I took this on Sunday when I was Spring Cleaning and had stepped out to get a breath of fresh air. It felt like the first day of Spring and made me really excited! I can't wait for Spring to be truly sprung!
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
I took this on Sunday when I was Spring Cleaning and had stepped out to get a breath of fresh air. It felt like the first day of Spring and made me really excited! I can't wait for Spring to be truly sprung!
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Yesterday a pillow pet called Ms Ladybird arrived at our house, due to a little mix up only one was sent and so Big Boy and Top Ender decided to share it. Big Boy very graciously agreed that for the first night Top Ender could have the pillow pet and he would take the second night. A couple of hours later I went up to check on Big Boy and found this.
The pillow pets are £19.99 to buy through the Mookie outlet on Amazon as these are the original large pillow pets (they measure approx 46 x 23 x 20 cm) and I'm just hoping that when BB and Tops go to sleep tonight they leave Ms Ladybird downstairs so I can have a snuggle!
We were sent a pillow pal to review and a second one is being sent for Top Ender.
Half Term last week was fantastic. Having Top Ender at home with Big Boy and I was great fun and we had an absolute blast. There were trips to the shops, the park, playing in the garden, a meal or two out, a lazy day, a pyjama day, an art day, a tidy up day and a lot of love. Towards the end of the week Big Boy, Top Ender and I went to London to have lunch with some of the First Choice Holidays team at the Rainforest Cafe. Big Boy had been to eat at the Rainforest Cafe before, but for Top Ender it was a new experience and she loved it.
Tops loved her food, so much so that she hardly talked whilst woolfing it down. She ate so quickly that she also managed to help me eat some of mine and talked very politely with English Mum and listened to lots of talk about family holidays, which is probably why at the moment holidays is all she is talking about at home!
The train ride home was a lot of fun thanks to two new Thomson soft toys to cuddle whilst Top Ender and Big Boy listened to their ipods (we really do need to buy a new cover for Big Boy's he is starting to get sick of the pink he wants a nice green one) and dreamt about the character cakes that we had picked up in the Japan Centre earlier that day.
It seemed like a perfect day. It was a perfect mixture of fun, food and sunshine but I don't think that is what made it so special. I think that it was perfect because it was spent with family.
*Okay so maybe not the world but they are pretty good!
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
When I was about eight my family and I were in a pub restaurant near to my Grandparents home at the seaside. The owner of the Pub had become good friends with my Grandparents and had come to recommend that we order the fish for our meal as it was fresh and he had just had some and it has tasted delicious. My Mum ordered the fish but asked for it to be served without the sauce. The owner of the pub was shocked and almost horrified that my Mum was having Naked fish and he kept laughing over how funny my Mum was that here she was ordering Naked fish. Since then Naked Fish has become a tasty fixture to our family menus because of it's simplicity to cook and because it is so tasty.
Daddy and I tend to have Naked Fish in the Summer as I will slowly bake Salmon Fillets on the BBQ wrapped in tinfoil with just butter and a bit of Lemon to enhance the flavour of the fish, but when I was checking the freezer this week (so I could plan the weeks menu) I found some frozen portions of Hot Smoked Honey Salmon from Delish Fish (the lovely supplier of fish that Fish Is The Dish arranges) and so I decided that Naked Fish was on the menu this week as it would be a shame to hide the honey flavour under a sauce.
We had the Salmon last night and despite Big Boy declaring that he had Chicken on his plate (Really BB you can't tell the difference between Fish and Chicken?) everybody loved the Salmon and it's nakedness. I've sent Top Ender to school today with a Honey Salmon Pasta Salad for lunch and it looks delicious so I know that she will love her lunch as much as she did her evening meal yesterday.
Do you use leftovers for another meal or for lunch the next day? Do you have them as you cooked them the night before or do you make them into another meal?
Last week during Half Term, Top Ender, Big Boy and I met up with some other bloggers for lunch and had a great time talking about different holiday destinations. It was a great lunch with great conversation and food and Big Boy and Top Ender have been talking about holidays nearly non stop since. Top Ender and Big Boy are quite insistent that they are going to go on a proper holiday with an air plane ride to get there and where it is sunny and warm, rather than the cold and wet they are getting used to at the moment! Top Ender has been telling Big Boy about the last holiday like this that she remembers going on, where we went to Italy for a few fantastic days.
Al Fresco is running a young travel writer competition for budding travel writers aged either ten and under or eleven and over. All they need to do is write up to 300 words about a holiday they have been on including where they have been, what they did and what they think was so great about it. They can include a photo or two with their article and the winning entry will win a holiday for their whole family to an Al Fresco Holiday Park of the families choice. Al Fresco Holidays are luxury mobile home holiday parcs spread across Europe and have a lot of entertainment for the family, with on-site water parks, children's entertainment clubs and spas for the parents to relax in too. Sounds great right?
