Last week we had the absolute pleasure of staying at a beautifully luxurious hotel in the heart of London over looking Buckingham Palace….an opulent and gloriously elegant home away from home with comfort & decadents exuding from all directions & in all manners…
A quintessentially traditional and exuberant welcome awaited us as we arrived to an idyllic but highly polished and warm reception at The Rubens at the Palace

And boy were we in for a treat on the highest of levels. 

The pavement welcome alone gave us a strong hint as to how our stay would far exceed our expectations…. 

 So let me take you inside and give you just a whisper of the lavishness of our stay… 

 We’re not familiar with the city, we arrived from the country with an outward etiquette that would probably denote that but from the second we adorned the pavement we seemly fell into the lap of luxury and were made to feel that our presence was of the upmost importance, each face we encountered was with an eagerness to help, a genuine interest & an ease to communicate, a homely air was given from the moment we checked in along with a firm knowledge that help & information to ease our stay was only a question away & our comfort was their aim.  
 Having arrived around 8am our bags were taken to be stored until our room was ready, we were given complimentary coffee and offered breakfast to start our day, after a long journey we decided on breakfast to gather our thoughts and plan our day ahead….a fabulous choice and a luxuriously pleasing yummy start to our stay… 
 Food is most certainly the way to my heart and The Rubens most certainly had my heart in their hands before 9am with an overwhelming feast… really was as good as it looked…  

 There was something for all tastes.. 

   It really was the best possible start to the day.. 
After breakfast we took a little time to explore the hotel…there was a room for everyone…each caked in beauty and elegance..

 The Library room… 

We sat and watched the world go by with Buckingham Palace Mews right outside the lounge window.. 


After a stroll through the virtually adjoining world famous St James’ park we were phoned by The Rubens to notify us that our room was ready… 

Our room was beautiful… 

   With a complete Royal view 👑

  and the attention to detail made it all the more comfortable… Homemade biscuits! 
 a paper delivered… 

 Fabulous room service…we had afternoon tea and it was exquisite… 

 and even the delivery of a promise of sleep with a turn down service.. 


We explored the hotel a little more lapping up the feel of relaxation bought to us from every direction.. 



Even the toilets were shrouded in elegance.. 


Our visit was a child free treat but it soon became evident to us that  The Rubens really was a haven of treats for children too and a very family friendly hotel with an importance of making the smallest guests feel at home…

The children can get involved in the Little Princes and Princesses Afternoon Tea, with plenty of tasty treats to tuck into! They can even try their hands at a Masterchef Pastry Experience – including the chance to decorate cupcakes with the Rubens chef! 

I couldn’t resist enquiring about a visit with kids and was impressed by the most simplistic of touches..

Children’s evening turndown including a glass of milk and kid’s treat 

Bathrobes and slippers 

Sticker / colouring books  

An interactive child’s map of London where they can tick off all the places they have seen   

Kids movies as well as a Nintendo Wii console and games. But we will never put them in your room without getting your parental permission first 

Children’s books and games available upon request

Check out these cute robes & slippers! 

 and these adorable complimentaries for the smallest guests.. 


We couldn’t resist taking one of the children’s maps on our day out 😊 

 Our stay at The Rubens at the Palace was a fabulous time away, luxurious, sumptuous, rejuvenating and a gorgeous treat without the children in tow but also certainly proved to be somewhere that we’d return to with the children. 

As winners and finalists of a family fun award we can firmly say that The Rubens has gone above and beyond for its younger guests….and we didn’t even take the children!!
Our trip was made special by not only the hotel but ultimately the evident heart, care and thought that exuded from all the staff within it, attention to detail was beautiful, cleanliness unquestionable & comfort exceeding our expectations…

The Rubens at the Palace was truly a beautiful and memorable place to stay at. 

For more details please visit their website



A laid bare post..

The Mad Blog award ceremony is only days away and I’m absolutely bricking it….but not for the reasons you’d think. 
So here’s why I’m petrified of the awards pretty much just the same as I’m petrified of school runs, playgroups, meeting people, socialising….I’m hoping a little honesty may support me a comfy shoulder. 
Vanity is shite, there’s no getting away from it, it’s a natural blanket that either keeps us warm or gives us a chill….some personal perceived flaws can be hidden, make-up and clothes do a good job..some flaws can be hidden by radiance or smiles, or a confidence that flattens your flaws.

