Hello!

My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 7 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

A LolliBopping Update!

LolliBop's 2014 Line-Up:
Round 2!

It seems as though it were only yesterday that we shared the first line-up announcement from LolliBop HQ, and here we are again, bringing you an update on that list as more acts have been confirmed!

However, before we go into the details of the newly listed acts, we have another exciting piece of news to share with you all ...


Once again, Munchkin and I are official LolliBop ambassadors! We are very excited. We promise to bring you all the updates, breaking news and details of things we think you should know, as well as a wonderful competition in which you could win yourself a family ticket to this year's festival. 

So watch this space!!


LolliBop, the UK’s biggest kids festival, taking place August 15-17 at Hatfield House, has added Lazy Town Live, Bear Grylls Survival Academy and other top names to its 2014 lineup.


LolliBoppers are invited to join the hit television show Lazy Town Live on the main stage at this year’s festival. Stephanie, the new girl in town, with the help of her back flipping super hero friend Sportacus, will teach festival goers how to get active, what is "sports candy", where good energy comes from and most importantly how to become super heroes! This highly energetic mini show will have everyone jumping, dancing and singing along!


Join the universal language of rhythm, theatre, comedy and dance in the STOMP workshops. The team behind the hit West End show will be taking up residence at LolliBop running workshops across the weekend. Step into the exciting world of music using pipes, bins, plastic bottles and much more… and once fully trained, mini STOMP-ers are invited to join the daily parade to showcase their new talents. Bin lids have never been so much fun.


Calling all muggles and magical folk! Sign up to Harry’s Wizard School and take part in fun antics and enchanted activities…. Ever wondered which house you would belong to? Well now you can find out with a visit to the sorting hat! Plus put your wizarding skills to the test with Bean Planting Workshops, Wand Making Workshops and Broomstick Training. Expect one or two special guest appearances too!


Making the most of LolliBop’s new home with its fantastic green spaces and woodlands, the incredible Bear Grylls Survival Academy will be joining LolliBop for the first time. Taster sessions, include Fire Lighting, Shelter Building, Camouflaging and Concealment, Gross Eating and many more. Have you got what it takes to survive?


A must for all budding Beckhams, Rooneys and Bales is the Tottenham Hotspur Global Coaching Team who will be at LolliBop teaching kids essential football skills, including passing, dribbling, keepy uppies, shooting, 5-a-side and more. 

The newly announced acts and activities join an already vast confirmed lineup of some of the biggest names in kids entertainment, including:

CBeebies Superstar Justin Fletcher (Saturday & Sunday)

Mister Maker (Friday only)

Mr Bloom

CBBC’s Big Friday Wind Up stars Sam & Mark 

Andy Day’s Live Show

Thomas & Friends

Chris & Pui Mini Roadshow

Scooby-Doo! The Mystery of the Pyramid

Cook and Line from Swashbuckle (Fri & Sat)

Michaela Strachan’s Really Wild Adventures Show.

Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic present a Silent Disco!

Join In with Southbank Centre, including music, dancing, fashion shows, DJs, pirate school, den making and takeaway crafts

Skylanders Trap Team™

Postman Pat® Mini Show,

The Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre 

Science Museum.

National Geographic Kids woodlands takeover

Beano events

Live cooking in the Lolli Kitchen


Plus, LolliBop’s first Inflatable Village, a Good Old Fashioned Sports Day, dancing session with Itsy Bitsy Strictly, Ready Sheddy Disco, Baby Ballet, beat boxing, face painting, balloon modelling and much more.

What on earth will they surprise us with next?!

Munchkin is more excited than ever for LolliBop this year, and who can blame her?! With appearances like this, it is looking to be the biggest family event of the year!!

With good motorways links, extensive on site parking and just a five minute walk from Hatfield train station, LolliBop 2014 is more accessible than ever before.

Tickets are on sale now priced £17.50pp from

Also remember to follow the fun on Facebook!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Driving Miss Munchkin - The First Step


Well, the time has come and I have to face up to things now. I need to let go of the demons I've been holding on to for so many years. I have to face my fears and stop ignoring them in the hope that they will disappear and that their damaging and restricting results will never affect me or my family ...

I need to learn to drive!!


Many of you reading this may laugh as you consider this to be something so minor, or smile as you tell me that driving is the easiest thing in the world and the convenience it brings is an amazing thing. I know all this. I've heard all the lines ...

