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Saturday, 29 November 2014

If The Hat Fits, Wear It!

When the Children and I got our new Winter hats, we were thrilled. I mean who wouldn't want a hat that is an Angry Bird, or a Panda or a Husky? What do you mean the majority of the adult population of the world? Don't you know how warm these hats are? They are like Deer Stalkers, only furry!

PippaD, Top Ender and Big Boy wearing their new Winter hats

I didn't think twice about wearing it around Birmingham. I didn't think twice about wearing it on the School Run. I smiled at all the children (like I normally do) and had a shared grin with the parents brave enough to make eye contact and a right giggle with those parents who know me and the daft things I do, heck half of them have seen me in my swimming costume on my Instagram account.

Everything was going fine, until one person piped up.

"Gosh Pippa, you're so brave wearing that in public"

Errr, No. I'm cold and this is warm and it's winter and it's the best hat in the world. What's brave about wearing it?

Then a few hours later, someone else said.

"Oh we were chatting about you and your hat earlier. We said we wished we were as brave as you to not care what others thought about us."

Erm. What? I'm supposed to care what other people think about what I'm wearing? For crying out loud, I barely care about what I'm wearing and I never notice what other people are wearing.

It struck a nerve I didn't realise was a nerve though and I started thinking about it. Was I wrong? Should I have been caring more about what other people thought about me? In the end I realised that no, no I shouldn't care about what other people think about me and my hat, it's my hat and my head and I can decide what does or doesn't go on it.

Wearing my hat over the last three days on the School Run has given so many children and adults a reason to smile in the morning. I've stopped and talked to people walking their dogs. I've stopped and talked to parents who know me as a Parent Governor, but haven't ever spoken to me. I've spoken to Neighbours, Community Support Officers and random strangers who've got more courage than me and will strike up a conversation with a stranger.

PippaD wearing her hat

The only time, I did feel awkward, or rather worried about how others saw me was when I was introduced to some parents who'd come for an open day at the School. They were looking to see if our School would be a good fit for them, and when they were introduced to Mrs Wright, one of our Parent Governors, I quickly removed my hat. I probably had really bad hat hair, but I thought that was a better impression than the one given by wearing a novelty hat!

The parents didn't bat an eyelid.

The hat fits and I'm going to continue to wear it.
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Friday, 28 November 2014

Do You Deep Clean?

This coming weekend, Daddy, the children and I will put up our Christmas Decorations.

Before we do this however, the house needed to be cleaned and for me it needs to be more thorough than the surface clean that I normally do. In order to get ready for Christmas I have to deep clean the house.

Well, my room and the living room. I deep clean the kitchen every month as an ongoing process (I do a little each day to keep on top of it!) and the children's rooms were deep cleaned the other week (thanks to Daddy) and the bathroom is so small I practically deep clean it every time I go in there.


I started with my bedroom first, it just made sense to me to get it done first. That way after collapsing down dead after doing the living room I'd have a nice bed to collapse on to.

It took me most of a day, but eventually I'd cleaned my entire room. Cleaned under the bed, moved all the units, dusted the lampshades, cleaned the windows, washed the nets, washed the curtains, aired the mattress, changed the sheets, dusted the annoying wardrobe doors, dusted the ornaments... you know normal stuff.

My room looks amazing. Well, I think it does.

My Clean and Tidy Bedroom - just in time for Christmas

It took me the best part of two days to do the living room and den. Mainly because moving sofas, bookshelves, DVD units, computers, bureaus and TV units is a pain in the butt on your own but also because it's been so long since I last did it I couldn't believe how much dust there was down the back of the units.

Behind the TV

My Mum called at one point, and whilst she and I chatted I was busy dusting the baseboards and giving them a quick wipe over with an antibacterial cleaning wipe. I said to her that I remembered being so annoyed at her as a child, as each week my Sister and I had chores to do that basically involved doing a deep clean of the house. Now however, I could appreciate it. Better to do a little each week than a marathon once or twice a year.

