How I Prepare The Family For Our Adventures

Being a mother of two boys, I’m slightly outnumbered in the home three to one! But that doesn’t stop me from being the head of the household! 

Sometimes I feel like if I didn’t take care of things there’d be chaos. Take family outings, for example. Now, as a family we all love to go out and about and have little adventures of our own. I feel that days out together are an important part of strengthening the family bond.

But sometimes preparing for them can be a nightmare! So, having learnt from my mistakes, I’m now a seasoned pro. And I’m going to let you in on my secrets. Here are the ways in which I like to prepare the family for our adventures.

Royal Air Force Museum London

My dad used to love going to aircraft museums, I distinctly remember seeing old photos of my dad standing next to old RAF planes. I couldn't tell you what kind of planes they were, but I'm sure my dad could.

I presume that the photos were taken somewhere like the Royal Air Force Museum in London.

Being a Blogger is...

The day I flew to Orlando I was tagged in this ‘Being a Blogger is…’ meme by Catie, who writes at Diary of an Imperfect Mum, and I wrote the post while sitting on the plane.

Blogging has changed my life and I can't imagine what I would be doing right now if I wasn't a blogger. A bored stay-at-home mum I guess. With two school-aged children my days would be empty without blogging.

Being a Blogger is... | Morgan's Milieu: Blogging is AWESOME!

Being a blogger is… 

Autumn Style with Ethical Clothing

I've always liked following fashion, in my twenties I bought all the magazines and longed for the clothes worn by the stars. Back then no one thought about ethical clothing.

These days ethical clothing is not only fashionable but desirable and fantastic quality too.

Being a busy mum I pretty much live most of my days in jeans, I usually pair them with a t-shirt in the summer and a jumper in winter. I love simple, easy to wear clothes.

Autumn Style with Ethical Clothing | Morgan's Milieu: a plum cardigan from Nomads Clothing. This cardi would be great for any autumn outfit.

As the weather gets colder I find that a thin jumper is not enough to keep me warm and I've been reaching for my cardigans more often. That extra layer is lovely on the colder days.

Lands' End Winter Style

About a month ago I attended the Lands' End Style event where they introduced me and a few other bloggers to their autumn style range. It was a wonderful day and we had a blast.

After such a wonderful day I didn't think things could get much better, I was mistaken. 

Lands' End Winter Style | Morgan's Milieu: Check out Lands' End for some brilliant quality winter wear, it'll last years!

Life Before the Hubby

A while ago I was tagged by Kat over at Mum for Fun to talk about my life before I met the Hubby. 

I met the Hubby in 2002, actually it was 26th October 2002, we've been in each other's life for 13 blissful years now. I'll always remember the car trip home after our first date, we were both quiet. You know the uncomfortable silence you tend to get on a first date? Well we didn't. The silence wasn't uncomfortable, I felt at ease and that was when I knew he'd be around for a while.

Life Before the Hubby | Morgan's Milieu: The Hubby dressed up as Shrek for Halloween.
He's my Shrek!

Before the Hubby I walked everywhere, I hadn't yet learned to drive.

Easy Halloween Costume Ideas for Boys

When it comes to Halloween costumes I tend to be a tad lazy, I either buy outfits from the supermarket or we don't bother. With that in mind I thought I'd give you some ideas for easy Halloween costumes for boys (I have no experience for girls, sorry).

I have a huge stash of old costumes from when BP was smaller and these have come in handy over the years. One of the snags I always come across though is that neither of my boys like to wear face-paint and are picky about the kinds of masks they'll wear.

How to Navigate Gift Buying for the Man in Your Life

Today, I thought I would write a post for all you ladies out there who, two or three (or six) times a year, have to go through one of the hardest processes known to woman. I am, of course, referring to those times when you have to buy your other half a present. Whether it’s for a birthday, a special event, Christmas or just because you feel like it, it’s almost impossible. 

How to Navigate Gift Buying for the Man in Your Life | Morgan's Milieu: Gift buying for the men in our lives is a thorn in our side, so let me help you...

OK, so I don’t want to generalise too much. But if you have a husband or partner who is easy to buy for you should count yourself lucky. According to the conversations I have, you are very much in the minority. So, for those of you that struggle, read on for some ideas I have been toying with over the past few weeks. 

