Saturday, 19 April 2014

Our Day At Kirkstall Abbey

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This week, we went out with my sister-in-law Nina and her daughter Laurel. We visited Kirkstall Abbey so that the boys could see some of our local heritage. Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery in Leeds, not far from us. It is set in a public park on the banks of the River Aire. 

I remember visiting the abbey a lot when I was a child and wanted the boys to grow up seeing our local significant buildings, getting to learn about our history and also getting to play through learning too.  

The abbey itself is huge. You have to go through the visitor centre to get access to the inside of the building, but first of all, we enjoyed walking around the outside ad viewing the form of the abbey. It's a lovely walk around the grounds and you can even make your way right to Leeds City Centre by walking along the River Aire from here. 

Going through the visitor centre and into the abbey is a truly amazing experience. Before now, I have never been inside the building itself and getting to do some was such an emotional experience. 

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The hard work, the architecture, the true scale of this monumental building is shown from the inside, but not only that. The ruins of the building and destruction are easy to see from the inside. 

Most of the abbey is open to the elements as it has no roof, stair cases are either eroded, damaged or not even there any more and there are random boulders of stone about that have fallen from the abbey in the past. 

Little posts around explained what happened in each aspect of the abbey. What it was used for, who would go there and how it was destroyed. There was also a very dark, quiet area where we could see religious people praying and such and so did not go in there as we didn't want to disturb them. 

The abbey is such a beautiful place to have the pleasure of getting to visit and we all had an amazing day out, learning about its history, viewing the ruins and getting to play a little too.

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History of Kirkstall Abbey
Kirkstall Abbey is a Cistercian monastery. A Cistercian is a member of the Cistercian Order, a Catholic religious order of monks and nuns. The Cistercians were adversely affected by the Protestant Reformation, the Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII. 

On 22 November 1539 the abbey was surrendered to Henry VIII's commissioners in the Dissolution of the monasteries where it was disestablished. Henry VIII was the Supreme Head of the Church in England which meant that he had the authority to do this. 

After this time, it was owned by various people and also got destroyed too, as much of the stone was removed for re-use in other buildings in the area. But in 1889 the abbey was sold to Colonel John North, who then gave it to Leeds City Council. 

The Council undertook a major restoration project and in 1895, the abbey was opened to the public to view from the outer edge due to it's unsafe buildings. After a £5.5 million renovation programme to make the building safe, the abbey was then opened and entry into the buildings itself was allowed. 

The abbey is a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument (a scheduled monument is a 'nationally important' archaeological site or historic building).

Thursday, 17 April 2014

My 1st Years

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My 1st Years was founded in January 2010 when the founders realised that they couldn't find anything unique enough as the perfect baby gift. They realised that they had found a gap in the market for a new company that could provide baby gifts that were unique, fashionable yet affordable.

From blankets, shoes, bears & simple accessories, the company grew and grew and now sources products for occasions too and, with Father's Day just around the corner, they have a great range of items perfect for Father's Day gifts

They sent us out 2 items from their ranges, a Personalised Sweetie Jar and a Heart Outline Keyring too. 

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Personalised Sweetie Jar
The retro style glass clip top jar comes with up to three lines of personalisation. It is very pretty and looks lovely in our kitchen. I have been meaning to buy my hubster his own jar as he does like his own sweets but have just never got round to it, now I don't need to. 
We have just got back from Scarborough and whilst there, my husband bought himself some brandy snaps. The jar is a perfect fit for them and will keep them fresh and away from the children also. 
It's £18 for the jar which comes personalised. I love the fact that you can have your own writing on it, from sweets to treats. 

Heart Outline Keyring
This is a lovely heart outline keyring with a personalised disc. It is such a thoughtful gift as not only is it the heart shape to sow your love but the disc can be personalised to make it extra special. 
We had the initials 'SMTC' which are all 4 of our initials, on it and it is stunning. 
It is £15 for the keyring but that includes personalisation and it came in a solid My 1st Years gift box just to give it that special edge. 

There are loads of personalised gifts from My 1st Years so why don't you pop over to their website and check out what else they produce. 

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Why I Want a Samsung Galaxy S5

When I was asked to write about why I deserve to win a Samsung Galaxy S5 from Virgin media, I got to thinking, well, I'm definitely not going to win. I haven't done anything exciting, haven't saved some long lost puppies, haven't invented anything remarkable to warrant me winning. 

But then I thought that I'd enter any way as I definitely wont win if I don't enter, at least I have a chance now. 

For me though, I don't need a new phone. I never spend money on myself. I don't even remember the last thing I bought myself. The boys, and my husband, always come first and I'm just happy as long as they are. 

Someone who does need a new phone though, is my husband. For over a year now, he has struggled along with a phone that he hates but cannot afford to replace. His is one of the fruit variety *wink*wink* and although having a keyboard on it does make typing a doddle, the fact that it cuts out every time he makes a phone call means that it can get somewhat annoying. 

My husband works hard for our family, doing as many hours as possible to give us enough to treat the boys, take them places etc. Even though he is currently on the waiting list for a back operation, he has 2 discs which are bulged into opposite directions causing pain in his back, pelvic area and legs, he still works through the pain to make sure that he is always providing for us. 

The main worry for me is that when he does eventually have to go for the operation, I wont be able to get in touch with him as his phone has cut out, or the battery (which has as much power as a donkey powered aeroplane) has died. 

And for all the reasons above, I declare that I do not deserve to win this prize, my husband does... 

I am writing this post to enter the Virgin Media competition to win Samsung Galaxy S5.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Asda's Baby & Toddler Event

I love Baby and Toddler Events. When I was pregnant, I would only ever go buying baby things when there was a sale on, as I could then get things a little cheaper. It meant that we stocked up on loads so never ran out of necessities like nappies and wipes. 

On the 17th April, Asda's Baby & Toddler Event starts and I will definitely be straight up there, stocking up once again. 

There will be hundreds of great products to choose from. George clothing, Little Angels products and even Little Tikes toys will be in the event.

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Asda's Little Angels range is fantastic. We buy nappies from there all the time. The quality is just as good as the big brands but they were better on the purse. They have soft and stretchy elasticated leg cuffs to help prevent leaks and breathable materials that help your baby stay dry all night long.

I love Huggies baby wipes. They are thick and great for cleaning up any mess. When the event starts, they will be a box of 12 packs for only £8 which is fantastically cheap. Huggies Pure Wipes are perfect for maintaining the natural perfection of your newborn baby's skin, providing gentle cleaning, just like using cotton wool and water.

The Asda Baby & Toddler Event starts online on the 17th April and in store on the 21st. You can buy everything at the Asda Baby & Toddler Event, from car seats, moses baskets, nappies, clothing and much more, so get in store or online when it starts to stock up!