Do we really need a label for the way choose our diet?

Food and nutrition are a very important part of my life… I was a vegetarian in my teens, but then slipped into eating meat again as I had a family to cook for… in all honesty though I really don’t love meat and it is so easy for me to not eat it at all, being a vegetarian is easy for me but I can’t fully commit as I love fish, I don’t eat a lot but I totally still have it sometimes… I guess if we have to label it, I am a pescatarian, but as I hate labels I’m not going to go there with that one.

We have just returned from a trip back to England to visit family and friends, my husbands family seem to have all become Vegans, well not all of them but two of his siblings and their families… the thing I observed about Vegans is that it really is a trend at the moment, and new Vegans, not saying all new Vegans of course, seem to have to announce to everyone that they are Vegan and talk constantly about being a Vegan, I was wondering why that is, but it also had me intrigued, I have issues with dairy myself, I’ve replaced most dairy products in my diet and have found more comfort in my digestive system, but I do eat cheese occasionally and eggs most days… so being the researcher I am I decided to see if I could replace these things from my diet completely without missing them too much.

What I have found is very interesting… it seems on first glance that most vegan recipes are nutritionally balanced, the seasoning and flavors are enhanced to give delicious flavors and my favorite beans and lentils feature heavily. Eggs are replaced with a garbanzo bean flour batter and tofu scramble, cheese flavor is replaced with nutritional yeast, totally a healthy additive to use in your cooking. Egg replacements, like flax or chia seed egg are used in baking… so I’m set to change the way I cook and bake… no label for me though as this healthy eating Mama still loves her fish occasionally.

My first day back with jet lag still looming I made two vegan soups, one for lunch and one in the evening to go with grilled sandwiches… my lunch soup was delicious, Sweet potato and rice noodle soup with broccoli and white beans success, it was delicious and my husband had no idea it was Vegan, in the afternoon I set the broccoli, 2 cups of vegan broth, 2 cups of water and raw sunflower seeds in my slow cooker, I set it to cook for 3 hours on high, the Easiest cream of broccoli and cauliflower soup recipe really was, I finished the soup by blending the ingredients for 3 minutes in my blender, replacing it into the slow cooker and adding the remaining ingredients to warm through again… it was the best broccoli soup I’ve ever made, minus the cauliflower as I couldn’t get any organic cauliflower from the grocery store. For grilled sandwiches everyone except me had warm chicken and cheese, I decided to try vegan provolone cheese slices with my gluten free bread… after I melted the cheese and toasted the bread I really couldn’t tell a lot of difference with the cheese… again another success and I have leftovers for my lunch today, another win for me.

Today we started our day with waffles, gluten free, dairy free, egg free and Vegan, I took my favorite basic waffle mix and changed it slighly…

Serves 4 people

Each serving 2 waffles 188 calories

1/4 cup almond flour

3/4 cup gluten free all purpose flour

1/2 cup cashew nut milk (use whatever dairy free milk you have in)

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon of agave

2 teaspoons of GF baking powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon of vegan egg substitute and 2 tablespoons of water mixed together

1 tablespoon of milled flax seed

Blend all ingredients together until your batter is smooth… place 1/4 cup into your heated and oiled waffle make, close the lid and wait… when they are risen and golden serve with whatever you desire… as we just got back from vacation we had very little in our house, so I served ours with almond butter, cinnamon sunflower seeds and coconut toasted flakes… delicious and super nutritious.

I am now totally converted after making a vegan omelette with garbanzo bean flour, the chickpea and onion omelette is now a firm replacement for using eggs, I added nutritional yeast for a little cheese flavor and served it with toasted gluten free bread, a healthy protein packed breakfast all under 200 calories… the options are endless on this one!

It will be an interesting experiment, let’s see if anyone notices a change in the menus… I will still cook a meat protein to go with the meals, but I will be curious to see if anyone notices the very slight change… of course sushi days will still happen for me and I will still eat some gorgeous fish too, but I’m looking forward to eliminating dairy completely just for a while 🤞


As Summer draws to an end.

