A Mothers Ramblings: December 2014

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Family Savings And A Promise Of A Night Out

If there is one thing that the children could teach me to be better at, it is saving money. From where I am currently sitting on the sofa, I can see Big Boy's Milkman's wallet. I don't need to get up to tell you how much is in it because Big Boy is sitting next to me and he can tell me that he has exactly £25 of pocket moneys savings, after having spent £30 of his savings in the Boxing Day Sale. He also has £25 that he got for Christmas that he put in his money box and I mustn't forget that I owe him £2 because he lent me £10 and I've only paid back £8 so far... Top Ender is just the same. Her money is kept hidden away and neither Daddy or I are quite sure how much she has, apart from when we have in the past asked to borrow some cash because we couldn't get to a cashpoint and we've needed a few quid to pay for a School trip or similar!

BB's Milkman Wallet

Family Investments asked if the children would like to save for Christmas with a month long saving plan, unfortunately it didn't get to us in time for the children to save for Christmas 2014. Family Investments, sent us a Child Savings Planner and a coin counting piggy bank for the children to share and collect their savings in and this blog post is to announce what it is that they are saving up for, so my two decided to get a head start on saving for Christmas 2015, after a month of saving for some very important family fun that is! The children being as loving as they are have decided that they would like to save up for a family meal at a favourite restaurant, although we're not sure which restaurant just yet.

So the children get £5 pocket money each week. They've decided that after paying 10% tithing and keeping a further £2.50 for themselves they are going to save £2 each for five weeks and Daddy and I agreed that we would double what they save to help with the meal as it's only fair as we'll be eating too!

We received a piggy bank and the A3 planner and there is a chance we might win a family day out.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Gü Hot Chocolate and Edible Cups

Occasionally, Daddy will announce we have no food in the house and that he is heading off to the Supermarket to buy some. What this really means is that we have nothing he wants to eat in the house and he is off to buy some indulgent chocolate or similar type desserts. Then Daddy asks me, if there is anything I want and I always answer a Gü Hot Chocolate Melting Middle Pudding please. And then when he gets back I take my time eating what has to be the most glorious pudding of all time.

Sigh.

Sorry. I was thinking about puddings. Anyway. Gü asked if I'd like to take part in a little creative experiment in the kitchen and create some edible cups to enjoy their new Hot Chocolate in. So I said No. Only joking, Gü Hot Chocolate in edible cups? It's like a dream come true, or a real Charlie and the Chocolate Factory moment.

The problem came with trying to decide what kind of cups to make.

My first thought was to involve the children, so as we walked around a supermarket doing some last minute shopping for dinner we talked about what we could make edible cups out of. Various ideas were batted about, and the idea of a bacon and chocolate cup has been stored for another time, as I bet it would be lush.

Top Ender thought a cheesecake base like cup would be best, as long as it was made out of cookies.

Big Boy thought that a pancake cup would be best, but baked like Yorkshire puddings.

And I thought that a cup of pastry, preferably puff would work well.

So with a voucher sent by Gü, we went shopping for the things we would need.

My pancake/yorkshire puddings didn't work. All I ended up with was disks of pancake that were rubbery.

Rubbery pancake cups

The Cookie cheesecake mix crumbled as soon as it was taken out of the muffin tin it had been sitting in to set.

Crumbly Cookie Cups

The only thing that worked was the puff pastry cups, but they were just to small, unless you just wanted a shot of Hot Chocolate. There was only one thing for it. I put the cup in a bowl, poured a suitable sized portion of Hot Chocolate over it and drank/ate it in front of the Christmas tree.

Hot Chocolate in front of the Christmas Tree - Can you see me in this picture?

I knew that I had to do better. The cup worked brilliantly, apart from the size, so I created a monster sized cup that would be perfect for drinking Hot Chocolate out of and for eating afterwards.


IT'S ALL MINE! To make this cup, I simply moulded it around the inside of one of my pyrex bowls and cooked it in the oven until it was solid. I'm going to have to make them again.

