circus tent

Mum on a Mission Reviews Paulos Circus

circus tent

I have fond memories of the circus from my childhood – seeing the big top go up on a field next to our local leisure centre and the thrill of sitting inside it.  I don’t remember much about what happened inside as I was very young, but I’ve always wanted to take the boys along to one.  Of course seeing the Greatest Showman re-ignited that desire, and so when I was given the opportunity to go along to Paulos Circus whilst it visits York I jumped at it!!

Easy to find

picnic spotI am not native to York, and we did travel from about an hour away to get to the circus, but it was really easy to find located on the ring road round the city.  The boys were so excited on the morning and we had a chorus of “It’s circus day!!” all the way there.  This excitement built when they saw all the arrows and signs pointing to the circus.  Parking was free and plenty of it, and we even brought a picnic to make a day of it as there was a grassy field next to the big top.

Great value for money

light windmillBefore we get onto the content of the show, I just want to mention that this is a great value show.  All tickets (adults and kids) were just £7.  Refreshments were served in the half an hour before the show and were reasonable too – £3 for popcorn, £2.50 for hot dogs and £1 for drinks.  They were also selling flashing light windmills for the kids to hold up which were £4 each.  I didn’t mind buying these for the kids seeing as the tickets hadn’t cost that much, and they enjoyed holding them up in the dark parts of the show.

friendly staff

We were greeted well by the ticket office staff, and the resident clown was milling around the crowd before the show started.  This made my kids very happy as they high fived and interacted with him.  He also came to say bye on the way out.  This is the kind of thing that adds to the experience and was greatly enjoyed.

varied and fun show

rings of deathFinally, the show was really great.  There was a good mix of acrobatics, comedy moments, danger and interesting acts.  The kids enjoyed every single one of the acts, although my eldest said that the high wire walker was his favourite (when he balanced on a chair on the highwire we were really biting our nails in suspence!).  Us adults particularly enjoyed the laserman act which was fascinating to watch and the ring of death act which started the show.  The acts used lighting and music to add to the performances and there wasn’t a dull moment.  The clown provided light relief between acts which was definitely needed with a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a 2 years old in tow.

you won’t be disappointed

hoop acrobaticsIf you are looking for a fun afternoon out with the kids then Paulos Circus is for you – it is good value for money, great acts to watch for young and old and just good fun!  Take a few extra pennies for a flashing light windmill and embrace the comedy.  My only tip is to dress lightly and take plenty of drinks, as it was very warm in there during the 1 hour and 10 minute show.  We all emerged a little red faced!

Paulos Circus are in York until the 13th May so theres plenty of time for you to get along – visit their facebook page for more information.

mummy and sam at circus

NOTE: I was given free tickets for Paulos Circus in exchange for completing this review.  All opinions are my own.  

birthday wishlist

31st Birthday Wishlist

birthday wishlist

When you’re a mum, your birthday is a time when you can ask for things for yourself (not the kids), perhaps enjoy a meal out, or maybe even get breakfast in bed!  Unfortunately for me, my birthday lands on a Sunday this year, which means instead of enjoying a nice relaxing day I will instead be preaching in our kids Sunday School and rushing around like a mad lady!

Instead of thinking about the craziness of my birthday morning, I thought I would put together a nice wishlist of things that I would love to get as gifts (not that I’m expecting any!) or might spend birthday money on if I get any.

  1.  I bought one of these for a friend’s baby shower and loved being able to create messages with it.  If I get one then I will use it as a welcome board in our new house, leaving fun messages for those who come to visit!
  2. Holy Hope Bible Journaling Kit. I don’t really have any Christian stamps to use in my bible, so this would be really fun to have a go with. I have been part of the team helping getting this to launch but not had the spare cash to order myself one, so would be lovely to get one for my birthday!
  3.  and a .  As I spend more time doing bible journaling, I realise how awful my art supplies actually are!! I bought myself some watercolours last year but really need some acrylic paint to be able to paint more intricate designs. I also would love to try out a watercolour brush pen and try to do some brush lettering!
  4. Christian music -Need some recommendations here really, but I need some updates to my Christian music collection as its about all I listen to in the car!
  5.  and I am desperate to get started on some new ideas for bible journaling and products linked to my blog, so getting both of these would be a huge help.  Plus lots of fun to play around with!
  6. Tapas.  I normally celebrate my birthday with a meal out with my lovely hubby. We both enjoy good food, and it is a treat to get an evening out together. This year I am also having a party with some of my girly friends, but really hope we get a chance to eat out too.  Tapas is one of our new favourite cuisines so it would be lovely to go to a local tapas restaurant.

