Summer holiday thanks…

Summer holiday thanks…

I haven’t blogged much this year, but one thing I did want to document was how fab the summer holidays were this year… in more ways than one. Continue reading

DanTDM – YouTuber


I can honestly say, I’ve just had one of the most stressful half hours of my life!

True story…

Would you believe that DanTDM is a YouTuber – yes, that’s his actual job, it’s what he does (who’d have thought) and for those with children and tweens who are into, dare I say the word, Minecraft, they will know this young guy well I’m sure.

Just to put you in the picture DanTDM (don’t ask me what the TDM stands for because I have absolutely no idea) has 590k followers over on Twitter and over 10 million subscribers on YouTube *gulps* – now that’s a lot!

Stampy is long forgotten and these days it DanTDM all the way… MasterB even styles his hair on Dan’s and wants to go blue in the summer hols!!

Anyway the point of this is Dan announced his first ever tour earlier in the week and it’s all MasterB has been talking about since.

Looking at the dates, the only one we could make due to holidays was his last date in Milton Keynes, about a two and a half hour journey for us from home.  But I thought ‘what the hell, it’s something he’s excited about and can be an end of school year well done treat‘.

Little did I know the pressure I would be putting myself under!!!

The site was due to go live at 10.00am this morning and I was sat ready with my credit card to get straight on there and purchase the best seats I could possibly buy.

10.00am – site not live!

10.01am – site still not live!!

10.02am – site still not live – stressing now!!!

10.03am – site live!  Go, go, gooooo!!!!

I went straight to the Milton Keynes date matinee performance – SOLD OUT!  OMG what was I going to tell B?  I knew he wouldn’t believe me when I told him I literally got on the site as soon as it went live.  He’d think I was like blaaah blaaah blaaah bimbling around.  Aaaaarrrggghhhhh!

Quick thinking, made me look at the evening performance (the very last performance – is that what you call it, I have no idea?  I mean who ever thought I’d be buying tickets to go and see/watch a YouTuber on stage fgs?  What’s he going to be doing?).  No evening performance tickets left or VIP tickets (where the kids get to meet their hero with apparently a whole host of other cool stuff) – meanwhile I tweeted DanTDM (@DiamondMinecraft) in my panic and he replied with ‘VIP tickets sold extremely quickly!!‘ – you’re telling me!!!

Dan suggested trying the venue’s website directly for tickets as he believed they still had some left, so I swiftly opened a new tab and navigated my way around to find the show on the right day at the right time and …… Yippeeee I managed to nab myself TWO TICKETS in the stalls.

Woohoooo I cannot tell you the relief I felt.  I would be able to tell MasterB what a wonderful mother I was with my dedication to the cause and had secured two, not too bad, seats for DanTDM’s first tour!!!

Phewie!  A cup of tea was called for – had it been later than 10.30am in the morning I might possibly have poured myself a glass of Blush!

So Milton Keynes look out for us in August when we hot foot it up for the DanTDM first UK tour!

I will of course let you know how the DanTDM show/performance/thingy goes… but in the meantime if you tried to get tickets but didn’t manage to, my commiserations – I feel your pain.

Carpe Diem x






My Captured Moment #22

If you follow my blog you will know that I love linking up with Heledd who blogs over at Running in Lavender with her linky ‘My Captured Moment’.

This is where you link up with a photo or a series of photos that have captured a special moment in time – one or ones you haven’t and won’t ever forget.

It’s my favourite linky because it makes me think back to such special times and I always end up with a great big fat grin on my face.

I’ve missed a couple of weeks due to being away on holiday, but I’m pleased to be back this week with …

My Captured Moment #22

Barnaby on the train to London

Apologies if you spotted this one on my blog already, but it’s my absolutely most favourite pic of MasterB at the moment.

This was taken on his birthday as we were heading into London for a few days.

Here’s another taken at the same time…

Barnaby on the train to London 2

Oh man, can’t believe this gorgeous boy of mine is 11.

I’m so utterly proud of him each and every day and he makes my heart melt with love.

How lucky we are to have him.

I hope you like my extremely special captured moments this week.

Carpe Diem x

Running in Lavender

Half term – a birthday and trip to London

Apologies, but here’s a belated mini round-up of our adventures during MasterB’s birthday and half-term.

We celebrated young B’s 11th birthday in the morning with presents and croissants – Kipster had to help too!  Although it has to be said she was a little disappointed that none of these were for her.  She’s too used to receiving her own birthday and Christmas presents (spoilt pooch or what).

