Living Arrows – 42/52

This week has been a blur for me. I have been so busy and spent the whole week exhausted but not in a bad way! Hubby and I went on a rare evening out on Tuesday to the press launch of the new Dark Arts exhibit at the Warner Bros Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. It was a great night, we had a really nice time but I am not used to being out past about 6pm so found it tiring!

Wednesday I spent on a cruise ship in Southampton, such an incredible experience and Hubby had a day with the kids which I think they all enjoyed. I was then at work Thursday/Friday/Saturday but made the most of Saturday afternoon and Sunday with my two favourite little people, although Hubby was working the whole weekend, something we’re now used to.

LP has learnt her ‘cheese’ face this week and where she used to run away from the camera and refuse to have her picture taken a couple of weeks ago she now looks at the camera every time I pick it up and puts her best ‘cheese’ face on. I can just imagine the school photos that will start coming home soon!

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This isn’t the best photo of Little Man – it’s all grainy, the lighting isn’t great and I don’t even think it’s in focus but for me it couldn’t be better! Sunday morning was very much a lazy morning for us and we all stayed in our PJs until midday. Little Man loves being in the hallway, usually we keep the lounge door closed as we don’t have a gate on the stairs so when LM gets to go out the lounge door he runs down the corridor like it’s the best thing in the world. Add to that his desperately-needs-a-cut hair and teenager-in-the-making cap and for me it sums up Little Man right now – all kind of cute and oh so grown up too!

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living arrows

Review: Lindam Light My Way Night Light

We’ve had a Lindam Light My Way Night Light for quite a few months now and it has formed part of LP’s bedtime routine. The Light My Way Night Light is a battery operated night light that can be carried around with a built in handle and turns off automatically after twenty minutes.

Review: Lindam Light My Way Night Light

LP loves to climb into bed and then turn the Lindam Light My Way Night Light on, putting it under her pillow, on her bed’s headboard or on the bedside table to shine light over her whilst she goes to sleep. The light gives her comfort at night and she loves to use it to look at everything else in her room.

The Lindam Light My Way Night Light comes with 3 AAA batteries included which have an expected life of 120 hours. Realistically we should never need to change the batteries for LP, especially with the auto turn off function. Even when the owl is turned on for the full 20 minutes it doesn’t get hot to touch and it’s reassuring to know that it will turn off by itself.

LP will soon be nappy free at night and I like the fact that she can use the Lindam Light My Way Night Light to light her way from bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night without having to turn any main lights on. This would also be great to take camping or anywhere unfamiliar just to give a bit of reassurance to a child overnight.

The Lindam Owl Night Light has an RRP of £9.99

Review: Lindam Light My Way Night Light

Disclosure: We were sent the above product but weren’t asked to review it. All opinions are my own.

A ‘Minted’ Christmas Giveaway!

As regular readers, friends and family will know, every year we make personalised photo Christmas cards with the help of my lovely photographer friend Ann. It’s coming to the time of year where Ann takes photos for us and I then start looking to order Christmas cards to send to all those on the Wishart Christmas card list!

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I was browsing online for Christmas card designs and came across Minted. They sell a whole variety of personalised stationery, party decor and cards but their Holiday section really appealed to me, especially as we are starting to really plan everything for the festive season.

For me, having the right Christmas card design is so important. I may not speak to some people all year but they’ll still get a Christmas card and it shows that people care – I love to receive cards and I really appreciate it when the sender has gone to just a little bit more effort than a standard multi pack of cards from the supermarket.

