Boring Lunchboxes?

We've got easy ideas that take seconds to make!

Looking for some Summer Fun?

We've got lots of ideas!

Thinking about Summer?

Why not kick back and relax?

Having a Family Movie Night?

Why not take a look at what we've been reviewing and what we thought?

Don't know what to cook?

Why not take a look at what we've been eating?

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Let The #100daysofplay Carry On

As the Summer Holidays are drawing to a close, it makes me think about all the fun that the children and I have had together. We made a deal at the start of the holidays that we would eat in the garden as much as possible and that we would do at least one thing a day. It might have been a small thing, like the time we had a car picnic, or it might have been a bigger thing like going and watching the sunset, but as long as we did one "special" thing a day, then we knew that the whole holidays had been spent wisely, well you know we'd made the most of everyday.

Summer Activities

And yet as I said this is nearly over and when the children go back to School and we get back into our normal routine we'll stop eating in the garden (mainly because of the expected cold weather and rain that the UK is famous for in Autumn and Winter). We will stop doing a special thing a day because homework and housework and after school clubs will move back into focus. I don't want to lose this sense of fun, this laid back feeling, this make the most of everyday attitude however so I'm going to try to make sure that the 100 Days of Play campaign that Chad Valley has been focusing on doesn't end for us.

So whilst Top Ender will continue playing with her Doll and Big Boy will no doubt continue to drive me crazy bouncing all over the living room, I like 45% of parents surveyed will continue to scour the internet for fun ideas and inspiration of what fun things we can do.

Chad Valley DollChad Valley Hopper

Playtime to me isn't just a few minutes a day at School, it isn't just a few minutes of time to be squeezed in around homework and after School chores. Playtime to me is going to be a way of life.

We were sent some toys from Chad Valley.
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Monday, 1 September 2014

Cracker Drinks #Review

Do you remember the review I did the other week about Little Crackers Fruit juice drinks for children? Well, it wasn't until a few days later, when I received some more drinks to review that I realised why the brand Cracker seemed to familiar to me. A few weeks before this had all happened, whilst I'd been perusing the drinks aisle in my local Supermarket I had come across a Still and Cloudy Lemonade drink that I thought would be a nice change and so I picked up a bottle... you guessed it it was The Cracker Drinks Company. Then I realised I'd even mentioned the drink in a blog post about another picnic!

The Cracker Drinks Co Trio

The lemonade drink that BB had tried was the very same Cracker Lemonade pictured above. Well, not the same bottle as we'd drunk all that weeks ago, but you know what I mean!

The other flavours are just as lovely as the lemonade and lovely over ice (hehehe, my new fridge is so fantastic) and I think that all three are my favourite drinks to have at any time of day... but especially at the end with my feet up and a cocktail umbrella stuck in.

The Cracker Drinks Co Pineapple, Coconut & Lime Drink in a glass

The drinks have a RRP of £1.99 and I was sent the three in the picture to drink all by myself. At least that's what I told my children.
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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Dinner at Zizzi - #Review

One of the great things about living in Milton Keynes is that there are hundreds of restaurants to choose from. One that I've often walked past and thought would be a good place to go when I didn't have the children with me was Zizzi. To me, it looks like a grown up restaurant and the last time I took a child to a posh Italian restaurant, the chef looked at me pityingly because my daughter (who was three at the time) wanted cheap pasta and sauce instead of the delicious fresh pasta he was producing. So hearing that they (Zizzi) had revamped their children's menu was a revelation, children's menu means children are welcome and the new menu sounded delicious, so we decided we'd head off to review the restaurant and menu.

Zizzi Napkin and Cutlery

Big Boy and I arrived first, and our lovely Waitress asked us where we'd like to sit. The entire restaurant was empty and so we asked where she suggested and she gave us a window seat. This way, we'd have a good people watching viewpoint and it was one of the best seats in the house. Big Boy was rather pleased to be handed a colouring sheet and some Crayola crayons and happily sat colouring whilst we waited for the rest of our party (Top Ender and my Mum) to arrive.

Big Boy colouring at Zizzi's whilst waiting for Top Ender

Eventually once we were all in and had read the menu (or rather I read the menu to my Mum as she'd forgotten her glasses) we placed our orders. Mum and I started with a Cicchetti Platter and I had to explain to her that seeing as we were blogging this meal, she couldn't start until I'd taken pictures... she raised her eyebrows at me but the children looked at her with what could only be described as a "Just roll with it" expression that she put back the prawns she'd picked up and sat patiently waiting for me to finish before removing them again!

Zizzi's Cicchetti Platter

That food there is the most delicious food I have ever tasted. The prawns were so delicious that my Mum and I were still talking about them as we ate pudding. I'm still drooling thinking about them now. The children's starter was a lot of fun too, cucumber and carrot sticks with a dough stick presented in a little bucket!

Top Ender and the Zizzi Bambini Starter of Carrots, Cucumber and Dough Stick

Our main meals soon came, the children had opted for Pizza, my Mum the Risotto Pesce although she said she was going to dump all the squid rings on to my plate and I went for the Crab Linguine.