Others cannot be hidden or no matter what you do or what logic tells you, those flaws, which are teeny, even unnoticeable to those around you are the hugest thing in your life. 
There’s an ironicness to the natural play ethos that we live by…we love sticks! We love climbing trees, throwing, rolling, jumping…living dangerously within childhood…we don’t care about ‘you’ll have your eye out!’ or ‘you’ll break your leg!’ echoes… we’ve not got cotton wool here, we’ve got bruises and war wounds and oodles of knee scraping memories to keep smiles forever with us. We get our hands dirty, filthy our fingernails and fill our hearts.
At 3 years old I lost my left eye in a childhood accident involving sticks.

It really puts play to the term that ‘everything changed in the blink of an eye’.

Damaged beyond repair I was left with a hideous looking ‘dead & deformed’ eye. I was provided with a contact lens shell for vanity purposes which I wore through school but due to health problems I had my eye completely removed at the age of 8. This was then replaced with a full bodied non moving artificial eye, which i still wear today. 

I was fortunate in my school years to never be bullied much, there were occasion but all in all other children were often in awe of the girl with the glass eye. Friendly banter, a harmless acceptance. But inside I hurt. 

I’m a girl, vanity runs deep. Mirrors don’t lie and every time I looked in them the truth confronted me, and quite frankly the truth hurt. I could not hide my flaw. I still can’t. 

Isn’t the saying ‘the eyes are the window to the soul’?….

Monsters were always portrayed with a disproportion amount of eyes, or with just one eye, like me. Badies always seemed to have missing eyes or patches. It was constantly accepted and still is now to make yourself look like a fool or a freak by crossing your eyes….even today my newsfeed is full of people thinking it’s the norm to post selfies of eyes out of line/crossed etc…. I don’t do selfies….I wish I could. 
Truth is, it’s easy to acquire a confidence when sat behind a computer screen….people can judge by portrayals you give but they can’t judge on what they see. If first impressions last like they say then the impression I give is not pretty, but there’s nothing I can do to change that so I avoid first impressions where I can. There’s no getting away from looking someone straight in the eyes…that’s what you’re supposed to do, it shows confidence, self worth, spirit etc…..unless you’ve a glass eye and are faced with inquisitiveness, confusions & on occasion looks of horror. In a nutshell that’s the truth. It’s human nature to be inquisitive about difference but unfortunately when that difference is a deformity in the eyes there’s no ability to display discreetness. Apparently the eyes don’t lie and are the first point of contact. 

With no movement in my artificial eye I often look at people and they look over their shoulders to decipher if I’m looking at them or somebody else. It’s a natural thing to do but momentarily reminds me of my difference and breaks my heart.
The eyes don’t lie..

But the eyes do lie. 

Strange really as its so easy to paint an unrealistic picture of yourself from behind a screen, to big yourself up, show the good bits, but equally, sometimes it’s the only way that some people, like me, can be who they are without judgement, be themselves without giving the false first impressions that people naively take when faced with difference, the only way you can get to see the beauty that goes beyond the skin but is often shadowed by the first impressions that are left by either disfigurement or the issues that make us unapproachable, not able to fit in, the things that we deem to be unacceptable flaws within social circles that make us refrain with the sad knowledge that because we’ve got little confidence, we may have anxiety, body issues, self doubt etc, we refrain knowing that we’ll be viewed unsociable, rude, ignorant, arrogant, better than others…’s a vicious circle and it hurts.
Most often the people that seem the most comfortable in being solitary are the ones that really would rather not be but can’t bring themselves to step forward. 
We don’t help ourselves sometimes, not because we don’t want to but because are scared to do so.

We all have reasons that make it hard for us to fit in, low self esteem that situations put on us. We all want acceptance. Some of us can be deemed as loud but still amble along the sidelines feeling teeny and unable to jump in.
We’ve all got our own insecurities that can make social situations excruciating…..most of us hide that really well. 

