Masthead header
Dear You, Love Me bio picture
  • Hello & Welcome.

    I'm Kimberley. Mum of 5, wife to 1, Cake-lover, Diet Hater, Permanent PJ Wearer, Cocktail Drinker, Over-thinker with a love of pub lunches and all things stripey.

    You've stumbled across my little part of the internet where I keep an online journal of adventures, random musings and memories written to inspire & make you smile.

    Have a good look around & don't hesitate to get in touch if theres something you think we could work together on.

    Enjoy!

    Love, Me

This week we are decorating our boys bedroom & therefore as I type I am surrounded by everything you can imagine from multiple sets of Lego & Hex-bugs (that have started randomly buzzing away in their box which I now cannot reach) to homemade toilet roll castles and half-made art projects which have a temporary home in our bedroom whilst the messy stuff gets finished & before they swiftly make their way to the recycling bin. I also came across a school trip letter that I recently argued with the 9 year old about until we were both blue in the face, a half eaten chomp (I was tempted….) and 24 odd socks.

 Meanwhile, the cat is walking around in a state of combined anger and depression as she has lost her favourite snoozing/bird watching spot on the sunny landing which has now been taken over by hundreds of books and games which clearly aren’t to her taste.

This has been a few months in the pipeline, and knowing the mess it was going to create I have to be honest, I have definitely been putting it off. The only thing keeping me going right now is the idea of the finished result & the smiles on the boys faces as they enjoy 10 minutes of tranquility in their new room before they trash it whilst almost killing each other; the same as every other day.

I have been pinning ideas on my favourite guilty pleasure Pinterest, for some time now and have to admit to stealing a fair few ideas from there. I can spend hours and hours creating the most beautiful boards for everything from healthy, gorgeous looking dinners, to holiday ideas and interior design inspiration. Sometimes I wonder what we did before it arrived?

However I just know almost anything I attempt to ‘copy’ from Pinterest will turn into a disaster, and I have no doubt in my mind the boys bedroom will not look half as good as the many bedrooms I have swooned over for the past few months.  Most of the children they are seemingly made for don’t appear to have many toys, or clothes for that matter, where is all of their ‘stuff’? Not a toilet roll castle to be seen!  The standard room contains lots of books on neatly lined IKEA shelves and a few ‘key pieces in accent colours’ thrown in for good measure, not to mention the obligatory marquee lighting or chalkboard wall (both of which I am planning to include…ssssh!).

I think we give ourselves a hard time when it comes to Pinterest and the expectations it can bring. It’s a fantastic tool for research and inspiration, as long as we don’t get swept up in the whole ‘perfect home’ ideal. Ultimately a home has to be practical as well as look pretty, so if the laundry bin is your key piece, flaunting underpants in your accent colour, brilliant. Whatever works for you. In fact, the term ‘Pinterest fail’ has become as well known as Pinterest itself over the years, there is even a website dedicated to all of our good intentions seen on Pinterest that don’t turnout in real life. You can visit it here and have a good giggle.

In the meantime, I will be over on Pinterest, adding to my ever growing collection of boards, creating my picture perfect home…… whilst surrounded by cobwebs and clutter in my real-life one!

Pinterest Failure? - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

BACK TO TOP CONTACT ME EMAIL POST TO FRIEND

Who doesn’t love a good chilli? It’s the perfect midweek dinner & just what our bodies are craving in this bleak, January weather. Totally versatile and easily adapted to suit every tastebud, it really is a life-saver when you haven’t much time & can be a great way of hiding loads of veg from the kids!

This really doesn’t need rice but if you have time and can be bothered then a huge bowl of basmati rice topped with coriander goes perfectly.