Moving the Sofa to clean underneath it

I put on Facebook, that I'd done a deep clean and my friends all started commenting about how they don't bother doing areas that people can't see.

And it made me think.

Am I being excessive?

Was moving the sofa, turning it upside down (it's a sofa bed sofa) and cleaning it from every angle too much?

Was wiping the baseboards with an antibacterial wipe a step too far?

Was moving the TV unit forward to get at the dust bunnies, unnecessary?

Well, I don't think it was and it is my house, so it really doesn't matter what you think.

I am curious though. Do you deep clean the house and clean underneath chairs and sofas and how often do you do it?
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Thursday, 27 November 2014

We Need To Talk About Pippa

Dear Pippa,

Hello! Long time no see!

We're the craft boxes that did live under your bed. You moved us the other day, when you moved your bed in order to clean under there. You may have noticed that after you moved us out, you didn't put us back. That's because we've had enough.

We've decided to come to you, via your blog to help you, because you have a problem.

You're addicted to buying craft items and by your own admission you suck at crafting.

You have so much craft stuff that you've not even looked at, that you should probably try to finish them before buying more. In fact, I saw you looking at a mega box of Hama Beads on the internet. You do realise, that you have four jars and a box full of hama beads don't you?

You know the sewing, that you thought would be good for Top Ender to use in the Nativity at Church? Well, the reason you can't find it is because it's at the bottom of one of the boxes. Under four other cross stitch projects that either you or your Mum started and never finished. Your Mum has an excuse for not finishing the ones she started. You don't.

What about all the wool you have for knitting things? Let's put it in perspective. You were pregnant with Big Boy when you started knitting that scarf for Top Ender. You thought, it would be great for her to have a green scarf for the winter, as her School uniform is green. Top Ender was about to start at the school and well, you did manage a few inches but you're no further on now six years later!

As punishment we're going to live in your living room and guilt you into sorting us out. We don't care if you give us away, sell us, donate us or something else that we've not thought about, but when your husband comes home tonight he won't be pleased to see a living room full of your junk will he?


So, you'd better crack on hadn't you.


The boxes of craft items.

Pippa's stacks of Craft Boxes and Craft items

PS There is still space under the bed for a couple of us. Just promise us that this time you'll actually get us out and complete us.
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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A Family Christmas Day at Cadbury World

Last weekend, Daddy, the children and I headed up to Birmingham to visit Cadbury World again. 

Cadbury World. If you sniff hard enough, you can smell the chocolate!

Now, last time we went I had said that I didn't think that the tour itself was very child friendly, and at the end of it we were all craving vegetables and protein (in the form of Chicken drumsticks) and not eager to get away, but basically we were wanting to not be thinking about chocolate for a while! However, we thought we needed to be fair, we would go and pretend we'd not been before. We would pretend this was entirely new to us and seeing as Santa wasn't there the last time, we thought that maybe he'd sprinkle some magic dust and help us. Plus this was a special blogger day.

We arrived at Cadbury World quite early, a little confusion between Daddy and I over what time we were supposed to get there (We were to arrive for 9:30am, so I said 9:15am to give us some time incase of having to stop or something and Daddy decided 9am for the same reason, thinking that 9:15 was the firm deadline!), no traffic and all the lights seeming to be in our favour, meant that we pulled up outside the front door and had our pick of parking spaces. I would totally recommend getting there early if you can, that way all the stress is left behind and you can enjoy your day.We met up with the rest of our group, and before we went to visit Santa spent some time in the Cadbury Cafe, again if you have time do stop off as it has a lovely atmosphere.

Queues can build up at Santa's Grotto, but it's quite fast moving

Seeing Santa was great, and the slight Brummie accent just added to his warmth. Santa knew that I'd spoken with Top Ender and Big Boy's teachers this last week and even managed to remember some things about the children that I'd forgotten about! The children then had their photograph taken with Santa (Daddy and I declined to be in the shot) and Santa gave them a Cadbury themed gift (Pencil set) before High Fiving Daddy and the children and giving me a very polite hand kiss.