Summer Recess is officially over… alarms were set, camera was put on charge ready for the obligatory ‘Back to School’ photos, Lunch was made and chilling out in the refrigerator, but what I hadn’t bargained for was how empty I would feel not waking Blu up to catch the bus, can he truly be old enough to leave school, go out in the big wide scary world on his own… the answer to those questions is quite simply yes, he really is grown up and ready to start the next chapter in his life… who knew it would fly past so quickly?


I never really felt this Summer kicked itself into high gear, the weather was like a roller coaster, one minute we were flying high with warm sunny weather, the next we dipped down low with cooler, cloudy rainy weather, so unusual and so completely confusing. The Summer was stressful in so many ways, we started it off with my Mum having to go into hospital for an operation, being so many miles away made it even more stressful, the operation went well but we were then told she needed more treatment, so more stress from afar. Blu managed to write off our spare car, leaving us one car down, so the car that was being used was mine, meaning I had less time to live Summer carefree life. August is always crazy, Soccer begins and is a full time commitment, early morning practice, some days two practices, games begin and then of course our Summer sees 4 Birthday celebrations that have to be planned for, celebrated then cleared up after. This year my big girl turned 16, now although I struggle to understand the significance of the American Sweet 16 big parties, why? what is so different about being 16 to being 15? Anyway I wanted my girl to have a special day so we planned a friend beach day and sleepover. She invited 3 friends, all the room we had in the car, we got to the beach by 9.30am, it was still quiet enough, we ate acai bowls for breakfast then we chilled out by the waters edge, we ate pizza on the beach, the girls all took photos, swam in the ocean, played beach games and then took more photos. We drove home, we originally wanted a hotel for the night but they were fully booked, so we drove back ready for a sushi and movie night sleepover… a very successful organized way to celebrate your Sweet 16. ❤️



Usually we like to get out a lot more in the Summer, but this year with a combination of the weather, my state of mind, crazy woman who has put on weight and really needs to lose it fast type of mind, the soccer season and Paul having to work a lot of weekends we only managed a few places, but of course we have very kind friends who have a gorgeous garden and pool, so we very happily spent a lot of time round there swimming and BBQ’ing… not a bad way to spend your Summer, I have to say 😍



With all of that said, there were lots of positives this Summer, I kicked my own butt into gear, started an exercise routine and got my food into high healthy gear, watching calories and everything I eat.  We met the new lions at the zoo, we tried rolled ice-cream for the first time, and I do have to say it is delicious, we ran around Urban Outfitters doing a photoshoot whilst we waited for a teenage girl to shop, we decided we loved acai bowls for breakfast at the beach, and we loved eating pizza on the beach with sand on it, Wegmans opened and the whole town stopped by causing major traffic delays on both roads leading into it, but we waited to go and believe me it was worth the wait, we have visited the sunflower fields and we actually have been to the beach twice.  I have booked two vacations for later this year and the best thing of all is my Mum is on the road to recovery, slowly but surely… so when you look at it like that, it was a good Summer after all.


Now my big girl is a Junior in High School, when we moved over here she was in Kindergarten, she has had her whole school life over here and now we are down to her final two years, wow time just flies by, just let it slow down a little so I can catch a breath and breath in everything that is my family… this year I have three children in college getting their degrees, one of those is getting his Masters and two have got grown up jobs working in the real world, one of those has had two promotions this year, I have one child who is an honors student in High School and two babies that I love homeschooling, but are growing up way, way too fast… I have a very hardworking in husband who allows me the privilege of staying at home and teaching my babies… just breath and slow down time a little to appreciate everything around me ❤️


As I look back over Summer 2017, I realize how crazy it was, I do not feel rested or chilled out, in fact I’m the complete opposite… time to get some sort of routine back and get on schedule for a new homeschooling year again… school is in session for us next week, I needed a couple of days to get myself together after the whole get Mabel to school again thing… whenever you go back I want to wish a Happy Back to School everyone… may this year be the best ever. 📚


We are what we eat…

Getting older sucks… I have gained weight and I haven’t changed the way I eat, your metabolism slows down and the middle age spread begins… are you kidding me? Really?