Kipster and the birthday presents

Once presents had been opened and the last bits popped in the suitcase we hot-footed it up to London for a three day break – although MrD hadn’t planned the timing too well, bearing in mind it was the Rugby World Cup semi-finals!!!  We were subsequently held up in traffic and diverted, but we arrived in London as excited as ever.  MasterB has been known to stand on the platform of the tube station and sigh ‘Ahhhh I’m home‘ – how scary is that – I just know my baby is gonna move to London the first chance he gets.

MasterB on the train

Oh my heart… my gorgeous 11 year old

It’s sort of become a bit of a tradition that during the October half term we head to London where we stay at The Grange Hotel, Holburn.  For us this is perfect because it’s so central to everything and you can even walk to Covent Garden from there.  The hotel is very nice and pleasant without being over the top and has the advantage of a swimming pool and spa.  The boys can go swimming first thing, whilst I enjoy a nice massage – – – everyone’s a winner!

We had planned to go to the London Film Museum in the afternoon where they were showcasing the Bond in Motion Exhibition with actual vehicles used in past and present films.

London Film Museum

I have to say it was really interesting seeing real life relics from the Bond films (including Bond’s passport) and MrD being a bit of a 007 fan was in heaven and enjoyed explaining things to MasterB.

James Bond car

We all enjoyed it very much and it’s definitely worth a visit if you have a chance.

We had a VIP tour of the Houses of Parliament.  A dear friend of mine (who mixes in high circles) arranged this for us and was conducted by a friend of hers, Stephen Benn.  Stephen took precious time out of his schedule to give us an amazing insight into what goes on and we were all fascinated by the ins and outs of parliament.  We really were very lucky indeed (Stephen  is a wealth of knowledge with dates, names and places at the tip of his tongue when recalling stories to us) but did you know you can arrange for your local MP to give you a tour of the HofP?

Houses of Parliament

We normally try to fit a show in whilst we are up in the big smoke and this time we were lucky enough to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I have to say, it’s not my favourite show we’ve been to see, but it was enjoyable and the sets were amazing and the young boy who played Charlie the night we were there was brilliant – well done him!

We had meals out, including the Rain Forest Cafe, Piccadilly on MasterB’s birthday evening as his chosen restaurant where we enjoyed huuuge burgers and ribs.  They also made the poor boy stand on his chair whilst the whole restaurant sang happy birthday to him (embarrassed doesn’t come close!!).

We had cake…


and enjoyed drinks in the hotel lobby after long days on our feet…

The Grange Hotel lobby

I popped in to Liberty of London (my fave store) with a couple of friends whilst the boys did Hamleys.  Again everyone was a winner!  I made a small purchase in Liberty, which I will share with you in a separate post – so look out for that one.

MasterB also attended a comic workshop at the Cartoon Museum where he was helped by a professional cartoonist to create his own character and a comic-strip.  He had great fun for a couple of hours, whilst MrD and I headed to the British Museum.

Look out for the Cartoon Museum’s workshops during school holidays, because it’s incredibly cheap and great fun for them to take part in if you happen to be in London.

On the Wednesday before we headed home, we met up with some other friends for frozen yoghurt (as you do when you’re in London) at fro-go and then headed over to the Shard.

frozen yoghurt

Having promised MasterB we’d take him up the Shard, but hadn’t had time before, we suggested a little trip up to Aqua, one of the bars on the 32nd floor.

This is a shot looking up at the Shard – it really is an amazing glass building.  And look at that sky for a November day too!

The Shard

Unfortunately, we just missed out on the last table (as children aren’t allowed to stand at the bar) and as we hadn’t booked, grrrrr, we weren’t able to stay.  But I did manage to get this shot before we left…

view from the Shard

How spectacular is that!  It’s fabulous up there and next time we will definitely be booking a table.

We crammed so much into this visit, we all came home exhausted.  Happy but exhausted.

London really is an amazing place – there’s just so much to see and do all of the time.  Every time we go we experience new things.

China Town London

It certainly was a birthday to remember for MasterB!

Do you like visiting London?  What’s your favourite place to go?

Carpe Diem x

Happy Birthday Barnaby

Happy Happy Birthday Barnaby!

Today is our darling boy’s 11th *big intake of breath* birthday.

Where did that time go?

He’s grown from this; a premature tiny babe

baby Barnaby

… to this; a strapping gorgeous 11 year old!

Barnaby Oct15

It’s so true when they say that time goes waaaaay tooooo fast and you have to make the most of each and every day – it’s so precious.

