#BathBookBed with Jo Frost and BookTrust

If you’ve read my blog before then you may well be aware that I have not been blessed with children who like to sleep. In fact if we include the sleeplessness induced by pregnancy then I am probably looking at about four years now of broken sleep. So when we were invited to the Trafford Centre in Manchester last week for the launch of BookTrust‘s Bath Book Bed campaign with their ambassador Jo Frost I was eager to go along and see if we could get some help!

Jo Frost during the #BathBookBed Q&A

BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity and they work to inspire a love of reading in children. They also know that lack of sleep is one of the hardest parts of being a parent and that getting them to sleep can be one of the biggest challenges. And that’s why they have teamed up with parenting expert Jo Frost to try and help some of those sleep deprived parents. They’re also getting a little help from Peppa Pig too!

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Living Arrows 18/52 (2017)

It’s been a mixed week this week – I started it with a bit of a sore throat and by Thursday I had full blown tonsillitis (again!). We had been invited to the Trafford Centre for a Q&A with Jo Frost though so I filled up on painkillers and throat spray and off we went. I was slightly apprehensive about taking both boys to an event on my own but they were both really well behaved.

This picture of Toby was when we had just arrived and I think he was a bit overwhelmed by the size of the place!

Toby looking awed by the size of the Trafford Centre

I was feeling slightly better on Friday so while Gabe had a nap Toby and I made chocolate cupcakes. Read more

Remembering Childhood // This glorious life

It’s that time of week when another blogger is going to be sharing their childhood memories. This week’s Remembering Childhood comes from Madeline from This glorious life.

Which decade were you born in?

I was born in the 80s.

What is your earliest memory? How old were you?

I remember being pushed down the stairs by my friend one day, we must’ve been about 3 or 4 years old.  I was fine by the way!

This glorious life

What was your favourite toy at 5 years old? At 10?

I can’t really remember, but I think I was around 5 when I had a pound puppy toy that I really loved.  By the time I was 10 I was a big fan of Sylvanian families.

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Living Arrows 17/52 (2017)

After last Monday’s visit to the Gruffalo trail at Grizedale forest the rest of the week was back to normal with nursery for the boys and time to catch up on some housework for me.

On Friday we went to our local forest playgroup for the first time. Toby really enjoyed learning all about bees and doing some bee related crafts. And Gabe enjoyed most of the session in the carrier on my back, which saved me spending the whole time chasing him around! We’ll definitely be back again soon.

The weekend saw a trip to the park, pizza for tea (we even went out for it!), and a visit to soft play as one of Toby’s reward chart treats. Toby and Barry also planted some seeds and put them out on our balcony, hopefully they’ll grow and we’ll have some lovely flowers soon.

I took this week’s Living Arrows photos out in the garden yesterday afternoon while the seed planting was going on…

Toby in the garden with the sun in his hair
Toby has been a little superstar lately (most of the time at least). Read more

Top 10 Movie Musicals

*This is a collaborative post

If you’re a regular reader you may have heard me mention that I have been in quite a lot of musicals in my time. I started dance classes when I was four and have pretty much been appearing on stage ever since. I have always loved watching movie musicals too – there’s something about a musical that just makes you feel so happy.

I thought I’d share some of my favourite movie musicals with you – most of these I first saw at home, and a lot of them when I was young back in the days when we had TVs half the size they are now.  I’d love to see them on the big screen at the cinema though, or maybe even better, in the comfort of my own home on a 4K TV from Panasonic!

So here’s my list, in no particular order…

(I decided to leave out any animated films, so no Disney here I’m afraid)

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Seven brides for seven brothers

I can’t actually remember ever not  having seen Seven Brides for Seven Brothers! I must have been really young when I first saw it, which is no surprise given it was one of my mum’s favourite films – she saw it something like seven or eight times at the cinema when it came out in 1954! I think we must have had a copy on video that we had recorded off the telly and I remember watching it loads when I was a kid. If you’ve not seen it you really should, it’s got some fabulous dancing and super-catchy tunes.