The Sporty Guy

I’m old enough to remember the days when the sport was on TV all day long throughout the weekend, for free. Until, that is, some bright spark realised they could make a killing. So, the terrestrial channels are now virtually sports free on a Saturday and Sunday. It’s great in one way - for those that aren’t interested - but, on the other hand, it costs a fortune to subscribe to Sky or BT Sport

It’s not something I would want to pay for out of our living costs, but it is a viable option as a gift. Of course, there should be caveats, for fear of it overtaking everyone’s lives. But, if your husband is a sports fan, you will get serious brownie points - for the duration of the subscription, at least! 

The Music Fanatic

Your best bet here is to look out for the perfect gifts for the audiophile. This is someone who takes a (sometimes unhealthy) interest in sound quality. Try and find them a pair of audiophile headphones. 

These don’t come cheap, but the likes of Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic offer a broad range of options for those that have a budget restriction. Headphones will serve two purposes. Firstly, so that your partner can listen to their music as it was intended, in glorious high fidelity. And secondly, so that you don’t have to. 

The Gadget Fiend

I often wonder what the man who likes gadgets would have liked before they were invented. But the fact is, gadgets are here to stay, and many men - and women - have fallen for them in a big way (including me). 

Your best bet here is to probe them for ideas. It’s unlikely that ‘buying blind’ will ever work when you are finding presents for the gadget fiend. They will also know something that would have been better, brighter, and faster. So, ask them - on the sly, of course. 

The Lost Cause

You have several options for the man who doesn’t seem to want anything. First of all, think about something out of the ordinary. There are some interesting, unique gifts and gift ideas from Cuckooland to give you some ideas. You could also try making them something. However, be aware that quite often, men don't quite appreciate the effort you have gone to as much as us women do. 

Finally, give them something they have always wanted to do. Perhaps it is a skydive or a bungee jump. It might even be an attempt at the world record for eating hot dogs. Let’s face it, you are probably more likely to know your husband’s greatest wish and desire than they are. So, use your knowledge, and you are bound to get it right. 

Happy gift hunting!

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Family Activities in Nottingham

My family and I live in Nottingham and sometimes I search for activities for us to do together, especially during the school holidays. More often than not though it takes a long time to find anything and by the time I've found something we might find interesting we've all lost enthusiasm for going out.

There's always the soft-play centres but I think it's better to be able to spend time together rather than the boys rushing off to spend a couple of hours on their own.

Family Activities in Nottingham | Morgan's Milieu: Check out my awesome write up on the arts and culture venues in Nottingham.

I have lived in Nottinghamshire most of my life and for some reason I've never done or seen all the things there are to see. That's why I was so pleased to be invited along to a Blogger Press Tour organised by the Nottingham Family Arts Network to celebrate the launch of the Get Creative Family Arts Festival

How Well Do Your Kids Know You?

A few months ago I saw an amusing post on Kim's blog Northumberland Mam which had a list of questions she'd asked her daughters. Their answers made me laugh a few times!

I've had those questions written down and had meant to ask the boys, it's only been recently that I had the time to do it!

Better late than never right?

My New Bed Wishlist

Our house feels like it's falling down around us...

Okay, that may be a little extreme but as I walk around my house I realise how much decorating needs doing as well as odd jobs. The thought of decorating the whole house makes me want to hide under the duvet!

Come to think of it we could do with new duvets too... and beds. Yes, new beds.

My New Bed Wishlist | Morgan's Milieu: Ideas for new beds for all of us, some have a TV appearing as if from no where!

Boys are Aliens!

I've always thought there was something not quite right about boys, something off.

It dawned on me this morning that boys are aliens.

They may not be little green men but they're aliens all right. 

Boys are Aliens! | Morgan's Milieu: Are boys aliens? I think so, but what do you think?

I went through a whole thought process this morning but what started me off was a news report on BBC News about women being paid lower bonuses than men. As usual we were told that women either weren't 'asking' for as much money or weren't willing to take on the responsible jobs to earn the money. 

Once again I was left wondering why women always seem to be painted as the timid, shy type?

They don't want to work in the financial industry.
They don't want to ask for more money.

We're just too nice and quiet, apparently.

Well no, we're not. 

We do want the money AND the responsibility but we're usually taking care of an entire family as well as trying to earn money and have responsibility.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, it got me onto the subject of men and women being different. The classic line "Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars" popped into my head and that lead me to...

Boys are Aliens!

We are so vastly different that they must be right?

For a start they're bigger than us (us being all girls/women).

Surely this is some genetic modification in order to make us feel inferior? 

I am 5ft 5 inches tall, the Hubby is 6ft and BP is about an inch shorter than me. Even my 6 year old son, LP, is teasing me about almost being as tall as me (he's not, but he likes to joke).