What may be a mountain to me could be a molehill to you…and most often is.
I’d like to be the life and soul of the party, I’d like to fit in, I’d like to rock up and slide into the conversation with ease. I don’t want to stand on the sidelines scared of unacceptance feeling meek when I’m really not. I don’t want to be the weird one. The loner. I don’t want to feel pushed out….But i make myself feel pushed out. 

Socialising is ridiculously tough, and it’s not because you make me feel uncomfortable, it’s because I do that to myself.  

The brutal honesty of my post is that I am so so SOOO proud to be going to the MAD Blog awards…proud of myself beyond belief but I’m petrified and sad that I’m anxious, I’m scared & i’m embarrassed for who I am, what I look like in the flesh.. for my flaw…it’s what circumstance has given me and no matter how hard I try I can’t shake off my feelings of difference. 

If there’s a sore thumb in the room then that’s me.

I don’t want to feel like that and that’s what I hate most.

I’m scared of the cameras, photos which capture reality and never lie, photos that I don’t have chance to pose for that capture hideousness…I’m scared to be me with false first impressions.

I hate that it’s such a small thing to everyone else in my world but such a stupidly overwhelming thing to me.

It’s the people who care about me that matter, I know that, but I care about myself and I want confidence, I exude confidence in so many other ways but am void of it within social situations.  
I don’t even care if I’m not deemed as beautiful on the outside I just want people to have the ability to immediately see what’s beneath without judging from the outside in.

I’m still Mrs heart is laid bare on FD because it comforts me that it remains a place without vanity, a place without face to face judgements…a place I feel I can be accepted for who I am. Not a rosy portrayal or bullshit made up words to turn myself into something I’m not…it’s a place I’ll happily give warts and all….I may sit behind the screen and make my choices but I don’t choose falsely, I choose to be honest, to grasp onto confidence that the shadows gives me. I don’t bring with me a vain disfigurement that I struggle with in tow….I just bring me…deeper than the skin..a beauty that’s there without a face & I fit in. 
So there you go… the reason I might hide behind my shades at a red carpeted awards ceremony than I’m ridiculously proud of. 😎 It’s not because I’m arrogant self obsessed rude or a vanity driven woman… 
It’s because I’m scared to be me although that’s all I want to be.
Maybe a little vanity driven too. 
Vanity is shit.
Most importantly though, I absolutely know that whoever I am or what i look like, I’m loved and am soaked in the beauty that surrounds me when I shut my front door. It’s those who see me without glasses and look into my eyes directly at who I am that matter most. 
My family make me feel beautiful but no matter how I try I can’t grasp onto that feeling of beauty and take it with me into society… 

Maybe one day I’ll shed that.

The aim of this post is a completely selfish one in the hope that laying myself bare will help me step out and not give a shit what others think..truly. To look people straight in the eye….And smile. 


  Last week we were lucky enough to be invited by the lovely people over at First Encounters to pop by for one of their amazing 3/4d scans for a beautiful & intimate experience that the whole family could enjoy….we were all going to take a peek at little Ms A, all snuggled up & cosy and baking nicely at 26/27 gestation.
How could we refuse? 

To say we were excited was an understatement, but, having had the confirmation of our scan time we decided to not tell the children until we got there….

With loads of drinks on board to get the best scan views possible and a bag full of sweeties for a sugary fix to get the baby active we set out.

It didn’t take long for the kids to click on to the surprise we had in store 😊

We were greeted at the reception by two ladies who straight away welcomed us and got us settled in….even with 4 children in tow they managed to cater for us all making everyone feel involved, they left mum and dad to fill in a few simple forms whilst talking us through what to expect and the facilities available… 

 all the kids had a cup of tea 😊

and the receptionists took some time to show the kids some scale models of babies.. 

 after completing our forms we were shown into the scanning room which was really comfortable and accommodating for all of us, with ample room and numerous large screens to ensure everyone had a fab view of the baby when scanned.  

 The next twenty minutes were truly amazing as the sonography talked us through everything that she could see to make sure we, and the children, new what we were looking at.. 

 she took the time to stop the live view of baby A to point out her arms, legs, hands, feet, the cord….even the sign that she will have hair when born! 

