, my husband, H and his brothers.
So much so that my husband ran the London Marathon this year for The Breck Foundation.
H has a new attitude to the computer now, and I still know it is an on going battle, but for now it is one we are winning!

I would love to know about your experience with your child and gaming.
I asked a few fellow bloggers how they deal with this and limit screen time with their children:
My son has an hour per day. And if he starts shouting at the screen, it gets turned off straight away.
My son had his first Xbox for his 9th birthday in December. Honestly? We just let him monitor his own screen time and after hammering it for a few months, he’s got bored of it. He will have the odd hour here and there but as a whole it’s fizzled out.
I allow our daughter some screen time on the iPad as some down time before dinner or on long car journeys. She knows she’s limited to 30minutes and is only allowed on certain apps. We make sure she’s not shut away in her room so we are aware of what she’s doing/watching.If she’s not behaved well then she doesn’t have it at all. It’s definitely a privilege.
We use an app that blocks the children’s devices after 2 hours of use. Its brilliant as I can set bed times, school hours, outdoor time etc and can also select which apps are blocked at different times. The kids can also earn more screentime by doing extrajobs and since the app manages it all, mum cant be blamed for it running out of time!
We allow an hour after school, it must go off before dinner time and they seem happy with that, it’s letting them know that you are in charge and your rules stand, my son doesn’t play fortnite but does play mine craft with his sister occasionally and I alwaysmake sure to time them and they seem pretty happy coming off when asked.
I allow our daughter some screen time on the iPad as some down time before dinner or on long car journeys. She knows she’s limited to 30minutes and is only allowed on certain apps. We make sure she’s not shut away in her room so we are aware of what she’s doing/watching.If she’s not behaved well then she doesn’t have it at all. It’s definitely a privilege.
I’ve been talking a lot about this today after posting a news article about another 9 yr old having issues.
Despite attempts to demonise one videogame or another, this is really an issue of parents being involved and setting limits. Make an effort to understand the games your children are playing and you’ll be better informed about their suitability.
Many games are rated for content but only parents will know if a child is emotionally mature enough to remain calm whilst playing a competitive game. Parents should set clear time limits and stick to them so that children learn what those boundaries are.
If a child is getting angry or upset while playing, it’s time to turn the game off and come back with a calmer state of mind. If the child can’t stay calm, they are not yet mature enough to be playing it at all.
Use it as a reward. We have daily tasks that she can work towards and if she does well she has an extra ten minutes. Giving them a time limit helps and if she starts to cry or grumpy when I take it away she doesn’t get it the next.
Our two have screen time but I limit them to 60mins maximum a day then they must turn it off and go do a activity away from the screens/ consoles
We don’t have any set times as such for games as such but we do have break rules. After playing a game for half an hour she will come off for a snack or a drink and then go back on if she wants and more often than not she chooses to do something else. We havenever had set restrictions and it works for us. She spends more time drawing and reading than playing games. I think gaming gets really bad stick when in most cases it’s down to parents not understanding the games their children are playing. If parents lookedinto the games their children are playing and supervised them then half of the news stories wouldn’t make the papers because they wouldn’t exist.
We don’t have set screen time they are allowed on when they like but having seven children they don’t get long anyway!! They all know they are not allowed to play any game over their age limit but most of them prefer going to the beach or playing in the paddlingpool at the moment.
Until about 6 weeks ago, we had screen times at set times during the day – 12-1:30 for my eldest (when youngest naps) and then 4pm-5pm while I cook dinner. The TV/screens simply don’t go on outside those times, so my kids are used to it. The last few weeks,however, I’ve also scrapped the late afternoon session because the weathers been so lush they’ve been playing outside anyway! We have a lot of music on during the day.
I don’t give my son limits although he has to come down for all meals and I do every now and then insist he does something else. He has special needs and struggles to go out much so his social life is playing online with his friends and chatting school andstuff at the same time.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Supporting other parents

**WARNING – I have wrote this post with a ten month old on my lap and my two year old bouncing on my legs playing horsey so please excuse any typos, bad grammar or spelling mistakes!******
I have only just started enjoying our lunch dates with the kids again.
As soon as George turned fifteen months my usual calm, civilized diners started to resemble a scene out of Jurassic Park.
The one where the T-Rex is flipping cars and tearing down fences while the humans watch on, horried, from behind a tree!