Tortilla Chilli Bowl - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

 

You will need:

♥ 500g good quality, lean beef mince (5% fat or less)

♥ 2 chopped red onions

♥ 1 tbsp garlic granules (or fresh if you prefer)

♥ 1 tbsp ground cumin

♥ 1 tbsp ground coriander

♥ 1-2 tbsp chilli powder (mild/hot depending on taste)

♥ 1 finely grated carrot

♥ 1 finely grated courgette

♥ 1 tbsp plain flour

♥ 2 tins Italian chopped tomatoes

♥ 1 tbsp sweetener

♥ 400ml beef stock (made using 2 stock cubes)

♥ 2 tbsp Tomato Puree

♥ Wholemeal Tortilla

♥ Cucumber, chopped

♥ Vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, halved

♥ 2 spring onions, sliced

♥ A handful of cheese, grated

Method:

♥ Place a large non-stick pan over a high heat. Add the beef mince and onions and fry until browned.

♥ Add the garlic, cumin, coriander and chilli powder and fry for another 3-4 minutes.

♥ Add the carrot and coriander and fry until softened.

♥ Sprinkle over the flour and combine all of the ingredients.

♥ Turn the heat down low.

♥ Add the chopped tomatoes, sweetener, beef stock & tomato puree.

♥ Stir well to combine and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes to let the flavours merge, stirring occasionally.

♥ Season with a pinch of salt and loads of freshly ground black pepper.

♥ When ready to serve, place the tortilla in a bowl and fill with your chilli, top with the cucumber, tomato, spring onion and finally the grated cheese.

Enjoy!

Love, Me

BACK TO TOP CONTACT ME EMAIL POST TO FRIEND

I have to confess I am a little bit addicted to books; I love nothing more than walking into a book store with the smell of the freshly printed pages all around me and with the wonder of a small child wandering around aimlessly taking in the new titles and brightly printed front covers. I could (and often do) spend hours flicking through book after book until something truly captures my interest. In fact, it has become bit of a long running joke when I am out with friends that I literally cannot walk past a book store without having a sneaky peak. It is true.

I like all sorts, from fact to fiction but shamefully (for some, not me!) it’s often the children’s section I find myself in time and time again, a mixture of old and new, nostalgia sets in and nothing beats seeing a book you once loved yourself as a child still in print, waiting to be bought and loved to death by your own children. I have to say I probably end up buying a lot of the books the children own for me rather than them but thats the best part of being a parent, eh?

When I recently received a copy of Wide Eyed Editions The School of Art through the door, it may be true that I squealed a little bit! I am huge fan of some of their other books which are all quirky non-fiction guides, Natures Day & One Thousand Things being firm favourites so it’s no surprise that The School of Art by Teal Triggs & Daniel Frost is no exception.

Wide Eyed Editions; The School of Art - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

A beautifully presented, square hard back book, The School of Art is written in a way that draws the reader (or Student as we are now called) in from the very beginning. Set out in a series of 40 lessons spanning over 3 ‘terms’ we are first introduced to a set of 5 professors, each with their own area of expertise:

♥ Professor of Ideas – Encouraging and inspiring students to explore their ideas.

♥ Professor of Form – Helping students ideas come to life, turning them into visible, tangible things.

♥ Professor of Senses – Teaching students that art is not just about what they see, but about activating other senses too.

♥ Professor of Making – Giving students activities to enable us to make things & enabling us to put ideas into reality.

♥ Professor of the Planet – The school’s ‘Moral Compass’ helping students think about the world around them in everything they do.

Throughout the book we are taught a series of lessons in which the Professors teach us different topics. They work together to complement each others ideas perfectly and help the student get to grips with every aspect of the subject being explored. What I found extremely comforting from this idea, is that it very quickly becomes apparent that no idea is ‘wrong’ there is no right or wrong within art and it can be made using anything as a material or a guide. It also shows it is good to challenge our own and others ideas and enables us to do so in an informed way.

Term 1 is made up of teaching us about what basic elements we need to help us make art.

 Starting from the basics of line-drawings and making shapes and then moving on to transforming these into 3D shapes and how adding texture, tone and patterns can transform them. Lessons 10-17 in Term 1 are all involving the use of colour and learning how it works. What is a colour wheel? How do different colours work together? How does colour make us feel? We all found this section extremely interesting – particularly the activity on creating your own illusion!