The moral of this story, (If there ever was one), is that Hot Chocolate should be plentiful and it doesn't matter what you drink it out of as long as you do drink it!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Asda Christmas Treats

Whilst I was languishing in bed with the horrid bug that came upon my house last week, a delivery came for me. I was rather excited, until Daddy told me it was food from Asda. The mere thought of food had me back in bed watching Christmas movies and sipping on ice water (thank you lovely fridge freezer) thanking my lucky stars that I had a caring husband who would occasionally refill my water and top up my ice and generally check I wasn't on his side of the bed and spreading my germs any more than I had to. Daddy has been well taught however and knew that all deliveries to this house must be photographed before being put away, because there will more than likely be a blog post or at the very least an instagram update and so he took some pictures and emailed them to me. Which I could just about handle...













You do have to admit it looks good right?

The problem was that with the foods needing to be eaten and the children, Daddy and I all staying on the BRAT diet until we were sure the bug had passed we didn't know what to do with all the food that had been sent. I didn't think about it because, well I felt terrible! Luckily again, Daddy has been well trained and so when I finally made it back downstairs and into the land of the living I wasn't surprised to find that Daddy had rather sensibly put everything that was able to be frozen in to one of our freezers, ready for eating when we were all feeling a little better.

So far, my Mum has sampled the Mince Pies (they are delicious) and the Wine (lovely) and I've had the Sprouts (I do love sprouts and these ones were lovely). We didn't get to eat the cabbage as unfortunately the packet had split and I don't tend to eat food with alcohol in it, most of the meat is in the freezer (well the six bird roast is defrosting ready for Christmas Day, because despite it not being gluten free, the children and I don't mind and will tuck in to it along with the ham!).

Now today is the last day of last minute prep for Christmas Day and Boxing Day and having now sampled a few of the delights that we were given by Asda, I think that I'll be joining the throng of shoppers picking up some last minute extra side dishes for our Christmas Day Meal.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Secret Santa Mistake

Every year the children want to participate in a Secret Santa. I'm sure that like most people they have the assumption that they are going to be able to find the perfect gift for the person they are drawn. Of course this only ever happens once in a life time and even then only if you are really lucky. I have witnessed it once, when a work colleague purchased a box full of malt loaf for another colleague. The recipient was over the moon, as he was always seen with a piece of toasted malt loaf in hand.

Secret Santa gifts under the tree

Anyway.

My Mum, the Children, Daddy and I were entered our names into the family Secret Santa. A budget of £5 was given and we drew names. It was fairly easy for me to work out who had drawn who, seeing as I knew who I had (Daddy), Big Boy asked Daddy for help (he had me) and Top Ender (My Mum) and my Mum (Top Ender) asked me for help.

Everything was going well. Big Boy got the gifts he wanted to choose (and almost told me in the process). Top Ender got the gifts she wanted to choose. I managed to pick something out. My Mum managed to work something out. All that was left was Daddy.

The night before the exchange, I gently reminded Daddy he still needed to buy a gift and I gently nudged him in the right direction of something that BB might like. Confusion covered his face and we managed to work out that someone (My Mum) had accidentally got a gift for the wrong person...

Luckily Daddy was then able to buy a gift for BB instead of Top Ender, as he had accidentally left it to the last minute to buy his gift.

My Mum feels terrible, so maybe next year we'll write the names really big, just so she can't make the mistake again!

Have you ever got the perfect gift for a Secret Santa draw or do you have a fail safe idea that suits everyone? Perhaps you know of a mistake that's happened just like the one I've detailed above? Let me know in the comments below, as I need some tips for next year and something to make my Mum feel better!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Creating A Poundland Wonderland

I love decorating the house for Christmas, you already know that if you've read this blog before or seen me on Twitter or Facebook or just passed my house! I have always thought that this time of year is magical and so decorating for me just means I get to make a little more magic inside the house. As in years past the only room in our house that hasn't really seen any decoration is mine and Daddy's bedroom as it just has this little bauble Christmas Tree thingy.

The units at the end of my bed

So Poundland asked if I'd like to create a poundland wonderland in one of the rooms of my home and the children and I decided that the only room that wasn't decorated was my bedroom and so therefore the one room that needed to be decorated was of course my bedroom!

Top Ender and I headed off to one of our local Poundland Stores and spent ages deliberating over what we should buy to makeover my bedroom. Eventually we had a basket full of goodies and we spent a few minutes waiting to pay where we had a rather lovely chap serve us who chatted happily with us.