Big Boy and Top Ender with Santa

We then went to visit the new 4D attraction, which saw Big Boy holding my hand as he was a little worried but soon had him giggling with delight as we were whipped through the Cadbury factory, jumped into a massive vat of Chocolate and achieve a long time goal of mine, got to ride the Cadbury Crunchie rollercoaster! The 4D attraction is certainly more fun, than the attraction that was there previously, and a little more fair as it doesn't matter where you sit, where as it did matter where you were stood before!

Big Boy ready for the 4D Attraction at Cadbury World

We had a spot of lunch in the cafe (technically it was brunch) and the Cafe sells Gluten Free food, which was brilliant. Daddy almost forgot to take a photograph, but as you can see they didn't exactly skimp on the portion sizes.

Gluten free Ham Rolls and Salad at Cadbury World

We headed off to the Panto, after lunch/brunch and it was actually quite good. It took the audience a little while to warm up, but when they did it was fab. We were lucky enough, to meet the cast afterwards and they were fabulously fun, not dropping character and really making the children and Daddy and I laugh.

Top Ender and Big Boy with the stars of the Cadbury World Panto

The tour, was what followed next for us and I'm not ashamed to say that we kinda rushed through it. It's the same as last time, there wasn't exactly a lot going on and again I do think they need to make it a little more child friendly. Of course we did that ourselves, by asking the children to read signs and to tell us what they could see, but the production line was down again, and watching staff members sit on chairs isn't all that interesting. I would show you a photo, but you aren't supposed to take photographs in the factory, so I can't.

One thing that I didn't know, until this last visit was that visitors who are unable to consume milk don't lose out when visiting. They too can collect all the chocolate as they go round (Four bars per person in the party) and at the end they can explain they can't consume milk and can be given a voucher in exchange to use in the shop. I thought that was a nice idea and just goes to show along with the gluten free food they have in their cafe that they really are being inclusive.

This time, our family day out was pretty fantastic. I think that it helped that we were directed to do the attractions in a certain order (Santa, 4 D Experience, Eat, Panto, Tour) as it made everything fit together and made sense as the queues were shorter in that order, but this time we came away really feeling the Cadbury love and I could quite easily be tempted back in the not too distant future.

Top Ender and Big Boy at Cadbury World

We were invited up to experience a Cadbury Christmas, as such our admission was free.
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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Calamity Jane #Review

As many of my theatre review posts start out, this was a musical I knew well as a child, thanks to my Mother. I was joking with Top Ender, that every weekend there was a Doris Day film on, but I know that it wasn't as often as that, it's just the way that memories work isn't it? You filter out half the things that happened and only remember the good things, and of course watching my Mum sing along to a musical on TV was one of the good things I didn't filter out.

I thought it would be best if my Mum took Top Ender with her to the Theatre to see Calamity Jane for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if my Mum could magically instill in me a love of Musicals, then she could do the same for Top Ender. And Secondly, it's much easier if I babysit Big Boy, as I know what to do with his pump and how to work his blood test monitor... plus I can handle him when he's tired and cranky much more easily than my Mum can!

So Top Ender and my Mum went off to see it, with my Mum promising not to embarrass Top Ender by singing out loud, all the songs from the Musical.

I got a text at the interval from Top Ender.

"Help! Gran hasn't stopped singing since the show started!"

I replied back.

"Let her enjoy the show. Just wear earplugs on the side she's sitting!"

A few minutes later Top Ender replied

"Genius idea! Why didn't I think of that?! PS The show is really good!"

In the car, on the ride back to my Mums home, Top Ender babbled almost nonstop about the costumes, the set, the music, the actors and the choreography. Eventually my Mum got a word in edgeways and said it was brilliant and that Jodie Prenger had filled Doris Day's boots admirably

A scene from Calamity Jane

The show is at Milton Keynes until this Saturday, so if you'd like to see it you'd better get cracking!

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