The Wandering Mother Blog | WellBox Entice Hamper Food Gift Review

Review: WellBox Entice Hamper and Food Gift Boxes

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. I’m loving the slightly warmer weather we’ve been experiencing in London this week however I know it’s not going to last. I’m sure there will be forecasted rain by the end of the week or so.

Last week I’ve been keeping myself and the kids busy, especially as it’s still the Easter holidays and I really want to make it the most for the kids. I’ll be off furlough and back at work next month and as I work weekends, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to spend as much quality time with them then so I’m doing my best to now.

WellBox Hampers & Food Gift Boxes

Last week I was contacted by WellBox who wanted me to review one of their most popular food gift boxes. Of course I accepted – anything in the name of food! 🙂 I was kindly sent the Entice hamper to try out and boy was I in for a nice surprise! As I don’t drink alcohol I asked for a non-alcoholic option to review and here’s what I got….

On arrival: I was SO looking forward to opening this bad boy!

A selection of 11 delicious snacks and sweets

Yep! 11 delicious, tasty, fantastic snacks and sweets. My favourites have to be the dark chocolate orange honeycomb bites – man they’re good! Then it’d have to be the olives (I love olives!) and the crunchy corn snack. The snacking cheese bites are fantastic but they’re definitely strong so if you’re not a big fan of cheese… you’re not going to love them. Just telling you now.

A list of everything that came in my food gift box is below.

Serene Inspirational Affirmation Card

This is one of the sweetest things I’ve ever received in a food hamper. You can sometimes forget about yourself in the midst of things and these little affirmation pick-me-ups seem like just the things you need to read or see.

1 meal donated to a local person in need through our charity partners

Another reason to love these WellBox food gifts hampers is because they are giving back to the community – your local community to be exact. With every box purchased, the company donates a hot meal or meal provision to someone in need from your local area with the help of Barnabus Manchester. You can learn more about this on their website.

Snacks, oh glorious snacks!

It really is a gift that keeps on giving – or at least – gives back. For anyone in need of corporate gifting ideas, this is the one you ought to be adding to your list. After receiving mine, I would be more than ecstatic if my employer sent me a hamper!

Personalised Printed Message from you or your company to the recipient (one message per order)

Alongside a personalised printed message, you should also get a little loyalty card that says to upload a photo of your box on social media, to get a special 20% discount off your next order… that got my attention for sure and of course I uploaded a photo!

There are a few friend and family member’s birthdays coming up so I will be kindly taking up that offer. 🙂

Free UK Delivery to your office, or your team member’s home address

Alongside free delivery which is a no-brainer, you can make also one order and send to multiple addresses. Choose from entering the addresses yourself onto their secure site or you can choose to send an email link to your recipients and they can complete their address directly to cut out the faff.

Review: WellBox Entice Food Hamper

The WellBox Entice hamper has a wonderfully curated selection of sweets and savoury snacks as well as a lovely bottle of something bubbly, whether that’s with or without the alcohol.

It’s definitely a gift box for sharing so I naturally shared mine with the kids. The weather hadn’t been on our side (plus we couldn’t wait any longer) so we decided to have a home picnic and sample all of our delicious snacks and treats!

All the snacks were well packed and the drink came in its own special blow-up bottle case to make sure it didn’t smash during transit. Very thoughtful indeed!


Affirmation of the Day!

I also got this lovely motivational affirmation card in the WellBox hamper. It was super sweet. I think these affirmation cards would be greatly appreciated if this food gift box was given for employee appreciation as well as for friends and family.

Inside our box of goodies…

  • Belvoir Sparkling Elderflower & Rose Pressé (non-alcoholic option)
  • Candy Kittens Gourmet Blueberry Bliss Sharing Pack
  • Vita Vigor Sesame Breadsticks
  • Mighty Fine Honeycomb Bites in Dark Chocolate Orange
  • Buttermilk Cornish Fudge in Strawberry Bellini
  • I Love Snacks Mixed Roasted Nuts
  • I Love Snacks Italian Olives
  • Serious Baked Snacking Cheese
  • Nudie Snacks Premium Toasted Coconut Chips
  • Lovecorn Sharing Pack

With vegan, halal, gluten-free and non-alcoholic options available, there really is a box to suit everyone.

Supporting Small and Local Businesses

WellBox are an events and staff gifting company from Manchester, UK. The charity they work with, Barnabus Manchester is also from the UK. Even though corporate gifting is their main focus, they allow single-box orders so you really can just order the one. If you have friends and family with similar bdays you can order both to be delivered on the same day or schedule for different days. Snazzy or what?!

Whenever I can, I try to make the change and support small and local businesses. It’s nicer and you feel like you’ve actually helped someone else out by investing in their business. I have many friends who have started up their own small businesses and am so proud of them all. Being a small business owner is no mean feat especially during these tricky times of covid.

The Wandering Mother Blog | WellBox Entice Hamper Food Gift Review
Cheers! Little Miss and I enjoying our glass of bubbly elderflower and rose

If the photo of Little Miss above hasn’t already made you take a look at the gift hampers, I would definitely recommend you to check it out. Especially their wellness boxes, you get goodies as well as snacks which is pretty cool and there’s even a curated box for men… perfect for the Father’s Day that’s coming up soon hint hint!


NB. We were kindly sent the Entice hamper box by WellBox to sample in collaboration for a product review on the blog. All photos, words, opinions and content are my own and must not be reused without my consent.

The Wandering Mother Blog | Family Lifestyle & Travel

What’s On: Free Easter Events in Greenwich

April 12: Get ready to leave lockdown!