It was pretty crazy… 

 Everyone was silenced for a few seconds as the sonography made a recording of Baby A’s heartbeat which would later be inserted into a precious keepsake bear to take home and listen to over and over.. 

   At the end of the scan a reassurance report was completed detailing heart beat, weight, length, gender (if required) & movements.

With the scan complete we returned to the waiting room.

In the waiting room we were given a portable DVD player with a DVD of our scan playing, and a bundle of small photographs so we could choose a few of our favourite to place in keepsake key rings.. 
 our package came with the unique Photocloud, you’re provided with your own personal password that enables you to access all your scan photos via the website for a period of one month from your scan date….There are no copyright restrictions to the images within your photocloud™ album, so you may download, print and distribute as you desire.  

 It really was a special experience, our goodies, photos , momentoes/keepsakes were given to us in a pretty gift bag.  

 We were invited to First Encounters for our scan but have been before in previous pregnancies, the Pricing & packages have something to offer for everyone & we would highly recommend a visit for a unique experience to bond with your baby before birth or to introduce your unborn child to siblings… It certainly melts your heart. 

We can’t wait to meet our new bundle in person and we would like to thank First Encounters for being part of such a special introduction to the smallest member of the Family Days clan...

You can find more info on the extremely competitive packages that First Encounters have to offer here

You can also follow them on their Facebook page here for their latest news, offers and competitions. 
Everyone should experience a 4d scan ❤️


  We made some fab light boxes to display our artwork on the wall!!

We used

  • Our artwork
  • A cereal box
  • Black paint
  • Sticky tape
  • Battery operated fairy lights

First we drew our pictures  

   Then we cut a hole in our cereal boxes.. 
   We used sticky tape to attach our artwork to the inside of the box..before carefully painting the box black.. 
 We left to dry.. 

   We attached our fairy lights to the inside using sticky tape.. 
 before hanging on the wall with a small tack.. 

   How fab do they look!! 


We were recently introduced to the wonderful & fun world of scooting!!

Scooters are something we’ve never really considered so when the lovely people over at Micro Scooters wanted to send us some to celebrate becoming finalist in the family fun category for the MAD blog awards….we accepted with excitement! 

Tailored to suit individual needs the scooters were ideal for the different age catergories in the house…everyone big and small had something just right for them…from a stunt scooter for the teenager right down to a dinosaurtastic scootersaraus set for Noah, 3. These scooters were certainly a far cry from the scooters that our elder children had played on 10 years ago, we were surprisingly impressed at how scooters have evolved! 

After ordering our scooters they arrived with us with 24 hours!! It was like Christmas… 

 Everyone was over the moon and eager to try them out… 


 So with all the scooters easily put together with zero stress we took a vote and decided to head out and trial our scooters with a trip to the skate park!
Here’s how we got on on our very first adventure with our Micro Scooters

With our scooter bags packed with duck food and pennies we found a great stretch along the seaside to test our scooters.. 

 the girls accessoried… 

 our first test was a speed test….Noah was the starter….

 and finisher….😊 

 but it wasn’t long before they raced off to do their own thing… 

 Elis, a usual skater boarder, took some time to familiarise himself with his new stunt scooter before we headed to the skate park.. 

 And obviously with his new scooter in tow, Noah 3, wanted to follow his big brother… 

 so we watched for a while from afar… 

 before heading down for a closer look.. 

He watched his brother whizzing past with the bigger boys so we decided to walk around the adjoining lake to feed the ducks in the hope that the skate park would be a little quieter later on…

So back on the scooters, we headed off… 

   Noah was sure the swans had come to check out his fantastic dinosaur helmet 😊 
 With a bit more practice under our belts…including a little practice in dusting ourselves off… 

 we headed back to the skatepark…

It was a lot quieter…we watched for a while… 


 big brother and little brother scooted alongside each other… 

 until their knees could take no more… 

 and their hearts were content with a day full of scooting memories to take home… 

 We would like to thank Micro Scooters for sending us our new scooters, we can’t rave about them enough! They are fantastic and a superb addition to the family, our schools runs just got a whole load easier and fun…

You have the one 110% approval from us for a family fun product! 