Grease 2

Slightly controversial here but I think I actually prefer Grease 2 to the original Grease film! It has a few of the same characters, a sort of similar story line, but it is just so cheesy. Plus it has a young Michelle Pfeiffer and the really rather sexy Maxwell Caulfield in it – the film almost ruined his career before it had started but he did go on to appear in Dynasty and its spin off The Colbys.

Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2

Sweeney Todd

Johnny Depp singing. Do I need to say anymore? Sweeney Todd is a fabulous Stephen Sondheim musical. I love the lyrics and I’m a big fan of a sung through musical with no dialogue. The film version of Sweeney Todd also stars Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall and is the story of a barber who kills people and has them turned into pies. What’s not to like?

Singin’ the Rain

Singin' in the rain movie poster

Surely there can’t be anyone out there who doesn’t love Singin’ in the Rain? It’s a movie musical classic and has so many fantastic songs and dances. It’s one of my ultimate feel good movies and will always put a smile on my face whenever I watch it. Although I think the iconic title song is brilliant I think my favourite song from this film has to be Moses supposes. Or Good Morning. Or All I do is dream of you. Or Make ’em laugh. Oh, I don’t know, they’re all brilliant, just watch the film already!

A Chorus Line

I knew one of the songs from A Chorus Line long before I ever saw the film. ‘One’ is the last song in the film and I love watching the stage fill with more and more dancers. It’s a very simple film really, with nearly all the action taking place on stage in an empty theatre as dancers auditioning to be in a chorus line (do you see what they did there) tell their stories. The only really well known actor in the film is Michael Douglas (although he doesn’t sing or dance) and I’ve just found out in researching for this post that it was directed by Richard Attenborough!


Hairspray is another fabulous feel good film. I’ve never seen the original film with Ricki Lake playing Tracey Turnblad but the 2007 musical version with John Travolta and Zac Efron is brilliant. The songs are so catchy and it has a great message too. And I defy you to listen to You can’t stop the beat and not want to dance!

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins is another of those classics that I can’t remember not having seen. I must have watched it when I was very little and I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen it since. I was listening to an interview with Dick Van Dyke a while ago and he was explaining why his cockney accent was so awful – apparently the studio would only hire a vocal coach to work with him for one day, and the vocal coach was Irish!

Sweet Charity

I love the choreography of Bob Fosse and I was tempted to pick Chicago as one of my top movie musicals. But the film of Chicago doesn’t actually feature Fosse’s choreography and although I do like the film I much prefer the stage show. And so I picked Sweet Charity. I’ve actually been in this musical myself too. It’s not a very well known musical really but features the iconic song Big Spender. I think if I had to pick my favourite scene though it would be the dance sequence ‘Rich Man’s Frug’ – it’s just so weird and completely irrelevant to the plot!

Moulin Rouge!

I remember being so exited when I heard about Moulin Rouge – a new movie musical that wasn’t based on a stage show,  written and directed by Baz Luhrman, and starring Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman. It promised great things and as far as I’m concerned it delivered. I love the way pop songs are woven into the story and Ewan McGregor singing Come What May is just adorable.


This is another musical, like A Chorus Line, that I saw in the theatre and didn’t really enjoy but then loved the film. It’s another sung through musical and I think I know every single word – I love putting the soundtrack on in the car and singing along. I remember when the film version of Evita came out and no-one was really sure if Madonna would be able to pull it off. I think she does, and if you don’t then at least you can just enjoy Antonio Banderas instead.

Antonio Banderas in Evita


So there you have it – my top ten movie musicals. I know I’ve missed loads of favourites out (The Sound of Music, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Oliver, Annie, High School Muscial, Little Shop of Horrors, West Side Story, Les Misérables to name a few…) but I would have been here all day if I’d done my top 20!

Have I missed out any of your favourites? Let me know in the comments below – maybe you love a movie musical I haven’t even seen yet!