Get those trainers, walking shoes or wellies on and get ready to start exploring again as London and the rest of the UK gear up to leave lockdown 3.0 behind. There’s so many wonderful places you can visit outdoors that there’s no excuse not to head out for some fresh air and scenic sights.

The walkway by The Tide is now completed and looks magical in all its colourful glory, thanks to artist Liz West. More on how you can visit the walkway below. A lot of businesses are still shut until April 12th but it’s only a couple weeks away. Make the most of this time now by going to places you wouldn’t normally go to because we all know once the restaurants and cafes open, we’ll be finding ourselves a spot there as soon as we can or slotting in as many retail therapy moments as possible.

Whilst I couldn’t find any free Easter Egg hunt events in Greenwich this year (there’s one in Canary Wharf – see below), but there are Easter egg hunt events dotted about London. The Big Easter Egg Hunt in Chislehurst is our closest one on Saturday 3rd April, 2-4pm. More details and booking on Eventbrite. There’s also an Easter Adventure Quest for kids at Eltham Palace on now until April 18th but there’s a fee. Check out the website for more details.

Spring is here to bring us more sun, warmer days and outdoor events…


Greenwich Market re-opens April 1st 2021

FINALLY, the markets will be re-opening in just a couple days! Food stalls are scheduled to reopen April 1 however arts & crafts, vintage stalls and retail shops will reopen April 12 inline with government guidelines. The management team will be working hard to make sure the market is covid-safe but remember to also do your part by wearing your mask and social distancing whenever possible.

The Wandering Mother Blog | What's on in Greenwich
Hundreds and Thousands by Liz West at The Tide / Photo credit: NOW Gallery
The Wandering Mother Blog | What's on in Greenwich

Crosstown Doughnuts have just launched their delicious Easter spiced doughnuts filled with cinnamon custard filling. YUMMY! These limited edition selection boxes are perfect for gifting. Pre-order now as they’re only available from March 29 to April 5.

What’s On: Greenwich

Free events to visit this Easter break

Hundreds & Thousands by Liz West

Greenwich Peninsula has commissioned artist Liz West to create a new installation; Hundreds and Thousands for The Tide in 2021. The artwork wraps 700m of the walkway’s glass balustrades, creating a ribbon of undulating colour. Just in time as we transition from spring to summer.

To celebrate Hundreds and Thousands, will be a series of collaborative artistic responses exploring the human colour experience.

The Wandering Mother Blog | What's on in Greenwich Easter 2021
Nicholas Daley’s Return to SLYGO exhibition / Photo credit: NOW Gallery

Return to SLYGO

NOW Gallery will be welcoming one of the UK’s most pioneering young fashion designers, Nicholas Daley, to debut at the gallery. The fully immersive exhibition titled, RETURN TO SLYGO will celebrate the coming together of Nicholas’s multicultural Jamaican-Scottish roots with his passion for music in a multi-sensory installation.

Events nearby: Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf has a line of treats set up for us this Easter.

Their ongoing commission ‘Captivated by Colour’ by artist Camille Walala on the Adams Plaza Bridge is still on show. Following the success of London Mural Festival, Camille’s playful yet impactful design has now become a part of the city’s permanent art collection. If you’re visiting, make sure you get a shot before you leave, it’s a great backdrop for any selfie! There’s lots of artwork all around the estate, you can download their art map to find them all.

The Wandering Mother Blog | Family Lifestyle & Travel

Secret Sunrise X Canary Wharf:
Happy Egg-stravaganza

Saturday 3rd April, 9-10am

This family-friendly session will have you dancing and twirling this Easter weekend. Embark on an interactive adventure set out by the Canary Wharf team. All you need to join is a laptop or smart phone, some comfy clothes, and your dancing shoes on. The funkier the outfit the better!

Mini Golf, Columbus Courtyard

From April 15th 2021
Thursday – Sunday at 12pm-6pm

It’s back! Test your putting skills on the colourful mini-golf course. With 9 holes to play through, including the classic ‘loop-de-loop’, the ‘death drop’, and many more trick shot opportunities this is the perfect place to show off your mini golf skills to friends and family.

The Wandering Mother Blog | What's on in Greenwich

Not ready to explore outdoors just yet?

No worries! There’s still a lot of online events and activities available for you from the comfort of your own home.

Family Wellness Nature Tour
by Natural History Museum

How To Grow A Cress Caterpillar
by Natural History Museum

30 Virtual Easter Game Ideas
by Parade.com

Kids Cook-along: Easter Chick Biscuits (April 1)
by Waitrose & Partners Cookery School

Kids Cook-along: Salmon Fishcakes (April 2)
by Waitrose & Partners Cookery School

The Wandering Mother Blog
Red Velvet Cake Recipe - TheWanderingMother Blog

Recipe: The Ultimate Red Velvet Cake

A couple weeks ago I bought these cool silicone bundt cake moulds from Amazon and I can’t get enough of using them. They’re so easy to use and clean – also, two moulds for £13.99 is a bargain! I’ve used them to bake all sorts of cake. I’ve used the swirl one to make coconut and banana cake, marble cake and now I’m using the more traditional-looking Bundt mould (doughnut-ring shape) to make lemon drizzle cake and now, red velvet Bundt cake. Just in time for Mother’s Day too! Initially I was going to make a lemon Bundt cake topped with edible flowers but I’ve missed the delivery for those so I’m opting in for this red beauty instead.

I found out that Bundt cakes are basically the same as standard round cakes. There’s no different in taste – something I used to think was a thing. Their unique doughnut-ring shaped design is pretty much what sets them apart your usual cake so you can use this recipe to make your red velvet cake in a round cake tin, square cake tin, tray bake – whatever you fancy!