This is that sort of creative writing that I set for Top Ender as Mummy homework to help her improve her writing and to practice what she has been learning at School. It's fun for Top Ender to remember things she has done in the past on her holidays and I've also found that it's a great way of keeping a journal as Top Ender writes on a lot of different subjects that I set for her. I'll be asking Tops to write something for this competition though as I quite fancy Top Ender winning a family holiday with up to £500 in travel expenses!
If you know someone who could enter this then visit the Al Fresco blog and check out all the details and the terms and conditions there.
This is a sponsored post.
Monday, 20 February 2012
Big boy loves Dora the Explorer, so much so that at one point I was pretty sure she was sneaking in at night and teaching him to spell. At some point Big Boy had been passed Top Ender's collection of Dora magazines (and DVD's) and Big Boy loves to sit and read them and was getting rather excited when he saw on TV that a new magazine featuring Dora was available to buy.
The Dora The Explorer Little Cooks Magazine is about cooking together with your child and helping them (and you) to learn about healthy and tasty foods in a fun way as the magazine also has puzzles, games and stories to go with the recipes. Big Boy loved reading the magazine and was really eager to use the plate and silicon cupcake cases that came with the magazine and so we made the banana cakes in the magazine and as they were eaten rather quickly we made some other cakes and used the cases again, which pleased Big Boy as he is a big cake fan.
I think that the magazine is going to be a great help in the future with Big Boy, as encouraging him to eat different foods is sometimes difficult, but I think that if Dora suggests that he try something that he will be a little more open to trying something the first time and after that I can easily persuade him to try it again and then hopefully he will start to enjoy it. We work on the nine times rule, which is you have to try something at least nine times before you can claim you don't like it, so there will be a lot of trying to agree too.
We were sent the first Dora Magazine to review and have been offered a subscription too.
After having got the children to help to clear out the Den and to sort out the drawers which contain the colouring books, pens, crayons, pencils (and goodness knows what else) we decided that they deserved a treat and so they opened up the newly arrived Xia-Xia Pets. The packaging that the Pets come in is pretty to look at, it's easy to open too which is a real bonus when you have two children clammering to be first to see what is coming out of the package. The crab that we got is called Bimini and hidden underneath her shell is a little friend called Cuppy. Cuppy can stay under the shell, can be attached to the shell on the front on a handy little point or can be separate for adventures where she isn't getting a ride from Bimini.
Tops and Big Boy loved the cottage and Bimini and were having a lot of fun playing with them together. They loved how when you push down on the front claws of Bimini that she scuttles around and will work out when she is backed into a corner how to get out. There were a lot of squeals of delight coming from them as they played together on the dinning table creating a fantasy world for Bimini and Cuppy to live in.
The cottage doubles up as a carry case, which Top Ender used when she went to stay with her Gran this past weekend and wanted to take her new pet crab with her. Since we have opened the Xia-Xia pet and cottage Big Boy and Top Ender have loved playing with them and are hoping to be treated to more and so are keeping the Den and the drawing materials all nice and neat! I have found the confetti cottage for £9.99 and the crabs for £9.99 (for one) at Argos so I don't think that it will be too long before the rest of the set of Crabs and the other habitats will be gracing our Den!
We were sent the Xia Xia Confetti Cottage and Bimini the Crab to review.
Sunday, 19 February 2012
This weekend Top Ender has gone to stay at her Gran's for the night and so Big Boy, Daddy and I are going to do something a bit fun that Daddy and I like to do when we are wanting to do something special together. We love to go to a supermarket we don't normally go to, and to pick several items to create a hamper picnic for ourselves. We choose cold meats, fish, cheeses, fruit and vegetables, different breads, drinks, cakes, dips and anything that we see and think we would like to eat or try. We normally end up spending around £30 when we do this but when I work it out compared to the price of a meal out and add the fun of picking out the different foods it doesn't blow our budget too much.
I think it's a great weekend family treat as something like this needs some time, not only to choose the different foods but also to spend time together whist eating because it takes time to sample everything and this way of eating is conducive to conversation between all the family. It's fun to try new foods together and to have a little bit of several things and I tend to find that whilst the meal may take longer that nobody over eats. Big Boy loves being able to choose different foods and to be able to eat the foods in any order (well some savoury first!) and I love it because having everyone try something new is a great way to introduce a new flavour.