I would get flustered and embaressed while George flung himself out of the high chair (those wooden ones are beyond pointless!).
He would chew food up and then let it spill out of his mouth onto the table while telling me
‘Don’t like it’.
Instead of the pasta Arribiata infront of him, he would have his eyes on my moules mariniere (and happily eat every one!).

The floor around his seat would have a mixture of food, snapped crayons and napkins scattered everywhere. It was so messy that I would leave the servers a 40% tip out of embarrassment and guilt.
If I tried to discipline him at the table, he would scream louder and then would come the disapproving glances from around the restaurant.

Considering I took my first four children out all the time, and we would be complimented on how well behaved they were…this was new territory for me.
Add a new baby Arthur, who had a healthy set of lungs on him into the mix and eating out became nothing but an anxiety inducing stress-fest!

Since November, thankfully things have changed. For a start, George has developed a love for YouTube (yep…and I WILL give him his tablet if It means I can drink my coffee while it is hot!)
Also, now he can talk and communicate more his behaviour has taken a huge turn. I would even say eating out with him is enjoyable!
The most important thing I learnt about my number five is that ‘No one puts baby in the corner. ‘
He is happier sitting in an adults seat with the older kids rather than a high chair next to mum!

Last week we took the younger boys out to our local Italian for some lunch.
It is one of our favourites because it is no only child friendly but seriously delicious too.
It was a Friday lunchtime and the restaurant was full of mums with toddlers and older ladies and gents enjoying a retirement lunch.

We were sat between a couple in their 70’s (I am guessing) and a lady with a baby having lunch with her parents.
The baby next to us must have been about seven month and was crying…and crying…and crying.
Her mum was trying desperatly to sooth her but the baby wasnt having it and the mum looked tired and stressed.
Mike was trying to have a conversation with me but I couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying.
I was so distracted.
It wasn’t the baby that was bothering me…it was her mum.
She was flustered and panicking and I could feel every inch of her uncomfort.
I glanced around and realised the older couple had asked to be moved and the mothers with toddlers were rolling their eyes and tutting!
I felt like crying for her!
I walked over and knelt down to the mum with her baby.
‘Most the people in the room are parents and we have all been where you are. Don’t worry about anyone else, you are doing a great job.’
I offered to take the baby while she finished her lunch as ours hadnt arrived yet.
She burst into tears and gave me a big hug.
The mum felt instantly more relaxed and in turn, her little baby calmed down.
George and Arthur were a joy that day and unlike the mum next to me, we were getting nods of approval. Usually I would feel proud that out kids good behaviour is being aknowledged, but when the praise is coming from the same judgemental dicks that are rolling their eyes at a crying baby I just felt annoyed.
Rewind just a few weeks and it was me that was sitting their being talked about and feeling shamed.
George didnt let us down though. As the bill was placed on the table he kicked his shoes off and ran through the restaurant. He ran around tables, giggling and screaming as I chased him like a overweight hurdler after a bottle of prosecco.
As I passed the mums who had been rolling their eyes i laughed
‘It was all going so well! That will teach me for being smug!’ hoping they might find the hint and advice in my comment.
George ran behind the bar, hi-fiving the waiters and I finally rugby tackled him at kitchen door!
A couple of days after this I read in a paper that a lady with a crying baby was asked to leave a cafe because it was upsetting the customers.
I wonder how many of those people offered some help or advice to the mum, who may well have been struggling herself, before they complained to the owner?
Or whether the owner of the cafe thought to ask if there was anything he/she could do to help before they showed her to the pavement.
I do have sympathy for everyone who wants to have a quiet meal without ‘naughty’ children or screaming babies around them. My point is simply, before you roll your eyes, ask to be moved or tut at the parents, take a second to think.
Could this parent be struggling? Could that child throwing a tantrum have a disability that you can not see? Could this parent benifit from a gentle hand of reassurance? Or more to the point…..were your children always perfect?
Anyway, im off out for lunch with all the kids….wish me luck 😜