Continue reading “Recipe: The Ultimate Red Velvet Cake”
The Wandering Mother | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger

Valentine’s Day date night ideas in lockdown

London and the rest of the UK are still in lockdown, so a lot of us have been unable to see our partners since before Christmas. If you’re like me and live with your partner – this can be a good thing or a bad thing. Good because you get to see them every day, bad because you have to see them everyday and this year, you’re not going to get off Valentine’s Day lightly if you’ve not planned anything!

If you’re living separately, at least have a Skype date. My sister keeps in contact with her best friend who’s in the US by having Skype movie nights together. They will Skype call each other, then play their chosen movie at the same time so they can ‘watch it together’. For me that’s too strange, but apparently this is how long-distance relationships and lockdown life for partners living separately looks like right now.

London's Instagram Worthy Restaurants | The Wandering Mother Blog
Throwback to dining out / Photo Credit: Bob Bob Ricard

Valentine’s Day is coming up this week so if you’ve not planned anything but want to do something, I’ve got 5 ideas you could try out. Nothing extravagant but enough to make it memorable. After all, it’s been a bad year so any excuse to go all out for an occasion, do it! In normal circumstances you could think it’s a little overboard but in a pandemic, it’s almost a necessity for our sanity.

Date night ideas in lockdown

1. Cook (or order) a romantic restaurant-worthy dinner together

Missing those fancy restaurant date nights? I do! Mainly because we only ever saved these kind of date nights for special occasions so that included V’Day and B’days. If you’re both great in the kitchen, you can cook a delicious meal from scratch – it’s also a chance to bond and do something enjoyable together.

If you rather take the stress of cooking and focus on the eating experience, order a dinner box instead. SquareMeal have compiled a decent list fancy restaurants that are delivering Valentine’s day meal kits straight to your door. Set the scene by placing candles around the house (if you have fairy lights place them on the table as a centrepiece) for a candlelit dinner experience.

If you just prefer the sweeter stuff, afternoon tea is another great date idea. Not really for the evening but it can be if you want it to! We can play by our own rules now in lockdown. Sketch London was one of my favourite places for afternoon tea because their menu was really exciting and tasty. They’re offering a special Valentine’s Day afternoon tea delivery but only for London as national UK deliveries are fully booked. Plus, the packaging is to die for, it’s so pretty! Perfect for a galentine’s date too!

2. Go rustic with a cheese board and wine night

Cheese board and wine is really simple and rustic take on a dinner date. You can usually throw it together at the last minute. Life As A Strawberry blog has a step-by-step visual post on how to set up your cheese board.

The Wandering Mother Blog / Valentines Day Date Ideas
Cheese board / Photo by Liz Joseph via Unsplash

A good cheese board should have the following elements:

  • Selection of cheeses – soft cheeses (ie. brie, camembert, roquefort, stilton), hard cheeses (ie. cheddar, edam, gouda) and fruity cheeses (ie. cranberry, apricot and wensleydale)
  • Variety of carbs – bread, breadsticks, crackers, and savoury biscuits, oat cakes
  • Something sweet – dried fruits ie. apricots, cranberries or fresh fruits ie. grapes, strawberries, figs, melons, apples, jams and chutneys
  • Something savoury – olives, nuts ie. walnuts, pecans, almonds, salami, chorizo, prosciutto ham

Pair it up with a selection of good wines ie. red, white, rose; for non-alcoholic drinkers, you could pick out some fancy alcohol-free wine or just go simple with sparkling juices like Shloer. Don’t forget to have lots of water nearby, cheese boards have a massively high salt content so you’ll get thirsty. Keep hydrated.

3. Relax and unwind with an at-home spa day

Now this one may seem like a bit more effort (it probably is) but it’s no more than cooking a big meal. We all need a bit of self care at the moment and being able to enjoy a DIY spa day together can be an amazing bonding experience.

It can be as simple as running each other a relaxing bath soak and lighting scented candles, to DIY facials and massages. On The Beach have some top tips on how to set up the best couples spa day at home including recipes for homemade body scrubs. If you really want to push the boat out, you can even hire a hot tub at home, small businesses like Bubble of London offer this at home service in London and surrounding areas. They set up, install and take down the hot tub for you, from £100 a full day hire.

If you’re on Instagram, you can join leading British spa wellness brand, @AromatherapyAssociates at 4.30pm on February 14th for their 30 minute moments of mindfulness event on Instagram LIVE.

Feb 14: Join Aromatherapy Associates for their Instagram live event
AA rose body collection / Photo Credit: Aromatherapy Associates

Aromatherapy Associates’ new Rose collection is available on LookFantastic UK and you can get 10% off selected sets with code: LFBEAUTY

4. Get dressed up and party!

Living room raves are all the rage right now. If you love to party, what’s stopping you from doing it this Sunday night? Get dressed up and get your partner to do the same – might as well make an effort this one night. Put an amazing party playlist on, Spotify have brilliant ones and party the night away.

The Wandering Mother | Family Lifestyle Blo
Fill up your glasses with glamorous cocktail recipes instead of glitter / Photo by Amy Shamblen via Unsplash

If you want to go all out, why not purchase an LED multi-light bulb that you can connect to Alexa or Google assistant and get the lights to sync to your music for the full-on rave experience. Get some drinks in and make your own DIY minibar. Learn how to make the classic cocktails here or if you want special Valentine’s Day concoctions here’s some inspiration:

5. Go all out with breakfast-in-bed instead

Too tired by the evening? Start off the morning with amazing breakfast in bed instead. Not sure what to make? A delicious stack of pancakes and good coffee is simple yet effective at filling your belly. Or go healthy with a fresh fruit bowl, natural yoghurt and a smoothie or green juice.