Ok, so I admit I really do need to excercise more, but I’m a busy Mom of 8 children, I include my older ones too, from first thing in the morning until I sit down with that much needed glass of wine I’m on my feet rushing from here to there, but according to my OBGYN that’s not the type of excercise that is going to burn off those calories at my ripe old age, well he didn’t mention the ripe old part, I’ve just added it in so you get the picture… he says I need at least a 20 minute cardio routine per day that will get my heart racing, so even my gentle morning yoga routine does not fit the bill for getting my heart racing I’m afraid. Food is also important and consistency, 4-6 healthy small meals a day, well the small portions are not a problem for me as I’ve never eaten large meals, but 4-6 is a huge problem, I can go hours and sometimes forget to eat… ok so here we go, new me, I am determined to beat this middle age spread.

I love healthy foods, I love salads, I love soups, I love fish, I love veggies, I even love radishes too, so how hard can this be? 4 to 6 small portion meals/snacks a day together with a low impact cardio workout, just to start me off and some yoga to keep my joints supple. The hardest part of a carefully thought through menu plan is the prepping, to have a healthy menu for Paul to go to work with is the planning a prepping the day before… this week we are keeping it simple and doing a ‘let’s see what we can make with what we have in’ using up supplies in our refrigerator, freezer and pantry… so next week we can start a fresh in an organized way… does anyone else do this once a month, to clear out the old ready for the new?

Let’s start with Breakfasts that I can easily prepare in advance… healthy banana, oats and honey waffles, perfectly preprepared and easily transported if you have to go out…

Serves 2
One cup of gluten free oats
I cup of dairy free milk, almond or coconut (if using coconut I suggest 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup water)
1 egg
1/2 a banana
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of raw honey
1 egg
1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon of extra virgin oil

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend for about 1 minute… add 1/4 cup of the batter to a lightly oiled waffle maker and let it cook for 2-3 minute.
Serve with fresh fruit, Greek yoghurt or for a dairy free option a tablespoon of almond butter 😋

My next easy to prepare breakfast is raspberry, coconut chia pudding…

Serves 2
1/2 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries
1 cup of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of raw honey
2 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds

Take the first three ingredients place them in a blender and let them blend for 45 seconds, divide the blended fruit milk into two mason jars then add 2 1/4 tablespoons of chia seeds, place the lid onto the jar and shake to mix the chia seeds, place in the refrigerator over night… top with a few raspberries and a tablespoon of sliced almonds 😋

Now if I’m staying in I love a slice of whole grain gluten free bread with avocado and grape tomatoes drizzled with balsamic glaze and if Paul is going to work I make him a super healthy veggie omelette ready to cook in the microwave for a couple of minutes and a piece of fruit. Another healthy on the go breakfast is a smoothie served with a hard boiled egg for protein.

Lunches are much easier when you are at home, your choice is endless, I love salad, cheese, eggs, veggies, homemade hummus and steamed veggies, but planning a healthy portioned out work lunch takes a lot of prep… 5 meals, 5 healthy carbs, 5 healthy lean proteins and plenty of veggies ready for a busy week of working… quinoa, brown sprouted rice, sweet potatoes, ground turkey meatballs, oregano chicken and Cajun pork, all leftovers from a past week dinners and lots of veggies, but when you are home you can quickly bake some sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper, add in a little arugula and a lightly fried egg, finally whip up a Harrissa dressing… so good 😃

Heathy fish and chicken tacos are my favorite dinner option, polenta crisped salmon and chicken tenders served with warm corn tortillas, salad and a healthy mango salsa, easy healthy and filling. Dinners are always a challenge in my house, some of us need GF carb options, some of us don’t like veggies, some of us are mainly vegetarian, except for a little fish and some of us are such basic eaters that meat and plain pasta is all they will eat. Salad is my friend, I can add a protein and then a healthy carb and it covers most diets in my house… but soup season is on it’s way, although I love Summer, I personally love soups they are so versatile, healthy and can stretch your budget sideways.

Snacks are my biggest challenge for planning ahead, each time we eat we are meant to have a complex carbohydrate, a protein and a fat, so getting that right in a snack is a huge headache for me… protein bites were simple and nutritional for a snack, gf oats, almond butter, honey and then I added chopped nuts dried fruits and seeds. Another idea is brown rice cakes, and almond butter, or fruit and a handful of nuts… but with all the planning snacks still remain something I think about last and quite often forget to eat myself… I am working at it though… slowly 🙃

… and then we always need an occasional treat, I try my hardest to make these treats as healthy as possible, like lemon muffins made with yogurt and honey… light and delicious 😋

Whatever you eat, try to make it nutritional, delicious and make sure you drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated throughout the day.