Forman & Field offered to send us any gourmet gift basket we liked the look of from their website, but as I hate making any choices I asked if they would mind sending me what they thought I would like and if they could do their best to send some gluten free goodies too. They took the challenge upon themselves and sent out a a brilliant (mostly Gluten free) Hamper full of little things we might like to try as part of a fun picnic. There were different Cheese's, Ham, Pork Pie, Banana Cake, Chocolate Brownie, Smoked Salmon, Lemon Curd, Potted Lobster, Mince Pies, Christmas Pudding, some best chocolate, and boy did they all taste good. It was fantastic to have such a variety of tastes and also to have so many new things (the cheeses) to try that we wouldn't have thought to try ourselves.
I have a feeling that when Top Ender finds out that we were having so much fun without her that she might try and get us to have another picnic.
Forman & Field sent us a hamper to review. It was really tasty.
I was watching the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special the other day and Smithy had brought round what looked like several packs of food, all wrapped up in tinfoil. He explained that he didn't have any wrapping paper and so thought to use tin foil instead. He claimed that it was even better than paper because he didn't need to use sticky tape to seal his gifts, he just needed to scrunch the edge of the tin foil. I remember thinking about how this was a genius solution and how children would also benefit from the scrunch method and didn't think any more of it... then a parcel arrived.
Inside that parcel was some man wrap, which is basically decorated foil wrap on a roller. You roll out the amount of foil wrap needed, rip it off, grip it together and scrunch. And that's it done. Gift wrapped, no stress, no scissors or tape and it looks pretty good too... here is Daddy wrapping up Top Ender's Birthday gifts just to prove how quick and easy it is.
Daddy is actually better at wrapping gifts than I am (he is much neater), but this sort of wrapping is perfect for people in a hurry, those with limited mobility, for children and those of us with no wrapping skills! Man Wrap is available from The Monster Factory and comes in red or blue and is £5.99 for 5m.
Saturday, 18 February 2012
At times I think of myself as being a really bad Mum because there are a lot of things that I don't do with Big Boy that I did do with Top Ender. It isn't that I don't want to do them with Big Boy, it's just that he isn't into the same sorts of things as Top Ender and the things I did with Top Ender is the only knowledge/experience that I really have to base what we do on. I was pleased when Cubbykit asked if Big Boy would like to try their new service where a box of art and crafts is delivered to the child at home. When the box arrived Big Boy loved that it had his name on and that the box was decorated and looked like a suitcase and couldn't wait to open it up and see inside.
We looked at all the different crafts that were inside and decided that we would make a start on one of the projects at the weekend when Daddy and Top Ender were having a date night. Big Boy and I loved working together and it was great fun crafting with glitter again as Big Boy and I don't tend to do a lot of glitter pictures.
I thought it best that we didn't do all of the activities in one day and so it wasn't until a couple of days later that we looked at making our own playdough to make mushy Martians. Unfortunately for us the oil and colouring mix had leaked into the bag it was wrapped in because the lid hadn't closed quite properly and so I had to guess at the measurements when making the dough, but it came out brilliantly. Big Boy and I played for ages with the dough making alien families, monsters, lumps of goo to be smashed into the table, a spaceship, clouds of green and anything that Big Boy could imagine. Big Boy was so pleased with the dough and despite having played with it for so long with me that when Top Ender came home after school that night he was still wanting to play and managed to convince Top Ender to play with him.
We haven't yet made the last activity which is the Constellation Wall Charts as Big Boy wants to do it with Daddy when Top Ender and I go on a date night!
I didn't think that I was going to like the Cubbykit. I didn't think that the Cubbykits would be as well put together as they are, with the projects being nicely packaged in the box and separated up to make things more easily accessible when needed. I also didn't expect them to be so educational either, the Cubbykit has inspired a lot of stories, games and questions from Big Boy about what we made, how me made it, what we could make in the future and about Space and Stars and aliens in general. The Cubbykit is £19.99 if you go for a monthly subscription (£199.99 for a year subscription so it works out that you get two months free) and I think the focused crafting is a great way for parents like me who sometimes feel a little lost with what to do to find inspiration.
Friday, 17 February 2012
On Valentines Night Top Ender and I were eager to watch Dolphin Tale. We had seen a trailer for the film last year and had intended to go and see it at the cinema, but with one thing and another we didn't get round to it. Big Boy didn't watch the film with us as he was feeling fidgety and so Top Ender and I curled up on the sofa to watch it.