They're stronger than us.

I cannot lift my youngest son off the ground anymore, he's far too big and heavy. The last time I tried to carry him I ended up with a bad back for a week. The Hubby on the other hand finds it easy to lift LP and often flings him upside down, over his shoulder, just for the fun of it. 

BP is getting big enough to lift LP, and that's just rubbing it in my face!

They eat more than we do.

Boys are Aliens! | Morgan's Milieu: Eating more than a whole crab to himself, which is more than I can eat, is just one of the reasons I think boys are aliens.
BP at all this to himself!

Okay, maybe not all the time but BP will often have the same amount of food as me. LP isn't far behind either, if it's a meal he's enjoying. Then ten minutes later they'll both claim they're hungry. Where does all the food go?!

They have a strange sense of humour

No human being would find a fart so hilariously funny that they almost pee themselves would they? Filling a room with such an awful stench that everyone gags and has to leave the room. What's so funny? 

I mean, really, toilet humour - I just don't get it.

They have a natural knack for technology.

Whether it's a new iPad, new phone, or new computer, all the boys/men in my house know how it will work. It's easy for them to understand the technology and use it to their advantage. For me it's much harder and I have to search the web (don't get me started on the web) for information on how to set my alarm clock or use the waffle-maker.

Then there's the super-powers...

How they're "magically" able to make everything ok... with a smile.

How do they do that?!

A simple glance, flashing of the teeth, and sparkle of the eyes and I'm putty! 

Their hugs

Nothing can make the rest of the world disappear like a hug from the Hubby. He wraps his big arms around me and everything else is gone, it's just me and him. 

Is it some sort of drug I breathe in? Does it transport us off the earth? I don't know what happens but it's pretty darned amazing!

Boys are Aliens! | Morgan's Milieu: The shadows of the boys will give away their alien inside eventually!
I don't see any antenna, but I'm sure they're there!

Look around and you'll see these aliens everywhere, in your house, at your work, at the doctors' surgery. I'm fairly sure there's no way we can escape from their drug-hugs, or their intoxicating smiles.

Instead of letting them think we're the timid, shy, humans they think we are let's pinch some of the "magic" powers and turn things around.

Walk into work tomorrow and ask for a raise.
When the boys get home tell them to do some housework.

And when the farts begin - laugh!

That'll scare 'em. 

Do you agree that boys are aliens or is there some other explanation that I haven't thought of?

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

M7P Sports In-Ear Headphones Review

When I go for a run I love to listen to music, the beat keeps me going when I think I don't quite have the energy to carry on. The only problem with this is all the earphones or headphones I've tried have various problems.

Headphones are not comfortable enough, there's no way you can run with big headphones resting on your head.

So that leaves you with in-ear headphones, and these too have their disadvantages. Up until recently I've been using my Apple earpods but they're not great when I'm running. I have to keep pushing them back into place because they slip out of my ears. Not good when you're trying to lose yourself in the music.

M7P Sports In-Ear Headphones Review | Morgan's Milieu: Red headphones, clip them to your shirt, and off you go.

With these MP7 earphones that's different because they have an "over-the-ear" design with flexible earhooks to help them stay in place. They come with eartips attached and 3 spare pairs in a little bag so you can switch them if the standard ones are too big or small.  

As it turns out the standard ones were just right for me and I attached the earphones to my iPod. I found a small clip on the wire of the earphones that can be clipped to your clothes to stop the wire from bouncing about when you're running. I thought this was a great idea because I often yank the earpods out of my ears because my arm gets caught on the wire.

M7P Sports In-Ear Headphones Review | Morgan's Milieu: MEEaudio have produced some great earphones.

I went for my run to test out these earphones and they quickly became my 'running earphones'. They fit snugly in my ears and didn't slip out even when I was sprinting. I was comfortable with them in my ears and didn't tug them out by catching the wire, it was secured to my top.

The M7P in-ear headphones come with a carrying case too so you have somewhere to keep them rather than them getting tangled in the bottom of your gym bag.

M7P Sports In-Ear Headphones Review | Morgan's Milieu: With this carry case the MEEaudio M7P in-ear headphones will stay neat and not get tangled in your gym bag.

Overall I think the headphones are good, I'm glad I have them and they'll be getting used whenever I go for a run.

These M7P sports in-ear headphones are available in three colours (black, green, and red) from Amazon for £33.05.