I’ve spent some time looking at the Minted range and have put together a few of my favourites from their great holiday card section. To be honest, they’re all lovely but here are the ones I love most:

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  1. Happiness Is… - What makes your children happy? Such a cute idea for a card and one that the whole family could feature on.
  2. Round Cards – Minted have a variety of shaped cards and the round ones are some of my favourites, making the photo the main focus.
  3. Classic Cards - There are a huge range of simple, classic cards that would suit any personality. You can’t go wrong with one main, framed image.
  4. Ticket Cards – Another shaped design and one I love. The colours are so traditional and the wording is all personalised to really mark the year.
  5. Comic Strip – Ever thought of making a comic strip out of your own family photos? Why not make it your Christmas card?! This is such a unique design that I haven’t seen on a greetings card before and being a house of superhero fans I had to put this card in with my favourites!

Minted have such a great range of cards, ones that suit every personality and every family. I have also been given a $50 Minted gift card to give away to one lucky reader. To be in with a chance of winning please enter using the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Minted however all opinions are my own.

My First Cruise Ship Experience – Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

I had never been on a cruise ship before and had never expected to go on one either, until Royal Caribbean gave myself and a handful of other bloggers the chance to experience a day on their current largest ship, Oasis of the Seas, when it came to the UK for the first time a few days ago.

I had never considered a cruise ship holiday in the past. Why? Because I thought they were aimed at either old people or rich people, that they’d be too expensive for us, that I’d feel claustrophobic in pokey cabins and that there wouldn’t be enough to keep the children entertained. I thought it would be stuffy and boring.

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

Our day started at Southampton Port, checking onto Oasis of the Seas and being led onto the ship and through to Giovanni’s Table for lunch. We walked through corridors and went up in the lift – 16 floors of cruise ship with glass sided lifts that let you see the magnitude of Oasis of the Seas. From the minute we got in the lift I was in awe of how big the ship was, I had never been anywhere near anything so vast.

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

Giovanni’s Table and some other restaurants were located in Central Park, a small scale replica of the Central Park, complete with bird noises, benches and seating areas. A lot of the cabins, ‘Staterooms’ as Royal Caribbean call them, look out onto Central Park and for me, those rooms would be ideal – there would definitely be more to look at than an ocean view!

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

Lunch couldn’t have been better, three courses, wine and the best Tiramisu I have ever tasted! The waiters were attentive, remembered what our water choice was (sparkling or still), and couldn’t do enough to help. My only slight issue was that the restaurants didn’t have toilets in them. I had to leave the restaurant and go all the way back to the stateroom corridor where there were two toilet cubicles – one male, one female, and neither door locked. Not the best start!

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

After lunch we had a walk through the ship to the Elemis Spa and got to see the gym as well as having a wonderful hand and arm massage. The gym was incredibly well stocked with equipment and had various exercise classes on offer – Yoga on the helipad sounded fantastic, even if just for the experience! The spa had a huge range of treatments on offer and a health drink bar too although green smoothies really aren’t my cup of tea!

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

In both the spa and gym we took the opportunity to chat to the staff, all of which spoke highly of Royal Caribbean, showed how enthusiastic they were about their jobs and had a clear love of the jobs they did. Life on a cruise ship cannot be easy, working 5.5 days a week for 9 months at a time but the staff enjoy what they do and more importantly they have an incredible standard of customer service and do all they can to please the guests on board. For me, the staff were a huge highlight of the day. I also loved that they had not only their names on their name badge but also the country they were from. It showed us in a short space of time what a multinational company Royal Caribbean is.

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

We then went to the top of the ship to zip line over a 9 floor drop. This is something I was incredibly nervous about but I loved it and was so glad I did it. We were put into harnesses with helmets and special shoes and told exactly what we had to do. One reassuring aspect was that as soon as it started raining the zip line was closed down – Royal Caribbean take safety incredibly seriously on board and zip lining in the rain wouldn’t be safe at all.

After the zip line we saw the extensive swimming pool complex which pools for different ages and abilities as well as hot tubs and a lot of seating areas and sun loungers. Although we were in the Southampton rain it was easy to see how lovely the pools would be in the caribbean sunshine where Oasis of the Seas usually sails.