Breakfast in bed for two please!

If you prefer something more indulgent, try making eggs benedict with croissants and pastries on the side. If that’s too much, sometimes a simple full English breakfast fry up and a cup of tea hits the spot just right!

I hope you all have a good Valentine’s Day date night! Leave a comment if you have of your own suggestions too. X


NB. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link, I may receive a small commission on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

The Wandering Mother Blog | Chinese New Year Craft Activities

How to celebrate Chinese New Year in lockdown + lantern craft activity

Chinese New Year & Lunar New Year
(Friday 12th February 2021)

Chinese New Year is also known as the Lunar New Year, Spring Festival or Tết (Vietnamese). It is greatly celebrated worldwide by those of Chinese and Asian heritage. It’s like the equivalent to celebrating January 1st but following the lunar (moon) calendar… yes, that’s a real thing! Traditionally, the festivities go on for 16 days from new year’s eve up until the start of the lantern festival. For 2021, this would be from Feb 11-26.

Tết is a very joyous time of year and usually Asian families really go to town with the decorations. My dad tells me that in Vietnam tet festivities actually lasts between 2 weeks and we have many traditional customs that are carried out during the days and the eve of the lunar new year. This includes our ancestral venerations (prayers for dead loved ones) – kind of like Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead), and the burning of paper money, clothes, bags, shoes and hats for the ancestors, family banquets are prepared with special food, traditionally eaten only at the new year. And the handing of the infamous red envelope that every child looks forward to most of all… because it’s real money inside those red pouches handed from parents and older relatives to the younger ones.

The Wandering Mother Blog | Lunar New Year - Vietnamese Tet
Ancestral Veneration / Photo by Pop Zebra via Unsplash

On Chinese New Year’s eve, this is when the spring cleaning starts. It’s forbidden to clean or sweep your house as well as showering, cutting with scissors, and swearing on Chinese New Year because it’s said to be bad luck! Some of these ‘rules’ are not followed as strictly in today’s society but don’t be surprised if our older relatives still believe this.

Chinese New Year in London

Unfortunately for 2021, Chinese New Year in London is cancelled. They are not going to be hosting any live events in accordance to government guidelines but not all is lost because there will be the organisers, London Chinatown Chinese Association (a non-profit organisation run by volunteers) will be putting on a show online via Youtube to uphold the festivities. Feel free to tune in on February 14th to watch past and new performances.

“To celebrate the Year of the Golden Ox, which has traditionally taken place over the middle weekend of the two-week celebrations. On Sunday the 14th of February, the LCCA will present an online review of Chinese New Year and its past, alongside new Chinese artists for us all to enjoy.”

LCCA, 2020
The Greenwich Mummy | Events: Chinese New Year
London Chinatown Parade & Celebrations / Photo: Google

How to celebrate Chinese New Year in lockdown

Chinese New Year is easy to celebrate at home as a lot of the traditions involve being around family. Obviously with the pandemic, it means you can only celebrate it with your immediate household however here are ways you can still enjoy the festivities, whether you are Chinese or not. As it’ll be half-term you could teach the kids briefly about the festivities; why it’s celebrated, what it’s about and how you can celebrate it at home.

Wear RED

In previous years, it’s been hit and miss for me to wear red on the day but I try my best and this year I will definitely make the effort. Ideally, it’s traditionally supposed be your ‘Sunday’s best’ kind of clothes but nowadays anything clean and decent will do (so nothing old, torn or stained). We are currently living 99% of our lives in PJs and loungewear so my outfit will probably be a pretty top and leggings.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Family Lifestyle & Travel
Mother and daughter in red traditional wear / Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Watch the festivities online

As I mentioned above, the London Chinatown Chinese Association will be screening performances online via Youtube so check that out. If you’re joining from across the pond, there’s so many online events hosted from the US such as the 2021 Virtual Lunar New Year Festival by the Chinese Community Center which is a free event but make sure you’ve registered for it on Eventbrite.

Here are some dates to add to your diary, all events below are free:

10


Get Drawing: Chinese Dragons Workshop

Join artist Pui Lee in this mindful art session where children and adults are guided through this dragon drawing activity. Materials needed are listed in the link below. No drawing experience needed.

13


Chinese New Year Celebration

Cardiff Hubs and Libraries are hosting a day full of activities and fun from learning how to speak basic Chinese in their taster session, to learning traditional Chinese painting in the afternoon.

16


Chinese New Year music and song

In this 60 minute Zoom session Wigan and Leigh College Confucius Classroom will share with everyone traditional music and songs associated with Chinese New Year celebrations.

18


Chinese Zodiac
Animals Origami Workshop

Learn more about the 12 Chinese zodiac animals and their traits with Yuen Humble. Learn how to make 4 easy paper origami animals, following origami techniques – ox, snake, monkey and tiger. Suitable for children.