I was sent a pair of these headphones in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

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Source: BlogsRelease

Imune Nurture Fruity Water Review

LP is a pain in the bum when it comes to fruit, he won't eat any fruit. I gave up buying fresh fruit because of the amount I threw away. Then I started to worry about LP getting the right vitamins in his diet. 

When I stumbled across Imune Nurture I was excited to be asked to review their juice drinks.

Imune Nurture is an all-natural half juice, half water, children's drink. It is enriched with vitamins and minerals proven to support healthy immunity and it has no added sugar. 

Imune Nurture Fruity Water Review | Morgan's Milieu: Imune Nurture Fruity Water, Strawberry & Cherry and Orange & Pineapple flavours. My kids really enjoyed them.

A Sure Fire Way to Recover From One of Those Days

There are days when I want to scream at the top of my voice. Days when the boys have done nothing but bicker. The washing machine decides to pack in, I bash my arm on the door handle while carrying a basket full of clothes into the utility room, and as I'm walking back into the lounge (with another basket of clothes) I stamp (because I'm so "AARRGH!") on a pile of teeny-tiny lego pieces hidden in the carpet.

A sure fire way to recover from one of those days | Morgan's Milieu: Lego, buried in a red carpet = ouch!
The offending articles

The almighty scream echoes through the house and the Hubby just looks at me.

A sure fire way to recover from one of those days | Morgan's Milieu: A lion roaring, much like me after stepping on lego!
The mane is surprisingly accurate!

The rage flows through me like wild-fire.

I drop the basket on the floor, search out the offending lego pieces and throw them in the already full lego box, all while muttering under my breath.

If you're anything like me these days come round far too often and you end up either crying your eyes out into your pillow or screaming at the first person to push you over the edge. 

This kind of day ruins it for everyone.

You're in a bad mood all day.
The kids give you a wide berth, much like they do with their homework.
The Hubby stays quiet in the hope that you might calm down.

Apart from reaching for a large glass of bourbon there's one sure-fire way to recover from one of those days.

Take a moment to look at your children.

No rolling your eyes because they're bickering, again.
No asking them to tidy up their rooms.

Just look at them.

Watch their faces as they enjoy their TV programme.
See the mannerisms they picked up from their father.
Let your love for them fight that wild fire.

As the rage subsides sit with your children and read a book, or watch your favourite movie together. 

A sure fire way to recover from one of those days | Morgan's Milieu: A lion, in a tree. Lion King anyone?
Lion King anyone?

Smile, cuddle, laugh.

Shared laughter really is the best medicine and enjoying time with your family improves everyone's mood.

A sure fire way to recover from one of those days | Morgan's Milieu: Horrid Henry and the Secret Club, a book LP has started reading today.
LP and I just started reading this together today. 

If the embers of that wild fire still burn watch your children sleep, that will wipe out all signs of rage. Imagine them dreaming about the wonderful day they had reading with you and watching that movie. Think about how they wake every morning wondering what mischief they can get into.

And smile.

Because tomorrow it'll all start again!

Let's Talk Mommy

Brilliant blog posts on

How to Get On Top of Pesky Household Chores

When you become a mum household chores are a constant thorn in your side.

Somehow you never manage to get everything done, the washing builds up or the polishing doesn't get done, or you end up with a mountain of ironing to do.

I've worked out how to get on top of those pesky household chores.

It's really simple!

Much like the dieting motto 'eat little and often' if you do small household chores every day then sooner or later they'll all be done.

How to Get On Top of Pesky Household Chores | Morgan's Milieu: Using the small slots of time to your benefit will make life easier in the long run.

For the last week my kitchen worktops have been spotless. I've managed to keep them clear for an entire week, usually unheard of.

I'd kidded myself that I didn't have the time to get everything done in a day.
There were just too many jobs that needed doing and I would never finish it all.


You can do it all.

It's all about when you do it.

I use slots of time that would usually be filled with me sitting on my bottom drinking a coffee, to get on top of the household chores.

AND I manage to have that coffee!

Use short slots of time to get small chores done.

While waiting for the kettle to boil, fill the dishwasher.
While waiting for bread to toast, put the washing in.
While the kids are eating breakfast, wipe the kitchen worktops.

Cooking dinner gives you that time too.

While you watch the meal cook on the hob, or put it in the oven, wash dishes or take dirty washing into the utility room (or wherever you keep your dirty washing). Allow yourself 15 minutes every day to do ironing. In that 15 minutes you'll get a few items done and the pile gets smaller. If you're anything like me tackling it all once never works, I just put it off.