To diet or not to diet?

When I was in my teens I was totally anorexic, I think it never really leaves you completely, I always count up my intake of food each day, and roughly count the calories I have had, even now I feel its pull, but with yoga and meditation I have managed to control the need a little bit better.  I realize now the need to fuel my body with the right foods to hopefully keep me healthy and I am trying to educate my family into thinking the same way.  I have so many picky eaters its hard to fully cook a complete clean eating menu plan for each week, but I definitely try.


I am absolutely hopeless without menu planning, I've tried not menu planning and my grocery bill goes up, my clean eating plan goes out the window and I feel terrible in myself… so for me menu planning is a way of life and will continue to be even as our children eventually move out.  I love the organization of it, I am even planning breakfast, snacks and lunch now, as Paul and I are on a semi strict carb, protein and fat diet, each meal has to contain at least one of these in healthy form, even the in-between meal snacks.


Each week I try to focus and use recipes from different cookbooks I own, this past week I have used the Gwyneth Paltrow It's all easy cook book, one of our most surprising favorites for almost everyone was her lemon and herb pasta with cherry tomatoes, I adjusted the recipe slightly to accommodate everyones tastes, I added chopped broccoli first then added the pasta, and once I had served up the tomato haters in my house, I added them to the pan too… all in all it was a winner for the week.


I am all about fresh produce these days, I like to buy organic if I can, I have restarted my organic delivery just because it makes menu planning and organic shopping easier.

These rice paper wraps are a firm favorite at the moment…

Take a rice paper wrap and soak for two or three minutes in a bowl of cold water, making sure they are fully covered, whilst they are soaking chop up some crispy romaine lettuce leaves, cucumber, slice an avocado and grate some carrots, next crumble some feta cheese, and shred some chicken breast, if you want to add meat… once the wraps have softened place them onto a sheet of damp kitchen paper, fill with salad ingredients, feta and chicken if using it, wrap just like you would a burrito, keeping it as tight as you can. Serve with a dipping sauce, my favorite is sweet chili but Mabels is a balsamic glaze, the world is your dipping sauce 😋

My clean eating menu plan for this week…


Breakfast… kale, onion and feta scramble eggs

Lunch… chicken/feta Cobb style salad

Snack… fruit and almond butter

Dinner… taco style burrito bowl skillet (ground turkey and veggie version)


Breakfast… green smoothie with almond milk, kale and apple together with a boiled egg

Lunch… egg salad sandwich with chopped carrots on the side

Dinner vegan BBQ chili… for those meat lovers I will add shredded chicken

Snacks… Apple, celery and nuts


Breakfast… overnight Coconut oatmeal with berries

Lunch… protein salad

Dinner… zucchini pasta with bolognese (for those that do not like zucchini I will cook organic spaghetti

Snack… protein bites


Breakfast… GF oatmeal blueberry waffles (easy to take out if made the day before)

Lunch… chicken quinoa salad (and a veggie version to take out with me)

Dinner… chicken/fish tacos with mango salsa and salad

Snack… protein bites


Breakfast… fruit smoothie using whatever berries and fruit I have in.

Lunch broccoli soup… yes I know it's summer, but I have a huge bag of frozen broccoli

Dinner… cheat day… Pizza Fridays

Snack fruit and nuts


Breakfast… egg and Canadian bacon sandwiches or avaocado toast

Lunch… chickpea quinoa salad with a few fresh berries

Dinner… breakfast for dinner, GF waffles with eggs and sausages

Snack… black bean crackers and hummus


Breakfast… overnight oats with coconut and ginger

Lunch… avocado and egg toast

Dinner… buffalo chicken and veggie pizza with salad

Snack… black bean crackers and hummus

I adapted my menu from one I found on Pinterest… wish me luck, I have never planned our eating so carefully and to every meal we eat, I am desperate to lose 10lbs, I have been doing a morning yoga session 3 days a week and now I found a simple workout program for two days, I like to give myself the weekend off, maybe just a little meditation to ease my mind and relax me… time to drink some water and start the week 😀