Eat LUCKY foods

Asian culture is very superstitious, we have numbers we consider auspicious and food we consider good luck! Here are the 7 most common lucky foods to eat at Chinese new year:

  • spring rolls – wealth
  • dumplings – health
  • fish – prosperity
  • round fruits ie. oranges, tangerines, pomelos – fullness and wealth
  • noodles – longevity
  • sweet rice balls – family togetherness
  • glutinous rice cakes – higher income/position

Vietnamese banh chung (bánh chưng)

In Vietnamese culture, we don’t have ‘good luck’ foods but we do have certain dishes we make for tet. As the lunar new year symbolises the start of spring, we usually feast on steamed fish (seabass), spring rolls, candied dried fruits, round fruits ie. pomelos, oranges, tangerines, and boiled chicken with a lemon salt and chilli dip. Our main speciality has to be bánh chưng, also known as autumnal cake. Although it’s not a cake per se; it’s a savoury, square parcel made of glutinous rice with the inside filled with pork, fat and yellow mung beans. It’s wrapped in banana leaves which colours the outside rice green and gives it a distinctive flavour. I love them, they’re usually made by families to give to each other as gifts. You’ll only find these made and eaten at new year, it’s a special cake. 🙂

The Wandering Mother Blog | How to celebrate Lunar New Year
Vietnamese Banh Chung / Photo by VietnamDiscovery.com

Hand out red envelopes

This is THE BEST bit! Well, for the children anyway… these little red envelopes contain money for children, usually for the children of relatives and friends but nowadays you can gift to anyone you like. Traditionally it’s seen as bad luck to gift coins unless it’s the special Chinese round coins, notes are preferred. Try not to give crimpled or ripped notes – lucky for us, our notes are made of plastic so they won’t rip or crimple so easily.

The Wandering Mother Blog | Chinese New Year Craft Activities
Good luck money envelopes / Photo by Yuwei Shaw Oh via Unsplash

The amount you put in is up to you but usually for young children between £5-10 is enough and older children aged 10-16 then £10-20 is a decent amount. Children older than this can receive £20+ but it’s up to you as the whole point of giving the red envelopes is for young children and to wish them a wealthy future. By 16 years, you’re legal to work so some families may not see it as necessary to gift their children once they’re at this age.

If you’re not able to get any lucky red envelopes, you could alternatively place the money inside plain red card envelopes. They don’t need to be any larger than a card size (roughly A5 – A6).

Craft Activity: Chinese paper lanterns

Making Chinese lanterns can be a fun and easy craft activity for the kids to do. If the simple ones are too easy for your kids, there’s more challenging ones that you can try out. I’ve linked up a few Youtube videos of my favourite paper lantern crafts. I think that watching how to make them is easier than reading but I’ve added a couple links if you to read.

We’ll be making some so I’ll upload these photos once we’ve given them a go – we’ll be sticking to the easy-medium ones! 🙂 PS. if you do have a load of red envelopes spare at home, you can try making this amazing hanging red envelope lantern.

Difficulty: 1/5

How to make a Chinese paper lantern
by Kidspot

Difficulty: 2/5

Paper lantern for Chinese new year activity
by Mrs. Sara Tiemogo

Difficulty: 3/5

How to make Chinese lanterns – easy DIY
by Craft Factory

Difficulty: 5/5

How to make 24-unit
Ornamental Ball
by ireneblchua

If you’re not keen on crafts, you could always purchase a crafts box or some paper lanterns that you can decorate instead.

The S word: are you getting any lockdown loving?

If you’re not sure which S word I’m on about, it’s SEX. I wasn’t keen on using it in the title because my boy can read fluently now and I’m not ready to start the whole birds and the bees convo with him just yet. He’s already been asking where babies come from and how they’re made and I’ve just about managed to dodge it for now. He’s 7 by the way.

Who needs a bed when you’ve got the entire floor and that fluffy throw? 😉

Let’s talk about S E X

Let’s talk about it. For me, it still feels a little taboo even though we’re online and I’m just writing all of this. I was brought up by very strict Asian parents so any talk that’s even remotely associated with sex and the sorts was banned. Luckily for them I wasn’t too much of a curious soul.

Sex since Lockdown 1.0 has not really been that different for us. We’d usually do it in the wee hours of the morning or at night when the kids are in deep sleep. However, there have been moments when we struggled with getting it on.

Your contraception can be a (libido) killer

The hormonal pill is now my go-to contraception after years of being on the injection

Our sex life is pretty okay. We’re active and perhaps a little more now than in previous years. That may sound strange but I think it’s because I came off the injection (female hormonal contraception).

I loved being on the injection and used it for many years and between my pregnancies. I’m quite fertile and it just worked really well. I only needed one jab every three months which made it all convenient. I tried the implant and it left me with adult acne and the patch was great but it ended up irritating my skin. I tried the pill once when I was younger but could never remember to take it on time.

Apparently a common side effect for using the injection is loss of libido. I literally had no sex drive. I hated being touched. I was grouchy all the time. And down there was as dry as the Sahara desert no matter how much he tried to get me going. It wasn’t working.

That lockdown loving…

Naturally, I blamed it on stress. But when Lockdown 1.0 hit and I was unable to get an appointment my body started to ease up as it reverted back to its pre-contraceptive state. Being off any kind of contraception brought my libido back. I loved it. I finally felt like a human being again. That’s when I knew it had to be the contraception.

So now I’ve decided to give the hormonal pill a go again and it seems to be going well. My sex drive is pretty much back to normal and we’re getting it on a few times a month which works out to roughly once a week. We’re too tired and lazy to even attempt to do it anymore than that. Sex is tiring, you know!!

The stresses of lockdown, isolation, working from home, parenting can all get too much. As a result your sex life can suffer from it. So if you and your partner aren’t getting it on as much anymore, try to think why that might be. Have a talk about it as you might find that your reasons are not the same. If there’s one thing I learnt about our relationship (we’ve been together for 14 years) is that communication really is key. We talk a lot more about things we never did before. And being comfortable talking to each other about sex is one of them.

What if the sex is boring?