The scooters we were sent were *Micro MX BenJ stunt scooter

*Micro Trixx scooter

*Maxi Micro scooter 

*Mini Micro Scooter

You can find more info on their website Website here.

Or you could follow their Facebook page here for info, competitions and loads of fun…

We are now scooting converts… 

 Especially a three year old, dinosaur loving little boys that now has some fab memories and a new favourite item to take to bed 😉❤️ 

You can follow more of our daily family fun on Facebook here.



After almost 30 years of working whilst raising a family I decided to become a stay at home mum…our seventh child is expected shortly and I will not be returning to work after her birth. 

I’ve never applied for the job but if I did this is what I would expect the qualification stipulations to be based on the actions I myself have partaken in as a parent that has already and continues to have the experience of six growing children.
Absolutely big up to all parents that juggle work alongside parenthood…this reiterates the fact that you have multiple jobs.
For others that are stay at home parents, your job role is as listed above.
We all have the vocation of motherhood….


Originally posted on familydaystriedandtested's Blog:

☀️Here it is! The ultimate summer fun list made by YOU!!
We asked our followers to come up with a list of things to do during the summer holiday come rain or shine, indoors or out, day or night….and they didn’t let us down!

There’s something for everyone on this list & it will keep you going all through the summer…

Well done‘Family Days Tried & Tested’followers….you really do rock & helped make a fab list…

So what’s on the list?

Loads & loads & loads… you go…

☀️Climb a tree

☀️Take a bucket and spade to the beach and have a hole digging contest.

☀️Make some rainbow rice…place some rice into food bags & add a teaspoon of food colouring & a teaspoon of vinegar, dry it out in the sun. Great for pouring play, tipping, fairy fun etc.

☀️Become outdoor artists & paint a picture outside..

View original 1,338 more words


 Merthyr Mawr Dunes provided the setting for parts of Lawrence of Arabia, they are one of the largest groups of sand dunes in Europe and their remarkableness will not disappoint you, they are fab for dune surfing!  

Take a picnic and make a day of walking around the dunes and exploring the ruins of Candleston Castle and taking a small hike over the dunes to Ogmore beach (approx 20 minute walk) 

The dunes are full of small wildlife and beautiful foliage and flowers…snails and butterflies are in abundance.

Location- Merthyr Mawr, Bridgend CF32 0PA car parking was £3 for the day.

It’s a lovely walk….

Here’s how our walk looked…  


Pregnancy is…  
⭐️Being constantly hungry but not fancying anything.
⭐️Having Gaviscon on prescription from the pharmacy.
⭐️Having the ability to intensely clean the house, every crevice, nook and cranny from top to bottom. 
 ⭐️Painting things that don’t look clean.
⭐️Knowing you are pregnant because your teeth feel weird.
⭐️Never feeling alone. 
 ⭐️Delegating the upkeep of your lady garden to your partner.
⭐️Having swollen (elephant) feet.
⭐️Having somebody put your socks on for you. 

 ⭐️Throwing up for nine months but still in explicable really gaining excessive amounts of weight. Sitting down on the floor and struggling to get back up.
⭐️Getting somebody to paint your toenails.
⭐️Viewing everything on the floor that needs picking up as your biggest enemy. 
 ⭐️Needing to contemplate sneezing and crossing your legs and bracing yourself before doing so.

⭐️Obsessing over crushed ice.

⭐️Constant consumption of crisps sandwiches.

⭐️Being an excuse for people to comment about your body. 
 ⭐️Understanding how a Weeble feels.

⭐️Raiding the fridge at 2 AM as normality. 

⭐️Birth plans…  

Ultimately pregnancy is….having ups and downs for 9 months, watching your body grow, feeling precious kicks and spending time barfing up unexpectedly…pregnancy is a roller coaster of emotions, sometimes a dark existence but mostly a beautiful one…..pregnancy is seeing out the journey and meeting the most gorgeous little person in the world that you have intricately grown and nurtured for 9 months….pregnancy is….falling in love with someone before you meet them ❤️