*This post contains affiliate links

Living Arrows 16/52 (2017)

I’m a little late with this post this week – the long weekend has put me all out of sync. Actually though the main reason is that I fell asleep when I was putting Toby to bed last night so I didn’t get round to getting my computer out!

Last week’s sun seems to have mostly disappeared this week and we’ve had a pretty quiet Easter weekend. Last Monday though we met my friend Claire and her twins at a park near Warrington (we do a lot of meeting in Warrington as it’s about half way between our houses). It was very busy with it being the school holidays but we found a quiet spot to have a picnic and the boys all had fun running around.

Gabe showing his independence in the park

Gabe is a funny little character sometimes. Read more

Siblings // Toby and Gabe in April (2017)

I have been a bit lax with my Siblings Project posts this year and in fact haven’t written one since January! This has partly been because I haven’t really managed to take many pictures of Toby and Gabe together, and partly because not much has changed on the the sibling relationship front.

This month’s photos are just a few from my phone over the last couple of months, as that is all I have. There’s a couple of good ones in there anyway…

On the settee in matching leggings

We still have odd moments of affection, and Gabe still clearly adores his big brother and wants to do everything he does, but most of their time is spent bickering and fighting. Whatever one has the other one wants, whether it’s a toy, food, a stick or even a random bit of fluff off the carpet! Gabe’s default mode at the moment just seems to be wailing at everything, especially when he can’t have what he wants, so there is quite a lot of crying in our house on a daily basis. Read more

Remembering Childhood // Vie Choufleur

It’s that time of week when another blogger is going to be sharing their childhood memories. This week it’s from Halina from Vie Choufleur.

Which decade were you born in?
The 1980s
What is your earliest memory? How old were you?

I think I was either a very late 2 or a very early 3. I was playing on my tricycle (do they even make those anymore?!) in our back garden and with the brilliantly stubborn logic of a toddler decided to try to ride said tricycle UP the steps towards the back door. Needless to say that didn’t go particularly well and I fell off.

What was your favourite toy at 5 years old? At 10?

It’s hard to remember being 5. At 10 my favourite toy was probably most likely one of my Barbies…yep, I was a Barbie girl! I had SO many, although my favourite was the mermaid Barbie who came with hair down to her ankles. At 5…I remember adoring my Lego, so so much. I used to play Lego for HOURS. I can’t wait until my son is old enough to do that (because I’ll be joining in/taking it over…).

Do you still have any toys from your childhood?

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Living Arrows 15/52 (2017)

Week 15 and it seems like spring has finally sprung! We’ve been having some lovely weather this week, and especially this weekend.

On Tuesday Toby had a day off nursery (mostly to save a bit of money as he doesn’t get his funded hours during the school holidays) but Gabe still went in so we had a mummy and son day. We didn’t do too much – we played with some of the games we don’t usually get out when Gabe is around, and then we went out to run a few errands and have an ice cream. We don’t get much time, just Toby and I on our own very often, except when Gabe is napping, so it was lovely to have a day just the two of us.

We had a little bit more one on one time on Friday too, but that wasn’t quite so much fun as it was for Toby to have his preschool immunisations. We decided to tell him what was going to happen but that meant he was scared before he even got there. He was OK in the end really. He wailed when they did it but recovered fairly quickly when I produced a new Gruffalo toy and a Kinder egg! He has complained about sore arms a couple of times but otherwise seems to be fine so far.

Gabe on the other hand has been grumpy all week. I’m not sure what’s wrong with him – possibly teeth, or a cold, or just some sort of virus. He’s had a couple of little spots on his face but nowhere else, and on Saturday woke up with sticky eyes which have mostly cleared up now. He’s been off his food a bit though and just exceptionally clingy and whingey. Hopefully whatever it is it will pass quickly.

Despite Gabe’s grumpiness we decided to make the most of the lovely weather this weekend, and as Toby’s reward for reaching the end of his chart that I mentioned last week, we went to the beach on Saturday. We were planning on going after lunch but after fighting to fit the car seats into our new car for ages it ended up being almost 3 pm before we set off. Read more