You will have so much more freedom!
It will be so much easier to pop the kids in the car when you want to take them out for the day.
It will change your life for the better ... Forever ...

I know, I know, I KNOW!!!!

But it's not that easy for everyone. However, this week I decided, enough is enough. I need to do this! And this is where I would like to keep a record of my progress. I hope that with my lovely readers behind me, I might find the encouragement I feel I need in order to see the whole ordeal process through to the end. 

I wanted to share my story with you all, and I want to start with this post that I hope will explain a little of the background behind the fears, untangle a bit of the mess of emotions that I feel when I think about driving and put a bit of order in whatever madness that always stops me from doing this one thing that, for millions of people, is an essential part of everyday life.


Summer, 2000. I lived a pretty carefree life. I was a student at University in London and was really enjoying it. I had made some amazing friends through my course, but I commuted home each weekend so I could see the friends I had left back at home. I was drawing quite close to the end of my 4 year course and was looking for a small place to rent near my family. My best friends, D & L were a couple, and I spent every single weekend with them and the guy I was in a relationship with at the time. We were pretty inseparable. They lived in a small studio flat within the same road as my parents and were moving out. D made sure I was the next to move into their flat. Knowing how much I wanted to find a place, he spoke to the landlord who agreed to let the property to me. 

Life was good!

Autumn, 2000 ... D & L separated. It was a messy break-up. I had also had my relationship break down so it seemed only natural that D and I be each other's support through the emotions. We were fine, and saw each other most days. 

Winter, 2000, and everything was set to change. I was sitting at home, working my way through an English assignment for Uni when I received the call. The call was from L, D's ex girlfriend. She started with the small talk, but I knew something was wrong. She was stalling. And then the words spilled out. I'll never forget it. As she spoke, I was listening hard, but the words she was saying to me stopped at my ears. I could not digest the things she was saying. I dropped the phone and just sobbed. 

"D is dead", these words kept ringing in my ears, but that was just it. The words stopped at my ears. I could not process the information. The moment was so surreal, and the next hour is very much a confused blur. He had been driving. He had picked up one of our other friends from work as his car was temporarily off the road. They were probably going too fast. They were probably talking, laughing, fooling around. They probably had the music on loud. D probably wasn't concentrating. The car collided with a tree. It had then spun on impact and met another tree, and another. They say D was dead at the scene. They couldn't even try to save him. G, his passenger, survived with serious injuries and was taken to hospital. We never saw G again. Unable to deal with what had happened, he discharged himself from hospital and disappeared. He couldn't provide the answers to the questions that so many people were asking him. He couldn't decipher the mess of events for himself, let alone anyone else. I like to think he is out there somewhere, happy, with a beautiful family of his own. I'll never know. I attended D's funeral on 27th December, 2000. A day I'll never forget. He was 25 years old and had everything to live for. 

From this day, the thought of driving terrified me!


2002, and as I had moved and now lived 30 miles away from my family, I decided I needed to get over this fear of driving. I needed to be mobile as I was slowly falling out of the family loop. I was in another relationship, and it wasn't a nice one. He was the reason I moved away from my home town, exciting me with the idea of living next to the beach and amongst the nightlife. The relationship soon turned ugly. He worked as a nightclub/pub doorman, and was a complete control freak. This was one of the forces behind me wanting to learn to drive. Without being mobile, I seemed to have no freedom. I had to work where he said, when he said and he wasn't keen on me having a relationship with my family. If I made new friends, they quickly became a 'bad influence' on me and I wasn't to spend time with them any more. He made my work life difficult, he made my social life impossible. I felt trapped and was convinced I couldn't leave. I decided to try some driving lessons. Of course, he had to choose the instructor. 

He chose an independent teacher - a man in his late 60s. Now, all would have been great, but he seemed more nervous than I was! He avoided roundabouts, he stayed away from dual carriageways, he wasn't much help. If I screwed up, he would avoid repeating that exercise instead of practising it until I had perfected it. 

This wasn't working. 

After 10 weeks of perseverance, I didn't book any more lessons with him. I was getting nowhere, and let's face it, I didn't need much of an excuse to give up! I left it a year and then started looking again. And once again, the instructor was selected for me. 


