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Our lives have got a lot busier now that we’re in the swing of things with school and with all our other activities back after the summer break, everything’s very busy but some things we’ve had time for:-

– excited to see Rory McIlroy and Mezut Ozil at the George Groves fight but even more impressed that Michael Buffer was there instead of my nemesis from Matchroom

– both boys now have scooters and we’ve been making the most of the good weather with walks on the Greenway and at Victoria Park
http://www.micro-scooters.co.uk/mobile/

– loving the outdoor gyms at Victoria Park and Stormont, they rule!

– got this beanie from Acne Studios in preparation for winter
http://www.net-a-porter.com/intl/product/453806/Acne_Studios/daphnee-ribbed-wool-blend-beanie?&cm_mmc=LinkshareUK-_-QFGLnEolOWg-_-Custom-_-LinkBuilder&siteID=QFGLnEolOWg-9QOV8yTqS3VTtCXRDlqNqQ

– loved the class photo from Seth’s school
http://www.inchmarlo.org.uk/sport/sports-news/8-news/103-p1-new-boys.html

– there’s already been 3 birthday parties and a triple one next weekend but best idea ever is that instead of presents we’ll all give the birthday boy a birthday card and a fiver and they can get something they really want themselves

– I got a fitbit, good challenge to walk 10,000 steps every day!
http://www.fitbit.com/uk/zip

– my husband re subscribed to ‘Time’ to know more about what’s going on in the world
https://time.com

– my husband also saw Bryan Adams at the Waterfront this week and said it was great

– we’re looking forward to seeing ‘Jaws’ at the Strand this week, always good to see it in different locations
http://www.strandartscentre.com/jaws-1975

– we’re also rewatching all the Bonds on ITV4 and I can confidently say that ‘Diamonds are Forever’ is both the best and worst film I have ever seen

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One of the things I really enjoyed in London was going to the 9.30am service at Holy Trinity Brompton, we got so much out of it, the music was great, the boys went to the kids meeting which meant we could actually listen to the speaker, who was amazing and inspiring, they put the service online every week so am going to make the time to listen to it if I can

http://www.htb.org

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It was our 9th wedding anniversary last week and we went to Graze for the first time ever on our own without the boys, it was lovely to have some time even if we did end up talking about our children for most of the evening! Graze have opened a lounge upstairs on Fridays and Saturdays and we went up for a snoop around, looks amazing and a great reason to go some weekend soon too!

http://www.grazebelfast.com

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It was Seth’s first day at P1 today, he was a bit upset wearing his uniform but by the time we got to school he was wearing his cap and blazer without being pleaded with to, he’s only in for a couple of hours this week and there were only going to be 7 boys there today so he’s easing in very gradually, I’m pleased to be back in a routine and looking forward to getting stuck in with homeworks!

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I’ve never really bothered with the Vuelta before but the class line up and bizarre roll outs like one aboard an aircraft carrier the other day make it essential viewing: this photo of Alberto Contador in a sailors hat has made me so happy!

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Noah also started his pre pre school this week; unsurprisingly when we left him off to school we didn’t even get a backward glance! He was very excited to be starting school, I’m looking forward to having some time on Tuesday mornings now!

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We had a lovely couple of days in London; we stayed at The Sanderson which was lovely, need to go back when the boys are a bit older for the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea!

https://www.morganshotelgroup.com/originals/originals-sanderson-london

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Also, want this chair that’s in the lobby…

http://www.material-life.co.uk/component/virtuemart/categories/lounge-chairs/lounge-chairs-artifort/artifort-tongue-chair-designed-by-pierre-paulin-detail?gclid=CJiyoK25ncACFWvlwgod0EoA_Q

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We did a few different tours, one on a bike (http://www.fattirebiketours.com) round the Royal parks, a walking tour around Bankside (http://freelondonwalkingtours.com) and a City Cruise up the Thames.

The thing about London though is that there’s so much to see and do, we definitely need another trip soon….

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I’m so pleased that I asked Aly to take some photos of the boys a couple of months ago: the pictures are beautiful!

http://alymcloughlinharte.com/?p=4102

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I made this wee cute rainbow while we were on holiday

http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEff14/PATTrainbow.php

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I was obsessed by the Commonwealth Games and am very excited by the European Championships; Jo Pavey is so inspiring, she’s 40 and had a baby 10 months ago and won her first gold in a championships in the 10000m, so amazing!

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We’re in London for a long weekend and on our way to a Krispy Kreme fest at Selfridges we passed Debenhams on Oxford Street where Alexa Chung was presenting her Nails Inc collab, excited to see her!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2725151/Alexa-Chung-wears-baby-pink-skater-dress.html

We were at our second annual family picnic at Loughgall Country Park yesterday and I was reminded that even if I don’t always feel like keeping my blog, it is a good way of letting everyone in our family know what we’re up to so I thought it might be a good idea to try to have a weekly post with some wee bits and pieces of what we’ve been up to, starting with our holiday to Carcassone a couple of weeks ago

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The place we stayed – http://www.metairiemontplaisir.com/en/ – was so lovely and I couldn’t recommend it enough, great food, pool, grounds and Amelie the owner was an amazing host, she even made us sandwiches to bring to the airport when we were leaving!