Sex doesn’t have to be a chore. Especially if you’ve been with your partner for a long time, having sex with each other can get boring. It happens! But there’s things you can do to help each other bring it back. Just remember to keep it down – I’m sure the kids and the neighbours don’t want to hear what’s going on after hours…

What if your partner’s not up for it?

This is a tricky one because it involves understanding how your partner is feeling and what their reasons are for not having sex with you. It could just be stress. It could be something more. YOU HAVE TO TALK TO EACH OTHER. It’s really the only way unless you’re psychic and don’t have to ask. I highly doubt that otherwise you wouldn’t be lacking in sex.

Even when we THINK we know what our partners are feeling, we don’t actually know so it’s crucial to talk to each other. If they’re not one to easily open up, find a way to be able to get through to them. If it still doesn’t work, perhaps speaking to a counsellor or therapist could help you both out.

PS. Don’t forget, it’s Valentine’s Day on February 14th – make an effort as we’re not able to go anywhere, you might as well make the most of it in the bedroom!

Your mini-guide to lockdown loving:

TALK IT OUT. The simplest of them all. Let each other know that the flame is burning out. That way, you’re both acknowledging that there’s something missing. Sometimes when we get too caught up in our own things, we assume our partner knows there’s something lacking but in actual fact, they don’t know sh*t all. So talk it out. Figure out what’s missing.

TRY SOMETHING NEW. This can be anything from buying sexy lingerie to introducing something new into the bedroom ie. a sex toy, oral sex, anal sex whatever you both fancy. It could even just be trying out a new lube for the first time! Whatever it is, find something that make you both feel good doing it. Being a selfish lover is never any good so make sure that you are both being pleasured – it doesn’t have to be simultaneously but it shouldn’t be one-sided.

PICK A NEW ROOM. Never tried it in the kitchen? Or always thought about it in the bathroom? How about outdoors? Be careful with that last one because, you know, lockdown and all but if you have a private garden or balcony it could be possible. The thrill of doing it in a new location can be quite exciting and is sure to be fun as long as you’re both up to it. Just be considerate of your neighbours or who’s around if you’re planning on venturing out.

RECONSIDER YOUR CONTRACEPTION. If you’ve lost your libido like I did, ask yourself if it could be your contraception. If so, would you be able to consider another method. You have to find a method that works for you so I wouldn’t promote any form of contraception over the other. You know your body best so if you’re unsure of what you can switch to, ask your GP or a sexual health advisor.

STRESS LESS. Most likely, if you’re not getting enough sex it’s because you’re stressed, or tired, or both. Exhaustion and irritation can be manifestations of stress which increases your cortisol levels. This will leave you feeling fatigue and you could experience a loss of libido because of it. Stress is also not good for the body, in fact it’s actually really taxing on your body as it puts it in a constant state of ‘fight-or-flight’.

So chill out. Give yourself some time. Have a hot bath soak. Listen to some music. Read a book. Do some yoga. Get some downtime in to really calm your mind and body.

KNOW YOUR BODY. Sounds pretty simple. You see your body every day, you know what it looks like therefore you know your body right? But do you know how it feels like? Self-love is not just about loving yourself from the outside in. It’s also about loving what your amazing body can do, how it can feel… and sometimes we have to discover that intimacy with ourselves first.

If you’ve never tried exploring yourself before and you want to, you to give it a go. I know not everyone approves of this so it’s up to you but if you want to, try it. Some women are unable to orgasm with a partner but when they’re touching themselves, they’re able to orgasm multiple times. And if you know your body well and know how to make it feel that way, you can help your partner figure it out too.

WATCH PORN. I wasn’t sure if I should list this one or if it falls under the ‘try something new’ heading but sometimes a good porn can get you both going. Or at least the one of you who’s watching. Watching porn together is something I don’t do – I still find that weird and it’s something we like doing separately, in our own time. It is easier to get aroused after watching porn so it could be an easy place to start, and it’s mostly free nowadays too. Woop woop!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Family Lifestyle & Travel

10 Life Lessons 2020 has taught me…

It’s always good to look ahead but sometimes looking back in hindsight can help prevent you from making the same mistake(s) twice. It can also give you a chance to reflect on things properly which should provide you with more clarity. To me, 2021 seems like it will be just as unpredictable as the last but at least this time we have some notes that we can take away from last year.

Some of statements do need more elaboration but I am too mentally exhausted to go into full details right now but when I’m feeling a little better, I’ll come back to this post to update them. In the mean time, you can think of them as food for thought… 🙂

Happy Weekend!

The lessons I learnt from 2020

1. Be kind.

Be kind.

Lesson #1


2. Think of those less fortunate than ourselves.

Think of those less fortunate than ourselves.

Lesson #2


3. We are not all the same.

We are not all the same.

Lesson #3


4. Self-care is a necessity.

Self-care is a necessity.

Lesson #4


5. Having a support network is important.

Having a support network is important.

Lesson #5


6. Looking after your health is paramount.

Looking after your health is paramount.

Lesson #6


7. We cant’ always do it alone.

We can’t always do it alone.

Lesson #7


8. There’s always a silver lining.

There’s always a silver lining.

Lesson #8


9. Look at it as a blessing in disguise.

Look at it as a blessing in disguise.

Lesson #9


10. Mental health is a real thing. So is depression.

Mental health is a real thing. So is depression.

Lesson #10


The Wandering Mother Blog

Marcus Rashford launches new website to support families over Christmas Holidays

Marcus Rashford MBE and the Child Food Poverty Taskforce have launched a new website; www.endchildfoodpoverty.org on December 18th, coinciding with the transmission of a new BBC documentary which has been following his campaigning efforts to tackle child food poverty.