Zizzi's Bambini Pizza with HamZizzi's Bambini Pizza with Ham and Sausage Meat

 Zizzi's Risotto PesceZizzi's Crab Linguine under a mountain of Cheese

These four dishes were the second, third, fourth and fifth most delicious things I've ever tasted. My Linguine seemed to go on forever, it was a huge serving (I didn't complain!) and the number of squid rings and prawns in my Mums risotto was surprisingly large. The pizzas were both thin so much so that when BB offered my Mum a piece she immediately ate it despite not liking pizza normally.

Zizzi Bambini Cones with Strawberry SorbetZizzi Bambini Cones with Vanilla Ice Cream

Zizzi's Lemon Meringue SundaeZizzi's Chocolate and Toffee Nut Sundae

The puddings were all delicious, but too rich for me and Big Boy as we couldn't finish ours. Big Boy had Strawberry Sorbet with cones, Tops went for Vanilla Ice-Cream, my Mum decided on the Lemon Meringue Sundae and I went for the Chocolate and Toffee Nut Sundae. The fun thing was for Big Boy and Top Ender that they got a bowl of Chocolate Popping candy to decorate their Zizzi Bambini Cones with, of course most of it ended up across mine and my Mums pudding, but we didn't mind too much!

The meal was one of those family affairs, where we all shared each others meals and sampled bits of this and that, looked longingly at other plates on other tables (the salads look AMAZING) and it was actually a pretty fantastic place to take the children... even if they were the only ones there!

As Zizzi also do gluten free pasta it is definitely going on my family restaurant list for the future.

We were given our meal free of charge for the purpose of this review. If I hadn't enjoyed the meal I would have said so... I mean I did tell you that the ice-cream was too rich for me didn't I?!
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Friday, 29 August 2014

Family Mission Statement

I was at a friends house the other day and saw a little plaque on her kitchen wall. She saw me admiring it and told me it was a quote that her Mum used to say all the time as she was growing up, that became the family motto. The one thing I remember my Mum saying when I was younger was in response to the question what's for dinner and the answer isn't a suitable quote to put up on any wall... although maybe I'll have a plaque made up as a Christmas gift for her!

There is of course a plaque that my Mum has in her home now;

Be Nice or Go Home sign

And whilst it isn't really a family motto it sure is how my Mum rules her home! Luckily none of us have ever been thrown out.

It got me thinking though. I have a personal motto, a mission statement as such and Daddy and I have spoken several times about our thoughts on a Family Mission Statement, you know what we as a family value as a family, what our goals are, what our dreams and inspirations for the future are. Have you ever thought about a family mission statement or thought about getting one written down? Well, I have thought about it many times in the past, I just never had anything written down.

So, I thought it was about time that we got it written down and of course we wanted the whole family to be involved so I separately asked them all the same questions and wrote down their answers. Afterwards I read through the answers and looked for themes and understood more about what everyone expected and hoped our family to be like.

It was a really enlightening experience and after I'd got over how fabulous my family are with thanks to some of the answers they gave, I knocked up the first rough draft of my family mission statement. It still needs a little polishing and I haven't got a motto for our family that I can put up on the wall, but I do think that as a family we are much more likely now to understand what is expected of us by the other family members, what we expect of ourselves and just what it is that we should do to make ourselves the best that we can be.

Oooh maybe that should be our motto...

Being the best that we can be.

I think I'll think about that for a little while longer.
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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Rainbow Braid Loom Band Refill #Review

Top Ender and Big Boy have only driven me slightly nutty with their loom bands this Summer. Big Boy has this magic ability where he can see them from miles away on the floor and has been adding them to his stash which doesn't seem to be getting smaller... despite making hundreds of bracelets, key rings and various characters from tutorials on youtube. Even Daddy has been dragged into the world of Loom bands, when he was taught how to make a bracelet over dinner one Sunday and sent back to Birmingham with his very own box to create his own bracelets!

I knew that we were going to need a refill soon though, so when I was asked if I'd like to review the Rainbow Braid Loom Band Refill pack, I said YES!

They arrived just as Top Ender went camping, so I secretly stole them away up to my bedroom and hid them in my box of goodies as I didn't want Daddy and Top Ender taking them with them!

Rainbow Braid Loom Band Refill pack

I had to keep the bands because I'd seen the BEST bracelet that Josie posted on Facebook and I knew I had to make one. It's a Rosebud bracelet and I found it blinking annoying to do, however I love it and I made it small as it is a gift for Top Ender's bed as she is slowly but surely encasing her bedposts in little bracelets.

Loom Band Rosebud bracelet

I thought that the best thing about the Rainbow Braid bands was the low odour, but then I realised that the best thing was actually the GLOW IN THE DARK BANDS GLOWED IN THE DARK. I found this out by accident when walking up the stairs and realising that the box (which didn't have the lid closed) was glowing! I'm now going to work out what I should make with these, possibly some skeletons or possibly some ghosts or maybe even skulls... leave some suggestions in the comments!
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