This time, I was to learn with a 'friend of a friend' (a friend of HIS friend, naturally!) He was an ex driving instructor. He was still in the profession, but now taught at an advanced level as he was an instructor for those training to be instructors. I felt much safer with him. He was a wonderful teacher. He made me feel both at ease and confident on the road. My lessons were progressing really really well. I was excited. He started to discuss my theory with me and we discussed how many more lessons he predicted I would need before finally taking my test. After learning with him, weekly, for nearly 5 months, I was bubbling at the thought of getting close to test level. I was then faced with a break in my lessons. My teacher, C, was going abroad for a month. He was getting married in Cyprus and Honeymooning there too. He promised me we would pick up our lessons on his return. However, someone didn't want this to happen. Someone could obviously see how close I was getting to taking my test and winning back some of my independence. He would tell me daily that I would be slowly forgetting everything I was taught in my lessons, that C was a bad teacher for going away and that I shouldn't trust him any more. 

I never had another lesson with C. 

In fact, it was 2007 before I took another lesson. By this time, I had managed to escape the life I had been living and had since met The Man. A loosely attached and since estranged family member had trained to become a driving instructor and had agreed to teach me in his spare time. 2 hours a week I paid for, and all was good for the first few weeks. But then I found he started to snap if I did something wrong and his once calm exterior was becoming more stressed and uneasy. Maybe the job was beginning to get to him, maybe I was, I don't know. But I didn't feel comfortable in the driving seat of the car with him there any more. He and his wife had a baby, and whilst he was on paternity leave, I made the decision not to continue my lessons with him any longer. 

Since then, a number of factors have stopped me from starting up my lessons again. Financial hardship, work strain, having the children, but now, one of these very reasons is now the main reason for me wanting to do this again. The children spend the majority of their time with me. Especially until Munch starts full time school. All of their time is spent with me. They rely on me to do the fun things with them, to take them to exciting places, to fill their days with memories. Which is fine, but without driving, I have my limits! I don't want limits any more. The Man is so supportive of me learning to drive. He has promised I will have free access to a car once I have my licence and I know, where possible, he will take me out in between lessons to practise, as he did before. 

So this is where it will all change. I need to conquer the fears of the road that have held me back for so many years. I have to turn the things that frighten me to push me forward to do this once and for all, and focus on how different life will be if I can succeed in this and I must be stronger and stop allowing small set backs to act as excuses for me to give up. I need to stop letting what happened to D all those years ago affect me today. He wouldn't want it, and my babies don't deserve it!


You're support throughout my journey will be one thing that keeps me going, so any advice you have ... I'm listening!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!

A little lot about me!


Ok, so I was probably having one of my frequent absent days when I agreed to take part in the TMI Meme, but I loved reading Chantelle's over at Mama Mummy Mum and thought it looked like fun. So when Monkey Footed Mummy's Karen asked if I minded being tagged, I thought "why not".

I may live to regret this ...

Sorry kids!!

1. What are you wearing?
Right now? Black leggings, a pink vest top and my slippers. Don't worry, it's an indoor day. I don't need to cover up my lumps and bumps as much!

2. Ever been in love?
A couple of times, I'd say I've been in love with the thought of being in love.
But true love, that's what I have now.

(Yes kids, I mean daddy!!)

3. Ever had a terrible break up?
Yes. Absolutely terrible. But it made me stronger (and all that!)

4. How tall are you?
4ft 11ins
In shoes ...!


5. How much do you weigh?
Just short of 9 stone.
Weight loss is imminent! I promise!

6. Any tattoos?
Yes. One.
I have a 'waistcoat wearing' Taz on my tummy to the left of my belly button. It was one that I drew myself and had done back in 2002. Back in the day of the flat tummy! 

7. Any piercings?
Just my ears. Twice in each ear. I did have my navel done too, but that was years ago. Back in the day of the flat tummy!

8. OTP?
Ok, I'm taking a stab here and guessing this is One True Pairing?
Then mine would be one of my guilty pleasures ...
... The Burton/Depp/Bonham Carter pairing. I can't resist a film combining the skills of these three!

9. Favourite Show?
I'm pretty much loving Breaking Bad at the moment, but one of my most favourites was Bad Girls! I'm a bit of a prison freak, me. But I won't digress!

10. Favourite bands?
Ask me this a few years back and I would have said 'Wham' before you had even finished your question.
Today, ask me this question, and there may just be a embarrassed hesitation before my reply ...!