Wide Eyed Editions; The School of Art - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

Wide Eyed Editions; The School of Art - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

Term 2 steps it up a notch and teaches us about the design principles needed to help us make impressive art. It talks about composition, perspective, symmetry, repetition and proportions (a topic my daughter found extremely helpful and enjoyable).

The book also contains some fun facts along the way – Who knew your arm span is the same as your height? Not us! (Try it!)

Wide Eyed Editions; The School of Art - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

Term 3 is all about putting all of our ideas and new-found knowledge into practise and teaching us how we can reach out to people with art. It encourages us to think visually, tell a story using pictures and really engage with an audience by making sure our work is aesthetically pleasing using all of the skills we have learnt throughout the book.

Wide Eyed Editions; The School of Art - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

On each page of this beautifully illustrated book there is an activity cloud with different ideas and examples of artwork to try. This is the part where the children get to put all they have learnt into practise from the lesson and get as creative (and messy!) as they like. The children loved this part, although were sometimes to eager to jump straight to this part before taking it what the lesson was teaching them first. 

Wide Eyed Editions; The School of Art - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

Wide Eyed Editions; The School of Art - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

Nothing beats a book that engages children from the start, is extremely fun and has them keen to learn at the same time. The house looked like a scene from art-attack every time this book came out and for a rainy afternoon I can think of nothing more perfect. It doesn’t feel like it is aimed at children in the sense they don’t feel patronised, yet it uses simple enough language for them to understand and relate to at every level.

The use of the 5 professors throughout keeps the book constant, and the children said they felt like they were part of a classroom not readers of a book. I think that makes it a winner!

I would say this book is better suited to ages 8+ due to some of the technical language and activities throughout. My 4 year old thoroughly enjoyed taking part in some of the activities but I feel he wasn’t old enough to understand any of it on any level except having fun. I have previously had no interest in art – purely because I am not great at it – but have to admit to trying out a few of the techniques myself & really enjoying them, leading me to say that this would also be suited to a young adult who wanted to understand art at a basic level too.

Wide Eyed Editions; The School of Art - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

The children’s bedroom walls are now covered in beautiful drawings and they have a refreshing confidence in their abilities to produce something more than a sunshine in the corner of a page looking over a house with a picket fence! The book has inspired them to think outside of the box and has without a doubt improved their abilities as mini-artists.

I would definitely recommend this fun & educational book as a superb birthday gift or (dare I say it in August) stocking-filler.

Enjoy!

Love, Me

Disclosure: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network and received this book for the purposes of review. All opinions however, are my own.

BACK TO TOP CONTACT ME EMAIL POST TO FRIEND

Freshly cut grass, sausages sizzling on the BBQ, suncream & the smell of fresh mint in a mojito would all come in my top 5 favourite smells of Summer, but all of these have got to be topped with the sweet, calming smell of my favourite summer plant of all – Lavender.

Every year, when the flowering season comes I make a trip to the purple fields at Hitchin Lavender in Hertfordshire where the fields are swollen with row upon row of the glorious purple plant, creating a sea of colour that is just waiting to be dived in to.

Purple Fields at Hitchin Lavender - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

I’m not sure what hits you first when you arrive at the fields, the over-powering yet comforting smell of the Lavender itself or the intense sound of the busy bees buzzing away collection their daily quota of pollen. It takes a while to get used to having so many bees for company and the children are especially cautious, but after a while they become accustomed to it and soon realise the bees are too busy going about their business to worry about what they are doing!

Entrance to the fields costs £4.50 for adults (£4 for disabled), £1 for children and under 5’s are free, this includes a pair of scissors and a bag you can fill to the brim with lavender that you can pick yourself – the part the kids love!

Of all the years I have been going we have never made it quite to the top of the hill,  but I am told there is a lovely green area to sit and marvel at the view over a picnic. At the bottom there is also a coffee shop where you can buy delicious cakes, have a catch up over a cuppa and also purchase some lavender goodies!