The film is really sweet. It's based on a true story about a Dolphin whose tail has been damaged after being caught in some fishing traps. A young boy called Sawyer, finds the dolphin and helps to untangle her before the dolphin is taken to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. In the moments when Sawyer was rescuing the dolphin, they bonded and so instead of going to Summer School, Sawyer breaks into the Aquarium and finds the Dolphin and helps to nurse her better. When it becomes apparent that the Dolphins tail can't be saved, Sawyer finds a pioneering Doctor to give the Dolphin a prosthetic tail.
The film is based on a true story, which I think is great as it really is a heart warming story and it made Top Ender and I really happy to know that this wasn't something made up in Hollywood. The film was a great evenings entertainment and with a U certificate it is perfect for the whole family to watch (if they aren't feeling fidgety). The DVD is available to buy now and has an RRP of £9.99 and £14.99 for a Blu-Ray.
We were sent the DVD by Warner Bros to review.
Thursday, 16 February 2012
These three hot lunches were really lovely and filling and Top Ender said that it was nice to have something warm to eat and that it was different but that she wouldn't want something warm everyday (which I'm glad about as I wasn't planning on giving her something warm everyday!). One thing that I did like about the square wraps (as opposed to circle wraps) was they were easier for me to handle and they seemed bigger. They were also nice tasting, not too floury and tasted great with simple toppings like cheese as a sort of home made cheesy tortilla snack after School one cold night.
I asked people over on my facebook page what sort of hot meal they thought would be fun as a packed lunch and got some great ideas but I'm still looking for some more ideas. What kind of hot lunch do you think would be good fun to eat at School?
Warburtons sent me some Squareish wraps to try.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Top Ender really enjoyed making the panels the way that she wanted them to look and although she didn't use any magazine images or photographs she is eager to buy another My Clippy so she can create another bag with a different look and this time she is thinking about using a lot of different materials. I think that it's a great creative set for girls of all ages (it is recommended for 6+), and as I have heard some mentions in some forums of grown ups buying the sets and making bags and wallets for themselves don't be surprised if there us a queue at the toy store when you go to buy one!
We were sent a My Clippy to review which means Top Ender is over the moon.
This is a Sponsored Post but I really want to know if I should be using the Clubcard vouchers to swap for rewards or keep doing as I am!
Tonight Daddy has to work and won't be home until 9pm or maybe later. I don't mind because we spend time together every weekend, have a night that we spend together at least once a week and so not having dinner tonight isn't a major issue. Plus I know that he loves me because he gave me one of his cookies last night and they are tasty!
I'm pleased that I'm going to be able to spend some more quality time with Top Ender and Big Boy and we are going to have a romantic dinner together. We have all chosen something that we like as our main meal, we have a starter each and I have some special puddings which I have hidden away so that they will be a surprise. We are going to use the good plates, have candles, and music and after dinner we are going to watch a film together. We are thinking we will watch Dolphin Tale which Warner Bros sent us recently but on the projector so it is like we are at the cinema.
After the children have gone to bed, I'm going to take a nice hot bath and pamper myself before putting on my nice new PJ's curling up on the sofa and watching one of the films from the Valentines Box that Warner Bros sent me. And yes, the Maltesers that they sent are all mine and aren't being shared with nobody.
So that's my plan for tonight. What's yours?
When I first met Daddy I knew that he was the man I was going to marry. I knew that we were going to have children together, that we were going to grow old together and that if I achieved nothing else in this life I would at least know that I had been loved and had loved that person back with all my might. After having written the post about Big Boy I wanted to write one about Daddy too and what better day to post it than Valentines Day?
Daddy has a different sense of humour to me but he still manages to make me laugh everyday. The other evening Daddy spent what seemed like all night reading a webpage of jokes that he kept giggling at. He shared a few with me but I think I got more delight in seeing him having fun than I did from the jokes he recited to me. When he comes home from work he normally has a one liner, or a story about his day at work or even something that his work colleagues have told him but he knows that having a giggle with me is something which bonds us together. We make a point of watching and listening to comedy shows together and one of our favourite games is to quick fire the punchlines of jokes we both know at each other.
When Daddy and I first started dating we would cook together every weekend and eat at least once a week at each others home with the rest of our family. It's only been recently that I found out that those meals with my family introduced Daddy to new foods, some of which have now become his favourites. Since Daddy has been diagnosed as being celiac we have spent a lot of time finding new recipes for dishes that we like and Daddy has discovered his talent at making Sausage Rolls and Scones and other Gluten free pastry items. I just hope that the recent discovery of Daddy's allergy to eggs is the last thing we are going to exclude from out diet!
With a name like Daddy you would expect him to be a great Dad, and he really is. Top Ender and Big Boy are so lucky to have him (just like I am) because he takes a huge interest in them and their lives. Daddy loves playing with them, talking to them, arranging special trips with them, and makes sure that he spends special one on one time with each of them. I know that both Tops and BB love their Daddy very much and I think it would be hard to find a more devoted father anywhere.