A Poundland employee who gave us permission to take his picture and put it on the internet

He looks grumpy, but he wasn't!

Top Ender informs me that what I should do is post some pictures of before so that you can see how great a transformation the after is, she had high hopes.

The wardrobes and "my" side of the bedroom

This is pretty much how my bedroom looks most of the time. That cardigan by the way is a gift for Big Boy this Christmas or possibly just because as I love him when he wears his cardigans and bow ties!

With a mix of items I had leftover from decorating the rest of the house and from other gifts I've made for friends and family this Christmas I present to you my bedroom!

The back of my bedroom decorated for Christmas

I decided to wrap up all the photos in the bedroom, with wrapping paper I found in Poundland. The paper was quite jolly and it really appealed to Top Ender and I.

 Christmas wrapping paper wrapped photo frames

The green garlands on the curtain polls and the bows, were left over from some Christmas gifts I made. The lights were the same ones Belle and Jingle were tied up in the other week.

Garland and Lights on the curtain rails

And I know those stars don't look straight, but they are above mine and Daddy's pillows so we can look up and see stars!

You might be wondering what that is above the bed, but below the shelf... well it's Mistletoe! 

Mistletoe hanging above the bed

I put it above Daddy's side of the bed so I can kiss him whenever I want.

I decided to line the outside of our built in wardrobes with little LED lights that I got from Poundland for Halloween (they have them for Christmas too!) and then above the middle door I hung a Merry Christmas box garland.

I hung my favourite wreaths from the doors (using bauble hooks) and some decorations that weren't put up on any trees this year from the door handles.

Christmas made over wardrobe doors

On top of the PC in the corner (next to the TV!) I put this lovely little Jewelled Wire Tree, which Top Ender has fallen in love with and I think might vanish before Christmas Eve to her bedroom.

A little Christmas tree ornament sprucing up a corner

The units at the end of the bed, were decorated with the Kitchen Tree (which was in the den, looking for a new home as the Kittens kept knocking it over in the Kitchen) and surrounded it with my some of my favourite things, light up gifts. Oh and you can also see a giant advent calendar on the door which I've used this year to keep secret things for the children in (remember I said about some secret things we were doing this advent, they are stored in here)

Christmas decorated units at the end of my bed. Complete with Christmas tree

Top Ender and I picked out one of each colour of the gift boxes and they look quite festive under the tree, don't look at the secret gift hidden behind the tree though, I think that Jingle and Belle have hidden a surprise gift there for one day this week!

Light up gifts under the Christmas tree (and a tealight candle holder Christmas pudding shaped!)

Tops and I knew we had to have the two tealight holders, one is a Christmas pudding (as seen above) and the other a Christmas tree (see below) as they were so cute, but also because at Halloween I also purchased some flickering electric tea light candles and I think it sets them off nicely.

Christmas Tree tealight holder

There are also some light up Window clings, in our bedroom windows, which are cute, but we've had to take Daddy's back as it didn't work and they didn't have any to replace it with either :(

Light up window clings decorating the bedroom windows

I had a budget of £25 and I spent the following.

Wrapping Paper £1
Tea light holders x 2 £2
Light Up Box Gifts x 4 £4
Wreaths x 3 £3
Hanging Stars (2 in a pack) £1
Christmas Tree Ornament £1
Box Garland £1
Light Up Window Clings x2 £2
Fairy on top of the Christmas Tree £1

Those of you who like to add up are probably noticing that I've not spent my full £25, and that I have £9 left. Well Top Ender and I were a bit stuck at this point too.

What could we get? What could enhance my Poundland Wonderland even more? We decided that Baubles and Beads were the answer.

Baubles large £1
Baubles Small £1
Bead Garlands x4 £4

I had originally planned to drape the bead garlands from the ceiling and have the baubles hanging from ribbon, just like my Mum used to do to the living room when I was a teenager, but I can't reach the ceiling unless I'm standing on my bed and that makes it hard to reach the corners of the room. I had then intended to get my husband to help me, but with me being sick and just wanting to stay in bed I've had to give up on that idea just now, but I will get some photos on my Instagram feed soon!

After all this we still had £3 left so we decided to get a bit crafty and make some snowmen to decorate my room with! Tops and BB had great fun making these with me and I still think they are adorable.