The sea of purple is a photographers dream and lends itself to the production of some beautiful images, as does the sunflower field which you can also visit later on in the season and for a small fee pick your own sunflower too!

Hitchin Lavender - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

I have taken some of my favourite portraits of my children here over the years and I never tire of the place.

There is also the opportunity to watch a outdoor movie here at various dates throughout the summer – pack a picnic and enjoy your film with loved ones beneath the stars with Sundown cinema.

Lavender’s flowering season is until the end of August so there is plenty of time to visit this year however its best to go sooner rather than later to see it at its finest!

Enjoy!

Love, Me

BACK TO TOP CONTACT ME EMAIL POST TO FRIEND

If you are looking for a good way to wear out the kids this summer consider getting lost beneath the pines in Thetford Forest in the Suffolk/Norfolk border.

The largest lowland pine forest in Britain, the Forestry Commission owned woodland offers 47,000 acres of forest and heathland for you to explore and discover. You can lose an entire day beneath the stunning pine trees, where the smell of the freshly fallen needles crunching beneath your feet hits you as soon as you enter under their canopy.

Once you have left the car park behind (it can be costly to park here for an entire day so be prepared) you will find the ‘hub’ of information and eateries. We have not eaten here as we always enjoy a picnic but it is always busy which I can only assume is a good sign! A short step away from the café there are an abundance of parks for the children to play in and something to suit all ages. Everything is made to fit in with the surroundings and is beautifully camouflaged against its backdrop. There are yurts for the children to play dens in if they aren’t old enough to build their own and a Gruffalo trail to follow – can you spot him?

Lost beneath the Pines in Thetford Forest - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

One of our favourite things to do every time we visit is to spend time making music in the Sensory Sound Trail. Our 5 year old has special needs and we often find this is a great way of calming him down & allowing him to let off some steam after the long car journey here before we start exploring the rest of the forest!

You can hear the wonderful sound travelling through the woodland before arriving at the start of the trail, where you can follow a path leading you to a series of sound stations. It can often get busy in peak times, however we find at the start of end of the day it is much quieter and therefore enables you to have the place almost to yourself.

Lost beneath the Pines in Thetford Forest - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

Nestled further into the forest you will stumble across ‘Wild Wood’ where you find what you would expect by the name; just vast woodland as nature intended. Still with the chimes of the sensory garden trailing through the air you don’t feel a million miles away (so know you aren’t lost!) but will feel like you have the entire forest to yourselves.

Lost beneath the Pines in Thetford Forest - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

Let the children run riot, hide and seek is great here and the loud crunching of the pine needles beneath their feet lets you know they aren’t too far away! This area is great for nature-watching and bug hunting and when it opens up the large green area is great for a cheeky snack stop, or a full picnic if you have the strength to carry everything from the car!

You can spend hours watching the children climb trees and trying their hand at building dens out of sticks and fern with nothing but the sound of their laughter and the occasional crack of a branch from a bird overhead to break the silence. An added bonus for all is that phone signal is poor here so you really aren’t going to have any disruptions meaning you can enjoy complete quality family time and really go back to basics.

Lost beneath the Pines in Thetford Forest - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk

When their feet are weary and you find your energy levels are getting low, home time awaits. But not before a stop off at the park with one of the best zip wires I have seen (beware Mums – don’t attempt to have a go yourself if you a wearing a dress, it is rather high and you may get stuck when attempting to get off revealing your underwear to the poor onlookers taking part in ‘Go Ape!’ up high in the trees. Not saying that happened to me of course…..!)

Lost beneath the Pines in Thetford Forest - www.dearyouloveme.co.uk Finish the day with a family game of table tennis which is free – bats and balls are there for all to enjoy.

En-route home it is has become tradition for our family to stop off for fish & chips  and then drive to the viewing area at RAF Lakenheath and eagerly await any planes that may (or may not!) be flying in and out before the drive home.

Enjoy!

Love, Me

Life Unexpected
BACK TO TOP CONTACT ME EMAIL POST TO FRIEND