Quick Breakie Salad

Time : under 10 minutes
3 slices of smoked bacon
3 eggs
I red chilli (optional)
Cherry tomatoes
Spring onion
1) Remove all the fat from the bacon and grill it.
2) ‎Scramble the eggs (no milk or butter) I find making it in the microwave the easiest.
3) ‎Cut the chilli, cherry tomatoes and spring onion.
4) ‎Cut the cooked bacon into slices and mix all the ingredients together.
Season with salt and pepper
0 syns on Slimming World
When I make this breakfast I have to make double because the kids absolutly love it!
If you give this a go, let me know what you think.
Sharing is caring….we all need a bit of inspiration when it comes to quick meals so please share on your social media
Love K

Modern Mum's Modern Women

Before I explain about my exciting ‘Modern Mum’s Modern Women’ Event I am organising in Caterham, Surrey, I would like to give you a bit of background on me.
My name is Kate and first and foremost, I am a mum to six beautiful children.  
My oldest boys have just turned eleven and my youngest is seven months old.

I have always felt it is important, dispite being a mum, to keep my sense of self worth.  Whether that is getting out once in a while with my friends, making sure I find time for myself or keeping my toe in the world of business.  
I need to feel like there is more to me than nappy changing, mum taxi, nursey rhymes, nerf targets and cheif chef and bottlewash (as fun as all that can be).
After spending my career as an Estate Agent, I went back to college in 2011 and qualified as a beauty therapist.  
I have been helping my husband run his Scaffold Company for the last ten years and we also own a Property Company which buys and refurbishes residential homes.
My biggest passion though, is my blog, www.modernmum.net
It is primarily a parenting blog where I share my life, ideas and reviews.
I have also learned a new skill since hitting my thirties. Talking.
I love chatting and meeting new people.  I love talking to the person behind me in the H&M queue.  I love talking to other mums.  I love talking to the elderly man in the coffee shop….and guess what!? For the most part, they seem to enjoy talking to me.
I have realised the power of reaching out, Sharing ideas, meeting new people and drawing inspiration from other women

So, I had this idea.  
I love a girls nights out. 
I love drinking cocktails and dancing the night away with my friends.
I love promoting small businesses.
I also have massive admiration for women.
Through the power of networking and social media i have realised I am not on my own with these thoughts.
Women are great PR tools. 

So here it is…..

Soper Hall is a beautiful old building in Caterham, Surrey which is made up of three halls linked together.
In the Main hall will be the party! Live music, cocktail bar and selfie and networking boards. 
The second hall will be a ‘pamper room’. Professionals from the beauty and therapy industries with their mini salons will be offering mini manicures, pedicures, massages and make overs.
All I ask is that when you take advantage of these services you make sure that you take lots of photos and selfies and tag the relevant therapists in on Social Media.  
Tell your friends, tell your social media following, Let’s spread the love beyond the party!
In the third hall will be women promoting all sorts businesses.  
Baby Classes, Stylists, clothing shops, jewellery, childminders, Lingerie Stores, Accountants, advice and service industries, everyone is welcome.
This is not a charity event although I have calculated the ticket prices so that there will be very little, if any profit.   
My motivation is 
a) because I love organising a good party! (Did i mention I was a Sales and Events girl too)
b) it will benifit and help promote Modern Mum.
So, if you have a business in Caterham, Oxted, Coulsdon, Warlingham, Purley, Sanderstead, Banstead, South Croydon or any areas near to these and would like to reserve a space for your business please email me katethompson485@gmail.com.  Spaces are filling quickly.
Networking is not limited to stall holders. Everyone will be given a name tag on arrival with a chance to put their Name, business (if you have one) and social media handles…I find this a great ice breaker for anyone who would like to network slightly more casualy.
Each ticket offers a glass of prosecco on arrival and there will be food provided by local companies (buffet style).
For all you ladies who would like to come along for an evening of mingling, pampering and learning more about what your area has to offer, please grab your tickets while they are still available.
I hope this explains a little more about Modern Mums Modern Women Event.  If you have any questions please feel free to send me a message
Please share this for all the wonderful women in your life xxx 
If you are a make up artist, blogger, hairdresser, therapist or anyone else with a service to offer please contact me katethompson485@gmail.com.