Polystyrene ball snowmen

Polystyrene balls £1
Pipe Cleaners £1
Gem Stickers £1

So there you go, my bedroom is now a Poundland Wonderland. What do you think and what is your favourite bit?

I was given £25 to pay for the things I got in Poundland. As you can see, I buy things from there all the time, which is why I  have so many battery operated lights. 

Friday, 19 December 2014

Ugh, I'm sick

I hate getting sick, but it seems at this time of year and with children bringing home all sorts of germs from School it's inevitable that they'll get sick and then of course me as chief nursemaid will get sick too. I thought that this last time I'd been lucky. Daddy had looked after a poorly Big Boy whilst Top Ender and I had been running around doing things we'd agreed to that weekend. However as the week went on and Big Boy continued to be sick and Top Ender came down with it too, I knew my luck was going to change.

And it did in a rather violent fashion.

So now I'm poorly and I'm not really a very good patient, especially when it's so close to Christmas and I have so much to do.

Well, actually I don't have anything to do. I'm unusually organised this year. I've wrapped all the gifts to our family, I've wrapped all the gifts Santa asked me to help with for the children's stockings. I've made my shopping list for all the food I need to buy, so even if I can't get out to get it, Daddy knows exactly what it is that we need and from what shop.

At least, I suppose there are Christmas movies on 24/7 to keep me amused and it's fun trying to guess what is being delivered downstairs, as Daddy has banned me from going downstairs as he doesn't want to catch what I have!

Still, a day of bed rest is probably a very good thing.

Christmas lights that I can see from my bed

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

December Sickbed Crafting With Bostik

With Big Boy and Top Ender both being off school this week due to illness (BB will be going back to School tomorrow he's fine even if his blood sugars are all over the place!) it would have been easy to resort to letting them both just sit in bed, watch cartoons and play on their tablets. And to be fair, both the children did a fair bit of that because when you feel as lousy as they did/do it's just about as much as you can manage to not fall asleep mid sentence. However, I'm a mean and evil Mum. The sort that doesn't care if you're off School sick and still makes you practice your times tables, spellings and handwriting and so when they were feeling a little better (late afternoon) I got them doing some Mummy home school.

Big Boy had been learning about symmetry at School before he was ill, so I set him up with a bunch of paper circles and got him designing baubles and snowflakes.

Symmetry homework - design a snowflake

We're going to attach all his snowflake designs to some invisible thread I have and hang them from the ceiling of his bedroom for a wintery design. He's rather pleased with the idea and his designs and I'm happy that he's still doing something educational.

For Top Ender though, I needed something a little more out of the box, or rather in the box as it turns out. At School Top's been learning about expressing herself through Art and so I gave her this months Bostik Craft Box and let her have at it.

Out of all the things she created I can only show you this brilliant Santa Hat, as the rest are going to be given as Christmas gifts!

Home Made Santa Hat

Top Ender used the glue dots that Bostik make (and we now LOVE because they are seriously good for everything) up one side of a cardboard cone. Then very carefully she lined a sheet of red felt up against the lower edge of the cone and wrapped it round to cover the cone. She tucked the excess felt inside the cone as I hadn't given her any scissors, but I think it helped keep it all neat.

Inside of a Santa Hat decoration

She added more glue dots up one side of the felt to keep it all together and I think she did quite a good job.

The next step involved a bit of trial and error. Top Ender had originally wanted to glue balls of cotton wool to the bottom, but she decided it didn't give her the clean look she was looking for and so instead found a skein of white thread and after drawing a circle of glue around the bottom edge, wrapped the thread round and round and round and round and round. She thought that this looked a little more neat, but also gave the hat the traditional Santa look.

The next step was to create a pompom for the top of the hat.

She did this herself, by wrapping the thread around her fingers and tying the centre in a knot (you know how to make pompoms I'm sure) and by this point I found her some scissors to cut the threads to shape it in to a pompom. Tops found it easier to attach a white pipe cleaner to the pompom and curled it round the cone in the felt at the top of the hat so that it wouldn't stick up or out too far.

Santa Hat Pompom on a pipe cleaner

And then she presented it to me, for my made over Christmas bedroom!

Bostik Family Craft Bloggers Network Badge

All the crafts were sent to us as part of the Bostik Family Craft Bloggers Network.