 

contents of tiny treasure box

Mum on a Mission Reviews Tiny Treasures

review of tiny treasures

A few months back Becky from the Treasure Box People got in touch to see if me and my youngest son , Reuben, would be interested in reviewing one of the new “Tiny Treasures” subscription boxes for Pre-school children.  Of course we were so excited!!  Sam absolutely loves his monthly Treasure Box which we now subscribe to (check out my review of it from last year), and it is a special time in our family life when it arrives.  We all gather around it to read the story, chat about it and do the activities together.   But Reuben (who is two years old) often gets frustrated that he can’t join in with all the activities, so we were looking forward to seeing how the Tiny Treasure box would help with this.

treasure boxes The most exciting thing for the boys is that both boxes arrived on the same day, so they both had one to open!!  Reuben’s was lots bigger, but that is mainly because for little kids the parts have to be big so they don’t swallow them.  The box that Reuben received was themed on the story of the Feeding of the 5000.  Included in the box were:

 

contents
  • A Storybook Bible Board Bookcontents of tiny treasure box
  • A large basket
  • Three small baskets
  • Two wooden fish
  • Ingredients to make salt dough pre-measured out
  • Piece of artificial grass
  • Book of ideas on how to explore the story

One thing to note that is that the Tiny Treasure Boxes are £20 instead of £10, and only come every two months.  But when you include postage in that amount (£2.90 at least for the large boxes) you can see that you are getting value for money.   By signing up you are building up a collection of treasure baskets that your younger children can come back to time and time again to explore each particular story.  The items you receive will not just be a one off activity, but some you can keep and include in your normal toys so that the bible and exploring it becomes part of their normal everyday play.  Isn’t that fantastic!!

open tiny treasure boxReuben was straight into the box pulling out the items and exploring them.  He loves books, so once he found the book we read it straight away.  I was then able to explain what the items in the box related to in the story.  It was only later that day I had chance to read the little book of big ideas and the suggested ways to do it!!  But that’s the beauty of these boxes – you can explore them and the bible story in a way that suits your own little one.

I remember when the Treasure Box Subscription first came out and being gutted that Sam was too young to get one.  Well yes, Sam is now old enough to get the normal Treasure Box, but I love that this Tiny Treasures Box is now available for the younger age.  I would really encourage all parents to think about subscribing, as it is investing in your spiritual parenting and will help you to be intentional with sharing the bible with your kids.  After a year of receiving them just think how many amazing things you will have to explore lots of different stories for years to come!

reuben in tiny treasure box

How do i sign up?

So if you want to sign up, head over to The Treasure Box People’s website.  You can also buy a one off box if you want to give it a try before committing to a regular subscription.

You can also sign up to the regular Treasure Box which is ideal for those over 5 years old.

 

NOTE: I was sent a Tiny Treasure Box for free in order to review, but all opinions are my own.

Balloon Bible Page

The Story Behind The Page – Balloons

the story behind the page balloons

I’m not sure about you, but I love to see other people’s bible journaling pages.  Sometimes they spark something in me and inspire a new page in my own bible, and sometimes I just love to see other people’s styles.  However, when you see the pretty picture on Instagram or Pinterest you don’t always get the full story behind that page.  The beauty of bible journaling is that it is creative worship of our amazing God, and so for me I often find that each page is a product of a situation in my life, lesson learnt or meditation that has revealed something to me.  They might not always make sense to others, but each page is special to me and God.

