Friday, 30 January 2015

February Giveaway!!

To celebrate the end of a very long January and to welcome in February, I want to offer my readers a chance to win a £10 amazon gift card. I know its not much but I really want to say thank you for all the support you have all given me. 

Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter below. Please be honest, false entries will be deleted. Open to U.K readers only. Good luck. Giveaway ends on the 28th February 2015. 

*Prize not sponsored

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck,

Gem x

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Reading Together Link Up

Hello and welcome to week four of my link up 'Reading together'. Last week I was very happy to receive two link ups which was great to see.  Thank you so much to Rebecca from All about u for a fab selection of bedtime stories, we especially love 'The stick man'.  Also, shout out to Vicky from Single Mother Ahoy  for linking up her lovely book review of The dry-ventures of Ellie and Eddie. A story about two children with dry skin and how they discover what irritates their skin the most. 

Our favourite book this week

Alfie brought this book back from his school library and we absolutely love it. It is called 'Aesop's Funky Fables' written by Vivian French and illustrated by Korky Paul. There are a collection of short stories, many we have already heard of such as The boy who cried wolf, the tortoise and the hare and the wolf and the stork. There are also some new stories which are Jackdaw and the pigeons, the fox and the crow, the traveler and the bear. I really liked how the tales in this book have animal characters placed in human roles and I think that was what drew Alfie into choosing this book. I also liked how at the end of each tale, the overall lesson, or concept is put at the bottom. This is good for the boys who are still fairly young and may not understand the overall lesson that fables tell in each of the stories. The illustrations are beautiful and detailed and help to bring the story to life. Due to its short stories, it a perfect book for the boys to read aloud to me before bedtime, especially if they are feeling a little tired.

The Linky

  • Please add my badge to your posts 
  • Link up your book related posts which can be reviews, what you read together or just a single picture of you reading together. 
  • It will run from Thursday 12am till Wednesday
  • Can be old or new and as many as you like
  • When you add your link, please make sure they lead to your book related posts and not your blog's homepage. It may be difficult for me to find. 
  • Share your link up on twitter using #readingtogether and tag me @gemma_stevens so I know to retweet and comment on your post. 
  • Try and comment on other posts in the link up. 
  • Instagram posts are also welcome.
  • Enjoy reading

Reading Together

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

How to avoid being late for school

Since the start of the new term, we have been finding it extremely difficult to get out of bed in the mornings. It is cold and dark, nobody can or wants to move. My snooze button gets over used and I never have any time to sit down before heading out. Getting two kids up, dressed, fed, and out the door is not an easy task by myself. Especially since I have to go straight to work as soon as the children are through the school gates.  

I have come up with a list of things I have now started to do to ensure my mornings a little less chaotic.

Prepare the night before
  • Packed lunches: I used to panic over the unmade sandwiches in the morning and normally would do a pretty shocking job of it. I have now realised that the sandwiches would taste just as fresh if i make them the night before. Also if I find I have ran out of bread, ham or fruit etc I will have plenty of time to run to the shops instead of panicking over an empty fridge and two children with no lunch in the morning. If the children are having hot dinners that week, i will make sure that I have put money in their school bags the night before incase i forget in the morning rush. 
  • Homework/Reading books: We do ours as soon as the children come home from school. They are more alert and still in the learning mode so it is the best time. The boys are just like their mummy, zombies in the morning, so they just wouldn't get them done or it is just not to their best ability. 
  • P.E kits/School bags: Check they are all in order the night before and place them by the front door so you don't forget them. It is easily done. There has been a few times I have had to leave work to take items to school because we forgot them. 
  • Iron and lay out tomorrows outfits: My children tend to have a new school shirt everyday because they get so dirty at school. I also get dirty at my job so we have a lot of ironing to do. I tend to do this on a sunday night but will still need to ensure I have laid out their clothes for them to grab as soon as they wake up. I am a typical woman as I can never decide what to wear to work. To save myself time, I pick out my outfit before I head to bed and also ensure all my makeup is available for me to grab. 
  • Tidy the house: I hate waking up to a messy house and sometimes I have been late for school/work because I was washing dishes or picking up toys. I have now got into the routine of tidying up after the boys bedtime so I can relax a little in the mornings. 