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Cold Truth And Why I'm Always Coughing At Christmas #Sponsored Post

In childhood pictures of me at Christmas time, I was the quintessential ruddy cheeked smiley child. With my blond hair and almost permanent grin, I was just like those little cherubs you see hanging around the manger of the Baby Jesus. What you didn't see, just out of shot is the bottles of cough medicine and baby paracetamol and various other items that my Parents, Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles would buy for me in order to get me through the day. For every year, without fail I was ill at Christmas. Somehow, the children have skipped most of my cold at Christmas genes, well Top Ender does have a cough and BB is currently laying on the sofa feeling incredibly sorry for himself...

Big Boy asleep and poorly on the sofa

According to decongestant experts Olbas and some research they and others have done today, Monday 15th December is the most cold ridden day of the year.

Great.

Apparently, the amount of stress, the amount of social events and the bitter weather in the run up to Christmas factor into why this is and Dr Sarah Jarvis believes that with everyone focusing on getting ready for the big day that they forget to take care of themselves and lack of sunshine also has something to do with it. Dr Jarvis also said

“At this time of year, we’re not only huddled inside at home, but we’re also coming into more contact with crowds as Christmas shopping fever gears up. Add to that a combination of cold weather and central heating, and it’s not surprising that mid-
December is peak sneeze period!”

 I knew online shopping was a good idea.

The good news for me is that you can't catch a cold because you go out in cold weather with wet hair, almost all coughs and colds are caused by viruses, which when you breathe in and means boom you're infected.

As I've found out this past weekend, Children are great at spreading germs. It seems every child BB knows at School is off today with a rather unpleasant bug (and is why I'm very worried BB and I might be heading off to hospital any moment). Unfortunately for Daddy, he'll be the one most likely to catch this bug from BB as he was the one being sick nurse, whilst Top Ender and I went to do our Nativity with the children from Church at a near by Old Folks Home, and went to Church on Sunday (I was teaching, so I kinda had to go!).

Then again, BB is still not feeling good and I still might catch it. Luckily for me being ill the week before Christmas won't change anything, other than I might miss Top Ender's Carol Concert as almost everything else is done... but that's not the case for a lot of others, as over the holiday period a lot of people have really hectic schedules meaning that they can't veg out on the sofa, or in bed to take time for their bodies to get better.

Nikki Kerrigan, a spokesperson for Olbas explained:

“What we’ve seen is a clear peak just before Christmas when people are suffering the most from colds and it’s no surprise that most people feel worse on a Monday. It’s possibly the worst timing of the year! At a time when you want to be fighting fit, dealing with a cold can put a dampener on the long awaited Christmas holidays. Olbas makes it easy to treat cold symptoms so that you can enjoy the festive season with family and friends.” 

So this year whilst a cold might already be upon you, or you might know you're going to be coming down with one then there are a range of Olbas products to help you and the family and here are some tips from Dr Sarah Jarvis on keeping colds at bay and some ideas on how to help if you're already ill!

• Stick to your side of the bed You’re much more likely to catch a cold by spending hours in close contact with a sufferer. They may want to be cuddled all night if they’re feeling sorry for themselves, but it’s a sure recipe to leave you bunged up too.

• Once you’re sneezing, it may be too late Colds are probably at their most contagious during the incubation period – the two days or so between being exposed to the virus and getting symptoms. Once you’re sneezing, it’s about symptom relief rather prevention.

• Being congested is no laughing matter 1 in 3 of us find congestion the worst part of having a cold. Aromatic oils containing eucalyptus or menthol can relieve stuffiness in the nose and let you breathe easy.

• You need propping up – literally! Coughing is often worse at night – when you lie down, mucus drips onto your soft palate, stimulating your cough reflex. Make yourself a nest of pillows to avoid being up all night coughing.

• There are some benefits in getting older! Kids get up to a dozen colds a year – in adults, it’s about 2-4 a year and in older age it may be only one, because your immune system has come across most of the viruses responsible and can fight them off. However, older people are more vulnerable to complications such as serious chest infections which is why it’s important to fight a cold head on with over the counter remedies, hot baths and rest!