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

We made our way to see one of the Staterooms and I was impressed with the size. I was expecting a room the size of a double bed with a lack of storage space but instead the room had a double bed, a sofa bed and plenty of storage space. There was also a balcony and ample shower room. Admittedly, this wasn’t the most basic of rooms but it was the perfect space for a family of four. The only downside to the staterooms for me was the corridor carpet. The swirly pattern looked dated and out of place in the opulent surrounding of Oasis of the Seas.

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

We then went and sat out of the way in one of the many Oasis of the Seas bars whilst the ship Muster Drill took place. This is like a fire drill that takes place before the ship leaves port and this again highlighted how important safety is to Royal Caribbean – making sure everyone knows where to go and how to act in an emergency was clearly a priority for them.

After the Muster Drill had finished we went and saw the children’s activities and childcare facilities. It was lovely to see children being looked after in rooms grouped by age and ability so that each age child had the right toys and activities for their age. Each of the rooms were well maintained and clean and all the staff were well trained, degree educated and with the right personalities to work with children – bright and bubbly! We were also lucky enough to have a science class and make a volcano as well as playing a ball game. The whole children’s facility was great to see and it was good to know that if you went on a cruise and needed childcare the option was there whether for an hour or the whole day – all included in the holiday cost too.

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

Our day was then finished off with a meal in Chops Grill restaurant that was easily the best steak I have ever eaten, the food throughout was incredible and definitely one of the highlights of the day for me.

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis

We had a pre-dinner chat with the Royal Caribbean senior team who asked for our honest feedback on Oasis of the Seas and cruise holidays. This was a great part of the day for me as it was really nice to see the people behind the brand. Royal Caribbean definitely took the feedback on board and at the end they asked us whether we would now like to cruise.

Would I like to cruise? The staterooms were bigger and better equipped than I had expected, the ship had a huge amount of activities from the zip line, to shopping or even just afternoon tea in the buffet restaurant! The cost when you book a cruise can actually be everything you pay for the whole holiday – you can eat and drink without incurring any extra costs and many activities and childcare are also included in the price – I always thought that the cost of a cruise would spiral but in reality it can just be one set amount that you pay at booking.

Overall, I think I would love to go on a cruise and Royal Caribbean have definitely sold the idea to me! A few days ago I wouldn’t have even thought of cruising as a couple holidays and definitely not a family one. Now though I see it as an ideal family holiday, with so much to do, constant food and a different city or country every day or two.

Thanks to Royal Caribbean for inviting us on such an incredible day – there was so much excitement about Oasis of the Seas being in the UK and it was amazing to be a part of that.

 

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Bon voyage #RoyalOasis, what an incredible day! @myroyalUK

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Disclosure: I was invited onto the Oasis of the Seas for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own.

My Kitchen Worktop Hog – The Ordinary Moments

LP has a new favourite place in our kitchen – sitting on the worktop. This all started when we needed to wash her hands at the sink and we’d sit her up there and wipe her hands and face over rather than having to crouch down. From there it has become LP’s favourite place to sit.

Whenever we finish a meal LP will wander over to the sink and ask to sit on the side so we can wash her hands and face but she’ll then start pointing things out – things on the sides of things she can see out the window in the garden. She loves to look at new things or just get a new perspective on the things she has seen hundreds of times before.

LP also loves to sit up on the side whilst we’re cooking. She’ll sit while I cut vegetables, or while I put things together for lunch and she’ll talk to me all the time, about what we’re doing, what we’re doing later or what else she has done that day.

Having my little worktop hog is something new to both of us. She likes the ‘grown up’ feeling of being allowed to sit somewhere previously out of bounds, somewhere she has to be careful and somewhere that feels like a treat. I love being on the same level as LP, being able to see her so easily when we’re doing things and have her watch what I’m doing from such a good angle.

Before long LP will be a teenager, pushing herself up to sit on the counter whilst we make a cup of tea or talk about our day. For now she is an excited three year old with a new place to sit.

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