Nicola and I love travelling around the UK and we both have static caravans one of us at the lakes and the other at South Shields. 

From the North of Scotland to Cornwall, Sea to Sea (aka C2C which is on our doorstep) to beautiful Ireland there is no where we don’t want to explore

For years we’ve championed Visit England and love their newest campaign #OMGB (Oh My Great Britain). This four-week #OMGB ‘Home of Amazing Moments’  campaign uses film and images of authentic experiences and activities shot on locations across the UK to inspire people to take a short break at home and encourage Brits to share their own memorable #OMGB moments on social media.

Here’s a little inspiration from VisitEngland.

Trek the Lake District with fluffy Llamas
With Lakeland Llama Treks, you can enjoy the companionship of a local Llama on a guided trek around the beautiful Eden Valley in Cumbria. A range of different treks are on offer for different levels and ages, ranging from a one hour mini trek to longer countryside trails. Complete the experience with a stay in the Llamas Pyjamas B&B and a bite to eat at the Llama Karma Café (which also doubles as a zoo). Now we’ve trekked the Lake District but NEVER with Llama’s.

Party in the Northern Quarter, Manchester
Manchester’s Northern Quarter is a bazaar of the weird and wonderful. Handmade crafts, vintage and couture fashion, and delicious food are all on offer inside this wonderfully restored former Fish and Poultry Market. Actually Suzanne is also quite partial to Spinningfields and adores The Lowry hotel near by.

See ‘Britain’s favourite view’, Wastwater, Lake District
A feast for the eyes, Wastwater has been voted Britain’s ‘favourite view’, with towering mountains surrounding the crystal waters of the deepest lake in England. It’s an ideal location for picnics, walking, and diving. Close to the towering mountain of Scafell Pike, the majestic scenery here provides an atmospheric backdrop no matter the weather.

Visit a former ‘supervolcano’, Glen Coe, Highlands
As Scotland’s most iconic glen it’s no wonder that this epic setting appeared in the James Bond film Skyfall. Its raw beauty is best explored on a hike, roaming amongst wild deer and admiring rocky peaks shrouded in mist.

Discover myths and legends at The Giant’s Causeway, Antrim, Northern Ireland
This awe-inspiring World Heritage Site graced the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fifth album and featured in countless films and TV shows. The state-of-the-art visitor centre tells the story of these famous basalt columns rising out of the sea, which are the perfect backdrop for a memorable moment.

For more #OMGB holiday ideas and the chance to win competition prizes click here.




The milk diaries

Breast is best, that’s what we are told. The huge NHS booklet entitled ‘feeding your baby’ ONLY mentions breast. Company’s aren’t allowed to advertise their breast milk alternative formulas until stage two which is recommended for babies six months and up.

BUT is breast really what is best, always and for everyone? This post is on an emotive topic but I am talking purely about my own experience it’s not a judgement piece although I feel that I was judged.

Back in 2009 when I found out I was pregnant I wrote to PR’s and let them know and said I was happy to try out any breast-feeding aids. I was sent a multitude of items including a breast pumps, bottles, nipple shields, bras, disposable pads, nursing bras, cover ups and muslins. Here’s me naively thinking I just needed ‘me’ apparently not.

Emily took to feeding but she wouldn’t let go, I quickly not only became the milk giver but the equivalent of a dummy too. She woke up lots during the night. Did I lose weight during the breast-feeding time? The simple answer is no. I gained weight. I was sleep deprived and throughout the night I suffered from ‘the munchies’ and I’ve just come across this article published in The Guardian that backs this up.

I spoke to the health visitor about my increasing tiredness but she just nodded and said,

At this point it’s not about you it’s about the baby, isn’t it!

PERFECT not only did I feel like I was a less than able mum which you can read about in my blog posts entitled Pregnancy, childbirth and the happy ever after; not always and  Pregnancy, childbirth and the happy ever after; not always part two but essentially I had to give up every ounce of energy and sleep to take care of her and I did this until she was seven months but I shouldn’t have continued I shouldn’t have let society dictate what was right for me or my baby.