11. Something you miss?
Sleep ...
... Enough said!

12. Favourite song?
I can't decide. It would be between Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri and Charlene Soraia's version of Wherever you will Go. I'm also a bit of a sucker for Cars by Snow Patrol (that's 'our song') and pretty much anything by Adele.

Sentimental kind'a thing, me!


13. How old are you?
Physically ...? 34!

14. Zodiac Sign?
Leo

15. Quality you look for in a partner?
Someone who makes me cry with laughter & smile through the tears.
(... It helps if they're not too shabby to look at too!!)

16. Favourite Quote?


17. Favourite actor?
Hands down ... Johnny Depp.

18. Favourite colour?
I do love pink ... I'm sorry!
But not the girly girl, candyfloss pink. More a dusky pink.
And most shades of brown!

19. Loud music or soft?
This usually depends on my mood, but I do love my music loud. Maybe that stems from years of working in nightclubs, I don't know. But loud music with lots of bass is good.

Unless I'm listening to Wham ... as much as I'd love to belt it out through the speakers, that kind of music played loud can ruin a reputation ...and a relationship!!

20. Where do you go when you are sad?
To my mum. Mum always makes me feel better and seems to untangle my twisted perspective!

21. How long does it take you to shower?
I don't usually shower. I prefer a bath. And this can take anything between 10 and 40 minutes. It depends if The Man is here to play referee to the rugrats whilst I relax or not!


22. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
However much time I am left over after getting the little people ready! This can be 5 minutes, or it can be 30 minutes.

23. Ever been in a physical fight?
No

24. Turn On?
Eyes and a smile that light up a room.

25. Turn Off?
Liars

26. The reason I started blogging?
For Munchkin. Pure and simple. I thought that one day, I could print the blog and make it into a book for her to read and look back on all the things we did.

27. Fears?
I have a list!
Spiders.
Needles (Surgical)
Heights.
Enclosed spaces.

I could go on ...!

28. The last thing that made you cry?
Baby Plum at 3am this morning. He had been awake for 3 hours already and wasn't showing any signs of playing the night time game by the socially acceptable rules!

29. Last time you said you loved someone?
About 5 minutes ago to the girls as I was lifting each one out of the bath.

30. Meaning behind your blog name?
The Hart of the Munchkin Patch.
Well, Munch is the Munchkin of our Patch, and our surname (or, at least, their surname, until we finally marry!) is Hart. That is where our blog name comes from. I recently wrote a post about the meaning (and the rugrats) behind our blog name if you wanted a read ...?

31. Last book you read?
Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson.
The bedtime story of choice right now.
For Munch ... not me!


32. The book you are currently reading?
Reading? Currently? For me? Like, actually sitting down and staying awake for long enough to read a book? For me?

Moving on ...!

33. Last show you watched?
For me? Eastenders!

34. Last person you talked to?
Beastie Boo. I think I was asking her to stop climbing on the back of the sofa, or crawling under the travel cot, or throwing bricks at The Pooch, or something like that!

35. The relationship between you and the last person you texted?
The last person I texted was The Man.

36. Favourite food?
Chinese takeaway, my mum's cauliflower cheese and my dad's bubble & squeak.

Not all at the same time of course. Unless I was really hungry!

37. Place you want to visit?
I desperately want to go to Florida again, but will wait a few years for all 3 kids to be old enough to appreciate it. But most of all, I want to visit Alcatraz. Badly! (Refer back to my prison comment in answer #9!)


38. Last place you were?
At Munchkin's nursery, picking her up at the end of her day.

39. Do you have a crush?
No. I feel I'm too old for teenage crushes, and too young for embarrassing mummy crushes!

40. Last time you kissed someone?
About an hour ago when The Man arrived home from work.

41. The last time you were insulted?
Last week, whilst on the nursery run, we were walking past a local primary school minding our own business when a little group of around 6 year olds shouted "Fatty" at me, One at a time. I would normally have ignored such behaviour, but not when I have Munch with me. I will not tolerate 1) her hearing other children calling me names and one day thinking it is ok to do the same if she's unhappy with me, b) Munch thinking this behaviour is acceptable and then subjecting someone to the same treatment when she is in the school playground, and c) her thinking that if someone calls you a hurtful name, then you should let them do so without facing any consequences. It's ok though, as they didn't bank on a teacher being within calling distance for me, and I was able to inform her of what had happened. I have since spoken to the teacher who has assured me they were suitably punished for their actions, and they have had to each write me a letter of apology. Don't think they'll be doing that again in a hurry!