Infographic about colds from Olbas

This is a sponsored post, but trust me my medicine cabinet is full of Olbas remedies as they are natural and I find them to be a great help.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Why Santa Only Brings Little Things

Many years ago, when Top Ender was small, Daddy and I had a chat about Santa. We decided between us that Santa wasn't going to be responsible for the main gifts in our home. In our home, there would of course be gifts from Santa, but the main gifts, the ones that cost a lot of money? They'd come from us. Upstairs gifts, from Santa, downstairs gifts from us.

Top Ender and Big Boy at Christmas

We knew that Top Ender's friends wouldn't have the same rules in their home, so we casually dropped into conversation with Top Ender about how Santa asked us to pay for half the presents he gave to us. Top Ender accepted this, she was small and it didn't seem unreasonable to her, especially as I'm pretty sure we also explained that this was something he or his Chief Elf spoke about to all parents who were in certain tax brackets.

A couple of years later, Top Ender accidentally found some stocking gifts I'd carefully selected for her. I knew that she wouldn't believe me if I told her that they were for someone else, she'd realise come Christmas Day so I decided to inform Top Ender, that occasionally, as well as sending money we could also send small trinkets for Santa to include in stockings... again Top Ender accepted this.

So in our house, Santa doesn't bring the big ticket items. He doesn't bring Bikes, or TV's or Computers. He brings little things like, tissues, sweets, notepads, pens, pencils, stickers, and necklaces and occasionally things that enhance computer games.

And why am I telling you this?

I'm telling you this because maybe this will be a good idea for you to bring into your home, a way to get out of those tricky issues when the children see a little something that they shouldn't, or when they ask for something that there is just no way you can afford, but they don't understand why Santa can't afford it, or make it as we are often told he does in stories. And maybe it'll help you be the hero this Christmas.

The A Mother's Ramblings Family at Christmas

What sort of gifts does Santa bring to your home?

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Computer Games For Christmas

It's no secret that here at A Mother's Ramblings, we love a computer game. Be it on the Wii, the Wii U, the Playstation (3, because I'm not made of money) or the Xbox (360 because again I'm not made of money!) or even on the PC if it's something that interests us then we save up for it. In fact BB currently has £60 saved in anticipation of a game coming out soon that he'll want. He isn't sure what it will be, but he knows that if he saves he'll be ready.

There were two games on the early drafts of the children's Christmas lists this year. Top Ender was very interested in The Sims 4 (It seems a love of The Sims is passed down genetically) and Big Boy was after Skylands Trap Team, for any platform.

Big Boy was making sure that he would get the game, as well as requesting it from Santa he was also saving up to buy Trap Team. As luck would have it we were invited to a launch party, along with some celebs (one of them was Danny Dyer and boy was my sister jealous. I told her that he kissed me, but in reality he just gave me one of those nod of the head "Wassup" type gestures as he backed away from me.) and game reviewers and the like and was given a copy of the game. Big Boy mentioned something about this blog being the best thing to ever happen to this family and then started playing Trap Team and filming himself doing so for his Youtube channel, so I had to be quiet.

Skylanders Trap Team

The game is actually pretty much the talk of the playground at School. Almost every child I've spoken to (both male and female) has either asked Santa or their parents for the game or an older brother or sister has.

Playdates for Big Boy since he got the game have consisted of children coming round, making nice with me for a few minutes and then plonking themselves down with Big Boy for a half hour of Skylands Trap Team before moving on to other activities... like drawing characters that he'd like to be in the next Skylanders game!

Normally whilst Big Boy and his friends are downstairs, Top Ender escapes the chaos and hides away in her bedroom, where she plays The Sims 4.

The Sims 4

If you haven't heard of The Sims before, it's basically how I think God must look at us sometimes. It's a simulation game, where the player (God) encourages a Sim (Human) to do various things. Like go to the toilet, study, work out etc. Occasionally you can mess with a Sim by cancelling it's action, and it drives them nuts. Like when you go into a room and can't remember why you went in there.

when you go into a room and can't remember why you went in there

Anyway. Top Ender has spent HOURS playing this game, and as it is installed on the PC in her bedroom, I can't play it (which is the greater injustice here) without having to stand on her bed. And that's just annoying.

Tops has not stopped going on about how great the game is either. Which is even more annoying. In fact I'm starting to wish I hadn't let her get a review copy and just put my fingers in my ears when she asked if she was allowed to spend her money on it!