Doing chores is something that I don't have pester Daddy to help with; He will help bath the children, make sure they brush their teeth, hoover, do the dishes, put the bins out, go shopping, make the bed and if I'm not here for the day he does all the other chores that need doing during the day too. I might moan occasionally that he should stop trying to tidy up as soon as he gets home from work, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
A few years ago I suggested that Daddy and I stop giving each other brought gifts and should make a gift for each other instead. I was sure that this would be easy and that I would be presenting Daddy with thoughtful, beautiful handmade with love gifts. It turns out that I'm really rubbish at this though and Daddy comes up with the most amazing ideas. I have had hand made clocks, hand made calendars, personalised hand made board games, hand made personalised toiletries and many many more things. It never ceases to amaze me how wonderfully thoughtful the gifts are or how wonderfully they turn out.
I don't think there are really enough words to describe how much I love my husband, or how wonderful he is. His little habits and foibles are endearing and something that I wouldn't change.
This is my husband and he's pretty darn amazing.
Monday, 13 February 2012
These simple Valentine’s Day sponge cakes will go down a treat when Dad and the Kids bake these as a surprise for Mum!
200g Self Raising Flower
200g Caster Sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Royal Icing Sugar (that’s the really thick stuff!)
Coloured squeezy icing sugar for decorating
1. Weigh your eggs and note the weight, you’ll need the same measure of sugar, flour and margarine.
2. Beat the margarine and sugar, ensuring that the mixture is ‘airy’. Add eggs, flour and baking powder and continue to mix.
3. Pour a small amount of the mixture into cake cases in a specially shaped baking tray and place in an oven at 150*/Gas Mark 4 and bake for approx 10 minutes.
4. Mix up the royal icing sugar with 75ml of cold water. Top each cake (once cooled) with the icing sugar and leave to set. Once set hard, decorate with a special message using the squeezy icing sugar.
James is a dedicated family man, who enjoys nothing more than cooking for his family. He is expecting his first child (any minute now!) and is looking forward to baking cakes with her when she is old enough. He currently works alongside a slimline dishwasher retailer.
This is a sponsored guest post.
Although it's always fun to head away on a break as a family, there's often an extra cultural and educational benefit for little ones when you head further afield to more exotic locations. Of course, as well as planning a suitable itinerary for your trip it's important to make sure that you and the kids will be safe and protected throughout your trip. As well as checking for travel advice on the Foreign Office website, you should also take measures to protect the health of your brood with suitable inoculations.
Millions of children now travel internationally every year, but due to their inquisitive nature and developing bodies children can be more at risk of some illnesses when travelling. Simple measures such as seeking the advice of the chemist at your LloydsPharmacy and taking a full course of anti-malaria tablets in advance of, during and after a trip to potential risk areas will help to put your mind at ease during your trip.
Malaria is perhaps the most life-threatening disease that your family will face when away from home. The mosquitos that pass the illness don't age discriminate, though unfortunately children are more at risk of developing malarial complications such as seizure or coma, so be strict about following medication advice correctly and seek prompt medical attention if any symptoms develop.
It's not uncommon for travellers to suffer from diarrhea while on holiday, but this illness can hit the old and very young particularly hard. Children can become dehydrated more quickly than their adult counterparts, so it's important to have suitable medication on hand as well as maintaining access to bottled water. If symptoms persist beyond a day or two you should always seek medical attention.
One area of illness that is often overlooked is soil borne diseases, which children are far more likely to develop when coming in to contact with soil or sand when playing. During play they can unwittingly come across many kinds of parasitical nasties including hookworm or visceral larva migrans. Though it can be hard to keep playing kids in check, you should always make sure that children wear protective footwear and don't play directly on the ground. You may want to carry a towel and sheet for them to play on, which should be kept clean.
The playful nature of children can also leave them more open to the risk of rabies as they are often more tempted to play with animals, even when warned of the risks. In addition to talking through the basic dangers of interacting with animals while on holiday, parents should be aware of the risks and pay close attention to young ones when in areas where they may come into contact with them.
Finally, no matter how well prepared you are in advance of your trip, it is always best to take out appropriate medical travel insurance so that if you are away from home and find you need help, you know that at the very least the financial element is covered.
This is a guest post from our supporters Lloyds Pharmacy.