Diet and nutrition, Uncategorized

Chopped Salads… 

I try my very hardest to eat healthy and cleanly as much as I can, of course it’s more difficult when you are out or busy but on the whole we eat a good healthy diet… this is a difficult thing to do when you have a large family of picky eaters.  Getting my two youngest children to eat well is a challenge, I believe in never forcing them to eat, but I do try and encourage them to try something, sometimes they love it, like Florrie with fresh peas at the farm when we were picking them,  she took one taste and loved them, but when I was spiralizing the carrots she asked to taste them and hated them straight away, the face she pulled was quite funny.  I have discovered recently that their best meal of the day is breakfast, they love fresh eggs fried with coconut oil every morning, and now we get freshly laid eggs from our neighbor next door, they are delicious, they love strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and watermelon, they love smoothies and homemade pancakes, Jamie Oliver’s one cup recipe, so simple and quick, they will eat these until the cows come home, they are also delicious when you swap the flour out for a gluten free flour too. I try most days to make breakfast their most important meal of the day as they eat really well, then I feel there  is not so much pressure for the rest of the day as I know they have eaten one good meal that day.

Lunch is another meal I kind of miss with,  it’s usually just me I’m making lunch for, my babies are happy to graze after a large breakfast, I kind of always fail for myself.  I make fresh salads for Paul and Mabel, but I always forget myself… I’ve come up with a new plan, Salad lunch prep for the week, I will make enough basic salad for a week, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and scallions,  a tip I have just learnt is to line your containers with kitchen roll paper to absorb the moisture, then daily using leftovers from dinner change each salad up daily, today we will be having a lemon rosemary roasted chicken, I’m having shrimp, with a kale Cesar salad and tortilla wraps, so I’ll shred some chicken, or add shrimp and add it to the salad and bake a couple of wraps to crisp them up to add to the salad… I’m hoping this will keep me on track instead of snacking with my children.  

I have recently discovered I absolutely love chopped salad, we have had it before a few years ago, recipes from Jamie Oliver again, but I really hadn’t thought about chopping every salad we have until I visited a new salad place that has just opened in a local town, in Chopt you pick your salad then they ask if you want it chopped up, Kale Cesar salad with tofu totally chopped up and it was totally delicious.  I thought I’d try it out on my family… huge success, they prefer their salad ingredients chopped up, but as you can imagine chopping 8 salads is very time consuming, each person likes certain things in their salads, so I’ve been tossing salad ingredients into separate bowls then emptying the bowls onto a board and finely chopping them… until last night when I came up with the genius idea of the food processor, you can start with the harder veggies like carrot and broccoli, pulse them a couple of times then add the rest of the salad ingredients, it worked perfectly, and it was a lot quicker, you just have to clean up the food processor bowl and blade, but not too bad.  So my chopped salads have been a huge success, my family are enjoying them so much they are saying they do not need the carbs along with their protein just the salad it’s so filling… My only problem now is how much Salad veggies I am getting through, but at least everyone is eating their greens, well except for one extremely picky eater, who likes everything as plain as it can be.

I’ll leave you on a sweet note… I was visiting friends for lunch yesterday, I usually take desert with us, but I’ve been in search for healthier sweet treats, some I’ve made have been ok, but just not quite right, yesterday I came across this recipe for Lemon coconut muffins, they were healthier because the sugar was very low, and could easily be swapped out for honey, or some other healthy substitute, they contained coconut oil and yogurt, I think they would even be good with gluten free flour instead of all purpose flour… they were a huge success both at lunch and at home, but be warned if you try these at home, the batter is extremely thick, she does say that on the recipe, but I was surprised at just how thick it was, I added a little more coconut milk just to loosen it a little… but despite that they will definitely be something I will be making again and again.

Photographic diary, Uncategorized

Really my camera is totally awesome and I never knew it!

Having made the decision to take my camera off of automatic mode I knew I had to get to grips with how the camera actually worked, everyone said the photos would improve and I would never want to go back, but I just couldn’t get my head around exactly what settings were for what.