42. Favourite flavour of sweet?
I'm not really a 'sweet' person, but I am the one in this house that picks all the yellow and greens out of the bag of Jelly Tots!

Chocolate ... Now that is different!

43. What instruments do you play?
I used to play the flute when I was at school, but I never really got anywhere with it as I never practised at home. 

44. Favourite piece of jewellery?
A pair of earrings I have that belonged to my beautiful nanna who passed away in 2012.  

45. Last sport you played?
'Running races' with Munchkin. She won, of course.
She always wins - even when I reach the 'finish line' first!!

46. Last song you sung?
Do you Wanna Build a Snowman from Disney's Frozen. 

Ask me this question at any time, on any day, and my answer will probably be the same!! 
I'm a mum to a 4 year old girl ... what do you expect?!


47. Favourite chat-up line?
I don't really go for chat-up lines. But if I had to choose one, I'd have to choose the only one that ever worked on me, and that would be The Man's first move on me ...

"Are you flirting with me ...?!"

48. Have you ever used it?
Never!

49. Last time you hung out with anyone?
Apart from the kids ...?
Wow ... Erm ...!
Errrrrrrmmmmmmmm ......!

50. Who should answer the questions next?
I am tagging Jo from My Monkeys Don't Sit Still and Emmy's Mummy (aka Clare!) to reveal all. 


So, do you feel you know the real me a little better now ...?  





As the planning begins ...

Planning our stress free wedding!!

Ok, so expecting the planning of our wedding in 2015 to be completely stress free may be a little on the optimistic side, but I figured, we have three children, The Man works full time, our lives are stressful enough. So time to try and plan something with a little less tension and a little more fun!


The Man and I have been together now for 9 years. In that time, we have lived in 7 (soon to be 8!) different homes together, owned 3 (soon, hopefully to be 4!) cars, bought Alfie, our Pooch and created 3 beautiful babies. It has been quite an eventful 9 years. Yes, we already live as a married couple live. We share everything - belongings, finances, responsibilities, secrets, the lot! I feel there is very little we don't know about one another. But we want to get married. Not because we feel we have to, not because it would bring big changes to the way that we live, but because we want to. I think it is especially important to me, because apart from the fact that The Man is the love of my life and I've spent years wanting to be his wife, our children share his surname. I want to share that surname too!

So I'll start (kind of) at the beginning. Well, at the beginning of this chapter, anyway.

12th February, 2013. The Man's birthday. Munchkin and I had plans, and they pretty much ended up looking a little like this ...



I think the photos speak for themselves? 

I even approached my closest friend with the special request of being my Maid of Honour. 


Ok, so it wasn't 14th February on a Leap Year, but who cares. I'd waited long enough, and decided that his birthday was a much more important day than Valentines Day. He was well aware that I wanted to marry him, but events in the years leading up to this day stopped the dream from being any more than just that - a dream. So he said yes, and we decided on a date in September 2014. However, our babies always being good at reminding us that they are the ones in control of our calendar, made us decide to postpone this date, when we discovered that baby #3, our beautiful Baby Plum, was due to arrive in December 2013. Not wanting the stress of planning for a baby and a wedding at the same time, we decided to wait until 2015 to marry. What's an extra year, after all?! 

See - stress free thinking from the very start!

Now, Baby Plum is a few months old, and we are ready to kick start this planning malarkey! 

I've always had some amazing 'Fairytale' ideas in my head about how I would like my wedding to be. Remembering back to when I was little, I wanted the horse and carriage, the huge jawdropping beautiful dress, the gathering of gorgeous little bridesmaids, the party that no one will ever forget ... You get the idea? 

However, a big extravagant show is no longer on my 'must have' list. Maybe it's because I've grown up and am no longer that 14 year old teenager with her head in the clouds. Maybe it's because I have now met my 'Prince Charming' and now life is no longer a fairytale, but is all so real. Maybe it's because we have all we want from life in both each other and our 3 amazing children, and therefore no longer feel the need for a big 'send off' from single life. I suppose we stopped living the life of singletons a long time ago!


Whatever we choose to have, now is the time to start making those choices, and I can't wait to start putting some real ideas together. And I have this beautiful album here to record our journey. From choosing our date to booking the flowers, from sending out 'Save the Date' announcements to setting a table plan, I can do it all in here. I can record information, pen ideas and store cuttings, leaflets and business cards, so everything can be kept in a nice civilised order making my planning less stressful. 