The website has two main aims. Firstly, to help vulnerable families and children to find support over the Christmas holidays via an interactive map that signposts to the available local support in their area. Local Authorities, Businesses, Food banks, NGO’s and Charities and sporting organisations have all signed up, presenting their offers of food support to young people and families throughout the winter period and beyond. The website also contains information on how people can offer support, either through donating money or volunteering.

32% of households with children in the UK report a loss of income due to the pandemic.

Food Foundation

Several major UK food businesses and members of the Child Food Poverty Task Force have rallied together to tackle child hunger this winter, with the website being a central point for information on support schemes available.

The website has been built by digital agency, 89up with support from PLMR and Web Geo Services. It was funded by Co-Op and Google. Ongoing funding will be provided by the Rapid Relief Team.

The Government recently announced £170 million was to be given to Local Authorities in the emergency winter grants scheme, as the country prepares for one of the most challenging Christmas periods ever with millions struggling to feed their families. The #endchildfoodpoverty website includes details and links in order for people to access the support being offered by their local council.

Hundreds of food banks and charities have also registered details of the emergency food provision they will be offering over the Christmas period, with a huge rise in people looking for support being reported. IFAN have reported a 60% increase in the use of Food Banks in October, and are projecting a sharp rise in numbers as millions more face financial insecurity due to the pandemic and the end of the furloughing schemes.

Two in five children in the UK living under the poverty line (1.3 million) are not eligible for Free School Meals.

CPAG, Dec 2020

Businesses and other organisations are also invited to register to the #endchildfoodpoverty map, with hundreds opening and offering holiday schemes or free meals to children as part of a broad campaign to bring the country together to #EndChildFoodPoverty. Marcus Rashford is calling on as many as possible to register details of their offer using the following web form: bit.ly/ecfpform

The BBC documentary, entitled Marcus Rashford: Feeding Britain’s Children can be watched on demand on the BBC iPlayer – you can watch the trailer here.

The Food Foundation has also released a series of podcasts recorded over the past few months, introduced by Dame Emma Thompson. The podcasts, recorded all over the UK, hear from the people on the front line in food banks, charities and from families who are facing crisis levels of food insecurity. They have been recorded as part of the Right2Food Campaign and feature the Young Food Ambassadors that also appear in the BBC documentary.

#EndChildFoodPoverty


Press Release from The Food Foundation, December 2020

Merry Christmas To All!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Despite the crappy events we’ve all experienced this year, there are times when there’s a silver lining. Take care of yourselves and your family over the festive period and new year.

With lots of love, The Wandering Mother & Co.

Merry Christmas | The Wandering Mother Blog
Merry Christmas!!

The magic of Christmas never ends and its greatest gifts are family and friends.

Anon.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Greenwich Dance - Up My Street Online

Greenwich Dance receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund

Greenwich Dance has been awarded £192,820 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary announced on Saturday 17 October.

Greenwich Dance is one of 588 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support – with £76 million of investment announced over the weekend. This follows £257 million awarded earlier last week to 1,385 organisations, also from the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

Throughout the pandemic Greenwich Dance, already operating peripatetically, has reinvented itself as a dance organisation ‘without walls’, building a dynamic online home for itself and the artists it works with. Within this the team will create a revolutionary new creation space which has the potential to transform the way dance is created and presented. Using this model Greenwich Dance will restart the creation of original work safely with 70% of the grant amount going directly to artists and freelancers.

Melanie Precious, Chief Executive Officer of Greenwich Dance said “This grant will be transformational for us as well as for the artists we work with. In applying for this grant our concern extended beyond our own future to that of the independent freelance workforce, without whom Greenwich Dance would have no purpose or mandate. Whist we recognised that this fund was not being offered for experimentation we also felt certain that without new ideas the sector could not survive. We are thrilled and relieved to be in receipt of this funding so that we can work to keep artists creating.”

A previous Greenwich Dance performance / Credit: Greenwich Dance‎ – Up My Street Online with Temujin Gill via Facebook

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations. These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”

“Culture is an essential part of life across the country, helping to support people’s wellbeing through creativity and self-expression, bringing communities together, and fuelling our world class creative industries.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England

Sir Nicholas also stated: “This latest set of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund builds on those announced recently and will help hundreds of organisations to survive the next few months, ensuring that the cultural sector can bounce back after the crisis. We will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations, with further funding to be announced in the coming weeks.”

You can read the original press release on the Greenwich Dance blog here

This financial injection will be the lifeline booster our local arts and cultural businesses need to stay afloat during the ongoing pandemic, which continues to cripple other businesses and sectors around the world.

Looking for dance classes online? Greenwich Dance have a wide range class styles online from African Fusion, Ballroom, and Latin to family dance and kids hip hop. Click below for more info.

The Wandering Mother Blog

How to help yourself and your family get more from the rest of 2020

A contribution post by Sid Madge, author of the ‘Meee in a minute’ series of books

Goodness, 2020 has been a challenge so far. Both kids and parents have had a huge amount to contend with. It seems realistic to assume that we will be living with Covid-19 for some time to come. So, what do you and your family do to handle the rest of the year and enjoy the very best you can from it?

Here are three ideas to help you…

1) Developing Your Innate Growth Mindset

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck became obsessed with understanding how people cope with failures and setbacks. Initially her research looked at kids and how they reacted to puzzles they couldn’t solve. She found was that children, especially young children didn’t even consider not being able to solve the puzzle as a failure in the first place. It was just a game – a fun challenge. The outcome of Dweck’s research is now world famous and she proposes that our success and happiness in life comes down to one thing – mindset. According to Dweck there are only two – fixed and growth.