I decided photography blogs and you tube should be my first port of call… I found an excellent video on you tube that explained all of those buttons and dials, that I had just ignored for so long… I suddenly could see what each button was called and exactly what it did, I watched it several times with my camera in my hand going through each button and dial as the guy in the video explained what it was and what it did.

Next I found some excellent photography for beginners blogs, I read, and reread them, aperture, ISO, shutter speed, I wrote notes and found cheat sheets on Pinterest… next I gave myself exercises to understand how each aspect of the exposure triangle worked with each other… when you reduce the ISO the shutter speed needs to be increased, and when you increase the ISO in darker situations you need to decrease the shutter speed, what I did not realize was that changing the aperture, F-stop would then affect both the ISO and shutter speed too… so much to think about.


I found an excellent guy on you tube who has created these fantastic short videos using his real life to explain everything from lighting to shutter speed and everything inbetween. Moose Winans sang to me, his videos are short fun and speak my language when it comes to photography, I love to sit watching his videos and they seemed to explain this complicated world of a DSLR camera to me.

This changed the way I set my camera, suddenly I began to understand a little bit more, I start with a setting of ISO 400 shutter speed of 320 and f-stop of 1.8, then I adjust it from there depending on whether I am inside or outside, if the light is good, if there is shade, I always change my ISO first, more of less depending on how much light I have I set my white balance to the type of situation I am in and then I look at shutter speed, moving it up or down until my white balance meter is set to either 0, just above + or just below -.


Once I gathered a little knowledge it was time to get a new lens, I wanted one with a lower F-stop than the two lenses I had, I wanted to take portrait photos both indoors and outside, I looked at both 35mm and 50mm, in the end I chose the 35mm, just because I like to take a lot of photos indoors, but I am now looking to invest in the 50mm too, just because I want something with a longer exposure for outside and I am now looking at the lens with a lower f-stop of 1.4.

I also decided it was time to switch from the basic photo editing software on our Mac computers and iPads, I looked at lightroom and photoshop, lightroom seemed easier to use, but photoshop although more difficult to learn could do much more creative effects that I would eventually like to do, so I found the monthly $9.99 deal for both online by reading blogs written about both lightroom and photoshop… after a little research I signed up and I am loving it.  There is so much advice online about settings for different types of filters you want to create, the list is endless and in lightroom it is so simple to achieve a look you require.

DSC_8469 (1)-2

I have endless amounts to learn in all areas of photography, everyday I take my camera out and snap away changing the settings and experimenting with it, I then go onto lightroom and I am trying to learn how to change the photo for different filters, the above vintage setting is one of my favorites. I may have slightly over used it recently, but with my newly acquired skills I think I am allowed a little creativity over use.  I am tending to set the camera for a lighter setting, some might think it looks a little over exposed but I am loving the new lighter effect of the photos, I hadn’t realized quite how dark the photos looked on the auto setting of the camera… one of the bonus’ of setting your camera to manual you get to choose the settings exactly the way you want your photo to look.


I had read so many times that once you switch you camera off of Auto and start to really learn your camera in Manual mode you would never want to go back… As someone who has recently made the switch I don’t think I will ever go back, sometimes I second think my settings and panic a little, but usually I have made the right choice, so I should have more faith in myself…  everything I read was completely true… I have thought about doing this for a very long time, but always doubted myself, the Manual setting is so much more fun and you have complete control instead of relying on your camera guessing the type of photo you want… if I can do it, you can do it to… it wasn’t as difficult as I first thought and every day gets a little bit easier.


It’s been a while…

Real life just gets in the way sometimes… I’ve been so busy recently, one day just looks like all the others, wake up, breakfast, chores, homeschooling, lunch, more chores, errands to run, dinner, bedtime for my little ones, a well earned glass of wine, an hour of tv then finally bed… wake up and do it all over again.  I was so in need of a vacation…

Now traveling to the U.K. can be viewed in two ways… one it’s not really a vacation because you are constantly busy seeing different people or you can just take a huge step back and enjoy it for what it is, a huge break from normal life, a chance to revisit places you remember in your past, see new things and just enjoy the company of your family and friends that you just don’t see that often anymore, and this was exactly how my vacation went down over Spring break.