So on reflection I thought I would share some of the stories behind my pages, to show you my process and inspiration.  I hope you enjoy and maybe pick up some tips for your own journaling. Today I will be talking about this page:

Balloon Bible Page

Starting with the sky

This page started out as a bit of a play around with watercolours at our Doncaster Bible Journaling “Craft and Chill” night.  I’d seen an idea on Pinterest where you used a cardboard cut out of cloud shapes and painted above it to leave a white cloud shape below.  I loved how this could make a sky themed background, so gave it a go.  I chose the page of a verse that had been written out on a post it on my desk at work for the past few weeks:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13

I think in the version on my desk it had the phrase “confident hope” in it too.  Over the past few months I have heard that gentle whisper from God asking me to “trust him” and so many verses with that phrase in had been coming up in my everyday life.  This was just one of them.

After creating the sky I got a bit stuck – I knew I wanted the words of the verse somewhere on the page but I wasn’t sure where.  I decided to let it sit for a few days and see if inspiration hit.

the idea for the balloons

After a few days of not having any clue how to finish this page off, I was scrolling once again through Pinterest when a scrapbooking page caught my attention where a big bunch of balloons had been made out of die cut hearts.  I loved this idea!  I thought of how it linked in nicely with the verse where God is “filling you with all joy and peace” in the same way that balloons are filled with air.  It would look great against the sky background, but I didn’t think my heart shaped hole punch would make big enough hearts for me to write on.

close up of balloons

So instead I chose to trace a picture of a big bunch of balloons using my phone as a lightbox (this is where you get the image you want to trace up on your phone screen and place a piece of paper over it and copy it).  Once I had the outline of my bunch of balloons I then sketched out the words of the verse using pencil.  I wanted the focus to be on the words “TRUST IN HIM” as those were the words I really felt God speaking over me at the time.  Maybe other words might stand out to you, so you can really alter the layout to highlight what you want to.

With the general layout in place I got my coloured pencils out and coloured in the balloons (this was lots of fun and very colourful!).  I then went back over my words using a black fine liner so that they stood out clearly.

Its all in the detail

Full view of balloons and stringNow that the main parts of the page were finished I just needed to put it all together.  I wanted to add some nice details, and I think that they are what pull pages together and make them feel special.  So I looked out this paper string I had bought in IKEA years ago for the strings on the balloon and added a cloud themed tab to the top of the page.  I am still undecided as to whether or not to add some glitter to the edges of the clouds – what do you all think?!

Even though I love how the colourful balloons look on the cloud background, I think the bit that stands out and makes this page special to me is the phrase “TRUST IN HIM”.  That is what God is teaching me right now.

How can you use the ideas from this page and make it into your own?  Is there a verse that you love at the moment that you can write onto balloons?  Or perhaps you can steal the sky idea.  I would love to hear how you use this inspiration for your own works of worship.

Rachel x

 

wooden gifts

Mum on a Mission Reviews Kent-Made Signs

kent made signs

Who doesn’t love a customised gift?  Something a little more personal and unique than anything you can find in the shops.  Well I for one do, and I want to share with you a lovely website that I came across which has some really special things and what I love about them – KENT-MADE.

fun for the kids

wooden arrow signs

The first thing I ordered was two wooden signs with my boys names cut out.  I absolutely love these.  They look modern and fun, and I know that the boys will love them too.  I chose the arrow ones so that I can put them on their bunk beds when we get moved house, with the arrows pointing at who is in which bunk.  But they would work really well on a bedroom door too.  They are lightweight and thin, so you would be able to stick them up anywhere.  I would definitely choose to order these over other personalised bedroom door signs I’ve seen.

You can decorate them your own way

wooden signs

If you are a little bit creative like me, then maybe you will want an even more unique sign than just the names customised.  As these are not finished in anyway (like with varnish or paint) it leaves the options open to you to paint, decopatch or do whatever you like to them!!  My eldest son really wants a rainbow bedroom when we move, so perhaps I will paint these in rainbow colours to fit in.  The wooden signs pictured are only £8.99 including customisation and free postage.  If arrows aren’t your thing then there are also lots of other shape options available with either cut out or engraved names – just take a look!

unique gifts too

thank you wooden flower

As well as the lovely signs, KENT-MADE also have a lovely range of gifts for different occasions.  These include wooden postcards that you can personalise with messages and use for mothers day, birthdays, anniversary, best teacher or even wedding save the dates.  But the item that most stood out to me was the wooden flowers.  Wouldn’t it be lovely to open a surprise parcel with one of these in?  What I hadn’t realised when i ordered it was that it comes with its own glass vase to display it in.  Such a lovely detail!

wooden flower tag

I hadn’t decided who to send this to so my tag is blank, but you can of course personalise this with to and from.  The wooden flowers (which come with a variety of messages) are only £9.99 and will last a lot longer than actual flowers.  With mothers day coming up why not send your mum something a bit different this year.