So. If you're looking for games this Christmas that would suit someone you know, I and the children would 100% recommend The Sims 4 and Skylanders Trap Team, just make sure if you give it to them after you've done all the family things you wanted to do, as you might not get a word out of them after they've opened the game!

I found Skylands Trap Team from £36 online.

I found The Sims 4 from £24 online (it's normally around the £40 mark).

We were sent the games to review.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Little Dish For Bigger Kids #Review

Top Ender and Big Boy love the occasional ready meal treat. For them, it's a chance to go to the Supermarket and pick something that they really fancy and then of course let me cook it before they get to eat it. The problem that they normally have is that their favourite ready meals are the Little Dish ones, which are a little too small for them, so as well as cooking the ready meal, I need to cook a couple of side dishes too. No, problem there really but if they are in a hurry (as they often are!) then the extra time it takes me to boil some potatoes or steam some vegetables they get driven to madness... not that anyone would notice the difference.

Little Dish must have read my mind however, as they have magically come up with a new range Little Dish For Bigger Kids. How fantastic right? These meals are the right size for Top Ender and Big Boy, and more importantly for me I trust the Little Dish meals to be good quality. Little Dish asked if we'd like to try their meals and sent across, one of each from their range. Chunky Chicken Pot Roast, Mild Beef Chilli and Rice, Mediterranean Cod and Tomato Casserole and Seven Veg Lasagne.

A parcel from the Little Dish Team

Top Ender and Big Boy decided between them which they would like, Top Ender picked the chunky chicken pot roast and Big Boy picked the seven veg lasagne. And just in case you were wondering, it was Halloween hence the make up!


Big Boy posing with his Seven Veg Little Dish Lasagne

Top Ender's Chunky Chicken Casserole

Later that night, Daddy and I were totally starved and so we snuck the other two dishes for our own evening meal. Daddy went for the Chilli and I had the cod and tomato casserole.

Daddy's Mild Beef Chilli and Rice

Mediterranean Cod and Tomato Casserole

So what did we think? Well, unsurprisingly the children loved the dishes and Daddy loved the fact that apart from the lasagne that BB had, all of them were gluten free. He did complain that the chilli was too mild, but I reminded him these are designed for the mouths of children (up to age six, but Top Ender at 10 loved them too) and so the mildness is a good thing.

We loved that there were chunkier "lumps" in the dishes, and that they were the same great flavours we've come to expect from a Little Dish meal but we also loved that the portions were a little bigger (still small enough for the children to enjoy the whole meal) and these are no doubt going to be our new ready meal of choice!

We were sent the meals to review.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Squishable, Huggable And Not Mine :(

This week, a delivery for me arrived. Inside the package was this.

Squishable 15" Giant Round Owl

That's right, a slightly sleeping looking owl. Isn't he adorable? He was sent by a very lovely lady who I think has the best job in the world, as she gets to hug these cuddly giant soft toys all the time. As soon as I got him out of the box, Big Boy pounced. HE'S SO CUTE I WANT TO HUG HIM! And then Big Boy hugged him and wouldn't let go.

My new owl wasn't mine any more.

The owl was immediately named Rolo by Big Boy and has gone with Big Boy EVERYWHERE, including Church!

Top Ender, Big Boy and Rolo on the way to Church

When Rolo was at Church, everyone wanted to give him a hug or a squeeze, or wanted to buy one for themselves because it's true the first thing you do when you see one of the Squishable family is just hug them!

The large 15" Squishable's are priced at £34.99, and they have smaller ones that measure 7" and 3", that cost £17.99 and £6.99 respectively and postage is £4.95 for those of us in the UK, unless you spend over £60 in which case P&P is free.

BB absolutely adores him, uses him as a pillow, a foot rest, something to hug when he's going to sleep and I love it. Even more so, I love that everyone in the family loves Rolo... look who I caught sneaking a hug and dance with him!

Daddy dancing with RoloDaddy noticing I'd seen him dancing with RoloDaddy hugging Rolo

That's right, even Daddy loves Rolo. Maybe he won't mind if I get him to buy me one, I quite like the idea of the Cinnamon Bun to cuddle up to in bed... or maybe the pink owl or the hedgehog or the cupcake or... who am I kidding I would love any of them!