Experience one:

Continuous feeding seemingly around the clock, I was often found feeding Emily on our daily bus journeys and this was greeted from ‘ahhh’ to ‘that’s disgusting!’ Baby to toddler to little girl her sleeping patterns established early on lasted until she started school. Feeding was a control thing for me, whilst I was doing that I knew I was able to do atleast one thing right for her. Dismissive health visitors comments could have had disastrous consequences.

So onto baby two. Luke was born at 35 weeks at a very healthy weight of 5lb 13ozs. He lived his first few days in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) and had a feeding tube up his nose. His tummy was first filled not by my milk but by formula and I hated this. I did lots of skin to skin kangaroo care and was shown how to hand express, which infact is a little humiliating where you basically kneed you breasts and a nurse collects the meagre drops in the tiniest of syringes. I was so proud feeding my boy with my milk through his tube.

Next my milk came in. I requested a proper machine and pumped away until there was a surplus of milk and astounded the nurses at just how much I produced. He took to the breast no bother even though he was still having the majority of his feeds via the tube. Once he had a proper taste of boob milk he actually pulled out his own feeding tube, enough was enough.

Feeding Luke was easy and no fuss. He had his fill and came off naturally with a smile. He never used my nipple as a dummy. Then when he was five weeks old he started to vomit, a little at first then increasingly to the point of 75 percent of the feed almost 100 percent of the time. I started to worry. He was only a wee one! What was I doing wrong? Reflux was suggested so I went to the doctors and requested baby Gaviscon but was denied. The locum doctor wanted Luke to be assessed as paediatrics wasn’t his specialism (as a GP I didn’t expect it to be but reflux is a common issue).

I took Luke to a hospital department and his feeding was observed and six hours later it was decided he was milk intolerant and I was making him poorly. Instead of talking me through what I should alter in my diet Luke was prescribed a specialist milk. Boom. In that instant the consultant expected me to give up feeding as it was right for my son.

I tried to go dairy free and not use the formula but after a slip up of drinking a huge latte my boy was again in pain. Before jumping in may I point out that I did consult my health visitor and local La Leche League but no support was given.

Being bottle fed though meant other people could join in. My initial job role redundant. This is my last child and instead of weaning him off my breast gently he was forcibly removed. He didn’t mind the formula which stunk of malted milk. He smiled again after a feed. My boy was happy and so was I.

Experience two;

Slow start due to circumstances, happy smiley baby after feeds, no breast or nipple pain then projectile vomit, Luke looking in pain, no support to continue breast feeding which is so contradictory to my last experience.

I NEVER thought at that point that weaning would be affected but Luke will be put on a weaning ladder and foods introduced in a slow and steady manner with different levels of milk content.

I was given the opportunity to talk with Baby Moov’s chosen little person nutritionist Julia Wolman RNutrand here are some of the questions that I asked;

  1. What are the best substitutes for dairy products when weaning?
  2. His porridge/breakfast cereal tastes disgusting to me as I make it with his milk but will he just be used to it?
  3. Is milk intolerance and lactose intolerance different? (Luke has had no formal testing just observational).
  4. Luke will often accept some food one day and then completely refuse it the next (purse lip and turn his head) is this common and how can I tackle it?
  5.  Is it better to mix foods or keep tastes separate? The reason I ask is that shop bought jars/pouches seem to be a mix of 2-5 items which I seems strange as wont it be dominated by the stronger flavoured items?
  6. I don’t want to rush through stages but I do feel like we are a little behind which may have led to Luke refusing new foods. How can I tackle that?
  7. I’m still puréeing pretty much everything, with Luke being early I do see that I’m doing things more slowly then I did with his big sister. Can this cause more harm then good?
  8. What are the best finger foods to start with?
  9. What was your childs’ most favourite thing to eat when they were 8.5/9 months.

Read my next instalment to find out how the #stresslessweaning programme is progressing and see the answers to my questions.

PS. I forgot to say whether I consider breast to be best or not. Here I am going to sit on the fence. Do what is right for YOU as well as your baby. You need to look after yourself as without a healthy you then everything in a baby’s immediate world is affected!