After 36 hours of no sleep and a 6 hour plane journey, I woke up in our hotel room in Kingston upon Thames on our second morning in England at 5am, Paul made us both coffee and we both just sat there in the quietness of the morning looking out at fantastic view as the sun came up over London… I felt finally refreshed to have had 7 hours of sleep, my babies were still asleep in our bed, still on US time I think and my three big babies were still asleep a few dorms away from us… I quickly went over the day before, arriving at Heathrow seeing my parents and my brother waiting patiently for us to come through with our luggage, then sitting dozy drinking coffee, collecting our rental car then heading to my brothers house for a while and seeing his family… wow we even fitted in a visit to our old house even though we were so tired, day one of a busy vacation.

We decided to not go too far on our first full day, we shopped, had lunch in Carluccios, my choice and then visited the beautiful Hampton Court Palace… later we strolled along the riverside in Kingston and ate a very cheeky Nandos for dinner, Jordan’s choice. Good Friday began our carpool karaoke journey of the vacation, 5 children and some iPhone music in a car… we played the sound track to Moana switched it up a bit and sang all the words in time together, maybe not that much in time or really that tuneful, but right then our family car journeys began to be a lot more fun and a lot more musical.  We headed to Brighton, one of my favorite seaside towns to visit in the U.K., it did not disappoint, despite the crowds of people, we strolled along the arches, visited the pavilion and the Lanes, ate fish and chips and had a quick very windy visit on the pier, before heading back to the car and stopping for an ice cream.  Our trip back to Kingston took far less time than our journey to Brighton as we didn’t get lost, the story of our vacation, driving in the wrong direction, despite having a GPS, we arrived at our hotel 10 minutes before our lovely friends messaged to say they were in the lobby, a quick freshen up, organize of the children with money for food and pjs, then Paul and I headed out for a lovely evening by the river, no children with us, just us and old friends ready to catch up on a years worth of gossip.

I won’t bore you with all the details of our vacation, we spent a very full three days in London, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, we met up with my brother and two of his children on Saturday, and my parents on all three days… we walked and walked, chatted, rode red London buses, took lots of photographs, ate lots of yummy food and drank a few glasses of wine and prosecco along the way… by far my most favorite place to eat was the food festival along the south bank near Waterloo Station, the choice and quality of the food was amazing, from gourmet burgers, fresh made crepes to chicken biryani, everything was freshly made and was absolutely delicious, I had a pesto mozzarella gluten free wrap, I watched them make it from scratch from the freshest ingredients and it was superb, all washed down with plastic flute of prosecco.  I think the highlight of our three days in London has to be the Sky Gardens in fenchurch street, the weather was beautiful, up on the 35th floor we looked out over a magnificent London glistening in the slightly clouded sunshine, we had eaten in a small sandwich shop opposite the walkie talkie building, as it’s known, the food in there was phenomenally fresh and full of flavor so once we were in the Skygarden we ordered prosecco and just sat there enjoying the view… totally well worth booking and it didn’t cost anything until we decided to order a drink… thank you to my friend Diane for telling us all about this wonderful place.  Paul had a much needed few hours with old work friends, he was a little tipsy to say the least when he arrived back at our hotel, Florrie was a little worried about him finding his way home, but he managed ok without us nad much to mine  and Jordan’s surprise he joined us in the hotel bar for another beer… oh Paul you are just so funny sometimes.

The rest of our trip was spent visiting with family and friends, whilst most of us watched a local soccer/football game I met up with my Mum and a close friend and her daughter for cocktails, food and a lot of chatting, later in the day we ate Indian food at my brother house, we shopped a little bit more, we saw Pauls family, I drank prosecco and had a much needed chat with my close friend again (girl stuff) Fish and chips again was a must, we met old school friends in a local pub near my Mum, that was such a nice last evening despite the M3 being closed on our way back to the hotel and the long diversion back to our hotel… finally we just breathed in our old life for just a few hours before we had to fly home… it was a busy 10 days but in all truthfulness I wouldn’t change a moment, we laughed, we sang songs in the car together as a family, very loudly I might add, we chatted to family and friends, we all got on so well, but next time we go on vacation I do not want to pack a coat, I want to pack a book and some sun cream and sit and relax in the sunshine by the water, of course prosecco may feature a little bit again but I just want to relax.