So today I am sending my love with special sparkles and the biggest hugs to my boy.  We are all off to London for a few days and I hope you have the bestest time ever.

Love forever

Mummy (soon to be known as mum I have no doubt) xxxxxxxxxxx

Carpe Diem x

Marwell zoo and capturing these beauties…

It’s been a busy old week one way and another, but on Thursday we decided to have a day out to Marwell Zoo as a family and MasterB got to take a friend.

We had a great day – the weather was kind, *hoooooray* and we didn’t have a spot of rain.  It wasn’t blazing sunshine either, but I think because of that the animals were all happy to be out and about and we got to see so much more of them and their beauty.  They are fascinating to watch and I find their markings incredible.

I took my SLR camera as I wanted to try and get some good shots.

Although I ended up with a lot of blurry ones, I also got a few good ones which I wanted to share.

These have made my ‘This week I’ve loved‘ linked post with the very lovely Ali over at My Life My Love and Steph at Diary of a Midlife mummy.

Capturing the beauty of these animals really made me smile.

I used my zoom lens which literally made you feel like you could reach out and touch them.  These pictures are not filtered and are un-edited and so are seen as they were taken.

I LOVE giraffes – just look at those beautiful eyes and eyelashes and their markings are extraordinary – I have to say they’re my favourites.

giraffes at Marwell zoo

This leopard literally jumped onto the platform right in front of us and commenced having a wash and brush up – amazing.

leopard at Marwell zoo

… and that tail and paws were HOOOOOGE!!

Leopard at Marwell zoo

This tiger was a little more difficult to get a good picture of, but I quite like this regal pose.

Tiger at Marwell zoo

The markings of zebras never ceases to amaze me and that old question: are they white with black stripes, or black with white stripes?  Personally I see black with white stripes… what do you see?

zebras at Marwell zoo

zebras at Marwell zoo

We spotted this cuter than cute baby monkey hanging on for dear life to it’s mummy’s tum…

Monkey at Marwell zoo

… how adorable is that!

The lemurs put on a good show for us too, and were so funny when they sat sunbathing.

Lemurs at Marwell zoo

Lemurs at Marwell zoo

It was great to see the beautiful snow leopard out and about too, although again it was really hard trying to get a decent photo.  This was about the best I could do.

Snow leopard at Marwell zoo

And lastly the pygmy hippos – sooo cute and I love the water glistening off their backs.

Pygmy hippo at marwell zoo

Like a lot of people I have mixed feelings about zoos.  That whole seeing wild animals behind bars and in enclosed spaces when they should be wild and running free.

Marwell Zoo is owned by Marwell Wildlife, a world renowned, action oriented charity leading conservation programmes in the UK and Africa.  They do fantastic work and a lot of the species at the zoo are on the ‘critically endangered’ list.  They are doing all they can to help preserve these beautiful animals.

I hope you like my ‘This week I’ve loved‘ post.

Carpe Diem x


Larmer Tree Festival 2015 – the best bits

Larmer tree 2015

Back in July we went to the Larmer Tree festival – the original boutique festival held in the beautiful gardens of the Larmer Tree on the Dorset/Wiltshire border.

I wrote a post about our previous festivals there and how much fun there is to be had by all the family – it’s a real family friendly festival – but I never got round to sharing any pictures afterwards.

Today, being a wet and miserable homey kinda day, made me get round to downloading pics from my camera (ooops I found all sorts).  It reminded me of the great time we had and so I thought better late than never.

Here’s a few of our best bits…

Larmer Tree 15

Larmer Tree 15

You’re always welcomed by colourful flags at the Larmer Tree and despite the weather it always makes you feel part of the festival straight away.  New for this year was this amazing wooden sculptured tree – it really was an awesome piece of work.  The artist (sorry I didn’t make a note of his name) had sculptured two other pieces dotted around the festival which were being auctioned off on the Sunday.

Larmer Tree 15

This is such a simple idea and yet so effective and strangely addictive.  Strips of materials being threaded through string – it looked wonderful when completed.

Larmer Tree 15

MasterB and I both loved doing this.

Of course there was sparkly disco balls hanging in the trees…

Larmer Tree 15

and a leather chesterfield – best viewing platform in the house I reckon.

Larmer Tree 15

these beautiful creations… because peacocks wander the grounds showing off their colourful tails.

Larmer Tree 15 peacocks

Larmer Tree 15 peacocks

and there’s always street entertainment happening everywhere you wander and of course a singing nun on a mobile piano is par for the course…

Larmer Tree 15 singing nun

Larmer Tree 15 singing nun

Of course the eclectic mix of music is one of the biggest draws to the festival, with Sir Tom Jones headlining at the festival this year.  Unfortunately we weren’t there on the Wednesday evening to see him.