Northern Stage has been part of my life for six and a half years now and each and every time I go I’m looking forward to the next performance.

We’ve visited twice this year already. Both times my daughter Emily and I nabbed the tickets and had our breathes taken away by balletLORENT thoroughly beautiful depiction of Snow White (albeit being a little miffed that Snow White’s suitor wasn’t a handsome prince) and Need A Little Help  a gorgeously intimate production. This time though it’s time for the big girls to head out for a girls night out to see, Noises Off.

I loved Carla Mendonca in ‘My Parents Are Aliens’ so as soon as I saw her wielding an axe I knew it could be a go to show for us.

How it’s described,

Riotous, raucous, hilarious, tears-rolling down the face, can’t breathe- it’s so funny, perfectly glorious comedy bliss’

Now that’s definitely something to live up to Michael Frayn!

A little about the show, as a touring troupe desperately try to hold their shambolic production of ‘Nothing On’ together, and with under 24 hours to go before curtain-up, it’s downhill all the way through their dress rehearsal. Backstage antics, forgotten lines, not-so secret romances, hilarious malfunctions and a tin of sardines threaten to result in a disastrous first performance.

With both an Olivier and Evening Standard awards under it’s belt we are definitely looking forward to a great night out.

Director, Blanche McIntyre said:

Noises Off is the greatest farce ever written and one of the great classics of modern theatre. I couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to direct it – it’s something I’ve wanted to do for years.

Tour dates 
Northern Stage, Newcastle – 11 – 28 May
Nuffield Theatre, Southampton- 1 – 25 June

Stay tuned to find out what we thought of the play and our dinner at McKenna’s beforehand.




This time last year I was well into my third trimester and a little rounded to say the least.

It had been five years since I was pregnant with Emily and my weight and fitness has been good, great, poor and very poor at different times over those years. I was 34 when I became pregnant with Emily and you’d think I’d be sensible at that age but oh no I definitely decided to ‘eat for two’ as the saying goes.

No no to caffeine – the first thing to go in my diet was coffee. This wasn’t a choice I in fact had no choice as even the slightest smell of coffee knocked me sick to the point of vomiting. En route to my H&S job I collected an intern each day and she insisted on bringing a pot of coffee into the car but I didn’t want to tell her and she seeming seemed oblivious to my retching. The saving grace is that it was summer and I could drive with the car windows down without question.

Cravings – pickled fish. In fact anything at all doused in vinegar. I was often found in the kitchen day or night downing shots of vinegar. It sounds absolutely disgusting now but truly vinegar at the time was akin to the finest bottle of Champagne well to me any way.

I also had a penchant to burrito’s and Doritos (taste buds have just gone off simply writing that).

This time round I was 39 when I found out that I was pregnant with little Luke and wanted to use Emily’s pregnancy as something to learn from but all I wanted to do was eat and eat and eat nothing appeared to fill me. Weight was steadily going on and I was only ever weighed once and that was the initial appointment. Although a mature adult I acted like a child and didn’t know when to stop eating this had to stop. Then a light bulb moment I rediscovered my love of smoothies.

I had done quite a lot of reading and knew it was important to do the following;

  1. Eat atleast the government guideline of five fruits and veg per day.
  2. Eat starchy carbohydrates at every meal to fill you for longer.
  3. Have low fat dairy products twice a day to ensure your need for calcium is met.
  4. Ensure protein rich food factor at least twice a day.
  5. Remember you only need an extra 200 calories per day so restrict the intake of sugar and fat.
  6. Add natural folic acid into the diet which included leafy green veg (kale roasted in the oven with sea salt and a little oil became a snack staple)

Apparently you are only expected to gain 1lb a week if you started you pregnancy at a defined healthy BMI but those like me who sat above the healthy range only 1/2lb was acceptable. Yes I have heard it all before, “don’t gain too much weight, as it’s harder to lose it post-pregnancy, especially when you are an old mum”. Now stand back before I punch you, was often the thought running around my head whilst I gave a disingenuous smile to the wisdom giver, as they only meant well, didn’t they?