Sunday, 12 February 2012
I was talking on Twitter the other day with a few others about Valentines day and if it was just a day for lovers or if it was also to celebrate other types of love. Like the love you have for friends or family. Then before I was on BBC Three Counties Radio talking about the fun things you could do as a family this coming half term week they had an expert on who said that celebrating Valentines Day with your friends if you are single is a good thing, as it takes off the pressure of what this day is starting to mean to some. So I felt really pleased that when Interflora asked if I would like some Valentines Flowers that I decided to have them sent to my Mum instead of to me.
The flowers are gorgeous. I chose to get a few red roses mixed in with a few pink roses and a few carnations as I thought that they would cheer up my Mum, especially with the personalised ribbon wishing her a Happy Valentines Day and just confirming what she already knew... that she is the best Mum.
My Mum was really pleased with the flowers because they brighten up her new home and everybody loves getting flowers no matter if it is Valentines Day or any other day of the year. Which is good news for anybody reading this thinking they should send flowers to someone they love who isn't their partner!
The other great thing about Interflora is that if you place an order before 11am on Valentines Day that they still guarantee that they can make a same day delivery. As somebody who has received flowers at work twice (from different men too!) I can honestly say that having a delivery is a fantastic confidence booster and something that everyone should have happen at least once!
I was able to chose a bouquet of flowers from the Interflora website to be delivered to whoever I wished.
Last weekend after I had posted about being a fantastic Mummy and trying to find a book that Daddy's Grandma is pictured in, one of Daddy's Aunts (Hello "H"!) contacted me and gave the name of two books that she thought we might find the picture in. A quick search found that the one book we hadn't already borrowed was available to borrow from a library in Woodford Halse in Northamptonshire which was about an hour's drive from Milton Keynes.
We did what any family fun loving family would do.
We grabbed our adventure bag, our coats and ipods (well the children did) and jumped into the car ready for an adventure. Big Boy soon fell asleep and Top Ender was engrossed in her playlists so Daddy and I had a great chat and listened to the radio. We found the library and the library book and the picture of Daddy's Grandma and after taking a minute to join the library we borrowed the book (and a couple of others) and then we were on our way back home.
|The girl in question is the middle head behind Mrs Bridge's arm.|
Saturday, 11 February 2012
This morning BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Local Radio had me on to talk about Valentines Day ideas on a budget. I explained how lucky I am to be married to one of the most wonderful and romantic men in the Universe and then went on to give some ideas that Daddy and I have used in the past (or are going to use this year!). I had been asked to prepare a Top Ten List but only got to explain three of them, so here they all are!
Make Food Heart Shaped.
Buy a Cookie Cutter and cut heart shaped sandwiches, lasagne, vegetables, slices of ham... anything that is going to be eaten. If you do it without your other half knowing then they will know you were thinking of them when they finally eat the food and who doesn't like to be thought about?
Give a Photo Gift.
Take a photo of you or your children proclaiming their declaration of love (Like Tara's) or an important place to you or the recipient. I love the idea of marking an important date and this is what I used for inspiration for Daddy's gift this year. I used the date of our wedding anniversary, a Flickr users photos and some effects in an art programme on the PC to create something which I'm rather proud of.
Give Seeds not Flowers.
I do love getting and giving flowers, but if you are looking to do this on a budget buy a packet of seeds or a plant instead. They tend to last longer and you can decorate the pot of the plant or even create an envelope for the seeds to replace the one they come in. Use your best handwriting or make the most of an art programme on your PC to write the name of the seeds out all fancy and print onto the envelope.
Make a Meal Special.
It might be breakfast in bed, you might take lunch to them or make a special favourite meal and use the posh plates. This is also something great to do with the children, you could have them be the Servers or take part as who doesn't love dinner on a posh plate?!
Do a Chore.
I hate putting the bins out, but as it's one of the chores that Daddy does this Valentines day I will take care of it so he doesn't have to. In the past Daddy has done my least favourite chore for the day and it means so much because he knows that his actions show how much he loves me. Oh and don't forget that if this cold weather keeps up that scraping the car is a great chore!
Make some Personalised Sweets.
You could make up some Home Made Chocolates, or maybe melt candy canes left over from Christmas together to make a heart or take the outer wrapper off a favourite bar of chocolate and replace it with a home made one. Just don't forget to write your declaration of love on the inside of the outer wrapper.
Go ahead and bake something. Cupcakes, cakes, bread, biscuits are all gratefully received if baked with love. You can make them heart shaped (use that cookie cutter again) or write on them or just present them with a little love note.
Give a Voucher.
I don't mean you have to go out and buy a gift voucher for a favourite shop (although a voucher for a favourite Coffee shop is a nice way to show you are thinking of someone) but make a set at home. They might be for a lay in, doing the dishes, having a take away, a favourite dinner, a massage or anything else you think that they might appreciate. Of course you can always enter the competition to win an Experience Day Voucher too...