The morning
  • Set your alarm half an hour before you need to wake up: I am very guilty of pressing the snooze button at least five times and declaring that I am allowed 5 minutes more in bed. Soon enough I am extremely late. If you set your alarm earlier than needed, this allows for a long snooze period and a little time checking Facebook/twitter. 
  • No toys: Do not allow the children to play with their toys/electronic until they are all dressed and fed. Same can go for yourself, try to not to get sucked into a social media conversation as time can soon pass very quickly. 
  • Stay calm: I have always found that the more stressed I am the longer it takes to do things. If you are rushing then you are going to make some mistakes such as spilling the breakfast, smudging your makeup, losing the house/car keys, the children will spill something on their uniform so and so on. These are all time consuming accidents which no one has time for in the mornings. 
  • Leave the house 10 minutes early: If you drive to school, it is bound to be busy with all the other parents dropping their children off. Also, make sure you are prepared for a bit of traffic and surprise roadworks/accidents. If like us, you walk to school, make sure you know exactly how long it will take to walk there. We give ourselves five minutes extra incase we are feeling a little slow that morning or if the children want to play with their friends before the bell goes. 

Do you have any tips for making the school bell in the morning? How do you cope in the mornings? Are you an early bird or a late owl? 

Gem x

Monday, 26 January 2015

Living arrows 4/52.

The two of you will never know

How much my love has grown
To be blessed by two
When others have so few

From the moment you were conceived

You were all that I would ever need
To hold you, comfort you and love you both
Is all that I could ever hope

You are my life
You are my hope
To see you both happy
Is my only hope

My happiness has been through you
I loved you both before you were you
There were aches and pains but it was worth it all
I could not foresee what was to be

From the first moment I held you both
My love has only continued to grow
There have never been two children as beautiful as you

Living Arrows

One short day in the emerald city// Our amazing evening watching Wicked on tour

For Christmas, my sister very generously gave me and the boys tickets to see Wicked on tour at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth. I was over whelmed by this as I have been a fan of the show since I saw it in London three years ago. I was desperate to see it again and I really wanted the boys to see it too. 

The boys were the first to notice that the theatre was lit up in an emerald green and the words 'Wicked' shining above. I knew they were just as excited as me to see the show by their reaction to this and I knew they had so much more surprises in store. We arrived to the theatre an hour early so we had plenty of time to grab a quick bite to eat in the theatres cafe. I also went a bit crazy with the theatres merchandise store. Tom was treated to a cuddly Wicked dragon which was a bit pricey but its rare that we have the opportunity to come to the theatre, so I had to buy it for him. Alfie was treated to a Wicked  lanyard which he can use at school. I treated myself to the shows programme which features all the cast from the show and some very stunning photos from the show. 

Inside the theatre, the stage looked amazing. They had the same set design as the London show with the glittering map of the emerald city and of course the famous metal dragon looking out towards the audience. Thomas was fascinated but a little nervous of the dragon. I had to reassure him a few times that he wasn't real and that he wouldn't be breathing any fire onto the audience. 

At 7.30 the curtain rose and we jumped with excited. The first song is 'No one mourns the wicked' which has Glinda, played by Emily Tierney, enter the stage in a large flying metal bubble. When I saw her, I immediately started crying. I was so happy to be there seeing this truly amazing show. I cried again during the song 'the wizard and I', not a sad song at all, but its one of my favourites and Ashleigh Grey who plays the green witch Elphaba, was amazing. In fact the whole cast was amazing. We were hooked throughout the whole show, even the children who normally find it hard to sit still for five minutes let alone two hours forty-five minutes. Thomas had to be told to sit on his chair and quiet down though during the song 'Defying Gravity'. It is his favourite song and he just wanted to dance and sing along. However the people surrounding us where understandably annoyed. The performance of the song took our breath away, especially the ending where we see her fly and belt out the last lines. The audience went crazy. 

Overall, the show was fantastic from beginning to end. The acting, singing, the costumes and scenery were just amazing, nothing can compare to it. I cannot fault anything with the show and I am really desperate to go back and see it over and over again. If you live in Plymouth, I would definitely recommend going to see it, you won't regret it. It is in Plymouth until February 14th before moving onto Bristol so don't miss out. 

Have you seen Wicked before? What did you think of the show? 

Gem x

Sunday, 25 January 2015