I also have my little black book. This fits perfectly in my handbag and can come with me wherever I go, whether that is to Wedding Fayres, or out on the weekly grocery shop. After all, you never know when an idea will pop in to mind or something happens to inspire you. Best to be prepared, as with everything that happens for me in a typical day, I am likely to have forgotten everything by the time I get home! This way, I can record handy notes on-the-go, and transfer them over to my album when I am home.


I've never tried meditation before, but it has been recommended a number of times to me. I'm not sure why people think I would benefit from meditation. Juggling 3 kids under the age of 5 wouldn't have anything to do with it ... Would it? Whatever the reason, I now have a meditation DVD to release the tension and help me to refocus on what is important! Meditation for Beginners is just that. A simple, easy to follow, gentle introduction into meditation. Anyone that knows me and my lifestyle personally will know, I could always do with a little relaxation and refocusing occasionally!


To help me along the way, because let's face it, I'm a complete newbie when it comes to planning a wedding, I have a few hints and tips from the experts. The ones who know exactly what is involved in organising your big day. Stress Free Wedding Planning is a handy little book in which 'Experienced Wedding Professionals Share Their Secrets' covers everything from creating your invitations to planning the Honeymoon. With this, I can benefit from the experience of 10 wedding professionals who aim to help me avoid many of the mistakes made by couples throughout their planning process. I am sure I will invent many a faux pas during the next 16 months or so, but at least this book could attempt to keep me on track a little. 

One thing is for sure, and that is Munchkin is almost bursting with excitement about the whole thing. I have my amazing mum and my beautiful Maid of Honour to assist me with parts of my planning and to get involved in all the fun bits. But Munch has to be my little right hand girl and will be by my side for every minute of it. After all, she has informed me that she will be a bridesmaid, and a flower girl, and in have to go with her plans because she has all the best ideas ... Apparently! So it looks as though, from the drawings she has already shown me, that I will have a VERY large hot pink dress, and she will have one that matches, our cake will have many candles and we will be having a pasta based Wedding Breakfast! Sounds fine, Munch. Just fine! 


So, in the meantime, I guess we should make a firm decision on our chosen date for September, 2015 and look into having some 'Save the Date' cards printed. And what better company to choose than one that calls itself StressFreePrint?! A company that promise to take all the stress out of your printing needs by providing a personal and trouble-free service. 

Our main passion is you, the customer. Every single member of our team is focused on one thing only ... Exceeding your expectations in everything we do. And by "everything" we really do mean everything ... From print quality to turnaround time, from competitive pricing to exceptional customer service. We work hard to make your print buying experience as smooth and stress free as possible. 

So, here's to our yet to be confirmed big day in September, 2015, and the beginning of our stress free planning!!




I was sent the items of wedding stationary pictured as a thank you for writing about the beginning of my wedding planning journey, but all words, thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced. No other payment has been received for the writing or publishing of this post.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

LolliBopping into 2014 - The first Line-Up Announcement!



Here it is. This is what we've all been waiting for! The very first announcement from LolliBop HQ revealing the first batch of confirmed appearances for LolliBop 2014! Munchkin has been so excited, asking me daily if Justin will be gracing the main stage again, pestering me about whether or not there will be fun with Mister Maker again and begging me to find out if she will get the chance to see her favourite CBeebies star, Andy Day, as she has done on previous occasions.

Well, now I can tell her "YES" to all of her wishes!

LolliBop, the UK’s biggest kids festival, has announced it’s most exciting line-up to date with CBeebies Superstar Justin Fletcher headlining on Saturday and Sunday and Mister Maker taking over the main stage on Friday.


The event, which this year takes place at Hatfield House, August 15-17, also welcomes stars of CBBC’s Big Friday Wind Up Sam & Mark to LolliBop for the first time.


Other LolliBop ‘newbies’ include Thomas & Friends with a bespoke interactive play experience created especially for LolliBop, Chris & Pui with their Mini Roadshow, Scooby-Doo! The Mystery of the Pyramid, Cook and Line from Swashbuckle (Fri & Sat only) and Michaela Strachan’s Really Wild Adventures Show.


LolliBop is delighted to announce it’s first ever Disney experience with the Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic present a Silent Disco!