I was sent these items to review, but I have actually fallen in love with them.  I am so looking forward to moving house now so that these can be displayed, and will definitely be heading over to KENT-MADE next time I need to send something special to a friend.  Why not go and have a look on the website and see what you fall in love with.

Disclosure:  I was sent these items for free in return for my honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

 

grand total steps

10,000 Steps a Day for Charity

As some of you may know, I have been doing a 10,000 steps a day challenge throughout January to kick start my New Year in a healthy way.  I’m not here to preach at you that this is what you should all be doing, but just to share some of the ups and downs, highlights and achievements of my 31 days of attempting to walk more!!

I took on this challenge primarily to raise some awareness and funds for Teenage Cancer Trust (please do donate to my justgiving page here), the fabulous charity that I have the privilege of working for.  But I have found it immensely enjoyable too.  I liked to think that I walked a lot, but at the end of last year when I got a new phone with a pedometer app, I realised that some days I really didn’t.  On my full days working (I work from home in a tiny office) I would only clock up 2-3,000 steps, and on other days I was hitting maybe 6-7,000.  I decided that if I was to have any chance of achieving 10,000 steps a day I really had to make some changes.

boys walking

One of my walking trips out with the boys – puddle jumping as we went!

And I did!  With a Christmas treat of a new smart watch which counts my steps all the time, I was able to have sedentary reminders.  This was really helpful when working at my desk, as if I’d been sitting for too long it would vibrate and remind me to just get up and move around for a bit.  I also tried to get in one big walk a day, whether that was to school and back or down the canal in my lunch break – to reach 10,000 steps I needed a good half hour block of solid walking at least.

swans on the canal

A lunchtime walk by the canal on a very cold day saw the swans doing some skating!

I also made some other changes – you can read my post about getting in more steps here.  There were lots of tough days when I didn’t reach my goal, but then lots of days when I did lots more than 10,000 steps.  Overall I did 297,756 steps out of 310,000.  That’s an average of 9,605 steps a day.  Which I think is pretty close!!

grand total steps

What else have I achieved?  Well I have lost over half a stone (which really shocked me!!).  I am sleeping lots better (when you take away the stress of moving house!!).  And I feel like every day I have a goal to work towards.  I might not reach it every day, but every day I am trying and that’s what counts.  Walking is something I love to do and it is exercise that I don’t have to think about or force myself in to.  I can do it with my kids, and it fits in with my daily schedule.  It is even beneficial for me when working at home to get up and walk about so that I’m not getting back ache and other problems.  Even when it means walking round and round the kitchen table whilst the kettle boils, or up and down the bedroom as I brush my teeth, this challenge has really helped me to put some new healthier habits in place for 2018.

Walking selfie with boys

Quick selfie by a sculpture whilst on a walk

If you want to do the same, then why not try it for Lent this year?  40 days of 10,000 steps.  I know I’ll still be trying!!   Or you can take on your own challenge for Teenage Cancer Trust here.

stickers on page

“Hide and Seek” Step-by-Step Bible Page

I love journaling through my bible, especially using the verses we are studying in our Mummy Meditations group.  It really helps me to remember the key messages and to reflect on what I have learnt, as well as being super fun.  So this is the first in a series of step-by-step posts showing how I have created some of my pages in my journaling bible.  If you enjoy it then check out the rest of my bible journaling posts here.