My Last Week of November

Its been a while since I wrote a totally self centred blog post with no point to it at all.  A post that is completly unhelpful, except to let me use it as a diary…so that when I look back one day will be able to remember that week in November 2017.

Lets start with George.  This kid is growing into the most charismatic, gorgeous  pain in the arse I have ever come across.

I dont call him a pain in the arse lightly.  I am a mum of six, i feel like i have a patience level to rival a reception class teacher. But George is a whole new type of toddler. 

He will scream to get what he wants, yet remember to thank you with total sincerity if you give in to him.

He will push and push and push me until I shout at him, and then will put his arm around me and ask if I am ok.

So, as a little xmas presie to myself…and George, I have booked him into nursery a couple of mornings a week.

I’m not going to lie, my intention was two FULL days.  But the nursery teacher suggested it might be a little much to start with so we agreed on the morings… until January!

If I doubted whether I was doing the right thing, the wink, high five and about-turn we both participated in when I left him on his first morning, made me certain he needed it as much as me.

He has loved it! I have loved it! and it has given me a chance to spend more time with Arthur and appriciate my time with George more.

The nursery teachers loved him. He had played nicely with the other children, joined in with the activities and was so polite. They even told me he is a credit to me….a credit! It felt amazing when she said that.

Then he went home and ripped my £100 roll of Sanderson wallpaper off the wall!

Charlie has started a new school two weeks ago.  I have been conscious of how i will cope with school run logistics when the twins start high school for a while.  I started some tentitive research last month and was surprised when our school of choice happened to have a space availible for Charlie to start straight away and Libby in January.

The new school is everything charlies old school is not.
It is a small village school with a one class intake and strong christian values.  So far, Charlie has settled in like a dream and it is as though he has always been there. 

The twins turned eleven!!! I honestly can not believe how quickly time passes by.  

Having children is like a constant reminder of this.  No huge celebrations this year.  I did offer them a big party as it will be their last year at primary school but they werent interested.  

I actually think they are worried I might show them up on the dance floor….which I would.  The problem is, I actually think I am the coolest mum ever and the kids are proud to show me off.  

The reality is that they think I am a total embarrassment and actually mc-ing to DJ Luck and MC Neat is not quite the crowd pleaser it used to be!? Note: @indenialmum!

Instead Harri had some friends over for a sleepover (I still tried to play cool mum….I even let the watch ‘Swearing Peppa Pig’). Mikey is off to Kidzania in a couple of week to continue his quest to become the next Richard Branson.

My Christmas decorations are up, they have been for two weeks…standard.  I am the biggest fool for Christmas that ever there was!  My ultimate aim is to recreate National Lampoons decore extravagance with Home Alones class….you see the look I am going for?!

My News: 

I turned to the dark side.  It is amazing what looks you can create when you trust your hairdresser!  When she suggested a dark balleage i wasn’t convinced…but i let her work her magic……..

I am so pleased with my new look.  If you are local to London, check out Laura at Lalo….she is even a stylist to the Stars!


My Modern Mum Event went Live this week….there will be a blog about this over the weekend. 
In short, I have organised a night out for local-ish ladies to come and meet local businesses ran by hard working women and hear what they have to offer. It is a chance to network, socialise and have a great night There will be chances to meet lots of beauty industry pros who will be ready to pamper us aswell.

Today I am suppose to be out beating on a shoot with the kids and hounds. After my nightmare night with Arthur and a whole two hours of sleep….I bailed!

Instead, I put an xmas movie on for the kids, put George and Arthur down for a nap and I have a Blissful Bath waiting for me.

I also made a kick-ass pate this week.
I have a freezer full of offal from our pigs, lambs and cow.  We like liver and bacon, but not even a family my size can consume that much! This is the recipe I used.  I used pig liver instead (by accident) but it was lush with a crusty bread, chutney and a Baileys.