Take the Day Off or Come Home Early.
The other evening Daddy surprised us by coming home early. It was great to be able to spend a little more time with him and this is a great way to spend Valentines too. You could do something you keep meaning to do (visit a local attraction maybe?) or just spend the day together watching romantic films.
Write a Love Letter.
A proper hand written love letter doesn't cost much but means the world. From our early courtship I have every single letter, card, postcard and note that Daddy sent me and apart from one that was stolen with Daddy's wallet (I say they were after the note, he claims they were after his cash) he has every single one I sent him too. It's special because you took the time out to do it and it's very romantic to tell someone why you love them.
I have a list of Thirty Valentines suggestions which are under £5 and if you'd like any further ideas, don't forget to check out my Valentines Pinterest Board!
With Top Ender learning about World War Two at School (if I was still a Mummy time traveller I could just woosh her back there for the day) we have been trying to expose her to a few different films, TV series and books set in the period too. We were discussing a list of TV series and films that we thought that we could watch on our Date nights when Top Ender joined in with the conversation.
"We're watching a film about World War II at School; It's called Dad's Army" said Top Ender
"Oh!" said Daddy excitedly "We love that film, it's very funny!"
Top Ender paused for a second and looked at Daddy and deadpan answered
"Well, I haven't laughed yet."
Friday, 10 February 2012
How fantastic would it be to turn around to your beloved on Valentines Day and tell them;
I would be rather pleased with such a gift, and with my £50 gift voucher give away (with thanks to Experience Days) that could be you!
Of course you could pay more towards a more expensive experience day (for just £10 more there is a Spa Day), but with selections such as Make Your Own Perfume, Skydiving, A Model Portfolio Photoshoot and a Chocolate Workshop there is bound to be something that will be the ultimate gift.
All you have to do to enter this Romance inducing give away is to tell me what your favourite Love film is. Mine has to be Mamma Mia as it is such a feel good film and all about love of different kinds!
Please make sure when you leave your comment that you fill in a valid email address, or follow me on Twitter so I can email you or DM you if you win. This is for residents of the UK only, my say is final and if you haven't left a comment by 5pm on the 13th February 2012 then you haven't entered. If I don't get a response from you within twenty four hours of my contact then I will redraw until someone responds and they get the prize.
THIS IS NOW CLOSED.
With being part of the Morphy Richards House Proud Innovators I get various items to review which I will sometimes pass on to friends or family. Normally what happens is someone will ask me if I've read any reviews of an item they are looking to replace or if I am aware of any discount codes or special sale days coming up and then before the end of the week someone else will offer me that very item to review. It happened just like that when my Mum was looking to buy a new Vacuum Cleaner and Morphy Richards asked if I'd like to review the Never Loses Suction Lift Away Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner.
Daddy loved it because it was so easy to use as with its swivel head it was easy to manoeuvre around the house and kept its suction on all the different floor surfaces in our house.At first I couldn't get used to it because along with the strong suction the swivel head made me need to vacuum in a different way too normal, but it was something that I got used to and I loved the suction strength. In fact it was so powerful on a couple of surfaces that Daddy was worried that the vacuum cleaner was too strong and that my Mum wouldn't be able to move it to vacuum around her home. My Mum and I were convinced that this was just a rouse because Daddy had got so used to the new vacuum cleaner that he wanted to keep it, so when we took the cleaner round my Mum gave it a quick go and it was really easy for her to use so Daddy lost out!
I was asked by Plum if Big Boy might like to try some new Oaty Chomps and I said yes thinking that not only would Big Boy like them but Top Ender would like them in her Friday lunch box too! I included one in Top Ender's lunch a couple of times and they came back uneaten, Top Ender was worried that she wouldn't like and so it was only once I opened one and ate it to prove that she would like them that she tried them.
Big Boy ate them without question, but he likes all food and it doesn't matter to him what it tastes of as long as it is filling! The other thing about Big Boy is that if he doesn't like it he won't eat it again and Big Boy has continued to ask for the Plum bars, with the pumpkin pie ones living in my handbag for emergency snacks when we are out and about. Top Ender wasn't so keen, she ate one but she said that she thought them to be heavy and dry. I could understand what she meant but I thought that they were nice and as Big Boy thinks quite filling. I used some of the chomps all crushed up as the base for a fake cheesecake pudding which Top Ender really did like!
In case you want to make the fake cheesecake all I did was crush up the Strawberry Cheescake Oaty Chomps and mix with a crushed digestive or two and some melted butter and let set before adding some angel delight that I made up with condensed milk instead of milk. It was really lovely and I wish I had taken a photo before it was all eaten.