Creative kids are invited to Join In with Southbank Centre, in a brand new space for Lollibop 2014. Whether you love, drawing, playing, singing, dancing or creating there is something for all under 10s and their families to enjoy. Southbank Centre is a world-famous arts centre on the South Bank of the Thames, with art and activities inside and out that encourage everyone to become involved in the arts in new and creative ways. At Lollibop there will be music, dancing, fashion shows, DJs, Pirate school, den making and plenty of takeaway crafts


The ever-popular Skylanders returns to LolliBop to launch the fourth installment of its award winning franchise – Skylanders Trap Team™. Kids can expect the opportunity to play the brand new game before it’s released later in the year.

Other big names for pint sized festival goers; include Mr. Bloom, Andy Day’s Live Show, Postman Pat® Mini Show, The Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre and Science Museum.


Making the most of the fantastic gardens and woodlands at Hatfield House, National Geographic Kids have planned a Woodlands Takeover, with engaging activities including games, prizes and exploring natural habitats!

Other activity confirmed, includes Beano Events, cookery workshops in the Lolli Kitchen, LolliBop’s first Inflatable Village, a Good Old Fashioned Sports Day, dancing session with Itsy Bitsy Strictly, Ready Sheddy Disco and Baby Ballet, Footballing Skills, Beat boxing, face painting and balloon modelling classes.

With more acts and activities still to be announced, LolliBop truly is the biggest day out for kids this summer!


Situated in Hertfordshire, just off the A1 with plenty of parking or a short 22 minute train journey from London Kings Cross, the stunning country house and gardens of Hatfield House offer an incredible array of spaces to host LolliBop’s vast activity and entertainment programme.

Festival Director Gareth Cooper said: 

“For a family destination, Hatfield House can’t be beaten. The setting is breathtaking - with stunning gardens, lush green areas and a woodlands just waiting to be explored - it’s allowed us to open our imaginations and programme an event like never before. The 2014 lineup is jam packed with big names for the main stage, alongside an unprecedented number of live theatre performances; sporting activities; creative workshops; nature talks and brand new areas and acts, never before seen at LolliBop.”

With good motorways links, extensive on site parking and just a five minute walk from Hatfield train station, LolliBop 2014 is more accessible than ever before.

Tickets are on sale now priced £17.50 per person at www.lollibopfestival.co.uk
Be sure to follow the fun leading up to the big weekend on Facebook too!

My self confessed Mummy Fail!

My promise to try harder!


I try hard to listen to all of the things that Munchkin dreams of doing. All of the things she tells me she would really like to do during the school holidays, or at the weekend.




And now for the great big elephant in the room ...


... So why has she never been swimming?

Well, mainly because I have never taken her. I have been locked in a personal inner battle with myself for years now, and I have let it defeat me to the point of my children missing out on something so simple. They have lost the opportunity to take part in something that to many is part of everyday life, but to me has always been something we will do "in the next week or two". I have allowed my personal issues and low self esteem about my physical appearance affect the kids.

And this is my big Mummy Fail!

But this is all going to change. Before Munchkin starts school in September, she WILL have picked out a new swimming costume, packed a bag with her towel, goggles and floats and experienced the swimming pool. She wants to go so much, and so I need to let go of the demons that have clung to me for all these years for her sake, and I will! I've made her a promise!

So to seal that promise, as it were, we have sat down together to pick out some new swimming gear. That way, "yes" will definitely have to mean "yes", or I will be letting her down all over again!

Ok, so a swimming trip will be much more tricky now that it would have been a couple of years ago, as instead of it being an activity involving just me and Munch, we have Beastie Boo and Plum to consider too. So we thought it best to make sure we kit all 3 of them out in lovely new swimwear for their upcoming adventure!

And where better to look ...?
Splash About has a really gorgeous selection of swimwear and accessories that would be just perfect for this little lot!

I can see this getting expensive!

First for Munchkin's 'shopping list'!


Next for Beastie Boo ...


... And finally for Baby Plum ...


They sure will be the talk of the pool, strutting their stuff in this lot. 

I love the way their swim outfits can be coordinated so perfectly. Also the fact that their Happy Nappy claims to be the BEST reusable swim nappy on the market, and recommended by all major swim schools! This has always been a concern of mine when thinking about venturing into the pool with the younger ones. No one wants any nasty accidents in the pool, do they?!

So Munchkin, this is my promise to you. And you can hold me to this one!

I WILL take you swimming before the Summer is out. I won't let you suffer my personal insecurities any longer!