How has your week been…..are you ready for a Merry December?
Love Kate
As always, if you have enjoyed my self regarding post, please share

The Alternative Christmas Dinner

Every year I say I will buy a few Turkeys to rear on the farm for Christmas dinner and every October I realise I have left it too late!

So then, every October /November I spend loads of time researching the best place to buy one.
Marks and Spencers? Sainsburys? The local butcher or farm shop?
Then I spend my monthly mortgage payment on a premium, amazing bird to feed my fifteen guests.

Now, here is the crazy bit….every year we all have the same conversation just after Christmas…
‘I am not a lover of Turkey’
‘It is a very dry meat’
‘It’s tradition though..’
‘I prefer chicken all day long’

In fact, the only thing that Turkey offers our house at Christmas, which we can not sacrifice is Turkey sandwiches in the evening (which a medium crown will suffice).

I have made an executive decision and will NOT be cooking a turkey for our Christmas dinner.

We have taken a few animals to slaughter over the last few weeks so we have a freezer full of beef, lamb and pork.

The cuts of meat we have would be worth a fortune if we had to buy them at a butchers.  

So this year I am going to cook a Beef Wellington and a leg of lamb for our lunch.

This got me thinking about alternative Christmas Dinners and what other things families serve up for their grub.

I asked a few fellow bloggers and it seems quite a few people are not too fussed on our traditional Turkey.
Here are some suggestions for something different.


‘We go for Ham. There is no waste and we actually enjoy it. Noone in our family really likes turkey so always a bit of a waste!’



‘We don’t eat meat so last year I made salmon. I wasn’t too fussed about it and this year we’re just having everything but the meat!’ 



‘We are having the Lamb stack from Lidl, as none of us are too fond of Turkey. I will be making stuffed butternut squash for the vegetarian quest and getting a small Turkey crown for my Grandparents, as that would be dangerous grounds if I didn’t !’



‘We’re vegetarian and my Mum has always made a mushroom strudel and we’ve carried on the tradition! With all the usual trimmings of course.’



‘I find turkey quite bland so we usually have lamb or salmon.’



‘A lovely plump goose and all that tasty skin 😍😍 ‘



‘We are eating out at a restaurant this year so my parents have chosen to have a Chateaubriand. As they said by the time
Christmas comes your normally board of turkey ! ‘



‘We are vegetarian so we normally have a mushroom wellington or nut roast 😊’ 



‘My partner doesn’t enjoy Turkey so always has a lamb shank for his Christmas dinner. ‘



‘Nut roast – as I’m vegetarian Husband isn’t but it became now our family tradition at Christmas.’



‘My stepdad is Indian, one year we had a curry!’




‘Quorn family roast and spinach and feta tart is what my family had growing up! ‘



‘Hubby and kids will have chicken breasts (hubby’s choice), but I’m veggie so I’ll just have extra stuffing or a nut roast.  We never cook a turkey here! ‘



‘If we was in charge of Christmas dinner I imagine I would cook chicken, I can’t stand turkey but everyone seems to enjoy a nice roast chicken! ‘



‘A lot of our family don’t like traditional roasts, so our tradition is to have a big Irish cooked breakfast on Xmas morning, then party food and snacky bits during the day as everyone pops in and out, then in the evening, a couple of different joints of meat in warm rolls – yum!’ www.passthewineplease.blog


‘We’re not really into turkey so we always have our fave roast dinner meat – a chicken! We also get a big ham or beef joint too. 😊’



‘We do normally have turkey but on a couple of occasions we have gone for a rib of beef instead. One of our guests this year hates turkey so I think I will cook a rib of beef again.’ 



‘We have a ham every year as hardly any of us like turkey. This year there are lots of us so there will be a goose too ‘



‘One year I did – IKEA meatballs, sticky chipolatas, fries, loganberry jam, sautéed red cabbage and Daim bar cake – all from the IKEA food shop for less than £20  – it was everyones favourite Christmas! 🙂 ‘



‘If I make a Christmas dinner it has to be apple-stuffed duck roast! I find turkey too bland and lean and if I’m going to go all-out, I might as well make it a cardiac arrest on a plate’



‘My husband hates turkey he thinks it’s too bland so we compromise with a 3 bird roast normally. We had goose one year and it was so fatty and a pain in the bum to cook we just stick to a 3 bird.  I’m not telling him your having beef Wellington though that would be his preference!!’