Plum's Oaty Chomps are £1.99 and great to keep in your handbag for feeding yourself or your children when you are out and about.
Plum sent me two packs of Oaty Chomps to review.
For me shoes have one purpose and that is to keep my feet covered when I am outside. If they look pretty then that is all well and good but for me the shoes which are the best are the ones that I can put on at 8am before the School Run and take off at about 9pm before I go to bed. I guess that is why I live in my trainers! The one downside to wearing trainers is that they don't exactly go well with anything other than jeans. If I am wearing trousers or a skirt I look scruffy, and so when Hotter Shoes asked if I might like to have a pair of Sheepskin Charisma boots I was eager to give them a try.
The boots are fantastic. The sheepskin lining is soft and warm and fantastic for these cold days and Big Boy has been loving wearing them when I haven't! He has been making me giggle pretending to be me and walking around the living room but he likes to feel the soft lining so he takes off his socks and trousers! They are made of suede but they come with a free protector spray and I haven't noticed any damage with me walking on what is left of the snow when doing the School Run.
The boots are really comfortable and I've been able to wear them all day without any discomfort. They have kept my feet really warm which has been handy as during the day we don't keep the heating on and I don't like to get cold! I've found that the boots are great looking with Jeans and with "formal" trousers and my sister has threatened to steal them to wear with her leggings. The only thing I need to do now is wear them with a skirt to see how they look.
Just in case it wasn't clear I got these boots free from Hotter Shoes.
Thursday, 9 February 2012
I'm doing some housekeeping here at A Mothers Ramblings and making everything pretty so keep looking out for the changes in the next few weeks and if you spot one let me know what you think! There is one task that you can help me out with and that is by changing your RSS subscription by clicking on the nice shiny badge below.
There are some great projects coming up in the next few months, so make sure you do update your RSS reader or you might miss out on the projects and some secret things that I am really excited about and I hope you will be too!
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Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Top Ender and Big Boy love to play computer games. They play on the PC's, the Wii, the Xbox, my ipod and on Top Enders Nintendo DS and boy does that sound like a lot! They don't play for long (we have a thirty minute rule) but they play a variety of games some are educational, some are physical, some are just plain old fun but the thing that they all have in common is that they are teaching my children things I never would have thought they would teach them.
1) You have to eat when you are low on energy.
Big Boy loves playing Kirby and whilst playing is always on the look out for the little bits of food that replenish his Characters health bar. It has become a little annoying as Big Boy will often sit down in the middle of the room and claim he doesn't have enough energy to carry out a simple task (like putting away his toys) and that he needs some food to top up his energy. Luckily Big Boy has also discovered that fruits and vegetables are the best way to top up his energy levels. I just wish like the characters in computer games we had a handy visual measure to tell us when we need a top up!
2) Sometimes you have to save your money.
Top Ender loves to play games where the characters can buy new costumes or things for their houses and she loves to buy everything as quickly as possible. The problem being that sometimes you have to save your money to buy crops or storage or a magic hat... Top Ender has realised that this is the same in real life too. At Christmas (and for her birthday) Top Ender she received a lot of vouchers from various family members for her to chose what she wanted to buy. Top Ender thought long and hard about what she wanted to buy and in the end only spent a small proportion of her vouchers, saving the rest for later in the year when she might have other needs or wants.
3) If at first you don't succeed you should try, try and then try again.
One of the great things about modern games is that it saves your progress and so if you get to a bit that you can't do you can you can just keep having a go at it until you succeed. And that translates well into everything new too. If you want to learn to ride a bike without stabilisers? Try, try and try again. Eventually you will get it. Although you should remember if you really get stuck you can use number 4...
4) If you get stuck it's okay to ask for help.
After trying several times to do a certain part of a game or to work out a tricky puzzle the children will complain that they can't do it, but rather than give up they will ask for help. This is perfect because there are times in life where everybody finds there is something that they can't do. It's okay though because there are people around you who have more experience or expertise and so asking them for help is okay. Although right when I have my hand up a chicken's bum isn't that good a time.
I'm the worst for this. Having completed some games by being good and doing it step by step I sometimes go back and play the game again but this time I cheat. I might use a code to get more life or more money or to simply cut out a huge boring bit of the game and it's okay to do this. In real life I might not make every meal from scratch but "cheat" and use a pre-made pie crust or I might only hoover the middle of a room instead of under the furniture if a guest is coming round. It's not that I can't do the whole thing, it's just that sometimes a short cut is available and it makes more sense to take it.
What have you or your children learnt from computer games that wasn't intentional? Surely I'm not the only person fluent in Simlish?