By using time efficiently I've been able to get on top of my household chores.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to walk into the kitchen and see a sparkling worktop rather than a worktop filled with dirty dishes.

There are still piles of dirty washing around the house, still plenty of jobs to tackle, but as I work my way through these jobs I can see progress.

The piles (both washing and ironing) are getting smaller.
The dishes are all away in the cupboards.

Using small slots of time to get on top of pesky household chores is the quickest way to a happier you.

What top tips would you give to get on top of household chores?

Love is...

Love is painted as a glamorous affair; the man sweeps the woman off her feet with witty conversation, gives her amazing gifts, and takes her on wondrous trips all over the world.

A couple stand on a balcony and look out at the sunset.
Remember the time we stood and watched the sunset (with no screaming kids in the background)...

I used to dream about the day I would meet my man, maybe in a busy coffee shop where we'd both order the same drink. Or perhaps as we both went to pick up the same movie in a rental shop our hands touched, ever-so-briefly. Our lives would be filled with holidays, gifts, and laughs.

The movies have a lot to answer for.

As it turns out Love is completely different (I know shocking right?). It can build you up or break you down in seconds. It can tear you to pieces, it can fill a hole you never thought it could.

It exists in many forms.

The love of a mother or father.
The love of a son or daughter.
The love of a friend.
The love of a partner.

To name a few.

Love is... | Morgan's Milieu: This quote about love really says it all for me.

Below are just a few things that love is to me.

Love is... the disfigured "candle holder" that can't hold a candle, made by my boy.
Love is... watching Monsters Inc so many times that you hear it in your sleep.
Love is... traipsing across the landing towards a screaming child at 2am.
Love is... wiping up after the sick-bug has landed, all over the bed, the carpet, and the teddy bear.

Love is... seeing my dad's smile when I told him I was pregnant.
Love is... my mum tipping a full lego box out onto her carpet before my children arrive.
Love is... watching my dad perform on stage.
Love is... knowing, despite her not giving birth to me, my mum will always be there for me.

Love is... an afternoon chat with the best friend I haven't seen properly since July.
Love is... a glass of wine bourbon and a heart to heart.
Love is... being there for my friends whenever they need me.
Love is... knowing your deepest, darkest secrets are safe.

Love is... choosing to watch a movie together over a night on the town.
Love is... quoting "Friends" in sync.
Love is... singing along to the Sunset Boulevard soundtrack (even though it's not playing) while watching the Sunset Boulevard movie.
Love is... knowing that after almost 13 years together he can still surprise me.

If you look close enough love is everywhere.

Love is... | Morgan's Milieu: A tipped lego box - yes, there's even love there.
Yes, even when a lego box has been tipped out!

A Styling Event with Lands' End

Last weekend I attended my first ever blogger event at Lands' End in Oakham (not the one in Cornwall).

A Styling Event with Lands' End | Morgan's Milieu: Balloons galore at the Lands' End Event.

Although I'd never heard of Lands' End I was excited (and nervous too) to be finding out about them and attending my first event.

Why I Won't Be Returning to SeaWorld, Orlando

While on holiday in Florida we visited SeaWorld, it's a place we've been to many times before and I usually enjoy it. This time though, things were different.

The first time I visited SeaWorld, Orlando I was 22 and loved the place. I'd always loved sea life, had a fascination with dolphins. I was amazed that I could walk around and touch the animals. It was an incredible feeling feeding dolphins, touching them, I was moved to tears. 

Skills to Learn for a More Interesting Life

Lenore Edman

I know all too well how being a stay at home mum can make you feel isolated. I have felt the terrible boredom of having nothing to do but clean the house and run around after the kids. It's a sad case of affairs when you end up watching daytime television just for something to do. I eventually resolved to step outside of my comfort zone more and get out to meet new people and try new things. One of the best things I think you can do is to learn a new skill. It can open up a world of opportunity for you. You can gain a hobby, start travelling more or maybe even come up with a business idea. Here are some of my top skills to learn to change your life.

Pink October For Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in the UK.

Pink October For Breast Cancer Awareness | Morgan's Milieu: Glamulet and their breast cancer awareness campaign.

1 in 8 women in the UK will get breast cancer at some point in their lifetime.

Now there's some scary facts for you.

Being 34 years old I didn't really consider myself at risk. When I look at the stats I'm not at risk, or at least I'm in the 'very low risk' band. So should I be checking myself, is it worth bothering?