‘For a few years, we did a Mexican Xmas Day.  Sombreros, Mexican decorations, games and Mexican food/Drink obv. Easier to get food from the supermarket in the rush and loads of fun! ‘



‘We have had steak, chips & peppercorn sauce for the past 5 years and love it! So chilled out and no peeling veg! ‘



‘I’m a vegetarian, so we don’t have turkey 😉 I make a savoury crumble instead, with loads of veg and cheesy crumble topping, and serve it with roast potatoes. Even my meat eating husband enjoys it!’



‘We always do something different. We are half south African and it sounds crazy but last year was brilliant, the lads went out to do the meat – a side of beef stuffed and rolled in foil on the fire (BBQ or braai as we’d call it) in the middle of a UK winter. They loved it and the kids too especially afterwards when we turned it in to bonfire. We added roasted vegetables and potatoes dauphinois to the meal which we’d done in the oven. All in all very little fuss and plenty of fun. ‘



‘We will be having chicken or lamb. I haven’t had a turkey Christmas dinner for about 20 years. I don’t really like turkey and I definitely don’t trust myself to cook it well. I know it would end up like the one in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’



‘One year we decided to have Christmas dinner out and I had roast pigeon! It was actually amazing and a welcomed change!’



‘We often have beef and I have a friend who lets everyone choose and so the kids pick fish fingers!’



‘We have a buffet with lots of elements from Spanish cuisine to reflect the Other Half’s heritage. ‘



‘Goose, pheasant, duck we’ve had them all as my family have never been huge turkey fans’



‘My cousin does turkey pasta because none of her family like a turkey roast. Sounds grim but she roasts the turkey, takes the meat off & turns it into a delicious pasta bake!’



‘We’re doing a joint of beef this year.i will miss the turkey sandwiches though!’😂



‘This year we are having a three bird game roast – partridge, pheasant and pigeon! You may think eating pigeon is a bit weird but it’s actually a really delicate meat with a lot of flavour.’



‘We tend to alternate, one year might be a rib of beef and a ham, other it will be a turkey. I’m not a huge fan of turkey so it’s a nice change for me. Important as I tend to be the cook!’


Leeds Castle

Rosie and I took the kids (all eight of them!) to Leeds Castle in Kent during half term.

It was our first proper visit (we went along one, cold evening four years ago to watch Frozen on the castle lawn).

I absolutely love a mooch around a Castle or historical house and I love taking in the beautiful grounds.
I always picture what It might have been like to live there during the various periods of history.
Who owns it now? How do they keep it looking so beautiful? How many bottles of wine could you store in that wine celler!? (And Leeds Castle definatly has the BEST wine celler!)

It was a stunning Autumn afternoon and we had such a fantastic day that words can not do it justice.  
I am going to let our photos explain……

Leeds Castle has lots to do for the children, not least climbing trees and finding secret dens.  
It was Halloween when we visited and they had lots of spooky activities to enjoy.  

There is a wonderful playground area, maze and lots of activities from archery to dressing up as a knight.
The children loved exploring the castle and filling in all the activity sheets they had been given.
They have been learning about British History at school so they loved reading about how Leeds Castle related to Henry V111 and the Second World War.
While they were reading about how King Henry VIII did a ‘changing rooms’ on the castle to impress and gift his wife Catherine of Aragon, I listened eagerly to the stewards who explained to me that in more recent years part of the castle was converted into a cinema and areas to entertain friends (jelous much!?). 

I have asked Mike to take me back for a romantic ‘date day’.  The strolls, the atmosphere and the stunning architecture would make a beautuful day out with a loved one (or first date?).
I have never seen such beautiful gardens and the wildlife is everywhere.  
I am looking forward to visiting again in December and enjoying the Christmas  festivities with Mike and the children.

Please share my post for anyone who might enjoy a beautiful day out at this Kent treasure.
For more information on Leeds Castle and its wonderful, seasonal treats, take a look at their website