Tom Jones

but we did enjoy lots of other music – we loved this band, they were amazing and soooo talented.

Larmer Tree 15

and the sun came out, yay!!

Larmer Tree 15

This year was 25 years of Larmer Tree – we first went back in 2003 – and dress up Saturday (as it’s known) was all about silver.

You can go as mad as you like with this one and these guys certainly did their best – I love it!

Larmer Tree 15

Larmer Tree 15

We camped again this year (we really need to get a bigger tent for next year and I rather liked the look of the tepees; might have to do a bit of research on them for next year) and MrD insisted on a cooked breakfast.

Larmer Tree 15

– which was fun on our single gas ring!!

Larmer Tree 15

Larmer Tree 15 coffee

Larmer Tree 15

The finale on the Sunday is the carnival parade and it’s great to watch.  Anyone can get involved in it from being part of the samba band, joining the parade showing off your wonderful crafty makes and some of the performers also join in.  It’s a really bright and happy parade.

Larmer Tree 15 parade

Larmer Tree 15 parade

It was, it has to be said, another great festival.  We were lucky with the weather and we didn’t have any rain at all, although it got cold in the evenings.  That was ok though, we just put on more layers of bright colourful clothing, downed a few more drinks and embraced and enjoyed every moment.

I can’t wait for next year.

Did you make it to a festival this year?

Carpe Diem x

A trip to the donkey sanctuary in Sidmouth

donkey sanctuary

During the holidays we had said we would make a trip down to Sidmouth in Devon to the donkey sanctuary.

MasterB sponsors one of the donkeys down there called Walter and so we thought it was time for another visit.

The Donkey Sanctuary was founded in 1969 by a wonderful lady called Elisabeth Svendsen having been moved by seeing donkeys crammed into a small pen.  This prompted her into trying to do all she could to save as many donkeys as she could and the donkey sanctuary was her dream.  She’s still very hands-on even to this day.

The founder, Elisabeth Svendsen

The founder, Elisabeth Svendsen

When you wander around the sanctuary there’s a barn with a timeline that runs around the whole room – it’s great to see when it all started and the progress that has been made.

the timeline

If you haven’t been, it’s a definite recommendation for a visit – you can easily spend all day there, so a great day out during the holidays.

First stop was to try and locate Walter and we were directed up to one of the far paddocks where he was said to be.  Off we tootled…

When walking around the sanctuary one thing that really stood out was how clean and tidy it was.  Not a spot of litter anywhere and the conditions the donkeys are kept in is absolutely immaculate.  It makes you feel that money is being well spent.

Walter the donkey


Walter was in a good mood and quite happy to be stroked and whispered to by all the children.

As we were wandering around we found the most beautiful walled garden.  There was a place for plaques in memory of those who had helped Dr Svendsen in setting up the sanctuary and those, including mules, who had died in the war.

It was the loveliest spot and one I could have spent all day to be honest.

the walled garden

the walled garden

cast iron donkey

We had a great day visiting all the different donkeys and they even have a hospital for those who have been poorly and are recovering.  Such a lovely facility to have on-site.

donkey hospital

poorly hoof

saying hello

We seemed to end up following one of the grooms around the sanctuary as she brought out different adopted donkeys for everyone to stroke and say hello to.  We spoke to her and she had been working at the sanctuary for a year and yet knew every donkey’s name and knew them all by sight – wow, that’s impressive (especially considering I can’t even remember MasterB’s name some days ha ha).  And they all clearly loved her.

donkey groom

Other pictures taken around the sanctuary …

donkey sanctuary



I particularly loved these huge fluffy donkeys (picture below, sorry for the fuzzyness but I just HAD to include them) – they’re right up my street.  They were from a place just outside Paris and were used to slightly warmer climes hence their gorgeous longer coats.

shaggy donkey

There’s a great cafe there for food and drinks and of course a shop that sells all sorts of donkey memorabilia – so everyone’s kept happy.  They’re also dog friendly at the sanctuary so our lovely Kipster was able to spend the day with us admiring the donkeys too.

The last picture I took was as we were leaving the sanctuary after a full day there – I looked up to the field on the hill and saw this…

donkeys on the hill

It was so funny seeing them all in a line and I can only assume they were feeding because it was just so strange to see them like that.

A really great place to go and support the wonderful work they do.

Gotta love a donkey – such gentle souls.

Carpe Diem x