Now back to my love of smoothies. Rediscovered in month six whilst on a visit to Intu Metro Centre and there was a smoothie stand I was really hungry/thirsty and I was intrigued by the queue around the booth diagonally opposite from Greggs (I will forever love their sausage rolls). I can’t quite remember the name but it had a bit of everything in there.

Off home I went via the supermarket and health food shop to load up on smoothie ingredients a plenty. I got some fab ideas from Pinterest. I had a completely outdated blender and had already started looking up blenders when I came across Baby Moov a brand I wasn’t familiar and it’s Nutribaby I knew it was the product that did what I wanted. It steamed and blended and didn’t take up too much counter space. Alas I talked myself out of the purchase, I couldn’t treat myself to something that is aimed specifically at baby weaning. Absolute codswallop. If I’d bought it when I was six months pregnant and then used it for weaning (when baby turns six months old) I would have had the equivalent of a full term pregnancy of  use out of it equating to only £11 per month and then there was it’s future existence to. No brainer I shouldn’t have deprived myself. I do have one now though as I’m part BabyMoov’s 2016/17 cohort of brand ambassadors.

Over the next few months I’m going to let you see my Nutribaby in action and re-live those delicious pregnancy smoothies. They were epic and I hope you will enjoy them when you try them.

This is a collaborative post with Baby Moov #stresslessweaning



When asked to review The Haybarn in Fryton, Slingsby, North Yorkshire by Gorgeous Cottages as a destination for ‘Posh Hen Do’s’ and ‘Girlie Getaways’ we were not prepared for the splendour to come.

We headed to York and found our way to The Haybarn, one of the Cherrygarth Cottages luxury holiday cottages. It was pitch dark when we arrived at 7pm. Upon opening the doors our jaws dropped and not a sound, not even a pin drop could be heard.

It was truly magnificent. Peace perfect peace but not for long.

We all headed off in different directions to explore the vast space.

There are four bedrooms and the photographs really don’t do them justice. The room I selected had a mezzanine bathroom with a sky light directly over the bath to watch the twinkly stars above. I was a little antisocial for a while as I drew the bath, filled with UK brand Molton Brown bubble bath and luxuriated in peace. Heaven, well I was the honorary hen.

The ladies explored the outdoor facilities and jumped into the hot tub and had a merry time drinking some bubbly, I joined them after my soak (looking a tad prune like) but didn’t want to miss out on all of the fun. Next we found the sauna and that gets a big thumbs up too. And so too came the games room for a spot of karaoke and a session on the Wii.

After the tomfoolery came dinner albeit a late one, so we all gathered around the lovely kitchen table and prepped, cooked, drank wine (we had just discovered the bottle already chilling in the fridge) and talked. Everything you could possibly need from a kitchen was right there.

If you didn’t feel like cooking though there was a great file with honest reviews of local pubs and eateries. The appliances in the kitchen were UK made too, Stoves and Dualit.

With glasses in hand we headed to the lounge were we lit the fire (already prepared for us) and talked some more. The sofa was huge with enough room for everyone.

Time for Bedfordshire came upon us quickly and we all went off to our rooms, rather reluctantly. All the bedrooms were sumptuous but, which one to choose though? The seemingly largest room with the vaulted ceiling and wet room, bed two with mezzanine bathroom, bed three with Jacuzzi bath, walk in shower and mezzanine lounge area or bed four (mine all mine) with the second mezzanine bathroom? The beds were so, so cosy that we all found it difficult to wake in the morning.

For breakfast we devoured the food basket filled with cereal, eggs and bread. Yummy!

Outside, each cottage has a quiet, sheltered, south-facing courtyard garden with patio and barbecue area. The courtyards have been creatively landscaped to provide privacy for each cottage.

Would we recommend this for a Hen Party or a girlie get together? Without a shadow of a doubt.

This stay was organised by Gorgeous Cottages who can create a ‘Gorgeous weekend for stylish stags and well heeled hens.

Hope you have a Gorgeous Weekend soon.


Suzanne x