Those with a fixed mindset, have a fixed idea of what they are capable of, believing that what they are born with is the finish line. They tend to be more defeatist. Those with a growth mindset believe that what we are born with is just the beginning. What we are capable of is not determined by anything other than our own aspirations, effort and determination.

Interestingly, Dweck believes we are all born with a growth mindset. We get trained out of it by schools, social expectations etc. We’re taught that failure is unacceptable – even though all great success comes through failure not by avoiding it. If ever we needed to re-assess that growth mindset it’s now.

Take a minute to consider whether you have a fixed or growth mindset? Has Covid-19 made it more fixed as you sink into a gloom? If you imagine you had a growth mindset instead – what would you do? Looking at your life, your family and the rest of 2020 – what could you try? What have you always thought of doing but never got around to it? Lean into the uncertainty and adapt. Use it as a springboard to try things you’ve been putting off. Stay curious, flexible, and open.

2) Changing Today to Change Your Future

What have you done today? Is that getting you closer to your family and life goals or further away? If you want a different tomorrow so you find a successful way through the pandemic, you need to take steps to change what you do today.

Stop for a moment and reflect on how you spend your time. When did you get up this morning? How much time do you spend on social media? How much time do you spend learning something new? Do you spend time with friends? Are those exchanges enjoyable or stressful? How much time do you spend on your health?

Take a minute to draw a circle and divide it up into slices that represent how you spend your time during a typical day. Now draw another circle and divide it up to represent how you would like to spend your day. Identify the things you like or can live with and the things that you don’t like and can’t live with. How can you change the aspects of your day that bring you down?

Often, we don’t need to make big sweeping changes. Subtle little shifts can accumulate to bring about change.

3) Responding to Stressful Times

In 1967 psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe developed a list of 47 stressful events that could impact health and happiness. The assumption is logical – start accumulating stressful experiences such as a job loss, illness or divorce and you are more susceptible to physical illness, disease and depression. Global pandemics and economic uncertainty don’t help either.

However, the fly in their theoretical ointment was the fact that not everyone who experienced really tough life events were negatively impacted by them. On the contrary, some of those people actively flourished. This field of study is called post traumatic growth or adversarial growth and studies have shown that great suffering or trauma can actually lead to huge positive change. For example, after the Madrid bombings of 2004 psychologists found that many of those affected experienced positive psychological growth.

The people in many of these studies found new meaning and new purpose from surviving something terrible. Instead of seeing their situation as a failure or a problem they believed it will make them stronger. How can you use Covid-19 in the last months of 2020 to find new meaning and positive growth?

Take a minute to think about exactly what you are worried about most in your life and identify one thing you can do about it right now. Set that in motion. What positives could you pull from the turmoil? Get creative – think of at least three positives that Covid-19 could give you and your family. It might not be fun but if you can find the silver linings you can often move on quicker.

These suggestions are pulled from my Meee in a Minute books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our perception in life, family and at work. As parents we can adapt and help our kids and other family members along the way. I hope the ideas above will contribute to you getting the most your can from the final weeks of 2020.

https://www.meee.global

Sid Madge in action / Photo Credit:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives. To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.

Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.

The Greenwich Mummy | Family Lifestyle & Travel Blog

Twinkl releases free e-book to support children going back to school post-lockdown

Sheffield-based company, Twinkl Educational Publishing has just released an e-book which focuses on the experiences that children may have faced during the lockdown and the emotions they may experience when returning to school next month.

The free e-book called In It Together is aimed at children aged 5-7 years and introduces four characters who demonstrate how their life changed due to the school closures. The simple text and child-friendly illustrations show how the characters lived, learned and loved during the lockdown. They are seen practising social distancing, learning from home, clapping for carers, and missing their friends and family.

The Twinkl team understood that returning to school after lockdown would be a challenging and emotional time for all children. According to Barnardos, 88% of school staff said the pandemic is likely to have a signigicant effect on the mental health and well-being of their pupils.

The Greenwich Mummy | Family Lifestyle & Travel Blog
Photo: Taylor Wilcox via Unsplash

A number of concerned parents and carers had also reached out to Twinkl through its social media groups and customer support, asking for resources to support their children or pupil’s return to class.

Twinkl encourages parents, carers and teachers to use the story to talk to children about COVID-19 and going back to school. The company also offers further free resources and advice on its site. The Twinkl Originals book was written, illustrated, designed and published in a matter of weeks as the team recognised the need to support children as schools re-opened in stages on the 1st June. The children’s story is available (for free) on the Twinkl website and the Twinkl Originals app, which is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.

There is also a reading of the book from a former teacher and team member at Twinkl, available on their YouTube channel. Jonathan Seaton, Co-Founder and CEO at Twinkl, said: “At Twinkl, we understand how extremely challenging the current situation is for parents, teachers and children. We wanted to create a story targeted at young children to support them with their return to school. The team have worked incredibly hard to produce a story which allows children to talk openly about their concerns. We hope that it will encourage conversations and be useful to people at this time.”

Katherine Richardson – a parent and reader said:
“It helped my daughter to show empathy for other children’s circumstances during lockdown and how they might be different to hers. It has given her the reassurance she needed for the next step of this journey.”

Twinkl’s mission is to help those who teach and the company offers over 640,000 teaching and learning materials on its website. All of which, are teacher created and checked. The company has recently created a free Home Learning Hub, full of daily activities and materials, to support parents, teachers and carers during these difficult times. You can access your free account by signing up on their website.


This post has been adapted from a Press Release extract