Step 1

The first thing I did was to prepare my page with two layers of gesso.  I knew I had lots of inking and embossing planned, so needed to protect the pages.  I then masked off the key verse (Genesis 16:13) using thin washi tape so that I could peel it back later to reveal it.  I put a bit of scrap paper under the page I was working on so that nothing went through to the next pages.

masking page

step 2

My next step was to create a background to work on, so I used purple ink.  I would normally use watercolours, but found this in my craft box and thought I’d give it a try!  I just turned it upside down and twisted it around on the page until I had covered most of the area.  It made a nice twisty pattern in some areas.

ink on bible page

step 3

Next I wanted to add a bit of texture and deepen the background, so I chose to add some purple embossing to the left hand side of the page.  I turned my embossing ink pad over and just dabbed it in a few places up the side before sprinkling on the embossing powder, shaking off the excess and heating.

purple embossing powder

step 4

I wanted to highlight the chosen verse some more, so I dabbed some more embossing ink around the area that I had masked off with washi tape.  I then peeled off the washi tape before sprinkling some “enchanted gold” powder on the area, shaking off (using a dry paint brush to make sure there was none over my chosen verse) and heating.

gold embossing powdergold embossing on bible

step 5

Next I started to add the detail to this page.  The theme that I decided to go for was “hide and seek” – picking up on the fact that Hagar fled from Sarai.  I used this lovely gold glittery stickers that I picked up from Home Bargains.

stickers on page

step 6

I added on a pair of hands that I had cut out from pink paper and glued them down at the wrists so that they could be flapped open.

hands added to pageflapping hands
step 7

Next I added the word seek in lettering using a black sharpie (this was because the page was quite shiny after embossing so needed a permanent marker to stay put).  I also made a little envelope which contains the words the angel of the Lord said to Hagar and stuck it to one of the hands at the bottom.

seek added to page

step 8

I added some final embellishments including a washi tape arrow and ampersand sticker.  I then put a bible tab in the same colour theme to mark the page, as well as a secret message behind the to hands…..

stickers on pagebible tab

secret hands

 

There you have it!

Well I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk through of how I created this page.  As I mentioned, this is the verse that I will be meditating on over the coming week in my mummy meditations group, so come and join us if you want to!

2018 Family Bucket List

family bucket list

Do you ever sit down and think about what adventures you’d like to do with your kids?  Rather than just doing the same old thing, and with all the shiny possibilities of 2018 looming bright ahead of us, I thought I would put together a bucket list of things that I’d love to do with my little family.

  1. Visit a Loch in Scotland
  2. Visit the National Coal Mining Museum
  3. Go to a climbing centre
  4. Visit all the local museums in Doncaster, our home town
  5. Go Geocaching
  6. Teach Sam to ride his bike without stabilisers
  7. Decorate the boys bedroom
  8. Spend a whole Saturday in our pyjamas
  9. Toast marshmallows together
  10. Explore a cave
  11. Buy a metal detector and use it on the beach
  12. Make our own ice cream sundaes
  13. Choose a child to sponsor through Compassion
  14. Learn about beekeeping
  15. Fill up our memory box and need a new one
  16. Build a treehouse
  17. Make a sign for our new house
  18. Grow something impressive
  19. Draw a treasure map
  20. Go on the train to a new place and explore together

Share in the comments what things you would put on your family bucket list……

Share The Joy Linky @ Ladybug Home
greatest showman

How The Greatest Showman Moved Me

greatest showman

Last week, in the midst of putting offers in on a new house, me and my hubby went out for a well needed date night.  As we really needed a break from talking (that’s all we’d done all week and the stress of house decisions was really getting to us) we decided to go to the cinema.  I’d heard lots of people talk about the Greatest Showman, and I like a good musical, so I thought we’d give it a go (secretly thinking my hubby would hate it!).

The thing with musicals is that they have real power.  Music is something special isn’t it?  It has the power to reach into your soul and speak to you like words on their own don’t.  It has the power to change your mood and to make you feel things like nothing else.  And so when you combine amazing songs with a moving story like in the Greatest Showman, you have something potentially explosive.  It really was just what the doctor ordered.

Watching the Greatest Showman took me back to the days when I took part in the school production.  The way that they described being a family reminded me of that.  When you spend hours rehearsing and performing something so moving and creative then you cannot help but get closer.  I once played my violin as part of the orchestra for our school production of Les Mis.  I didn’t know or care for the songs before, or even have any clue what the story line was about, but just being part of something was an immense feeling.  So I could relate to the phenomenal atmosphere that could be created both for the audience and those taking part.