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Carcassone was lovely, the medieval walled city was beautiful and special props to Noah who walked the whole way up to the top as this was a pram free holiday

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We did wee trips in the morning and then lazed about by the pool in the afternoon (swimming lessons=best money spent ever as the boys were able to get into the pool themselves and mess about) and we went to a dinosaur museum (with adjoining hat museum) one of the days

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Some caves which were nearby

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And the parc australien which had horrific reviews on trip advisor but we all actually liked – no pesky health and safety regulations: we were in one of the kangaroos cages to feed them with leaves and then also feeding some ostriches with a bowl attached to a stick, totally brilliant

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We were in France to see the start of one of the TDF stages and it was great to be right at the start line even if it meant a very early start! It was great to see the caravane publicitaire before hand and grab all the freebies they were giving away (Skoda frisbees, bread coloured yellow, keyrings, that sort of thing) and see everyone up close: there’s Vicenzo Nibali looking cool at the start although we did miss Froome dog and Contador. This was our last day in France and later on we headed to Toulouse which I really loved

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We had such a nice holiday, going to see the Tour gives a good excuse to see a bit of France and it was a relaxing holiday, quite different from our usual running around cities, and probably the best bit was having dinner outside every night with really nice food and wine and lots of space for the boys to mess around.

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I don’t know if this makes any sense but being unwell for the last week or so has made me feel very grateful to be alive and now that I’m feeling better I’m determined to make an effort with our lives and not always just take the easy way out, like usually for lunch I’ll just make something like scrambled egg and toast for the boys but I want to try to think about what I’m feeding them and try to stealthily increase the vegetables that they eat. One of our staples is sweetcorn fritters but for a light tea tonight I made pea fritters instead which our wee one loved and our older boy detested, I suppose it’s trial and error, the website where I got the recipe from suggests carrot, spinach & ricotta, courgette and sweet potato fritters which I’ll hopefully have a go at soon too.

http://mylovelylittlelunchbox.com/2013/07/01/pea-fritters/

The other day I had to go to our wee one’s pre preschool induction and all the parents got a stern talking to about the contents of break boxes. I’ve done ok with our bigger boy’s break this year but I’m determined to try harder in the new school year and while I wait for this book to arrive with lots of ideas and suggestions – http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1444713736/ref=aw_d_dsc_books?qid=1402751315&sr=8-1&vs=1- I made some bars last night which the boys had at breakfast and will definitely join my limited repertoire: mash up a banana, add a couple of tablespoons of raisins and 3-4 tablespoons of oats and make a dough. Make into similar sized bars as Nak’d bars so you can lie to your baby and tell him they are made by said company so he will try them. Put in the oven for about 12 minutes and leave to cool=gold star for me from hard to please headmistress.

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Really enjoyed the match last night and it’s re-inspired me to make an effort to try to fit into this Dutch child’s shirt I got a while ago. It cheered my husband up too since he’s now properly excited about the arrival of Van Gaal and his propaganda appears to be working as our oldest boy requested a Van Persie shirt the other day! This World Cup is already very exciting but especially hard on someone whose usual bedtime is around 9pm….

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Earlier in the week when I was really feeling sorry for myself, I went out for coffee with our wee one and we shared a fifteen, it was ok but really heavy and reminded me that I had seen a recipe for good for you traybakes and I promised myself that as soon as I was feeling better I would have a go at making them. I’m not totally restored to health today but am feeling so much better and I made these this morning and I think they are absolutely delicious: they have oats, linseeds, nuts, choc chips, coconut oil, maple syrup and peanut butter as the base; then dates and maple syrup as the ‘caramel’ layer and then covered in a layer of chocolate. So much nicer than real caramel squares where the base is always so dry and too much. I saw the recipe on a personal trainers Facebook page, she posts really good recipes a couple of times a week which always look really easy and yum.

https://m.facebook.com/cestchicphysique?_rdr

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Most Friday mornings we go to the gym after we’ve left our oldest boy to school but this week I’ve felt like doing nothing less but since it’s always nice to do something other than lying around moping and feeling sorry for myself, we went to a toddler cookery class this morning and we absolutely loved it, such a great idea! There were four wee ones there and we started off by making flakemeal biscuits for Father’s Day (so great that everything was prepared and measured out already!) which were really easy for small hands to make with a bit of help. While they were baking and then cooling down there was a vegetable/fruit treasure hunt in the garden and then we made fruit smoothies before icing the biscuits with edible Fathers Day stickers. Our wee one was incredibly proud of his biscuits and even better, both he and his brother wolfed down loads of them at lunchtime so they were a massive success. Sarah who takes the classes has only been doing them for a few weeks and isn’t sure when the next one will be but we’ve joined her mailing list and fingers crossed she’ll do some more classes over the summer especially as I’m sure our older son would love it too, a really great way to spend a morning!

https://m.facebook.com/WeeCookCookerySchool?_rdr