I have watched back some of the footage from the shows rehearsals too (yes I have become slightly addicted) and the music really is outstanding.  Stripped back and in its raw form, you can see people just loving the chance to sing and play and communicate in that way.  It is spiritual really, and a lot of those clips remind me of intimate times in sung worship at church where you really let go.  There are hundreds of verses in the bible which tell about singing joyfully to the Lord, and I couldn’t pick just one that put that across.  But I know that when I do sing joyfully to God it has an effect on my soul that nothing else does.

The Greatest Showman obviously isn’t a Christian movie, but the themes of acceptance and a family of broken people coming together reminds me of Jesus and the gospel.  The songs that go with the storyline are phenomenal, and I really do recommend that you ALL go to see it!!!  The soundtrack is now on repeat in our house (and it was my hubby that went out and bought it not me!)

steps in wellies in the mud

Getting In More Steps

steps in wellies in the mud

This January I have taken on the “Party Hard, Train Harder” challenge from Teenage Cancer Trust, and set myself the target of doing 10,000 steps a day.  It’s talked about a lot as a good goal to have for a healthy lifestyle so I figured it would be the first step on a journey to losing a bit of weight and fitting back into my wedding dress (a goal I have before my 10th Wedding Anniversary!!).

(YOU CAN SPONSOR ME IN MY CHALLENGE HERE!!)

Before I started tracking and thinking about this I would have a few days where I would reach 10,000 steps – mostly the days I walked my son to school.   Other days I would struggle to get up past 3,000 steps – these were the days I was working from home all day and doing not much else – and my average daily step count was probably more like 5-6,000.

I am now at the end of my second week of the challenge, and although I haven’t reached 10,000 steps every day (some would call me a failure) I have massively increased my daily step count.  There hasn’t been a day where I have done less than 7,000 steps, and those days have been rare.  My first week’s total was around 71,000 so my average was over 10,000 steps a day (yey!!).

If you, like me, want to take a first step on a training journey but aren’t ready to become a serious runner or anything (you know work and kids get in the way….), then here are some of my tips for getting in more steps:

  1. Walk whilst you are brushing your teeth – seriously.   This is dead time otherwise, and if you have an electric toothbrush that times your teethbrushing then that is 2 minutes of pacing up and down that could add a few hundred steps to your total.
  2. Go to the bathroom on a different floor – OK so maybe it’s just me that lives in a three storey town house with a toilet on every floor, but rather than going to the nearest one, why not actively choose to go to the toilet that is furthest away.  Or if you work in an office building, go to the furthest bathroom on your break.
  3. Walk whilst your kids are eating or watching TV – I eat my dinner after the kids are in bed, so normally during their tea time I am sat doing nothing or playing on my phone.  Now I am actively choosing to be up walking around whilst they are eating and watching TV.
  4. Walking whilst working – I work from home, so I’m often just sat at my desk on my computer.  Now I am trying to think what tasks I could do whilst walking.  Could you do phone calls whilst walking up and down the stairs?  Or thinking tasks maybe?
  5. Try to take one big trip out every day – I always think about trying to do one bit walk out everyday.  Whether that is to take the kids to school (my son’s school is 1.1 miles away so I clock up a good 6000 steps going there and back) or a walk down the canal in my lunch break, the only way I can reach a good total is to be out for half an hour or longer every day.
  6. Park a bit further away – This one sounds really simple, but how many of naturally just park in the closest space.  Why not park a couple of roads down when doing the school run and walk an extra bit.  Or park in the far corner of the car park at the supermarket.  All those extra steps will add up and get you closer to your total!
  7. Give yourself some fun weekly challenges – if you like taking photos or just a bit of a game, then each week set yourself a challenge that will encourage you to get out walking.  Maybe its to find the muddiest path, or the highest mountain.  You could write them on slips of paper, put them in a box and let your kids pick on each week.  That way you’re all enjoying getting out walking more!

Don’t forget to pop over to my justgiving page and leave a little donation towards my fundraising goal!